Title: Worse than Railroad Spikes
Author: Celli Lane
Comments: Either as a review or to celli@fanfiction.net.
Rating: PG, for a bit of British swearing.
Season: Between 5 and 6.
Spoilers: Maybe "Bargaining," if anything.
Archive: Fanfiction.net; anyone else please ask.
Status: Completed
Summary: Dawn, Spike, and L'Oreal have a run-in.
Disclaimers: Buffy et al belong to Mutant Enemy. I promise, I'm not making any money from this.

Author's note: The blame for this lies entirely on my best friend Jen, who
noticed that Spike's hair looked a little...different at the beginning of
the season.

Worse than Railroad Spikes
by Celli Lane

"I've been killed. I've been brought back to life. I've been tied up,
locked in a cage, and had major surgery done on my head multiple times.
I've had the bleeding stuffing beat out of me, I've had to watch television
with that git Xander, and I've even, for God's sake, been cuckolded by a
chaos demon. But, Niblet, I've never had to deal with this kind of
malevolent evil before."

"Oh, shut up, Spike. I'm gonna lose count of the curlers."

***

It had been about a month since the funeral. Dawn had gradually started to
notice that life was going on somewhere around her. She was barely aware
that Tara and Willow were providing food, clean bathrooms, and countless
pats on the arm. Xander and Anya came by occasionally to bicker back and
forth before going out to patrol. Giles tried, really tried, and for that
reason Dawn avoided him as much as possible.

But Spike...Spike was louder than Tara and Willow, more focused than Xander
and Anya, and less subtle than Giles. Spike showed up every night, latched
on to Dawn with every ounce of his attention, and began the long and
laborious process of dragging Dawn back into the real world.

They played Uno. They went to "The Mummy Returns." They went CD shopping
and argued over pop versus alternative versus punk music.

And now, at day 32 (though neither Dawn nor Spike would admit they were
counting), they were wandering through the pharmacy section of the local
Valu-4-U store.

"How's this?" Dawn asked, holding up a box of 5 Minute Miracle.

"Nah," Spike said with a great deal of scorn. "Can't use the stuff for
blokes. Never the right shades."

"Right." Dawn nodded with faux gravity. "Because that particular shade of
platinum is *the* most flattering."

Spike glared at her over the low shelf separating the hair care aisles.
Then he ducked out of sight under a L'Oreal display. "I think this is where
I got it last time..."

Dawn sighed and wandered off to the other end of the aisle.

She wandered back a moment later, trying to look innocent. "Spike?"

"Yeah, Niblet?"

"Is your hair naturally curly?"

"Hm? How would I know? Haven't got a mirror."

"You mean a reflection."

"Right."

"Well, it was curly for a while, but it's not as much now. It must be the
kind that is only curly when it's really short. Er, your hair does grow,
does it?"

"Sure!" Spike was starting to sound mildly irritated.

"How?"

"Ask a Watcher!" There were several muffled thumps, and Spike resurfaced.
"Found it!"

Dawn grinned. "Me too."

***

So there they were at the Summers home. Spike was soliloquizing about
torture, and Dawn was winding his hair on tiny little curlers.

Naturally, Xander walked in at precisely that moment.

***

Half an hour later, Xander was finally recovering from his hysterical
laughter and Spike's hair had come out of the curlers.

"Well, I think it looks great," Dawn said, ruffling Spike's hair into place.

Spike mumbled a long and elaborate string of words, the only audible
component of which was the word "bloody." Several times.

Dawn wandered off to find a hairpick for further hair arrangement. The men
could hear her giggling her way up the stairs.

Xander waited for Dawn's footsteps to fade away before he got up and crossed
the living room to Spike. His eyes were still gleaming from the bout of
hysteria. "Hey, Spike?"

"What?" Spike looked at him with his usual loathing, preparing a mental
retort for a crack about his new hair.

The corners of Xander's mouth twitched slightly. "Thanks."

He stood back up and ambled off towards the kitchen. He looked back over
his shoulder. "Also, cu-ute hair."