Title: The Roots Of All Evil
Author: Beer Good
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, early s6-ish
Word Count: ~580
Rating: PG13
Characters: Spike, Dawn, Buffy
Summary: Girl with attention issues... vampire feeling lonely... crypt containing certain vampiric instruments... what do you think is going to happen? A truly hair-raising tale.

The Roots Of All Evil

The crypt was quiet after Dawn explained what it was she wanted from him.

"And you're sure about this, Niblet?" Spike held her head tenderly, looking into her blue eyes, giving her a last chance to back out.

Dawn nodded, trying to look like she wasn't trying to look brave. "Yeah. I'm sick of never being noticed. I want someone who knows what they're doing to do it to me, and you've been doing this for, like, a couple of hundred years..."

"A couple of..." Spike flinched. "Bloody hell, how old do you think I am?"

Dawn almost bit her tongue. "I-I meant experienced old, not... y'know, prematurely graying old."

Spike turned away, took a few steps and then turned back to her again. "I'll have you know I'm only 120. Ish. And I'm not premature anything." He emphasized this by pointing at her with a gesture that was obviously supposed to look threatening. "Now, Angel on the other hand..."

"OK, at this point I think nobody is going to think you're more mature than me." Dawn put her hand on his to calm him down. "I'm sorry that I implied you were gross and old. But you know what would be a really good way to prove that you're still a rebel?" She stepped closer and laid his hand on her head. "Please, Spike. You said you would."

He tried to stay in a huff, but then looked at her, relented and smiled. "Alright then. Now remember to relax and hold still, it's probably gonna sting a bit at first." He led her over to the bed, gently sat her down, and started running one hand through her hair as he reached for the bottle on the night stand.

Which is when the door was kicked off its hinges and Buffy strode in. "What the hell are you doing with my teenage sister, Spike? And this better be good."

"Nothing you haven't done a million times," Dawn muttered.

"Yeah." Spike held up the bottle of hydrogen peroxide as if he were trying to hide behind it. "We're just bleaching her hair, 's all. No need to get your panties in a bunch, I know what I'm doing." He ran his hand through his own platinum locks to prove it.

"What..." Buffy hesitated, then fixed Dawn with a big-sister glare. "OK, first of all, I don't 'bleach' my hair. I'm a natural blonde. These are... uh, highlights."

"Riiight," said Dawn.

"And anyway, that's beside the point. The pointy thing being that you're hanging out in Spike's crypt after dark when you're supposed to be doing your homework. And if you think I'm going to be flattered that you want to be blonde like me -"

"Please, like this is about you," Dawn scoffed. "I was gonna go pink and black, like Raven in my class. And then I was going to have it permed."

"Oh, Dawn." Buffy put her hand to her mouth in horror, then quickly walked over and sat down next to her sister, shoving Spike out of the way. "I-I know things have been hard lately, and you haven't been getting the attention you deserve. It's just... I've had a really rough time, and I've been trying so hard to piece it all back together again, and..." She swallowed and put her arms around Dawn. "I'm so sorry, Dawnie. I know this world can be a dark place. But that's never - never - a reason to curl up and dye."