Disclaimer and Author's Notes: The characters of "Angel" don't belong to me. They belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and some corporate bigwigs. I'm not making any money off of this; it's written strictly for entertainment--mine and yours. I don't have permission to use them, but I promise I'll put them back when I get done.

This was written in response to a challenge at the LJ Community Church of Spike, delineated at the end of the fic.

Indispensable, Exquisite Cats

Gunn couldn't believe it. He'd shot a ninety-two on the golf course that morning. Ninety-two! He hadn't played that badly, ever. Even in his first game. The download was slipping, the Big Black Cat was gone, and he had nowhere to turn.

The Conduit. He needed to talk to the Conduit. That would make everything all right again. It always did. But how to get it back? The White Room had reappeared, but somehow its utter emptiness was eerier than the howling abyss had been. There had to be some ritual he could perform, some sacrifice he could make.

Wes would know. But he couldn't consult him. Because then Wes would ask uncomfortable questions. Wes would go to Angel. They already felt skittish about his new skills; the idea that he wanted to make some mojo to bring back the Cat would only freak them out more.

What about...he reached for an errant thought. Files and Records? She was a scary chick, but she knew everything about everything. Sure. She'd have the info.

He didn't see the smile she allowed herself after he left her part of the basement.


It was always blood. In this case, he needed the blood of a former lover, mixed with the blood of her current paramour. So. Fred. That part was easy. But who was she seeing now? Not "Knoxy"--she'd been totally dissing him the other day. Not Wes. No matter what he felt about her, she was oblivious. He wasn't even a blip on her radar screen.

Spike. Gunn had seen the looks they exchanged, the subtle little signals they thought no one else caught. Oh, yeah. They had a thing for each other, all right.

Getting them into the White Room was laughably easy. Tell the one the other was in trouble. Cold-cock them in the elevator. Going up. Not coming back down. Sorry, Fred. I loved you once. Sorry, Spike. I like you, dude, but I just can't function like this.


Spike came back to agonizing consciousness, slowly becoming aware that not only was he bound, he was bound to somebody. Fred, he sensed before opening his eyes. He lay on his right side, and she lay on her left, facing him. He couldn't move at all, some spell or other keeping him still. She was out cold, blood congealing on the side of her face. Knee to knee and ankle to ankle, they were fastened together. Her right wrist was between his, and his left wrist was between hers, tied up.

It didn't take much thought to realize where he was, although he'd never come in here before, even as a ghost. But, in addition to Fred's soap and blood, he also smelled oddly-scented candles, and herbs. When he realized that they were inside a huge pentagram drawn on the floor, a light went off in his brain. Dark Magic.

He knew Gunn was there, even though he was out of Spike's vision. "Charlie? Can we talk about this, mate?"

"No." Gunn's voice, desperate and sad, sounded behind him. "I have to do this, Spike. Don't make it any harder than it is." Footsteps faded across the room, and the elevator doors hissed open, then shut.

"Freddikins? Wake up, kitten."

She moved her head and moaned. "Spike? Hurts..."

"I know, pet. I don't think our Charlie's quite right in the head. Get that big brain of yours to work on how we can get out of this. I don't like our chances otherwise."

He didn't like their chances at all, actually. Fred's eyes were unfocused and muzzy, and he was afraid she had a concussion. He kept her talking, asking her inane questions and becoming increasingly terrified at the answers. Freddi was barely there; Charlie had obviously hit her harder than he intended.

Spike's internal clock told him that midnight was nearing when the elevator doors swished open again. A pair of Armanis stopped by their heads, and Gunn knelt down next to them, a ceremonial stiletto in one hand and an ornate goblet in the other. "Sorry about this." Gunn's voice was all the more chilling for its bleakness.

And now Spike saw the reason for the odd positioning of their wrists. Gunn picked their arms up, put the goblet underneath, and, with one smooth motion, stabbed the stiletto clear through all four of their wrists together, mingling the blood that pumped out into the cup. Still frozen in place, he could only watch helplessly as Gunn stood up and drank the contents of the chalice.

The results were appalling. Gunn threw back his head and howled, then began changing before Spike's horrified gaze. His ears became pointed and elongated, his eyes transformed to something that would be better suited on a venomous snake, and his muscles expanded while he grew taller, tearing out of his suit.

Spike suddenly realized he could move. Using all his strength, he popped the bonds holding his knees, ankles, and wrists together, enfolding Fred protectively and rolling them both out of the way, while the monster that Gunn had become roared over their heads.

He hadn't heard the elevator doors open again, but a fusillade of gunfire told him that someone had come to their rescue. What was left of Gunn screamed once, crashed to the floor, and lay still, a pool of yellow blood congealing by his head.

Spike looked up to see Wesley, a large gun smoking in each hand, standing over them. "Thanks, mate. Wish you could have gotten here a bit sooner."

"The building psychics just now started going crazy. We came as soon as we found the source."

Spike stood up, cradling Fred like a child. She was still mostly out of it, but aware enough to say, "Spike saved me from the monster." She smiled, reached up, and kissed him softly on the lips, before falling back and fainting.


He locked himself and Fred in Angel's office, after getting her patched up in the infirmary. While she slept on the couch, he broke into the private stash of Irish whiskey. He needed a drink after watching Charlie almost turn himself into the Conduit. Halfway through his second bottle, he began rummaging through the desk drawer, looking for the phone number he just knew had to be in there. Angel the technophobe would never use a PDA or anything like that to store information. Ha. There it was.

Three rings. "Hello?"

"Buffy? This is Spike." His words slurred a little. "I know you think I'm dust at the bottom of a crater, but I'm not anymore, and I just wanted to say, we are so over." Spike looked over at Fred, drowsing peacefully like a little brown tabby cat. Fred, who had kissed him and was grateful to him for saving her. Fred, who had always treated him nicely. "I've found someone else. So, you can have your happily-ever-after with Peaches, and I wish you all the best. Goodbye." He hung up while she was still sputtering on the other end, and made his way unsteadily over to Fred. Sitting on the floor next to the sofa, he pushed her hair out of her face and watched her sleep.

The Challenge: I went outside the length parameters, because no matter how I trimmed it down, I couldn't get it to 1000 words. Sorry. To be brief, the challenge was to find out through a meme what your ideal episode of "Angel" would be like, and write a ficlet based on that, taking as many or as few elements as you liked--as long as Spike was a character. My ideal episode looked like this:

Angel looks very pretty
Wesley shoots two guns. TWO.
Spike calls Buffy in a drunken haze and says they are SO over
Gunn goes over to the dark side. Way over.
Fred sticks to a previously-demonstrated skill set
Harmony notices a clue everyone else overlooked
Lorne re-re-opens a nightclub
...and this is what came out. Feedback rocks my world.