Title: Blood Rite
Fandom: Angel
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Joss is the genius behind these characters; I am but a lowly follower. I make no money from any of this, so please don't sue me.
Written for: The LJ Community Church Of Spike's ChairFic challenge
Notes: Spike/Fred. Knox finds a scroll he says has a "cure" for vampirism, using the blood of a souled vampire. But it's entirely possible he has ulterior motives...
Spike slouched insolently and bonelessly in the chair in Angel's office, his leg flung over the arm of the square red seat. He and Angel were doing what they did best--sniping at each other--when Fred walked in. Her heart went "ker-thump" at the sight of him like that, and she firmly shooed it back into its cave. She had more important things to think about right now than the hotness that was...Stop that, she told herself.

"Sorry to interrupt...whatever it is you guys are doing...but I need Spike in the lab," she said.

He cocked his scarred eyebrow at her. "What's our fetching mad scientist up to, then?"

"I need some of your blood."

His other eyebrow joined the first one up on his forehead. "What for?"

"Anything I need to know about?" Angel asked.

"Only if it works."

"All right. Keep me posted."

On their way to the lab, Fred explained, "Knox found the Scroll of Menuo'Erithizon'n, and it's got a cure for vampirism using the blood of a souled vampire."

"Because souled vampires are as widespread as mosquitoes?"

"Well, no, of course not; that's why this isn't common knowledge." She grinned in delight. "Can you imagine the implications if we can make it so vampires don't have to drink blood, and they can just eat ordinary food to survive?"

Spike decided to keep his thoughts to himself, but they were something along the lines of vampires not lining up to be "cured" because they actually enjoyed being bloodthirsty killers. But she was so cutely enthusiastic that he hated to burst her bubble.

They walked into the lab together, and Spike was startled to see Knox shoot him a look of pure, venomous hatred. Fred didn't notice, and went chattering on blithely about how cool it would be when vampires no longer needed blood to survive. She had Spike sit in a chair, and a lab tech drew some blood from his arm. Another tech led a nervous-looking volunteer vampiress from the steno pool into the room.

"You're the guinea pig, eh, pet?" Spike said sympathetically.

She twisted her fingers together. "I heard what Mr. Angel did to Eli. We've got a pretty cushy deal here. I don't want to take any chances on slipping."

"Don't blame you there."

Knox lit four dark green candles and put the blood in a chalice. He sprinkled sand in a small circle on the floor, put the candles at the corners of the compass on the sand, and placed the chalice in the center. Chanting in a demon language, he sprinkled the requisite herbs inside the circle around the cup. A puff of smoke erupted from the blood, and the candles extinguished by themselves. Knox raised his head with a smile. "That did it." He handed the cup to the vampiress. "Drink it down, Rachel. I think you'll notice an immediate change."

She took a deep breath, then swallowed the blood in one long gulp. The change was immediate, all right--and horrifying. Rachel vamped, threw her head back, and emitted a scream that turned into a hiss. Her body shrank until it was about two feet tall, at the same time sprouting three-inch spines all over the back and sides, with a strip of five-inch spines along her backbone. Her fingers and toes stretched into claws, and batlike wings grew from her back and propelled her into the air. Her face elongated into a muzzle, and her teeth grew too large for her mouth, long and sharp. She tore out of her clothes and left them on the floor.

Her head whipped around, and, faster than thought, she flew at Spike, knocking him backwards in his chair, putting her claws through his ribcage, and fastening her teeth into his throat. Sucking noisily, she drank from him in heavy draughts, while he thrashed back and forth, impaling his hands on her spines trying to grab her. His struggles grew weaker as she drained him, and, still holding his ribs with her toes, she grasped his head with her hands and smashed it onto the floor, knocking him unconscious.

In the few seconds that passed, the lab had emptied of techs. Knox and Fred were the only ones left, and she stared in horror as he simply stood there with his arms crossed and a grim expression on his face. Okay, no help from that quarter. She picked up a chair, took aim, and sent the creature halfway across the room with a wild swing that hit it just below the wings. She took the time that bought her to grab Spike by the wrists and drag him into her office, slamming the door and locking it just as the demon hit it.

"That bastard!" she seethed. "He knew! He did that on purpose. Dammit." She peeked out the window, noting with some satisfaction that whoever had been last out of the lab had the presence of mind to close the door--and now Knox was cornered in there, with the thing he'd created dive-bombing his head in a rather bored manner. She hoped spitefully that, when it used up all its energy from Spike's blood, it would start in on Knox's. She picked up the phone and dialed.

"Wyndam-Pryce," said the voice on the other end.

"Oh, thank God."

"Fred? What's wrong?"

"Knox did this ritual using Spike's blood, and one of the stenos turned into this spiny bloodsucking creature that attacked and drained Spike, and now I'm locked in my office with him and he's unconscious because it hit his head and I don't know what to do."

"Slow down. What ritual?"

She took a deep breath. "Knox said he found this scroll. He said it would make it so vampires wouldn't need blood to survive anymore. The Scroll of Menuo'Erithizon'n? He said, he said that he needed the blood of a souled vampire..."

"Can you spell that?" She did, and he clicked his tongue. "That's what I thought you said. Fred, that ritual can use the blood of any vampire, and it causes the vampire that drinks it to turn into the creature you described, and then attack the donor vampire. It's an assassination rite."

"Well, but...he's not dead."

"Did it get a chance to bite his head off?"

She looked down at Spike's bloodless body. The wounds on his throat, hands, and ribs were dry and pale. "Ew! No, it just drained him, I think. I knocked it off before it had a chance to do anything more. Wesley? This thing is fast and strong. How do we kill it, or turn it back into a secretary? It's trapped in the lab, with Knox, for now, but Spike and I are trapped in my office. And what about Spike, anyway? I think it got all his blood."

She heard him suck his breath in. "Spike is locked in your office with you?"

She was still watching the insensate vampire. His eyes suddenly snapped open--yellow, she noticed with a lurch in her stomach. Then his hand closed around her ankle with preternatural strength.

###

Wesley heard Fred make an "Eep!" noise and drop the phone. Rather than shout uselessly into his own instrument, he snatched his gun from his desk drawer and a crossbow from a cabinet. Pounding down the hall, shoving lawyers out of his way, he hit the fire staircase and charged to the lab's floor.

A glance in the window showed him the creature flying around, but no Knox. Gunn, carrying his hubcap axe, came running up as he was trying the door. At Wesley's questioning look, he explained, "One of the lab techs just told me."

"The door's locked, and Fred's trapped in her office with Spike, whom the demon drained of blood."

"Well, that can't be good. Break it down?"

"On three..."

"Crap, man, she's coming out."

###

"Oh, screw this," Fred said. Her free foot lashed out and connected with Spike's head, knocking him out again. She looked out into the lab and saw that the creature was still flapping through the lab, but Knox wasn't visible anymore. She took her white coat off and stalked over to the door. Flinging it open, she stood there and waited for the demon to notice--which didn't take long. She had time enough to think, Dang, that thing is fast! before it was upon her.

With exquisite timing, she tossed her coat over it, entangling its wings and sending it crashing to the floor. Then she calmly and deliberately picked up a chair and began bashing it over and over again, until it lay motionless.

The door to the lab crashed open, and Wes and Gunn came charging in. "Are you all right?" Wesley's question was slightly breathless.

"Sure." Fred moved a loose strand of hair out of her face. "Spike's hurt, though. And we need to do something about this." She pushed on the still form under her lab coat with her foot, carefully avoiding the spines. Picking up a phone on a desk, she dialed the infirmary and told them to send a team over, with restraints, stat.

"Where's Knox?" Gunn asked. He noticed a shoe sticking out from behind a table. "Oh." He stepped around the table and looked down. "Oh. Ugh." He tried to shield Fred's view. "You don't want to see that."

"Yes I do." Her face expressionless, she gazed down at the bloodless body lying there with its throat torn out. "He caused this. On purpose." She walked back into her office and knelt down next to Spike. "It wasn't Spike's fault. He thought he was doing something good."

The medical team bustled in and strapped Spike to a gurney. He awakened, yellow-eyed and struggling, as they fastened the last restraint. Fred put her hand on his arm. "Spike," she said gently. He growled, but quieted. "We'll get you some blood real soon," she assured him. He growled again, softer, and turned his head into her hand when she touched his hair.

###

"Bloody hell, pet." Spike didn't want to face her. "'Fraid I gave you a bit of a fright there." He sat up in a hospital bed in the infirmary, a cup of blood at his side, back to normal.

"Spike." Fred grasped his chin and made him meet her eyes. "It. Wasn't. Your. Fault. Okay? I know what happens to a vampire when they're drained. It was Knox. He's been planning this for weeks. Jealous little creep."

He lifted an eyebrow. "Jealous?"

"I found an ugly little rambling journal he was writing. He noticed...things." Now it was Fred who didn't want to meet Spike's eyes. "The way you look at me. The way I look at you. He thought--" She stopped awkwardly.

Head tilt. "He thought we had feelin's for each other?"

Her voice was a whisper. "Yeah."

"And do we?"

She kissed him, surprising them both. It surprised them both even more when he put his hands on either side of her face and kissed her back, very thoroughly. When they stopped, after a series of small kisses, she smiled at him tremulously . "Yeah. I guess we do."

He grinned back. "Well, then. That's a bit of all right."

###

Angel had left a message on Fred's voicemail that he wanted to see them both when Spike was better. His sour expression didn't change much when they entered his office, closer together than was strictly necessary. Spike slouched in the red chair, while Fred perched on the arm. After they told him what had happened, he said, "What about Rachel?"

Fred grinned. "Wesley found a reversal ritual. She's a little banged up, but she'll be okay."

"So, everyone's all right but Knox?"

She bared her teeth in a gesture that wasn't a smile and rested her hand on Spike's shoulder. He covered her hand with his. "I reckon he got what he deserved, mate," Spike said. "And Madam Curie here saved my bacon, right enough." He pulled her into his lap and kissed the top of her head, while she blushed.

"Okay, great." Angel made a notation on the yellow legal pad in front of him. When he looked up again, Spike and Fred had locked lips. "Jeez, guys, get a room."

They broke off. "Got one." Spike curled his tongue behind his teeth and gave Angel an infuriating smirk.

Angel closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. "Not this one."

"Fine, fine." Spike exchanged glances with Fred. "Can we at least have the chair?"

Finis


Author's Note: In case anyone's wondering about the scroll, "menuo" is Latin for "blood," and "Erithizon" is the genus for the North American porcupine.

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