Darkness surrounded Buffy as she walked toward the vineyard. She tried to ignore the trepidation rising up from the pit of her stomach as she wondered what she was doing back in this place. Caleb was good and dead. She had made sure of that. No one could have survived being sliced from the balls up, and even if he had…the collapse of Sunnydale would have finished him off. So what was the reason for this visit to the vineyard? She groaned as she took in the scenery and noticed how vivid everything seemed…yet so real. This meant only one thing. Slayer dream.
“Damn it,” Buffy cursed, already dreading what was to come next. “I hate slayer dreams.” Slowly, she continued down the path leading to the small building ahead, all of her senses were on alert. Whatever was going to happen, she was going to be ready.
Buffy stopped in her tracks as she heard the sound of a twig breaking under the pressure of a heavy foot. Buffy frowned as she turned to search the darkness for whoever was following her. It was not a vampire, she was certain of that; but she wasn’t alone either. Something, or someone, was following her.
“Whoever you are, you might as well come out! I know you’re there!”
Silence was her only answer. Buffy’s frown deepened as she continued down the path, just to stop again as another twig broke in half.
Ok. That was it. Someone was following her. She wanted to know who it was right that minute, or else she would be one very pissed off slayer. “Alright, whoever you are! Come out right now! Trust me; you don’t want me to find you myself!”
This time there was a shuffling of leaves and out stepped Pike. He was dressed just as Caleb had been the night she had killed him.
“Pike? What the hell…”
“You shouldn’t have come back. Now I’m going to have to kill you,” Pike spoke in the voice that had once belonged to Caleb. “Die bitch!”
Before Buffy had time to move or anything else, Pike’s hand wrapped around her throat, cutting off her air supply. She grasped his hand and tried to pry him off, but it was of no use. He was just too strong. She opened her mouth, trying to get more air in that way, but that was of no use since Pike was cutting off her air passage.
Panic swept through Buffy as she felt herself begin to lose consciousness. Pike, her ex-lover, her friend…he was going to be the death of her. Not a vampire, or a hellgod, but a friend. Maybe this was why a slayer always worked alone.
“Buffy!” Spike’s voice cut through her fading consciousness, bringing Buffy away from the peril in her dream, back into the real world. Buffy gasped as Pike’s tightening hold on her throat disappeared and she found herself pressed to Spike’s chest as he urged her to wake up. That whatever was disturbing her in her sleep was just a nightmare.
“Spike?” Buffy gulped down mouthfuls of air, still feeling Pike’s hold on her. She tried to stop the trembling in her muscles, but to no avail. She was just too shook up by the dream.
“Shhh Pet. It’s all right now. You’re awake and safe. I won’t let any nasty get to you,” Spike rubbed her back, attempting to calm her. She had been mumbling and tossing in her sleep all night. It was when she began to trash about and her face became as pale as the bed sheet they laid on that he had gotten worried.
“It was a slayer dream. God, I haven’t had one of those in like forever,” Buffy pulled away, rubbing the sleep from her eyes as she became more alert. What did it all mean? Pike speaking in Caleb’s voice, his attempt to kill her…it did not make any sense.
“Want to tell me about it?” Spike asked.
Buffy sighed, feeling incredibly tired. She really didn’t want to rehash the dream. She just wanted to let it fade away. To talk about the dream would give it meaning; but the look on Spike’s face told her that he wasn’t about to let it drop. She had no choice but to tell.
“It was about Pike…”
“Have I told you that I don’t like that lad? There’s just something about the guy…”
“Spike, do you want to hear this or not?” Buffy became irritated. She did not want to talk about this in the first place and interruptions were just prolonging it.
“Sorry pet. Go ahead.”
“Ok. Pike…he was dressed like Caleb and spoke in Caleb’s voice. Then he tried to kill me.”
“And this was a slayer dream? Bloody hell!”
“Or maybe not. I mean Pike and I haven’t really been getting along lately, and memories of what happened last year…it was probably just a dream of the normal variety. I mean, I have known Pike since I was first called to be a slayer. He was there for me when I first felt like throwing in the towel. He would never hurt me.”
“Or so you think. Luv, there is something going on with Whelp Jr. No, I have not seen any signs, but I feel it deep in my gut. There’s something not quite right with the kid.”
Buffy laughed, she couldn’t help it. “Pike? This years big bad? Yeah right. Not even remotely possible. Pike would never do anything to hurt me.”
“You don’t know him as well as you used to, pet. How can you be so sure? I mean, if looks could kill…I’d be a pile of dust right now”
“So ok. Maybe he is a little jealous of you and maybe Angel too. But he’s no killer Spike. I’d trust him with my life,” Buffy got up, wincing from the awkward position she was sitting. “I’d trust him with Dawn’s life. He’s my friend and harmless. End of discussion. Now, I am going downstairs for a snack. I need some warm milk after that dream. Do you want to join me?”
“I think I’ll go find Peaches. We have some business to discuss,” Spike avoided looking straight at her. He had a plan, but he didn’t want Buffy to catch on. He loved her, but she was putting her trust in the wrong person. He had to prove that to her, but he was going to need some help…help from someone who was just as suspicious as he was when it came to any new men in his slayer’s life.
“Oh. Ok. Will you be back?” Buffy tried to keep the hurt out of her voice. She had hoped that Spike would spend the entire night with her.
“Of course I will, luv. This is just something I have to do. Go get yourself a snack. I’ll probably be back before you will.” He reassured her with a kiss and a tight hug. Spike closed his eyes as he felt his love for her swell. It seemed as if he loved her now more then ever before. He would give his life for her again if it meant she was safe.
“Ok. Fine. I’ll see you back up here then,” Buffy sighed, feeling cold and empty when he released her from the embrace. “I love you.”
“I know,” Spike smiled, slipping out into the hall and went in search of Angel, determined to get Pike away from Buffy….one way or another.
Spike found Angel outside by himself, brooding as usual. He wished that Peaches would get over it. Yeah, Angelus was a bad ass, the scourge of Europe and loved it. But that was the past. It was time to leave all that guilt alone…especially now when Buffy need him to be on his feet.
“Peaches,” Spike greeted, stepping up to stand by Angel’s side. “Brooding again?”
“What do you want Spike?” Angel asked, a bit surprised that Spike wasn’t with Buffy right now, putting it to her as he had so elegantly put it.
“We need to talk. About Buffy.”
“If it’s my blessing you want, forget it and no, I will not stay away from…”
“Will you bloody listen?! This is not about your blessing and do I look eager to be dust again? She would stake my ass if I told you to stay way from her. Even though you’re a sodden wanker. This is about her choice in friends.”
“Pike,” Angel growled, vamping out at the very thought of Buffy’s ex. He could not bring himself to even tolerate the guy. Not to mention the bad vibes he was receiving.
“Uh, yeah. I take it that you don’t trust him either,” Spike lit a cigarette, forgetting about the no smoking rule that Buffy had placed over the house.
“Nope. What about it?”
“Buffy does trust him. Despite the starring role he played in one of those slayer dreams of hers.”
Angel frowned. Buffy was having slayer dreams again? About Pike? “What was the dream about?”
“Pike. He was dressed as that preacher man that she had fought last year. Had his voice too. He tried to kill her.”
“And she still trusts him?”
“She claims that he’d never hurt her…but I think that both you and I know better.”
“We need to get her to see Pike for what he really is. We need proof that he’s up to something evil,” Angel stroked his chin, raking his brain for a solution.
“The only way we can do that is to watch him like a couple of soddin hawks. Keep an eye on the bugger. He’ll slip up sooner or later.”
“I agree…but we can’t let Buffy know. She trusts him right now and would probably stake both of us if she thought that we were harassing him.”
Spike nodded his agreement, feeling a bit better to have Angel on his side. It made things a hell of a lot easier. Surely, with both of them on the look out, Pike will not be able to breath without him knowing.
Benny stood about Pike, who was setting at the edge of his bed with his head in his hands, not even trying to ignore the evil advice his friend was spewing. In fact, Benny was beginning to make a lot of sense. If he got rid of not only Angel and Spike, but the rest of the scoobies as well…Buffy would be all his. What an ingenious plan. However, how was he going to do it and make everything seem like an accident? He looked up at Benny, who was just beginning to fade away.
“So are you going to do it man?”
“Yes,” was Pike’s sullen answer, tired of fighting the urge to obey what the apparition was telling him. He pushed away the guilt that threatened to overtake him. Sure, he felt bad. He had honestly liked both Willow and Faith, but they were in the way of his path to Buffy and must be removed. He had not other choice.
“Groovy,” Benny smiled, disappearing all together, leaving Pike alone to his troubled thoughts.
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