Author’s Note: I would like to thank my new beta Jill for the wonderful beta jobJ
Willow and Xander were down in the living room, playing another tired game of Sorry when Angel managed to find them. After thinking on the problem of Pike for a few hours after Spike had left him, Angel had decided that they weren’t enough to keep an eye on Buffy’s old friend. They needed help, and who better then the friends from Sunnydale. He cleared his throat, just as Willow knocked one of Xander’s men off the board, yet again.
“Sorry!” She exclaimed, triumph clear in her green eyes, unaware of their silent observer in the doorway.
“Ok. That is it. You’re cheating,” Xander sighed, crossing his arms in mock aggravation. He wasn’t really angry. He could never really be angry at his Willow, but he did not want to be a push over either. “You have to be cheating. It’s unnatural to win five times in a row!”
“Xander, come on. You know that’s not true,” Willow held back her laughter, playing along.
“No. No. You’re a cheat. My best friend is a cheater. What would Buffy say when she finds out,” Xander crossed his arms and pretended to look away.
Willow opened her mouth to answer, but was interrupted by Angel clearing his throat. Her eyes widened in a mixture of shock and embarrassment as he came down to join them. “Angel. Hi. We didn’t see you there.”
“Dead boy Sr. is here?” Xander looked up to find the vampire bow sliding up behind Willow.
“Xander,” Willow hissed, throwing her friend a stern look before turning back to Buffy’s ex. “Angel…what can we do for you? Are you looking for Buffy? Because she’s not here.”
Angel smiled, reminded of the shy teenager he had met all those years ago. It was nice to see her again after all this time. “I need to talk to you. About Pike.”
Willow frowned. Why would Angel want to discuss Pike? Especially with her. She did not even like the guy, especially after the comment he made about Xander’s eye. In fact, she wished that Buffy had left him home. He was creepy, whiney, and his aura wasn’t right. It was all dark and fractured. She just didn’t trust him.
“Why you want to talk about him for?” Xander asked, a frown marring his handsome features. He didn’t like Pike, but he was willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. He just hoped that Buffy wasn’t making a mistake in including him on this little quest of theirs.
“I don’t like him. He’s not…right somehow,” Angel sighed, taking a seat on the couch next to Xander. “I know Buffy trusts him…but I don’t. Neither does Spike. We’ve discussed it, and we decided that we should all keep an eye on him. What do you guys think?”
Xander scratched his head. He didn’t like Angel. Never did, and probably never will. But at least he was trustworthy. Buffy knew that he had her back. Pike…they didn’t know him all that well and something told him that Buffy’s back would be a whole lot safer if he wasn’t in the picture. “I don’t like him either. The guy gives me the heebie jeebies. But Buffy trusts him. Who am I to question her judgment?”
“Xander’s right,” Willow nodded. “If Buffy trusts Pike…that should be good enough for us.”
Angel sighed. He had hoped to get the scoobies on his side with this. He needed all the pair of eyes he could get. “What if I told you that Buffy had a slayer dream, depicting Pike as a bad guy. Then what?”
“A slayer dream?” Willow frowned. If Buffy had a slayer dream about Pike…why that was a horse of a different color. “Did she have a slayer dream?”
“Well, Spike and I think that’s what it was, even though Buffy has her doubts. Spike came to me and we both agree that this Pike needs watching.”
“So why did you come to us?” Xander asked.
“Because you two are Buffy’s best friends and I knew you could watch this Pike guy when Spike and I aren’t around. Make sure that he doesn’t try to hurt Buffy or anything.”
Willow frowned. She did not know what to think. She did not like Pike; she certainly didn’t trust him, really. However, he loved Buffy. He wouldn’t hurt her…but then again…Spike loved Buffy too but the First was able to use him for its own purposes for a while, and he was a Vampire. Pike would not stand a chance of resisting the First. “Do you really think he’d try to hurt Buffy?”
“Not only Buffy, but all of us. Especially if he gets it in his head that we’re standing in his way.”
“Have to say, I agree with Dead boy Sr. Here. I mean, you saw how he looked at me when we first met. The guy is obviously threatened. And now that the fang boys are here…I wouldn’t put it past him to try something.”
“So are you with me?” Angel asked, looking at the witch and former carpenter curiously.
“…I guess so,” Willow shrugged, pushing back the guilt she felt about spying on a friend of Buffy’s. “So…what do you want us to do and when?”
Angel nodded in approval as relief washed through him. They had help. Buffy could always say that he and Spike were doing this out of jealousy, but with Willow and Xander, backing them up, she would have to admit that Pike was no good.
“Just watch him and if you see anything suspicious, don’t confront him. Just come get me and Spike and we’ll tell Buffy.”
Willow and Xander just looked at one another and back at Angel, nodding in silent agreement. They weren’t really comfortable with this plan, but it was better than nothing. With all of them on the watch, there was no way that Pike could take them off guard. Operation reveal Pike was now underway.
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