Goes off-canon during The Harsh Light of Day. Sunnydale is devastated by the release of a prototype virus that was being developed by a branch of The Initiative. Now, half the population is 'infected', and the other half is living on borrowed time. A bite will turn you into one of them, and Buffy's got her mom and sister to think about. With the gem, Spike's immune and so it makes perfect sense to Buffy that he should help them get out of town. But this thing's already bigger than Sunnydale, and if Spike's their best chance of survival then it looks like he's along for the ride.
Introducing: A vampire who's been needed before, but never exactly wanted. And a girl struggling to understand the true nature of good and evil, whilst standing shoulder to shoulder with the Slayer of Slayers. (Inspired by Stephen King's The Stand, AMC's The Walking Dead and every zombie flick I've ever set eyes on).
Winner at the SunnyD Awards (Round 31) for Best Unfinished, Best Drama and Best Plot. Endless heartfelt thanks to everyone who voted!