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Buffy’s eyes were closed and the hum of the bus engine was lulling her to sweet happy dreamland while she snuggled into her sexy boyfriend’s leather-clad shoulder.

She resolutely did not hear the Wiccan girl a few rows back softly sobbing and trading whispers with Willow about her parents who had turned her in for doing magic just this morning.

She did not hear the vengeance demon in the front of the bus hammering the driver with leading questions that he was wise enough to not dignify with any words or wishes.

And she really, really did not hear the fledgling vampires quietly discussing THE slayer, sleeping and weak a few rows back… ready to be drained.

Spike, however, couldn’t pretend to not hear that last bit and roared to life, instantly towering over the idiot vampires who had hypothetically threatened his slayer. Buffy grumbled at the loss of her pillow.

“Sorry, mates, what’s this ‘bout drainin’ a slayer?”

No one was bold enough to respond, the young vamps turning to each other wide-eyed and fangy.

Spike squinted at them all and reminded them who he was with a quick change of his face. He pierced them with his yellow stare and leaned in close to whisper slowly, “I hear it again and you’ll be begging her for the stake. Do we all understand each other?”

“A-Are you Spike?” one of them ventured, his voice wavering slightly and lowering to a hush. “The one who… took his soul back?”

Spike growled with exasperation, “Yeah?”

One of the other vampires backed up the first, “No one knows how she did it. How the slayer turned you and made you… do that. Made you one of them. We’re all just a little freaked out. I mean, that kind of power… How do you fight that?”

“You. Don’t.” Spike straightened and shifted back into his human form. Reiterating one last time, “Don't.”

There was a smirk on Buffy’s face as Spike slumped back into the seat beside her. Being somewhere around midnight, the blackout curtains were up as the bus rolled down the highway toward the Safe Zone, the internment camp for all magical creatures. A place to keep them all neat and cozy while the government attempted to figure out what the hell to do with them all. They had been traveling for hours to who knows where and everyone was feeling icky about their current predicament. Some of the creatures on the bus had come along voluntarily, like Buffy. Or at least cooperatively, like Spike and Willow. But others were a bit more hostile and the looming presence of the recruited slayer guards wasn’t doing anything to ease the tension.

“Idiots,” Spike grumbled under his breath.

The headlights from the road swished by periodically, brightening his marble white face. His crystal blue eyes. Quick flashes of his immortal beauty. And Buffy couldn’t help but softly trace his sharp jawline with two fingers.

“Can’t exactly say I’ve been looking for my knight in armor, but you are real shiny when the occasion comes around.”

“Shiny?” he cocked one brow and finally turned to look at her in all her glory. How did she manage to glow even after hours on a bus full of reeking monsters?

“Armor? Shining? Knight in?” Buffy crinkled her face adorably until he nodded his understanding.

“Right. Sorry. Bit distracted,” Spike sighed. “Really didn’t want you here, love.”

“Gee thanks. Ruin my joke and my chipper mood.”

Spike cocked his head in that smooth way he had, “You know what I mean. You didn’t need to volunteer for this cracked up nonsense. How many tussles have we already broken up or prevented on this bus ride alone?”

“That’s exactly why you need me!” Buffy protested.

“You and I both know Willow could have this lot sitting all neat and pretty in their seats doing crossword puzzles with a quick flick of her wand if she wanted. Controlling ‘em isn’t the problem. You should be back home scooby-ing with the others to end this racket.”

Buffy’s green eyes flashed dangerously and it wasn’t lost on him as he braced for the blow, “Spike. I am here. And I am not leaving. I need to see what these camps are from the inside. I need to see how turned these traitor-y slayers are. And I do NOT want to hear any more of your oh so gallant objections.”

“Let me see from the inside. Red and I got no choice. Don’t you trust us enough—“

“I’m not leaving you, Spike!”

Her voice had hit that embarrassingly shrill panicky note that she reserved for only the most apocalyptic of occasions… though, no, she didn’t tend to panic in an apocalypse. This was much much worse. The idea of her best friend and her best guy trapped in some unknown prison without her. She couldn’t imagine anything more earth-shattering.

Buffy belatedly noticed the other passengers noticing their conversation and lowered her voice to a whisper.

“I won’t leave you. Not when things are finally so good between us.”

She looked at him with big, hurt eyes that needed this hard-earned love, that had always yearned for love’s safety and Spike crumbled. Knowing that feeling all too well.

“It’s not that I don’t ‘ppreciate the sentiment, love, you know I do,” he took a deep breath and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear for her. “God I do. But this is all a bit bigger than you ’n me isn’t it?”

They were silent for a moment, blue eyes lost in green lost in blue.

“Don’t ask me again, Spike. I mean it. I wouldn’t of you.”

Spike hesitated, then sighed and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, pulling her in tight to his chest, “Yeah, ya would. But like hell I’d listen either.”

Buffy smiled victoriously and returned to her cozy Spike shoulder nook. She slipped a hand beneath his black shirt and felt up and down the side of his chest appreciatively. Spike turned to kiss the top of her head, letting the smell and the feel of her blonde hair soothe the worry etched along his brow.

“Go to sleep, pet. I reckon tomorrow’s gonna be a big, big day.”