Slayer Sex Ed.
Buffy had been avoiding Spike as best she could. It had been a week since she and a troop of other slayers had rescued him and the rest of Angel's associates in the face of the L.A. apocalypse.
The others – Gun, Illyria, and Angel himself – had stayed in the US, afterwards, but for some reason she couldn't fathom, Giles had asked Spike to return with the Scoobys to Slayer HQ.
He'd said yes, obviously, and part of Buffy was happy about that – a big part – but she couldn't understand why or how he was even alive again. The whole thing was awkward as hell, and she was fighting it the best way she could: with good old-fashioned denial.
"Are you listening?"
"Huh? Oh," Giles' question brought her out of her reverie. "Yeah, totally listening. Um… What were we talking about?"
"I was saying that a lot of the girls had questions, and I think you're the one best er… equipped to answer them. Would you be willing to take a class?"
She nodded, even as her eyes remained on Spike, who was hovering at the other end of the breakfast hall, pretending not to notice her.
"For heaven's sake, why don't you just speak to him?" asked Giles, exasperated.
"Who?" said Buffy, as innocently as she could, her eyes flicking back to her watcher.
When he rolled his eyes instead of answering her, she actually felt a swell of pride. He'd adopted that from her, and it was so much cooler than cleaning his glasses.
Dropping the pretense, she asked, "Why did you invite him here, anyway?"
"I should think that was obvious," Giles told her, before taking the new expression on her face to mean that it was not. He shook his head. "So, this class?"
"I'll do it," said Buffy.
"Splendid. Does two o'clock suit?"
"Sure," she agreed. It wasn't really until Giles left her standing there that it dawned on her that she had completely glossed over what she was supposed to be teaching. But, hey, whatever it was must be something she already knew about, right? That's why she had been asked.
I can swing it, she told herself, ducking out of the room as soon as Spike started heading her way.
At ten past two that afternoon, Buffy walked into a classroom filled to overcrowding with mini-slayers-in-training.
Forgot what it was like to be popular.
"So, what's the sitch?" she asked the group at large, as she hopped onto the desk at the front of the room.
"Isn't that what you should be telling us?" one of the girls replied back. Buffy couldn't remember her name, and she kinda wished she'd seconded Willow's idea to make them all wear nametags when she'd suggested it at the last faculty meeting.
She racked her brains, hoping to find a clue as to whatever it was she was supposed to be speaking on. Questions, Giles had told her. The girls had questions.
"I thought we'd start with a Q&A," she began, hoping it was the right approach.
The relief she felt when a dozen hands went up quickly faded, however, as soon as she selected one.
Buffy's jaw had dropped open. "What did you say?" she asked the girl – another one she didn't recognize.
The tiny brunette blushed then replied, "It's just that I've never understood it, really. How it all works."
"You wanna know about birth control?" Buffy clarified, and she nodded.
"What about you?" said Buffy, quickly turning to someone else with their hand up.
"I was hoping you had advice on PMS," said Angela.
Angela. Buffy was so proud of herself for remembering her name that she took an extra moment to process the response. And, when she did, she was not happy.
Sheepishly, she turned to take a quick glance at the blackboard and was horrified to see someone had written on it, "Sex Ed. with Ms. Summers."
"You all have questions," she said, redundantly, as the penny dropped.
The girls shared confused looks.
"Ms. Summers, are you alright?" asked Angela.
Taking a deep breath, she nodded her head and began again with a faux-chirpy, "Call me Buffy."
"Are you okay, Buffy?" Angela pressed.
"I'm fine," Buffy assured her, while an errant part of her brain thought about how much she didn't like the name Angela. "I was just trying to, er, assess what kind of questions you had. Get a good feel for what you already know, y'know?"
Among the sea of blank faces, one person nodded.
"So, birth control and PMS. Are there any other topics you guys wanna cover?" Buffy ploughed on.
"What's the point?" asked a girl at the back.
"The point of what?" replied Buffy, dumbly.
"Of finding out about sex ed. It's not like any of us are ever gonna have any."
There was a small chorus of assent to this comment, which left Buffy feeling even more out of her depth.
"You think you're gonna be celibate just because you're slayers now?" she asked.
"Aren't we?" the girl shot back. Karen, was it?
"There's no reason why you can't have normal relationships," Buffy told them all, despite not really knowing how true it was. Then something else clicked in her brain. "If you think there's no point, why are you all here?"
Silence filled the room, then Angela spoke up again, "I think a lot of us are curious about your personal history, Ms. Summers… I mean, Buffy."
"My personal history," Buffy repeated. "Okay. A show of hands, who's here for that?"
Most of the room raised their arms high into the air, causing her to gulp.
Stupid Angela making things even more awkward.
"It's not really relevant," Buffy assured them.
"Isn't it?" asked Karen.
Buffy sighed. How long is this class again?
"My experience is that PMS is a lot easier to deal with after your slayer healing and metabolism have kicked in. And um, my experience with birth control. Well… you see, it's kinda complicated because, well… I've been with vampires, and you don't really need, um, things when you, er, do it with the undead. But that won't apply to you, so… use condoms?"
She could feel her cheeks going red hot even as the words slipped from her mouth, but the girls looked rapt at her response.
"Is it true that vamps can't get you pregnant?" someone shouted out.
"Yeah, that's true," answered Buffy, thinking that an old style Q&A probably was the best way forward after all. If only she'd known what kind of questions to expect in advance.
Someone else opened their mouth to put forward another question when she suddenly realized she had more to add on the previous one.
"It's true," Buffy said again, cutting the next question off preemptively. "Except apparently, this once, Angel – I mean, my Angel – no, I mean, my ex-vampire. Ex-boyfriend- gah! Is it hot in here?" she paused for another deep breath, trying to gather in all the words she'd just spilled around the room.
"My ex-boyfriend, Angel - who was a vampire," she began again. "He had a kid."
"How?" asked Angela, who did not look satisfied when Buffy shrugged at her in answer.
I'm gonna have to try harder here…
"There was a prophecy. It was some supernatural shi- um, stuff. Won't ever happen again. Probably. Who's next?"
"Do vamps have like super stamina in bed?" asked a girl sitting directly in front of Karen.
"Yes," said Buffy, "Next?"
"Is their semen cold?"
At that one, Buffy promptly fell off the desk and everyone jumped up in shock.
"I'm okay, I'm fine!" she assured them again, picking herself up. She decided to do the rest of the class quickly, and to finish it standing up.
"Look, you don't need to know all this stuff. Not the vampire bits, I mean. None of you will ever be in a position were it'll come up."
Vampire bits? Positions? Things coming up? Gee, thanks, brain!
Buffy felt flushed again. Maybe I should sit down after all.
"You dated vampires," Karen pointed out.
"That was a one-off."
"But you dated two of them," Angela piped up.
Buffy shook her head in an effort to clear it, a little. "What I meant was, those were special circumstances that-"
"Aren't gonna happen to us, yeah, you said that already. But how do you know? You rewrote history, what's to stop other things that had been set in stone from changing, too? Ms. Rosenberg was telling us yesterday not to rule out any possibility. That anything could happen in a world deeply affected by the supernatural."
Jaw open at her best friend's accidental betrayal, Buffy idly wondered if she was allowed to expel students from the academy.
It took her a long minute to figure out how to answer properly.
"It's not impossible that there are other good vampires in the world," she said at last, "But it's highly unlikely. You'd have to be very sure that they were trustworthy before even considering dating one of them. And I'm talking years of proving themselves. Honestly, it's not worth the effort when you could just go for a normal human guy."
At last, that seemed to satisfy most of the room. There were nods of understanding, and resignation, as most hands went down.
Karen, however, wouldn't let it go. "How would a vamp prove himself, hypothetically?" she asked.
"If he doesn't try to kill you in the first three minutes it's probably a good sign," Buffy joked.
Again, her levity fell flat.
"But seriously," she tried again. "He'd obviously have to not only be not fighting against you, he'd have to be on your side. He'd be honest with you, even when you didn't want to hear it. Wouldn't be drinking human blood. He'd probably die for you. Willingly, if given the choice."
"Damn," said Karen, "That's definitely too much effort."
Buffy smiled at the comment, despite herself. She was actually fighting tears as she thought about how much Spike had done to prove himself to her, over the years.
"Buffy?" came a quiet voice, from the center of the room. It was a softly spoken girl, who hadn't said anything else during the rest of the session.
"What happens if they do prove themselves? Can a vampire and a slayer ever have a future?"
"I… uh," Buffy stammered. It was one hell of a question. One she'd asked herself, tons of times, especially in the run up to the battle with the First Evil. If she was honest with herself, it was the question that had been bugging her ever since Spike had turned up back in her life again. It was the one causing her to run away from him, every time they were about to cross paths.
"I don't know," she said, finally. "When you've gone through that much with someone it… nothing is certain. Ever. But sometimes it's worth trying, to find out."
Just then, the bell rang in the corridor. Buffy moved over to the door and swung it open, planning to release the girls for break, but she was stopped in her tracks.
Spike had been on his way down the hall, and was now almost level with her.
There was a pause, as he slowed, and she gazed at him.
Then, when she didn't say anything, he just gave her a nod and walked off again.
Buffy watched him go, wondering how much longer he would take her cold shoulder before he left again. Fear gripped her stomach, at the thought of him going. And, before she knew it, she was in flight.
"Hey, wait!" she yelled after him, breaking into a run to catch up, and then barreling straight into him at full speed when he unexpectedly stopped.
They fell to the ground, a tangle of limbs.
"Why did you stop?" Buffy yelled at him.
"You called after me!" he answered, defensively.
"Yeah, but I expected you to ignore me."
"Look, if you want me to go-" he started to say, only to be cut off by Buffy slamming her lips to his.
Cheers and applause filled the corridor, causing both of them to look up.
The Slayer realized she was straddling Spike's waist, but she didn't dare move unless he ran away.
"Don't leave me!" she begged him. "Please."
"I thought you didn't want me here," replied Spike, quietly.
"I do! I want you!" she affirmed, before kissing him again.
Buffy was relieved when she felt his arms tighten around her. She was vaguely aware that people were whispering all around them, but she didn't care.
"I guess that was the practical demonstration," Karen snarked.
"Demon-stration, more like," another girl quipped, before defensively adding, "Well, I thought it was funny."
A week later, Giles approached Buffy in the breakfast hall again.
"It appears your class was quite popular," he said, once he'd got her attention long enough. She'd been smooching Spike beside the water cooler, and inadvertently drawing quite a crowd.
"Could I ask you to do another session?"