Ohio Is For Lovers

Chapter Two

"Back in school they never taught us what we needed to know
like how to deal with despair, or someone breaking your heart…

—Brand New, 'Seventy Times Seven'

"Sorry I—Hallie was projectile vomiting," Cody managed to state his excuse for his absence from the bus stop, a slab of old concrete riddled with crevices and, at this time of year, encased in a thick layer of ice. The five other teens huddled on the street corner, under layers of coats that made them resemble multicolored marshmallows with heads. "Scary stuff."

"Poor Hallie," Candace offered sympathetically, twirling her currently deep brunette—almost black—hair, riddled with blue glitter. "She's only, like, three, right?"

"One point for Miss Congeniality," said Cody, his voice laced in sarcasm as he clapped, stirring the steam emitting from their mouths as they breathed. Candace shot a cold glare to rival even the midwinter weather they were facing. She even parted her lips to counter with a comeback, but she was interrupted by the startling, erratic appearance of Gisele's voice.

"Check it out, fresh meat."

Of course, the teenage girl wasn't referring to a slab of veal or something of the like lying in the street, but a gangly female, clad in a floral, frilly dress, ridiculously insensible high-heels, and a thin, leaf green blazer. She seemed incredibly frustrated, and her lower jaw vibrated from the cold and her lack of a reasonable outfit for the weather. Even her recently shaved legs couldn't hide tiny hairs missed here and there, jutting out conspicuously like a tree in a barren field during a thunderstorm. But, despite her obvious ditziness (who wears a dress in the middle of wintry weather?), she emanated beauty; she had brunette curls falling a few inches past her shoulders, flashing brown eyes, and a face that didn't need makeup, but was adorned with it, anyway.

"Who is that?" Cody asked, showing noticeable interest in the girl, his eyes mostly making their way to her chest.

"No clue," Vivie answered, detecting the sudden arrival of blue flecks in Cody's eyes, and slapped him out of focus.

"What?" said Cody innocently.

"No x-raying the new kid," the blonde commanded sternly.

"You're no fun."

"That's the beauty of being a Summers."

There was a long pause, and Mya yanked a pair of mittens from her pockets and asked tentatively, "So, Candy… an-any news on the dad front?"

Candace gave a slightly annoyed glance at Mya, but immediately regretted it. "He's not coming home for a while, and Mom's pissed off royalty."

"Sounds like the aunty Cordy I know well," Tobias smiled fondly as the mystery girl disappeared behind a parked car. "Big on the whole melodrama movement."

"You saying my mom's melodramatic, tweed man?" Candace hissed defensively.

"Whoa, we have a true demonstration of genetics," Cody observed, Candace smacking him on the arm with her three-inch-nails, leaving three jagged gashes in the jacket. The nails suddenly returned to their smaller perfection. "God, woman…"

"Note to self: Never underestimate the power of a Finn supermanicure," Vivie mused with a sly smile.

"Disciples, I need followers who shall assist in my objective," the teenager muttered to herself, eyeing the group of six over her shoulder. "Oh, if only Father could see me now! Minor goddess, no more!" she cackled. "But—still, the task at hand. Appointing worthy pupils to my cause…"

Flora, goddess presiding over flowers and fertility, shivered as she sauntered to the school, quite a few miles away. If she was not restricted to this mortal body, she could've easily had roses spring forth from beneath her feet and have a wave of spring wash over this frozen city. But, not fully adjusted to this plane of existence, she still had yet to comprehend the concept of winter. In her little world, it was like a Disney movie; flora and fauna and all that jazz with she as one of its belittled monarchs. Incompetent fools, they were, for shunning her. For insisting that they had no rule over the earth… look at what she had accomplished here! Not fifteen years ago, she'd made the group of Earth's defenders perform for her, in honor of her. Hah! The other gods and goddesses were idiots; she was still honored here, whether the others liked it or not. They were simply jealous, that was it.

As the crowd of humans she'd deemed unworthy slowly grew smaller in the distance, three girls approached from her side, whispering and making awkward glances at her. "Insolent mutants, half-lives…" she murmured under her breath. "Disgusting. Perfect." She paused, and put on a million-watt grin. "Greetings, females, may I converse with your 'clique'?"

The one in the middle, their ringleader, obviously, returned, "Whoa, are you, like, the new foreign exchange student? You talk weird."

"Who is this 'foreign exchange student' of which you speak so distastefully?"

"Okay, girls, new F.E.S.," the gawking leader said, not really paying attention to what Flora was saying. "Hot or not?"

"Hot. She's, like, what's the word? Literate. Doc Mattison will love her, and therefore, she'll love us, and we'll get A's in her English class. If not, we can always persuade those nerdy TA's."

"Totally agree, Jamie. Hot."

"So," their head began. "I'm Regina, this is Jamie, and this is Georgette. And you are?"

"Flora," you should quake and bow before my royal name, and be gladdened you have heard its lovely rings running through your brainless bodies, you Neanderthals, she added silently.

"Ooh, so hot." Georgette squawked.

"So, how's England or whatever?" Regina began as they all walked to the school. "You have to fill me in on the London fashions. I don't want to be out of date, y'know?"

May 2000

"What the hell are we supposed to do now?" Faith asked of the entire room of slightly shameful looking members of the Scoobies and Fang Gang. "How do we do this? I mean, it's not like we're equipped to handle something like this."

"My mom is going to kill me," said Willow hollowly, sitting on the top of Cordelia's desk, wrapping her arms protectively around her legs. "And—how am I supposed to explain this? 'Oh, yeah, I just j-jumped this one guy I kinda don't really know just 'cause I felt like it'?"

"The feeling's mutual, Will," Buffy assured her. "I mean, this isn't physically possible. Angel and Spike are vampires. Vamps are dead and—well, no babies for vampies. It was a biological thing to make sure that they didn't eat their kiddos. And—"

"Yeah, we get it, B, spare a speech," Faith recommended.

"I wasn't going to do a speech!" Buffy said defensively.

"Yes, you were," said Cordelia. "We all have the little red light that goes off once pep talks commence. Don't fight the little red light."

"Stupid red light." Buffy pouted, a bit deflated by her lack of a mentally prepared speech about how it was all going to be alright and that life would go on. But… it wouldn't be the same. They all knew it. Buffy had lost Riley, Willow and Tara had lost each other right when they'd only started… Xander and Anya were still at a go, but how long was that going to last with a baby? They were still kids themselves. Scared little kids who were so confused about what had just happened. The randomness of the whole sex fest. One minute, they were all just… talking, really. Then, BOOM! Cordelia and Riley. Tara and Oz. Willow and Wesley. Faith and Spike. Buffy and Angel. Xander and Anya. All on top of each other, all listening to their bodies' intimate cravings without a second thought. And now, the girls were all pregnant. All six of them. And, quite obviously, it was going to be hard.

"I say we do some research, see what happened," Wesley suggested.

"I'm all for research mode." Willow said with an enthusiasm gained back.

"Good," Buffy smiled. "We might need to know what the hell is going on before we do anything. Until then… I don't know…"

"We tell our parents?" Xander interjected. "Oh, that's gonna go over really well."

"How do think I feel, rat boy?" Cordelia jeered. "I barely met Riley."

"Well, 'least you got a good shag outta him." Spike inserted inappropriately, and grinned.

"Shut up, dead boy the sequel!" Cordelia commanded.

"I know, I know… but—" Buffy was cut off by Angel.

"I know what's happening," he said slowly, quieting the whole room. "Beltane."