Word count: 1400
Rating: Mature — for language, themes, and science
Setting: Unspecified post-series future wherein Slayers and other supernatural things are known to at least some of the public, and Buffy and Spike are a couple.
Summary: For the good of her sister Slayers, Buffy participates in a study (in Canada). She's a giver.
Note: This is very last-minute and unbetaed, so don't be shy about pointing out any errors you find.
“Giles. You cannot be serious about this,” Buffy informed him.
Giles sighed and almost looked her in the eye. Apparently, something over her shoulder on his office wall was easier to face.
“It is not for my benefit that we've asked for this research, Buffy. There have been...incidents. We need to provide the best information possible to the Slayers. Surely you can see the wisdom of that.” He finally met her gaze.
“What's wrong with the old-fashioned way? I mean, I thought every generation was supposed to invent this stuff for themselves.”
“I need hardly remind you that there are pitfalls to the tried-and-not-so-true method. I had hoped the Council archives might yield something useful, incomplete though they are. What I've been able to find is incredibly archaic. Much of it is laughable when it's not horrifying. It's important that we be as current, accurate, and truthful as we can. We need the science.”
Buffy slumped back in her chair. “Why do I have to be the responsible adult?”
“A question I ask myself every day, my dear.”
“You don't have to come,” Buffy told Spike over the phone. “It's not like it's a slaying trip or anything.”
“You must be joking. A sex study? Of course I have to come. And so do you. Over and over again.” He growled a little and her ear tingled. “For science. Wouldn't miss it for anything.”
“I doubt it'll be that much fun. I'll be in the lab most of the time, hooked up to a bunch of machines.” She shuddered. “You'll probably be bored. I mean, it's in Canada, not Vegas or anything.”
“Sweetheart, Toronto isn't exactly a backwater. Imagine I can find some way to amuse myself,” he said, voice low. She could imagine it, too.
“Okay. I'll book two tickets.”
So much beige. It might not look like a hospital, but it was close enough to set her teeth on edge.
A woman in a lab coat greeted her in the lobby with a wide smile and an outstretched hand. Buffy shook the hand and fired off a brief smile of her own.
“I'm Dr. Asha Gupta, head of research for this study. Thank you for coming in, Ms. Summers. We're very honored that you've agreed to participate.”
“Sometimes you've just got to take one for the team. How is this going to work?” The doctor gestured down a bland hallway hung with photographs of flowers.
“We've got some baselines to set, so we'll start out with a questionnaire,” she explained while they walked.
“Yay. I hope it's multiple choice,” said Buffy. The doctor ushered her into a small conference room.
“After that, we'll have you do a selection study with objects. It's pretty low impact to start.” She handed Buffy a pen and a clipboard holding a thick stack of papers.
“This shouldn't take you long. I'll be back in a few minutes.”
There were the usual doctor's office questions: height, weight, age of first menstruation, number of pregnancies, etc. Then it got a little more involved: age of first sexual encounter, frequency of sexual contact, frequency of masturbation, gender of past and current partners. Then it got deep into Slayer territory: age at calling, sexual encounters with species other than human (vampire, werewolf, etc.), how often do sexual encounters result in injury, how severe, and to which participants. Her gynecologist had never asked her this stuff.
Buffy hoped that she wasn't the only one whose data was being collected. She didn't think her history was the most stellar example to younger Slayers. She really didn't want her experience to be considered the “baseline”.
Dr. Gupta came in just moments after Buffy finished.
“Any questions?” she asked.
“No questions about the questions, but I am wondering if there are other people participating in the study.”
“Oh, sure,” said Dr. Gupta. “It wouldn't be much of a study if we only had one subject. We're trying to get a good cross-section of the Slayer population. We aren't using any Slayers under the age of 18, of course, but otherwise we're getting a diverse sample. Different continents of origin, creeds, sexual orientations. The most experienced...” she nodded at Buffy “...and those called more recently.”
“Is Faith doing it?” Buffy asked, suddenly curious.
Dr. Gupta looked surprised, but not that surprised. “The subject pool is confidential. I'm sure you understand.”
Buffy understood just fine. Faith was not a stranger to Dr. Gupta. Which meant the “baseline” contained both of the senior Slayers. Hoo boy.
Dr. Gupta took the clipboard and leafed through it with an air of practice. “Looks good. No blank pages, at any rate. I see you identify as 'mostly heterosexual'. Let's head to the selection room.”
They went further down the hall to another room, its walls decorated with photos of palm trees. There was a table in the middle of the room, upon which were baskets containing blue plastic columns of different sizes.
“I'd like for you to go through the models in these baskets and choose the one that most closely represents the dimensions of the penis you would prefer in a long term partner.”
Buffy felt a little scandalized. “I don't pick my partners for that, doctor.”
“Of course not.” Dr. Gupta laughed, but it was more like a giggle. “Like I said, we're just trying to establish a baseline for the subject group. This is a study we've done widely, so there is a lot of data to compare against. Just go through them and judge the length and diameter that seems ideal to you. I'll give you a few minutes alone to choose.”
Buffy turned to the table and sighed. Was she going for visual impact here, or something more hands on? Blue was definitely not her preferred color for a long term partner, she decided. The shapes were too straight up-and-downy. No curves, no base. These things were definitely not dildos, but their sterile, scientific stand in. The baskets were roughly sorted by length. She went to the end basket and hefted out the biggest, thickest one. She dubbed it “Monstro” and tossed it back in the basket. Proof positive that there could be too much of a good thing. Not going for visual impact then.
She pulled out a few likely candidates and closed her eyes before reaching out to fondle them, one by one. The temperature was good, nice and cool, though there wasn't enough “give” in the samples. She weighed one in each hand, before switching to another pair. She grasped one and ran her fist up and down its length. It didn't feel quite right. She dug through the baskets, feeling her way, until she found him.
She pulled it out and took a closer look. Spike, or a blue plastic approximation of part of him, anyway. It would do.
She toss the wannabes back in the baskets, and waited for Dr. Gupta to come back and make a note of her choice. She wondered which model Faith had chosen, her eyes wandering back over to Monstro.
They took a break for coffee. Dr. Gupta explained that the rest of the studies would include measuring equipment. Sensors on her skin to measure perspiration. Light-emitting diodes to measure blood flow and oxygen levels. Sensors inserted into vagina and anus to measure the strength of contractions during orgasm, if she experienced any. Some of the studies would take place in an imaging device to capture her brain waves.
“We usually go through a few different scenarios and try to measure as much as we can in as many scenarios as possible. Vibratory stimulation alone, stimulation while fantasizing, then with porn — very vanilla, I'm afraid, but we don't want too much variation in testing. Then, if you are interested, we can do some partner studies.”
“Yes. I saw that you marked that you have a regular partner. Male, right? Did he accompany you? Do you think he'd be willing to participate?”
“I think you'd have trouble keeping him away.”
“Wonderful. Partner studies are the most difficult and complex, obviously. However, I think they are the most interesting and rewarding.”
“Mmm. Me too.”
Right this way to Chapter 2
A/N 1: Inspired by today's NPR broadcast of a talk with neuroscientist and sexual psychophysiologist Nicole Prause and various discussions around fandom about whether Slayers have the same sexual responses as other women. Let's find out, shall we?
A/N 2: In case you were curious, heterosexual women reported an ideal length of 6.3 inches and an ideal circumference of 4.8 inches for their hypothetical long-term partner.