Title: Parking Cars
Author: Sandy S.
Rating: PG-13 for mild cursing
Disclaimer: All belongs to Joss.
Summary: Set between "Gone" and "Dead Things" in season 6. Buffy needs money, but the only other job she can find involves two people. So, she asks Spike.
Dedication: Especially for Aydin for your birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope you enjoy the fic, dearest! HUGS
And thank you so much to dear Beka for the inspiration from her dream and to Amy B. for betaing:o)

Parking Cars

People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in,
their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
--Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

When Solomon said there was a time and a place for everything he had not encountered the problem of parking his automobile.
--Bob Edwards

"I refuse. Nuh-uh, no way, no how. And that's a negative."

"C'mon, pet. We haven't got all day. We're already late." Spike crosses his arms, an even match with the Slayer's pouting expression. If she isn't careful, he'll take advantage of that expression, and they'll never get to the job.

"But I already have to wear too much orange at my other job, and I look terrible in orange." Buffy's voice becomes slightly muffled as she pulls her head back into her bedroom.

"So you'll glow a bit. I'll be right there with you, wearing the neon." No response. Spike hears some faint shuffling around. "Okay, love. Time's a wasting, and we're already late."

"Since when do vamps worry about schedules?" Buffy swings the door open wide as she speaks. She pokes a finger in his face with one hand and adjusts the large mandarin-colored vest with her other. "Don't say a word, mister." She stalks past Spike with a determined look on her face.

They start down the stairs together.

Spike rolls his eyes heavenward and throws up his hands. "Didn't say anything at all, and I'm getting fussed at. You know I'd only do this for one person. . . well, maybe two. And only because you desperately need money and are too afraid to let the rest of the little Scoobies know. They could chip in. . . after all, they are employed."

"Anya's using all Xander's money and her cut from the Magic Box for the wedding, Willow isn't working cause she's a recovering addict, and Dawn needs to focus on school. That leaves me to earn my own money. Just sucks eggs that I have to take anything that I can get."

"Which in good ole Sunnyhell isn't much." Spike knows. He's been looking, too. Truth be known, he'd do anything to help his favorite girls out of a pinch. Too bad nothing much was available at night that didn't require some form of legal something or other. . . like a picture ID.

Buffy grabs the caps from the end of the staircase. Slapping the black hat with a reflector pasted on the front against Spike's chest before donning her own, she grins, but the grin doesn't reach her eyes. "Ready to park some cars?"

Grabbing her hand over his hat, Spike smirks at her. "We could stay here and do. . . other things."

She jerks away and glares at him. "Move 'em out, buddy. We have a job to do, and it doesn't involve. . ." She trails off, not sure what to call the intimacy they share.

Pivoting, she stomps toward the front door.

"Do I have to wear the sodding hat?" Spike holds the offensive article of clothing up to inspect it with a look of disgust.

xxxxx

"How the hell are we going to park cars here?" Buffy's shoulders sag.

Together, Buffy and Spike stare in dismay at the tiny rectangular lot across from the old Sunnydale auditorium.

"Hey, at least we're earlier than we thought. Optimism is good for the soul. . . well, if you have one. We officially have forty-seven minutes to figure out how to jam. . ." Spike leans a little toward Buffy, not removing his gaze from the parking lot, "how many guests did you say they were expecting?"

"At least a hundred, hundred and twenty."

"Okay. So that's. . . so many cars. . . may drive together. . ." Spike narrows his eyes, crosses one arm across his chest, and proceeds to calculate something with his fingers. Then, his shoulders slump to match Buffy's. "Oh, bloody. . . . We're never gonna make it work."

"What happened to that healthy optimism, Spike?"

"Well, maybe they'll give us good tips."

xxxxx

"What the. . . BUFFY! Where the hell did you learn how to drive?"

With an innocent expression, Buffy pokes her head out the window of the Mercedes she's attempting to park. "What?"

"I told you to go backward, not forward!" Spike jams the car he's driving in gear and inches forward, trying not to hit the car in front of him.

She frowns at the dashboard. "Sorry. I forget which button and lever does what. All these cars are so different from one another! And all the rich people have all these tracking devices, directional thing-a-ma-bobbers, heated seats, gauges for who knows what. I just don't want to push the wrong thing. They really should standardize these thi. . ."

Buffy trails off as a fuming Spike slams the door to the Toyota he's driving and storms over to her. Bending over and through her rolled down window, Spike reaches over the steering wheel and pulls hard on a lever. Buffy resists the urge to roll the window up on his head and dust him. Of course, then whom would she have to distract her from her unhappiness at being ba. . .

Buffy brings her mouth to Spike's in a kiss that contains all of the anger and desire she feels for him. He stiffens at first, but quickly melts into the movement of her mouth over his. As the passion deepens, she dips her tongue into his mouth to taste him, and she pulls him further into the car with her. His shoulder blades graze the top of the window frame, and he cups the back of her head and pulls her closer.

When she at last needs a breath of air, he draws back from her, sliding his shoulders and head back into the night. "You didn't answer my question."

Her lips slightly swollen, Buffy asks, "What question?"

"Anyone tell you that you look like a little kid in a baseball cap?"

"Um, no."

"Well, you do." He offers her a mischievous grin.

"Hmph. That wasn't the question," she reminds him.

"The one about where you learned to drive." Spike takes a few backward steps and eyeballs Buffy's distance from the car behind her. He gestures at her to let her know she has room to roll.

"Oh, yeah." She shrugs, pressing on the gas pedal. "I failed Driver's Ed."

Spike waves frantically at her.

"Hey! It's not that bad. You never even took Driver's. . ."

"Buffy! Slayer!"

"What?"

Spike is doing a funny little dance.

Rubber connects with metal, jarring her body. Without hesitation, she slams on the brakes.

Crap.

Buffy jams the car into park and hops out to inspect the damage. Careful not to hit the car in front, Spike pushes the Mercedes off the BMW. He squats down and examines the two cars, head turning from side to side. Then, he runs his fingers over the bumpers of each. Remaining in place, he tilts his head up.

"Well, pet, they probably won't notice til tomorrow. There's no obvious dents. . . just a good scrape. And since they're both painted in dark colors. . ."

Relief shoots through Buffy. "That's a good thing, right? I can't afford to pay for a paint job."

"Don't think you'll have to, love. The two cars just exchanged a bit of skin is all. Nothing that won't scrape right off and be good as new."

"Really?"

"Said it, didn't I?"

"Good." With a giggle, she brings her hand up and taps the end of his baseball cap so that it falls off his head.

She giggles as he growls, "Slayer!" and scrambles around for it.

The sound of a throat being cleared catches their attention, and Buffy whirls to face the source of the noise as Spike grabs up his cap and jams it on his head.

Buffy and Spike exchange a questioning glance.

"Can someone park my car for me?" the man asks.

Vampire and Slayer heave a sigh of relief.

xxxxx

"Did anyone ever tell you that orange is a good color for vampires?"

"What in the bloody world are you talking about, pet?" Spike asks from where he's leaning on the hood of one of the multitude of cars they parked tonight. He takes a drag on his cigarette.

Buffy sidles up to Spike. She trails a finger over the poofy, carroty-red vest covering his chest. "It brings out your eyes, you know."

Spike rolls said eyes and blows smoke in her face. "I don't think so, pet."

She coughs and waves her hand in front of her face. "But why not?" she pouts.

"I told you. If I have to stand here and guard these unmoving heaps of metal, then, you have to, too. No traipsing off to 'get in a quick patrol.' You'll kill all the baddies before I get the chance, and then, how will I use up my energy so I can get to sleep in the morning?"

"But I brought my stake and everything!" Buffy slips a stake out from her jacket sleeve, holding up the piece of wood. "See. I'm prepared Slayer. Don't see your stake anywhere."

Spike drops the finished cigarette to the ground and smothers the tiny flame with the heel of his boot. He leers at Buffy from beneath raised eyebrows. "I'll show you a stake, pet."

She snorts. "Okay. Now that's lame." She joins Spike on the hood of the maroon Chevy. "How long has it been anyway?"

"Since we had sex or. . .?"

She bops him in the arm. "No. Since they went in there."

Spike picks up Buffy's arm and studies her watch. "Just a little under an hour and a half."

"That's all?" she asks, horrified.

"Yeah. That's it."

She wrinkles her nose. "How am I possibly going to stand here for two more hours while they're in there where it's all warm eating dinner and conducting some. . ." she circles her wrist, "sort of ceremony."

"You don't know what they're doing in there?"

"Nah. Not the details."

"Think they're doing something that needs interference?" Spike asks with growing eagerness.

"Um, no. They're human, remember? You couldn't do anything to them. Anyway, I think the guy I talked to said something about an award show for retirees. Slaying not really needed."

"Oh, yeah. Right." He settles back onto the car.

Buffy twirls her stake and stares absently into the trees.

Spike rolls another cigarette back and forth between his fingers.

Then, "Up for a shag in the back of one of the vehicles?"

"Um. Let's see. . ." Buffy pretends to think about his question. "No."

"Aw, c'mon, Slayer." Spike arcs his hand behind him. "You got every car you can think of to choose from." He leans in close. "We could try out several. . . see which is more comfortable."

"Have you ever had sex in a car, Spike?"

"Who hasn't?"

"Me. I'm not that kind of girl. You have? Somehow, not terribly surprised."

He huffs. "Well, guess I should fess up. I haven't either."

"Haven't what?" she teases.

"Shagged in a car." He holds up a finger at her. "Although, I have slept in them a time or two."

Buffy rolls her eyes. "Don't even want to know." Then, she realizes something. "Not even in a hundred years?"

"Nope."

"Oh."

Buffy picks at the pointy end of her stake.

Spike chews on the cigarette but doesn't light it up.

Seconds tick by.

"Wanna go for a patrol?" Buffy asks, breaking the silence.

Spike is on his feet in an instant. "Sure. Where to, pet?"

"The closest cemetery? It's not five minutes from here."

"Sounds good. But we should probably take off the neon signs first, love."

"Good idea."

Un-velcro-ing her vest, Buffy asks, "Think the cars will be okay?"

"I got the keys." Spike holds up a giant, jangling ring with over a hundred sets of keys jammed tightly together. "They aren't going anywhere." He glances over the lot. "'Sides, they're parked close together. Makes 'em hard to steal."

"What if someone wants to leave early?" Buffy sets her vest atop Spike's.

"We won't be gone long. Just need to stretch my legs, and since you won't. . ."

"No!"

Spike holds up his hands. "Okay, okay. I got it." With a grin, he knocks her cap back so that it falls to the ground.

Buffy makes a mock lunge for him. "Oooo, you!" She sticks the cap back onto her skull and heads for the cemetery.

"Buffy, love?" Spike falls in step beside her.

"Yeah?"

"You can't wear a reflector into the cemetery. It'll put us at a disadvantage."

"So?"

"So take off the hat and leave it back there."

"No."

He clenches his jaw in partial annoyance. "Why not?"

"I have hat hair, and I won't be seen patrolling with hat hair."

xxxxx

"Did you have fun?"

"I dunno, pet. Did you?" Spike realizes they're drawing close to the Summers' house and the end of their evening together. He feels a bit sad at the thought.

"Well. Aside from having a next to impossible job, ramming two cars into one another, going on patrol and getting ambushed by vamps. . ."

"That's cause of the hat, love."

"Let me finish!" Buffy recollects her thoughts. "And aside from coming back to find out that someone didn't mark any of the keys and having to sort them all out before the ceremony ended. . . yeah, I had a good time."

"Me, too."

"I'm glad I told those people that I messed their cars up."

"I told you that you didn't need to."

"But I'm glad I did. It was kind of nice, too, when the one guy. . . you know, the one who owned that Mercedes?"

"I remember, pet. I was there."

"Yeah. But wasn't it nifty when he gave me a hundred dollars for a tip?"

Spike smiles gently at the petite blond at his side. "You burst into tears and said you couldn't afford groceries and the light bill, much less a paint job. Who wouldn't give you a hundred?"

Buffy happily pats her jeans pocket. "I'll be paying for both bills now!"

"Well, love, guess we're here." Spike pauses at the street in front of Buffy's home. "I'll be seeing you." He's a little afraid to look at her. Every time he says goodbye, he expects her to say something nasty.

"Spike," she whispers, coming to his side and twining her small hand in his larger one. "Walk me to the door?"

Spike is astonished, hearing a question instead of a statement or command, and her hand is warm against his cool palm. "Sure." He nods in the direction of the kitchen window, whose light glows golden against the dark backdrop. "Someone's up waiting on you though? Shouldn't. . ."

"Shhh. Come on." Buffy tugs him up the walk and mounts the stairs to the front porch. Then, she wraps her arms around him and looks up at him. "Thank you for helping me tonight. You helped Dawn, too."

Spike tries to swallow the emotion out of his voice. Instead, he just stares at the lovely Slayer with her baseball cap on crooked. "You're welcome, pet."

"You can park cars with me anytime."

Encouraged by her lightheartedness, he murmurs, "Oh, really. I may have to take you up on that."

To his surprise, she kisses him lightly on the lips, leaving him with the scent of lavender and an undercurrent of her sweat from patrolling. . . never a headier combination. She presses a bit of paper into his hand and fishes for her keys. Finding them, she unlocks the front door.

"What's this?" he asks, holding up the money she gave him, thirty dollars of her earnings and tips.

She smiles. This time, the emotion feeling behind the act reaches her eyes, and he can see the light burning there. His heart surges with hope. . . not for a relationship with her. He knows better. The hope is for her. . . and her happiness.

"You earned it. Good night, Spike."

"Good night, love."

Slipping into the house, Buffy gently closes the door.

The end.

Hope you enjoyed:o)