A few things he loved about his girl: the kiss hello when he got back from a long day of tracking down informants. The way
her eyes lit up when he brought her a present. How her nose wrinkled when she grinned at him, took the bottle of Cuervo and
held it aloft for admiration. And the hint of a rebel under all that wide-eyed Texas innocence, in the way she didn't even
blink when his answer to where he got the tequila was that it "fell off a truck." Wes would always roll his eyes and sigh,
back when it was Wes that Gunn killed boring nights with. Now it was Fred, who just grinned at him and said "Your place or
His place had a kitchen, so they climbed into the truck and headed off into post-sunset LA. They made a quick stop at a convenience
store for ice and margarita mix, and a package of frozen burritos he grabbed on the sly, because after two or three drinks
she was going to start demanding bad Mexican food and if he didn't have something on hand, she'd go out looking. He'd prefer
to stay in.
They climbed back in the truck and rolled the rest of the way across town to the crappy little apartment he held on to despite
working in an empty hotel. It wasn't like he was paying rent on this place anyway- it wasn't that kind of building. And
it was nice to pretend there's still some space between his work and his life- what he does and who he is- no matter how many
times that distance had been proven to be a load of crap.
At the apartment, she solemnly gathered up the supplies and headed to the kitchen while he tried to coax the stereo into life.
After a few minutes of the sounds from the kitchen alternating between mechanical whines and silence, she started to giggle.
He grinned at the stubbornly silent machine- she'd been bumming sips of Cuervo since they left the Hyperion, but she still
ought to be able to handle putting three things together and pushing a button.
"Charles, this blender is junk. It's, like, barely chipping the ice at all." She stood in the doorway, resting her forehead
against the frame and looking sideways at him. "Did it fall off a truck too?"
"Came out of a vamp nest," he said, poking a screwdriver into the stereo's innards, "along with this thing, which I guess
is just not going to work for us tonight."
"Let me look at it," she said, moving to his side. "I'm good with wires."
"That's because you've got the magic touch," he said with a grin, handing over the screwdriver and getting out of her way.
"It's science, not magic. Now go find something to smash that ice with, since your blender's all junky and old. Hey, could
you use the handle of your axe?"
"Fred. Respect the weapon. You don't use it to crush ice."
"Well, find something, mister, because I was promised margaritas and margaritas I shall have." She frowned at the stereo.
"Also, I'm going to need some aluminum foil. A gum wrapper would work."
"Check my jacket pockets. You're like MacGuyver, you know that?" He went through every drawer in the kitchen looking for
a hammer, found it in the refrigerator, and didn't waste a minute trying to figure out how it got there.
"Loved that show," she chirped. "I had such a crush on Richard Dean Anderson...hey, you have sugar, don't you?"
He whacked the block of ice with the hammer and winced as tiny shards hit him in the face. "Why?"
"Can't have strawberry margaritas without sugaring the glass, Charles. That's just...that's practically Communist."
"I thought you had salt with tequila."
"Yeah, with limes," she said with exaggerated patience. "Oh...wait...ha!" That was a triumphant yelp as the stereo
hissed and the radio came on. "I win! Where are your CDs?" She appeared in the doorway, grinning and waving the screwdriver
in the air. "And it's always sugar with strawberry, Charles. Always." She reached around him for the tequila bottle and
took a sip.
"I'll remember that. Sugar's in the cupboard, next to the coffee."
She poured it onto a paper plate and ran the rims of two glasses under the tap. Plastic cups from some fast-food promotion
or another, faded blank and never meant to be washed this many times, but they'd work. She rolled the wet edges through the
sugar and held them up for inspection. "Ready!"
He shot a dubious look at the chunked but not crushed ice. "No law saying they have to be frozen, right?"
She laughed and he noticed how her cheeks were already flushed. "Nope. Hey, actually, this way they won't get diluted when
the ice melts. Good thinking. Mix, Charles."
"Your wish is my command..." He emptied the mix and a healthy dash of tequila into the blender's pitcher and swirled the liquid
around. She held her glass out solemnly, with both hands, like a little kid. He grinned as she licked a patch of sugar off
the edge before taking her first sip. "Good?"
"Perfect." She wandered into the living room, where the radio was still announcing LA traffic patterns. "CDs?"
"Oh, yeah. Shoebox, under the couch." He poured his own drink and followed her, admiring the unselfconscious way she flopped
down on the floor on her stomach and rummaged around under the couch. She set her glass aside and started digging through
the shoebox in search of treasure.
"Are these from vamp nests too?" she asked, studying cover art intently and blindly reaching for her drink.
"Some of them." He sat down next to her, folding his legs up stiffly and envying the boneless way she moved. He was going
to be an old man by the time he was thirty, and she was probably always going to be some kind of loose-limbed fairy princess.
He put the glass in her hand before she knocked it over, and she gave him a quick grateful grin before licking another patch
of sugar and taking a sip.
"Thought so. I can't see you buying some of these."
"Like what?" He leaned over her shoulder to see, and grinned despite himself. "Aw, no, Fred, c'mon..."
"Oh yes. I get to choose, and I choose George Strait's Greatest Hits." She scrambled to her feet and went to the
stereo, twisting to shield the disc with her body when he mock-grabbed at it. "It's fate. You found this CD so that I could
listen to it."
"Can't fight fate," he sighed, turning to face the room and leaning his head back against the seat of the couch.
"No man evades his destiny," she intoned dramatically, sliding the CD into place and giving the volume control an enthusiastic
turn to the right. "Not even you, Mr. Gunn."
"I don't have a destiny. That's Angel's gig." He swirled the red liquid in his glass and watched the drops run back down
the plastic. He suddenly remembered that there was a large block of ice melting on his counter.
"Of course you do." She smiled at him and held out her hand as guitar chords began to come from the speakers. "It's your
destiny to dance with me."
Who cared about a little water anyway? He put his glass aside and let her help him up, smiling back down into her eyes as
they wrapped their arms around each other and pulled their bodies close, while the music rang out and their hips began to
Slow dancing with a supergenius whose lips tasted like sugar and strawberries, while a white dude in a cowboy hat sang about
the stars over Texas. "This is definitely not a moment I ever thought I would have in my life," he whispered into her ear.
She smiled up at him, and he marvelled at how the ruthless strength that had to be there for her to still be alive could fade
away into so much sweetness. "I had a professor in college who came over from Russia. He always said there was no need to
worry about making plans for the future, because tomorrow there could be a revolution."
"I guess this is the Strawberry Revolution," he said, and he wasn't quite sure when it had become okay to sacrifice his cool
to make her smile, but he didn't regret it.
"Are we revolutionaries?" she asked, snuggling in closer as the song ended. "Shouldn't we have capes and secret identities?"
"I think you're thinking of superheroes."
"We're those, too!" she said with a grin, throwing her head back with delight. "We're the Superhero Revolutionary Front!"
"Sounds like a comic book." He dipped her back, carefully, and she was as light as if his hands were empty. "We should write
it, make a million dollars."
"Yeah." He brought her up again, and she wound her arms tight around his waist and buried her face in his shoulder. "When
we're millionaires, can we keep the truck? And still drink contraband margaritas? Cause I think we already found the best
way to spend a Saturday night, and why should we give that up just because we have a million-dollar comic book empire?"
"How'd I find such a smart girl?"
She shrugged, pressing her face even closer against him. "Smarts don't mean much without a heart and a home and somebody
to love." She tipped her head to the side and looked up at him out of one eye. "Los Angeles wouldn't mean much without you."
He looked down at her for a minute, his tiny Fred wrapped up in his arms, and he couldn't think of a thing to say. "You want
a burrito?" he asked finally, after what he hoped was a long enough moment.
She blinked, and then smiled, a smile that gradually stretched into the incredible face-spanning grin that stopped his heart
and made him feel like he was standing in sunlight. Just for a minute, safe and warm. "You know I do."
He moved to go to the kitchen, but she stopped him, smile going wistful. "Just...one more dance, first?"
He took her into his arms again, glancing over at the stero. Lame-ass white-boy middle-America music. The most beautiful
song he'd ever heard.
She was shaking a little, and he glanced down in concern. She looked up and he realized she was giggling.
"Superhero Revolutionary Front," she whispered. "Charles, can you imagine Angel and Wesley in tights?"
"Do I have to?"
"What would my superhero name be?" She rested her head on his shoulder and they swayed for a moment.
"The Amazing Winifred."
"And my superpower?"
"Fixing stereos with gum wrappers and your incredible brain."
"It wasn't that hard," she said, rolling her eyes. Her brow furrowed and she looked up at him again. "Did you know that
theoretically, we could make a temporal bubble and keep this moment forever?"
"Why would we want to do that?" He absently toyed with the ends of her hair. "We'd miss all kinds of other good moments."
"I suppose." She was still frowning a little.
"You'd never get your burrito."
She laughed and stretched up for another kiss flavored with strawberries and tequila, and he thought that if that was the
moment that lasted forever, then he wouldn't mind missing out on anything else at all.