NOTES: Angel the Series, characters, etc, not mine. No profit ever. Thanks to Mosca. For inlovewithnight in the Fluffyathon.


"We can afford a repairman," Gunn said. Fred did her nervous smile in the passenger seat and nodded like she didn't believe him at all. "We can. We're not doing so bad, Fred. We'd be doing better if the kid wasn't eating his bodyweight in sandwiches every day."

That got a real smile. "He's a growing boy, Charles. And we have to take care of Connor." She patted the bag on her lap. "He got us all these quarters, after all."

Gunn was trying not to think about it. The kid probably hadn't done anything too illegal. How illegal was it to shake a vending machine a little too hard? "Maybe we should use the quarters to fix the washer and dryer at the Hyperion. You think of that?"

"He'd have to get us a lot more," Fred said.

"It's been so quiet here, pretty soon I won't have a problem with that."

"It'll be fine. Once we find Angel and get Cordelia back, we'll start getting clients again and we'll get everything fixed," Fred said.

"We had a client just last week; didn't that girl pay enough to get the repairman?" Gunn didn't miss that Fred gripped her paper bag of quarters even harder. He patted Fred's knee and said, "Don't worry, this is better. We get to spend a few hours watching TV and hanging out and we get clean clothes."

"Dust free and smelling like a teddy bear," she said. She loosened her grip on the bag a little, too.

"Teddy bear? What does a teddy bear smell like?"

She held up the bottle of fabric softener. "Like this, I guess. You'd think it would just be fur and cotton, but actually it's a lot of chemicals designed to smell like, huh, cinnamon and pine."

"Pine teddy bear sounds pretty hard to cuddle."

"Cuddling wood," she said giggling. Then she blushed. "Okay, pine. Cuddling pine. I wouldn't want to cuddle pine. Or cinnamon."

"I'm picturing a big ol plastic bottle of cinnamon spice come to life with little plastic arms out saying 'love me!'" Gunn tapped the steering wheel. "Okay, my life has been a little bit crazy because I think that could actually happen."

"Maybe you were having a vision," Fred said, still laughing a little. "At least it wasn't a scary one."

"You don't find big bottles of spice wanting to hug you scary? You could suffocate. Or get your clothes stained."

"They'd be pretty easy to fight. We still have that flamethrower, remember? And most plastic has a pretty easy-to-achieve melting point."

They'd finally reached the Laundromat, so Gunn pulled the truck into the nearest parking place. "I'm glad you're thinking strategically about this."

Fred said, "It's my little-bit-crazy life, too, Charles, I gotta."

They had an easy few minutes sorting out darks and whites and taking four of the open washers. "We have too many clothes. You should start wearing less," Gunn said. "I'm completely in favor of that."

"I'm not," Fred said. "We have too many clothes with blood stains and dirt stains and I don't even wanna know what this is stains. We're going to have to go Goodwill again."

"Yeah, gotta make sure Connor looks good for all the kids at school." Gunn didn't roll his eyes, but he thought about it. The kid didn't care what he wore. Fred cared, so they'd go next week.

"We should find him a school." Fred sighed. "Or not. Angel will figure it out when he comes back."

"It's his kid, right?" Gunn tugged her close. "Okay, pick a television show or something while we wait."

They ended up sticking with what was already on because when Fred got up to change the channel a little kid growled at her. "It's a demon," she whispered to Gunn.

"I think it's more of a brat. A she-brat, I bet."

"Because she has pink sneakers. She's a pink sneakered demon. A teeny tiny one."

Gunn held onto her arm. "Let's slay the sneaker demonette later."

"This show sucks," Fred said. "It's an evil choice."

"Fred, relax. Look here, we have two hours to sit together and hang out and not think about anything. Nothing. Stop thinking."

"I refuse to stop thinking," Fred said, but she was smiling. Then she snuggled closer. "You're right, we can just sit here. Just sitting." She rested her head on his shoulder. "Listening to the washing machines, watching the dryers go round and round and round. It's soothing."

"Maybe we won't get ours fixed."

"Oh, we so will," Fred said, narrowing her eyes to glare at the she-brat. "But this is nice, you're right."

"We're doing okay," Gunn said. Fred nodded and smiled the real smile. "We're good."

And she was right, like always, it was soothing to watch the clothes in the dryer go round and round and round. Even more soothing to watch Fred relaxing enough, she fell asleep with her head in his lap.


Back to Stories

Send feedback to k.