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Beauty and the Beast: Fred and Angel
by Inlovewithnight

Handsome man saved me from the monsters. Fred, "Over The Rainbow"

He's her savior, her hero, her champion. He delivered her from Pylea, full stop. She will never stop feeling loyalty to him because of that.

He's the first vampire she ever met; she doesn't have any built-up prejudices like Wes and Gunn, or complicated high-school traumas like Cordelia. Angel didn't betray her over Darla. She follows him with pure, simple, uncomplicated trust. She has faith in him.

He appreciates that; he doesn't have to justify himself to her. She's a hopeless that he really did help- successfully- a living, breathing piece of evidence that sometimes the mission works.

Not that she's a blind devotee; she questions him, she points out stupid things that he does. In s5, they have genuine conflict over Spike. But this stems from the same place as her loyalty to him: she truly believes that, in the end, he'll do the right thing. He'll be a hero.

Pylea, of course, is a Mutant Enemy spin on a fairy tale. A magical kingdom, with monsters and princesses and heroes riding up on horseback. Fred is the wild girl with bloody hands, standing in for a witch in the traditional tale, who heals the hero when he is suffering. Fred sees Angel's true face, his demon face, and doesn't flinch. This isn't something he even expects from his friends and crew.

FRED: Are you feeling any better? (Angel doesn't react.) It's okay. You don't have to talk. I'm used to it.
ANGEL: They, they saw it. They, they looked right at it. They saw it...
FRED: Saw what?
ANGEL: The monster... They-they saw what I really am. I can't go back. Not now. I can never go back. No...
["Through The Looking Glass"]

Key there: "Saw what?" Fred has no problem with the dichotomy within Angel. Of course, she's a bit mad at the time, but still, for someone as conflicted and self-loathing as Angel, this is a powerful reaction.

He does go back, of course, and takes Fred with him. He's very protective of her, and she adores him- but Buffy dies, and Angel runs off and leaves Fred behind. At this point in her development, Fred is a reactive character, not an active one. Angel leaves and she goes into a holding pattern until he returns.

Season Three:
When he gets back, there are immediate circumstances that keep them from getting together: the returns of Buffy and Darla. Fred's canonical crush on Angel lasts from Pylea through "Carpe Noctem," when Cordelia warns her off of him.

FRED: Okay. Is this about how you're not like other men - what with that curse and all... and how you're really fond of me, but that's as far at it goes?
ANGEL: Uhm... - yeah.
FRED: Cordelia explained it to me. She said you'd probably just screw it up.
["Carpe Noctem"]

At this point, Fred is trying to put her world back together and build a safety zone for herself. Cordy's warning, plus Angel's behavior under possession, is enough to make him undesirable as a romantic partner, because he isn't safe. Even after she formally breaks off pursuit, though, she clearly still sees Angel as a romantic hero; she just transfers Cordy into the role of Lady Fair. (Fred's the first one to bring up kyerumption, after all.)

Angel and Fred's relationship isn't explored very deeply on-screen this season; he mostly seems to regard her with a kind of absent-minded affection, like a little sister. After all, he doesn't even notice that she's dating Gunn. But on the other hand, Angel's famously obtuse about all interpersonal relationships that he's not involved in...and even ones he is...so this might not mean all that much. Having Connor around makes him even more distracted than usual; he doesn't notice Wesley's problems either.

There are points in s3 that could have spun off a Fred/Angel romance, though. She's a crazy Drusilla that he helped heal instead of shatter. She chooses to stay in "Fredless," not because she has nowhere else to go, like Cordy and Wes, but because she wants to stay. She was the other person in the alley when Connor was born. And she looked just as pretty as Cordelia in "Waiting In The Wings."

Fred's loyalty to Angel is demonstrated most clearly by her reaction to Wesley's kidnapping of Connor. She loves Wesley as a friend, and is the only one to visit him in the hospital. But there's no question that she'll remain at the Hyperion with Angel. Angel is safety, physically if not romantically, and she's not going to leave that.

Season Four:
Fred is fiercely determined to find Angel during his underwater summer, and turns on Connor viciously when she learns the truth. This is the kid she's basically mothered for months, and she Tazers him without mercy and with real rage because of "what [he] did to [his] father." No other reason given.

In s4, again, they're not given much one-on-one screen time. Meeting Angelus is a shock for Fred; this is not her Champion. But she has no problem separating Angel and Angelus in her mind; after all, Fred knows about trying to keep a dark side locked away. When his soul is restored in "Orpheus," she's immediately behind him again, without question, one of the team.

Angel is the first one she frees from Jasmine's influence; the plan she devises could only work on him. She's confident that her Champion will step up and take care of things, that he will save the day. In fact, she's counting on him stepping up and being a hero, because she doesn't think she can do it herself:

ANGEL: You did the right thing, Fred. It took a lot of courage. It must've been hard for you.
FRED: (crying) I'm sorry. I've been so alone and scared. I'm not like you, not a champion.
ANGEL: Everything I see says different.
["The Magic Bullet"]

This is the only point where Angel really acknowledges her strength and competence, and it's a very sweet moment. It's followed, of course, by the frantic kiss that hides them from the Jasmaniacs. Angel's stunned reaction hints at lots of romantic potential, if they weren't being hunted by an angry mob. At any rate, Fred's reached the status fo fellow-Champion, as eligible for kyerumption as Cordelia.

Season Five:
Sadly, this seems to be forgotten in s5, Angel's year of alienation and depression, when he pushes his friends away as mere employees. Fred struggles to reach out, hold them together, and remind him of the Mission (see "Hell Bound"), but Angel's in too much pain and turmoil to notice. Still, for fic purposes, Fred's compassion and empathy offers lot to work with.

And then comes "A Hole In The World." If Fred was a living symbol of the Mission working, her death symbolizes its failure. Fred truly believes, up to the end, that her hero will come through for her. When Angel fails- or rather, chooses not to sacrifice thousands so she can live- it's the final break in him.

ANGEL: (contemplatively) Handsome man, save me from the monsters.
SPIKE: Exactly! Or- What's that now?
ANGEL: That's the first thing Fred said to me. In Pylea. She was trapped, hiding, afraid. Nearly crazy. Crazy. But brave. I should never have let her come here. Bad things always happen here.

Illyria is a reminder of the broken, mangled Mission he's left with, which leads inexorably to facing down the hordes of Hell in Fred's name.

WESLEY: Cordelia gave you her visions?
ANGEL: One-shot deal. She put me on the path, showed me where the real powers are. But I couldn't see who they were. Then, when Fred died, I wasn't gonna let that be another random horrible event in another random horrible world. So I decided to use it, to make her death matter. And it worked. I'm in.
["Power Play"]

Throughout the series, Angel is the active force of the crew. This makes sense; it's his name in the title, after all. Angel acts, and others react. One of the interesting things about s5 is that Angel is placed into a passive role for most of the season, until he finally explodes into decisive, violent action- and one of the motivating forces for this action, as noted above, is Fred's death. Fred was never an outstandingly active character (except for the Jasmine arc, and she passed off her active role to Angel as soon as she could). Fred's primary function actually countered and balanced Angel's: she provided the emotional grace notes and resonance in the chains of events and reactions.

This contrast between them has lots of potential. Strength and gentleness, brains and brawn, repression and openness, dark and light (the wardrobe department even picked up on this one). Play with the contrasts, play them up, reverse them and see what happens. Friendship or relationship, Fred and Angel have a lot to give and get from each other. Have fun with it.