I.

The bright skyline of Stilwater was behind them as they stretched out on the roof of the airplane hangar and stared across the dark waters. The light from the city made stargazing impossible, but it didn't make their private perch any less peaceful. The two Saints sipped beers and exhaled slowly in relaxation.

"This is just what I needed," Red muttered. "Thanks, Johnny."

"Hey, a man knows what his best friend needs," Johnny Gat told his boss. "Don't worry about it."

Red took a long pull on her beer, short and messy hair a flurry of spikes around her cheeks and neck. Moonlight reflected off the water and illuminated her face in a pale wash, highlighting those lavender eyes.

"You are, you know," she said without looking at him.

"What's that?" he asked, lazily sipping his beer, black sunglasses casting the dark world a shade darker. He pushed them up into his slick-backed black hair and peered at her.

"My best friend."

He grinned. "Right back at you, kid."

They watched two planes land between faraway runway lights as they finished their beers and popped tops on a second round. The boss used her old beer bottle as a scope on a make-believe rocket launcher, following a third plane onto the runway. She provided sound effects as she launched an imaginary rocket and sent the plane into imaginary explosive smoldering chunks.

"Yo, I think I got one in the trunk if you really want to," he told her. Red laughed and tossed the bottle. It landed somewhere below with a loud crash.

"Sometimes I think you're the only one that gets me, Johnny," she said.

He brought his beer to his lips. "Yeah?" he asked and took a gulp. "I know exactly what you mean."

II.

Red had always fought hard in her life, fought hard for every ounce of turf, every friend, and every second she was still breathing. But she had never fought quite as hard as she had when she knew Johnny Gat was on the other end of the body count. It was like being possessed the way she raced through Zinyak's ship, slaughtering anything that got in her way. And the funny thing about it was no one could tell anything was different because she was always reckless, headstrong, and trigger happy. But she could tell, because it all felt different down in her bones. It was like every fiber in her being had suddenly woken up again, and her heart was thundering in her chest, reminding her with an adrenaline-induced vengeance that it was still there.

Her heart was beating hard before they even loaded her into the simulation to free his mind. And the moment she had heard his voice again, she was pretty sure her heart stopped beating. And then he was free and she was falling out of the machine faster than they could unhook her, and her heart was racing all over again. The robot barely contained her. It couldn't move like she needed to move, kill like she needed to kill. And then she saw the trail of bodies he had left her, the bread crumbs left just for her, the tell-tale sign that he was alive and waiting for her to find him.

Red leapt out of the suit and raced over the corpses, down the hallway, through the door, over more bodies and then…

Then she saw him. He squatted naked over one of the zin, put a knife through the fucker's skull, and picked up a pair of shades. He was covered in goo and grinning. And she was grinning, too.

"Johnny," she said, and then they were grasping hands, hugging like it was just yesterday.

"I knew you'd find me," he said in that deep voice of his, that deep voice with a hint of gravel that lulled her into a sense of security. "What the hell are you wearing?"

"Better than what you're wearing," she said, slinging goo from her hand.

"It's up for debate," he said. Even through those dark sunglasses, she watched him scan her suit.

"Not from where I'm standing."

"Watch it or I'll have you wearing the same thing in a few seconds."

Red laughed. "Aw, fuck it." She hugged him, feeling the goo smash against her breasts where her suit had been unzipped. He hugged her back as tightly as he used to.

"That's my girl," he muttered and threw an arm around her shoulder. "Now let's get the fuck outta here."

III.

The clack of pool balls colliding on the table and Kinzie's vigorous typing on her laptop was the backdrop to Johnny Gat's retelling of how he hadn't actually died that day on Loren's plane and, instead, was kidnapped by Zinyak.

"You're telling me he abducted you years before his invasion because he thought you single-handedly could stop him?" Keith David asked him as Johnny watched the boss lean into her shot.

He shrugged and looked up at the Vice President. "Yeah."

Red stood up and looked at him, grinning ear to ear. "That's so fucking awesome."

"You realize that means Zinyak's more afraid of him than you, right?" Asha pointed out.

Red's shoulders slumped. "Shit!"

"Johnny, go back to the part about the meat shield," Pierce said, leaning around the boss.

"Guys, don't take this the wrong way," Johnny told them, "but I've spent years livin' in the past. I'm ready for the future."

He looked at Red. She was nodding in approval. Kinzie made some speech about needing all the help they could get. Then they were back in the game. There was laughing and drinking and joking, a moment not unlike those he remembered with the 3rd Street Saints before he had been kidnapped. When Red lost to Pierce, she chased him around the ship with her pool stick while they traded sarcastic jabs. Though her behavior hadn't changed—she was still crazy as fuck—he could tell something was different. On a level not seen with the naked eye, not seen by anyone but her best fucking friend, Johnny knew she was somehow freer than she had been in the old days.

Johnny went around the table to angle his shot.

"You know, when she thought you were still alive, her whole demeanor changed," Kinzie told him quietly so the others couldn't hear. "And when it turned out to be Shaundi she was saving, she changed back. I don't think she was disappointed it was Shaundi, just disappointed it wasn't you."

"That right?" he muttered casually, eyeing the boss in the background before he took his shot. Pool balls clacked together and spread across the green felt. "She wanted to see me that bad?" he asked playfully, but he already knew the answer. Red would run into hell for him in a heartbeat, no questions asked and without looking back; he would do the same for her. It was what best friends did for each other.

"Are you shitting me?" Shaundi asked, inserting herself into the conversation. "She nearly killed Matt when he said saving you was a bad idea. We had to drag her off him."

Johnny couldn't wipe the smug grin off his face if he tried. He leaned against his pool stick and eyed Red across the room, watching her and Pierce trade joke punches and laugh at each other. She was freer all right, and she had nearly killed someone for suggesting that saving him wasn't a good plan.

"That's my girl," he said.

IV.

For a minute, the only sound was that of guns being locked and loaded. Then the doors opened to the wonderland of murder and bullets were flying. Red and Gat proceeded through the doors into the room as a flood of mascots threw themselves into their bullets.

"I can't believe how great it is to have you back, Johnny," Red said after the first wave cleared. She inhaled the scent of fire and gunpowder. "When we thought you were dead, well…"

"I can't believe you thought a trans-Euro piece of shit like Phillipe Loren would ever get the best of me," he said, proceeding around a wall and firing on a new wave of fodder.

Red stared at his back for a moment, remembering that night on the plane and how it made her feel. He had died, and so had some piece of her.

"Losing you just about broke Shaundi," she told him, lamely avoiding her own results as she hoisted her pistols and dove through a gap just before the electrical fence buzzed back on.

"Yo, it was no picnic for me either being stuck in that Zinyak fucker's torture porn," he hollered over the spray of bullets. He dodged into her hallway when the electrical fence disappeared as she finished clearing the area. "Y'know, being stuck in that fucked up sidescroller all that time, reliving Aisha's death all day every day," he said as they both reloaded, "it gave me a lot of perspective."

"Perspective?" she snorted, chuckling. "On what?"

"Shit, man, everything." He touched her shoulder. "Look, I'm trying to have a moment here. Don't ruin it." She nodded. "I'm just saying that when you're forced to relive the worst fucking thing in your life a million times, you can't help but feel… different."

"Different, huh?" She jogged down the hallway and began shooting at more targets. "How?"

"Well, I appreciate things now," he explained, coming up next to her. The rattle of his assault rifle almost drowned him out. "Like murdering these fools instead of the same generic Ronin and Vice Kings over and over. Before," he flashed a grin, "I would have taken that for granted."

"Yeah," she chuckled, leading the way through the maze of mascots, high walls, and fire traps.

"I heard Kinzie talk about all of these simulations being based on people's personal nightmares," Johnny continued casually. A murdering game show was to them as afternoon tea was to other people. Boring people. "Mine was fucking obvious but I'm curious what yours was."

"Oh, y'know. 1950s sitcom."

"What?"

"When I close my eyes, I can still hear the laugh track…"

"No, I get it. Geez. That's fuckin' terrible." He shuddered.

Red smiled to herself as she landed a few headshots. "I think you're the only one who gets me, Johnny."

"We get each other. So why aren't you in that sitcom anymore? What's so scary about a fucked-up version of a rust belt city like Steelport?"

"Zinyak thinks being in a town where the Saints don't run things is enough to break me," she explained as she crouched down and took out a row of legs hiding behind a raised wall.

"Hah," he laughed, leaning over her and popping a few rounds into a mascot coming in hot on her left. "Is it?"

"Shit no," she replied, chuckling. "Give me a town the Saints don't run and we'll just take it over, too."

"Heh. Respect," he said, helping her up.

They stared at each other only a brief moment, both grinning like they were the only two in the whole universe with the punch line to the greatest cosmic joke of all time. They had secrets in their smiles, some shared and some kept. And Red couldn't remember feeling this high in her life and she hadn't taken a damn thing. Every bit of her was on fire. She was with her best fucking friend in the whole world playing Genki Bowl.

It was fucking surreal.

V.

Red was in a towel. It was a tiny little towel that wrapped across her torso and barely covered her ass. She was leaving the shower room, brushing her hair away from her face, long legs striding across the cold, metal floor. As she passed him, she grinned.

"Heya, Johnny," she said with a nod.

Something snapped. He pushed her hard into the wall and ripped the towel away. Then his fingers were jammed into her tight little cunt and he was groping her chest and thrusting his tongue into her mouth. She hooked one leg across his hips and moaned. He moaned, too, at how wet she was for him.

"Johnny," she whispered, fingers combing through his hair.

And then her fingers were at his belt, unbuckling it. She unzipped his jeans and dropped to her knees. His eyes nearly rolled back into his head as she took his cock into her mouth. He rolled around and fell with his back to the wall.

And then he snapped up in the darkness of his room with a hard-on like a steel pipe. He groaned and rubbed his hand over his face as he realized it was just a dream. Then he set to working out his frustration with his fist. It didn't take long with how horny he was. He plopped back onto his pillow and remembered the moment that had inspired his licentious dream; she had been in a towel, a tiny little towel, coming out of the showers early that night. But when she passed him and said "Heya, Johnny," he had just nodded and said "Boss," right back to her.

It was strange to have a sex dream about her now, after all this time. Though considering everything that had happened between them and the circumstances, maybe it wasn't all that strange. The first time he had ever looked at her as a woman had been the result of a sex dream. It was before Aisha had died. They were sleeping at her place after a long night of bad movies. In his dream, he had one fine piece of ass in front of him, nailing this chick from behind with her face pinned to the headboard. And she was screaming and moaning and going crazy, and he was wondering why it was so damn good and so damn familiar when it wasn't Aisha he was ramming into. And then he saw the nautical star tattoo on her neck and knew. This was Red. He was fucking Red, his best friend, his boss. And man, did she feel good. And she looked good. And he wanted to turn her over to watch her face, but he couldn't stop what he was doing.

He had woken from that dream with a serious need for a change of shorts, and from that day on had looked at her in a different light. She wasn't just his best friend anymore… She was a woman, with a banging body and a nice smile. It baffled him how he hadn't noticed it before. He couldn't stop himself from flirting with her just a little bit after that, though most of it went right over her head. She had had no sexy dream involving him and her beating up a mattress somewhere, so it was all business as usual. Just friends. Best friends. And that was fine, because he loved Aisha and they were happy together. But part of him—a little part—wanted her to think about it. Just once.

And here they were, reunited after all this time. She was single. He was single. She was way hotter than she had been when he first had the dream. He had an eight inch cock. She was crazy. He was crazy. She loved all the same psychopathic activities he did. He understood all her little quirks. They were like soul mates.

Only he had had two fiery hot sex dreams about her and she hadn't had any about him. Or if she had, she never showed it. Never showed any interest in him other than a friend. Maybe she saw him as some kind of brother figure. That didn't stop him from wanting to fuck her. But it might stop her from ever thinking about fucking him.

He groaned in the darkness. He wasn't a patient man, and he didn't handle rejection well. And more than that, he wasn't one to take "no" for an answer. But Red was his best friend in the whole world, and if she wasn't interested, he didn't want to fuck up what they already had. It mattered to him. It mattered in a way nothing else ever had.

VI.

The sky was dark and littered with stars in spite of the bright city lights. The simulation could be twisted like that. Red and Johnny stood on a grassy cluster along the river, the bridge connecting Stanfield and Carver Island down the way. They were swinging clubs and punting balls across the river, using the buff super power to create flying golf balls of death.

As Johnny lined up his shot, Red was swinging her energy sword around, pretending to battle zin. The clink of his club connecting with the ball caused her to turn and watch it sail as a fiery lump over the river and disappear among the buildings. Moments later, there was an explosion. They chuckled and slapped fives.

"Good shot," she said.

"Yeah, you're turn." Johnny stepped back to sip on his simulated beer. "This is nice," he said as she picked out her club. "Reminds me of shit we'd do back in Stilwater."

"Hell yeah," she agreed. "Minus the super powers."

"We could always compensate with a can of gas and a blowtorch."

She laughed. "See? That's why you're my best friend."

He chuckled and she positioned her club at the ball, took a few practice swings, buffed herself up with electricity, and—CLONK—let the ball fly. Johnny came up beside her to watch and she found herself looking more at him than at the destruction she would cause. Everything about the past week had been amazing, and the only thing that changed was Johnny's return to her life. She remembered how she felt back in the day when she thought she lost him. Empty. Now that she was there looking at him, able to reach out and touch him if she wanted, she was filled up with all sorts of feelings.

See, when she lost him, everything changed. She just didn't realize it. Her whole life had taken on a casual attitude. The partying and sex and—eh, it wasn't what it used to be. She didn't have an interest. Even the killing wasn't as fun, but it gave her something to do. It gave her something real to be a part of. Running and fighting for her life gave her enough shots of adrenaline to simulate feeling alive. She thrived on the chaos and destruction for that simple reason. The friends she made helped her, too—at least at first. They gave her something to care about. Red had always been loyal. But at the end of the day, she found herself slugging back a beer all alone on her penthouse roof, thinking of a conversation they'd had a long time ago on a hangar roof drinking beer.

"Damn!" Johnny exclaimed, pulling her out of her thoughts and back to reality where explosions were rumbling in the distance. "Nice shot!"

"What?"

"I'm glad we got some privacy, because that just gave me a hard on."

Red laughed, watching columns of dark gray smoke rising from Carver Island. "What privacy? They can hear everything we say and see everything we do."

"Shit!" he cursed and looked up at the sky. "Hey, I just pitched one in my pants so nobody better fuck with me! You hear?"

Red flexed. "I am pretty damn amazing," she sighed. "It's hard being this cool."

"You wear it well," he said with a chuckle. "Now toss me a ball."

She did, watching him place the ball and relax into his shot. Red was kind of scared. She was running recklessly ahead now that he was back and she was feeling this good. She couldn't stop herself from wanting to be near him and she knew that at some point he would notice. When he had told her he wanted to hang out, she had spent a quick minute picking out an outfit to wear. Never in her entire life had she spent more than a few seconds debating her wardrobe. She couldn't do that! She knew she couldn't. He was clearly still haunted by Aisha's death and—well, even though he had said he wanted to stop living in the past—he still loved her, didn't he? She couldn't hope to compete with that.

But truth be told, Red was pretty sure she couldn't stop herself from trying.

VII.

Johnny was sitting on a stack of crates cleaning his gun when he saw Red come storming through the hallway on a mission, looking this way and that. She had that serious look in her eye—the one she got when she was going to do something and no one could stop her. He grinned, wondering what the hell she was up to and how he could be involved. He hopped down.

"Hey Boss, how—" he began, but the moment she noticed him she held out her hand and stepped away from him.

"Just shut up!" she snapped, interrupting him. "I have to tell you something. For years I thought you were dead and I blamed myself for it. When you were gone, there was a hole in my life that I tried to fill with anything I could find… sex, partying, revenge… sometimes a weird combination of the three…"

He chuckled and folded his arms across his chest. Where was this coming from? She had already expressed her happiness that he was back. But she blamed herself? He was the one who told her to get the fuck out of the plane and let him handle everything. He was the one who was supposed to protect his boss! And more than that, he was going to protect his best friend.

He didn't interrupt her, though. She had something to say, and Red was honest to a fault. He had never met a gangster like her—some crazy ass psycho—that never told a lie. It just wasn't her speed. She didn't see a need to fake anyone out or hide anything about herself, no matter how unflattering it may be. He liked that about her, even if it resulted in some really strange heart-to-hearts.

"But nothing worked," she went on. "Nothing made me feel alive like you did. And I always thought it was just because I was depressed, but seeing you now has made me realize how much I need you."

Johnny's smirk faded as he realized just what it was she was choking out. She needed him. And fuck him if he needed her, too.

"I know I'm not Aisha," she was saying, "and I'm not trying to be, but if—"

He swooped in, grabbed her by her waist, and pulled her into him. He kissed her hard and fast and deep, and she kissed him back, and every ounce of restraint he had managed instantly broke. He held her tightly against him, felt the softness of her curves and let her feel the hard lines of his body. She clawed at his suit, wrapped her legs around him when he picked her up, moaned when he slammed her into the wall. He unzipped her suit and shoved his hand down into her depths, felt the hot wetness between her thighs, and groaned against her mouth.

They needed privacy and they needed it fast. Still devouring her mouth, he carried her in the direction he thought his bedroom was, occasionally bumping into walls, until they stumbled through his door and fell onto his mattress. Red wriggled out of her suit as he locked the door, pulled his clothes off, and climbed on top of her.

"Holy shit, you weren't joking," she whispered breathily, staring at his cock. He grinned and wrapped a hand around the back of her neck, pulling her into his mouth and kissing her again.

Another day, they would be able to do it better. Foreplay, exploration, experimentation—all of it. But right then he needed to fuck her and she needed to be fucked by him, and so without delay he thrust right into her, straight to the hilt. Her head tilted back and she gasped. He went for her neck, kissing and sucking at the hollow of her throat.

"Johnny," she mumbled lustily, running her fingers through his hair. He grinned and kissed a path along her jaw.

"And what should I call you, huh?" he growled, licking the edge of her ear.

"Hn?" she murmured in bliss confusion.

"Maybe Red," he said, nipping at her lobe. "Maybe… your real name?" Only he knew her real name. "Annabelle."

"You know I hate that name," she reminded him. She tried to sound stern but the desire in her voice chased it away. He chuckled.

"I know," he said. "But I'm going to make you like it." He thrust into her again and she moaned. "Annabelle." Again. "Annabelle…"

"I… hate you…" she ground out around her pleasured cries. "I… hate you… so much!"

He quickened his pace, muttering her secret name until it drove her crazy. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled herself up until she was sitting in his lap, grabbing onto his hair, and riding him like a damn horse. He felt his climax coming like a train vibrating tracks and it hit him just as hard, too. Her whole body shuddered on top of him and they fell back onto his pillow with an exhausted "umph".

He turned to look at her. She was pale in the dark, sweaty, panting, beautiful. It had been tempting to want to take her like he had in his dream—like a couple of dogs—but the need to look at her had overridden that desire. Just like in his dream, he wanted to see her face, to see the expressions she made mounted on his cock. It had been worth it.

"I know you're not Aisha," he said, prompting her to look his way. "You were never Aisha. You were Red, my best fuckin' friend. That was the point. Weirdly enough, you were just as important to me as she was. It was just different, you know? It's still different, but… different than it used to be."

"Come again?"

"You bet," he joked and she laughed. "Look, I'm trying to say I need you, too. I don't want you to be Aisha. I want Red." He smirked and ran his thumb along the scar under her lip. "I want Annabelle…" Her cheeks turned dark red and her eyes darkened with renewed desire. "See? I told you I'd make you like it."

VIII.

Two weeks of total slaughter in the simulation and wild sex outside of it had made Red realize something really important. She folded her arms over her chest and watched Johnny wipe the floor with Matt in pool, laughing when Matt made his pathetic attempt to understand Johnny, even going so far as to say they were brothers. She snorted and laughed. Johnny saw her and grinned, tossing his stick to Pierce.

"All you," he said over his shoulder as he walked over to her. "Did you hear that?"

Red smiled for just a moment and then the really important realization came sputtering out of her mouth.

"I think I love you or something."

Johnny stared at her for a drawn out moment while a cascade of killer butterflies wreaked havoc in her stomach and chest. Behind those dark sunglasses, it was hard to tell what he was thinking. And then he smirked and took very slow, purposeful steps to close the gap between them.

"Which is it?" he asked coyly. "The 'I think' or the 'or something'?" He was an inch away from her. "Or maybe it's the part in between?"

Red grinned. "Yeah," she confirmed. "It's the stuff in between."

"I thought so," he said and leaned close to whisper in her ear, "Annabelle."

Whenever he said that name, she was bombarded by a flood of erotic memories. It instantly turned her on. Sure, he only used it in private, and she was pretty sure that was the point. It was like her personal "fuck me" switch and he had control over it entirely. Maybe she wasn't horny at the time—maybe sex was the farthest thing from her mind—but if he leaned down and whispered that word in her hear… woah, it was like ten hours of porn just fired up her clit.

The next thing she knew, they were in her bedroom, naked, and his face was buried between her legs, his tongue caressing her thighs, trying to clean up all the wetness, but every little flick of his tongue turned her on more and—well, it was a wasted effort, but fuck she enjoyed it. Then he was inside of her. All the way inside. All fucking eight inches of him. And she felt so good, she was screaming his name, and he was groaning about how wet she was, how wet he made her. They found themselves in at least three different positions. As she grinded on top of him, he clawed her hips.

"Oh, baby, you drive me fucking crazy," he growled. He suddenly flipped her onto her back and rammed hard and fast like he was trying to break down a door. They came together, one right after the other, and then he collapsed on top of her.

After a moment, Johnny rolled off of her so they could cool off and they lay panting in the dark for a stretched out moment.

"You know when I first realized I liked you?" he said suddenly. Now that piqued her curiosity. She looked at him, smiling, waiting. "Years ago. Back in Stilwater. You remember that night we stayed up late watching bad movies until Aisha got home. Explosives for Ernest, Honey I Smoked A Space Bong—"

"Oh yeah! That shit was awful. I loved it."

"Right, right. That night, I had a dream I fucked you. I couldn't get it out of my head, either. Not for a long time."

"Johnny Gat had sex dreams about me back in Stilwater," she said in disbelief, smiling like an idiot. "I didn't think anything could surprise me anymore but, congratulations, you've done it."

"Yeah, yeah," he grumbled, amusement hedging his tone. "What about you?"

"I think I always liked you, Johnny," she admitted. "I just didn't know that's what it was until I lost you."

"Yeah, I get it."

"I know you do," she said with a contented smile. "You always do."

IX.

For a long time, guns blazed back and forth as King worked at breaking into the armory. Johnny kept his eyes on the boss, making sure to cover her when she needed it. She did the same for him, and they managed to keep the zin at bay. Then, the armory doors were whirring open and King was shouting for her to go ahead, that they would hold them off.

Johnny followed her into the tunnel and called out before she went too far.

"Hey! I think I love you, too." He grinned. "Or something."

She smirked and hoisted her gun, propping it on her shoulder. "Yeah?" she asked. "Well, which part is it?"

Johnny closed the gap between them and pushed her against the wall, kissing her open-mouthed and hungry.

"You know which part," he growled flirtatiously. She moaned so he knew she understood and then he continued to kiss her. Something about that moment—the danger of it all, guns blazing, final mission, lives on the line—made him want to fuck her right then and there. He hooked an arm around her waist and pulled her into him. She obliged for just a moment and then broke the kiss.

"Look, I kind of have to go kill Zinyak real fast, but I'm game to continue this after."

"You got it," he said, releasing her. "I'll be waitin'. Go get 'em, Boss."

X.

The bright skyline of Stilwater was behind them as they stretched out on the roof of the airplane hangar and stared across the dark waters. The light from the city made stargazing impossible, but it didn't make their private perch any less peaceful.

They watched two planes land between faraway runway lights as they finished their beers and popped tops on a second round. The boss used her old beer bottle as a scope on a make-believe rocket launcher, following a third plane onto the runway. She provided sound effects as she launched an imaginary rocket and sent the plane into imaginary explosive smoldering chunks.

"Yo, I think I got one in the trunk if you really want to," he told her. Red laughed and tossed the bottle. It landed somewhere below with a loud crash.

"Sometimes I think you're the only one that gets me, Johnny," she said.

He brought his beer to his lips. "Yeah?" he asked and took a gulp. "I know exactly what you mean. Geez, it's like we were made for each other." She laughed. "What? You wouldn't fuck me?"

"Seriously?" she asked with a smile.

"I did tell you I have an eight inch cock, right?"

"Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it," she said casually.

He snorted. "You'll believe it when you're impaled on it and screaming."

"Impaled?" she echoed, laughing louder than before.

"Damn straight," he replied, smirking.

"God, Johnny."

That's when he noticed she was blushing. He shifted, turning to face her more. "You thought about it, didn't you?"

"What?" she cried, flabbergasted. "No!"

"You did!" he exclaimed accusingly, pointing his beer at her. "You're blushing! You thought about it."

"Okay," she conceded. "Maybe for, like, a second."

"Yeah?" He leaned closer, still grinning. "I'm a good fuck, huh?"

She shrugged. "Yeah, you're all right."

They both laughed that time. They nursed their drinks in silence for awhile until another plane landed.

"I wonder what the future holds," Johnny mused. "For us, the Saints—everything."

"I donno, Johnny," Red admitted. "But we'll do it together." She took a swig of her beer and stared at the horizon. Johnny sat up a little, recognizing that ambitious, invincible glint in her eye—that look that said "I cannot be stopped." He knew that look all too well. It gave him shivers, made him excited. "We'll do it together," she said again, smiling at this future only she could see. "How bright it looks."

She said it with such conviction that he instantly believed it, and he knew, no matter what happened, that she was his future—that he was going to follow her for the rest of his life. To pick up and be picked up by this woman, to carry her and be carried, to fight for and with. That she was what mattered, matter like nothing else did. That she was important. More important than anything. And no matter who she loved or fucked, no matter who he loved or fucked, he knew the truth.

They were fucking soul mates.