Hopeless romantics pale at the thought that, with Buffy the Vampire Slayer moving to UPN this fall and leaving behind spinoff Angel at the WB, the series' hot-blooded superheroes might never meet again. But the lovers' latest "break-up" has set at least one fan's heart aflutter: new Angel regular Amy Acker, who made her debut as bespectacled bookworm Winnifred Burkle in last season's breathtaking four-part finale.

"I have a big crush on Angel," she tells TV Guide Online in character, "but I'm not sure that it's reciprocated."

Not yet, anyway. Prescient viewers, however, can read the writing on the wall — or, in this case, in the scripts: While struggling to escape back to Los Angeles from another, even scarier dimension, Angel and Fred developed a warm friendship that could easily heat up. Even Acker admits that a more intimate relationship between the odd couple seems like a natural progression.

"We had this really close bond," she observes, "and we're both kind of outsiders. So we'll see."

Whether or not Fred succeeds in making Angel forget his ex, she — and her portrayer — are guaranteed a year that will give them palpitations. "Fred's been a slave for five years, so she's trying to readjust," explains the 25-year-old Texan, whose r&#233sum&#233 consists mostly of theater credits and white space. "And I watched Buffy in school — we had Buffy nights like everyone else.

"Now," she continues, awestruck, "Joss Whedon [the creator of Buffy and Angel] has both casts over to his house to do Shakespeare readings. It's overwhelming. So I'm adjusting, too."