Conversations from Rome

Spoilers: Lets just say everything, particularly "Damage" (Ats 5:11)

Angel sat in his penthouse, brooding. He realized for the first time since taking over Wolfram and Hart he felt good about a case. It had been good to help a slayer again. It wasn't his slayer, but then that was old history. He glanced down at the book he wasn't reading and picked up the black and white picture he kept between the pages. The last time he had seen her, she looked older, weary, but there was still that smile, the one that made him forget he couldn't go out in the sunlight.

Andrew's words flew back at him and cut deep. She didn't trust anymore. No one in the new Watcher's council/slayer school did. He could care less about anyone else, but She didn't trust him. That hurt. He would give his life, had given his life and more important things like humanity, to protect her. Sure, he was running an evil law firm now but didn't she trust his judgment anymore. That hurt a lot more then he would like to admit.

Angel sighed and looked down at the phone number he held. He had had it for several hours now. It had been a simple thing to get with Wolfram and Hart's resources. He just wasn't sure what he wanted to do with it. Finally he got up with a grumble and walked over to the bed. He sat down and picked up the phone, grumbling to himself "Come on, you've faced hell beasts, now you can't call a girl?" It was a little more difficult then that, she was the girl.

He had almost hung up. It was late in Rome, maybe she wasn't there, or she was asleep. The words caught in his mouth when she did pick up.


"Buffy," It was the only word his brain could process. Her voice was achingly familiar. She sounded like home.

"Angel?" He had always loved the way she said his name, like it was a question. She never quite sounded like she believed he was real, even when he had lived in Sunnydale and seen her every day.

"Yeah, it's me. I just wanted to call and see how Dana was doing." He was stalling for time, avoiding the questions he really wanted to ask.

"Oh, the LA slayer, she's I don't know. I talked to Giles earlier today and he says she's pretty scared. He's got some shaman and witches coming in to look at her tomorrow." Buffy said.

"Does he think they can help her?" Angel asked.

"No one is a lost cause. We don't give up on people, on souls. You taught me that, Angel." Her voice is soft and quiet, thick with nostalgia.

"That's right, we save souls, we don't give up on them. I think I'd almost forgotten that." He said with a slight smile.

"That's why we fight."

"Listen, Buffy, Andrew said something. It's been bothering me and to be truthful I've got enough things bothering me. Andrew said something about not trusting me, I mean Wolfram and Hart." He covered quickly. He wasn't sure he wanted her to know how personal this was.

"That little twit. I really should have killed him while he was evil." She muttered.

"Buffy, I would have taken care of her, until you could get up here to get her."

"I know, and Andrew was wrong. I do trust you, maybe not Wolfram and Hart because, hello evil lawyers, but you, I trust. We've been through too much for me not to. But here's the deal, these slayers, they are my responsibility. I made them, ok technically Willow made them, but it's my fault Dana is in the position she's in. It's my job to take care of it, to fix it." Buffy explained.

"Buffy, Dana has a lot more problems then just being the slayer, in fact you may have done more for her by making her a slayer then anything. She doesn't feel like a victim anymore."

"No, just a mass murdering homicidal maniac." Buffy said with a sigh.

"She's got issues, hopefully Giles can help her with them. So, Andrew said you and Dawn were in Rome?" Angel said.

"Yeah, I wanted to her to finish high school and she can't do that if we're wandering all over the world. So I closed my eyes and picked a spot on the map. I picked Greenland first, which sounds nice, but Giles swears it's covered in ice. Then there was Cleveland, I am so not letting my baby sister go to high school on a Hellmouth. Been there, done that, got the diploma. So finally my fingers cooperated and picked Rome. We've been here four months now. I'm learning Italian. Dawn is better at it then me, a fact she never lets me forget. I'm sorry, I'm babbling. I'll stop now." She said sheepishly.

"No, it's actually nice. I used to love it when you told me about your day." Angel said. Tears rushed to sting his eyes. He hadn't realized how much he missed her voice, her perception of life, her spirit. He hadn't realized how much he missed her.

"So, things are good there?" Buffy asked hesitantly.

"Things are-I don't know. I know we're doing good things, because I get reports on it everyday. But most days, it doesn't feel like it." Angel said with a sigh.

"What made you want to take over an evil law firm anyway? Willow did some research on Wolfram and Hart. They represent evil in at least a dozen dimensions." Buffy asked.

"It's complicated. At some point, life went from black and white, to all these shades of gray." He said, thinking it had gone to shades of gray right after he'd left Sunnydale. "The resources here are endless. I know they are up to something, no one hands over the keys to their favorite toy without a reason. I figured the best way to find out was to be on the inside."

"Makes sense. You're being careful though, right?" She sounded concerned, even over transatlantic phone lines. She sounded the way she used to, a thousand lifetimes ago in Sunnydale.

"I am. You?"

"You know me, I'm a safety girl." She said in traditional perky Buffy fashion. "Seriously though, the evil quotient has been way down since we cratered Sunnydale."

"It's been booming here, but then that could be because most of the evil is clients."

She laughed. God, he'd forgotten what that sounded like. It was a balm to his soul, one sorely needed right now.

"Well, I'd better go. I've got to get Dawn up in the morning and off to school." She almost sounded regretful.

"Ok. Buffy, it was really good to hear your voice." He couldn't let her get off the line without knowing that.

She paused. "Yours, too. I'd forgotten how good."

"Can I call you again, sometime?" he asked.


He hung up the phone with a smile. Somehow she always made him feel like Popeye after he'd had his spinach.

A/N Since we know Buffster is in Rome, this will probably be an on-going conversations type series that follows along somewhat with season 5 of Ats. That doesn't mean I won't make up my own 'day in the life of' chapters. Hope ya'll enjoyed it this is my first attempt at a short story.