Title: As The Romans Do
Author: Helga Von Nutwimple
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Property of Whedon, Mutant Enemy, etc.
Feedback: Crave it like Clem craves kittens.
Setting: Around and beyond 'Angel' episode 5x22
Summary: The Final Battle is just the beginning.

--------------------------------------------------

Prologue
Rome, Italy

The knife blade glittered, making a sweeping silver arc as it descended, penetrating with a sickening crunch.

Andrew thrust with his hands, reaching in...

"May your enemies cower in your path, Harris," he whispered.

... and pulled out the box of Cap'n Crunch.

Andrew shoved aside the FedEx box, dropping the knife into the foam packing peanuts. He had a fair guess as to what the rest of the contents were -- Xander had laughed at the list, but Andrew had known he would understand. Since his arrival back in the States, Xander had totally been using his powers for awesome.

The Cap'n Crunch, though -- that was the prize. Rome had its delights -- soaring archetecture, millenia of history, and a certain pungent smell that kind of grew on you after a while -- but a wide selection of breakfast cereals was not one of them.

Andrew grabbed a bowl from a cabinet with surging joy, willing himself not to let the thumps and moans from the other room interrupt his sacred, high-glycemic reunion.

"O Cap'n, My Cap'n," Andrew intoned reverently as the sounds of wheaty nuggets hitting bowl very nearly masked another gasping shriek from Buffy.

Andrew would say this for Dawn -- she might have a whine audible for parsecs and a really nasty habit of hitting him a lot, but at least when she was home, he was spared the audio track of "Buffy: The Immortal Banger".

A folded sheet of paper fell from the box, landing in his cereal.

Andrew groaned. "Prizes get worse every year..."

He reached out, crumpling the paper, preparing for a two-pointer... and stopped.

Handwriting.

Xander's handwriting.

Andrew smoothed the letter out on the countertop, plucking a dry nugget out of his bowl and raising it to his lips.

His eyes widened.

He stepped backwards.

He lunged for the phone.