Text by Calypso Woodhaven

In Deo speramus*


“You’re like a bad penny,” Buffy observed irritably as she touched down, shaking her wings with an extra flourish. “Did you not get the memo? You’re not welcome here.”


They were in the Hinderlands, exactly one zip-code south of Peter and the gate. In other words: her turf. The flat plains seemed to stretch forever under an impossible blue sky, but that was an illusion. It was the very finite buffer between Purgatory and Paradise .


Somehow he’d managed to scrape and crawl his way here through the seven rings of Hell and the netherworlds below. The foul smell of sulfur wafted from him. Buffy wrinkled her nose.


“You let me by, girl,” Caleb snarled, blue eyes flashing wildly.


Buffy shook her head, unapologetically. “Sorry, entrance is by invitation only and you didn’t make the cut. Color me surprised.”


“I want to know why!” Caleb spat, nearly apoplectic with rage.


“You’re kidding, right?” Buffy laughed in disbelief.


He clenched his fists and shook his head. “He’s gonna tell me why I was relegated to the fiery pits with the sinners and the unwashed.”


Buffy snorted at his indignation. “It’s not His fault you misread the message: Thou shall not kill was pretty clear.”


Caleb argued, “Everything I did, I did for Him.  They were all sinners and whores.”


“Oh, please.” Buffy rolled her eyes. “Charity, love, forgiveness:  is any of this ringing a bell?”


Spike swooped down from above, landing softly on the ground next to Buffy. “You started without me, love,” he pouted. “Supposed to be my turn.”


“Eh, I can handle it.” Buffy shrugged. “But if you want him, go for it.”


“You!” a vaguely familiar voice snarled at him.


Spike turned to look at the interloper, realizing who it was. “Well, look what we have here. Must really chafe that I’m here and you’re…” he curled his tongue behind his teeth, “not.”


Caleb lunged at Spike, his shoulder hitting the blond in the midsection. Spike’s wings curled around them both as he lost his balance.


The sky darkened slightly and a Buffy’s hair began to flutter in the slight breeze.

She looked up at the sky and muttered, “Sheesh! Can’t a girl have time to do her job?”


Thunder rumbled ominously in reply.


Caleb must have retained his strength or Spike would have easily torn him apart.


Buffy hung back, watching them fight. She was ready to jump in if Spike needed assistance, but she had to admit it still made her hot to watch Spike fight. Even as an angel, he refused to play fair.   She loved that about him.


Spike pushed off from the ground, flying out of Caleb’s reach, his bright-white wings beating gently to hold him aloft. “That all you got, preacher-man?”


Caleb smiled cruelly. “No, I think it’s safe to say I got a bit more in me.”


He lifted his hand and green fire poured out of his palm, engulfing Spike and propelling him impossibly high into the sky.


“NO!” Buffy screamed and lunged at Caleb as the sky went dark. Sparks began to rain down; burning feathers that guttered out and littered the landscape beneath like broken grey dandruff.


Her hands clamped around his ears and she twisted, relishing the snap of his neck.  Caleb fell to his knees, but Buffy didn’t see. She didn't notice as his hands clenched as he tore several feathers from her, she was already running at full speed across the ground, her wings unfurling. 


The skies opened as rain fell in heavy sheets, putting out the flames, but Spike was falling like a stone.


Buffy leapt, her wings beating furiously as she flew toward Spike. They collided with a muffled thud, and she cradled Spike to her. “I’m here, baby. I’ve got you. I’ll get you home.”


Once he was safely on the ground, she braved a look. He was pale, his skin almost ashy. His wings were nearly destroyed, the feathers that survived were stained a dingy gray color, singed. She stroked his face.


Somehow, during his stint in the netherworlds Caleb had managed to figure out how to summon Hellfire, the only thing that could truly injure an angel.


Buffy turned her head toward where she left Caleb, but he’d vanished. Not surprising: any mortal blow would have sent him back to the Hell dimension he’d been assigned. With any luck, he’d be punished severely for escaping.


As the winds calmed and the rain stopped, she felt comfortable enough to move Spike.

“Come on, let’s get you home.”



*”In God we trust.”


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