Willow stood at the top of the old quarry, looking at the blue pool of water at the bottom. It had to be at least 100-feet down, and the water couldn't be that deep. If the impact didn't kill her, she'd probably break her neck on a submerged rock.
Either way, the pain would be gone.
She looked across the valley to where Giles' house stood in the trees. He'd tried to help her overcome the grief she felt after Tara's death, and tried to help her come to terms with having killed Warren. But, in the end, she couldn't cope. Taking a deep breath, she started to walk forward.
"I wouldn't do that if I where you." A voice called, "Then again, I'm not the best person to ask for advice on this sort of thing."
"Who said that?" Willow span round. She slipped on a wet stone and fell backwards over the edge. A strong hand grabbed hers as it flailed wildly. It pulled her back up over the edge and onto the dirt track.
"Whoa!" The voice laughed, "That was a little to close."
"Who are you?" Willow looked up into a pair of blue eyes sounded by blond hair.
"That's complicated." The stranger smiled, "But you can call me Loki."
"What are you doing here?" Willow asked, "You don't sound local."
"That's putting it mildly." Loki laughed again, "I was told that there was someone here who could use a shoulder to cry on, someone I could help."
"What are you, some kind of councilor?" Willow crossed her arms across her chest protectively.
"No." Loki shook his head, "I'm just someone who's been through a lot, someone who's looking for a way to redeem himself."
"I doubt you've been through what I've been through." Willow lowered her head, "No one has."
"I wouldn't be so sure." Loki sat on a rock, "You're not the only one who's killed people, who almost ended the world."
"How do you know about that?" Willow's head shot up.
"Ever hear of those mysterious 'Powers That Be'?" Loki asked, "Well I kind of work for them. Well, him, her, what ever."
"Like Whistler?" Willow asked.
"Kind of." Loki nodded, sitting on a nearby rock, "But my service has not been as prestige's as his: I had a job, a reason to exist, and I was good at it. I was it. But a friend convinced me that it was wrong. I told them I quite, and gave them the 'finger' and walked off."
"You gave The Powers That Be the bird?" Willow was shocked, "What did they do?"
"Banishment, for the entire span of human history." Loki shrugged.
"That's harsh." Willow sat next to him, "Where'd they send you?"
"Wisconsin." Loki looked at her, "Among the Cheese-people."
"Hash." Willow giggled, "What you do to get out?"
"Tried to end the world." Loki saw the look in Willow's eyes, "I kid you not: Me and Bartleby, the friend who convinced me that my job was wrong, we almost ended the world about 3 years ago."
"How?" Willow asked.
"Long story, involving a Church in New Jersey..." Loki trailed off.
"I read about that in the paper!" Willow looked shocked, "They said it was some kind of mass-hallucination."
"I know, I know." Loki smiled, "You humans are so self-delusional. Anyway, I decided that what we where doing was wrong, and I tried to stop Bartleby. Due to a slight complication in our plan, he was able to kill me. But, as I had shown remorse for what I had done, that I had, as a human, tried to atone for my past sins, I was given a chance to seek redemption. That's why I'm here."
"To kill me?" Willow asked.
"No." Loki shook his head, "I don't do that anymore: I was sent to stop you killing yourself. You still have a part to play in the coming fight. You have the choice: you can kill yourself, end the pain you feel. Or you can face the pain, stone for your past sins, wipe the slate clean."
"I can do that?" For the first time in a long time, there was hope in Willow eyes.
"Everyone has a chance to redeem themselves." Loki smiled, "Even if, like me, you have to stray from the path to find it." He looked at the cliff edge, "Still want to jump?"
"No." Willow shook her head, "I don't think so."
"Good." Loki stood, "You did something, something terrible, but there is always the hope for forgiveness. It may take a while, but you'll find your redemption someday. Goodbye." And with that, he turned and walked off.
"Someday." Willow stood, heading down the track towards the distant house, "Someday..."