The main doorway to Sunnydale High School swung open on it's own to admit two men dressed in long coats. The echoing sound of fighting came from four different directions at once.
"Well, here we are." The taller of the two men said dryly, "Leave it to the Americans to end the world." He looked at his companion, "You really ready for this?"
"I think so." The shorter man nodded, running a hand through his blond hair, "One way or the other, I get to see what I'm really made of."
"Good." The taller man drew a large broadsword, "I think you know how to use this." He handed the weapon over, "I'll be around if you need me."
"I didn't think you where aloud to interfere?" Blond asked, shedding his coat to reveal polished silver armour, "I thought this was a test?"
"You past the test be volunteering to do this." The other man looked at him, arms crossed, "This is just your first day back on the job: don't screw it up."
"Thanks." Blond nodded, heading of down the corridor.
"Willow, you in there?" A soft voice came from the other side of the office door.
"Loki?" Willow managed to pull herself to her feet and opened the door, "What are you doing here?"
"I've been sent to help." Loki explained, swinging his sword through the air, leaving a faint glowing line behind the blade, "I kind of got my old job back."
"What exactly is that: you never did say." Willow asked, looking at the sword and armour.
"Better if I just show you." Loki closed his eyes and concentrated: there was the sound of ripping cloth, followed by a rustle as a pair of immense wings unfolded. "You like?" Loki asked with a smile.
"I like." Willow looked at them, "Dose this mean you an…"
"I was." Loki shrugged, "Guess I am again." He looked round, "I got to go save someone's life: see you later."
"Anya!" Andrew all but screamed as the Bringer grabbed him from behind.
The former Vengeance daemon stabbed the attacker, not noticing the one who stood behind her, its own weapon ready to run her through. A blur of movement in the corner of her eye made Anya spin round in time to see the Bringer collapse, its head rolling across the floor.
"Who did that?" Anya looked round and caught sight of Loki, "Who are you? Wait, you're a…"
"Yeah, and you're a daemon: go figure." Loki shrugged, "It's funny how things work out." He span round, sword pointing at a group of Turok-Han that had congregated, "PREPARE TO TASTE GODS WRATH!" The sword erupted in white flame, the powerful light incinerating the uber-vampires instantly.
"Whoa!" Andrew exclaimed, shielding his eyes, "That's awesome!"
"It was kind of cool." Loki nodded, "Little more showy than I had in mind, but it got he job done." He looked down the corridor to where a pillar of flame and light had erupted from out of the floor, "You two might want to start running…"
"I love you." Buffy looked at Spike.
"No you don't; but thanks for saying it anyway." The blond vampire smiled, "Now get going: I want to see how this one ends!"
With one last look back, Buffy ran up the steps and back out the Hell-mouth, running as fast as she could. She ran through the school as it started to collapse around her, doing her best to catch up with the fleeing bus carrying the rest of the survivors.
She ran up a fire escape leading to the roof of a row of shops, and started along the street, trying to get to a point where she could jump onto the moving vehicle. A roaring, groaning sound made her glance back: the school had collapsed into a huge hole in the ground that was expanding out, racing towards her at a pronominal speed.
A badly positioned drainpipe tripped her. She hit the ground rolling, springing back to her feet, but the ever-increasing hole was now approaching faster than she was catching up with the bus: she knew there was no way she could make it.
There was a sudden blur of movement, followed by the strange feeling of flying though the air.
Buffy looked down to see the ground shoot by at incredible speed quite a distance below. She looked round to see a pair of blue eyes sounded by blond hair.
"Hi." The face smiled, "The name's Loki: I'm kind of a friend of Willows."
"But you're a… You're a…" Buffy struggled to find the right word to describe what she was seeing.
"An angle? Yes, I know." Loki nodded, "It's the wings isn't it: the wings give it away."
"What are you doing here?"
"Well, right now I'm saving your life…"
"Yeah, thanks for that."
"Hey, I was just passing." Loki grinned, "Ok, I think this is your ride." He dived down, landing with ease on the roof of the bus, "Tell Willow not to worry: I have it on good authority that it'll work out in the end. Be seeing you." He took to the air with an effortless beet of his wings.
The two of them stood in the desert, not far from where the bus had stopped.
"They can't see us, can they?" Loki half asked.
"No: it's better this way." The Metatron nodded, "Even after all they've seen, they still need to fool themselves into believing what they want to believe."
"I guess so." Loki shrugged, looking to where Xander and Anya stood, obviously back together, "Will it all work out in the end?"
"It's like a friend one said: You know those mysterious ways you keep hearing about? Well, this is one of them."
"That's not a very good answer you know…"
"You caught me on the hop…"
"That's no excuse…"