DISCLAIMER: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is copyrighted to Warner Brothers and Mutant Enemy Productions. I retain rights to the plot, but not the characters. This story is meant for enjoyment purposes only. No infringement is intended.


SYNOPSIS: AU: Sequel to "Atonement." Set one year after Spike, Buffy and the gang defeated Fen. A new evil hits town that threatens to tear the Scoobies apart from the inside.

A/N: You don't have to have read Atonement to enjoy this but there are references made to it.



Moonlight filtered through the trees, its silvery glow casting dappled shadows on the ground as a young woman sauntered through the darkened cemetery at a leisurely pace. With each step, her dark green sundress swirled around her ankles and her curly, burnt orange coloured hair bounced slightly.

Moving with an easy grace, she paused every now and then to bend over and read a headstone before carrying on her unhurried way.

Nearing the middle of the graveyard, she came to a church and stopped. The state of ruin told her that it had not been used for many years. Windows were broken, probably by vandals, and the glass was still laying shattered on the ground. The wooden door looked rotten, it's brown paint weathered and peeling, a green mould clinging to the edges.

Walking up to the door, the woman pushed against it and stepped inside. The musty smell of damp and dirt assailed her nose but she ignored both to look eagerly around. The pews were intact as was the altar but everything else had been stripped from the place leaving a feeling of desertion…not only by the people, but also by God himself.

"Perfect," she commented with a grin.

Heading up the aisle, she glanced upwards and saw a couple of large holes in the ceiling that hadn't withstood the test of time or weather. Not at all bothered by that fact, she reached the altar then turned to the left and entered the small antechamber that all churches of any age seemed to have.

The room was of a reasonable size and dry, its only furniture an extremely dusty table and chair. Checking the ceiling, she saw there were no holes and her smile widened in satisfaction.

"This will do nicely," she said to herself. With a last look around, she gave a nod then left.

Back outside in the warm night, she walked through the gravestones with new purpose. As she neared the exit, she heard a twig snap behind her and turned around to see a man standing a short distance away, his dishevelled clothes covered in clumps of dirt and grass.

"What do you want?" she asked, fearfully taking a step back.

Her answer was a feral growl as the man suddenly ran towards her and lunged. In anticipation of food, he allowed his demon to emerge, his face rippling and fangs elongating as he prepared to strike. Only, when it reached to spot where the woman had been standing he stopped in surprise. She wasn't there anymore. Instead, in her place, stood a larger than normal sized fox, eyeing him curiously.

Gold eyes met amber as they stared at each other until the vampire gave a roar and attempted to grab the creature in front of him. Blood was blood and he was hungry.

He'd barely taken a step when the fox quickly turned and brought its long tail around to whack it against the vampires' leg. With a howl of pain, the demon looked down and saw that his legs were on fire. As he ineffectually tried to pat the flames out, he let out another shriek of agony as his hands caught alight.

In front of him, the fox sat down and rapidly transformed back into the woman. Standing up, she watched the flames engulf the vampire entirely, his cries of pain abruptly ceasing when he suddenly crumbled to dust.

Sighing, the woman gave the pile of ash a pitying shake of the head then turned away. "Fledglings are such a waste of time," she muttered to herself as she exited the cemetery. Coming to a stop, she tilted her head to the side and listened intently for a moment. Hearing the distant sounds of music, a smile spread across her face and she turned towards it.

Time to see what entertainment there was to be had on the Hellmouth.

TBC in chapter 1…