The growing bloodlust was making the redhead irritable when, suddenly, a chilling thought struck her: Could Xander have been killed by that horrible Giles and his children's brigade? What else could be keeping him from being at her side? He would never go off hunting without her. She had to find what had became of him, so she made her way to the Bronze. Stepping inside the club, she found the familiar scene of revelry and debauchery, yet somehow, tonight was different. The denizens weren't off in clusters of their own...they all seemed to have their attention fixed on a single point! The redheaded vampire's eyes followed their gazes, discovering a woman! Willow had never seen her before. She may have been a traveler to the Hellmouth, but more than likely she was newly-sired.
She was roughly the same size as the redhead, with chocolate brown hair and dark eyes, with a smile that was both dazzling and sinister. Wearing a black leather and satin bustier dress, she clearly favored the same Gothic style as Willow herself. And she was also the absolute center of attention in the club, holding the hundred-strong crowd enraptured - which included Xander...her Xander...who stood alongside the newcomer like a...like a consort!
Willow despised the brunette on sight! As she walked towards the mystery woman, the throng parted. After all, as a lieutenant of the Master, Willow has long been treated as one would regard royalty.
Her sensitive hearing picked up the voice of one of her own spawns, Jonathan, whispering in an aside to a compatriot, "Looks like there's a new queen in town."
She'll have to deal with his impertinence later, she mentally noted as she stopped directly in front of the intruder - then proceeded to pointedly ignore her as she turning her full attention to the man beside her.
"Xander, you know I don't like to be kept waiting. Now come along; we have business elsewhere!"
The male shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot, clearly searching for words that wouldn't come. For the briefest of moments, he reminded Willow of the awkward, bumbling, warm thing he had once been. She found it somehow strangely endearing.
The silence was abruptly broken by the mysterious stranger, who said, "I'm sorry, dear...you'll have to find someone else to play with tonight. Xander and I have...plans." Condescension fairly oozed from her every word.
"And you are...?" Willow snapped, her unamused eyes locking with those of the brunette.
"Velma," the brunette replied in a voice smooth as satin. "And you must be that Willow everyone's been making jokes about."
"I don't like you, Velma!" Willow said with a menacing hiss, ignoring the insult.
The brunette ignored Willow's tone and smiled as she slowly looked the redhead up and down before she said, "I don't like redheads very much. One in particular, actually. It was great fun snapping her neck and drinking her dry."
As she spoke, Velma placed her hands on her hips, planted her feet a bit further apart, and thrust her chest out slightly. She was daring Willow to try something. For the space of several heartbeats...if, in fact, there were actually any hearts beating in the room...the redhead stood unmoving, her angry gaze fixed upon the interloper. Then, a sly smile crossed her ruby lips; the silent signal for everyone to move back and give the two hellions plenty of room!
Willow launched the fight with a punch to the jaw that snapped her target's head sharply to the side. But a follow-up was blocked, and the redhead was staggered by an uppercut. They traded blows back and forth, both probing the defenses of the other until Willow perceived an opening and she made her move! She grabbed the brunette by the wrist, twisting her arm with the intent of neutralizing her with a hammer lock. The redhead mused to herself about what she should break first, the elbow or the shoulder socket. Unfortunately for the smug redhead, she was playing directly into her rival's hands.
Velma had cannily provided this very opportunity, knowing that for the briefest of instants, the redhead would be vulnerable as she applied her hold. And in that instant, the brunette struck, grabbing Willow from behind and flipping her over. The startled redhead hit the floor with a thud, and a knee to the side of her head sent her sprawling. Before Willow could gather her wits, she found the powerful legs of her opponent snaked around her waist, her thighs squeezing her like a vice. Velma also managed to grab the redhead's wrists, twisting her arms behind her and leaving Willow unable to pry the crushing gams loose.
Furiously, the redhead transformed into her 'game face'...brow thickening, canine teeth elongating, eyes turning yellow and black. It was a sight which terrified hapless humans, but it meant less than nothing here. As the unyielding pressure increased, Willow gasped, then moaned, and finally began to squeal like the worthless little girl she once had been. Her face reverted to its normal state, and her eyes betrayed her panic.
Velma merely smiled and chuckled cruelly. This was one of the things she loved most about her transformation...the sheer physical power she possessed. In warm life, she had always been so weak, so frail. She relied on her mind, not her body. And what was the result? Mockery from her 'friends', and a lonely solitude in a world of billions. But now, however, she had power, and she had the courage to use it. She was reborn to rule, and the Hellmouth would prove to be a fitting seat of her reign. But first, she had to eliminate this one minor annoyance.
Velma was disappointed her victim didn’t beg for mercy. She always liked her opponents to debase themselves before she finally destroyed them. Well then, if this hold doesn't accomplish that, she'll merely try something else. The brunette releases her scissors, then maneuvers herself so that her thighs tighten around the head of her rival. The skull was harder to crush than a ribcage, true, but it was far more satisfying. She had turned Willow towards her, so that the redhead's fearful eyes could be seen by her conqueror.
Yet in her conceit, the brunette drops her guard and the redhead was not yet so helpless she failed to take advantage. She lashed out a leg, catching her booted foot squarely upon Velma's jaw. The brunette fell backwards, her legs springing open. Without wasting a single second to gather her strength, Willow threw herself atop her foe grabbing Velma by her dark locks. Willow slammed her head repeatedly into the hard wooden floor, then the redhead released her grip and delivered a flurry of punches to the brunette's face! After more than a minute of such jackhammer punishment, Velma's eyes rolled senselessly into her head, her mouth hung slack, and a smear of blood discolored her nostrils. Standing up, Willow grabbed her rival by her hair and dragged her roughly to her feet.
Vaingloriously, the redhead sneered at her seemingly beaten foe and said, "Bored now!"
Still holding the brunette's hair at the scalp with one hand, she cupped the other under Velma's chin; one quick twist would snap her neck like kindling.
Suddenly, the brunette's eyes blazed to life, and she roared, "YOU HURT ME!!"
Before Willow could react, she felt the brunette's knee slam into her crotch. The redhead doubled over with pain, and was helpless to prevent her opponent from scooping her up into the air, and then bringing her down, so that the small of Willow's back jackknifed over Velma's knee. The redhead screamed in pain. The enraged brunette was prepared to finish the job, breaking her rival's spine but then a more wicked thought came to her. Grabbing the stunned redhead by her hair, Velma dragged her through the club and outside. Willow stumbled in her high heels, her scalp seared with pain, as she was hauled down the street to an empty lot where there stood a solitary tree. The brunette had ordered an onlooker to bring a length of rope and, methodically, with a sinister smile dancing on her lips, Velma began binding Willow’s body to the limbs of the tree, crucifix-style….facing East.
"The sun will rise in an hour or so," she said. "It shouldn't take you more than a few minutes to burn to ashes,” Velma cooed. “But it will be THE most agonizing few minutes you could ever imagine, bitch!"
Willow lifted her head, and revealed that she was again wearing her vampiric visage. With a sudden savage jerk of her head, she slammed her forehead into her tormentor's nose, resulting in a sharp crack. Velma staggered backwards a few steps, her hands covering her broken nose. Then, furious, she called up her own game face, and lunged at the redhead with an animalistic roar, intent on tearing her throat out. But what the brunette failed to realize was that she hadn’t completed tying Willow's right hand to the thick tree branch. The redhead was able to pull free of the loose rope, and with a fluid motion, snapped a smaller branch from the tree and plunged it into the chest of the onrushing Velma. The wood bit deep into the brunette, piercing her heart, and in a moment's time she was little more than a cloud of dust.
The onlookers, led by Xander, were quick to free Willow from her binds, knowing full well the folly of not displaying absolute loyalty to her. The redhead turned towards Xander, yet hers was not the look of anger or betrayal.
Willow smiled as she gently caressed his cheek, purring softly, "Silly boy, when will you ever learn?"
He gave a half-smile and said, "I enjoyed it. You know I like to watch."
Willow took him by the hand and as she lead him away, she said,. "We'll go down to the docks. I'm still hungry, and we can find a derelict down there to drink from. Then, we’ll go play with the puppy."