NIGHT GAME

***'***

For weeks Willow had watched this upstart Slayer wreaking havoc in the night.

It had been one thing when the irritating girl had been taking out newbie vamps and unattached demons in ones and twos. Willow had quite enjoyed watching her laughing and taunting them as she'd danced around them with stake in hand. She'd appreciated her brash attitude and cocky smirks. But now she was taking on parts of Willow's own family, dropping into their lairs and leaving nothing but fire and dust in her wake. It was completely unacceptable.

Willow's clan had already taken out two Slayers, each better than the current; the blonde one had been far more experienced than this little irritant and the one who'd come after a much better fighter. So why was it that her underlings had been destroyed every time this new girl happened upon them?

Willow was still trying to figure that bit out.

To that end she was perched atop a low roof overlooking a dead-end alley where a squad of six of her best were trying, and failing, to take the Slayer down.

The girl was wild, throwing punches and kicks that were all power and no discipline, and yet she was tossing around these trained monsters like they were nothing. She'd staked one as he'd charged her and ducked under the arm of the next, throwing him forcefully into two others.

Willow sighed.

This was not at all what she'd expected when she'd sent a handful of her elite after the Slayer.

Willow continued to watch as the Slayer took more than a few hits and just kept coming, a feral grin on her face. A second of her crew went poof when he was kicked onto a broken crate. A third followed as he'd attacked from behind with a snarl and met a boot to the face that had been followed by a stake to the chest. The remaining three held back, wary, until the girl made an obscene hand gesture that spurred them into attacking.

All three at once lunged for her with such speed even Willow was a little startled, to say nothing of the surprise that crossed the Slayer's face.

She held her own admirably, dodging out of the way and taking just enough hits to keep them close enough for her to hit back. But, at last, she was overwhelmed. Two had gotten hold of her arms while the third went to work on her ribs.

Willow smiled.

Then scowled as the girl lashed out with her legs and twisted out of her minions' grasp. She took out the one who'd been at her ribs, throwing her stake into his chest when he tried to stand up after her kick.

Only two left. They went to rush the Slayer.

"That's enough," Willow said quietly, and she saw her boys stop themselves from attacking again. It was time for her to step in.

She descended the fire escape with all the grace of a queen, her boots clanging loudly in the silent alley.

"Who the fuck are you?" the Slayer asked and spat out some blood. The smell of it made Willow smile, Slayer blood was always so appealing. She was younger than Willow had thought, maybe fifteen, and clearly malnourished. "Elvira wannabe?"

Willow's smile only grew wider. The sight of it made her men shift away from her nervously. Good.

"I'm Willow," she said calmly. She stepped up between her remaining two vampires and towards the cornered Slayer, "And you, Slayer, are the cause of all my recent troubles."

"Like I care, Red. I'm about to end all your troubles permanently." Having said that she cracked her knuckles, rolled her head on her neck, and squared up to fight.

"Oh," Willow held back a laugh, "I sincerely doubt that. But you're welcome to try. I think I'd enjoy playing with you."

The girl charged. Willow signaled her boys back and met the charge. She easily slipped under the girl's outstretched fist and threw her into a wall.

She stalked forward and picked up the dazed girl, tossing her across the alley and into a pile of trash.

The Slayer rose slowly and focused on Willow, appearing much more cautious.

"I was right," Willow hummed to herself in pleasure, "I do like playing with you."

The girl's eyes flashed as she heard Willow's murmur but she didn't rise to the bait.

Willow smirked, pleased with how quickly the Slayer had learned her lesson, "What's your name, sweetie?"

"Faith," the girl licked her lips, "But you can keep calling me Slayer."

She rushed in again, this time not leaving the opening Willow had exploited before, and they came to blows.

A swift exchange saw them both taking a few hits, avoiding the majority, but it was clear to Willow that she would eventually win. Faith was tiring; her earlier fighting had left its marks on her and she was fading slowly but surely.

Willow would almost regret killing her. She was fun. She was a better challenge than Willow had had in a very long time. She wasn't exactly hard to look at either, Willow thought with a lecherous grin as she ducked away from another swing.

Willow stepped into Faith's personal space, caught her by the arms, and threw her against the alley wall once again. She heard her two men chuckle appreciatively when the Slayer grunted upon landing.

Faith regained her feet but before she could regain her bearings Willow slipped behind her and grabbed her in an immobilizing hold. Pressing their bodies closer than was strictly necessary, but pleasant all the same, Willow leaned forward and took a deep breath. Exquisite.

Faith struggled, "Let go of me!"

Willow just held her more tightly, enjoying the pull of Faith's muscles against her own, and purred, "You smell delicious."

All at once the fight seemed to leave Faith. Though her body had stopped resisting her voice was still defiant when she asked, "You gonna get on with it, or what?"

"I like to savor my meals," Willow licked a path up Faith's neck and nipped at her ear, reveling in Faith's shudder.

Faith scoffed, "Figures. Shit end for a shit life. Least I took some of you bloodsuckers with me."

"Not enough," Willow replied. Then, unable to resist any longer, she sank her teeth into Faith's jugular and drank deep. Faith jerked, tried to lunge away instinctively, before slowly going limp and sinking to her knees with Willow following her down.

"Can we get a taste, boss?"

Willow raised her eyes, but not her lips, and growled. Her two lackeys blanched, not easy for creatures already so pale, and quickly abandoned the alley, grumbling to themselves. Willow would kill them for their failure later, right now she had more important things to attend.

"Selfish," Faith said with a gasp.

Willow managed to pull herself away from the ambrosia she'd been supping on, amused the dying girl would challenge her even now, "They failed."

"Whatever, Red," Faith's eyes fluttered, no longer able to keep open. "M'dead anyway."

Willow frowned. Faith was almost completely drained, her heartbeat so sluggish as to not be there at all. She wasn't ready to let this one go, she wasn't bored.

"Dead, maybe," Willow said musingly and came to a decision. She tore open her own wrist and forced it into Faith's mouth, making her swallow some down, "But I'm not done playing with you yet."

Willow listened raptly for the last beat of Faith's heart. When her last breath left her and her heart stopped Willow smiled in satisfaction.

A brand new toy in a whole new game.

Yes, Willow thought, now the real fun could begin.