Dawn was jumping up and down in joyous excitement, something that was in short supply in recent days. As usual, Xander was the source of her happiness. "Go Xander! Yes!" His concentration unfazed by Dawn's enthusiasm, Xander continued to direct his attacks at the enemy starships. A small sheen of sweat appeared on his brow as he moved the controls in precise, measured motions.

A small crowd began to gather around, drawn by Dawn's shouts of encouragement. They watched and cheered in unison with each enemy destroyed. "Oh my God Xander, you're going to break the record!" Soon after that last outburst, everyone in the arcade had surrounded Xander's console.

Wave after wave of enemy fighters were annihilated by Xander's fire. And as each wave met their end, Xander's score continued to climb higher. After a few more precious minutes, Xander reached the final opponent, the enemy mother ship. As the ship loomed larger on the screen shouts of encouragement were added to Dawn's, so much so that the background noise of the other abandoned machines were lost to the din.

After a few last close calls, the mother ship was no more. Cheers of congratulations came at Xander from all sides as the screen told all present that Xander was now the top scorer.

Minutes passed, and the excitement in the arcade over Xander's victory passed into memory as the patrons returned to their games of choice. As they walked out of the arcade, Xander put his arm around Dawn's shoulders. "Thanks Dawnie for coming with me. I don't know what I would have done if I didn't get away from Slayer Headquarters for a while. That place is downright depressing."

Dawn beamed up at Xander, her face slightly flushed because of their contact. "It was my pleasure Xander. You were awesome in there!"

Xander shrugged his shoulders. "Hey, beats worrying about the First. It feels good to do something normal, something I'm good at outside of work. And it's even better because it's spent with my favorite Summers girl."

Dawn's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "I thought Buffy was your favorite Summers girl."

Xander hugged her close with his arm. "Well that's before some monks decided to give her a really cool sister."

Dawn had nothing to say in response, so they continued walking to Xander's car in a comfortable silence.

Meanwhile, the arcade console welcomed the newest player vying for Xander's top score with: "Greetings, Starfighter. You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Kodan Armada."