The Bronze was teeming with bodies writhing to the pulsing music that blared from the large
speakers set up on stage. Fast and hard, the alternative song pumped up the dancers on the dance
floor. Young men and women moved together in an orgy of limbs.
"Killians," Xander ordered, not sparing a second glance at the bartender behind the bar at the back
of the club. He pulled his sunglasses down to gauge the lighting. He was relieved
to find that it was dark enough that he could see without too much irritation. Having eyes with
pupils that didn't adjust to brightness was a real pain at times.
Xander hooked his sunglasses onto the front of his t-shirt and grabbed the beer the bartender had
placed beside him. Xander tossed a few crumpled bills on the bar's dark surface to pay for his drink,
then took a long pull. He was no longer carded, despite being under the legal drinking age, which
was a great plus in his messed-up life.
Maturity. Originally defined as physical growth by psychologists, the unenlightened used the term
to represent mental growth, or "acting one's age." People used the word as a derogatory expression
when others were goofing off. Others used it as a compliment towards a younger person.
Back in high school, Xander had been considered a runner-up in the class clown category. He
always had a joke or was pulling a prank. Cordelia had reveled in loudly announcing that his
maturity level was equal to that of his shoe size.
Yesterday, Cordelia had wondered when that immature doof disappeared.
Xander knew he had matured mentally beyond his twenty years. Living on his own for over a year
had matured him. Working in a strip club surrounded by beautiful people every night -- and forcing
himself not to try and score -- had matured him. Working as a stripper and not taking up the offers
from the customers... had been pretty stupid, but a sign of maturity.
Finally, Xander's crazy accident that had turned him into a superhero, of sorts, had been a definitive
turn in his maturity level. He had to relearn how to live with his altered sight. He had to train himself not to
electrocute people when he touched them. He had to decide how to use his newfound abilities without going over that shaky line between good and bad.
Roaming around the country with Spike, though, had led to some very immature activities. While
Spike was exceptionally intelligent, a good conversationalist when he wanted to be, and
had a wonderfully macabre sense of humor, he was far from the most mature individual around.
Trying to unravel the World's Largest Ball of String had been one of the more tame ideas.
Xander nursed his beer and let his gaze slowly travel around the Bronze. The ride he'd taken on the
Hawk had cleared his mind somewhat, but the electricity from the storm was still buzzing under his
skin and making him tense.
And when he was tense, he hunted.
In Xander's eyes, the Bronze was a myriad of black, gray, and white. He concentrated on the patrons' bodies. A normal human would be comprised of tiny, moving, sequinish bluish-white lights. A
vampire would have light primarily in their head and nowhere else. Other types of demons would have different patterns.
Xander spotted his first quarry -- a vampire -- standing near the hallway to the restrooms.
The tall, bulky male sported a speckled, black rod that was trying desperately to reach the brighter light between the girl's legs. Xander checked his pockets for a stake. When he didn't find one, he mentally shrugged and
proceeded towards the vampire anyway. Some wooden object would turn up when he needed it.
Xander purposely rubbed himself against the large vampire as he walked past. He paused and
looked up at the tall male with a slight lift to one corner of his mouth. The vampire stared down at
him with annoyance.
"Oh, excuse me," Xander purred, a talent that he'd learned from Spike. By slightly lowering the
voice and speaking slower, a spell of seduction was woven around an intended victim with a few
simple words. Xander's success rate in attracting his prey was phenomenal when he spoke in this
"No problem," the vampire grunted.
Xander winked, then sauntered into the hallway that led to the restrooms. Halfway down, he
glanced over his shoulder and saw the vampire watching him. Xander sent the other man a
come-hither smile, then continued on out the back door of the Bronze.
The back alley was trash-strewn, smelly, but people-free. He saw a few dark piles of ashes scattered
about and smirked. Buffy had been at work recently, he thought as he leaned against the wall and
effected a casual pose. Xander knew he couldn't stay at the Bronze long if he didn't want to run into
The door to the alley opened and, on cue, the vampire stepped outside. Xander tilted the beer bottle
to his lips and took a long drink. He could feel the other male's eyes focused on his neck as his
Adam's apple bobbed with each swallow. Vampires were so predictable.
Xander lowered the bottle and looked over at the vampire. "Hey."
"Hey," the vampire returned. He walked over to Xander and right into Xander's personal
space. "You wanted something?"
Xander raised his eerily dark eyes and grinned evilly. "Yeah. You, dust."
With that, Xander mentally reached inside the vampire's brain and literally shut off the lights.
The vampire fell bonelessly to the ground, never to move again. The demon was completely
destroyed, it's entire life-force snuffed out by Xander.
Xander broke off a slat from a crate with a well-placed kick, then staked the vampire with the shard
of wood. The body became just another dark pile of dust in the alley.
Xander tucked the make-shift stake into his pocket, took a pull on his beer, and headed back
into the Bronze.
The hunt continued.