Buffy Fan Fiction

"After the Glitter Fades"
by Chelle
March, 2000


What I seem to touch these days Has turned to gold... What I seem to want Well you know I'll find a way "After the Glitter Fades", Stevie Nicks

"It's so good to be here," Cordelia Chase said, smiling warmly at the party's hostess. "My husband and I were just out admiring the statuary. It must have cost you a fortune."

Xander watched his wife with a mixture of admiration and amusement. She always seemed to know what to say at these gatherings. And when she turned that beaming smile to him, he even stopped feeling out of place. All she had to do was tug him forward gently and he was back inside her protective circle, where the charmed life they led seemed both natural and permanent. There was no room for doubt in Cordelia's world.

"Yes, it's beautiful," he agreed, allowing Cordelia to take his arm. "Is it new? I don't remember seeing it last time we were here."

They drifted through the room, guided by the host and hostess themselves, chatting idly about the beauty of the house. It was the largest, grandest party Xander had ever attended and Cordelia shone in the middle of it. She smiled and laughed at all the right places in the conversation, drawing people to her easily. Soon they stood in the middle of a large group of admirers.

Cordelia met his gaze, a sparkle in her eyes and a smile on her lips. She loved the attention she got at these parties. For years, they had lived the kind of life Xander was accustomed to, both of them working, living from paycheck to paycheck. And Cordelia had been happy then, he thought.

But then she had finally gotten her big break and they had moved into the life *she* knew, the life of extravagant living and white lies. Cordelia had slipped back into it immediately, educating him on the appropriate manners. And now Xander was almost as practiced at the simple task of making rich people feel more important than they really were.


He still didn't really like it much, though, and Cordelia knew it. Tilting her head towards his, she whispered, "Just a few more minutes. Then we can go."

They put in an appearance at every party they were invited to but stayed for few of them. Cordelia told anyone who asked why that it added to her mystique. They would chuckle at that and nod in agreement. She wasn't the best actress in Hollywood; everyone knew that. But she was undoubtedly the most loved for the moment. That would probably change in a day or two, but Cordelia was willing to take what she could get. And she was going to do everything she could to extend her tenure as much as she could, Xander was sure.

The designated few minutes passed and finally Cordelia turned one last smile on the group and made her excuses. Turning back to Xander, she took his arm again and moved him away from the knot of people. "Would you care to dance, kind sir?" she asked extravagantly, her eyes sparkling.

"It would be my pleasure," he answered with a sweeping bow.

Cordelia laughed and smacked his arm. "Come on, silly."


Moving into the ballroom, Xander pulled Cordelia into his arms and began dancing. They moved gracefully and, as usual, he saw that people soon stopped to watch Cordelia. He'd stopped feeling jealous after the first few parties when he realized she wasn't going to leave him for anyone else. "What are you going to do when all of this ends?" he asked.

"Oh, we'll be okay," she answered. "The whole point of all this is to take advantage of it while you have it and remember it fondly once you don't."

"Is it now?" he asked with a smile. She sounded so certain and wise when she talked about Hollywood life.

"Yes, it is. Besides, we have each other, right?"

"Well, I'm not going anywhere," Xander answered.

Cordelia beamed. "Good. Because neither am I. I love you, you know."

"Really? And I thought you stuck around for my cooking."

"Oh, that's right. You're the great master chef Xander."

"And don't you forget it."

"Xander, I don't really think mac and cheese counts as a culinary masterpiece," Cordelia said with a chuckle.

"So, it's not my cooking?" Xander asked in mock surprise.

"You'd have an ego the size of Cleveland by now," he said, pulling her more tightly against him as they whirled around the dance floor. "Luckily for everyone, you *do* have me. And that's not going to change any time soon."

The music stopped and they came to a halt, their arms still wrapped around each other. "Ready to go?" she asked.

He nodded and she pulled away, moving across the room quickly to where their host and hostess were dancing. She spoke quietly with them for a minute and then returned to Xander, slipping an arm around his.

"Say goodbye for me?" he asked as they left the ballroom.

"Of course. And I told them to make sure I didn't become yesterday's news until tomorrow at least."

"Well, if you do, we'll just stage a comeback next week," Xander whispered conspiratorially.

Grinning, Cordelia answered, "Sounds good to me. I love you, Xander." As they stepped into their waiting limousine, she added, "And have I mentioned that I *love* being famous? Remember all of this well, Xander. It'll be over eventually."

"I don't think I'll mind that much."

"You know what? I don't think I will either. But you've gotta admit, it's awfully fun while it lasts."

Looking at his beaming wife, Xander had to agree.


Oh you know... the dream keeps coming Even when you forget to feel "After the Glitter Fades", Stevie Nicks

"You're leaving," Cordelia said hollowly as she watched Xander close his suitcase.

"Yeah," Xander answered, sitting on the bed next to her. "Listen, Cordy," he began, but she cut him off with a firm shake of her head.

"No. If you want to go, just go. I'm not going to beg you to stay. You don't think we're right for each other anymore, right? Isn't that what you said?"

Xander sighed. "Yeah, that's what I said. I love you, Cordelia," he said sadly as he picked up his suitcase and headed out the bedroom door.

"I love you, too," she whispered, staring after him. She waited for the tears to start, but her eyes remained dry and eventually she stood and grabbed her coat. She still had a job to do, after all. She could cry when shooting was done for the day.


Cordelia smiled tightly. She was tired and had no desire to be talking to yet another late night talk show host about yet another terrible movie that nobody would watch. But here she was, chatting it up with Jay or Conan or whoever the hell this was, feeling more and more ridiculous as the minutes passed. Hadn't Xander said it would come to this when he'd left?

A pang of guilt shot through her at that thought. She had promised him repeatedly that she would still be happy when her career took its inevitable downward turn. But then the most amazing thing happened. It didn't start downward. She became increasingly famous as months and then years went by. She moved through it all, happily at first and then with less enthusiasm.

Her life became almost mechanical as she moved from one photo shoot to the next, from the dressing room to the set to an interview. And in the midst of all this she went home to Xander, hugging him and kissing him just as she always did. At least that was what she had thought at the time. But when Xander left, he said they'd grown apart. That was partly true, Cordelia supposed. Xander had grown and she had stopped.

He wanted more from life than an endless string of parties where he had to pretend to be something he wasn't. But that was the only life that made sense to her anymore. So he left and she continued on with it, making her movies, appearing on all the talk shows, signing autographs. It was a life that was comforting in its familiarity.

But eventually the inevitable *had* happened. The interesting roles started going to younger, perkier actresses and Cordelia found herself playing the main character's older sister in movie after movie. The reporters stopped calling, the invitations to parties stopped arriving, and she felt herself sinking, trying desperately to cling to the last shreds of her career.

So here she was on yet another B-list talk show, talking about what a *challenge* it was to play the deaf-mute's sympathetic sister. And the host was too polite to mention that the teenage boy playing the deaf- mute put in a better performance and she was too polite to point out that the host had mispronounced her character's name. So they smiled at each other and did what everyone in their business did best. They lied.

"It was a really great role," Cordelia said. "I was honored to even have a chance at it. When Jim called to say they'd picked me, I couldn't believe it."

"Well, I was impressed," the host answered. "You should be proud of your performance."

And so it went, lie after lie. And when she went home at night, the house was empty. But at least she was still a moderately famous actress. There was still the occasional party and she got to work with some of the best actors in Hollywood. And she had been right about one thing: she could still remember the days when she had been *really* famous.

But most often, she found herself wishing to have those days back rather than recalling them fondly. She loved Hollywood still, the ritz and glamour of it all speaking to something inside her, and she hated being on the fringes of it. Once Cordelia had thought she could be happy again once her career was over. As long as she had Xander, she could be happy anywhere, she had thought. But show business had managed to lay down roots in her soul. And she no longer had Xander. And Cordelia wasn't sure which of these made it more difficult to give up the Hollywood life.

The feeling remains Even after the glitter fades "After the Glitter Fades", Stevie Nicks