After The Thrill Is Gone

Author: Drake (D-Tepes, Drake-Tepes) <daemondrake[at]>

Rating: PG I'd guess…

Disclaimer: Don't own anything so you won't get anything.

Summary: A little look into the heads of some characters.

Distribution: XZ, anyone else just ask first.

Author's Notes: This was posted on January 18th 1998, was written just after the episode "Bad Eggs" and before the "Surprise"/"Innocence" bit. I've been told before that this is one of the first X/C fics... I like the ego stroking, but I doubt it. Everything below is exactly was it was originally posted… with exception of some corrected grammar (thanks to Mark/Bastard Snow, who also is the person who insisted I post this). So, look at the original disclaimer, notes and then, the story.

Oh, and I have no hope that the formatting for this will be anywhere near good.

Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy and Company. They belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions, and the WB. No copyright infringement is intended. The song exert belongs to the The Eagles.

This story is in two forms, it is basically the same story from two different perspectives. I'm considering doing a series of these, if anyone wants to help or write one on their own like this drop me a line so I won't step on any toes.

Enough covering my rear. Now onto the story.

Chapter 1

'You're not quite lovers
And you're not quite friends
After the thrill is gone.' - The Eagles

Cordelia entered the library to see what was going on with her... friends. She never really thought about it, but they were her friends. If anyone asked, though, she would deny it. She had no idea why she was stepping down in stature to be around them. She had even started to like Xander, more so than she liked her former boyfriends. She wasn't dating Xander though.

She saw Buffy and Giles in the library, but Xander and Willow were nowhere to be seen. Cordelia wished Xander were there, though if ever asked she'd deny it. "Well any impending doom tonight or can I wash my hair in peace?" Cordelia asked flippantly. She knew they thought her to be something barely higher than an airhead on the food chain of life. Cordelia was smart, though to be popular she had to sideline her brain and brush-up her looks. Popular is what Cordelia always thought she was supposed to be, her parents had always pushed her in that direction. Over the years she almost started to think that popularity was all that mattered to her. Almost.

"No impending doom, you're free to mock the fashion unhip and worship yourself in a mirror," Buffy replied. Cordelia just shrugged and took a seat at the table.

Cordelia knew why Buffy was not exactly mean, but not nice either, to her. Buffy treated her much like she had treated everyone else. She was actually starting to like Buffy, though it bothered her that Xander liked Buffy. She often wondered if Xander really liked her or if he just liked the necking they did. She hoped he really liked her, for the first time ever Cordelia found herself liking a guy, not for his popularity but for himself. "Whatever," Cordelia said after sitting down. "Where's the rest of the gang?" Cordelia really wanted to know where Xander was but she didn't want anyone to know she liked him. 'The fewer people that know, the fewer will make fun of me,' she thought.

"Willow and Ms. Calendar are out getting some stuff to do something with the computer and Xander should be here soon," Buffy said while looking over her Watcher's shoulder reading a prophecy. Cordelia wished, not for the first time, that Xander liked her like he did Buffy.

She hated to think of what would happen if Xander decided he didn't want to be around her anymore. She liked him, she honestly liked him. No matter how much she liked him though, she still wondered what their friends' reaction to their relationship would be. Cordelia wondered again how she felt about their so-called relationship. Currently she and Xander's relationship amounted to time spent in enclosed spaces necking.

Xander came into the library and brightened when he saw the occupants. "Hello everyone your great, non-supernatural, hero has entered the building," Xander said once in the library.

Giles nodded his head as a greeting to Xander and went back to his book. "Hi Xander," Buffy said, not really paying any attention to him being there, she went back to looking over Giles' shoulder.

Cordelia couldn't help but get a mental image of Xander in tights, the thought caused her to giggle a little. "Well am I not welcomed by the damsel I have saved?" Xander asked in an over the top performance that caused Buffy to shake her head and hide her face to keep from laughing.

"You couldn't save a damsel if all you had to do was push a button," Cordy shot at him. Cordelia and Xander always got into these little word fights. She loved the fact that he stood his ground and treated her like she was a normal girl instead of the most popular one. She decided it was around the time those guys wanted her head for their perfect woman that she noticed him as a person. She noticed, for the first time, when they were trapped in Buffy's basement how much she liked him.

"Well I did pretty well getting you away from the Maggot man didn't I?" Xander said taking the defensive. 'He's sooo cute when he's losing,' Cordelia thought. Buffy and Giles saw the coming verbal melee and made a quiet departure of the vicinity, taking refuge in Giles' office.

"Oh yeah, you ran out of the house and left me trailing behind you to be attacked by the guy. Oh you're a real hero," Cordelia glared at Xander. Cordelia knew where this was leading, every time that they started fighting they ended up in the janitor's closet or something.

She could tell he couldn't come back from that one, she could see the frustration on his face. "Between you and the Hellmouth I'm about to lose it, oh if you were only a guy," Xander made a somewhat threatening motion. 'Well,' Cordelia thought, 'if I were a guy we wouldn't be necking all the time.'

"I think you have that backwards, I think you wish you were a guy," Cordelia shot him down again. 'Oh I got that vein in his neck throbbing again, he's about to go over the edge,' she thought.

Xander moved right over to her and looked down. "Utility closet in five minutes?" Xander whispered into her ear. Cordelia nodded and Xander backed away. "I can't take being around you anymore!" Xander yelled. He quickly said goodbye to Buffy and Giles, then he headed out of the library.

Cordelia waited long enough that it wouldn't look obvious that she was meeting someone, especially since it was Xander. She went into Giles' office, "Well since the end of the world isn't coming to night I'm going to go home and exfoliate, something you should try sometime Buffy." Cordelia hated to be so snobbish but it was what was expected of her, though she was toning down more and more everyday. She hoped that soon she would be able to act nice to them, but she couldn't change that quickly from what was so ingrained into her.

Giles looked up from his book, just noticing her. "Oh, um, very well Miss Chase goodbye." Giles went back to his book right away, Buffy had more to say than him of course.

"Well Cordy I have more important things to do like killing vampires and saving the world. You just run along home now, wouldn't want to have bags under your eyes now would we?" Buffy was always shooting back at her, Cordy liked that she wasn't concerned with her social status.

"Hmp," was Cordelia's response as she left the office and headed toward the library doors. 'I wish I could be as free as Buffy, maybe that's what Xander likes about her so,' Cordy thought as she headed down the halls. 'Maybe he'll ask me to the Bronze,' Cordelia hoped as she neared the closet. 'Well until he decides to ask me out I guess necking will have to do,' she thought as she opened the closet door. 'At least he seems to enjoy our time together as much as I do...'

Chapter 2

'You're not quite lovers
And you're not quite friends
After the thrill is gone.' - The Eagles

Xander took the long way from home to the library. He needed time to think before he showed up at the library. Buffy would be there he knew, he only recently realized that she was better off with Angel. It finally hit him that it wouldn't work between him and Buffy. He was upset that his dream was seemingly crushed until he realized that a dream was all it was. Xander came to the conclusion that the reason he wanted Buffy so was that it was what he always expected of himself.

He was still dumbfounded by what was going on between him and Cordelia. He always thought she was pretty. Unfortunately, he also thought her petty. He had no idea what had come over them in the basement, they were arguing and the next thing he knew they were kissing. Suddenly everything he thought he knew about Cordelia changed. Xander saw how she had actually risked herself to help the gang when she had nothing to gain.

It was times like these that Xander wished he could read minds, he'd give most anything to know why, or if she really did, like him. 'She does like me doesn't she?' he thought as he continued his trek to the library. 'I mean she has to like me to agree to spend time in the janitor's closet with me and such.' Xander was absorbed in his thoughts as he approached the school.

He was having trouble grasping what made her go socially slumming to make out with him. He would deny it if anyone asked, but he really liked her. Xander wished he knew if she would say yes if he asked her to the Bronze. So far they had been keeping their relationship, if you could call it that, a secret. After their first kiss they avoided each other until he decided they needed to discuss what had happened. She accused him of engineering the whole thing, this led them into an argument, which led into their second kiss.

Xander was starting to see through Cordelia's facade of pettiness, he could see she actually cared about the group. He hoped that she cared for him as well. Uncomfortable with what had happened in his previous 'relationships', one a bug that wanted to kill him and another a mummy that almost drank away his life. Xander was pleased that Cordelia was human, most of the time. 'Living on the Hellmouth is Hell on relationships,' he thought wryly as he continued toward school.

'Why Cordy?' he had asked himself so much lately. Sure Cordelia had always been mean, but now she was acting human. She had been showing that she wasn't near as self-absorbed as she wanted everyone to believe. 'Why does she act so vain?' was another of the questions in his head. She wasn't really that bad when she wasn't insulting people, he'd decided. Unfortunately she insulted people most of the time.

He always enjoyed arguing with her, he loved to snap an insult at her. She almost always got the better of him he knew. His quick wit was no match for her well-honed put downs. Why did their arguing always lead them to making out? He wasn't sure what had come over him but he saw Cordelia as someone he wouldn't mind dating. 'Dating,' he thought, 'me the school loser dating the most popular girl in school, this has to be the work of the Hellmouth.

Xander stopped a moment in the hallway to the library. He had to prepare himself incase she was in there. Taking several deep breaths, he pushed open doors to the library and saw her. He tried to keep it from happening but he found himself smiling and walked a little straighter seeing Cordelia sitting there at the table. "Hello everyone your great, non-supernatural, hero has entered the building," Xander boomed making sure all at least cast a glance at him.

Giles nodded to Xander, and Buffy said a quick little 'Hi' and went back to looking at whatever it was Giles was showing her. 'Ah well,' Xander thought, 'I should be used to no one really paying attention to me.'

Xander's ears picked up the giggling coming from Cordelia. 'Hmm,' he wondered, 'what did I say that was so funny?' Before he could give it much thought his mouth moved and his wit shot out. "Well am I not welcomed by the damsel I have saved," he asked Cordelia, his wit had once again lanced out.

"You couldn't save a damsel if all you had to do was push a button," Cordelia said, shooting him down yet again. He heard her words and read her lovely lips. It took him a split second to realize he was looking at her lips, 'those beautiful lips,' he thought. He was taking in her face, so soft and gentle, but he had seen that same face inflict deep emotional scars on scores of freshmen.

"Well I did pretty well getting you away from the Maggot man didn't I?" Those words just flew out, as soon as he heard them he knew the argument was lost. He knew her well enough to know that she would shred that comment and he'd be gone. He could feel her getting ready to hit him with a comment to shut him up. He could feel himself wanting to kiss those lips that were about to verbally slam him. 'I don't know why but our verbal battery just makes me love her... WHOA did I just think what I think I thought?' Xander mentally back-peddled as he realized what word his mind had spoken. 'Love, I can't be in love with her. We don't talk, we just argue, no I can't be in love with her, can I?' Xander noticed that Buffy and Giles had moved into the office, 'good,' Xander thought, 'maybe now Cordy and I could get to a nice closet someplace.'

"Oh yeah, you ran out of the house and left me trailing behind you to be attacked by the guy. Oh you are a real hero," Cordelia said as she glared at him. Xander looked into her eyes and became lost for a moment. 'Please don't let her be a demon,' he quickly thought as he struggled for a comeback. She had trapped him again and he couldn't get out of this one.

"Between you and the Hellmouth I'm about to lose it, oh if you were only a guy," Xander said trying to control himself. 'How can I like such an infuriating person?' He couldn't decide whether he wanted to pop her in the mouth or cover her mouth with his. He decided he wanted to kiss her, and he wanted to kiss her soon.

"I think you have that backwards, I think you wish you were a guy." She had finally hit him too hard, he realized. He restrained himself from pulling her close to him and kissing her right there in the library.

Xander stepped close to Cordelia, careful to keep his voice low enough that Buffy's super-Slayer hearing couldn't pick up his next words. "Utility closet in five minutes?" He whispered in her ear. He held his breathe until she nodded yes and then stepped back. "I can't take being around you anymore!" Xander yelled making sure that Giles and Buffy could hear. Xander quickly said his goodbyes to Buffy and Giles and disappeared out of the library.

Xander made his way down the deserted school hallways to what had become his and Cordy's closet. He had plenty of time to think on his way to and once in the closet. He wished that he could ask her out but his fear of rejection stomped out his courage for that night. 'Does she like me?' he found himself asking this question of himself yet again. 'I really like her, I think, yeah I like her,' he decided. He wanted to be with her forever, this thought hit him and it scared him.

'How long will this last?' he again questioned himself. 'A relationship between me and her could never work, could it?' He wanted to be there for her and all this scared him. He'd had these same feelings before, each time the object of these feelings had attempted to kill him. His mood lightened a little when a stray thought hit him. 'What's the worst she could do to me? Sure she could break my heart and have all my friends think I'm looney but hey, I'd still be alive.'

'Who knows where this all could lead,' he thought to himself. Images of him marrying Cordy and them having a family suddenly flashed through his head, these images frightened him more than the vampires. 'She could never fall for someone like me could she?' he thought to himself. 'Face it Xander, you're not good enough for her,' a voice in the back of his head whispered. He pushed the voice aside and decided he would do everything in his power to make it work between him and Cordelia.

Xander tensed expectantly when he heard the doorknob turn. 'Stop worrying so much, Xander,' he thought to himself. 'Just go with it. She wouldn't be here if she didn't like you would she?' His final thought before she opened the door was, 'Enjoy this while it lasts Xander and hope that she enjoys it as much as you.'