Disclaimer: Still don’t own anything.
A/N - Wow! Thanks so much to everyone who reviewed!!! I don’t think I’ve ever received 12 reviews in 12 hours for any other story I’ve written *blushes madly* I’ll try to live up to that kind of response…
Cordelia woke up slowly and stretched, at least until her arm encountered warm fur. Then her eyes flew open and she sat up suddenly – damn, it hadn’t been a dream. Nimitz was lying on the bed next to her, watching her with his grass-green eyes; the sadness in them was still palpable, but he was calmer this morning. She had spent a long time before falling asleep trying to explain what she knew about what had happened (not much) and about what went on in Sunnydale knowing that Nimitz could understand her as long as the concepts weren’t too abstract. He had somewhat accepted that Honor, or whatever had possessed Cordelia last night, was gone leaving him behind. It seemed that enough of her memories had stayed with Cordelia to comfort him a little bit with familiarity.
The midnight raid on the kitchen for celery probably hadn’t hurt either.
At least it was Saturday and she didn’t have to worry about school today. It wouldn’t have been right to leave him at home while she went off to classes; but on the other hand it might make tracking down the Scoobies a bit harder.
Cordelia got dressed, for once more with an eye to practicality than fashion, in jeans, a long-sleeved shirt and a leather jacket. Of course, she still managed to make it look good. Then she emptied out her school pack and padded the bottom with a towel.
“Come on Stinker; let’s go see if we can get some answers from the geek squad.” Cordelia didn’t even notice the nickname slip out while she watched Nimitz look at the pack and then back at her with a “get real” expression before reluctantly climbing inside with a resigned sigh.
She carefully picked it up and put it on backwards so that the pack rested in front, then left quietly out the side door. Sunnydale wasn’t that big a town, and the walk from the good side to the mediocre side was a short one, so in a very short while Cordelia was in front of the Summers’ residence and knocking on the front door.
Joyce Summers answered the door with a warm smile. “Hello there, what can I do for you?”
“Hi Mrs. Summers. Remember me, I’m Cordelia. Is Buffy home? I kinda need to talk to her.”
“I think she may still be asleep, but let me go check. You can wait in the living room if you would like.” Joyce stepped back away from the door and Cordelia swept inside and gingerly settled herself on the sofa while Joyce went up the stairs.
After a short time she came back down. “Buffy’ll be down in a couple of minutes. Would you like something to drink? Some tea or soda?”
“I’d love a Coke, thanks.”
After about half-a-soda and some small talk about living in Sunnydale, Buffy came stumbling down the stairs in clothes Cordelia wouldn’t be caught dead in on a dare. She barely managed to remember in time that she was about to ask a favor and kept her lip from curling. Buffy showed no such restraint.
“Wow, it really is you, I though Mom had the name wrong. What are you doing over here? Slumming?”
“Buffy! She is a guest.” Joyce frowned warningly at her daughter while Cordelia hid a smirk.
“It’s okay Mrs. Summers; it’s probably just too early in the morning for Buffy.” Sweetness oozed through Cordelia’s voice, but a tiny prick of a claw from the pack as the emotions started rising kept her from overdoing it and brought her back on track. “Buffy, I know it’s early but I have a research problem that I was hoping you could help me with since I know you’re friends with that Mr. Giles from school. Do you have a way to get in touch with him?” She slanted her eyes at Joyce as she said this.
Buffy flinched a bit, “right, research! Why don’t we go over to Willow’s? She’s always good with the research!” She reached out and pulled Cordelia off the couch. “Let’s go now! See you later Mom!”
Cordelia rolled her eyes but allowed herself to be pulled along. Jeez, subtle much? No wonder half the school knew what a freak she was. “Bye Mrs. Summers, thanks for the soda,” she managed to get out before the door slammed behind them. Then she shook Buffy’s grip from her arm, “do you mind? Just because your clothes came from Kmart is no reason you have to try to ruin mine.” She stalked off down the walk then stopped because she wasn’t sure which way they were going. Oh yeah, be nice – still need favor. “Sorry, that was rude of me. But I really do need to talk about something in your, um…area.”
“Who are you and what have you done with the real Cordelia? She would never apologize for anything.” Buffy eyed her with suspicion and didn’t move except to place her hands on her hips, then her eyes widened. “Oh god, who ARE you? You got possessed last night just like everyone else only you’re not back to being you yet. I need to get you to Giles right away!” Buffy grabbed her by the arm again and took off down the street.
More eye-rolling ensued, but since they were headed in the right direction Cordelia didn’t bother to do anything other than keep up. Soon Buffy was knocking on the door to a small apartment that was answered by the school librarian.
“Yes? What – oh, it’s you Buffy. Why are you holding Cordelia like that?” Buffy pushed past him and dragged Cordelia into his living room.
“Cordelia is still possessed from last night. She didn’t turn back the way everyone else did.” Buffy stopped for a moment and thought about it. “But you may not want to fix her right away, she was actually polite. This may be of the good.”
Once again, Cordelia yanked her arm away and proceeded to remove her school pack and place it gently on the couch. “Oh get over yourself. I’ve got a problem; and as a matter of fact it is from last night, so of course I thought of you around whom all weirdness revolves.” Cordelia frowned at both of them. “What the hell did happen last night? It sounds like you know what’s going on.”
Giles took off his glasses and began polishing them. “Er, well an old colleague of mine decided to make things, um, interesting around here last night. I’m assuming that you purchased a costume from Ethan’s Costume Shoppe for last night?” Cordelia nodded. “Ah. He had, um, be-spelled all his inventory so that the wearer became their costumes until the spell was broken. What is the problem you have that remains? All traces of the spell should have dissipated by now.”
Cordelia opened the top flap on the pack and Nimitz flowed out and arranged himself primly on the couch, placing one of his true-hands on Cordelia’s arm. She glanced down at him in affection, “this is my ‘problem’. When the spell went poof, Nimitz stayed. He shouldn’t be here, and I’m worried about him. I figured you guys could get him back where he belongs or something.”
Giles reached for his glasses again, forgetting that they were already in his hands being cleaned. “Oh dear lord, what is that?”
“Does it need to be Slayed?” Buffy was tensed and ready for action. “Is it dangerous?”
“No!” Cordelia moved protectively towards Nimitz and he shrank in on himself a little. “He’s a Treecat, and technically he’s from a science-fiction novel. Very clever and agile, but not dangerous,” (as long as you aren’t a threat to him, Cordelia thought privately). “Buffy, Mr. Giles, meet Nimitz. Nimitz, meet Buffy and Mr. Giles.” Cordelia looked at the other two humans. “So, can you help me or not?”