Title: Ten Costumes Cordelia Never Wore
Disclaimer: Right, I actually went and checked to be sure this time… after being passed around like a nympho at a frat party over the past few years, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel: the Series, and all associated characters now belong to Warner Brothers. The properties explored in the individual chapters belong to a wide variety of people, who I'm going to opt against listing to avoid spoiling… and because the list would get massive in short order. None of it is mine, don't sue, et cetera and so forth. Any original Cordettes who show up are mine, of course. If you want them to expand your cast of Sunnydale High denizens, they're free to use but please ask first.
Summary: Explore a series of worlds where Cordelia passes up the cat costume in favor of something a bit more… interesting…
Joe's Note: This was an inevitable fusion over at Twisting the Hellmouth, given there were site-sponsored 'write ten shorts starring this character' challenges and the Season 2 Halloween episode was used to justify all sorts of shenanigans (a full 5% of the stories on the site center around that one episode, and that doesn't include fics posted before the tagging system was introduced or sequels to those 5% of stories). It wasn't a bad idea, really. Come up with ten costumes their favorite character never wore. Work off some plot bunnies without having to do any serious amount of writing. This story is… about 23% that sort of thing, and 77% from reading their Latest page back when I was originally writing this and going "What the fuck were you thinking when you typed that shit up?". So yes, this is a story that is from deep in my archives. That said, it's got eleven chapters so far (I never was good at following the rules) and my Scrivener file has no less than four additional chapters outlined for if there's any interest in this.
Dedications & Thanks: To Nicholas, Alexander, Howard, Alonsis2, Connor, MJ, Daniel, Christopher, Janne, Eric, DireSquirrel, Joseph, mpop, RileyWestfall, bloodylord, Luke, Zachary, Marc, Ziryo, Elliot, Crusifikz70, Timothy, Leigh, Jason, Chris, George, Koby, Ken, Dimitria, William, Invernos, Paul, Pat, Joel, Kentucky Fried Dragon, Warren, Mitch, and Jess for sponsoring me on , and making it easier for me to spend more of my time writing.
As she stared down at the gold and red device in her hands, Cordelia Chase tried to figure out exactly when her life had fallen off the tracks and into the world of the weird. When she'd been stupid enough make the bet with Xander? When she'd decided to throw the quiz they were betting on because she'd had no idea what to dress as for Halloween and figured he'd have a good idea for her? When she'd failed to put her foot down at the dorkism that he'd forced on her? Or when some kind of magic spell turned her into the person she was dressed as, turning her into a costumed hero who'd proceeded to decimate the warehouse district in an effort to kill off as many vampires and demons as possible?
And so here she was, standing on Kingman's Bluff just barely after sunrise, staring at what had been a plastic toy up until the night before but now felt too heavy to be mere plastic. It felt more like a giant lump of metal. Which, considering the fact that it was shiny and golden, it possibly was. The real question was… was it merely a metal toy, now, as opposed to being a plastic toy? Or was there something more to it?
Operating purely on instinct, or rather memories that now occupied her head despite the fact that they didn't belong to her, Cordelia took a two-handed grip on it and held it out at arm's length. Taking a deep breath, she gathered her courage and twisted the device so it was facing right side up. "Dino Buckler!" Her thumb pushed down on a red button sticking out of the right side, the face of the device split in two and popped apart, and then… and then a wave of energy washed over Cordelia and the next thing she knew, her hands were free and her body was going through the motions of an equally alien routine as she struck a pose that felt familiar despite the fact she'd never done it before in her life. "Dragon Ranger! Cordelia!"
Cordelia slipped into a more relaxed stance, breathing slowly as she tried to come to terms with the fact that the dreamlike weirdness of the night prior was evidently her new reality. She reached up to pat the ridged helmet that protected her head before looking down at her body and sighing. "Not a big fan of spandex period, so it could be better, but I guess it could be worse too. Everything fits properly, so there's no overstuffed stretched spots or loose and wrinkly spots. And green's probably the least of the evils as far as colors go; red wouldn't be so bad but I'm not really a blue person, black is for goths, and yellow and pink are just… eugh. The skirt that's decided to pop up just for the hell of it is kinda cute. Oh, and the gold breaks everything up nicely so there's not too much green or white and oh my God, I'm sitting here critiquing how fashionable my spandex superheroine costume is. My life is so weird."
Letting her hand drop down to run over the white belt of her costume, Cordelia realized there was a reason she'd been drawn to the bluff for this little experiment of hers. Not only was it far from prying eyes, but it was close to the water… and it was from the water that her greatest ally came. Fingering the Zyusoken, she slowly drew it from its sheath and brought it up towards her mouth, only to run into a problem. Helmet. Lips blocked. She knew it was some kind of flute in addition to being a dagger, but how was she supposed to play a flute if she couldn't actually touch it to her lips?
When the answer came to her a moment later, Cordelia groaned at the simplicity of it. She could test the Zyusoken the same way she'd tested the Dino Buckler: by sitting back and letting the foreign memories that now crowded her brain do the work for her. Letting her body run on autopilot, Cordelia simply watched and learned as the dagger came to rest with a small grey nub pressed against bit of helmet that covered her mouth. Then the fingers on her right hand began to move and sound simply… emerged. Huh. Well, it was a magic dagger that could theoretically call a giant dragon robot from the ocean, she reasoned. Did it need to make sense?
The first time through the lilting tune, nothing happened. During the second repetition, Cordelia noticed a pair of red eyes under the water, kicking up a bit of turbulence as they grew closer to land. As she played through a third time, she watched as first a crested head broke the surface, followed by a body armored in green, black, and gold. She lowered the dagger to rest against her hip as she stared in awe; Dragon Caesar looked more like a robotic version of Godzilla to her than a dragon, but she wasn't complaining. And as he leaned his head back and roared, Cordelia couldn't help but voice an admittedly inane thought that wouldn't stop running through her head.
"I wonder if I need a parking pass to drive him to school…"