When a ghost went undercover

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Why did I agree to this again?

Rags was at Furry Smiles Animal Hospital sweeping the floor later that afternoon. Of course, to everyone else it looked like Cooper was on the job as usual.


Rags didn't respond, not accustomed to hearing Cooper's last name nor being called something other than Rags for a change. She had to admit that despite hating the name at first, it really had grown on her.


"Uh, y-yes, Dr. Russo?" she finally said.

"Have you gone deaf? I've been calling you for the last minute!"

"Oh, did you? I'm sorry, sir..."

"Are you okay? Something doesn't seem right with you today."

"Y-Yes, sir! I'm perfectly fine, sir. What makes you think otherwise?" Rags let out a nervous laugh. Playing Cooper was a lot harder than she thought. But there was no way she'd let herself be caught as an imposter, not that anyone would really believe the truth anyways.

Dr. Russo took a full look at his worker but found nothing out of the ordinary. Yet, something just felt off to him. A sudden thought hit him. "You haven't called me sexy once all morning!"

Although Cooper had given Rags a thorough explanation of what to expect from his job, he never mentioned this odd routine. Perhaps it was for good reason. Rags worried that verbal abuse might not have been the only thing her friend suffered from at work.

"Um, I wasn't aware that I was supposed to, sir," she said, taking a careful step away from the predatory doctor.

Dr. Russo realized too late the words he had spoken. He'd grown so accustomed to Cooper's daily shenanigans that a morning of normalcy was actually anything but normal. Clearing his recovering sore throat, he said, "Yes, that's right. You're not supposed to. I am your boss, not your girlfriend, so I hope you're done with all the sexy talk from now on."

"Yes, sir."

Now Rags understood what had been going on. Strangely, it made more sense that Cooper called his boss sexy for fun rather than had been forced to say it. It seemed like quite the Cooper-ish thing to do.

But speaking of girlfriend, Cooper's possible future lady soon arrived at the animal hospital much earlier than usual because she had rushed straight there after school. She didn't want to be a minute late in seeing Cooper again. There was something she wanted to ask him ever since her big move the day before.

"Hi, Cooper," Margaret said with a smile as soon as she arrived.

"H-Hey, Margaret," Cooper, or rather Rags replied. She didn't know why she felt so nervous finally meeting her. Perhaps it was because her promise with Cooper earlier that morning would have to commence now.

"Just talk to her for me. Figure out why she likes harassing me so much!" Rags recalled him saying in desperation. She mentally shook her head at how clueless her dumb friend really was. There wasn't much to figure out here. But if doing this would put Cooper at ease, Rags was willing to help.

However, before she could inquire any information, Margaret beat her to it. "Um, can I talk to you about something?"

"Yeah, sure."

Margaret looked down at her folded hands, unable to hide the shyness on her face that came from a certain desire she had. She knew well what she wanted now. "So, my birthday's next month."

"Ah, right!" Rags said, trying hard to stay in character. "How could I forget?"

Margaret looked at her blonde crush with confusion. "I don't think I ever told you my birthday."

"Oh, you didn't? I thought you mentioned it that one time at work during that weekday a couple of months ago..."

Luckily, Margaret didn't find anything odd about this situation. She just assumed Cooper was being his normal silly and cute self. "Maybe I did. But anyways, I was wondering..."

"About what?" Rags asked when Margaret paused for a few seconds. She noticed her blush.

"I was wondering... Would it be too much to ask for a present?"

"No, not at all. What do you have in mind?"

Margaret raised her head to look into Cooper's green eyes. She didn't have a single clue that behind those eyes was an entirely different person. "Well, can you make me something?"

Rags felt her face grow hot and heartrate increase. Yet, this wasn't a reaction of her own emotions. Cooper had momentarily gained control over his body, and he used it to say, "W-Woah. Like presents are cool and whatever, but if you're talking about love making, I told you yesterday that I'm still a vir—Shut up, Coops!" Rags was back in control.

"Um, what?"

Rags quickly uttered, "Sorry. I like referring to myself in third person sometimes. Ignore what I just said. Anyways, what were you talking about? Making something, right?"

Margaret gave another confused look but brushed it off as nothing more than Cooper being Cooper again. Although, she did notice that he seemed to be particularly weirder today. "Maybe I should have specified more. I want to know if you could make me...well, a sculpture."

"A sculpture?"

"It's asking for too much, isn't it? I'm sure you're already busy with your other projects as is. Never mind—"

"No, I'll make it for you!"

Rags felt guilty about not getting Cooper's opinion on the matter first. She had essentially made a promise she wasn't even sure he could keep. But it wasn't like she could just verbally ask him in that moment. Even though Rags currently shared the same body as Cooper, that didn't mean their thoughts were connected too.

Margaret's face lit up. "You will? Thank you so much!" She then returned to her shy face once more. "I know this favor must sound so out of the blue to you. It's just that ever since you showed me your art portfolio, it made me realize my own dream of becoming an artist. Seeing you be so proud and passionate about your work made me that much more certain that I wanted to feel that way too. That was also when I got to really see how awesome you are and..."


"And, you know... How I knew I liked you—A-Anyways!" Margaret placed both hands over her reddened cheeks, but it wasn't enough to hide her embarrassment. "I'm going to be a senior next year, which means I really don't have any time to waste in building up my own portfolio for colleges. My goal is to get into the same art school as you. It might sound like a bit of a farfetched dream, but I hope you can cheer me on."

Although it felt odd to be doing this to a girl, Rags grabbed Margaret's hands, embracing both them and her face in her own manly hands. "Of course, I'll cheer you on."

Rags wished Cooper could've done this himself, but he currently was back to his sleeping state, no longer able to bear the anxiety of being this close to Margaret for so long. He found it hard to even look at her for ten seconds without freaking out, yet Rags didn't once break away her gaze from her during the past few minutes.

With the owner of Rags's momentary body unconscious, she knew the feelings she was currently experiencing were all her own. There was happiness, a tiny bit of love, but also a great deal of sadness too. This moment had reminded her of the hurtful truth.

Just like Margaret, Rags was sure to have had dreams of her own and perhaps even someone she cherished as well. But none of that mattered anymore. Dreams and love were luxuries reserved only for the living. Her chance with them were now gone. 

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