DISCLAIMER: Joss is god. I think he was always so, but still, I love this show. Dollhouse belongs to him and Eliza Dushku.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: As I stated, I wanted for this to have more of the femslash between Echo and Sierra but as I got along into it, I couldn't find a way to bring it in and keep the characters the way they are (to the best of my own ability). Still, I hope I can find another way in another fic to do this, or depending on what happens in tonight's episode (6 March 09), I might drop the whole thing completely. We'll see.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Hello Friend
By Erin Griffin


Echo lay in bed, her eyes open and her mind in thought. All evening something bothered her. Ever since her treatment, she noticed that all of her roommates acted the same towards her. She would smile and say a soft hello, but they would only smile politely and pass by her. She noticed them watching, those who care for them. Was saying hello the wrong thing to do? And then Echo saw Sierra, and her smile was different. She looked so happy to see her, and though Echo was glad to see her too, she didn't want her to get in trouble. She recognized Sierra, her roommate as her friend, and friends have to look out for each other. She shook her head when Sierra came her way, even though she wanted to say hello to her friend and hear her say it right back. Echo knew that Sierra didn't understand, but she didn't know the words to say why she had to do that.

As she lay in bed thinking of Sierra, Echo found it more confusing when she last saw her. Echo was about to shower, but when she saw Sierra there, she couldn't move. With her heart feeling strange, she waited, and then went in when one of the men who cares for them told her to. Sierra had just gotten dressed by then, but her chest felt tighter as if she was wearing a shirt that was too small for her. Echo wanted to say something as Sierra had walked past, anything, if only her roommate would've looked at her but she didn't. She could only take her shower alone and get to bed, where in the darkness she lie awake. That is, until she heard a sniffle from the bed next to hers. All she could see in her mind then were tears on Sierra's face as a man she never saw before stood over her. She recognized these sorts of images. She knew she'd had them before.

Echo moved, placing her palms against the screen above her head and pushing at it until it slowly opened. She pushed harder against it when it tried to close again. "Echo, what are you doing out of bed?" echo recognized the woman doctor as she spoke, walking towards her.

"She's crying," Echo said absently as she placed her palm on the screen above Sierra's bed, forcing it open just as she had done with her own.

"Echo!" At this, Echo stopped moving for a split second, then continued her movements when she saw a slender honeyed hand slowly reach upwards towards her. She looked down and saw Sierra sitting up.

"You're crying."

"Hello friend... Echo." Sierra said between sniffling. She looked happy to see her, and that made Echo feel a little bit better.

"Hello friend," Echo replied automatically. She smiled at her, though not in the same way her other roommates smiled at her. "Sierra." It was still for a couple of seconds before agitated footsteps were heard. The woman doctor, Claire, tried to move Echo away, but she held on to Sierra's hand, and she soon gave up.

"What is going on here?"

"It's okay, I think. Echo was just concerned for Sierra, but I don't know what brought on the crying episode."

"It could be a backlash of her last mission. Get Sierra to treatment, and get them both back to bed before someone else wakes up." There was a murmur and then someone reached their hand to Sierra. She smiled at the man and reluctantly let go of Echo.

"It's time for your treatment, Sierra," they said. Sierra took his hand as he spoke to her, and stood up. Echo made to follow, but someone had taken her hand as well. It was Claire.

"Let's get you to bed, Echo," Claire coaxed softly.

"She's crying," Echo protested. She knew that she was wrong, that she should listen to Claire and go to bed, but she couldn't bring herself to. She looked at the doctor, who stared back at her for a second.

"I know."

Echo stared at her blankly. Then she felt herself being led in the same direction Sierra and her Handler had gone.

"What are you doing?"

Claire turned to the one who spoke. "I'm taking her to see Sierra. After she's done with treatment, she'll know that she's alright and will go to bed willingly." There was a short silence.

"Be quick."

Echo smiled at the doctor as she placed a hand on her shoulder and checked over, then led her again away from the rooms. They stood together for a moment in silence. Echo looked around as she waited. She then turned her head quickly a few minutes after that when she heard the door behind them open. She took a couple of steps toward Sierra but stopped moving when she saw the same polite smile on her friend's face. Sierra walked past Echo and suddenly turned to look at her. In a quiet voice, she said, "It's time for bed."

"Time for bed, yes," Claire said. Echo followed after Sierra. It was wrong, Echo knew. Sierra was wrong.

"Hello friend... Sierra," Echo said as Sierra's graceful movements led them all back towards where they slept. She tried again when the only response she had gotten the first time was silence. "Hello friend. Sierra." Again, silence. Her own pace slowed some the closer they got to their beds. Sierra turned to Echo when she got to her bed. She tilted her head slightly when she noticed the tears that welled in Echo's eyes.

"You're crying," Sierra said. She hesitated, then placed a hand on Echo's shoulder, slowly drawing her in for a hug. Echo raised her arms a little to hug her back, but froze when she heard, "Hello friend. Echo." in her ear. Her arms went limp at her sides and she watched as Sierra stepped back.

"Time for bed, Sierra," the man said, and Sierra smiled at him as she always did when he said something to her.

"Goodnight," she said to the man as he helped her into her sleeping space. The screen shut her away slowly, and only then did Echo move, as Claire was pulling on her hand.

"Time for bed, Echo," she told her.

"Okay. Time for bed," Echo responded as she allowed herself to be helped to bed. She placed her head on her pillow and got comfortable.

"Goodnight," someone, she wasn't sure who, said above her.

"Goodnight," she said back. With that, the screen closed above her, and she felt good. Thinking over the events that had just happened as well as the events after her own treatment, she was content, happy even. She knew that Sierra was her friend. She was her friend, and she understood.

The End

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