DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters. Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku do.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Spoils the season finale. Can be set after Sweet As Applesause, as it refers to a couple of things in there, too. Done in about 20 minutes with no beta. This is what happens when you listen to 'Around the Corner of Your Eye' by The A*Teens.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Polite Smiles
By Erin Griffin


"Echo?" Someone asked. She looked up from the window where she sat and and smiled at the woman who spoke to her. It was polite. Echo liked being polite.

"I have applesause for November. She likes applesause. She has been away for a long time."

Sierra stared at her friend, not sure what she was talking about. She didn't know who November was, but she knew that Echo was nice for giving them a present of something they liked. "Yes," was all Sierra said. She wanted to be polite, even though she was confused.

"I miss her. She made me smile. I want to make her smile, too. Just like you smile with him," Echo said, pointing to Victor. He had his back to them, as he was trying to hide. He did that all day so far, but Sierra will pull him away from his hiding spot. He can play Hide and Seek later.

"She was special to you," Sierra stated.

"Yes. Very much." Echo looked up at Sierra again, knowing that she understood how she felt because she felt it, too, for Victor. As if to know this, Sierra walked over to Victor and took his arm. He tried to pull away and go back to his hiding.

"I want to be polite, but I am not my best," he said, and Sierra saw tears in his eyes. At this, Echo stood up and walked to him and gasped when she saw his face.

"You're hurt. I will help you," Echo said suddenly, her voice crisp with determination and slight anger.

"I will help you, too," Sierra added. She took wondered what has happened and who would want to hurt him.

"I am not my best," Victor protested. They were being polite. They couldn't help him.

"You're our friend," Sierra said as if to correct him.

"Yes," Echo agreed. She looked down at the bowl of applesause in her hand, then she handed it to Victor. "We want you to smile."

Victor took the bowl offered to him and picked up the spoon. He put it back in the bowl without eating it. "Dr. Saunders wants me to smile, too."

"She's nice," Sierra said.

"You can be your best if you smile," Echo told him. She put a hand on his back. Slowly, Victor put the applesause in his mouth and ate it. He then gave the two girls a smile, even though he will always know that he wasn't his best, and nothing would ever change that.

"Thank you. I like applesause," Victor said. He finished the applesause, and one of the ones that care for them took the bowl from him as he finished. Echo then took one of his arms, and Sierra took the other one, and the three Dolls walked back to the window where Echo had just sat. Together, they waited. For what, they didn't know, but they were content to wait it out together.

The End

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