Author:  Meltha

Rating:  G

Feedback:  Yes, thank you.

Spoilers:  For Angel's "A Hole in the World

Distribution:  The Adventures of Mr. Gordo, the Blackberry Patch and  If you're interested, please let me know.

Summary:  In all the sadness from Illyria's arrival, someone has been left behind.  He's not forgotten, though.

Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy.  Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you.  Thank you.

Drying Tears

Most people would never have heard the sound at all.  Most people couldn't.  It was tiny, easily missed to begin with, and most people didn't have the ears to hear it. 

It's hard to explain the sound of a stuffed animal crying.  It sounds like flowers wilting mixed with the noise a cloud makes when it covers the sun.  There aren't any tears that a human can see, but droplets the color of sadness and bad dreams run down their cheeks.  It happens very rarely, and most stuffed animals go through their whole lives with nothing but happiness and cheer, even if they get stuffed into dark closets for a while or get a little tear, because it's their nature to be stuffed as full of joy as they are of cotton and polyester and excelsior.  But when they do cry, it's a truly terrible thing.

Fred's empty room was filled with that sound now.  High up on a shelf, a little grayish bunny looked down at the bed.  His girl was gone.  Something strange had taken her place, something that had blue fur and cold, mean eyes.  It looked a little like her, but he knew what had happened.  He had watched it leave the room, followed by the boy who had been holding his girl and cuddling her the way he would have liked to if he'd had the chance.  He'd listened while the boy had read his girl the storybook she'd read with the bunny on her lap a long time ago.  The rabbit couldn't read himself, of course.  All the funny marks on the page didn't make sense to him, but she'd read pieces of it out loud to her friend, and he remembered. 

But now his girl would never come home again, and his heart was broken.

Most people couldn't have heard that sound, but there was someone who could.  Very slowly, with a shimmering sparkle, a little figure appeared next to the bunny on the shelf. 

"Hello," it said kindly, and the rabbit looked around in surprise, still crying.

"H-h-hi," the stuffed bunny said.  "Who are you?"

The visitor, who was a plush pink piggy, smiled so that his snout wrinkled up.  "I'm Mr. Gordo.  What's your name?"

The little rabbit snuffled a bit, then replied "I'm Fay-gen-bom.  It's hard to say.  You can call me Fay."

"I'm sorry you're sad, Fay," Mr. Gordo said as he put a plump little foreleg around the bunny's neck consolingly.  "I lost my girl once, too.  It hurt lots."

Fay's tears were falling again, but he was curious about this strange pink stuffed animal next to him.  "What are you doing here?"

Mr. Gordo's brow furrowed for a moment as he tried to find the right words.  "A while ago, I was sitting in my Girl's room when suddenly the floor caved in.  It was scary and dark, and there were lots of bad noises, but then everything got very quiet and there was a light.  Then there was a big one.  He was sort of funny looking because he had wings on his back, but he was nice.  He picked me up and smiled, and he asked me if I wanted a job."

"A job?" asked Fay. 

"Yup," Mr. Gordo said, nodding his head.  "It was to help my Girl out, so I said yes.  He made me a gar-dee-n angel for all the stuffed animals who had lost their boys and girls.  I get to help them out."  He puffed out his chest and added, "It's a very important job."

Fay blinked a little bit.  "Can you bring my girl back?" he asked hopefully.

Mr. Gordo's eyes misted over sympathetically.  "No.  I'm sorry.  I can't do that.  But I can help you some."

"How?" asked Fay miserably. 

"My Girl is a slay-her.  She's helping some other girls to become slay-hers too, and lots of them are away from home and get sad," Mr. Gordo said seriously.  "They need good friends who can listen to them.  Would you like to be a friend for one of my Girl's girls?"

Fay considered the idea for a while.

"I want my Fred back," Fay finally said.  "But she's not going to come back, is she?"

Mr. Gordo shook his head slowly as he patted the bunny's shoulder.

"Then, I guess it would be good to help someone else," Fay said with a sigh.  "I can still love a lot."

"Lots and lots," Mr. Gordo said with a smile, "because that's what us stuffed animals do.   So you'll come?"

"Okay," Fay agreed, and slowly the room dissolved around them.

The new place where they were was smaller.  A cot stood against one wall, and a little table and a chest of drawers were the only other pieces of furniture in the room.  Lying down on the bed was a girl who looked about fourteen years old.  She had long black hair plaited into a braid down her back, and she was holding a pillow and crying.

"She's homesick," Mr. Gordo said knowledgably.  "This is It-uh-lee, and she's from In-dee-uh.  Would you like her to be your girl?"

Fay watched the girl for a few seconds, and just like any little stuffed animal, when he saw a boy or girl who was sad, he wanted to make them smile again.

"I'll always miss my Fred girl, but I think she'd like me to help.  Okay, Mr. Gordo," the little rabbit said, straightening his spectacles.  "I'm ready."

Mr. Gordo carefully helped Fay onto the bed, and suddenly the girl realized the bunny was there.

"Where did you come from?" she asked in surprise. 

She spoke Hindi, but Fay understood her at once.  Stuffed animals understand all languages, after all.  Fay smiled up at her warmly, hoping to be accepted, and very slowly, the girl's face smiled to match his.  Holding the little bunny, she curled up on the cot, turned off the lamp, and fell asleep.

A few minutes later, Mr. Gordo, who was still there although no one buy Fay could see him, gave the rabbit a thumbs up… or rather a hoofs up.

"Thank you!" whispered the bunny as Mr. Gordo went back to his very important job of helping to make the world a little happier for everybody, especially his Girl, Buffy, who was smiling at the sleeping girl and her rabbit from the doorway.