Disclaimer: Sarai and Sophia are my ideas, but Joss owns everything(one) else.
A/N: This is a short one shot in between Sarai stories to introduce a new character. I hope you like, especially since this is my first time writing a character like Sophia.
Angel and Sarai exited the elevator that let them off on the floor Fred and Wesley's apartment was on. "Now remember what I told you?" he questioned.
"Don't make fun of Wesley."
"And what else?"
"Don't make fun of Wesley at all."
Angel nodded. "Very good. This adoption means a lot to them, as does the party to celebrate. And I don't think the child should hear every insult there is hurled at her new father the first day of living with him."
"And you thinking that is exactly why you're a party-pooper," she replied. He glared at her. She threw her hands up in defeat, "okay, fine. I'll behave."
They reached the door to the apartment and went inside. The only people they saw inside were Wesley and Fred. "Wow, really rockin' party," Sarai commented. Angel once again glared. "You said not to make fun of Wesley. A generalized sarcasm ban was never enforced," she declared.
"You didn't get our message, did you?" Fred questioned.
"No...what's wrong?" Angel asked, concerned. "Where's the girl?" Wesley pointed to a corner of the living room in which a small child was rocking back and forth.
"What'd you do to her?" Sarai asked, eyeing Wesley.
"Yo, where's the guest of honor?" said Gunn as he walked through the door, Faith was with him.
"Do you four know how to check your messages?" Fred complained.
"What's going on?" Faith asked.
"She's autistic," Fred told the group and received different glance from them.
"Oh." Both Faith and Gunn said, while Angel and Sarai remained confused.
"She's au-what-tic?" Sarai asked, not knowing what they were talking about.
"You didn't know before?" Angel said, wondering why his two friend's seem surprised by it.
Wesley and Fred shook their heads. "That's why we called. We figured it would be best if we gave to time to adjust to us before bombarding her with other people," Wesley explained softly.
Angel, Faith and Gunn, nodded feeling guilty for showing up. "Did I go mute? What exactly is autistic? Is someone going to explain the hell is going on?" Sarai demanded.
Fred thought of the best and simplest way she could explain it to the teenager. "It's a neurological condition. It means that, Sophia, that's her name, well she has special needs. It varies in different people. But from the file we got, she's very sensitive to sounds, her speech isn't very good, but she understands it, and doesn't like to be touched. And also, in her particular condition, she can be a bit over active too," she finally said, having read the information several times, the adoption agency gave them on Sophia when they went earlier to pick her up and take her to her new home.
Sarai looked over at Sophia. "She doesn't look over active."
"That's because she's nervous, and doesn't react well to change." Fred answered.
"Plus, being adopted and living with people you don't know is hard an all four year olds as is," Faith added.
Sarai thought for a few moments about what she was told. The more she thought about it, she realized she's seen people on TV and in movies with Sophia's condition. But she didn't know what she should be doing. Eventually, she decided to go over to where the child was sitting the corner, and slid down to her level. "Hiya," she greeted. Sophia didn't respond. "I'm Sarai. You'll probably be seeing a lot of me. I have tendencies to pop up in random places, whether its around this building... or occasionally in random years, dimensions and even centuries."
"Sarai, stop..." Angel began to say, not liking his daughters approach to the child.
"I also know what it's like to be thrown in the mix of this bunch suddenly," Sarai went on to say, which is what stopped Angel's sentence. The adults looked at each other, and then looked back at Sarai. "Being told your with 'family' now, despite you really don't know any of them. Yup. It happened to me too." Sophia finally stopped rocking briefly to look at the teenager. "But you know what? Even though they may seem like a bunch of fu- scary people," Sarai quickly corrected mid-word, "they're not terrible. Some of them are even nice." Sophia pointed to Fred, which Sarai assumed was her way of asking if she was nice. "Oh yeah, Fred, your new mom, she's really nice. And smart. I am sure she's already planning on giving you the best taco's money can buy." Next, Sophia decided to point to Wesley. Sarai inhaled deeply, as did the five adults. "He helps a lot of people and does good things for them for a living." Sarai had a self-proclaimed sixth sense of knowing people. She knew what Sophia wanted to hear. "Yeah, he's a really nice and good guy. I like him. As much as I like your mother. They're both good peoples. And they've been really nice and good to me over the years." Sarai thanked god she was an excellent liar when she put effort into it, she didn't like lying to the child, but she knew she could've tell the truth. "Anything else you want to know? I am willing to give you answers," she offered.
Sophia waited a few seconds before pointing to Gunn. "That's Gunn. He's very, very, cool. A really good friend. And so is the pretty girl." Next, Sophia pointed to Angel. Sarai shrugged. "He's my daddy. The one I mentioned before that I suddenly lived with. So far it's worked out well. You can call him Angel though, everyone but me does. With the exception of Spike and at times Lorne, but I'll explain them another time. And he's really good friends with your new daddy, and your mommy, which means he's gonna be super nice to you." Sarai couldn't help herself. "He also has a collection of hair gel. One day, once your settled I'd be happy to give you a tour of it. It's really amazing to look at all the bottles. I'll also give you a tour of the rest of the place. If you think that will make you feel more comfortable here." There was silence. "So, see, these people are very good. And will be very good to you, I'll make sure of it. Okay? Can do something so I know you're kinda understanding this? Put your thumb up if you do." After some more rocking and hesitation, Sophia put her thumb up, and prepared herself for taking a really big step, due to what the new person said to her. Sophia didn't like new people, but she trusted this one. It was a combination of knowing she went through a similar process, and a weird feeling of genuineness, and security she gave off to her.
Sophia stood up and took a few steps towards her new parents. "Hi," she said. She was four years old, but she only recently started speaking and it showed in her voice. Wesley and Fred were extremely happy at the breakthrough. "Potty?" was the next word to come out of her mouth. She so far had and was learning words used for basic needs and life. Fred was the one who showed her what room it was in. On the way, Fred slipped up and went to put her hand on the child's shoulder but she pulled away fast.
"Sorry," Fred apologized right away. Still pleased that some progress was made.
Sarai got up off the floor and walked to the fridge. "Mind?" she asked Wesley, holding a full bottle of Pepsi. He shook his head. Sarai drank the entire bottle in one sip.
"That's disgusting," Angel pointed out.
"Actually, Angel, very few people posses that skill," Gunn pointed out. "I can barely make it half way."
"Same here," Faith added.
"Rookies," Sarai teased.
Wesley cleared his throat, "Sarai, can I see you in the hallway?" She shrugged and followed him out the door. "I wanted to thank you. For what you did. On some level, you've really helped her adjust."
"You don't have to thank me, I didn't do it for you," she replied.
"Well, Fred is..."
"I didn't do it for Fred, either," she corrected. "I was just you know, helping out. The kid. Not either of you." She snorted. "Although, it's kinda funny when you think about it. I mean, I think Sophia responded to me cause I told her that I kinda in a way know what she's going through. Which means that all in all, you ended up benefitting from making me go through that."
Wesley looked down at the floor, and stumbled to find words. "Relax, Wes. I'm just screwing around with you a little." Wesley gave her a look that clearly indicated that he was both relieved and annoyed at the same time. "Hey, come on," she laughed, "you know I can't be nice for long."
"If your waiting for me to disagree," Wesley said, "it's going to be an eternal wait."
"Okay, I'll give you that, that's one of your better sarcasms. But that's not saying much,"Sarai replied before re-entering the apartment. As soon as she re-entered the apartment, Sophia stood next to her and followed her back to the kitchen, making it clear she liked Sarai and felt extremely comfortable around her. More so then she did around the adults. Fred pointed to a plate of food, indicating she wanted her new daughter to eat. "Why don't we sit down and have some lunch?" Sarai suggested to the child.
Sophia nodded and sat in a chair. Fred smiled at Sarai in thanks. She shrugged and sat down. Sophia began to bounce and fidget in her seat. "Are you okay?" Sarai questioned. Sophia nodded. Everyone joined them in eating. Unlike most meals, or any other time Sarai was in a room with other people, it was fairly quite as no one wanted to upset Sophia. However, the odd silence ended up making her nervous. As soon as she ate she ran from the table and sat back into her corner. Sarai followed. "Who did what? What's wrong?" Sarai asked. Sophia didn't reply, in stead she looked down at the floor. Sarai realized she knew exactly what the problem was. She'd been there herself.
"Your all scaring her by being quite and walking on egg shells," she walked to the adults and said. "You're making her feel out of place and an inconvenience."
Wesley decided to take try and communicate with his daughter, without the aid of Sarai. "Hi Sophia. I just wanted to tell you how happy Fred... your new mom, and I are that you're here. If there's anything we can do for you, we will. So, feel free to tell us what you need and want done to be comfortable here," he told her gently, making sure he didn't come across too strong.
"He's not bullshitting either, I wouldn't let him," Sarai added. Angel lightly jabbed her in the rib cage with his elbow. "What?" she asked.
"Language," he warned.
"Oooh yeah, oops," she sighed. "He wasn't kidding, Sophia, I meant kidding."
Sophia began to rub her eyes. "Are you tired?" Wesley asked. She shook her head, followed by yawning. Clearly, she needed a nap, or at least a good rest.
Sarai took Angel's keys and left the apartment. Five minutes later she returned with a rather long pillow. It was pink with a purple 'S' going down it. "This is my rest time pillow. I use it when I want to take a break a in the middle of the day. You know, just lay in bed and ignore everyone I know. It's cuddly. You can try and use it if you want," she offered, holding the pillow out to Sophia.
"Because watching TV and messing up the penthouse is tiring work," Angel muttered to himself, regarding his daughter's need for her 'rests'. No one heard him.
Sophia analyzed the pillow. It looked okay. She felt it. It was soft. Finally, she took it from Sarai, and snuggled it, despite with was about the same size as she was.. "Would you like to lay with it in your own room?" Wesley questioned. She nodded and pointed to Sarai.
"Come?" her small voice asked.
Sarai looked at Wes and Fred, who both gave approval. "Sure, I'll come with you to your room." she took the child into her room, and watched as she got into her bed. "Okay, now that you seem to be comfy, I am going to go. But I'll come over later tonight. And if you need me before then, your parents know where I live... they like to barge in a lot. But that's another story," she said. "I'll also be around for when you meet everyone else and tell you about them."
Sophia nodded and waved. "T-thank you," she said, with a slight stutter, really hoping she used that right. It was the most recent thing she learned to say, and she wasn't sure if she fully knew how to say it clearly. She really liked the teenager that was being so very nice to her and made her feel safe in her new home, with her new family. She wanted to make sure she was nice back, to make sure she would in fact come back.
Sarai smiled, "your very welcome. Bye."
"Bye," she returned, as Sarai left.
"Well, my work here is done, if you all need me, I will be battling the evil internet demon. So far I have yet to win. It shut down twice today," Sarai announced when she went back to the living room.
"Sarai I really want to," Fred began to say.
"Thank me? Yeah, your worse half already did. So did the Sophia in question, herself. It's all good. No need to get all touchy feely over it. But I promised her I'd be around later."
"Actually, Sarai, I was wondering if you'd us a favor?"
"Depends on what it is."
"Well, we work a lot, but I plan on going into work later in the afternoon now, and I know you get out of school rather early, so I was wondering if you would..."
"Hang with the mini-person?" Sarai finished. "Yeah, why not. I mean, you don't think she'd mind watching soaps and Family Feud do you?"
"Fred, do you think this is a good idea?" Angel questioned.
"HEY! Traitor!" Sarai exclaimed.
"Well, you do tend to create chaos when left unattended."
"Angel," Fred said, "Sophia likes her, and I trust her. So, you'll do it? I am going to pay you of course."
Sarai grinned and shook her head, "that's great, thanks. But I don't want your money. Wait. I do want it, but I want something else too."
Sarai looked over at Wesley, and he became afraid. She took out her cell phone, he became more afraid. "You're not trying to deport him again," Angel ordered.
"How'd you find out about that? And anyway, that's not what I have in mind."
"So... what is it?" Wesley asked.
"Two words: Hokey Pokey," she replied, starting up the video feature of her phone.
"You heard me. Hokey Pokey. Do it."
"I will not!"
"You have to. After all, I am agreeing to watch the child you adopted with your girlfriend who you're living in sin with. And, if it wasn't for me finding Fred an adoption agency that allows non-married people to adopt, who also happen to be connected to this place which helped, Sophia wouldn't be here. Plus, more importantly, it'sthe Hokey Pokey,a funny idea."
"She has a point," Gunn stated.
"A good one," Faith added.
"An excellent one," Fred corrected. Wesley shot her a look. "I wanna see you do it," she shrugged.
Wesley sighed. "You put your right foot in," he stuck out the foot, "you put your right foot out, and you shake it all around," he did it, "you do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around," he turned around, "that's what it's all about," he mumbled... and finished.
"That wasn't perky enough!"
He repeated it, except upped the perky. "Much better." She walked towards the door, "I'm outie. Gotta go put this footage on my compy and burn it onto a DVD... several even." With that, she left.
Not long after she entered her home, Angel did the same. "You know, despite the Hokey Pokey, you did a very nice thing today," he told her. "I'm proud of you."
She winced. "Father, please. Not so loud. I do have an image to keep up and all."
"Image? What image? Your bitchy, sarcastic, semi-wise ass one?"
"Exactly! If it gets out that I... did something nice for someone whom I don't know for no reason, it could destroy me."
"I'd hate to have that happen," he teased. She stuck her tongue out at him. "Don't worry, your secret of actually having a heart is safe. No one that didn't see it won't believe it."
"As it should be," she answered before turning to the TV. She planned out what time she'd go back to see Sophia later on as promised. And not just because she promised, she found herself liking her. Yes, it could be the beginning of a rather surprising, but beautiful friendship.
A/N: So, that's it. How is Sophia so far? Feel free to review... and be gentle. The next one, 'It's A Return', will have it's first chapter up very, very soon. Probably tomorrow night at the latest. Hope this was enjoyable.