Once Robin had been convinced that Tara would be all right upstairs alone, she debated on whether or not she should join the others in the kitchen. Giles' appearance, to say the least, had been a surprise to both women; his knowledge, albeit little, of Miss Maclay's disappearance was even more unexpected. All though Robin knew that the ramifications of their decision to personally care for Tara could be costly, she never anticipated that they would have to deal with the consequences so soon.
Tara's progress was now beginning to show more and even though Robin's search had so far been fruitless, there was a lot more that could and needed to be done. Hearing her name being spoken in the kitchen, the attorney decided to join the heated conversation.
"... have any idea what kind of risk both of you are taking by keeping Miss Maclay here? Not only will there be legal consequences, but professional as well? What if the authorities were to learn of this?" Giles frowned, focusing his attention on Robin when she entered the kitchen. "Did you even bother to think about and explain the full legal aspects before you agreed to this?"
The lawyer's brief glance toward Willow answered Giles' question. The eldest doctor rubbed the bridge of his nose, obviously frustrated.
"Giles, there's more to this than just a missing patient," Willow said, attempting to keep her voice low. She had no desire for Tara to overhear them. The young doctor had grown tired of having to defend her decisions, however unorthodox they might seem, but she knew that it was quite possibly the only way to persuade Giles.
Unsure of how much she should reveal about what they've learned in recent days, Willow took a quick look toward Robin. She was aware that the facts were choppy and that without concrete information, her beliefs were mere hearsay. The one thing Willow was sure of was that there was more to Tara's story and that somehow it went beyond Pines View.
"That is not for either of you to decide," Giles said, unconscious of Willow's inner thoughts. "The matter at hand is that you've willingly taken in this young woman. A fugitive."
"Fugitive? Giles, she runaway from a hospital not a prison," Robin countered. She understood Giles' use of the term, but felt it was unfairly used to describe Tara's situation.
"Yes, a hospital where she was receiving proper care. There's no telling how this will and has influenced her mental state."
"As compared to being locked up in a padded cell?" Willow said, agitated. "Giles, she has shown more progress in a week than any of her files ever indicated."
"So what do you suggest, Willow? That every psychologist take their patient home with them?" Giles asked, still attempting to make Willow see what she had done. "This is not a game. You are influencing a person's mind and body, you cannot decide if they will be better off in a non established environment such as this."
Robin continued to listen, conflicted as she heard both arguments; her thoughts and opinions laying somewhere in the middle.
"You once told me to be careful of whom I trust." Willow said, reminding her mentor of an earlier conversation. "Can you honestly say that she would be better at Pines View?"
Giles was silent as he remembered their previous discussion. He, along with several of his close colleagues, had heard the rumors about the mistreated patients and dodgy drug polices at Pines View, but what could he do that had not already been attempted?
Without straining to listen, Tara could hear the muffled voices coming from downstairs. It was clear that the man who had shown up at Willow's door had been angry, and she suspected that it had something to do with her.
Willow was risking everything to help her. Was she a burden? Should she not have left the hospital? All though her decision to leave had been planned, Tara couldn't help wondering if she would've been better off staying put. The thought made her shiver.
She hated Pines View. But, most of all, she had hated the drugs. The tiny tablets they constantly fed her had made her brain clouded and slow, useless. She had long since learned how to forget. How to push every unwanted thought into the back of her mind until it no longer existed. But the drugs... they made her remember. Other than the slow 'normal' thoughts, only images of long-ago had been left to fill the void.
Tara snapped out of her reverie, reluctant to think about the past. Willow had already begun to tug on the chain of those stored feelings and thoughts that were so well hidden, and Tara knew that the time would one day come when she would have to let go. But she was safe now and history didn't matter. She tried her best to ignore the tiny sensation of doubt.
The atmosphere of the kitchen had grown quiet.
"Giles," Willow began, interrupting the silence, "you have to trust me on this." Giles' shoulders slumped as he leaned against the kitchen counter, shaking his head.
"I don't know if I can, Willow." He straightened up, massaging the tension from his forehead. "You don't understand what you're doing."
"Nothing ever goes by the book, Giles. I know that I have a chance to help her and I am going to."
Robin couldn't hold her tiny smile of support when Willow's resolve set it. She caught Giles' sideway glance and confirmed her decision with a nod.
Sighing, Giles did the only thing he could do. He gave up. "I'm sorry, Willow, but I'm afraid you're on your own this time," sympathy flickered briefly in his eyes as he left the kitchen. A moment later, they heard the door close.
"What do you think he'll do?" Robin asked, pulling her eyes away from the direction of the front door to look across to Willow.
"I don't know," Willow whispered, continuing to stare at the empty space where Giles had just been.
How much further would she go to do what she felt was right?
Donnie was livid. Hours of searching had once again turned up unsuccessful. Even if Tara was alive and still in the city, they were never going to find her. He avoided calling his father even though his cousin had insisted several times. What good would it do? Donnie already hated his dad for sending him on a stupid trip to bring home his crazy sister. He could just imagine the fury and disapproval in his father's voice if he was to call.
The nervous young man had gone over numerous excuses in his head, but each one was more ridiculous than the one before. Of all the things running through his mind, he still couldn't figure out how Tara managed to get away. The hospital hadn't been too forthcoming with the details of her disappearance, but Donnie guessed that they were just as clueless.
He had been gone the weeks before, but remembered the days prior to his sister being sent to the institution and allowed himself a small, satisfied grin. They were right to take her there. She had been mute for days; any doctor could see that she wasn't quite right. Her hotshot doctor had mumbled over some paperwork, but didn't give Tara a second look before issuing the papers. She was one problem out of the way and no one cared about the why's or how's.