When Willow awoke an hour later, it was to a quiet crying. She rubbed her eyes and sleepily looked around for Dawn. Not seeing her sister anywhere, she looked at Tara, expecting her to be asleep. Instead, she saw tear's running down Tara's face as she looked out the window opposite Willow.
Tara blinked and another stream of tears made their way down her pale cheeks. She looked slowly at Willow and the redhead's heart was crushed at the look of pain and vulnerability on her face. Willow moved from her seat next to the bed and carefully sat on the sheets next to Tara.
"Can I get you anything?" Willow asked, not really knowing what to say.
Tara shook her head and more tears escaped from their reservoirs.
"Tara, I...I know that what happened to you was terrible. I'm so sorry. I never should have left you alone with him." Willow slid her hand over Tara's. Tara continued to cry quietly, and Willow felt very lost. She didn't know what to say or do or how to comfort Tara at all. She slid further up on the bed and carefully put her arm around the blonde's shoulders. She didn't expect much of a reaction, but Tara gingerly turned on her side and snuggled closer to Willow, letting the redhead's shirt soak up her tears. She finally cried herself to sleep as Willow gently stroked her hair around the bandage that Dr. Pryce had placed on her wound. Willow lay there for the rest of the night until the morning's light began to creep through the window. Willow ever so gently removed her arm from around Tara's body and carefully laid the blonde back in the bed. She made her way quietly to the door and left Tara to sleep. She met Dawn coming out of her room.
"How is your head feeling?" Willow asked as she examined the bandages. They seemed to have slipped during the night.
"Like I wish that someone would shoot it off with a cannonball," Dawn grumbled.
Willow smiled sympathetically and tried to re-adjust the bandage, but her finger slipped and she bumped Dawn's wound accidentally.
"Ow! Be careful Will!" Dawn groaned and jerked away from her sister's clumsy hand.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you." Willow said quietly.
"How is Tara?" Dawn inquired as she looked to the door from which Willow had just emerged.
"She woke up once and she cried the whole time, which I can't blame her for, then she went back to sleep." Willow glanced at the door.
"When will Dr. Pryce be here?"
"He said he'd stop by sometime this week, but he didn't say when."
"I hope it's soon. I want him to look at Tara again and make sure she'll be okay."
"She'll be okay Dawnie, I promise, but it's going to take some time. She's not going to be okay overnight. Something very terrible happened to her and she may never get over it. We just have to be there for her and show her that we love her and maybe that will help."
Dawn nodded and Willow tucked a strand of hair behind her sister's ear and ran her hand down the side of her face. Dawn smiled and nuzzled her face into Willow's hand. They were interrupted by a sudden scream and they briefly locked eyes before bolting to Willow's bedroom. Willow threw the door open and ran inside looking for trouble. Instead she saw Tara thrashing about in her sleep on the bed and was dangerously close to falling out of it. She rushed forward and grasped Tara by the upper arms and pushed her back up on the bed.
"Dawn help me!" Willow turned for a split second to yell for Dawn. In that split second, Tara kicked out and kicked Willow's injured side, causing Willow to curse and recoil for a second. Dawn rushed forward and grabbed Tara's legs, pinning her to the bed and allowing Willow to regain her hold on Tara's upper arms and force her back to the mattress.
"Tara! Wake up! Wake up Tara! It's just a bad dream!" Willow yelled and shook Tara as hard as she dared. Tara's eyes flew open and she looked confused as she looked wildly from Dawn to Willow, then back to Willow. Dawn sat down on the bed and gathered Tara in her arms, gently rocking her as she would a small child.
"It's okay Tara. We're here. Willow's here and I'm here and you're safe. No one is going to hurt you again okay?"
Tara still looked confused as she clung to Dawn and allowed the teenager to rock her back and forth. Willow made sure to stand in front of Tara and reach out her hand to rub the blonde's back so as not to startle the girl. Tara was beginning to feel nauseous and she pulled away from Dawn's rocking. Willow was the first to notice something was wrong and stepped closer to the bed.
"Would you like to lie down again?" She asked quietly.
Tara nodded and Willow carefully helped her back to the top of the bed and guided her down onto the pillow there. Tara spoke something so quietly that Willow had to lean down to hear her better.
"What was that?" The redhead asked.
"You're bleeding." Tara said again, this time a little louder. She pointed at Willow's side. Willow looked down and noticed a small circle of blood growing larger on her white shirt.
"I suppose I am." She smiled weakly down at Tara and warily put a hand to her side. Tara looked alarmed.
"I'll be okay. It's just a scratch." Willow lied. Tara didn't look fooled as she continued to stare at the crimson spot on her lover's shirt.
"What happened?" Tara asked.
"Nothing important. What's important is that you get your rest and we get you all fixed up."
Tara still wasn't buying the redhead's story. She looked over at Dawn without a word, but her eyes seemed to say it all as they took on a concerned look.
"I'll look after her." Dawn said as she pulled the blankets back up over Tara's body. Tara nodded and seemed satisfied with that as her head began to swim and she fell back into a fitful sleep. Willow motioned toward the door with her head and Dawn nodded as she stood from the bedside. They quietly made their way out of the room and Willow left the door cracked a bit as she pulled it closed behind her. They both went downstairs and into the kitchen, where Dawn pulled up Willow's shirt. When Tara had kicked out, she had kicked Willow's wound and had opened it back up. The bandage was already soaked through and the blood was beginning to run down Willow's side. Dawn removed the soiled bandages and cleaned the cut with some water and a rag, then replaced the bandage with a clean one.
"Thanks Dawnie." Willow said as she tugged her shirt back into place. "I'll have to be more careful next time. I can't be upsetting Tara like that."
"Well it's good to see her focus on something other than...what happened." Dawn said with a shiver.
"It's good to see her focus on something else yes, but she doesn't need anything else to worry about." Willow slowly paced the room as she spoke. She kept an ear open for any noise from upstairs and was satisfied for the time being that Tara was sleeping.
"What are we going to do Dawnie? How are we going to take care of her?" Willow was frustrated with the situation.
"I don't know. I suppose we just have to be there. She's really the only one that can take care of those feelings inside of her."
Willow looked at Dawn with a tiny smile and ruffled her sister's hair.
"How did you grow up so fast?"
Dawn shrugged and gave Willow a warm smile, looking more and more sleepy by the minute.
"You need to get some rest. How about this, we'll take shifts watching her and the one that isn't watching can get some rest. I'll take first shift and you go back to bed. I'll wake you in an hour."
Dawn reluctantly agreed with the plan and trudged upstairs to her bedroom. Willow returned to the chair next to Tara's bed. Tara slept for most of that time. She woke up once, allowed Willow to give her a bit of water, and then went back to sleep.