After Willow returned her phone to her pocket, the two girls resumed their way to the exam bench pointed out by the first aid volunteer. Tara helped the redhead climb onto the bench and remove her bag. When she was sure the redhead was settled, Tara looked around, wondering briefly what to do with herself.
"W-will you be okay here?"
Willow gulped. Is she leaving? No, she's leaving, she can't leave yet!
"Yeah, um did you need to go?" She asked quietly.
Tara nodded and reached up to brush back some hair that had fallen onto the redhead's face when she removed her bag.
"J-Just for a little while. I'm here with someone. I sh-should let her know where I am."
Willow gave the blond a tight smile and nod of the head. As the blond left the tent, Willow could not help but be both happy at the affectionate gesture from the blond and deflated at the thought that she was here with someone. It's a date, she's here on a date dammit, but no wait, it's a her so maybe it's not a date! Maybe it's just a friend someone and not a something more someone. No wait, that would be bad too, if it's a her someone friend, because then maybe she doesn't like girls that way and that would be bad. Very very bad...
When Tara entered she saw the redhead scowling. She rushed over and put a hand on the other girl's shoulder. "W-what's wrong? A-are you in very much pain?"
The sound of the blonde's voice coaxed Willow out of her internal panic babble. She looked into concerned blue eyes and felt all her nervousness drift away.
"I'm okay, just, you know, busy in here." She said, tapping her forehead and giving the blonde a reassuring smile. "Did you find your friend?" Please be just a friend, please be just a friend. Willow begged silently, hiding her one hand by her leg and crossing her fingers.
"I called her." Tara nodded. "We're l-like sisters so, um, she worries?"
Like sisters! Yes! Willow did a mental victory fist pump before speaking. "She's worried? Is she mad? You've probably been gone a while! Oh God, I'm making you miss Sheryl Crow and abandon your friend! She probably thinks I'm all latchy-helpless girl making you miss the concert."
Tara couldn't help but smile. The redhead's face was like an open book. She saw how relieved the girl was when Tara said the words 'we're like sisters,' and how quickly her expression had changed when she started to panic again. She gave a small wave of her hand, "Nah, she s-said, 'Roomie, as long as you're abandoning me for a hot damsel in distress, it's all good.'"
Tara's eyes grew large when she realized what she had said, and the hand that had been dismissing the redhead's worries was now firmly clamped over her mouth. She watched the redhead carefully for any adverse reaction.
Willow however did not notice. She was too busy doing a little jig in her head. Hot damsel... she called me a hot damsel... Yay me! Well, okay her roommate called me a hot damsel, oh hey, Yay roommate! But still, her roommate wouldn't call me a hot damsel if she hadn't said something right? So Yay me again!
"So, which one of you lovely ladies is my next patient?" The two girls turned to focus on the sound of a male voice nearby.
A tall man in scrubs was standing next to them with a clipboard in his hands. He looked back and forth between the blond and the redhead, neither of whom were responding to his question, so he checked the name on the paper.
Hearing her name caused Willow to come out of the haze she was in, and she raised her hand. The man smiled and placed the clipboard on the bench next to Willow, pulling a stool up for him to sit on as Tara moved over to one end of the bench.
"Hi Willow. My name's Tom. I'm a nurse. It says here you hurt your ankle?" He smiled brightly at the redhead. "Can I look?" He gestured to her foot.
Willow nodded. The nurse, Tom, gently pulled the redhead's foot onto his lap and removed her shoe. The motion caused a sharp pain to fly up the girl's leg and she reached out to grip the bench, but instead found soft hands take her own and hold on firmly.
Tara was not watching the nurse, Tom, remove the redhead's shoe. No, she was watching the redhead's face for any sign that she might be in pain, so she saw when the other girl's jaw tightened, and she felt more than saw Willow reach her hand out for something to grip. Instinctively, Tara reached out and took hold of the searching hand, holding it firmly with her right hand and placing her left hand over it.
Willow looked up when she felt the blonde take her hand. She gave the other girl a grateful smile just as she felt another burst of pain. The nurse, Tom, had been moving the redhead's foot around, trying to gauge the extent of her injury.
"Well, Willow, aside from some mild swelling, I'd say your foot is perfect." He winked and gave the redhead another bright smile. "It's just sprained a little. We'll put a cold pack on it, wrap it up, I'll find you a crutch, then you and your girlfriend here can get back to the show."
Both girls were too busy blushing and looking everywhere but at each other to notice that the nurse, Tom, was waggling his eyebrows at them. They were both very aware that they were still holding hands, but both girls thought it would be more awkward if they let go suddenly.
Willow felt a hand massaging her ankle, and she focused her attention back onto the nurse, Tom. "Thanks."
"No problem, I'll be right back." He stood and winked at Willow again before resting her foot on the stool.
A few awkwardly silent minutes of handholding later, the nurse, Tom, returned with a cold pack and a bandage. He shifted Willow's foot onto his lap once more as he sat back down.
"Sorry, we're all out of crutches. I guess your girlfriend here will just have to hold on to you real tight when you get back out there huh?"
This time, both girls did not miss his leering grin and waggling eyebrows.
"C-can you just f-finish up so we can go?" Tara said firmly.
The tightened grip on her hand made Willow glad she was not on the receiving end of the blonde's glare. Willow squeezed the palm in her own and gave the blonde a weak smile as the nurse, Tom, dropped his eyes and began wrapping Willow's ankle. When he finished, he stood and handed Willow his clipboard to fill out a few forms. He gave the girls instructions on caring for the ankle as Willow made quick work of the forms. Taking the clipboard from the redhead, he mumbled a quick goodbye before rushing to his next patient.
Willow was about to try to stand, with the blonde's support, when she saw Faith rush into the tent. She prepared to insist that she was fine and there was no need for Faith to come find her, but the look on the brunette's face told her something was definitely wrong.
Tara felt Willow tense, and followed Willow's gaze to a frantic-looking girl with long dark hair. Not knowing exactly the reason for the redhead's reaction, she moved closer and placed her palm on the redhead's back.
Though she was worried now, Willow couldn't help but smile at the feel of the blonde's hand on her lower back.
Faith spotted Willow, having pushed past a dazed volunteer insisting she had to wait in line.
"Red, we have to go, now." Faith said rushing up to Willow and putting a hand on her arm.
Oh God, Tara thought, She looks really upset. No... please don't let her be...
Resting her hand on top of Faith's, Willow frowned.
"What is it, sweetheart? What's the matter?"
Sweetheart... oh God, it's her girlfriend, it must be. Tara could feel her hopes being quickly crushed.
"It's... It's Joyce, something happened."
"It's okay Faith, just take a deep breath and tell me what's going on."
"Joyce... she's, she's in the hospital. Giles called, B thought it was you!"
"Where are they now Faith?"
"Xander took B and the squirt in the jeep. I promised we'd be no more than 15 minutes behind them." The brunette's voice was now about to crack.
Tara watched as the redhead brushed the hair away from Faith's face and tried to calm the girl down.
"Oh God Red, B says it's pretty bad. She's... B's... Buffy's freakin' out Will. I... We have to go now."
"Okay, Faith, okay. We're going now." Willow said, moving to stand.
"Wait." Tara interrupted, "I'm going with you."
Though she was surprised by her own boldness, she refused to shrink at the two pairs of eyes now staring at her.
"What?" Willow and Faith asked simultaneously.
"Neither one of you is in any condition to drive. You're hurt." She pointed to Willow's bandaged ankle. "And you," she pointed to Faith, "are p-panicking." Seeing that both girls were not going to argue, she reached into her pocket. "Just l-let me call my roommate okay?"
Willow could only nod, and Faith was too torn between telling this girl off and trying not to hyperventilate to say much of anything at all. As the blonde dialed her phone, Willow had a sudden thought.
"Wait, we can't let you leave your friend here."
Tara smiled at the redhead's concern. "She's coming with us."
"But, but your car!"
"It's okay," she said, as she waited for Jo to pick up. "We took a b-bus from Sunnydale." She held her hand up when she heard her friend's voice. "Hey, it's me. Grab our stuff and meet me in the parking lot... No, I'm okay... I'll tell you later okay, just do it... Oh yeah, hold on... here talk to someone."
Tara handed Faith her cell phone and instructed Faith to give Jo directions. As Faith told Jo what their car looked like and where to find it, Tara reached down for the redhead's shoe and placed it in Willow's bag.
She felt a hand on her arm and when she looked up from the bag she found herself looking into shining green eyes.
"I keep having to say this to you, thanks." Willow said, her voice thick.
Tara reached up and wiped a tear that was making its way down the redhead's cheek. "Y-you're welcome."
"Okay," Faith interrupted, returning Tara's phone. "She knows where to go."
"Okay... now, car keys?" Tara said, holding out her palm as she pocketed her cell phone. Willow took out a set of keys on a Snoopy chain and placed it the blonde's waiting hand.
"Here." Tara passed Willow's bag to Faith before moving to Willow's side. Once again she wrapped one arm around the redhead's waist and draped the redhead's arm over her shoulder, helping the redhead to stand from the bench and take a few tentative steps with her support.
Reassured that Willow would be able to make it to her car, she gave Faith a quick smile. "Don't worry okay? We'll get there as quickly as possible." She said, giving Willow's wrist and waist brief squeeze.
Looking at Faith, she nodded towards the tent door. "Lead the way."