Tara ran down the flight of steps, with Willow right on her heels. Turning she began to run out the doors of the apartment block, before getting out onto the street. Once there she continued running towards the parked Mercedes. Willow thought she would get into the big car, but instead Tara got into an open jeep parked right next to the Merc. Willow got into the passenger seat, and Tara started the engine, before pulling out and driving in the direction of the stadium they were playing the tournament.
For a few moments neither said anything, and Willow was content watching Tara drive the manual car. There was something intriguing about the way Tara moved the gear shift. Willow hadn't seen many manual cars, and she was enjoying watching Tara behind the wheels.
They stopped at a signal, and Tara broke the silence. "I hate driving after I've had a drink.It's not the right thing to do".
Willow nodded, and added,"Hey, it wasn't like you were expecting this to happen."
Tara gave a wry smile before the signal turned to green, and took off again. This time, they took a right, and headed away from the path to the stadium. When they took another right, Willow began to notice the smell of smoke in the air. She looked through the windshield of the car, and noticed some smoke going up in the air in the distance. Tara sped up a little, and as they got closer, the two girls could hear loud voices.
Taking another right they entered a neighbourhood with small, run down houses. The eighth house on the street was swarming with activity, and Willow noticed the smoke coming out it's windows. There was a fire engine and police car parked outside the house, and Tara pulled up.
Immediately a group of children came running Tara's way. "Tara... Tara..."
Tara stood still, waiting for the kids to get to her. Looking at them Willow realised they were all around the ages of 12 to 14.
"What happened Mike?" Tara asked the tallest boy from the group.
"Sean was home alone, and the power had failed. His folks were out at work, and he lit a candle for some light. Later, he fell alseep, and in hissleep he accidently kicked the candle, which fell and lit up the carpet. Soon pretty much everything was burning, and Sean woke up because of the heat..."
"Is he ok????" Tara asked, worry evident all over her face and in her voice.
"Yeah he's fine" Mike continued. "Really shaken up though" he said, pointing towards the police car, where a boy was sitting huddled up in the back seat with the door open.
Tara immediately began to walk that way, and Willow didn't know what else to do, so she followed the blonde. Once at the car, Tara gently spoke up "Sean?"
The little boy looked up at her with eyes full of fear, but when he saw who it was he flung himself from the seat into Tara's arms, and began to cry.
"Shhh... shhh... It's ok... shhh" Tara said, gently rocking the boy.
A cop walked up to them, and said, "Ma'am, you know this child?"
"Yes" Tara said, still holding onto Sean. She watched as Sean's parents walked up behind the cop.
"Tara" Sean's mother said, "Thank god you're here." She stroked her sons hair "We've got some formalities to wrap up at the police station. The cops agree it was an accident, but some paper works gotta be done...I know this is asking for a lot, but could you..."
Tara understood what the boys mother was aking for, and interrupted her before the woman had to ask the awkward question "Don't worry Linda...he can stay with me as long as he needs to."
"Thank you so much Tara" Linda said, hugging the blonde girl before the cop asked for Tara's address and phone numbers for formalities sake. Tara gave them to the officer, before lifting the little boy into her arms and carrying him to the car. The rest of the children were standing near her jeep, and Tara adddressed them "Guys, I'm taking Sean home tonight. If there's anything call me. Otherwise I'll see you'll at the usual time tomorrow,alright?"
They nodded, as Tara placed Sean on the backseat of the jeep. Willow got into the passengers seat, as Tara sat behind the wheel.
"Good night guys" Tara called as she started the car, and Willow waved a silent good night as well. They kids bid Tara a good night too, and stood watching her car as she pulled out and began to drive away.
The drive home was silent, with Sean falling asleep in the backseat. When they got to the apartment building, Tara got out and was about to pick Sean up, when Willow already did it. She held the sleeping child close, and Tara smiled at her before leading the way into the house. Once there, she opened the door, and stopped a moment, turning to Willow.
"Um, Willow, I know this is asking for a lot, but since yours is the only spare sleeping bag right now, I was wondering if Sean could use it. That would mean that you'd have to sleep on the bed with Cordelia, Anya and me, but if thats ok...I mean if you have a problem then we can figure something else out..."
Willow cut off the blondes rambling, "Hey, its no problem, alright?"
Tara gave her a grateful smile, before continuing the way to the bedroom. Once there, Willow gently lay the sleeping child down, as Tara covered him up. After watching him for a few minutes, Tara yawned and looked at the time on her watch.
"Whoa! It's 12:15! We better get some rest too! I'll have to get up a little early to send Sean to school."
Willow nodded her head, as Tara led the way to the bed. Willow followed, and got in next to the blonde. Within seconds the two tired girls were asleep, comfortable in the presence of one another.