I’m calling a time out right now…evil forces, hit the showers…my team’s injured and the substitutes were left at home battling the Hellmouth. The referee wants to postpone the tryouts for the apocalypse.
I came round from my haze to find Willow on the floor.
Crawling closer to her side I gathered her slowly into my arms and began to clear away the hair across her face, desperate to see the extent of the bleeding. I saw movement from the corner of my eye.
“Dawnie? Are you hurt?” I shouted, my attention drawn to the moving form.
A few rustles later and a reply came. Dawn untangled herself from the vines around her and coughed a little.
“I’m okay; just never thought shrubs could be so unfriendly. How could so many tree huggers be wrong?” Dawn snorted as she pulled leaves out of her hair and threw them to the ground.
“No offense.” She said as she turned her gaze to me from dusting down her jacket with a half shrug. I rolled my eyes at her and gave a playful smile. Dawn’s eyes widened as she noticed Willow in my arms and ran over to me. Pensively she kneeled by my side. “Is she okay?”
A grin began to form in the corner of Willow’s mouth as she stirred, her eyes still closed. “She’s an evil energy butt kicker.”
I laughed forgetting the pain in my ribs as I concentrated on my girl. After cleaning all the matted hair from Willow’s face I could see that her nose was bleeding, no doubt visible signs of strain from the amount of energy she had channelled, but other than that and a few scratches she seemed fine.
“We should get you cleaned up.” I said as I guided an arm across my shoulder and helped her from the floor. She nodded, popping an eye open. She scrunched up her nose and touching it with her hand, wiped away the blood.
“Not gonna miss the nose bleeds.” She sniffed loudly.
Moving the blanket over with my foot I helped Willow down to sit on it.
“Dawnie, could you get me the antiseptic wipes from the bag in our tent please?”
She nodded. “You got it.” scurrying into the tent and brought the box with her.
“Did you bring the baby lotion and the rubber ducky as well?” Willow cackled.
I shot her a look of mock disapproval as I knelt down beside her. “I said we were going camping… I didn’t say you were going to get lucky Rosenberg.”
The laughing stopped and Willow unleashed the pouty lip. “You don’t play fair.”
I bit my lip a little, stifling a giggle before I continued. “Well you were making fun, I’ve hung around you guys enough of a night to have to treat continuous fatal scuffed knees and bruised egos not to mention the stake splinters in Xander’s…”
Willow covered her ears with her hands. “Eww, you said you wouldn’t mention it! I’ll have nightmares about tweezers again!”
I put my hands up in comical surrender. “Okay…But it never hurts to be prepared.”
The smile returned to Willow’s face before folding out to another smirk. “I always thought you should have been a nurse…but I see you lack the bedside manner.”
“Funny, you always make the hugest effort to let me know my bedside manner is impeccable.” I said with a wink.
“GAH.” Came a shout from the tent. “You guys about to get all kissy face again? Cos if you are I’m gonna take a walk…”
There was some scuffling around in the tent, before Dawn re-emerged, hair standing up on end, wipes under arm. “Maybe get lost,…hitchhike a lift from a big sweaty trucker and end up making knock off handbags in a Mexican sweat shop!”
“I see the big sister humor is rubbing off nicely.” Willow said. Dawn pulled a face and stuck out her tongue. “I can see you, threadin’ that little needle, with the big boss man shouting ‘esclavo’ and laughing hideously while Janice polishes his spankin’ new boots.” Dawn could do nothing but cross her arms in defiance before she dropped herself down on the blanket laughing with full teenage sarcasm.
Willow looked up at me, a childlike grin spreading across her face. “How you enjoying the camping trip so far baby?” she drawled.
“I stand by my initial thoughts that this was a good idea.”
She tipped her head, changing the grin to satisfied smirk as Dawn threw over the wipes.
“Okay, this part of the trip wasn’t so good but I know it can only get better.”
Dawn shifted uncomfortably. “So are we safe now or is the Blair Bitch Project due back anytime?”
I gazed over to Willow. “There’ll be no standing in the corner…I think it’s gone.”
She ran a hand across my back and I grimaced.
Dawn frowned. “You did take that whole half a tree to the back pretty well considering.”
Willow lifted up the back of my shirt. “I think it’s just bruising, better stay off your back for a little while.”
“Can’t guarantee it.” I said, innocence across my face. Willow blushed.
Dawn rolled her eyes. “I might be younger than you guys but I can still decipher your ‘code’…is that all you two ever think about?”
I smiled as sweetly as I could. “I just meant I wouldn’t be able to…”
“Save it.” Dawn stated. “You’re like little bunnies, if it was physically possible for you two to have babies you could have populated a small planet by now!”
Willow laughed while trying to hide her face, I shrugged – I mean what’s a girl to do?
We sat by the fire until the early hours, talking and laughing together. As the embers began to dull, Dawn excused herself and went to bed.
“I’m sorry I stormed off today…”
Looking Willow in the eyes I smiled. “I wasn’t exactly Miss Sunshine myself, you don’t need to apologise.”
“With everything going on…I just…I’m sorry for yelling at you…it’s the first time in a long time where I haven’t felt in control of my life, and you know me…if I can’t draw a diagram or come up with some kind of a chart…I get kinda nervous.”
I shifted a little closer to her and took her hand, absently running little circles over it with my thumb.
“Will, you don’t have to apologise for being human, I’m not upset with you.” I took a breath. “All I want you to know is, no matter how you feel or however mixed up you get… I will always be here for you.”
Her face lit up, like an angel. “You know, I think I really did it this time… I beat it, I thought it would be so easy to use something stronger like anger or rage to beat it today…but I saw you there and I didn’t, I controlled only the things I could. You taught me that.” She pulled me close and wrapped her arms around me tightly. “I’m so lucky to have you.”
“You know what I think?” I whispered.
She pulled herself away only slightly.
“We’re lucky to have each other.”
She rested her head on my shoulder.
“I think we should go to bed.” I said, a little huskier than I had originally planned. Willow lifted her head and grinned wildly. I stood and offered my hand but winced at the ache in my back.
“What about your back? …I mean...you said that…not that I’m implying that we…oh I did just imply didn’t I?...I don’t have to…not that I wouldn’t you understand…cos I would all the time…” I held a finger across her lips and watched as she followed my lead with the calming breaths.
Her brow knitted together. “What about your back?”
“I don’t remember saying I would be the one laying on my back.”