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She opened the door to their small apartment and walked inside, turning to close and lock it before calling out, "Babe? What are we doing for dinner I'm starving." She walked further into the apartment, removing her coat and placing it over the back of the couch. "Jamie, are you home?"

She reached down and rubbed her ever growing belly. They had an ultrasound apointment in the morning and Nicole was excited because they would be learning the sex of their baby. She walked into their bedroom to find it empty. She took out her phone and dialed Jamie's number, unfortunately it went right to her voicemail.
"Babe, I thought you were off today. Anyway, hurry home because I've got something I want to ask you. Love you." She hung up and reached into the pocket of her hospital scrub shirt and took out the small box and opened it to reveal the ring inside. She smiled and closed the box, putting it into the top drawer of her dresser.

She took a quick shower and changed her clothes, walking out into the living room and discovering that Jamie still wasn't home. She picked up her phone and dialed Jamie's number again, still no answer. She hung up and noticed a piece of paper laying on the counter in the kitchen. She picked it up and took it into the living room and as she slowly read the letter her knees buckled, the air leaving her lungs as she landed on the couch.

She felt the tears coming as the words from the letter struck home:

Cole,
I'm so sorry but I can't do this. I thought that I wanted a family but I've come to realize that I'm not ready. I hope you can find it in you to forgive me someday. I'll always love you,
Jamie.

Nicole sat on the couch, tears streaming down her face wondering what she was going to do and now facing the daunting task of being a single parent. This had been Jamie's idea, not that Nicole didn't want to have a baby but she had wanted to wait until she was done with her residency. She reached down and rubbed her belly, her ittle one would be arriving in a couple of months and Nicole wasn't sure what she was going to do, but she did know one thing, she loved this baby more than anything and she was determined to show him or her everyday that they were loved.

*****

There was a commotion in the hall outside of her office and as the noise grew it forced Nicole from her thoughts. She didn't like to think about what had happened almost five years ago, it was still a source of pain for her. The pain had made her focus on her career and her daughter because in Nicole's mind those two things were the only things that mattered to Nicole. Nothing else was as important to her and her daughter would always come first. She had dated off and on but she hadn't allowed herself to get to serious with anyone, she couldn't risk getting hurt again. She sighed and got up out of her chair, stretching as she walked towards the noise, determined to find out the source.

Working in the emergency department for five years during her surgical residency had prepared her to deal with some really interesting situations and it took alot to shock Nicole. But when she opened the door leading out of her office her mouth dropped open in surprise.

She gasped when she saw the two women in the hallway, both of them covered in blood. Her eyes traveled back and forth beteween them as she tried to determine exactly which one of them the blood was coming from. She got her answer as the taller of the two women slumped over, knocking them both to the ground.

The shorter woman looked up and Nicole could see panic in her eyes, "Please, can you help my sister, she's been shot." Nicole was slow to react so she shouted up at her, "Don't just stand there, get a doctor!"

This snapped Nicole out of the trance she had found herself in, "We need some help down here!" She shouted down the hallway. She knelt down to examine the bleeding woman, "I need you to tell me what happened?" She opened the injured woman's shirt and asked, "Is that a gunshot wound?"

The smaller woman struggled to get out from underneath her sister, eventually winning the battle and sitting up, "I...I can't believe he shot her, I..."

Nicole briefly noticed that despite the fact that she was covered in blood the distraught woman was actually quite beautiful. She shook those thoughts from her head and refocused on the task at hand, now was not the time to admire pretty girls when there was a life in danger. Nicole reached over and grasped her arm, "I need you to calm down and tell me what happened, miss...?"

"Waverly, my name is Waverly."

"And, her name?"

"Wynonna." She looked up at Nicole with wide eyes, "Please, she's all I've got, you've gotta help her."

"Okay Waverly, where did your sister get shot?"

"In the chest," Waverly's face turned white for a moment, "There's so much blood, is she gonna be okay?"

When the hospital staff finally descended on them Nicole stood up, "We're going to do the best we can." She turned and said to the nearest nurse, "Get her a pair of scrubs and make sure she's comfortable."

"Yes doctor."

*****

Waverly watched as her sister was wheeled down the hall, not sure if she would see her again. The thought of losing her sister was almost too much for her to bear and her knees became weak. As a wave of nausea washed over her she quickly sat down onto the nearest chair. Waverly heard someone approaching and she looked up to find a nurse approaching her with a pair of hospital scrubs under her arm.

"Would you like to put these on?"

At first she was confused by the question but as she glanced down at herself, Waverly found that her clothes were soaked through with Wynonna's blood. She nodded and took the scrubs from the nurse, giving her a small smile of thanks before standing up determined to find the nearest restroom so that she could change out of her ruined clothes. Before she got to the restroom the nurse stopped her and led her even further down the hall to a room just past the nurse's station.

"You can shower and change in here and if you'd like I can get you something to eat."

"Thank you but I don't think I can eat until I know that she's okay." She reached up to wipe away the fresh tears that fell from her eyes.

The nurse reached out and squeezed her hand, "Your sister is in very good hands, Dr. Haught is one of the very best trauma surgeons I've seen and I've been at this hospital for fifteen years."

"Dr. Haught?"

"She's the one who took your sister in, you met her in the hallway."

"Oh, okay, thanks."

The nurse handed her a plastic bag for her blood-soaked clothes and after she left the room, Waverly took a shower and scrubbed the blood off of her arms and face. She changed into the scrubs that the hospital had provided for her and took a seat on the couch to await news of her sister's condition.

She waited for what seemed like hours and her eyes were growing heavy. She yawned and lay down on the couch, losing the battle with sleep. As she drifted off to sleep she thought she caught a glimpse of red hair coming from the direction of the doorway.

*****

Nicole walked out of the operating room rubbing the back of her neck. She had been in surgery for more than two hours and she was tired. She was happy to report that she was able to repair all the damage to Wynonna's chest and that she would make a full recovery. Nicole walked through the double doors so that she could find Waverly and give her the good news.

As she walked down the hall she heard the unmistakable sound of little feet running towards her and she couldn't help but smile as she recognized the high pitched squeal of her daughter as she charged full speed towards her.

She braced herself as she held out her arms because she knew what was coming.

"Mommy!" She flinched as her daughter launched herself at her, almost losing her breath as the little girl hit her square in the chest.

She caught her, "Hey monkey, what are you doing down here?"

"They were tryin to make me go to sleep and I wanted to go on an adventure and guess what mommy?"

"Maddie! What have I told you about running off from the daycare center?"

The little girl scrunched up her forehead as if she was deep in thought, "I'm not supposed to leave until you come get me, and mommy, my name is Merida." She began to bounce up and down in Nicole's arms, "Guess what?" She quickly answered before Nicole could get a word in, "I saw a real live princess mommy."

"You did?"

Maddie nodded, "Uh huh, she was beautiful mommy, she was sleeping and I couldn't even talk to her. I know she was a princess."

Nicole laughed, "A princess huh? How about we go and get some pizza after mommy gets off of work?"

"I love pizza!"

Nicole carried her as they walked down the hall, "I know you do baby and when we get home we can watch a movie."

"I wanna watch Brave!"

"Hmm... I never would have guessed." They got to the nurses station and Nicole left Maddie with the charge nurse as she went to find Waverly. She found her in the nurse's lounge asleep on the couch, and as her eyes fell on Waverly's face she was once again struck by how beautiful she was. Nicole stopped and stood in the doorway, not wanting to wake her from her peaceful sleep but she knew that Waverly would want to receive the good news as soon as possible. And to be perfectly honest, Nicole really wanted to go home and spend some quality time with her daughter, which was something that she'd had little time to do since arriving in Purgatory a month ago.

She walked softly over to the couch and reached out to gently shake the sleeping woman awake. At her touch Waverly's eyes flew open and she quickly sat upright, clearly startled by Nicole's intrusion.

"What..what's going on?"

Nicole gave her a gentle smile, "I'm sorry to wake you but I thought you'd like to hear the news sooner rather than later. You're sister made it through surgery and is in recovery, when she wakes up she'll be moved to a private room. We're going to closely monitor her over the next couple of days and if there are no complications she should be fine. She suffered some damage to her lung and lost a lot of blood so she has a long recovery ahead of her."

Waverly threw her arms around Nicole's shoulders and hugged her, "Thank you so much doctor, I owe you one."

"Nah, I'm just doing my job." As Waverly released her she took a step back, "If there are any changes in her condition they are to call me at home but I'm going to give you my number, if you need anything or have any concerns please feel free to call me." She reached into her pocket and handed Waverly a slip of paper.

Waverly could hear some giggling coming from behind Nicole and she looked past her to see a mini version of the doctor standing in the doorway.

Nicole turned around and followed her gaze until she saw her daughter dancing in place in the doorway, "Mommy! You found the princess and rescued her! When you rescue the princess you have to kiss her!"

Nicole's face reddened as Waverly looked over at her. "Maddie, I told you to wait with the nurse."

"I got bored and I was waiting to go get pizza and to watch Brave, you said you were coming back."

Waverly watched the two of them interact and she was amazed by the resemblance between mother and daughter. They both had flaming red hair and when they smiled they had matching dimples in their cheeks. The only difference that Waverly noticed between them was that the little girl had bright green eyes while her mother's eyes were brown. "Your daughter is beautiful doctor."

"Thanks, but she's a handful too." She picked up Maddie and turned back around towards Waverly. "If you'll excuse me I have a date with this one, we're doing dinner and a movie tonight."

Maddie looked over at Waverly, "Are you really a princess, because you look like a princess. My name's Merida but Mommy says it's really Maddie. Do you want to watch Brave with us?"

Waverly looked at the little girl with affection, and she had to admit that she found her adorable. "Oh honey, I wish I could but I have to stay here and check on my sister."

Maddie became serious, "Is she hurt?"

Waverly nodded, "Yes she is but your mommy fixed her."

Maddie turned her head and reached out to cup her mother's face with her much smaller hands, "Mommy you're a hero."

Nicole gave her daughter a hug, "You really think so?" She looked over at Waverly, "If you need anything give me a call, okay?"

"I'll do that and Doctor, thank you again."

Waverly followed Nicole and Maddie from the room and stopped at the nurses's station to ask where she could find her sister. As the nurse pulled up the information Waverly turned her head and watched the tall, redheaded doctor move down the hallway and towards the front door. The nurse interrupted her thoughts as she gave her Wynonna's room number, before turning to go Waverly thanked her and stepped away from the counter. As she walked towards her sister's room her thoughts wandered back to the doctor. There was something about her that drew Waverly towards her. She could feel a pull towards the Doctor that seemed to increase with each passing minute the two of them had occupied the same space.

She stopped and looked at the slip of paper that she had handed to her. She looked at it and grinned, speaking softly to herself, "Dr. Haught, why yes you are.".