Put Your Faith in Love
Put your faith in love. That was the phrase echoing around and around inside Waverly Earp’s head. Put your faith in love. She wasn't sure where she had heard it. Maybe on a bumper sticker? Or during one of those late-night infomercials for yet another online dating service? Waverly shook her head abruptly. It didn't matter where she had heard it. All that mattered was that she was determined to cling to the sentiment as if someone's life depended on it. And maybe someone's did.
She shifted uncomfortably in the hard plastic chair, careful not to squeeze too hard on the hand clasped tightly in her own. Her eyes never left the deathly pale face of the woman that occupied the hospital bed in front of her. Nicole. Her strong, beautiful Nicole looked so small and so vulnerable lying there, hooked up to tubes and wires that monitored her vital signs incessantly. Waverly pressed her free hand to her lips, choking back a sob. Wynonna would find a cure, she told herself, fighting back the tears that threatened to overwhelm her. Until then, she just had to have faith.
The door opened behind her, and Waverly heard the unmistakable sound of her sister's boots clacking on the tile floor. Twisting around in her seat, she looked up hopefully, searching Wynonna’s face for any sign of good news. Finding none, she turned forward again, her shoulders slumping as she resumed her vigil.
“Hey, baby girl,” Wynonna whispered. “How’s she doing?”
Waverly shrugged disconsolately. “Same,” she replied, her voice slightly hoarse from crying. “You haven't found anything yet.”
It was a statement, not a question, and Waverly was aware of the faintly accusatory tone. She leaned forward and gently smoothed a stray lock of red hair away from Nicole’s closed eyes.
“She’s still fighting though.” She tried to smile, even though it felt like her face was about to crack.
Wynonna laid her hand on Waverly’s shoulder, trying in vain to console her younger sister.
“Of course she is,” Wynonna agreed. “She's a tough one.”
“She's the best,” Waverly murmured, more to herself than to her sister.
Wynonna pulled up a chair alongside her sister, wincing at the harsh scrape of the metal legs against the floor. The Earp sisters fell into a strained silence, broken only by the steady electronic beep of Nicole's heart monitor. Waverly stared intently at the shallow rise and fall of her girlfriend’s chest as she watched for any indication that Nicole might be waking up soon. Finally, Wynonna cleared her throat cautiously.
“Hey, Wave? Look…I don't want you to get your hopes up too much, but we might have a lead on an antidote. Doc and Jeremy are checking it out.”
Waverly’s heart leapt. The team had been searching for a cure for almost three days now. Three days since Nicole had fallen victim to a mysterious toxin that threatened to shut down her entire nervous system. Three days since Waverly had found Nicole sprawled unconscious just inside the front door to her home, a bouquet of lilies still clutched in her hand. The card had fallen to the floor, and she shivered at the memory of the moment that her entire world had turned upside down.
I'm so sorry. Can we talk?
Only Waverly hadn't written the card, hadn't sent the flowers. She remembered very little after that. A frantic 911 call. Sirens wailing. Her own voice pleading with Nicole. Stay with me, baby. Please, stay with me. Wynonna had met them at the hospital, and Waverly had collapsed in her sister’s arms, spilling out her story in between anguished sobs. Dolls had retrieved the suspicious flowers, and an analysis confirmed that they had been laced with a poison made up of scorpion venom and something else. Something Rosita said wasn't found in nature. After that, the race to find a cure had been on. But now, they were running out of time. No one had told Waverly this, but she was good at reading people, and she could see it in the looks of increased concern on the faces of the myriad of doctors and nurses that paraded through Nicole's hospital room at all hours.
Why would someone try to kill Nicole? Waverly wondered again and again. Why would someone hurt Nicole, who would never hurt anyone if she could help it? Her mind flashed back to the fight they'd had five days ago when she'd found her opened DNA results tucked inside Nicole’s purse. God, she’d felt so angry, hurt and betrayed, and she had stormed out of Shorty’s without giving Nicole a chance to explain. For two days after that they had sulked and sniped at each other, though to be honest, Waverly had done most of the actual sniping. Because I love you. Those were the last words she remembered Nicole saying to her. She wondered if she would ever hear them again.
“Waverly? Did you hear me?” Wynonna’s voice, tinged with concern, cut through her trance.
Waverly nodded dully. “Doc and Jeremy have a lead.”
It was the fourth lead that they had chased down, the first three being futile and fruitless. She didn't want to get her hopes up too high, only to have them dashed again. Glancing sideways at Wynonna, she could see the worried frown tugging at her sister’s lips. So Waverly did what she always did. She gave her sister what she hoped passed for an optimistic smile, but this time Wynonna wasn't buying it.
“You don't have to pretend for me, baby girl.”
Waverly's brave facade crumbled, and before she knew it, fresh tears were trickling down her cheeks. She felt Wynonna’s arm slide around her trembling shoulders, pulling her close.
“Wynonna, the last thing I said to her was so mean! What if….” Waverly’s voice trailed off, unable to finish the one thought that she refused to allow herself to say aloud.
Wynonna shook her head firmly. “Uh-uh. Nope. We are not doing ‘what-ifs.’ Not today. Doc will find something this time, and Haughtshot there will be just fine. You'll see.”
Waverly sighed and nestled her head against her sister’s shoulder.
“How can you be so sure?”
Wynonna shrugged matter-of-factly. “Because I am the goddamn Earp heir, that's how. And I will take down anything that stands in our way. Revenants. Demons. Even craptastic bouquets of poison flowers.”
The typical Wynonna defiance faded, and her face softened as she turned her sister’s head and looked her in the eyes, “Waverly, I know you're scared. But we’ll get through this. Your girl will get through this. So lean on me for a while if you need to. I've got you.”
Waverly smiled genuinely then. Buoyed by her sister’s conviction, she tightened her grip on her fallen girlfriend’s hand. At least for one more night, she was going to have faith.