Waverly was in the bathroom when she got the call.
Pants still down, knees still knocking together anxiously; though it was nothing compared to how they would quake beneath the steering wheel as she drove to the hospital.
She’d known before she’d even answered. Known that something had happened to Nicole. Sheriff Haught had her own direct line and usually used her cell anyway, so a call from the Purgatory Sheriff’s Department squad room meant only one thing: trouble.
Words had filtered through from the panicked officer charged with calling her; shot, bleeding, ambulance, hospital, but Waverly had been on autopilot by that stage. Yanking her too-tight jeans that wouldn’t fit over her hips soon and absently remembering to wash her hands, she grabbed her keys and bolted from the homestead.
She broke the speed limit, but no officer in Purgatory would have been stupid enough to pull her over and the roads were so deserted she put no one at risk but herself. Waverly just about remembered being told they were taking her to the larger hospital in one of the neighboring bigger towns, but only after she had almost pulled up at Northern Memorial.
She cursed under her breath and changed course, lamenting the lost time and feeling a stabbing pain in her heart that she might have just cost herself a goodbye.
She refused to think like that.
She wiped her eyes and continued ahead. Going to an out-of-town hospital was a blessing and a curse. Nobody knew her there so she didn’t have to worry about keeping it together, but she also couldn’t take advantage of her sash-winning popularity to call in any favors.
It felt like forever in the stony silence of her Jeep until she finally got there.
Immediately upon rushing through the emergency room doors, she was hit with the smell of disinfectant and sickness. It made her stomach turn, and not for the reason she’d have to get used to. She’d spent one too many times skidding through hospital doors when whatever supernatural force had hurt a member of their family and definitely too many times with Nicole’s name dry on her lips.
She’d been lulled into a false sense of security of late. It made that antiseptic odor all the more pungent.
Her shoes clacked against the tile of the sterile floor as she moved towards the triage desk, but a familiar flash of red hair caught her eye first. She rushed past, ignoring the shouts of the nurse manning the desk, and slid up alongside Nicole’s gurney, being rushed down the hallway.
“Baby!” she exclaimed, getting some relief just from seeing her wife’s eyes; clouded, but alive.
“Who are you?” one of the doctors asked impatiently, “We’re taking this patient to surgery.”
“I'm her wife, and she's allergic to Thiopental,” Waverly shot back, and damn if it wasn't satisfying to be saying those words instead of hearing them.
“Waverly,” Nicole breathed, pulling Waverly back to the moment and the situation they were in.
Waverly’s knuckles were white as they gripped the metal sides of the bed.
“Hey, I thought you had stopped scaring me like this?”
“Gotta go where the danger is,” Nicole rasped, her features actually softening peacefully for a moment before they contorted back in pain.
Waverly was trying not to look at the blood-drenched uniform Nicole had been cut out of.
They stalled at the elevators and Waverly reached out to cup Nicole’s cheek.
“You’re gonna be okay, baby,” she reassured in her best comforting voice, smiling through the tears.
Nicole’s cheek nuzzled her hand.
“Waverly, I-I love you.”
Waverly’s jaw tensed. She wouldn’t do this. She never could.
“Hey, when you get back I have some good news to tell you, okay?” she said, forcing a laugh out, “So you gotta come back to me so I can tell you. I’ll tell you when you wake up, okay? I’ll tell you…”
The elevator doors opened and Nicole’s hand slipped from Waverly’s as she was wheeled inside in a rush.
Waverly watched, distraught, as the doors closed and her wife disappeared.
Her hand reached into her pocket and she pulled out the plastic stick she’d shoved inside, the pink plus sign staring back at her mockingly.
“You’re going to be a Mommy.”