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When to tell you...you're my world

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Her eyes fluttered open and Waverly Earp squinted against the bright morning sun coming through the window beside her bed. She looked around, the realization of where she was coming back to her. She saw the plain colored walls, a lamp in the corner, a TV across the room. She heard the soft beep of the machines behind her. And then she made out the silhouette next to her, bathed in the morning sunlight as her eyes adjusted finally, and not even the warmth of the sunshine beaming in could compare to the sight she saw there. Her heart swelled.

Nicole Haught sat in the hospital chair holding a small bundle in her arms, the baby cooing softly as the redhead looked down in pure adoration. Waverly looked over at the tiny being in Nicole’s arms, seeing pretty brown eyes staring up at the person holding her, a patch of brown hair just like her own atop her head. Caught in her musings, Waverly missed Nicole shifting toward her, noticing she was awake.

“Hey pretty girl.” Nicole flashed her signature dimples, and Waverly remembered for the hundredth time how infectious that smile was. “I have someone here who would love to be with their momma.”

Nicole gently placed the bundle in her arms, but stayed close, apparently not being able to get enough of the baby. As she held her daughter, Waverly in that moment could no longer imagine life without this little thing.

“Where’s Wynonna?” She asked, not taking her eyes off the angel in her arms.

“Bus stop. Should be here soon. Gus is in the cafeteria.”

Waverly looked up at Nicole, who was still leaning in close. She couldn’t help but raise her hand and brush her fingers against the soft skin of Nicole’s cheek, cupping it in her palm. The words nearly caught in her throat, and she blamed the hormones, but she meant when she said, “I’m so happy you were here.”

“Where else would I be?” Nicole whispered, eyes locked with Waverly’s, and it held there. Her glance flickered down again to the little one. “I got you, Waves.”

Waverly’s insides warmed even more, knowing it was true. She brushed Nicole’s cheek with her thumb once more and noticed, despite her constant smile, there were dark circles under her eyes. She’d been there the whole time and apparently hadn’t gotten any sleep. She needs to rest, too. Waverly dropped her hand.

Nicole reached out to let the little girl grab her pinky finger. Waverly’s gaze drifted back and forth between the two, both smiling and babbling at each other. They’re already inseparable. Flashes of Nicole being with the little one through all her life moments flashed through Waverly’s mind. Her first steps, riding a bike, graduation. She had to swallow the surge of emotion that came with the thoughts. Apparently the hormones don’t immediately ease off after birth...

She was in awe of how tiny the small hand could be, clutching onto Nicole’s finger. She looked at Nicole’s hand, thinking of how gentle they were in their touch, but how strong too when the held you. Just like Nicole herself.

“And you little lady are the most perfect thing I’ve ever seen, now aren’t you?” Nicole blabbered at the baby. “Yes you are. Beautiful just like your momma, and you’re gonna be just as brilliant and brave and kind too, yes you will.”

Waverly blushed. Always the constant charmer, Nicole was. But she hoped she could be everything her daughter needed, that Nicole was right, and she’d try her hardest. Waverly took comfort, though, in knowing her child would grow up surrounded by so many strong women, ones who loved her and would be there for her at every moment. Strong like the one next to her.

“Gotta find you a name, eh little one?” Nicole went on as Waverly watched them interact. “Should it be one of your family’s infamous ‘W’ names?” The baby squirmed, getting a little fussy.

“I agree. Be original, right?” Nicole smiled up at Waverly.

Waverly rolled her eyes. “Can’t rush these things.”

Nicole rested her head on her hands and her eyelids started to sag. The baby squirmed a bit more and let out a small cry and Waverly realized she must be hungry. The small cry woke Nicole again.

“Should I get a nurse?” Nicole asked. Waverly nearly laughed at her panic.

“No silly. She probably needs to eat.”

“Oh, should I?” Nicole stood up to leave. “I can give you some privacy…”

Waverly grabbed her by the wrist and looked up at her. “Stay. You need to rest.” She saw Nicole hesitate. But she sat back down and laid her head against the bed where Waverly sat upright.

Although it was new to her, nursing was the most natural thing in the world. She found it incredibly intimate. It was still hard to imagine she was a mother, but in that moment, looking down at her little girl, she was proud of what she’d created, and felt the connection she’d always heard about.

She looked over at the other woman and saw the redhead’s even breathing, her eyes closed. Waverly took her in, seeing her strong jaw, delicate eyelashes, her soft lips. Cautious of waking her, she couldn’t help but reach out to entwine their fingers on the bed next to her. She wanted to take this small moment to have the connection with the other woman, unguarded, just them.


God, I don’t deserve her. Nicole Haught had been there every step of the way. Her best friend through childhood, her rock through high school. Waverly had walked every step with Nicole when she decided to go to the academy, and Nicole was the most steadfast, loving, caring person in her life.

She enjoyed the silence as her little one finished and drifted to sleep as well. It all seemed so perfect for just a moment, past the chaos of delivery, months of waiting. She knew it would be a whirlwind if it’s own kind to come, but right then with her daughter in her arms and Nicole by her side, she felt whole, she felt safe, she felt confident.

 

“The other way, you dunce!” She heard down the hall, disturbing the silence. A moment later two figures bounded into the doorway and Nicole bolted upright, likely some instinct she picked up in her police training. Their hands immediately separated, severing the gentle connection they had.

“Oh my god Waves, I’m so sorry I wasn’t here!” Champ Hardy rushed over to the bed, slobbering profuse kisses to Waverly’s cheek. “I left when I could! Lonnie’s truck broke down on the way back from the cattle show and I had to hitch a bus last night.”

He looked down at the now squirmy child Waverly held in her arms. “Is that her?”

“No dumbass, that’s the other kid Waverly stole from next door…” Wynonna threw him an incredulous look, resisting the urge to knock him upside the head.

Nicole shrunk into the corner like a fire had consumed the room, shoulders sagged and hands in her pockets. Her normal confident self had vanished, and she acted like there was no longer room for her with everyone rushing in.

Waverly couldn’t bear to look over at Nicole. She carefully transferred the little girl into Champs arms.

“Wow.” He sighed as he looked down at her, a stupidly huge smile on his face. “I made this?”

Wynonna rolled her eyes.

“I was thinking of Raleigh, for her name.” Waverly’s gaze flickered to Nicole then, who looked up for just a second in disbelief. Wynonna stared between the two.

“Well now that’s a beautiful name,” Gus commented from the doorway.

“I uh... I should go.” Nicole choked out, just above a whisper. She didn’t make eye contact with anyone in the room but crossed behind Champ. She patted him on the shoulder. “Congrats, James.” She walked in between Wynonna and Gus. She stood beside Waverly as if hesitating on what to do.

Waverly waited, wanting nothing more than to pull her down into her arms and never let her go. To kiss her, finally. To tell her she has loved her since she knew what love was, that the only competition for her heart was the child she’d just been holding. She’ll never believe me. Why would she, when I have someone else’s child. It was a mistake then, but Raleigh… she made it worth it.

Meeting her eyes with the small smile she could muster, Nicole leaned over the hospital bed and pressed a soft, lingering kiss to Waverly’s forehead. And then she turned on her heel and left the room.