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Tripping, Stumbling, Flipping, Fumbling

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“Wav gon killme…”

The words jumble together as she lies with her bloody cheek pressed against the cold tiles of the dirty floor.

She wants to move.  Tries to drag her arms around to push herself up.  But everything feels so heavy, including her eyelids, which are sliding shut without her permission.

She tries to fight it, but the darkness is warm and tingly and it swirls through her, seeping in and caressing her mind, coaxing her until she is floating through it, weightless.

 


 

“Where is she?”

Waverly storms into the office, her bag slung over her shoulder while she jabs at the buttons on her phone.

“Who?” Dolls asks without looking up from the file he’s reading.

“Wynonna was supposed to meet me at the diner for lunch thirty minutes ago.  She’s not answering her stupid phone,” she drops her bag on the table loudly, startling Doc where he had been napping with this feet propped up and his hat tilted down.  “I’m hungry, and I’m tired of waiting.  Where is she?”

Doc, still a bit confused from his sudden wake-up call, takes one look at Waverly with her hands on her hips and immediately begins stammering.  “W-well, I do believe she’s still at the hospital.”

“The… hospital?”  Waverly’s eyes go wide as her annoyance melts into fear.  “And you two are here?  What happened to her?” she demands, immediately trying to call her sister again.

Dolls shoots Doc a look, and he either doesn’t see it or doesn’t care, because he continues rambling, his mustache twitching as he rubs the sleep from his eyes.

“I assure you, nothing has happened to your sister, Waverly.  She was merely doing a good deed, giving the fine officer a ride afte—“ he cuts himself off with a yelp, apparently having been kicked under the table by Dolls.

WHAT?

“Waverly…”  Dolls sets the file on the table and looks at her calmly.

What happened to Nicole?  Somebody had better start talking right now.”  Her entire body is trembling, the waves of anger and worry rolling off of her almost visible.

“She’s fine, Waverly.  She’ll be fine.  They should be back soon.”  Dolls keeps his tone even, but it does not have the desired effect.

“That.  Is not.  An answer,” she snarls through gritted teeth, snatching up her bag and spinning on her heel.

“Don’t be cross, Waverly.  Officer Haught was onl—“

She doesn’t hear the rest of Doc’s attempt to smooth things over because the door to the BBD office has already slammed behind her, and by the time the frosted glass has finished rattling in the pane, she’s halfway to the parking lot.

 


 

“Miss Earp, you can’t go back there.”  The young orderly stands in front of the double doors with his hand out in a stopping motion, but his trembling voice betrays his trepidation.

“Tony, I swear to god, if you say that one more time, it’s gonna be the last thing you say for a week.”  Waverly shoves past him, pushing the door open and then halting briefly as she glares back at him, grabbing him by the collar.  “Now tell me where the hell my goddamn girlfriend is.”

Waverly Earp may be of diminutive stature, but she is a force to be reckoned with nonetheless, and Tony cowers in her presence.   “R-room t-two-fifteen,” he stutters.  She releases him from her grip and is already letting the heavy door swing closed by the time he weakly adds, “But the doctor is still in there…”

Her hurried footsteps echo loudly through the sterile hall, the ever-present smell of disinfectant turning her already knotted stomach.  When Waverly reaches the designated room, she bursts inside without pause or pretense.

The first thing she notices when she rounds the doorway is Wynonna straddling the nearest chair, her feet kicked out in front of her as she rests her chin on the wooden back.  She jumps at the sudden disturbance and her eyes grow wide when she sees Waverly standing two feet away, all rumpled sweater and white knuckles and pale face.

The next thing Waverly sees is Nicole sitting on the exam table with her back to the door, her uniform shirt unbuttoned and hanging loosely from her shoulders, and several strands of her normally tight braid sticking out at odd angles.

The doctor looks up from where he is leaned in close, examining a spot on Nicole’s face.  His face is stern and he’s about to scold Waverly for the interruption, but Wynonna beats him to it.

“Oh, shit…  You’re in for it now, Haught Shot.”

“What?” Nicole asks, turning to look at Wynonna and finally noticing the other occupant of the room.

“I told you we’d never get away with this,” Wynonna adds, snorting as she leaps out of her chair and tries to head for the door.  Waverly doesn’t budge from her position.

“What.  The hell.  Is going on here?” Waverly asks, her arms folded and her eyes wild.

“Wave…” Nicole starts, gaping at Waverly over her shoulder.  “It’s not as bad as it looks…”

“You shouldn’t be in here.  Who let you in here?” the doctor demands at the same time.

You,” Waverly says, pointing at the doctor.  “Shut up.  You,” she indicates Nicole and Wynonna.  “Start talking.  Now.”

The doctor drops the instrument in his hand onto the tray with a loud clang and snaps his rubber gloves off.  “I’ll be back,” he says sharply and tosses the gloves in the trash on his way out the door on the other side of the room, clearly not wanting to get involved in whatever is about to happen.

“I’m waiting,” Waverly says coldly, staring at Nicole while she continues to block Wynonna’s exit.

“Well, you see—”

“She was just—”

“One at a time!” she interrupts, her voice rising now.

“Okay, so Nedley said it was time to brief everyone on the updates to the Accident Prevention Plan…” Wynonna snorts and Nicole swings her legs around to dangle off the end of the table instead of the side, finally facing her fully, and Waverly can’t help but gasp.

There’s a compression bandage wrapped around Nicole’s abdomen where her tank top is shoved up around her sports bra, the middle finger on her right hand is wrapped in thick white bandages, and a gash on her left cheek settled in a large black and purple bruise has fresh stitches poking out through the blood that is still smeared across her face, dry and brown and flaky.

Within seconds, Waverly has dropped her bag from off her shoulder and is at Nicole’s side, touching her gingerly on the ribs and letting her thumb trace gently over the fresh facial laceration.  Nicole hisses, but doesn’t pull away, her own hand coming up to cover Waverly’s.

“What happened?” she chokes out softly, her voice barely above a whisper as her watery eyes finally meet Nicole’s.

“Shhh…  I’m okay,” Nicole whispers, her thumb brushing the back of Waverly’s hand where it still rests against her tender cheek.

“Oh, puh-leaze,” Wynonna groans loudly, and the muscle in Waverly’s jaw twitches.

“Can it, Wynonna!” Waverly snaps without looking away from Nicole.

Nicole finally takes a deep breath, wincing slightly at the pull in her ribs, and begins her tale again.

“Nedley left instructions for me to brief everyone on the new Accident Prevention Plan.  And your sister, of course, was not cooperating.”

“Hey!” Wynonna pouts indignantly.  Nicole and Waverly both raise a disbelieving eyebrow at her in unison.  “Okay, fine.  But the stupid shit was boring.  It’s not my fault.”

“Anyway,” Nicole continues, shifting uncomfortably on the exam table, one of her feet swinging subconsciously.  “I was just heading back to my desk to put the binder away.  And then it sort of…  Well, I mean, I was kind of…”

“You weren’t watching where you were going because you were flipping me off!”  Wynonna fights off laughter.  Waverly steps back slowly, watching the two of them silently through narrowed eyes.

“Not helping, Earp!” Nicole yells with exasperation and pinches the bridge of her nose with her now free uninjured hand.

“Hey.  I just want Waves to know that none of this is actually my fault.  It’s because you couldn’t contain your inner asshole.”  She points dramatically at Nicole, and this time she does start laughing. 

“Enough, you two.  One of you had better get to the point.  And fast.”  Waverly’s hands are on her hips now, the frustrated look from before settled back on her face again.

Nicole sighs with resignation, her shoulders slumping in defeat.  “Okay.  So.  I was walking back to my desk while I was putting the signature page back in the binder.  And it kind of… snapped shut on my finger...”  She lifts her injured hand and waves it halfheartedly.

Waverly cocks her head as though she wants to say something, but bites her lip and motions for Nicole to continue.

“I think I sort of yelped, and I was bleeding, and your sister was being a smartass, and I mighthaveflippedheroff…” Nicole mumbles the last part, looking anywhere but at Waverly.

“What was that?” Waverly asks sternly.

Nicole clears her throat and looks back at her with a red face.  “Wynonna wasn’t lying.  I flipped her off before I got to my desk.”

“So she hit you?” Waverly asks incredulously, taking a step toward Wynonna.

Wynonna inches backward, dropping ceremoniously into the chair when it hits the backs of knees.

“What?” Nicole interjects.  “No!  God no!  Nothing like that, Wave.  I swear!”

Waverly’s advancement halts, and Wynonna squares her shoulders back up.  “Yeah.  Jesus, babygirl.  Who do you think I am?  Pffft.”

“An Earp,” Waverly answers evenly, and Wynonna considers her for a second before shrugging.

“Fair.”

Turning back to Nicole, Waverly gestures at her hand.  “Well, that explains your finger.  What about your face and ribs?” she asks with a raised eyebrow.

“Ummm…”  Nicole fidgets with a loose string on the stripe of her khaki pants.  “Okay, so I was looking at your sister.  And I still had the binder in my bloody hand.  And I kind of…  Well…  I wasn’t exactly watching where I was going…”

“Mmhmm…” Nicole’s face is practically glowing at this point, and if Waverly is completely honest with herself, she is almost amused at how flustered her girlfriend is right now.  Almost.

“I sort of…  uhhh…”

“Just get it over with, Haughtstuff.  Like ripping off a band-aid,” Wynonna snickers.

“I tripped over the trashcan,” Nicole blurts out.  “I tripped over the trashcan, fell face first against my desk, and landed on the metal rim of the can on my way down before I hit the floor.”

Wynonna can’t contain herself any longer, doubling over in a fit of laughter, and Nicole has her face buried in her hands, completely mortified.  

In a rare occurrence, words elude Waverly and it takes her nearly a minute before she can speak again.

“So all of this,” she waves her hand up and down at Nicole, “is because you were looking at Wynonna and tripped over a trashcan?”  Her mouth is hanging open in disbelief.

“That’s not all of it,” Wynonna wheezes through her laughter.  “Tell her the best part.”

“I hate you,” Nicole seethes at her before looking at Waverly again.  “I…” she shakes her head as though she can’t even say it out loud.  Waverly does not relent, and Nicole eventually finds the words.  “I hit my desk hard enough…  that I lost consciousness…” she mumbles, her face already back in her hands.

“She knocked herself out!” Wynonna bellows, falling into another fit of giggles.

“That’s not funny, Wynonna,” Waverly scolds, stepping closer to Nicole again.  “She probably has a concussion,” she says a little quieter, and gently trails her fingers over Nicole’s forehead.

“I do,” Nicole whimpers, peeking up at her girlfriend from behind her bandaged finger.  “Three stitches in my finger, two cracked ribs, five stitches in the laceration and what is sure to be a black eye by tomorrow…   and a minor concussion.”

“Hang on.  You knocked yourself out and got a concussion, cracked two of your ribs, and got stitches in your finger…  all because you accidentally got it stuck in a binder…  that held an Accident Prevention Plan?

Nicole looks at her sheepishly.  “Basically yes?”

Waverly just shakes her head, the faintest hint of a grin tugging at her lips, and kisses Nicole’s uninjured cheek.  “Unbelievable,” she says softly and finally gives Nicole a chaste kiss on the mouth.  “You are a disaster,” she mumbles against her lips.

“But I’m your disaster?” Nicole asks hopefully, giving Waverly the soulful eyes and flashing her dimple.

With a sigh and a shake of her head, Waverly kisses her again, then pulls back and looks her over.  “Come on.  Let’s get you out of here.”

Wynonna, for all of her harassing, pushes off of her chair and is at Nicole’s side in an instant to help her scoot down off the table.

“We’ll pick up some food on the way back to the homestead,” Waverly says.  “If you have a concussion, it’s gonna be a long night keeping you awake.”

“Ew.  I’m standing right here,” Wynonna scrunches up her face and swats Waverly’s shoulder.  “That’s my cue to make other arrangements.”

“Oh no you don’t,” Waverly counters.  “This is partially your fault.  You’re gonna help.”

“Look, babygirl.  I know Officer Hottie here thinks I have a top-shelf ass, but this isn’t exactly my idea of a threesome.”

“Very funny, Wynonna,” Waverly rolls her eyes, and this time it’s her turn to swat at her sister.  “That is not how we are keeping her awake.  I’ll be doing it by constantly reminding both of you how big of idiots you are.”

They watch as Nicole signs the last of the paperwork at the front desk.  Wynonna bumps her shoulder against Waverly’s.  “You know what her last words were before she passed out in a pool of her own blood?”

Wincing at the image, Waverly isn’t sure if she wants to hear this.  “What?” she finally asks tentatively.

“Wave’s gonna kill me.”

Waverly snorts loudly, catching Nicole’s attention, along with one of the nurses.

“She was right.”