Author's Note: I've been thinking a lot about what it was like for Wynonna dealing with all the crap your body goes through after you give birth. Will this be the only fic I write on this topic? Maybe. Will this be the only fic I ever write that skims this close to lactation kink? I sure as hell hope so.
"Haven't seen any revenants in days," says Jeremy, standing on the front porch of the Earp homestead. "It's like they've all gone into hiding."
"Good thing too," says Nicole morosely, "because if they knew what kind of condition the heir is in..."
She trails off. The sentence doesn't need to be finished. Dimly, from upstairs, the sound of weeping floats through the air.
A red car pulls into the driveway and dislodges a highly reluctant gunslinger. "Afternoon," he grumbles in greeting, tipping his hat as he approaches. Jeremy perks up at the sight of his idol, but Nicole just frowns.
"Hey, Doc," Jeremy chirps. "Dolls send you?"
Doc scowls. "Said it was time I took a shift. You've been on duty long enough." This last is directed at Nicole, who shrugs, wrapping her arms around herself awkwardly.
"I don't mind," she says unconvincingly. "Waverly needs the support too."
Another sob from above makes Doc wince and twitch. He hesitates at the bottom of the porch steps, lowering his chin so that the brim of his hat obscures his face from view.
Next comes the sound of footsteps descending the stairs inside, and Waverly bursts out the door, tears streaming, directly into Nicole's arms. "I can't," she wails. "I just can't help her."
Jeremy turns away, at a loss. Doc looks as though he wishes he could do the same, but he climbs the stairs and puts a gentle hand on Waverly's heaving shoulder.
"I'd say you both deserve a break," he mutters, making eye contact with Nicole. "Go on then. Take a few hours, clear your head."
"What?" Waverly lifts her tear-stained face from Nicole's shoulder. "No, no, I can't leave her alone. She needs-"
"She won't be alone," Doc tells her. "Not for a minute."
Waverly hesitates, wiping at her face with a sleeve. "Her, uh..." She blushes a little. "Her milk came in."
Nicole winces. Doc and Jeremy just stare blankly.
"Her boobs are full," Waverly clarifies more bluntly, with a demonstrative two-handed gesture that makes both men cringe. "It's really painful. I tried a bunch of remedies from the internet but... nothing's working. I guess it just needs time to get better on its own."
"All right, well..." Doc is at a loss for words, so he just shrugs, pats Waverly again, then squares his shoulders and walks into the house.
The sounds of Nicole and Jeremy coaxing Waverly into her car fade out as the door closes behind Doc. He removes his hat and puts it on a hook. He can already hear the sounds of misery from upstairs, and his steps are slow, reluctant, as he mounts the stairs.
The Earp Heir is curled in a ball on the bathroom floor, her body half-covered with a blanket - Waverly's doing, he is sure - and a wadded-up towel under her head like a pillow. Tears stain her cheeks; her eyes are red and swollen. She startles when he walks in, and he sees her hands twitch in a way that tells him her instinct is to jump up and go on the attack, but there's no fight in her this day. Instead she just averts her eyes and mumbles, "Go away."
"Wynonna." He drops to a crouch beside her, his heart twisting painfully at the sight of her sorrow. "Tell me what I can do."
A sound escapes her throat, some raspy combination of a sob and a scoff. "Haven't you done enough?" Her voice is thick with tears. "You put her in me, and I sent her away, and now you hate me."
"I do not hate you. I could never."
He takes the risk of reaching out a hand, putting it on her shoulder. She shrugs it off.
"You should hate me. I fucked it up, like I fuck up everything."
"No," he says firmly. "You did what you had to. Our daughter is safe, and will remain so, until we break this curse."
"I can't," she moans. He puts his hand on her shoulder again, and this time she leaves it there, closing her eyes. More tears leak out from behind her lids. "I can't. I'm too tired, Doc."
"Well, of course you are tired, you just gave birth a few days ago. Your body needs time to recover." He shifts forward to kneel on the floor, closer to her. "Waverly said something about, uh."
"My boobs?" A humorless laugh puffs through her lips. "Yeah, they're killing me." Her tone is an attempt at flippancy, but he can hear the strain, the truth in the words.
Wearily, she opens her eyes and pushes herself up to a sitting position. The blanket falls away and she can't even seem to care that her breasts are bared to him.
Doc tries not to stare, but it's impossible. He has made quite a study of this woman's body over the past year, and yes, her breasts are certainly larger now than he has ever seen them. Her nipples stand out, and he sees a hint of moisture on each rosy tip.
"Wynonna," he says, and has to clear his throat before he can go on. "Darlin', let me help."
Her eyes shift to his face, dull and glazed with tears and exhaustion. "I told you, there's nothing you can do. She's gone."
"And I know it," he says seriously, meeting her eyes. "But I meant, let me help with this." A quick jerk of his chin, indicating her chest.
She blinks in surprise, a bit of life coming into her face at last. "You... what?"
Doc swallows, his throat dry. It's not something he'd ever thought to find appealing, yet here and now, on this bathroom floor with this woman... he wants nothing more than to do this for her. For both of them.
"It's the milk, isn't it?" he says softly. "Too much of it, with nowhere to go. You need to get it out, to get relief."
Wynonna is staring at him as if he's speaking another language, so he reaches up a hand - slowly, giving her plenty of opportunity to slap him away - and cups his palm around one breast.
It's hot in his hand, firm - too firm, like a rock. Heavy. "Oh, my dear," he murmurs, watching a drop of cloudy white form on the nipple when he gives the lightest of squeezes. "How it must pain you."
A drop of another kind lands on the back of his hand: a tear, and then another. He releases the breast and lifts his hand to wipe Wynonna's cheeks. She watches him with brimming eyes.
"It hurts," she whispers, and he knows she doesn't just mean the milk. "It hurts so damn much."
"I know, darlin'. I know."
He swipes his fingers under her eyes again, wiping away another cascade of salt water, and then he rises, hooking his hands under her elbows to bring her up with him. He turns and guides her to sit on the closed lid of the toilet, the blanket falling away, leaving her fully bare from the waist up. And he kneels again before her, a finger tipping up her chin to bring her eyes to his again.
"Let me do this for you, Wynonna."
She gazes at him, tears still welling, but she doesn't move to pull away.
He leans forward, hands on her knees to steady himself, and takes one of those engorged nipples into his mouth.
A sharp gasp flies out of Wynonna at the contact, her hands coming up to grip his shoulders. He feels the trembling in her fingers, in her whole body. He feels the tears in his own eyes, but he blinks them back and suckles gently.
Just a slight pressure is all it takes; a flood of warm liquid fills his mouth, and he gulps in surprise at the force of it, barely registering the sweet taste as it flows down his throat.
"Oh my god," Wynonna whispers above him. He tilts his head and sees her looking down at him, wide-eyed with astonishment. Her cheeks are flushed, showing more color than he thinks she has shown in days. Her fingers tighten on his shoulders, gripping so hard he feels her nails biting into his skin through the material of his shirt.
He continues suckling, more gently than he would do in another context; the milk flows across his tongue, unbearably sweet, making his gut ache for the little one who should be here in this spot, taking this nourishment.
He doesn't realize that he has closed his eyes; he doesn't realize that it's his tears leaking out now, slipping down his cheeks, until Wynonna lifts one of her hands to brush the moisture away. He opens his eyes again and she's blurry in his sight until he blinks once, twice, thrice, and his vision clears as she wipes his cheek again with her thumb.
When he releases her nipple from his lips, the breast is softer already, not as heated, and Wynonna gives out a long sigh, ruffling the hair on his head.
"Better?" he asks softly, and she nods, her eyes roaming his face, perhaps seeking judgment, but finding none.
"Do the other one," she breathes, almost inaudible. Her hand at his cheek becomes a caress, and he leans up to brush his lips across hers briefly before dropping down again to seek out the second breast.
The taste, now familiar, fills his mouth again and this time he tries to focus, tries to memorize the flavor, knowing he'll likely never have the opportunity again to experience this particular nectar. Once again that thought brings him to the thought of the babe who is gone, and once again he closes his eyes against the surge of emotion.
Soon enough it's done, the milk easing up, the breast relaxed and softened under his touch, and he pulls away. Wynonna's eyes are closed as well, but they drift open slowly and she meets his gaze.
He can see the relief on her face already, the pinched tension eased off, some of the familiar fire coming back into her eyes. Her grip on his shoulders loosens, her hands sliding down to rest on his chest.
"You must be cold," he interrupts, uncomfortable with the idea that she might thank him for what seemed such a sacred act, cleansing for him in some indefinable way. He glances around the bathroom and sees a t-shirt crumpled on the floor, reaches over to pick it up.
He pulls the shirt over Wynonna's head and guides her arms into the sleeves, and she lets him dress her like a child. He tugs the material down over her breasts with infinite care and rises to his feet.
She stands up as well, and startles him by wrapping her arms around him, resting her head on his chest.
"I'm sorry," she mumbles into his shirt. "I'm so sorry."
"Nothing in the world to apologize for," he responds, folding his arms around her, his heart twisting again at how small she feels.
Her shoulders shake, and she cries again then, and he holds her, and perhaps sheds another tear or two of his own.
Some while later, he leads her downstairs and guides her to bed.
"I can't believe..." she sighs wearily, sitting on the bed, staring down at her chest. "It was so... it hurt so much. Like two bowling balls stuck on me."
"It just needed to come out," Doc says.
Wynonna looks up at him, her eyes bruised from exhaustion and sorrow, but she's already pulling her armor back on, squaring her jaw, covering up her moment of vulnerability. "I told you to go away."
"That you did," he agrees. "But I am staying." Ignoring her huff of protest, he reaches past her to pull back the covers on the bed. "Lie down now. You need to rest."
"Asshole," she mutters, but she lies down and allows him to tuck her in, her eyes drooping.
"You can insult me more later," he says, and then realizes she's already asleep.
Doc stands for a long moment watching her, and then he sighs, and pulls up a chair next to the bed and lowers himself onto it.
He's drifting down into a doze himself when he feels Wynonna's hand creep into his. He rouses just enough to close his hand around hers, and then he's out.
That's how Waverly and Nicole find them when they return, hours later: the woman in the bed, the man in the chair, both fast asleep, their fingers entwined.