DISCLAIMER: I don't own the characters but I'm taking liberties in treating them with respect and fairness that the writers of HC don't seem to be doing as of late.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Episode 14x14 but nothing significant.

By Waywardnomad


Part 1: Coming Home

"…It's impossible not to look at you, Vero." Maca looked up into the eyes of the blonde and for the first time seeing nothing but a stranger.

Maca took a step back, distancing herself from the other woman.

"You were right when you confronted me last week. I want you. My body screams to touch you when I know I shouldn't." Maca paused, her eyes glazed with desire. "And that's the thing, I shouldn't." Maca moved over to the bench in the middle of the room and sat down. "I'm not this person, Vero. I don't like the person I am when we are together." A sudden rush of sadness washed over Maca, the exhaustion of the events of her tryst the past few months weighing heavily on her heart. "I want you but I need my family. I need my children and most importantly, I need Esther." At the sound of her wife's name Maca's voice became suddenly more confident. She had a moment of clarity and the conviction of what she knew she had to do next was all too clear. "She is my life. Esther is my life, Vero. Do you understand? You made the decision for me before but I realize now that I knew what to do all along. I was just afraid of losing it all if I let go of any part of it. But now I know that was my weakness was my hesitation. It held me in a place I didn't want to be." Maca stood up and took a step towards Vero. She placed her hand on Vero's arm. "I'm very sorry you got caught up in the situation. I cared for you but we do not have a future together. I'm sorry."

Vero had tears welling up in her eyes. She had not spoken a word during Maca's final confession. She couldn't find the words. Vero had thought by confronting Maca last week that the other woman would realize how much she desired Vero but now, now she saw how her plan had backfired. She pushed Maca too far and right back into Esther's arms.

Maca turned to pick up her bag and jacket. She quickly moved to the door and as she opened it she knew from this moment on she would do everything in her power to win Esther back and to start building up the trust between them for good.

As Maca turned the key to the front door of the building her heart began to pound as if it were in her throat. Her determination and conviction steeled her mind and heart all the way from the hospital, this was the Wilson way. But now, the fear and self-doubt was slowly creeping back in with every step she took towards the apartment where her whole life was staying. Maca almost doubled over with the pain of regret and guilt and anger and disappointment. Tears welled up in her eyes burning her face with its wetness.

Maca reached the door to the apartment where Esther was staying with the children, her keys softly rattling in her shaking hands. Maca didn't call ahead like she normally did when she wanted to come over and visit with the kids. She didn't want Esther to leave, avoiding any contact with Maca. But she was frozen to the spot. Her legs would take her no further than to the front of the door, her hands trembling at her sides. Maca just stared at the lock on the door.

Everything was different. Everything had fallen apart. Esther was sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea when she looked up at the clock and realized it was time to check in on her sleeping children. She slowly got up from the table and walked to the bedroom where Pedro and Patricia slept, Paula was in a crib next to her own bed. The children's bedroom was adjacent to the front door. Esther quietly tip toed in towards little Pedrito's bed and sat down. The little boy stirred and turned towards his mom.

"Where's Mama?" Pedro mumbled sleepily and he snuggled closer to Esther's leg.

"She's at work baby. She'll come see you tomorrow and take you to the park, ok?" Esther reached out with her hand and brushed away a strand of hair from her son's face. Esther sighed. She still had a small part inside of herself that felt great sadness when she looked at Pedro. He was every bit a part of her as he was Maca but she hated herself for how she behaved when Maca was pregnant. Esther had vowed to herself that she would never treat Maca with that much disrespect ever again, notwithstanding the moment of weakness with Raul where she couldn't even begin to explain the regret and guilt that surrounded her with thoughts of those events. Esther looked down at her sleeping son watching him breathe. Her early reservations and fears about not really feeling like he would be hers were quelled at the very first sight of him. The first time she held him when Aime handed the precious baby to her after the delivery Esther knew. She felt it in the deepest part of her soul and heart that this was very much her son, hers and Maca's. This was a baby born out of their love. As were the girls, no matter the circumstances in which they were conceived. These children were raised as a result of the love between Maca and Esther and nothing would ever change that. Even if the complications of life kept them apart, there was no doubt in either of their minds that their hearts would forever be linked and there would be a deep love between the two. Maca and Esther had discussed early on that they wanted three children, the way they came to their lives were certainly not how they planned but if things were different this would be their perfect life together. Esther sighed again.

Pedro stirred seemingly having a bad dream. Not wanting her son to see fear in what was supposed to be peaceful slumber Esther began to softly sing. She sang a lullaby of the love between two women and their children.

Maca stood at the door of the apartment with a heavy heart and tear stained regret on her face. She was still deciding on what to do next when she heard the soft voice of her wife through the door. Her heart seemed to break into a million pieces in her chest. She couldn't stand the sadness anymore. She missed Esther so much with every part of her being. Now at the sound of Esther's voice Maca couldn't move. As if she wasn't before, she was paralyzed to the spot. Maca remembered when Esther would sing softly into her ear when they were laying in bed, a time when everything was comfortable and peaceful, when everything was simple because it was just about the two of them, their love, and tender plans for a family.

Maca sank to the floor, leaning up against the wall next to the door as she listened to the voice beyond the threshold. Maca recognized the song. It was about two women falling in love, starting a family, and the devotion to their children. It was ironically not much different from their own story had everything not fallen apart and the powers that be had let them write their own fates, but that was not to be. Instead everything was backwards and too complicated for anyone on tv to even conceive to write. No one would be so heartless as to purposely put two people through so much misery. Maca leaned her head back and closed her eyes.

"Just let me take this in and forget everything even for a moment," Maca whispered to herself.

The exhaustion from the emotional day and week and months finally washed over Maca and she didn't realize that she had been lulled to sleep by her wife's gentle song.

When Esther could see that Pedro had finally relinquished his nightmare and was probably dreaming of running around the park with his mama, she quietly got up and left the room. Esther decided to finish up the day's chores and go to bed, not to sleep, because she did very little of that these days. Esther just couldn't sleep without Maca. She had forgotten what it was like to sleep without her wife next to her. The years before the taller woman entered her life was simply preparation for her life shared in a place she called home with Maca. Now she had to suffer sleepless nights in a bed that was too big and uninviting without the warm loving arms of her wife to wrap around her.

Esther went to the kitchen and grabbed the bag of garbage, intent on taking it out and dropping it down the garbage chute. She opened the front door and was stunned when she saw the figure of her wife slumped over next to the door fast asleep. Esther didn't know what to do for a moment. She finally moved to step past the sleeping woman and tossed the garbage into the chute. Esther walked back towards her apartment door. She knew she couldn't just leave Maca there, if for no other reason than the fact that her neighbours would begin to wonder why a beautiful and not obviously homeless woman was camped outside her door.

Esther knelt down and reached out to brush a strand of hair that had fallen across Maca's face behind her ear, not unlike what she had just done to their son. She couldn't help from gently caressing Maca's cheek. Not realizing the pull of the sleeping woman, an almost gravity of want and need that compelled Esther to involuntarily lean in closer and almost kiss the other woman. But with a sad sigh Esther drew herself back and tried to wake Maca up.

"Maca," Esther quietly whispered. "Maca, wake up sweetie." Esther was surprised at the affectionate expression she used. It was so natural, even in the pain she couldn't help but be loving towards the woman in front of her. It was ingrained into her head and heart. This was another reason why she couldn't be around when Maca came to visit the children. It was just too hard to keep her defenses up around her.

Esther knew that at the sight of Maca all her conviction left her and she would have taken her back in a heartbeat, but she couldn't. As much as her own regret and guilt tore at her heart, she was heartbroken that Maca would share more than just physical desire with another woman. Esther knew that Maca cared for Vero beyond that of just a distraction from all the pain and complications of their life. Esther realized this when Maca hesitated in telling her that she didn't love Vero. And especially now, it was clear that Maca had shared more of herself with the blonde. Esther had heard from Teresa and her friends and colleagues at the Hospital that Maca and Vero were still quite amicable, failing to hide their affair from the staff. This is what was hardest for Esther. It was heartbreaking to not only think about her wife with the other woman, but the fact that they continued with the affair even after Esther confronted Maca was just too much to bear. This is why Esther had to leave every time Maca came to see the children. She had a weakness for Maca and simply couldn't bear to look at the woman that once vowed to be completely devoted to her and who had her heart in her hands if she knew those hands had been touching another woman, loving another woman. It was supposed to be something sacred between Maca and Esther, something that was supposed to be shared only between them. It was not only the lost trust between her and Maca but because of her own shame and guilt. Esther was fully aware that her own weaknesses had started this mess. She couldn't bear to look at Maca because she knew how she had disappointed her. Esther knew she deserved to be punished for her mistakes but this was all too much, too painful. She had no right to lay blame on Maca but it was hard not to feel the sadness of rejection and anger towards the continued infidelity. How much did she have to endure? How much did they each have to suffer?

Esther shook her head trying to composed herself. In the past few months and weeks she had learned to compartmentalize those painful emotions and to deal with them when she was calmer.

Esther tried again. She reached out with her hand onto Maca's arm and softly said, "Maca, hey, wake up." Maca finally stirred and blinked her eyes open. Not realizing where she was at first but instinctively put her hand on the one on her arm and brought it up to her lips.

"Esther…" Maca whispered. She was still half asleep not yet completely aware. This was when Esther finally took in her wife's tear stained cheeks and realized that Maca was not quite fully awake and this gesture was just instinctual. Esther felt the love for Maca well up in her heart and threaten to burst. She swallowed hard and took her hand away. Maca, not understanding the loss of contact, finally woke up completely and looked up at Esther.

Maca cleared her throat, "Sorry, I…I guess I fell asleep."

Esther still kneeling in front of Maca, quietly questioned, "How long have you been out here?"

Maca lifted a hand to wipe her tired eyes and face. "I don't know," Maca looked down sheepishly. "I heard you singing to the children and just wanted to listen for a while. I guess I fell asleep to your voice and the lullaby." And with a small grin to herself, "You still have that power over me." The last part of the sentence quietly trailed off.

The two women stayed still for an emotion filled moment before Esther stood up and offered Maca a hand, "Come on you can't stay here all night. The neighbours are going to think you're homeless and a stalker."

Maca smiled and reached out to take the offered hand, internally sighing at the soft contact with her wife. In a flash of a moment she tried to recall the last time they touched and she remembered the night that Esther had left her. Maca sighed.

"I don't look that bad, do I?"

"Well…" Esther smiled softly for the briefest of moments. Their eyes met as Maca stood up straight. The two women stood still in a timeless moment as they both realized this was the first time they had been alone together since the night Esther told Maca she knew about Vero. And now here they were, alone, hand in hand.

Esther broke the contact first. Stepping back, she turned towards the door of the apartment and Maca felt as though her life was slipping away and Esther was leaving her all over again. But Esther stopped at the door and barely lifted her head when she turned and softly said, "Are you coming in?"

Maca blinked and almost didn't register what Esther had said until two sad eyes looked up at her and thought her hesitation meant that she didn't want to follow her wife back into the apartment and perhaps given up on their life together. Maca nodded her head imploring Esther to understand, "Of course I am."


Part 2: Family

Maca followed Esther into the apartment unsure of what to expect from herself and her wife. As Maca took off her shoes Esther spoke without turning to look at her, "Why don't you check on the kids and I'll make some tea."

"Ok," Maca responded, relieved since her mind was a little numb and doubtful that she could hold a coherent conversation with Esther at the moment.

Maca quietly entered the room and moved towards Patricia's crib. She reached down and caressed her daughter's head and lifted her blanket a little higher under her chin. Maca leaned down to rest her head on her arm against the side of the crib as she watched the small girl sleep. Patricia was small for her age as the effects of her early illness had ravaged her chances of growing and living as her older brother had as an infant. Maca felt a fleeting moment of sadness for her daughter as she recalled the incredible pain and suffering that such a young child should have to endure. There were many days early on where there were doubts of whether Patricia would be able to wait for her little sibling to be born and receive her most selfless gift of healing cells. But now it seems she will survive to learn and understand the unique bond she will forever have with her younger sister. With one last loving touch to Patricia's cheek, Maca smiled at her daughter and moved towards Pedro's bed and sat down.

Pedro, being the light sleeper that he was, stirred at the slight movement. He furrowed his brow from being woken again and turned to his side facing Maca.

"Shh baby, it's ok. Go back to sleep. Mama's here." Maca placed a hand on her son's back.

"Mama?" The tiny sleep laden voice questioned.

"Yes baby, it's me."

"Good, I knew you would come when mommy sang her song…" The last words trailed off as weary tendrils pulled his consciousness back to sleep.

Maca could do nothing but sit there and smile, a sad bittersweet smile. She wanted to stay here forever. There was nothing complicated about a sleeping child. Life's worries disappeared and the innocence wrapped around her like a warm comforting blanket.


Maca never knew what it was like to have what she thought was a conventional family. There was no time for familial customs or pleasantries within the Wilson Empire. But with Esther, Maca found what she always needed, a sense of family. She knew early on that the bond she was forming with Esther was something more than companionship or mutual understanding in their relationship. The intimate connection that grew between them held a profound meaning that Maca knew was something unique to what she now knows to share as family. Maca learned that a sense of family was not always about the bond between blood and lineage but a connection with those that become elements of your own being beyond the physical. This was her family in her mind, heart, and soul. It was a little worse for wear at the moment but nothing would change the fact that these three precious children and Esther were Maca's family and would forever be a lasting part of herself.

From across the hall Maca could hear little Paula crying and Esther making her way to the fussing girl. Maca, as slowly as she could, moved to get up from the bed. She pulled the door behind her leaving a small gap and crossed the hall to the other bedroom. Maca stood leaning against the entrance as she watched Esther pick up the little baby and rock her in her arms. Esther whispered soothing words to their daughter as she swayed from side to side in an almost hypnotic way. Before Maca realized it she was standing behind Esther with her arms circling around her wife's waist. She placed her lips on Esther's bare shoulder and looked down at the small baby in her wife's arms. Maca was almost unaware of her actions, her movements controlled by the natural responses her mind and body made around Esther. The only thing Maca was aware of was the smell of Esther's skin that numbed her senses to everything but the contact and presence of the other woman.

Esther paused for the briefest instant when she felt Maca's hands and arms encircle her waist and the warm breath on her shoulder but continued gently moving side to side before Maca even noticed the tiny waver. As much as she knew she shouldn't give into her weaknesses for Maca's touch, Esther couldn't resist taking in the moment. She closed her eyes. This was where, if she tried her hardest, Esther could forget all the pain and pretend this was the perfect moment with her daughter and her wife that she had been dreaming about for seemingly endless nights. For what little sleep Esther got these days in those rare moments the exhaustion finally captured her completely this is what she knew she always dreamed about. This tiny moment framed with love. But life didn't exist in a box with no door that led to a reality of thoughtless mistakes and fateful consequences.

Esther opened her eyes and with a soft sigh she stepped out of the embrace and moved to put Paula back into her crib. When the little girl was tucked in safely, Esther turned to face Maca who was still rooted to the spot where they were. But wordlessly Esther walked passed Maca and back out towards the kitchen.

It was overwhelming, holding Esther for the first time in a few weeks and then the sudden loss of contact wreaked havoc on all of Maca's senses. She could do nothing but shake her head and sigh as she walked over to Paula and reached to touch her cheek. Another little piece of herself in quiet slumber. Maca placed her hand on Paula's stomach and watched as it moved up and down as the baby breathed. Inhale, exhale, the movement was the most tangible sign of love and life.

Maca was afraid she would be unable to see past Esther's infidelity when she looked at Patricia and Paula. She feared that she would look at the girls and see nothing but Raul and be constantly reminded of Esther's betrayal, but she didn't. It honestly surprised Maca. She was a strong woman but not without an understanding of herself and thought her own pride and self-awareness would keep her from completely accepting the girls as her own. Maca didn't fool herself of course, she knew the reality of the situation but these were her daughters and as much a part of her as Pedro was as though she were the one to give them birth.

"How complicated we make our lives, hmm," Maca whispered to the emptiness of the room. "Goodnight my sweet child."

Maca turned off the light and left the room. She walked towards the kitchen to find Esther.

"Can I do anything to help?" Maca asked as she entered.

"No, just grab the tray and we'll go out into the living room."

Esther followed Maca to the couch as they sat next to each other but far enough apart where there would be no contact if not done purposely. Maca poured the hot liquid into the waiting mugs and handed one to Esther. She took her own steaming cup and leaned back into the soft cushions. The two women sat silently waiting for the tea to cool. Neither one compelled to break the silence, a surprisingly comfortable silence in the awkwardness of the situation.

"You can stay here for the night on the couch if you want. It's pretty late and you look tired. I don't really want you riding the bike home if you're exhausted," Esther finally said.

Maca didn't respond right away. She was warmed by the cautious concern that Esther still seemed to have for her well-being and safety. But Maca wanted to explain why she had come over tonight. She wanted to talk with Esther about everything. Lay out all her confessions of the things she regrets doing and saying and things she regrets not doing and not saying. But also confessions of what she wished most of all from the beginning of these heartbreaking months for closure of what Esther had done and not said. How do you put those things into meaningful words so they don't cut their pain deeper?

Maca leaned her head back looking up as if calling for a higher power to give her the voice and reason to navigate the chaos with Esther.

"Do you remember that first day we met?" Maca questioned.

"Talk about putting your foot in your mouth and starting off with wrong impressions," Esther responded with a small smile without looking at Maca.

"That seems like such a long time ago." Maca paused. "I think I loved you from that moment just because you had the balls to stand up to me and call me out."

"I guess it took a while for your Wilson charm to take its effect on me."

Maca smiled. The pursuit was fun. Maca recalled the early interactions with Esther, the innocent flirting and purposely unintentional contact when they worked on a patient together. As exciting as the pursuit was, nothing compared to the sense of fulfillment as when Maca and Esther declared their love and devotion to one another.

With a sincere and unwavering voice Maca declared, "I don't know how it's going to happen yet but we're going to work together to fix what got broken and find what got lost. Then we're going to be friends again, and then we're going to be lovers. You probably still have your doubts about me and we both still need closure with everything that has happened but I've never been so sure of anything as knowing that this is our family, you are my family and I'm not giving up on us." Maca turned to finally look at Esther where she met a pair of hazel eyes brimmed with unshed tears that looked at her with clarity and genuine understanding.

Nothing more was said between the two women. Their untouched tea remained in their laps for moments unknown until Esther collected the cups and the tray and returned them to the kitchen. She walked to the bedroom closet and took out the spare pillow and blanket and handed them to Maca. Maca smiled her thanks and went to retrieve the extra t-shirt she had in her bag to sleep in.

Esther went back into her bedroom and closed the door. She didn't know what was going to happen in the morning or the days to come but at least she knew with certainty she would finally be able to get a good night's sleep.

Their story was not complete and the fates, it seems, still had a few surprises to reveal to them.

The End

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