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I Could Touch a Hundred Thousand Souls (But None of Them Would Ever Feel Like Home)

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Oh, my blood, once was my own

But in one touch you made it yours

What have you done? What have you done?

Oh, my poor bones

Rearrange them to fit your mold

Hang me up on your bedroom wall

Now I can't breathe at all

 

I don't belong to anyone else.

 

The moment Waverly Earp says three words- just three, simple words- and walks away from Champ Hardy, she feels like she’s brought back to life. A weight is off her chest, her shoulders don’t feel quite so heavy, and she can breathe again.

     “We’re done, Champ,” she had said, and she had meant it.

When she locks herself in her bedroom, her back finds the hard wood of the door and she can’t help herself, she shudders. It’s involuntary, and it says more about how she feels than words ever could. She has been this man’s property for too long. Now it’s over, and she knows there’s no going back.

She’d broken up with Champ many times before. She’d known him since high school and he was the only person who had ever been willing to be with her past a couple dates. The fear and judgment that had been attached to her name all because of an unintended gunshot and a sister that was a little more than the word wild could convey had attracted boys for a while, and then quickly scared them away. It was Purgatory, there wasn’t much going on, so Waverly understood- if she detached herself from the trauma- that it was intriguing. It was something to focus on in a town where nothing ever occurred. But it was her life, her sister’s life, her father’s life now gone, and it was reality.

She’d broken up with him so many times she’d lost count. He’d cheated on her and done reckless, stupid things like drive drunk and steal teenager’s bikes from outside of the store, but when he came back to her looking for forgiveness she didn’t say no because she was lonely and tired and he was a distraction from how broken everything felt inside of her.

Champ had never cared. Looking back, Waverly realized he had never even mentioned it, save a few times he was drunk with his friends and she’d had to pick him up from some party likely hosted by the same guys who had given her weird looks in elementary school. Waverly never cared what people thought, but she did find it to be a relief that Champ never saw her solely as a casualty of a tragedy. But to be fair, he never saw her as much.

     “How can someone so pretty be so smart?” he had said to her hours before, and she had rolled her eyes. In the back of her mind, she’d been thinking- really thinking, the kind of thinking that kept her up at night, staring at the cracks in the ceiling- about life. Her life, where it was headed and if it was going in the direction she wanted. She thought of Wynonna, of the curse, of all those important things that needed to be conquered before she could let herself fully live. She pushed dating to the side, at times ignored Champ because he didn’t offer the stimulation she needed, not the kind that was emotional and deep and valuable to her mind that was always expanding with new knowledge. Champ had barely passed high school, only slipping through with C’s because he had charmed his teachers into cutting him slack since he played so many sports. He wouldn’t stay up with her reading books or studying history, he wouldn’t even listen to her favorite songs. She wanted more- knew there could be more out there for her, someone who would listen and care and understand her- but it didn’t seem possible.

But now, away from Champ and free to enjoy her righteous ownership of Uncle Curtis’s skull without an abundance of boner jokes to distract and put her on edge, she thinks maybe she’s okay. Maybe right now isn’t the time for her to be madly in love, to find with her soulmate and put passion above all else. Wynonna’s finally home, Black Badge is here, the curse needs to be broken; these are all things that are far more important. And her own happiness is far more important as well, she realizes in what feels like an epiphany. She doesn’t need to be attached to someone who only gives attention when he gets double back. She doesn’t need the stress of taking care of him, making sure he’s satisfied when she never is. She can be enough on her own, by herself, for herself. She doesn’t belong to Champ Hardy. She doesn’t belong to anyone else.



Oh, my blood, once was my own

But in one touch you made it yours

What have you done? What have you done?

Yeah I know I went and left you all alone

Please don't think that I let you go

I’ll never let go

 

Cause I could touch a hundred thousand souls

But none of them would ever feel like home

And no matter how far and wide I roam

You're the only one that I'll ever know

 

I don't belong to anyone else.

 

When Waverly meets Nicole, something is different. It takes weeks before she understands, and even then she’s too unsure to really face it. She knows there’s something about the new redhead cop that makes her insides twist, the same way they used to around boys that she had crushes on, but even more intensely. She knows when she looks in her eyes she sees warmth and compassion and no sense of judgment, even though she’s sure she must have already heard about the trauma that follows Waverly everywhere she goes. She knows when she holds her hand and waves at her across the homestead lawn that there’s something special about her, that something inside of her own soul has changed by her presence.

When Waverly bounds into the sheriff’s office and kisses Nicole, it’s reckless and impulsive but exactly what she’s needed because she’s spent far too long pretending to be someone she’s not and playing it safe. When her lips find Nicole’s, it’s desperate and Waverly only hopes she’s conveying all of the emotions she wants to with her mouth because she doesn’t think words will suffice; besides, she’s sure she’ll be too speechless now after tasting the sweetness of Nicole’s lips firsthand, soft and warm on her own and real, no longer just a fantasy.

Amazingly, and as if pushed forward by sheer fear, Waverly does speak. Waverly speaks the truest, scariest words of her life to the truest, scariest person she’s ever met. Waverly’s never met someone like Nicole, someone who knows just what they want, and for Nicole to want her is terrifying and life changing and a miracle. Nicole is the only person who Waverly feels can unravel her and also put her together simply by being there and knowing her.

That’s exactly what Nicole does, once they’re together and the barriers have been broken. Happiness becomes a constant, at least when she’s around, and Waverly is surprised every day because this is what love should be like, this is how it should feel, how it should ache and burn and buzz under her skin and give her meaning like she’s never felt before.

It took a night without Nicole for Waverly to finally understand just how deeply in love she was, how no one would ever suffice or be enough for her. Waverly had felt so guilty after kissing Rosita; it was in the middle of her and Nicole’s biggest fight to date, and both she and Rosita had been rather tipsy off champagne, but there was no excuse. She had just been so angry and felt like she was doing something she shouldn’t have simply by relaxing, so when Rosita spoke to her like she was normal, like the world wasn’t falling apart around them and they were ordinary people, she just acted on impulse. Rebellion had never been something Waverly had ever experimented with as a teen, and as soon as her lips touched Rosita’s she understood why. Rosita was smart and beautiful, but she wasn’t Nicole. No one else could ever be Nicole.

Every day, when she’s in Nicole’s arms, taken by her kiss and her words and her knowledge of exactly how to make Waverly feel okay, she smiles, because this is familiar. This is home to her, more than Purgatory could ever be. Purgatory, with its friendly faces and freezing cold and silent judgment that she’s become so used to, cannot hold her when she cries and kiss her with so much emotion she forgets how much she’s hurt. No one but Nicole can both make her heartbeat steady, but also make it skip with a simple glance. Nobody else can make her feel okay- really, really, wholeheartedly okay- like Nicole can, even in the midst of what feels like a stream of never-ending bad days.

Every night, when they lay in bed side by side, legs entangled under sheets and Nicole’s heartbeat comforting under her ear, Waverly relaxes. Despite all the worries about what could or couldn’t happen in the future, she knows one thing: she doesn’t, and won’t ever, belong to anyone else but Nicole.