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From Zero to Her Hero

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The bell rang indicating that the school day was finally over. Waverly Earp hurried out of her English class to get to her locker before the hallways became too crowded. She traded out the books she didn’t need to take home for the ones she did and closed her locker. On her way out of the building, Waverly waved to Chrissy and Rosita and found Wynonna waiting for her at the bottom of the steps talking to Doc.

“Hey,” Waverly said approaching the two.

“Waverly,” Doc smiled, tipping an imaginary hat that sat atop his head.

“You ready?” Wynonna smiled and draped her arm along her sister’s shoulders.

Waverly nodded and the two said their goodbyes to Doc before heading towards Wynonna’s truck. They walked in silence for a few minutes and Wynonna could tell that Waverly was abnormally happy about something, she just didn’t know what.

“What’s got you in such a good mood?” Wynonna asked.

Waverly’s smile only widened. “The school play,” was all she said. “We’ve picked the school play. Well, I picked it.”

“Well? What is it?” Wynonna pressed.

“Hercules,” Waverly grinned at her sister as they reached the blue and white pickup truck.

“Hercules,” Wynonna said as she got into her car. “You had the chance to pick the show this shitty high school puts on every year, and you chose Hercules.”

“What’s so bad about that?” Waverly huffed as she slid into the passenger seat.

“We used to watch that movie all the god damn time when we were younger. That’s what’s so bad about it,” Wynonna looked at her sister and placed a hand on her knee. “You know I love you, baby girl, but I think I’ll be sitting this one out. No auditioning for me.”

“What? Wynonna, come on! You used to run around the house quoting the film verbatim. You’d sing all of the songs, dance all of the moves,” Waverly looked at her sister. “Cry when Herc sacrifices himself to save Meg,” she wiggled her eyebrows at Wynonna, smirking.

Wynonna grunted and turned the key in the ignition, starting the car. “Fuck off, Waves,” she said with a hint of laughter to her voice.

“I’m sure Doc would love to see you up on that stage,” Waverly grinned and caught Wynonna’s eye in the mirror.

“And I’m sure Tucker would love to see you up there,” Wynonna fired back.

“What was that insult for? I mention your kinda-sorta boyfriend and you come back with my personal stalker,” Waverly crossed her arms.

“It’s what you get for making Bobo agree to do this stupid play,” Wynonna said as she pulled out of the school parking lot, honking at her friends as she passed them by.

Waverly caught the eye of Nicole Haught and smiled at her, to which the redhead responded with an eye roll. Waverly bit her lower lip and shrugged. “Well he told me to choose. I thought you’d appreciate it. Guess I was wrong, huh?”

“You know it’s not because that movie annoys me, right?” Wynonna continued as she felt the younger Earp’s eyes on her. “It’s because of a certain someone whom I choose to not mention for fear of her coming to murder me in my sleep.”

“Willa isn’t going to murder you. Maybe me, but not you. She loves you,” Waverly kept her eyes on her sister as she spoke.

“It doesn’t matter anymore,” Wynonna shrugged. “She made her choice and left with daddy. Thank God for Gus, am I right?” She laughed but Waverly could tell how forced it was.

“Wynonna, I chose to do Hercules because of you. Because of the good memories of us – you and me – that movie made when we were younger. Willa wasn’t even in the back of my mind when I pitched the idea to Bobo.”

Wynonna stayed quiet for a moment before speaking again. “Okay, I’ll make you a deal,” she pulled into the driveway of the Homestead and faced her sister after shutting the engine off. “I’ll come to auditions, but I’ll sit in the audience, by you and Bobo. And if I suddenly really feel inspired, I’ll get up there and audition. But only because I don’t want to make you upset, you know, since you practically picked this because of me.”

“You’d do that for me?” Waverly asked, a smile creeping onto her face.

“Yes,” Wynonna groaned overdramatically. “But don’t tell Nicole I’m getting soft. She’ll kick my ass.”

“I don’t think you have to worry about that,” Waverly said as she got out of the car. “I don’t think she likes me very much.”

“What?” Wynonna threw her arm around her sister. “Waverly, Haught Shot likes everyone. Except for Tucker. And Champ.”

“And me,” Waverly muttered walking into the house.

“Why do you suddenly care so much about if she likes you or not?” Wynonna threw her bag on the kitchen table creating a loud bang which caused Waverly to wince. “I thought you despised her?”

“I despise that she’s a basketball player,” Waverly shrugged and opened the fridge. “Those girls are nothing but a bunch of ignorant assholes,” she grabbed a bottle of water and stood up straight.

“Hey, those are two of my best friends you’re talking about,” Wynonna kicked her feet up on the table. “And yet I agree with you.”

“Right,” Waverly nodded, “well I’m going to head upstairs. I need to finish my paper for Juan Carlo’s class and then start getting things organized for auditions next week.”

“Alright while you have fun with that,” Wynonna stood up, “I’m going to go head over to the café to meet up with Dolls and Eliza.”

“Don’t be out too late,” Waverly called over her shoulder. “Gus might actually kill you this time.”

XXX

TWO WEEKS LATER

Basketball practice went as usual. Nicole was instructed by their coach to lead the team in various workouts and team exercises to prepare them for their game next week. She had them run laps, practice shooting three-pointers, and practice communicating with each other when passing the ball. Practice ended as it always does with the team being divided in half and playing a scrimmage game against each other. When Coach announced that practice was over the girls grabbed their things and headed straight for the showers.

“You sure you can’t come tonight, Red?” Eliza asked as she stepped out of the locker room shower, towel wrapped tightly around her.

“Yeah,” Nicole nodded, pulling her shoes on. “My mom wants me home before it gets dark and I’m not in the mood to piss her off. Plus practice really wiped me out today.”

“And that’s all you’re doing tonight?”

No, Nicole wanted to say. I’m going to auditions to help the incompetent sophomores who can’t work the god damn lights even if they were walked through it.

“Well that and homework,” Nicole shrugged. “It’ll be boring, but I’m in need for a relaxing night.”

Eliza let her eyes linger on Nicole for a moment before she nodded and got dressed.

“Alright well just know that you will be missed tonight. Game night is always a bust without you.”

“You just want me there because you think it’s hilarious when Wynonna yells at me for being too competitive,” Nicole shakes her head and smiles.

“Not true,” Eliza defended herself. “Not true at all,” the blonde sat on the bench next to Nicole and smiled at her. “Practice kicked my ass today. I think Coach is really starting to let you take control of the team. Keep that up and she might try to recruit you to take her place after graduation.”

“I guess we’ll see about that,” Nicole laughed.

Eliza made her way out and Nicole was left alone in the locker room. She grabbed her phone to check the time and sighed when she saw that she was going to be early. Very early. Nicole grabbed her bag and slung it over her shoulder, slowly making her way towards the auditorium. She entered the building from the back, setting her things down near the control panel for the lights and sound. Being a tech geek was something very few people knew about Nicole, and she was glad for the amount of alone time that gave her. She’s always loved the theatre, but she can’t act, and basketball took up so much of her time that she couldn’t audition even if she wanted to.

So instead she joined the crew. She was more useful working behind the scenes than in front of the curtains, and the work that went into learning the controls and ques for every show took less time than learning a script and auditioning. Nicole walked over to the control panel that held levers and buttons which controlled various lights and speakers. She checked the time again and thought that doing a test run before people started showing up would be best, in case something was broken or went wrong.

Nicole went to sit her phone down on the side of the panel, and knocked over a bottle of water that had been sitting on it. She didn’t know who had left it there, but she knew that whoever it was is an idiot for leaving an uncapped bottle of water next to electrical equipment. Nicole groaned and rubbed her face as the control panel began to spark and smoke. The lights in the auditorium shut off and Nicole sighed heavily.

“God dammit!” Nicole grumbled. “Stupid sophomores.” Nicole was feeling around for her phone when she heard the scream.

She didn’t know if it was a cry of help or of frustration, but Nicole wasn’t going to wait around and find out. She grabbed her phone and rushed out from behind the curtains.

“Hello?” She called. “Anyone there? Is everything alright?”

“Nicole?” The voice was followed by a light appearing at the other end of the stage. “Is that you?”

Nicole squinted to see who it was, and frowned as the person got closer. “Oh,” Nicole said flatly. “It’s you.”

Waverly placed her hand on her hip and raised an eyebrow at the redhead. “Glad to see I’m stuck in here with you too,” she replied just as flatly.

Chapter Text

“What are you doing here?” Nicole stared at the girl across the stage from her. 

“I could be asking you the same thing,” Waverly stared back.

“I’m head of the tech team. I kind of have to be here an hour before everyone else,” the redhead snapped back. “But of course you wouldn’t know that.”

“Oh?” Waverly’s eyes widened slightly and she took a step forward. “And why would that be? Why wouldn’t I know that?”

“You’re a cheerleader,” Nicole almost laughed. “All you ever do is run around in that stupid uniform with your pom poms and act like you’re dumber than a pile of rocks just to get attention.”

“Excuse me?” Waverly nearly swung at the girl across from her. “I know I’m a year younger than you but that gives you no right to insult me like that.” 

“Oh I’m sorry. Did I offend you?” Nicole crossed her arms.

“You basketball players really need a reality check. You’re all arrogant assholes with egos bigger than your biceps. Or maybe that’s just you,” Waverly snarled at the taller girl.

The two fell into silence. A silence filled with deadly glares and heavy breathing. Waverly stared Nicole down, trying to not let the basketball player’s height intimidate her. Waverly wasn’t wrong though. Nicole’s ego was about as big as her biceps.

And the girl had some bulging biceps. She was fit and Waverly couldn’t keep her mind away from thinking about what it would be like to be held in those strong arms.

She knew developing feelings for her sister’s best friend was a bad thing, but she couldn’t help herself. Nicole is just so…Nicole. That’s the only way she’s able to put it. And yeah, she gets a lot of shit from Chrissy and Rosita about it but that doesn’t seem to stop her.

It was clear where the redhead stands, though, and Waverly knew it wasn’t on the side of liking the youngest Earp. Waverly was convinced that Nicole hated her, and maybe she did, but she had a feeling she hated that she was a cheerleader more than anything.

After all, that’s why Waverly can’t stand to be in the same room as Nicole sometimes.

The cheerleaders and the girls basketball team have never gotten along, and both groups of girls were convinced that they never will. But something deep down inside of Waverly keeps hoping and dreaming that one day she’ll be able to cheer Nicole on from the sidelines, catching the taller girl’s eye on the court and tossing her a flirty smile. Just as she let her eyes travel down to Nicole’s arms, Waverly was brought out of her thoughts by the sound of Nicole’s voice.

“You and Wynonna are very different,” Nicole said. “And I’ve finally figured out why. You’re just…too bossy. Too much of a perfectionist.”

“At least I’m able to get things done without screwing them up,” Waverly narrowed her eyebrows. “Unlike you who ruined the lights,” she waved her hands around the dark auditorium. “Which means auditions are cancelled for today.”

“Sure blame me for all of this,” Nicole nodded. “It’s not like I came here straight from practice just to have to deal with the sophomore’s shit that they leave behind. I just wanted to go home. But no. I had to come here. For stupid auditions for this stupid play.”

“Oh I’m sorry that practice wore you out,” Waverly pouted in a mocking way, taking a few steps closer to Nicole. “It must be tough being such an arrogant jock like yourself.”

“I’d rather be an arrogant jock than a stuck-up cheerleader,” Nicole retorted as she took a step closer to Waverly.

Waverly gasped. “Oh you’re such an asshole, Nicole Haught!”

“And you’re such a teacher’s pet, Waverly Earp,” Nicole smirked.

Waverly gritted her teeth. “You’re a player.”

“And you’re too much of a hassle to date,” Nicole said matter-of-factly.

With that comment, Waverly clenched the hand that wasn’t holding her phone into a fist, losing what little patience she had left. She refused to stand there and let Nicole Haught talk to her like that. She clenched her fist and got as close to Nicole’s face as she could.

“Douche bag!” The brunette yelled.

“Ass kisser!” The redhead fired back.

“Cocky prick!” Waverly jabbed her finger towards Nicole, now only mere inches from her.

“Dumbass!” Nicole glanced down at Waverly’s hand.

“Yeah?!” Waverly yelled, her throat aching from yelling. “Well you’re a – ” Nicole grabbed her wrist, stoping her.

Before Waverly knew what was happening, Nicole was pulling the brunette flush against her body and connecting their lips in a searing kiss. The kiss was anything but soft and full of passion; it was rough and full of anger. Waverly began to protest and struggle against the ginger’s lips but soon calmed down and closed her eyes, kissing the girl back feverishly. Hands were roaming bodies, tongues were begging for entrance, and phones were dropped to the floor. Waverly gripped the front of Nicole’s shirt and pulled herself closer.

The change in lighting from bright phone flashlights shining in their faces to soft light illuminating them from below was enough to make each girl roughly push away from the other.

“What the hell are you doing?” Waverly exclaimed and threw her arms in the air.

“I kissed you,” Nicole shrugged trying hard to hide her discomfort.

“Why? You were just insulting me five minutes ago!” Waverly took a step away from Nicole and bent down to grab her phone, her head spinning.

Waverly had imagined her first kiss with Nicole many times (if the stubborn redhead were to ever have any interest in her) but none of those times included it being out of spite. She didn’t know what compelled Nicole to kiss her, but she wasn’t necessarily complaining. It was an odd sensation that passed through her body; a sensation that she was almost positive Nicole felt too.

The two stood in painful and awkward silence for what felt like forever; the only sound passing through their ears being their breathing. Brown eyes stared into hazel searching for something, anything, to help sort this all out. Nicole knew she made a mistake but she would never admit that. Not only was Waverly a stupid and prissy cheerleader, but she was Wynonna’s baby sister. Nicole mentally groaned at the thought of Waverly going home to tell Wynonna that her best friend nearly started making out with her on the stage. She nearly flinched at the thought of Wynonna killing her because of it.

Their thoughts were interrupted by a door opening at the other end of the auditorium. Bobo Del Rey, the school’s play director and organizer, stalked through the door but stoped in his tracks upon realizing that the entire room was completely dark.

“The hell?” Bobo looked around. “What happened in here?” He approached the stage when he caught sight of Nicole and Waverly.

“Haught destroyed the lights. Spilled water all over the control panel,” Waverly flashed a sarcastic smile at the taller girl and placed a hand on her hip.

“Is that so?” Bobo looked at Nicole. “Well go fix it then. Auditions will be cancelled today, but we can’t afford to fall behind any more than this. Especially since we still haven’t found our Hercules yet.”

Nicole clenched her jaw and glared at Waverly before muttering, “Asshole,” as she walked past the smaller girl, making her way back behind the curtains.

“Sorry about her,” Nicole heard Waverly say to Bobo. “She can be a bit of a prude sometimes,” there was a slight pause. “Most of the time.”

Nicole exhaled through her nose and closed her eyes, trying to calm down. Her mind was still racing from her stupid act, and she cursed herself for being so brazen. She doesn’t know why she kissed her best friend’s sister really, but she does know that Waverly didn’t like it just as much as she didn’t.

Or so she thought.

(The truth was that deep, deep down, Nicole enjoyed their kiss but she’s too blind and too oblivious to admit it. So she chooses to live life hating the girl with no real reason.)

Nicole began to fix her appearance in an attempt to regain her focus. She pulled her jeans up so they were resting low on her hips and tucked the front of her tank top behind her belt, creating a decent French tuck. She down to adjust the laces of her shoes and letting out an exasperated sigh through her nose.

“Alright…Come on, Haught. You can fix this. It’s just some spilled water and busted circuits.”

The truth was that Nicole knew she could fix the circuit board, but her mind was clouded with unwanted thoughts. To clear her mind and help her focus, Nicole sat her phone down on the floor next to her and started playing her workout playlist. It’s the only thing that she knows of that will get her to stay focused on the task at hand.

XXX

“Well this is just great,” Waverly grumbled pacing back and forth along the stage. “We’re now a day behind with auditions, the set hasn’t even started being made yet, we still need to find someone to play Hercules as well as several other characters, and now the lights are busted!”

“Waverly,” Bobo said sweetly. “Calm down, angel. Everything will be okay. This is why we began the audition process early. Everything will be sorted out.”

“Yes, but that still doesn’t mean everything is fine, Bobo. That asshat of a basketball player screwed the lights up and God knows when they’ll be fixed!”

As if on cue, the lights in the auditorium came to life, illuminating the stage first and then the rest of the room. Waverly looked up from the clipboard clutched tightly in her hands and sighed, relieved.

“Thank God,” Waverly muttered and checked the time. “We made it just in time for auditions,” the brunette looked at Bobo. “We aren’t cancelling today. There’s no need to.”

Bobo opened his mouth to argue but closed it after deciding it wouldn’t be worth it. Waverly had her mind made up and there was no changing it. Waverly sat her clipboard down and made her way to the back doors of the auditorium. She threw them open and smiled when she saw Wynonna standing in the doorway.

“Oh good you stayed,” The younger Earp grabbed her sister by the arm and pulled her to the front of the spacious room. “We had some technical difficulties, but they’re all fixed now,” Waverly said and glanced towards the curtains, not wanting to mention Nicole for fear of bringing up the kiss.

Wynonna nodded and plopped down in a seat next to Bobo. “Glad to see that auditions aren’t cancelled today,” she spoke sarcastically.

“Are you sure you don’t want to audition?” Waverly asked taking a seat next to Wynonna. “You’d be the perfect one to deliver the comic relief.”

“I think I’m good, baby girl,” Wynonna crossed her arms. “Spending my free time with a bunch of annoying underclassmen doesn’t necessarily spark my interest.”

“I think you’d make the perfect Phil,” Bobo spoke up, gaining the attention of both sisters.

“Pardon me?” Wynonna scoffed. “You pegged me as Phil? Is that an insult?”

“No, Wynonna I kind of agree with him,” Waverly added. “He’s super sarcastic and snappy. That’s exactly who you are. It’d be minimal acting for you.”

Wynonna remained silent for a minute before speaking up. “I’m listening,” she quipped.

“Think about it,” Waverly continued. “You’ve already got the delivery down. All you’d have to do is learn your lines, and then just be yourself on stage.”

“You make a valid point, Waves. Tell you what,” Wynonna slaps a hand on her sister’s knee. “I’ll agree to be Phil if – and only if – you make Hercules a girl.”

“Well there’s a new idea,” Bobo said. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Will that suffice for now?” Waverly looked at her sister with hopeful eyes.

“Yeah, I guess,” Wynonna rolled her eyes and threw her arm around Waverly. “You’re lucky I love you, baby girl.”

Waverly smiled and leaned into her sister. “I know, Wy. I know.”

“So,” Wynonna starts as she notices the time, “today’s auditions are for Hercules right?” Bobo nodded and Wynonna continued, “Who’s first on the list for today?”

Bobo looked down at the stack of papers on the table in front of him. He took a deep breath before releasing it and speaking, “Champ Hardy.”

Waverly’s eyes widened at the mention of the boy-man and if you listened close enough, the sound of Nicole dropping her phone on the ground at the mention of the jock’s name can be heard from backstage. 

Chapter Text

Waverly froze in her seat at the mention of Champ the boy-man Hardy. She knew she had to stand and go on stage to run lines with him since she was chosen to be Meg. Part of her thought that Champ was auditioning just so he could get out of detention, but part of her knew that he was there because of her. Wynonna nudged Waverly with her elbow and leaned in close to her.

“You alright?” Wynonna whispered. Waverly just nodded. “You want me to kick his ass?”

“N-No,” Waverly struggled to get the word out. “I haven’t faced him since that party. I think it’s time that I do. I just hope that Bobo sees that this is how every audition is going to go today so that he considers your idea for a female Hercules even more,” Waverly rose from her seat and marched onto the stage.

“Finally!” Champ smiled as he locked eyes with the smaller girl. “You ready to start this audition, hot stuff?”

“I hope you know your lines,” Waverly stated simply. “This is a big audition. A major part. The biggest role.”

“Oh I know,” he winked at her and she shuttered. “And I can’t wait to nail this audition so I can kiss you.”

Nicole poked her head out from behind the curtains at Champ’s comment and narrowed her eyes at him. She caught Wynonna’s eye and rolled her eyes indicating that their thoughts on Champ were mutual at the moment.

“Right,” Waverly cleared her throat and took a step away from the boy as he took a step closer to her, “well that all depends on if you know what you’re doing. You may begin whenever you’re ready.”

Champ cleared his throat and turned towards Bobo. Waverly rolled her eyes and ran a hand through her hair, keeping a good distance between the two of them. Champ started rambling off a long speech that was anything but the lines he was supposed to know for the audition. After a minute of thinking to herself, Waverly realized that Champ was reciting the famous ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. He was reciting the words in the most terrible British accent Waverly had ever heard and he was messing up every other word, delivering an extremely poorly executed attempt at the powerful speech.

Champ finished the soliloquy and immediately jumped into another speech about love and romance. He turned towards Waverly and grabbed her hand, kissing the top of it. The action made Nicole’s blood boil when she saw how Waverly was still cowering away from the jock. She gritted her teeth and tried to keep herself from rushing onto the stage and decking Champ in the face. Bobo took notice to Nicole watching the scene unfold before them from the right wing of the stage. He made a mental note about the fiery orange color of her hair and the muscular build of her body; both things he wanted the actor playing Hercules to have. He scribbled something down about talking to her after auditions and was soon brought back to the audition on stage when Champ fell dramatically to his knees. Somehow his audition had turned into a proclamation of his “feelings” for the youngest Earp.

“I love you, Waverly Earp!” He yelled. “Your big brain is a major turn off, but your sexy body makes up for it.”

“Excuse me?” Waverly stared down at Champ.

“Nobody wants to bang a know-it-all,” Champ laughed. “Especially not a know-it-all that also happens to be an Earp. But I’m able to see past that. You’re hot as hell and that’s all I need.”

“Step off, dickhead! That’s my sister you’re talking to. If you wanted to get your ass kicked today, you could have just asked me,” Wynonna snarled as she stood up from her chair.

“Quiet, Wynonna. I’m in the middle of something important here,” Champ turned back to Waverly who now donned a face of fear and anxiety. “So what do you say, Waves? Wanna hit up Stephanie’s party tonight and then bang it out at my place afterwards?” He winked at her.

“Oh that's it, you little…” Wynonna took off towards the stage before Bobo could stop her and grabbed Champ by the collar of his shirt. “I told you to step off,” Wynonna swung at Champ and hit him with a sharp right hook to the jaw. The boy-man fell to the floor with a thunk and Wynonna smiled proudly at herself. “Stay away from my baby sister, or there’s more where that came from.”

“Ms. Earp! My office! Now!” Wynonna’s head shot up and met the angry eyes of the head of the school.

“Yes, Principal Lucado,” she said respectfully, yet sarcastically, before glancing at Waverly and winking at her. “Think you can catch a ride home with Rosita or Chrissy?” Waverly nodded and gave her sister an appreciative smile before watching her leave the auditorium with Lucado.

A few of Champ’s football buddies came running in to retrieve the unconscious corpse of their star quarterback. Dragging his body out of the room, they threw insults at Waverly about being weak and not being able to handle Champ’s “package.” Waverly scoffed and shook her head. Nicole kept her eyes trained on the tiny girl as she made her way back to her seat. She noticed that Waverly was holding her wrist, rubbing it. Champ must have had a tighter grip on her than it seemed. Nicole shook her head and sighed before going back to work moving things around to make room for the new set pieces.

“I think I’ve made up my mind,” Bobo said when Waverly took her seat.

“What do you mean?” Waverly’s brow knit with confusion as she looked at the director. “We’ve only had one audition today. Please don’t tell me you’re choosing Champ,” her eyes became wide with fear.

“No,” Bobo shook his head and rested a hand on Waverly’s shoulder. “No, I’ve made up my mind about what your sister said. After Mr. Hardy’s performance it came to my attention that the rest of the boys auditioning are also from the football team. Purgatory High is going to break gender norms and have two female leads this year.”

“Really?” Waverly’s smile grew wide. “Oh, Bobo this is going to be so much fun!” She threw her arms around Bobo and hugged him tightly. “How are we going to go about auditions for that?”

“Oh I already have someone in mind,” Bobo smiled down at his clipboard. “Do you think you could run to get us some coffee from the teacher’s lounge, Waverly? We still have a few others auditioning for other parts today and I want to give them my full attention.”

“Of course,” Waverly’s whole demeanor had changed. She jumped up and hurried out of the auditorium to grab a coffee for herself and Bobo.

The director took advantage of this time and walked backstage. He found Nicole quickly since she was the only one on the team that was actually doing any work. Nicole’s hair was pulled back and Bobo could see the sweat forming on her forehead from moving things around. Currently the redhead was carrying a massive box from one end of the space to the other, her flexed muscles standing out against her pale skin. With a grunt, Nicole sat the box down on top of another one that was similar in size. Bobo cleared his throat to gain her attention.

“Mr. Del Rey,” Nicole paused her music and used the back of her hand to wipe the sweat from her forehead. “What can I do for you?”

“Actually, it’s something that I may be able to do for you,” Nicole raised an eyebrow at Bobo, pressing him to continue. “I know that history isn’t your strong suit. And I know that my class is your lowest grade.”

“Yeah, I’ve never been this close to failing a class in my life,” Nicole picked up another box. “But I don’t see where you’re going with this.”

“Well, it has come to my attention that the boys who have signed up to audition for the role of Hercules are all just as bad as Champ Hardy. I saw you watching when he grabbed onto Waverly.”

“Yeah,” Nicole rolled her eyes and sat the box down after moving it. “I was about to run out there and kick him where it counts, but Wynonna beat me to it. Waverly Earp may not be my favorite person in the world, but I wasn’t going to stand there and let him make her uncomfortable.”

Bobo nodded and continued, “Wynonna suggested to me that we should try to do something different with the school play this year to spice things up.”

“And what idea might that have been?” Nicole leaned against a stack of boxes, mind racing with the endless possibilities that Wynonna could have conjured up.

“She suggested that we find a female lead for Hercules. I wasn’t too keen on the idea at first, but then I saw Mr. Hardy, and I saw you and the protective nature you have kick in. That’s the kind of attributes in a person that I’m looking for.”

“What are you saying, Mr. Del Rey? You want me to be your Hercules?” Nicole laughed. “Because I have red hair and an apparently very protective nature about me?”

“Well that and your build. You are very fit and match the description of the character well.”

“Wait you’re serious?” Nicole’s eyebrows shot up into her hairline. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Nicole,” Bobo walked over to Nicole and looked her in the eye, “I know that you feel like you can’t act – ”

“Because I can’t,” the redhead interjected.

“ – but you have potential. I can see it. You are what this show needs.”

“What’s in it for me?” Nicole asked. “I’m already slammed with basketball practice and coming here right after for auditions to work on the lights and the set. My schedule might not be able to handle the added stress of being in the show. So what’s in it for me?”

“As I mentioned earlier, about my class,” Nicole nodded, “I see how hard you try. I know you don’t slack off like everyone else that’s failing. So I’m going to do something that I’ve never done before. If you agree to join this cast, I’ll pass you in my class. With an A. No questions asked.”

“Isn’t that kind of illegal?” Nicole stood up straight.

“Well when you’re close with the town sheriff, nothing is too illegal,” Bobo winked.

The two were so engrossed in their conversation that neither noticed Waverly standing off to the side, hidden by a costume rack. She craned her neck to get a better view of what was going on without giving herself away. The conversation sounded interesting and Waverly wanted in.

“So…I agree to be your Hercules, and you help me with your class?” Nicole contemplated the offer.

Bobo nodded. “I know how hard you’re trying to get athletic scholarships for college. Having perfect grades will definitely help with that. I want to see you succeed, Ms. Haught. You are one of my best students next to Waverly, even if your letter grade doesn’t reflect that.”

“Okay fine. I’ll do it,” Nicole smiled, biting back the tears she felt welling in her eyes. “But on one condition,” she continued when Bobo nodded. “I’m not auditioning. Just give me the script and I’ll start working on getting over my anxiety.”

“You’ve got yourself a deal,” Bobo smiled and extended his hand to Nicole who shook it firmly. “Welcome to the cast, Herc,” he winked at her.

Waverly couldn’t help the smile on her face as she emerged from her spot. She thought that now would be as good a moment as any to make her presence known. Upon reaching Bobo and Nicole, she handed the man his coffee and took a sip of hers.

“Thank you, Waverly,” Bobo smiled. “I’m going to finish getting ready for the rest of the auditions. Join me whenever you’re ready,” he nodded his goodbye to Nicole and went back to his seat.

“So,” Waverly started. “You’re our Hercules, huh?”

“Yep,” Nicole nodded not meeting Waverly’s eyes.

Waverly nodded and bit her bottom lip not knowing what else to say. She wasn’t sure if she should say anything else. Lifting her eyes to look at Nicole, Waverly tried to get a read on the girl. She saw a lot of anxiety and stress in her eyes but she didn’t know what it was from. How could someone as perfect as Nicole Haught be so anxious? Maybe she wasn’t as perfect and strong as Waverly thought she was. Maybe that stress and anxiety came from their kiss. Waverly suddenly felt like she as going to throw up.

“I’m just gonna…I’m just going to go,” Waverly nodded. “Let you get back to work and such,” she took one last look at Nicole before turning and walking back to her seat.

The rest of auditions went as expected. The four students that auditioned got the roles they auditioned for. Waverly was relieved to finally have actors for Hades, Pain, Panic, and Pegasus and was even more relieved when she remembered that they had their Phil and their Hercules as well. All of the hard parts were out of the way. Now all that remained were minor characters and background chorus actors along with the building of the set and the organization of the music. Waverly was pleased with the amount of progress they had made in just one day. She and Bobo were deep in conversation, talking about what they want to set pieces to look like, when Nicole walked up behind Waverly.

“Waverly?” She spoke softly. “Can I talk to you, please? Alone?”

“I’ll catch you tomorrow, Waverly,” Bobo smiled at the brunette. “We can finish talking about this then,” Waverly nodded and watched him leave before turning to Nicole.

“Everything okay, Nicole?” Waverly asked, taking note of Nicole’s posture.

The redhead had her backpack on her back with her duffle bag slung over one shoulder. Her hands were gripping the duffle bag’s strap so tightly that her knuckles were turning white. She was nervous and Waverly had no idea why, which made her nervous as well.

“I um…Wynonna texted me and asked if I could bring you home,” Waverly grabbed her bag and nodded. “I walked to school today, though, so we’ve got a little walk ahead of us. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Of course not, Nicole,” Waverly smiled softly. She would take any chance alone with the redhead that she could get.

As the two exited the school they were met with the cool fall air settling in as the sun was beginning to set. They walked in uncomfortable silence with a comfortable amount of distance between them. Waverly fumbled with the various rings on her fingers and Nicole played with the zipper to her jacket. Something needed to be said, but Nicole had no idea what that thing was. She racked her brain for the right way to start a conversation but kept coming up blank. The two continued their trek home down the sidewalk in silence.

“I’m sorry,” Nicole finally said.

“Sorry?” Waverly turned her head to the side and looked at Nicole.

“For the kiss. For everything,” she added the second part in a whisper.

Waverly stayed quiet, trying to process what she had just heard. She wasn’t expecting this from Nicole so she wasn’t sure how to respond. A few more minutes passed before Waverly spoke up and responded.

“It’s okay. I’m not the one you should be apologizing to, though. That would be Wynonna when she finds out. In that case I guess I’d be the one apologizing to you.”

Nicole’s eyes went wide and she stopped walking, staring at Waverly. “Y-You’re going to tell her that I kissed you?”

“Well yeah. I kind of have to,” Waverly tried to keep a straight face when Nicole doubled over and started mumbling to herself.

“I’m dead,” she said. “I’m going to die. At my funeral they’ll say that my cause of death was Wynonna Earp. Oh God, Waverly tell my mother that I love her!”

“Whoa, hey…Nicole,” Waverly placed a hand on the taller girl’s shoulder. “I was just messing with you. Wynonna won’t find out; not from me at least.”

“Okay,” Nicole breathed out and stood up straight. “Good.”

“She really scares you that much? She’s your best friend. You’ve got each other’s backs.”

“Yeah you’re right,” Nicole nodded. “I’m sorry. I’m just…really nervous. About this whole thing. This whole acting thing.”

“You’ve never acted before?” Waverly looked at the other girl with curious eyes.

“No, I’ve always been behind the scenes. You know, lights and all of that.”

“Which I apparently don’t know about since I’m just a dumb cheerleader, right?” Waverly offered Nicole a smile and nudged her with her shoulder.

Nicole winced at the words. “I’m sorry about that too. You’re not just some dumb cheerleader. You’re smarter than everyone in that stupid high school combined.”

The two continued walking, a new sense of comfort hanging over them. Waverly knew that Nicole was walking her home because Wynonna had asked her to, but she wanted to believe that Nicole actually wanted to spend time with her. Waverly couldn’t keep the smile off of her face. It would have never been expected that Waverly Earp and Nicole Haught were actually capable of having a decent conversation with each other. As they walked, Waverly kept purposefully bumping into Nicole, hoping to make her smile and put the redhead’s mind at ease.

“Oh my gosh,” Waverly gasped softly to herself. She placed a hand on Nicole’s shoulder causing them to both stop walking. “Nicole, I just got an idea.”

“Which is?” Nicole cocked an eyebrow at the younger Earp.

“Bobo said that he would pass you in his class if you agreed to be Hercules, right?”

“I can’t believe you were eavesdropping on our conversation, but yes,” Nicole nodded. “What’s your point?”

“What if I helped you study and pass on your own? He already thinks highly of you. If you pass without his help, he’ll be even more impressed.”

“Okay, but what will it cost me?”

“Why do you always just assume there’s going to be a price when something good falls into your lap, Haught?”

“You’re an Earp. You and Wynonna are just as much alike as you are different,” Nicole crossed her arms. “Name your price, Earp.”

Waverly sighed and rolled her eyes in a slightly playful manner. She really hadn’t had anything in mind. She just genuinely wanted to help Nicole study for her history. The alone time with the basketball player was all she wanted and needed. But thinking about it more, she thought of something that would benefit both Nicole and herself.

“You come to my house tomorrow to let me help you with learning your lines. I know how stubborn you are, and that you’re going to want to do this on your own, but I see how anxious all of it is making you. So that’s my price. I’ll help you with history and with learning the script while you’ll be helping me with my lines as well as learning how to become more tolerant of you thick-skulled basketball players.”

“Alright,” Nicole grinned. “I suppose you make a valid point. How could I refuse the offer for free history tutoring from Purgatory’s biggest history freak?” Waverly smiled and blushed, dipping her head to hide her reddening face.

“You know, I think it’s time that we put this stupid rivalry behind us. There’s no rule stating that a basketball player and a cheerleader can’t be friends,” Waverly said softly.

“I think you’re right. We should really stop being so childish about things. Maybe we can work out a way to tolerate each other,” Nicole spoke and Waverly could sense the smirk on the girl’s face. “For Wynonna’s sake of course.”

Waverly lifted her head and met Nicole’s eyes, her smile wide. She stuck her hand out, her cheery attitude on full display. Nicole’s knees almost gave out from under her.

“Truce?” The brunette asked.

“Truce,” Nicole smiled, dimples on full display, and took the smaller girl’s hand, shaking it firmly.

Chapter Text

“This is stupid,” Nicole sighed as she sat down on the couch in the Earp’s living room. “How am I supposed to remember all of these lines?”

 

“If you would just try to learn them, it wouldn’t be so hard,” Waverly looked at the other girl. “But you have such a hard head that I think that might actually be impossible.”

 

Nicole scoffed and rolled her eyes. “I’m the one with a hard head? You’re the one who keeps making me repeat the same line over and over again because I’m not saying it the way you want me to.”

 

“Well I’m sorry for trying to help you learn how to deliver your lines properly!”

 

“This wasn’t about the ‘delivery’ of my lines,” Nicole stood up. “You told me to come here so you could help me learn my lines.”

 

“You haven’t even been able to do that, Nicole. It’s not that hard. Really. Just look at the words and convert them to memory.”

 

Nicole laughed and shook her head. “I’m sorry that this whole acting thing isn’t as easy for me as it is for you. I’m an athlete. Shit like this isn’t what I’m used to!”

 

Waverly refrained from saying anything, sensing the panic lacing Nicole’s voice. She took a deep breath and stood in front of the taller girl. She stared at her lines and then up at Nicole, thinking. Suddenly, Waverly’s face lit up and she smiled slightly.

 

“Okay,” Waverly began, “think of it like this: your lines are just another play for you to memorize. For your games, how many plays do you plan out ahead of time?”

 

“Too many to count,” Nicole replied shaking her head.

 

“So imagine these lines,” Waverly motioned to the highlighted areas on the script in Nicole’s hands, “as new plays for your next basketball game. Stare at them, memorize them, then execute them. Take what you know and use it to help you with this,” she placed her hand on Nicole’s arm and motioned to her script with her other hand, their hands brushing against each other briefly.

 

“That’s actually a really good idea,” Nicole looked down at her script and then at Waverly’s hand on her arm.

 

“Are you two finished arguing yet? Or do I need to go back upstairs,” Wynonna stomped down the stairs and into the living room.

 

“We were just finishing up,” Waverly rolled her eyes at her sister.

 

“Great! Just in time for Haught-shit and I to start making our way over to Doc’s place for dinner.”

 

“You’re going out for dinner?” Waverly looked at Wynonna. “And you’re just going to leave me here alone.”

 

“We’d ask you to come,” Nicole chimed in, “but it’s seniors only.”

 

Waverly rolled her eyes and sat her script down on the table. “Right, whatever. Does Aunt Gus at least know you’re leaving?”

 

“What do you think?” Wynonna scoffed. “I’m Wynonna Earp. Of course she doesn’t. That’s your job. To inform her.”

 

“Of course it is,” Waverly sat down on the couch.

 

“So you’ll cover for me?” Wynonna threw her arm around Nicole’s shoulders and pulled them both towards the door.

 

“Yeah I guess so,” Waverly sighed.

 

“Kiss ass,” Nicole laughed and muttered under her breath.

 

Wynonna smiled at her sister. “Great! Thanks, baby girl. I owe you one!” And with that, they were both gone.

 

“Yeah,” Waverly rolled her eyes. “You really do.”

 

- - - - -

 

“Wynonna, are you ready yet?” Waverly called up the stairs to her sister. “We’re going to be late for school!”

 

“We will if Haught-Pants doesn’t get here soon,” Wynonna said as she came downstairs, throwing her backpack over her shoulder.

 

“Nicole is driving us to school?” Waverly furrowed her brow.

 

“Gus still has me grounded for decking Hardy in the face the other day. No driving unless she’s with me. So our only other option is Haught. Unless you’d rather walk to school.”

 

Waverly rolled her eyes and shook her head. “No. Nicole is fine.”

 

The sisters walked out of the house at the sound of a car horn honking and Waverly locked the door behind them. Turning around and seeing Nicole’s car, Waverly couldn’t help but laugh. She had never seen Nicole’s car before, but she had always imagined her to be a Jeep kind of girl. Not a Chevy Malibu kind of girl.  The black car seemed almost too small for someone of Nicole’s stature, but Waverly knew that the Haught’s already had three other cars to pay off, so Nicole’s was probably the cheapest option. Waverly watched as Wynona climbed into the passenger seat and sighed.

 

“You coming or what?” Wynonna stuck her head out the window.

 

Waverly rolled her eyes and got into the back seat, sliding to the middle so she could stick her head between her sister and the redhead. Nicole glanced in the rearview mirror and caught Waverly’s eye. The smaller girl bit her lip and looked down at her hands.

 

“Can we listen to some music?” Waverly asked as she lifted her head.

 

“Sure but I choose the station,” Nicole said, turning the radio on. “We all know that my taste in music is superior to either of yours,” she switched to a station playing 80s rock and bit back a smile when Waverly groaned.

 

“Your music taste isn’t as great as you think it is,” Waverly huffed and sat back in the seat, crossing her arms.

 

The ride to school was quiet, the only sounds coming from the radio. Waverly stared out the window and tried to block the music from her mind. Nicole really knew how to piss her off, and she liked to use it to her advantage. When they were parked, the three girls got out of the car and grabbed their things. Wynonna saw Doc and immediately took off in his direction, leaving Nicole and Waverly alone with an uncomfortable silence hanging over them. The two stared at each other, trying to think of what to do or say.

 

“Nice outfit,” Nicole said after noticing that Waverly was in her cheer uniform. Her words were dripping with sarcasm, yet the snarky remark didn’t reach her eyes, taking the sting out of her words.

 

“Nice car,” Waverly fired back just as sarcastically. The 2013 Malibu really wasn’t Nicole’s kind of car, which made making fun of her for it even easier.

 

- - - - -

 

“This is pointless,” Nicole grumbled and covered her face. “Why am I being forced to remember what happened during the Hundred Years’ War and over four different Crusades?”

 

“Because it’s a part of history,” Waverly stated as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “And this is a history class.”

 

“No shit, Waverly,” Nicole snapped. “This is stupid. I’m done here. I can’t do this anymore,” she began to shove her books into her backpack.

 

Waverly placed a hand on Nicole’s arm to still her movements. “Hey, I’m sorry. That was a stupid answer. I just…I really want you to do well.”

 

“I want to do well too,” Nicole stated flatly. “But I can’t do that with basketball practice and games going on along with this stupid play. Mr. Del Rey told me he’d pass me if I took the role. I took the role. I don’t need to stress myself out over studying.”

 

“Nicole Rayleigh Haught,” Waverly spoke sternly looking into the redhead’s eyes, “you are many things. You are cocky, stubborn, and bossy – ”

 

“Gee thanks, Waverly,” Nicole rolled her eyes and stood up.

 

“ – but you are also one of the smartest girls I know. You would never cheat your way through a class. I know you.”

 

“Things change,” Nicole replied simply. “Thank you for your help but I think I can take it from here on my own. I’ll have my lines learned for the next rehearsal.”

 

Waverly watched Nicole walk out of the library and sighed. It seemed like every time things were starting to be normal between them something came and messed it up.

 

- - - - -

 

It had been one week since Nicole was cast as Hercules. One week since Nicole came to the Earp homestead to practice lines with Waverly. One week since Nicole made the mistake of kissing her best friend’s little sister.

 

To say that Nicole and Waverly were trying to be friends would be an understatement. They were more than just trying. They were hoping and praying that the tension would fade. Maybe it was just the simple nature of a cocky basketball player and a prissy cheerleader, or maybe it was the elephant in the room that neither girl wanted to acknowledge.

 

Waverly had not laid her eyes on Nicole since their last study session in the library. Wynonna was still grounded and was being picked up by Nicole every morning for school, but Waverly was catching rides with Chrissy and Rosita, not wanting to deal with the redhead.

 

Things started off okay. After their truce, things began to calm down. But the snarky remarks and blatant disregard of feelings when insulting each other only got worse as the days went on. The constant banter was annoying, to say the least, but neither Nicole nor Waverly knew why they couldn’t stop. Half of the time Nicole would be smirking when calling Waverly out, and vise versa. It was almost as if they knew it was the only way for them to function around each other.

 

What made things worse was that Nicole began to have a sneaking suspicion that her feelings for Waverly were different than she initially thought. She wouldn’t go so far as to say that she had a crush on the brunette, but she was definitely beginning to feel something different for her. Maybe Nicole insulted Waverly so often because it was just really easy to do.

 

Maybe she did it because Waverly was just so darn cute when Nicole pushed her buttons.

 

They avoided each other at school (more than they usually did) and Waverly was convinced that she did something wrong. She always seems to screw things up with the people she wants to be so close to. Nicole was willing to let Waverly help her in history and she blew it. That day in class Waverly finally decided to put her mind at ease; she needed answers.

 

Tuning around in her seat, Waverly watched as Nicole scribbled down something that was supposed to resemble a list of notes on the Reformation Era but looked more like just a bunch of gibberish. Waverly knew Nicole’s handwriting, how neat and perfect it was, and so she automatically knew that something was bothering her; distracting her.

 

“Can I see your notes?” Waverly asked while trying to hide her smile.

 

Nicole’s head shot up from her notebook and her eyes fell on Waverly. “Um,” she bit her lip and glanced down at her notes.

 

“Or would you rather see mine?” Waverly teased.

 

“Did you turn around just so you could judge me?” Nicole snapped. “Or did you actually need something?”

 

“I was just going to ask how you’ve been doing,” Waverly bit her lip. “I didn’t mean to upset you…again. I’m sorry,” she turned back around in her desk.

 

“Waverly wait – ” The bell rang and Nicole sighed.

 

“See you at rehearsal,” Waverly flashed a weak smile before leaving the room.

 

- - - - -

 

Rehearsals were different that day. It was the first time they were running through an entire scene with all actors present. Which meant that it was the first time Waverly and Nicole were acting together on stage. It also meant that it was the first time Wynonna was present on stage with them as well. Things between the redhead and her brunette counterpart were going as they usually did. Waverly would make a comment on how Nicole was saying her lines, Nicole would insult her with some sort of snarky remark, and the two would break out into pointless arguments about everything in between.

 

Wynonna caught the glances they shared; the small smiles and lip bites after every comment made. She noticed everything and was beginning to get agitated with how much time her sister and her best friend were wasting while arguing. She wanted to go home and watch reruns of Law and Order, not stand on stage while the two most important people in her life nearly fought to the death over how Waverly pronounced the word ‘Pegasus.’

 

“Could you two stop flirting for two seconds and get through one fucking scene without eye-humping each other?!” Wynonna finally spoke up. Everyone grew quiet and their eyes fell on Waverly and Nicole who were frozen, eyes locked on each other. “It’s been constant bickering between you two for the past week and a half now and it’s driving me crazy. Either stay away from each other or someone make a God damn move already!” Wynonna threw her hands in the air and stormed off of the stage.

 

Everyone remained silent as they watched the raven haired woman leave the auditorium.

 

Bobo cleared his throat and stood up from his seat. “I think that will be a wrap for today, everyone, thank you. Next rehearsal is on Thursday at the same time. Enjoy your evening.” Everyone quickly grabbed their things and filed out of the building.

 

Nicole and Waverly were left standing, alone, on the stage eyes still locked onto each other. Both knew exactly what they wanted to say but neither wanted to say it. Wynonna had verbalized what they had been feeling since their heated kiss a week ago and suddenly a new realization dawned on both girls. Neither would ever admit it out loud but they had it bad for each other.

 

And they were screwed.

Chapter Text

Waverly watched Wynonna storm out of the auditorium with the worst possible thoughts coming to her mind. Wynonna knew about their kiss, or maybe she overheard Waverly telling Chrissy and Rosita about her feelings for Nicole, or maybe it was simply just “that time of the month” for her sister. Whatever it was, it was upsetting Wynonna and Waverly feared that her sister was about to disown her and cut Nicole from her life. She was screwed either way but Waverly would rather be the person her sister stays mad at rather than Nicole. Despite how stubborn both girls are, they need each other more than anyone else; they balance each other and keep each other sane.

“Waverly,” Nicole said softly, noticing the internal conflict within the brunette. “Go after her,” Waverly looked back to Nicole and opened her mouth to say something, anything, but no words came out so Nicole continued, “She needs you. Don’t let her drive home angry like that. It isn’t safe.”

“I don’t think Wynonna is angry, Nicole,” Waverly said as she grabbed her coat and backpack. “It’s something far worse. She’s disappointed.”

Nicole watched as Waverly ran out the doors, desperately trying to reach her sister before she left. Nicole watched the auditorium doors as they slowly shut before letting out a loud sigh. She was afraid of many things at this very moment and, although her relationship with her best friend was currently on the line, the thing that scared her the most was what Wynonna had said. The words of the eldest Earp rang in her head like a loud bell.

“Either stay away from each other or someone make a God damn move already!”

Nicole winced at the words. Was she really having feelings for Waverly? No, that’s impossible. But is it? Sure, she liked the fiery brunette but only as a friend. Waverly was like a sister to her, and there was no way that she had developed a crush on her over the years. Though that would explain the jealousy. And the extreme protectiveness. And sometimes the aggressive nature that overtook her body when someone tried to hurt Waverly.

Okay so maybe she was a little screwed.

Waverly had always confused Nicole. Whenever they’re around each other, there’s a sort of spark in the air; something that was unspoken but clearly felt by both girls. Nicole had always said she hated Waverly, but now it dawned on her that she simply disliked that Waverly was a cheerleader. It was common for sports teams at Purgatory High to be rivals; everyone wanted to be celebrated by the school. So she just followed the rest of the basketball players in hating the cheer squad. Now that she thinks about it, she has had a thing for Waverly Earp since the moment they met.

Okay so maybe she was majorly screwed.

Nicole sighed again and grabbed her things before heading back to shoot some hoops in the gym to clear her head.

- - - - -

As Waverly exited the auditorium she stopped in the middle of the almost empty hallway and looked around for her sister. Catching a glimpse of a familiar leather jacket with fringes hanging from the arms, Waverly moved in the direction of her sister who’s body was mostly concealed behind her locker door. She was trying to figure out what she should say before she reached her sister, but her short legs betrayed her and before she knew it, she was only a foot away from Wynonna.

“Wynonna?” Waverly slowly approached the locker, her hand tightly gripping the strap of her backpack. The older Earp slammed her locker shut and stared at Waverly. “What was all of that about back there?”

Wynonna shrugged. “Nothing.”

“Bullshit,” Waverly stepped closer to her sister. “Don’t lie to me. You’re a terrible liar when you’re sober. What was that? Why did you yell like that?”

“Waverly, I know you like Nicole,” Wynonna stated simply. “There’s no point in hiding it.”

Waverly stared at her sister in disbelief. Was she really that obvious about it all? She was sure that every time she called Chrissy or Rosita to talk to them about it Wynonna wasn’t home, or that she couldn’t hear her. If Wynonna knew about her feelings then that meant that she also knew Waverly had been keeping them from her and that meant that Wynonna assumed that Waverly didn’t trust her enough to tell her. For years Waverly had been worrying about this but she would always push it aside because she was positive that Wynonna would never find out until she told her.

Guess she was wrong.

“Wynonna, I – ” Waverly stopped herself, trying to find the right words to say. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. “Okay, yes, I like Nicole. And I have for a while now. I think it all started back in the seventh grade when you and her were going to that special dance for the eighth graders together. She looked amazing and I knew that I was in trouble from that night on.”

Wynonna nodded and Waverly continued. “Ever since then I have been determined to get her to like me. I wanted to be her friend and so I tried everything I could think of to make her tolerate me. As far as Nicole was concerned, though, I was just her best friend’s little sister. I didn’t intend to fall for your best friend, Wyn. I know how much Nicole means to you; how much you need her. I would never take her away from you. But she’s just so charming and beautiful, even if she is an extremely cocky basketball player.”

Wynonna cracked a small smile and shook her head. “Wave, I would never be mad at you for having the hots for Haught. I mean, it’s not like you guys have kissed or anything,” she snorted and nudged Waverly’s shoulder.

“Um…actually…” Waverly bit her lip.

“What?” Wynonna’s eyes widened.

“On the first day of auditions she and I were arguing and then the next thing I knew we were kissing,” Waverly let out in one breath. “But it didn’t last long, I swear,” She added quickly. “And it was me. I instigated the kiss,” Waverly hated lying to her sister but now wasn’t the time to throw Nicole under the bus.

“Finally!” Wynonna threw her hands in the air.

“I’m confused,” Waverly furrowed her brow. “So you aren’t upset that I like your best friend, and that I’ve been keeping it from you for basically our entire childhood, and you aren’t upset that we kissed?”

“Baby girl,” Wynonna clamped a hand on Waverly’s shoulder, “I knew you had eyes for Haught the first time I brought her home for dinner. You aren’t exactly the most discrete person when it comes to hiding your feelings.”

Waverly felt her cheeks heat up and ducked her head. “I guess that means Nicole knows and just isn’t interested then.”

“Oh please, Haught-Sauce is just as oblivious to all of this as you are. But if there’s one thing everyone knows about Nicole Rayleigh Haught, it’s that the chick never admits anything to herself that scares her. I see the way she looks at you, Waves. She likes you. She’s just too stupid to see it for herself.”

That made a lot of sense to Waverly because she was the same way. It took her years to come to terms with this crush, and even then she still felt it hard to believe because it terrified her to no end.

“So you’d be okay with us dating?” Waverly lifted her gaze to meet her sister’s.

“Oh hell no,” Wynonna shook her head and leaned against the lockers. “Nicole is a great person, but is she the person my baby sister needs in her life?” She shrugged. “That’s for me to decide.”

Waverly bit her lip and smiled at her sister’s overly protective attitude. “Come on, let’s get home. Today has been exhausting.”

“I couldn’t have said it better myself, baby girl,” Wynonna threw her arm around her sister and the two walked out of the building.

Champ walked out from behind a nearby wall with a devilish smirk on his face. The truth was exposed and now he was going to use it to his advantage. If Wynonna deemed him incapable of being with Waverly Earp then he was going to make certain of it that Nicole couldn’t be with her either. It was time to make the redhead jealous at whatever cost it might take. She was stealing his girl, so he was going to capture her heart before Nicole had the chance to.

Chapter Text

Waverly was glad that there was no play practice until the following week. Her schedule was so full that she was sure she’d have a heart attack if anything else were added to it. She had a history project to work on (with Nicole as her partner, unsurprisingly), tons of chemistry homework, and cheer practice, just to name a few. Taking advantage of her study period, Waverly went straight for the library as soon as the bell rang and found a table near the back of the building so she could focus more. She set her books down on the table and sat down in the chair. Gathering her thoughts and trying hard to compose herself, she opened her chemistry notebook and stared down at the problems.

This was going to be one long hour.

As if he could sense that she was finally able to focus and begin working, Champ decided to bring a chair over to Waverly’s table and seat himself next to her. He leaned forward against the table and stared down at her hand which was working across the page at lightning speed.

“Chemistry, huh?” He said. “That stuff sucks.”

“I like it,” Waverly said simply.

“Yeah it’s alright I guess,” he shrugged. “Elements and Avocado’s Number and such.”

“Avogadro,” Waverly corrected him. “It’s Avogadro’s Number.”

“Same thing,” he rolled his eyes.

“What do you want, Champ,” Waverly set her pencil down and looked up at him. “I’m trying to do my work.”

“I was just wondering if you’d like to hang out sometime?” He asked and slung his arm around the back of Waverly’s chair.

“I think I’m good. I’ll pass,” Waverly rolled her eyes.

“How about dinner, then? I’ll pick you up around, say, seven?”

“You really don’t get it, do you, Champ?” She laughed and shook her head. “I want nothing to do with you.”

“What, like you’d rather spend time with Nicole?” Champ scoffed.

“I’d rather be left alone so I can do my homework.”

“Fine, I’ll shut up,” Champ looked around and his eyes landed on Nicole who had just walked into the library. He smirked.

- - - - -

Nicole loved Friday’s because they were the days when she would hang out with her friends after school. Ever since she and Waverly had started spending more time together, though, she’s liked them less. Waverly doesn’t get invited because she’s a junior, and Wynonna’s rule is that only their group of friends is allowed to go do what they do.

“You have Chrissy and Rosita,” the older Earp always says. Nicole usually agreed but the tables have turned now.

Thankful for her unstructured period, Nicole walked into the library with the intention of taking a nap for the next hour. Her backpack was hanging off of one shoulder and she dug into one of the pockets, fishing for her phone. She put her headphones in and plugged them into her phone before searching for the right playlist. She made her way to the back of the vast area, eyeing one of the chairs in the corner. She passed by Waverly’s table but didn’t notice that it was her sitting there until she heard the laugh that she had become all too familiar to lately. Stopping dead in her tracks, Nicole hid behind a bookshelf and turned toward the table.

She couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw Waverly and Champ sitting together, talking. She can’t hear what they’re saying, but Waverly was laughing. Nicole kept her eyes on Champ and tightened her jaw when he put his arm across the back of Waverly’s chair. It didn’t look like Waverly was enjoying the interaction, keeping hunched over whatever she was working on, but she was still laughing and talking to him nonetheless. The thing that really got to her, though, was when Champ looked up and locked eyes with her. He smirked and moved his chair closer to Waverly, and Nicole dug her fingernails into her palms as she clenched her hands into fists.

“Shit ticket,” she muttered before turning around and walking to her chair. She wanted to say something, but she knew Champ was doing this on purpose. She didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing he was getting to her.

- - - - -

The following week was full of events like that of what happened in the library. Waverly didn’t make much of it because she was used to Champ bugging her, but Nicole saw every day that passed with Champ talking to Waverly as a small defeat for herself. He was always one step ahead of her, pushing her two steps back from the progress she and Waverly had made.

Thursday rolled around, which meant that rehearsals were being held after school. Waverly and Nicole were both relieved that Wynonna wouldn’t be attending today due to her being sick (or pretending to be sick as Waverly assumed). Wynonna’s absence meant that they didn’t have to put up with her staring at them during their intimate scenes.

At lunch, Waverly sat and recounted to Chrissy, Jeremy and Rosita every encounter she had with Champ over the past week, explaining how strange he was acting and how much more relentless he seemed than usual. Despite the bustling lunch room, she kept her voice low knowing that Champ could easily hear her if he were to pass by.

“I thought you said he was over you though?” Chrissy asked.

“Yeah, I mean hasn’t he stayed away from you ever since Wynonna beat the shit out of him?” Rosita chimed in.

Waverly shrugged. “He has, but I don’t think he was ever over the rejection. I think it’s strange how he’s showing so much interest in me all of a sudden.”

“Wait you said that he’s been coming up to you during study hall, English, and history?” Chrissy asked and Waverly nodded. “Right, and what do all three of those periods have in common?”

“They’re all pretty different, Chris,” Waverly stared at her friend. “They don’t have much of anything in common.”

“You’re in all senior classes,” Jeremy said, catching on to what Chrissy was saying. “Perhaps maybe a certain redhead?”

“What?” Waverly looked between the two of them. “Who are you – oh,” her eyes widened. “Oh! Nicole?”

“What other redhead would we be talking about? You’re smart enough to know it isn’t Mercedes,” Rosita said. “I think Champ might be coming on to you in order to make Nicole jealous.”

“But why would he do that? It’s not like anything is going to happen between she and I.”

“He doesn’t know that, though, does he?” Rosita asked.

“No, I guess not,” Waverly sighed. “But still. Why now? Unless…” she gasped. “Oh crap…he must have overheard me talking to Wynonna the other day.”

“Talking to Wynonna about what?” Jeremy raised an eyebrow.

“About my feelings for Nicole,” Waverly replied slowly before groaning and burning her head in her hands.

“I can’t believe he’s trying to make her jealous,” Chrissy snorted. “I never pegged him as the desperate type.”

“Really?” Rosita looked at Chrissy. “Never? Have you even met the guy? He’s the exact definition of desperate when it comes to Waverly.”

“Lucky me,” Waverly forced a smile and faked a laugh. Her eyes caught a flash of red and saw that Nicole was running out of the cafeteria. Worry washed over her and she quickly grabbed her things. “Hey, uh, I’ve gotta go. I just remembered that I had a question for Mr. Del Rey about the project. I’ll see you guys are practice tomorrow morning!” Waverly picked her tray up and dumped it before taking off toward the direction of Nicole.

- - - - -

Nicole sat at their usual table for lunch, sitting with Dolls, Eliza, Mercedes and Doc. They made small talk about how their days were going and about how Wynonna wasn’t at school that day. They eventually quieted down and ate in silence, like they usually did. It wasn’t an awkward silence, but a comfortable one. Nicole ate her sandwich and scrolled through her Twitter feed, liking and retweeting memes and stupid tweets alike. Things were going fine until Stephanie Jones and Samantha Baker sat at the far end of their table.

“Can you believe that Champ is finally off the market?” Stephanie asked, raising her voice to make sure Nicole heard.

“I know,” Samantha replied. “It’s such a shame, though. Wasting his time with her instead of someone who actually matters,” Nicole turned her head slightly in their direction, channeling in on their conversation.

“Waverly Earp doesn’t deserve him, but I’m glad she won’t be alone forever. She might be a stupid Earp, but at least she’s happy. I can’t wait to see them at prom!” Samantha said.

“I hear the sex isn’t bad either,” Stephanie laughed. “And I’m talking about Waverly.”

Nicole exhaled through her nose and locked her phone. She gathered her things and stood up. She knew Champ had been hitting on Waverly more often than usual lately but she never thought that Waverly would actually go for it. She threw her trash away and quickly made for the exit before her friends could stop her. She roughly pushed the door open and stormed out, heading for the bathroom. Seconds later, Waverly came rushing out of the cafeteria and spotted Nicole halfway down the hallway.

“Nicole!” She called after the redhead. “Nicole, are you alright?” Waverly asked after catching up with the taller girl.

“Leave me alone,” Nicole snapped and turned around. “I don’t want to talk to you right now.”

“What did I do?” Waverly took a step back.

“What did you do?” Nicole started. “What did you do? How about going out with Champ fucking Hardy? How about completely disregarding everything your sister said last week at rehearsals? How about not even considering how I’ve been feeling lately before letting that…that fuckboy feel you up and ask you out?” She stumbled back a bit, leaning heavily on the wall as her breathing became unsteady and her vision was blurring from the tears in her eyes.

“Nicole,” Waverly started. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Did he tell you to say that? Did he tell you to stay away from me now?” Nicole couldn’t help the tears streaming from her eyes.

Over the course of the last week, Nicole had done a lot of thinking. She spoke with Wynonna about the whole situation regarding herself and Waverly, and opened up to the older Earp in a way she never had before. She was afraid and she was confused because this has never happened to her before. Sure, she’d had other girlfriends in the past but she never felt the things she feels towards Waverly. To further prove that point, she had to sit down with Wynonna and make a list of everything Waverly made her feel (good and bad). When the list was done, Wynonna stared at it until Nicole was able to admit to herself that she was falling for Waverly. She had cried and apologized but Wynonna told her that there was nothing wrong with having feelings for someone, even if that someone were to be her sister. So now, standing in the hallway with tears staining her cheeks, she was facing the fact of Waverly not feeling the same.

“Nicole what the hell are you talking about?” Waverly stepped closer to the taller girl. Her voice was firm, but not hard. “Will you please look at me?”

“Why him?” Nicole whispered.

“Why who?” Waverly asked and reached a hand up to wipe some of Nicole’s tears away.

“Champ,” she said in a voice barely above a whisper. Waverly wouldn’t have heard it if she weren’t so close.

“Nic,” Waverly hooked her finger under Nicole’s chin and turned her head and lock eyes with her. “I’m not dating Champ Hardy. I don’t know who told you that I was, but I’m not. Okay? He’s the last person I’d ever want to be with.”

“He’s been hanging all over you for the past week,” Nicole said and looked away from Waverly. “You haven’t tried to stop him.”

“Because I knew he wouldn’t stop. Champ is relentless. There’s no point in fighting him,” Waverly kept her eyes on Nicole as she spoke. “I don’t want him, I want someone else, and he knows exactly who that someone else is.”

“Who?” Nicole looked back at Waverly, fear in her eyes.

“He’s been trying to make you jealous. He’s come onto me in every class I have with you. The person I want to be with is – ” the bell ringing cut Waverly off and she sighed. “Can we talk after school? Before rehearsals?”

“Yeah,” Nicole nodded. “Yeah, I’d like that.”

“Meet me backstage right after class,” Waverly said before scurrying off to her next class.

- - - - -

The rest of the day went by painstakingly slow for both girls. Their science and foreign language classes seemed to drag on forever, when they were only lasting the usual fifty minutes. Instead of answering every question in her French and chemistry classes like she normally did, Waverly kept her head buried in her notebook.

Nicole barely seemed to notice the time passing in her classes. Art and Spanish were two of her best classes but all her mind was able to focus on was what Waverly was going to talk to her about. She had a good idea about what Waverly was about to say when the bell rang, but her mind was always her own worst enemy. She had only just come to terms with how she truly felt about the youngest Earp and now this rumor about she and Champ was going around. She didn’t know what to believe anymore. She wanted to trust that Waverly felt the chemistry that she did between them, but at this point she couldn’t be sure.

The bell rang indicating the end of the school day and Nicole quickly grabbed her books. She quickly made her way to her locker, switched out the books she had for the ones she needed to take home, and made her way to the auditorium. Walking backstage Nicole was surprised to see Waverly already there, pacing back and forth with her hands clasped tightly together.

“Waves?” The redhead asked as she approached Waverly. Waverly turned around and relief flooded her features.

“You came,” she said softly.

“Why wouldn’t I?” Nicole tilted her head to the side as she moved closer to the smaller girl.

“I thought you didn’t believe me when I said I wasn’t with Champ,” Waverly shrugged. “I got worried.”

“Worried?” Nicole asked. “Waverly, I would never…” she shook her head. “I would never leave you for that. I would just…need time to come to terms with it.”

“Why, because you like me or something?” Waverly laughed.

Nicole knew Waverly was joking, but she decided to bite the bullet anyway. “Yeah,” she said after exhaling through her nose. “I do. I really, really like you, Waverly. And even though I’m about as stubborn as they come, I should have realized it sooner. I’ve been crazy about you from the very start.”

“And it took three years, getting forced to be the lead in a school play, and Wynonna knocking some sense into me to realize that…that I don’t want any other girl. Not Shae, not Eliza, not anyone. I want you – ” Nicole stopped and shook her head. “No, I need you, Waverly. You keep me on the right track.”

Waverly didn’t say anything, she just stared up at Nicole with tears eyes and furrowed brows. This meeting was supposed to be her professing her feelings for the redhead, but Nicole’s confession threw her for a loop. She really didn’t expect Nicole to return the feelings she had been feeling, so hearing the words come from her mouth sent her into emotional overdrive. Her heart was racing, her hands were shaking and her eyes were filled with tears.

“Waverly,” Nicole spoke, voice soft and quiet, “say something. Please.”

“Take the chance,” Waverly muttered, repeating the words of Wynonna and her Aunt Gus. “Know what you want, who you want,” she calmed her breathing and met Nicole’s eyes, tears streaming from her own. Without saying another word, Waverly grabbed the front of Nicole’s shirt and brought her down to her level.

Their lips collided and Nicole wasted no time before she wrapped her arms around the smaller girl, kissing her back. The kiss was slow, full of passion, as each girl tried to convey how they felt through the connection. Waverly’s eyes closed and she wrapped her other hand around Nicole’s neck, playing with the hairs at the nape of her neck. Nicole tightened her arms around Waverly, pulling her impossibly close, and deepened the kiss. Waverly stifled a moan as Nicole’s tongue glided across her bottom lip asking for entrance. Waverly graciously granted her access and moved her hand into Nicole’s hair, threading her fingers through the fiery locks.

“Take me on a date,” Waverly whispered pulling away, breathless. “Please, Nicole, please take me on a date.”

“Alright,” Nicole chuckled, keeping their foreheads pressed together, “how about tomorrow night?”

“But tomorrow is Friday. Friday nights are your friend nights.”

“Friday nights just suddenly became Waverly nights,” Nicole said before placing a gentle kiss to the tip of Waverly’s nose.

“What time should I be ready?” Waverly asked as she played with the ends of Nicole’s hair, getting lost in the sensation. “And what should I wear?”

“Seven,” Nicole whispered before gently kissing Waverly’s lips once. “Wear something that highlights your figure,” another kiss. “Though I don’t think that’ll be much of a challenge.”

“Smooth talker,” Waverly giggled and connected their lips. The kiss quickly became more heated and before Waverly knew what was happening, Nicole had picked her up and walked over to an abandoned cart that used to hold various pieces of tech equipment.

Waverly wrapped her legs around Nicole’s waist as she was set atop the cart and was glad for the sudden change in height, making it slightly less awkward of an angle for her to kiss Nicole. Both girl’s were thankful that they had decided to meet so early before rehearsals began, and both girls were thankful that Wynonna wasn’t at school that day to interrupt them. For the first time since all of the craziness of the play began, Waverly felt relaxed and at peace with how things were going. Her childhood dream was always to kiss her older sister’s best friend, the forbidden crush. Some dreams never come true, but some dreams do come true.

And this dream was fucking amazing.

Chapter Text

Waverly and Nicole managed to cut their cliché make-out session short and make it to rehearsals in time for no one to notice that they were backstage. It was a close call but they managed to go unnoticed by everyone. Rehearsal was kicked off by Bobo telling them what the goal for the day was. He gave them a scene to work through and sat in his chair to watch. The scene they were starting off with for the day was the first time Hercules and Meg met. Bobo gave them the go and they jumped into action.

“Halt!” Nicole yelled.

“Step aside, two legs,” Pete York, who played the roll of the monster centaur Nessus, grumbled.

“Pardon me, my good, uh, uh…sir,” Nicole paused to glance down at her lines, “I'll have to ask you to release that young...”

“Keep movin', junior,” Waverly rolled her eyes.

“...lady. But you-- are-aren't you a damsel in distress?” Nicole locked eyes with Waverly.

“I am a damsel, I am in distress. I can handle this. Have a nice day,” Waverly struggled against her “captor’s” grasp.

“Uh – ” Nicole noticed that she had been staring at Waverly for too long and suddenly forgot her lines. She cleared her throat and held her script up. “Ma'am, I'm afraid you may be too close to the situation to realize – ” Nicole drew her fake sword and immediately got knocked off of her feet by Pete.

Nicole fell, her head hitting the ground hard, and slid back across the stage; Pete shoved her harder than she anticipated he would. Lying flat on her back, Nicole let out a groan and held her head. This was just rehearsal, she shouldn’t have even been knocked over; they hadn’t practiced that yet. Feeling a bit dizzy, she closed her eyes and covered her face with her hands.

“Nicole!” Waverly yelled and ran over to her. She knelt over the redhead, Bobo appearing next to Waverly soon after, and gently took Nicole’s hand in her own. She moved Nicole’s other hand away from her face and Nicole shut her eyes tighter.

“I’m okay,” she said. “Just a little dizzy.”

“Nic, open your eyes,” Waverly leaned down closer, blocking the bright lights that were shining in Nicole’s face. “I need to see your eyes.”

Nicole slowly opened her eyes and looked up at Waverly. “‘m fine, Wave,” she mumbled.

“Oh God you have a concussion, don’t you? How hard did you hit your head?” Waverly turned to look at Pete. “How hard did you shove her?!”

“Waverly,” Nicole spoke, slightly more coherent, and gripped Waverly’s upper arm firmly. “Hey, I’m okay. Just thrown off a bit. I’m okay.”

“You can sit the rest of practice out if you feel like you can’t continue,” Bobo said. “Run your lines from your seat by me.”

“I’m alright, Mr. Del Rey,” Nicole sat up and smiled gratefully at him. Without warning, Waverly surged forward and enveloped Nicole in a tight hug.

“I suddenly hate the idea of you being Hercules,” Waverly mumbled into Nicole’s shoulder. “Don’t want you to get hurt.”

“I’m perfectly fine, Waves,” Nicole whispered into the smaller girl’s hair. “I promise.”

“Where’s Champ Hardy?!” The familiar voice brought everyone’s eyes to the back doors of the auditorium. “Is he here?”

“Detention,” Bobo said. “And he’s not cast in the play. He wouldn’t be here.”

“He’d be wherever my sister is,” Wynonna huffed and made her way to the stage. Nicole and Waverly were too lost in their embrace, and their quiet conversation, to notice the older Earp’s presence. “Well it’s about damn time,” Wynonna crossed her arms.

“Not now, Wynonna,” Waverly said, hugging Nicole tighter. “You knew it was coming. She just got hurt. Please give us a break just this once.”

“Alright, alright,” Wynonna shot Nicole a look that said you good? and Nicole responded with a nod that conveyed an I’m good. “Doc texted me, told me everything he’s been hearing. I had to come. Just tell me that the rumors are true. Chump has been telling everyone you’re with him?” Waverly nodded. “Good. Gives me even more of a reason to beat his ass. My sister is off limits!” Wynonna spoke loudly for everyone to hear. “And if any of you give her or Haught any shit, you’ll be hearing from me.”

Nicole watched as Wynonna retreated, exiting the room. When the doors closed, all eyes landed on the pair. Nicole gave a weak thumbs up and everyone went back to whatever they were doing. Nicole ducked her head and placed a gentle kiss to Waverly’s temple. It was soft and gentle gesture that managed to get Waverly’s attention.

“Good?” She whispered.

“Good,” Waverly nodded and stood up. She helped Nicole to her feet and straightened out her shirt.

“Alright,” Bobo clapped his hands together and dove into what the rest of rehearsals entailed for the remainder of their time.

- - - - -

“So she’s taking you out tomorrow night?” Chrissy asked over Waverly’s laptop screen; she, Rosita and Waverly had been talking on Skype for the past hour.

“Yeah,” Waverly smiled. “She won’t tell me what we’re doing, though.”

“Knowing her, it’ll probably something extremely cliché and romantic,” Rosita replied.

“I couldn’t care less. We could watch a movie at her house and I wouldn’t care.”

“Oh, Earp, you’ve got it bad,” Chrissy laughed. “But I’m glad. So, so glad. Nicole is a way better option than Champ.”

“Champ was never even an option,” Waverly scoffed. Her friends laughed and there was a small knock on her door.

“Baby girl?” Wynonna’s voice came from the other side.

Waverly looked down at her screen. “Gotta go, girls. I’ll text you guys later,” she smiled and ended the call. “It’s open.”

Wynonna opened the door and took a step inside. “Hey,” she said.

“Hi,” Waverly responded, moving to make room on the bed for her sister.

“Can we talk?” Wynonna asked as she sat down. “Talk talk?”

“About Nicole?” Waverly asked. “About me and Nicole?”

“Yeah,” Wynonna took a deep breath before meeting her sister’s eyes. “I’m happy for you, baby girl, I really am,” she smiled.

“There’s a ‘but’ in there somewhere,” Waverly raised a skeptical eyebrow.

Wynonna shook her head. “I just don’t want to see you get hurt. I know she can be a lot to handle sometimes. As her best friend, I’ve seen a lot of shit. But I need you to know that, if things end up going south with you and Nicole, I will always be on your side. Haught is my best friend, but you’re my sister. You come first, Waverly. Always.”

“So you’re okay with this?” Waverly bit her lip and looked at her sister. “Because if you aren’t, I can call her and we can figure out – ”

“Waverly,” Wynonna took one of Waverly’s hands between both of her own and gave it a light squeeze. “You’re happy. Happier than I think I’ve ever seen you. Never in a million years would I intentionally stand between you and what makes you happy. Haught is…” she sighed. “Haught is about as good as they come. Like I said before, if anyone is going to date my sister I’d want it to be her.”

“Thank you,” Waverly whispered and hugged Wynonna tightly. “Thank you, Wynonna.”

“I love you, baby girl,” Wynonna hugged back. “And Haught might be my best friend, but I won’t hesitate to deck her in the face if she ever hurts you. Just how I hit Chump where it counts earlier.”

“Wait, you actually beat him up again?”

Wynonna shrugged. “Let’s just say that he won’t be bothering you again.”

- - - - -

The following day of school went by at an agonizingly slow pace. Waverly forced herself to pay attention during class, and forced herself even harder to stay facing forward instead of glancing behind her in every class she shared with Nicole. History class rolled around and Waverly and Nicole had no choice but to sit together to work on their project. Beforehand, both girls had a brief conversation via text laying down some ground rules to make sure they didn’t get distracted.

“No touching,” Waverly had insisted. “It’ll just be too damn distracting.”

“Alright,” Nicole agreed. “No going off book, then. No random facts from you. It’s too cute and too tempting to kiss you when you start talking history to me.”

Waverly had blushed down at her phone before responding. “Please tell me you’re not wearing that baseball jersey today. You look good in it and it wouldn’t be fair to me to have to stare at you looking so cute and so gay.”

Nicole just sent three winky face emojis in reply.

Waverly looked up to see Nicole walking into the room and she nearly fell out of her desk. There she was, tall and beautiful as ever, dressed in that stupid Toronto Blue Jay’s baseball jersey and black jeans with her hair down straight and tucked behind her ears. Waverly groaned quietly and nearly banged her head on her desk as she covered her face.

She was gay. So extremely gay.

“Everything alright, Waverly?” Nicole asked as she leaned her hands on Waverly’s desk.

“Huh?” Waverly lifted her head. “Oh, uh yeah. Mhm. I just…l-lost a contact. Yeah,” she nodded and Nicole laughed.

“A contact?” The redhead leaned closer. “You don’t wear contacts.”

“Well maybe I do now,” Waverly replied and proceeded to look for the nonexistent piece of eyewear.

“Alright,” Nicole chuckled and shrugged. “Whatever you say, Wave,” she took her seat behind Waverly and took her books out.

Class began and everyone started working on their projects. The assignment was to make a presentation based on a prominent figure from the time period each group was assigned. Waverly and Nicole, of course, were given the era in which Waverly’s great-great grandfather Wyatt Earp was alive. And, of course, Waverly had practically begged Nicole to let them do their project on said grandfather. Waverly thought it was a great idea since she knew so much about him as it was, except now she thought it was a terrible idea because Nicole would murder her if she just started saying random facts about her relative that didn’t relate to the project.

“So Wyatt,” Nicole asked, keeping her eyes on her notebook as she wrote down some notes, “he was the prominent figure during the OK Corral shootout?”

Waverly nodded. “He started it all. Doc Holliday, his best friend, was there too.”

“Two famous American gunslingers,” Nicole smiles. “I dig it.”

“You’re such a dork,” Waverly laughed.

- - - - -

“Waverly, Nicole is here!” Wynonna yelled up the stairs.

“What?” Waverly looked at the time. “She said seven. It’s just after five,” she started to panic. “Are you sure it’s her and not Doc?!” She called back down to Wynonna.

“It’s her, baby girl! She’s sitting in the living room!”

“Shit,” Waverly muttered. “Shit, shit, shit. What do I wear?” She started to dig through her closet. After a few minutes of panicking and deep breathing, she settled on a pair of high-waisted jeans, a burgundy sweater and a pair of warm boots.

The winters in Purgatory were freezing and left anyone underdressed severely miserable. She had know idea where they were going, but Waverly knew she would be prepared. Throwing her hair up into a messy bun, she grabbed a scarf and her coat and made her way downstairs. Nicole looked toward the staircase at the sound of Waverly’s footsteps and stood up. Her breath caught in her chest at the sight of the younger Earp and she had to lean against the couch to steady herself.

Wynonna snorted and nudged Nicole with her shoulder. “Don’t forget to breathe, Haught,” she whispered.

“You…you look,” Nicole stumbled over her words. “Wow,” she finally said.

“Please,” Waverly rolled her eyes but blushed fiercely. “I wasn’t even dressed when you got here. I thought you weren’t coming until seven?”

“I thought of something else I wanted to do. I thought I’d surprise you,” Nicole smiled. “I hope that’s okay?”

“Of course it is,” Waverly smiled.

“Have her home on time, or Gus will kill us all,” Wynonna said. “We’re going to miss you tonight, Haught, but I’m glad you’re going to be having fun. You both deserve it.”

“Wow, that was the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me, Wynonna,” Nicole grinned and nudged her best friend.

“Shut it before I force you to come to Doc’s with me,” Wynonna bit back a smile and looked at Waverly. “Have fun, baby girl. But not too much fun.”

“I will. Love you, Nonna,” Waverly smiled and hugged her sister before leaving with Nicole.

- - - - -

They had been driving for nearly thirty minutes and Waverly was becoming relentless with asking where they were going, what they were doing. Nicole turned on the radio, letting Waverly have full control over what they listened to in hopes of distracting her while they drove.

It didn’t help.

After what felt like forever to Waverly, Nicole finally pulled into a parking lot. Waverly looked out the window and saw the giant neon sign illuminating the name of an arcade. Waverly turned toward Nicole with a confused look on her face but smiled.

“I wanted to do something fun,” Nicole explained. “I know it’s not your typical first date, but I just felt like this would be a good place to spend our evening.”

“You just want to beat me at skee-ball,” Waverly squinted her eyes. “I accept your challenge. You’re going down, Haught.”

“Correction,” Nicole held a finger up, “I just want to beat you at basketball.”

“You basketball players are insufferable,” Waverly smiled and leaned over the center console, placing a quick and gentle kiss to Nicole’s lips.

“Maybe we are,” Nicole hummed in response and smiled. “Yet here you are with me,” she poked Waverly’s stomach. “And I believe it’ll be you who will be going down, Earp.”

Both girls got out of the car and Nicole walked over to where Waverly stood. She took the brunette’s hand in her own and couldn’t help but admire the girl that stood beside her. The neon sign lit up the parking lot in an array of colors and Waverly’s eyes glistened in the light. It scared Nicole how right all of it felt, how naturally things flowed between them, but at the same time it angered her. How had she gone so long without realizing what they had?

Being the youngest in her family meant that Nicole never got much of the attention that she needed or craved. Most of her accomplishments went unnoticed by her parents or were outshone by her brothers. Nicole had learned at a young age to keep things to herself since no one seemed to ever care about what she said or did. That’s where Wynonna came into the picture. Nicole found a way out from the pain at home through the older Earp but she was never truly able to speak freely, having mentally abused herself to the point of thinking that nobody cared, thinking that nobody wanted to listen to her.

Eventually things got so bad that she shut everyone out, even her own self. She stopped trying and gave up, burying her feelings deep, deep down in the recesses of her mind. She threw herself into sports as an output for the anger and the depression. When she met Waverly, she felt her walls start to crack and she got scared so she began to build them back up even taller and stronger than before. Slowly, though, her resolve began to crumble, and Nicole fully saw who Waverly Earp was; she wasn’t just her best friend’s little sister. No. She was something more. And even though it took several years for her to admit her feelings for Waverly to herself, Nicole wasn’t going to let Waverly scare her. The way Waverly saw her and heard her. Nicole knew that Waverly was more than anything she would ever be able to fully understand, but she wanted to spend the rest of her life trying.

There was one thing Nicole did know, though. And that was she knew she could trust Waverly.

“Nicole?” Waverly squeezed the redhead’s hand. “You good? You went somewhere else.”

“Yeah,” Nicole nodded. “I’m…I’m good. Fantastic,” she smiled. “Let’s get inside, it’s freezing out here.”

Waverly nodded. “Ready to get your ass kicked at skee-ball?” She grinned.

“Oh, you’re going down,” Nicole winked and pulled Waverly inside.

The arcade was bustling with teens and adults on dates with their partners or just hanging out with friends as it was an early December Friday night. Children ran from game to game, inserting tokens and winning tickets so they could take home whatever cheap piece of plastic that demanded too many tickets to take home. Nicole smiled and absentmindedly wrapped an arm around Waverly’s waist as they made their way over to the counter. After a minute of silent arguing, Nicole paid for their tokens and they headed straight for the skee-ball machines.

“Two different machines. Person with the highest score wins, and the loser buys the food?” Waverly looked at Nicole.

“I hope you brought enough money, because I’m starving,” Nicole smirked and inserted tokens into both of their lanes.

Things started out slow; Nicole would roll a ball and then Waverly would roll a ball. They remained tied for three shots and that’s when Waverly started getting competitive. She glanced at Nicole and smiled, placing a hand on her lower back.

“Nice shot, Nic,” she said, voice close to the taller girl’s ear. Nicole shivered and her next ball went through the ring that got her no points.

“Oh you little…” Nicole grunted and lightly slapped Waverly’s hand away. “That’s not fair. You distracted me,” she pouted.

“We never made any rules,” Waverly pointed out and rolled a ball down the short, narrow lane, gaining fifty points.

“You’re right,” Nicole nodded. “Nice throw there, by the way. Almost made me forget that you were a cheerleader for a second.”

Waverly froze and slowly turned to face Nicole. “Excuse me?” She feigned offense. “I’ll have you know that I used to bowl.”

“Bowling and skee-ball aren’t the same sport though, are they?” Nicole asked with a shrug of her shoulder. She scored one hundred points.

 Waverly narrowed her eyes and huffed. “Alright, if you wanna play that way, then that’s how we’ll play.”

The next few minutes were full of silence and concentration; both girls intensely throwing their balls down their lanes at high speeds and muttering self criticisms under their breath when they missed a shot. Coming down to the end of the game, Waverly managed to score fifty points higher than Nicole and she smiled proudly at her date.

“So food?” Waverly grinned. “I can order whatever I want, right? We said loser buys food, but we never specified how much.”

“This isn’t fair,” Nicole crossed her arms. “I was at a disadvantage because I’m so tall. You didn’t have to bend down as much as I did.”

“Are you insulting me?” Waverly stepped closer to Nicole.

“No,” the redhead wrapped her arms around Waverly’s waist, bringing her closer. “I’m just saying. I nearly gave up at the end because of my back hurting.”

“Mmm someone’s a sore loser, isn’t she?” Waverly tilted her head to the side. “Are you going to insult me more or are you going to be a big girl and ask for a rematch like I know you want?”

“Admitting failure isn’t easy,” Nicole pouted. “Especially in front of the girl you like.”

“You like me?” Waverly gasped. “I had no clue. Why didn’t you tell me?” Nicole cracked a smile but it vanished quickly and was replaced by her pout once more. Waverly leaned up and kissed her for a moment, resting a hand on Nicole’s cheek as she pulled back. “What game?” She asked softly.

“Basketball,” Nicole mumbled.

“Something you know you’ll beat me at, I should have figured,” Waverly rolled her eyes. “Come on, let’s get this over with.”

They engaged in a game of basketball, tossing harmless insults back and forth about each other’s stance or the way they shot the ball into the hoop. Basketball clearly wasn’t Waverly’s forte and it really showed. She missed nearly every shot she made, having a small victory for every shot she actually did make. Nicole, of course, was crushing her competition. Basketball ran through her veins. She made three shots in the time it took for Waverly to make one, making all of her shots nothing but net. The timer buzzed and Nicole compared their scores. Laughing, she faced Waverly and crossed her arms, a smug look settling on her face.

“I won by over one hundred points,” she stated proudly.

“Yeah, no shit Sherlock,” Waverly grumbled. “What do you want to eat?” She asked before reaching for her wallet.

Nicole stopped her. “Hold on,” she said. “Since we both won a game, I think it’d only be fair to play something else. A tie-breaker.”

“Nicole, we just played basketball because you were being a baby about losing skee-ball,” Waverly arched an eyebrow. “And now you’re telling me you want to risk losing again?”

“Oh I won’t be losing this game. But it’s only fair that we do this,” Nicole grabbed Waverly’s hand and pulled her toward the racing games that lined the back wall of the room. Race cars and motorcycles alike were waiting for someone to play as loud, thumping music played from the speakers on each individual game.

“Jokes on you,” Waverly grinned. “Wynonna and I used to play these games all the time. I always won,” she sat down in one of the car seats and inserted the last of her tokens, Nicole doing the same.

“Right, right, but which of us actually drives?” Nicole quirked an eyebrow.

“Low blow, Haught,” Waverly shook her head and hit start.

The race started, which meant so did the insults. Harmless insults, playful trash talking at best, were tossed back and forth between girls as they battled head-to-head for first place. Nicole glanced over at Waverly and shook her head.

“Loosen your grip, Waverly!” She yelled over the music. “You’re too stiff, you’ll never win that way!”

“Ease up on the gas,” Waverly said as she slammed her car into Nicole’s, “and maybe you’d make those sharp turns!”

Nicole pulled into the lead and laughed. “Eat my exhaust, Earp!” Waverly narrowed her eyes and let her foot press the gas pedal all the way down, hitting Nicole from behind and tailing her. “You know you’re only helping me, right? Unheard of for cheerleaders.”

“I help no one, especially not basketball players!” Waverly shouted and maneuvered her car around Nicole’s, pulling ahead of her. “Ha! Who’s the better driver now?”

“Considering I’m the one who actually has a car, I’d still say me! I’d consider myself the better athlete too since I beat you last game!” Nicole turned her attention to Waverly for a second too long and lost control of her car, hitting a wall. “Damnit,” she muttered.

“Yeah well if you practiced your acting as much as you did your jump throws, maybe you’d be able to say you were the better actor too!” The words left Waverly’s mouth before she could stop them and immediately regretted it.

Nicole’s face reddened as she remained quiet in her seat, biting her lower lip. Waverly wasn’t wrong, if Nicole spent more time practicing her lines then she’d be a better at acting, but basketball took up most of her time since the season was close to ending and the playoffs were near. And if she wasn’t playing basketball then she was either studying or working the tech stuff for the play backstage. She really only ever practiced her lines when she and Waverly got together, which wasn’t often.

The worst part about it all was that Nicole knew Waverly wasn’t being mean, that she meant it as a joke, but it was still getting to her. Maybe it was partially because she was envious of Waverly’s talents onstage, or maybe it was partially because she knew she would never be a good actress. Nicole watched in silence as Waverly crossed the finish line in first place and gave her a supportive smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. They made their way over to the dining area that was sectioned off from the arcade and Waverly, feeling bold, slid her hand into Nicole’s. The redhead felt relief flood through her body, but the embarrassment was still there. Waverly was too caught up in her victory that she didn’t take notice of how quiet her date had become until after their food had been delivered to their table. They ate in relative silence that felt neither comfortable nor uncomfortable. Seeing as Nicole wasn’t going to speak, Waverly took it upon herself to break the silence.

“What’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours?” She asked and leaned against the table with her elbows. Nicole shrugged and picked at her food. Waverly huffed and picked up a fry, throwing it at Nicole and hitting her in the face. “Nicole, come on. What’s wrong?”

“Do you really think that I’m not good at acting?” Nicole spoke softly, keeping her eyes on her food.

“What?” Waverly furrowed her brow. That’s when it hit her. Oh shit.

Oh shit.

“Nicole, you know I didn’t mean that, right?” Waverly asked, concern and guilt growing on her face. When no response came, she continued, “You know I think that you are an amazing actress.”

Nicole shrugged. “Then why’d you say that?"

“I was trying to make you lose. I was trying to be funny, but I crossed the line and I’m really, really sorry, Nicole.”

“I know you were just joking, Waves,” Nicole reached across the table and took one of Waverly’s hands. “It’s just me overthinking everything.”

“Is there something you want to talk about?” Waverly squeezed Nicole’s hand and stroked her thumb over her knuckles.

“Yeah,” Nicole nodded, “but not now. Not yet. It’s um, it’s about my family and I’m not entirely sure if I’m ready to actually talk about it yet."

Waverly smiled softly and brought Nicole’s hand up to her lips, placing a gentle kiss to the top of her hand. “Then tell me whenever you’re ready.”

Waverly knew that Nicole didn’t have the best childhood (nor the worst) and she knew that there were things that the redhead hadn’t even told Wynonna. As someone who had a very rough childhood with a drunk father and evil older sister, Waverly was no stranger to being afraid of opening up about certain things involving family life. It’s tough and Waverly doesn’t blame Nicole for her hesitancy toward the situation. Waverly was also an excellent judge of character so it wasn’t rocket science for her to figure out that whatever Nicole wanted to tell her pained her in more ways than one. Abuse was out of the question, Mr. and Mrs. Haught would never take to beating their children, but that didn’t mean that she still wasn’t hurting, that she still wasn’t scarred. Nicole met Waverly’s eyes and, in that moment, she found something deep within those pools of hazel. Nicole saw something that she never thought she would find within someone.

She saw safety.

“Come on,” Nicole said finally. “This night isn’t over yet. There’s someplace else that I want to take you.”

Chapter Text

“Ice skating?” Waverly asked staring out the passenger seat window at the outdoor skating rink. “You’re taking me ice skating?”

“Too cliché?” Nicole asked, her voice rising in pitch, and shrugged her shoulders.

“Way too cliché,” Waverly turned to face Nicole. “And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Nicole smiled and quickly got out of the car. She made her way over to Waverly’s door and opened it for her, holding a hand out for the smaller girl to take. Waverly smiled brightly at her and Nicole swore she felt the temperature warm around her.

Waverly Earp was extraordinary.

“This was the original plan. The arcade just seemed too fun to pass up,” Nicole smiled. “Plus, I wanted it to get dark before we came out here. The view of the city from here is breathtaking.”

“It really is beautiful,” Waverly agreed looking around. “I used to come here with daddy before he, well you know…”

Nicole squeezed Waverly’s hand and moved so she was standing in front of Waverly, blocking her view of the rink. “Hey, I know. Don’t talk about it if it hurts,” she whispered and reached up to wipe away a stray tear that fell from Waverly’s eye. “We can go if you want? Go back to my house?”

“No,” Waverly shook her head and gripped the front of Nicole’s jacket. “No. I want to be here. I want to be right here, at this ice rink, with you.”

Nicole stayed silent for a beat, carefully considering her words. “You know what the easiest way to purge bad memories is?”

“What?” Waverly asked, playing with the zipper of Nicole’s jacket.

“You make new, better memories doing the things that caused the bad ones in the first place,” Nicole hooked her finger under Waverly’s chin and tilted her head up.

“Amazing at acting and always knows the right things to say,” Waverly said in awe. “How did I manage to snag that? How did I get so lucky?”

“I think we both know I should be asking that question,” Nicole chuckled lightly and brushed her knuckles against Waverly’s cheek. “Let’s go get our skates.”

“I didn’t peg you as the ice skating type,” Waverly said as they walked, hand in hand, to the kiosk to grab their skates. “You really know how to skate? Or are you just trying to impress me?”

“Both?” Nicole bit her lip and handed Waverly her skates after grabbing her own. “No, but I do know how to skate. I used to play hockey in grade school, actually.”

“Hockey?” Waverly grinned as she sat down and laced up her skates. “So you’ve always been a jock, yeah?”

“Ah, yeah. My dad,” Nicole shrugged. “He kind of…forced us all, I guess.”

“Your brothers too, then?” Waverly asked as she stood up, offering her hand out to Nicole.

“They mostly played baseball and basketball. I was forced to play soccer. He said it would help build character or something,” Nicole took Waverly’s hand and stood. They made their way to the rink and stepped onto the ice. “Hockey was my choice, though.”

“What made you want to start playing?”

“My dad, actually,” Nicole shoved her hands into her jacket pockets. “He loves the sport. When I was younger, my parents never really paid attention to me. It was always all eyes on my brothers. I got sick of it one day and joined my middle school’s team. And I was pretty damn good at it, too.”

“Did that get his attention?” Waverly linked her arm with Nicole’s as they skated around.

“For the first year, yeah. He came to every game, filmed them so I could go back and fix what I was doing wrong. He was my number one fan.”

“And after the first year…?” Waverly looked up at her date.

Nicole sighed deeply. “Things went back to normal. My brother, Ethan, he got a football scholarship. So it went straight back to how things were before.”

“Nic,” Waverly frowned and squeezed Nicole’s arm. “Did you stop playing?”

“Yeah,” Nicole laughed bitterly. “I realized that, no matter what I did, I would always be overlooked .”

“Wait,” Waverly stopped skating and faced Nicole, “so you’re telling me that you quit playing hockey, even though you were extremely good at it, all because your parents were being assholes?”

“Well when you put it that way, yeah,” Nicole nodded. “I guess so.”

“And to think, Wynonna thought your stubbornness was inherited. Turns out you’re just as bad as I thought you were.”

“Ouch?” Nicole quirked an eyebrow.

“No,” Waverly shook her head and planted her hands firmly against Nicole’s chest, looking her in the eye. “You gave up something you loved, something you were good at, because your parents made you feel like you weren’t. You claim you’re no good at acting, because your parents made you think so. I see it now,” Waverly paused for a moment. “I get it.”

“Get what?” Nicole asked hesitantly.

“Correct me if I’m wrong but you’ve been denying your feelings for me because you’re afraid that I won’t think you’re good enough. That I’ll see “who you really are” and go find someone better,” Nicole opened her mouth to respond but Waverly continued on. “Well, news flash, there is no one better than you. Even if there was, I wouldn’t want them.”

“What?” Nicole’s voice was soft, almost far away. “You really mean that?”

“Yeah,” Waverly shrugged and grinned. “You’re alright, for the most part. You’re tolerable…most of the time.”

“Most of the time?” Nicole placed her hands on her hips. Waverly giggled and shrugged again before taking off across the rink. “Waverly Earp!” Nicole yelled and skated off after her.

Waverly giggled and glanced behind her to see Nicole gaining on her quickly; she really was a good skater. It was in that moment, seeing Nicole chasing after her with a huge smile on her face, that Waverly realized how little she truly knew about Nicole, that the girl chasing after her on this frozen lake was far more complex and layered than she ever thought. Waverly fell for someone she barely knew, yet someone she knew better than anyone else at the same time. After Nicole opened up about her parents, Waverly knew that she was determined to learn every single thing there was to know about Nicole Haught, even if it meant waiting years until she was ready to open up about those things. The thought of being with Nicole for years did something inside of Waverly. It made her heart flutter and her stomach flip, the thought almost making her knees weak.

The thought actually did make her knees weak.

Well not really, but it distracted her enough to make her lose her balance as she tried to steer clear of the edge of the rink. Waverly’s left foot came out from underneath her as she tried to cut sharply to the right, causing her to lose her balance. Nicole, ever so quick with her reflexes, managed to grab the smaller girl’s hand before she went down, but the momentum of it all caused Nicole to lose her balance as well. Both girls crashed to the ground, Waverly’s back hitting the ice and Nicole landing awkwardly on top of her. Waverly let out a low groan and began laughing a deep, hearty laugh. The panic that flooded Nicole’s body instantly fled the second Waverly’s laughter rang in her ears and she began to laugh, too.

They stayed there, on top of each other, laughing until their ribs hurt and trying to catch their breath. Nicole managed to calm herself first and looked down at the girl beneath her. Waverly’s eyes were crinkling at the sides, her smile bigger than Nicole had ever seen before, and she gripped Nicole’s upper arms in an attempt to ground herself. Nicole let her knees hold her weight up, one leg on either side of Waverly’s upper body, and gently cradled Waverly’s head in her hands. They didn’t fall hard, but after her incident at play practice the day before, she didn’t want to brush it off. If Nicole’s head hurt after falling on wood, she knew Waverly’s head had to hurt after hitting it on the ice.

“Your head okay?” She asked, suddenly serious.

“Yeah,” Waverly composed herself and nodded. “Yeah, I think it’s alright,” she squeezed Nicole’s arms.

“Promise?” Nicole asked in a hushed voice, dropping her head lower.

“Promise,” Waverly answered, her tone matching Nicole’s, and slid a hand up to the back of Nicole’s neck.

“Waverly?” Nicole’s eyes drifted from Waverly’s eyes to her lips.

“Yeah?”

“I’m going to kiss you now, if that’s okay?” Waverly smiled and shook her head, bringing Nicole down to meet her lips. The kiss was soft, something new yet something they were already so used to. If Nicole didn’t believe that Waverly was okay before, this kiss surely made her believe. Things began to escalate, both girls momentarily forgetting that they were in public, and Nicole pulled away just slightly. She looked down into Waverly’s eyes, the stars reflecting in them like flecks of gold among a sea of hazel. One thought crossed Nicole’s mind at that moment, and she knew it was a thought that would be at the front of her mind any time she laid eyes on the girl before her.

Waverly Earp was the most beautiful girl she had ever seen.

“You, Waverly Earp,” Nicole said next to Waverly’s ear, her breath hot on the younger girl’s neck, “are a vision.”

“Oh my God,” Waverly blushed and slapped Nicole’s arm. “Stop it. Stop being so sweet like that or I’m going to cry.”

“I can’t help it if it’s true,” Nicole smiled. “Besides, it’s the least I can do considering I wasn’t much help when you were falling. Crushing you beneath me wasn’t exactly the plan,” she swiftly got to her feet, steadying her skates as they began to glide against the ice. “Let me buy you a hot chocolate to make up for it,” she held her hand out and Waverly graciously took it, pulling herself up.

“Something warm to heat up my nearly frozen body? Lead the way,” Waverly grinned.

- - - - -

“Nicole, you really don’t have to pay for everything, you know?” Waverly said as they walked out of the small café next to the ice rink.

“It’s our first date,” Nicole shrugged. “I want to make a good impression,” her words were humorous, but her tone told Waverly that she was being serious.

“You’re really sweet, you know that?” Waverly nudged Nicole with her shoulder as they strolled along the snowy plane of the park, making their way to a nearby bench. “Behind that asshole basketball player lies a really tall…really caring high school senior.”

Nicole let out a short laugh and shook her head. “I’ve dreamed of this for a long time, Waverly. Before I even knew I wanted this, I wanted it. You’re just…” she sighed, “I don’t even know! You’re just so you, Waverly, and I love that. I love every little thing about you and I don’t want to mess up before anything actually starts between us because I really care about you, Waverly. I just…” She trailed off.

Waverly noticed Nicole’s trembling frame and knew it wasn’t just from the freezing temperature surrounding them. They reached the bench and Waverly sat their cups down on it before turning to face Nicole, taking the taller girl’s hands in her own. Nicole had her eyes closed, taking deep breaths, trying to calm herself down. Waverly knew about Nicole’s anxiety from Wynonna; they had talked about it, before, one morning after Nicole had shown up at their door in the pouring rain. The state that Nicole seemed to be falling into more and more as each second passed broke Waverly’s heart; she never expected that someone so strong could be breaking so much on the inside. Waverly squeezed Nicole’s hands and brushed her thumbs over Nicole’s knuckles, giving her time to calm down.

“Nicole?” Waverly spoke softly, gently. “Can you open your eyes?” Nicole shook her head. “Panic attack?” She nodded and Waverly squeezed her hands again. “It’s okay. It’s alright. I’ve got you.”

“Ten…nine…eight…” Nicole began counting down, inhaling and exhaling, trying to ground herself and find her balance. Waverly just stood there, holding her hands tightly. A few minutes later, Nicole opened her eyes and she was met with Waverly’s big, concerned hazel ones.

“Hey,” Waverly smiled softly.

“Hey,” Nicole responded. “Sorry about that. It’s just that, um…”

“No,” Waverly released Nicole’s hands and moved them to cup her face. “Don’t ever apologize for having a panic attack. I don’t know what it’s like for you, but I know how bad anxiety can get.”

“How did you know I was having a panic attack?” Nicole dropped her forehead against Waverly’s. “Wynonna told you about all of it, didn’t she?”

“I made her tell me,” Waverly said as she ran a hand through fiery red locks. “Because I was worried about you,” she added in a whisper.

“So you’ve known about my emotional baggage this entire time, and yet you still agreed to go on a date with me?”

“I only knew about your anxiety,” Waverly stated. “Your family drama had stayed between you and Wynonna until you told me. And yes, even knowing about your so-called baggage, I still wanted to go on a date with you.”

“Wynonna was right,” Nicole let out a short, breathy laugh and closed her eyes. “I really am an idiot for not making a move sooner. Where have you been all my life?”

“Right in front of you, you big idiot,” Waverly leaned up and kissed Nicole softly, her hands caressing Nicole’s jaw.

Nicole’s hands found their way to Waverly’s waist as if she had been doing so forever. The world around them ceased to exist as the sounds of cars passing by and children laughing and screaming became muffled and the cold air turned warm. The only sounds heard were their hearts beating frantically out of their chests, the blood rushing through their bodies. Nicole knew that she had a lot to open up to Waverly about, a lot of things she didn’t think she would be ready to say for a while, but she also knew that Waverly wasn’t going anywhere. Trust never came easy for either girl, but standing here with each other, kissing under the stars, they both knew that they could trust each other, that they did trust each other.

They made their way back to Nicole’s car, hand in hand with their hot chocolate, and decided to stay for a little bit longer to watch the stars. Waverly had admitted that stargazing was something she loved to do in her free time at night and how it kept her distracted from the bad things going on in her life. Of course Nicole had agreed to stay and sit on the hood of her car, and of course she had blankets in the trunk of her car. She knew that Waverly got cold easily and needed lots of bonus blankets to keep her warm, so she came prepared for after their trip to the rink. Waverly propped herself up onto the hood of Nicole’s Malibu and leaned her back against the front windshield while Nicole retrieved the blankets. Nicole positioned herself next to Waverly before using the blankets she had to cover them, using one to wrap around their bodies.

They sat there for a while, Waverly curled into Nicole’s side with her head resting on Nicole’s shoulder. Waverly talked about the stars, pointing out the constellations and giving Nicole a brief crash course on the history behind each one. Nicole listened intently, her eyes moving between the sky and the girl next to her. She was never big on astronomy, or history for that matter, but when Waverly Earp talked about it, she was more interested in it than anything else. The way Waverly’s brain worked fascinated Nicole and she wanted to hear everything Waverly ever had to say. After a while, Waverly had quieted down and the two were left in a comfortable silence as they watched the stars. Waverly’s eyes were trained on the dark sky above them while Nicole kept her eyes on Waverly, taking in the look of pure joy and contentment displayed on the younger girl’s face. She couldn’t help but smile and think how lucky she had gotten.

“It’s so beautiful,” Waverly almost whispered. “Breathtaking, almost.”

“Yeah,” Nicole agreed keeping her eyes on Waverly, “I agree.”

Waverly looked back to Nicole and blushed when she realized that Nicole was talking about her. “Shut up…you’re so cheesy,” she giggled and buried her head in Nicole’s shoulder.

“You love it, though,” Nicole smiled and wrapped an arm tightly around Waverly, burying her face in Waverly’s hair.

“I do,” Waverly admitted. “I really do. I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else, with anyone else, right now,” Nicole smiled and they fell back into silence for a few minutes.

“There’s more, you know,” Nicole broke the silence. “About my family.”

Waverly nodded. “Tell me whatever you want, whenever you’re ready.”

“It’s a lot,” Nicole added, sounding almost as if she was trying to warn Waverly to flee now.

“I can take it,” Waverly stated simply and lifted her head from Nicole’s shoulder, looking up at her. “I’m an Earp. I’ve been through a lot. I can handle it,” she smiled. “You’re worth it.”

Nicole smiled and couldn’t help the tears that formed in her eyes. “Hey Wave?” She asked softly.

“Yeah, Nicole?” Waverly replied and tucked some of the redhead’s hair behind her ear.

“I’ve really enjoyed tonight.”

“Even though you didn’t spend tonight with your friends like you always do on Fridays?”

“Like I said,” Nicole smiled softly, “Fridays are Waverly days. I wouldn’t trade this night for the world. I enjoy every second that I’m with you. So I was wondering…”

“Yes?” Waverly asked and began playing with the ends of Nicole’s hair, hoping this conversation was going where she hoped it was.

“If you maybe…wanted to…you know, be my girlfriend?”

“I would love nothing more,” Waverly smiled.

“Oh good,” Nicole joked. “Now I can kiss you whenever I want, and hold your hand, and hug you from behind in the hallways…” She trailed off smiling down at Waverly.

“Nicole, you could have kissed me whenever you wanted since the moment we met. I’ve been yours since day one, and I will be yours until the end of time,” Waverly smiled and giggled when Nicole pulled her into her lap.

“Too bad I was being a stupid basketball player and decided it easier to pretend to hate you instead of accept my true feelings for you,” Nicole shrugged and wrapped her arms around Waverly’s waist.

“Hey Nicole?” Waverly wrapped her arms around the taller girl’s neck when their eyes met. “Stop living in the past. Live in the present. And by that I mean just shut up and kiss me.”

“You don’t have to tell me twice,” Nicole grinned and brought their lips together, a new sense of happiness spreading through their bodies at the thought of finally being together.

Girlfriends.

They could definitely get used to that.

Chapter Text

“What are your plans for after graduation?” Waverly asked as she played with the bottom of Nicole’s shirt. The two had gone back to Nicole’s house, and were going to stay with each other for the night, after a brief conversation with Gus and a fairly lengthy one with Nicole’s parents.

“I want to become a police officer,” Nicole said, staring up at the ceiling of her bedroom, absentmindedly running her fingers through Waverly’s hair.

“Really?” Waverly stilled her movements and propped herself up on her elbow, looking down at her girlfriend. “What about basketball?”

Nicole shrugged and closed her eyes. “I don’t think professional basketball is for me. I love the sport, but I would much rather do something that better puts my skills to use.”

“And I’m assuming becoming a cop will do that?” Waverly asked, trying to hide the twinge of disappointment that was settling in her stomach. The nearest police academy was in the city nearly four hours away from Purgatory. “What about coaching? I mean, you’re so good at all of these sports. You could make a lot of money coaching for Purgatory University.”

“Waverly…” Nicole said, keeping her eyes closed.

“Or what about becoming a security guard at the mall or something?”

“Waves – ”

“No, no that was stupid, I know. But seriously, Nic, why the Academy? I-It’s dangerous and so far away, and you’re graduating in a few months, and I don’t know what I’m going to be able to do while you’re gone because the thought of you being away for a few years makes me sick and – ” Waverly’s rambling was cut off by Nicole pressing her lips to Waverly’s in a soft, yet firm, kiss.

“Waves,” Nicole started after pulling away, “I know it’s far away, and I know it scares you. It scares me too, honestly.”

“It does?” Waverly looked at Nicole.

Nicole nodded. “Leaving you here in Purgatory for all of the guys to chase after while I’m off in the city? That terrifies me. Terrifies me of losing you to one of them,” Waverly opened her mouth to say something but Nicole continued. “But I know that won’t happen, because what we have, Waverly,” she motioned between them, “is special. It’s unique, it’s different. Nobody can take it away from us. Just because we’ll be separated by distance doesn’t mean I won’t be here with you,” she poked Waverly in the chest, over her heart. “All of this considering I even get in, that is.”

“Oh, you’ll get in,” Waverly said surely, wiping her eyes. “I haven’t a doubt in my mind about it. Have you applied yet?”

“Not yet,” Nicole shook her head. “I got into a huge fight about it with my parents. I wanted to talk to Wynonna about it, too. And, now, I wanted to wait and talk to you about it.”

Waverly bit her lip and buried her head in the crook of Nicole’s neck. She knew that Nicole had thought about going to the Academy before, she’d heard the conversations that were had with Wynonna, but she never thought that Nicole would actually go through with it; Nicole was a small town girl, the city life didn’t seem to suit her. Waverly had spent basically her whole life, since meeting Nicole, trying to get her attention. She did so through displaying disgust towards her and the sport she enjoyed, and by eavesdropping on the conversations that were supposed to be held secret between her and Wynonna. It never once occurred to Waverly just how much time she had been wasting, how much time with Nicole that she would never get back.

Now, lying here together in Nicole’s bed, Waverly was even more upset with herself for spending so much time chasing, what she thought, was a dream instead of actually making a move. Being with Nicole was something Waverly never thought would happen considering she was more than convinced that the ginger had the hots for one Shae Pressman, or that Nicole just simply despised her. The thought of being so quick to judge brought tears to Waverly’s eyes. Maybe she had just been blind this entire time, trying to hide these feelings deep within herself, using the hate she made up in order to get Nicole to even glance her way in the halls at school. Nicole admitting to her delay in application to the Academy being because she wanted to talk to Waverly was the final blow, the last crack in the dam of emotion that Waverly had built up around herself, and she broke down into tears.

“Waverly?” Nicole asked, her arms instinctively tightened around the smaller girl. “Waves?” She gently kissed the top of Waverly’s head and kept her chin resting atop her head. “Hey, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

“I don’t want you to go,” Waverly choked out. “I don’t want you to leave me.”

“Hey,” Nicole tried to lift Waverly’s head but she refused, “I’m not leaving you. I’m staying right here.”

“No you’re not,” Waverly shook her head. “You’re going to apply to the Academy and you’re going to get in and leave me for a few years.”

“You really don’t know much about becoming a police officer, do you?” Nicole smoothed Waverly’s hair under her hand. “I thought you’d at least know, from your dad being a cop, that police academy training only takes between five to seven months.”

“But you’ll be gone longer than that,” Waverly sniffled. “You have to train and then you’re going to be sent somewhere. What if you don’t come back to Purgatory?”

“Oh, I’ll be coming back to Purgatory,” Nicole assured her girlfriend. “Do you think I’d miss your birthday? Or Christmas?” She leaned back and lifted Waverly’s chin, cupping her face. “Your graduation?”

Waverly bit her lip. “No, but – ”

“Waverly Earp,” Nicole stated sternly, “if I get into the Academy, I will be gone for less than a year. A year, at most, if things don’t go as planned. While I’m there, I will learn how to be a cop. I will take classes, learn all of the laws, learn how to drive a cruiser, all of it. That’s what a police academy is, a school for future cops,” Waverly nodded and Nicole gently wiped her eyes free of tears. “And as soon as I’m done? I’m coming back to Purgatory. I’ll become a deputy and work for Sheriff Nedley, I’ll pick you up from school the rest of your senior year and I’ll take you out on patrol with me,” Nicole relaxed when Waverly’s mouth twitched into a small smile.

“You promise?” Waverly whispered.

“You and me, baby,” Nicole connected their foreheads, “we’re forever.”

- - - - -

Singing wasn’t Nicole’s thing, and it hadn’t occurred to her before now that she was going to have to sing in front of the entire school. She agreed to take this role because her history grade was going to be saved, but now that didn’t matter since Waverly had agreed to help her; despite the small amount of work they got done when studying together, Nicole’s grade had gone up almost two letter grades. So now, sitting on the floor of Waverly’s room surrounded by the Earp sisters and pages of their scripts scattered about the floor in the middle of them, Nicole was hit with the realization that she got herself stuck in a situation where she will gain nothing but more confidence issues. The bigger problem of the hour, though, was Wynonna.

“I’m not singing,” Wynonna folded her arms over her chest. “I wasn’t informed that I would have to sing when I agreed to this role.”

“You’ve seen the movie a thousand times, Wynonna,” Waverly stated. “You should have known.”

“Phil doesn’t sing,” Wynonna shook her head. “Not in this version.”

“Man up, Earp,” Nicole spoke up. “It’s not that bad.”

“You’re just trying to stall from having to practice your song,” Wynonna smirked.

“At least I knew that I was going to have to sing,” Nicole snapped back. “You have one song, get over it.”

“Geez, Haught, what crawled up your pants and bit you?” Wynonna scoffed. “You’re more of an asshole than usual today.”

“You know what? I think I’m going to head home,” Nicole said and began shoving her books back into her bag. “I’ll practice my song and I’ll be ready for rehearsals on Thursday,” she began to stand up.

“Nicole, wait,” Waverly said and placed a hand on Nicole’s arm, stopping her from standing. “Please don’t leave.”

“I need to get home, Waverly. And I can’t deal with her shit. Not right now,” Nicole pointed to Wynonna.

“Oh, so I’m the problem?” Wynonna furrowed her brow. “Okay, I get it,” she stood up, “this is all some joke to get me to leave so you guys can just make out, right? Well, congratulations, you’ve succeeded,” she held her hands up. “I’m out, peace.”

Waverly sighed and turned back to Nicole, who was now standing, after the door was closed. “Mind telling me what all of that was about?” She said as she slowly rose to her feet, arms crossed. Nicole tightened her grip on the strap of her backpack slung over her left shoulder and kept her eyes trained on her feet. “Nicole,” Waverly stated more sternly.

“I’m sorry,” Nicole sighed. “I’m just super stressed right now.”

“About what?” Waverly’s face softened and she wrapped her arms around Nicole’s neck. “Talk to me. What’s going on in that brain of yours?” Nicole shrugged, a slight pout forming on her face (something that happened when she was deep in thought). “Nic, baby, I can’t help you if I don’t know what I’m trying to help with,” Waverly moved her hands down to Nicole’s shoulders and slid her backpack down her arm, setting it on the floor.

“I talked to my parents about the Academy again last night,” Nicole said before letting out a sigh and closing her eyes. “It didn’t go well. Again.”

Waverly frowned. “Well, it’s your decision, isn’t it? You’re eighteen, almost nineteen, you can decide if you go or not.”

“Yeah, but who’s going to pay for it? I can’t afford it on my own.”

“We’ll find a way,” Waverly assured her. “We’ll get the money if they won’t pay for it.”

“Why are you so set on this now?” Nicole looked down at the girl wrapped in her arms. “I mean, three days ago, you were crying in my arms about not wanting me to go.”

“I still don’t,” Waverly shook her head, “but that doesn’t mean I don’t want you to follow your heart, your dreams even. If you stayed here because I said I didn’t want you running off to the city, I would never let myself live it down.”

“So you’re really okay with it?” Nicole gently rubbed Waverly’s sides, her voice still timid.

“I’m more than okay with it,” Waverly ran her hands through Nicole’s hair, brushing it behind her ears.

“Promise?” Nicole whispered, connecting their foreheads.

“I promise,” Waverly responded, her voice equally as soft, and closed her eyes.

They fell into a comfortable silence, relishing in the feeling of being alone together in their own bubble. Graduation was still several months away, and both girls knew that they had more than enough time to make the most out of their relationship before Nicole would leave. Suddenly, Nicole’s fears of having to sing and dance and act in front of more people than she would ever like to fled her body and was replaced with one thought:

The more I have to practice is just more time to spend with Waverly.

“Wave,” Nicole spoke up, keeping her eyes closed.

“Hm?” Waverly hummed in response, playing with the ends of red hair.

“Teach me how to sing.”

Waverly giggled quietly but stopped when Nicole’s grip on her waist tightened slightly. “You’re serious?” She cracked an eye open.

“You’re an amazing singer. If I’m going to have to sing, I want to at least sound half decent.”

“I don’t think you’re nearly as bad as you make yourself seem,” Waverly shrugged.

“What do you mean?” Nicole quirked an eyebrow.

“Hm?” Waverly looked up at her girlfriend. “Don’t think I haven’t heard what goes on in the shower when you stay here sometimes.”

“W-What?” Nicole stammered out.

“Thin walls, Nicole. I’ve heard you sing before,” Waverly stepped back and smiled. “We really don’t have that much work to do,” she patted Nicole’s shoulder before picking up her script and heading downstairs.

“Waverly – ” Nicole sighed, retrieving her own script off of the floor, and followed Waverly. “What do you mean thin walls?”

Chapter Text

Nicole and Waverly had been in total bliss for the past month of their relationship. Everything felt so right within their little bubble of romance and happiness. Waverly had started catching a ride to school with Nicole every day instead of riding in the passenger seat of Wynonna’s old blue and white pickup. They may or may not show up late to class a few times a week, and that may or may not be because they end up making out in Nicole’s car every morning. Their relationship was perfect in the eyes of their peers; enemies to lovers, their relationship made High School Musical look pathetic. They were a true Hercules and Megara, and that very fact alone would be the reason why Nicole decided to put her fears aside and go through with the play.

Play practice seemed to only get more interesting as time went on. Wynonna started to actually show up for their scheduled rehearsals, various cast members were beginning to practice their song or dance routines, and costumes were slowly being presented to the actors. The first day of rehearsals was pure chaos; everyone had been so timid and nervous, not understanding what to do or what to say. Looking at the bustling auditorium now, it was the complete opposite. Friendships were being made, groups formed to practice lines at home, and all eyes were on the new couple among them; a true testament to the glory of Hercules; things were really starting to take shape.

“Alright, everyone listen up!” Bobo climbed onto the stage and clapped his hands together. Everyone grew quit and turned their attention to him. “The play is just three months away and, although that seems like a lot of time, we still have a lot of work to do,” he turned to Waverly who smiled and stood next to him.

“Since casting was completed, we’ve only had one rehearsal a week,” she started. “When we come back from Christmas break, we will begin to have two to three rehearsals a week. To put that into perspective, Christmas break begins next Thursday, on the twentieth. We resume school three and a half weeks later on Tuesday, January eighth.”

“The Thursday we come back,” Bobo continued, “we will have our first practice of the new year, and the following week will be when we start having multiple rehearsals.”

“I suggest you practice your lines over break,” Waverly said. “Don’t neglect them just because we don’t have school. Form groups, call up friends if they’re in town. Practice. You. Lines,” she punctuated every word by clapping her hands. “And learn your stage cues. Knowing your cues is crucial.”

“Yeah, don’t want Haught flying across the stage again when she gets shoved,” Pete snorted.

“Hey,” Waverly jumped off of the stage and walked up to him, “that incident was more your fault than hers. You weren’t supposed to push her.”

“You know, I didn’t sign up to be taking instructions from you,” Pete scoffed. “And Nicole certainly doesn’t need some cheerleader to defend her. Go dance for some guys, why don’t you.”

“The only guys she dances for are the ones who actually perform well at their sport,” Nicole said from behind Pete, causing him to jump and turn around. “So I’d think about what you say, before you say it. There’s a reason why no cheerleaders are ever at your lacrosse games.”

“I was just…I was just making a joke,” Pete stammered.

“Next time you talk to my girlfriend like that, joke or not, I will personally rearrange your face myself,” Nicole pushed past him and approached Waverly, wrapping an arm around her waist. She faced Pete and watched as he quickly distanced himself from the couple.

“You made it,” Waverly looked up at Nicole and smiled.

“I promised you I would be at every rehearsal,” Nicole smiled and hugged Waverly, the smaller girl rested her head against her chest.

“I thought you had practice though?” Waverly said, voice muffled by Nicole’s shirt.

“I did,” Nicole nodded, “but I left early. I told them I had to be here. That this is just as important to me as it is to you.”

“And Wynonna says I’m the soft one,” Waverly giggled. “Hey, you called me your girlfriend. In front of everyone,” she lifted her head to look at Nicole.

“Well, is that not what you are? My girlfriend?”

“It is,” Waverly smiled small, “but I didn’t think that you were ready to, you know, be that open about it at school.”

“Baby, I want everyone to know that you are mine. If someone has a problem with it, then they’ll just have to talk to my fist. Or Wynonna’s.”

“You’re so cute,” Waverly smiled. “I’m glad to hear that you’re ready to really go public with our relationship, but the real question is are you ready to practice your song?” She raised an eyebrow and paired it with a smirk.

“I’ve been getting help from the best singer I know,” Nicole shrugged. “I’m as ready as I can be at this point.”

“Perfect,” Waverly smiled. “You’re up first, then.”

- - - - -

It was supposed to be simple. Nicole was supposed to stand, on stage, and sing through her song once. Waverly was going to be standing with her, coaching her through the words, just as she would be with everyone else that day. Things started off smoothly, Nicole staring down at the lyrics to “Go the Distance” and trying her best to stay on beat. She was doing well, Waverly humming softly next to her in order to help her keep the right pitch. Everyone was silent, their surprised eyes trained on the redhead before them, not even Wynonna was trying to distract her. When Nicole reached the final chorus, the doors to the auditorium flew open, and Stephanie Jones, co-captain of the cheer team, stormed inside. Other girls from the team followed her, along with a couple of basketball players from Nicole’s team.

“See? She’s in the play,” Stephanie said and pointed to Nicole. “They both are.”

“Waverly has been president of the drama club since freshman year,” Rosita said from next to Chrissy. “That’s old news, Steph.”

“Why does it matter if Haught is in the play?” Eliza asked, her eyes locked with Nicole’s. “If it’s what she wants to do, then let her.”

“Ladies, the auditorium is reserved for play practice, and cast members, only,” Bobo said as he made his way over to the group of girls.

“We’re sorry, Mr. Del Ray,” Chrissy said. “We were trying to stop her from coming in here,” she motioned to Stephanie.

“So was I,” Eliza spoke up. “She just barged into our practice and demanded we follow.”

“Is there a legit reason why you’re here, Stephanie?” Waverly asked, hands on her hips.

“I’m here to tell you that whatever you have going on with Nicole is disgusting, and it needs to end. You can’t date a basketball player. You can’t date a girl basketball player.”

“Says who?” Rosita barked out a laugh. “She’s happy. She’s with a super hot redhead, something you can’t say for yourself.”

“I don’t see how my relationship, or me being in the school play, is a good reason for you barging in here,” Nicole said. “Coach is going to be really mad,” she directed her comment at the few basketball players among the group. “Get back to practice before we all get in trouble for it.”

“And you,” Waverly motioned to the rest of the girls, “need to go back to practice, too. There’s a boys basketball game tomorrow. And Stephanie?” Waverly paused until the blonde was looking at her. “You’re suspended from tomorrow night’s game.”

“What? You can’t do that!” Stephanie seethed.

“Actually,” Chrissy stepped up next to Stephanie, “she can. She’s the captain.”

“You insult me, you pay the price,” Waverly smiled. “Now, please, leave so I can continue to help my girlfriend with her singing.”

Rosita and Chrissy each took Stephanie by the arm and dragged her out of the auditorium after shooting Waverly and Nicole apologetic smiles. Eliza smiled at Nicole and gave her a quick wink before leaving with her other teammates. Waverly squeezed Nicole’s hand and smiled up at her.

“Pick up where you left off. You’re doing really well,” she said before kissing her cheek.

- - - - -

Wynonna had gone home with Doc that day after school, and Gus was going to be working late at Shorty’s, so Waverly and Nicole decided to go back to the Homestead for some much needed alone time. Their plan was to run lines for the scenes they had together, and then work on their songs, a simple task that wasn’t stressful. Things started off well, they went into the living room and got comfortable before breaking out their scripts. Waverly began to inform Nicole of various things that would be happening onstage during some of her scenes, and then they jumped into their lines. They lasted maybe thirty minutes before Nicole got distracted.

“Why are you staring at me?” Waverly asked, her eyes still trained on her script.

“What, is it illegal to admire my girlfriend?” Nicole tilted her head and smiled.

“No, but you should be reading your lines,” Waverly gently kicked Nicole’s side. “You forgot a lot at practice.”

“Not my fault that I was so distracted by you,” Nicole shrugged.

“Nicole,” Waverly tried for a serious expression but it came off as a pout.

“What?” Nicole chuckled.

“This is serious! You’re the star of the play. You, of all people, need to know your lines.”

“No pressure though,” Nicole shook her head and held her hands up when Waverly glared at her. “Baby, calm down. I know my lines. I promise that I’m learning them.”

“Yeah?” Waverly quirks an eyebrow and takes Nicole’s script, throwing both her own and Nicole’s onto the coffee table. “Prove it.”

“Gladly,” Nicole stood up and turned so her back was facing Waverly. She cleared her throat and took a deep breath in before beginning. “Father, this is the moment I’ve always dreamed of. But…” she turns around and walks over to Waverly, kneeling down in front of her and taking hold of her hand. “But a life without Meg, even an immortal life, would be…empty,” she locked eyes with Waverly. “I-I wish to stay on Earth with her. I finally know where I belong.”

Waverly stared at Nicole with wide, teary eyes. It was just a line from the play, but for some reason it struck her as something much more; it felt like Nicole was speaking those words directly to her. Nicole really did know her lines; she really really knew her lines. Waverly let go of Nicole’s hand and gripped the redhead’s forearms tightly. Nicole, suddenly worried at the silence she was getting from Waverly, searched the brunette’s eyes for an answer. Waverly slowly lifted herself from the couch, and lowered herself into Nicole’s lap on the floor. Her grip was still firm on Nicole’s arms as she brought their faces close together.

“Waves,” Nicole whispered, “what’s wrong?”

Waverly sighed and shook her head. “You leaving for the Academy is going to be so hard,” she whispered back.

Nicole freed one of her arms from Waverly’s grasp and brushed some hair behind her ear, letting her hand linger on her cheek. Their gazes were locked, their breathing in sync, and their intentions the same. Waverly released Nicole’s other arm and gripped the front of her red and black flannel, pulling her closer until their lips met. They had been together for a month now and kissing Nicole hadn’t gotten old yet, and Waverly knew that it never would.

Their kisses were soft, never rushed. Their took their time letting their lips explore the other’s, hands roaming over their bodies as they mapped out every dip and curve they could feel. Nicole’s hands now cradled the sides of Waverly’s face as she pulled the brunette even closer to her, deepening the kiss and adding more passion. Waverly began to feel what remained of her self-restraint begin to crumble as she felt Nicole’s tongue brush against her bottom lip. She opened her mouth a little, granting Nicole access, and moaned softly when she felt the redhead’s tongue meet hers. Waverly tightened her grip on the front of Nicole’s shirt and gently pushed her down onto her back, giggles at the quiet groan that came from Nicole when she hit her head on the coffee table next to them.

“Oops,” Waverly bit her lip and tried not to smile. “Sorry, baby.”

“It’s alright,” Nicole chuckled and rubbed the back of her head.

“Here,” Waverly leaned back and grabbed a pillow from the couch, “put this under your head so I don’t hurt you again.”

“I think I’ll take that risk,” Nicole took the pillow from Waverly and tossed it aside. She gripped Waverly’s waist and pulled her down, connecting their lips again.

They fell into a steady rhythm, their lips moving together and fitting together like two puzzle pieces. These moments always went that way; they start off soft and gentle and find their pace. Their soft and slow kisses gradually build to quicker, needier kisses at which time Nicole would pull away and place kisses along Waverly’s jaw. Waverly closed her eyes and leaned her head back, exposing more of her neck for Nicole to kiss. Soft gaps fell from the brunette’s mouth as Nicole worked her way down, and one of her hands soon found the buttons to Nicole’s shirt. Slowly undoing each button, Waverly found herself growing more confident.

They had gotten to this point before, Waverly unbuttoning Nicole’s shirt and the redhead’s hands roaming underneath her shirt, but they always stopped short. Something had been missing, that silent ‘okay’ of consent. It was there, now, and both of them felt it. Waverly undid the last button of Nicole’s shirt and pushed it open, revealing the redhead’s toned stomach and sports bra clad chest. Waverly placed a hand on the side of Nicole’s face, stilling her kisses along her jaw. Their eyes met and Waverly gave a slight nod, conveying that it was okay with her eyes. The ends of Nicole’s mouth turned up into a smile as she moved her hands up Waverly’s bare back, lifting her shirt as her hands went. A few seconds later, Nicole was tossing the shirt onto the couch behind Waverly and the brunette leaned back down, kissing Nicole once more.

A month ago, Waverly and Nicole would be yelling at each other in the school auditorium. One month ago, Waverly would have never expected to be where she was now, lying on top of Nicole Haught in the middle of her living room floor. One month ago, Nicole would have never expected to be making out with Waverly Earp in the middle of her living room. Things change over time, both girls knew this, but things never changed this drastically. The girl almost never ended up with her secret crush outside of the movies, and she secret crush almost never genuinely retuned the feelings outside of the movies. Here they were, though, breaking all kinds of stereotypes and making dreams come true.

Nicole and Waverly were in love, even if neither girl knew it at that very moment. The next few months were going to be crazy, but Waverly wouldn’t rather walk through the craziness of play season with anyone other than Nicole.

Chapter Text

Finals were behind them and winter break was finally upon them. The first half of the school year seemed to have gone by at an extremely slow pace, dragging along with nothing but long days and stressful weeks. Things had changed drastically since the start of school, though, and the people that those changes had affected wouldn’t trade what’s happened for the world. What was once a toxic feud between two athletes had turned into the most healthy and stable relationship either girl had ever been in. Wynonna’s best friend had become her sister’s girlfriend and, for once in her life, the older Earp didn’t feel the need to make their lives a living hell. Her baby sister was happy, her best friend was happy, so she was happy. Waverly and Nicole’s budding relationship had also led to the clashing of their friend groups. Both Waverly and  Nicole were shocked to hear that Wynonna wanted both Waverly and all of her friends to come to their Friday game night. She claimed that it was “the season of giving and Christmas is around the corner” but they all knew she had a soft spot for her sister.

“Who all is supposed to be coming tonight?” Nicole asked from her spot next to Waverly before catching a piece of popcorn in her mouth that Wynonna threw.

“Chrissy and Rosita said they’ll be here. I haven’t heard from Jeremy, though. Or Robin,” Waverly shrugged and leaned into Nicole’s side, the redhead’s arm tightening around her shoulders. “What about you guys?”

“Doc pulled out. Again,” Wynonna rolled her eyes and laughed at her joke. “But Dolls and Mercedes are coming.”

“Eliza is, too,” Nicole added.

“So everyone but Doc, and potentially Jeremy and Robin, will be here,” Waverly smiled. “Good, I’m excited.”

“Don’t let your friends ruin this,” Wynonna pointed a finger at Waverly before throwing a handful of popcorn at her. “I’m doing this for you, baby girl. Only you.”

“Yeah, because you’re soft,” Waverly squealed when her sister launched off of the chair she was in and threw herself on top of the brunette.

“Take that back,” Wynonna grumbled.

“Why should I?” Waverly arched her brows. “It’s true.”

“I said take it back you tiny vegan!” Wynonna laughed as she and Waverly began playfighting, pushing and shoving lightly.

“You Earps really are a crazy bunch,” Nicole shook her head.

“But you love us!” Waverly and Wynonna said in unison, both laughing.

“Yeah,” Nicole smiled and kept her eyes trained on Waverly, “I do.”

- - - - -

“Coming!” Waverly yelled after hearing three sharp knocks on the door. She jumped up from her spot on the couch and gave Nicole a quick peck on the cheek before going to the door.

“Hurry up! It’s freezing out here, Waves!” A voice came from the other side of the door.

“Chrissy,” Waverly scolded when she opened the door, “did you walk here? In the snow?”

“It seemed like a much better idea before I left the house,” Chrissy shrugged.

“You’re going to get sick,” Waverly said and tried not to laugh at the shivering state her friend was in. “Come on, I’ll make you some tea.”

“Thank you,” Chrissy stepped inside and shrugged her coat off, hanging it up near the door. “Did you get Rosie’s text? She can’t make it. Something about it snowing too hard for her to drive.”

“Yeah, Jer and Robin said the same thing,” Waverly frowned. “Looks like it’s just you, me, Nicole, and Wynonna.”

“No one else is coming?”

“Well no one else can with this stupid snow. I’m just glad you live within walking distance. I really didn’t want to be stuck here with Wynonna on game night alone.”

“Hey, you wouldn’t be alone,” Nicole pouted when the two girls entered the living room. “I’m here.”

“Babe, no offense but when you and Wynonna are together you can be kind of…” Waverly trailed off in search of the right words.

“Annoying?” Chrissy offered.

“I was going to say crazy, but annoying will do,” Waverly shrugged.

“You think I’m annoying?” Nicole tilted her head, a teasing smirk playing on her face.

“Yes,” Waverly nodded and sat on Nicole’s lap, arms wrapping around her neck, “but that isn’t a bad thing, really. I like that you and Wynonna are so close,” she patted Nicole’s chest.

“Can you two please not do that in front of me?” Wynonna fake gagged and covered her eyes. “I’ve already heard you two getting it on upstairs earlier, please don’t do it on the couch now.”

“What?” Waverly’s head snapped in Wynonna’s direction. “We weren’t doing anything.”

“Yeah, Wyn, we’ve been down here the entire time,” Nicole added.

“Oh, sure,” Wynonna nodded, “right. Just keep the googly eyes to a minimum, okay? Great thanks,” she smiled before disappearing into the kitchen.

“We weren’t down here the whole time, Nic,” Waverly gave Nicole a curious glance. “We were in my room.”

“Yeah, but we weren’t doing what she thought we were,” Nicole shrugged. “Plus, it’s just really fun to mess with her.”

“You guys are cute,” Chrissy smiled. “And I’d hate to break up the little moment you’ve got going on here, but I could really use that tea right about now,” she smiled sheepishly at Waverly.

“Right, of course!” Waverly smiled and stood. “You just sit and I’ll go make it for you. Warm up,” she motioned to the couch. “Be nice to each other, now.”

Nicole and Chrissy watched as the brunette next to skipped out of the living room humming quietly. An awkward silence fell upon the two girls as they looked to each other. Chrissy stood by awkwardly, her arms crossed and her bottom lip pulled between her teeth. Her eyes were reaching anywhere but Nicole and the redhead nearly laughed at the uneasiness that Chrissy was displaying.

“I don’t bite, you know?” Nicole spoke up.

“What?” Chrissy asked, her eyes finally meeting Nicole’s.

“You can come sit. I’m not going to jump you or something.”

“Oh, yeah,” Chrissy nodded. “Right,” she made her way over to the couch and sat down, putting a respectable amount of distance between herself and Nicole.

“Why are you so afraid?” Nicole asked, her voice gentle and lacking in the accusatory bite that should have partnered the question.

“I’m not,” Chrissy responded quickly. “You just…intimidate me, I guess. I’ve never been exactly keen with basketball players.”

“What’s with that anyway?” Nicole asked and leaned back against the arm of the couch. “You aren’t the only cheerleader that hasn’t liked me because of that.”

“They’re just so cocky,” Chrissy shrugged. “I honestly have no idea why that stupid feud started anymore. All athletes are cocky. All athletes are competitive. That’s why they play sports, isn’t it?”

“You make a valid point there, Nedley,” Nicole nodded. “For the record, though, we are extremely cocky.”

“You know, Waverly never hated you,” Chrissy turned to face Nicole after wrapping herself in a blanket. “She just hates that you’re a basketball player. Well, I guess I should say hated since she obviously doesn’t care anymore,” she smiled and chuckled.

“You want to know a secret?” Nicole asked, her voice soft and secretive, and leaned forward. Chrissy nodded and Nicole continued. “I never despised Waverly. It was never about her being a cheerleader, or a year younger, or any of those things she thinks.”

“Then why were you always so mean to her?”

“Because, Chrissy, I have been in love with her since the first time I ran into her here.”

“You…what?” Chrissy’s eyes widened. “So you love her,” Nicole nodded, “and you were mean to her because of it,” another nod. “I’m sorry, I’m not following. Why did that constitute you being a total bitch to her?”

“She’s Wynonna’s baby sister. Everybody knows that you can’t fall for the best friend’s sister. It’s Bro Code 101.”

“But…you’re not…bros,” Chrissy said slowly.

“That isn’t the point!” Nicole whisper-yelled. “It’s a thing,” she threw her hands into the air. “So when I started falling for Waverly, and I was falling hard, I did the only thing I could do. Not tell Wynonna and pretend like I hated Waverly’s guts.”

“The only thing you could do?” Chrissy scoffed. “Nicole you could have just told Wynonna. I’m sure she would have understood. I mean, look at her right now.”

“Telling her would have been a death wish at the time. I’ll take the way she found out over me telling her and possibly getting killed any day.”

“I – ” Chrissy stopped herself and thought about it momentarily. She nodded and looked at Nicole. “Yeah, you’re right.”

Nicole nodded and sighed. “Plus, Waverly’s really cute when she gets all flustered and tries to come up with good comebacks.”

Chrissy giggled and lightly shoved Nicole. “You’ve got it bad for her, Nicole.”

Nicole smiled and nodded. “I know,” she paused for a moment. “Are you okay with this? She and I?”

“Of course I am, Nicole. We all are.”

“Is Rosita?” Nicole looked at Chrissy, eyes fishing for a positive answer.

“Yes,” Chrissy nodded. “Rosita is practically your number one supporter,” she smiled at Nicole and placed a gentle hand on her knee. “You have nothing to worry about with us, Nicole. We love Waverly, and we just want her to be happy. We see how happy you’ve been making her. That’s all we want.”

“Okay,” Nicole released a breath she didn’t know that she was holding and nodded, “okay, good.”

“But if you hurt her?” Chrissy tightened the blanket around her shoulders and shrugged when Nicole glanced in her direction. “You’re gonna want to run out of town and never come back,” she smiled sweetly at the redhead who was now frozen. “Dad might be the sheriff of this town, but that hasn’t kept me from a good fight before.”

Nicole held her breath as her eyes lingered on the blonde next to her. Chrissy wasn’t messing around, and that scared Nicole even more.

- - - - -

“Hey Wave?” Wynonna asked as she shut the door to the fridge, can of soda in her hand.

“Hm?” The brunette hummed in response, her attention on the kettle sitting on the stovetop.

“Does Haught make you happy?”

“More than I have been in a very long time,” Waverly answered without skipping a beat. “Why do you ask?”

“I don’t know,” Wynonna shrugged. “I’ve always thought that things were going to get too crazy for her to handle and that she’d just leave. Now I’m worried about her leaving you with a broken heart.”

“Wyn,” Waverly turned around to face her sister, “Nicole has been around our family long enough to know how crazy we are, to know how much baggage we can come with. If she hasn’t left yet, then she probably never will.”

“For her sake I hope she doesn’t,” Wynonna muttered. “Because I’ll kick her ass if she ever hurts you.”

“She’s been your best friend for, what, four years now?” Waverly leaned back against the counter. “Nicole has seen you at your best, and I know she’s seen you at your worst. And, look,” she pointed to the doorway leading to the living room, “she’s sitting in there right now, waiting for us to come back and start this game night.”

“This isn’t about my friendship with her, Wave,” Wynonna shook her head and walked over to Waverly, matching her position against the counter. “This is about you and her. I feel more than partially responsible for your lack of relationships.”

“What?” Waverly looked at her sister. “Wynonna, that’s crazy.”

“Everyone in this stupid town looks at you like you’re some devil child like me. They pity you for being stuck in this family because of me. I ruined your reputation before you even had the chance to build one.”

“That isn’t true, and you should know that.”

“Look, all I’m saying is that Haught has really proved herself to me. I know she’ll take good care of you,” Wynonna nudged her sister with her shoulder. “Not that you need to be saved or whatever. You’re capable of kicking ass on your own,” she added with a nod.

“You know, Wynonna,” Waverly smiled slightly as she turned to tend to the now whistling kettle, “for someone who goes around acting all high and mighty, and tough, you really are a genuine person.”

“Ew, no,” Wynonna gagged, “please don’t ever say that to me again,” she rolled her eyes and smiled. “Don’t want Haught thinking I’m soft or anything.”

“Oh no,” Waverly shook her head, “of course not. You’ve got a reputation to uphold.”

“Exactly!” Wynonna exclaimed.

The two fell into a comfortable silence, one that often filled the Homestead when they were alone. A silence that once felt so isolating and scary, but now felt like a warm hug on a cold night. They stood there, Wynonna taking small sips from her drink and Waverly fixing both herself and Chrissy a cup of tea, relishing in the silence and enjoying the feeling of being at peace in each other’s presence. Wynonna watched Waverly with carful eyes, studying her movements and taking note of the expressions that crossed her face. It was strange, seeing Waverly so giddy and happy, rather than locked up in her room with her nose stuck in some book or another about their family history.

It was refreshing, Wynonna thought, to see Waverly finally coming out of her shell. Ever since their father had taken Willa and left them, and their mother had disappeared, Waverly had become a shell of the girl she was. What was once a boisterous child who could never wipe the smile off of her face turned into empty smiles and short replies. It broke Wynonna’s heart to see her baby sister in such a state of denial and depression. She was thankful for Chrissy and Rosita being there for her through the hardest parts of it all. But now, she had Nicole to thank for picking her baby sister up and lifting her high, higher than she had ever been lifted before. It was what Waverly deserved. She thought it was nice to see the two most important people in her life finally happy. Waverly couldn’t go a day without talking about Nicole; every time the redhead’s name was mentioned, Waverly would breakout into the biggest smile Wynonna had ever seen on her face. They never spent more than a day apart, and Waverly would start to panic when more than twelve hours would go by with no word from Nicole.

If Wynonna didn’t know any better, she’d think that Waverly…

“Do you love her?” Wynonna asked softly.

“Pardon me?” Waverly raised an eyebrow at her sister.

“Do you love Nicole?” Waverly paused her movements, setting the kettle and the cup in her hand, down on the counter. She turned to face Wynonna, bottom lip pulled between her teeth.

“I…I think I do, yeah,” she admitted softly. “I don’t know, though. I’ve never been in love before so I don’t really know what it feels like.”

“You’ll know, baby girl,” Wynonna smiled and kissed the side of Waverly’s head. “But for the record, I think you’re on the road to Love Town. You’re basically glowing, Waverly,” she wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

“Oh hush,” Waverly giggled quietly and lightly shoved Wynonna. “Do you think Nicole loves me?” She added after a beat of silence. “Or, do you think she ever could?”

“That girl is head over heels in love with you,” Wynonna answered immediately. “There isn’t a single doubt in my mind about it.”

Waverly felt her face growing redder by the second as she picked up the two cups of tea. Together, Wynonna and Waverly made their way back into the living room. As Waverly gave Chrissy her tea and deposited herself on the couch next to Nicole, the only thoughts consuming her mind involved the redhead.

And love.

Chapter Text

“You landed on my business,” Wynonna looked at Nicole and ginned. “Pay up, bitch,” she held her hand out, awaiting her payment.

“You really do get way into this game every single time we play this,” Nicole shook her head and gave Wynonna what she was owed. “You know that, right?”

“This game is empowering,” Wynonna shrugged.

“It’s Monopoly,” Waverly stated flatly.

“Oh, you’re just moody because she took all of your money from you,” Chrissy snorted.

“Those dice are fixed,” the small brunette grumbled.

“No, you’re just really bad at boardgames,” Wynonna pointed out.

“Am not!” Waverly defended herself. “I’m just…better at more strategy based games. Games where you have to plan out your moves. I’m a – ”

Yes, we know,” Chrissy gesticulated with her hands, “you’re a planner,” she concluded imitating her friend.

“Hey, leave her alone,” Nicole wrapped an arm around Waverly’s shoulders and pulled the smaller girl into her side. “Boardgames aren’t everybody’s thing.”

“You suck at them, too, Haught,” Wynonna said. “Nobody likes stupid strategy games like chess.”

“Waverly would totally beat you at chess, Wynonna. That’s a fact,” Nicole gave an affirmative head nod and kissed the top of Waverly’s head. “She kicked my ass three times within an hour.”

“So blinded by love,” Chrissy muttered.

“What was that, Chris?” Waverly lifted her head off of Nicole’s shoulder.

“Hm? Oh! Uh, I was just…saying that we need some more snacks. Wynonna, mind coming to help me in the kitchen?”

“I can help you, Chrissy,” Nicole said as she started to stand.

“No!” Chrissy yelled and cleared her throat. “No. I need Wynonna’s help. She can reach the top shelf.”

“Nicole is taller than Wynonna,” Waverly pointed out.

“I know where Gus hides the good snacks,” Wynonna stood up. “Come on, baby Nedley. Maybe while we’re in there you can explain to me why you’re acting so weird,” she followed the blond into the kitchen. “What’s your deal?”

“Nicole loves Waverly,” Chrissy blurted out in a whisper.

“Yeah, no shit, sheriff’s daughter. Waverly loves her, too.”

“We need to get them to admit it to each other,” Chrissy pulled Wynonna further into the kitchen. “They’re both too stupid and too stubborn to do it on their own.”

“Because they’re scared to say it first,” Wynonna rolled her eyes.

“Screw that,” Chrissy waved a dismissive hand in the air. “I know you’re all tough and shit, Wynonna, but you’ve got to admit here that those two girls deserve each other more than anyone else.”

Wynonna was silent for a moment, staring at Nicole and Waverly from her spot near the kitchen table. She watched as they sat, Waverly had now moved from her spot on the floor to Nicole’s lap, and laughed at what Wynonna assumed to be one of the redhead’s terrible jokes. The way Waverly’s hands were playing with the ends of Nicole’s hair, the way Nicole’s hands rested against Waverly’s waist, forced a small smile on Wynonna’s face. It was apparent how in love they were, and it was in that moment that Wynonna decided she would set aside her fears and let her protective guard down. She was willing to do whatever it took in order for her sister to get the happy ending she deserved.

“They do,” Wynonna answered finally. “We need a plan.”

“We could play truth or dare,” Chrissy offered. “Pull it out of them.”

“No, Haught would never,” Wynonna shook her head. “We need something better, more dramatic.”

“How often does this place lose power during snowstorms?” Chrissy asked and peered out the window at the fierce blizzard surrounding them.

“More often than necessary,” Wynonna rolled her eyes. “Gus refuses to replace the circuit box in the barn for a newer, less frisky one.”

“Perfect,” Chrissy smirked and slowly turned to face Wynonna. “We’re going to cut the power and force them to be alone together. It’s the perfect chick flic setup. Caught in the middle of a snowstorm with no power, the only source of light coming from lit candles. They’ll admit it before the night is over.”

“Chrissy Nedley, you crazy genius,” Wynonna grinned.

- - - - -

“Please tell me that I’m not the only one who isn’t buying the whole ‘we need more snacks’ story,” Nicole said, absentmindedly rubbing her thumbs against Waverly’s waist.

“I mean,” Waverly shrugged, “Wynonna does know where Gus hides the good food, but no,” she shook her head. “Chrissy would never willingly be alone with Wyn. Something is definitely up.”

“Off topic, but you know, you’re really cute when you’re trapped in thought up there,” Nicole smiled softly at her girlfriend, who was staring in the direction of the kitchen, and gently poked Waverly’s temple with her pointer finger.

“Am I?” Waverly grinned and turned her attention back to Nicole, slightly looking down at her.

“Oh for sure,” the redhead nodded and leaned her back against the couch. “Super cute,” she brought her hands to the back of her head, interlocking her fingers to support the weight of it.

Waverly sighed at Nicole’s relaxed posture and bit her lower lip. “You know, you’re making it kind of hard to not kiss you right now.”

“Kind of?” Nicole raised an eyebrow. “Since when is it kind of hard to not kiss me? You do it every chance you get.”

“Hey,” Waverly playfully frowned, “no need to call me out.”

“Why not?” Nicole moved her hands back to Waverly’s waist as the smaller girl leaned down and cupped Nicole’s face. “It’s too fun.”

“You’re lucky we’re alone right now,” Waverly huffed. “And you’re lucky that you’re cute.”

“I’m not so sure about those things, but I know I sure am a lucky girl. Lucky to be here, right now, with you,” Nicole grinned and leaned up slightly, ghosting her lips over Waverly’s.

“Even though I suck at Monopoly?” Waverly asked, voice quiet.

“Even though you suck at Monopoly,” Nicole affirmed in a whisper, bringing their lips together in a delicate kiss, the kinds of kisses she reserved for moments such as these.

Getting lost in their own world, focusing on the feeling of hands tangling in hair, kisses growing more intense, neither Nicole nor Waverly seemed to notice when Chrissy and Wynonna slipped out of the kitchen and out to the front porch.

- - - - -

“Geez those two will make out any chance they get, no matter where they are or who they’re with,” Wynonna said, but not before making a fake gagging noise.

“I’m surprised you didn’t say anything,” Chrissy laughed quietly. “Waverly is always telling me how you constantly interrupt them.”

“Well, I’m sorry that I don’t want to hear Haught banging my sister in the room next to me,” Wynonna crossed her arms. “Plus, I didn’t want to ruin our plan.”

“You know they aren’t…banging,” Chrissy cringed at the word, “as you so gracefully put it.”

“Don’t call out my bullshit,” Wynonna narrowed her eyes in a playful manner. “I refuse to get soft over this. Now come on,” Wynonna turned to walk down the steps of the porch, her footsteps falling silent in the snow, “the circuit box is in the barn.”

- - - - -

“I’m guessing we aren’t finishing our game,” Waverly said. She and Nicole had moved from the floor to the couch, and were currently curled up together under a blanket.

“I guess not,” Nicole replied, running her fingers through Waverly’s hair. “Though I can’t say I’m surprised. This usually happens on game night.”

“You guys never finish your games?” Waverly asked as she closed her eyes, enjoying the feeling of Nicole’s motions.

“Not really, no,” Nicole shook her head. “We usually end up fighting about someone cheating or the rules being too complicated. Game night isn’t as fun as you think, Waves.”

“If you say that it’s no fun because I’m not there, I’m gonna slap you,” Waverly mumbled, her face now buried in Nicole’s chest. “I love you, but that’s just too cheesy to handle right now.”

“No,” Nicole chuckled. “I mean, it’s true, but that’s not… ” Nicole paused when she processed Waverly’s words fully. “Waves, what did you – ” Nicole began to speak when the lights suddenly shut off.

Waverly screamed and clung to Nicole’s arm. “Great,” she groaned. “Power’s out. Again.”

“Waverly – ” Nicole tried again but was cut off by the brunette jumping up from the couch.

“Candles, we need candles,” Waverly said. “You stay here and try to get a fire going, okay?” She nodded and quickly walked to the kitchen.

Nicole sighed and stood up, walking over to the fireplace. She managed to get a fire going by the time Waverly had returned to the living room with an armful of unlit candles. She began placing them around the room, lighting them as she went. Nicole poked the fire a couple of times before standing up straight and watching her girlfriend hastily walk around the room. She seemed to be avoiding the redhead, and Nicole sighed. This wasn’t going to be an easy conversation.

“Can you put this up there?” Waverly asked and, handing a candle to Nicole, pointed to the mantle above the fireplace. Nicole nodded and turned around to place the candle on the mantle. When she turned back around, Waverly had started to make her way across the room.

“Waverly,” Nicole said softly. “What’s wrong?” The brunette stopped in her tracks and let out a soft sigh, dropping her head slightly. “Hey…” Nicole slowly made her way over to Waverly, her sock-covered feet almost silent on the wood floor.

“I’m sorry,” Waverly sighed, defeated. “I didn’t mean to say it…it just, slipped out.”

“Baby,” Nicole said softly and wrapped her arms around Waverly’s waist from behind, “don’t ever apologize to me for stuff like that. Don’t ever apologize for your feelings.”

“You’re not mad? Or creeped out or something?” Waverly bit her lower lip and relaxed back into her girlfriend when she felt her chuckle lightly.

“Now, why would I ever be anything but happy about my girlfriend saying that she loves me?” Nicole punctuated her question with a firm kiss to the side of Waverly’s head, right behind her ear.

“I don’t know,” Waverly shrugged. “Maybe because you don’t feel the same way? Or something…I don’t know.”

“Alright, Earp, turn around,” Nicole said. “It’s time we set the record straight here,” she paused for a moment. “Or rather…set the record gay,” she smiled when Waverly giggled. “We’ve been together for a little over a month now, but we’ve known each other for much longer.”

“We’ve hated each other for much longer, too,” Waverly added, a sad tone coating her voice.

“Which was stupid,” Nicole said as she took Waverly’s hands in her own, giving them a light squeeze. She continued when the brunette’s eyes met her own. “But, there’s a reason why I was never nice to you. A reason that isn’t the bullshit answer of because you’re a cheerleader.”

“Then what is it?” Waverly’s eyes bore into Nicole’s soul, slowly pulling her secrets out of her like a magnet. One look from Waverly and Nicole was putty in her hands.

“Waverly, from the day we ran into each other in your kitchen, I have been falling madly in – ”

“Power’s out, losers!” Wynonna yelled as she threw the door open. She walked in, followed by Chrissy and the pair made their way into the living room. “Any juicy secrets to spill?” She wiggled her eyebrows.

“Nothing for you to hear,” Nicole said, voice gruff, and tightened her grip on Waverly’s hands.

“Anything involving my sister is something for me to hear, Haught Sauce,” Wynonna said, words slurring slightly.

“Sorry about her,” Chrissy said with a sheepish smile. “We were, uh…out in the barn and she had a little too much to drink.”

“The barn?” Waverly quirked an eyebrow, turning her attention from her girlfriend to her best friend. “What happened to snacks?”

“Snacks, whiskey, same thing,” Wynonna waved a dismissive hand. “Either way, we’ve got the good stuff,” she held up two bottles of their good whiskey, one bottle nearly empty.

“Oh, okay,” Waverly nodded, not buying the story and giving Chrissy a knowing look.

“Makes sense,” Nicole shrugged.

“Right,” Chrissy nodded after a moment of silence, “well, I’ll just take her to bed. Leave you two to continue…whatever you were in the middle of,” she patted Wynonna’s shoulder and set the two bottles down before guiding the older Earp to her bedroom. Waverly could have sworn that she saw Chrissy grin.

“You know that was complete bullshit, right?” Nicole asked as she turned back to Waverly.

“Oh for sure. They cut the power,” Waverly nodded. “So, um, what was it that you were saying before we were so rudely interrupted?” She slowly lifted her eyes to meet Nicole’s and pulled her girlfriend closer.

“I was saying something?” Nicole tilted her head. “Huh, weird, I don’t really remember what it was.”

“Don’t play games with me, Nicole Haught,” Waverly said as she wrapped her arms around Nicole’s neck.

“Aw, but why not?” Nicole teased with a smirk, her arms falling loosely around Waverly’s waist. “It’s fun.”

“Because I won’t kiss you until you tell me,” Waverly challenged.

“Fine, fine,” Nicole caved and rested her forehead against Waverly’s. “The reason why I was always so mean to you before,” she started quietly, “is because I knew, from the second I saw you, I was in love with you. Every day that passed, every argument we’ve had, every awkward encounter, has only made me fall faster and harder for you, and it was fucking scary as hell. That day you kissed me, on the first day of auditions…I knew my fate was sealed. It opened my eyes, made me realize something.”

“Made you realize what?” Waverly asked, voice barely a whisper.

“It made me realize that I really, really, love…” Nicole trailed off, her eyes closing.

“Uh-huh?” Waverly pushed her on.

“…spending time with you.”

“Don’t be a shit ticket, right now,” Waverly lightly slapped Nicole’s chest. “Please, Nicole,” she whispered, needing the reassurance.

“It made me realize,” Nicole whispered, placing a gentle kiss to the tip of Waverly’s nose, “that I am completely, totally, one hundred percent, madly in love with you.”

“This isn’t some mean prank, is it?” Waverly bit her lower lip. “Wynonna didn’t put you up to this or anything?”

“No,” Nicole shook her head and released Waverly’s hand, moving them to gently cup her face. “I love you, Waverly Earp,” she whispered with as much conviction as she could before leaning down enough to close the space between them, kissing Waverly in a way that she hoped would tell her that this was real, that her feelings were real.

“A couple of lovestruck idiots,” Wynonna whispered from the top of the stairs. “Took them way too long to say that to each other.”

“Oh be nice, Wynonna,” Chrissy whispered. “They’ve only been dating for a month.”

“They’re been this way since the first time I brought Red Riding Hood over here. I’ve lived with the googlyeyes and gagworthy moments for over three years now.”

“But they’ve hated each other up until just a few weeks ago,” Chrissy pointed out.

“Love knows no boundaries, Nedley. Those two have been each other’s person from day one.”

“That was…very profound, Wynonna,” Chrissy smiled and nudged Wynonna with her shoulder. “Nice acting, by the way. They really bought it.”

“Who said I was acting?” Wynonna grinned and looked over at the blonde next to her.

“You barely drank anything. You were tipsy at best,” Chrissy stated matter-of-factly.

“You’re no fun,” Wynonna frowned.

“I’m tons of fun, you just have to get to know me,” Chrissy shrugged. “Now, come on. Let’s give them some much needed privacy.”

“This is by far the strangest game night we’ve ever had,” Wynonna said as she was being pulled into her room by Chrissy.

Chapter Text

Christmas had come and gone, Winter break shuffling along without a problem. Nicole and Waverly were in love! What could possibly ruin that feeling of happiness and excitement? Nothing, Waverly had told herself, could bring them down. Nothing could possibly bring them down from the clouds, from the happy feeling that had now taken a permanent place in their hearts, in their minds. Waverly was in love with Nicole, and Nicole was in love with her. That’s all that mattered, right? Nicole was going off to college next year, but they would cross that bridge when they got there. Waverly had the rest of their year, and their summer, planned out in full detail. They were going to spend every waking moment with each other, every sleeping moment together. She had planned for every vacation, every lazy day and busy night. So, when she got Nicole’s phone call, her world nearly shattered. Nicole had applied to the Academy the week before break began and had been anxiously awaiting a response. And she finally got one. Nicole had gotten in.

Well, she sure as hell hadn’t planned for that.

The Academy had been at the back of Waverly’s mind for the past two months and now it was resurfacing to the front, hitting her like a truck. Nicole had gotten into the Academy. She was happy for her girlfriend, she really was, but she would be lying if she said that she didn’t want Nicole to leave come August. So they talked about it. They argued and yelled, ultimately leading to a nasty breakup that neither girl intended. They were being irrational high schoolers who let their minds speak before their hearts did. They were being stubborn and it took Chrissy and Wynonna intervening on their emo-fest, as Wynonna had put it, in order for them talk things out.

“Get your head out of your ass and talk to her,” Wynonna had said to Nicole.

“Neither of you want this, so why are you both prolonging it?” Chrissy had told Waverly.

The guilt was eating Waverly alive and she would be the first to admit to anyone that the pain she was experiencing from not being with Nicole was far worse than any other pain she had ever felt, or will feel; Nicole going to the Academy being one of those pains. So there she was, standing at the Haught’s doorstep the week before school resumed, her hand raised as if to knock. The second her knuckles made contact with the door, it flew open with the redhead standing on the other side. Waverly’s mouth opened in a fruitless attempt to get words out, but nothing was said, so she took a few steps back, stepping down from the porch.

Nicole was standing before her, her hair a mess and her cheeks stained with tears. She wore a Toronto Police Academy t-shirt and immediately crossed her arms over her chest, trying to cover it up; salt in the wound, she thought. She hadn’t showered in days. Sleep had fled her body since their fight, and it was more apparent now than ever. Nicole Haught was a mess, but Waverly thought she had never looked more beautiful.

Nicole took immediate notice to the lack of effort Waverly had put into her appearance. The once lively and seemingly flawless-looking brunette was now a dull pile of emotion. Her hair was pulled into an extremely messy bun, her face was devoid of any makeup, and she was wearing yoga pants and one of Nicole’s sweatshirts that was one size too big. She looked absolutely lost and broken, and it broke Nicole’s heart to see Waverly in such a devastated state. The guilt that had been residing in the pit of Nicole’s stomach was slowly making its way up to her chest, causing her heart to physically ache. This was mostly her fault, she had made the issue escalate to their breaking point.

They stood staring, watching each other with glossy eyes and broken hearts, not saying a single word. Waverly took a small, hesitant step up onto the bottom step of the porch, as if planning out her next moves, and Nicole couldn’t help but crack a small smile at the girl before her. The way her face reflected the brief internal conversation she was having with herself, the way her bottom lip was pulled between her teeth as if afraid to do or say anything for fear of making things worse, made Nicole’s heart expand and her breath catch in her throat. She loved Waverly, and she wasn’t about to let her go over a small fight about something so stupid.

“Waverly,” Nicole finally spoke up, her voice quiet. Waverly slowly looked up at Nicole, brown eyes meeting hazel for the first time in two weeks, and stepped up onto the middle step. “I’m sorry,” she continued. Waverly shook her head and moved to the top step. “I am so…so sorry, times infinity – ”

“God, Nicole, no…shut up…” Waverly whispered before gripping the front of Nicole’s shirt with one hand, the other moving to the back of her neck, and pulling her into a searing kiss.

Nicole kissed back and let herself go, in that moment, wrapping her arms around the smaller girl in an almost suffocating embrace. The moment was far from perfect, they were both a mess and their kisses were sloppy, needy, but the moment was theirs. For the first time in two weeks, Waverly finally felt like she was at home again. Being held in Nicole’s arms, feeling her lips pressed against her own, was what home was to Waverly.

“I’m sorry,” Waverly said softly after pulling away. She kept her eyes closed and rested her head against Nicole’s. “I love you. I’m sorry. I love you.”

“We’re a couple of idiots, yeah?” Nicole chuckled softly as she brought a hand up to the side of Waverly’s face, gently stroking her thumb along her jaw.

“We’re the dumbest,” Waverly nodded, her fingers playing with the small hairs at the nape of Nicole’s neck.

“Who breaks up when they don’t even want to?”

“Us,” Waverly sighed. “We let the stress get to us way too easily. We had talked about it before, we shouldn’t have fought like that.”

“I shouldn’t have started yelling,” Nicole sighed. “We should probably talk about all of this…Us, the Academy…”

“You’re right,” Waverly nodded, her eyes dropping to Nicole’s lips for a moment before flitting back up to meet her eyes again, “we probably should.”

“Or,” Nicole quirked an eyebrow and dropped her hands to Waverly’s waist, “we could talk later. We’ve got two weeks of radio silence to make up for, after all.”

“Has anyone ever told you how brilliant your ideas are?” Waverly bit her lip and grinned slightly.

“No, but you can be the first,” Nicole shrugged and grinned.

“How about I just show you, instead?” Waverly offered.

“Oh, I like that idea much better,” Nicole nodded and started backing into the house, pulling Waverly with her.

“Are your parents home? Or will they be anytime soon?” The brunette asked, stopping under the doorway’s arch.

“They’re gone and at work until tonight,” Nicole stole a quick kiss from the brunette’s lips. “We have a lot to make up for, and not nearly enough time for it all, so let’s not waste any more of it.”

“Then by all means,” Waverly whispered, “lead the way.”

Waverly squealed as Nicole’s hands dropped down to the backs of her thighs and picked her up. Nicole walked into the house and couldn’t help the small moan that escaped her mouth as Waverly balled some of her shirt in her hand and kissed Nicole fiercely. The redhead turned around and kicked the door shut.

- - - - -

Nicole’s back pressed flat against the locked door of the AV club room, Waverly’s fingers dancing delicately under Nicole’s shirt and their lips sliding together in a perfect rhythm. The small of Nicole’s back collided with the small, metal lock protruding out just above the doorknob, sending a sharp pain up her spine. She hissed at the contact and Waverly pulled away slightly, her hands sliding out from under Nicole’s shirt. They stared at each other for a moment before bursting into a fit of laughter. They had barely entered the room before Waverly nearly jumped Nicole, crashing their lips together. They’d done this several times, now, sneaking off right before their last class ended and hiding in the vacant classroom that belonged to the Audio Visual club. School had resumed almost a month ago and things were starting to get crazy.

With the play only a few weeks away, and graduation rounding the imminent corner a few weeks later, the newly reinstated WayHaught found themselves with less and less alone time. Nicole’s basketball season was over, but Waverly still had cheer. Waverly had started staying after rehearsals to help Bobo finalize everything, refusing to let Nicole stay when she needed to be studying for her finals. At this rate, with the three rehearsals a week and Waverly’s cheer practices twice a week, the only alone time Nicole and Waverly could get was by sneaking around and taking advantage of the time between the end of school and the start of rehearsal.

“You know Wynonna is going to kill us if we’re late again,” Nicole said. “She nearly vomited on stage when got there five minutes after rehearsal started and she realized that this is what we were doing.”

“Yeah, well,” Waverly shrugged, “she can get over it. She’ll never admit it, but she’s more afraid of me than I am of her. She’s just going to have to deal with it. If I want to make out with my girlfriend before rehearsals, then I will. I’m in charge of this shit show anyway.”

“God I love you,” Nicole said, her eyes locked with Waverly’s, nothing but pure admiration for her girlfriend laced in her voice.

“And I love you,” Waverly cupped Nicole’s face in her hands and brought their noses together. “My future cop.”

“You’re the best girlfriend ever,” Nicole said softly. “I really hope you know that.”

“I’m only the best girlfriend because I have the best girlfriend,” Waverly stated firmly, her fingers tracing the delicate features of Nicole’s jaw.

“Girlfriend,” Nicole sighed as if the word brought her immediate comfort. “I’m your girlfriend.”

Nicole closed her eyes and took a deep breath, her eyebrows knitting together in concentration. She had almost lost Waverly – she did lose her – because of her shitty temper and uncontrollable anxiety. Their fight had been over something so stupid, but something that meant everything to them. Waverly recoiled and reacted the way she did because, Nicole soon came to realize, that everyone she ever loved has left her at some point in her life, even if it wasn’t permanent. Nicole had promised Waverly that she was never going to leave her, that she was here to stay. But then the letter came right after they had professed their love for each other, and the promise was broken in Waverly’s eyes. Even if she knew it was going to happen, even though they had talked about it many times, the promise Nicole had made to Waverly suddenly fell apart before their eyes. Nicole applied to the Academy, Nicole got into the Academy. It was her fault that they broke up.

“Hey,” Waverly stopped her movements, making sure she had Nicole’s full attention. “Stop that.”

“Stop what?” Nicole leaned her head back against the door, keeping her eyes closed.

That,” Waverly said, hands remaining on her girlfriend’s face and tilting her head back up. “Getting trapped in your head about all of this. About what happened.”

“I can’t help it when it was my fault,” Nicole sighed.

“Nic,” Waverly gently ran her thumb over the beauty mark under Nicole’s left eye. “Nicole, look at me. Open your eyes.”

“Fighting with you was,” Nicole shook her head sucked in a sharp breath. “Fighting with you was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. And it was my fault.”

“Girlfriends fight,” Waverly kissed Nicole’s forehead. “It’s normal, even if it is the worst,” she leaned down and kissed her cheek. “And, even though fighting with you was an absolute nightmare, I don’t regret what happened.”

“You don’t regret breaking up?” Nicole slowly opened her eyes.

“No,” Waverly shook her head and leaned back, looking Nicole in the eye. “I don’t regret it because it was better it happen now rather than while you’re away. Breaking up sucked, and it was nearly impossible for me to function normally without you, so now I know that you going off to the city will be far less painful that not being with you at all.”

“You’re still on the fence about it,” Nicole quirked an eyebrow. “You just did that thing with your eyes.”

“What thing?” Waverly narrowed her eyes.

“You have a habit of shifting your eyes around to look at anything but me when you’re lying,” Nicole grabbed Waverly’s hand when she started to back away. “Baby, talk to me. We promised to talk about this until there was nothing left to hide. What’s bothering you still?”

“It’s just,” Waverly sighed. “It isn’t that I don’t want you to go anymore. I’m okay with all of that now.”

“So what’s making you so nervous?”

“You’re going to be in Toronto. Alone. For at least six months.”

“I will,” Nicole nodded.

“You’re going to be in Toronto, alone,” Waverly repeated slowly. “Looking like that.”

“You’re worried I’m going to move on,” Nicole’s face softened.

“No,” Waverly looked down, “I’m worried that some new girl is going to swoop in and steal your heart; that someone better is going to come along and take you from me,” she looked up at the sound of Nicole’s laughter and narrowed her eyes. “What’s funny about that?”

“It isn’t funny,” Nicole shook her head. “It’s just that you really don’t see how crazy I am about you, huh?”

“What do you mean?” Waverly averted her eyes from Nicole, busying herself by playing with the buttons of Nicole’s shirt.

“I’m in love with you, Waverly Earp,” Nicole captured Waverly’s chin between her thumb and index fingers and lifted her head so their gazes met. “I’m going to Toronto for the Academy, and I’m going to come visit you for Christmas, and your birthday, and I’ll be here for your graduation.”

“Yeah, but – ”

“But nothing,” Nicole stated firmly. “I am committed to you, Waverly. I promise you that we will be fine. I have eyes for you, and only you.”

“Okay,” Waverly sighed quietly and bit back a small smile.

“Besides, you’ll still have Chrissy and Rosita,” Nicole smiled.

“Yeah, thank God for that. They’re the ones who keep Tucker and Champ away from me.”

“I’m going to miss scaring them off in the halls,” Nicole pouted. “Maybe I’ll fail this year so I can be with you next year. Keep you safe.”

“You’re such a dork, Nicole Haught,” Waverly laughed. “I love you, and I’d love that, but I’m not letting you do that to yourself. You’re gonna crush this play, walk across that stage three weeks later to get your diploma, and go off to Toronto to do amazing things for your future.”

“And with you by my side, it’ll all be worth it,” Nicole swiped her thumb under Waverly’s right eye, wiping a tear away before it could fall.

“Promise you’ll come back to Purgatory after?”

“I promise,” Nicole nodded. “I wouldn’t want to serve anywhere else.”

“And if I get a job outside of Purgatory in the future?” Waverly bit her lip, hope burning in her chest. Her dream had always been to move somewhere in Alberta and to work at one of the museums there.

“Where you go, I go,” Nicole confirmed, without hesitation, and pulled Waverly into a tight embrace.

They stayed like that for a few minutes, hugging each other and enjoying the comfortable silence that had fallen over them. just the closeness of it all was able to set Waverly’s mind at ease and extinguish all of her fears. Nicole loved her. Nicole was going to come back to her. Nicole wanted to be with her. Thoughts buzzing around in her brain, Waverly buried her head in Nicole’s shoulder, relishing in the immediate comfort it brought her.

“Do you think it’s a bit of a cliché?” Nicole asked, breaking their bubble of silence.

“What?” Came Waverly’s muffled reply.

“All of this,” Nicole clarified. “Us.”

“What do you mean?” Waverly lifted her head and looked up at her girlfriend.

“Enemies, forced to be in a play together which ultimately leads to them falling in love? The whole ‘enemies to lovers’ trope?” Nicole shook her head. “I swear, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say this was all just some cheesy rom-com.”

“It might be a cliché,” Waverly nodded, “but who cares? Besides, we’ve established that we never actually hated each other.”

“Valid point,” Nicole grinned. “Hey, so have you seen Champ around at all lately?”

“Way to subtly change the subject, Nic,” Waverly lightly patted Nicole’s chest and took a step back, leaning back against one of the many tables in the room. “But no, I haven’t seen him since Wynonna threatened him.”

“Good,” Nicole nodded shortly.

“Why?” Waverly tilted her head to the side.

“No reason,” Nicole shrugged.

“Nicole,” Waverly stated firmly.

“Because I need him to know that, just because I’m graduating, he doesn’t have the right to start hitting on you again.”

“Right, well – ”

“Hey! Champ!” Pete York’s voice came from the other side of the door, causing both Waverly and Nicole to groan. “You won’t believe who I just found!”

“I swear to God if they come in here…” Nicole grumbled.

“Did you lock the door?” Waverly asked, but her question didn’t need an answer from Nicole as the door was thrown open.

“Ladies,” Champ grinned. “Looking good today,” he winked at Waverly. “Mad hot.”

“Shouldn’t you be in detention or something?” Nicole crossed her arms.

“Shouldn’t you be in class?” Pete fired back.

“Shouldn’t you?” Waverly raised an eyebrow at him.

“I got out of detention,” Champ stated matter-of-factly. “That ended last semester.”

“Wow, I’m surprised you actually know what a semester is,” Nicole laughed. “With all of that empty space in your head, I’d expect your only thoughts to be about football and girls.”

“The only girl I have on my mind is the super hot one standing behind you,” Champ smirked and winked at Waverly again.

“I’d be careful with what you say about my girlfriend, if I were you,” Nicole gritted though her teeth, her hands clenching into fists at her sides.”

“Or what? You’ll punch me?”

“I’ll gladly do it.”

“Nicole,” Waverly muttered, “don’t. He isn’t worth it.”

“I’m not going to stand here and let him talk about you like that,” Nicole states, her eyes glaring daggers at Champ.

“Better listen to your girlfriend,” Champ taunted. “I’ve wrangled a calf to its knees in seven seconds flat, a ginger basketball player will be a piece of cake.”

“Listen here, Chump,” Nicole went to take a step forward but was stopped by Waverly’s arms wrapping around her middle.

“Nic,” she whispered, burying her head between the redhead’s shoulders. “Please don’t.”

“Aw, little Waverly. Trying to be the peacekeeper,” Pete teased. “I guess we were wrong. She does have some fight in her,” he took a step closer to the couple, leaning close to Waverly. “I find it attractive.”

“Back off, Pete,” Nicole said and pushed him back.

“You can’t tell him what to do,” Champ said. “We don’t take instructions from girls.”

“I’m not giving you much of a choice at this point,” Nicole stepped forward, causing Waverly’s arms to drop from around her waist. “I might be graduating soon, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be around to kick your ass if you get anywhere near Waverly,” she kept advancing on Champ, successfully backing him against the door, cornering him.

“So, what, you’re going to come back here every day even though you’ve graduated?” Champ asked while trying, and failing, to hide to fear in his voice.

“If that’s what it takes, then yes,” Nicole poked a finger at his chest. “But that isn’t any of your business. I can come visit my girlfriend after I graduate if I want to. What we do on our own time isn’t something you have the right to know.”

“Lay off of him, Haught,” Pete said from behind Nicole. “He hasn’t done anything.”

“Oh, he’s done enough,” Nicole said, eyes still locked with the jock’s in front of her. The four stayed silent as the last bell of the day rang, indicating that school was over. When it ended, Nicole gripped the front of Champ’s shirt in her hand and brought her face close to his. “If you come anywhere near her ever again I swear to God, Champ Hardy, I will rearrange your face with my own two hands. Stay away from Waverly. Got it?” Her voice was steady, full of anger.

“Come on, Champ,” Pete mumbled, “let’s go.”

“Skipping rehearsals?” Waverly fixed Pete with a raised eyebrow and hands on her hips. “Again?”

“Tell Mr. Del Rey that I quit. I’m not doing this stupid play anymore. I don’t want to be around your crazy bitch of a girlfriend.”

“You can’t just quit,” Waverly shook her head. “It’s too close to the performance date.”

“Well, too bad. Find yourself another Nessus. I’m out,” Pete rolled his eyes and motioned to the door with his head for Champ to follow him out.

“Asshole,” Nicole mumbled after the two had left.

“Nicole,” Waverly said. “What the hell was all of that?”

“I’m sorry, Waverly,” Nicole turned around. “He just…really knows how to get to me.”

“I should be mad at you,” Waverly crossed her arms, “but I can’t be because that was one of the hottest things I’ve ever seen.”

“What?” Nicole quirked an eyebrow.

“You scared him, Nicole. Really scared him. Champ never gets that nervous around anyone, let alone a girl. He’s always the one throwing out threats, never the one to be receiving them.”

“I needed him to know that I’m not to be messed with,” Nicole walked over to Waverly. “Especially when it comes to you.”

“You’re going to make such a good cop,” Waverly smiled small and hugged her girlfriend. “I love you, Nicole.”

“I love you, too, Waverly,” Nicole kissed the top of the brunette’s head and closed her eyes. “Now let’s get to rehearsal so I can tell Wynonna about how scared Champ the Chump Hardy was.”

“She’ll be proud,” Waverly kissed Nicole’s cheek and grabbed her bag. “Champ the Chump,” she laughed. “That’s a good one.”

“He’s the all time chump,” Nicole nodded. “That’s for sure,” Nicole took Waverly’s hand in her own and they exited the classroom, heading for the auditorium.

Chapter Text

After informing Bobo of Pete quitting the show, Waverly had been thrown into the hot seat. She explained the situation, taking full responsibility for Nicole’s actions since she failed to do anything to prevent what happened. Nicole, on the other hand, refused to apologize for what she did, claiming that protecting Waverly was always her number one priority, and that she would deal with the potential consequences of her actions later.

Bobo, and his ever-present soft spot for Waverly, only sighed and warned them about what would happen if they were to lose another actor at the hands of Nicole’s overprotective nature. Both girls nodded and Bobo gave Waverly a date and time for which they were going to be holding a short, one day audition to fill Pete’s former role of Nessus. No one showed up for the audition, which didn’t surprise Waverly. Well, one person showed up, but Waverly wasn’t surprised at who it was either.

Tucker Gardner.

She had know he would come, as he took any opportunity he could to get as close to the youngest Earp as possible. Wynonna called him a pervert, Nicole called him a stalker, but Waverly thought he was just plain creepy. Thankfully, Tucker came less than underprepared for the audition and bombed his performance which made rejecting him easier on Waverly’s part. After refusing to leave, Waverly turned to her backup. She was never one for confrontation, which is why Waverly let her sister and her girlfriend take care of it. Waverly had politely asked Tucker to leave, again, and Nicole marched up onto the stage when he refused, again. Grabbing his arm, Nicole led Tucker out of the auditorium and sat down next to Waverly.

Since no one else showed up, the three girls, and Bobo, found themselves at a dead end. Waverly had suggested Wynonna call Doc and make him be in the play as a last resort, and Wynonna merely shrugged her shoulders and pulled out her phone.

“I mean, it’s only fair. If I’m being forced to be here, I might as well force him to be here with me.” Wynonna had said.

Thanks to Waverly’s idea, and a lot of yelling from Wynonna’s end, they found the replacement the cast needed without having to deal with any other annoyingly stupid guys. With the play now less than a week away, Waverly found herself to be busier than she ever thought possible. Not only was she in charge of overseeing the finishing of the set, but she was also in charge of final fittings for every actor’s costumes.

The set was finished, the only thing left to do was let it dry, so the brunette’s focus fell mostly on costumes and makeup. For the most part, the costumes were simple, most people in the play wearing simple toga-like outfits, paired with sandals. It was the costumes for actors with major roles in the play, the actors whose costumes were more elaborate, that Waverly found herself to be the busiest with.

She was currently in the backstage dressing room with Nicole, making last-minute adjustments to the redhead’s outfit as they were needed. The two were alone, and they were far away from everyone else currently in the auditorium, which meant they were making absolutely no progress on Nicole’s costume whatsoever. Waverly was working – well, trying to work – but she would stop every time she caught Nicole’s eye in the mirror in front of them. The redhead would flash an innocent, dimpled smile and Waverly would find herself to be putty in Nicole’s hands.

With Champ and Pete out of the way, and Wynonna giving them space, Waverly and Nicole found their relationship to be thriving. They were closer than they were before, spending more time together and refusing to be apart unless they had to. Nicole was leaving soon, Waverly wasn’t going to leave her side until she absolutely had to. It was going to be tough for both of them, but it was moments like these that helped them keep their minds focused on what was important: the time they still had together.

“See something you like?” Nicole’s voice brought Waverly out of her thoughts. Waverly shook her head and blinked a couple of times.

“I um...what?” She asked and continued to adjust part of Nicole’s top, near her right arm.

“You were staring at me for a while, there.” Nicole smiled. “I almost thought you fell asleep with your eyes open or something, you were so quiet.”

“Oh, uh,” Waverly blushed fiercely and cleared her throat, “I was just thinking. That’s all.”

“Thinking about what?” Nicole looked at her girlfriend in the mirror, watching her work.

“About you.” Waverly mumbled.

“About what?” Nicole asked. “I didn’t catch that.”

“Shut up .” Waverly bit her lip and lightly smacked Nicole’s arm. “Yes you did.”

“No, seriously, I didn’t hear you.” Nicole grinned. “Tell me what you said.”

“It’s nothing of importance, Nicole.” Waverly stated simply, moving down to her knees to adjust the length of the deep blue cape cascading down Nicole’s shoulders, to the backs of her thighs.

“If it’s nothing, then why are you getting so flustered about it?” Nicole questioned.

“I’m getting flustered because you keep questioning me about it.” Waverly replied and gave a gentle tug to the end of the cape.

“You were thinking about me.” Nicole said and slowly turned around to face Waverly. “That’s what you said.”

“What makes you think that?” Waverly asked, looking up at the redhead from her place on the floor.

“Because you’re a terrible liar.” Nicole raised an eyebrow.

“Okay, first of all, that isn’t true.” Waverly bit her lip. “And secondly, so what if I was thinking about you and lied about it? What are you going to do about it?”

Nicole narrowed her eyes and leaned down slightly. “What I’m going to do,” she husked, “is show you what’ll happen when you don’t lie to me, so you’ll never do it again.”

“I’m not so sure I like the sound of that.” Waverly lied. “Why would you show me for when I don’t lie when I’ve just lied? I don’t really think that logic works.”

“Ah, so you admit you did lie.” Nicole smirked.

“I...What?” Waverly groaned. “You sneaky squirrel.” She bit back a smile. “I see what you’re trying to do.”

“Oh? And what is it that I’m trying to do?” Nicole leaned down closer to Waverly’s face.

“You’re trying to distract me from my work.” Waverly replied, her eyes darting between Nicole’s eyes and her lips.

“I’d say that depends.” Nicole shrugged.

“Depends on what?” Waverly swallowed hard.

“Is it working?” Nicole lifted a hand to brush a stray piece of hair behind Waverly’s ear.

“Yes.” Waverly whispered after a minute.

Nicole smiled, causing her dimples to appear, and Waverly sank lower to the floor, unable to hold her own weight with Nicole standing over her and looking at her like that . Nicole cupped Waverly’s face and gently pulled her to her feet, connecting their lips in a searing kiss once the brunette was standing. Waverly dropped the measuring tape she held to the floor and wrapped her arms around Nicole’s neck. It was an awkward situation, their proximity in the tiny dressing room more than just slightly uncomfortable, but they didn’t seem to mind it.

Waverly threaded her fingers through Nicole’s fiery red locks, which now sported a shorter cut, having gone from shoulder length to just above her chin. Nicole thought it looked terrible, but Waverly thought it was her best look yet.

Waverly twirled the short strands of Nicole’s hair around her fingers and stepped forward, bringing their bodies closer together. Their kisses were gentle, lips fitting together perfectly. Their touches were soft, caressing each other tenderly. Nicole’s hands rested firmly on Waverly’s waist, holding her in place and keeping her grounded in the moment.

In less than a month’s time, Nicole would be leaving and Waverly would be left alone for her last year of high school. The smaller girl’s anxiety had grown tremendously over the past month, panic attacks coming at least once week about their future, but Nicole had immediately picked up on what she needed to in order to keep Waverly calm. Waverly had always been the one taking care of Nicole during panic attacks, it was Nicole’s turn to do the same.

Waverly extracted her hands from Nicole’s hair and slid them down to her shoulders, lightly gripping the fabric beneath her hands as she pulled herself closer to Nicole. Feeling Nicole hold her, feeling Nicole’s arms around her tightly, safely, made Waverly feel one hundred times more emotional than she had previously felt.

Tears sprang to her closed eyes and she felt them running hot down her cheeks. Instead of pulling away at the feeling of tears, Waverly deepened the kiss, pushing Nicole completely against the vanity behind her. Nicole, wincing slightly at the loud noise she was sure someone must have heard heard, felt Waverly’s tears then. Pulling away and opening her eyes slowly, Nicole furrowed her brows and reached a gentle thumb up to Waverly’s cheek, swiping some of the salty water away.

“Waverly,” Nicole whispered. “What’s wrong?”

“I want you to go,” Waverly started, eyes still closed and voice soft, “I want you to go but I don’t want you to go and when I think that I start to feel bad for thinking like that and I start feeling selfish because who am I to decide what my girlfriend does for her future even though I just want her to stay in this shitty town, with me, protecting me and keeping me calm and…and...” She took a deep breath.

“Now hold on for just a minute.” Nicole’s voice wasn’t tough, but stern in a loving way. “Who says you can’t have any say in, what you’ve so anxiously put as, what I do for my future?”

“Why should I be allowed to have any say in anything you do? Especially when it comes to your future?”

“Because you’re a part of my future, Waves.” Nicole said without a second of hesitation. “A big part of it.”

“No, I’m not doing this.” Waverly shook her head and took a step back. “I can’t do this – won’t do this – to you.”

“Waverly–”

“I...I’m just your girlfriend. You’ve had your heart and your mind set on this since you were little. I’m not about to change that all because I’m a big softie and want to be as close to you as possible all the time.” Waverly looked at Nicole with red eyes, wet with unshed tears. “You’re only going to be away for a few months, I know, but I have spent my entire life up until now trying to get you to just notice me. And now that you finally have, you’re graduating and then you’re going to leave me and probably forget about me because I’m not someone people tend to remember and I don’t want to lose you–”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hey, calm down. Deep breaths.” Nicole took a small step in Waverly’s direction. “Baby, breathe.”

“What if something happens to you? What if you get hurt o-or shot? Or what if you don’t get assigned to serve here? I can’t lose you, Nicole. I can’t.”

“No one is losing anybody, okay?” Nicole reached out and cupped Waverly’s face in her hands. “I’m scared shitless about leaving you, but I’m staying positive because I know you’ll be here, waiting for me, when I get back.”

“I’ll always be waiting for you.” Waverly whispered, leaning into the redhead’s touch.

“I’m your Hercules, yeah?” Nicole cracked the barest of smiles when Waverly nodded. “And you’re my Meg. I will do whatever it takes, whatever is necessary, to come back to Purgatory.” She leaned down and placed a gentle kiss to Waverly’s lips. “Where you go,” she whispered before brushing her lips against Waverly’s again, “I go.”

“I love you.” Waverly sighed and rested her forehead against Nicole’s. “God I love you.”

“You’re the light that keeps me going, Waverly.” Nicole said. “You’re crazy if you think I’m going to forget about you.”

“Well, crazy does run in the family.” Waverly bit back a smile.

“Yeah, you Earps are pretty damn crazy. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Nicole pulled Waverly’s body flush against her own. “Thank God my best friend’s sister is super hot, otherwise I probably would have run off years ago.”

“That’s a lie and we both know it.” Waverly giggled.

“You’re right, it is.” Nicole nodded and shrugged. “But you’re the reason I always came over so often, rather than Wynonna coming over to my house.”

“Really?” Waverly looked up at Nicole, eyes sparkling.

“You have had my heart from day one, Waverly Earp. I didn’t let you go then, I’m not letting you go now, and I’m certainly not going to ever let you go.”

“And to think,” Waverly said softly, glancing down at Nicole’s lips before looking back up to her eyes, “a few months ago I would have never dreamed I’d be here with you at this very moment.”

“Yeah well,” Nicole shrugged and pulled Waverly even closer by the waist, “you cheerleaders have a knack for getting stuck in people’s heads.”

Waverly looked up at Nicole and was met with one of the most brilliant smiles she had ever seen. Their eyes met and it was in that moment Waverly knew. She knew things were going to be okay. She knew she had nothing to worry about. She knew Nicole Haught loved her. Without another moment’s hesitation, Waverly surged forward and captured Nicole’s lips in a gentle, yet somewhat rough, kiss.

Nicole’s fingers danced across Waverly’s waist, her hands slowly moving up to the curve of her sides. Nicole sensed something new in that kiss, something sparked from a newfound sense of... something . Something Nicole couldn’t quite put her finger on. Waverly was giving her a different vibe than she usually did; a vibe once soft now turned hungry. It was almost as if the brunette were trying to tell her that now was the time. Now was the time for the thing they’d been tip-toeing around for more than a month.

She needed Nicole. Now.

Filled with the reassurance she needed, Nicole took charge. Flipping their positions, Nicole pushed Waverly back against the vanity where she had previously found herself pinned against. A small gasp escaped the brunette’s mouth as Nicole left a trail of open mouth kisses down her neck, her hands miraculously working their way up Waverly’s abdomen under her shirt. There was a brief moment of hesitation when Nicole’s hands met Waverly’s bra clad chest, but Waverly eased Nicole’s worries by simply tangling her fingers in the fiery red locks she already had gripped tightly in her hands. Nicole groaned and tried to lift Waverly, but her hands slipped and their connection was lost as Waverly’s hips collided with with the vanity behind her.

There came a groan of aggravation from Nicole and a quiet giggle from Waverly and, before Nicole could manage an apology, Waverly had pulled her back into another kiss. Nicole’s hands made their way back to where they were before as Waverly moved a hand down to Nicole’s chest, resting it right below her collarbone. Attempting to lift the brunette again, Nicole extracted her hands from under Waverly’s shirt and hooked them around the backs of Waverly’s thighs. She reluctantly pulled away from the kiss, Waverly chasing after her lips before pouting, and locked eyes with Waverly as she lifted her weight, gently depositing her on top of the vanity’s wooden surface. Breathless and slightly disoriented, Waverly pulled her lower lip between her teeth, keeping her hold on Nicole, strong and firm.

“I love you.” Nicole whispered as she leaned forward, the height change making it slightly less awkward of a angle in the tiny, cramped space they were in, and kissed every inch of exposed skin near Waverly’s neck.

“I love you.” Nicole repeated as she slotted her leg between Waverly’s, earning a stifled moan in response.

“Nicole.” Waverly breathed out, her eyes closing and her head tipping back until she felt it make contact with the mirror behind her. “Nic.” Waverly said again as she felt the redhead’s lips tracing her jaw. “Nicole, wait.” Waverly pulled herself back to reality and placed her hands on Nicole’s shoulders.

“What’s wrong?” Nicole asked, concerned, and stilled her movements. “Did I...did I read the signs wrong? Is this not what you wanted me to do? Oh, God, Waves, I’m so sorry.”

“No!” Waverly practically yelled. She shook her head and lowered her voice. “No. This...this is what I want. God, Nicole, it’s what I want. But–” Waverly framed Nicole’s face with her hands, stopping her from moving in for another kiss, “but we aren’t necessarily alone. There’s a group of about fifty people out there practicing, one of whom is my sister. Do you really want to risk getting caught here? By her?”

“You really think I didn’t lock the door when I came in here?” Nicole raised an eyebrow.

“I didn’t really expect to, well, be doing this.” Waverly motioned between the two of them. “So no, I didn’t think you locked the door.”

“Are you saying you’d rather be fixing a costume that is already a perfect fit, than making out with me right now?” Nicole tilted her head to the side.

“What I want,” Waverly said, leaning away from Nicole as she felt what little of her resolve that remained start to disappear, “is to not get caught hooking up in the dressing room of our high school’s auditorium. I don’t want to get into any trouble.”

“Oh, but a little bit of trouble is never a bad thing.” Nicole said in a low voice, pulling Waverly back to her. “What’s the fun in playing by the rules? We don’t have a lot of time to spare anymore, why not take a little risk?”

“Well, when you put it that way,” Waverly hummed and draped her arms over Nicole’s shoulders, capturing her lips in a quick kiss, “I guess there’s no harm in it.”

“So this is happening?” Nicole asked, her lips lingering against Waverly’s. “We’re doing this right here? Right now?”

“Well, I wanted to wait until the night of your graduation...but, now seems like a much better time.”

“How’s that?” Nicole grinned and lightly nipped at Waverly’s jaw.

“Because,” Waverly moaned quietly, but it came off as more of a whimper, “I don’t want to wait that long anymore.”

Nicole slowly worked her way down Waverly’s neck, taking her time admiring every inch of her girlfriend. Her hands worked with the buttons of Waverly’s blouse, struggling to free them from their restraints. Waverly’s laugh rang in Nicole’s ears when a quiet grumble passed from her lips, and she felt Waverly’s head tip further back, a hand resting on the back of Nicole’s head. Finally freeing the last button and pulling the shirt free from being tucked into Waverly’s shorts, Nicole pushed the shirt open and exposed Waverly’s torso.

Admiring the beauty before her, Nicole had no problem with letting her eyes trail down her girlfriend’s body, smirking slightly at her disheveled appearance. Waverly’s hair had gone from a perfect bun to a mass of messy perfection, falling loosely around her shoulders. Her breathing was labored, her hands gripping the edge of the vanity beneath her tightly. Nicole trailed her eyes back up to meet Waverly’s and took immediate notice of her dilated pupils.

Waverly reached forward with one of her hands and gripped the front of Nicole’s costume, pulling her between her legs. Nicole chuckled quietly as Waverly’s legs wrapped around her waist. Nicole saw a flash of panic in Waverly’s eyes for a second, but it was soon replaced with comfort and relief when she gently squeezed Waverly’s wasit. She knew waverly had never been with another female before, especially not in that way, so she knew she had to take things slow. Waverly was nervous, no matter how much she tried to hide it, and Nicole had every intention of showing her she had nothing to be afraid of.

“It’s okay, baby.” Nicole whispered as she connected their lips in a tender kiss.

Almost immediately, Nicole’s hand started trailing to the top of Waverly’s jean shorts, slowly undoing the button and pulling the zipper down. Waverly’s grip tightened around Nicole’s neck at the new feeling of Nicole’s hands in the area she had longed for her to touch her most, and Nicole paused her movements. Nicole’s words echoing in her head, Waverly slowly loosened her grip on Nicole, letting her continue. Waverly gasped slightly at the new sensation as Nicole passed through the last barrier standing between her hand and Waverly’s pleasure.

“Oh.” Waverly breathed out. “ Oh .” She repeated, her eyes closed and her brows knitted together.

“Good?” Nicole whispered as her fingers danced a delicate dance around the most sensitive part of her girlfriend.

“Good.” Waverly replied and leaned her forehead against Nicole’s. “ Very good .”

“I’m going to go in now.” Nicole slowed her movements enough to where she could have Waverly’s full attention, or as much of it as she could get. “Is that okay?”

Waverly nodded, unable to find words, and gripped Nicole’s shoulders tightly. Waverly, unable to control herself, let a loud moan escape from her mouth. She then buried her head deep in Nicole’s shoulder, both to hide her embarrassment and to keep herself quiet. Nicole kept her rhythm slow and steady, taking her time and exploring Waverly in ways she had only dreamed of doing. For Waverly, it was a dream come true. It was a moment she never thought she would share with the tall redhead, a moment she only thought would ever remain a fantasy. She was more than sure that what was happening was no dream, though, because, in her dream, there was no excessive knocking coming from the other side of the door.

Both girls froze at the sound, at the voice that followed the knocking.

“Waves, you and Haught about done in there? Rehearsals ended ten minutes ago.” Wynonna’s voice rang in their ears.

“Shit.” Nicole muttered.

“Crap, crap, crap .” Waverly whispered, punctuating each word by gently banging her head against Nicole’s shoulder.

They were fucked.

Chapter Text

Anxious. That’s how Nicole felt. Anxious and scared and just plain terrified. Opening night was upon them which meant that all of her practice, all of her hard work, was finally being put to the test. She had worked harder on this play than anything in her life, and Waverly said she was prepared, but Nicole felt like all of the focus and determination she poured into her practice wasn’t enough. She wasn’t an actor, that part was clear. She was the furthest thing from a singer, too. So what the hell was she thinking when she agreed to take this role?

It was Waverly. Waverly was in the back of her mind when she said yes, even if she didn’t know it. Waverly was always in the back of her mind, even if she denied it. Long before they got together, long before Nicole allowed herself to admit she had feelings for Waverly, the brunette had been on her mind. Waverly had assured her from day one that she was good enough, that she could do this whole acting thing if she really tried.

And so she did try. She tried as hard as she could to do well, to impress Waverly. It worked, which only fed Nicole’s already big ego. Her girlfriend looking at her as if she were the equivalent to a younger, ginger Marilyn Monroe definitely wasn’t something Nicole needed, but it wasn’t something she was going to argue with either. Months upon months of practicing and singing and costume fitting were all finally coming together and, although she was scared out of her mind, Nicole had to admit that she felt just the tiniest bit excited.

Waverly had promised that, after their performance that night, and after they went out for dinner with their friends and family, they could go back to Nicole’s house and have a nice evening together. After their little... incident in the dressing room a few weeks prior to that night, Waverly and Nicole had been more careful about their whereabouts. Needless to say, after school had become less of silent study time at Nicole’s house and more of sexy Wayhaught time in Nicole’s bedroom.

Nicole felt the intimate times they spent together less driven by wild, teenage hormones and more so by their unconditional love for each other. It was cheesy to say, and caused Nicole to make a face at herself in the mirror for thinking of something so cliché, but it was true. She loved Waverly, and Waverly loved her. They were young, but Nicole was leaving soon. That gave them an excuse to take risks and to do the things they wouldn’t have the opportunity to do come August. Waverly had cried more tears than Nicole deemed necessary, but that didn’t mean she felt they were unnecessary; after all, Nicole had cried her fair share of tears herself.

Sex, to Nicole, was the most intimate form of affection one could show their partner. She had spent months now telling Waverly how much she loved her. She said it so much to the extent of the words almost carrying an empty meaning. She needed to convey those feelings in some other way before Waverly started doubting her. They were crazed teens hooking up every chance they got. They took their time, when they did, and they savored every moment of it. It was so good that just the mere thought of Waverly beneath her brought a huge grin to Nicole’s face.

A knock on the cramped dressing room door shook Nicole from her thoughts and caused her to blush fiercely, as if she’d been caught in the act of doing something she shouldn’t have been. Her eyes moved to the door in the mirror behind her as another string of knocks reached her ears.

“It’s open.” Nicole called out, unsure of who could be standing on the other side of the door.

“I hope you two are decent.” Chrissy’s voice came from the other side. There was a beat of silence and then the door opened, revealing the blonde standing in the narrow hallway. “Oh, you’re alone.” She said after looking around. “I thought Waves was in here with you.”

Nicole shook her head. “She’s running around trying to make sure everything is in place.”

“Okay, good. At least she’ll be busy.” Chrissy nodded and closed the door, clicking the lock into place. “I need to talk to you about something, like, super important.”

“Um, okay?” Nicole raised an eyebrow at the shorter girl.

“Prom.” Chrissy said after composing herself. “I know you and Wynonna had said you weren’t going to go, but this is your last school dance and juniors can’t go without being asked by a senior.”

“I’m aware.” Nicole nodded.

“I also know you’ve spoken to Waverly about this. Am I assuming correctly?” Chrissy continued when Nicole nodded again. “Which leads me to the point of all this. Waverly is a nice girl, very passive. She’ll never tell you this, because she loves you and is whipped for you, but she wants to go to prom.”

“Chrissy, I know.” Nicole replied.

“I don’t want to break up whatever bro code you and Wynonna have, because I know how important this bromance is to you, but sometimes you’ve got to put hoes before bros.” Chrissy paused as they both registered the words coming from her mouth. Chrissy shook her head and continued. “What I mean is that I don’t care if you and Wynonna decided not to go to prom this year.”

“Chrissy–” Nicole tried but the blonde cut her off.

“No, let me finish.” Nicole closed her mouth and nodded. “I’m telling you – I’m not asking you, I’m telling you – to take Waverly to prom.”

“You and Waverly are very similar, you know.” Nicole chuckled softly. “You’re both persistent about the things you want.”

“I don’t want this, Nicole. Waverly does.”

“Believe me, I know she does.”

“So why haven’t you done anything about it yet?”

"Chrissy, I don’t want to sound rude, but you’re an idiot if you really thought I wasn’t going to take my girlfriend to prom.”

“So you’re going to ask her?” Chrissy crossed her arms.

“Prom is the week before graduation. Waverly was going to help me find an outfit for graduation this weekend, but I told her I was busy. So she and Wynonna are going shopping for, what Waverly thinks is, an outfit for Wynonna. But what they’re really doing is buying Waverly a prom dress. I have a plan, and Wynonna has no choice but to help me.”

“Oh so...so you’re ahead of the game here.” Chrissy nodded. “Well good. I thought I was going to have to knock some sense into you.”

“You couldn’t hurt me even if you wanted to.” Nicole smiled. “But I’m happy to know that I’m leaving Waverly in good hands.” Her smile faltered slightly, any trace of happiness leaving her eyes.

“Don’t do that.” Chrissy pointed a finger at Nicole. “Don’t make it sound like you’re willingly leaving Waverly, that you’re leaving her forever. Because you’re not.”

“I just find it funny, honestly.” Nicole shrugged. “We’ve come so far and now here I am leaving.”

“What is this? Huh?” Chrissy shook her head. “You’ve gotten far too soft for Nicole Haught. You’re coming back, Nicole. She’s okay with it.”

“But is she really?”

“She hasn’t shut up about it.” Chrissy walked over to Nicole. “‘My girlfriend is going to be a cop.’ ‘Nicole is going to look so good in her uniform.’” She imitated the brunette, causing Nicole to smile.

“She really says all that, huh?”

“Well, that among... other things .” Chrissy smirked.

Nicole’s eyes widened and she swallowed hard. “W-what?”

“She says you’re a good cook, too.” Chrissy shrugged and winked at Nicole.

“Right,” Nicole cleared her throat and nodded, “well, I um…”

“Nicole?” Waverly’s voice came from the other side of the door. “You in there?”

“Coming, baby!” Nicole called back.

“She can’t know why I’m really here.” Chrissy said, eyes wide and voice hushed. “She can’t know I’ve been hustling you into taking her to prom.”

Nicole huffed out a quiet laugh and rolled her eyes. “Don’t worry.” She smiled and turned towards the door, unlocking and opening it.

“Hey,” Waverly smiled up at Nicole, “Wynonna said you had locked yourself in here. Said you were having a panic attack?”

“Yeah.” Nicole smiled, a little embarrassed, and lifted a hand to rub the back of her neck. “But everything is fine now. Chrissy...she helped. A lot, actually.”

“So this is where you ran off to.” Waverly moved her eyes over to meet Chrissy’s.

“I saw her come in here.” Chrissy shrugged. “I knew you were busy and thought she could use the help.”

Waverly looked between her girlfriend and her best friend, studying them.

“Alright, well if you say so.” Waverly shrugged and smiled. “Now, as much as I love seeing the two of you get along, I’d like to spend these last few free minutes we have with Nicole. Alone.” She looked at Chrissy.

“Oh! Right, right. Sorry.” Chrissy smiled and nodded. She gave Waverly a quick side hug and tossed a wink in Nicole’s direction as she walked out of the room.

“I’m glad to see the costume fits.” Waverly smiled. “You know, since we didn’t really get anything done the last time we were in here.”

“I remember.” Nicole chuckled and leaned back against the wall.

“You really do look great, Nic.” Waverly bit her lip and let her eyes roam over Nicole’s body. “It turned out so well.”

“Of course it did. You designed it.” Nicole smiled.

Waverly blushed and continued to admire the redhead. Her toned biceps flexing as Nicole crossed her arms over her chest. The way the skirt of the outfit stopped mid-thigh, exposing Nicole’s defined thigh muscles, her equally as defined calves wrapped in brown gladiator sandals. Waverly’s eyes met Nicole’s and she couldn’t help but giggle at the way her hair fell loosely around her chin, underneath the red headband around her forehead.

“What?” Nicole’s brow furrowed in confusion. “Is something wrong? Is my hair messed up?”

“No,” Waverly shook her head, “no your hair looks...it looks really good, actually.”

“Well that’s a relief.” Nicole smiled. “I was worried for a second. That’s my best asset. Couldn’t go on stage with it looking a mess.”

“No, certainly not.” Waverly shook her head and wrapped her arms around Nicole’s neck. “That would be a travesty.”

“A travesty indeed.” Nicole said softly, ducking her head to brush her lips over Waverly’s. “You know,” she said, wrapping her arms around Waverly’s waist, “you don’t look too bad yourself.”

“You have no idea how uncomfortable I am right now.” Waverly admitted.

“Why? You look amazing.” Nicole stated firmly.

“I don’t know.” Waverly shrugged. “Self conscious, I guess. A lot of people are out there and are going to see me like this.”

“Waverly Earp, don’t tell me you’ve got stage fright. You, miss cheer captain who wears short skirts and sleeveless tops almost every week at football games. You, the nicest person in Purgatory whom everyone loves and adores.”

“It’s not that.” Waverly shook her head. “It’s just...Champ is here.” She stated flatly.

“Oh that son of a…” Nicole’s fingers flexed around Waverly’s waist as she inhaled through her nose sharply.

“Hey.” Waverly said softly, fingers curling around the back of Nicole’s neck. “Breathe.”

“I’m good, I’m fine.” Nicole nodded and closed her eyes, breathing deeply.

“Can you promise that you won’t, you know, freak out? If he approaches me?”

“I’ll try. But I can’t promise anything.”

“I’m just glad he’s not in the play.” Waverly sighed. “If he was…” She shook her head. “I don’t want him to touch me.”

“And he won’t.” Nicole replied firmly. “I’m just really, really glad Wynonna convinced Doc to take over Pete’s abandoned role. That was a brilliant idea, by the way.”

“Yes, well you were the one to convince Bobo to pick Dolls for Hades.” Waverly pointed out.

“Well it was either him, or Tucker Gardner.” Nicole rolled her eyes. “Besides, Dolls may seem scary on the outside, but he’s just a huge softie.”

“Exposing your best guy friend to me in a moment of panic.” Waverly grinned. “Didn’t know you had it in you, Haught.”

“I expose Wynonna all the time so.” Nicole shrugged and chuckled.

“Yes, and I love you for that. Wyn needs to know how soft she is.”

“That’s what you love me for, eh?” Nicole tilted her head to the side.

“Well, yes. But that’s not all.”

“Oh, please do tell what it is you love about me, then.” Nicole bit her lip.

“Hm. Maybe I will.” Waverly leaned up and pecked Nicole’s lips quickly. “When we’re alone and I can show you everything I love about you.”

“How do you expect me to be able to remember my lines, to be able to sing , when you say stuff like that...when you look at me like that?” Nicole groaned.

“When I look at you like what?” Waverly batted her eyes.

Nicole swallowed hard upon seeing the want – the hunger – in Waverly’s eyes. So much had changed in Waverly since their first time. Confidence had rooted itself within the small brunette and there was no more fear in her eyes. They were young and dumb, and things seemed a bit too cliché for Nicole’s taste at times, but they were in love. Their relationship grew from the same place, a place that was once full of darkness and hate, and their love stemmed from somewhere even deeper.

Nicole knew things would be scary for them when she left, but she also knew that she couldn’t focus on the things that hadn’t happened yet. Waverly had once given her some advice about how to handle her anxiety during a particularly rough night for the redhead. Ever since that night, Waverly’s words had been etched in Nicole’s mind and always played on repeat when she needed to hear them most.

“Anxiety cannot live in the present, only the future and the past.” Waverly had told her.

The words echoed in Nicole’s mind as she let herself get lost in Waverly’s eyes. In that moment, all of Nicole’s fears seemed to vanish. She wasn’t worried about the play or about having to sing in front of her friends and family. She wasn’t worried about going off to the Academy come August, leaving her love behind. She was focused on the present and the now . She was focused on Waverly. And she knew, she just knew that everything was going to be okay. Because she was existing in that moment alone with Waverly, and she was grounded and reassured that everything was going to be okay; that they were going to be okay.

“Like that.” Nicole whispered. “When you look at me with all of that love, all of that admiration, in your eyes.”

“You’re gonna do great.” Waverly whispered back, smiling.

“I’m not worried about the performances anymore.” Nicole shook her head.

“I wasn’t talking about that. You’re going to make a great officer.” Waverly forced a smile onto her face, worried the pain in her eyes would lead Nicole to believe she wasn’t proud of her. Nicole noticed instantly.

“I’m coming back to you, Waves.” Nicole reassured Waverly and pulled her even closer against her body.

“Promise?” Waverly asked softly, as if she were afraid of the answer.

“Baby, it’s you and me until the end of time. A life without you by my side is a life I don’t want to live. Of course I promise.” Nicole punctuated her statement by leaning down and capturing Waverly’s lips in a soft kiss.

“You guys are disgustingly cute, you know that?” Wynonna’s voice made the two jump apart.

“What the hell, Wynonna?” Nicole grumbled, resting her forehead against Waverly’s.

“Oh don’t get your cape in a wad, Haught Shot.” Wynonna rolled her eyes and stepped into the room. “I’ve been sent here by the boss man. Ten minutes until curtain call. You two better finish up the liplocking, or else this show won’t happen and we’ll all be in trouble then.”

“You’re just jealous of us.” Nicole smirked.

“Watching you two make out, dressed as Disney characters, in a cramped ass dressing room barely big enough for one person?” Wynonna snorted. “Yeah. Super jealous.”

“Intimacy is the ultimate key to a good relationship, Wy. Don’t knock it ‘till you try it.” Waverly shrugged and kissed Nicole’s cheek before slipping past her sister and out of the room.

Nicole watched as Waverly walked out of the room, leaving her alone with Wynonna, who was staring her down without a single word. It made Nicole’s skin crawl. It made her feel like Wynonna was judging her, studying her to find some sort of weak link in the chain of truths she’s told Waverly. Wynonna might be her best friend, but that didn’t mean the older Earp didn’t scare her sometimes. She’s decked Nicole in the face for looking at another girl while she was with Shae once, after all. God knows what she’d do now that Nicole was with Waverly.

“You mean what you said? About her? About all of this?” Wynonna finally asked after a minute of silence passed between them.

“Always.” Nicole replied without a moment of hesitation.

“Good.” Wynonna nodded. “You know...I always thought things would get to be too much for you, since our family is about as fucked up as they come, and you’d run off leaving me behind. That you’d run off, leaving my sister with a broken heart.”

“Wynonna, I love her.” Nicole stated firmly.

“Ew.” Wynonna made a face and rolled her eyes. “But, you better.” She added before turning back to Nicole.

“I kind of love you, too, you know.” Nicole shrugged.

“Don’t get too soft on me now, Haught. We’ve got a show to put on and I can’t be crying over some stupid shit you said.” Wynonna a lightly shoved Nicole towards the door. “Now come on. Let’s go kick some ass on stage.”

Chapter Text

The weekend’s performances had gone by with minimal issues regarding actors. The opening night performance had audio issues, where some of the music cut out in the middle of some songs. Saturday’s performance had lighting issues, as some burnt out during the intermission and left most of the stage shrouded in darkness for the remainder of the show. With Sunday’s performance going off without a hitch, Waverly found herself worrying about the success of the show rather than her own performance in the show. She nearly missed her cues, recalling her lines at the last possible moment. Waverly Earp was a mess and a half on stage that night, and Nicole had noticed immediately. It was hard to acknowledge without breaking character, so Nicole improvised some of her actions by standing closer to Waverly, placing a hand on her shoulder or arm when she wasn’t scripted to.

“Waves is really distracted tonight. What’s got her so anxious?” Chrissy whispered from the right wing.

“It’s Waverly.” Wynonna replied in a whisper, gesticulating with her hands. “She’s always anxious.”

“Yeah, but she hasn’t been like this all weekend. Do you think it’s because Champ is here again?”

“Are you serious?” Wynonna tore her eyes away from the stage to look at the blonde. “That dick and three quarters is here perving on my baby sister again ?”

“I hear that Tucker Gardener is here as well.” Doc said as he approached the two girls. “Jeremy and I have been scoping out the audience.”

“Why is it that Waverly has all the guys after her?” Wynonna rolled her eyes.

“You’re saying you’d rather have Eight Seconds and the town’s stalker chasing after you rather than me?” Doc raised an eyebrow. “Why, Wynonna, I must say that I am truly shocked.”

“Okay, that is not what I meant and you know it.” Wynonna pointed a finger in Doc’s face before turning back to Chrissy. “You and Chetri keep an eye out when the show ends. Waverly and Nicole are going to get dinner with Nicole’s family after we leave here. Hardy and Gardner will most likely intercept their route.”

“I think Nicole can handle them.” Jeremy spoke up, a slight tremble to his voice. “She nearly beat Champ up the last time they ran into each other.”

“Nicole might be able to handle her own, but that doesn’t mean she should. She’s got a perfect record at this school. I don’t want that to get messed up and ruin her chances at the Academy.” Wynonna replied.

“Right,” Chrissy nodded, “so we have to stop them before they get to Waves and Nicole. Got it.”

“I’ve got a lot of faith in you, Nedley. Don’t mess it up.” Wynonna clamped a hand onto Chrissy’s shoulder before turning and strutting onto the stage.

“Hercules, my man! Er... Wo man!” They heard Wynonna exclaim causing the audience to laugh.

- - - - -

Nicole kept her eyes on Waverly as often as she could, worrying that she might somehow fall off the stage or trip over something. She was distant when she wasn’t speaking, and stiff in her movements when she was. Nicole suspected it all had to do with her worrying about the success of the show, but she also knew most of it had to do with a certain football player who was spotted in the audience. Again.

Champ was beginning to become a real pain in Nicole’s ass due to the fact that he was constantly hanging around backstage after shows, waiting for Waverly to come by so he could talk to her. The jock seemed relentless in Nicole’s eyes, not stopping at anything until he had her girl. A raging homophobe or just a plain dick, Nicole wasn’t sure, but Champ Hardy had another thing coming if he thought he was getting anywhere near Waverly after this show.

Nicole took advantage of her time hidden behind a stage prop curtain to conceal herself and compose herself, steadying her breathing and counting to ten so she could focus and finish the show without any slip ups. Hoping that Waverly had somehow gotten herself together, Nicole held her breath when she heard Waverly’s cue from Wynonna. 

“There she goes! On the veranda!” Wynonna yelled and ran off stage with a group of girls, and guys, posing as Nicole’s fans.

One moment passed, then two, then three. Nicole nearly sighed and ran a hand through her hair when she heard Waverly’s voice.

“Hm...Let's see, what could be behind curtain number one?” Waverly yanked the curtain to one side, revealing the redhead.

“Meg!” Nicole yelled.

“It's all right. The sea of raging hormones has ebbed.” Waverly rolled her eyes.

“Gee, i-i-it's great to see you. I-I-I missed you.” Nicole stammered and rubbed the back of her neck.

Waverly looked around before dropping down onto a nearby couch. “So, this is what heroes do on their days off, huh?”

“Oh, I am no hero…” Nicole trailed off and shrugged.

“Sure you are.” Waverly sat up and looked up at Nicole. “Everybody in Greece thinks you're the greatest thing since they put the pocket in pita.” She paused for laughter and took a deep breath.

Keeping her eyes locked with Nicole’s, Waverly caught the barest hint of a smile on her face and knew that everything was going to be okay.

They finished the play with zero issues.

- - - - -

Nicole and Waverly managed to change and exit the building without running into Champ or Tucker. They even stopped to talk to their friends before heading out and still eluded the seemingly stalker-ish boys. With plans in place, Wynonna took off with Doc for the evening as Waverly went with Nicole.

They walked out of the building, hand in hand, laughing and talking about the show’s success and how relieved they were for it to finally be over. Since Nicole’s parents had been no-shows all three nights (to no one’s surprise), they had driven to school in Waverly’s car. Their plan was to go find a place to eat, and go back to the Homestead together for the night. Nicole was upset that her parents bailed on her and Waverly refused to let her be alone, or go back to them that night.

“Are you sure you’re fine?” Waverly asked as they made their way to her car.

“Of course I am. Why wouldn’t I be?” Nicole squeezed Waverly’s hand lightly.

“Because your parents didn’t show up again?” Waverly shrugged. “Because they promised they’d take us for dinner and then bailed last minute?”

“I’m used to it by now.” Nicole confessed. “I’m really fine, Waves. I just want to spend time with you.”

Waverly smiled and nodded, bringing the top of Nicole’s hand to her lips and kissing it lightly. They rounded the building’s corner and crossed the parking lot to Waverly’s Jeep. Nicole spotted an SUV, parked a couple spots over from Waverly, and let her hand fall from the Jeep’s door handle as she turned to face the car.

“You’re kidding me, right?” Nicole grumbled.

“What is it?” Waverly asked, making her way over to the passenger side of the car.

“They’re here,” Nicole pointed to the black car, “but they’re just...sitting there. Did they even go in and watch?”

“I don’t know, but they’re waving you over.” Waverly replied.

“Nicole, honey, over here!” The woman behind the wheel, no doubt Nicole’s mother, yelled from the open window.

“We’re going to be late for our reservations!” A man they couldn’t see, Nicole’s father, added from the passenger seat.

“I told you I was going to ride with Waverly there.” Nicole said as she neared the SUV.

“Oh that’s right, silly me.” Mrs. Haught replied. “You had mentioned earlier that Waverly was going to drop you off at the restaurant.”

“No,” Nicole shook her head, “I said we were going to show up. Together. To meet you there. For dinner. Together.”

“Sweetheart, our reservations are for three, not four.” Mr. Haught leaned over the center console of the car to get closer to his daughter.

“Yes! For you, your father, and I.” Mrs. Haught smiled.

“Did you even come and see a single performance?” Nicole asked. “Did you do anything but sit here in the parking lot?”

“Of course we did.” Mr. Haught replied.

“Oh don’t lie to her. We thought you didn’t want us there, so we figured it was best if we didn’t come.” Mrs. Haught shrugged.

“I…” Nicole stared her parents down, taking a deep breath and choosing her next words carefully. “This was something big for me, huge for me, and you thought I didn’t want you here? I’ve finally come out of my comfort zone, I’ve finally embraced who I am, and you just...you ignored it.”

“Nicole, I’m sorry if we upset you. And I’m sorry about dinner. If you want, we’ll just go and you can spend the night with your friend.” Mrs. Haught smiled and waved to Waverly.

Nicole glanced back at Waverly to find her standing with her arms crossed. “She’s not my friend, Mom. She’s my girlfriend.”

“Pish posh,” Mrs. Haught waved a dismissive hand in the air, “it’s all the same. You kids today have too many different terms for the same thing. Just call us in the morning so we know when you’re coming home, okay?” Nicole didn’t reply, instead standing in shocked silence.

“We love you, Nicky!” Mr. Haught blew a kiss to his daughter before the car drove off.

Nicole was left staring at the now empty parking spot, silent rage building high within her. She jumped slightly when she felt Waverly’s gentle touch on her shoulder.

“Come on,” she said softly, “let’s get going.”

- - - - -

They drove to the diner in silence, Waverly letting Nicole take the time she needed to compose herself; she knew better than to push and pull answers out of Nicole, especially when she was angry. Nicole didn’t say anything while they ate, the only words coming from her mouth being when she ordered or when she was thanking their waitress. They split the bill, as they always did, and drove back to the homestead. Wynonna’s truck wasn’t in the driveway and Gus had informed them she would be working late at Shorty’s, so the house was dark and quiet when they entered. Waverly took her coat off and hug it on its respectful hook, taking Nicole’s and hanging it as well, giving her cheek a quick peck in the process.

Waverly climbed the stairs to her room, Nicole following three steps behind. Waverly sighed and rubbed her face as she flopped down onto her bed, hearing Nicole shut the door behind her. With a sigh, Waverly turned onto her back, staring up at the ceiling. She felt the bed dip next to her, indicating that Nicole had taken a seat on the edge of the mattress. Waverly waited, the silence deafening now. She waited because she knew Nicole would speak when she was ready. But she hadn’t said anything since they left the school’s parking lot and Waverly was beginning to worry.

Nicole had a tendency to recede into her mind when she was upset, and Waverly usually knew how to bring her back out, but there was something different about this time. The silence was louder than ever, the harsh glare of it digging its talons deep within them. There was a lot they needed to talk about, a lot to unpack from their encounter with Nicole’s parents, and Waverly had no idea where to start. Trusting her mind to find the right words, Waverly opened her mouth to speak, but snapped it shut when Nicole spoke up.

“Are you okay?” She asked softly.

“What?” Waverly replied.

“Are you okay?” Nicole repeated slightly louder this time.

“I’m…yes, Nicole.” Waverly slowly sat up and scratched her head, confused.

“Are you sure?” Nicole wrung her hands together in her lap, her eyes trained on them.

“Yes, Nicole.” Waverly repeated, eyeing the redhead suspiciously.

“Positive?”

Yes , Nicole. Why wouldn’t I be? What’s wrong?”

“What’s wrong is that my parents just brushed past the fact that I have a girlfriend. What’s wrong is that they were rude to you. What’s wrong is that they disrespected you right to my face.”

“Nicole – ”

“So why are you okay, Waverly? Why? How?”

“Nicole,” Waverly placed a gentle hand on Nicole’s shoulder, “I promise I’m okay. What they said, I’m used to it.”

“Well you shouldn’t be. You shouldn’t be okay.” Nicole muttered.

“Why? Shouldn’t you be happy that I am ? Shouldn’t you be relieved?”

“They called you my ‘friend.’ They erased who I am, who you are, and you’re telling me you’re okay? You shouldn’t be okay, Waverly.”

“You keep saying that, but I’m not exactly seeing why.” Waverly stated, slightly aggravated.

“You shouldn’t be because...because you just shouldn’t be!” Nicole yelled, causing Waverly to jump.

“And why’s that? Huh?” Waverly’s reply came just as loud as Nicole’s. “Give me one damn good reason why I don’t have the right to be okay with all of this crap, Nicole!”

“Because I love you!” Nicole yelled. “Because you are the only good thing I have in my life at the moment and my parents won’t even acknowledge that! So why the fuck is that okay? Why the fuck does that not bother you?"

“Why are you so mad at me for feeling differently from what you think I should feel?” Waverly snapped, unable to hold her anger back any longer.

Nicole remained silent, eyes burning holes into her hands. Waverly huffed and crossed her arms.

“Nicole, I understand that you’re upset right now, and you have every right to be, but that doesn’t mean I’m hurt by what your homophobic parents said. We live in a small town, which means it leans more toward the conservative side. I’ve lived here my entire life, being torn down by everyone in this city for my last name. I’m immune to the hate and discrimination. I’m sorry if I’m only making you more upset, but you don’t get to sit here and tell me how I’m supposed to feel.” Waverly exhaled through her nose before taking a deep breath and standing up. She glanced at Nicole and found the redhead still staring at her hands.

Waverly waited for a response and sighed when none came. She turned on her heels and headed for her dresser, where she grabbed a change of clothes before stalking off to the bathroom to take a shower.

The second she heard the door close and the lock click into place, Nicole broke down into tears.

- - - - -

Waverly sighed and wiped the fog away from the mirror hanging above the sink and stared at herself. Her hair was wet, eyes red from crying, and her body was wrapped in a white cotton towel. She leaned forward against the counter, her hands gripping the edge tightly. The lingering steam from her hot shower wrapped around her like a warm blanket, grounding her and keeping her in the present.

Nicole had gotten mad at her before, had said some things Waverly thought she’d never say, but there was never a time when Nicole had yelled at her. Waverly thought it would never happen, that they’d always be in the “honeymoon” phase of their relationship where everything was perfect and nothing less. It was foolish to believe such a thing, but isn’t that what everyone wants from a relationship? She knew she was overreacting, and she knew Nicole had every right to be as upset as she was, but there was something off about the way Nicole was handling the situation. Normally she was cool, calm, and collected when her parents made snarky remarks about her sexuality or what role Waverly played in her life. So seeing her completely lose it was unexpected.

“Come on, Waverly.” Waverly sighed. “No need to make this into an argument. She’s clearly hurting. So just go in there and...give her the love she needs.”

Waverly changed into her clothes and threw her hair up into a messy bun before leaving the bathroom and slowly making her way back to her bedroom. The door was slightly ajar, the dim light from a lamp within the room casting a sliver of light in the dark hallway through the crack in the door. Taking a deep breath and bracing herself, Waverly slowly pushed the door open. She took a step inside and stopped when she saw Nicole.

The redhead was sitting on the floor, at the foot of the bed, cradling her head in her hands. Soft sobs fell from her mouth and her knees were pulled tightly against her chest. Waverly’s heart shattered at the sight, her notions confirmed about Nicole being bothered by more than just her parents. Looking behind her, Waverly closed the door and locked it before making her way over to Nicole, where she sat next to her and wrapped a hand around one of Nicole’s wrists gently.

“I’m sorry.” Nicole whispered after a minute. “I shouldn’t have yelled. I’m under a lot of stress right now, and what happened with my parents was just...enough to push me over the edge, but that didn’t give me any right to yell at you, or to tell you how to feel.”

“Nicole, can you look at me, please?” Waverly asked softly. Nicole shook her head and tried to pull her hand away. Waverly tightened her grip around Nicole’s wrist. “Baby.”

“Most...most of this stems from something deeper than just my homophibic parents.” Nicole finally said after taking a deep breath.

“I assumed as much.” Waverly nodded and squeezed Nicole’s hand, telling her to continue.

“I’m scared, Waverly. I’m terrified. What if it’s too much? What if it isn’t for me?”

“The Academy?” Waverly asked and Nicole nodded. “Nic, I know my words hold an empty meaning at this point, but I don’t doubt your success at all. This is something you want, something you care about and are passionate about.”

“Since when does that mean anything?”

Waverly sighed and dropped Nicole’s hand. “Look, I’m going to need you to cut the crap, Nicole. You need to stop dragging yourself down just because your parents managed to piss you off yet again.”

“Easier said than done.” Nicole snapped.

“Yeah, I’m aware.” Waverly huffed and rolled her eyes. “Which is why you should let me finish.”

“Sorry.” Nicole replied sheepishly and ducked her head.

“I know you’ve got to be going through a lot right now, so I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say that this sudden burst of pessimism is because of the crazy amount of stress you’re feeling. I’m not going to sit here and kiss your forehead and tell you that everything will be okay, because I can’t see the future. Not to mention how upset I still am with you for acting the way you did earlier.”

“Is there a point to this passive-aggressive peptalk, Wave? Because I can get this same talk from my parents at home.” Nicole grumbled.

“Nicole Rayleigh Haught, would you just stop being so stubborn for one second and listen to me?” Waverly moved in front of Nicole and took her hands in her own. “Look, you are the strongest person I know. You’re also one of the smartest. So I know that deep down in that brain of yours you’ve hidden away the charming, though super competitive, asshole basketball player that I fell in love with.”

Super competitive, huh? Guess that’s better than being cocky though.” Nicole smirked which got her a smack on the arm. “Sorry! Sorry, shutting up.” Nicole cleared her throat and met Waverly’s eyes again.

“My point is that you’ve lived your whole life within the confines of your parent’s expectations. You’ve played the sports they wanted you to play. You played sports that you thought would impress them, just to get their attention !” Waverly threw her hands in the air. “You’ve shoved yourself into this tiny box, because you didn’t fit the mold of ‘golden child’ in the eyes of your parents. I know they’re so completely against you going off to the Academy in the fall, but you really shouldn’t care. Coming from someone who has spent her whole life tailoring who she is for the people she’s with, I’m telling you to be your true, authentic self.” Waverly poked a finger at Nicole’s chest.

“Because who you really are is the most caring, strong-willed, and cocky son of a bitch who is going to make one hell of a cop.”

“Did you just curse?” Nicole giggled. “Who are you and what have you done with my Waverly?”

“Nicole!” Waverly whined and laughed. “I’m trying to be serious here.”

“Okay, okay!” Nicole laughed and held her hands up in surrender. “I’ll try to not let all of this stress about graduation and going off to the city consume me.”

“You’re gonna do more than try.” Waverly narrowed her eyes.

“You just have to promise that you won’t, you know...run off if things get scary. We both know how angry I can get.”

“Look, I can’t promise that I won’t ever get mad or run off, but what I can and will promise you is that, no matter what, I will always come back to you.”

“I just can’t lose you.” Nicole bit her lip to keep the tears from spilling over her eyes. “You’re the only good thing I have going for me right now, the only good thing I have in my life.”

“Nicole,” Waverly reached up and wiped Nicole’s tears away, “baby...sweetheart...my love.” She framed the redhead’s face gently in her hands. “Where you go I go.”

Nicole smiled and closed the space between them, capturing Waverly’s lips in a tender kiss. The future was unclear for their relationship. They both knew the distance was going to be hard, and that it might cause them to reach a breaking point before Nicole would return, but that wasn’t going to stop them from trying. Nicole had one week left before graduation to prove to Waverly that she was going to make their relationship work no matter what obstacles life threw their way, which meant she needed to set her plan into motion.

In the morning, she would ask Waverly to prom.

Chapter Text

Nicole woke early the next morning, her nerves on end and her mind racing with things she needed to do. There was a plan for how she wanted to ask Waverly to prom, but she wouldn’t be able to do it alone. She creeped into Wynonna’s room at the end of the hall, wincing slightly at the creaky floorboards beneath her feet. Nicole closed the door and made her way over to Wynonna’s bed, grabbing a pillow that wasn’t currently supporting the eldest Earp’s head and smacking her with it. Wynonna jolted awake with a snort and a grunt and squinted up at the intruder.

“The fuck?” Wynonna grumbled.

“I’m asking Waverly to prom today,” Nicole said.

“Awesome, good for you, Red, but what the hell does that have to do with me? And why did that require you waking me up at-” Wynonna paused to check the time on her phone. “-six AM? Dude, seriously, what the hell?”

Listen ,” Nicole rolled her eyes, “I have a plan for what I need to do, but I can’t do it alone. I need your help. I’m going to shoot Jeremy a text, maybe Chrissy, to recruit them, too.”

“What’s in it for me?” Wynonna wagered.

“Your sister’s happiness?” Nicole tried.

Wynonna sighed and sat up. “Fine, what do I need to do?”

Nicole launched into her plan, giving Wynonna a very detail-oriented explanation for what she had planned. She needed to contact Bobo and see if she could finesse him into getting her into the school’s auditorium for the afternoon, and she was hoping her improving grade in his class would help with that. She also had to stop by the store to gather supplies, and keep Waverly distracted long enough for her to get everything set up. The hardest part of her plan was getting Waverly to school without raising any suspicions. Basketball was done, so that excuse was out of the question, and they didn’t have graduation practice until the following day, so that’s where Wynonna came in. She needed her best friend to act as a distraction for Waverly, and if Nicole knew anyone who could get shit done, it was Wynonna Earp. If all went well, Nicole would be taking her girl to prom and their last two weeks they spend together might just be the best two weeks of their lives.

“I never pegged you as the hopeless romantic type, Haught,” Wynonna hummed. “Though that’s not to say that I couldn’t see you standing outside Waverly’s bedroom window with a boombox and a crappy sign saying ‘Flowers are the second most beautiful thing, can I go to prom with the first?’ either.”

“I really can’t believe I’m friends with you sometimes, I hope you know that,” Nicole rolled her eyes but couldn’t help but smile.

“If you weren’t then you’d probably have no shot with Waves. You should be kissing the ground I walk on for being your friend, really.”

Wynonna laughed when Nicole threw the pillow at her face.

- - - - -

Waverly woke to the smell of bacon and an empty bed. Feeling around the space next to her and finding a cold expanse of sheets, Waverly frowned and sat up. She looked around the room and sighed when there were no signs of Nicole being present, not even her duffle bag from the night before was on the floor. Waverly stretched and stood up, bringing her arms above her head and relishing in the few pops and cracks her joints gave as they, too, woke up. She noticed a folded piece of paper on her nightstand, then, and picked it up. Looking on with curious eyes, Waverly unfolded the paper to reveal a note written in Nicole’s messy, yet somehow perfect, handwriting.

 

Waves,

I’m sorry for taking off, but I had a few things I needed to do. I didn’t want to wake you, so I hope this note gets me off the hook just this once. Wynonna should be downstairs making breakfast when you wake up. Go spend some time with your sister. I’ll see you later, and I love you.

-N

 

Waverly smiled and shook her head. Typical Nicole, thinking of everyone before herself. Waverly slowly made her way downstairs and into the kitchen where she found Wynonna sitting at the table, enjoying a cup of coffee and a plate of bacon and delicious-looking pancakes.

“You’re up early,” Waverly said before sitting down in the chair next to her sister.

“I was craving pancakes, so I made pancakes,” Wynonna shrugged, mouth full, and shoved more of the fluffy breakfast cake into her mouth. “Want some? They’re vegan,” she hummed in a sing-song tone and smiled.

“Okay something is definitely up,” Waverly raised a skeptical eyebrow at her sister. “You never get up before noon on the weekends, and you never cook for yourself, let alone make it vegan.”

“Fine then, I’ll just take my pancakes and go,” Wynonna scoffed and stood up from her chair. “The nerve of some people. Not appreciating the good things in life: food,” she muttered before leaving the kitchen.

Waverly giggled quietly to herself and rolled her eyes, standing up and walking over to the stove, preparing to fix herself a cup of tea. Waiting for the water in the kettle to boil, Waverly allowed her mind to drift back to the previous night’s events. Nicole’s parents, their awkward dinner, the fight. She sighed, remembering the yelling that occurred. Nicole never yelled, never lost her cool like that in front of Waverly. It worried her, knowing that her girlfriend was clearly more distraught than she was letting on before. It hurt, to say the least, knowing Nicole didn’t feel comfortable with telling Waverly those things.

Waverly shook her head and leaned against the counter. That’s not what was happening, she told herself. It was evident how stressed Nicole was with graduation and the Academy and leaving Purgatory. Nicole was one of the most selfless people Waverly knew, so she knew the redhead had been pushing her own problems down in order to ensure Waverly, and everyone else around her, was okay. Even the strongest ones can’t hold it together forever. She winced slightly when she thought about the words they exchanged as they yelled, the things they didn’t mean nor want to say. Waverly sighed deeply and pinched the bridge of her nose in an attempt to alleviate some of the stress she was feeling.

Her mind slowly drifted from the worst part of her night to the best. Her mind suddenly became full of vivid images of the events taking place after Waverly sat down and talked to Nicole. They had kissed for a while, giggling incessantly at the childlike giddiness they felt because of it. Slowly, things began to grow more heated as Waverly made it her mission to convey every sense of support she could offer her girlfriend in that moment. She took her time, letting her lips explore parts of Nicole she had only ever dreamed of, parts of her that only Waverly could ever kiss. They kept things PG for the most part, not wanting Gus coming home to two high schoolers getting it on upstairs and getting caught, but that’s not to say they didn’t enjoy it.

Waverly bit her lip and felt the heat rush to her cheeks at the thought of Nicole’s lips on her neck, the redhead’s body pressed against hers. Their bodies molded together like two pieces of a puzzle and their hands roamed every expanse of exposed skin they could reach. Waverly had lost count of how many times she told Nicole she loved her throughout the night’s events, and knew she had said it many more times without using her words. Their lips never strayed far from each other until the sun began to rise, each kiss a promise for the future.

The kettle on the stove began its high pitched whistle, indicating the water was boiling, and Waverly jumped. She pulled herself from her thoughts and grabbed a mug and a teabag from the cabinet, constructing the herbal beverage in her usual way. After tasting to make sure it was to her liking, Waverly decided to make her own breakfast since Wynonna seemed to leave no trace of the infamous vegan pancakes for her to have. With a sigh and a shake of her head, Waverly settled for a bowl of fruit. She retrieved the pre-cut fruit from the fridge and set some aside for herself in a small bowl.

It was still relatively early, so Waverly took advantage of the time and made for the living room with the intention of sitting down and reading for a good deal of the morning. She had lost track of time after immersing herself into Susan Bauer’s The History of the Ancient World for thirty minutes. Suddenly, Waverly was pulled from her thoughts as Wynonna came bounding down the stairs, screaming for the younger Earp, cellphone clutched in her hand.

“Waverly!” Wynonna yelled again, causing the brunette to wince.

“In the living room, Wy. And you don’t need to yell,” Waverly set her book down on the arm of the chair she sat in when Wynonna entered the room. “Is everything alright?”

“I need a dress for graduation,” Wynonna stated simply.

“Wynonna,” Waverly sighed. “Didn’t we go look for one a couple of weeks ago with Doc and Dolls?”

“Keyword ‘looked’. I still need one,” Wynonna replied. “Come with me? I really don’t want to do this alone. You know how much I hate shopping.”

“I mean...I guess so. Nicole said she’d be busy for most of the day, so I don’t see the harm in spending the day with you,” Waverly shrugged and smiled.

“You’re the best,” Wynonna lightly elbowed her sister.

“You’re just saying that because Doc and Dolls are both either busy or still asleep,” Waverly rolled her eyes in a playful manner and set her book down. “Give me a few minutes to get dressed and we can go.”

“Hurry up, Angel Pants. I want to stop and get coffee before,” Wynonna lightly slapped Waverly’s ass as she passed by to get to the kitchen.

“Easy there, Flaming Ladybug, we have plenty of time,” Waverly laughed.

“We might, but Nicole doesn’t,” Wynonna whispered.

“What was that?” Waverly turned around.

“Huh? Oh, nothing,” Wynonna replied with a smile.

“Mhm,” Waverly nodded shortly before going upstairs to change.

Wynonna waited until she heard the bathroom door shut before pulling out her phone and dialing Nicole’s number. She held the phone to her ear and waited two rings before the redhead picked up.

“She fall for it?” Nicole’s voice came through the receiver.

“Like she couldn’t stand on her own two feet. You owe me for this, Haught.”

“Calm down, Earp. You’re shopping for her remember.”

“Yeah, about that, how am I supposed to convince her to try on dresses when she already thinks she’s not going to prom?”

“You’re a somewhat bright bulb, you’ll figure it out. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. I don’t have much time to waste.”

“School gym, one o’clock?” Wynonna asked.

“One o’clock, yes,” Nicole confirmed.

“Perfect,” Wynonna mumbled when the call ended, “now just to figure out how to actually get her to buy a dress.”

- - - - -

“I really can’t thank you enough for this, Mr Del Rey. It means a lot to me,” Nicole said as she made her way down the hall to the auditorium.

“It’s no big deal, I was already on campus,” Bobo waved her off. “I needed to speak with you anyway. About your grade in my class. I’ve graded your finals.”

“Oh?” Nicole swallowed hard. They reached the auditorium doors and Bobo stopped and turned to face Nicole.

“I’m afraid I can’t pass you like I had promised earlier in the year, when I asked you to be in the play.” Nicole’s eyes went wide. She failed the class so bad that her teacher couldn’t even make ends meet to help her pass.

Relief and shame washed over her body. She would have to repeat senior year...which meant another year with Waverly. She’d have to go to a different school, but she would still be with her friends and...

“I can’t uphold our deal, Miss Haught,” Bobo continued when Nicole gave no response, “because you’ve passed on your own. You finished my class with the second highest grade of all my students.”

“Let me guess who had the highest,” Nicole grinned. “So I...I passed? You’re serious?”

“Waverly has been a good influence on your study habits. I saw immediate improvement when you told me she began helping you.”

“Well, as a future officer of the law, I didn’t think it would be a good idea to risk both my high school succession and my history teacher’s career on something so stupid. It was my fault I was failing in the first place, so I needed to be the one to fix it."

“I’m glad to hear it, Nicole,” Bobo smiled. “And I wish you the best of luck at the Academy. You’ll make a wonderful cop.”

Nicole smiled and nodded. “Thank you, Mr. Del Rey. But before that happens, I’m going to need to get to prom first. Which is where your help comes in.”

“Is that why Mr. Chetri and the Sheriff’s daughter are on the stage?” Bobo asked as they entered the auditorium.

“What are you guys doing?” Nicole asked, eyebrows furrowed. “How’d you even get in here?”

“Back door was unlocked,” Chrissy shrugged.

“God dammit, I told Robin to lock the doors,” Bobo muttered. “Well, it seems you three have got things covered from here. I’ll be in my room for the next hour, so try to keep the noise to a minimum so none of us get the boot. Congratulations, again, Nicole. And good luck,” he smiled and squeezed Nicole’s shoulder before exiting.

“Congrats for what?” Chrissy asked.

“Nothing important, I’ll tell you later. We don’t have a lot of time before Wynonna gets here with Waverly.”

“You mean before Wynonna is supposed to get here with Waverly,” Jeremy corrected.

“Yeah, yeah,” Nicole waved him off. “Just go backstage and make sure the lights are working.”

“What do you need me for?” Chrissy asked after Jeremy had run behind the curtains.

“I need you to help me set these lights up.”

“So you’re recreating the day you and Waverly had your first hate-filled kiss?” Chrissy grinned.

“Yes, the day someone spilled water on the light board and locked the two of us in here alone,” Nicole raised an eyebrow at the blonde.

“What? It wasn’t me who left that uncapped bottle of water near the control panel in hopes of you knocking it over because you’re such a clutz. And it surely wasn’t me who distracted everyone in the halls long enough for you two to be stuck in here alone,” Chrissy shrugged.

“So you did set us up,” Nicole’s face mirrored her internal shock.

“I wasn’t working alone either,” Chrissy shook her head and grabbed the string of fairy lights Nicole had set on the stage. She crossed the stage and closed the curtains. “Jeremy helped. And Wynonna.”

“Wynonna help you? I find that nearly impossible,” Nicole scoffed. “She constantly made it clear as day that Waverly was off limits.”

“Yeah, because she knew you’d go for her anyway. Reversed psychology, stupid.”

“Right, well it worked,” Nicole chuckled quietly and hopped onto the stage.

“Of course it worked, you’ve been in love with Waverly since you were born. Don’t act like you wern’t only an ass to her just because you just didn’t want to accept your feelings.”

“I was...confused, okay?” Nicole sighed. “I was still hung up on the whole Shae thing. I was angry, and so I guess I channeled all of that anger toward Waverly because…” she trailed off, not really sure how to finish her thought.

“...because you knew she’d be able to match your shitty attitude and out-sarcasm you?” Chrissy finished.

“Yeah, I guess that’s it,” Nicole laughed softly and shook her head. “Man, I was an idiot.”

“You really hurt her with some of the things you said,” Chrissy stated, finishing one string of lights and starting with the other. “ But , she quickly got over it because I knew you meant no real harm, so I kept trying to convince her of that.”

“Sometimes I think I don’t deserve her.”

“That’s a load of crap and you know it. You and Waverly are meant for each other, you’re built for each other, Nicole.”

“Yeah, but–”

“No buts. Stop worrying about what’s happened in the past and focus on the now. And by that I mean help me with these lights.”

“Right, right, prom is the focus right now,” Nicole nodded and took the lights from Chrissy.

“Yes, prom. So get over this self-doubt you have and make this perfect for your girl. Otherwise I’d have to go all Wynonna and kick your ass.”

“You two are scarily similar, you know that?” Nicole pointed out.

“Just finish the lights, Nicole,” Chrissy rolled her eyes, despite the smile on her face.

- - - - -

“Wynonna, why am I trying this on? Seriously. It’s like you’re rubbing it in my face now,” Waverly complained from the dressing room.

“Just to appease me, baby girl. And, besides, you never know what could happen in the future.”

“In what scenario would I need an emergency prom dress?”

“You’re asking too many questions,” Wynonna groaned. “Just...come out.”

“Wynonna, I’m bisexual,” Waverly replied, sticking her head out from behind the curtain, voice serious.

“That’s not what I meant, dorkus,” Wynonna snorted and motioned with her hands. “I meant come out .”

“I don’t know how I feel about this. It isn’t really me,” Waverly said as she stepped out from behind the curtain.

Wynonna looked up from her phone and had to keep her jaw from hitting the floor. Waverly stood before her in a floor-length lilac dress. The torso piece came down her shoulders and wrapped across her chest in two separate pieces, creating a slight mid drift on her stomach and sides, leaving her back and shoulders exposed. Waverly’s curves and abs were exposed, showing off her figure in every right way possible. Wynonna slowly rose to her feet and shoved her phone in the pocket of her jeans, ignoring Nicole’s texts.

“Whoa…” Wynonna whispered. “Baby girl, you look amazing.”

“Yeah?” Waverly smiled and faced the full-length mirror.

“You should get it,” Wynonna said as she came up behind her sister.

“It’s pricey,” Waverly but her lip.

“It was on the clearance rack, Waves.”

“Okay, but why would I need it?” She looked at Wynonna through the mirror.

“Chrissy and Chetri are going to prom with Perry and Robin, right? And Rosita’s going with...whoever that hot chick is she’s been talking to, yeah?” Waverly nodded and Wynonna hummed. “So go with them. They’ve both asked you several times to go with them.”

“I don’t want to be fifth wheeling, Nonna,” Waverly sighed.

“They’re your best friends. Go with them. Haught can’t go because–”

“Yes, I know, she has a family thing,” Waverly rolled her eyes.

“Look, will you at least let me buy this dress for you and you while you just think about taking them up on their offer?”

“Fine,” Waverly sighed after a moment. “But if I don’t go, we’re returning the dress.”

“Deal,” Wynonna grinned. “Now hurry up and change. We’ve gotta get to school.”

“What? School? Why?”

“You’ll see when we get there. Just go change,” Wynonna said, pushing Waverly back into the dressing room.

- - - - -

Nicole appeared from backstage, dressed in her costume from the play. It was a cheesy idea she had, but Chrissy refused to let the plan change once it was vocalized. Nicole thought it only fitting that, since their relationship began and grew stronger because of the play, she should ask Waverly to prom in a similar way. So here she was, dressed as Hercules once again.

“I’ve cut the lights off,” Jeremy said when he noticed Nicole.

“Great,” Nicole nodded and looked around. “This should do. I think it’s good enough.”

“Good enough ? Nicole, Waves is going to freak out when she walks in here,” Chrissy replied.

“She’s going to freak out in general when she finds out what you’re doing,” Jeremy added. “She’s refused to go with any of us because she wants to go with you.”

“Well, I can’t ask her until I have the sign. Speaking of which, where is Rosita anyway?” Nicole looked around.

“I’m here!” Rosita yelled from the entrance. “I’m here, sorry,” she quickly made her way to the stage, poster board in hand. “I couldn’t find the paint so I had to make use of what I had.”

“You’re a life-saver, Rosie,” Nicole smiled and took the sign from the smaller girl.

“You are, too, Nicole,” Rosita said. “Waverly has been super upset about all of this.”

“But she’s kept quiet about it, trying to figure out why exactly she should be mad,” Jeremy added.

“Because she loves you and knows she shouldn’t be upset over it,” Chrissy concluded. “You know Waves. Always overthinking.”

“I’m just so glad I was able to make arrangements and get all of this to work out,” Nicole sighed and grinned when her phone buzzed. “It’s Wynonna. They’re here.”

“Great, fantastic. Okay, we’ll all sneak out the back and leave it all to you?” Chrissy suggested.

“I’ll keep you guys updated,” Nicole nodded. “Thank you for your help. It really means a lot to me.”

“Waverly’s our girl, too,” Rosita smiled. “We’d do anything to ensure her happiness.”

“Uh, guys? I really think we should go,” Jeremy said after picking up on distant voices coming from the hallway.

“She’ll say yes, Nicole,” Rosita smiled and lightly punched her shoulder before leaving with the other two.

“I just...I left my boots in here from when we had dress rehearsal ,” Nicole heard Wynonna’s voice growing louder.

“Okay but that was last week. You’ve worn those boots since then. You’re wearing them now ,” Waverly’s voice followed and Nicole’s heart skipped a beat.

“I have more than one pair of boots, Waves,” Wynonna scoffed and Nicole could hear her roll her eyes.

The auditorium doors swung open and Nicole froze. It was now or never. Keeping her back to the doors, gripping the poster in her hands. Waverly began to speak but her reply fell short as she noticed the lights on the stage. She glanced at Wynonna who just shrugged and motioned for her to walk.

“I’m just gonna...go find my boots,” Wynonna said before taking off out the doors.

“Wynonna,” Waverly hissed and fruitlessly grabbed for her sister, but it was too late.

“If there’s a price for rotten judgement, I guess I’ve already won that,” Nicole began singing softly from her spot on the stage.

“Hello?” Waverly called out, squinting through the darkness.

“No man is worth the aggravation. That’s ancient history. Been there, done that.” Nicole grinned and suppressed a laugh. “And it’s totally the worst.”

“What...is...happening…” Waverly whispered to herself as she slowly approached the stage.

“I thought my heart had learned its lesson, it feels so good when you start out,” Nicole pressed on through the second verse.

“Nicole…?” Waverly questioned as she neared the front row of seats.

“My head is screaming ‘get a grip, girl. Unless you’re dying to cry your heart out’,” Nicole slowly turned around and smiled down at Waverly.

Waverly felt all of the air leave her lungs, leaving her gasping for words. Nicole continued singing, slowly moving closer to the edge of the stage with each line she sang. Waverly kept her eyes trained on the redhead, intently listening to her angelic voice.

“At least out loud...I will say I’m in love,” Nicole finished and reached a hand down toward Waverly, who gripped it firmly in an instant.

Nicole pulled Waverly onto the stage, brown eyes never leaving hazel. Waverly would never tire of how strong Nicole was, always raising the bar and showing off her muscles even when she didn’t know it. Waverly bit her lower lip and looked up at Nicole with a confused expression.

“Nic? Would you care to explain to me why we’re in the auditorium? And why you’re dressed like Hercules again and singing a song about denying being in love?”

“Waverly, from the day we got together the thing I started looking forward to the most was taking you to prom and showing you off. I wanted to dress up and match with colors, and I wanted to pick you up in my black Chevy Malibu that, you’re right when you say, isn’t my kind of car and take you out to dinner,” Nicole rushed out in one breath. She composed herself and began again. “Point is, I know I said we wouldn’t be able to go...and I know how upset you’ve been about it despite what you say when I ask if you’re sure.

“I managed to move some things around on my schedule and Saturday night has suddenly become open. I know you’ve probably already got plans with Mattie and Greta, because I’m such a dumbass who has put everything but her girlfriend first lately, but i was just hoping that...you’d help me go from zero to your hero by going to prom with me?”

Nicole held the sign up between them, covering the lower half of her face. She gave Waverly the sad eyes, the stare that almost always made Waverly cave. Waverly shifted her eyes between Nicole’s and the sign, sighing quietly as she read the words that Rosita had written in gold marker. The rest of the poster was adorned with various symbols from Hercules – a shield, a lightning bolt, the gates of Heaven.

Will you help me go from zero to your hero by going to prom with me?

Waverly couldn’t help but smile, the initial shock of the situation fading and turning into realization.

“So there was a reason Wynonna made me try on prom dresses,” she said under her breath.

“You can be mad at her all you want, but just know that I put her up to it,” Nicole replied.

“Oh, Nicole, I know. I know that now. Seeing all of this,” Waverly motioned around them. “It all makes sense, and I’m starting to believe you lied to me about having ‘family stuff’ to do this weekend.”

“I didn’t lie. I just...stretched the truth.”

“I should be mad at you for that,” Waverly sighed and looked around, “but I can’t be. Not after you...recreated the first time we kissed…” She trailed off after remembering the lights were off.

“You got it,” Nicole smiled proudly. “I was worried you’d have that day blocked in your mind considering it was more of a rage-filled kiss than anything.”

“Nicole,” Waverly said firmly and took the poster from the redhead’s hands, setting it on the stage. “Baby, my love...that kiss was everything to me. Yeah so maybe it wasn’t with the best intentions a first kiss should have but look where it’s gotten us.”

“So...is that a yes?” Nicole asked hopefully.

“It’s a hell yes,” Waverly giggled and cupped Nicole’s face, bringing their smiles together in a kiss so soft, so gentle, it nearly made Nicole’s knees weak.

Nicole closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around Waverly’s waist, pulling her close and keeping their bodies pressed together. It was a complete 180 from their first kiss, a redo that they both desperately needed. Instead of heavy breathing and fists gripping shirts, it was quiet moans and exploring hands as their kisses grew more frantic. Nicole chuckled when she felt Waverly’s hands move to her belt loops and effective pull her even closer. Waverly pulled away with a slight pout and Nicole couldn’t help but kiss her again.

“What color did you settle on?” Nicole asked and leaned her forehead against Waverly’s.

“Uh-uh, you can’t know. Not until the dance,” Waverly shook her head and pressed a finger to Nicole’s lips.

“It’s a school dance, not a wedding, Wave,” Nicole moved her head down to chase Waverly’s finger with her mouth.

“Well I want to surprise you,” Waverly sighed and played with the buckle of Nicole’s belt absentmindedly.

“I’m not asking to see the dress. I just want to know the color so I can match it.”

Waverly brushed her thumb over the beauty mark on Nicole’s cheek and leaned up to whisper in her ear.

“A light purple...lilac almost…” She whispered before placing a gentle kiss to Nicole’s ear.

“A beautiful color,” Nicole breathed out.

“Completely unrelated, but can you pull your hair up for the dance?” Waverly asked with her face still pressed to the side of Nicole’s head, her breath tickling Nicole’s neck. “That whole half-up-half-down thing you do sometimes is just...so hot.”

“Is it?” Nicole chuckled and moved her hand in small circles along the small of Waverly’s back.

“So, so , hot. Really exposes your jawline and…” Waverly hummed and kissed Nicole’s ear again.

“Well, when you put it that way,” Nicole grinned and kissed the side of Waverly’s head.

They stood in the middle of the stage, holding each other and swaying to a nonexistent song. They danced to the beautiful silence surrounding them, stealing kisses every few seconds, until Wynonna came barging into the auditorium.

“Can’t we have one moment without her interrupting us?” Waverly whined and buried her head in Nicole’s chest.

“We will at prom, baby. I promise,” Nicole replied and locked eyes with her best friend.

“I thought you two would be done by now. Sorry,” Wynonna held her hands up.

“No, you’re not,” Nicole continued to stare at her.

“Not even in the slightest,” Wynonna smirked.

Nicole rolled her eyes and buried her head in Waverly’s hair, inhaling her scent and getting lost in Waverly once more. She was going to prom with her girl and that’s all she cared about. Not Wynonna, not her parents or the Academy. Just Waverly in a dress, waiting to dance the night away with her. 

Chapter Text

“Smile!” Wynonna exclaimed and shoved her phone in Nicole and Waverly’s faces.

“Wyn, you’ve taken more than enough pictures,” Waverly placed her hand on her sister’s arm and pushed her away from them.

“Yeah, and your flash really doesn’t need to be on for all of them. You’ve nearly blinded me,” Nicole added, rubbing her eyes.

“That was the whole point, Haught Tamale,” Wynonna shoved her phone into the back pocket of her jeans.

“Wynonna, stop bothering your sister,” Gus warned from the kitchen. “And please, for the love of all things holy, do not blind Nicole. She’s the one driving, remember.”

Wynonna laughed but it fell short as her face went serious. “You crash and I’ll kick your ass way back down to Texas, you got it?” She said, putting her face inches from Nicole’s.

“At ease, soldier,” Nicole held her hands up in defense.

“Good. Glad we’ve established that. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have plans I must attend to alone since you decided to fuck off to prom with my baby sister.”

“You and Doc could have come too, you know,” Nicole raised an eyebrow at her best friend.

“Oh please , like I want to be anywhere near that cesspool of hormones and body spray,” Wynonna gagged.

“But you just said–” Nicole sighed. “Never mind.”

“Great. Any further questions? No? Sweet. Just remember my golden rule,” Wynonna smiled.

“Beer before liquor, never been sicker; but liquor before beer, you’re in the clear?” Waverly asked.

“Yes, but no,” Wynonna shook her head.

“Nothing is ever illegal unless you get caught?” Nicole tried.

“Well, yes, but again...not this time. What I mean to say is always use protection. And be sure to keep the noise level to a minimum, as this house has very thin walls,” Wynonna winked before heading for the door.

“Did your sister just...give us advice on how to get laid?” Nicole asked, staring at the closing door.

“Sometimes I wonder what really goes on in her mind,” Waverly shook her head and faced Nicole. “But that’s not important. What is important is that you look so good right now.”

“I told you I was pulling all the stops for this night,” Nicole smiled.

“Yes, well you showing up in a suit is something I didn’t fully expect...though it’s definitely something I’ve dreamt about,” Waverly smoothed her hands across Nicole’s shoulders.

“I’m glad I settled on the suit then,” Nicole smiled proudly.

“Though I really like the sight of you in a skirt and those gladiator sandals,” Waverly smiled and played with the lilac bow tie around Nicole’s neck, “this tailored suit looks even better. And this navy…” She trailed off, tracing the pocket of Nicole’s blazer.

“Yes?” Nicole implored.

“You’re going to look really good in a Purgatory police uniform,” Waverly breathed out.

Waverly tried to hide the pain behind her eyes, but Nicole saw it; she always saw it. Their time together was quickly coming to an end and Nicole couldn’t help but feel like she had made a huge mistake with following through on the Academy. Her parents were disappointed and were only helping her pay for it because they thought she would drop out after the first month. Waverly had gotten better at hiding her true emotions from Nicole, especially when the topic of leaving came up, but Nicole always saw it. It shattered her heart to know that Waverly was putting on a brave face simply because she didn’t want to have another argument.

“You don’t have to hide from me, you know?” Nicole said suddenly.

“What do you mean?” Waverly asked, not meeting Nicole’s eyes.

“You don’t have to pretend you’re okay with all of this. I know it’s still hard.”

“I know, but this is what you want. This is what I want for you,” Waverly stood up straight and lightly gripped the lappells of Nicole’s coat. “This is what I want for us.”

Nicole lightly squeezed Waverly’s waist and pressed their foreheads together. She felt Waverly take a shaky breath and relax when she exhaled. They stood in silence until Nicole’s phone chimed with a text message. She pulled the phone from her pocket and read the message, smiling before shoving it back into her pocket.

“That was Dolls. He and Kate just arrived and Jeremy said they’ll be there soon.”

“So we should head out then?” Waverly asked.

“Yes,” Nicole nodded and kissed Waverly’s forehead before stepping back to grab her keys.

“Now, you girls don’t be too late,” Gus said as she walked into the room from the kitchen.

“We won’t, Aunt Gus,” Waverly promised.

“Did you decide on that party? If you’re going to go or not?” Gus looked between the two girls.

“I don’t think we’re going to go,” Nicole spoke up. “I’d much rather just come straight home and drop Waverly off.”

“Drop her off? You mean you aren’t staying the night?” Gus asked.

Nicole’s eyes widened and she shoved her hands in her pockets. “I am. I-I mean, that’s been the plan. I meant, I would rather just...come back here. Straight here,” she stuttered.

Gus studied the redhead for a moment before turning to Waverly and tossing her a wink. Nicole let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding and ran a hand through her hair. She didn’t know why, but she always felt nervous around Gus. Ever since her relationship with Waverly began, it was like she had to rebuild her relationship with the Earp’s caretaker, like the bond she’d formed over the years as Wynonna’s friend was gone. She wanted Gus to know Waverly was going to be safe with her no matter where they were. She needed Gus to know that she wasn’t ever going to let anything happen to Waverly.

“I trust you with her, Nicole,” Gus said, bringing Nicole back to the present. “And I trust you’ll be safe.”

“I will, Mrs. Gibson,” Nicole nodded and winced at the formality. Gus just laughed and clapped a hand on Nicole’s shoulder, pushing her toward the door with Waverly.

- - - - -

“Smile!” Click. Flash. Repeat.

Nicole rubbed her eyes after their third picture was taken. Wynonna had blinded her at the Homestead, but this was nothing compared to a cell phone flash. Arriving to the dance early seemed like a good idea, but seeing now as that meant being the test subject of the photographer, Nicole loathed the idea. They’d been standing there for five minutes, smiling and posing for the man behind the camera as he tried to adjust the settings. Waverly seemed fine, but Nicole was growing restless and just wanted to get into the dance. She felt a light squeeze on her hand and looked down at Waverly, who was smiling at her, and suddenly she didn’t seem to mind standing there.

“Alright, girls. I think I’ve got it now,” the photographer peered at them from behind his camera. “I apologize for the wait, I teach English for a living, not photography.”

“It’s no problem, Mr. Moody,” Waverly smiled.

“Give me one last good pose,” Moody smiled and winked at them.

Nicole smiled and moved behind Waverly, placing her hands on Waverly’s waist. Waverly bit her lip and covered Nicole’s hands with her own, bringing them around to rest on her stomach. Nicole melted at the gesture and kissed the side of Waverly’s head, keeping her eyes on the brunette and forgetting about the camera in front of them.

“Were you even looking at the camera?” Waverly asked when they finally made their way into the auditorium.

“I want to say yes, but I’m a bad liar so...no?” Nicole rubbed the back of her neck.

Waverly giggled and lightly slapped Nicole’s arm. “Your soft side is showing, Haught.”

“I’m at prom with my girlfriend, allow me to be soft without consequences for the night,” Nicole shrugged.

“There’s no judgement here,” Waverly held her hands up in mock surrender and smiled as they reached the table currently occupied by their friends.

“There you guys are!” Jeremy exclaimed and stood up. “We were just talking about you.”

“Me?” Nicole asked as Jeremy pointed at her.

“Yeah! We were talking about graduation. Chrissy had asked when you were leaving for the Academy, and that sparked a whole new conversation because Robin didn’t know you were leaving.”

“Yeah, how long have you been set to go?” Robin asked.

“And how long will you be gone? Are you coming back to Purgatory after?” Rosita chimed in.

“Well-” Nicole hesitated.

“Will you get a uniform before you graduate or after?” Jeremy asked.

“N-no, I don’t know, but-”

“If you do come back here, will you be wearing those horrible khaki pants like Dad?” Chrissy made a face of disgust at the thought.

“Are you going to train with a firearm there?”

“How far away is the city from here?”

“Will you be able to see Waverly often? Can she come visit?”

“Do you know anyone else going with you from here?”

“Guys-” Nicole tried to say, but the questions just kept coming.

“I am,” Dolls interrupted the interrogation.

“You are what?” Kate asked from his side.

“I’m going into the Academy this summer. I’ll be with Nicole,” he said again.

“You are?” Nicole’s eyes went wide and she felt Waverly squeeze her hand.

“I got accepted this morning,” Dolls nodded and cracked the barest of smiles.

“I thought you said you weren’t going to go through with it though,” Nicole breathed out, using all of her strength to hold back tears.

“I wasn’t, but then you got inside my head and got me thinking,” he shrugged. “That whole spiel you gave me about Bass Reeves really did it for me.”

“I was just spitting out facts Waverly told me a long time ago,” Nicole admitted.

“Well it worked,” Dolls smiled. “Thank you...deputy.”

“No,” Nicole shook her head and wiped her eyes. “Nope. We’re not doing this, not here.”

Dolls laughed and shook his head, clamping a hand down on Nicole’s shoulder. They stared at each other for a moment before the song playing changed, everyone dancing partnering up for the first slow dance of the night.

“Hey, come here,” Waverly whispered and pulled Nicole out onto the dance floor.

“What?” Nicole asked, placing her hands on the brunette’s waist.

“Are you okay?” Waverly used the hand that wasn’t gently gripping the back of Nicole’s neck to wipe a stray tear away.

“Yeah, I’m just a bit overwhelmed I guess? That was a lot, what just happened.”

“I know, and I’m really sorry they all jumped on you like that,” Waverly sighed.

“They were just asking so many questions. Questions I don’t even really know the answers to. I really thought Robin knew I was leaving, too. Didn’t you tell him?”

“I told Jeremy who said he would tell him, and I’m next to positive he informed me that he did tell Robin but I don’t know anymore,” Waverly shrugged.

“This whole situation has been stressful as hell, and it just got a lot worse after all of those questions. I know absolutely nothing.”

“But Dolls telling you he’ll be going to the Academy too…” Waverly trailed off.

“Yeah that’s...some of the best news I could get right now,” Nicole answered in a whisper. “He’s one of the few people who has supported me through this whole process.”

“He’s your best friend,” Waverly smiled. “He’s been supporting you since before you even considered this.”

“I know,” Nicole sighed and closed her eyes. “And I know you and Wynonna have, too.”

“We have, baby. And we will support you through the end of it all.”

Nicole smiled and leaned her forehead against Waverly’s as the two of them fell into a comfortable silence. The song played on, and they danced slow and out of time though they didn’t seem to notice. Even after the song ended, they continued to sway. Everyone around them had resumed their rager-like dancing and fist pumping, but Nicole and Waverly stayed as close as possible, bodies pressed together, dancing to the rhythm of their own beat.

Waverly kept her hands around Nicole’s neck, playing with the hairs at the base of her skull. Nicole’s hands never strayed from Waverly’s waist where she firmly gripped the fabric of her dress in an attempt to keep their bodies as close as possible. There was something comforting about dancing a different tune than everyone else around them; it was like they were in their own bubble, and nothing could hurt them. Nicole vowed to herself that this night would be the best night she could make it for Waverly, and so far it was off to a good start.

The dance carried on as it should, songs changing from fast to slow in an intermittent fashion. Nicole and Waverly went back and forth between the dance floor and their table. They mingled about and talked to teachers, old friends, and each other. They dined on punch and cheap finger sandwiches, though they weren’t complaining since they were in good company. They talked about plans for Nicole packing and when she was set to leave, and decided to make plans for dinner after graduation the following week. About halfway through the dance, Principal Lucado got on stage to gather everyone’s attention for the crowning of prom king and queen.

“Ladies and gentlemen, can I have your attention?” Lucado spoke into her mic.

The loud talking turned to quiet murmuring as students turned to face the front of the auditorium and Nicole found Waverly’s hand. Waverly gave a light squeeze and leaned into Nicole’s side. She caught Nicole glancing over to Jeremy and Chrissy with a grin on her face but she didn’t question it.

“We’ve reached about the halfway mark of tonight’s dance, which means it’s now time to crown our prom king and queen!”

The crowd of students whooped and cheered, looking around in anticipation. Nicole smiled and glanced down at Waverly, who was staring up at her with a confused look on her face.

“What?” Nicole asked, trying to hide her smile.

“Why are you smiling?” Waverly questioned.

“No reason,” Nicole shrugged. “I’m just excited to see who wins, I guess.”

“I’m now going to hand it over to student body president, Shae Pressman,” Lucado announced and handed the mic to Shae.

Hey everyone! How’s your night going so far?” Shae asked, gaining some cheering and clapping in response. “Now that’s what I like to hear!” She laughed.

“This is hard to watch,” Nicole whispered to Waverly.

“Why, because she’s your ex?”

“Because she keeps making eye contact with me,” Nicole nodded. “It’s just weird.”

“Our team has been very hard at work counting your votes for this year’s prom king and queen, and the time has come to announce the final results,” Shae motioned for Stephanie Jones to hand her a slip of paper with two names written on it.

“Everyone please join me in congratulating this year’s Purgatory High Prom Queen…” Shae looked down at the piece of paper and a brief expression of confusion passed by her face before she smiled and continued, “Through a series of write-in votes, and a landslide win, Waverly Earp!”

Waverly’s eyes went wide and she looked up at Nicole, who met her with a grin and a wink. People around them clapped and cheered while those actually nominated for the title of prom queen stood on stage with their arms crossed and brows furrowed. They were just as confused as Waverly was. Nicole nudged Waverly slightly, bringing her back to the present, and smiled.

“Go get your crown,” she whispered.

“Wh...How did this happen?” Waverly hissed as she was pulled up the steps of the stage.

“I’ll explain later,” Nicole winked.

Waverly walked past Stephanie and her posse of bitches to reach Shae, smile on her face and fear in her eyes. She didn’t know how this happened or why it happened, and she definitely didn’t feel like she deserved to be standing up there. Shae smiled brightly at her and reached a hand out, gently gripping Waverly’s hand in her own.

“Congratulations,” she whispered and placed the sash and crown on Waverly. “You’re a lucky one to have a girl like Nic.”

“I know...but I’m not really sure why she did this,” Waverly replied. Shae just shook her head and smiled before turning back to the mic to announce the king.

"Everyone please welcome your 2019 Purgatory High Prom King, Champ Hardy!” Shae announced.

There was a moment of hesitation before someone started clapping, sending the rest of the students into a brief round of applause. Nicole’s eyes went wide before her face fell, eyes narrowing and brows knitting together. She watched, jaw tight, as Champ made his way over to Shae to accept his crown. He wore a smug smirk and winked at Nicole from the stage. The applause died down quickly and several students glanced back at the redhead, waiting for her to do or say something.

Against her better judgement, Nicole did nothing.

Nicole kept her eyes trained on Champ as he stood next to Waverly, the two awkwardly posing for a photo. Lucado returned to the mic, making a few quick announcements before turning it back to the DJ, allowing the dance to continue. Champ and Waverly made their way to the middle of the dance floor to have the traditional “first dance.” Nicole stayed still, fists clenched at her side and jaw set, watching Champ’s every move. Chrissy and Jeremy appeared on either side of her and they all collectively sighed.

“Well so much for that plan,” Chrissy grumbled.

“I don’t understand. I thought Shae said we had it under control,” Nicole said.

“You did,” Shae replied as she walked up behind the three. “Your plan worked, you and Waverly were supposed to win.”

“So what happened?” Jeremy questioned.

“Champ and his friends must have swayed the vote,” Shae shrugged. “The last I heard, Waverly had the votes for queen, and you for ‘king’,” Shae answered looking at Nicole.

“And you couldn’t have just lied about the results because…?” Chrissy asked, arms crossed.

“I have an entire committee of people who counted these votes, and recounted them. If I lied and said Nicole beat out Champ then I would have been in more trouble than I’d want to admit,” Shae defended herself. “I was going to lie, for the sake of trying to be a good friend, but I was thrown off completely and had little time to recover.”

“I know, I get it,” Nicole sighed and rubbed her face. “Thank you for trying, Shae. I really owe it to you.”

“I think you owe it to your girl more right now. She looks very uncomfortable,” Shae motioned to Waverly and Champ still dancing in the middle of the floor.

Nicole quickly spun around to face the two and met Waverly’s eyes instantly. She was screaming for help with her eyes, her face remaining emotionless. Champ’s hands were creeping down to Waverly’s waist, the brunette’s ass his final target. Nicole pushed forward through a mess of students, ready to cut their dance short, but Chrissy held her back.

“Wait until he’s there,” she whispered. “If you do something now, you’ll be the one in trouble.”

“I don’t care. He’s feeling up my girlfriend,” Nicole replied.

“Nicole,” Chrissy warned.

“Chrissy,” Nicole replied.

“Get your hands off of me!” Waverly’s voice cut through the crowd and above the music, causing everyone to stop and stare.

Champ stood staring at her, hands below her waist and twisted smile on his face. He looked over his shoulder at Nicole and winked at her, dropping his hands lower. Nicole freed her arm from Chrissy’s grasp and narrowed her eyes.

“Nicole,” Chrissy said.

“Don’t tell me to wait again, Nedley,” Nicole snapped.

“No, I was going to say go kick his ass,” Chrissy answered.

“Oh you don’t have to tell me twice,” Nicole slid her jacket off and tossed it at Jeremy who was caught off guard by the gesture and nearly dropped it.

Nicole pushed her way through the crowd, rolling her sleeves up in the process. Her eyes remained on Champ, her vision blurring from the rage she felt building inside of her.

“Whoa there, Haught, what’s the rush?” Pete and Brice stepped in front of the redhead, effectively blocking her path.

“Stay out of my way or you’re both next,” Nicole grumbled, pushing through the two jocks and shoving them to the side.

“Champ, I said no,” Waverly all but yelled. “Get your hands off of me.”

“Come on, baby. Just one kiss?” Champ asked. “You know you want to.”

Nicole broke through the rest of the crowd and stumbled into the middle of the dance floor just as Champ leaned down toward Waverly, who was using all of her strength to get away from him.

“Touch her and I’ll break your kneecaps,” Nicole threatened.

“You really think I’m afraid of you? Threatening to break...my kneecaps? Seriously, Red?” Champ scoffed.

“I can show you how it feels,” Nicole smiled. “I think you’ll like the sensation.”

“You know what other sensation I’d like?” Champ turned back to Waverly and planted his lips on Waverly’s.

Caught off guard by the action, Waverly barely had any time to react before Champ kissed her. Without hesitation, she turned her head to the side, causing his lips to hit her cheek instead. Nicole nearly screamed at the sight. Pushing her sleeves up even more, Nicole grabbed the back of Champ’s coat and pulled him away from Waverly. The football player spun on his heels to face Nicole, who wasted no time rearing her first back and letting it collide with Champ’s chiseled jaw.

Everyone around them gasped and grew silent, the pumping music filling the void of conversation. Champ stumbled back a few steps before tripping over his own feet, falling to the floor. Nicole started at him, ignoring the throbbing in her hand. She approached Champ and stood over him, bending down to grip the front of his shirt and bringing her face close to his.

“Don’t ever fucking touch her again, or next time it’ll actually be your kneecaps,” she said through gritted teeth.

“You’re insane!” Champ yelled.

“Some call it insane, I call it protective. Learn to keep your hands to yourself and maybe people won’t think you’re such a piece of shit person,” Nicole spat and let go of Champ’s shirt, dropping his back to the floor.

“Miss Haught!” Lucado yelled from behind her. Nicole slowly stood up and turned to face the principal. “We need to talk.”

- - - - -

Graduation Day

“I still can’t believe you’re not allowed to even come and sit in the audience,” Wynonna whined.

Nicole sighed and zipped up her duffle bag, grabbing another stack of clothes to put into another suitcase. After her confrontation with Champ at prom the week prior, Nicole had landed herself a week’s suspension and was told she wouldn’t be walking the stage at graduation. Lucado informed her that her diploma would be mailed to her after the fact.

“Would you rather me protect your sister or sit next to you at graduation, both of us knowing what Champ did?” Nicole asked.

Wynonna paused for a moment before shaking her head. “You’re right.”

“That’s what I thought. Besides, I’ve wanted to beat that douchebag up for so long. I thought it’d be worth it to go out with a bang, you know?”

“You went out with a bang alright. Tell it to your still bruised knuckles,” Waverly said as she entered Nicole’s room, basket of clean laundry in hand.

“A Medal of Honor is what I’d like to call it,” Nicole smiled triumphantly at her right hand.

“Yes but that’s “Medal of Honor” got you kicked out of graduation and now I have to leave you here alone, with your pissed off parents, to pack for the Academy,” Waverly frowned.

“Babe, I’m nearly finished. And I’m meeting you guys for dinner after, remember?”

“I know but it won’t be the same without you there.”

“Waves is right. It won’t feel right,” Wynonna added.

“While I’m flattered you Earp girls love me so dearly, I wouldn’t trade what I did for anything. I did what I had to do. Though punching him might have been too far since I knew what was going to happen, but he deserved it.”

“He really did,” Waverly made a face. “Kissing him was by far the worst thing to ever happen to me.”

“You kissed him ?!” Wynonna’s eyes went wide.

“He kissed her ,” Nicole corrected. “Why else would I beat the shit out of him?”

“Oh I don’t know, for being a horrible person?” Wynonna said.

“Well yes, but I have some sort of restraint when it comes to that,” Nicole nodded.

Wynonna’s phone buzzed as she got a text from Dolls, announcing he was in Nicole’s driveway waiting for them. Wynonna sighed and grabbed her cap. 

“As fun as this is, Dolls just texted and said he’s here.”

“Which means we need to go,” Waverly pouted.

“I’ll see you both in two hours tops,” Nicole assured her girlfriend with a smile.

“Finish packing, don’t procrastinate,” Waverly warned before giving Nicole a quick peck on the cheek and leaving with Wynonna.

Nicole sighed and plopped down on her bed, hands falling over her eyes. She sighed and tried to relax her body, but nothing seemed to work. She was tense and didn’t know why. Was it because she got kicked out of her high school graduation for protecting her girlfriend? Or was it because her parents were more upset with her than ever before?

It would remain a total mystery.

A light knock came from the door to Nicole’s bedroom and she slowly opened her eyes to look in that direction. Her mom’s voice sounded from behind the door, asking if she could come in. Nicole hesitated before replying.

“Yeah, whatever,” she mumbled and turned onto her side, facing away from the door.

Both of her parents entered the room and stood by the door, waiting for Nicole to turn around. When she didn’t, her dad spoke up.

“Nicole, your mother and I have been talking, and we need to have a discussion with you.”

“If you’re going to tell me how disappointed you are in me again, please save it for another time. I already know,” Nicole replied, tightly clutching the blanket now wrapped around her body in an attempt to keep her tears at bay.

“That’s what we want to talk about,” her mom said. “We want to apologize to you.”

“We’ve been very narrow minded about this whole situation with the Academy. And with Waverly.”

Nicole stayed quiet.

“Though we are a bit disappointed that you got into a fistfight with another student and have to miss graduation because of it, we’re also very proud of you for standing up for yourself and for…” Her mom took a deep breath. “And for protecting your girlfriend.”

“You have the heart and soul of a cop, just like your uncle,” her dad added. “You have a strong sense of morals and you always do the right thing, even if it causes you trouble. And for that, we couldn’t be more proud.”

“It’s going to be hard adjusting to you being away, but we will be supporting you through it all. Which is why we want to pay you back for every ounce of money you spent to get yourself to the Academy.”

“What?” Nicole finally said. She sat up and faced her parents.

“We want to pay you back. You and your friends. We know you didn’t pay your way on your own, and that your friends helped you because they care about you.”

“Yeah, because you seemed to not care about me,” Nicole muttered.

“Nic, we’ve admitted to being bad parents and neglecting to care for the things you’re passionate about. We feel terrible. Please just meet us halfway here?” Nicole’s mom begged.

“You called Waverly my girlfriend,” Nicole said after a minute of silence.

“Is that not what she is?” Her dad asked.

“It is, she is,” Nicole nodded. “It’s just that the last time you talked about her, you called her my ‘friend that’s a girl’.”

“That wasn’t our finest moment as parents, for sure,” her dad replied. “We really do apologize, sweetheart. And we want to help you now, if you’ll let us?”

Nicole looked back and forth between her mom and her dad, wondering if she could forgive them for the immense amount of pain they’ve caused her over the past several months. Their teary eyes and solemn faces tore down her walls and gave her no other option but to forgive them. Slowly, as her resolve crumbled, she stood and nodded. Nicole’s mom crossed the room and hugged her tightly, breaking the last of the wall Nicole had built. Tears spilled from her eyes and she broke down into tears.

She managed to pull herself together after a moment and wiped her eyes. She was met with hopeful smiles from both of her parents, and Nicole placed her hands on her hips, looking around at what else she needed to pack.

“I think I’m done packing, really. I just need to load my car and get the directions in my phone for the city.”

“It’s a straight shot there,” her dad said. “I’ve driven the route many times. I can show you where you need to go.”

“Will Waverly be here tomorrow to see you off?” Her mom asked.

“And Wynonna...and everyone else,” Nicole nodded.

“Why don’t...why don’t you ask her to stay the night then?”

“Really?”

Her mom smiled. “It’s the least we can do to make all of this up to you.”

Nicole bit back a smile and took her phone out, sending a text to Waverly.

- - - - -

The Next Day

“I don’t want you to leave,” Waverly whispered into Nicole’s chest.

“I know, but I have to. Or else I’ll be late,” Nicole sighed and ran her fingers through Waverly’s hair.

“When will you be able to visit?”

“First day off is in September,” Nicole smiled.

“So you’ll…”

“I’ll be here for your birthday,” Nicole nodded.

“Oh thank god!” Waverly hugged Nicole tighter. “I thought I was going to have to drive down there myself. I refuse to celebrate without you.”

“You won’t have to, I promise,” Nicole kissed the top of Waverly’s head.

“Hey! Mind sharing Haught Sauce with everyone else, baby girl? She’s gotta jet in a few,” Wynonna said.

“Sorry! Sorry,” Waverly giggled and extracted herself from Nicole’s arms, gluing herself to Nicole’s side instead.

“I’m really going to miss you, future Deputy Dipshit,” Wynonna sighed. “Things just won’t be the same without you.”

“Hey, I’ll be back before Christmas. I’ll only be gone six months,” Nicole replied. 

“Wynonna’s right though. Things won’t be the same without you,” Chrissy smiled sadly.

“Or Dolls, who already seems to be at the Academy,” Jeremy added.

“Ass kisser,” Wynonna rolled her eyes and scoffed.

The group fell into silence and Nicole smiled at her friends – Wynonna, Chrissy, Jeremy, Robin, and Shae. She stood in front of a group of people she considered to be more than her friends, more than her family, and found herself holding back tears for the first time that day. She was happy with what she was doing, but leaving her friends and family behind for the next year was harder than she anticipated. They all hugged her and wished her well, promising to keep in touch and to visit when Nicole was in town. They also all promised to keep Waverly safe and away from Champ. It was a bittersweet moment when the time came for her to leave. Waverly refused to let go of her, claiming she was now going with Nicole to the Academy.

Wynonna laughed and managed to pull her sister away from Nicole, saying she would be back sooner than she thought. She met Nicole’s eyes and they shared a smile, having already planned for Wynonna and Waverly to pay a weekend visit to the big city during the summer. It wasn’t until she kissed Waverly goodbye and was in her car driving away, that Nicole found herself crying. It was going to be hard, but she knew she would make it through. She was coming home in the end and she and Waverly would live a happy life together forever.

- - - - -

5 and a half months later

Nicole took a deep breath and fixed the strap of her duffle bag on her shoulder, shivering from the cold air around her. Her boots crunched in the snow beneath her feet and she clutched the assignment papers in her shivering hand tightly. She had arrived back in Purgatory a month earlier than expected, graduating at the top of her class at the Academy (Dolls following her as a close second), and had a meeting with town sheriff Randy Nedley immediately. He asked for her specifically to join his force, and was excited to hand over a uniform (khakis and Stetson and all) to his newest recruit.

Nicole now found herself walking up the long driveway of the Earp Homestead, at 8PM. She’d yet to go home and drop her things off, so she carried them with her in hopes of being able to crash there for the night. As she approached the front porch, the lights turned on and she feared maybe her plan was foiled. The door swung open and Gus stepped out, wrapped tightly in a robe to battle the brutal cold. Upon seeing Nicole, Gus froze. Nicole’s eyes went wide and she shook her head, placing a finger to her lips and silently begging Gus to stay quiet. Gus nodded and smiled brightly before quickly going back in and shutting the door.

Nicole took another deep breath and nodded before ascending the wooden porch steps. She stopped at the door and raised her hand. She gently rapped her knuckles against the old door, gripping her duffle strap tightly to ease her nerves. She hadn’t seen Waverly since her birthday and things had been weird since then. She wasn’t sure why, and chalked it up to it being the distance, but that only made her worry more.

A few seconds passed before the doorknob turned and Waverly opened the door. She froze when she saw Nicole, eyes wide and jaw slack. Nicole bit her lip and slowly handed the assignment papers to the brunette. Waverly took them and scanned the first page, letting out a small gasp when she got to the bottom and saw Nedley’s signature.

“Home?” Waverly whispered, eyes still on the paper.

“Home,” Nicole confirmed.

Waverly finally looked up and threw her arms around Nicole, hugging her tightly. The force of the embrace caused Nicole to drop her bag, Waverly dropping the papers as well. They blew down to the driveway from the wind’s force but neither girl cared. Nicole was home and she was staying for good.

“My police officer,” Waverly whispered, gripping Nicole’s shirt tightly in her hands and kissing Nicole with as much force as she could muster.

Nicole had gone from zero to Waverly’s hero in a matter of months, and it still remains to be a mystery to Nicole just how that became possible. She wasn’t about to question it, though. Oh no. She knew better. So she just stood there and kissed her girlfriend.

She stood there and thanked her past self for deciding to wear layers that day, because she didn’t see herself pulling away from that kiss to go inside for a second.

Nicole had returned home that morning, but she found herself truly to be home when she was in Waverly’s arms.