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Travelin' Soldier

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Nicole’s jaw clinched and she adjusted her Stetson as her father approached. She stared a hole straight through his chest. “What are you doing here?”

“I came to bring you home.”

“Excuse me?”

“Well, you would imagine my shock when I got a phone call telling me that my daughter had been shot and paralyzed 3 months ago. Per your mother’s request and much to my displeasure, I am here to take you home so she can care for you.”

“You’re here to take me back? Yeah, sorry NICK, that’s not happening.” Waverly walked up as Nicole’s voice raised and her hands gripped her wheels tightly. Waverly placed her hand on Nicole’s shoulder, instantly relaxing her. Nick looked at Waverly and saw the ring on her finger, his eyes narrowing. He looked back to Waverly with a smile.

“Hello. I’m Nicolas Haught. Nicole’s father. This is her sister, Erin.”

Waverly could tell that Erin was Nicole’s sister, they could be twins. Waverly smiled and reached out her hand offering it to Nicolas but before she could answer, Nicole did. “This is my wife, Waverly.”

“Your wife?” Nicolas took Waverly’s hand to shake it but never took his eyes off Nicole.

“Yes.” Nicole held up her hand showing off her matching ring. “My wife. Mrs. Earp because who the hell would want to be a Haught?”

“New marriage then? What happened to the last one?” Nicolas snapped back.

“Yes, sir. 2 months, 3 weeks and 3 days.” Waverly said with a beaming smile.

“How did you two meet?” He questioned, still holding onto Waverly’s hand.

“You can let go of my wife’s hand, now!” Nicole raised her voice again, her anxiety was now turning into anger. She knew the game her father was playing and she didn’t appreciate it. He did as she said, dropping Waverly’s hand.

“We met at the airport. I had just got back from deployment.” Waverly stated, not saying how long they had known each other.

“Military, eh? Honorable.”

“Yes, baby, I was just telling Nick how I wouldn’t be returning home with him. Apparently my mother sent him and Erin.”

Nicole looked at Erin who stood nervously off to the side. She didn’t want to be there. She didn’t want to bring Nicole back to the homophobic household she had grew up in. “I’m sorry, sir, but our entire lives are here. We won’t be uprooting anytime soon, especially since we are expecting our first child, twins actually.” Waverly beamed and shrugged. “Apparently runs in the family!” Nicole didn’t even hesitate to reach over and rub Waverly’s belly, a big smile on her face. “Just not safe for me to travel in these times.”

“And I’ll damned if I will risk my wife or my unborn children to make you or mother happy.”

Wynonna stood off to the side, her hand over her mouth, holding back the laughs at how incredibly believable Waverly was as a liar. Nicolas looked at Erin. “Talk some damn sense into your sister!” He stormed off, leaving Erin with the two women.

“Am I really going to be an aunt?” Erin smirked at her sister.

“Of course not. Well, not yet.” Nicole glanced up at Waverly with a wide grin. “You are extraordinary, my beauty.”

“So you two are married?” Erin asked again.

“Erin, my personal life stay within this group of people.” She pointed behind her to the group standing there. “They are my family now.” She grabbed Waverly’s hand. “She is my family now. And I’ll be damned if that man is going to come to my home and demand that I leave.”

“I told him you wouldn’t come but he didn’t care. Jethro got out of the car half way here and flew home. He refused to force you to come with us. I think he may be on dad’s shitlist now.” Erin looked at Waverly and reached her hand out to her. “Hi. I’m Erin. Nicole’s older and much cooler sister.”

Waverly took her hand and shook it. “Waverly Earp, it is very nice to meet you.”

Erin looked at Nicole with that same dimpled smile that Nicole had. “I like her. She’s sweet. When you do get married, you’ll invite me, right?”

“Of course, Erin. You and Jethro will always be welcome in my house and at my wedding. Come on, I want to introduce you to my family.”

The three women joined the group at the table. Waverly sat back on Nicole’s lap and ran her fingers up and down Nicole’s neck and into her hair, trying to calm the redhead. “Sorry about that everyone. Uh...I’d like you to meet my older sister. This is Erin. Erin that’s Wynonna, my best friend and future sister-in-law.” She grinned at Waverly with a sly wink. She pointed to Jeremy, Doc and Dolls. “That is Doc Holliday and Xavier Dolls. Jeremy is new to our group as of tonight but we like him.” Nicole nodded her head towards Chrissy. “Chrissy is Waverly’s best friend.” She smiled at Gus. “This is Gus. She is Waverly and Wynonna’s aunt.” Last but not least, Nicole looked towards Nedley and reached over to grab his hand. “And this is the man who has been more of a father to me than our own has. This is Sheriff Randy Nedley.”

“That’s the piece of crap who...”

Nicole cut Nedley off. “He’s not worth the energy, Nedley. I’ll be fine, I promise.”

Waverly looked at Nicole confused. She knew her parents had kicked her out as a kid for being gay but she had a feeling something else went on. “Baby, what’s...”

Nicole placed a finger over Waverly’s lips. “Not tonight, Babe. I don’t want to ruin your last night with me, ok?” Nicole replaced her fingers with her lips, pressing them firmly against the other woman’s. “I promise, Waves, when you come home I won’t hide anything else from you, ok? I’ll tell you everything you want to know.”

Waverly cupped Nicole’s cheek, gently rubbing it. “I’ve only ever seen this much hurt in only one other person’s eyes.” Waverly glanced at Wynonna, who smiled weakly at the couple, tears welling in her eyes from the night’s events. Waverly focused back on Nicole.

“You should really tell her, Nic.” Erin softly stated as she sat down next to Nicole.

“Why? Why relive that shit?” Nicole huffed. “And why the hell did you come here with him?”

“I...I wanted to see you. I miss you so much but they forbid it.”

“Then why now? Why storm in here demanding that I go back to that shithole of a town? And how the hell did they even find out I got shot?”

“One of dad’s friends in the PD called and told him. He told mother and she demanded that we bring you home so she could take care of you.”

“She wants to take care of me now?!? After all these years? After what they fucking did to me, Erin! You know what they did to me when they found out I was gay! You fucking know that pain they caused me both physically and mentally. You fucking know what they did to Maggie!” Nicole rubbed her fingers against her temples, trying to get rid of the headache that was starting to form. Waverly pulled Nicole’s hand down and started rubbing Nicole’s temples for her. Nicole took in a deep breath and looked at her sister. “I’m sorry. That was uncalled for. You had nothing to do with what they did to me.”

“I should have left with you, Nic. I shouldn’t have stayed with them. Jethro and I hate ourselves for walking away from you. For letting them take you to that place..”

Everyone’s attention was on Erin’s words. Nicole hadn’t talked much about her past but Wynonna knew a bit more than the others in the group but this was a bit that Nicole had left out. “This isn’t the time to talk about this, Rin. You are more than welcome to stay and join us tonight but I do not want to talk about my past. Tonight is celebrate my beautiful Waverly before she deploys back to Iraq tomorrow.”

“You were telling the truth about how ya’ll met?”

“Yes. I am in the RCN. We met when I came back from deployment and the rest is history, isn’t it, sweetie?” Waverly kissed Nicole’s cheek softly.

“It’s been amazing, babe.” Nicole stated, beaming ear to ear. She looked back at her sister. “So, you stayin?”

“I think it will. I want to get to know your new family.” Erin smiled back as Wynonna handed her a shot of whiskey.

“If you’re hanging out, you’re drinking, Haughtpants SR.”

“Haughtpants?” Erin looked at Nicole with a confused face.

“Don’t get her started on the nicknames.” Nicole rolled her eyes, knowing her best friend would probably start in any minute now.

“Waves! Why don’t you sing that song you were singing in the car with me the other day? Uh...what was it called?”

“I choose you?”

“Yes!” Wynonna said with a cheesy wink. Waverly shook her head no. “Come on sis, live a little.”

“I’ve never heard of that song, Waves but if Wyn says it’s good, I sure would love to hear you sing it.” Nicole whispered softly in Waverly’s ear, causing a blush to form over Waverly’s cheeks.

“Fine, Nonna. But if I’m singing that, you have to sing that song you love by Jessie J.”

“Ughhhh.” Wynonna slumped her shoulders and nodded in defeat. “Fine but I’m going to need a lot more to drink.” Wynonna grabbed Waverly’s arm and pulled her from Nicole’s lap. “Let’s go, Babygirl!” Nicole beamed as she watched two of the most important people in her life walk over to the bar.

“You really love that woman, don’t you, Nic? More than you loved Shae, huh?” Erin’s words hit home for Nicole.

“I loved Shae but that relationship was abusive. What I have with Waves is...” Nicole sucked in a deep breath. “It transcends love, Rin. She is everything I never knew I needed but now that I have it, I don’t ever want let her go. She’s stayed with me through this..” Nicole motioned down at her legs. “She’s been by my side everyday. Every painstaking session. Every day and has never given up on me.” Nicole looked longingly at Waverly, giving her the biggest heart eyes that Erin had ever seen.

Erin looked down at her hands, fumbling with her nails. “You know he’s not going to give up on taking you back, right?”

“I don’t care what he wants.”

“I reckon he may try, miss but he will not take our dear Sheriff from us.” Doc interjected.

“Sheriff?” Erin looked to Nicole in disbelief. “You’re the Sheriff?”

Nicole simply nodded. “And she’s also a member of Black Badge.” Dolls added as he sipped his drink.

“What’s Black Badge?”

“Government thing.” Nicole mumbled.

“She’s our fearless leader and hero.” Wynonna held up a shot towards her best friend before bringing it to her lips and throwing her head back, swallowing it.

“Hero?”

“You don’t know much about your sister’s injury do ya, Tater Haught?”

“I do not.”

“Your sister here is paralyzed because of me.” Wynonna’s voice was somber. She was drunk and when she got drunk, she got emotional. “She took a bullet to protect me.”

Erin sighed at her sister. “You always did have a thing for getting hurt to save others didn’t you, Nic?”

“You know me, I’m such an attention whore.” Nicole laughed. “What about you, Rin? What have you been up too? You still living with them?”

“Oh no. I moved to Portland for work. Currently living there with my girlfriend...” Erin whispered the last part.

“Excuse me? Your what?”

“Girlfriend.” She mumbled once again.

“I take it the old man doesn’t know?” Nicole questioned her sister.

“No. And he won’t. Please Nic, you promise not to tell?” Erin begged her sister.

“I will never tell that man anything. When did this all happen, Erin?”

“About 2 years ago. I met her at a bar in Portland. We’ve been together ever since. Mom and dad think she’s my roommate.”

“You know you’re in for some shit once they find out, right?”

“I don’t care, Nic. I love her. Just like you love Waverly.” Nicole’s eyes went wide at her sister’s comment and she blushed almost as red as her hair. Waverly shyly looked away, trying and failing to hide the big smile on her face. “Do you like it here, Nic?”

“I love it here, Rin. I couldn’t imagine ever living somewhere else. Not just because of these people but because of this town. I finally belong, ya know?” Nicole said proudly.

“I do.”

Rosita walked up with a tray of drinks and did a double take, looking between Nicole and Erin. “Oh, for fuck’s sake, there’s fucking two of you?” She slammed the drinks down and walked away.

“Not my biggest fan.” Nicole laughed. She looked at Wynonna. “I still think she’s a revenant.”

“You’re just saying that because she hit on Waverly every chance she gets.” Wynonna chuckled as she said it.

“Still think you should shoot her.” Nicole grumbled.

“Awe, what’s wrong my little grumpy gills?” Waverly took her seat back in Nicole’s lap, running her fingertip around Nicole’s jawline playfully.

As the night went on, the friends got drunker and the karaoke got worse. Wynonna’s drunk rendition of Jessie J’s “Nobody’s perfect” was on point but Dolls singing “Barbie Girl” per Wynonna’s request was what stole the show. Now it was Waverly’s turn. Nicole was so giddy she couldn’t stay still in her chair.

Waverly approached the mic, nerves making her shake a little. She hated to sing in front of people. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes as the song started.

“Let the bough break, let it come down crashing. Let the sun fade out to a dark sky. I can't say I'd even notice it was absent ,Cause I could live by the light in your eyes.” Waverly couldn’t help but stare into Nicole’s eyes. Nicole’s breath hitched as Waverly started to sing. She had never heard a more amazing voice. “I'll unfold before you. What I've strung together. The very first words. Of a lifelong love letter.” Waverly smiled so innocently at Nicole but the words she was singing is what her heart felt for the older woman. “ Tell the world that we finally got it all right. I choose you.” Waverly stepped off the stage and walked to Nicole and stood behind her. Leaning down, Waverly sung the next part just loud enough for the mic to barely catch it. Her mouth against Nicole’s ear. “I will become yours and you will become mine. I choose you. .I choose you.” She made her way back to the stage, leaving Nicole speechless and breathless. “There was a time when I would have believed them. If they told me you could not come true. Just love's illusion. But then you found me and everything changed. And I believe in something again.” Waverly’s smile told Nicole all she needed to know. Every word coming from Waverly’s mouth was a word she truly meant. “My whole heart. Will be yours forever. This is a beautiful start, To a lifelong love letter. Tell the world that we finally got it all right I choose you. I will become yours and you will become mine . choose you. I choose you. We are not perfect. We'll learn from our mistakes. And as long as it takes, I will prove my love to you.” Waverly finally settled down after seeing the grin going ear to ear, the beautiful dimples on the face of the woman she loved. Tears welled in Waverly’s eyes as she came to realization. She loved Nicole. 100%, everything in her body loved Nicole. “I am not scared of the elements. I am under-prepared, but I am willing. And even better, I get to be the other half of you. Tell the world that we finally got it all right. I choose you. Yeah. I will become yours and you will become mine. I choose you. I choose you. I choose you”

As Waverly finished singing, Nicole let out the breath she didn’t even realize she was holding. Erin stared at Nicole and finally spoke up. “She loves you too, you know that right?”

“Yeah, Rin, I know she does.”

Waverly walked back to Nicole and took her seat back on her lap. Nicole’s arms instantly wrapped around the smaller woman pulling her into a tight embrace. “You were absolutely amazing, Waves.”

“Thanks sweetie.” Waverly was still embarrassed by her singing and buried her face into the crook of Nicole’s neck.

“You have nothing to be embarrassed about, ba...”

“Is this the band of misfits that you threw your life away for, Nicole?” Her father’s voice came from behind her. Nicole instantly hardened. She guided Waverly off her lap and turned her wheelchair around so she was facing him.

“You know what, FATHER, I don’t care what you have to say to me. I don’t. Your opinion of me went out the window the second you sent me off to that god damn conversion camp when I was 22!”

Everyone in the group had the same expression. Shock. “You needed to be cured of this nasty virus that overtaken you! You are disgusting!”

“Oh yes Nick, I became cured. Completely. The rape. The beatings! The torture that I went through because of you!” He went to open his mouth but Nicole used Waverly’s arm and stood up from her chair, her legs wobbled but the adrenaline running through her allowed her to stand a bit steadier. “You DO NOT get to talk anymore! You do NOT get a say in my life anymore! You’re going to stand there and fucking listen for once in your life! Do you even understand how long I spent in therapy to get over the shit they did to me in there? No, you know what? You don’t fucking deserve to know anything about my life now. And as far as I’m concerned, my parents died years ago. You can take your family, your values and your morales and shove them straight up your ass! Get the fuck out of my town!”

Nicolas took a step towards Nicole, fist clinched. “You will NOT speak to me that way, you stupid dyke!” He raised his hand but Nedley grabbed the man by his shoulder and spun him around, punching him directly in the face. Dolls, Doc, and Wynonna stepped up quickly, blocking the man from his daughter.

“You will stay the fuck away from my daughter!” Nedley said without a second thought. Chrissy had joined Waverly at Nicole’s side at this point, helping to keep her standing.

“I believe our beloved Sheriff has asked that you leave her town, sir. I recommend you do it on your own accord. If we have to assist you, you will not find it to be pleasant.” Doc advised the older Haught.

“You are no longer my daughter! You hear me? You no longer exist in this family!”

“Boo fucking hoo!” Nicole yelled at Nicolas. “Now, get the fuck out of my town!” As Nicolas turned around, he found himself surrounded by more patrons of the bar all of who were set to defend their favorite Sheriff.

Even with his anger, Erin could have sworn she saw a glint of pride flash across their father’s face at the people willing to defend his misfit daughter. He stormed out of the bar. With him gone, so had the strength in Nicole’s legs. They became Jello and she was soon guided back into her chair. Erin quickly hugged Nicole and ran out after their father. Nicole looked up at Waverly, her eyes filled with anger but soon softened when she saw the tears streaming from Waverly’s. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to ruin your night.”

“Cole?”

“Yeah?”

“Shut up.” Waverly pulled Nicole into a deep kiss. She didn’t know what to say to the older woman in response to what she had just confessed but she wanted to show her that was loved. That she was wanted. That she was everything to this family.

Wynonna patted Nedley on the shoulder. “That was a good punch, old man.”

“No one fucks with our family.” Nedley laughed as he confessed. “It hurt like a mother, though.”

“Come on, let’s get you some ice and a drink! You deserve it.” The entire group headed towards the bar.

Nicole wiped Waverly’s tears away. “I didn’t mean to make you cry. I’m sorry. God, I’m so sorry.”

“What do you have to apologize for? You were defending yourself, Nicole.”

“Then why are you so upset?” Nicole continued to caress Waverly’s cheek.

“I had no idea what they did to you, Nicole...the pain...”

“I guess we should talk about this.” Nicole sighed. “I was hoping to never have to talk to you about it. It’s a part of my life I don’t like to relive.”

“You still don’t have to talk to me about it, if you don’t want to. I would never make you talk about it, Cole.”

“I appreciate that. Would you mind if we talked about it when you come home? Maybe even through letters? I would probably feel more comfortable if I didn’t have to see your reaction to it.” Nicole confessed.

“I would like that. Very much.”

“Waves, can we go home?”

“Of course baby. It’s late anyways.” Waverly stood up and headed to the group. “Hey guys, we’re going to head home. That whole thing has her kinda down.”

“You take care of our sweet Sheriff, babygirl.” Gus said from behind the bar. “She’s one of a kind, that girl. It’s a shame what her father put her through.”

“You better give Haughtpants some extra lovin tonight, Waves.” Wynonna sipped a jack and coke.

“Shut up, Nonna.”

“At the very least, tell her how much you love her.” Chrissy added with a knowing grin. Waverly just rolled her eyes and went back to Nicole.

“You ready?”

Nicole nodded and the two left. The car ride home was a quiet one with Waverly placing her hand on Nicole’s thigh as Nicole looked out the window at the stars. “They’ve never looked so dim as they do tonight.”

“They are pretty dim, aren’t they? I wonder why?”

“I think it’s because you’re leaving. They sense how sad all of us are...” Nicole whispered. Waverly squeezed Nicole’s thigh in response. The sensation shot through Nicole’s body like fireworks were exploding off in her.

“Thank you for tonight. It was really amazing. Well...”

“Yeah, small hiccup in an otherwise amazing night. I love your voice. I hope you’ll sing for me again one day.”

“I’ll sing for you whenever you want, love.”

“Right now?” Nicole glanced over at her with a big smile.

Waverly sighed but nodded. “If it keeps that beautiful smile on your face, then yes, I will sing to you right now.”

“Please?”

“Hm...there’s a new song out by a singer/actress named Dom PC.”

“Sounds kind of badass.” Nicole laughed. “I’d love to hear it.”

Waverly began to sing. “I see you down, I see you sad. I see the tears, your holding hands. A new story begins, where a long one ends .Believe me baby, you'll love again. Let me lift your spirit up, let me lift your spirit up, let Me lift your spirit up tonight.” Waverly pulled into their driveway but didn’t stop singing. “ I know this worlds, of ups and downs
Still your face first on the ground, But we still break, and trees still bend. Give us faith, you've got a friend.” She moved over the console and straddled Nicole’s hips. “Let me lift your spirit up, let me lift your spirit up, let Me lift your spirit up tonight” She sang in a low, seductive tone. Nicole’s hands began to feel their way around her thighs, up to her hips. The smile never leaving her face. “ Let me lift your spirit, let me see you smile.” Waverly kissed Nicole. “If you don't feel weary, I'll carry you a while. Let me lift you spirit, way up to the sky, If there's a cloud I'll clear it, it breaks my heart to seeYou cry.” Before she could finish the song, Nicole’s lips were crashing against hers. There was a sense of urgency, need, want but most of all, love. Waverly’s hands tugged at the hem of Nicole’s shirt but stopped just long enough to as for permission. “May I?”

“There is nothing I want more.” Nicole admitted before finding Waverly’s lips once again. Waverly began to unbutton Nicole’s shirt but stopped herself. “Should we take this inside?”

“Probably a good idea.” Nicole chuckled as she opened the Jeep door for Waverly. She all but ran around getting Nicole’s wheelchair out of the car. They were inside and in the bedroom faster than either thought possible. Nicole pushed herself up into the middle of the bed and Waverly quickly reclaimed her spot, straddling Nicole’s hips and kissing her once again. She began to unbutton Nicole’s shirt, pushing it off of Nicole’s shoulders and disguarding it on the floor. Nicole’s hands slipped up Waverly’s back, pulling her shirt off as she went, breaking the kiss long enough to pull the shirt off. Their hands explored each other until both were naked, laying in the bed, just touching and feeling. This was the furthest they had gotten since they had started dating. Waverly could tell that Nicole wasn’t fully comfortable as her hands roamed her legs and she stopped, gently pulling back from Nicole.

“Hey. We don’t have to do this, you know.”

“But you leave tomorrow a...”

“Nonono. Our first time together isn’t going to be because you want to do this for me. To make me happy. Are you uncomfortable with this?”

“Y..yes.” Nicole admitted softly.

“Then we’re not doing this, not yet. And please don’t think I need sex, Nicole. I don’t ever need sex. I just need you.”

“Really?”

“Yes! I don’t need sex. While it’s nice and I love to be intimate, it’s not a must for me. I only care about my emotional connection with you. And we have one of the hottest emotional connections I have ever seen.” Waverly smiled wide, pressing her forehead to Nicole’s.

“I should tell you why...”

“Baby, I don’t need to know.”

“I just don’t feel like I would be any good at it. I can’t move my lower body. I can’t see how sex with me would be...” Nicole’s words trailed off. Waverly cupped her cheek and kissed her.

“No matter what, sex with you is going to be amazing, Nicole.”

“D...do you think so?”

“I know so! This connection we have, I can’t explain it. I get off just by the things you say to me, do you know that?”

“I do now.” Nicole smirked.

“I’ve never been like that with anyone before and while it scares me, I love that it’s with you. And I can’t wait until we make love, Nicole. That night will be absolutely amazing.”

Waverly cuddled against Nicole’s naked body. Nicole pressed a kiss into her hairline. “Will you stay with me tonight?”

“I was hoping you’d ask, love.” Waverly pulled as close to Nicole as she could possibly get. She let out a soft moan as Nicole started to rub the back of Waverly’s neck.

“Oh, you like that?”

“I love that...”

Nicole made a mental note of giving Waverly a full body massage when she gets home. “You ready for tomorrow?”

“I guess so. Do you think Nonna will be at the airport this time?” Waverly drew heart patterns in the middle of Nicole’s chest with her finger.

“I don’t think she’d be anywhere else, babe.”

“I miss her every time I leave but it just got harder every time I came home and left so I stopped coming home...”

“Have you told Wyn that? I think she feels you stopped coming home because you didn’t want to be around them anymore.”

“She said that?”

“Something along those lines.”

“God, I’ve been such a horrible sister.”

“I don’t think you’ve been a horrible sister. I just think you got so wrapped up in your own emotions that you forgot what others might be going through. I did the same thing when I was in the Marines.”

“Did you enjoy your time in the military?”

“I did. I loved it. I just couldn’t deal with the stress of being a Marine and the stress of Hayley dying. Something had to give and unfortunately, it was that.” Waverly could feel Nicole tense up so she placed a small kiss on the side of her neck. “Mmm. How do you always know how to calm the beast that rages inside me?”

Waverly intertwined her fingers with Nicole’s. “You let me see who you are. It makes it easy to know how to calm you down.” She played with the ring on Nicole’s finger, smiling at the thought of that becoming permanent if they ever got married. “You know how much I’m going to miss you, right?”

“Probably a little less than I’m going to miss you.”

“I’m scared to go back, Cole. I’m afraid I’m going to lose myself again.”

“You won’t, baby.”

“But what if I do?”

“Then I’ll find you again, Waves.” Nicole pulled Waverly fully on top of her body so that they were truly face to face. Their naked bodies fit together like two puzzle pieces. Nicole wrapped her arms around Waverly and rested her hands on middle of Waverly’s back. “I’ll always find you.”

Waverly stayed on top of Nicole for the rest of night. Nicole didn’t mind one bit. Within the hour, the two had drifted off into a deep sleep that neither of them knew they needed but in each other’s arms, they had never felt more safe.

-------------

Morning came faster than Waverly had wanted. She fought Nicole on getting out of bed. Nicole had refused to let a naked Waverly get off of her. “No. I’ve decided you’re staying. We will tell them you die. Yeah! That’s it! We could get Dolls to get Black Badge to kill you off. And you could take on a new identity. You and I could go live on the beach somewhere. No one would ever find us.” Nicole rambled, not releasing her hands from behind Waverly’s back.

“Mmm baby, I have to go. It’s my job and I really do like my job.” Nicole pouted and Waverly couldn’t take much more. She loved this woman so much. “Ok, how about we compromise.”

“Compromising is good.”

“Why don’t you come shower with me? That way we get as much time together as possible.” Waverly lifted the blanket that covered them, taking in a long look at Nicole’s beautiful body.

Nicole giggled a little. “What are you doing?”

“Burning you into my memory.” Waverly said with a serious tone. “I don’t want to forget you while I’m trying to forget what I’m going back to.”

“Look as long as you want, babe. And when you come home, you can look some more.” Nicole ran her hands down Waverly’s bare back. “Do we really have to get out of bed?” Nicole whined.

“Yes, love. I can’t be late.” Waverly placed a strong kiss to Nicole’s temple, taking in her scent. Cherry blossoms and gun powder. “Mmmm.”

“What’s that for?”

“Making another memory is all.” Waverly slid off of Nicole, her body instantly missing the feeling of being pressed into Nicole’s body. Nicole stared at the naked angelic body that was making it’s way across the room, heading for Nicole’s shower. With a seductive glance over her shoulder, “You coming?”

“I’m about too.” Nicole mumbled. She didn’t intend for Waverly to hear the comment but she did. Nicole’s comment made Waverly grin more. While they hadn’t been intimate and Waverly knew it had nothing to do with Nicole not being attracted to her, she still had that bit of doubt in the back of her mind at least until Nicole’s latest comment.

“You better not without me.”

Nicole hurried out of bed and pushed herself into the bathroom. Waverly was already in the shower, washing herself but in a more seductive way, just for Nicole. Nicole transferred herself from her wheelchair onto the white bench seat and slid into the water, her eyes never leaving Waverly’s hands as they traveled up and down her body. She was touching herself in places that she wished Nicole would, soft moans escaping her lips. Nicole couldn’t help but watch. She had girlfriends in the past who had done it in front of her but she never found it to be much of a turn-on. Not until now, that was. Waverly straddled Nicole’s lap, her hand still between her own legs. She needed the contact with Nicole, even if it wasn’t Nicole physically doing it to her. Nicole moaned as Waverly started kissing her neck, still rubbing herself. “You...mmm”

“What was that?” Waverly whispered in Nicole’s ear only to have her words end with Nicole’s lips crashing against hers. Nicole placed her hand on top of Waverly’s. That was all Waverly needed to send her over the edge but in doing so, Nicole climaxed as well.

“That...was...fuck babe.” Nicole breathed out.

“I’m sorry. I’ve never done...I’ve never done anything like that before. I just couldn’t help it.”

“Don’t apologize, Waves. That was so fucking hot.” Nicole eased her worries with a kiss. Before it could get too deep, Waverly pulled away.

“I really should finish showering. We have to leave soon.” Nicole just nodded. The happiness she felt with what would be considered their most intimate moment together.

Their time together seemed so short as they arrived at the airport. Waverly was in her the same uniform that she had arrived home in and Nicole was in her sheriff’s uniform completely with white Stetson. Wynonna was pushing Nicole so that she and Waverly could hold hands as they walked through the terminal. Nicole hadn’t said anything since the shower but Waverly understood. She was feeling the same pain that Nicole was.

As they turned the corner for the gate, Waverly’s eyes filled with tears as she saw all of her family there to send her off. Gus, Shorty, Chrissy, Nedley, Doc and Dolls all stood, waiting for their favorite Petty Officer. This was the first time that Waverly realized just how much her family truly loved her. She realized just how hard it actually was to leave them this time and she never wanted to feel this again. She said good-bye to everyone and managed to hold it together until she got to Wynonna. She pulled her sister into a strong embrace, not wanting to let go. Wynonna closed her eyes, her arms wrapped around her sister.

“I love you so much, Nonna. I’m done after this. I promse.” She tearfully whispered to her sister.

“You’re going to come home to stay when your up?”

“Yes. I can’t leave you anymore. I’m done running, Nonna.” She looked towards Nicole. “I love her.” Waverly whispered.

“I love her too. Probably not like you do but still. And I love you. Please be safe and come home sooner than 3 years, please?”

“8 months, Nonna. I’ll be back, I promise.”

“Go make your girl feel better ok? I can’t deal with a sadpants for 8 months.” Wynonna released Waverly and Waverly quickly made her way to Nicole.

Nicole tried. She tried so hard to hold back her tears but she couldn’t. “Sweetheart, please don’t cry. I’mma be home before you know it. We’re going to write, right?”

“Everyday, babe.”

“That’ll be a lot of letters but I can’t wait to read every single one of them.” She cupped Nicole’s face between her hands and kissed her softly. “275ish days and I’ll be right back here, kissing you.”

Nicole took in a deep breath. “I need to tell you something, Waves.”

“What’s that, sexy?”

“I need you to know that I love you, Waverly Earp. More than I have ever loved anyone else in my entire life.” Waverly’s face was one of shock but also of love. She went to say something but Nicole placed her finger of Waverly’s lips. “I don’t want you to say it back. Not yet. If you love me, tell me when you come home.”

Waverly nodded but it didn’t stop her from crashing her lips into Nicole’s. She wanted her to feel just how much she loved her. Just how much Waverly really did need Nicole. “8 months.” Waverly looked down at her ring. “You promised. Don’t forget that.”

“I could never.”

“Last call for Flight 304 to Washington D.C. is now boarding.” They heard over the intercom. This was it. Waverly was leaving. It was really happening.

“That’s me...”

“I know.”

“Be safe, take care of my family and Cole, you are the strongest, bravest woman I have ever met. Please don’t give up while I’m gone, ok?”

“I won’t. I love you so much, Waverly.”

It was now Waverly’s turn to cry. With one last tear-soaked kiss, she quickly turned from Nicole and walked as fast as she could to catch her flight. She knew if she didn’t run from Nicole she wouldn’t get on that plane. She would choose to go AWOL and stay with her family. With Nicole. She composed herself enough to make it through the gate and into her seat. It was going to be a long 8 months.