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Travelin' Soldier

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3 months later:
Nicole sat in Shorty’s, waiting for her best friend to arrive. Since Waverly had left, the group of friends had made it a weekly tradition to meet up at Shorty’s for Karaoke and drinks. Mainly drinks...ok only drinks. It just happened to be on karaoke night. 5 months had passed since Waverly had been deployed and it wasn’t getting easier for Nicole or Wynonna.

They hadn’t received a phone call from Waverly since and the news was reporting that the fighting in Iraq had been escalating. They both assumed due the escalating issues that was probably why they couldn’t talk to her. They were just grateful to still have gotten letters from Waverly. Nicole pulled the latest letter from her pocket. It had arrived earlier in the day and she hadn’t had to time to read it. Nicole set her beer down and flipped the lip on the envelope.

My beautiful love,

I hope this letter finds you happy and healthy. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of your beautiful face, sexy dimples, mmm, amazing kisses. I miss each of them so much. I miss hearing your voice and going to sleep at night with you. Sleep has been tough lately. At times I feel like I’m going crazy here. I feel like life is just at a standstill and I’ll never make my way back to you. My home. I long for the days when I can feel safe in your arms again. I miss falling asleep next to you. I guess I just never knew what it was like to truly miss someone until I had to walk away from you at the airport 4.5 months ago. Times have gotten tough here but every time I feel down, I look to the photos you’ve sent me. I remember what it is we are fighting to protect. While it might not be my family we are protecting by being here, it is someone else’s and I can’t help but find some solace in that. I hope you and Nonna know that your letters are what gets me through this. And I hope you and Nonna know that no matter what happens, I will be coming home to you guys at the end of this. I never realized how much I wanted to settle down and stay in Purgatory until I met you, Cole. I was never one to want the civilian life, until I met you and now that is all I can think about. I want you. I want you so bad and I can’t wait to be done with this whole thing so we can have us. You deserve a happy ending, Nicole Haught and I want to be the person who gives it to you. I don’t know what I ever did to deserve your love but I thank God everyday that I have it. You mean the world to me. I really hope you know just how much. Nonna told me how hard you are working at therapy so as a present, I have included a couple pictures for you. You can share with Nonna but one is strictly for you. Be well, my love. I can’t wait to see you soon. We’re over half way there babe!
Love always,
Waverly

Nicole smiled sweetly at the letter. Ever since Nicole had told Waverly what had happened to her, Waverly’s letters had been even more loving and intimate though her first letter back had been full of a lot of cursing and demanding that Nicole allow Waverly to allow Wynonna to bury her parents in a pig farm. Nicole had to reassure the younger woman that if she could get past what had happened, so could Waverly.

Nicole eyed the first photo in her hand. It was Waverly with a squad of 5 American Naval personnel. The US squad was standing behind her, as if she were her leader, which would make sense as she outranked all of them. They were in the normal blue camo US NWU whereas Waverly was in Canada’s traditional combat uniform. She was wearing black high-top combat boots and was fully decked out, head to toe in green camo with the Canadian flag on her left shoulder. She had on a helmet and sunglasses. Her hair pulled back into a tight pony tail with a rifle secured across her chest. She wrote a small note on the back. “August 20th, 2018. Had to take a squad of female noobs in for training. Just before we got ambushed. Fun times.”

Nicole’s eyes shot open. Waverly hadn’t mentioned an ambush and this photo was taken 3 weeks ago. She’d be yelling at her for that in her next letter. She pulled out the next photo. It’s of the same squad. Covered in green/blue and purple slime. All of them with shock on their faces. The back read “ August 20th, 2018. After the ambush. Peters squad decided to attack us on our way to training. They don’t know who they messed with.” Nicole couldn’t help but laugh. She pulled up the next photo. It was a group of guys covered in what looked like pig shit. Nicole only assumed so because there were two pigs in the background. The guys looked miserable. “August 30th, 2018. The guys didn’t know what hit them. It was a shitty day for them. I got in trouble for this but it was extremely worth it. They stopped harassing the girls after that.”

The last photo was of Waverly in her quarters. She was leaning against the wall, her booted foot propped against it. Just her combat pants on, the taco boxers of Nicole’s peaking out from the top of the pants and a camo sports bra. Her hair was down, wet and extremely wavy. Her thumbs were looped in her belt as she stood with the most seductive face that Nicole had ever seen. Nicole’s eyes went dark with arousal and she bit into her bottom lip.

She was pulled from her thoughts of what she wanted to do to Waverly by a voice she despised. “She’s looking pretty fuckable in that photo.” Rosita said from over Nicole’s shoulder. Nicole quickly placed the photos and letter back in backpack and zipped it shut. She felt her fists clinch.

“Don’t talk about her like that.” Nicole spoke through clinched teeth. Her blood was starting to boil.

“You’re the one getting off to her naked photo in a public bar, Sheriff. I was just observing.” Rosita leaned down to Nicole’s ear and softly whispered. “I’ll make sure to get off to that later.”

Before Nicole could react, Gus was yelling for Rosita. “Damn it girl, get your ass back to work!” Rosita walked off, bumping into Wynonna’s shoulder as she passed, a satisfied smile on her face.

“What was that about?” Wynonna questioned her best friend as she pointed towards the woman walking away from them.

“I’mma punch her one day, Wyn. Just you wait.”

“Woooow. Calm down there Haught Tits. What happened?”

“I was looking at a photo that Waves sent me, she made a rude comment about it.”

Wynonna’s eyebrows perked up. “What was the photo?” Wynonna nudged Nicole’s shoulders. “Huh, huh?”

“Ugh.” Nicole knew if she didn’t show Wynonna the photo, she wouldn’t shut up about it.” She handed Wynonna the photo.

“WoooooW! Baby sister!” Wynonna tilted the photo to the side, as if it was going to help her get a better look. “She’s all grown up.” Wynonna laughed, handing the photo back to Nicole. “Don’t let that bitch get the better of you, Haught. You got the girl. That’s all that matters.” Wynonna straddled the chair in front of her, her arms resting over the back of the chair as she drank her beer and handed one to Nicole. “We still on for it?”

“Our camping trip?” Nicole smiled. “Though, I’m still wondering if this is going to be a good idea. You and me, by ourselves, in the forest. Me in a wheel chair, you drunk. It’s just asking for trouble.”

“I think you miss pronounced ‘adventure’.”

“Adventure is out there, I suppose.” Nicole clinked her bottle to Wynonna’s. “Where’s everyone else?”

“They had to make a pit stop.”

“You think they’d want to come with us this weekend?” Nicole casually asked. It wasn’t that she didn’t want it just to be herself and Wynonna but she was definitely worried. It was the first outdoors event she had done since becoming paralyzed but Eric thought it might do her some good. It was still a couple weeks out but she was nervous and Wynonna could tell.

“Hey, you and I will be just fine. Plus, we haven’t done anything like this in a long time. We always use to go camping just to the two of us. I know you’re scared but I promise, I’ll look out for you.”

“Mmm hmmm. And who’s going to look out for you?” Nicole teased.

“Don’t raz me! You know damn well that I can take care of myself when I’m drunk.”

“Says the woman who woke up in a dumpster.”

“I was in a safe place!”

“The dumpster was being dumped into the a truck! You almost died!”

“That was just the one time! They heard me. I was perfectly fine.” Wynonna smirked. “Plus you came and saved the day before anything bad happened.”

“Because I tracked your phone.”

“And that’s why you’re my best friend! Always looking out for me. No take-backs, Haughty.”

“And I regret it every day of my life.” Nicole half smiled while rolling her eyes. She felt a small breeze from the door and glanced over to see Dolls, Doc and Chrissy walking through the door with a familiar face behind them. Nicole smiled big and looked at Wynonna. “You son of a bitch.”

“Is that anyway to thank your best friend for flying your sister to town?”

“Abso-fucking-lutely it is!” Nicole yelled as she was already half way to the door. She wrapped her arms around Erin, pulling her into a big hug. “What the fuck are you doing here? Sperm donor is going to kill you!”

“I don’t care, Nic. I wanted to see you. Plus...” A shorter woman, around 5'8" walked in. She wrapped her arms around Erin from behind and had yet to see Nicole. She was a brunette with hair that flowed just below her shoulder blades. She had it pulled back in a half pony tail with the rest flowing down. Nicole stared at her. She knew her. At least she thought she knew her. Then she saw the scar above her right eye. Nicole’s eyes went wide.

“Maggie?”

The woman looked around for the source of her name, eyes going wide when she saw Nicole. “Nicole?!?” She quickly let go of Erin and her arms shot around Nicole. “You’re alive?!?” Maggie stood up, looking over Nicole. “You actually made it out?”

“Thanks to you.” Nicole spoke softly.

As if a light bulb clicked in Erin’s head, “Wait... you’re the Maggie that Nicole saved?”

“I am. I knew you looked so familiar to me, baby. I just never put two and two together but now that you two are together, who could I have not seen that you were related to me hero?”

“Have you never seen a picture of the Haughts?” Wynonna asked Maggie.

“No, she wouldn’t have. Dad burned any photo in the house that had Nic in it. I don’t have any photos of us or just her.” Erin muttered under her breath. Maggie pulled Erin close and kissed her cheek, whispering something in her ear. Erin just nodded and smiled a little.

“I can’t believe you two are dating.” Nicole chuckled. “I thought you weren’t gay, Mags?”

“That’s a long story on it’s own. Short version, I didn’t think I was until I was in a bar in Portland, hitting it off with some guy and this beautiful redhead comes striding in. I straight left that guy hanging and found myself standing next to her at the bar. She flirted, I flirted. Next thing I know, we’re a couple years into dating and I couldn’t be happier or gayier.” Maggie said as she kissed Erin’s cheek.

“Didn’t you put two and two together on the last names?” Nicole shot Wynonna a look. “What? Sorry! It’s just weird to me that she didn’t know.”

“She couldn’t have known. We weren’t allowed to know last names where we were. First names only. They took away our humanity in there. I honestly would be dead if it weren’t for Maggie.”

“I would have been dead had it not been for you, Nicole.” Erin gave Maggie’s hand a reassuring squeeze.

“What brings you two here? Other than missing me?”

“Well, I noticed that there was an open position for a doctor here and...” Erin looks at Maggie with a beaming smile. “We decided to move here.”

“What?! Seriously?” Nicole couldn’t hold back her excitement. “My older sister is moving here? What? When?”

“Well, today actually. We are here to try and find a place to live.” Maggie spoke up.

“I have an extra house on my property. It’s yours if you want it, Rin.”

“Nic, I couldn’t do that. Are you sure?”

“Yes. Very!” Nicole was having a difficult time hiding her excitement of the news that her sister would be moving to Purgatory.

Erin and Maggie looked at each other, smiles filling their faces as they both nodded to each other. Erin nodded at Nicole next. “Ok. You’ve got yourself a deal, sis.”

“Best. Day. Ever! Let’s celebrate! Drinks are on me!” The group hooped and hollered as they all headed to the bar.

“The day isn’t over just yet, Sheriff.” Another voice came from behind her and spun around to find her brother, Jethro, standing there. He had two duffle bags with him. “You have room for one more in your house?”

“Are you kidding me? Both of you?” Nicole’s eyes filled with tears. She was so happy to have her siblings with her. Jethro pulled Nicole into such a tight hug that he lifted her right out of her wheelchair. She buried her face into his shoulder, fully allowing her emotions to take over. Erin wrapped her arms around her younger siblings, joining in on the hug. “I can’t believe I have both of you.”

“After Rin told me what dad did, I couldn’t stay there anymore. I didn’t know how bad it was, Cole. I didn’t know what they had put you through.”

“Neither of us knew how bad it was for you there, Nic. Dad always downplayed it.”

“It wasn’t until Rin told me what happened here. I pulled the police file. I read what happened. Why didn’t you ever tell us?”

“We never would have stayed, Nic. We would have left with you.”

“I could never bring myself to fully tell you guys. I could never bring myself to talk about the betrayal. And...as much as I hated him, I never wanted you guys to feel that kind of hate.” Nicole softly confessed into her brother’s shoulder. She had yet to let go of either of them.

“Well, too late. Dad and I got into it before I left.” Jethro added. “I may have punched him and he may have kicked me out of the family.” He said with a shrug. The events obviously not bothering him. “I heard that I knew a Sheriff of a town and was hoping to put in my application.”

Nicole finally pulled away and looked at her brother. “You’re a cop now?”

“Have been for a couple years. Decided to follow in my baby sister’s footsteps.”

“Well, I do have an in with the Sheriff. I might be able to see if she would hire a slacker like you.” Nicole teased. “You both are lucky I just bought that new house of mine. You each get your own suite.”

“Hell yes!” Jethro said, picking his sister off the ground again, spinning her around. Wynonna just stared at the siblings. She couldn’t believe it. Did they all look alike.

“Come on. I want to introduce you all to my family.” Nicole finally let go of her brother, sitting back in her chair and spinning around to her friends. “Wynonna, Doc, Dolls, Chrissy, Jeremy. This is my older brother, Jethro.” Jethro smiled that Haught dimpled grin at Jeremy.

“Holy fuck!” Wynonna started to laugh uncontrollably.

“What has you laughing so hard, Earp?”

She pointed at Jeremy and then Jethro. Wheezing as she tried to catch her breath. “The...whole...fucking...family...is...gay.” Wynonna wheezed out. “Daddy Haughtpants is gonna shit himself!” Wynonna started laughing again.

Nicole looked at her brother. And he just smiled. “Mom and Dad need a son-in-law and they sure the hell aren’t getting it from you two.” Jethro chuckled.

“Oh the amount of blame that is about to come down upon me is ridiculous.” Nicole laughed. “3 Haught gays.”

“Sounds like a band name.” Wynonna smirked as she started offering shots to everyone. “Welcome to Purgatory, Haught Gays.”

Everyone sucked down their shots as Champ approached them. He was already drunk. Wynonna rolled her eyes as he started to hang on Maggie. “Hey sexy, why don’t you and I go upstairs for a bit?”

“You might not want to touch her, Chump.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because her girlfriend is going to kick your ass.” Wynonna pointed to Erin who was already fuming.

He looked between the two girls and then at Nicole, realizing they were related. His friends had gathered round since Wynonna wasn’t exactly quiet about it. “Fucking disgusting dykes!”

“Get your hands off my girlfriend.” Erin calmly stated but grabbed Champ firmly by the wrist, pulling his arm off Maggie.

Champ swung at Erin, who ducked but his punched connected with Dolls iron chin. He barely flinched. Dolls shoved Champ, who didn’t stand a chance on staying standing. He flew backwards against the pool table but now his buddies wanted to get involved. Another one swung at Dolls, but he blocked him and connected with his own punch the left side of his face. As another approached, Doc cut him off. Jethro pulled the 3rd guy off Erin and Wynonna took care of Rosita, who was trying to get in on the action.

Wynonna had her in a headlock and punched her in the nose. “God, I forgot how good you smell.”

“Hmph.” Rosita punched Wynonna in the stomach. “Thanks.”

The fight continued before Nicole used the table to stand up. She looked at all of the participants in the brawl and yelled out, “Everyone stop! Now! I swear to God, I will have you all arrest!”

“You fucking dykes!” Champ yelled out just as the fighting started to slow down, Wynonna shoved Rosita aside and ran at Nicole, trying to block the incoming shot to her back. Wynonna threw out her arm, the pool cue snapping across her arm and the middle of Nicole’s back. The pain that shot through her back was unbearable, her vision instantly going black as she crumpled to the floor, hitting her head on the table as she went.

Nedley ran into the bar and saw what Champ had just done. “Deputies, arrest him for assaulting a police officer and call for an ambulance!” He ran to Nicole, who was surrounded by her friends as she laid face down in a small pool of her own blood. The others involved in the fight just stood there, having never expected Champ to do such a thing to the sheriff of all people. Wynonna held her arm close to her chest, trying to wake Nicole.

“Haught, I fucking swear to god. Haught.”

Nicole groaned and blinked her eyes for a few seconds to get the stars and cobwebs away. “The fuck happened?” She brought her hand to her head, not wanting to move the rest of her body. “I’m going to the hospital, aren’t I?” She had no idea where she was. She had no idea what happened. All she knew was her back hurt, a lot. More than when she had been shot.

“You definitely are, baby sister.” Jethro held Erin and Maggie back as they cried, not sure what was happening with their sister. “Don’t move sis. Don’t move.”

“Fuck.” Nicole said as she laid on the ground as Gus held a towel to her bleeding head. “Waverly is going to kill me.” She mumbled.

“She’s gonna kill both of us.” Wynonna mumbled too. She looked to Dolls. “You still have those connections? Can you get a hold of Waverly? Let her know.”

“Already on it, Earp.”

Wynonna leaned back against the bar, tears running down her face. Erin knelt in front of her. “Your arm’s broken.”

“Mm hmm.”

“You took the brunt of that hit for Nicole. Why?”

“She’s my best friend.” She looked towards the redhead being loaded on the stretcher. “And she’s going to marry my sister.”

“You so sure of that, Wyn?” Nicole smirked as she overheard the conversation.

“You bet your fire-crotch you are.”

“I guess even a broken clock can be right 2 times a day.” She chuckled.

Erin helped Wynonna up after splinting her arm. Broken bones were her specialty so she could help Wynonna. Spinal injuries weren’t and it killed her that she couldn’t help her sister. Erin and Maggie drove Wynonna to the hospital.

After some xrays for both Wynonna and Nicole, it was decided both of them would be having to go in for surgery right away. Wynonna laid in the 2nd bed next to Nicole’s. She was now in a hospital gown as well. Nicole finally woke up and looked over and Wynonna.

“You’re not allowed to steal the gowns and beds, Wyn.”

“I’m not here because I want to be.” She held up her arm. “Looks like we’re both getting high today.”

“Aweee, we’re roommates?” Nicole smiled at her best friend. “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“Trying to protect me. I know you took the majority of that hit. That’s what broke your arm right?”

“Yeah, that fucking little prick. Though I’m happy to report he’s being charged with assaulting a police officer and with a hate crime. He going away for a long time.”

“Waverly’s ex, wasn’t he?”

“Mmm hmmmm.” Nicole just nodded her eyes falling shut as the morphine kicked in. Dolls walked in just as it happened, Waverly on the phone. He handed the phone to Wynonna. “Hey Waves...”

“Is she ok? Are you ok?” Just as she was asking Wynonna the questions, nurses came in. Time for both to head off to surgery.

“Both heading to surgery, Babygirl. We will be ok.”

“Damn it, Nonna! I love you two so much. Do I need to come home? How bad is her injuries?”

“They didn’t tell us. I’m not sure. Just that she needed surgery asap.”

“I swear to god, I can’t leave you two alone for 8 months without you two breaking something or someone.”

“We’re the reason you can’t have nice things, Babygirl. Gotta go. I love you.”

“I love you too. Please have Dolls call me when you guys are out of surgery.” With that, they were both off to the O.R.