Nicole lowered herself down the cliff face slowly. She was shaking. She was terrified at what she would find at the bottom once she found Waverly’s body. The images played like a video in her head of what had just happened. They had gotten their asses kicked by a demon. Bulshar. Why did that name sound so familiar to her? Why did it feel as if she had a connection to him?
How could Waverly have just survived so many tours in Iraq only to come home and have her life end this way? How was that fair? Nicole could hear Wynonna and Dolls at the top of the cliff, sobbing over the losses they had just endured. She tried to tune them out. She couldn’t listen to her best friend crying over the loss of her baby sister. Blaming herself for what had happened. ‘I was supposed to be her protector.’ Wynonna voice rang throughout Nicole’s mind. ‘It’s my fucking job to protect you guys.’ Wynonna’s scream echoed.
Then there was Waverly. Her sweet, Waverly. Who had sacrificed herself so that Nicole could save her sister. ‘She always has to be a fucking hero.’ Nicole thought to herself. ‘But that’s why I love her so fucking much. She is a hero....was a hero.’ Tears pushed passed their barriers, falling down Nicole’s face once again as if the gates of a dam had opened. She could no longer control the feelings that were washing over her. The love of her life was gone and the last thing they had really said to each other was an argument because she was so insecure about their relationship and had let someone else rent space in her head. Space that should have been taken up with memories and moments with her girlfriend.
Nicole stopped her decent for a moment, hanging there, just trying to compose herself before she continued. ‘There is time for crying later, Haught. Get it together. This is a recovery mission. Detach yourself from the situation.’ Nicole willed herself to believe this wasn’t someone she loved that she was going after. That this was just another body and just another day in Purgatory.
Truth was, this wasn’t just another body. It wasn’t just another day in Purgatory. No matter how much Nicole tried to convince herself, it wasn’t. No matter what she found when she got to the bottom of this cliff, once she got back to the top, she was going to have to deal with another death. Doc. A man who had been with her and Wynonna for as long as Nicole had been in this town. A man who had given up his soul to be immortal so that he could protect the Earp line for as long as they would have him. A man who would never see his baby girl again.
Nicole dropped onto the ledge below her, unstrapping herself from the rope. She knelt down and picked up the beanie she had placed on Waverly’s head just after she had been found. She pulled it to her nose, inhaling the scent of her love. Her scent filled her lungs as if it were a breath of fresh air that she had been longing to breath all her life. Nicole dropped to her knees, sobbing into the beanie as she held it tightly to her face. “My love. I’m sorry.”
“Cole...” Nicole heard something faintly. As if the wind had carried the sound of her name passed her ear to pull her from her misery. “Cole...” She heard the faint whisper again.
“Waverly?!?” Nicole scrambled to the edge of the landing she was on, spotting Waverly hanging from an old climbing rope that had been left in the cliff side.
“Haught?” Wynonna yelled from above. “What is it?”
“She’s alive, Wyn! She’s alive!”
“Haught Damn!” Wynonna jumped up and down, wrapping her arms around Dolls’ neck and kissing him. “She’s alive! Baby girl is alive!”
“I’m going down for her!” Nicole shouted back up as she grabbed her climbing line and hooked herself back in. She threw the remaining rope off the edge of the landing and began the 100ft climb down to Waverly. Each step she took, she examined, not wanting to do anything that could disturb the rope that Waverly was hanging off of. Within a few minutes, Nicole was hanging side by side with Waverly. “Hey Cutie. Whatchya doin’ down here?”
“Oh..you know...just hanging out.” Waverly watched as Nicole grabbed another carabiner from her pouch and hooked herself to Waverly’s harness.
“Without me? That’s very rude of you.”
“I invited you through text, did you not get it?”
“Nope, sure didn’t.”
“That’s a shame. It’s been a rockin’ good time.”
Nicole rolled her eyes and Waverly pulled her into a deep kiss. Her hands finally letting go of the rope she had been holding onto and gripping onto Nicole. After a few minutes, Nicole finally pulled away and glared at Waverly. “I’m still pissed off at you.”
“Yeah, I kind of figured.”
“There is something you should know before we get up there...”
“Doc didn’t make it, Waves. He didn’t make it.” Tears slipped down Nicole’s cheeks again. She was happy to have Waverly back but Doc was still gone. Waverly cradled her girlfriend’s head against her shoulder, placing kisses behind her ear just where she liked it.
“It’s ok, baby. It’s ok. We’ll get through this. Let’s back up there before Nonna tries to climb down here herself.”
“PULL US UP!” Nicole yelled to Wynonna and Dolls. Dolls had been smart and while Nicole was descending, he had pulled her cruiser up to the rope, tying off an emergency line. Once he knew it was secure, he disconnected the line from the truck. Upon giving the ok, Dolls slowly drove forward, pulling the two women up the cliff face.
“Damn, they’re strong...” Waverly said with a confused look on her face of why they were being pulled up so fast.
“I bet Dolls is using my car.” Nicole laughed, holding on tightly to Waverly. “I’m never letting you go again.”
“Did you mean what you said about getting married? That you wouldn’t mind it again?”
“I meant every word of it, Waves. You’re it for me. No matter where this life takes us, I will never love someone as much as I love you, Waverly Earp.”
Waverly just smiled and laid her head on Nicole’s shoulder as they continued to slowly be pulled up. Nicole kept an eye on the rope, connecting to an extra safety line just in case something were to happen to their main line. She slowly walked them up the cliff face, making sure not to let any rocks disturb their climb back up. As Nicole pulled them over the cliff edge and back up to safety, her and Waverly laid on their backs, thankful for the help. Nicole turned her head and smiled at her girlfriend.
“I’m glad you’re not dead.” She said with a tearful laugh.
“I’m glad I’m not dead either.” Before their conversation could continue, Wynonna jumped on top of both of them, kissing Waverly’s cheek.
“Baby girl! Don’t you ever fucking do something like that again! Do you fucking understand?” Wynonna punched her sister in the boob.
“Ow! What the hell?!”
“Don’t ever fucking do that shit again!”
Waverly looked to Nicole who shook her head. “Hey, I wanna do it myself but you’re my girlfriend. So I’ll live vicariously through Wynonna’s beatings. And you and I will be having a long talk when you come home tonight.”
“Can’t wait.” She shoved Wynonna off and rolled on top of Nicole, pressing her lips into Nicole’s so hard that Nicole’s head pushed into the dirt.
“Sorry to interrupt, but Jeremy is here with the coroner for Doc...” Dolls softly spoke from above the three girls. Reality set back in for the friends as they all got to their feet. Heading over to Doc’s body, Waverly wrapped herself around Nicole and buried her face into her girlfriend’s chest, not wanting to see another friend dead.
“Did you get him, Nonna? Did you kill the fucker?”
“One of them, yes.”
Jeremy helped load the body into the van and they headed off to Black Badge’s office. Nicole walked with him, whispering in his ear. Jeremy nodded as he loaded in the van and they left.
“What did you tell him?” Dolls questioned as the two stood in the road, watching as the van pulled away.
“Not to let Black Badge get his body...” Nicole stated, shoving her hands into her jacket pockets. “He doesn’t deserve that treatment.” Dolls nodded in agreement and placed a hand on the Sheriff’s shoulder.
It had been a couple weeks since Doc had died. Nicole laid in bed, enjoying her day off. “I had the worst nightmare that I was being an ass my girlfriend left me.”
“I, too, had a bad dream that I being stupid and almost died.”
“They’re the worst, aren’t they?” Waverly rolled on top of Nicole.
“Mmm hmmm.” She brushed her lips against Nicole’s and bit her bottom lip, playfully. Nicole wrapped her arms around Waverly, pulling her naked body closer.
“Let’s never fight again, ok? I really don’t like it.” Nicole pouted.
Waverly agreed. “Never again.”
“I love you, Waverly Earp.”
“I love you, Nicole Haught.” As Waverly leaned down to kiss Nicole again, her phone started to ring. “Mmmm hold that thought.” She booped Nicole’s lips with her finger as she rolled off to grab her phone. “Hello?....Yes, sir...but sir....no sir. I don’t agree with this decision....sir...yes, sir. I understand.” Waverly hung up the phone and threw it across the room, shattering it against the wall. She put her elbows on her knees and buried her face in her hands. Concerned, Nicole sat up and slid her legs around Waverly’s waist, pulling herself flush against her, her arms wrapped around the smaller woman’s body.
“Baby, what is it?”
“They’re shipping me out again...”
“What? No. You just got home. Babe...”
“I know, Nicole! I told him no. He went on about how I don’t have a choice and that I’m their property for another 2 years and I will do as he says.”
“Baby, where are they sending you? And when? And for how long?”
“Back to Iraq to train to the newbies coming in. Next week and I don’t know.” Waverly leaned into Nicole’s grasp. “I don’t want to leave you again. A year was long enough without you, Cole.”
“I know baby. I know. I don’t want you to go either.”
“Why can’t we just...why can’t we just have a life together? Why does the universe keep doing this to us? It’s like it doesn’t want us together!”
“Baby, don’t say that. After everything that has happened, look where you are. You’re in our home, in my arms. If the universe didn’t want us together, we wouldn’t be. Maybe the universe is fighting for us? Maybe the universe is totally a wayhaught fan.”
“Yeah, that’s what Maggie calls us.” Nicole chuckled. “I think it’s growing on me.”
“What are we going to do, Cole?”
“We’re going to do what we always do. You’ll deploy. I’ll send you letters every single day you’re gone.”
“How did I get so lucky to have found you?”
“I don’t know, baby. But I thank god every day you did.”
“At least I’ll be here for Doc’s funeral.”
“Yeah.” Nicole placed kisses on Waverly’s bare shoulders and neck.
“Yeah babe?” Waverly looked up at Nicole with pleading eyes.
“Will you marry me?”