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Travelin' Soldier

Chapter Text

The door opened to the Boe 777, allowing the passengers off the plane. A woman in Royal Canadian Naval ceremonial uniform exited the plane with a heavy sigh. The uniform fit snug against the smaller frame of the woman. The black, double-breasted coat and trousers with a white long-sleeve shirt and black necktie tucked neatly under the jacket, with metals and ribbons hanging from the front. The black accented her eyes just right, her hair pulled up in a tight bun that was just barely peaking out from behind her cap. She had a big black duffle bag flung over her left shoulder as her right arm sat in a cast that was hidden within it’s sling, pulled tightly against her body.

It had been 10 months since the helicopter mechanic had been deployed to Iraq to work on a few of the war-torn helicopters. She had been through hell in those 10 months, including a bombing that had taken out 3 people from her unit and had injured her. She had made sure that her family hadn’t heard about the injuries, not wanting them to worry. She knew she would get yelled at for it now that she was home on leave. She had 3 months to recoup and then she would be shipping out again. 3 months was a long time to be back in civilian life after having been in the Royal Canadian Navy for more than 8 years but she missed her family and friends deeply. She had missed many birthdays, the birth of her niece and just as many funerals.

As she walked through the busy terminal, her body pushed forward the momentum taking the bag from her shoulder and flinging it to the ground. Anger quickly filled her body and she looked around for the culprit and that’s when she saw her.

The tall redhead quickly apologized, leaning down to grab the bag as quickly as the other woman. Their hands both gripping the handle, brushing knuckles. “I am so sorry.” The redhead continued to apologize, her eyes finally coming up to meet the sailor in front of her. Her jaw slightly dropped. “Oh my god, you’re beautiful.” Her eyes went wide as she realized what had just come out of her mouth. “Oh my god. I...oh..I’m an idiot...” She quickly muttered to herself, not to go unnoticed by the sailor in front of her. Even with her mishap, she couldn’t take her eyes off the shorter woman. She was the most beautiful woman she had ever laid her eyes on. Even with the stitches just above her eyebrow and the bruising to the left side of her face and the broken arm, she couldn’t help but smile.

Upon touching the redhead’s hand, the anger disappeared from the sailor’s body. A big smile formed upon her lips when she heard the redhead call her beautiful. The two stood in front of each other for a few silence moments before the soldier broke the silence. “It’s ok. Accidents happen.” She joked as she held up her injured arm with a smile that made the redhead’s heart melt. Her eyes trailed over the woman before her. She was quite a bit taller than her, with long, straight red hair that flowed down her shoulders. She had a Blue Jays baseball hat on and a hiking pack on her back. She was in a tight tank top with a baggy pair of yoga pants that showed just how fit the woman before her was.

“I am so sorry. I can’t apologize enough,” She looked down at the patch across the shorter women’s left breast and noticing her rank. “Petty Officer Earp.”

The acknowledgment of her rank made the sailor cringe but smile at the same time. “You know military ranks?”

The redhead perked up. “A thing or two.” She teased.

“Please, call me Waverly.”

“I’m Nicole. Please let me make it up to you. Let me carry your bag out to your ride? It’s the least I can do for being so damn clumpsy.” Nicole offered, still holding Waverly’s bag in her hand.

“You really don’t need to do that.” Waverly stated, reaching for her bag but Nicole pulled it out of her reach.

“I insist.” Nicole shot her another wide smile, her dimples on full display. Waverly sighed as she couldn’t say no to her.

“Ok. Thank you.” The two started their walk out of the airport, taking the chance to glance at one another, smiles getting bigger each time.

As they got outside, Waverly looked around for her ride and then down at her phone. Her Uber was no where to be found and still 30 minutes away. Nicole looked around. “Which one is yours?”

“You can just drop my bag. Looks like I have a 30 minute wait for my Uber.” Waverly grunted as she sat on a bench by the bus stop.

“That’s crap! Where are you heading?”

“A little town just inside of the Ghost River Triangle called Purgatory. About 2 hours drive north of here.”

“Really? I’m heading that way too. Do you want a lift? My car is in the daily parking area. I wouldn’t mind the company on the drive.”

“Honestly, you’ve been too nice to me already. I couldn’t.”

“Please, I insist.” Nicole smiled sweetly down at Waverly. “I promise, I don’t bite. I’m not a stalker. I’m not a serial killer. Just a girl trying to show her appreciation for a woman in uniform. Plus, it’s a long drive and it’s 2 in the morning. And it’s free. Do you really want to pay for 2 hours of Uber?”

Waverly sighed once again. The taller woman was right. It would be an expensive Uber and it was a free ride. “If you promise that it isn’t an issue.”

“It’s not. I swear. I live in Purgatory.” Nicole walked Waverly deep into the parking garage, her silver Nissan Titan’s lights having blinked as she pushed the button on her key ring. She set her pack in the bed and put Waverly’s bag in the backseat. She opened the door for Waverly, much to the surprise of the younger woman. Waverly responded with a soft smile and climbed into the truck with a pained grunt. “Are you ok?” The concern in Nicole’s voice warmed Waverly’s heart.

“Eh, yeah. Tis but a flesh wound.” Waverly said with a wink.

Nicole softly pushed the door shut before climbing in the driver’s seat. The two sat in silence for 15 or so minutes before Nicole finally spoke up. “So, Waverly, what brings a beautiful sailor like yourself to a little old town like Purgatory?”

“This is where I am from.” Waverly smiled fondly remembering the summers spent running around the property of the homestead.

Waverly glanced over to Nicole. “And what about you? What brought you to Purgatory?”

“Ah well ya know, Texan girl comes out to her conservative parents. Gets disowned. Joins the police force and takes a job furthest away from the hatred.” Nicole shrugged. “Best decision I ever made though.”

A silence fell upon them once more before Waverly smirked at Nicole. “So, you think I’m beautiful?”

“Oof. You heard that?” A burning sensation began to creep up Nicole’s neck and push it’s way across her face. “I’m really sorry about that. I swear I usually have better manners than that.”

“Well, it’s nice to hear it after spending 10 months in the desert with a bunch of horny ass perverts.”

“Where were you stationed?”

“Iraq as part of a sailor exchange with the US Navy.”

“Sailor exchange?”

“Yes, occasionally the US and RCN will exchange no more than 100 sailors. I’ve done it a couple times now. It’s not so bad, but nothing beats being on Canadian soil.”

“Ah so, you’ve been in the heat of things?”

Waverly’s smile faded as she stared out the window, trying not to cry. “You could say that.”

Nicole could see the pain that Waverly was in, both mentally and physically. Instinctively, she reached across the console and placed her hand on Waverly’s, gently rubbing soothing circles on the back of her hand. “How long have you been in?”

“8 long years.” Waverly stated as she leaned her head back against the headrest as she closed her eyes. “You mentioned you are a cop?”

“Yeah. Have been for about 7 years now. First in Texas, then California and then in Purgatory. If you’ve been in the military for 8 years, that would make you 25, 26?”

“25. I joined directly out of the highschool, much to my sister and Aunt’s disapproval. Wanted me to go to college. Get a degree in history but we couldn’t afford it. I joined the military because I wanted to be something bigger than myself. I wanted to feel like I was actually changing the world, ya know?” Waverly pulled her head from the headrest and looked at Nicole with a very serious look on her face.

“I can relate. That’s the reason I wanted to be a cop. Just wanted to make something of myself. Save lives. Help those in need.”

“I felt that way until recently.” Waverly shook her head with a laugh. “Why am I pouring my heart out to a complete stranger?”

“I don’t know but I’m really happy you allowed me to drive you home tonight, Waverly.”

She leaned her head back against the headrest after noticing Nicole’s hand was still on hers. Her eyes began to flutter and she shivered a little. This didn’t go unnoticed by Nicole, who reached in the backseat and grabbed the blanket she had folded behind the passenger seat. With one hand, she unfolded the dark blue blanket and covered Waverly with it. “Mmmm.” Waverly moaned in her sleep as she inhaled deeply. “Officer Nicole, you smell like vanilla dipped donuts. They’re my favo...” Waverly’s words trailed off as she feel into a deep sleep for the first time in months.

“Don’t do it, Haught. Don’t go gettin’ feelings for the hot, straight sailor.” Nicole mumbled to herself. She glanced over at a sleeping Waverly and sighed. “Fuck.”

Nicole pulled up to her house. She had no idea where Waverly lived and couldn’t bring herself to wake the sleeping woman. She looked so peaceful, like an angel. Nicole carried Waverly into her bedroom and laid her on the bed. Nicole gently pulled off Waverly’s cap, shoes and her jacket, revealing the white long sleeve shirt underneath which was tucked into her black trousers. Nicole pulled off Waverly’s belt, surprised that the woman had stayed asleep through all of the movement. She pulled back the blankets and pulled them over Waverly. Nicole grabbed a sports bra and gray shorts from her drawer and changed in the bathroom before grabbing a spare blanket, walking down to the living room where she laid out on the couch, her feet hanging over the end. “Definitely need to buy a bigger couch.” Nicole struggled for sleep, her mind constantly going back to the woman asleep in her bed. She didn’t know who she was but she wanted to know everything about her.

Chapter Text

The morning light broke through the window, blasting across the face of the woman sleeping soundly in the bed. Waverly stirred, reaching her arm under the pillows under her head. She inhaled. “Donuts?” Waverly’s eyes shot open as she realized she was in a stranger’s bed. She slowly rolled over, expecting to see the stranger sleeping beside her but to her surprise, that side of the bed hadn’t been slept in. Waverly let out a sigh of relief. Waverly sat up and stretched her aching body. Her arm was bothering her as she had missed her dosage of pain killers. She looked to the side table next to the bed, spotting a rounded pill with a bottle of water next to her phone. Her eyes fell to the dresser where her uniform was neatly hung and her shoes sat at attention on the floor, ready to be put on. Her pain pill bottle was sitting next to her uniform. “Fuck. Must have fallen out when she? Undressed me?” Waverly softly spoke to herself. Waverly got out of bed and headed down the hall to the living room, taking in the sight before her.

Nicole was sleeping on her stomach, left arm and left leg draped off the side of the couch, her right leg was awkwardly hanging off the arm of the couch and her right arm was being used as her pillow. The blanket covered only her butt, leaving her bareback fully exposed, only the small straps and band of the sports bra. Her back muscles were so tight and defined and just so happened to be Waverly’s biggest turn on.

Waverly licked her lips, trying not to focus on the half naked woman sleeping uncomfortably on the couch. She smiled sweetly at the woman who had so kindly given her a ride and then allowing her to sleep in her bed and not pushing her for information about her injuries. She had cared for her as if they had known each other their entire lives, not for the few minutes they had spoke in the airport and car.

Feeling eyes on her, Nicole rolled over, pretending to still be asleep, stretching her arms up, showing off her massively defined abs. Waverly’s breath hitched in her throat and her heart skipped a beat. She slowly opened her eyes, catching Waverly staring. “Mm, good morning, stranger.”

“Uh...hi. I was just looking for you. I wasn’t sure how I got here last night.” Waverly nervously rubbed the back of her neck. Nicole sat up, tucking her legs underneath her, the blanket folding up into her lap. She patted the seat next to her. Waverly hesitantly sat next to her.

“I tried to wake you up to ask you where you lived. You mumbled out what I thought was an address but I didn’t know for sure so I thought it best to bring you here. You must have been really tired, you didn’t wake up at all.”

“H...how did I get out of the truck?”

“I carried you.” Nicole sweetly spoke. “I hope that’s ok.”

“Y..yeah. I was just wondering.”

“I also didn’t think it would be polite to wake up your aunt or sister at 4 AM to get you to bed. I’m assuming they didn’t know you were coming home?”

“Uh...no. It was kind of an unexpected trip home.”

Nicole looked at Waverly’s arm in the sling. “Assuming that has something to do with it?”

“Yeah. They didn’t know I got injured.” Tears started to well in Waverly’s eyes. Nicole put her hand on Waverly’s knee.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Nicole could see that Waverly was hesitant in answering. “You know what, why don’t I go make us some tea? Coffee? Milk? Sweet tea? Soda? Pop?” Nicole was rambling and she had no idea why. Waverly placed her hand on Nicole’s.

“Tea would be great. It’s been a long time since I had tea.”

Nicole smiled and pushed the blanket from her lap and started towards the kitchen. Waverly admired her toned calves, back, arms, just her body in general. Nicole was gorgeous, there was no denying it and from what she could tell it wasn’t just on the outside. “Would you like something for breakfast? Fruit? Cereal? Eggs and bacon? Uh...SPAM?”

“SPAM? You have SPAM?”

“Yeah, kind of a guilty pleasure of mine.”

“I wouldn’t mind pleasuring you.” Waverly said under her breath.

“What was that?” Nicole peaked around the cabinet door.

“Huh? Ah, nothing. Just talking to myself. Fruit would be good.” Waverly quickly changed the subject.

“Coming up!” Nicole quickly got a bowl of fruit cut up and the tea made. She walked back into the living room, setting the bowl and tea in front of Waverly. She sat back on the couch.

“Didn’t you get anything for yourself?”

“I don’t really do breakfast. I’m usually up before now, at the gym. Then I just grab a protein shake at work.”

“So, Nicole, you’ve learned so much about me since last night, I have a question for you.”

“Anything. I’m an open book. Nothing to hide.”

“Where did you go on your trip?” Waverly sat back and popped a strawberry into her mouth, Nicole’s eyes watching as Waverly’s tongue slipped out to lap up some juice that had escaped.

“Er...um...I was coming home from Vegas.” Nicole cleared her throat, diverting her eyes to her own lap.

“Ah, having the time of your life huh? Did you go with friends?”

“No...I was rock climbing and getting divorced.” The words softly fell from her lips, the embarrassment of the whole situation spilling out.

“A divorce? I’m sorry to hear that.”

“I’m not. It was a mistake. We met rock climbing 3 years ago. Went to a Britney Live concert, won big at the slots plus some booze. It’s a doozey.”

Waverly pushed passed her nerves and reached forward, tucking a piece of hair behind Nicole’s ear. Her fingers lingering a little longer than they should have. “Don’t be embarrassed. Can’t be any worse than coming home after having your ass kicked in an attack.”

Nicole’s eyes feel upon Waverly’s. The beautiful hazel eyes staring back at her. “You were hurt in an attack?”

Waverly’s breath hitched as she tried to get out the words. “Our base...was bombed. 3 in my unit were killed. I walked away with this.” She ran her hand in the air over the injured areas. Nicole’s heart broke at the story Waverly began to tell, tears welling in her eyes. “We woke up to the alarms blaring. Mortar attack. Like usual. Happened every night. Honestly, I was so used to the sound of the explosions that I had slept through it. Because I had slept a little longer than Johnson, Edwards and Yanzie, I was arriving just as the mortar hit our work tent...” Waverly stopped herself from saying more. “God, why am I even telling you all this? I just met you.”

“It’s ok. You don’t have to tell me anything. I would never make you do anything you didn’t want to do, Waverly.” Nicole wiped the tears from her eyes. “Hey, why don’t I go shower and then I can take you to see your family. I’m sure they would love to see you.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because if you were part of my family, I wouldn’t want to wait a second to see you.” Nicole stated as she stood from the couch. Waverly stood with her, their bodies just inches a part. Nicole’s eyes focused in on Waverly’s lips, pulling her own bottom lip between her teeth.

Waverly leaned forward to Nicole’s ear.“Thank you for last night.”

Her words sent chills throughout Nicole’s body. Her breath hitched. “Y...you’re welcome.”

Waverly closed the distance between them, her fingertips running down Nicole’s exposed abs. “Do you normally sleep like this?”

Nicole could tell the game Waverly was starting to play. She raised her eyebrow and smirked. “No.”

“So was this just for me then?” Waverly looked Nicole up and down.

Nicole leaned forward, her lips ghosting against Waverly’s. “Normally I sleep naked...”Just as Nicole was closing the distance, her phone began to ring. Waverly quickly stepped back, clearing her throat. “Damn it. Excuse me, it’s work.” Nicole picked up her phone. “Wyn!”

“Haughtstuff! You home yet?” Wynonna yelled from the other end of the phone.

“Yeah. I got in about 4 this morning. Did ya miss me that much?”

“You know I did! I missed ya so much I even broke into your office to steal a pen.”

“Wynonna!”

Waverly’s eyes widened when Nicole yelled her sister’s name. This didn’t go unnoticed by Nicole. “Hey, so I have someone over right now, can I stop by in like an hour?”

“Haughtshot got a girl her first morning back?!? Way to go!”

“Not what you think...”

“Well, you better get your ass over here and tell me all about her.”

“You bet I will. Bye Wyn!” Nicole hung up and looked at Waverly’s shocked face. “Someone you know?

“Wynonna is my big sister. Wait, are you Haughtshit?”

“I prefer Haught actually.”

“A little cocky aren’t you?” Waverly winked.

“Not when it’s my last name.” Nicole confessed with a chuckle. “Wait, that means you’re Babygirl?”

“That’s me! How do you know Wynonna?”

“We work together at the police department with Black Badge.” Nicole sat back down on the couch, laughing. “She’s my best friend!”

“What’s so funny?”

Nicole ran her hand through her hair, shaking her head. “She’s gonna kill me.”

“Why’s that?” Waverly sat extremely close to Nicole. Her hand running lightly down Nicole’s arm.

“Gahhhh. I’mma go shower and get you to the homestead.” Nicole jumped up at Waverly’s touch. Waverly’s eyebrows arched and her lip snaked out over her bottom lip once again as she grinned. “A cold shower.” Nicole’s comment made Waverly smile even more.

Waverly walked back towards Nicole’s bedroom, looking at the pictures on the wall. To the far left was one of Nicole and Wynonna at the bar, both drinking but full of smiles. She ran her fingers down the photo. It had been almost three years since Waverly had been home and since she had seen Wynonna. They talked often but getting home for leave was a little harder than Waverly ever thought it would be.

Waverly stepped into the bedroom and stood in front of the mirror at the dresser. She stared at her reflection. She didn’t feel any different then when she left 8 years ago, just a little older. She did look more tired. She shook the thoughts from her head and grabbed her dress jacket, trying to pull it over her injured arm. The pain was horrible. Waverly winced and whined. Her eyes were closed when she felt a soft hand on her back.

“Here, let me help you.” Nicole’s soft voice caused Waverly to accept her defeat. Nicole gently slipped the jacket over Waverly’s arm and then helped her get it over the other arm as well.

“Than...” Waverly’s voice trailed off as she turned around to see Nicole was standing there in nothing but her towel.

“Sorry, am I distracting you? I tend to have that effect on women...”

“I...uh...brain...words?”

“Words? Yes, you have words.”

“Sorry. I uh..thank you...”

Nicole stepped forward, closing the distance between them. She started to button Waverly’s uniform for her. “Anything for you...” Her words were so genuine that Waverly knew she meant it.

“Will I see you again?” Waverly placed her hand on Nicole’s chest, not caring that she was just in a towel.

“Do you want to see me again?”

“I would really like to, yes.”

“That’s good. I would really like to see you again too.” Nicole placed Waverly’s phone in Waverly’s front pocket. Her lips brushing Waverly’s as she talked. “I took the liberty of adding my number in there last night.” Her lips finally made contact with Waverly’s, her hands fisting in Waverly’s long dirty blonde hair.

Waverly moaned into the kiss, her hand on her injured arm gripping into the towel as her other hand wrapped around Nicole’s waist, pulling her closer. After a few seconds the two broke their kiss, both smiling widely. “You know what I really don’t want to see more of?”

“What’s that?”

“This towel.” Waverly ran her hand down the front of the towel, the fire igniting in her eyes. She shot Nicole a wink. She definitely wasn’t as innocent as Wynonna had made her out to be. “But, maybe after our first date.”

“Oh, you think you’ll get a first date with me, do ya? What makes you say that?”

Waverly’s eyebrows arched and she smirked an evil smile. “Because I know all I have to do is kiss you again and that towel will come off in a heartbeat.”

“Someone is sure of themselves.” Nicole smiled that smile that showed off her dimples. Waverly felt the heat rising onto her cheeks. “Now who’s blushing?” Nicole walked passed Waverly, dropping her towel as she went. She had no problem being naked in front of this beautiful stranger, especially if it allowed her to win this little game they were playing. Her back was to Waverly but that still didn’t stop the sailor from looking. Waverly’s eyes ran the length of Nicole’s naked body, admiring her body from afar. Nicole glanced over her shoulder, catching the dirty blonde staring. “See something you like, Petty Officer?”

Waverly cleared her throat and diverted her eyes. “We..uh...”

“You seem to have trouble with words when I’m around. Should I be worried?” Nicole teased as she pulled on her bra with a blue tank top. She tugged on her blue jeans that hugged every curve. Waverly couldn’t help but notice she was going commando.

“You do something to me, that’s for sure.” Waverly mumbled as she grabbed her boots and headed to the living room. Nicole just smiled, knowing she had won. She pulled on a red beanie and headed out to Waverly.

“Waverly, you ready?” Nicole grabbed her keys from the coffee table, throwing her phone and wallet in her pocket. Waverly pulled on her cap as they walked out the door. She was nervous to go home again. Nicole opened the truck door for her, helping Waverly into the passenger side. Nicole started driving towards the homestead. “How long has it been since you’ve been home?”

“How long have you been Wynonna’s best friend?”

“About 2 years...”

“I’ve been gone for 3.” Waverly looked out the window at the passing trees. “Officer Haught, how long has it been since you’ve been home?”

“9 years...”

“And did you ever want to just to go back? Do you miss it?”

“I don’t. I’m surrounded by people who care for me now. I have a ‘found family’ who mean the world to me. Wynonna, Doc, Dolls, Nedley, Chrissy. Even Gus at times. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Especially for a family who didn’t love me. Are you regretting coming home?”

Waverly gave Nicole a soft smile. “How could I regret it? I wouldn’t have met you, Officer.”

They sat in silence the rest of the drive to the homestead. Nicole climbed out of the truck as Wynonna walked out of the barn. “Yo! Looking Way Haught today, Haughtpants! How was the divorce? And who was the girl you banged last night?”

“Well, about that...I brought you a present.” Nicole hugged Wynonna, spinning her around so her back was to the truck.

“Oooo! Holy shitballs! You know I love presents! Is it that fine ass whiskey?”

“A little bigger than a bottle of whiskey, not by much though.” Nicole shot a wink over Wynonna’s shoulder. Waverly just glared at her, not amused. Waverly gently walked behind Wynonna, waiting for her to turn around.

“Well, what the hell is it?!” Wynonna asked excitedly. A big smile snaked across Nicole’s lips as she looked at Waverly and pointed for Wynonna to turn around.

“Take a look for yourself.”

Wynonna spun around, her eyes going wide. “Babygirl?!?” Her arms went to fling around her baby sister until she noticed the injuries. She stopped herself mid swipe and dropped her arms to her side. Her hand inched out to touch her baby sister but she didn’t want to hurt her. “Oh, Babygirl, what happened to you?”

“And this is my queue to depart.” Nicole smiled at Waverly. “It was great to meet you, Petty Officer Earp.”

“It was nice to meet you too. Thanks for the ride, Officer Haught.”

Wynonna grabbed Waverly’s bag from the truck and headed into the house, Waverly hung around a little longer in the driveway with her favorite police officer. “You call me if you need anything.” Nicole handed Waverly her business card and flashed those dimples that Waverly loved so much. “Maybe we can get some coffee and properly get to know each other.” She climbed into the truck and propped her elbow on the door frame, her other hand on the steering wheel. “I mean it.”

“Why, Officer Haught, are you asking me out?” Waverly smirked at the redhead in the truck.

“What if I am?” Nicole winked, her hand reaching out to brush Waverly’s bottom lip with her thumb, the same lip Nicole couldn’t take her eyes off of.

Waverly climbed on the step that stuck out from under the truck, sticking her head in the cab, inches away from Nicole’s lips. “I would say pick me up tomorrow at 7.”

“I can’t wait.” Nicole’s tongue ran across her bottom lip, her eyes still on Waverly’s. Waverly quickly closed the distance between them, their lips meeting in a soft, gentle kiss. “Mmm, I could get use to that, ya know?”

Waverly smiled and climbed down from the truck, walking into the homestead. She had no idea what she was getting herself into.

Chapter Text

Waverly walked in to the house, looking around at what had changed and what hadn’t. She smiled when she realized that nothing had changed. She finally released the breath she had been holding onto. Wynonna ran down the stairs and gently hugged her sister, Gus joining in on the hug.

“It’s good to have you home, darlin’.” Gus lifted Waverly’s chin with her finger, turning her head side to side to get a look at the damage. “What happened, angel?”

Waverly sighed, her gaze dropping to the floor. She pried herself from Wynonna’s grip and sat on the couch, sinking into the cushions. Her sister and her aunt sat on either side of her. “It happened a couple weeks ago.”

“And why didn’t we hear about this? You seem pretty injured, I imagine you were taken to the hospital, were you not?” Gus questioned.

“I was. I was knocked out for 3 days. You weren’t informed because I told them not to at some point when I came too on the way to the hospital. I told them that as long as I was going to live, I didn’t need you two to worry about me.”

“Bullshit, Waves! We have worried about you since the day you enlisted without telling either of us.” Wynonna leaned her head on her sister’s non-injured shoulder. “Sorry. Please tell us what happened.”

“It was 0200.” Waverly could see the confusion on Wynonna’s face. “2 AM. We were all asleep. We had gotten use to sleeping through mortar fire. We have them shot at us all the time but none ever hit the base. They have guys who stay up and shoot them out of the sky but this night was different. Something happened. I slept through the first series of alarms. Ya know me, hard sleeper.”

“You could sleep through a hurricane, darlin.”

“Anyway, I missed the first alarm but the others didn’t. As I got to the tent there was an explosion. They died and here I am. Useless.” Waverly pulled her cap off and dropped it in her lap. The tears finally began to fall.

“Don’t you dare say that, Waves! You are one of the bravest people I know.”

“Wasn’t brave enough to be in that tent with them. Instead I get a serious concussion, a partially torn rotator cuff, fucked ligaments in my shoulder, a broken arm and wrist and 3 months of civi life.”

“But you missed us, right?” Wynonna smirked and gave Waverly big puppy dog eyes. It was Wynonna’s way of defusing Waverly’s sadness, something she had done often since they were kids.

“Of course I missed you.” Waverly leaned her head against Wynonna’s. “How many Revheads have you killed since I last was home?”

“27 Revenants. Give or take one or three. 50 to go and this damn curse will be broken and Alice can come home to me...maybe you too?”

“As much as I would love to come home, I think I’m a lifer. I want to do right by the Navy.”

“I hope that one day you’ll find the happiness you are searching for, Waves. I really do.”

“Well, are ya hungry darlin? Of course you are! I’m going to go make us breakfast!” Gus kissed Waverly’s forehead and jumped off the couch, heading towards the kitchen.

Wynonna gave Waverly a sly smile. “So, did ya bone Haughtpants?”

“What?? God, no!.”

“How did you meet?”

“She literally ran into me at the airport when I landed. Offered me a ride home when my UBER didn’t show. I guess I’m still a hard sleeper because she couldn’t wake me up to ask where I lived so she took me to her house. Put me in her bed and she slept on the couch.”

“Ever the gentleHaught.” Wynonna rolled her eyes at the thought of her best friend.

“I do have a question though, why didn’t she realize I was your sister? She never reacted to the Earp last name.”

“Well...uh..She doesn’t exactly know I’m an Earp. Well, I guess she does now and that’s a talk her and I will have to have. She knew me as a Gibson.”

“Why? You have always been so proud to be an Earp.”

“Damn it, Waves, when I met Haught to Trott, I hit it off with her. I didn’t want our last name to scare her away. Just never really came up after the first introduction.”

“So, you’ve been lying to her?”

“Not lying!! Just hiding! You’re one to talk, Miss I’m not going to tell my family I almost died!”

“Fine, fine. I’m sorry, Nonna.”

Wynonna cuddled against her sister. “She totally has a thing for you, you know that right?”

“W...who?” Waverly looked at Wynonna with a guilty look.

“Haughtstuff. I saw how she looked at you when she was leaving. I’mma kill her.” Wynonna glanced at Waverly’s concerned face. And then grinned a cheeky grin. “Just what I thought. You have a thing for her too.”

“We only just met, Nonna.”

“And ya are already trying to get in her Haughtpants!” Wynonna playfully nudged Waverly’s shoulder with her own. Waverly giggled.

“There’s that laugh we’ve missed so much. How long do we have you for? Forever right?”

“Like I said, Nonna, 3 months.”

“And then where will you go?”

“Back to Iraq.”

Wynonna jumped to her feet, anger filling her face. “What the fuck? You’re going back? After what they did to you!?”

Waverly was taken back at first but then she became angry as well. She stood from the couch and got in Wynonna’s face. “This is my fucking job! I signed up for this!”

“You didn’t sign up to die, Waverly! You didn’t sign up for us to lose you again!”

“I can’t do this with you right now.” Waverly stormed out the door, grabbing keys off the wall as she headed out to the barn. She pulled the doors open to reveal her bright red jeep. She climbed into the driver seat and banged her hand into the steering wheel and then gripped her arm in pain. “Fuck!” She rubbed her hand against the her forehead in frustration and pulled out her phone, calling Nicole.

“This is Officer Haught, how can I help you?”

“Hey, it’s Waverly.”

“Waverly, what do I owe the pleasure?”

“I...need to cancel for tomorrow.”

“Is everything ok?”

“Uh, yeah, I just forgot I had plans already.” Waverly didn’t want to cancel on Nicole but she was in no shape to be around anyone.

“Ok, no problem. How about the next night?”

“Look, I enjoyed last night but I leave in 3 months back to Iraq. Honestly, I don’t think this whole thing is a good idea.” Waverly lied.

“I understand.” The disappointment was obvious in Nicole’s voice. “I’ll see ya around.” Before Waverly could respond Nicole hung up. She shook her head and put her phone back in her desk drawer before going back to work on the case she was working on.

Waverly drove for hours, just taking in Purgatory. All her old hangouts. The movie theater where she had her first date. The park where she drank for the first time and then there was Shorty’s. A place that held a special spot in her heart. Waverly pulled into the parking lot and walked into the bar. It was a Tuesday night and the bar was slow, just how Waverly liked it. She sat at the far end of the bar, the darkest seat, hoping no one would notice her.

“What can I get for ya?” The bartender asked while wiping down the spot in front of her.

“Whiskey. Neat. Keep em coming.” The bartender sat her first shot in front of her.

“No offense but a small girl like you probably will be drunk after 2.”

Waverly looked up from her drink. “Not that it is any of your business but I’m a damn Earp and I’m in the military. I can handle my liquor. Thanks.”

“An Earp, huh? You must be the baby sister.”

“I am. And who the hell are you?”

“Rosita. Or Rosie to my friends.” Rosita leaned on the bar, touching Waverly’s hand.

Little did Waverly know, Nicole had been sitting at one of the tables to the north of the building and had spotted Waverly the second she walked in. Upon seeing the flirting happening at the bar, she watched it go on for about 30 minutes Nicole couldn’t help but feel jealous and a bit angry. She took a deep breath and grabbed her Stetson before walking to the bar and slamming a $20 down the bar. “Keep the change, Rosita.”

“Officer Haught, you usually hang out longer than one drink.”

Nicole looked at Waverly, who was chasing her 3rd shot with a Blue Moon. “Not tonight.” She put on her Stetson, buttoned the top two buttons on her uniform and tipped her hat to the two ladies. “Have a good night, Rosita.” Nicole headed out the door.

“Wonder what that was about?” Rosita questioned.

“That would be my fault.”

“What did you do?”

“Had a date with her tomorrow and kind of blew it off.” Waverly was embarrassed to admit it.

Rosita’s eyes went big in disbelief. Waverly took another shot and started on a new beer.“You broke off a date with Nicole Haught? Are you insane?”

“Why is it such a big deal?”

“In the 3 years that Nicole Haught has been in this town, do you know how many times she has been asked out?”

“Uh...no?”

“38, just in this bar. Men and women alike. Do you know how many she has gone on a date with or asked out?”

“Still a big fat no.”

“Zero, Earp. She has gone on zero dates since being in Purgatory. She has asked out zero people. So, the real question is, what made you so special?”

Waverly laid her head against the bar. “I can’t date her.”

“Why’s that?”

“I leave for Iraq again in 3 months!”

“So? What are you so afraid of? Falling in love with her?”

“I’m afraid of this!” She runs her hand in the air above her body. “I’m afraid of dying in that shithole of Hell and not coming home to her. The pain that would cause her or anyone else I am with, I can’t put them through that.” Waverly threw back two more shots and placed some money on bar before stumbling towards the door. “Wow, wow. You shouldn’t be driving.” Rosita yelled towards the door. Waverly flipped her off and continued outside. Rosita pulled out her phone. “Hey, it’s me. Are you still in the area?”

“Yeah, why? Having some issues at the bar again?” Nicole answered her favorite bartender.

“No. Your girlfriend just headed out the door, drunk off her ass. She’s about to get into a car.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Nicole jerked the steering wheel and did a quick U-turn heading back towards the bar. As Nicole pulled up to the bar, she spotted Waverly digging through her numerous pockets, trying to find her keys. Nicole jumped out of her cruiser and approached Waverly. “Waverly...”

“Go away, Nicole.”

“We both know I can’t let you get in that car.”

“Just. Go. Away!” Waverly fumbled with the keys, trying to push the unlock button. Nicole reached out and grabbed the keys from her. “Hey!”

“No! Stop!”

“What do you care?!” Waverly started to reach for the keys but Nicole jerked away.

“I...”

Before Nicole could get any words out, Waverly was vomiting down the front of her own uniform. Nicole sighed and grabbed a bag from her cruiser and pulled off Waverly’s shirt and shoved it in the bag. She threw it in the trunk and helped Waverly into her cruiser.

“Don’t take me to the...” Waverly puked again but this time Nicole was ready with a vomit bag. “Homestead.”

“Great...” Nicole mumbled before putting the car in drive and heading to her own house. She pulled Waverly’s door open and helped her into the house and into Nicole’s bedroom. She grabbed some of her clothes out of the drawer and set them on the bed. Nicole stood over Waverly and helped her into a seated position. “I need to change your clothes, are you ok with that?”

“Yes...” Waverly leaned her head against Nicole’s chest, willing herself not to vomit again. Nicole took in a deep breath, running her hand down her own face.

“What have I gotten myself into?” She whispered to herself. She pulled off Waverly’s undershirt and slipped her Texas A&M shirt over the smaller woman and then pulled off her boots, pants and underwear. Nicole made sure she never looked or touched anywhere she shouldn’t. She slipped on a pair of new women’s boxer shorts she had bought a few days ago. They had little tacos all over them. It was that one or the one with rainbows. Nicole didn’t have time to be embarrassed by it, not yet anyways. She pulled a pair of her gym shorts over the boxers. She carefully maneuvered around Waverly’s injured arm, doing her best not to move it at all. Nicole pulled back the blankets and tucked Waverly under them. Nicole turned on the fan and placed a bucket, 2 bottles of water and a pain pill next to the bed. Nicole grunted, rolled her eyes and walked out of the room. She grabbed a hooded tank top that said “loyal” across the chest and gym shorts, changing in the bathroom before heading to her gym/office. Nicole dialed Wynonna’s number.

“Yo, Haughtshit, what’s up?”

“Your sister is here at my house, just so you know.”

“Are you banging my sister and then telling me about it? Cuz, I’ll kill ya!”

“No. Her and I had a date for tomorrow, she blew me off and got drunk. Rosita called me when she tried to drive drunk. She’s passed out in my bed.”

“Ah fuckholes. Not gonna work out with ya two then?”

“Obviously not. Just get your ass over to the bar and get her car and then come pick her up in the morning.” Nicole hung up, pulled her hair back into a pony tail and taped her wrists. She put in her ear buds, blasting her music while she whaled into a punching bag. “What the hell am I doing? Why didn’t I just take her to the damn homestead? Why?” Nicole argued with herself in between punches.

After a couple hours on the bag, Nicole looked at her phone. “2 AM, well, good time for a run.” She sighed. “After I make sure she didn’t choke on her own vomit.” Nicole threw a gym towel around her neck and ran to her bedroom, Waverly still in the same position as when she left her. On her stomach, mouth hanging slightly off the bed so that if she did puke, it would go in the bucket kind of. Nicole had added extra pillows under Waverly’s shoulder to support it without causing her any pain.

After drinking a bottle of water, the redhead walked outside. It was pretty cold for being summer but she knew she would be able to warm up on her run. And that’s what she did. Every hour, she would stop by the house and check on Waverly. No matter how much Nicole tried to turn her brain off to go to sleep she couldn’t so she kept running. Before she could realize it, the sun was coming up. She was extremely tired but kept pushing her body. “You have to do better. You have to be better!” Nicole yelled at herself, pushing herself to keep running. Her legs burned and felt like jello, her lungs hurt but she kept going. Finally, she approached her house. It was 7 AM. She had been running for 5 hours and 23 minutes. Not her personal best but close. She slow jogged in place as she unlocked the front door and jogged into the house.

“Hey...” Waverly tried to get Nicole’s attention but with her ear buds still in her ears, she headed to the bathroom, not realizing that Waverly was waiting for her on the couch. Waverly could tell that Nicole was tired, looking like she was going to pass out. She could also tell that something was on Nicole’s mind.

Waverly waited in the living room until she saw Nicole cross the hall into the bedroom. She slowly made her way to the bedroom door, knocking before entering. “Nicole?”

Nicole stood at the dresser, her hands placed on the edge, her chin tucked to her chest. “Sorry I woke you...” Nicole answered in a very groggy voice.

“Were you running all night?” Waverly placed her hand on Nicole’s shoulder as Nicole nodded. “Why?”

“Just needed to run.” Nicole’s voice was cold, not the usual soft tone she had
prior.

“You’ve taken care of me the last two days...” Waverly slowly approached her, reaching her hand out and placing it on Nicole’s bare shoulder, placing her mouth near Nicole’s ear. “Let me take care of you.”

“I’m ok.” Nicole pulled on a shirt. She turned to walk out of the room but Waverly stood in her way, placing a hand on her chest.

“Please?” Waverly’s eyes pleaded with Nicole. Waverly helped Nicole into bed, she could tell the tiredness was sweeping over the taller woman. Nicole laid down and gripped into her pillow with a sob. Waverly could see she was crying and it broke her heart. She didn’t know what to do, so she did the only thing she could think of. She laid in front Nicole, wrapping her arm tightly around her, pulling her as close as she could. Waverly pulled her arm from her sleeve, the pain almost unbearable but the pain of seeing Nicole upset hurt her more. Using her injured arm, Waverly brought her hand up and began to slowly run it through Nicole’s hair until the redhead had finally drifted off into a deep sleep.

Chapter Text

Waverly laid with Nicole for a couple hours before hearing a knock on the front door. Nicole started to stir but Waverly placed her hand on her cheek. “Shhh, no. I’ll get it. You go back to sleep. It’s probably just Nonna.” Nicole nodded, groggy, her body still drained from pushing herself so much the night before. Waverly placed a small kiss to her forehead before climbing out of the bed, shutting the bedroom door behind her and making her way to the front door. She took in a deep breath and closed her eyes, trying to center herself before she opened it. On the other side was a very pissed off Wynonna. She shoved her way into the house, waving her arms in the air as she yelled at her baby sister. “How could you be so stupid? To try and drive drunk? What? Almost dying in Iraq wasn’t good enough, Waves? You had to try and get the job done here?” Wynonna could see how the younger woman had curled into herself, ashamed of what she had done. She couldn’t stay mad at her. She was just happy she was ok. Wynonna pulled her sister into a strong hug. “Look, I get it. I do. But fuck, Babygirl, what were you thinking?”

“I was thinking of them...my unit.” Waverly sobbed into Wynonna’s shoulder. “I was thinking why do I get to come home to my family when they don’t?”

“Ya know, that’s a question I ask myself every day about daddy and Willa...”

“You do?”

“Every day, Babygirl. I ask myself why couldn’t have been me? Why did we live and they died? But at the end of the day, I realize it was because me and you, Babygirl, are meant for bigger things. We’re meant to still be here to change this world. Your story isn’t done yet, Waves.” Waverly just nodded into Wynonna’s chest. Wynonna looked around the house. “Where’s Haughtshit?”

Waverly pulled away and pointed at the bedroom. “She’s in the bedroom, asleep. She got back about 2 hours ago. It was weird. She ran all night long after bringing me here.”

“Fuck...” Wynonna muttered.

“Why did she run all night, Nonna?” Waverly was concerned and while she didn’t deserve a reason, she hoped she could find out.

“She hasn’t brought up why she moved here, did she?”

“Said her parents didn’t accept her as being gay.”

“That’s partially true but she never told you she use to be in the military, did she?”

“She what?” Waverly’s mind filled with confusion. “No. She never mentioned it.”

“She normally doesn’t bring it up.” Wynonna sighed. “Maybe this is a story she should be telling, not me.”

“Nonna, please? She was so cold towards me. I figured it was because I blew off our date for tonight.”

“Damn it, Babygirl!”

“I know, I know.”

“Fuck, fine. But I’m going to need something to drink.” Wynonna headed to the kitchen, pulling a bottle of whiskey out of the cabinet. She sat at the kitchen table and started to drink from the bottle. Waverly sat next to her and Wynonna offered her a drink which Waverly denied. “Haughtass was in the Marines, like you, went fresh out of high school. She was a MP. She was home on leave for her 21st birthday. Her sister, who was older, insisted on taking her out.”

Waverly could see where this story was going and it made her feel even worse about her decisions the night before. “Nonna, what happened?”

“Nicole got drunk as her sister said she would watch out for her and drive them home. Turns out Hayley had a couple drinks herself. They wrecked on the way home. Hayley died when they hit a tree, car flipped 4 times.” Waverly closed her eyes, shaking her head at the pain she put Nicole through the night before. “Haughtpants was set to reenlist but decided against it and got out a few months after the accident. She blames herself for Hayley and so do their parents. Nicole left home after that and never looked back. The nights she runs all night are the nights she’s haunted by her sister and the accident. It doesn’t happen often anymore but when she first moved here, it was almost a nightly thing. That’s how her and I met. I spotted her one night after she had pushed herself too much. She had passed out in the road and I almost ran her stupid ass over. Took her and I a bit but we soon became best friends.”

“You’ve never had a best friend before, Nonna.”

“No, I haven’t and that should tell you how special that Haughtass in there is.” Wynonna looked at Waverly with question. “Why did you call off your date with her?”

“It was the fight we got into. It hit me. I’m shipping out in 3 months again. I can’t have someone else worrying about me. It’s bad enough what I put you and Gus through. It wouldn’t be fair if I started this with her and couldn’t see it through, ya know?”

“I do but she doesn’t get a say in all this, Babygirl? You just get to make that decision for her?” Wynonna grabbed Waverly’s hand. “Do you like her?”

“I don’t really know her.”

“Waves, do you like her?”

Waverly nodded slowly. “Yes.”

“Then why not just hang out with her? Why even think about a relationship. Just get to know each other. If at the end of the 3 months ya’ll are feeling it, then there’s your answer.”

“When the hell did you get so smart?”

“You aren’t the only one who’s learned some stuff since you’ve been gone, Babygirl.” She put the bottle whiskey back in the cabinet. “Ya ready to go home?”

Waverly shook her head and looked back towards the bedroom. “No. I think I’m gonna stay so I can apologize. Though, leave the Jeep please? I have physical therapy today.”

“Call me an Uber then.”

“Purgatory has Uber now?” Wynonna started laughing.

“No. Not at all. I’ll call Doc.” Wynonna said, still laughing at her own joke. Waverly just rolled her eyes at her sister.

“You’re ridiculous, ya know that?”

“But you still love me.”

“I don’t know why.” Nicole’s voice came from the hallway. She was watching the sisters at the table. When they realized she was there, she walked into the kitchen and started making some coffee after pulling a 5-hour energy out of the cabinet and shooting it back. She shook her head at the taste, sticking out her tongue. “Blahhh.”

“Haughty, why do you drink those things? You hate them!”

“Can’t sleep the day away, like you, Wyn.”

Waverly just sat there in silence, staring at her hands in her lap. She was too embarrassed to look at Nicole. Nicole glanced at Waverly, her eyes going wide. “Nonononono.” Nicole ran off to the bedroom.

“What did you do now?” Wynonna questioned Waverly who just shook her head and shrugged. Nicole came running back out with Waverly’s arm brace/sling.

She knelt down in front of Waverly and began to help her put it on. “You can’t take this off, Waverly. You could do more damage to your arm.”

Waverly’s eyes lifted from her lap and locked on Nicole’s. “It was worth it.” She whispered.

This caused Nicole to pause for a minute, close her eyes and sigh. “I’m not worth it.” Nicole whispered back. She secured Waverly’s arm back in place in it’s sling, attaching it back around her waist.

“Uh, so this is fun and awkward but Doc’s here, I’mma head out! Catch you two later.” Wynonna quickly ran out the door as Waverly looked at Nicole with apologetic eyes.

“Nicole...”

Nicole shook her head and sat a cup of tea in front of Waverly and sat across from her. “Hey, it’s ok. We’re good.” Nicole faked a smile while taking a sip of her coffee.

“But we’re not and...” Waverly took in a deep breath. “And I’m not ok with that.”

“Hey, you said your peace yesterday, Waverly. No hard feelings. Honestly.” Nicole took a bit of her poptart, the strawberry jam sticking to her lip. Her tongue snaking out to pull it into her mouth. Waverly couldn’t take her eyes off her lips.

“Ya know what I’ve always wanted?”

“Uh...no?”

“To parachute out of a plane at 15,000 feet. To swim far, far out into the ocean...which I mean I’ve kinda done.” She corrects herself, shaking her head. She stands up and kneels in front of Nicole. “The point is, I’ve always wanted to do things that scare me. It’s why I joined the military. But it’s not so easy to be brazen when the thing that you want, that scares you to death is sitting right in front of you.”

“I...I scare you?” Nicole’s eyebrows arched as she gave Waverly a soft smile, her dimples shining through.

“Yes, yes you do. Because, I don’t want to be friends. When I think about what I want to do most in this world, it’s you...” Waverly shook her head and sighed. “That sounded way more romantic in my head.” She looked up at Nicole, placing her hand on Nicole’s thigh. “Just, uh...jump in anytime Nicole because I really, really don’t know how to do this.”

Nicole smiled and pulled Waverly into her lap. “I think you’re doing just fine.”

“Maybe I should just stop talking.”

“See? You’re doing great.” Nicole smirked, pulling Waverly closer.

“Maybe you should stop talking too.” Waverly straddled Nicole’s lap, putting her one arm behind Nicole’s neck.

“Why don’t you make me?” Nicole teased, her hands slipping around Waverly’s hips, grabbing her butt. With that move, Waverly’s hand gripped behind Nicole’s neck and pulled her closer, crashing their lips together in a fury of passion. Waverly’s fingers gripped into the back of Nicole’s hair while Nicole’s grip on Waverly’s butt tightened as she stood up, carrying Waverly to the couch. Waverly locked her legs behind Nicole’s back as Nicole laid her softly onto the couch, never breaking contact with the smaller woman.

Nicole finally pulled away, her chest heaving, trying to get air back into her brain. “Wow.”

“Officer Haught, I do believe you are an amazing kisser.” Waverly admitted, swirling a piece of Nicole’s hair around her finger, a smile on her face that went front ear to ear.

“As fun as this is, Petty Officer, we need to talk about yesterday...”

“Thought we agreed no more talking?” Waverly pulled Nicole into another kiss as Nicole’s hands began to wander. She stopped at the hem of Waverly’s shirt, her eyes asking for permission. “Yes, to everything, Nicole.”

“I don’t want to hurt you, Waves.” Nicole looked down at Waverly’s arm. “I don’t ever want to cause you any pain.” Just ask Waverly was about to kiss Nicole again, her phone’s alarm started going off. She let out a loud groan. “What is it?”

“I have my first physical therapy appointment in an hour. I have to get ready.” Waverly ran her finger down Nicole’s jawline. “Can we continue this later?”

“Only if you can squeeze in our date.”

“I was thinking about that. Yes, I want to still go on our date.”

“Promise not to run?”

“I can’t promise that but what I can promise is that I will try my hardest. They don’t refer to me as the Travelin’ Soldier for nothing.”

Nicole slowly lifted herself off of Waverly, offering her a hand to help her up. “That is a story I would love to hear.”

“How bout tonight, 1900? Meet you here?” Waverly pushed up on her tippy toes and kissed Nicole’s cheek.

“Yeah, that sounds great...” Nicole watched as Waverly headed to the bedroom to get dressed. “Hey, Waverly?”

“Yeah, Cole?” Nicole smiled softly at the nickname slipping from Waverly’s lips.

“Would you mind if I drove you to your appointment?”

Waverly smiled sweetly. “Why, Officer Haught, is this your way of trying to spend more time with me?”

“I cannot confirm nor deny these allegations, Petty Officer.”

Waverly pulled Nicole into the bedroom, pushing her against the door and pressing her body as close to her as she could. “Well, I would love to spend more time with you, Officer.” Waverly ran her finger down Nicole’s lip. “What would you say about making a day out of it? Just you and I getting to know each other a little bit better?” Waverly looked down, embarrassment taking over.
“And maybe I can explain what happened.”

“I would be a fool to say no to you.”

“I’ll go get dressed and we can head out?” Waverly slowly slipped off Nicole’s lap, an instant chill going through Nicole’s body at the loss of contact. Waverly looked down at the taco boxers. “Though, I think I’m going to keep these, if you don’t mind.”

“I would be a horrible host if I didn’t let you. It is Taco Tuesday afterall.”

“Hm...is that so?” Waverly smirked as she walked into the bedroom to get ready. “Tacos are tasty.” Nicole could hear her mutter from the other room and couldn’t help but smile.

“I am in so much trouble with this one.” Nicole sighed as she stood at the sink, putting her pot of coffee into a thermos.

Chapter Text

The day went as smoothly as it could be. Nicole drove Waverly to her appointment but headed to the station for a little while, while Waverly went through her physical therapy. She sat at her desk as Wynonna walked up, putting a cup of coffee in front of her.

“Morning, Haughtstuff.”

Nicole arched her eyebrow at her best friend, grabbing the cup to take a sip only to shoot straight up and swallow hard. “Jesus, Earp! Fucking whiskey already?” Her hand covered her mouth as she tried not to throw it up. “Are you ever sober?”

“Eh.” She leaned against Nicole’s desk. Dolls walked into Nicole’s office.

“Earp, Sheriff Haught, we have an issue. Can I please see you both?” Dolls stood at attention and nudged his head back towards the Black Badge office.

“Of course.” Nicole handed Wynonna the “coffee” back before the two strolled into Black Badge’s office. Dolls shut and locked the door behind them.

“Sheriff, as you know...”

Wynonna leaned over to Nicole, whispering in her ear as Dolls paced back and forth in the office, discussing another Revenant problem he had stumbled across. “You haven’t told Waves that you’re Sheriff of the town, have you?”

“Wyn, shut up. Dolls is talking. Act professional for once.”

“Nope. You didn’t tell her! Oh my god! Look at you hiding things from her already. You are in so much trouble.” Wynonna giggled while poking at Nicole’s side.

“Wynonna! Stop it!” Nicole shoved her away and walked to the other side of the room, trying to listen to what Dolls had to say. Wynonna watched as the gears started to run through Nicole’s head about all the things she was going to need to talk to Waverly about if they were ever going to consider having a future together.

“Earp, I don’t know what you’re doing over there, but you get your gun. We’re heading out!” Dolls commanded of his troubled employee. “Sheriff, meet us in an hour?”

“Yes, Deputy Marshall.” Nicole turned to Wynonna. “I’ll go pick Waverly up and meet you guys at the warehouse.” Nicole pulled a new black button up shirt from the cabinet and began to put it on over her tank top. She pulled her hair quickly into a tight bun and grabbing her black beanie off the desk. She tucked in her shirt and grabbed her belt from her locker and then placed her gun in the holster on her hip with her backup strapped to her ankle.

“Just keep it in your pants, will ya, Haughty?” Wynonna bit into a fresh powdered raspberry donut. “No bonin’ my sister before a case.”

“Oh, I’ll make sure to have all the sex with your sister.” Nicole teased.

“Is that so, Officer Haught?” Nicole froze in place when she heard Waverly’s voice come from behind her. Wynonna couldn’t hide the excitement of getting Nicole in trouble. Even Dolls was slightly uncomfortable with the look Waverly was giving Nicole.

“If you’ll excuse me, Sheriff. Earp and I will leave you two to talk.” Dolls headed out the door but when he noticed Wynonna was still in the corner snickering like crazy, he walked back and grabbed her by the arm. “Now, Earp.”

“Oh, come on, Dolls! This was just about to get good!” She struggled to stay in the room but Dolls pulled her away.

“So, you’ll have all the sex with me, huh? And Sheriff, is it?”

Nicole still hadn’t turned around, deep red was covering her face and her ears. “I...really didn’t mean it that way. I’m sorry. I never should have joked about it.” Her eyes slowly came up from the floor as a hand touched her back.

“Hey, who said I was angry about the comment?” Waverly snuck around the front of Nicole, her hand running from Nicole’s back, across her side and finally resting on Nicole’s abs as she moved around to the front of her.

“It still wasn’t ok for me to say. I shouldn’t objectify you in that way.”

“Cole, it’s totally ok. I really don’t mind. What I do mind is the fact that you didn’t tell me you were the Sheriff? How long has Nedley been gone?”

“He stepped down 2 years ago. Decided to focus on his fishing’” Nicole said with a laugh remembering the conversation she had with him.

“Good for him. He’s a good man.” Waverly looked around the office. “When did you join Black Badge?”

“About a year and a half ago. Wynonna got herself in a pickle and I was the closest so Dolls called me in. Guess after that, he thought I was worth keeping around.” Nicole stopped talking for a second. “Wait, why are you here? Your appointment shouldn’t be over for another 14 minutes.”

“You keeping tabs on me?”

“Always safer to know which direction the tornado’s coming from.” Nicole teased the sailor in front of her.

Waverly’s jaw dropped and her hand placed over her heart in being mock offended. “You wound me, Sheriff.”

“Well, tell me how I can heal that wound, Petty Officer?” Nicole gave Waverly a dimpled grin.

“Hmmm...” Waverly circled Nicole as if she were a shark circling her prey. She stopped behind her and snaked her arm forward, under Nicole’s arm to unbuttoning the top two buttons on Nicole’s shirt. “Leave these open, Sheriff. I think it’s really attractive.” She stepped back in front of Nicole. “How much time do you have before you need to meet up with them?”

“An hour.”

Waverly sighed. “Can we talk for one second?”

Nicole nodded, the flirty demeanor in Waverly had all but slipped away in the matter of seconds. “It’s probably a good idea.”

“I just want my intention with you to be completely known.” Waverly leaned against Nicole’s desk. “The reason I broke off our date was because I ship out again in 3 months. I’m not...”

“You’re not looking for a relationship, right?” Nicole stood tall in front of Waverly, her thumbs hanging off her gun belt. “I get it, but can you honestly say you don’t feel something between us?”

“That’s the issue, Nicole. I totally do. And honestly, if it weren’t for the fact I was in the military, I could see myself falling head over heels in love with you but...”

“I understand.” Waverly searched Nicole’s expressions. She expected to see hate, anger, disappointment but all she saw was understanding, compassion. “Look, let’s just spend the next 3 months getting to know each other knowing that there is no relationship on the back end. We spend some time together, no expectations. We can see other people, we can see each other and whatever happens, happens. It’ll be like one of those summer flings. Have a little fun and then go our separate ways.”

“And you would be ok with that?”

“Wouldn’t suggest it if I weren’t.” Nicole said with a shrug. Heading back towards her locker. “But if that’s not what you want, then we can just be friends. I’m good with too. Though, I’m still taking you on a date tonight, friends or more, just so ya know.” She looked over her shoulder at Waverly, giving her a subtle wink. “Gotta show ya that Haught charm everyone always talks about.”

“Who’s everyone?” Waverly grinned.

“Mainly just me, I suppose.” Nicole laughed out. Waverly couldn’t help but laugh. “So what do you say, Waves? You up for the best 3 months of your life?” Nicole leaned into her locker and grabbed out her bullet proof vest.

Waverly looked a little concerned by the sight in front of her but shook it off. “Well, with confidence like that, how could I say no?”

Nicole pulled a gun case out of another locker and opened it to reveal a sniper rifle. “Hello, beautiful.” Her hand caressed the barrel of the gun.

“God, remind me to marry someone who looks at me the way you look at that gun.”

“Oh, you should see the look at the women I date.” Nicole winked, causing Waverly’s heart to skip a beat and her breath the hitch. She wouldn’t deny the fact she could see herself falling in love with Nicole Haught, but she also knew she couldn’t let herself.

“And just how many has that been?”

“Uh...are we talking like actual relationships?”

“Let’s say 6 months or more.”

“Ok. Um...4. Including not serious relationships, 15 women total.”

The number shocked yet didn’t surprise Waverly. Nicole was super good looking, very sweet and had the charm to match. And Waverly loved how open Nicole was with her. “Ah, so you do this 3 month deal with all the women you meet then, huh?” Waverly smiled sweetly up to Nicole, letting her know that the number didn’t bother her.

“Let’s just say, women love a woman in uniform. How bout you, Earp? How many are notched in your bedpost?”

“Well, that travelin soldier bit I told you about earlier?”

“Ah. Gotchya.”

“No. Everyone assumed I was sleeping around at each base. Just a stupid name they gave me that isn’t true. I’ve had 2 serious relationships. 8 total with the hook ups, 3 of which were before I even joined the military.”

“Well, I wouldn’t care either way, Waverly. We all have a past. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of, people we’re not proud of but it’s important to just move forward.” Nicole looked down at her watch. “We should get going. I’ll drop you off at my place.”

“Sounds great, we’re still on for tonight,1900 right?”

“I wouldn’t miss it for anything, Waverly.” Nicole walked with Waverly out to her SUV, where she threw everything into the back and opened the door for Waverly. She jumped in the driver seat and headed towards her house. “I’m sorry I have to cut our day a little short though. I was really looking forward to talking more.”

“Ask me anything, Cole.”

“Serious?”

“Dead serious. Let em roll. I’ll answer as many as you can ask from now until we get to your house only thing I ask is that you answer the question too.”

“Fair enough. Um....favorite color?”

“Yellow. You?”

“Blue. Let’s see. Favorite food?”

“Prior to the military, pot roast while I’m in...still pot roast just MRE...oh sorry, Mea...”

“I know what it is, Waves. Never did like the pot roast one, myself. Was more of a stew kind of the girl.”

“What’s your current favorite food?” Waverly wanted to ask more about Nicole’s military background but knew it was probably a sore subject.

“Hm...honestly, right now I’m trying to eat better so a really good chicken salad or on my cheat days, just a really greasy cheeseburger from Shorty’s.” Nicole glanced over at Waverly before looking back at the road. “What are your plans for when you get out?”

“I don’t plan on getting out anytime soon.”

“Ah, a lifer huh?”

“Yup. What about you Sheriff Haught? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”

“I’m not sure. As you know, being Sheriff of Purgatory doesn’t exactly have a long life expectancy.” Nicole laughed nervously. “But I would like to start a family eventually. How about you? Do you want a family?”

“Little Earps? I’m not so sure about that though I do think it would be super adorable to see baby Haughts running around.” Waverly laughed.

“Oh, yes, a sea of red hair and the fire to match it.” Nicole rolled her eyes and huffed. “Maybe I don’t want a family after all.” Nicole laughed.

Waverly leaned into her side and gave her a sweet kiss on the cheek. “You’ll be a great mom and whoever has the chance to marry you will be one lucky woman.”

Nicole smiled at the contact as Waverly laid her head on Nicole’s shoulder. “Did you always want to be in the military? I know you mentioned being a historian at one point.”

“I really wanted to be a historian. Every thing history excites me.”

“Then why stay in the military? Why not go for that dream? Put that beautiful brain of yours to use.” Nicole pressed a kiss into Waverly’s hair.

“I’m not sure what holds me in the military but I guess it just feels like home after all these years.”

“Maybe, one day, you’ll find a new home.”

“Maybe.” Waverly nuzzled her face into the side of Nicole’s neck, taking in her smell. They sat the rest of the way in a comfortable silence.

Nicole knew she had agreed to a 3 month fling with Waverly. She knew that at the end of the 3 months, she would have her heart broken again but she couldn’t resist getting to have Waverly Earp for those 3 months. She couldn’t resist the chance to treat her the way she deserved to be treated and try and give her the world in those 3 months. The pain of falling in love with Waverly Earp would suck but the smiles, laughs and memories she would get to enjoy with Waverly would be enough for Nicole.

As they approached the house, Waverly kissed Nicole’s cheek one more time. “I’ll see you in 3 hours, right?”

“Yup and ya know what, why don’t I pick you up at the homestead? Let’s make this an official date.”

“That would be great. And if you’re going to be late...”

“I’ll text you, I promise. I know how you military people are with that whole late thing.”

“Hey! I’ll have you know, I was like this before the military.” Waverly stuck her tongue out at Nicole and crinkled her nose. Nicole just laughed. Waverly smiled at Nicole’s dimpled laugh and hopped out of the car. “I’ll see you soon, Sheriff Haught.”

“That you will, Petty Officer.” With that said, Nicole was pulling away from Waverly and off to meet up with Dolls and Wynonna.

------------------------------------------
The mission was simple. Dolls would be on the hill with the sniper rifle while Wynonna and Nicole would go in the backdoor. Nicole stood at the door, her 9mm pulled from it’s holster while Wynonna had Peacemaker in hand as well.

“Dolls, do you have eyes on Bobo?” Nicole spoke softly into the comms.

“Affirmative. He has 4 guys with him. All known Revenants. Wynonna, our mission is to get the intel that Bobo has stashed at the Northwest corner of the building without being seen. That information could lead us to every single living Revenant. That information could end the Earp curse.”

“Do we know it is here, for sure?” Wynonna whispered into Nicole’s ear. “Like, could this really all be over after tonight?”

“If we play our cards right, Wyn, Alice might be able to come home in just a couple of weeks.”

Alice. Her daughter. The little bundle of joy who she loved more than anything. The little girl who looked and acted exactly like Waverly. Wynonna often said that she prayed to have her sister by her side through it all and God had a funny sense of humor. “We can’t Earp this up, Haughty.”

“No, we can’t. For your sake and Waverly’s. You both deserve to leave Purgatory and never look back.”

“What about you, Haught? You deserve to leave too.”

“My place is here, Wyn. I learned that awhile ago.”

Dolls popped onto the comms. “Are you two in position?”

Wynonna took a flask from her belt and took a swig, offering it to Nicole who took a drink as well. “10-4.” Nicole answered back.

“On my mark...GO!”

Wynonna and Nicole slowly snuck through the door, sticking to the walls and the shadows, hoping to not be seen. Nicole motioned for Wynonna to move towards the forklift to the left of them. Wynonna hurried across the warehouse, scooting behind the forklift. Nicole quickly followed. Nicole motioned to the door 50 feet a head of them, motioning that it was the target door. She nodded for Wynonna to cover her. The plan was for Nicole to go into the office as she knew how to pick locks and recover the documents they needed.

Nicole slowly maneuvered her way to the office, pulling out her lock picks and jimmying the lock open. She closed the door behind her. “I’m in.”

“Good. The filing cabinet is trash. Don’t bother. It has an alarm on it as a trap. You are looking for a greenish box that says “DUMP” on it. The file that you want from inside will be labeled “TRAILER TRASH”.” Nicole nodded as if Dolls could see her. She spotted the box within a couple of minutes, quickly going through it and pulling out the file she wanted.

“Shit.” Wynonna spoke up. “In coming, Haught. 4 guys. I’ll get em away from your door.”

“Earp! Don’t you dare! Earp!” Dolls yelled over the comms but like her usual self, Wynonna ignored him.

“Hey! Assholes!” Wynonna pulled up Peacemaker and watched as it started to glow. “Consume a satchel of richards!” She yelled as she pulled the trigger, sending one of the men back to hell. The others started to head for Wynonna as she took off across the warehouse. Nicole shoved the file in between her chest and bulletproof vest.

“Haught get out of there!” Dolls yelled as he sniped a couple guys. “There are more than just 4 in there! Move!”

Nicole ran out of the office and spotted Wynonna pinned down in the corner of the warehouse. Nicole got within feet of Wynonna and pulled her gun out to shoot but soon her vision began to spin, everything going black as a 2x4 was broke across the right side of her face. She fell to one knee, shaking her head to get the cobwebs free as blood started to spill from her eyebrow and ear. Wynonna had taking out two more Revenants, including the one who had hit Nicole but one had his gun trained on Wynonna, she didn’t see him.

“Wyn!” Nicole yelled as she jumped in front of Wynonna, the gun going off as Nicole pulled Wynonna to the ground. The bullet hit Nicole’s vest but she could feel that it went through.

Wynonna quickly pulled up Peacemaker and shot the dark-haired man through his forehead, the gates of Hell opening beneath him. “Haught! Fuck!” Wynonna went to move Nicole but Nicole stopped her.

“Don’t...The bullet went partially through the vest...” Nicole mumbled out.

“Don’t you fucking do this, you attention whore. Don’t you go faking an injury just to get out of work so you can spend time with my sister, you asshole.” Wynonna’s voice was shaky. “Dolls, we need an ambulance. Haughtpants got shot.”

“Already called it in.” Dolls was out of breath as he was running down the hill.

“Why would you jump in front of me, you big idiot?” Wynonna pressed her forehead against Nicole’s cheek, a tear falling from her eye.

Nicole punched Wynonna in the boob. “You forgot your vest, ya dick.”

“Fuck me.”

“No thank you.” Nicole softly chuckled. “I need you to do me a favor, Wyn. Please? I need you to call Waverly and tell her I’m going to be late for our date tonight.”

“Nononono. I’m not givin her that news. You call her yo damn self! She’s gonna kill me. Getting her date killed and all.”

“Not dead, thank you very much.” Nicole’s voice was full of nervousness as Dolls got to the two women, covering them in case any one showed back up.

“Where are you shot, Haught?”

“In the back, Dolls. It went through my vest. I can’t feel my legs.” Nicole’s voice was shaky, full of fear.

Wynonna stood up and walked away from the two as the EMTs arrived, pulling out her cell phone. She quickly dialed Waverly’s number.

“Hey Nonna! How’d the mission go?”

“Waves....Nicole’s not going to be able to make your date tonight...” Wynonna’s voice cracked, her emotions finally breaking through.

The words stung Waverly’s heart faster than she had expected. Her knees gave out but thankfully the couch was right behind her. “W...what...”

Chapter Text

“W...what...”

Wynonna followed the Paramedics as they loaded Nicole in the ambulance. They tried to stop her from getting in but Wynonna shoved them. “Fuck you! I’m going with her!”

“Let...let her.” The Sheriff told them, the paramedics nodded. Wynonna climbed in and sat next to Nicole.

“I...is she alive, Nonna?”

“Yes, Waves. She’s alive. We’re heading to the hospital.”

“What happened?” Nicole reached out and took the phone from Wynonna.

“I...I’m gonna be late, Waves...” Nicole said through pained breaths.

“I swear to god, if you die, I’m never going out with you again.” Waverly said between sobs. “Worst date ever, by the way.”

“I...I’m sorry.” Nicole handed the phone back to Wynonna. “T..take care of her, please?”

“Don’t you talk like that, asshole. Don’t you dare talk like that. You take care of her yourself!”

“I’ll meet you at the hospital, Nonna.” Waverly hung up and Wynonna turned her attention back to Nicole.

“You made her cry, Haughtpants. I should kill you for that.” Wynonna wiped stray tears from her face.

“Quit being a bitch...” Nicole playful smiled at her best friend.

“You gotta be ok, you know that right? Like, I need you. Stupidly, you are my best friend and I need you.”

“Not going anywhere, Wyn. I promise.”

The Paramedics gave each other a look as they continued to stabilize Nicole. “She’s losing a lot of blood.” One of them held a towel over Nicole’s eye but it was just filling full of blood.

“Tis but a flesh wound.” Nicole groaned. Wynonna laughed. “That bit, Wyn, bout the satchel. That was good.” Nicole weakly smiled at her best friend. She balled up her fist and Wynonna softly gave her a fist bump. “Take my ring, please? Have Waverly keep it.”

Wynonna slipped off Nicole jade ring that she wore on her left hand’s middle finger. “Some protection ring that was, Haught.”

“Definite want...”She breathed in deep, a sharp pain running through her back as they hit a pothole.

“Easy, you fucking cocktapus!” Wynonna yelled to the front of the cab.

“Definitely want my money back.” Nicole tried to steady her breath, holding out her hand for Wynonna. “Hey...”

“What do you want now?” Wynonna took Nicole’s hand in hers.

“Wh...what do you call a lesbian dinosaur?”

“What?”

Before Nicole could answer, the ambulance doors were swinging open and they were pulling her stretcher out of the ambulance. Wynonna stood by Nicole’s side as long as she could. “Wait...” Nicole pulled the file from in between her chest and vest. It was covered in blood “Be free, Earp.” She shoved it into Wynonna’s chest as they wheeled her off to surgery. They quickly took xrays, seeing that bullet was indeed against her spine.

A surgeon stood over Nicole. “Sheriff Haught, we’re gonna get you well soon, I promise.” They put a new IV line in her arm and injected her with anaesthesia. “Can you tell me where your happy place is?”

“Uh, watching porn.” Nicole said with a smile as all the operating room nurses and doctors started to laugh. “Oh god, don’t tell Waverly I just said that...”

“We won’t.” The surgeon laughed.

“Actually, she’ll be there with me, so what do I care.” Nicole said as she went under.

Wynonna, Gus, Waverly, Dolls and Doc all sat in the waiting room. It had been 6 hours since they had taken Nicole in. Waverly was a nervous wreck but Wynonna was worse. She was pacing back and forth, her boots clicking against the ground echoed throughout the waiting room.

“Damn it, Wynonna, sit the hell down, will ya?” Waverly finally spoke up.

“Language Waverly. I know you’ve been in the military but you don’t need to curse like them.” Gus said with disappointment to her niece.

“Sorry, ma’am.” Waverly looked up at Wynonna. “I’m scared too, Nonna.”

Wynonna stopped in front of Waverly and pulled the ring out of the pocket. She had been playing with it for hours, trying to calm her nerves but it was time she gave it to the person it was meant to be with. She held it out to Waverly. “Nicole asked me to give this to you.”

“Her ring?” Waverly took it, slipping it on her middle finger. It was a little big but not by much, enough that it would stay. “Do you think she will be ok?” Waverly asked, staring at the ring on her finger.

“I don’t know, Babygirl. I hope for both our sakes that she is.” Wynonna slumped down against the wall next to Waverly’s chair. She pulled her knees to her chest, the tears starting to form again in her eyes. Waverly made her way next to Wynonna and wrapped her good arm around her, pulling her tightly into her. “She’s my best friend, Waves. What will I do without her?”

“She’s going to be fine, Nonna, I promise.”

Dolls slumped down on the other side of Wynonna after moving the chair. He wrapped his arms around both Earp women. “Sheriff Haught is one of the strongest women I have ever met. A bullet can’t keep her down.”

Waverly moved in between Wynonna’s legs, laying back against her chest as her sister wrapped her arms around her shoulders, hugging her tightly. Doc took Waverly’s spot at Wynonna’s side. Waverly finally let her tears escape, crying softly into Wynonna’s shoulder. Gus looked down at the group of friends on the ground and pulled out her phone, capturing the heartbreaking memory.

After another 2 hours, the dr finally came out, heading directly for the group of friends. “Waverly? Wynonna?” He spoke softly. He gripped his surgical mask in his hands tightly.

Both girls jumped to their feet, eager to know what had happened to Nicole. “Doc, what ya got for us?”

“She made it through surgery. The bullet made it through her vest but thank God she had it on. It slowed it enough that it only pressed against her spine, didn’t do too much damage in there. Had she not had her vest on, the bullet would have shattered her spine.”

“Will she still be paralyzed?” A concerned Dolls asked from over the shoulder of the Earp sisters.

“There is no way to tell. She should get some feeling back in her legs but we won’t know for sure how much until she is awake and healed. She could recover just fine or it may have been pressed against her spine long enough that she may have lost complete use of one or both legs. We really won’t know until the bruising goes down around the spine.”

“How long could her recovery be?”

“A couple months and that’s if we are talking best case scenario.”

“Thank you for all you’ve done, doc. We really appreciate it.” Wynonna shook his hand after thanking him. Waverly couldn’t believe how professional Wynonna was being. As the doctor walked away, Wynonna let out a huge sigh of relief and pulled her flask from her pocket, taking a long drink. She offered it to the group as a way of celebrating. Each one of them took a swig.

“I want to help her as much as I can, Nonna. Do you think she’ll let me?”

“I don’t know, Babygirl but if I was a bettin woman, which I happen to be, I would say she is going to milk this injury to get you to stay with her.” Wynonna smirked at her baby sister as she wrapped her arm around her shoulder. “Though, you gotta get that wing right so you can go back to work.”

“Uh...yeah. Definitely got to get that better, don’t I?”

“Why, Miss Waverly, are you havin’ your doubts about returning to your current place of employment?” Doc spoke softly for the first time.

“I...I just feel bad because Nicole is hurt. Who’s going to take care of her when I leave?”

“We all will, Babygirl. Plus, ya’ll agreed to keep this whole thing casual right?”

“We did but I was so scared when I heard she had been shot, Nonna. I’ve only known her for 2 days but God, I don’t want her not in my life. I told her that if I wasn’t in the military I could totally see myself falling in love with her, Nonna.”

“Wow.”

“I know. I know! But we just have this connection that I can’t explain away but I also still don’t want a relationship.”

“And she’s ok with that, Waves?”

“She said she was. Said she was fine with us seeing other people and each other but...what if I only want to see her?”

“Well, you can’t ask that girl to be with you and not to give you her heart because she damn sure will. And you can’t expect her not to get attached and want more, Waverly. And that sure the hell wouldn’t be fair to her or to you.” Wynonna took another drink from her flask.

Before Waverly could answer, a nurse was heading towards them. “Miss Earp?” Waverly and Wynonna both looked towards her. “Nicole is in her room. You both are more than welcome to come see her.”

The girls looked towards Dolls, Gus and Doc. “Go. It’s time I headed home anyways. I’m glad that girl is ok. She’s one tough cookie.”

“We will escort you home, Ma’am.”

“Doc, if I have to tell you one more time to call me Gus, I will whip you with your own belt. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Gus.”

The 5 of them hugged it out. Waverly and Wynonna made their way to Nicole’s bedside, each pulling a chair to each side of the bed. Waverly leaned forward, taking Nicole’s hand in hers, kissing it. Wynonna, on the other hand, just laid her head on the bed next to Nicole, not comfortable with touching her just yet. Waverly looked over Nicole’s body to her sister, a sadness filling her even more.

“You really love her, don’t you Nonna?”

“After you left, I had a really hard time dealing with the Earp Curse and everything that brought with it.” Waverly went to say something but Wynonna stopped her. “Waves, I don’t blame you for leaving. You deserve to live your life away from Purgatory and I love you no matter what. Haughtstuff came into my life when I needed her the most and she is my best friend. She will never replace you, but I love her as if she were my sister. She has done nothing but put her life on the line so that we might be able to end this curse so that Alice can come home.” Wynonna looked down at her best friend and then at the file in her hand. “She risked everything today so that we could be free, Waves.”

Waverly stood up and leaned over Nicole, cupping her cheek and running her thumb gently across her lips. “You better wake up, Sheriff. You and I still have a date to go on. You promised me that Haught Charm and you damn well better deliver.” Waverly leaned down and kissed Nicole’s lips ever so gently.

“She’s not a frog, Waves. You’re kiss won’t magically bring her back.”

“Ribbit ribbit.” Nicole groaned towards Wynonna.

“Cole?” Tears welled in Waverly’s eyes as Nicole slowly opened her eyes, looking deep into Waverly’s.

“Haughtdamn!”

She looked Waverly over, who was in a sleek black dress that ran down to her ankles but had a slit up the right side, showing off just enough to get the imagination going. Her hair was swept up with just a few random curls hanging down to frame her face. “Oh god. I must be dead.”

“Why’s that?” Waverly softly caressed Nicole’s cheek.

“Because you look like an angel. You’re so beautiful.” Nicole’s words made a blush form on Waverly’s cheeks and her smile went ear to ear.

“Is that, that Haught charm you were telling me about?” Waverly pressed her forehead against Nicole’s.

“Mmm hmmm.”

“You’re high as shit, aren’t ya Haughtpants?”

“Mmm hmmm.”

“And you still manage to flirt with my sister? This is ridiculous.”

Waverly stepped back to give Wynonna some time with Nicole, but the sadness of the lost contact between them made Waverly frown a little. “Lickalotapus.” Nicole groaned again.

“What?”

“It’s what you call a lesbian dinosaur.”

“Oh, you’re fucking gross, Haught!” Wynonna laughed so did Waverly. The mood in the room lightening up.

The doctor walked in and looked at the 3 women in front of him. “Sheriff, it’s great to see you are awake. I would like to run some tests, if that’s ok. Though we may need you two to step out.”

“Any tests you need to do can be done in front of them.” Nicole pointed at both Wynonna and Waverly.

“Ok, let’s begin then.” He pulled back the blankets that covered Nicole’s lower body, exposing her almost to her crotch. Waverly blushed as she could see all the way up causing Nicole to smile. “I’ll need one of you to draw her attention away from me please.”

“I pick her.” Nicole instantly pointed at Waverly who stepped back to Nicole’s side.

“Now, Sheriff, I am going to be asking you if you have feeling where I touch. I may be touching, I may not. Please let me know when you feel it. Waverly, I will need you to distract her from watching me, please. Wynonna, I would like you to have your back to Nicole just so she can’t see facial expressions.”

“You mean like my utter disgust at seeing her pubes?” Wynonna joked, turning her back to Nicole but still being able to see the doctor’s movements.

Waverly leaned over Nicole, her face only a mere inch from Nicole’s. “You just keep those beautiful eyes on me, ok?” Waverly softly caressed Nicole’s cheek.

“Wouldn’t want them anywhere else.” Nicole smiled lovingly into Waverly’s eyes. There was so much love behind Nicole’s eyes, it made Waverly’s heart skip a beat and her breath to hitch. Nicole could feel it when it happened. “Are you ok?”

“Y...yeah.” Her smile getting wider. “Just lose my breath when you look at me like that.”

“I’ll never stop looking at you like this, Waverly Earp.”

“Ooof, there’s that Haught charm again, huh?”

“You caught me.” Nicole winked.

“Ok, Nicole, can you feel this?” The doctor began to run his pen around Nicole’s left foot. When he got no answer, he ran it up her calf, inside and out then to mid thigh with still no response.

“Hey doc, ya start that shit yet?” Nicole joked, still smiling at Waverly.

“No, no. Not yet. Still trying to find a pen.” The doctor ran the pen almost to Nicole’s crotch when she raised her hand.

“Ah, yeah, I feel that doc.”

“Good, good. Let’s try the other side. Just keep your hand up as long as you feel it, ok?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You scared me, you know.” Waverly softly confessed to Nicole.

“I’m sorry.” Nicole’s hand crept the back of Waverly’s neck. “How can I get you to forgive me?” Waverly smiled as she leaned down and gave Nicole a small kiss on the lips.

“Don’t die on me, ok?”

The doctor got just above Nicole’s right knee and she put her hand down. “Good, good. Well, let me go discuss my findings with the neurologist.” The doctor stepped out of the room and Nicole frowned.

“I can’t feel my legs still, Waves.” A few tears fell from Nicole’s eyes. “I can’t walk.”

“Babe, it’s ok. You’ll be ok.”

“Yeah, Haughtpants, you’ll be up and back to work in no time.” Wynonna stepped next to Waverly.

“Look, can you two please leave?” Nicole’s voice became very cold. She was angry. More angry than she had ever been.

“Haught, you don’t mean that. Come on dude.”

“Leave! Now!” Nicole’s fingers dug into the sheets and mattress under her.

Waverly leaned down to kiss Nicole good-bye but she turned her face away from Waverly. Waverly nodded and grabbed Wynonna’s hand. “Let’s go, Nonna.” She looked at Nicole one more time. “I’ll come see you tomorrow.”

Her and Wynonna stepped out of the room, running into the doctor outside. “She asked us to leave. She’s very upset.”

“That’s normal for situations like this, especially with military or police who are injured in the line of duty. It can be difficult to come to terms with.”

“What’s her diagnosis, sir?”

“The bullet was pressed into her spine, while there was minimal damage that we could physically see there’s no telling what we can’t. She could get feeling back tomorrow or she could never. It’s really up to her body and how it heals.” the doctor looked over his notes. “We will start her in physically therapy as soon as we can. Hopefully get that feeling back sooner rather than later. She’s going to need someone to take care of her at home, though. Does she have any famliy? We will see where she progresses but she will be fitted for a wheelchair and crutches soon.”

“We’re her family.” Wynonna spoke up.

“I’ll stay with her until I ship out.” Waverly answered softly. “What do I need to do to get her house ready for her to come home?”

“Just make sure it’s wheelchair accessible. Make sure she can get to everything as easily as possible. The less frustrated she is coming back home, the better it will be for her accept that this is her life for right now.” He handed Waverly Nicole’s personal belongings. Her keys sat at the bottom of the bag, along with her gun and badge.

“I’ll go to her house and get her a charger for her phone so she has that at all times. I’ll be back shortly.” Waverly was still in shock at everything the doctor was telling her. Was Nicole really going to be paralyzed? And who would take care of her after Waverly left? Waverly pulled her keys out of her pocket and climbed into her jeep, heading towards Nicole’s house. As she stepped inside, something made her jump. A little tiny meow came from behind her as a tiny orange kitten came trotting out of the bedroom and looked at Waverly before running back to it’s hiding spot. Waverly got on her knees, looking under the bed at the cute little ball of fluff. “Hi, sweetie. It’s ok. I’m not going to hurt you. I promise.” The kitten couldn’t have been more than a 12 weeks old, max. She had bright orange fur that reminded Waverly of Nicole’s hair ever so slightly. It strangely had one bright blue eye and one beautifully golden eye. “I bet you’re hungry, huh?” Waverly asked as she saw the kitten’s food bowl under the bed. She grabbed it out and headed to the kitchen where she found the kitten food under the sink. She put a little scoop of wet food into the bowl and brought the remaining in the can with her. She was determined to get this little fluff ball out of it’s hiding spot. Waverly placed the bowl under the bed and watched as the little thing ate it up as fast as it could. She pulled the bowl closer to her and put another scoop of food in it, getting the same results.

Waverly pulled the bowl even closer, this time, it was just outside of the bed. She scooped another spoonful of food into the bowl. The kitten was a little hesitant but after a few minutes, climbed out from the under the bed and began to eat out of the bowl. Waverly, ever so gently, reached her hand forward, rubbing it down the back of the kitten. At first the kitten jumped and then went back under the bed but soon, she caught on to what Waverly was doing and just stayed out to eat while Waverly petted her. Soon the kitten was finished and climbed into Waverly’s lap, curling up. “Well aren’t you the best baby. And so darn cute!” Waverly snuggled the kitten, giving it kisses. She saw a name tag on the collar that read “CJ”. “Well, CJ, your mommy is in the hospital and I am going to take care of you, ok?” The tiny kitten meowed as if she understood what Waverly was telling her. Waverly giggled and cocked her head to the side. “Does this make me a Disney Princess now?” The little kitten meowed again which caused Waverly to laugh once more.

She spent an hour loving on CJ before heading into the kitchen. She saw a picnic basket in the corner of the kitchen and smiled at the idea that popped into her head. Waverly begun to search the kitchen for what Nicole had and what she could pull together for a picnic in the hospital. Waverly made some baked chicken with her own special seasoning, roasted some potatoes in rosemary and butter making them fall apart at the touch and toasted some garlic bread. She pulled a white wine out of the wine cabinet with two wine glasses and the bottle of whiskey for Wynonna. She separated all of the food into 3 containers. “I will see you in a little while, CJ. Stay out of trouble.” Waverly said as she gathered some items for Nicole into a backpack and she headed out the door.

Waverly walked into the hospital a few minutes later, backpack on her back, carrying the picnic basket. She spotted Wynonna sitting outside of Nicole’s room and let out a sigh as she knew that meant Nicole still didn’t want to talk to them. “Any news?”

“Other than her being a dick? No, not much.” Wynonna looked defeated.

“Well, here. Eat up and refill that flask of yours.” Waverly pulled out a sealed container and the bottle of whiskey, handing it over to Wynonna. “I’ll be inside if you need me.”

“Careful, Waves. She said some pretty horrible things to me.”

“You know she didn’t mean them, Nonna. She’s just hurting both physically and mentally and she’s taking it out on the people who love her most.” Waverly said before she pushed the door open to Nicole’s room. As she stepped inside Nicole just stared at her.

“I told you to leave.” Nicole scowled.

“Well, Sheriff Haught, I believe you told me we were going on a date tonight and that you wouldn’t miss it for anything. And for some of that Nicole Haught charm that I am just dying to see. So, I’ll be damned if this is going to stop us from having our first date.” Waverly approached the bed, waiting for a nasty response back that never came.

“You deserve better than this.” Nicole motioned to her legs with her hands.

Waverly set the backpack down and placed the picnic basket in the chair behind her. “Nicole, you do NOT get to tell me what I do and do not deserve. That is not for you to decide, do you understand?” Waverly had a stern voice. It reminded Nicole of her military days but she softened quickly as she leaned down and kissed Nicole’s cheek. “And if you think anything is going to scare me away from you, you have another thing coming.”

“You don’t have to do this because you feel sorry for me, ya know. I’m a big girl. I’ll be just fine.”

“You think I’m doing this because I pity you?! That is the furthest thing from the truth, Nicole Haught and don’t you ever say that again!”

“We’re not dating. You don’t need to take care of me, Waves. You deserve someone who can....”

“What did I say, Cole? I get to decide what I deserve in this life and god damn it, maybe that’s you, ok? Maybe I want to get to know you, no matter what is happening. Maybe...” Waverly’s voice shook and her words trailed off. She turned away, visibly shaken.

Nicole could see she was starting to break through Waverly’s military exterior but not in a good way and it crushed her that she was treating her this poorly just because she couldn’t handle her own emotions. “Waverly, I’m sor...”

“I made dinner.” Waverly softly cut her off. She pulled her arm out of her sling, the pain was enough to remind her that she was still hurt but she didn’t care. She pulled the container out of the basket and pulled the lid off. It was still nice and hot. She started to cut up the chicken for Nicole and placed the platter in front of her on her meal tray. “Eat.”

“Waves, your ar...”

“It’s fine. Please eat before it gets cold.” Waverly’s voice wasn’t bubbly anymore. It wasn’t cheerful. She took out of her plate and pulled the chair a little away from Nicole’s bedside. They started to eat in complete, awkward silence.

Nicole finally had enough. “This gonna be one of those awkward first dates that we talk about down the line when we are referring to how bad things went with other people?” Nicole joked, pushing food around on her plate.

“Only if you keep being an asshole.” Waverly glanced up from her plate with a smirk.

“I’m sorry, Waves. I truly am. I shouldn’t be taking my anger out on you and Wynonna.”

“It just hurt when you thought I only wanted to be with you out of pity. I would never, Nicole. Ever do something like that to you.”

“I know. I...I’m just so mad, Waves. What if I never walk again?”

Waverly set her plate down and walked to Nicole’s side. “Listen here, even if you never walk again, it doesn’t make you any less of who you are, do you understand? You are the most caring, loving, tender, strong, beautiful woman I have ever met and you will still be that person even if you can’t walk but we won’t think like that right now, will we? We are going to think about our next date and the one after that and the one after that. We will talk about how much we will miss each other when I leave because, Cole, I will miss you and our found family like crazy. We will talk about our next kiss, which, if you’re lucky, will happen at the end of this date.”

“Yeah?”

“Yes. And we will talk about that adorable kitten of yours that I am going to steal in the middle of the night.”

“Oh, you met CJ? She actually came out?”

“Well, I think she was hungry but then...” Waverly pulled out her phone and started to show Nicole all of the photos she took with CJ curled up against her, nuzzling her face, giving kisses.

“Awe, she’s the best, isn’t she?”

“When did you get her?” Waverly pulled her chair closer to Nicole’s bedside, so close that her knees were touching the side of the bed.

“A couple weeks ago, I was out on patrol and I noticed something sitting in the middle of the road and there she was. I don’t know how she managed to not get hit but I couldn’t leave her. And then two more came running up to me.”

“Oh my god! Are there two more in your apartment that I didn’t know about? I need to go fe...”

“Calm down, Waves. The other two were adopted out. One by Wynonna, actually and the other by Dolls.”

“All of you have kittens that I don’t know about?”

“Well, we were all a little preoccupied with other things. But yes, we all have a kitten.”

“I am so jealous right now.”

“Well, do you think you could take care of her while I’m in here? You can stay at my place if you’d like.”

“Really? But you just met me. How can you be so sure that I won’t run off with all your belongings and your cat.”

“You can have all my belongings, just leave the cat please.” Nicole smiled sweetly. “This is really good, by the way. You are an amazing cook.”

“Well, how bout this. Since I’ll be staying at your place, why don’t I cook you dinner every night and bring it over? That way you get to eat food that doesn’t taste like...well military food and we get to spend some more time together.”

“I really like that idea, Waves. And again, I’m really sorry for how I treated you two.”

“Hey, we understand.”

“Can you do something for me, please?” Nicole gave Waverly her best puppy dog eyes and Waverly’s heart melted.

“Sure.”

“Can you please put your sling back on?”

“Yes.” Waverly grabbed it and tried to but was having a little bit of an issue.

“Come here. I’ll help you, babe.” The pet name slipped from Nicole’s lips before she could stop herself and a blush crept across her cheeks and ears. Waverly smiled and walked up to her, allowing her to strap the sling to Waverly’s arm. “I never got to ask, how did your appointment go?”

“It went well. There wasn’t as much issues in there as they thought. I might get to head back sooner...” Waverly’s eyes searched Nicole’s as she pressed her forehead to Nicole’s. It was their thing. Just as intimate as the small kisses that they would sneak. “If I wanted too.”

“How is it that in 2 days of meeting you, I already don’t want you to leave?”

Waverly caressed Nicole’s cheek. “I know the feeling.” Waverly pressed a kiss on Nicole’s nose. “I think I’ll stay the full 3 months.”

“I would really like that, Waves.” Nicole melted into Waverly’s touch, her eyes closing as her own hands touched Waverly’s legs as she sat on the edge of the bed with Nicole.

“Are you in much pain? Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Not much pain but I think that has something to do with it.” She pointed to the IV bag of pain meds. “And can you bring Wynonna in? I really want to apologize to her.”

“Does that mean our date is over?”

“For now, babe. For now.”

“Well, in that case..” Waverly kissed Nicole softly. “Thank you for letting me stay.”

“Thank you for staying.”

“For as long as I can, I will be by your side, Cole.”

Chapter Text

A month had passed since Nicole had been shot. Nicole came home from the hospital after a week and Waverly never left her side. Between Nicole’s physical therapy and Waverly’s own, they had stayed busy but were content in the friendship that had blossomed between them but enjoyed the small kisses that would be snuck every now and then.

Nicole slipped out of bed and positioned herself in her wheelchair. She still hadn’t gotten use to the chair but it was slowly becoming the norm for her. She watched as Waverly brushed her hair, letting her long locks flow down for the day and she couldn’t help but smile.

“What is the plan for today?” Nicole wheeled up to Waverly’s side, placing a hand on the small of her back.

“Hm...You have physical therapy, like you do every day but after that, we can do whatever you want. You have something in mind?”

“I do.” Nicole let out a nervous sigh. “It’s been a month since we had went on a date, so I was wondering, would you like to go out with me tonight?”

Waverly smiled sweetly and leaned down to Nicole so that she was at eye level with her. She cupped both of her cheeks and gave her a soft kiss. “Why Sheriff, what did you have in mind?”

“Well, I thought maybe since you’re officially out of your sling, we could maybe go see a movie and dinner somewhere to celebrate?”

“An actual date, Sheriff?” Waverly’s smile widened even more and it made Nicole smile in excitement.

“Yes, Petty Officer. An actual date. Me and you.”

“Yes. 100% yes, I would love to go out with you tonight.” Waverly rubbed her thumb across Nicole’s cheek. “I know this hasn’t been the best month with everything that happened but I have really enjoyed the time we’ve gotten to spend together, Cole. I really appreciate you turning your gym into a spare bedroom for me. You’ve changed your home around just to have me here. You just...you don’t know how much that means to me.”

“I would do anything to keep you here, Waves.” Nicole stuttered, realizing how that sounded. “I...I mean, not in a serial killer kind of way.” She chuckled at herself. “I enjoy spending as much time with you as I can. Since my injury, you’ve been the best thing to happen to me. Our friendship means more to me then you will ever know. Though, the kisses are what keeps me around.” Nicole winked at Waverly and gave her a dimpled smirk.

“And there it is.” Waverly kissed her nose. “That Haught charm I’ve been waiting to see again. I absolutely love that smile, please never lose it again.”

“I will do my best.” Nicole shot her another heartwarming smile. Nicole knew she couldn’t make the promise never to lose her smile again because she knew the day that Waverly deployed back to Iraq would be the day she lost her smile again. Over the last month, Waverly had been her rock. Helping her get use to being in a wheelchair but never once making her feel like she was a burden. And boy, did she have days where she just couldn’t get her head space right, but Waverly never let that scare her away. She stood by Nicole’s side. From the mental pick me ups to the nightly massages on Nicole’s legs and back. About a week after Nicole had been home, she was tired of seeing Waverly sleep on the couch, even though she fit it perfectly. Nicole asked Waverly if she would like to move in with her, on a temporary basis anyways. At least that’s what Nicole had told Waverly. Honestly, Nicole asked her because she was being selfish. She wanted to go to bed every night with Waverly, at least under the same roof. Yet, as Nicole’s anxiety got worse, Waverly found that she would only go to sleep if Waverly was in bed with Nicole. It soon became routine that Waverly would fall asleep with Nicole in her bed before waking up at some point in the night and moving to her own room.

Waverly watched as the gears turned in Nicole’s head. She was deep in thought with a tear on the verge of falling. “Hey.” Waverly ran her hands gently up and down Nicole’s shoulders. “You ok?”

“Huh?” Nicole shook the thoughts from her head. “Uh, yeah. Just thinking about all the hell they are going to put me through today. Honestly, I’ve thought about stopping physical therapy. I don’t think it’s working.”

“You can’t give up, Cole. You have to keep working and keep pushing to get better. Plus, look at these guns!” Waverly squeezed Nicole’s biceps. “They are my favorite thing about you.”

“My arms? Really?”

“Well...” Waverly walked into the bathroom, smirking over her shoulder at Nicole. “2nd favorite thing.”

“Oooof. That woman!” Nicole mumbled as she headed to the living room and leaned down to pull on her shoes. She pulled her Stetson onto her head, adjusting it just a bit. Even with her injury, the police department wouldn’t let Nicole step down as Sheriff. They allowed her to stay on, even going as far as to moving Nicole’s office down stairs, adding a bathroom for her and having a ramp that came in the backdoor so that she wouldn’t have to worry about all the crazies in the main room. She had never felt more loved by the town she worked for or the people.

Waverly dropped Nicole off at physical therapy and headed to Shorty’s for a drink. No matter how comfortable Nicole was with Waverly, she just couldn’t bring herself to have Waverly in the sessions with her. She couldn’t stand for Waverly to fully see her at her weakest moments, but maybe it was time she asked.

Nicole laid on the mat, the therapist leaning over her, stretching out Nicole’s legs one at a time. This had been their routine for the last month and Nicole was ready to move on. She wanted to try and start walking. She wanted to try even if she failed but she knew she couldn’t do it alone, not this time.

“Hey Eric.”

“Yeah, Haught?”

“Can you call Waverly and ask her to come sit in on the session?” Nicole continued to work out her sore muscles. Her body still wasn’t use to being in the wheelchair, something that Nicole was fine with. She didn’t want to get use to being in a wheelchair.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I’m sure. I want to try the braces today.”

“Really? You’ve been fighting me all week about using them, what’s changed?”

“I want my life back.”

“Let’s do it.” Eric stepped off to the side, dialing Waverly’s number.

“Hey! Is she done already?” Waverly had a peppy but worried tone.

“No. Not at all. She’s actually requesting you to join us for this session.”

“R...really?” Waverly’s eyes started to tear up. “Y..yeah. I’ll be right there.”

“Good. I think this will be good for her. She’s pushing herself really hard. Do you think you might be able to get her to take a day off?”

“Have you met Nicole? She’s as stubborn as they come.”

“She is, but her body needs a rest. The swelling in her spine is still at 50% and that could very well be what is causing her paralysis. She needs to take a day or two off. She needs to take a day or two off and I think you are the only one who can do it.”

“I will try my best to convince her. I will see you soon.” Within 5 minutes, Waverly walked through the door. She spotted Nicole the second she walked through the door. She was in her work out clothes aka a dark sports bra and the compression leggings that Waverly had helped her get into. She was doing pull ups on a bar in the corner, her lower body dead weight below her. Nicole’s muscles tightens with each pull up, the dimples in the small of her back more defined then the first time Waverly had ever seen them. Her body glistened with sweat and Waverly couldn’t help but bit her bottom lip. The last month with Nicole had been everything that Waverly could have hoped for. Well, almost everything. They had discussed being intimate. Nicole’s doctor even cleared her for it but Nicole was mentally ready and Waverly was willing to wait. She didn’t care about sex. She only cared about the connection her and Nicole had.

Nicole felt eyes on her. She didn’t need to turn around or stop working out, she knew it was Waverly. Every time Waverly walked into a room, she could feel it and it was one of her favorite things to happen during the day. “Hey babe.” Nicole yelled between pull ups.

Waverly smiled at the pet name. She loved hearing it. Waverly walked over and placed her hands on Nicole’s hips, stepping in front of her. “Hi. I heard you requested me? What can I do for you?” Waverly’s eyes ran down Nicole’s body, stopping on her deeply toned abs. She ran her hand down her abs, same as she had done every day as a way of showing Nicole that no matter what, Waverly found her attractive.

“Eyes are up here, babe.” Nicole smirked down at Waverly.

“Huh?” Waverly shook her head and looked up at Nicole with a wide smile. “But what if I like my view down here.” Her eyes diverted back to Nicole’s abs.

Nicole’s therapist helped her off the bar and back into her chair. She grabbed Waverly’s hand. “I did request for you to be here today. It’s an important day and I wanted you to be here.” Nicole took a deep breath. “I needed you to be here. I...I don’t think I’m strong enough without you here.”

Waverly cupped Nicole’s face in her hands. Her thumbs gently caressing Nicole’s cheeks. “You listen to me, you are the strongest woman that I know. You are extraordinary, Nicole Haught, do you hear me? You are beautiful. And smart. And sexy. And if I had to dream up the perfect woman, she still couldn’t reach you.” Waverly’s eyes went wide as the words slipped from her lips. “I...I’m sorry. I got carried away.” Waverly went to pull away but Nicole grabbed her hands.

“S...say it again?”

“What?”

“Say it again? Please?”

“You’re extraordinary.”

“Not that.”

“You’re beautiful.”

“Not that.”

“You’re smart?” Nicole shook her head. “You’re sexy?” She shook her head again. Her eyes pleaded with Waverly. “Oh. I know.” Waverly placed a small kiss on Nicole’s lips. “You.” she kissed her again. “Are.” Her words were met with another kiss. “Perfect.” Waverly kissed her again. “Just the way you are.”

“Yeah. That.” A small tear slipped down Nicole’s cheek. She closed her eyes, melting into Waverly’s touch.

“You will always be perfect to me, Cole. Always.” Waverly placed another kiss on Nicole’s forehead. This was the most hands on she had been with Nicole and she knew she might be overstepping but she felt it was what Nicole needed right now.

“Sheriff, are you ready?” Her therapist asked from behind them, holding the big waist high braces in his hands. “Now, Nicole, please remember that our goal today is just to get you to stand. No pressure for anything ok?”

“I understand.” Nicole took in a deep breath and finally backed away from Waverly. She wheeled herself towards her therapist, Waverly keeping a hand on her shoulder for as long as she could. Her trainer placed the braces around her hips and legs. Taking one last glance at Waverly, Nicole looked back at her trainer. “Let’s do this.”

Waverly stood off to the side, just behind the trainer but enough to be out of the way. She gave Nicole a big smile.

“Ok, Nicole, I am going to spot you. I want you to put your arms on the walker and push yourself up but don’t get frustrated if you can’t get it the first try. It may take a few tries.”

“Got it.” Nicole did as her therapist said and pushed herself half way up before her left arm gave out and she was flopped back into her wheel chair already angry. They tried 5 more times before Nicole slammed her fists down on the arms of her wheelchair. “Fuck!”

“Hey, it’s ok. What are you feeling right now?”

“Angry. Fucking angry that my god damn legs don’t fucking work!”

“Hey. It’s ok to feel that way. Is there a place or time you didn’t feel angry since you became paralyzed?” Nicole looked over her shoulder at Waverly, who was still standing off to the side, smiling sweetly at her even with her outburst. The therapist looked to Waverly and then back to Nicole. “I want you to try one more time but this time...” He reached out to Waverly who took his hand. He pulled Waverly in front of Nicole. “This time, you are to focus on her. No other emotion. Just her.”

Nicole nodded as the therapist walked behind Nicole’s chair. “I’m right here, Cole. I’m waiting to feel your arms around me.” Waverly whispered into Nicole’s ear. “You can do it.” Nicole closed her eyes and inhaled deeply before opening her eyes and exhaling. She gripped the handles of the walker and looked up at Waverly. Nicole’s eyes trailed down Waverly’s body and back up, focusing on her lips. Waverly smirked when she realized where Nicole was looking. “If you want to kiss them, get up here and do it.”

Nicole grinned. She pushed herself up, leaning more on her right side. It was slow and not steady at all but Nicole finally pushed passed the pain she was feeling in her lower back and her legs, pushing herself into a standing position.

Waverly’s eyes went wide and her smile went wider than that. “Oh my god. Baby, you did it!”

Nicole couldn’t wait as she pulled Waverly forward into a celebratory kiss. Waverly’s arms wrapped around Nicole’s waist as her therapist pulled the walker out of the way after noticing that Waverly had her. Nicole’s arms were shaky as she held on to Waverly, who had tears running down her face. “Waves? What’s wrong?”

“I..I’m just so proud of you, Cole.” Waverly buried her face in Nicole’s shoulder. “It feels good to be in your arms again.”

“I like having you in my arms again but...”

“You’re in pain, aren’t you?” Waverly spoke with concern in her voice.

“Very much.”

“You did well, Nicole. Let’s sit you back down.” Her therapist placed a hand on Nicole’s back, slowly helping her back down into her chair. Nicole couldn’t help but notice the biggest smile on Waverly’s face and the tears of happiness still flowing down her face. Nicole loved that no matter how long Waverly had been in the military, she hadn’t become hardened. She hadn’t lost her compassion for others.

Waverly gripped a gym towel in her hands and wrapped it around Nicole’s neck. “You did so great, love.”

“Thank you for being here.”

“I don’t want to be anywhere else, Cole.” Waverly looked away shyly while trying to get her emotions in check. She cleared her throat. “Let’s get you home, tiger.” She turned to Nicole’s therapist. “Thank you for everything you’ve done for her so far. You have no idea how much we appreciate it.”

“It’s my pleasure, Waverly. Honestly. I have some experimental braces coming in that could be a game changer for all my patients.” He turned his attention to Nicole. “I’m hoping you’ll be my first patient to use them.”

“Could they help me walk sooner?”

“That’s the hope.”

“Then count me in. When do they come in?”

“Within the next few weeks, I’d say, but I will only you be the first to try them if you take tomorrow off and spend it with your beautiful girlfriend.”

Nicole choked out a cough. “No..no we’re not....”

“You bet she will. Right, sweetie?” Waverly leaned down and whispered the last part into Nicole’s ear, which caused a shiver to escape Nicole’s body.

“Yes. Yes. I will take tomorrow off.”

“Perfect. You two have a great day tomorrow. And great work today, Nicole. I mean it.”

 

Waverly stood in front of her full length mirror. She had gone back to the homestead to get ready for their date, knowing that her and Nicole’s nerves were probably a little too high to be around each other for the rest of the day. She held up a blue sundress and then switched it out for a white one with sunflowers on it. She went back and forth between them, not realizing Wynonna was standing in the doorway watching the younger Earp.

“You know Haughtstuff won’t care what you are wearing, right?”

“H...how did you know I was getting dressed up for Nicole?”

“You only have that stupid smile on your face when it has something to do with her. Y’all going on a date tonight?”

“Yes. She asked me.” Waverly kept switching them in and out, still trying to get the look just right.

“Still doing that casual, no strings attached thing?” Wynonna said as she leaned into the doorjam, arms crossed in front of her.

“You know we can’t be more than that, Nonna. It wouldn’t be fair to either of us for me to leave soon.”

“How soon?”

“1 month, 3 weeks, 4 days and 2 hours. That’s what I have left with her.”

“Then why don’t you stay? For her? She needs you, Waves. Fuck, I need you.”

“You know I can’t just leave, Nonna. I’m enlisted for another 3 years. After that, then maybe I’ll get out. I don’t know.”

“Are you telling me that with all the time you’ve spent with her over the last month that you haven’t fallen in love with her, Waves? Can you honestly tell me that cuz shit, after a month with her, I had the hots for Haught sauce.”

“Ew. Nonna! Stop!”

“I’m serious, Babygirl. How do you feel about her?”

“It doesn’t matter how I feel about her. In 2 months I’ll be gone.” Waverly made eye contact with Wynonna in the mirror reflection, her eyes telling Wynonna all she needed to know.

“You and I both know this isn’t just a casual thing for you anymore, is it, Babygirl?”

“You are not wrong in your assumptions.” Waverly looked to her dressed, not wanting Wynonna to see her blush. Waverly huffed and sat on the edge of the bed with a pout. “No one has ever made me feel as wanted as she does. I mean that wasn’t you, ya know?”

Wynonna took a seat next to her baby sister. “She brings out the best in you, you know?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, I feel like I have my sister back again. Usually when you come home, you are hardened. Like the military had changed you but since you’ve been around her, you...”

“Seem to have found myself again?”

“Yes...”

“I feel it too, Nonna. I feel like more and more of me is coming back and I’m terrified to go back. I’m afraid to lose myself again.”

“Then don’t. I don’t mean that as not go back. I mean when you go back, you think about who’s waiting for you back home. Me, Gus, Chrissy, Nedley, Dolls, Doc, and most importantly Nicole because while you are gone fighting in a war, she’s going to be fighting her own war here.”

“Promise me that you’ll take care of her, Nonna. Promise me?”

“Of course. I’ll take her out to Shorty’s to find a shorty and th...”

“Nonna! I’m serious! I need to know that she’s going to be ok without me here. I can’t be ok with going back unless I know she is going to be ok. I need to know you guys are going to watch out for the woman I love while away. I can’....” Waverly’s hand clamped over her own mouth, her eyes wide. She made eye contact with Wynonna, who’s eyes were just as wide. She pointed at Waverly.

“I knew it! Oh my god! I knew it! Hahahaha.”

“Nonna, shut up! Shut up! Don’t you say another word! Get out!” Waverly started to shove her sister off the bed.

“Wait. Wait. When did you know?”

Waverly stopped shoving Wynonna and truly thought about her question. “I honestly don’t know. One night I was laying in bed with her, my head on her chest just listening to her heartbeat knowing that she almost lost her life to save you. The most important person in my life.” Waverly looked at Wynonna with a tear in her eye. “You are my world, Nonna and she knew that. She saved you so that I wouldn’t have to lose anyone else not realizing that I don’t know what I would have done had I lost her.” Waverly looked down at her hands, nervously fumbling with them. “So, I laid there, listening to that wonderful, strong, beautiful heart of hers and I knew I wanted to hear it every night for the rest of my life but I can’t get involved with her, not until I’m out of the military. You understand why, don’t you?”

“Oh, babygirl, I understand. I understand and you are my world too, Babygirl. You always have been.” Wynonna pulled Waverly into a tight hug. “I’m sorry I never told you enough. Maybe then you wouldn’t have left.”

“You showed me more than anyone what love was! You were the reason I joined the military, Nonna. I wanted to be something better than what the Earp name put on us. I wanted to make you proud.”

“You’ve always made me proud, Waverly! Always! Don’t you ever forget that, Babygirl but let me tell ya something, you may take the girl out of the shitshow but you can’t take the shitshow out of the girl.”

“What does that even mean?”

“I don’t know. I’ve been drinking. Leave me alone.” Wynonna stood up and straightened out her leather jacket. “I’m going out for #34 with Dolls and Doc. Have fun tonight and do stuff that I would do, would ya?”

“As long as you promise to be safe, please?” Wynonna gave a simple nod before heading out the door. She stopped at the doorway, her hand resting against the door as she turned around.

“You know, you’re the best of us, Babygirl. You always have been.” Wynonna gave her a smile and a wink. “Our family never deserved you, Babygirl.”

Chapter Text

Waverly pulled up to the house she shared with Nicole 15 minutes early. She was nervous. More nervous than she had ever been. Needing to calm her nerves, she called the one person she hadn’t really talked to since coming home. Her best friend, Chrissy Nedley.

“Hey stranger!”

“Chrissy! I need to talk to you.” Waverly felt like she was about to hyperventilate, shaking her hand trying to get the feeling back in her fingers.

“Wow, what’s going on?”

“I have a date tonight.”

“Hey! That’s awesome! Who’s the lucky guy?” Chrissy was more excited then Waverly had expected.

“Not a guy. It’s Sheriff Haught.”

“Ooooo, even better! That woman is yummy.”

“Hey now! That’s my...hell I don’t know what she is but she’s...taken?”

“Why do you sound so confused about that?”

“Because we’re keeping this casual.”

“Is this because you’re leaving? Waverly, we have this talk every time you come home and at least 5 times since you shipped out, you can’t keep running from your emotions. You can’t keep shutting people out because you don’t want people worrying about you because like it or not, there are a lot of people who worry about you. You telling us or anyone who meets you not to worry is just stupid. The second someone meets you, Waverly Earp, you change their lives. Face it, that’s just the kind of person you are.”

“Yeah, I get that but we are doing this no strings attached dating thing and I know it’s my fault we are. I know it’s my fault that I could be walking away from the best woman to ever come into my life but...”

“But you need to focus?”

“I do.” Waverly let out a deep sigh. “She makes me feel things that just aren’t normal for me.”

“Do you love her?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never been in love, Chrissy. I just know that I can’t get her out of my head. I’m sitting in our driveway, freaking out about walking into our house and having her take me on a date. An actual date.”

“Are you afraid by going on a date with her that you are going to fall in love with her, Waverly?”

“How could I not fall in love with her, Chriss? She is the kindest, sweetest, more gentle person I have ever been with. She doesn’t pressure me. She doesn’t force me to do things I’m not comfortable with.” Waverly laid her head against the headrest. “And her kiss. God. Her kisses. It’s like they breath new life into me, every time.”

“I hate to tell you this, you’re already in love with her, Waves. You just need to accept that. The real question is what are you going to do about it?”

“I guess I’m going to see how these next couple of months go.”

“You need to tell her how you feel before you leave.”

“I can’t...”

“Waverly, what if you don’t tell her and while you are deployed she finds someone who IS willing to tell her?”

“You’re right. I’ll think about it.”

“Can you honestly say you want to see her with someone else, Waverly?”

“No! I definitely don’t.”

“That’s what I thought. Now, get in there and get your girl.”

“Thanks, Chriss. I’ve really missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too, Waves. Coffee date on Saturday?”

“You bet! See you then!”

“Bye waves.”
-------------------
Waverly hung up and the phone and walked into the house, taking a deep breath and exhaling while she pushed the door open. “Cole?”

“In the bedroom.” Waverly heard Nicole yell as she made her way to Nicole’s room. She peaked her head in.

“You ready, love?”

“Just about. Wait right there, please?”

“Of course. Take all the time you need.” Waverly sat on the couch, tucking her dress under her legs while crossing them. She drummed her thumbs on her knees nervously. She had decided on the white sunflower dress, knowing how much Nicole loved sunflowers. She stood as she heard Nicole coming down the hallway. Her jaw dropped when she saw Nicole.

“Do I look bad?” Nicole asked.

“No..not at all. I...wow.” Waverly stared at Nicole some more. She was wearing a dark blue button up shirt that was tucked into dark blue jeans. The top two buttons were undone and the sleeves were rolled up above her elbows. She had her hair down, like she did the first night they met. A maroon beanie hugged her the top of her head and she had on black Converse. She had a bouquet of roses sitting in her lap. “You look amazing, Cole...just stunning.”

“You look pretty damn beautiful yourself.” Nicole wheeled herself as close to Waverly as she could get, holding up the roses. “These are for you. I saw them when I was out and thought of you.”

Waverly smiled from ear to ear, pulling the roses to her nose and inhaling. “Quite the charmer, Sheriff.”

“Anything for my beautiful date.” Nicole’s words earned her the kiss she had been waiting for since Waverly walked out of the house earlier that day. “Are you ready?”

“Yup.” The two left the house. Waverly helped Nicole into her jeep and folded her wheelchair up and placed it in the back of the Jeep. She climbed into the driver seat. “Where we heading, Sheriff?”

“The drive ins. Is that ok?”

“That sounds perfect. But aren’t they closed?”

“The owner owed me one.” Nicole winked with a dimpled grin.

“You are just full of surprises, aren’t you?”

“I am a hopeless romantic, what can I say?”

Within a few minutes they had pulled into the drive-ins. Waverly spotted Wynonna’s truck, backed in with the bed of the truck facing the screen. “Is Nonna joining us?” Waverly asked as she pulled up next to the truck.

“Nope, babe. It’s just us but I did ask her to borrow the truck. She had my car.” Waverly got out of the Jeep and pulled Nicole’s wheelchair out of the back and helped her into it. She pushed Nicole through the gravel to the back of the truck. Her mouth gaped open as she saw what Nicole had set up for their date. The bed of the truck was filled with blankets and pillows along with some ice cold beer in a bucket. There was even an extra blanket folded up for Waverly on the side, Nicole knowing that Waverly got cold randomly, even under 3 blankets. “Do you like it?”

“Cole, I love it...but...”

“No buts. Do you trust me?”

“With my life.” Waverly couldn’t take her eyes off the date Nicole had set up for them.

“Then, I’m going to need your help.” Nicole reached her hands out to Waverly, which Waverly gladly took.

“Are you sure you are ready for this?”

“With you, I’m ready to take on the world.”

Waverly smirked shyly and rolled her eyes. “You and your words” Waverly squeezed Nicole’s hands. “What do you need me to do?”

“Just be there like you were today.” Nicole wrapped her arms around Waverly’s neck. Even though Waverly was shorter than her, she was the perfect height to help her up. Waverly let Nicole lead with their movements, just positioning herself so that they wouldn’t fall over. After a little hesitation, Nicole used her arms to pull herself with Waverly’s arms instantly wrapping around the taller woman’s waist. “Now, back against the truck bed please.” Waverly did as she asked, walking Nicole backwards until her back was against the edge of the tailgate. “Just keep holding onto me, ok?”

“I’ll never let go.” Waverly whispered in Nicole’s ear, causing Nicole to smile that dimpled smile that Waverly loved so much.

Nicole placed her hands on the tailgate. “On the count of 3, let go, ok?”

“Wait, what?”

“Trust me.” Nicole said softly, kissing Waverly’s nose. “1...2...3.” Waverly didn’t let go fully, her hands staying on Nicole’s hips and guiding her onto the truck bed as Nicole lifted her full body up onto tailgate, flopping down. She let out a very tired groan as she slid herself further in until her back was against the back of the cab. Waverly crawled into the bed and Nicole watched her every move. She wasn’t just crawling into the bed of the truck, she was being very seductive about it. Waverly straddled Nicole’s hips and cupped her face with her hands.

“I am so damn proud of you, Nicole.” Waverly licked her bottom lip. “And you have no idea how much of a turn on it was.”

“O...oh?”

“Mmm hmmm.” Waverly began to kiss Nicole’s jaw line before making her way down to Nicole’s neck. “You have no idea how hard it is for me to keep my hands off of you, Cole.”

“Is that so?” Nicole arched her eyebrow as Waverly continued to kiss and suck on her neck. Nicole’s hands slid up Waverly’s bare thighs. “Thank god for short dresses,” Nicole thought to herself as her hands roamed the outside of Waverly’s thighs before resting on Waverly’s hips. Her thumb dug into her hips with every suck and lick Waverly placed on her neck.

“Mmm hmm. And you look so fucking sexy tonight.” Waverly breathed out, arousal shooting through Nicole’s body.

“You know....mmm...Waves...”

“Too fast?”

“Mmmm, no babe. Only a fool would think that.”

“But?”

“I don’t think I’m ready, not yet.” Nicole cleared her throat. “I’m...I’m just not menta...”

Waverly placed a finger over Nicole’s lips. “Hey, you don’t ever have to apologize to me. I will never be upset with you telling me the truth. You are absolutely worth the wait, Nicole. And I’ll wait forever for you.” Waverly softly confessed.

“Really?” Tears filled Nicole’s eyes. “Even if I never regain feeling in my legs?”

“If I can’t take you at your worse then I don’t deserve you at your best, love.” Waverly pressed her forehead against Nicole’s and gently wiped the tears from her eyes. “No matter what happens between us, Cole...” Waverly’s words tapered off as her words stumbled. Waverly slipped off Nicole’s lap and laid down next to her, wrapping her arm over Nicole’s mid-section and laying her head on Nicole’s chest. Nicole’s hand gently rubbed Waverly’s back as the movie started.

“It’s ok, Waves. I know. You were right earlier. This last month has been miserable in a way but every second I have spent with you has made it all worth it.”

“Mmm. What are we watching tonight, Sheriff?”

“Remember a couple weeks ago when you asked me about my favorite movie and I said I had a few?”

“Yes.”

“And remember how you said you had never seen Treasure Planet before? Well, now you will.” Treasure Planet began to play on the screen and Waverly smiled as Nicole started to recite the movie.

“On the clearest of nights, when the winds of atherium were calm and peaceful. The great merchants ships with their cargo of octurian solar crystals felt safe and secure. Little did they suspect that they were pursued by...Pirates!” Nicole whispered with excitement.

Waverly couldn’t focus on the movie as she only wanted to watch Nicole. She was so cute. Seemed so innocent in this moment and it made Waverly’s heart swell. She couldn’t be happier. Waverly snuggled into Nicole’s side even more, closing her eyes as she listened to Nicole reciting the whole movie. “You are so damn adorable.” Waverly laughed.

“What? Oh god..I’m doing that thing aren’t I?

“Where you recite the whole movie? Yes. But I think it’s pretty cute. What makes this your favorite movie?”

“For one, the movie was done beautifully. Look at this scene. It’s so beautiful. The ships in space. Man what I would give to fly among the stars.” Nicole looked up to the sky and smiled softly at the idea. “I love the idea that there is this place so far out of our reach but maybe not as far as we think.” Nicole kissed the top of Waverly’s head. “My father always told me ‘Why reach for the sky when you could reach for the stars?’ and ‘You were born for greatness, Nicole. To live amongst the Gods.’” She sighed.

“Wanna talk about it?”

“I miss them, Waves. A lot. I miss my sisters and my brother. And I miss my parents.”

“What happened between you guys?”

Nicole nervously drew circles on Waverly’s back. “I was 17. I knew I was gay since I was 8 but I finally had my first girlfriend. My family was gone on vacation, I stayed behind because I had a softball tournament. I was the catcher and she was our pitcher. She came over to practice and one thing led to another. It was amazing but my parents came home early. Caught us one day making out in my bedroom. My dad flipped out, kicked me out that day. My girlfriend’s parents took me in for the rest of my senior year. I got a full ride scholarship to Stanford but it just wasn’t for me anymore. I lost everything that day. As soon as I graduated, I joined the Marines.”

“How many siblings do you have?”

“I have...had 3. All older than me. Hailey and Erin are twins, they are the oldest. Then there’s Jethro. He’s 2 years older than me. I was on leave and came home for the first time since I had joined the military. Hailey really wanted to celebrate so I came home at her request. Dad wasn’t happy to see me but he at least allowed me in the house. Mom didn’t give her opinion as her opinion was usually whatever my dad was feeling. Anyways, Hailey, Erin, Jethro and I all went out to celebrate. They were determined to get me drunk and boy did they. Erin and Jethro left early because they had school the next day but Hailey was the one who liked to party so we headed off to the local gay club.”

“You were close?”

“She was my best friend...we went to the club and she promised not to drink so that I could keep having fun. Well, a hot guy started talking to her and convinced her to have a drink or two, I guess. By the time we left she was drunk. Well enough that she shouldn’t be driving. And the rest is history. Once I was out of the hospital, mom and dad told me not to come back again. That it was my fault Hailey died. That I would go to hell for what I did to Hailey and for being gay.”

“Wow. I’m sorry your parents were such shit-tickets.”

Nicole chuckled a little. “I miss the relationship I had with them before I came out. I miss my family. What I don’t miss I the hatred and the blame. That I could go the rest of my life without being around again.”

“What will happen when you get married?”

“Again?” Nicole laughed again.

“Yes, again.”

“I’ll invite them to the wedding but I’ll probably ask Nedley to walk me down the aisle and Wynonna or you as my best woman. You three are the only ones who matter to me now. Honestly though, I don’t know if I wanna get married again. The first one didn’t exactly go as planned.” Nicole giggled again. Waverly couldn’t hide how sad she was at Nicole’s words.“I’m pretty content with you three.”

“Your found family?”

“100% and I wouldn’t trade you guys for anything on this planet.”

“When were you in the military?”

“Well, I’ve been here for 3 years., that was a year after I got out. So, 5 years ago.”

“Did you do any tours?”

“Oh yeah. 2-10 months in Iraq and 1-8 month in Afghanistan.”

“Did you deploy with the Navy ships?”

“I did.”

“Which?”

“The USS Helena. It was a cruiser.”

Waverly shot straight up. “Are you serious?”

“Dead serious. You ok?”

“I’ve been on the USS Helena since the exchange. Are you telling me we were at one point on the same ship? How long were you on there for?”

“I was on the ship for about 6 months before they sent us to the front lines.”

Waverly laid back down on Nicole, laying more on top of her now. “I can’t believe we were on the same ship. Oh what I wouldn’t give to have met you sooner.” Waverly toyed with Nicole’s hand.

“What’s your plans, babe? I’ve never wanted to pry but...” Nicole interlaced her fingers with Waverly’s. “But...I’m quite fond of you now.”

“I had just re-enlisted right before shipping out to Iraq for another 4 years.”

“Aw, so you’ll have 3 years left after this deployment?”

“Something like that.”

“Will you come home after you get out?”

“More than likely.”

“3 years huh?”

“Yeah, 3...”

“I’ll wait...” Nicole mumbled under her breath.

“What was that, Cole?”

Nicole cleared her throat, finding the courage to tell Waverly. “I said I’m willing to wait that long...I’ll wait however long I need to for you, Waves.”

“I couldn’t ask you to do that for me, Cole. I want you happy.” Waverly played with Nicole’s fingers again, something she always did when she was nervous. It didn’t go unnoticed by Nicole.

“You don’t have to ask me to do anything, Waves. I want to wait for you. I really like you and this last month has...what I’m trying to say, Waverly, is you are worth waiting for and all I ask in return is that when you get out and you come home, you look me up. You come find me.”

“I’ll always find you, Cole.”

“Waves...”

“Yeah, Cole?”

“W...what exactly is happening between us?” Nicole asked nervously. “I don’t want to put you on the spot, I just need to know if I have a shot with you.”

“I don’t want a relationship while I’m in the military...”

“Oh...I underst...”

Waverly cut Nicole off. “But. I want one when I get out and...If I may be so bold to say, I don’t want it to be with anyone that’s not you, Nicole Haught.”

Nicole let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding and a smile with it. “Are you positive about that?

Waverly propped herself up on her elbow so she could look at Nicole. “3 years, Nicole Haught. I can’t ask you to wait for me but if you can, I’m yours, Cole.” Nicole just looked at Waverly. She didn’t say anything, she just shook her head. “It’s ok. I know that’s a lo...”

“Do you ever shut up?” Nicole smirked.

“I have a hard time with that.”

“Then let me help you.” Nicole slipped her hand into Waverly’s hair and pulled her into a passionate kiss, pushing all of her emotions into that one kiss. Nicole didn’t have to talk, Waverly had Nicole’s answer. She would wait for her.

Chapter Text

1 month, 3 weeks, 3 days later:

Waverly stood in her room, staring down at her duffle bag. Tomorrow was the day she had been dreading. She would be shipping out for 8 months. Leaving behind her family once again but this time was harder. This time she would be leaving Nicole. Her heart hurt at the idea of leaving the tall redhead.

“You know, that bag’s not gonna pack itself.” Nicole said from Waverly’s doorway. At the sound of Nicole’s voice, Waverly’s head dropped. Noticing the change in Waverly’s stature, Nicole wheeled behind her and pulled Waverly onto her lap.

Waverly instantly buried her face in Nicole’s shoulder, wrapping her arms tightly around the taller woman’s neck. “It’s never been this hard to leave.”

“No?” Nicole’s left hand gently rubbed Waverly’s back while her right hand sat on Waverly’s thigh, gently drawing hearts into her leg.

“Never. I’ve never had an issue leaving until now.” Nicole could feel the wetness pooling on her shoulder. Waverly was crying.

“Waves, hey, look at me.” Waverly sniffled and pulled her head from Nicole’s shoulder, staring into those deep brown eyes that did things to her that she wasn’t willing to admit. “Baby, it’s 8 months. That’s it. When it’s all said and done, you’ll come home, right?”

“Yes.”

“Good. In 8 months, you’ll be right back here, in my lap. You’ll get 8 months worth of kisses and touches. We will have a lot to make up for, you know?” Nicole smiled a devilish grin that made Waverly smile.

“Is that so, Sheriff?”

“It is, Petty Officer.” Nicole pushed forward, kissing Waverly. It started slow but quickly became heated, as all of their kisses usually did. Nicole couldn’t help but feel love for the woman who was sitting on her lap. They had been seeing each other “casually” for almost 3 months now. While they did agree to drop the no strings attached portion of their agreement. Waverly had been so patient with Nicole the entire time. They still hadn’t been intimate and Waverly was just fine with that. She was willing to go at whatever pace was comfortable with Nicole. If Nicole was willing to wait years for a relationship with Waverly, then Waverly was perfectly content with waiting until Nicole was comfortable with herself to have sex. While Waverly wanted nothing more than to have sex with Nicole, she didn’t need it. Waverly had never been one who craved sex. She was the type who craved the emotional connection with the person she was with. That was one thing her ex didn’t respect. He always pushed for sex. He didn’t care about the emotional connection with Waverly just the physical. “Hey, what’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours?” Nicole pressed a kiss to Waverly’s temple.

“Just thinking about us.” Waverly played with Nicole’s fingers, her nervousness showing.

“What about us, Sweets? Come on, you can tell me anything.”

“I know I can. I just can’t get over how lucky I am to have met you at that airport 3 months ago, Nicole. My life has changed so much since I met you but for the better. God so much better.” Waverly brought Nicole’s hand to her lips, softly kissing the inside of her wrist. “Will you write me while I’m away?”

“Everyday.” Nicole said without hesitation.

“You don’t have to write everyday.”

“Everyday, Waves. I will write you everyday because I don’t want you to miss a thing while you are away. I want you to feel like you are home. I want you to focus on coming home to us...” Nicole cupped Waverly’s cheek, brushing her thumb softly across Waverly’s scar. “Selfishly, I want you to come home to me.”

Waverly placed her hand over Nicole’s, closing her eyes and melting into Nicole’s touch. “Then I must be selfish too because that is all I want.” Waverly opened her eyes and smiled sweetly at Nicole. “You’ll take care of Nonna and Gus while I’m gone, won’t you?”

“Of course. Someone’s gotta keep Wyn out of trouble. Might as well be me.” Nicole chuckled.

“Yeah? And who’s going to keep you out of trouble, Sheriff?” Waverly played with the top button on Nicole’s uniform.

“CJ. She’s a great influence.”

Waverly laughed so hard that her side hurt. “You’ll just bribe her with those treats she loves and belly scratches and she’ll let you do whatever you want.”

“While that may be true, who doesn’t love treats and belly scratches? Honestly, that’s a cat after my own heart.” Nicole adjusted her Stetson. Waverly pulled it off her head and placed it on top of her own. A smile formed across Nicole’s lips as her tongue snuck out to lick her bottom lip. “And I thought I looked hot in that hat...mmm.”

“Yeah? Is it your thing?”

“Baby, that’s everybody’s thing.” Nicole pulled a wrapped present from behind her. “I got you something.”

“Cole, you didn’t have to get me anything.”

“I know but I thought it might help you while you’re away.” She sat the flat present on Waverly’s lap. “I thought, maybe, it could help you through if times get hard.”

Waverly slowly unwrapped the gift, tears instantly forming in her eyes as she saw the photos in her hands. Nicole had printed out numerous wallet sized photos. There was one of the whole group together out at the homestead. Dolls, Doc, Gus, Nedley, Chrissy, Gus, Wynonna and Nicole. They were sitting on the porch of the homestead. One photo was serious with everyone smiling. The next was Waverly’s favorite, the one of them all being goofy.

Nicole had managed, barely, to get everyone together for the small photo shoot, wanting Waverly to have photos of all her favorite people. The next photo was Wynonna and Nicole. Wynonna had Nicole in a headlock but just as the photo was taken, Nicole had grabbed Wynonna’s ankle and had flipped her. The photographer had caught Wynonna midair but her arm still around Nicole’s neck. Waverly held up the photo. “This is you two in a nutshell.” She giggled.

“Yeah, she deserved it though.”

“Oh, I’m sure she did.” Waverly got to the next photo. It was her and Nicole. Waverly was sitting on Nicole’s lap with her head on Nicole’s shoulder. Nicole’s arms were wrapped around Waverly’s mid-section, holding her close and they were watching the sunset. Gus had snapped the photo of them when neither had been looking. “I love this one.”

“It’s my favorite of us.”

“Mine too.”

The next was obviously for Waverly’s eyes only. She grinned as she saw it. It was one of the days that Nicole had been working out during one of her therapy sessions. She was in a dark blue sports bra and black leggings with teal running shoes. She was on the pull-up bar and was pulling herself up with one arm. Her second hand was holding onto her own wrist and she was mid-pull up when Waverly grabbed Nicole’s phone and snapped the photo. Her body glistened with sweat, her abs more defined then she had ever seen them and the muscles in her arms flexed. To be a show off, and knowing how much she liked it, Nicole was wearing her Stetson. A heat rose between Waverly’s thighs as she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth, eyes darkening with arousal. Nicole grinned. “Like what you see?”

“Fucking hell, Cole.” Waverly breathed out.

“Obviously this one is for your eyes only.”

“Mmm. Definitely my eyes only.”

“I have something else for you too.” Nicole pulled a small box from her pocket.

“Cole...what are you doing?” Waverly asked nervously.

“It’s not what you think...well it kind of is.” Nicole opened the box to reveal 2 matching silicone rings. She held Waverly’s hand and slipped the ring onto her ring finger. “I’m not asking you to marry me, Waves but this is a promise ring.” She stopped and shook her head. “Oh god, do people still do promise rings? Fuck.”

Waverly smiled widely. “Is this your way of claiming me?”

“You aren’t property, Waves. You are your own person but it is my promise to you that I will wait for you, if you’ll have me still.”

Waverly took the other ring and slipped it onto Nicole’s finger. “I will always want you, Sheriff.”

“Plus, I want all those horndogs to know your taken.”

“Am I now?” Waverly’s eyebrow arched as she smirked.

“Well, semi-taken.” Nicole laughed. “In 3 years you will be.”

“You sure know how to make a girl feel loved.”

“Because you are, Waves.” Nicole placed a small kiss on Waverly’s cheek. “Why don’t you finish packing and I’ll call the crew. Let’s go have some fun tonight. Whatever you want to do.”

“Karaoke night at Shorty’s?” Waverly slightly bounced in Nicole’s lap with excitement.

“Is that what you want to do?”

“Yes please!”

“Then you finish packing and I’ll call the team. Tell them we have a mission tonight and to meet at Shorty’s.”

“They’re gonna hate you, you know that right?”

“Yup. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Waverly slipped off Nicole’s lap after stealing a kiss and went back to packing. She walked over to her uniform and slipped the photos into the breast pocket of her jacket.

Nicole pushed herself out of Waverly’s room and pulled out her phone texting the team of a special mission tonight, informing them of the importance of being on time at 6PM or their lead might leave.
----------------------
Nicole and Waverly sat at a table in near the bar, waiting for the team to show up. Nicole couldn’t help but notice Rosita was still flirting with Waverly. Nicole downed a shot of whiskey before shaking the images of Rosita touching Waverly’s arm and rubbing her back out of her mind.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Waverly could see that Nicole was getting agitated.

“She...ugh. It’s stupid. I’m sorry. We’re not even a couple. I shouldn’t be getting jealous.”

Waverly reached over and took Nicole’s hand. “Just because we’re keeping this casual doesn’t mean I’m going to ‘keep it casual’ with anyone else. Believe it or not, I’m fully dedicated to...” She waved her arm between them. “Whatever this is. I’m yours and no one else’s.”

“It’s hard to believe that we’ve been ‘keeping it casual’ for 3 months already and it’s hard to believe you leave in the morning.”

“It’s flown by, hasn’t it? You’ll be there, right? In the morning?”

“I wouldn’t be anywhere else, Waves.”

“Good, because I want that adorable face of yours to be the last one I see before I leave.”

Rosita walked back up with their drinks and food, setting it down in front of them. Just as she was about to touch Waverly again, Waverly got up and kissed Nicole hard. Leaving nothing to imagination as to what she was going through her head in that moment. Rosita just glared and stormed off as Waverly smiled into the kiss.

“Well, I don’t think she’s going to be an issue anymore.” Waverly laughed.

“Will you two stop making out? Or get a damn room.” Wynonna yelled at her baby sister and best friend.

Waverly sat in Nicole’s lap and wrapped her arms around Nicole’s neck, playing with the base of her hair. “Is this ok?” Waverly whispered into Nicole’s ear.

“You better not sit anywhere else tonight.” Nicole smirked as she ran her hand up and down the inside of Waverly’s thigh.

“You keep doing that and I’ll be wanting to sit o...”

“NOPE! I will not stand here and listen to you talk about defiling my Haughtpants!”

“Your Haughtpants?”

“I mean, I met her first. So I call dibs.” Wynonna said as she took a shot.

“Wow wow wow, I’m no one’s Haughtpants, thank you very much.”

“Not even mine?” Waverly gave Nicole the biggest puppy dog eyes she could.

“What about me?” Wynonna attempted puppy dog eyes but it came off kind of scary.

“Ahhh..don’t do that face again, Nonna.” Waverly said shoving her sister’s shoulder. Nicole rolled her eyes at both of them.

“Not to interrupt this rousing fun, but you said you had lead?” Dolls asked from behind Wynonna. Doc stood close by along with Nedley and Chrissy, plus a new guy that neither had seen before.

“About that...”

“God damn it, Haught. Did you pull me away from Property Brothers for nothing?” Wynonna whined.

“It’s Waverly’s last night in town before she leaves tomorrow. I thought you all might want to spend the night with her.” Nicole shrugged.

“I think the only one here who wants to spend the night with her is you, Tater Haught.”

“Shut up, Wynonna. Do you guys want to hang out or not?”

“It would be my pleasure.” Doc stated, taking off his hat and sitting at the table with the 2. Wynonna shrugged and sat down doing another shot. Dolls stood there but then nodded.

“Who’s the new guy, Dolls?”

“This is Jeremy. He is a Black Badge researcher. He will be joining us until Waverly is back.”

Jeremy waved to everyone. “Nice to meet you all.”

“Great, another nerd.” Wynonna shook her head. “I’m going to need more alcohol to deal with you people. And you can bet your ass I won’t be singing!”

“You can bet your ass you will be!” Waverly snapped at Wynonna. “You will participate tonight or your ass can go home.”

Wynonna pouted. “Commme on. You know I get stage fright.”

“Uh huh. Sure Aphrodite.” Nicole said casually.

“Shut your mouth!” Wynonna mouthed to Nicole.

“Aphrodite?” Waverly was confused but the two friends just laughed.

“I’ll explain when you’re older.” Wynonna teased her sister.

Waverly got up and put her name in to sing before sitting back on Nicole’s lap. She ran her fingers up and down Nicole’s neck and into her hair. Her other hand was interlocked with Nicole’s. “What are you going to sing, babe?”

“Something special, just for you.”

“For me?”

“Yes.” She looked at Dolls. “Dolls, you going to sing for me tonight?”

“I do not sing but...for you, why not.” Dolls said with a shrug as Waverly filled with joy at her family.

As the night progressed, everyone was a couple drinks in and Karaoke was just starting. Waverly had only left Nicole’s lap if she had to use the bathroom or to get more drinks for the table. Waverly was whispering sweet nothings in Nicole’s ear as Nicole was giggling but soon her expression went stone cold as she made eye contact with an older man and a woman a little older than Nicole. “Babe, I need you to get off my lap please.”

Waverly followed Nicole’s gaze as she slowly slide off her lap. “Who are they, love?”

“Stay here.” Nicole’s voice had a hard edge to it, something that caught Wynonna’s attention. Nicole pushed herself to meet the duo half way.

“Oh shit...” Wynonna put her shot on the table and stood up, knowing there was about to be trouble.

“Nonna, who are they?”

“That’s Daddy Haughtpants...and I don’t mean that in a sexual way...”

Upon hearing the worry in Wynonna's voice, Doc, Dolls and Nedley all stood up and stood beside Waverly just in case they were needed.

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

It had been 2 months since Waverly had left. Nicole had kept her promise. She had sent 61 letters to Waverly so far. Most were full of non sense. Just talking about how boring her day was or about how therapy had gone. The one she was writing today was about her session but it was filled with good news.

Waves,

Hey babe. I hope you are doing well. I’m sorry if you’ve written me, I haven’t gotten anything so if you’ve asked me any questions, I haven’t been able to answer them. I wanted to tell you the good news! They finally got the new braces in. They are called Welwalk WW-100-leg braces and they attach treadmill machine that helps partial paralyzed people walk in therapy. Eric has adapted it to work for fully paralyzed people, like myself. It is really cool because they are made by Toyota. How cool is that?! I’ve been working really hard but we still can’t get the swelling to fully go down in my spine. They are going to try a new steroid in hopes of it working. Here’s praying.

I added a letter in here from Wyn. She said I wasn’t allowed to read it, not that I would. She misses you a lot, Waves. I doubt she would ever tell you.

I guess I should live up to my end the bargain. I promised I would tell you what happened to me with my family. Now is the best time to tell you. When I was 22, I had just gotten out of the Marines. My parents knew I was gay but it wasn’t until I brought a girl home to meet them. I was foolish. Thought they would understand. Two night later, I had a bag thrown over my head. I was taken away from my family in the middle of the night. Kidnaped. But not from my family, no because you see, they had set it up. They paid them to take me away. We drove for what felt like hours. The only time we stopped was for gas or if I had to pee, in which a guy would hold me by my neck while I squatted down to pee. It only got worse from there. Once at the compound, they beat us. For hours on end, trying to convince us, break us of being gay. One night one of the guards was walking by my “room” and said that he needed to show me what it was like to be straight. That I needed to feel what it was like to understand that I wasn’t gay. He did things. Things I’m not ok with talking about even now and may not ever be ok with talking about it. It’s not that I’m scared of what happened. I’m embarrassed. Embarrassed that I couldn’t protect myself or Maggie. Maggie was a girl I met there. The worst part of it all, Maggie wasn’t even gay! Her parents assumed she was because she was a tomboy who played softball and basketball. They put her through hell for something she wasn’t! After the rape, Maggie and I ran away.

You remember that bit where Rin said that I liked to get hurt to protect others? This was one of those times. We were running through the forest. We had no idea where we were, just a vague idea. They fucking sent dogs after us, Waves. Fucking dogs to hunt us down. Maggie fell. I ran back for her. Got her to her feet and told her to run. I knew the dogs were close. She ran and I took the brunt of the dogs. She got away. They took me back to their lab. Shock therapy was probably the nicest thing they did to me during my time there. Maggie managed to find her way through the forest. She reported it and the FBI was sent in. 4 days after they had caught me, I was being rescued from the compound by the hottest EMT I had ever met. Shae. My ex-wife. Yes, while we did get drunk and married in Vegas, we had been friends years prior to that stupidness. I spent two weeks in the hospital and even longer than that in therapy trying to fix what my parents had broken.

The worse part, they knew what was going to happen to me. They knew what they were going to do to me try and get me to stop being who I am. It took me a long time to be ok with being gay after that. It took me a long time to feel comfortable in my skin again. That is why I got so angry at the bar, Waves. Nick has no right or say in my life anymore. Not after everything I went through because of him. Not after everything I have become IN SPITE of him.

I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you this in person, Waves. This is a part of my life that I just cannot bring myself to face again. I have moved past it and I think I’m afraid that if I talk about it, I’ll fall into that darkness I was in. I don’t want that. I want to be the best person I can be for you and for me. I want to continue to love you with everything that I am with nothing but a smile on my face. I want to continue to be happy because you, Waverly Earp, make me the happiest woman on this planet.

Anyways, this letter is getting long. I’ll let you go. I love you, babe. I can’t wait to see you. I miss you so much, Waves. 6 more months, baby! Can’t wait!

Love you always and forever,

Nicole

 

Nicole looked down at the letter. It was tear stained from the tears that were sliding down her cheeks. She knew Waverly would understand. She added a photo of CJ. The little orange kitten had gotten so big since Waverly had left. She knew she would want to see how their furbaby was doing. She also added in a photo of a house. What Waverly didn’t know was, it was their new house. Nicole had used the money she had gotten from the insurance company to purchase a house that was more suitable for her wheelchair. It was a 4 bedroom, 3 bath but also had 2- 2 bedroom, 2 bath mother-in-law suites in the back 3 acres for when family came to visit. She had gotten it at a great price and couldn’t help but jump on it. The house was 1 story. Had a 3 car garage with extra wide doorways, which meant no more scrapped knuckles for Nicole. The counters sat a little lower, allowing easier access for Nicole to use. The bathroom in the master bedroom had a wheel-in shower, making it to where Nicole didn’t have to transition and highly reduced her chances of a fall. It had a Gambrel peak and was very much a ranch-style house. Nicole had fallen in love the second she saw it and knew Waverly would love it too.

Nicole sealed the letter and placed it in the mail. She headed to her old apartment to get a few more things. The landlord ran up to her, holding a box of mail. “Nicole, the mailman dropped this off yesterday. Looks like you have close to 40 letters in this damn thing.” He set the box in her lap. Nicole started to look through them all. They were all from Waverly. Nicole let out a breath of relief. She had, in fact, gotten Nicole’s letters and it looked like she had tried to reply to every single one of them. Nicole pulled one out and smiled as she realized that Waverly had dated each one.

She left without getting anything from her apartment, heading back to the house. She entered her office with the box, setting it on the desk. Nicole looked around the room at all the photos she had blown up of her and Waverly. She had close to 10 on the walls and 3 on the desk. It was the only way she felt close to Waverly. She pulled out one letter after anther.

Each letter was in response to Nicole’s or asking about their family. Nicole pulled out Waverly’s last letter.

 

My dearest Cole,

Hi, love. I miss you dearly and I truly hope this letter finds you well. I am so proud of all that you guys have accomplished since I have been away. I can’t believe Nonna has only 29 Revenants left! She might actually do. Could you just see her breaking that curse? She deserves this. OMG! Alice could come home, Cole. Like actually come home! I can’t believe that.

How are you doing this week, my beauty? I talk about you every second of every day. All these guys go on and on about all the hot chicks on base and then ask me what I think. So stupid. I tell them that I have an amazing girlfriend waiting for me back home. I told them you are the hottest woman on the planet. They didn’t believe me so I bet them that with one photo they would agree. They took that bet. So, I showed them that photo of you. Needless to say, I won the bet. Thanks babe.

“Oh, I’m going to kill her.” Nicole mumbled to herself but continued reading the letter.

I know you’ll probably kill me for that, but I won a free phone call home because of it. I should be able to call sometime before you get this letter, I hope. If not, just know that I...

Nicole’s attention was pulled from the letter when her phone rang. It was an unknown number. She pulled it to her ear. “Sheriff Haught. What can I do for you?”

“You can tell me how much you love me.” Waverly’s voice came from the other side. A big smile formed as Nicole couldn’t find the words. It was the first time she had heard her voice in 2 months. “Babe?”

“I...I’m here.”

“You ok?”

“I’m amazing.”

“A little tongue tied?” Waverly teased.

“A little. Have you gotten my letters?”

“All of them, love. I can’t believe you’ve written me every day.”

“Do you want me to keep writing?”

“Yes, please. I love them. So much.”

“So, I’m your girlfriend, huh?” Nicole cut right to the chase.

“I..uh..easier then explaining what we are.”

“Mmm hmm. How much time do we have, babe?”

“A couple more minutes.”

“Are you safe there?”

“For now. Activity is picking up, so we will see. I have to go, Cole. Please tell everyone I love them. Please?”

“Of course baby. I love you, Waverly. So very much. Hope we get to talk again soon.”

“I hope so too.” Waverly sighed. “I can’t wait to come home to you, Sheriff. See you soon.”

“Wait!” Nicole pushed her way to the hallway and grabbed Wynonna’s arm and shoved the phone at Wynonna. “It’s for you.”

“Ello?” Wynonna said with a half a donut in her mouth.

“Nonna?”

“Babygirl?” Her eyes lit up as she heard her little sister’s voice.

“It’s me, Nonna. I can’t talk long but I love you. I miss you so much.”

“I miss you too! So does Haughtpants. She’s been moping around here.”

“You’re taking care of her, right?”

“Of course! I haven’t killed her or the cat yet.”

“That’s good. Though I don’t like the yet part. Stay safe, Nonna. No stupid mistakes, right?”

“Never.”

“I have to go.”

Wynonna pushed the phone at Nicole really fast. “Tell her.”

“I love you babe. Be safe. See you soon.”

“It’ll go by faster than either of us think. Bye love.”

Nicole ended the call with Waverly. She leaned back against her chair and ran her hands through her hair. Waverly was alive and she was ok. No need to freak out, she told herself. She hoped it wouldn’t be too much longer before Waverly was able to call again. “You good, Haught sauce?”

“I’m just really happy to have heard her voice.”

“Thanks for that, by the way. Giving up some of your time talking to her so that I could. I appreciate that.”

“You’re my best friend. She’s your little sister. I’d never keep her from you, Wyn. I love both of you.”

“Ah Haughty, you’re like a walking bumper sticker.” She playfully punched Nicole in the shoulder. “Alright. Let’s get you to your appointment. Can’t have Waverly shooting me for skipping one.”

“Actually, I have today off. Let’s go to Shorty’s. Drinks are on me tonight, Wyn.”

“Don’t gotta tell me twice!”

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

2 weeks later:

Nicole and Wynonna had made their way to their usual camping spot, overlooking a lake. They knew they were in no condition to do this trip themselves, so they invited their friends along but only if they agreed to leave Nicole and Wynonna to themselves for their bonding trip. Everyone agreed, purchasing the campsites that surrounded Nicole and Wynonna’s. Dolls and Doc arrived early, setting up the tent which was one of those tent-cots. It was the perfect height for Nicole to transfer from her wheelchair into the bed.

Everyone knew they would see the two and that they would spend time with the group but everyone also understood that these yearly camping trips were a tradition for Nicole and Wynonna and it was their way of bonding with each other, away from prying eyes and the talk of the town.

It was the first night of camping and Wynonna and Nicole decided to join their friends for roasting marshmellows and getting drunk. “Thanks for inviting all of us, you guys. We know how much this trip means to you.” Chrissy said as she sipped her Blue Moon.

“Here, here!” Dolls raised his glass to the two women and everyone followed suite, honored to be with them.

“How are you feeling, Nic?” Erin asked her sister and then looked to Wynonna. “And how bout you, Wynonna?”

“I’m doing ok, Rin. My back hurts still and has one hellva bruise but overall, I’m doing ok.”

“I still can’t believe the hit dislodged a fragment of the bullet. How lucky was that?” Jethro asked, looking at his baby sister.

“It was about the only good thing to come from that attack.” Nicole spoke softly.

“Waverly still pissed off at us?” Wynonna looked to her best friend for an answer both of them already knew.

“Oh, she’s pretty damn heated.” Nicole laughed. “But she’s so damn cute when she’s mad.”

“You say that now, but you know she’ll kick your ass when she gets home.” Chrissy added. “She’s small but damn she can be mean.”

Chrissy comment made the group laugh. “She can’t honestly blame us for that fight though, right?” Erin asked.

“Well, she understands what happened but she’s mainly mad at me for not getting myself out of the middle of the fight.”

“Nicole, that asshole would have come for you no matter where you were in that bar.”

“I know that but Waves...she’s just upset. I think she’s more upset that I got hurt and she isn’t here. Which I understand but as Sheriff, in this wheelchair or not, it is my responsibility to stop a situation from getting worse. I run into danger while others run away from it.”

“That just sounds stupid, Haughtpants.”

“Well, now there are two of us on the force!” Jethro raised his bottle towards his sister in a show of appreciation.

“This town is in for it now.” Chrissy chuckled. “You Haughts don’t know how to stay out of trouble.” Jethro smiled that damn dimpled smile towards Chrissy and she couldn’t help but shy away with a smile of her own.

It had come out over the last couple days that Jethro was bisexual. He had confessed a crush on Jeremy and one of Chrissy as well. Nicole just leaned back and watched as the trio flirted with each other. Maggie sat on the ground next to Nicole and smiled. “Oh, that Haught charm.” She stated with a sigh. “Sucks us all in.”

“I still can’t believe you are dating my sister. That is so crazy to me.” Nicole smiled at her friend.

Maggie watched as Erin and Wynonna headed off into the woods, probably to pee, and she pulled a ring box from her pocket and held it up to Nicole. “Will you please give me your blessing?” She softly asked Nicole so the other’s didn’t hear.

“Why are you asking me? Why not ask Jethro?”

“Because no one’s blessing means more to her...to me...than yours.”

“Do you truly, 100% love her?”

“With everything that I am, Cole. Every ounce of my soul and my heart belongs to that woman.”

“Then you have my blessing, not that you ever needed it.” Nicole handed the ring box back to Maggie, who slid it into her pocket. “Welcome to the family, Mags.”

“Thanks, Cole.” Maggie leaned her head against the outside of Nicole’s leg. “You think you’ll marry Waverly one day?” Maggie asked honestly.

“I mean, we’re not even dating.”

“That’s not a no.” Maggie wiggled her eyebrows and smiled.

“You’re right. It’s not a no. and to answer your question, yes. If she’ll have me, I would love to marry her one day.”

“And you’re really going to wait 3 years for her to get out of the military?”

“I’ve waited 27 years to find a woman like her, I’m sure I can wait a little longer.” After a bit of silence, Nicole looked towards the stars and then at the group of friends, who were all off in their own little conversations with each other. Laughing and smiling, drinking and just enjoy each other’s company. “I can’t believe we survived, Mags.”

“I can’t believe we did, either.”

“I can’t believe you are sitting here with me. Getting to know my new family. These people, they’re good, Maggie. Real good. They sacrifice everything for a town that looks down their nose at them. It amazes me how selfless they are. They really are the best of this town, ya know?” Nicole smiled out at her friends, beaming with pride as she talked about them.

“And what about you, Nicole? You sacrificed yourself for myself and for Wynonna. I would say that makes you the best of us.”

“No because honestly, I do it because I’m selfish. I protect those I love to the highest of my ability because I cannot imagine living a life without them there.”

“That’s a lie, Nicole and you I know both know it.”

“How so?”

“Because, you didn’t know me. You sacrificed yourself to save a stranger.”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Maggie. I did love you, like you were part of my family because at that time, in that place, you were all I had to hold on to. I had lost everything and everyone when I went there. I had nothing to survive for, other than out of complete spite. You don’t realize how much you saved my life as much as I saved yours.”

“But look at us now! Completely head over heals in love with two amazing women. And still gay.” Maggie smiled as Nicole laughed.

“Definitely still gay.”

“You got a picture of that woman of yours? I wanna see if she’s as hot as all you guys keep saying!” Nicole rummaged through her jacket pocket and found the one of Waverly that was “for her eyes only”. “Eh if she can show off mine, I’ll show off hers.” Nicole laughed to herself and handed the photo to Maggie.

Maggie’s jaw dropped. “Holy fuck, Haught! She’s absolutely beautiful.” She didn’t stare long at the photo, out of respect for Nicole and handed it back to her.

“Yes, she is.”

Wynonna walked up behind Nicole and slapped her on the shoulder. “Havin them impure thoughts about my baby sister again?”

Nicole let out a hefty laugh. “Always.”

Dolls turned on the radio he had brought and held out a hand to Wynonna. “I don’t usually dance, but I do owe you one.” Wynonna smirked and handed her bottle of whiskey to Nicole before taking Dolls hand. Jethro asked Chrissy to dance, while Erin took Maggie away from her conversation with Nicole. Jeremy slid over to Nicole.

“How ya doing, Nicole?”

“I’m doing really good, actually.” She smiled out at her friends as she took pictures on her phone. Dolls sat on the other side of Nicole.

“These are the true memories you often speak of, are they not?”

“They are, Doc. These times are what makes everything I’ve been through worth it.”

“Yet, I see a hint of sadness in those eyes.” Doc placed his hand on Nicole’s. “You are missin’ Miss Waverly?”

“Very much, Doc. We’re almost to 5 months since she’s been gone and I find it harder and harder to read her letters.”

“Why’s that?” Jeremy shifted closer to his friend.

“I guess I’m just waiting for my father to ruin it. He always does.”

“Are you still frettin’ about his visit?”

“I am. Unsettling, honestly.”

“Is he a vengeful man?”

“There’s no telling what he will do, Jeremy.”

“Maybe I should ask Dolls to dig into him a little bit. See what he’s up too.”

“I would appreciate it, Jer. I don’t trust that man as far as I can throw him.” Nicole looked at Doc. “Thank you for coming to my sister’s aid during that fight.”

“I do not appreciate a beautiful lady gettin’ hurt at the hands of a male. She did not deserve what he was shouting at her. None of you did, Sheriff.”

“Unfortunately, I am use to it but I appreciate it none the less.” Nicole lounged back and looked at the stars. “You never truly take in their beauty until you’ve been put in a situation where you won’t see them again.” Both of her friends knew what she meant. Doc having spent his time in that abandoned well and Jeremy, when he almost died in the car accident as a child. Nicole headed for her tent, deciding to call it a night. Wynonna decided to go with her so that they could have some quality time together. Their friends, on the other hand, decided to hang out, have fun and keep dancing.

As the two got comfortable in their tent, Wynonna offered Nicole some whiskey, which she gladly took. “You know, I don’t know what would have happened if you would had died saving me, Haught.” This was part of their bonding time and why they did their camping trips. For the most part, the trips were spent drinking and hanging out around the fire where the two would air out anything that had been bothering them since the last time they had gone on the camping trip. It was their way of keeping the lines of communications open but not overstepping.

“You would have kept kicking ass, Wyn. You’re the strongest woman I know. Other than your sister.” Nicole handed the bottle back to Wynonna.

“You give me far too much credit.” Wynonna took a long drink from the bottle, wiping tears from her eyes. “You took a fucking bullet for me dude. Like...who does that shit?”

“I wasn’t going to let you die, Wynonna. Why do you have such a hard time believing that someone actually fucking loves you?”

“Because no one has ever loved me other than Waverly.” She spoke softly, her lips still pressed to the whiskey bottle.

“Well, get over it. I love you and I’m willing to die for you, you fucker.”

“Getting paralyzed has made you mean, Haughty.”

“I am a bit cranky because of it, yes.” She stole the bottle from Wynonna, taking a longer drink then Wynonna did.

“So...what are your intentions with my baby sister, Haughtstuff.” Wynonna nudged her with a smile.

“To have as much sex with her as possible.” Nicole smirked.

“Ew! No! Stop!”

“It’s really good, by the way. You should have seen what she did in the shower before she le...”

Wynonna clamped her hand over Nicole’s mouth. “No! No! Shut your mouth!” Nicole smiled under Wynonna’s hand. “Seriously Haught, like...”

“I love her, Wyn and I’m telling you right here, right now, I will be marrying your sister one day.”

“Hmm...I guess you wouldn’t be so bad to have around the house.”

“Excuse me?”

“You’re that typical lesbian. You can fix just about anything that breaks.”

“Because I’m a lesbian, that’s why you want me around?”

“No. I want you around because you fix things. The lesbian part just makes you stereotypical.”

“Shut up and go to sleep.” Nicole laughed at her friend, laying back to get comfy and closing her eyes. She drifted off into a peaceful sleep.

3 hours later:

Nicole awoke with a topless Wynonna laying on top of her. It wasn’t unusual for Wynonna to strip in her sleep as she always got to hot but being on top of Nicole was a new one.

“What the fuck, Wynonna!”

“I...uh...had to pee and you’re next to the door.” Wynonna was still shifting around on top of Nicole, trying to wiggle the door open.

Nicole shoved Wynonna off, back to her side of the tent. “You have a door on your side too, ya dipshit!”

Wynonna glanced over, finally remember the door she had came in when she had gotten in the tent. “Oh damn...you won’t tell Waverly about this, will ya?” Wynonna asked as she unzipped the tent.

“Ohhhh, you bet your ass I am.” Nicole grumbled as she adjusted to her side a little to go back to sleep.

7AM:

The group decided it was time to head out for the lake. Dolls and Doc had scouted ahead 3 days before they had come up to clear a path so that Nicole could get her wheelchair down to the lake with no issues.

After packing a lunch and of course the alcohol, the group made the 1 hour hike down the lake. It was a beautiful morning. The sun sparkled across the water as if it were on fire. It was still a little cold to go swimming so Jethro and Jeremy started a fire on the beach and the friends all sat around, staying warm and enjoying each other’s company.

Maggie glanced over to Nicole and gave her a game winning smile. It was time. Maggie and Erin walked a few steps onto the beach, out in front of the group. Nicole a little ways back with her camera in hand. “Smile you two!” Nicole demanded. They did and Nicole snapped the photo. “No, no...lighting is all wrong. Mags, why don’t you stand behind Rin and wrap your arms around her.”

Maggie nodded. “Great idea!” She stood behind Erin and wrapped her arms around her waist, the small box in her hand. Erin still hadn’t noticed. As Nicole started snapping pictures, she pressed record. “Hey E?”

“Yeah baby?” Erin just kept smiling at the Nicole and the camera.

“Will you marry me?” Maggie softly whispered in Erin’s ear. Erin’s smile faded into one of shock. Maggie kept her arms around Erin, resting her chin on Erin’s shoulder as she opened the box in her hand, revealing the black band with blue sapphires.

“W...what?”

“Will you do me the honor of spending the rest of our lives together?”

“This is where you say yes, stupid!” Jethro yelled at his older sister.

That was just enough to snap Erin out of her daze and she shook her head yes more times than Nicole thought was humanly possible. “Yes. Yes! Oh my god! Yes, baby!” Erin turned in Maggie’s arm, giving her a massive kiss before Maggie slipped the ring onto her finger.

“I thought you were going to say no for a second.”

“No. Never because....” Erin had motioned for Jethro. He ran up and handed Erin a ring he had been holding for her. Erin knelt down on one knee, holding the ring up to Maggie. “I had planned on proposing tonight.” Erin laughed. “Since I’m down here and all. Dr. Maggie Hendrickson, will you do me the honor of being my wife?”

“Nothing would make me happier.” Maggie answered with the biggest smile. Erin slipped the diamond ring on Maggie’s finger and stood up to pull her into another hug. Maggie looked at Nicole. “You knew about both, didn’t you?”

“Guilty as charged.” Nicole said with a laugh. She looked to the group of friends. “Who had this morning in the pool?”

“Y’all bet on which one of us was going to propose first?”

“Looks like you win it, Wynonna!”

“Haha! Fork over the cash, suckers!” Dolls handed Wynonna the winnings and she folded them into her pocket.

The rest of the day at the lake went well. Music blasting, the water was the perfect temp and the company was great. The sun was starting to set when...

“Breaking news out of the USA.” The radio blared an emergency warning. “American base has been attacked in Iraq. Multiple casualties. Isis has taken full credit for the attack that happened at 0200.” A male voice came over the radio. “We are assessing the situation. Troops have been deployed to assist in extraction of the wounded.” Everyone froze. Nicole felt her heart stop as she waited to hear more. “We do know there are casualties from all branches, including some Canadian troops, Iraqi troops and from the USA. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were lost in this horrible attack.”

Chapter Text

0145

Waverly was woken from her deep sleep by the sounds of alarms going off. She knew the sounds. She also knew the other sounds. Rockets. Waverly quickly jumped out of bed and opened the tent to see them in the sky. She could tell they were headed straight for the base.

“Get up! NOW!” Waverly ordered the girls sleeping in the same tent as her. “Move it! We’re under attack!” Waverly was pulling girls out of bed, throwing their boots at them. “GO!” Just as they got the last of the girls out and were running from the tent, a shockwave hit them. All 5 of the girls went flying, Waverly included. The rocket had just hit their tent. Waverly’s vision went blurry and the ringing in her ears was horrendous but she managed to get to her feet, pulling each of the girls up as she went. “Come on. This way!” Waverly lead them to the armory and started handing them anti-mortor/anti-rocket items.

“Ma’am, we aren’t trained to do this!”

“You’re about to be! Let’s go!” Waverly ordered, grabbing a rifle, magazines, explosives and a handgun. “We’re under attack. If you think those rockets are the only thing coming our way, you have another thing coming! And I will be damned if one of you dies because of this. Now! Follow my orders and move your asses!”

As they left the armory, Waverly noticed a group of 30 soldiers waiting outside. As one of the highest ranking officers on base, they were looking to her for instructions. “Ok. Listen up! We need to get those rockets out of the sky! I need at least 6 of you on the anti-mortor towers! Get moving!” Six soldiers quickly ran off towards the towers. “I need our drones in the air, now! Find out where these guys are!” She turned to another group. “Any comm officers in here? I need you to get a hold of command and tell them we need help. We’re under attack. Then I need you to get a hold of any units in the field. Tell them not to return until we tell them.” 3 sailors ran off to the communications building. 5 other officers finally joined Waverly. “Sir.” Waverly saluted.

“What news do we have?”

“None as of yet, sir. Teams have been put in position. What I do know is that we are being attacked from the mountains here.” Waverly pointed down at a map she had unfolded on the hood of one of the trucks. “We just can’t pin point where, just yet.”

“How many rockets have hit?”

“2 that I can tell. But I’m sure more will be coming shortly.”

“Damage report?”

“Yes, sir. Two towers on the south side have been taken out. I believe they will have an army pushing towards us shortly. They are aiming for the south walls but I don’t believe they will be coming from that way in the attacks.” Waverly stated.

“What makes you say that, Petty Officer?”

She pointed to a wide open area to the south. “It’s too open, sir. They would be stupid to attack from the south. I feel they are going to use this as a distraction and will push from the East.”

“Why the East?”

She pointed to the mountain ranges that sat near the base. “This is their best chance of cover before pushing. It will probably come from the next rocket attack.”

“When they said you specialized in military formations and warfare, I never thought you would be this good, Petty Officer Earp.”

“I know it sounds crazy, sir, but if you think about all of the attacks over the last few weeks. They’ve been calculated, it makes sense, sir.”

“Get a squad together. 20 soldiers. Go do recon on the east side. Report back with what you find.”

“Yes, sir.” Waverly turned to her squad of girls. “Grab the gear. Meet me here in 10 minutes.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” The women ran off, grabbing tactical gear. Waverly found the other 15 soldiers she would need for the mission. It was quiet. Way too quiet. “We need to go, now.”

Once everyone was suited up, they headed out the back gate of the base on foot, heading towards the mountain range to the east. “No flashlights. No lasers. Completely stealth.” Waverly ordered of her troops.

“Yes Ma’am.” Was all she heard from the group walking slowly through the desert, their guns at the ready. Waverly’s hands tightly gripped her M4 Carbine against her chest, ready for whatever may pop out.

“Radio silence from this point on. Call out anything you see.” Another officer with Waverly stated.

Waverly looked over at him and gave him a nod. A half hour into the walk, Waverly saw another rocket get shot off. “Base, this is Outbound. You have an incoming rocket!” The squad watched as it hit the back side of the base. Several soldiers started heading back but Waverly stopped them. “You stay here! That is an order! We have a mission and we are going to complete it! If we don’t more soldiers will die, do you understand!” The soldiers all nodded. They proceeded forward.

“Earp, I’ll take 5 to the west side of the range, see if we can’t come up behind.”

“Perfect. I’ll take my squad through the middle to see if we can’t draw attention from you.”

“That’s a suicide mission, Earp.”

“Only if you aren’t in position it is.” Waverly adjusted her helmet and her gun. “We have to protect the base, Johnson.”

“Fine but be careful, Earp. You got that hot girlfriend to go home to.”

“Ellis, take the rest and head to the east side of the range. See if we can’t pinch these guys.”

“You’re positive they are going to be here, Earp?”

“Guess we will see.”

“Remember, watch the cross-fire. We will have friendly everywhere. Pay attention.” Johnson ordered his men as they pushed to the west. Ellis took his men to the east and Waverly marched straight ahead with her squad.

It was slow and tedious but they finally made their way up the path that went through the face of the mountain. Sniper fire rang out as her squad took cover. “Edwards, you see anything?” Waverly called out to one of the women.

She peaked her head around, noticing they were in the den of 3 snipes at least. “3 snipes, Ma’am. One is to the north, two to the east.”

“Anderson, take those guys out! Ashton, move with her. Everyone, supply cover fire.” Waverly ordered. In one swift movement, everyone was moving. Four laid down cover fire while the other two moved to a higher position. As the shooting became more than the 4 could handle, they ducked back into safety. “This is Petty Officer Earp! We are pinned down in the mountain trails. Multiple hostels. Requesting assistance from Bravo squad and Charlie. Do you copy?”

“10-4 Ma’am. We are almost in position! Hang tight.”

Waverly looked to Edwards. “As soon as that firing stops, move. We need eyes on how many hostels are in the area.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“We’re in position, Ma’am.” Ashton called over the radio. “Waiting your go.”

“Anderson, get those guys down.”

With the sound of the sniper rifle going off, Edwards watched as the bullet hit the man between the eyes. “One hostel down, Ma’am.” Edwards shifted behind the bolder she shared with Waverly, a bullet ripped through her shoulder.

“Shit!” Waverly ran from behind the bolder, grabbed Edwards and started to drag her back. “You’ll be good! You are going to be ok.” Waverly held pressure to the wound. She looked at Fitzpatrick. “Get over here and hold pressure on this wound!”

“Yes Ma’am.”

They ducked down as tight as they could, the shots still flying around them. Waverly pulled out her photo of her family for a quick glance. She tucked it away as fast as she had pulled it out and got back on the comms. “Ellis, where the hell are you guys? Johnson, god damn it, we’re pinned down! Injured on site!”

“Almost to you!”

“Ashton! Get that sniper out!” Waverly yelled over the comms. “Take that fucking shot!”

With a deep breath, both Ashton and Anderson shot, taking out the two remaining snipers. “Hostels down, Ma’am. But more are incoming.”

“How many?”

“Approx. 30.”

“Fuck!” Waverly knelt next to Edwards. “How ya doing?”

“Good. Good.”

“Damn kids these days. Always trying to get out of work.” Waverly smiled down at her injured soldier.

“We’re in position, Earp.”

“Then what the fuck are you waiting for? We’re pinned down. 30 hostels approaching our location. Ashton, Anderson can you get to higher ground? Join up with Johnson or Ellis?”

“Yes, Ma’am. But will we? No.”

“That’s an order!”

“I don’t care about your orders, Ma’am. I’m not leaving you guys.” Anderson defied.

“Then you better get ready to fight.” Waverly and Fitzpatrick bandaged Edwards up the best they could with what they had. Waverly handed Edwards the gun. “You are going to need this. Stay down.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“We have to leave you here to go fight but I promise, I’ll be back for you.”

“I know.”

“Fitz, stay on my six. Let’s go.” Waverly pressed her comms button again. “Do you have eyes on the hostels?”

“Just around the bend. They’ve taken cover in holes in the mountain side.”

“Ambush. Got it. Johnson, you catch all that?”

“Yeah, Earp. We got it. Heading to your position now.”

“Boss, they better pick up the pace!” Ashton yelled into the comms. “We got incoming!”

“Ellis! Location?”

“5 out.”

“We don’t got 5!”

“Johnson?”

“Same.”

“What the hell have you two been doing? Fine!” Waverly ripped the comms out of her ear so she could think for a second. “Fitz, stay here. I’m pushing forward. They only know of us, they don’t know of Ashton and Anderson. Maybe if I can distract them, you guys can get out of here.”

“Ma’am, that’s not a great idea.”

“It’s the only one we got, right now.” Waverly pushed her ear piece back into her ear. “Fitz is staying back, Ashton, Anderson watch from above. Don’t take a shot until you know you can take them out. I’m pushing forward to draw them out. Take the shot as soon as you two have it.”

“Earp! That’s suicide!”

“I have to buy us time or we’re all dead anyways, Johnson! So unless you want me dead, move your fucking ass!” Waverly started her push up the trail, sticking close to the walls of the mountain, staying in the shadows. She pulled her silencer from her vest and screwed it onto the end of her rifle and then pulled down her night vision goggles. “Double A, be my eyes. Tell me where they are.”

“Four straight ahead. One is taking a piss.”

“10-4.” Waverly crept slowly, gun drawn. As she turned the corner. “Ready...” As she pulled the trigger, 3 men dropped to the ground, dead. The one peeing went to say something but Waverly pulled the trigger again, hitting him between the eyes.

“As you round the bend, 5 more. We can’t get a shot, Ma’am.”

“Ok. You two move into position. I’ll see if I can’t draw them towards me a little.” Waverly crept forward once more but this time she had a flashbang in hand. She threw it as far as she could and ducked her head into her knees and covered her ears. “BOOM BOOM!” The flashbang went off and the group of men started to scramble. Waverly grabbed her gun and backtracked a little, hoping they would follow but they only did a little.

“Still no shot, Ma’am.”

“10-4.” Waverly lined up her shot and hit the guy in the back of the group. She caught their attention. Quickly their guns were pointed at Waverly. “Johnson? Anytime.” Waverly put her hands above her head. One of the men approached her and put the barrel of his gun to her head and pulled. Click.

The guy started to laugh. “This bitch is crazy! Didn’t even blink!”

“You don’t have a clip in.” Waverly rolled her eyes. Within seconds, the man was on the ground. All of the men were on the ground. “ Wavery looked to the mountain top and saw both Ellis and Johnson standing a top it. “Took ya long enough!”

“Is that anyway to say thank you to the person who just saved your ass, Earp?”

Waverly rolled her eyes. “We need to take out the rest of these guys. Fitz! Move foward! Meet me. We’re pushing on. Ashton, Anderson, keep an eye out. Watch yourselves. Let’s move!” Waverly picked up her rifle and started forward again.

“Earp, you’re coming up on the rest of the group.”

“Then I guess you better take those guys out.”

“On it!” Ellis communicated. Waverly watched as his squad moved down the mountain top. Soon a big explosion happened near Waverly. A grenade went off, throwing Waverly backwards. She hit the ground with a thud, all of the air being knocked out of her. “Who threw that?” Ellis demanded. “I told you, watch for friendly on the ground. Earp! Earp! Are you ok?”

Waverly shook her head, trying to get the hearing back in her ears and the blurriness of her vision to go away. Fitzpatrick ran to Waverly’s side. “Ma’am? Are you ok?”Waverly just nodded as Fitzpatrick helped her to her feet. The gun fire rained down for another 20 minutes but they were no match for the soldiers with the higher ground. Waverly and Fitzpatrick headed back to Edwards as Ellis’ squad cleared the area, determining that was all who were going to attack. The three teams soon met back up where they had originally separated. Waverly was scratched and bruised. She had landed on a sharp rock when she fell so she had a cut on her side. All of the girls were covered in blood and dirt. They looked rough but their male counterparts were impressed.

“That took some real balls, Ma’am.” Johnson said with a pat on Waverly’s shoulder.

“Don’t call me Ma’am. You outrank me, Johnson.”

“Not once they find out what you did out here. You were made for this life, Earp.”

“Yeah well, I’m tired of almost dying every tour we do. What is this? Our 4th together? And how many times has one of us been injured?”

“At least 3.” Johnson said with a laugh. Johnson looked to the south. “They stopped...” BOOM BOOM BOOM! Explosions shot off in the distance. The American drones were bombing the mountain side where the rockets were coming from.

“Looks like we don’t have to deal with that again. Let’s get Edwards back to base.” Two soldiers wrapped their arms around her waist, walking with her.

By the time the soldiers made it back to base, the sun was just coming up. The backside of the base was destroyed. The squad entered through and instantly started helping find survivors and the dead. Edwards was taken to medical, along with Waverly. As Waverly sat on the table, they pulled her vest off to look at the extent of her injuries. Her side was bleeding. “Petty Officer, it appears you were shot. It went through and through though, so you’ll just need stitches on the outside here and some bandages.”

“Hmmm...well isn’t that interesting?” Waverly looked down and shrugged. “Not the first time is it, Jackson?” Both laughed. “No Ma’am, it’s not. I always seem to be patchin’ ya up.” Jackson slipped Waverly a sat phone. “You should call Dolls. He’s been blowing up the phone since the damn Americans announced the bombing on the tube.” As Jackson started to stitch up Waverly, she dialed Nicole’s phone number.

Chapter Text

The group sat at the beach in silence. Nicole had her arms wrapped around Wynonna, trying to prevent her from having another panic attack. “Wyn, she’s going to be fine. It’s Waves. She’s....” Nicole was trying to keep her own shit together. She buried her face into Wynonna’s shoulder.

“Let’s not get a head of ourselves. We don’t know the extent of the attack.”

“Dolls is correct. While there was an attack, Miss Waverly is very capable of takin’ care of herself over there.”

“Yeah, sis. She’s gonna be fine. She loves you and is going to fight like hell to...”

Before Jethro could finish, Nicole’s phone was ringing. She fumbled it out of her pocket and looked down at the number. “It’s blocked.”

“More than likely military then.” Dolls spoke softly. “Answer it, Sheriff.”

She slowly pushed the button, pushing the speaker button. “H...hello?”

“Love?” Waverly’s voice flowed from the other side. Nicole and Wynonna let out a sigh of relief.

“Yes, baby. I’m here. Are you ok?”

“I can’t hear you. Hold on.” Waverly hung up and then Facetimed Nicole. Nicole answered, tears filling her eyes when she saw how covered in blood, dirt and grime Waverly was.

“Hi Baby...”

“Hey beautiful.” Waverly smiled, tiredly. “Fuck! Damn it, Jackson!” Waverly yelled at her friend.

“Sorry!”

Nicole noticed Waverly was in her bra, sitting in medical. “You’re not alright, are you?”

“I’m fine, love. Just getting some stitches.” Waverly pointed the camera down so Nicole and Wynonna could see what was happening. “Nothing bad.”

“You were shot, ma’am...” Jackson whispered but not low enough for the other women to hear.

“You got shot, Babygirl?!?”

“I got grazed. Jackson likes to embellish a little.”

“A graze that went straight through.”

“Enough, Jackson!”

“Yes, Ma’am. Sorry Ma’am.” Jackson continued stitching the wound.

“Baby, are you really ok? Please tell me the truth?”

“A little banged up but I promise, nothing is keeping me from coming home to you in 78 days, 5 hours and 34 minutes.”

“Keeping count, huh?” Nicole teased with a big dimpled smile.

“There’s that smile that I love so much.” Waverly smirked. “And yes, I am keeping count. I need to see my girl.”

“Oh, I’m your girl now, huh?”

“Well, I recall you putting a ring on my finger that says so.”

“I do not recall this event. Guess you will just have to tell me about it when you get back here.”

“Petty Officer Earp!”

“Oh shit. I have to go. I’m fine. I’m alive and I’ll see you guys soon! Love you guys!” Waverly quickly hung up.

“Well, she’s ok!” Chrissy was the first to speak up.

“She got her ass kicked again though.”

“What did we expect though? The base was bombed. I bet everyone looks like her.”

“How did she get shot though?” Wynonna questioned. “If the base was bombed...”

“That’s a good question and I will get the answer as soon as I can, Earp.” Dolls reassured Wynonna.

 

Waverly quickly hid her phone. “Sir?”

“There you are.” Her commander approached. She went to salute and he waved her off. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine, sir. Just a little banged up but I’m fine. How is Edwards?”

“She’s good, thanks to you, I hear.”

“I was the one who put her in that position. I take full blame for that, sir.”

“I would have made the same call, Earp. Don’t sell what you did short of being heroic.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Earp, with this bombing, it’s going to take a few months to rebuild. The Seabees are coming in to take care of the rebuild but I need someone I can trust to be in charge of them. After what you did out there, you’ve proven to be that person. I know you were planning on going home in 2 months but I am going to need to extend you 4 months.”

“Sir. Please, my girlfriend was shot just before I left, I really need to get home to her.”

“I know, Earp but right now you are needed her. If I can get you out of here soon, I will but as of right now, my orders are to extend you and your team 4 months. All of your team.”

“You mean Ashton, Fitzpatrick, Anderson, Edwards and I?”

“Yes. All 5 of your are being extended.”

“Sir, I understand doing it to me, but please, don’t do it to them. It’s their first or second tours. And Edwards was shot!”

“She’ll be fine in a couple weeks. Look, you trust those women and they trust you. It’s time to step up, Earp. Lead. You have your orders, I’m sorry.”

“I’m sure you are, Sir.” Waverly mumbled. Her commander left and Jackson looked up at Waverly while still working on her stitches.

“You ok, Ma’am?”

“Not at all, Jackson. A full year away from them? From Wynonna who I just got back and from Nicole?”

“Well, look at it this way, Ma’am. When you go home, you’ll be 2 years from getting out. 1 more tour after this.”

“I have to call her...”

“I would do it now while you have a chance. I can keep people out for a while.”

“Thank you, Jackson. Fuck. Then I need to tell the team.”

“That’s going to be tough.”

“Yes. It is.” Jackson headed out of the room and Waverly pulled the phone back out. She videoed Nicole again. Nicole answered. “Hey love. I need...” Tears filled Waverly’s eyes. “I need to talk to you, alone, please?”

“Yeah, baby. Give me one second.” Nicole pushed herself away from the group. “What’s wrong babe? Why are you crying?”

“My commander just...he just gave me some really bad news.”

“You wanna talk about it?”

“I apparently did a really good job on leading the squad into that gun battle. They’ve extended me and my team.”

“W..what?” Nicole’s breath hitched. “How long?”

“4 more months.”

“So a year total?”

“Yes...” Waverly tipped her head down. “I just want to be home with you, Cole. I miss you so damn much it hurts.”

“I miss you too, baby. So fucking much. I hope you know how much. You’re always on my mind but if you have to stay then that’s what will happen. You will keep fighting and you will come home to me, do you understand?”

“I understand more than I can ever tell you. Your letters are something I look forward too every day and I’m so happy I sent them home to you before our tent got hit.”

“Wait, your tent got blown up?”

“Yup. It was a really exciting night.”

“You look so tired, baby. I wish I could hold you and kiss away those tears.”

“I know...” Waverly took a deep breath. “Cole, I don’t want to wait to get out of the military to be with you...”

“No?” Nicole was trying to hide her excitement but she was having an issue with it.

“No. I want you, Nicole Haught, to be my girlfriend. If you’ll have me?”

“Baby, yes! So many times, yes.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t ask you in person.” Waverly sighed. “I had this whole plan for when I came home but I can’t do this. I can’t just pretend that we aren’t already in a relationship. No one has loved me more than you do and I would be a fool not to ask you.”

“I love you more than you will ever know, Petty Officer Earp. From the day I met you, I knew I couldn’t live without you in my life.”

“So, 199 days, Cole. Can you wait that long?”

“Can you?”

“200 more days of not kissing you? I really have no idea how I’ll get through it.” Waverly slyly smirked at her screen. “I guess your photo will do for now.”

“Yours has been helpful on my end too.”

“I wasn’t sure if that was your thing or not.”

“Baby, that’s everybody’s thing.” Nicole’s comment got a small laugh at of Waverly.

“I should really go. I need to go tell my girls that we aren’t going home anytime soon.”

“I love you, Waverly Earp.”

“Right back at ya, love.” Waverly blew Nicole a kiss and disconnected the call. She let out a loud sigh.

“Earp, you good?”

“Yeah, Jackson. I really am.”

“Congrats on the new girlfriend!” Waverly’s eyebrow perked. “I didn’t mean to listen...ok, I did but I don’t get any good gossip in here. I couldn’t help it.”

“Nah, don’t worry about it. I’m pretty happy about it too!” Waverly looked down at her side. “Are we done here, doc?”

“Yeah, you’re all good, Ma’am.”

“Thank you for taking care of me once again!”

“Do me a favor please?”

“What do you need, Jackson?”

“Can you and Johnson go the rest of this tour without visiting me with an injury?” Jackson and Waverly both laughed.

“I can certainly try.” Waverly slowly pulled her uniform back on and headed out of the medical bay. She had to deliver the same message to her squad that had just been delivered to her. And she knew it wasn’t going to be easy

Chapter Text

5 months, 3 weeks and 4 days later:

The day had come that Wynonna and Nicole had been waiting for. Waverly was coming home. The last few months had been harder on the trio then they even thought it would be. Depression had taken over Wynonna after the bombing, so much so that she had given up hunting Revenants. Christmas was the worst for Wynonna. She was so miserable that she just drank the day away. Though once they were into single digit days on the countdown, Nicole noticed that Wynonna had finally started to come out of her funk.

“When we get there, Haughty, I’ll wait to the side and give you two a moment together. Maybe even record it for you guys.”

“I appreciate it, Wyn.” Nicole rubbed her hands on her pants, her palms sweaty. “Why the fuck am I so nervous?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s because your super sexy girlfriend is about to get off the plane after not seeing each other for a year?” Wynonna took a swig of her flask. “You think she’s not nervous? If I know my sister, she’s freaking out right now.”

“A year, Wyn. Fuck. How did you guys do this every time she left?”

“It’s never been easy for me, Nicole. She is her own person and she sure does whatever she wants. Damn Earp.” Wynonna chuckled. “Do me a favor and wait to defile my sister until your home?”

“Oh my god. She doesn’t even know about our new house! What if she hates it? What if she doesn’t want to keep staying with me? Holy fuck...did we just Earp this up?”

Wynonna placed her hand over her heart, grasping her chest. “You wound me, Haught.” Wynonna faked being offended by her use of her last name.

“You know I’m right.”

“That’s the problem. Hell must have froze over.”

“Shove it, Earp.”

“You know she’s going to love the house, right?”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m positive. I think she might be a little mad you didn’t tell her but Waves likes surprises...at least she use too.” She handed the flask to Nicole who took a long drink. “Wow, don’t drink it all, Red.”

“You think she’ll be surprised by the party tonight at Shorty’s?”

“I think she’s definitely going to be surprised.” Wynonna leaned on Nicole. “You going to therapy today?”

“No. I don’t think it’s helping anymore plus I much rather spend today with you and Waves.”

“Good point. You’re gonna be boinkin all night.”

“What kind of woman do you think I am?”

“A horny ass Sheriff who hasn’t been laid in a couple years.”

“Excuse you! You know damn well...”

“You really wanna bring up the midnight hook-up with Shae when you went to go divorce her? Do you realllllly wanna talk about that?”

“I absolutely do not.” Nicole shuttered. “God, I regret that more than I regret marrying her.” She shuttered again. Nicole looked down at her phone.

Cole:
Hey babe. Have you landed yet?

Girlfriend :)
Not yet love. We’re still in the air. Love Southwest though. I love that I’ve gotten to talk to you this whole flight.

Cole:
I can’t believe you are almost home!

Girlfriend :)
Believe it, baby! And I’m coming for you!

Cole:
Not yet you aren’t ;p

Girlfriend :)
A year apart has made someone a little horny. :)

Cole:
Ha! You wish!

Girlfriend :)
Are you already at the airport? Nonna’s driving is the worst and I’m sorry she had to drive you there.

Cole:
It wasn’t too bad.

Girlfriend :)
We’re descending now. See you soon!

 

“Her plane just landed.”

“You got 15 minutes to get your shit together, Haught. I’ll be at the bar, recording.”

“Recording? More like drinking.”

“I don’t judge your life, Haught. Don’t judge mine.”

Nicole got in position and adjusted her Stetson. She felt more nervous now then she did when they had first met. “Where the hell did all your confidence go, Haught?” She mumbled to herself and looked down at her legs, realizing the exact moment her confidence had left. She shook the thoughts from her head. It was almost time. Waverly was so close to being in Nicole’s arms once again.

 

Waverly nervously sat in her seat. Her sunflower dress she was wearing was the first time she had been out of her uniform in almost a year. She had decided to change out of her uniform at the last layover because she knew when she saw Nicole she wouldn’t be able to keep the professionalism that is asked of them when they were in uniform. She gripped a packet of papers tightly. They were her new orders and she had no idea how she was going to tell her family. The new orders were for 2 years. If she was still getting out, it would lead directly into her leaving the military. If she stayed, it would lead into another deployment after that. She shook the thoughts from her head and shoved the papers into the pack that sat at her feet. They had just touched down and she was about to see the love of her life for the first time in a year.

Waverly exited the plane, duffle bag over her left shoulder. She walked out of the gate and rubbed her eyes, trying to adjust to the fake sunlight that filled the airport. Her eyes searched for Wynonna but most importantly, her eyes searched for Nicole in her wheelchair.

She stood still for a second, her eyes finally falling on a Purgatory Sheriff Deputy standing with their back against a pillar. She only knew they were PPD because of the button up light blue shirt and Stetson. They were wearing tight dark blue jeans and brown cowboy boots. The person adjusted the Stetson, bright, straight, long red hair fell from underneath it. They pushed the brim of the hat up, a smile meeting Waverly’s. “Cole?” Waverly couldn’t believe it. She wasn’t in her wheelchair. She wasn’t on crutches. She was standing 100 feet away. Waverly dropped her bag and sprinted towards Nicole. Nicole kicked herself off the pillar and met Waverly half way.

Waverly jumped into Nicole’s arms, wrapping her legs tightly around Nicole’s waist. Nicole caught her, kissing her hard. They lips crashed together as Nicole’s hands slipped to under Waverly’s butt, holding her tightly against her. Waverly had kissed Nicole so hard that Nicole’s hat had transferred to Waverly’s head and Waverly’s hands were tangled in Nicole’s hair, pulling and pushing, trying to get Nicole as close to her as she could. After what felt like a life time, Waverly slowly pulled away. “I love you so fucking much, Nicole Haught.” Waverly breathed out, having wanted to say it for a year. She pressed her forehead against Nicole’s, her hands still tangled in the taller woman’s hair. “I love you.” Tears streamed down Waverly’s cheeks. She had never cried when returning home from deployment. This was new to her.

“I love you too, baby. I missed you so much.”

“When?” Waverly looked down.

“3 months now.”

“How?”

“The new treatment that Eric was having me test. And honestly, getting jumped by Champ helped. It dislodged the piece of bullet that was pressed into my spinal column. I wanted to surprise you.”

“You sure have, love.” Both had tears streaming down their face at this point.

“Let me get your bag. There’s someone else who is somehow patiently waiting to see you.” Nicole finally set Waverly down and pointed towards Wynonna, who was standing at the bar. Waverly smiled bigger and ran at her sister as Nicole went to get Waverly’s bag off the ground. She threw herself into Wynonna just as hard has she had done to Nicole.

“Nonna!” Waverly’s arms wrapped around her sister’s neck. “I miss you so much!”

“I missed you too, Babygirl! I’m so happy to have you home.”

“Where is everyone else?”

“They wanted to give the three of us time together but now, I have to go. I want you and Nicole to have some time together before tonight.”

“What’s tonight?”

“You’ll see.” Wynonna kissed her sister on the cheek and left. Nicole wrapped her arm around Waverly’s waist.

“You ready to go home, babe?”

“Which home?” Waverly looked up at Nicole.

“Whichever home you want, beautiful.”

“I want to go to your home...our home...”

Nicole dropped the bag in the back of her truck and picked Waverly up, spinning her around in a huge hug. “I was hoping you were going to say that.” Nicole opened the door for Waverly as she scooted into the passenger seat and Nicole in the driver seat. Waverly didn’t care about a seat belt, she scooted as close to Nicole as she possibly could. “You look absolutely beautiful, by the way.” Nicole pressed a kiss into Waverly’s hairline which got a very content sigh to fall from her lips.

Waverly started to kiss Nicole’s neck, sucking and biting. She couldn’t help herself. “Mmm, I’ve missed the feel of my lips against your skin.” Waverly said with her lips still against Nicole’s neck, a hickey having formed. She reached in front of Nicole and started to undo her belt as Nicole drove.

“Mmm...babe....i....” Before Nicole could continue, Waverly was untucking Nicole’s shirts with one hand, while the other one sat on Nicole’s thigh. “Not yet, baby.” As much as Nicole didn’t want to wait, they had to. “We’re here.” Nicole said pulling into the driveway.

“Where are we, Cole?”

“Our new house...if you’ll have it...” Nicole said as she opened the driver’s door and slipped out of the truck. She held her hand out to Waverly, who gladly took it and slipped out.

“You bought a house?” Waverly wasn’t upset, she just felt like she had missed everything. “What else have you guys hid from me?”

“Why don’t you come inside and find out.” Nicole’s lips crashed against Waverly’s again. They hurried their way into the house, kicking off shoes as they went, hands pulling at each other’s clothes. “Couch.” Nicole said between kisses.

“Hmmm.”

As they walked past the bathroom, Nicole pointed it out. “Bathroom.”

“Mm hmm..” Waverly pulled at Nicole’s shirt, ripping the buttons off, sending them flying across the floor.

“Gym.. your room...office.” Nicole quickly explained as she pulled Waverly’s dress from her body.

“Beautiful.” Waverly stated, not talking about the house. Nicole picked Waverly up. Waverly’s legs wrapping around Nicole’s hips once again. She gently laid her down on the bed, laying ontop of her.

“My bedroom.” Nicole breathed down. At this point the only thing between them was their undergarments, which Waverly made quick work of.

Before they continued, Waverly looked to Nicole for permission. “Are you sure?”

“More than ever before, Waves.” Nicole’s lips pressed into Waverly’s, her tongue dancing at the seam of Waverly’s mouth, asking and begging for permission which Waverly gladly gave.

Waverly’s hands roamed Nicole’s naked body, slow and steady, taking in every curve and ripple. Nicole’s hands were a little more rough, wanting to cover every inch of Waverly’s body in short amount of time. Wanting to make up for the last year of being a part. Her hand slipped down Waverly tight abs and stopped just long enough to ask permission once more. Waverly gave a quick nod before Nicole started kissing her way down Waverly’s jawline, sucking on her pulse point which pulled a deep moan from the smaller woman. Giving in to the pleasure, Nicole’s fingers danced in the one spot Waverly had been craving for them to be. She had wanted nothing more than to feel Nicole and to be touched by Nicole, to have that connection with Nicole.

 

It had been hours since Waverly had gotten home and yet, the only place she had seen since returning was Nicole’s bed, which neither minded. Nicole slowly opened her eyes, having taken a nap while cuddling with Waverly. She looked over at the clock, they still had 3 hours before they needed to be to Shorty’s. She looked down, Waverly sleeping peacefully on her chest. Their naked bodies still intertwined with each other and the sheets. Their love making session filled Nicole’s mind. It was the best sex she had ever had. All of the worry each woman had for the other, the want, the need but most importantly the love had poured into that very moment, spilling over like a cup left under a faucet. She had never connected with another person on such an emotional level before that moment and she never wanted to let that feeling go. 2 times, no 3, was the amount of times Nicole had pushed Waverly over the edge and by the time they were done, Nicole had lost count of how many times Waverly had brought her over the edge. Nicole was addicted now. She craved Waverly’s taste even more than she did before. She felt as if she were someone who had just had sex for the first time and craved it but she didn’t care. Being that close to Waverly, feeling her, tasting her.

As if her thoughts were being read by the woman cuddled against her, she felt Waverly’s hand starting to make it’s way across her stomach and slipping on to her inner thigh. Without thinking, Nicole spread her legs apart just enough to give Waverly access to where she was wanting to be. Waverly lifted her chin just a little, pulling Nicole into a strong kiss. Nicole wanted to devour Waverly again but right now, she was at Waverly’s mercy. She raised her hips into Waverly’s hand, wanting, needing her closer. Waverly placed kisses behind Nicole’s ear, knowing just what it did to her. “Mmm....Waves...”

“God, I love hearing you say my name.” Waverly growled, placing wet sloppy kisses on Nicole’s neck, biting a little as she went.

The bedroom door flung open, Waverly instinctively used her body to cover Nicole’s. Jethro threw some clothes at Nicole. “Come on! We’re gonna be late! Can’t have ya two screwing ALL day.”

“Wanna bet?” Waverly growled over her shoulder. She chucked a pillow at him, as Nicole pulled the sheets over their naked bodies. Nicole kissed Waverly’s nose as Jethro exited the bedroom. “We’re getting a lock for that door.”

“Oh, are we now?” Nicole’s eyebrows arched as she smirked. “Expecting to do this more, are you?”

“You bet your sexy ass, I am.” Waverly ran her hand down Nicole’s abs again. “I just can’t keep my hands off of you.”

“Mmm. He’s right though. There are some very excited people who want to see you. I can’t keep you all to myself. That would just be rude.” Nicole wrapped her arms around Waverly, pulling her as close as she could get. “Though, I’m going to be very selfish once we get home.” Nicole pressed a kiss to Waverly’s plump lips.

“You should probably show me around the house before we leave. I didn’t get to see much of it.”

“You saw the most important room.” Waverly laughed at Nicole’s cockiness.

“Come on, tiger. Let’s get moving.” Waverly slid off of Nicole and walked naked to the bathroom, turning on the shower. Nicole laid there for a minute, content. The happiest she had ever felt and nothing was going to take that away from them.

Chapter Text

As they pulled up to Shorty’s, Waverly took in the sight before her. It had been a year since she had last stepped foot inside Shorty’s and while nothing had changed, she felt like she was seeing it for the first time. She let out a very long sigh.

“Babe, what’s wrong?” Nicole placed a concern hand on Waverly’s thigh, turning in the driver’s seat of the car to face her girlfriend.

“Everything’s changed so much in the last year.” Waverly was starting to hyperventilate.

“Wowwow. Hold on, baby.” Nicole pulled Waverly across the bench seat of her truck and into Nicole’s lap, wrapping her arms tightly around the smaller woman. “I need you to breath with me, ok?”

Waverly just nodded, trying to match her breathing to Nicole’s. Finally, her breath evened out and she buried her head into Nicole’s shoulder. “I received my new orders...” Waverly mumbled.

“For how long?”

“2 years...”

“2 years?? Wow...ok...how long do I have you before you have to head back to work?” Nicole ran her hand up and down Waverly’s bare leg, her sundress riding up just a little.

“3 weeks.” Waverly sniffled.

“Ok, then I have 3 years of loving you to push into 3 weeks. I can totally do that! Prepare yourself to be swooned, my dear because that Haught charm is going to come out. First and foremost, a question I wanted to ask you since you came home but I was quite distracted.”

“What is that, love?”

“Will you, Waverly Earp, please move in with me?” Nicole softly nuzzled her cheek against Waverly’s. “If it’s too soon...”

“I already live with you, Nicole.” Waverly grinned, knowing full well that isn’t what Nicole meant.

“Not as a roommate, Waves. I want you in my bed, our bed, every night. Cuddling, kissing. Just allowing me to love you the way you deserve to be loved.”

“God, how do you always know what to say?” Waverly asked as she closed her eyes, relaxing at Nicole’s soft touches and nuzzles.

“Is that a yes?”

“It’s always a yes, baby.”

“Will you be able to come home in those two years?”

“Yes.”

“And after that, what’s going to happen?” Nicole’s fingers intertwined with Waverly’s, softly playing with the young woman’s fingers.

“After that, I’m coming home to you. For good.”

A big smile fell upon Nicole’s lips. “Really?! For good, for good?”

“Yes baby. You and I have a life now and I can’t stand to be away from you. It’s bad enough this last year, I can’t.”

“You’re willing to give up traveling the world and blowing things up for a boring life with me?”

“I’m ready for boring, Cole. I’m ready to spend the rest of my life being bored with the woman I absolutely love.” Waverly looked at Nicole with a puzzled look on her face. “Have I ever told you how much I love you?”

“You’ve said it once and spent all day showing me.” Nicole smirked and wiggled her eyebrows.

“Well that just won’t do.” Waverly pressed her forehead against Nicole’s. “I, Waverly Earp, love you, Nicole Haught more than I have ever known possible. You are my fire.”

“Is it because I have red hair? Cuz that’s kind of mean.”

“No. It’s because you are the spark that ignites the fire within me. And the light burns so brightly when I am with you, Nicole.”

Nicole’s cheeks flushed with a tint of pink. “Now who’s the charmer?”

With a heavy sigh, Waverly asked the next question. “Tell me everything that I have missed in the last year, please? I don’t want to be blind sided once we get in there.”

“Well, for starters, Dolls and Wyn are a thing.”

“How did she not tell me this?!?”

“They didn’t know until just recently.” Nicole continued to run her hand up and down Waverly’s thigh. “Maggie and Erin got engaged during the camping trip when your base was bombed.”

“I remember you saying that in one of your letters. I still can’t believe she’s your Maggie, though.”

“I know, it’s crazy isn’t it?” Nicole smiled. “Oh, and apparently all 3 of us Haughtys are LGBT.”

“Wait, Jethro too?”

“Yup! He’s bi and is currently dating Chrissy Nedley.”

“No!!! Way!!”

“They have a pretty open relationship so he spends time with Jeremy as well.”

“What the hell happened when I left?” Waverly laughed.

“Well, Doc is a vampire now...and has a wife?”

Waverly took the information in, trying to process it. Confusion setting on her face. “Ya know, none of this really surprises me.” Waverly giggled.

“The most exciting part, we accidently released a evil prick named Bulsar. And he’s been trying to kill us ever since.”

“What the hell, Nicole?!? You don’t think she should have led off with that?”

“Didn’t cross my mind?”

Waverly put her palm against her own forehead and rolled her eyes. “Jesus. I can’t believe you.” Her fingers raked down her face. “Well, I’ll help you guys take care of him while I’m home, ok?”

“You have always been Wyn’s good luck charm.” Nicole pressed a soft kiss to Waverly’s cheek. “Come on, babe, everyone is waiting. Plus, I really want you to meet Maggie and Jethro.”

They exited the truck and head into Shorty’s. As they entered, Nicole’s eyes fell on Rosita who was already staring down Waverly with hungry eyes. Nicole’s eyes narrowed and her fists clinched. Wynonna caught notice and wrapped her arms around her favorite redhead.

“There you two are! We were thinking ya were going to blow us off to blow eac...”

“Don’t you dare finish that sentence, Wynonna!” Gus could be heard yelling from the bar. Waverly snickered as Wynonna got in trouble. Waverly diverted to the bar to give her favorite aunt a big hug.

“It’s good to have you home, darlin.” Gus held on to the hug a bit longer than Waverly had expected, but she didn’t care. Waverly loved Gus’ hugs, they were the best.

Wynonna pulled Nicole by the shoulder. “What’s gotten into you tonight, Haught? You look like you’re about to kill someone?”

“Rosita...I wanna shove my fist down her god damn throat.”

“Woooow, Sheriff. Calm down. Come have a drink with all of us, will ya and calm those tits.” Wynonna grabbed a shot of whiskey off the table and handed it to Nicole. Nicole rolled her eyes and did the shot.

 

The night went on with the group of friends having accepted Waverly back into the group like no time had passed at all. She smiled as she felt a sense of calm for the first time in a year.

“Baby, play me a song, please?” Waverly gave Nicole the biggest puppy dog eyes she could possibly think of while handing her Gus’ guitar.

“Babe, you know I don’t like to play in front of people.” Nicole groaned.

“Come on, Nic, you are amazing on the guitar. Make your woman happy.” Erin said as Waverly gave her a side hug with a big smile on her face.

Nicole couldn’t resist that smile. That beautiful smile that stretched to her eyes and made them sparkle like the stars in the sky. She leaned against the table, propping her foot up on a chair so that the guitar rested on her thigh. She slowly started to strum a song she had long wanted to sing to her father but it was also a song that Waverly loved.

I am a question to the world,
Not an answer to be heard
Or a moment that's held in your arms.
And what do you think you'd ever say?
I won't listen anyway…
You don't know me,
And I’ll never be what you want me to be.

Nicole closed her eyes, feeling the music take her over. Every emotion she felt, even anger was put into the song. All she ever wanted was to be seen by her father. For him to know she was still here.

And what do you think you'd understand?
I'm a boy, no, I'm a man..
You can't take me and throw me away.
And how can you learn what's never shown?
Yeah, you stand here on your own.
They don't know me 'cause I'm not here.

And I want a moment to be real,
Wanna touch things I don't feel,
Wanna hold on and feel I belong.
And how can the world want me to change?
They’re the ones that stay the same.
They don’t know me,
'Cause I’m not here.

And you see the things they never see
All you wanted, I could be
Now you know me, and I'm not afraid
And I wanna tell you who I am
Can you help me be a man?
They can't break me
As long as I know who I am

A small tear ran down Nicole’s cheek but the song was flowing from her like it always had. Waverly smiled sweetly at her girlfriend.

And I want a moment to be real,
Wanna touch things I don't feel,
Wanna hold on and feel I belong.
And how can the world want me to change?
They’re the ones that stay the same.
They can’t see me,
But I’m still here.

They can’t tell me who to be,
‘Cause I’m not what they see.
Yeah, the world is still sleepin’,
While I keep on dreamin’ for me.
And their words are just whispers
And lies that I’ll never believe.

And I want a moment to be real,
Wanna touch things I don't feel,
Wanna hold on and feel I belong.
And how can they say I never change?
They’re the ones that stay the same.
I’m the one now,
‘Cause I’m still here.

I’m the one,
‘Cause I’m still here.
I’m still here.
I’m still here.
I’m still here.

 

Before the song was even over, Waverly had thrown her arms around Nicole’s neck, kissing her softly. “I love your voice so much.”

“You’re lucky I love you.” Nicole mumbled, clearly displeased with her performance.

Waverly smiled even bigger and grabbed a beer off the table. “Rosita, another round please?”

Rosita nodded and grabbed enough beers for everyone and brought them to the table. “What’s the occasion?”

“Well, I have news for everyone. My new orders.”

Waverly’s words brought the group to attention. “Are you sure you want to tell us now, babe?” Nicole laid the guitar down and crossed her wrists over her knee as Waverly handed her a beer.

“Yes. You all should know.”

“Wait, wait, how long are you home for, Babygirl?” Wynonna flung an arm around her little sister’s shoulders.

“3 weeks.” Waverly shrugged her off so she could make her announcement. She held up her beer. “To the most amazing family a sailor could as for.” She looked towards Nicole and winked. “To the most amazing girlfriend a sailor could ask for. Thank you for sticking with me through my military journey and thank you for always accepting me back with opened arms. While this journey has taken me to different parts of the world for different lengths of time, I am so thankful to have you guys to come home too. The next leg of this journey will be for two years...”

“Are you fucking ki...”

“Wynonna Earp! Language! And shut up so that girl can finish what she’s saying.” Gus spat at Wynonna.

“As I was saying. My new orders are for two years at the Naval training base in Calgary.” Waverly proudly stated looking at Nicole. Nicole’s eyes lit up with excitement. Calgary was only an hour away. Nicole’s eyes questioned and Waverly nodded with enthusiasm and headed for Nicole to hug her but before she could get there, Rosita had stepped in between and pulled Waverly into a very tight hug.

“That’s such great news, Waves...”

Nicole’s brows frowned at her use of Nicole’s nickname for Waverly. Wynonna could see the anger building in Nicole’s face. “Cool it, Haught.” She softly whispered in Nicole’s ear with a hand on her shoulder. It wasn’t until Rosita kissed Waverly’s cheek that Wynonna let Nicole go.

With a gentle hand on each of their shoulders, Nicole pushed them apart. “Alrighty, Let’s go home and celebrate, babe.” Her jealousy didn’t go unnoticed by Waverly but she let it go.

“That’s a great idea.” Waverly winked at Nicole and started towards the door. Nicole glanced at Rosita and shook her head. She started to follow Waverly when Rosita’s words forced her to turn around.

“I can’t wait to get my fingers inside her pu..” Spoke only loud enough for Wynonna and Nicole to hear. Before Rosita could finish her words, Nicole spun around and her knuckles were sliding across Rosita’s jaw.

“Don’t ever fucking talk abou...”

“Nicole!” Waverly yelled, having only turned around to see Nicole standing over a fallen Rosita. Waverly knelt next to her, check the place that Nicole had just hit. “I know you get jealous but do you really have to punch my friends?”

“I was just trying to protect you!”

“I don’t need your god damn protection, Nicole!”

Nicole didn’t even respond, she just stood there dumbfounded at what was happening. She just threw her hands in the air in surrender and backed away as Waverly helped Rosita to the bar and placed an ice pack on her jaw.

“Wynonna, I need to leave, take me to the homestead please?” Waverly said as she frantically grabbed her purse.

“Yeah...yeah...whatever you say, Babygirl.” Wynonna wanted to have a talk with Waverly but she knew in the middle of the bar wasn’t going to be the place. The two headed for the door.

“I guess you’re not moving in with me anymore than, huh?” Nicole yelled towards Waverly. Her anxiety was getting the best of her and was transforming into anger. Nicole didn’t even wait for an answer before storming out the backdoor, not wanting to give Rosita the satisfaction of seeing her cry. The truth was, Nicole was hurt. Her hand hurt, her pride hurt but most of all emotionally she was hurt. Nicole watched from the side of the bar as Wynonna and Waverly drove away in Wynonna’s blue and white pick up truck.

Chapter Text

Nicole looked down at her hand and noticed the gash across her knuckles. Rosita’s tooth had dug deep when Nicole’s fist made contact with it. She pressed the wound onto her pant leg, letting the fabric absorb the blood that was gushing out.

“How could you be so stupid, Haught?” Nicole talked to herself while shaking her head at the disappointment she felt. “How could you say that to her? You just fucked up the best thing that has ever happened to you.” Nicole continued to scold herself. “You’re fucking worthless, like always.”

“Hey, I really don’t appreciate you talking about my friend like that.” A familiar voice came from behind her. Nicole smiled a little.

“I don’t really want to be around anyone right now, Maggie.”

“Then how bout with your brother and sister?” Erin spoke as Jethro wrapped his arm around Nicole’s shoulder. She didn’t say a word, she just leaned her head against his chest, tears starting to flow from her eyes as if someone had just turned on a faucet. “You didn’t do anything wrong, Nic. That bitch deserved what you did to her. Hell, she deserved way more than that.”

“I’m the Sheriff...well at this point, was the Sheriff...I never should have let my emotions get the best of me.” Nicole sobbed. “I worked so hard to become Sheriff just to throw it all away because of some stupid...” She stopped herself. “It’s no one’s fault but my own.”

“You were trying to defend your woman’s honor. You did nothing wrong, Cole. And you’re still Sheriff.”

“Not once she files charges against me for assault.” Nicole huffed as she wiped her face against her brother’s shirt.

“Trust me, she won’t. Gus had a long talk with Rosita at the bar about how she better not report you. I don’t know what else Gus said to her, but it was enough that Rosita nodded in agreement and left the bar, licking her wounds.” Maggie revealed. Her eyes went wide as she caught a glimpse of Nicole’s hand. “Fuck, Cole! You’re hand is gushing blood.”

“It’s fine.” Nicole waved her friend off from touching her hand. Jethro bear hugged Nicole while Maggie and Erin examined her hand.

“It is most definitely not fine, Nicole. As your older sister and your doctor, you are going to the E.R.” Erin nodded to Jethro, who picked Nicole up and carried her towards the car.

“I’m fucking fine! Seriously...”

“I swear to God, if you say that again, I am going to smack the shit out of you, Nicole Rayleigh Haught!”

Nicole rolled her eyes but didn’t fight her siblings anymore. Maggie pulled Nicole’s cell phone from Nicole’s front pocket. “Hey! What the hell are you doing?”

“I’m messaging your girlfriend and letting her know where you are so when she goes back to your house to look for you and you’re not there, she doesn’t think you’re out sleeping around or some stupid shit like that.” Maggie took a picture of Nicole’s hand and sent it to Waverly.

Cole:
Hey babe, heading to the hospital. Won’t be home anytime soon. I’m sorry for tonight. I never meant to upset you but this isn’t a conversation to have over text or the phone. I love you.

 

With that, Maggie attached the photo and sent the text off to Waverly. Nicole let out a big groan of displeasure as they loaded into the car and headed off to the E.R.

 

Wynonna looked to her sister in the passenger seat. Waverly was still fuming and hadn’t said anything to Wynonna since they had gotten in the car. “Babygirl...”

“Don’t try to defend her, Wynonna! That was totally uncalled for!” Waverly crossed her arms over her chest in a defiant stance.

“Uncalled for? Are you fucking kidding me right now? Do you even know what Rosita did to cause Nicole to punch her?”

“I don’t really care, Wyno....”

“Don’t fucking start that bullshit with me, Waverly! That woman defended you! And had she not, I would have!”

“What the hell are you even talking about?”

“Look, this all started before you even left. Rosita flirts with you hardcore. And she does it in front of Nicole just to get a rise out of her.”

“Doesn’t give her the right to hit someone.”

“No but you remember that photo you sent her? The one of you in your camo pants, bra...super sexy...”

“Yes?”

“Rosita saw it and made a very inappropriate comment about you. About getting off to your photo that night. Nicole didn’t do anything. She bit her tongue. And God, she wanted to say something, Waverly. She wanted to defend you so much but knew it wasn’t her place. So she took the embarrassment of having someone fawn all over you, tell her she was going to masturbate to your image that night and not be able to do anything about it. Tonight when y’all walked in, Rosita was staring you down. Like hardcore eye fucking going on. Nicole did what she could to remain calm, Babygirl. She did whatever she could to enjoy the night with you even though anytime you got around Rosita, Rosita would start touching you, flirting with you all the while making eye contact with Nicole while she was doing it. Then she hugged you and kissed your cheek. I saw the hurt in Nicole’s eyes but she put her feelings aside for you, like she always does. She pushed her feelings away and tried to leave, Waverly. For fuck’s sake, she was walking out with you. Rosita caught up to her and I. She told Nicole that she couldn’t wait to for the chance to get two fingers inside of you.” Wynonna shook her head and raised her index finger and shook it too. “Nonono. Her exact words were I can’t wait to get my fingers inside her pussy...that’s why she hit her, Waverly. That’s why she risked her job, the one thing that means everything to her because she couldn’t just sit back anymore, Waverly. She couldn’t just sit back and let someone talk about you like that. Like you were a piece of meat. And now, she’s probably sitting at the bar, miserable, thinking she just fucked up and lost the most important person to her. Like always.”

Waverly sat dumbfounded at the words that were coming from Wynonna’s lips. “H...how do you know Nicole feels like that?”

“Cuz she fucking texted it all to me about 15 minutes ago...” Wynonna rolled her eyes. “You act as if I could actually read her mind. Really, Waverly?”

“Can I see them?”

“What?”

“The texts?”

“Yeah, sure whatever.” Wynonna handed her phone over to Waverly, who began scrolling through the texts that Nicole had sent to Wynonna on Discord. She couldn’t help but smirk at Nicole’s username.

Haught in Waves:
Wyn, I don’t know what to do. I fucked up so bad. I just...

Whiskey Girl:
It’s going to be ok, Haught. The bitch deserved what she got.

Haught in Waves:
I’ve already lost Waverly and I’m going to lose my job on top of it. I never deserved her, Wyn. I’m sorry.

Whiskey Girl:
Don’t you fucking talk like that, you understand me? Waves will come around. In the meantime, quit worrying about it.

Haught in Waves:
I fucked up and she’s better off without me, Wyn. I never should have...I should have shoved those feelings down like I always do. God, why am I so fucking insecure and jealous all the damn time? Why am I always so afraid to lose her? It doesn’t matter. I lost her like I have everyone else in my life. I never should have made a move. I should have stayed single. Can’t get hurt if I don’t love someone...

Whiskey Girl”
You and I both know that you would have still fallen in love with her just by meeting her, you know that right?”

Haught in Waves:
I do know that. And I do love her, Wyn. So fucking much. That’s why this hurts so bad. She didn’t even want to hear me out. She instantly took Rosita’s side like my feelings didn’t even matter...just...take care of her for me please? I’m sure she won’t want to see me after this but please know, Wyn, I have never loved someone as much as I have loved Waverly. I’d risk it all again for her. I don’t regret what I did tonight. I don’t because I love her and I refuse to let someone like Rosita continuously degrade the woman I love. I know she’s her own person and she is strong enough to take care of herself but she shouldn’t have to, Wyn. She had me now and I wish she would have seen that. Maybe my dad was right...I really am worthless...

 

Waverly read on in shock. She couldn’t believe how Nicole was feeling. How she had made Nicole feel. Her heart hurt. Her soul ached for Nicole’s. She needed to be with Nicole. She needed to talk this out with her and needed to explain why she got so defensive. “Nonna, turn the car around please?”

“Not wanting to go to the homestead anymore, Babygirl?”

“No. I want to go home...”

“I think Nicole will be super happy to see you, that’s for sure.” Wynonna glanced to her right, stealing a quick look at her sister. “Did she really ask you to move in with her?”

Waverly smiled sweetly and nodded. “Yeah, today when we go to Shorty’s. I was freaking out about how much everything had changed. And she asked me to move in with her.”

“What did you say?”

“Of course I said yes. This fight means nothing to me, Nonna. Not in the grand scheme of things. I wish I would have noticed that before storming off. I should have gotten her side of what happened. I shouldn’t have disregarded her feelings. Gosh, I’m such a horrible girlfriend!” Waverly buried her head in her hands.

Wynonna scoffed. “You’re right. You are a horrible girlfriend and it’s going to take a lot for you to make up for the shit you pulled tonight, Waverly. That girl, unfortunately, has some trust issues. She let those walls down with you, Waves and she may have put them back up. Don’t give up on her if she did. She doesn’t enjoy getting hurt. Guess no one really does. You better be prepared to tell that woman that you are a big fat idiot.” Wynonna turned down one of the side roads that could easily get them back to Shorty’s faster than just turning around and driving back the way they came. As they drove, Wynonna noticed just how dark it was. It was darker than usual and their surroundings seemed off. Wynonna couldn’t put her finger on it until the truck jerked to the right and then to the left and then back to the right. Wynonna had lost control of the truck after the tires had popped. The truck began spinning, hitting the ground with a large thud, over and over again as the two women tried to brace themselves as they rolled down the hill.

Chapter Text

The morning light broke through the bedroom window, the warmth draping itself across Nicole’s face. She groaned and pulled the pillow over her face, hoping to get a few more minutes of sleep. Sleep hadn’t come easy the night before. Not only did they get home late from the hospital, a few stitches in her hand, Waverly was no where to be found and had pretty much ghosted her. Anytime she called all she got was a few rings and then Waverly’s voicemail.

Nicole reached over and pulled her phone up and clicked it on. She squinted as she waited for her eyes to adjust to the light coming from the screen. Disappointment fell upon her face as there was no new notifications from Waverly. Nicole pulled up Discord and found Wynonna’s contact.

Haught in Waves:
Morning Wyn. How mad is she still? I’ve messaged her but I still haven’t heard from her. Can you just let her know that I love her and I’m thinking of her, please?

 

With no reply, Nicole rolled out of bed and got ready for work. She pulled on her patrol uniform, slowly buttoning up the shirt and tucking it into her pants. With one smooth motion, she pushed the belt through the loops and tightened it. On top of her belt, she placed her holster, adjusting her gun and locking it in place. Nicole pulled on her black boots and her Stetson and headed out.

While driving around on patrol on the outskirts of town, an older man in a black and red flannel was seen jumping up and down, waving his arms in the air. Nicole pulled her cruiser over and stepped out of the car. With her hand on her holster, she slowly approached the man. “What can I do for you, sir?”

“Thank God you came along when you did. There is an accident up the road, near the cliff by Ghost’s Edge Ravine.”

“Is anyone hurt? Did you see anyone injured?”

 

“No. No one was in the truck but there is blood.”

“Ok. And what did the truck look like?” Nicole pulled out her notepad and had been writing down all the details the man had been telling her.

“It’s an older truck. Blue with white stripe and a ma...”

“A maroon door?” Nicole’s eyes shot open as the man nodded. Nicole instantly grabbed her phone. “Thank you, sir. Wait right here, let me call this in.” Nicole jumped in the cruiser and headed for the wreckage. As she approached, she saw it was Wynonna’s truck. Nicole stepped away and dialed Dolls.

“Good Morning Sheriff, what can I do for you?”

“A hunter came across an accident this morning. It’s Wynonna’s truck. Have you heard from either Wynonna or Waves?”

“No. No I haven’t I just figured Wynonna was taking the morning off, per usual. Where are you?”

“Ghost’s Edge Ravine. One mile up the ridge. Dolls...”

“Call Doc and the others. Let’s not think bad. They’re going to be ok. I’m on my way, Haught.”

Nicole hung up the phone and called Doc, Jeremy, Nedley, Erin, Jethro and then the station to get more deputies out for the search. Within 20 minutes everyone had arrived. Nicole had already searched the truck and found Waverly’s phone, broken against the back window. There was blood all over in the truck. One of them injured.

“Ok, listen up! We have two women missing. Wynonna and Waverly Earp. One of them is injured. Someone get EMS out here to be on the safe side. Lonny, take Jethro and Maggie, head out to the East. Doc, Dolls, Erin and Nedley, you’re with me. We’re heading West.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” The teams headed out in their respective directions. Nicole pulls Dolls aside.

“Doc, you see the drag marks, right?” Nicole pointed to the deep gouges in the ground.

“I do, indeed. We must assume that one of our girls has been taken.”

“I was afraid you were going to say that.”

“But, it also appears that one of our girls is also on foot. It is safe to say, she will need our help shortly.”

“Then I guess we better hall some ass then, shouldn’t we?”

“You would be correct, Sheriff.” With that said, Doc took the lead and the 5 started the trek towards their two friends.

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

 

Waverly awoke inside a steel cage. It was cold, hard and smelled of old blood. As she screamed, she noticed that she had no voice. It was gone. She looked around the cabin as a creepy man in fur walked in. He jumped around the cabin, seemingly avoiding traps that were set. He grabbed some traps and left.

Waverly started to pull at the door with no success of breaking loose. Wynonna busted through the door only stopping when Waverly motioned for her too.

“Babygirl! This is some kinky-ass shit.” Waverly gave Wynonna look of annoyance. “Hey, hey, no kink shaming on my part. Ya like what ya like.” Waverly rolls her eyes. Wynonna attempts to take a step forward but Waverly frantically waves for her to stop. “What? What is it, Lassie?” Waverly flipped Wynonna off and then gave a hand signal. “Hand job? Look, I really don’t need to know what you and Nicole are doing.” Waverly sighed and motioned again about the booby traps. “Traps?” Waverly nodded. “Can you walk me through?” Waverly nodded again and motioned for Wynonna to duct and slide. She did. She pointed and used her hand to indicate jumping diagonally across the room. “Man, I really should have stuck with that yoga bullshit you tried to get me to do.” As Wynonna took the final few steps, she grabbed on to Waverly’s hand. “I’m going to get you out of her, Babygirl.” Wynonna pulled the tire iron out of her belt and tried to pry the lock off. Due to her injuries from the accident, she wasn’t able to get enough strength to pry it off. Waverly pointed at the door, having heard her captor coming back. Wynonna managed to get herself up the stairs to hide.

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

Nicole, Dolls and Doc had made their way through the forest, finally coming across the cabin in the distance. Nicole wiped the sweat from her brow.

“What’s our plan of attack, Dolls? Trapping the captors?”

“Sheriff, I am afraid that it would appear that is already done.” Doc stood over a hole in the ground and pointed into the pit. A Revenant laying dead inside.

“Then where are Wynonna and Waverly?”

“Well, I have an idea where Wynonna is.” Dolls softly spoke as she moved forward, pointing at Wynonna hanging upside down from a rope in a tree.

“Hey guys! Fancy meeting you here.” Wynonna greeted her friends.

“Wyn, what the hell are you doing?”

“Oh, ya know, just hanging around. Takin’ in the view. Really beautiful morning, ya know? You look really good in those pants, Haughty.”

“Where is Waverly?”

“Cut me down and we can go get her. There are booby traps in that cabin. She’s in there.”

Nicole didn’t wait for them to cut Wynonna down. She sprinted towards the cabin. As she pushed the door open, she saw Waverly in the cage. “H...hey.”

“Babe, don’t! It’s booby trapped!”

“I know. Wyn told me. Walk me through it?”

Waverly walked Nicole through where each trap was. Nicole spent the time deactivating the traps and finally made her way to the cage. She pulled out her Leatherman tool and started screwing with the lock, popping it off. Pulling the door open, Nicole held her hand out to Waverly, who gladly accepted it. Waverly popped out in front of Nicole, her hands rested against Nicole’s chest, their bodies pressed together. “You came for me?”

“Of course I did. Why wouldn’t I?” Nicole tucked a strand of loose hair behind Waverly’s ear. The moment was such a normal thing for Nicole to do but Nicole couldn’t help but notice Waverly melt into her touch.

“Because I was a jerk...”

“You can be a jerk all you want. I love you, Waverly and I will always come for you.”

Waverly glanced down at Nicole’s hand. “Baby, are you ok?”

Nicole just laughed and nodded. “Yes love. I’m fine.”

“I’m so...”

Nicole placed a finger over Waverly’s lips. “We can do this later. Right now..” Nicole’s lips replaced her finger on Waverly’s lips. “Come on, babe, let’s go get Peacemaker back, then we can talk.”

Chapter Text

The group arrived back at the flipped over truck. Nicole had her arms wrapped around Waverly, never wanting to let her go. Waverly tucked her head against Nicole’s shoulder and chest, holding her close. Nicole glanced at Wynonna, who was wrapped in Doll’s arms as they made their way to the truck.

“Are you gonna tell us how you managed to find Miss Waverly?” Doc finally silence within the group of 5.

“Sure, cowboy. I’ll brag a bit.” Wynonna pulled herself away from Dolls and stood at the edge of the cliff. “For one, I ended up down there.” She pointed to the ledge that had managed to catch her when she was thrown from the truck.

“And this is why I told you to wear your fucking seatbelt, Nonna!” Waverly yelled at Wynonna, her tone was one of anger.

“That’s a good point BUT if I had been wearing my seatbelt, that guy would have taken both of us and then who would have saved us?” She looked at Nicole and grinned. “No offense, Haughty.”

“Yeah, none taken, I guess.” Nicole peered over the edge, spotting Peacemaker sitting on the very edge of the cliff. “I think that belongs to you, Wyn...”

“There you are, beautiful! What are you doing all the way down there?” Wynonna baby-talked the gun that sat on the edge below them.

“I’ll be right back.” Nicole walked to her car and came back with a bag full of climbing gear. “I’m going to go down and get your gun back.”

“Nononono.” Waverly put her hand on Nicole’s chest. “I’m going to go.”

“Baby. Who has the rock climbing experience?”

“Yeah, and last time you went rock climbing, you came back married!” Waverly smirked towards her girlfriend.

Nicole pressed a kiss next to Waverly’s right ear and softly whispered. “Wouldn’t be opposed to it happening this time, either.”

This caused Waverly to smile from ear to ear and roll her eyes but she couldn’t hide the blush that was creeping over her face. She grabbed the rope from Nicole and walked towards the truck. “I’m going down.”

“Ewww, we don’t need to know about your sex life, Babygirl.”

Wynonna’s comment got a chuckle out of Nicole who soon got a stern look from Waverly. “Way to get me in trouble, asshole.”

“I think you got yourself in trouble last night.” Wynonna retorted.

“Oh, I hate you.”

“No you don’t. You love me! You love me as much as I love donuts. Speaking of which, I demand food!”

“After we get your gun back, Nonna!” Waverly tied off the rope on the truck and headed for the edge of the cliff. Nicole walked up to her and pressed a kiss to her lips.

“Please be careful...”

“I’m always careful, baby.” Waverly kissed Nicole one more time before lowering herself over the edge of the cliff.

“That’s a load of shit, you and I both know it.” Nicole glared. Waverly just blew her a kiss as she descended. Nicole joined the others on the other side of the truck, looking around for things that had fallen out of the truck.

“Almost to the gun, babe! Get ready to pull me back up!” Nicole turned when she heard Waverly’s voice and gasped as she saw a man standing next to the rope. He hand a knife in hand and swung, cutting it.

“NO!” Nicole ran and dove, grabbing onto the end of the rope, barely holding on. She twisted her body around and dug her heals into the ground, wrapping the rope around her back and tying it to herself.

“Nicole! What’s happening!” Waverly could hear yelling.

Nicole looked back at Wynonna as her feet started to slip on the gravel. “Wynonna! Help!”

“We got our hands full over here, Red!” Wynonna yelled back as Dolls and Doc were facing off with Bulshar’s right hand guy.

“Wyn! I’m gonna go over the edge! Help!” Nicole shouted as she tried to dig her boots into the ground, trying to hold Waverly’s weight.

“Shit.” Waverly muttered to herself. She reached back and grabbed Peacemaker and she chucked it. “Save Wynonna!”

“Not a chance!” Nicole yelled back to Waverly, the rope was digging into her spine, making her legs feel tingly.

“I love you, Cole!” Waverly pulled a knife from her thigh and reached up, running the blade across the rope, snapping it.

“NO!” Nicole felt the weight lighten and she scrambled to the edge. Waverly was gone.

Waverly’s throw had been perfect, Peacemaker landing in Wynonna’s hand. “Make your peace, bitch.” Wynonna shot the man between the eyes, gates of hell opening between him. She turned her attention to Bulshar, pulling the trigger but he was gone. She ran to Nicole.

“Where is she?!”

Nicole just shook her head. “She cut the rope...”

“Why...what? Where is she?!?”

“Down there, somewhere...” Nicole pointed down the edge of the cliff, tears welling in her eyes. “She...she can’t be, right?”

“No one could survive that, Red. Not even her...” Wynonna threw her arms around Nicole, tears flowing from each of them.

“She did it so I could save you, Wyn. She gave up everything to save us.”

“DOC!” Dolls was kneeling over Doc. His ear to his chest. Dolls started CPR on him. “Come on you stubborn son of a bitch! You’re a fucking vampire! Come on!” Dolls punched Doc in the chest, trying to get a response. Nothing.

“John Henry, you hear me! You wake your ass up! You come back to us!” Wynonna yelled at Doc as her and Nicole made their way over to Dolls and Doc. Nicole took over for Dolls, trying everything she knew how to get Doc awake.

“How did this happen!?”

“He reached into Docs chest...can they do that? Demons, I mean?” Dolls stumbled with his words.

“I don’t know what we’re dealing with anymore! Fuck!” Wynonna screamed. “Fuck! It’s my fucking job to protect you guys. And we lost two people in one day? What the fuck!” Wynonna just continued to scream, her rage pouring over.

Nicole made her way back over to her cruiser, grabbing another rope out of her car. She tied it off on the truck, once again and wrapped it around herself. “Where the hell are you going?” Dolls questioned the Sheriff.

“I’m not leaving her down there.”

“You don’t know what you’re going to find once you get to her, Cole.”

“I don’t give a fuck! I’m bringing her home.” Nicole stepped over the edge and began her descent down the cliff face.

Wynonna looked at Dolls. “How could we lose them both? Waverly and Doc?” She sobbed into his shoulder.

“I...I don’t know...”

Chapter Text

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...”

“Wh...what’s wrong?”

“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.”

“Promise?”

“I promise.”

“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.”

“Wayhaught?”

“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.

“Cole...”

“Yeah babe?” Waverly looked up at Nicole with pleading eyes.

“Will you marry me?”

Chapter Text

Nicole sat in shock. The question still running laps within her mind. ‘Will you marry me?’ Waverly had asked her just seconds ago. The pure joy and fear was something that Nicole had never experience in her entire life. She had an answer, she willed the answer to leave her lips. To flow into the heart of Waverly so she knew that Nicole was hers. “I can’t go on another deployment and not have you as my wife, Nicole.” Waverly’s eyes began to tear up with worry. “Please say something?”

Instead, Nicole leaned back to her night stand and pulled a small box from inside it. A small, red velvet box sat in Nicole’s hands as she looked down at Waverly, a dimpled smile falling sweetly across her lips. Nicole softly untied the red silk bow that held the box shut and pulled the lid back to reveal two rings. Waverly didn’t speak, just stared at the rings, examining them. They were a very simple band that looked to be a dark metal with meteorite inlay. One was a thicker band then the other. The smaller band had a diamond that was inset into the meteorite. “You really know how to ruin a surprise...” Nicole finally got out.

“Huh?”

“I was going to propose tomorrow night, Waves.”

Waverly put her hand on the back of Nicole’s neck and pulled her forward to where their foreheads were touching. “You didn’t answer my question...”

“Yes, Waverly. A million times yes.” Nicole whispered, afraid that any loud noise may wake her from this dream.

Waverly smiled so big that the corner of her eyes wrinkled in excitement. “Yay!”

Nicole pulled the smaller of the two rings out of the box and took Waverly’s left hand in hers, gently taking off the promise ring and sliding on the engagement ring. Waverly went to do the same with Nicole’s ring but instead of her left hand, Nicole insisted it go on her right. “It’s...it’s a family tradition from my family in Ireland. When you get married, you wear your rings on opposite hands, that way when you hold hands, your rings touch, completing the love between the two partners. ...I know its cheesy and stupid but it’s the only thing I have left to hold to from my family.” Waverly smile never left her face and she shook her head and slipped the ring onto Nicole’s right hand.

“Not stupid at all. I love it, Cole.” A very naked Waverly slipped onto Nicole’s lap, straddling her. Waverly wrapped her arms around Nicole’s neck. “So, when can we get married?”

“As soon as possible.” Nicole placed her arms around Waverly’s waist and rested her hands on the small of Waverly’s very exposed back.

“Hm...I think I have something I want to do a bit more than that right now.” Waverly smirked as she placed her hand to the middle of Nicole’s chest and shoved her backwards onto the bed before staring down at her. Waverly pulled her lower lip in between her teeth as she looked down at the beauty before her. “I can’t believe I get to call you my wife.”

“Believe it baby. I’m all yours.” With that, Waverly’s lips were crashing into Nicole’s. This kiss was like no other. There was so much passion, love and want behind it that neither wanted to let this moment go.
-------------------------------------

Three days had passed since Waverly had asked Nicole to marry her and they had yet to leave the house. Nicole stood in the kitchen, wearing only a button up pajama shirt, that left little to the imagination. Her hair hung down over her left shoulder as she cooked breakfast for the couple.

Smiling as arms slipped around her waist from behind, “Baby, you could have slept longer, I was making you pancakes and eggs.”

“Mmm, but how could I sleep when my fiancee is out here looking so damn sexy.” Waverly took a step back to look at her fiancee.

“God, you know what calling me that does to me.” Nicole groaned.

“Mmm, a little sore, Sheriff? Having a hard time keeping up?”

Nicole spun around, grabbing Waverly by the wrists and pinning her against the fridge. Nicole held her wrists above her head, grazing her lips against Waverly’s. “Let’s make one thing perfectly clear, Petty officer, I have NO problem keeping up.” Nicole kissed Waverly hard, releasing her wrists. Waverly’s arms instantly found their home around Nicole’s neck, fingers tangling in the long red hair, pushing and pulling, wanting nothing more than to control the kiss. Nicole’s hands slipped down to Waverly’s thighs, picking her up, holding her tightly against the fridge as Waverly’s legs locked behind Nicole’s back. Waverly tugged at Nicole’s hair as Nicole kissed down her jaw and onto her neck and then her collarbone, sucking slowly so that she would leave a possessive mark.

“C...Cole...mmmm.” Waverly panted out as Nicole’s free hand cupped Waverly’s breast through her oversized shirt.

“You’re so fucking hot, Waves.” Nicole breathed out between licks and bites on Waverly’s collarbone.

“Cole...”

“Yeah, baby?” Nicole stopped and looked up at her. “You ok?”

Waverly pressed her forehead against Nicole’s, tears welling in her eyes. “I don’t want to leave you.”

Nicole pressed herself tighter against Waverly, holding her as close as she could. “I know baby. I don’t want you to leave either but it’ll be over before you know it. And then you’ll be home again, in my arms where you belong.”

“Doc’s funeral is tomorrow. And I leave in 5 days.”

“Yup. And our wedding is in two days. Sorry bout your luck.” Nicole smirked as she joked.

“I think my luck is going pretty well. A beautiful home, a sweet little kitty, a wife who loves me more than anything. I’d say I’m the luckiest woman in the world. Well second to you, you’re marrying me after all.” Waverly teased back as a few tears slipped down her cheeks.

“I need you promise me something though, Waves. Please?”

“Anything.”

“I need you to come home to me. Alive, Waves. Not in a body bag. I need you alive and well and happy. I have plans for us, you know.”

“Oh, do you?”

“Of course. We already have the house and the fur baby. Our future is bright babe. So bright I need sunglasses.”

“And what does our future look like?”

Nicole carried Waverly to the couch, where the two sat down, Waverly in Nicole’s lap. “Well, I see 3 kids running around in our front yard. One of them is Wyn’s.” Nicole proudly stated. “We are happily married and have a very hard time keeping our hands off of each other.”

“Mmmm, I like the sound of this so far.”

“We have weekly family BBQ. Not just us and our kids but all of our family. Wyn, Dolls, Maggie, Erin, Jethro, Chrissy, Jeremy, Robin, Gus. All of them. Our whole family.”

“And what did you see for our wedding day?”

“Hmm....I see you in a beautiful lace dress, very rustic country with a rose headpiece. I’m in a white dress that makes you want to tear it off of me right then and there. Our vows, wow, did we do a good job.”

“Oh? And what did you say?”

“I talk about how when we first met I knew I was in going to marry you. I knew you were it for me. I talk about how much your love means to me. How much I love you. You know, mushy stuff.”

“I like the mushy stuff, Sheriff.”

“Oh, don’t I know it, baby.”

“And where did the wedding take place?”

“On the homestead. Yeah, while no good event ever took place at the homestead, this was the first one. No interruptions. Nothing. And our wedding night....oh boy. You thought the last 3 days were crazy, it’s nothing compared to our wedding night.”

“Oooo, color me intrigued.”

“Lots of toys. Lots of sex. Lots of me telling you how much I love my wife.”

“I could get use to that.”

“You better because I plan to spend the rest of my life telling you every moment of every day just how much I love you, Waverly Earp.”

“Guess we better talk about our last names, huh?”

“I am interested to know you’re thoughts on it.”

“I pride myself on being an Earp and never thought that I would change it but taking the name Haught, I know how you feel about it.”

“Every thing I love is an Earp. I wouldn’t mind taking your last name. Honestly, I don’t want to be associated with Haught anymore.”

“We could go with Haught-Earp.” Waverly wiggled her eyebrows and Nicole laughed.

“So much teasing would happen and you know it.”

“That’s not a no.” Waverly leaned forward and kissed Nicole softly. “I don’t care what my last name is as long as I get to call you my wife.”

Nicole’s grin became a soft smile that stretched from ear to ear. “I love you, Waverly Earp. So. Fucking. Much.”

Waverly caressed Nicole’s cheek tenderly, rubbing her thumb against the soft skin of her cheek. “And I love you, Nicole.”

Nicole pulled Waverly into her more, wrapping her arms tightly around the smaller woman, burying her face into her hair and inhaling deeply. “Mmmm.”

Waverly giggled at the action. “What are you doing?”

“Making a memory.” The action was simple but more intimate than Nicole had intended.

“A good one, I hope.”

“Always a good one with you, Waves. I love you with everything that I am. Every ounce of my soul belongs to you. It has since the day I ran into you at the airport. My heart has been yours since the second we touched. You have been my light in this world that has been so dark.”

Tears threatened to break through the barriers at the edge of Waverly’s eyes, a smile forming so bright. “Are you telling me your vows now?”

“Your smile is so bright, the night sky becomes day.” Waverly laughed a little. “And your laugh. Your laugh is like Christmas.”

“There’s that Haught charm you’ve always told me about. Bout time I finally saw it. After all this time.” Waverly teased.

“Oh this just goes to show that you’re only marrying me for my body.”

“100 percent, love. 100 percent.” Waverly ran her hands down Nicole’s chest, gently tugging on her buttons. “This is completely in the way.”

“Is it now?” Nicole playfully swatted at Waverly’s hands. “Shouldn’t we stop with the pre-martial sex prior to the wedding?”

Waverly’s eyebrows arched in surprise. “What? You’re telling me you don’t want to make love to me, Nicole Haught?” Waverly went to get off Nicole’s lap but Nicole laughed and pinned Waverly to the couch and started to kiss her.

“We’ve never been one to follow the ‘rules’” Nicole smirked.

“I love you, Cole. I really want you to know that.”

“I know baby. I know.”

Chapter Text

The day had finally come. Nicole stood in front of the full length mirror in her bedroom, staring at the white dress that covered her toned body. It flowed to the floor and had a slit that ran up the right side to mid-thigh. It was backless and tied behind Nicole’s neck with an open space that showed just enough cleavage for Waverly’s liking. She ran her hands down her front to push out the wrinkles and looked up to see Maggie, Erin and Jethro standing behind her in the doorway.

“You look so beautiful, Nicole. That dress looks super good on you too. “ Jethro patted his sister’s shoulder.

“You really think so? Not too much?” No matter how many times her family told her how pretty she was, Nicole always questioned it. Side effects from the conversion camp, she suspected.

“Nic, you look perfect. You could walk down that aisle in a potato sack and Waverly would marry you. She doesn’t care what you’re wearing, Nicole. She just cares about marrying you.” Erin reassured her little sister. “Plus you have the three of us by your side. And we make everyone look good.”

Maggie rolled her eyes, an expression that Nicole didn’t miss and caused her to laugh. “How are you feeling, Nicole?”

“I mean, other than sad? Yesterday was a really hard day for all of us. Doc’s funeral hurt. And here I am, getting married without him by our side? It’s hard.”

“Yeah, but you know he would have wanted you to marry her. Doc loved Waverly.” Dolls said from behind the group. His suit was all black except the teal tie he was wearing, which matched Nicole and Waverly’s wedding colors. “Enjoy today, Haught. We both know there’s no promise of a tomorrow.”

“He would want us to be happy. He would want all of us to be happy. Today isn’t just about Waverly and I, it’s about all of us. All of our love, our fight and our friendships. There would be no Waverly and I if it weren’t for our found family. I love all of you...and I’m nervous as hell.” Nicole said with a nervous laugh to accompany it.

“Were you this nervous before your first wedding?” Erin snicked behind her hand, trying to stiffle the laugh.

“Look, I was super drunk for my first wedding. I don’t remember much of it to be honest with you...actually, come to think of it, I don’t remember any of it.” Nicole shook the memories from her head while she laughed once more. She took a deep breath in and let it out slowly. “Do you guys think Waverly is as nervous as I am?”
-------------

“Waverly, I swear to God, if you don’t stop running around like a chicken with your head cut off, I’m calling off this wedding!” Gus demanded as she watched Waverly pacing back and forth in her off-white lace dress. Chrissy was running after Waverly trying to put her flower headpiece on her head.

“Waverly, hold still! I’m trying to get this damn thing on your head!” Chrissy yelled as she ran after Waverly again.

“What if she doesn’t show up? What if she gets cold feet or really doesn’t want to marry me?”

Waverly stopped dead in her tracks when Wynonna appeared in front of her, her hands firm on Waverly’s shoulders to hold her in place. “Babygirl, listen to this craziness that is coming out of your mouth. That Haughty with the body loves you more than anything in this world, including me and that says a lot. So, if you don’t stop, I’m going to bury your body out back and marry Nicole myself.”

“I think even if I were dead, Nicole couldn’t marry you. Chrissy maybe, but definitely not you.”

Wynonna placed her hand over her heart and her jaw dropped. “How dare you! That’s it! I’m going to see my Haught sauce and I’m asking her to marry me this instance!” Wynonna turned to head out the door and Waverly grabbed her by the hand.

“Don’t even think about it, Wyn. She’s mine!”

“Oooo, a little possessive today, aren’t we?”

“It’s my wedding day. I get to be possessive over my wife...oh my god...she’s going to be my wife. Nonna...” Wynonna backed Waverly to the couch and sat her down. She gave Waverly a giant hug.

“Baby girl, I am so proud of the woman you have become. From the military to just such an amazing person. You make my best friend happy and I can’t thank you enough, just like I can’t thank her for making my beautiful baby sister so happy.”

Waverly pushed Wynonna away and dabbed her eyes. “Stop. You’re going to make me cry and I can’t cry before the wedding.”

“We all know you cry over all the little things. You were going to cry regardless of what I said.”

Gus smiled at the two sisters and Waverly noticed her taking photos of them. “Come sit with us, Gus, please?”

“Of course.” Gus took a seat beside Waverly and wrapped her arms around both Waverly and Wynonna to pull them into a hug. “You two girls are just so perfect considering the things you’ve been through. I am so proud of the two of you.”

“Thank you Aunt Gus. We wouldn’t be who we are without you.” Waverly leaned her head against Gus’s shoulder and closed her eyes, just taking in the moment. “I’m going to miss you all. I don’t want to leave anymore.”

“You’re almost done. Then you can come home and who knows, babygirl, maybe we will have Alice home by then.”

“One can only hope.”

Wynonna jumped to her feet. “Come on, Babygirl, it’s time to get you married!”

“Do you think Nicole is this nervous?” Waverly shook her arms out, trying to drain her body of the nerves.

“I bet Haughtpants is more nervous than you.” Wynonna laughed as she took a swig from her flask. “Come on. Let’s go make an honest lesbian out that Haught.”

“You truly are ridiculous Wynonna.”
------------

The homestead was decorated for the wedding. Sunflowers everywhere you could see, a beautiful wood branch archway for Nicole and Waverly to get married under. A banner that hung above them that read “Where you go, I go.” which was one of Nicole’s favorite sayings to Waverly and vice versa. Some chairs remained empty with the names of those who couldn’t attend the wedding, whether through death or just the short notice.

Nicole stood at the end of the aisle, her arm hooked around Nedley’s. “You ready to get hitched??”

“I am.” Nicole smiled at Nedley. “Sir, thank you for being a father to me when mine wasn’t. Thank you for finding me and offering me the job and thank you for bringing me to my family.”

Tears welled in the corners of Nedley’s eyes. He cleared his throat. “Now, none of that.” He wiped a tear away that had slipped past their barrier. “This place is so damn dusty. But I love you too, Nicole.”

Nedley walked Nicole down the aisle to Dolls, Maggie and Erin who were already waiting up there for her. Nedley kissed her cheek and then took his seat in the front row. As “Wildwood” begins to play, Nicole’s eyes found Waverly’s. Her breath hitched. Wynonna was walking her down the aisle, in a dark blue and gold dress and Nicole could see that Waverly was trying not to laugh at something ridiculous that Wynonna obviously said.

As they got closer, Waverly’s eyes wouldn’t leave Nicole’s. Tears had already started to fall as Wynonna gave Waverly’s arm to Nicole, who helped her into place. Nicole leaned forward to Waverly’s ear. “You. Are. A. Vision.”

“You clean up nice too, Sheriff.” Waverly’s eyes raked over Nicole’s body. Nicole didn’t respond, she just let out a soft sigh.

“Welcome all. Everyone has been asked here today to witness the marriage of Nicole Haught and Waverly Earp. We have all witnessed love in our time but I do not believe any of us have ever witnessed a love as strong as this. Their love has transcended plains. From serious injuries to near death, they have made it through with smiles on their faces and the biggest heart-eyes anyone has ever seen.” Jeremy’s statement caused a few chuckles. “The brides have decided to write their own vows, so I will turn it over to them. Nicole, after you.”

“Waverly, I have known since the day I ran into you in the airport that I was going to marry you. I had no idea how I was going to make that happen.” The crowd laughed. “But the second we touched, you owned my heart. I can’t explain how but I knew I needed you right than and there. You have this light about you, Waves. One that I am drawn to and I can’t stay away from. You are everything I have been looking for and I am so thankful that I am able to call you my partner, my best friend, sorry, Wynonna. I have loved every minute of our life together so far and I can’t wait for forever with you, Waves.”

“Waverly, please?”

“Nicole, you have shown me what it is like to be fully, truly, 100% loved. I never thought it would be possible to have someone love me the way that you do. And it’s show selfless. You truly love me for me, you truly love me for who I am with my flaws included. Forever doesn’t seem like long enough with you, Nicole. I want eternity with you. I want forever plus more. I have loved you and almost lost you. I have never been so thankful for a bulletproof vest until it saved your life. You own my heart, Nicole and I willingly give it to you. I love you, Cole.”

Neither girl could hold back their tears as they freely flowed down their cheeks. At some point, Nicole had reached for both of Waverly’s hands. “Nicole, do you take Waverly to be your wife, to have and to hold, through sickness and health?”

“I do...” The smile on Nicole’s face was the biggest it had been in a long time. She couldn’t stop smiling.

“Waverly, do you take Waverly to be your wife, to have and to hold, through sickness and health?”

“I do.”

Jeremy handed Waverly a ring and Nicole a ring. Nicole slipped the ring she had onto Waverly’s finger. Waverly slipped the ring she had on to Nicole’s finger. “With the power vested in me by the 24 hour ordain program I found online, I now pronounce you wife and wife. You may kiss your bride.”

“Gladly!” Nicole slipped her arm around Waverly’s waist and pulled her close. She tilted her head down to softly plant a kiss on Waverly’s lips. Though, Waverly quickly deepened it.

“Yo! PDA! Get a room!” Wynonna yelled over the cheering. Nicole pressed her forehead against Waverly’s and her heart melted at the smiled on Waverly’s face.

“I love you, baby.”

“I love you too, Cole, forever.”

Chapter Text

Nicole couldn’t believe that she was now married and the best part, Waverly was her wife. And she was currently naked, in their bed, in their house that they owned together. Had you told her three years ago that she would be married to the most amazing woman she had ever met, she would have told you that she was taking you in for a 5150.

Nicole took in a deep breath, breathing in Waverly’s sweet, flowery sent. It reminded her of home. For her whole life, Nicole had searched for a home, somewhere she belonged, somewhere she could truly be loved for who she was. She didn’t know what it truly felt like to belong until she arrived in Purgatory. These people were her people. They understood her. They respected and loved her.

She pressed a kiss in between the bare shoulder blades of her beautiful wife, feeling as the woman beneath her began to laugh softly. “Good morning, wife.” Nicole softly whispered in Waverly’s ear.

Waverly’s smile made Nicole’s heart melt. It was so big it caused her eyes to crinkle and got bigger as she rolled over in Nicole’s arms to give her a proper kiss. Waverly caressed Nicole’s cheek, gently rubbing her thumb along Nicole’s jaw line. “Good morning, my beautiful, sexy...” Waverly’s word stopped as her eyes traveled up and down Nicole’s naked body. “Very sexy, wife.”

Nicole smiled even more. “Still tired from last night?” She teased.

Waverly nuzzled her nose against Nicole’s and bit her own bottom lip. “Can you blame me after the night we had?” Waverly’s hand traveled down Nicole’s side and around to her bare ass cheek that she then squeezed. “I have never heard you that loud before.”

“I could say the same thing about you, babe.” Nicole’s hand found property on Waverly’s breast, returning the squeeze, causing Waverly’s hips to buck into Nicole’s. “How long do we have before we have to get you to the airport?”

“A few hours. Why? What do you have in mind for us, sheriff?”

“I thought I could make us some breakfast and maybe we could spend the time we have left in bed together?” Nicole hadn’t meant for her sentence to come out as a plea but her heart was begging for the time with Waverly.

Waverly’s hands cupped Nicole’s face and she nodded with tears in her eyes. “You’re all I want, Nicole.”

That was all Nicole could remember before Waverly’s lips crashed into her and pulled the breath from Nicole’s lungs.

 

-------------------------------------------
Nicole and the whole gang stood at airport security with Waverly. Nicole watched as everyone said very tearful goodbyes to their favorite sailor. It was finally her turn.

“Just a few months, baby.” Nicole said. She wasn’t trying to reassure Waverly, but herself. Truth was, she was going to miss her wife more than she ever thought possible.

“Just a few months and I’ll be back in your arms, giving you kisses, love and well...” Waverly’s hand traveled down the front of Nicole’s shirt and tugged on her belt buckle.

Nicole growled at the tug and whispered in her wife’s ear. “Don’t you start something you can’t finish, Mrs. Earp.”

Waverly groaned in frustration. “I should be making love to you on some random beach in Greece right now. This is ridiculous.” Waverly whispered back.

“I know baby, but we will go on our honeymoon when you get back and it’ll make it that much more special.” Nicole placed a small kiss behind Waverly’s ear while pulling her flush against her body. “You come back to me, Petty Officer.”

“You bet your ass, Sheriff.”

“I’ll write you every day. Every single day. I won’t miss a day, I promise.” Waverly nodded against Nicole’s chest. “I love you, Mrs. Earp.”

“And I love you, Mrs. Earp.”

“Last call for boarding Flight 3987 to Washington D.C. Last call for boarding Flight 3987 to Washington D.C.”

Waverly let out a heavy sigh. “That’s me, love. I have to go.”

“I know. Be safe and come home to me, Waverly. Please.” Nicole didn’t know tears were falling from her eyes until Waverly reached up to wipe them away. “I love you.”

“I’ll be home before you know it. Don’t let Wynonna talk you into doing anything too crazy while I’m away, please? You two stay safe. I love you, Cole.” With one last kiss, Nicole handed Waverly her bag and she headed through security to her gate.

Nicole leaned against the pillar, taking in the scene in front of her when a sharp pain hit between her eyes. She grimaced and placed her hand to her head.

“You good, Cole?” Maggie asked, the concern plastered across her face.

“I....I’m not sure..” Nicole tried to breath through the pain, but it was only getting more intense.

“Do you want me to get Waverly?”

“Don’t you dare. It’s just a migraine.” Nicole lied. She had migraines ever since the conversion camp, this wasn’t a migraine. And that’s when she heard it.

“Hello, Nicole.” Nicole looked around but the only person next to her was Maggie. “Now that I’m Bulshar, you and I have some unfinished business.”

Fear struck through Nicole’s body. Her hand gripped her gun tightly. She didn’t know that Wynonna had come up next to her. “Haught pants, you ok?”

“They can’t hear me, Nicole. Only you. My little survivor.” The voice was in her head. Nicole finally understood what was happening.

“Nicole!” Wynonna grabbed her shoulders as Nicole started to fall to the ground.

Chapter Text

Nicole woke up in a hospital bed, her arms restrained to the bed. She looked to her right and saw Wynonna sitting in a chair next to the bed. “Wyn?”

“Finally, you’re awake. It’s been three days. Your sister and brother were worried about you.” Wynonna sighed. “I was worried too.”

“What happened?” Nicole was groggy but she noticed Wynonna had a busted lip and a black eye.

“You happened. You passed out then woke up and it was like you were a totally different person. You attacked us. Hence the restraints. So, Haughtshit, do you mind telling me why the fuck you attacked us?”

“I don’t know, Wyn. I honestly don’t. I got a headache. One worse than I have ever felt in my life. Then I heard him...”

“Who did you hear, Nicole?”

“Bulshar. Hands down. He said he’s back.”

“No one else heard him. So are you saying...”

“Yeah, Wynonna. I’m connected to him, somehow.” Nicole stared at the ceiling. This was her life now. Being restrained so she couldn’t hurt her friends. “Does Waverly know?”

“No. A lot has happened in the last three days.” Wynonna started rubbing her forehead.

“She’s right, Nicole. A lot has happened since you attacked everyone.” Eliza stood at the hospital room door.

“Eliza, where’s Dolls?”

“Well, that’s one of the things. When you attacked everyone, once we had you restrained, Dolls left Purgatory to see if there were any files at Black Badge that could help. Issue is, a strange fog circled the Triangle and he can’t get in, we can’t get out and there is no comms with the outside world. We’re literally on our own island.”

“The town. Oh my god, the town! I have to he...” Nicole started to freak out, trying to get out of the restraints.

“Calm down, Sheriff. Nedley is filling in while you are on leave for a torn ACL. At least that’s the story we have put out to the people.” Eliza stepped forward and untied Nicole’s restraints. “How are you feeling?”

“Like I got his by a bus.: She looked down at her freed wrists. “Are you sure you should be doing that?”

Eliza held up a gun and shook it around. “Tranq gun. If you do anything weird, I’m shooting you.”

“Ok, I can agree with that. Has anyone told Waverly what’s going on?” Nicole sat up and rubbed her sore wrists.

“Comms are out, remember? Nothing in, nothing out.” Eliza reminded Nicole.

“Ok, so first things first, we have to figure out a way to communicate with the outside world. Second thing, we need to figure out how to get this asshole out of my head?”

“We’ve been working on that. There isn’t much we can find on Bulshar.”

Wynonna groaned. “This is when I wish Waves was here. Damn research nerd that she is.” Wynonna stared at Nicole. “Not gonna go all hulk on me again, are ya?”

“Never would have on purpose, and you know that.” The guilt was laid out across Nicole’s face and her mind started to race. “Who did I hurt?” Her voice was soft and she was afraid of the answer.

“The list is shorter of those you didn’t hurt, Haught. You did a number on a lot of us.” Nicole watched as Wynonna stared at the floor, twirling Peacemaker in her hands.

“Wynonna, did...did I kill anyone?”

“No. The only person you tried to kill was me. But something stopped you. You were full kill mode and then all of a sudden, you were you again and then you weren’t.” Eliza stated with a shrug.

“Yeah, Red, it was like you were fighting whatever had control over you.” Wynonna stood and headed for the door. “I’m going to go get the dr and see if he will release you. We have a room for you at the Black Badge office. I brought your stuff over from the house to feel more like home. Left your sex toys in the 2nd drawer though, sorry.”

“Wynonna!”

“What? Not my fault you two keep those things in an obvious spot!” Wynonna headed out the door.
-------------
A few days later, she was locked in a glass room though Wynonna was right. She had made it feel as much like home as she possibly could. That was something that Nicole was thankful for. She had Waverly’s pillow. Really that was all she needed. She had tried to sleep but weird nightmares were filling her mind. She felt like she was going crazy.

“Hey Harry Haughter, how’s the Bulshar mindmelds going?” Wynonna asked from outside the glass room.

“It appears I’m just as connected to him as he is to me. I see his thoughts, hear him constantly and he’s trying to control me, Wyn. It’s getting so hard to fight him.” Nicole was exhausted. She had been fighting to keep Bulshar from her mind but it was starting to get harder. She was starting to lose her grip. Nicole slumped down in the corner closest to Wynonna, pulling her knees to her chest and hugging Waverly’s pillow tightly. She buried her face into it, inhaling Waverly’s scent. “I’m so tired, Wyn...”

“I know you are but you have to keep fighting. You have to keep pushing through it. Eliza is doing everything she can to get to Dolls and Waverly. And I’m doing everything I can to control the town. You keep fighting, Haught. Don’t let that mother fucker take you too. I can’t lose you too.” Wynonna pressed her hand to the glass and Nicole placed hers against the glass too.

“I’m trying. I....aghhhh.” Nicole gripped her head, the pain shooting through as a voice came out of her that sounded like hers but wasn’t. “I will be the death of all Earps. The dark is coming. And it is coming for you, Wynonna.”

“Get the fuck out of my best friend, you fucking asstaco!”

“I will kill her once I am done with you!” Then, Nicole began to smash her head into the glass. Blood began to trickle from Nicole’s forehead. She slumped down the glass, streaking blood as she fell. Nicole laid on the ground, having been able to fight Bulshar away again but she didn’t know for how long. “Wyn....just kill me.” She muttered.

“Not on your life, Nicole. You promised my sister. You keep fighting for my sister! Do you understand!”

Nicole just nodded. She did make a promise. A promise to protect Waverly, to love Waverly and to never leave her and she would be damned if she would let Bulshar win.

-----------------------
3 months later:
Waverly had been deployed to Iraq. It had also been 3 months since she had heard from anyone in Purgatory. No phone calls were answered, no letters were sent. It was complete radio silence. It was normal for Wynonna not to write but it wasn’t for Gus and sure the hell wasn’t normal for Nicole. Waverly paced back and forth in her office, her arms crossed in front of her as she listened to the phone beeping a busy signal. The same sound that it had been giving for 3 months.

She was pulled from her thoughts as there was a knock on the door. “Enter.”

“Petty Officer Earp, I have some news from Purgatory.”

“What have you been able to find out, Johnson?”

“From what I have been able to tell is that there was some sort of EMP explosion about 3 months ago. All electronics within the Ghost River Triangle are no longer working. The even weirder part, no military outlets, militia groups, terrorist organizations or small organizations are taking credit for it. No one knows how it happened.”

“So, why hasn’t anyone left the triangle?” Waverly took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves.

“No one knows, ma’am. People have tried to get in, no one can. It’s like there is some sort of boarder around The Ghost River Triangle that is preventing anyone from coming or going. Have you ever heard of anything like this before, ma’am?”

Waverly nodded. “Yes, but it’s confidential. Also, Johnson?”

“Yes, ma’am? Johnson stood straighter.

“This conversation stays between us, understood?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And if you hear ANYTHING from Purgatory, you let me know asap.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Johnson saluted before spinning on her heals and heading out the door. As soon as the door shut and Waverly sat down in her chair, there was another knock and the door opened. Waverly instantly stood at attention.

“At ease, Earp.”

Waverly relaxed about as much as she does when standing with a Rear Admiral. “Sir, what can I help you with?”

“I wanted to be the first to congratulate you on your promotion to Captain.”

“A promotion, sir?” Waverly hadn’t applied for any promotions, she didn’t care about promoting anymore since she was planning to leave after her contract was up.

“Yes. After your showing at our last post, numerous officers put in for your promotion. You earned it, Earp.” He handed her the new ranking patches for her uniform. “I also have new orders for you.” He held up a stack of folded papers.

Waverly reached out and took the papers. “Where am I headed, Sir?”

“None of us know. You and your team are being requested by the USA government for a secret mission. You and your team are to report to Washington D.C. by tomorrow night.”

“My team, sir? Who are they?”

“The women you trained from your last post. They will be heading with you.”

He pulled out a confidential binder that was locked and handed it to Waverly. “These were sent with your orders. I was told to make sure you read over this before you get to Washington.” He shook his head. “I don’t know what kind of mission this is, Earp but if they are pulling in certain teams for it, there is something big going on. Good luck, Captain.”

“Thank you, sir.” As he left her office, Waverly sat down and began to go over the orders in front of her. Down at the bottom, she saw a familiar name. The orders were sent down from Dolls and Black Badge. Waverly began to flip through file after file. She was being deployed to The Ghost River Triangle.

Chapter Text

Waverly sat on the hard plane set of the cargo plane that was transporting her team and herself to Washington D.C. Waverly had decided to wait until she was on the plane to begin reading the files that were sent as she knew she would need to read them multiple times within that 15 hour flight.

She looked around at her team, who were already fast asleep in any kind of position they could get comfortable in. They were a young team but Waverly trusted them more than anyone she had come across in the military. She knew they would protect each other at any cost. She also knew this mission, whatever it was, was going to be a battle for their lives.

Waverly turned her attention back to the files in her hand and flipped them open. They were full of photos of a strange fog that had filled the borders of the Ghost River Triangle. It wasn’t just on the ground. It formed a dome around the entire Triangle.

She continued to read further down about how numerous agents had been lost in the fog, only to be found days later with memory loss. Not just a little memory loss, full memory loss. And there was no signs of it returning.

A small letter was clipped to the top and it was addressed to Waverly personally. Waverly slipped her finger behind the flap and opened the envelope.

“Waverly, I hope this letter finds you safe. As you can see, something has fallen upon Purgatory. I imagine you have yet to hear from Sheriff Haught, I can tell you that we have yet to receive word from inside Purgatory. I hope by the time you arrive, we will have made some sort of contact. I have requested your team for this new mission, which will be explained upon your arrival. - Dolls”

“Ok, so no contact within Purgatory. No signs of life yet. Is my family even alive? Is my wife alive?” Waverly spoke to herself.

“Captain?” Edwards stood to the left of where Waverly was sitting. “Are you ok?”

“A lot of bad things are happening right now. Unfortunately, it’s where I’m from.”

“Our new orders are to your hometown, Captain?”

Waverly motioned for Edwards to take a seat next to her. She held the files out to Edwards. Edwards took them and sat down, where she quickly skimmed over the first file. “There’s no explanation for what is happening there. It is our team’s mission to figure out what is going on.”

“Is anyone within the barrier alive?”

“No one knows.”

“So, you don’t know the status of your family?”

“None.” Waverly looked at Edwards. “I’m not supposed to show you those files. No one is to know, understood?”

“What files, Ma’am?” Waverly could feel Edwards eyes on her still. “Ma’am, are you truly ok?”

Waverly twisted her wedding band around her finger and stared down at it. “What if she’s not alive? What if no one is?” Waverly had tried to keep it together, had tried to keep her head straight but she felt herself spiraling.

“Ma’am, there’s no point in jumpin’ to conclusions. Until we get in there, there’s no point in assumin’ anything.”

“You’re right, Edwards. Thank you. How’d that wound heal up?”

“Perfect, Ma’am. Right as rain. Thanks to you, Ma’am.”

“We’re a family now, Edwards. All of us. We rely on each other to stay alive out there.”

“I’m really glad we ended up in your unit, Ma’am.”

“I’m glad you guys did too.” Waverly took the files back from Edwards. “Get some sleep, you’ll need it.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Edwards stood up and went back to where she was laying down. Waverly watched as Edwards drifted off.

Waverly opened the other file that she knew she couldn’t show Edwards. As she opened it, she saw a photo of a small redheaded child with a rookie cop. That cop was Nedley and that redhead was her wife, Nicole. As Waverly flipped through the file, page after page was filled with Bulshar, the cult of Bulshar to be exact.

Waverly read the news clipping inside “There has only been one known survivor of a Cult of Bulshar massacre, one 7 year old girl, Nicole Haught. ‘It was a music festival, like any other’ Nicole’s mother stated. ‘She insisted on staying the summer with my sister and brother-in-law. They didn’t mind at all. They loved her like she was their own. I don’t know how my daughter managed to survive but I am happy she did.’ Waverly finished reading about how everyone was murdered but Nicole. She had somehow managed to find her way down to the boats and had pushed herself down stream where Nedley would eventually be the one to find her.

“And her parents still had to nerve to treat her the way they did after all she had been through? Then to lose Hailey? How could they?” Waverly mumbled to herself. “And how did Nicole never tell me about this?”
---------------------------------------

“Wynonnnnna....” The creepy voice came from within her best friend. Wynonna just rolled her eyes.

“What’s good, Bulshit?” Wynonna sat outside the room they had made for Nicole. It was now fully padded and Nicole was chained to the wall. Not for their safety, but for her own as Bulshar liked to control Nicole and cause her to start hurting herself in an attempt to get them into the room with her.

“How does it feel not to have your sister? Let me ask you something even better. How did it feel to watch me pull the life from your friend, Doc Holliday?” This was a daily occurrence now. Bulshar would take over Nicole and would say things to try and break Wynonna down. It wasn’t working. Wynonna was used to the bullshit that came from Nicole’s mouth. She was used to the mind games now. It had been 3-months of watching her best friend get tortured. That was the worst part. Watching Nicole suffer and knowing she just needed Waverly.

“Haught, you listen to me! You fight this fucker! You punch him in his mindfucking dick and rip it off, do you hear me!?”

Nicole shook her head, her eyes pleading with Wynonna. “Wyn...you have to stop him. The images...the things he’s done. The things he’s going to do to Waverly. You can’t let him...” With that, Nicole’s body went limp as she passed out yet again.

Eliza stood behind Wynonna. “How is she?”

“He’s got her mind more than she does. She’s slipping more and more every day but fuck, she’s fighting. She’s fighting so hard.”

“Come on, let’s get some coffee.” Eliza wrapped her arm around Wynonna’s shoulder and walked her down to the local coffee shop. While no one could come in or out, Dolls had managed to find a way to get supplies in. Well, to Purgatory, at least. In doing so, Wynonna and the group were able to hand out food to those in need.

Wynonna sipped her coffee. “Ya know, one thing I realized through all this, Eliza?”

“What’s what?”

“Through all this torment of Nicole, Bulshar still hasn’t made his move.”

Jeremy pulled up a seat next to Wynonna. “I’m glad you mention that, Wynonna because I think I know why.”

“Nerdburglar, what is it?”

“Whatever this fog is...I don’t think it’s here to help Bulshar. I think it’s preventing him from doing whatever it is he’s here to do.”

“So, instead of completing his mission, which he can’t, he’s trying to control Nicole? But why?” Eliza asked before the cup touched her lips.

“Maybe Nicole has been the key this entire time. She’s obviously connected to him.”

“Probably cus she was the lone survivor.” Eliza stated with a shrug.

“Lone survivor?” Wynonna was puzzled by what Eliza was talking about.

“Haught never told you? She was at a concert when she was a kid. Whole thing went south. Everyone was murdered but her.”

“Why wasn’t she killed?”

“No one knows. She managed to escape. Was apparently caused by the Cult of Bulshar.”

“Wait, there’s an entire group of these nutjobs out there murdering people?”

“Probably.”

“And you think Haughtsauce has something to do with this fog?”

“Probably.”

“You realize how fucking crazy that sounds?” Wynonna stared down at Peacemaker and then back at Eliza. “Ok, ok. I know. Fuck, ok, how do we fix this? How do we stop him? How do we get that stupid fuck out of her head?”

“How do you think, Wyn?”

“We have to kill him...”

“We have to kill him.” Eliza repeated. Wynonna knew this was going to be no easy task and she wished she had her best friend and her sister with her for the battle that was to come.