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Stone Witch Heat

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The night was quiet, pitch black except for the twinkling lights of Purgatory’s main road in the distance. The sky looked somehow emptier without moon, and even starlight seemed muted as if the heavens themselves knew what she was up to and quaked in fear. (or maybe they couldn’t be arsed to look)

The witch smiled, quite liking the idea that the sky itself could fear her. She liked fear when it was other puny beings that felt it and relished the control it gave her over their little, simple minds.

“Speaking of simple minds,” she smirked, turning her attention to the town that slept on unaware of what was coming, “there is nothing simpler than the mind of an Alpha in rut.”

It would have seemed to a passerby that she was talking to empty air, but she had heard the softest crunch of footsteps and spotted the momentary glow of red eyes a few meters away.

“Do come closer. Bobo. Don’t be shy, after all I invited you here.”

The Revenant came to stand next to her with a grunt, and she could feel his gaze burning like a firebrand against her skin as he tried to figure out why exactly she had asked him to join her.

“I still don’t get why you feel the urge to meddle all of a sudden,” he said as she bared her anathame - a ceremonial dagger she’d won from a demon centuries before.

She’d cheated of course.

Its blade glowed with ethereal light as she channeled some of her power into it. She glanced up into Bobo’s darkly handsome face, smirking at his furrowed brow and annoyed face.

“Why,” Constance reached out, patting his arm, “I thought you liked a bit of chaos.”

“I do.” He snatched his arm away, “but I fail to see what you’ll accomplish here. Thought you wanted your boys dug up as fast as possible.” A note of hunger entered his voice and his tongue darted out as he licked his lips in anticipation. She had promised him a way to leave Purgatory in exchange for help with putting her boys back together, a way that wouldn’t involve him butting heads with the Earp Heir.

Except she’d promised him a pile of horseshit.

Oh well, she’d cross that bridge (literally, on her pink car) when the time came. For now she was intent on causing havoc and hopefully getting Willa Earp killed or at least away from the other two sisters. Should Bobo find out about Willa, she would be neck deep in trouble.

Putting some distance between herself and the Revenant, Constance raised her arms dramatically, ancient words of invocation spilling from her lips, voice redolent with power.

The night grew impossibly still, so dark that the dagger she held shone as bright as noon sun by contrast.

The witch smirked as an unseen wind picked up, moaning across the plain.

Shit was about to hit the fan - as modern, young people liked to say.

The wind turned into a gale, whipping strands of pale hair across her face and she laughed into it, screamed in wanton abandon as her magic slithered across the land reaching deep inside Purgatory’s inhabitants to call forth their most primal, secret urges.

A chorus of mad voices cackled back from the darkness, then abruptly the wind died like it had never existed and a scattering of stars twinkled timidly down at her, the light emanating from her dagger winking out.

“That’s it?” Bobo asked, and Constance ground her teeth at the evident disappointment dripping from his voice.

“That’s it,” she confirmed, choosing to take the high road - her mind already flipping through all the hexes she knew and could inflict on him - “now sit back and enjoy the show.”

“That’s.... All me and my boys are supposed to do? Next you’ll propose we make popcorn.” Bobo growled, lips twisting in disgust.

“I would suggest fried human marrow. Butter makes you fat.” Constance laughed as his scowl deepened - by the Devil men’s feathers were so easy to ruffle! That hadn’t changed one bit, and she doubted it would in the next few centuries. “Perhaps your little posse can actually get an Alpha or two killed while they are too preoccupied with their cocks. Maybe you could even end the Heir, who knows?”

“If whatever you did will work, past your theatrics.”

Constance’s mouth soured at that - if there was something she liked less than a fake Gucci bag it was people questioning her witchcraft.

The Rot - she decided - once she’d recovered from her last spell she’d make his fucking balls fall off with rot.

*******************

Nicole grinned, pressing her tongue against the wet, straining bundle that was earnestly begging for her to grind her tongue harder against it. She obliged, twisting the flat of her tongue against Waverly’s clit, delighting in the sound of her girlfriend’s low keen that petered out into a muffled whine too quickly for Nicole’s taste.

Her first day off in two weeks, and she was determined to spend it all day in bed with Waverly, touching her, kissing her, loving her. Purgatory could burn to the ground before she left Waverly’s arms. Nothing short of hell-fire and damnation would rouse her from her rightful place between her Omega’s thighs.

She pulled back slightly so she could look up at Waverly, smiling softly at the way her lover’s naked chest heaved as she tried to come down from her second orgasm of the morning. Her golden skin gleamed in the weak winter light slipping through the cracked slats of the plastic shade. She really needed to replace those shades, but for now she admired the moist skin shining slightly in the dim light, the long tendrils of hair adhering wetly to Waverly’s pink-blossomed cheeks.

Nicole forgot to breathe for a moment as her gaze drifted down, caressing every inch of her love’s slender neck. She bit her lip as her gaze focused on the small, lilac blossoms blooming just under the flare of her left collarbone. She hadn't meant to mark Waverly, afraid of somehow causing her pain. She knew Waverly was strong, tougher than most gave her credit for; she'd had to be as the only Omega daughter of Wade Earp, a man not known for his niceties or sentimentality. But still, the very thought of ever causing Waverly Earp pain, even accidentally, was like a dull blade sliding between her ribs. And she couldn't breathe.

And yet something about the small blossoms called to her, and something a little more primal than she was comfortable with, howled in delight, yearning for a full claim on the Omega. She stamped it down, pushing the howling thing inside of her back to its den, back to its natural place at her feet. She would not be ruled by some slathering beast dictated by biology and instinct. But still…

She reached up and ghosted her fingers over the blossoms, pressing gently. She almost managed to snatch her hand back at Waverly’s moan, but the younger woman grabbed her fingers, pressing them harder against the lilac.

“Isss good, Nic, feels good.” Waverly kept her eyes shut enjoying the feel of Nicole's slightly calloused fingertips pressing into the tiny bruises Nic had left in her eagerness to taste all of Waverly. She was well aware of Nicole's fear of ever hurting her. The Alpha was probably the most self-aware person she'd ever met, and she was usually excruciatingly gentle and tender with Waverly, which the girl appreciated, but sometimes a girl liked it a little harder, liked to be reminded that she was an Omega with a strong Alpha who adored her, but still wanted to commit every imaginable filthy thing burning in their brains, onto their Omega.

So Waverly wrapped her fingers a little more firmly around Nicole's and pressed them harder to the small bruises. She gasped and squeezed Nicole's fingers when the Alpha tried to pull away.

She opened her eyes and looked up at Nicole, tugging at the Alpha to get her to slide up. “It's ok, baby.” She smirked at the way the cop’s eyes widened, a blush staining her cheeks. It never failed to amuse and make Waverly warm with pure, unadulterated affection, when her girlfriend blushed at that particular endearment.

She licked her lips, “look at me.” She slid her right hand down across her own chest, let her fingertips slide through the slight sheen on her breasts. She brushed her fingertips across her nipple, smiling at Nicole's hungry gaze. She plucked at her nipple, biting her lip at the slight sting that she could feel whisper down her spine. She grasped her hard nipple between her fingers, rolling it firmly, tugging on it, imagining Nicole's teeth doing the same.

She pressed Nicole's fingertips into the bruises under her collarbone and tugged on her nipple at the same time, moaning at the sting and ache that dissipated in waves of warmth down her spine.

“Oh God, Nic. You feel so good,” she mumbled, her voice thickening as she continued to play with her nipple, tugging and rolling it harder, as she pressed Nicole's fingers into the bruises.

It took only a moment for her to find the rhythm she wanted. She moved her legs restlessly against the thin cotton sheets, and she could feel the tightening in her belly, but it wasn't enough. It was never enough anymore. Not without Nicole. “Nic, please.” She didn't even care that her plea sounded more like a whine, more like begging.

Nicole swallowed harshly, her mouth dry and scratchy as she stared mesmerized by Waverly’s glistening skin, the slender fingers tugging roughly on her cherry red nipple, the strong fingers holding Nicole's captive, demanding obedience with every press of her fingers.

She nodded, her gaze unwavering, her vision growing hazy. She knew what Waverly was asking for with every twist of her hips against the bunched sheets, every barely muted gasp falling from her open mouth.

She wiggled her fingers underneath Waverly’s, waiting for her love to understand. And once the Omega had cautiously removed her hand, Nicole pressed lightly, smiling when Waverly nodded eagerly.

“Just a little harder, baby,” and once Nicole nodded her head, Waverly let her hand drop to her side as she continued to play with her nipple. It was hard and swollen. It ached, and she could feel the warmth of pain starting to settle into her breast, growing and spreading deliciously down her ribs and into her muscles.

She could feel the heat radiating below her collarbone, could feel it spreading into her breast, pushing deeply into sinew and muscle, snaking along her bones like fine gossamer webs. She grit her teeth against the wave of heat that rippled and pulsed inside of her, as she felt her mind grow fuzzy.

She was barely aware of Nicole's mouth nipping at the inside of her thighs, her tongue pressing inside of her, as her fingers scrambling weakly at the sheets. The heat of her pleasure was focused on her breast and the lilacs that blossomed and grew under the tender care of Nicole's fingers. She hummed, her breath stuttering slightly as she closed her eyes, letting the fine aching edges of pain buoy her.

She was vaguely aware of her muscles trembling, her voice breaking as she tried to force her tongue around Nicole's name. She could feel her name, balancing on the end of her tongue, she could taste it, but only a moan slipped past her lips as waves of heat swamped her, wrapping long vines around her ankles and wrists, slithering across the lattice of her ribs, holding and rocking her in the suffocating heat of her climax.

It was long moments before she was aware enough to hear Nicole calling her name, her worried girlfriend tenderly cradling her face.

“Ssslll...I loves you,” the words slipped out in a watery sigh, and she smiled when she felt the tender press of Nicole's mouth against her own.

Nicole lay on her side, one arm draped carefully across Waverly’s belly. She pressed her face into the dark, musky crook of the Omega’s neck. While she prided herself on giving Waverly as many orgasms as she could handle, this had been different. She hadn't realized how finely attuned her lover was at receiving pain, hadn't understood that a little pain from a loving hand was what her Waverly craved sometimes.

She shivered, nuzzling harder into Waverly’s neck, breathing her in deeply. She held her breath, determined not to let the taste and scent of her escape her lungs. She willed it to stay, but after a moment she blew out a noisy breath.

“Don't pout, you can scent me again later,” Waverly teased, as she rolled over into Nicole's arms, wrapping her own around the cop, forcing her onto her back.

“That was…” she shook her head, her eyes full of light. She pressed her mouth hard against her lover’s. “Thank you.” She rested her forehead against Nicole's, closing her eyes and whirring in contentment.

Nicole smiled, feeling almost giddy as she shifted on the bed, pulling Waverly closer. As much as she loved being between her girlfriend’s legs, she loved the weight of Waverly on her belly and chest almost as much, if not more. It grounded her, reminded her of everything she was, everything she had, and everything she stood to lose.

She closed her eyes, basking in the gentle whirring of her Omega. No...Purgatory be damned. Nothing was pulling her away from Waverly.

Nothing.

***************

“Yes, I know, Nedley! I'm standing outside her door now, and she's ignoring me.” The tall, lean brunette rolled her eyes as she held the phone to her ear, miming Nedley’s jabbering with her other hand. “Look...you'd be ignoring me too if this was your first day off in weeks, and you were a horny Alpha with a pretty Omega!” She growled.

“Ugh, you know what...scratch that,” she huffed in irritation, rubbing her forehead in an attempt to stave off the imminent headache. God she wished she had a shot of whiskey in her, or five. “I don't want to think of her and my baby sister.” Her lips curled in a silent snarl. She liked Nicole, at least as much as she could like any Alpha fucking her baby Omega sister.

“Yes, Nedley. I get it. Ok?!”

“Well something funny is happen’, and I need my..”

She hung up on him with a sigh and shoved the cell phone into her pocket with a grimace. She raised her gloved fit and pounced on the door again.

“I know you're in there, Nicole! You can't ignore me forever!” She waited a moment, moving to the window and cupping her hands around her face so she could peer in. Nothing. But Nicole's truck was out front. She shivered and rubbed her hands together, cursing the cold wind blowing across the barren landscape. Winter was coming. She snorted and turned back to the door, pounding both fists on it this time.

“I swear to fucking god, Nicole! You need to get your ass back to town! Something is up, and Nedley needs you! Now stop defiling my sister and get out here!” She grabbed the doorknob jiggling it hard with both hands. She growled when it didn’t give.

Well, there was more than one way to skin a Revenant.

She stepped back a few paces and pulled out Peacemaker, aiming at the door knob and pulling the trigger two times. She waited a beat and pulled the trigger again, smiling at the way the doorknob swung from the wood before falling to the porch floorboards with a satisfying thump.

She holstered Peacemaker and turned her back to the splintered door, crossing her arms over her chest and leaning one shoulder against the porch column. She stared out over the errant tufts of silver grass, frowning thoughtfully as she recalled Nedley’s slightly panicked call. Nedley panicking was never a good sign. And she couldn’t find Dolls or Doc. She shook her head, mentally cursing the hangover that was still clouding the edges of her mind. Oh well. Nothing knew there.

It was only another minute before the thundering of bare feet greeted her, and she turned just in time to catch a pissed off Omega, wrapped only in a sheet, from punching her in the face.

“What the hell, Wynonna?!” Waverly held the sheet tied closely over her chest, her other hand balled into a fist and propped on her hip.

Wynonna shrugged, glancing over Waverly’s shoulder at Nicole who was busy examining her now splintered door. “You didn't answer.”

She threw up her hand before Waverly could say anything else. “Look. We don't have time for your Omega hysterics. Ok? There have been three accidents around town, and they are just weird. Nedley doesn't know what to do. Ok?”

Waverly grit her teeth growling lightly. “It's her day off, Wynonna!”

Wynonna sighed, her smirk dying of her face. “I know, Waves, and I'm sorry.” She reached out and awkwardly patted Waverly’s bare shoulder.

Nicole sighed and shook her head. Figured...hell and damnation couldn't make her get out of bed, but Wynonna could. She scowled at the thought. But even hell was a little bit afraid of Wynonna.

“Ok, Wynonna. You win.” She wrapped her arm around Waverly’s waist, pulling her back into her front, “I'm sorry,” she whispered, pressing a kiss to Waverly’s temple. “I'll make it up to you I promise.”

“Yeah, uhm. We don't have time for that. Go get decent. And no hanky panky!” Wynonna shooed them away with her hands.

Waverly nodded and turned out of Nicole's grasp. “Ok, baby. I'll be right up. I just have to tell Wynonna something.”

Nicole hesitated for a moment, looking between the two sisters before she nodded, and turned back into the house, pushing the door away with a look of disgust.

Waverly turned back to Wynonna smiling sweetly at her. “First, you're gonna fix that door. Secondly…” she hauled back and punched Wynonna in the arm. Hard. She smirked when Wynonna yelped and rubbed her arm scowling at her.

“Was that really necessary, Waves?” The Alpha pouted, shocked that she hadn't seen the punch coming.

“Yes, and you know why.”

Wynonna sighed and then nodded. She waited for the younger girl to turn and walk into the house before she grinned.

“Damn. She can pack a wallop!” she muttered to the empty air, her lips twisted into a thoughtful smile. She turned and headed back to her truck, whistling under her breath, trying to ignore the unease growing in her belly.

*******************

Nicole huffed, pushing the pile of finished reports to an empty corner of her desk. Whatever Nedley and Wynonna had deemed as “weird stuff” had turned out to be a few Alphas decking each other out at Shorty’s - which wasn’t weird at all considering they’d been practically sloshing with beer.

Even though they’d said they had not been drunk, they had definitely been acting like that.

True there had been the one guy pissing on the Purgatory sign right outside town, claiming he was “marking his territory” and the mated couple chasing each other around town and the nearby woods, completely naked - but really, this was standard weird for Purgatory.

Not weird, weird .

Nicole took an absent bite of the meatball marinara sandwich she’d picked up on her way back to the precinct and pulled another sheaf of papers towards her, sighing heavily.  She could have been in bed, face buried between Waves legs, but no - Nedley had to go and convince Wynonna he’d had a hunch .

The Alpha growled low in her throat, thinking that perhaps it had all been a ploy to get her away from Waverly. On the surface Wynonna seemed to be ok with them dating, but who really knew what went on in her head anyway?

She reached up with her free hand to undo the first button of her uniform - Nedley would chew her up for it, but she felt hot - too hot as if she was running a fever. Her eyes itched and her belly twisted - weird and low - with a dull sort of pain she associated with her menstrual cycle.

And yet, there was an insistent scratching along her bones, and whenever she moved her muscles seemed to rub against her rib cage like sandpaper.

Maybe she should tell the Sheriff she felt sick and head back home for a nap - after all it still was supposed to be her day off.

“Haught!”

Nedley’s voice rang out right behind her and Nicole jumped, almost falling from her precarious perch on her stool.

“Sir? Anything happen sir?”

“Is that a meatballs sandwich?” Nedley’s eyes were fixed on her food, filled by what Nicole could only describe as bottomless hunger - less poetically known as The Munchies.

“Uh...yeah?”

“You ain’t finishing it, are you.”

Before Nicole could answer, he had snatched the container with her half eaten sandwich and retreated inside his office, slamming the door.

She stared dumbfounded, frozen in place for more than a minute before snatching her cell phone and dialling Wynonna’s number.

Her fellow Alpha picked up on the third ring.

“Something weird happened.” Nicole said hurriedly.

“Wow. No hi? No how are you Wynonna? Rude.”

The redhead rolled her eyes. “I saw you like an half hour ago. And you know what was rude? You shooting my doorknob off my door!”

“Touche,” a pause, “so what’s weird?”

“Nedley took my food.” Nicole’s stomach rumbled in protest and she opened a desk drawer, looking for a granola bar or something.

“That’s not weird. He’s a cop - cops eat a lot. What kind of food?”

“I don’t- what? Meatballs sandwich.”

Nicole heard Wynonna sigh, or give a wistful moan, she wasn’t sure. “My condolences. Still not weird.”

“Oh believe me it is. He had swiped right on Tinder,” Wynonna chortled at the other end of the line - Nicole couldn’t really fault her since everyone at the Police Station had the same reaction when they had caught him making a profile - ”and he was gonna meet this woman at the Country Fair next month. He was on a die t, Wynonna. Besides he hates meatballs marinara - says I stink up the whole office whenever I buy this sandwich - grumbles about it like you wouldn’t believe.”

There was a long pause, during which Nicole could almost hear the other Alpha think.

“Well, shit.”  

Chapter Text

The cashier stretched, glancing with longing at the clock hanging on the wall, above the posters detailing the offer of the month.

Half hour.

Half hour, and he could finally go home, crack open a cold one on his porch and finish reading that Supernatural Destiel fanfiction he’d started days ago. Not that he’d ever admit to knowing what fanfiction was.

He’d already cleaned all the aisles, taking advantage of the fact it seemed to be a slow night, swept and washed the floors and counted up the money.

The doorbell jingled and he groaned inwardly, rolling his eyes before turning towards the late customer, a fake smile plastered on his face.

Smile that turned genuine and a tad confused when he spotted the Sheriff hovering on the doorstep. Nedley never shopped this late.

“Come on in. Sheriff!” He waved in welcome, “we’re still open.”

“So sorry, Bill,” Nedley shuffled forward tiredly, looking embarrassed, “I got home from work and realized my fridge was empty.”

The cashier nodded in understanding, and watched the Sheriff waddle down the frozen food aisle. The man was still in his uniform, and it looked a bit rumpled, as if he had been sleeping in it.

Bill shook his head with a sad smile. Nedley needed to find himself a good woman, who’d feed him real food and not the frozen shit full of preservatives he insisted on eating. Perhaps he should invite him to Shorty’s one Friday, get him out and about a bit. Purgatory didn’t have much of a nightlife but the Sheriff was almost a hermit he reckoned.

They used to go fishing and hunting together, but had drifted apart over the years, and Bill thought that an attempt to revive their friendship surely couldn’t hurt.

He was brought back to the present by the rattling of an approaching shopping cart, and his eyes widened as he saw the amount of food Nedley had thrown inside. His eyes widened in surprise; usually Nedley just used a shopping basket since eating and cooking for one didn’t take up a lot of space.

“Throwing a party, Sheriff?” He asked, curious and also a bit hurt that the man wouldn’t invite him if that was the case, “that’s an awful lot of bratwurst.”

“Oh? Oh..no. Just,” Nedley shrugged, “work’s been piling up these past few days. Keep getting weird calls, so I may not have time to make another round of shopping.”

Bill nodded sagely and began to scan the Sheriff’s purchases, quickly losing count of the boxes of frozen pizza, hot pockets and tubs of ice cream. There was enough goddam food in that cart to feed the whole Precinct and then some.

He had to help the Sheriff load everything into the back of his truck, then watched as the man drove away into the night. There had been a strange light in Nedley’s eyes, almost hungry .

And he was oddly relieved as he saw the truck speed off until it was nothing but a red glow of taillights and then vanished around a bend in the road.

Nedley stared at Bill’s figure through the rearview mirror, then the supermarket disappeared from view, hidden behind dark houses and shuttered stores. He sped towards his house and when he was sure he had the road - and the night - to himself he pulled over, reaching for the bags piled high on his back seat. He rummaged, cursing when a tub of Ben & Jerry’s fell between the seats then his hand closed around a small box and he pulled it onto his lap, stomach gurgling hollowly.

He opened it and grabbed a half frozen hot pocket, ripping the package with his teeth before biting off half of it in one go.  

The sound that emerged from his throat as he chewed was half between pleasure and animal whine.

*******************

Nicole set the phone back in it’s cradle, her brow knit as she drummed her fingers on the desk. That call had just been...weird. She frowned and rubbed her head, groaning at the start of the headache that was causing her to squint against the bright overhead lights. She looked down at her notebook, re-reading all of her entries. More and more calls had been coming in about weird going-ons in town. Purgatory was weird, it always had been, but this was a different type of weird.

There had been more reports of people in the woods, caught engaging in all manner of sexual proclivities that she didn’t even want to think about. More fights had broken out, Alphas and even Betas brawling in the streets, some ruffians had trashed the billiard parlor, and someone had broken into the bakery, eating all of the chocolate donuts.

And now this...Wynonna being...well Wynonna...at Shorty’s. Which wasn’t unusual, except Clootie was with her, and by all accounts, Clootie and Wynonna weren’t friends, barely even knew each other other than to snarl in each other’s directions. Clootie might have been an Omega, but she wasn’t known for her niceties.

And Doc and Dolls were still nowhere to be found.

She groaned again as she hauled herself out of her chair, wincing at the stiffness in joints. Her stomach gurgled, and she ground her teeth at the sharp pain that pierced her guts. She put both hands flat on her desk leaning over and breathing carefully through her nose. She could feel little beads of sweat dripping down her face, and she cursed quietly realizing she must be coming down with the flu. This was so not how she had planned to spend her day.

She straightened carefully, relieved when her stomach didn’t rebel again. She opened her desk drawer, grumbling as she shuffled through the papers and pens and erasers, before her fingers closed around the smooth plastic bottle. She smiled in relief when she yanked it out of the drawer, slamming it shut with her hip. But she frowned when she realized the bottle was only half full. She twisted off of the top and swallowed the thick, pink liquid down, wiping her pink lips with the back of her hand. She tossed the bottle in the trash hoping it would do it’s job quickly and hold off the nausea and stomach pain.

She grabbed her jacket, slinging it over her shoulder, while she double checked her gun belt. She hesitated for a moment before scooping up the key in her mug and making her way to the armory’s closet. It took only a moment to open it, and she grabbed two extra clips and slipped them into the empty loops on her belt. She hesitated before shrugging and grabbing one of the tactical batons, flicking her wrist to release the spring action baton. She gave a few experimental swishes with her wrist, before clicking it closed and hooking it to her belt.

She was ready.

******************

She drove slowly through town, her eyes peeled and constantly scanning the surrounding area. The main street was mostly empty, and she was surprised what with the number of calls she had received, she had been convinced more people would be about. Although many of the calls had been about people outside of town. The town felt empty, almost desolate, and Nicole found herself shivering for no apparent reason.   She couldn’t shake a feeling of impending doom, the shadows stretching between buildings looking darker and more ominous than they had any right to despite the fact it was in fact nighttime. And there was a pinprick sensation between her shoulderblades that would not fade no matter how much she rubbed her back into her seat, as if unseen eyes were watching her progress through the empty streets, waiting for the perfect chance to ambush her.

She slowed her car and parked in front of the small clapboard pharmacy, deciding she had better pick up more Pepto Bismol and a few other items to help combat the flu. She let the car idle for a few moments, before finally turning it off. She stepped out of the car, stomping her boots and straightening her hat, while she peered out from under it, casting her gaze up and down the street. She frowned, her skin itching and prickling. It felt like a hundred eyes were upon her, but she only saw a few people on the sidewalks.

She stepped up onto the sidewalk, looking around one more time before pushing the heavy door open. The little bell at the top tinkled, and she stepped inside only to stop short and gape in surprise. There must have been over a dozen people in the small shop, milling around pulling items off the shelves. She was surprised at how many of them appeared disheveled, and she wrinkled her nose at the influx of pheromones suffocating what air was in the small shop.

She pushed her way through the crowd, nodding her head at a few of the people, surprised again when most of them wouldn’t look her in the eye. Some were muttering to themselves, as they pawed through the small bin that held small cardboard packages of allergy and sinus medications, probably about to expire.

She made her way to the second eye, only curse under her breath when she realized the aisle was empty of all pepto bismol and even antacids. She frowned and tugged off her hat, running her hand through her hair. This was unusual. She looked around for one of the techs, relieved when she saw a harried looking brunette Beta trying to reason with a young Alpha.

“Shona, hey.” She stepped up quickly to Shona who was gesturing in the air at the Alpha and pointing to his small shopping basket.

“Look, Ryan, you can’t take all of the gummy vitamins. They are children’s vitamins for God’s sake. You don’t have kids!”

The Alpha bared his teeth at Shona who stepped back hurriedly, her nose wrinkling at the acrid stink of aggressive Alpha directed at her.

Nicole growled under her breath, stepping in between the Alpha and Beta. “What’s the problem, here?”

Shona sighed and rubbed her eyes. It had been going on for the last three hours, people rushing in and demanding stomach aids and even suppressants. Most of them Alphas, a few Omegas. They’d bought out all the candy, antacids, pepto, immodium, the list when on. And normally she would be delighted at all the sales, but there had been something unnatural even frightening at the obsessive way her customers had pulled items off the shelves, hiding some of them in their coat pockets. The usual friendly banter had been missing, and the pheromones had spiked dramatically in the shop with each new arrival.

“Hi, Nicole.”

Nicole nodded and reached into the younger alpha’s basket and scooped up half of the bottles of children’s vitamins. She growled in warning when he dared to open his mouth and protest, and she shooed him away after he hunched his shoulders and scampered off.

“Whole damn town,” she muttered under her breath as she handed the bottles to Shona. “You have any pepto? My stomach is feeling a little funny. I think I’m getting the flu.”

Shona shook her head and sighed as she started to restock the shelf, knowing it probably wouldn’t do much good. She could still smell the young alpha hovering a couple aisles over. As soon as her back was turned, he’d come and grab them all again.

“Sorry. We are out of pretty much everything. Whole town is going crazy, I swear.” She looked up at Nicole, brow wrinkled in frustration. “I mean this is Purgatory, weird shit is kind of the norm, but this…” she waved her hand around, gesturing to the packed pharmacy, the people pushing against each other, barely talking except for the occasional growls...and flirting. Flirting. There seemed to be a lot of eye contact and smirks and eyelashes batting between the alphas and omegas. She wrinkled her nose. And phereomones. Way too many pheromones..

She rubbed at her nose, trying to clear out the growing stink. She tapped her fingers against her baton. “Are you going to be ok here if I leave?”

“Yeah, sure. They won’t get too feisty. They just seem to want to buy their stuff and get out.”

Nicole sighed and nodded, digging her phone out of her pocket as her stomach lurched again, reminding her yet again that she hadn’t managed to find any Pepto. She scrolled through her messages, a dopey smile stealing across her face as she looked at the cute heart gifs Waverly had sent her. But she frowned when she realized that neither Doc or Dolls had responded to her texts, they hadn’t even read them, and Wynonna had read her texts but was ignoring them. Figures. She checked her voicemail. Nothing from Nedley either.

“Ok. Well, I’m gonna go do a patrol. Look if the Sheriff comes in or you see Dolls or even Doc, could you please tell them to contact me?”

“Sure thing, Nicole.”

Nicole shoved her phone back into her pocket, pulling at her coat as she turned back and eyed the store one more time, making eye contact with some of the alphas, smirking when they avoided her stare. Good. Let them be scared.

She started toward the door, surprised when Shona suddenly grabbed her arm. She was even more surprised by the growl that burst from her chest, and she froze, her mouth dropping open in horror. “Shit. I’m sorry, Shona. I-I...I’m so sorry!”

Shona shook her head, patting Nicole on the arm. It only confirmed what she was starting to suspect. “It’s ok, Nicole. Look…” she stepped closer to Nicole, glancing around swiftly to make sure no one was taking too much interest in their conversation. “I don’t think this is the flu.” She squeezed Nicole’s arm, shaking her head slightly, sparing them both Nicole’s inevitable interruption. “I called Jeremy at the hospital. He’s a nurse in the ER. A lot of people have been coming in with some weird shit...at first they thought it was the flu...stomach pain and fevers. But then people came in with rashes and just...well acting weird.”

Nicole nodded slowly, her stomach dropping. She licked her lips, her mouth suddenly dry and itchy. So it wasn’t the flu. It was something weird. Great. “Is it dangerous? A virus? Chemical attack?”

Shona shook her head. “No one is dead or in danger of dying...but it sure as hell isn’t the flu. Jeremy said he’d keep me posted. If I hear anything. I’ll pass it on to you.” She sighed and shrugged helplessly. “It’s just…”

“Weird.”

“Weird.”

Nicole chuckled and shook her head. Yup. Weird. She said goodbye to Shona and stepped outside. She looked up and down the street noticing the growing shadows in the streets. She tilted her head up and inhaled deeply. Snow. Snow was coming. She frowned again, rubbing the bridge of her nose. Her headache loomed behind her eyes, and she knew it was going to be a long night. And she needed backup. And only one person was available. Just her damn luck.

*******************

Shorty’s was way too packed for a midweek night, Wynonna decided.

In fact it was stuffed to the rafters with people drinking and talking loudly  in the hopes to be heard over the din. None of it deterred her from making her way to the counter moments after setting boot inside the bar.

Some people simply moved aside because they associated her with trouble. And those who didn’t move fast enough, or the few Alphas looking to start said trouble she simply snarled at until they cleared a path for her.

“I was wondering when you would make an appearance.” Shorty greeted her, leaning over the counter so that she could hear, “the whole damn town seems to have decided Wednesday night is a good time as any to party.”

“I mean,” Wynonna snorted, “with all the inexplicable crap that happens around here can you really blame them if they want to soak their troubles in booze and drunken hookups?”

“I do if they try to use the pool table to do the nasty.” Shorty grumbled, pouring her a glass of whiskey, “and two people with grey in their hair. Can you imagine?”

“Blergh. I’d rather not. Gross.”

“Hey!” Shorty gave a look of fake hurt, “you’re gonna age too at some point you know.”

“Given my family’s track record, probably not.” Wynonna snatched the whole bottle of Jack from him before he could put it away, perusing the bar for a place to sit.

All tables were overcrowded except one.

“Who pissed in her cornflakes this morning?”

“Who, Ms. Stone? Been sulking in that corner for two hours and only had one margarita. Oh no Wynonna you don’t mean…”

He looked positively horrified when she started towards the table and she shot him a grin over her shoulder.

“Ever heard of female solidarity? Watch and learn, Shorty. Watch and learn.”

Wynonna swaggered up to Stone’s table, setting down the whiskey bottle with a loud rattle. She had whisked two clean shot glasses from the counter, and proceeded to fill both to the brim, pushing one towards the blonde staring daggers in her direction.

“What do you want?” The woman spat, eyeing the liquor as if Wynonna had thrown a rattlesnake in her face.

“Why so sour C. C.? Lost a client?” Wynonna shot back with a smirk. She downed the shot of whiskey and poured herself a second one, bottle clinking against the glass. It was weird, she never got the shakes until she was well and truly sloshing with booze, but she felt buzzed, as if she had been drinking for the whole night.

But she hadn’t - well, discounting the two beers she’d downed back at the Homestead.

“It’s Ms. Stone to you, Earp.” The blonde plucked at the glass fastidiously, then took a sip and set it down with a grimace. “Look at all these louts,” the lawyer hissed, “a hundred years ago they would have lined up to have me! And now? Not one fucking glance.”

“A hundred years?” Wynonna laughed - so prim and proper and yet already far more wasted than she was! - “I wouldn’t say you look that old. Just a bit… seasoned .”

Stone’s brown eyes smoldered and she opened her mouth to retaliate, but before either of them could continue with the insults, someone placed a hand on Wynonna’s shoulder, squeezing hard.

“Time to go, Wynonna:” Nicole’s voice was stern, and the Alpha almost cringed before realizing the whole bar would see. She tried to shake the redhead off, but was dragged off her chair and onto her feet so fast her head spun.

“We need to go.” Nicole snarled, a no-nonsense look plastered on her face, “now.”

“But I was having fuuuun.” Wynonna wanted to resist, but somehow her legs were moving towards the door - with no small help from Nicole’s hand pushing at her back.

“I need you on patrol with me.”

“Oh, oh! I know what happens when you and my sister go on patrol !” Wynonna managed to turn enough to poke the other Alpha squarely between her breasts, eyebrows wiggling suggestively. Nicole grunted, rolling her eyes, which just sent Wynonna into a fit of giggles.

“Wynonna, I’m serious. Weird shit is going down.”

“Ugh fine! But I am driving!” Wynonna lunged, making a grab for the car keys that hung from the deputy’s utility belt, but Nicole was faster, nimbly dodging her clumsy attempt.

Shit, she was really more drunk than she’d thought. Which was...weird. Really fucking weird. It was not small secret that the Earps could hold their liquor, all the way up until the moment they couldn’t. And she hadn’t reached that moment yet. Had she?

“Driving me insane, Earp? Because you’re managing quite well.”

“Ugh you’re a buzzkill, Haught.”

They stepped outside and Wynonna gasped, the cooler air cutting into her lungs. The street was deserted, reinforcing her impression that everyone had taken up residence at Shorty’s for the night.

“Speaking of,” Nicole walked to the car, boots crunching loudly over a suspicious amount of discarded granola bar wraps, “what were you thinking. Flirting with Ms. Stone. You know what people say of her? That she’s a witch?”

“She’s a lawyer. A snarky, insufferable, uppity, big city lawyer. Bobo Del Rey’s lawyer, true, and I am sure her rates are actually a curse, but a witch? She is so bitter she wouldn’t even manage to charm a frog.”

But Nicole’s jaw was stubbornly set, and Wynonna knew they’d argue about it all the way to wherever they were going.

Neither of them noticed the woman watching the police cruiser speed away into the night. Constance had exited from the bar’s backdoor, taking advantage of the fact Shorty was too busy serving beer to the townspeople making a bee-line for the counter.

She had taken the whiskey bottle out of spite more than a real like for the stuff - she much rather preferred Dom Perignon bubbles to the burning fire of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, but she took a long gulp anyway, trying to ignore the growing pain inside her lower belly.

It couldn’t be. It wasn’t possible. She never messed up a spell.

Bobo’s laughing face emerged from the depths of her mind, and she smashed the liquor bottle against the wall, screaming out all of her rage.

It was just the atmosphere rubbing off on her she concluded after taking a few, calming breaths. After all so many Alphas in rut had a certain reek. A reek that should have been repugnant, a reek that should have made her want to claw off her own nose. Except there was something almost tantalizing about the reek, making her nose itch and twitch. And Wynonna...the Earp Alpha...should not have smelled so warm and sharp like cheddar cheese on homemade apple pie. She shook her head. Enough.

She’d tail the Heir a while, just to make sure she wouldn’t interfere, then head back in town to enjoy the show.

And perhaps loot that nice pair of shoes she’d spotted in the mall.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 3:

Gus turned off the ignition on the old truck, but she didn’t move. She tapped her fingers on the steering wheel, replaying recent events in her mind, but they still made no sense. She chewed on her lower lip for a moment, before sighing heavily and opening the truck’s door. She winced at the old creak of the door joints and made a mental note to oil it later.

She stepped out of the truck, shivering slightly at the small wind that had picked up. She lifted her face to the stars, breathing deeply. Fall was here, and winter was breathing down her neck. She closed the door behind her with a clang, but hesitated and turned back to peer into the truck. She tugged on the door and reached inside, grabbing the rifle off the rack.

She rarely ever took it off the rack in her truck, and if asked why now, she probably wouldn’t be able to come up with a solid reason as to why she was doing it, but still she tucked the butt under her arm and made the short walk to the front porch. She stomped her feet a few times, before pushing the door open and hastily stepping inside.

She set the rifle down in the corner behind the door and toed off her boots, before slipping into the kitchen.

“Hey.”

She nodded to her older niece, “thought you were out on patrol with Nicole?”

Wynonna sighed and grimaced before raising the glass of water to her lips and sipping slowly. She hadn’t consumed nearly enough alcohol to feel this shitty. Maybe she was getting old.

“Yeah, we did a patrol. Still can’t find Nedley. Finally heard from Dolls. He’s with Doc. Said Doc is sick.” She leaned back against the counter frowning at the glass of water in her hand. “Dolls sounded….” she shrugged, “I dunno. Agitated. I mean dude always agitated, but this was different.”

Gus shook her head and opened the refrigerator door, peering inside with little interest, before closing it and leaning against it staring at Wynonna’s profile. Her older niece seemed...subdued almost, which was very unlike her. She quashed the pang of worry igniting in her belly.

“Waverly is sick. She’s acting kind of weird too.”

“Weird?” Gus straightened, the worry growing in her belly and make her slightly nauseous.

Wynonna turned and set the glass down, looking out the window over the sink. “Yeah. She’s cranky. Snappy. If I didn’t know better, I’d think she wasn’t getting laid.” Wynonna chuckled out of force of habit, knowing it wasn’t funny, but not sure how else to act. “So I decided to stay. Nicole went back out for one more patrol, then she’s coming back here for a late dinner. Told her I’d make my specialty.”

Gus snorted and rolled her eyes. “Your speciality could kill a demon, Wynonna. God knows ketchup doesn’t belong on macaroni and cheese!”

Wynonna just shrugged, “Yeah but the hot dogs in the mac n cheese makes up for it.”

Gus shook her head again, a small smile flickering at the corner of her mouth. She pushed away from the refrigerator and walked over to the cupboard, rooting around in side, pulling out different items and setting them down. “How about eggs and pancakes and bacon instead?”

“With the chocolate chips in them?”

Gus nodded, the smile twitching at her lips again. She busied herself organizing the ingredients, pulling out bowls, still too early to begin cooking, but at least she could get it set up. Besides, she needed to keep her hands busy, while she worked out what was going on.

“So anything weird happening in town?”

“Where were you anyway?”

They spoke at the same, and Wynonna smirked and waved her hand at Gus, “go ahead.”

“Anything weird happening in town?”

Wynonna stared at Gus for a moment, wondering why she would think to ask that question. She rubbed her head, the headache blooming behind her eyes. “Yeah. Plenty weird actually. Why? Where were you?”

Gus’ hands stilled, and she looked down at the flour for a moment. “I got a call from old Margy Thompson. You know how she is. Crazy as a loon, but harmless.” Gus turned and looked at Wynonna, resting her hip against the counter, and crossing her arms over her chest.

“She said…” she hesitated knowing just how stupid it was going to sound, but then again this was Purgatory. She chuckled and shook her head. “She said that there were angels fornicating on her front lawn, and could I come by and tell them to stop, else they’d get turned into demons and sent to hell.”

Wynonna sputtered and laughed, the sound loud in the small kitchen. “Oh god, how old is she now? DIdn’t they always claim she was witch or something?” She shook her head, still chuckling.

“Thing is...she wasn’t wrong. There were angels fornicating on her lawn!”

Wynonna choked on her laugh, her eyes widening, “what the actual hell!”

“Language!”

Wynonna ducked her head and nodded. “Angels? In Purgatory? I mean demons yeah, but we’ve never had any angels. We could use some,” she muttered.

Gus leaned forward, “The angels…” she chuckled, “the angels were members of the First Purgatory Church. The choir specifically. All in their angel outfits. Guess they were doing a dress rehearsal for the upcoming Christmas play.”

“But that’s months away!”

Gus rolled her eyes, “you know how they are at that church. With Linda J. Peabody in charge, everything has to be perfect, which means practicing months ahead of the big event.” Gus shook her head, “that woman is involved in every church and social event in Purgatory, but she’s meaner than a billy goat with a toothache.”

Wynonna snorted, “and was she there? Oh god! Please tell me that useless Alpha was there dressed as an angel and fornicating and engaging in all manner of sin on the front lawn!”

“Head Angel.” Gus smirked and leaned towards Wynonna again, “And she was standing tall in the front lawn, getting some pretty decent head from Josiah Crag. Guess being toothless means you give good head. And she was singing the Hallelujah chorus.”

“No!” Wynonna swatted Gus’ arm, her shoulders shaking in laughter. “Oh god. What a sight!”

“Yup. I’m never going to be able to unsee the church choir carousing and fornicating on Margy Thompson’s front lawn while dressed in white and gold angel costumes.” She nodded her head, before turning her attention back to the counter. She grabbed the package of chocolate chips and held them in her hands for a moment, weighing them. It was enough. She knew Wynonna liked more chocolate and less pancake.

“The thing is...how did they get there? There weren’t any vehicles there, just Margy’s broken down Volkswagen bus. And none of them could say how they managed to get there. I made them leave. And they were docile for the most part.” She shrugged. “Guess they got the crazy out of their systems.”

Wynonna said nothing for a long moment. “That’s what...15 miles from church to Margy’s?”

“About. I guess.”

“Jesus fucking Christ.”

WYNONNA !” Gus slammed the box of chocolate chips down on the counter, “language, or you’ll get soap instead of pancakes for dinner!”

Wynonna made a face - the horrible threat of missing out on Gus’ famous pancakes worse than facing an army of Revenants barehanded.

“What about Willa?” Gus asked after a long pause, “has she been acting up too?”

Wynonna shrugged. “Has my sister ever acted normal since we got her back?” Gus waved the box of chocolate chips under her nose, her face a thunderstorm and Wynonna relented, “haven’t gotten much out of Waverly when I came back except the usual general dislike for the situation, but no.” She rubbed her forehead surreptitiously, the headache quickly growing. Hopefully food would help. “Apparently she’s spent the day poring over the old photo albums mom put together when we were kids to see if they would jog her memory.”

As if on cue her older sister appeared, a small frown stuck between her eyebrows.

“Wynonna?” She said, half in greeting and half as a question. Her eyes had cleared a bit since they’d found her, Wynonna noticed, but there was a lingering expression of confusion clinging to her face like cobwebs.

“Yep. That’s me.” She quipped, groaning when Gus’ sharp elbow dug into her side.

“Be. Nice.” Her aunt growled out of the corner of her mouth, before she turned her attention to Willa, a genuine smile on her face. “Why don’t you come sit in the kitchen with us sweetheart? I’m about to make dinner.”

“Breakfast.” Wynonna grinned and pulled out a chair. “Come on, we can sit together and you can tell me what you think of those old photos?”

It was like drawing a curtain over Willa’s face. One moment her face had been open, lighting up like a child’s at the prospect of food, but now her eyes turned guarded and cold.

She gave Wynonna the look of a stranger and the Alpha wondered what use it was acting like nothing had happened. But Gus had insisted - it was better to tell Willa about her past and the Earp curse in small doses, so as not to frighten her while she was still obviously fragile.

Yet there was a hardness in her eyes - there for no more than a second and gone so fast that Wynonna thought she’d imagined it - and she shivered.

“I…” Willa hugged herself and shuffled awkwardly, “I don’t want to talk about that if it’s ok?”

“Then the both of you can set up the table while I cook.” Gus swept in providentially.

“Splendid.” Wynonna groaned and rolled her eyes, but she was already moving to obey with Willa in tow. “I so love doing chores.”

*******************

Nedley woke with a groan.

He blinked, the hazy shapes surrounding him resolving into the interior of the cabin he rented when he wanted to go fishing and groaned again, just to make a point.

The point being that his whole body fucking hurt . Something was digging into his back - a box? - and he was sprawled out on the floor in front of the small fireplace for a reason he couldn’t quite recall.

He turned his head slowly - firstly because moving any faster sent a wave of nausea rolling over him - and secondly because his mind was working strangely, his head stuffed and ringing as if he was running a cold and fever combo.

His eyes found the window and the sun, which hung lazily above the treetops, told him it was late in the afternoon.

“Fuck.” He tried to recall what he’d done after leaving the supermarket the night before and drew a blank. Had he just lost an entire day?

He shakily pulled himself to his feet, his head throbbing and his belly rolling. He stared around at the mess in front of the fireplace, the mess he had apparently been sleeping in: empty boxes of ice cream, torn burrito wrappers, at least two pizza boxes, one with two slices of pizza still in it, resting in a puddle of cold grease and melted cheese.

He shook his head and scratched his belly, wincing as his fingers scraped across paper. He sighed and pulled the yellow and red wrapper that had been stuck to his belly. McDonalds. Double cheeseburger. Except the nearest McDonald's was thirty miles away. He shook his head again, letting the wrapper to fall to the floor.

That was when he noticed he was only in his boxers, and there appeared to be a sticky mess on his legs. He reached down and gingerly touched it, wincing at the way his fingers stuck to the substance. He raised his fingers to his nose and inhaled...Grape. He smiled in relief. Grape...probably one of the grape popsicles that must have come out of the crushed box he had been laying on.

He shuffled his way out of the mess, wincing at the bright sun pouring through the curtains. His fingers felt thick and clumsy as he drew them, wrenching hard and cursing as the curtains refused to slide correctly on their rings. It took too many moments to block out the sun, and he was still left wondering what was wrong with him.

He scratched his head, wincing at the smell from his body. First order of business was a shower. He picked his way across the room, his gaze falling on the old answering machine next to the phone. It was an old rotary phone, a dark polished maroon color. It was a dinosaur in the age of the new fangled computer phones, but he liked it. There was something reassuring about the solid weight of the handle in his palm.

Thirteen messages. He stared at the blinking light. He’d never had thirteen messages before. Only a few people even had this number: the Mayor, Officer Haught, and the Earps. The only people he ever felt he could actually trust in this crazy town. Although, as he started at the light, it occurred to him that maybe he should also give the number to Doc and Dolls. Although, Doc seemed to hate technology about as much as he did, so he wasn’t sure the man would bother to ever call anyway.

His finger hesitated over the Play button, unsure as to what unholy hell he was about to release by pushing it. He glanced over his shoulder, staring into the small living room. It was like a bear had rampaged through it looking for food. One chair was upended, all the cushions had been thrown off the old couch, a busted lamp. He’d hated that lamp anyway. And...oh there were his pants draped over the antlers of the buck he’d mounted over his fireplace mantle.

He hit Play.

Sheriff, I’m sorry to bother you, but you aren’t at your office, and you aren’t picking up your cell phone. I even stopped by your house, but no one has seen you. I hope you’re just catching some fish, but honestly...something weird is going on in town. Really weird. Call me please.

Office Haught. She was a good officer, strong and dependable, not prone to panic. He nodded and pushed the forward button.

Sheriff, It’s me again. Stopped by your office and house again. Bill said he saw you yesterday evening, you stopped by and uh….

He stared down at the machine...Bill….Bill? Yeah, he’d seen Bill. He could hear the hesitation in her voice, and he scowled wondering what was wrong, why she was holding back what she was trying to say. He scratched the back of his neck. Bill...why had he been in to see Bill? His memories were hazy and out of focus.

...um...you bought a few things? I thought you were on a diet? *Weak chuckle* *Pause* … I’m sorry, Sir, that was impertinent. But things are getting weirder here.

Now he remembered.

Nedley, where the fuck are you? This town is getting weird as fuck! And Nicole is looking a little stressed. She also doesn’t look too good...like maybe she’s coming down with something. Fuck everyone is.

He cocked his head, listening for what Wynonna wasn’t saying. Her breathing was funny, and she sounded sober. Mostly sober. He rubbed his forehead, his head ached was building, and he could feel the nausea building. He really needed some tylenol and an entire bottle of pepto. And a shower. A cold shower. His skin hurt like he’d been sunburned.

….Seriously, Nedley...I think...I think something is wrong. Lots of reports of people doing crazy things...people fucking in the woods. Which you now...good on them. Too many people got sticks shoved up their asses in this town. *Laughter* You’d better get back here. We need you.

The last part must have been hard for her to say. He chuckled. He liked Wynonna, and he liked to think she liked him too, but admitting to needing someone...that just wasn’t her style. The only person she needed was Waverly.

Sheriff? It’s Waverly? Sheriff, I hope you are ok? Are you ok? No one can find you, and I...I...I’m worried. Please come back.

Typical Waverly...concerned about him. It made him smile, and he ignored the rest of the messages. Turning into the kitchen to grab a bottle of tylenol and then a shower. He stopped at the sight in front of him...glasses and plates all over the counter, the freezer door above the refrigerator hung open. He cautiously peered inside. Nothing but a few pieces of ice.

“What the hell?” He closed the door and looked around, seeing the empty food boxes in his trash can. Piled up around his trash can. He shook his head and kicked a few out of the way, opening the cupboards until he found the bottle of tylenol.

He grabbed it and shook out three and then hesitated before shaking out two more. What the hell, it was the biggest headache he’d ever had. He shoved the bottle back into the cupboard, his fingers scraping against something. He fumbled for a moment before pulling out a family size of box of Cheeze-Its. Unopened.

He could feel his mouth fill with saliva, and heat curl in his belly. His hands shook, and his eyes glazed over. He forgot all about the blinking red light on his answering machine, the dozens of empty food boxes, and Waverly’s call for help. He forgot about everything but the hunger that seized his muscles and made him whine and shake.

He tore open the Cheeze-Its.

************************  

Wynonna tossed and turned, right on the edge of sleep. With an annoyed huff, she kicked the sheet she’d used to cover herself to the foot of the bed. It was drenched in sweat like the rest of her, even though the night was not hot enough to justify the sweltering heat slithering along her bones.

The Homestead was quiet around her, save for the occasional creaking of old wood. The house breathed , or so Gus was fond of saying, moaned when the high winds battered it in the fall, and sighed as it settled in the middle of summer.

Wynonna had grown up with these sounds around her, and she’d never been scared of the old ranch, not even as a child. After Ward died (after she killed him) and they had sent her away, the absence of noise at night had almost driven her mad. The padded cells of the mental health institution she’d been confined to for a time absorbed all sound, until the roar of one’s own thoughts became deafening.

Everyone else was asleep. Waverly had barely pecked at her food, before going outside to sit despondently on the front steps. When Nicole had come back, tired and in a foul mood, the couple had vanished upstairs after a rushed goodnight, leaving Wynonna to clean up with Gus and Willa.

All of them had been sort of maudlin, their conversation muted and snappy, and, one after the other they had followed Waverly’s and Nicole’s example, retreating to their respective rooms.

She turned again, biting a groan into her pillow before she grabbed it, and, in a flash of anger, threw it against the far wall.

Her aim was off, and the pillow hit the window instead, making the panes vibrate softly.

“Ugh.”

Wynonna got up, planning to walk off the tension she felt building inside. Throwing the pillow had been childish and would not help her sleep, but maybe she could open the window and let in a bit of fresh air while she worked off some of her extra energy.

She grunted as she pulled up on the window, cursing under her breath as the sharp scrape assaulted her ears. Sweat broke out on her hairline, and she cursed again, grimacing at the way her hair was starting to stick to her forehead. She heaved again, sighing in relief when the window shook in the base and slammed to the top.

“About fucking time,” she muttered under her breath. She groaned as she let herself sink to the floor, wincing as she tried to find a comfortable spot on the faded carpet. She leaned her arms on the windowsill, breathing in as deeply as she could, holding the air in her lungs, before letting it out in a whoosh.

Her head hurt, and her skin felt hot. Hotter than it should have been, since it was relatively cold outside. She stared out across the lawn, the silver blades of grass glowing in the rising moonlight. It was beautiful in an almost perverse way. So much blood lived under the grass, entangled in its roots.

She shook her head, slumping into the windowsill, wishing she’d grabbed a pillow, but too tired to bother to heave herself to her feet and find one. It was peaceful here, in the quiet of the night, under the slumbering moon. She would just sleep here.

CRACK

She stiffened, freezing in place, her eyes raking across the yard, nostrils flaring as she searched for the intrude. She barely breathed, her fingers carefully wrapping around the handle of Peacemaker. It had become second nature to carry it with her everywhere she went, even when she got up to pee at night.

“Waverly, oh Waverly

I miss you - uhhhh

Your eyes shine bright as the light of the mooo -uhhhn

“You have got to be fucking kidding me,” she snarled under her breath as Champ walked around the side of the barn and into view, strumming a guitar almost as broken as the sound of his voice.

Waverly, oh Waverly

I need you - uhhhh

So tonight, oh baby please lemme come back with you - uhhh

She leaned out the window, trying not to shout at him and wake the rest of the household, although, she wasn’t sure they wouldn’t be awake soon anyway, since he sounded more like a screaming cat, and less like a man singing.

“What the fuck are you doing here, Champ?” SHe waved her hand in the air. “You know what...it doesn’t matter. Shut the hell up before you wake everyone!”

“But I miss her, Wynonna,” he whined.

“Oh my god. You fucking idiot,” she hissed. “It’s two am, Champ, get the fuck off my property. And stay away from Waverly.”

“Is he drunk?”

Wynonna jerked and turned her head quickly to throw a glance behind her, relaxing when she saw Gus and Willa standing in the doorway.

“Sloshing.” She turned her attention back to Champ who was plucking away at his guitar again moving slowly towards the porch.

“Hey. Don’t even. Get the hell away from the porch! Do not make me come down there, Champ!”

“Please Wynonna! I miss her! I am less of a man without your sister!”

Wynonna snorted, “Hardly. You weren’t much of a man to begin with.”

Gus rolled her eyes and elbowed Wynonna in the shoulder, as she peered out the window.

“What? It’s true!” muttered Wynonna as she rubbed her shoulder, sulking quietly, while Willa chuckled from behind her.

“Th-that really hurts, Wynonna.” Champ sniffed and rubbed at his eyes, tears starting to roll down his cheeks. His belly hurt, and sweat was breaking out across his skin despite how cold it was.

“Why do you have to be so mean to me, Wynonna?” He sniffed and rubbed his eyes harder with his fists.

“He seems...dumb.”

Wynonna laughed as Gus glared at Willa who just shrugged. “Look at us agreeing on something, sis. And yes, he is dumb.”

“Champ, I think it’s time to call it a night. I’m going to call your dad to come pick you up.”

“I don’t need my dad, Gus! I just need Waverly.”

Gus sighed and shook her head, before turning and heading downstairs to call Champ Senior. “Just glad Nicole and Waverly are sleeping through this.”

“Oh Waverly, my Waverly, my lovely Waveeeeeeeeeerloooooooooooy!!”

“Did...did he just howl?”

Wynonna groaned and nodded, letting her gaze slide briefly over Willa who had moved up close behind her. The hair on her arms stood up slightly, and she ignored the unease in her belly. There was something about Willa...something she didn’t quite understand. Sometimes she looked at Willa and wondered who she was really seeing. She couldn’t see the girl she’d known in Willa. But she supposed that was neither of their fault.

“He isn’t very good at that guitar, is he?”

Wynonna winced as Champ started plucking at the guitar strings again, no apparent melody in mind, or any particular talent.

“Oh look. He’s going to sing again…”

Wynonna shook her head, her hand wrapping tightly around Peacemaker. “Nope.”

She raised it and pointed it at Champ.

“I’m done asking, Champ. It’s time for you to leave.”

“B-but, Wynonna...I love her!” He whined.

“Nope. You have until the count of three, Champ.”

“Waverly is mine, Wynonna!” He snarled, anger building quickly in his chest. He jerked the guitar strap from off his shoulder and flipped the guitar in his hand like a bat.

“Three.”

Willa jumped at the roar of the gun, one hand wrapped around the side of the windowsill, knuckles completely white as she stared at the smoking gun in Wynonna’s hand.

“Is...is...that…” She reached out her hand, fingers almost making contact with the barrell.

But Wynonna wasn’t listening, her eyes trained on the screeching Champ as he stared at his shattered guitar. Peacemaker had blown a hole bigger than his fist into the cheap wood, and it was barely hanging by a string.

Wynonna barely heard the pounding feet from down the hall, but she didn’t turn, knowing it was Nicole with Waverly hot on her heels. She could hear Gus yelling from downstairs, and she was vaguely aware of Willa staring at her.

Waverly is mine, Wynonna! She felt cold. Heavy. Anger burned in her bones. Over her dead body.

“You shot my guitar, Wynonna!” He sobbed as he threw it to the ground, the last string snapping back and hitting him in the leg.

“You didn’t even count to three!” He hopped around on one leg, face bright red and swollen from tears.

Waverly is mine, Wynonna!

“Get. The. Fuck. Off. Our. Property. Now.” She could barely breathe, and her hand shook. She set Peacemaker on the windowsill and pushed herself to her feet, before grabbing the gun and pushing past Willa, who still said nothing, simply stared.

***********************

Wynonna sighed as she stepped into the old tub, turning the knobs back and forth as she tried to find a temperature that worked. More often than not the old pipes and water heater simply didn’t do the job, and she was left with something that felt a little too lukewarm. But tonight, she turned the water to cold after fiddling with the knobs for a little too long.

She was exhausted and having trouble reigning in her temper. More than usual for her. She’d almost beat Champ with what was left of his stupid guitar by the time Nicole got out to the front yard to stop her. Only Gus’ yelling at her, and Waverly’s hands on her shoulders had managed to hold her back, but she’d felt so….out of control. She’d never liked Champ, but normally he didn’t make her want to bash his head in.

And shooting his guitar might have been extreme, but his words still rang in her head. She could still see the way his lips twisted over his teeth when he said it, the way his eyes had burned deep in their sockets. No, shooting the guitar hadn’t been extreme. But she’d wanted to shoot him. But she’d never seen him like that before.

She sighed and grabbed the washcloth and small bar of scented soap, lathering up quickly. The entire incident had been weird. While Champ was an idiot and prone to do act like an entitled punk, it had still been out of character for him. She’d expected him to be drunk, except he wasn’t. He was sober. Cold sober, which just made the entire thing even more weird.

It had taken a while to get him to leave, his loud wet sobs echoing in the night as he’d finally driven away loudly proclaiming his love for Waverly. It made her want to laugh...except it didn’t. Thankfully Nicole had taken Waverly back to her house, just in case he showed up again.

She leaned her hand against the tile under the shower head, head hanging low as her eyes blurred from the water dripping down her face. Her skin felt hot and dry. She turned the knob all the way to cold, but still she could feel the heat simmering under her skin, scratching at her. She shifted her legs, her feet dragging heavily back and forth on the tub floor. She growled under her breath, her stomach twisting as the first wave of pain hit her.

“What the fuck,” she hissed as she dropped the washcloth and soap. “Oh god! Fuck!” She snarled and pressed both hands against the tile, trying to straighten her legs and lock her knees against the pain twisting in her gut.

The muscles in her back bunched and her fingers curled, and she whimpered, her teeth unable to hold back the snarls and whimpers that fell past her white lips. It was too early. Months early. And it felt different this time...like it had the first time when she didn’t understand what was happening as her body twisted and her tongue swelled, and her skin burned.

Rut.

Except it was still too early. She shook her head, raising her face, trying to concentrate on the way the drops battered at her. She could feel it, could feel the swelling, the way her muscles tightened and then expanding. It felt like her flesh was splitting, and she bit her lip hard. Too hard.

She didn’t notice the crystalline drops of red that melted in the water as it washed down the drain. Instead she stared down between her legs, her mind reeling at the sight of a dick. Her dick. Her Alpha dick.

“What the actual fuck?” She slapped at the tiles, her wet palms skidding across the coarse grooves. She didn’t need to worry about rut right now while the town was going to hell. She slapped at the knobs, growling until they finally turned the water off.

She stumbled as she scrambled out of the tub, her limbs too gangly and weak, like a new foal’s. She dug around in her pants, smiling when she finally managed to pull the phone free. She hesitated knowing it was late, but this couldn’t wait. She fired off the first text.

Wynonna, the Demon Slayer: You awake?

HaughtShot: Unfortunately

Wynonna, the Demon Slayer: Something weird happened

She hesitated for a moment and then shrugged. A picture was worth a thousand words. It took a few seconds to get the angle correct.

HaughtShot: What the hell, Wynonna?! Did you really just send me a dick pic?

Wynonna, the Demon Slayer: Yeah. My dick.

HaughtShot: It’s 2:00 AM, I do not want to talk about your dick.

Wynonna, the Demon Slayer: I think I’m in rut

HaughtShot: It happens

Wynonna rolled her eyes.

Wynonna, the Demon Slayer: Yeah. But it isn’t supposed to happen for another two months.

She waited. But nothing. She stared at the phone, waiting for the little dots to appear, and she growled and slapped the sink counter when long moments passed and still nothing. Five and then ten and then fifteen minutes, until she saw the dots appear.

HaughtShot: Oh Goddess….I have one too. Neither Waverly or I have been feeling well, but our heat and rut are months away. I just thought we were getting the flu. It’s way too early for rut.

Wynonna, the Demon Slayer: Send me a picture.

HaughtShot: Absolutely not. *Frowny Face*

Wynonna laughed. She knew Nicole wouldn’t send one, she just liked to poke at the deputy.

Wynonna, the Demon Slayer: Do you think this has anything to do with the weird shit happening the last few days?

HaughtShot: Goddess I hope not. We aren’t equipped for the town to go crazy while Nedley is missing and we are in Rut.

Yeah… She stared at her phone for long moments, before finally telling Nicole to take some suppressants and go back to bed. She set the phone down and continued to stare at it, her fingers tapping on the counter. She shifted and winced. It always took a little getting used to. She licked her lips and looked down between her legs. Her belly ached.

“Oh. Yay. A boner. Exactly what I don’t need.” She grabbed her phone and picked up her clothes, heading to her bedroom. She would need to take care of it before trying to sleep, but her skin still felt hot and her head stuffy. Sleep wouldn’t come easy if at all.

She sighed and wrapped her hand around her cock, squeezing it lightly, letting her thumb slide along it. She shivered slightly at slight tingle that skated along her nerves. She stared down at herself, lips twisted into a frown. It was way too early. What could have triggered it.

“Yeah...boner town. Ugh.” She sighed and closed her eyes, moving her hand slowly up and down, enjoying the building warmth. She let her mind wander, mentally running through the list of single omegas who might be down to fuck an alpha who went into rut early. An Earp Alpha at that.

She sighed, a smile twitching at her lips as she imagined the feel of lips pressing against her belly, a hot tongue wrapping around the head of her cock, lips closing gently around her, sucking just enough to make her stand on her tiptoes.

She whimpered, her hand moving faster. Tumbling blonde hair, glistening plump lips, bright red lipstick rings on her cock, high heels and slim ankles, a voice like a bastardized angel, and a poison smile.

“Fuck!” She whimpered as she felt herself spill over her hand. She hadn’t even been aware of the buildup, hadn’t realized she was so close. She stared in dismay at her sticky hand.

“You have got to be kidding me,” she muttered as she shook her head and cleaned herself.

She yawned and shuffled off towards her bedroom. Her nerves slightly less frayed, but her limbs still aching. Nothing felt right. Everything was...off. Everything here at the Homestead, in town, explained ruts and heats...

“...not equipped for the town to go crazy...town always going crazy...except this is weird crazy...and we’re headed into rut….” she stopped. Hand on the door to her bedroom.

“Fuck.”