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From Hell to Purgatory

Chapter Text

1890, Nevada

"Fuck'n...fuck."

Wynonna ran a hand through her hair and looked down at the body in the casket.  Her sister's lifeless eyes looked up at the sky, blood congealed around the whole framed perfectly in the center of her forehead.  She knew that this was going to happen.  It was only a matter of time.  She took the flask out of the inside pocket of her jacket and took a swig.  As the cheap liquor made it's way into her stomach she made a face.

"Here's to you, sis," she said before taking another swig that went down considerably easier.

How long had it been?  Ten years?  More?

"So this is your sister?" the scrawny undertaker who had lifted the rough lid off the coffin asked.

"Yep," Wynonna answered putting her flask back in her pocket, "That's her alright."

She never thought their reunion would be like this.  But nothing in her life had really gone the way she expected.  After her father died, Wynonna was taken away and put in a loony bin, leaving both of her sisters behind.  At one point Waverly had written her and told her Willa had taken off too.  Neither of them really knew where.  But as soon as Wynonna was of age and checked herself out of the sanitarium, she made it her mission to find her.  She just never realized that this was how it was going to turn out.

"Fucking Willa," she said under her breath.  

Rolling her shoulders, she leaned in closer to the casket and began to pat her sister's pockets.  Empty...empty...money, okay she'd take that...belt and-perfect.  Wynonna took the gun out of Willa's holster and held in reverently before her.

The undertaker cleared his throat and her eyes landed on him.  "It's unsavory to steal from the dead."

Wynonna put the gun in her holster and shrugged.  "Yeah?  Well it's really fucking unsavory to charge people to take pictures with my sister's dead body too.  Isn't it?"  The undertaker stuttered and Wynonna had him around the collar before he even realized it.  "I'm taking my sister with me," she said inches from his face, "and if I ever see one of those little souvenir photos you had no problem selling, I'll rip your balls out through your throat.  You hear me?"  The undertaker just nodded feverishly.  "Good.  Now help me tie the coffin to the horse."

***

"Wait, what do you want me to do?"

Wynonna knocked back her third shot and made a popping sound with her mouth.  "I need you to go to Purgatory with me," she said matter-of-factly, "And keep an eye on my sister."

Nicole raised an eyebrow at the dark haired woman as she nursed her beer.  "And...why do you need me to do that?"

"Classified info, Nicky," Wynonna said gesturing to the bar tender to bring her another drink.

The red head frowned and shook her head.  "Classified from...who?  It's just you, Wynonna.  You've made that abundantly clear."

"It's classified because I said so," Wynonna said, but not before winking at the barmaid that brought her her drink.  Nicole sighed and leaned back in her chair, looking over the woman in front of her.

"And what makes you think I don't have better things to do?"

Wynonna snickered and propped her feet up on the table between them.  "Because I know you don't.  Plus, it would be like a favor.  For old time's sake."

"Well maybe I don't want to remember the old times," Nicole said draining the rest of her beer as a cloud came over her face.  Wynonna looked at her for a moment.  She felt bad for the...situations she had brought Nicole into before.  They had met, of all places, when Wynonna was being (wrongfully) arrested by her in one of her attempts to find Willa.  She had heard something about a gang robbing a bank and went to intercept.  Just because she heard it was the gang Willa had been running around with and, surprise, it wasn't.  Thankfully it only took one night in jail to clear things up.  Which actually worked out in the end since she actually had a bed for the night.  

Nicole was a bounty hunter, for lack of a better word.  So when Wynonna convinced her to tag along on the hunt for Willa with the promise of letting her take the reward money, she gladly accepted.  She didn't have to know that Wynonna had never planned on letting her keep any sort of reward because she was never going to let her sister go to jail.  They needed her back in Purgatory.

After one...particular incident, the two parted ways.  It wasn't too long after that that rumors of Willa's death began to circulate.  Killed in a fucking bar brawl.  Wynonna thought that was always how she would go out.  Now she knew she was on borrowed time.  They were at least three days ride from Purgatory and Wynonna didn't know how many things were going to come looking for Earps.

"Nicole," Wynonna said seriously, taking her boots off the table and leaning closer to the other woman, "if I could do this on my own, I would.  You know me well enough to know that."  She chewed on the inside of her cheek, fingers tapping nervously on the shot in front of her.  She couldn't leave her baby sisters safety to chance.  She couldn't let her pride get in the way.  This time.  "I'm really asking for a favor here.  Plus, is it really that much of a favor, per say, if you're being paid handsomely?"

Willa's pouch of money landed on the table between them, the weight apparent in the thud.  Nicole looked at it and back up at Wynonna across from her.  "For how long?"

Wynonna tilted her head as she thought and shrugged, "A couple of months.  And that's just an advance.  You'll get more."

"When?"

"Later."

Truth be told, she didn't know how long it would take to make sure Waverly was safe.  To defeat the people who would be searching for them.  But she also knew that once she got Nicole on a job, she wasn't going to leave until it was done.  She was reliable that way.  Or whatever.

Nicole squinted at Wynonna for a second as if trying to figure her out, trying to see if she was telling the truth.  With a resigned sigh, she reached over and slid the pouch closer to her.  Wynonna smiled in triumph.  "I knew I could count on you, Nicky."

"First rule, don't call me Nicky."

Wynonna took her shot and slammed it town on the table as she stood up.  "You got it, Nicky," she said with a teasing wink, "And thanks for the drinks tonight.  Eh?"  She stood up and began walking away.  "We leave at dawn tomorrow!"

***
California

Wynonna stretched out on her sleeping blanket and looked up at the stars.  They would be making it into Purgatory tomorrow and part of her was itching just to finish the journey tonight. But she knew that crossing the line of the Ghost River Triangle at night was not the best idea. Plus she didn't want to freak Waverly out by popping in unexpected.  She hadn't seen her sister in...too long.  Years.  Last she saw her she was just barely going through puberty.  Still running around the fields and scrapes on her knees.

"Does your sister know we're coming?" Nicole asked from the other side of the fire.  She had made sure she was as far away from the coffin carrying Willa’s body as possible. Wynonna had been tempted to try and spook her somehow that night but figured she’d probably end up with the barrel of a gun to her head if she did. Wasn’t worth it.

The brunette propped herself up on her elbow and looked through the flames at the other woman.  "Not really."

Nicole raised an eyebrow at her.  "So she doesn't know I'm supposed to be protecting her?"

"Definitely not," Wynonna said adjusting her bed roll, "And she's not going to find out."

"Why's that?"

Wynonna sighed and threw a stray stick into the fire.  Why couldn't Waverly know?  Because she didn't know about the curse?  Because she would throw a fit if she found out Wynonna had hired her a keeper? 

"Because she just...can't.  Because I say so."

"That's not good enough, Wynonna," Nicole said taking off her hat and setting it next to her.

"Sure it is."

"It's not," Nicole said with a fire in her voice, "It hasn't been good enough since Calico and it's sure as hell not good enough now."

The mention of their time in Calico made Wynonna falter and she flopped over on her back, trying to continue with her carefree attitude.  The guilt gnawed at her stomach but she pushed it away.  "She can't know because she can't know she's in danger.  Not yet.  Not until I figure out how to...get her out of danger.”

That seemed good enough for Nicole who arranged her own bed roll and laying down on it.  "You don't even know what you're supposed to do?"

"Are you surprised?" Wynonna said with a sigh. 

"I'm constantly surprised by you," Nicole said flatly. 

Wynonna smiled teasingly across at the red head. "Aw, Nicky. Here I thought you were still mad at me."

"I don't think I'll ever not be mad at you," she answered, only half joking. It was their dynamic, it always had been. You couldn't start off being arrested by someone and not have a little bit of an edge to your relationship.  Despite this, Wynonna was dumbly devoted to the other woman.  She would never admit it, but she had been her only constant companion for the years she'd been gone and it was hard not to be devoted to the person you were pretty sure you owed your life too.  Again, not that she would ever admit it. 

"Hope you're prepared for the warm welcome that's coming my way when I walk into the old hometown," Wynonna said as she arranged her bag under her head like a pillow. 

"Oh, if it's anything like the welcome you get in other towns, I'll never be prepared," Nicole said sarcastically. 

***

It only took a couple of hours to reach the edge of the Ghost River Triangle the next morning. The border wasn't specifically marked out in anyway since most of the people living in it didn't even know it was a thing. But she knew that she had reached it when her horse stopped abruptly.  She could also feel it in her bones, something deep inside. 

"Why are we stopping?" Nicole asked coming up behind her. 

Wynonna adjusted the reigns in her hand and kept one hand on her thigh close to the butt of her gun. "We're crossing the border.  Weird shit always happens at the border.  Especially to Earps."

She nudged her horse forward and they crossed into the Ghost River Triangle, Nicole following. The sound of Willa’s coffin dragging behind her horse didn’t offer the kind of stealth she had hoped for. Her hair stood on edge as soon as they crossed the border. Wynonna could practically feel the questions from Nicole about to come out of her mouth but she held up a hand to shush her as they moved forwards. She needed to listen for any sort of disturbances.  

She heard a snap somewhere and her horse threw her head back a little. "Whoa, Whiskey," she said quietly.  Her hand rested on the butt of Peacemaker and she heard another snap to her left, but turned too late.  The wind was knocked out of her lungs when she hit the ground and she realized that her boot was caught in the stirrup.  Whiskey whinnied and reared up on her hind legs. Wynonna looked up to find whoever...whatever had knocked her off her horse and saw nothing. 

"Wy!" she heard Nicole shout.  

Peacemaker was laying a few feet away from her and she reached for it just as something spooked Whiskey and she began to gallop.  Her knee twisted painfully and she cursed. Luckily Nicole grabbed the reigns before she could be dragged too far. 

"What the fuck was that?" Nicole asked as Wynonna took her foot out of the stirrup.  

"Fuck if I-"

She was hit again from the side just as she stood up, her knee reminding her it was hurt as she hit the ground. She turned and punched blindly at whatever was on top of her, connecting with what felt like a human face.  At least there was that. 

With an oof, the other person rolled off of Wynonna and she rolled on top of them, pinning them down between her thighs. Her fist connected with their face again and Wynonna grabbed them by the collar. The man below her was practically snarling up at her as if he was rabid. Nicole was by her side in an instant, the barrel of her gun pressed against his temple. 

"What do you want?" Wynonna asked him through her teeth. 

The man laughed maniacally and took another swing at the brunette, knocking her off of him. Nicole kicked him in the ribs, putting her boot on his chest to keep him down  with her gun still trained on his forehead. 

"You better answer her question," Nicole said lowly.  

Wynonna jumped to her feet as soon as she rolled away and ignore the pain in her knee as she searched for Peacemaker. She saw it lying a little further away and rushed (limped) over to it. 

"I'm here for the heir," the man said, tongue darting out between his teeth. 

"The heir?" Nicole asked lowly.  He struggled to get up but Nicole dug her boot more into his chest. "You even try to get up and this bullet will be right between your eyes. 

"Like that could hurt me, little girl," he said before grabbing for it. Nicole shot and got him right between the eyes and he fell lifeless. Nicole waited a beat before taking her boot off of him and looking over for Wynonna. 

"What's this talk of the heir-"

The man jumped to his feet just as Wynonna grabbed Peacemaker and held it towards him. 

"Don't you dare take a fucking step towards her," she said cocking the hammer back. The man held his hands up in surrender and snarled at her. Nicole slowly backed up until she was standing next to Wynonna. "The heir is dead."

His eyes turned black, strangely shaped scars lighting up on his forehead and neck as he stared down Wynonna. Peacemaker's barrel began to glow and Wynonna tried not to look shocked by this turn of events. The handle felt warm in her hand, almost as if it was vibrating. 

"Revenant," Wynonna said under her breath. 

"One Earp down, two to go," he said. 

Wynonna stomped closer to him and pressed Peacemaker directly to his forehead. The flesh crackled and popped as if it was being burned. The revenant screamed in pain and Wynonna growled out. "Who killed my sister?"

"It wasn't only revenants that wanted her dead, sweetheart," he gritted out in pain. 

Wynonna pulled the trigger, jumping back as a large, fiery hole opened up on the ground. The blood curdling scream of the revenant got louder as he sunk down as if he was going directly into the ours of hell.  When the hole closed up, it was silent again for a moment as the two digested what had just happened. 

"What. The hell.  Was that?" Nicole asked, eyes wide, "What was he talking about? The heir? And what was happening with that glowy gun thing?!"

"That," Wynonna said putting her gun back in the holster, "was what you're protecting my baby sister from."

"A demon from hell?!"

"Basically," Wynonna said with a shrug. She walked over to Whiskey and swung herself back onto her back. She could ignore the pain in her knee for now. At least until they got into town. Nicole got back on her own horse, looking shell shocked as they began to ride again. It only took about five minutes before she piped up again.

“So back to this heir thing,” she said cautiously.

Wynonna sighed and tried to think of the briefest way she could tell her the extensive Earp history. She never spoke of it, anyone hardly did. Her Daddy had pounded it into Willa’s head and her own that the eldest would be the one to take up Peacemaker and put the Revenants back into the ground. A task that, clearly, Willa was not too keen on taking up.

“Ever since Wyatt Earp, each generation has an Earp heir who’s supposed to fight the outlaws he killed with Peacemaker. My Daddy, Wyatt’s son, was the first one. Willa was supposed to be the next but after my Daddy died she said ‘fuck that’ and took off to use her powers for bad instead. Now that she’s dead I guess I’m…kinda the heir. Or whatever.”

Nicole frowned at Wynonna. “The outlaws-…but they’re dead?”

“Yes.”

“And they…come back to life?”

“Yep. Whenever the heir dies, all the Revenants come back with the sole purpose of defeating the current heir. Real fun stuff,” she finished sarcastically.

“So you’re saying you have a bunch of ghost demons running around and trying to kill you?” Nicole asked flatly.

“What can I say? People can’t stay away from me,” Wynonna said with a grin. Nicole rolled her eyes and looked ahead where the buildings of Purgatory had just begun to appear over the horizon. To her credit, Wynonna was pretty impressed by how much Nicole didn’t freak out about the whole ‘demon’ thing. Most people would have already headed for the hills. “So this whole demon element doesn’t freak you out too much? You’re still down for the job?”

“I made a promise,” Nicole said simply, “Plus, I hung around you long enough that I’ve faced worse. I was honestly more surprised when you had the gall to come back into town and find me after two years.”

Wynonna shrugged, “I needed someone I could trust. At least…as much as I can trust someone. Mostly I just know I could kick your ass if I had to.”

Nicole couldn’t help the smirk at Wynona’s thinly veiled confession of trust as they continued their ride into town.

***

Wynonna said something about “personal business” to attend to as they came into the town and told Nicole to make herself busy for a bit while she took care of it. Usually, Nicole wouldn’t let people boss her around, but after the weird morning they had, she was more then ready to just sit and relax for a moment. Luckily the local saloon was one of the more prominent buildings in town and not hard to find.

Tying her horse to the post outside, Nicole wandered into the Saloon and began towards the bar. Her step faltered for just a moment when the barmaid turned and Nicole saw a beautiful woman tending the bar. Not that she ever expected any less, saloons were always amuck with beautiful women. But something about this one…she couldn’t quite put her finger on it.

Nicole sat on the stool and leaned on the bar with both of her elbows.  She let her eyes do a once over of the woman behind the counter and smiled when their eyes met.  The other woman blushed as she set the beer she was filling on the counter in front of her before walking over to Nicole.

"What can I get for ya?" she asked smiling politely.

The red head tipped her hat back a little and kept eye contact with the woman.  "Coffee please."

"Just coffee?" she asked with a hand on her hip.

"And your name," Nicole said with a crooked smile.  She was rewarded when the bar tender blushed even deeper and reached for a coffee cup.

"Waverly," she answered as she set the cup in front of Nicole.  She raised an eyebrow and drew the cup closer to herself.  Guess she wasn't going to be able to keep flirting with the girl like she had hoped.

"Waverly Earp?" she clarified.

Waverly nodded and began to wipe down the bar.  "The last name gives everyone pause. That’s why I tend not to use it.”

Nicole raised the coffee to her lips and let the bitter taste wash over her tongue before continuing.  She knew flirting with Wynonna’s sister was a big mistake. A fruitless one at that. There was no way that Wynona would ever be okay with this. But she really couldn’t help herself. Especially after she had already started. ”For me, only because I know your sister.” Waverly paused in her wiping down of the bar.

“Which sister?”

“Wynonna,” Nicole answered watching as Waverly visibly relaxed and hearing that name instead of Willa’s. “She didn’t say anything about you been a barmaid.”

"I'm hardly a barmaid," Waverly said putting her hands on her hips, her brow raising in a challenge.

Setting her cup back down, Nicole met the challenge.  "You're here working in a bar aren't you?  That's no job for a respectable woman."  The tone was teasing, but a genuine curiosity had taken hold of her.

She saw Waverly bristle, but the smile remained on her face.  "I work and take care of myself, I don't know what's not respectable about that."

Nicole shrugged and looked down at her coffee cup before looking back up at the brunette through her lashes. “I guess I just figured a pretty girl like you should already have someone to take care of her.”

“I don’t need anyone to take care of me,” Waverly insisted.

“I believe you,” Nicole said tilting her head to the side as she observed the other woman, “Especially if you’re anything like your sister.”

Waverly opened her mouth to respond, but something over Nicole’s shoulder caught her eye. She looked surprised for a moment then said under her breath, “Speak of the devil.”

Nicole turned around and saw Wynonna walking into the saloon. She looked around for a moment before her eyes landed on her sister and she smiled uncomfortably. She stuffed her hands into the pockets of her jacket, trying not to look scared even though it was blatantly obvious that she was. “Hey, sis.”

It only took a moment for Waverly to snap out of her shock and she practically ran out from behind the bar and threw her arms around Wynonna’s neck in a hug. The older Earp stumbled back in surprise, hands awkwardly hovering over Waverly’s back. It took a moment, but Nicole saw when Wynonna let herself give into the hug and embraced her sister. Waverly pulled back and looked at her sister for a moment, large smile on her face before grasping her again.

“Wynonna!” Waverly basically squealed, “You’re back!”

“You’ve…grown,” Wynonna said as Waverly, “I see you’ve met Nicole.”

Waverly looked back at the red head who had turned in her seat to watch the two sisters. “Um, not really,” the younger Earp said with a small smile.

“Nicole Haught,” she answered, tipping her hat and matching Waverly’s smile.

“Wait,” Waverly said looking between her sister and Nicole, “are you two….?”

“Ugh, no,” Wynonna said with a disinterested wave of her hand, “Been there, done that. Nicky here wishes she was still riding this pony.”

Nicole blushed deeply, the color rivaling her hair as she scoffed at Wynonna. “Oh, no, we never-“

“It’s okay, Nicky, don’t be embarrassed,” Wynonna said with a wink, throwing her arm over the other woman’s shoulders, “Now you weren’t flirting with my sister here, were you?”

If possible, her face got even redder and thankfully Waverly changed the subject. “How long are you here for? Where are you staying?”

Wynonna reached over the bar and poured herself a drink despite Waverly’s protests as she went back to her post. “I’m here for…a while. I actually got the old Homestead back. So I figured we could…stay there.” She shrugged, trying to play it off, but Nicole could tell from the look on Waverly’s face that it was a bigger deal then she led on.

“The Homestead?” Waverly asked almost breathlessly, “But Nedly-“

“Couldn’t resist the amount I offered him for the place,” Wynonna finished, “Plus, it helped that I had Willa’s body and I told him I was gonna bury her there whether he sold me the land or not.”

Waverly sobered, “So…the rumors are true? She’s…dead?”

Wynonna took her shot of whiskey, setting the glass back down on the table. “She was dead the moment she walked out of Purgatory and left us behind.”

“She was still our sister-“

“She was a real see-you-next-Tuesday, if you know what I mean,” Wynonna said gesturing for another drink. Waverly poured more whiskey into her glass and it was down her sister’s throat before either of them noticed. “Alright, baby girl, let’s go home.”

Chapter Text

"Wynonna, you're limping," Waverly pointed out as they walked out of the saloon and to their horses.  The older Earp just waved off Waverly's concern with a shrug.

"I just landed weird on it."

"Her horse dragged her about twenty feet earlier," Nicole clarified as she patted her horse Calamity Jane on the neck.  Wynonna shot her a look and she knew she'd hear it later, but she also knew Wynonna hardly ever tended to her injuries the way she should.  And from the look on Waverly's face, she would make sure her sister took care of it the way she needed.

"As soon as we get back to the Homestead, I'm looking at it," Waverly said with a nod.  Nicole held her smile back seeing the look of pure annoyance on Wynonna's face.  At least there was finally someone who could tell her what to do.  Wynonna swung herself onto her horse, barely covering the wince from her knee.  Nicole stood next to the horse and offered Waverly a boost onto the back of the horse.  The brunette stared at her for a moment before asking somewhat awkwardly.  "Is your name really Haught?"

Nicole smiled softly and nodded.  

Waverly just sighed an exasperated sigh and hiked up her skirt, bundling part of it around her hip to expose her high boots and just above her knees.  Nicole blushed and tried to keep her eyes straight ahead as Waverly mounted Whiskey and settled behind her sister on her own, ignoring her help.  Wynonna caught Nicole's eye and narrowed her gaze at her as the red head mounted her own horse.  Wynonna turned Whiskey and led the way out of town, Nicole following behind.  As they went through town, she noticed people staring at the two sisters.  Some in fear, most in awe.  As they passed the church, the priest actually crossed himself and clutched the cross around his neck.

It was one thing Nicole could say.  Wynonna's reputation followed her wherever she went.  Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.  Having a wanted outlaw for a sister probably did that for you.  It didn't help that trouble had always seemed to follow Wynonna around too.

Ahead of her, Waverly pulled her long hair over one shoulder and Nicole found herself staring.  Her top, though fairly modest, was still cut to expose both of her shoulders, corset tight around her waist.  It was definitely one of the less extravagant barmaid outfits she had seen over the years, but Nicole let her eyes wander along the other woman's shoulder and up to the curve of her neck.  Waverly turned and looked over her shoulder at her and Nicole tried to play it off, just nodding at the other woman.  The brunette smiled softly at her before turning back around, arms around her sister's waist as they started to pick up the pace a little to more of a gallop.

They made it to the Homestead without any incident.  Nicole slid off her horse and offered her hand to Waverly who blatantly ignored it while getting off Wynonna's horse.  The older Earp winced when she unmounted but Waverly didn't notice.  She looked up at the house reverently, tentatively putting one hand on the rail of the stairs that led up to the porch.

"It looks the same," Waverly said quietly.

"Practically down to Daddy's blood stain on the walkway," Wynonna said under her breath.  Waverly threw a look over at her sister who rolled her eyes in a pseudo apology.  "Nedly left the inside pretty much the same too.  Didn't take him long to move all his shit out.  I think he only lived in the back house."

Nicole took Whiskey's reigns and decided to give the sisters their space while they explored their childhood home.  "I'm going to take the horses to the barn.  Take a check around the perimeter," she said getting back on her own horse.

"Checking the perimeter?" Waverly asked with a frown.

"Nicole's paranoid," Wynonna said waving off her sister's concerns.

Nicole just nodded, "Super paranoid."  She waited until her back was turned to roll her eyes and lead Whiskey away from the house.  It wasn't hard to find the barn, most of the land was pretty empty.  There were some fences as if the farm had been functioning at some point, but it obviously hadn't been tended to in a while.  Luckily there was some hay in the barn and she led Whiskey to her own stall.  After giving her some hay and water, she got back on Calamity to ride around the perimeter for any signs of trouble.  After everything Wynonna had told her and what she had witnessed, she felt like she couldn't be too careful.  Besides a couple of weak parts in the fence, there wasn't anything glaring that she noticed.  

She was rounding back out closer to the main house when she noticed some movement in the house out of the corner of her eye.  She looked up towards a second story window and saw Waverly peeking out of the curtains.  Nicole couldn't help but smile up at her and nod a greeting at her.  A small smile creeped up on Waverly's face and Nicole felt her heart begin to flutter.  Suddenly a second head was in the window and Wynonna was looking down at her, making a face.  Nicole made a face back up at her and held back her laugh when Wynonna flipped her off.

***

"Wynonna!" Waverly said, scandalized as she shut the curtains quickly.

"What?" Wynonna asked flippantly as she sat hard on the bed of what used to be her old room.  She figured it still was in a way.  Nothing had changed since the day she was dragged off to the Sanatorium.  

"You can't be so rude to guests," Waverly said weakly. 

The older sister rolled her eyes. "She's not a guest. She's Nicole."

Waverly sat on the bed next to her. "Where'd you find her?" 

"She arrested me. Long story, but we're obviously okay now," Wynonna said.

"Arrested?"

The dark haired woman just shrugged it off and leaned back on her hands.  "So, tell me what you've been doing," Wynonna said as she struggled to make conversation with her own sister.  It was only her fault, she knew that.  Instead of coming back for her baby sister after she was out of the Asylum she went hunting for her other one instead.  But it's not like Waverly was going to ask about that anyways so-

"Why didn't you come back?"

Wynonna cursed to herself and cursed her sister's need to get right to the hard stuff.  Wynonna shut her eyes and rolled her neck, hoping some kind of reasonable explanation came to her head that didn't involve the curse and people trying to murder them.  "I just-...I needed to find Willa."

"But why?" Waverly insisted quietly, "Was it because of...the rumors?"

Blue eyes shot open and she looked at her sister carefully.  "What rumors?"

Waverly chewed on her bottom lip before answering.  "About the curse."

"No," Wynonna said firmly, "The only curse the Earps have is being an Earp at all."  She had decided pretty early on that she wasn't going to burden her sister with anything about the curse.  Remembering the hard hand of Ward Earp that had come down on her and Willa when he taught them about the curse...taught them about what they needed to do when the curse moved on to them...it was enough to make her want to protect her baby sister from everything about the curse.  Knowing of it was only a burden.  And Wynonna knew Waverly well enough that if Waverly knew the curse was real she would do anything she could to end it, and she needed to keep her safe, not throw her into danger.  "Who told you about this curse?"

"Gus," Waverly said, "And I don't think she's lying."

"Well she is," Wynonna said a little too defensively, "There's no curse."

"Then why did you leave?" Waverly asked softly, yet firmly.  

Wynonna looked down at her boots for a moment before turning to face her sister better.  She put her hands over Waverly's and looked her directly in the eyes.  "Trust me, I didn't want to leave.  Purgatory, yes, but I didn't want to leave you.  I needed to try and bring Willa back."

"Why?  If she's as awful as you say, why'd you have to bring her back?" Waverly asked.

Licking her lips, Wynonna wondered the same thing.  She had to bring her back to break the curse, the curse she had just denied.  "She was a criminal, Waverly," Wynonna rationalized, "The worse she did, the more likely that bad people were going to come after us.  Come after you."  She licked her lips and continued, softer.  "I spent that time away tracking her down to keep you safe."

Waverly shrugged almost sadly, "Couldn't you have kept me safe here?  I had no one, Wynonna."

"You had Gus-"

"She's not family," Waverly said with a shake of her head, "She's not you."

The older sister immediately felt her walls go up, no matter how much she told herself to just let her have a moment with her sister.  She sat silently, fighting them for a moment.  She was fighting her natural instinct to hide and run at anything that felt...that made her feel vulnerable.  It was what Ward had tried to beat out of her, her compassion.  He had succeeded with Willa, but Wynonna had barely escaped.  

"I'm sorry," Wynonna said, her tongue tripping on each word, "I...I had to leave."

"Are you staying this time?"

The earnestness and sadness in Waverly's question nearly broke Wynonna's heart.  Was she going to stay?  She had never been good at staying in one place for long.  She had never been good at confronting her problems in anyway, and Purgatory was one big problem.  Part of her felt like even if she decided to stay, the townspeople would end up chasing her out of town anyways.  It wouldn't be the first time she lied to Waverly.  And she was sure it wasn't the last.  So she mustered a small smile and nodded.

"Yes.  I'm staying."

***

"What do you think you're doing?"

Nicole jumped, gun out and pointed at the unexpected voice as quickly as she turned to face them.  Wynonna just stared back at her, leaning casually against the door frame of the barn, eyebrow raised and an amused smile on her face.  Nicole put her gun back in her holster and went back to arranging hay to make her bed.

"You almost died, Wynonna," she said with an exasperated sigh, "You should know better then to sneak up on people that just learned demons were real."

"Psh," Wynonna said, "You would never kill me, you have no other friends."

Nicole huffed, "Of course I do."

"Like who?"

"...Others."

"We traveled together for a hell of a long time and I don't remember any of these supposed friends," Wynonna continued as a sly smile crept over her face, "I remember your lady friends-"  Nicole shot her a look and Wynonna raised her hands in surrender.  "But you didn't answer my question, what are you doing?"

The red head laid her blanket down over the hay she had arranged, "Making a bed."

"I hate to break it to you, but I don't think Calamity Jane's gonna fit on that."

"For me."

"You're sleeping in the house, idiot," Wynonna said kicking some loose hay in Nicole's direction.

Nicole stood up and wiped from hay off the knees of her trousers from when she'd been kneeling.  "You getting soft, Earp?" she teased, despite her gratitude for not having to sleep in the barn with the horses.

"No," Wynonna said with a frown, "I just figured the best place for you to do your job was in the house.  Can't protect my sister from all the way out here."

"Mhm," Nicole said gathering her bag and hat, "Sure, Wy."

She patted Whiskey one last time before following Wynonna into the house.  Waverly was sitting on a chair near the hearth, barefoot with her legs curled up under her.  The light from the fire flickered and highlighted her features in a way that made Nicole stop for just a moment.  She looked up at the older woman and smiled politely, Nicole smiling back as her heart skipped a beat.  Wynona elbowed her in the ribs, successfully drawing her from her staring with a knowing look. 

"You can sleep upstairs," she said leading Nicole up the stairs.  As soon as she led her to what she assumed was where she'd be sleeping, Wynonna closed the door behind them.  She pointed a...what Nicole figured was supposed to be a threatening finger at her friend, making sure to get in her space.  "Don't look at my sister."

"I thought I was supposed to be protecting her.  Can't do that if I can't look at her," Nicole said flatly. 

"You know what I mean," Wynonna said taking a step closer, "Don't flirt with her.  That wasn't part of the deal."

Nicole raised an eyebrow and smiled a half smile. "What makes you think I'm flirting with her?"

"Because I know you."

"Jealous?"

"You wish-"

The door opened and Wynonna jumped away from Nicole. Waverly stood in the doorway, eyes darting between the two suspiciously. "Did I interrupt something?"

"No," they answered simultaneously. 

Waverly frowned at them but nodded slowly. "Okay...I was going to ask if anyone wanted tea."

"That would be great, thank you," Nicole said over Wynonna's gagging sounds. She was rewarded with a smile from the youngest Earp as she closed the door behind her. 

"See, flirting!" Wynonna insisted. Nicole just ignored her and set her bag down. She toed off her boots and sat on the bed.  

"Thank you for the room," she said choosing to ignore the brunette's comments, "It's much nicer then the barn."

"Yeah, we'll touch my sister and it's back to the barn for you."

***

After everyone retired to bed, Nicole couldn’t find it in her to sleep. The events of the day kept running through her mind as she stared up at the ceiling. The demons, this supposed curse…Waverly. Just the image of her smile was enough to keep Nicole staring off into space and daydreaming. She silently cursed the fact that she was Wynonna’s sister. She knew she would have to stop flirting with her. If she could anyways. It was something that just seemed to come so naturally around the other woman.

A scraping sound on the floor boards caught Nicole’s attention and she sat up in bed, listening carefully. She realized the noises were coming from Waverly’s bedroom next door and continued to listen. Maybe the other girl couldn’t sleep either and that’s why there was the movement so late at night. The sound ceased for a moment until she heard the door open, the sound barely audible. Nicole swung her legs out of the bed and listened as she heard soft footsteps padding down the hall.

Her job was to keep Waverly safe…and she couldn’t keep Waverly safe if she was sneaking out at night. Quickly, she slipped her trousers and shirt back on as she weighed the options. Either she respect Waverly’s privacy and stay in her room, or follow her in case someone else was doing the same. Making her decision, Nicole slipped her gun out of the holster and carried it instead of dealing with the noisy belt. She slowly opened the bedroom door and crept down the stairs just as she saw it close. In her socks, it was far quieter walk then what Waverly had done. She had no fear of Waverly hearing her following behind.

The glow of the moon thankfully gave her some light to go off of as she slipped out of the front door. Her eyes almost immediately saw the smaller woman walking near the fence perimeter. There was some sort of light in her hand and Nicole assumed it was a candle until she noticed it growing larger then any candle flame she had ever seen.

Nicole squinted, trying to get a better look at whatever was in Waverley’s hand but unable to. She snuck closer, careful to use the tree and push cover that was around the property. When she got close enough, she realized that there was nothing in Waverly’s hands but a piece of red ribbon. Nicole frowned and stared as she watched her say something quietly, so quietly that she couldn’t quite make it out. Every few seconds, the end of the ribbon would glow bright, then shrink back to glow only about the size of a flame.

“What the hell,” Nicole said barely under her breath. Demons being sent to hell and now this…whatever this was. It only took Waverly a few minutes to get around the entire perimeter, Nicole watching and listening for any danger that might be coming.

Waverly began towards the house and Nicole followed behind. Not paying attention, she stepped on a twig that snapped under her foot. Nicole froze as Waverly whipped around blindly looked behind her into the dark. She remained hidden, but forced herself to drag her eyes up from the other woman’s chest where her chemise had slipped low to reveal the tops of her breasts. Nicole held her breath, hoping that Waverly couldn’t hear the sound of her wildly beating heart over the natural sounds of the night. After a few endless minutes, turned back around and Nicole let out a soft sigh of relief. She followed her back to the house, waiting until she was inside before slipping into the house herself.

As she slipped out of her clothes once more and settled into bed, placing the gun under her pillow, Nicole found that her thoughts went back to Waverly again. To the way the moonlight shone in her hair like silver and the way that it settled down on her collarbone…the gentle slope of her neck and chest that led to the swell of her breasts…and the way her hands curved as she held that ball of light at the end of the ribbon. There was something special about Waverly Earp. Something very special.

Chapter Text

Waverly could have swore someone was following her.

She could feel it in the way the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end as she patrolled the perimeter of the Homestead.  She tried to rationalize that it was just her paranoia.  After all, she was back in the Homestead after how many years?  Fifteen?  One of her last if not only memories here was her Daddy getting shot in the back as he was dragged away by Outlaws still mad that an Earp had put them away.  Sometimes when she closed her eyes, she could still see Wynonna with the gun raised in front of her, horror on her face when she realized what she'd done.  She heard Willa's screams as she slapped Wynonna in the face and threw her to the ground.  When she took the gun from her...the crunch of bone when Willa stomped on her sister's hand...telling her she killed their Dad.  Like it was on purpose.  

Wynonna used to be left handed.  Waverly remembered well because it was one of the things their Daddy used to beat her over.  Anytime Wynonna picked up a utensil or pencil with her left hand, Ward would smack her upside the head.  When she dared shoot with her left dominant, Ward would give her a new bruise.  

After Willa broke her hand, Wynonna would forever be right handed.

Despite the missed birthdays and the way Willa and Ward seemed to not care about Waverly, her childhood wasn't all bad.  She remembered Wynonna dotting on her and taking her into town to buy sweets.  When Waverly was afraid after Willa had told her about the demons haunting the Homestead, Wynonna would let her sleep in bed with her.  She held her and told her how someday they would leave here together.  Then Ward died, Wynonna was taken away and Willa left.

The only time Waverly ever saw Willa again was on wanted signs posted around town and shoved in her face when bounty hunters came looking for her sister.  Wynonna came back only once.  Waverly had practically begged her to take her with her.  Five years later...here they were.

Ward had told them all years before that the Homestead was protected.  He didn't say from what or who or how, but he always told them that they didn't have to worry.  It was something that she had clung to until her Daddy was taken right from their front porch.  Clearly whatever had been protecting the Homestead was no longer there.  She had heard enough rumors of curses to let herself believe them.  

Whatever protections had been in place before were gone.  And now that they were back on the Homestead, Waverly was determined to bring them back.

Waverly had always been studious.  Reading books was one of the reasons she had made it through her childhood without truly thinking about the tragedies of her past.  But all she could ever think about was the curse.  She devoured every book she could find on magic, she learned Latin and German to read the books she had to get from shady men who were passing through town.  It became her life so that she didn't have time to miss her sisters and wonder how life might be different if they were with her.

The snap of a twig brought her back to the present and she turned quickly.  Her eyes strained to see any movement in the pale moonlight but saw nothing.  She clutched the ribbon in her hand close to her chest, ignoring the furious beating of her heart.  Considering yelling out into the dark, she realized that Wynonna would probably wake up if she did and then she'd have to explain why she was outside in the middle of the night in what was basically underwear.  Instead she turned around and began to walk quickly back towards the house.

She breathed easy when the door closed behind her and she crept back up to her room.  She paused in front of the door to Willa's old room where Nicole was staying.  For a moment she considered knocking but she wasn't sure why.  Surely she couldn't wake the woman up in the middle of the night for no reason.  And just to talk was definitely not an acceptable reason.  Instead she padded the few feet to her own room and settled back into bed there, red ribbon tucked under her pillow.

***

Nicole woke up with the sun despite her late night adventures.  Call it force of habit.  Or call it whatever noises were coming from outside that sounded like dirt on metal.  She sat up and peeked out the window, squinting her eyes against the sun as she did so.  After a few moments of letting her eyes adjust to the sunlight, she saw the small figure of Wynonna outside, almost completely hidden by a mound of dirt besides her.

She flopped back down on the bed for a moment and stretched, letting herself enjoy the feeling of the soft sheets against her skin.  She stretched, letting her joints pop as she got out of bed to get dressed.  When she made her way outside, she walked over to where Wynonna had slowly disappeared into a hole.  

“Need help?” she asked looking into the hole.  Nicole tried to ignore the coffin on the other side.  Coffins and dead bodies had always freaked her out.  It was a dumb fear to have as a bounty hunter and she hid it as well as possible.  The only person that really knew was Wynonna.

The brunette took a break, sticking the end of the shovel into the dirt and looking up at the other woman.  "No, I think I have to do this myself," Wynonna said wiping some sweat from her forehead and leaving a streak of dirt and blood instead.  Nicole gestured for Wynonna to show her her hands and she turned her palms up to the other woman with an exasperated look.  She winced seeing the open blisters on Wynonna's hands and sat with her legs hanging into the hole.

"Come here, dumbass," she said taking a handkerchief from her pocket and ripping it in two, "Give me that flask I know you have in your pocket."  Wynonna huffed but pulled out the flask and handed it to Nicole.  She pulled Wynonna closer to her by the wrist, holding it tight as she poured the whiskey over the open wounds in her hand.

"Fuck!" Wynonna hissed, "You're wasting good alcohol here."

"I know you, and I know this is not good alcohol," Nicole said moving on to the other hand.  She was wrapping Wynonna's hands with her handkerchief like a bandage when Waverly walked up to them.  Nicole noticed she was still only wearing her chemise and she kept her eyes trained on Wynonna's hand as she tied the handkerchief around one hand.

"You could have woke me up," Waverly said to her sister.

"I was going to wake you up later," Wynonna said.  She cursed under her breath as Nicole tightened the cloth around her hand.  Waverly looked between the two as the red head finished up.  Wynonna clenched and unclenched her fists, testing the bandages, before taking her flask back and stuffing it back in her pocket.  "Why don't you go eat or something while I finish up here."

"She was my sister too," Waverly said crossing her arms over her body.

"Yeah, well she left us," Wynonna said beginning to dig again.

"So did you," Waverly said flatly, a hint of hurt in her voice.  Wynonna continued to dig, not bothering to look at her sister as Nicole shifted uncomfortably.  She knew matters between siblings could be problematic and messy.  She remembered her brother and felt her throat close up with sadness.  Two years may have passed, but sometimes it still felt like yesterday.  Especially when she was with Wynonna.

Wynonna continued to shovel as she answered her sister, "I'll call you when I'm filling the gra-...when I'm filling it up."

Nicole stood up and wiped the dirt off the back of her pants.  It seemed pretty apparent that Wynonna wasn't looking for any help.  It was one of those things that she learned from spending all the time with the eldest Earp that she did.  If Wynonna felt like she had to do something on her own, you weren't going to stop her.  Without thinking, she put her arm around Waverly's shoulders to lead her back into the house.  At first the shorter girl stiffened up, but then she almost leaned into Nicole and let herself be lead away.  Feeling Waverly lean even just the smallest amount into her made the red head smile, though she tried to suppress it by reminding herself that she was Wynonna's sister.  Her little sister at that.

"How about I make you some tea this time?" Nicole said to her softly as they walked up the stairs of the porch.

"That would be nice," Waverly said looking up at her shyly with a small smile.  Nicole was sure her heart had burst in her chest.

***

Nicole managed to gather up enough items to make a modest breakfast for Waverly despite her protests.  She made a note to try and go to town to get some basic supplies later.  The shelves were dusty except for the few supplies she had brought with her on their travel over.

"Where did you live before...well before yesterday," Nicole asked curiously as she sat across from the brunette.

Waverly said a soft thank you before answering.  "In a room above Shorty's," she said referring to the Saloon, "the owner and his wife let me stay there."

Nicole couldn't help but give her a teasing smile, "So you work at the Saloon and live there?  And you're still trying to convince me you're a respectable woman."

"Well, maybe if being a respectable woman means being married and sewing all day, I don't want to be a respectable woman," Waverly said with a smile and a spark in her eye that took Nicole's breath away.

"Touche," she said with a nod, "You can never accuse an Earp of being typical.  That much is for sure."

"We weren't born to be typical," she replied airily as she continued smiling at the red head.

They ate in relative silence, the sound of Wynonna still digging hanging over their heads.  There was a pause and a louder thump that made her feel sick.  Her mind went back to day two years ago, the ground was so cold that it took extra effort to dig into the frozen dirt.  The way the sky had opened up as she began to fill the hole-

“Waves.”  Nicole looked over at the door and oldest Earp stood there, dirt on her face and shovel in her hand, “It’s time.”

Waverly nodded and Nicole stood up, taking both of their plates and setting them aside for later. She also grabbed a quilt off the back of the couch and draped it over Waverly’s barely clothed shoulders. The young woman smiled at her over her shoulder and it was worth it. They went outside and walked back to the edge of the property where the grave had been dug.  Nicole hung back a little out of respect, but Waverly tugged her next to her by the sleeve of her shirt and Nicole gladly obliged.  They stood there in silence for a moment before Wynonna shrugged and started to fill the hole with dirt.

“Wynonna,” Waverly said, “Shouldn’t you…say something?”

The brunette shrugged, “I have nothing to say.”

“Well you knew her better.”

“That doesn’t mean I have anything good to say about her.”

“She was our sister!”

“Fine!” Wynonna said, letting the shovel fall to the ground and putting her hands on her hips.  “Willa was…she was a real bitch.  That was probably Daddy’s fault.  But she was always mean to me, mean to Waverly…she was pretty awful.  Because of her I…left my sister and my home…but because of her I guess I’m…also back.  So.  May she rest I'm peace or whatever.”

Nicole heard Waverly sniffle and looked over to see there younger woman staring at the grave with watery eyes.  Wynona’s throat bobbed and Nicole wondered if she would end up shedding a tear too.  Instead she just began to shovel the dirt onto the coffin.  She felt a small hand snake around her forearm and noticed that Waverly had stepped closer and was clutching her arm to her chest.  It was probably the slight chill in the air or the emotion of the moment, but Nicole wasn’t going to complain either way.

The moment was over too soon however, when the sound of galloping became apparent coming up the path towards the Homestead.  Nicole listened for a moment but there was no sign that whoever was coming straight for the Homestead was slowing down.  She remembered the demon that had attacked them just a day before and she stepped in front of Waverly.  She pulled her gun out of the holster and pointed it towards figure coming up the road, one arm out to keep the younger woman behind her.

“Wynonna!” Nicole said aiming as the person got closer, “Do you know who this could be?”

“Nope!” she said standing next to Nicole with her own gun raised.  She shot into the air and yelled.  “Whoever you are, get off your horse and keep your hands in the air."  The horse only came faster, it’s rider hunched down on the saddle.  They were maybe thirty feet away when Nicole aimed and shot a warning bullet at their leg, careful not to hit the horse.  They cursed loudly and pulled the reigns back.  The horse reared in the air, eyes wild as the rider slid off of them.

“Champ!” Waverly said trying to surge forward.  Nicole instinctually held her back with her arm, body still in front of her.

“You know this boy?” she asked, gun still trained on the boy in front of her.  He seemed young, muscular and the typical kind of handsome that girls seemed to fawn over.  But Nicole only saw him as trouble.  He stood with one hand over his head, one clutching the part of his thigh that Nicole’s bullet had grazed.

“Yes, he’s my-…I know him,” Waverly admitted softly.  Nicole reluctantly took her arm down and put her gun back in the holster.

“You shot me, you bitch!” he said, his face screwed up in anger and pain.  Waverly walked up to him and put a comforting hand on his shoulder.

Wynonna scoffed and put her gun back in the holster too.  “Let me guess, fucking Champ?  Hardy’s boy?”

Champ looked up at the older Earp and tried to give her his best charming smile.  “I am.  I see my reputation proceeds me.  How ya been, Wynonna?”

Nicole raised an eyebrow at him and stepped forward.  “Tell me why the fuck you decided that speeding up to private property without any greeting or warning was a good idea.”

“Tell me why you thought it was a good idea to shoot me,” he challenged.

She put her hand on the butt of her gun and took a threatening step forward, “I’ll shoot you again if you don’t tell me why you’re here.”

He visibly cringed away from the gun and pushed Waverly in front of him.  “I’m her boyfriend!”

A stone dropped in Nicole’s stomach and her eyes landed on Waverly for confirmation.  The embarrassed but small nod from Waverly was enough to get her to try and relax her stance, but her hand remained on her gun.  Her eyes remained trained on the boy hiding behind Waverly, her glare not faltering.

“He’s been…courting me,” Waverly clarified.

Wynonna scoffed and angrily holstered her own gun.  “Well, can we continue our sisters funeral now, or?”

Champ’s eyes widened and he surged towards the still open grave.  “Willa Earp, Queen of the Del Rey gang is in there?”

Nicole stopped him by roughly palming his chest and stepping in front of him.  “You should probably stay back.”

He squared his shoulders and stood as tall as he could with Nicole in front of him.  She just raised an unimpressed eyebrow at him.  He turned to Waverly, looking for help, but she just shrugged and nodded towards the house.  “I’ll be there soon.”

Champ looked at her in disbelief and scoffed, but turned to walk back towards the house.  Nicole couldn’t help the small smile of success that tilted the corner of her mouth as she watched him walk away.  He may not be a demon, but he seemed like an enemy just the same.  She wondered if it was a good or bad sign that Waverly hadn’t mentioned this boy who seemed pretty certain they were an item.

She sighed and rolled her shoulders.  As if her job wasn’t hard enough as it was.

***

After the very awkward burial, all three headed back towards the Homestead.  Nicole stiffened when she saw Champ sitting on the porch rail and chewing tobacco.  He had (badly) wrapped a piece of cloth around the part of his leg Nicole had grazed with her bullet and she was satisfied to see that it was still bleeding a little.  Not enough to really hurt him, but enough to make her happy.

"Wait out here," she told him as the two sisters went into the house.

Champ scoffed, "Why?  It's not like I haven't been in Waverly's room before."

"Not here you haven't," Nicole bristled, "This is her family home.  You stay out until I decide to trust you."

He rolled his eyes but listened, crossing his arms in defiance as Nicole went into the house after the Earps.  Wynonna was sitting at the table, already pouring herself a drink when Nicole sat across from her. "Isn't a little early for a drink?"

"I just buried my shitty sister," Wynonna said throwing back her second drink.

"Fair enough," Nicole said with a sigh.  She looked over through the window and saw Champ still sitting on the porch rail, spitting his chew onto the ground.  Wynonna must have seen the look on her face because she shook her head and nodded towards him.

"Easy, tiger," she said, "He's stupid, but harmless.  He's not one of the ones you have to protect her from.  Unless you have another reason to be mad about his presence?"  Wynonna's eyebrow was practically in her hairline but Nicole just shook her head.

"I just don't like the look of him."

"Who does?" Wynonna said just as Waverly came down, dressed in what she guessed was her uniform for the Saloon.  

The younger Earp hugged Wynonna around her shoulders from behind, their cheeks pressed together.  "Did I say I'm glad you're back yet?" she asked softly.  

"Not nearly enough," Wynonna smiled as Waverly practically bounced away, but not without a small smile to Nicole.  She let the warmth of Waverly's smile wash over her, even as she watched her get on the back of Champ's horse. 

Nicole stood up, "I'm going to go get CJ ready to go into town."

Wynonna shook her head and replaced the cap on the bottle.  "You're coming with me.  I have an idea of where some of the revenants hang out."

"I thought I was supposed to be protecting Waverly."

"She's fine for now," Wynonna said standing up, "But where I'm going, I'm gonna need backup."

***

They laid on their belly's just on the outskirts of a large camp, covered by some tall bushes.  Their horses were tied just out of sight in the woods and Wynonna wondered if she had left her flask in the saddle bag. Since there wasn't an uncomfortable lump in the pocket of her jacket, the answer was probably yes.  There was little activity in the camp for the time of day and season.  Winter was starting, the frost hanging in the air just out of reach.  It was just enough to sting your lungs and redden your nose.

"Who are these people?" Nicole asked from besides her.  Wynonna looked over and saw a pair of binoculars to her eyes.  

"Hey, share the love," Wynonna said as she snatched them from the red heads hands.  She ignored her protests and looked through the device.  "Shit."

Just as she suspected, the place was crawling with Revenants.  They were faces she recognized from her Daddy's day as the heir.  She even recognized one of them as one of the me who dragged her father away from the house.  Some had brands on their necks, but most were hard to identify as Revenants.  They looked like...normal guys.  But Wynonna knew better.

She had gotten a tip from a man she had met at the Saloon the night before.  She couldn't sleep.  She had kept imagining Willa pounding and scratching at the lid of her coffin, begging to be let out.  It got to the point she couldn't take it anymore and she rode into town.  She hadn't expected to meet anyone at the bar worth talking to, but a tall handsome man with a…very impressive mustache, came up to her with information. He told her that he knew where she could find the type of people she was looking for in exchange for a favor to be collected later on. Wynona (drunkenly) agreed.

So here they found themselves, at the edge of the camp that man had told her about. She figured this could have ended up a lot worse then this, the man could have drawn her into a trap. Something about him told her to trust him, and good thing she did.

“Demons?” Nicole asked from besides her.

Wynonna sighed and pulled the binoculars from her face. “Revenants,” she corrected, “Much worse.” She looked back through the device, scanning the faces in the camp. She stopped on one that caught her eye. “Shit balls,” she breathed out handing the binoculars to Nicole. She tapped her arm furiously to get her attention as she pointed to the man she recognized. Nicole took the binoculars and looked in the direction Wynonna was pointing. She knew Nicole had seen who she’d seen when the other woman gasped.

“Is that-?”

“Bobo Del Rey!” Wynonna whispered taking the binoculars back. “That son of a bitch has been riding with Willa since the beginning. He’s the reason she’s dead.”

“I thought you said this was a Revenant camp,” Nicole said as she scanned the camp as best she could with naked eyes.

“It is…but he can’t be a Revenant…they can’t cross the Ghost River Triangle.”

“The what?”

Wynonna silently cursed herself for letting that piece of information slide. She had been holding her cards pretty close to her chest since she got back. Talk of demons and revenants and curses is what got her sent back to the asylum time and time again when she was growing up. No one wanted to hear a little girl talk about demons. Especially a little girl who had up and shot her Daddy in the back. The more people she told, the more risk there was. She knew she could trust Nicole, even if she did give her a lot of shit. But she didn’t need her little sister going and talking about demons. There would be nothing she could do.

“There’s just this…little thing called the Ghost River Triangle that demons can’t pass or whatever,” Wynonna said airily, “So if he were a Revenant like the rest of his padres here, he wouldn’t have been able to be in Willa’s gang because he wouldn’t be able to leave the triangle. But why would he be here with the Revenants if he wasn’t one?”

Nicole just blinked at Wynonna for a moment before processing. “O-…Okay,” she said with a nod, “I think I understood all the crazy coming out of your mouth.”

“Good,” Wynonna said with a nod as she pulled her gun from her holster, “Let’s go get these sons of bitches. Including that son of a bitch who stole my sister.”

“Okay, wait,” Nicole said grabbing Wynonna’s arm before she could take off anywhere, “We can’t go running in there. We’re outnumbered four to one.”

“But you forget I have this magical shiny gun,” Wynonna said lifting her eyebrows up in excitement.

“Yes, you have one magical gun,” Nicole reasoned, “And I have a normal gun that wouldn’t work. Which means you’d be basically outnumbered one to eight.”

“I’ve never quite been good at math,” Wynonna said pushing herself forward and running towards the camp. She heard Nicole curse behind her along with the telling pad of her boots against the dirt. She smirked to herself and swung Peacemaker in front of her. She came closer to the camp and right behind a Revenant who was loading up a wagon. She looped an arm around his neck and held Peacemaker up to his head.

He yelped and alerted the other nearby Revenants that something was happening. They looked at Wynonna and began to yell warning that the heir was in the camp. Nicole came up behind her, her own gun trained in front of her and looking for any immediate threats.

“Where’s Bobo?” Wynonna asked, cocking Peacemaker, “Or your friend’s brains paint the ground.”

All the Revenants pulled their guns out and held them towards the two women. “You better have a plan, Wynonna,” Nicole whispered from besides her.

“Of course I do,” she hissed back while she tried to think of a plan. Her heart was beating wildly against her chest as she took a deep breath to speak. “Bobo! Come out here!”

The largest tent’s flap opened widely and Bobo walked slowly from it. “Well, well,” he said with an unsurprised look on his face, “The next Heir. Walking right up to our camp. I didn’t think it was going to be this easy, did you boys?”

The Revenants laughed like a tribe of trained monkeys and Wynonna pressed the barrel of the gun to the captured Revenant’s head. “Even look like you’re about to shoot and I’ll send him back to hell.”

“And you think I wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice one idiot to say I killed the heir only one day into her reign? Look around, sweetie, you’re outnumbered,” Bobo said as he walked slowly towards her.

At that point Wynonna wished she was a better planner. Waverly was a planner. She fucking loved plans. She held her ground though and stood as tall as she could like a cat trying to fool a predator. “Listen, I didn’t come to make trouble,” Wynonna said evenly, “I just want to know how you got out of the Triangle.”

“You’re telling me that the Earp Heir came in here guns blazing just wondering how I made it out of the Triangle?” Bobo said. He was less then a foot away now and Wynonna could feel heat coming from him. It was almost like he was a radiator. “That’s a pretty tiny piece of information to risk your life for, isn’t it? Little girl?”

“I’ve risked my life for much less,” Wynonna said lowly.

Bobo pushed his tongue into the side of his cheek and nodded, looking over at Nicole with some recognition. “And I think we both know you’re just as willing to risk the lives of your partners and their loved ones.”

That felt like a kick to Wynonna’s gut and she felt her face visibly falter for a moment. Images of Calico flashed in her mind. The blood-

Wynonna pushed the Revenent she had around the neck away from her and pushed the barrel of Peacemaker against Bobo’s forehead in a moment. Bobo didn’t even look surprised, he stepped into the barrel and let it hiss and pop at his skin. His eyes turned red and black spiraled over his face like poison as shapes appeared on his skin. The scars glowed like there was fire under his skin and Wynonna wondered if there actually was.

“Go ahead, Earp,” he said, saying her name with a pop of his lips, “Go ahead and shoot me. But then you’ll never know why your sweet big sister decided to ditch you and your family to run with me. You’ll never know what secrets your dear old Daddy was hiding.” He licked his lips like a snake and Wynonna’s insides twisted and turned. Her finger itched to pull the trigger, Peacemaker heating up and lighting in her hand. It would be so easy just to kill him now. Sure the other Revenants would shoot them full of holes as fast as they could…but…she would get Bobo. The one who took Willa away.

But she felt Nicole besides her and knew she couldn’t risk it. Not for one kill. Plus she would be putting Waverly in danger. She’d be the next Earp heir and not even know it.

Wynonna pushed Bobo away with the gun but kept it trained on him. “This isn’t the last time we’re going to have this conversation,” Wynonna said backing up, “I’ll be back here Bobo.”

Bobo winked at the two women, “I count on it.”

***

They were silent until they got to the horses. Wynonna’s heart was still beating a hundred times a minute and her hands were shaking. She blamed the fact that she hadn’t had any alcohol since that morning but she knew it was because of Bobo. She’d almost gotten killed, gotten them both killed. For what?

Nicole marched ahead of Wynonna and turned quickly to face her, their faces inches apart. Wynonna sighed and looked up at the other woman. She could see all the anger in her face and it just gave her another reason to be mad at herself.

“This is one of those times I really hate how much taller you are then me,” Wynonna said lowly.

“How many times do you insist on trying to get me killed, Wynonna?” Nicole said grabbing her own hat off her head, “First you get my brother killed and then-“

Nicole blinked and Wynonna noticed the way her throat bobbed, trying to hold back tears.

“I had it under control-“

“Like fuck you did!” the red head said, fists clenched at her sides, “I would go into war for you, Wynonna, I think I’ve proved that. But I would like to know you have a plan or at least an idea that you’re not leading both of us to our death every time I do. What would Waverly-…She’s already buried on sister today.”

Wynonna swallowed thickly but wouldn’t break her stare with the taller woman. “I just need you to trust me. I promise we’ll be fine.”

“How am I supposed to trust you when you can’t trust me,” Nicole hissed, “After everything.”

Wynonna knew she should apologize and tell her that she trusted her. She…she did. She hated that she did but it was a seed planted years ago that she couldn’t rip out. Not yet anyways. but admitting trust was like admitting you needed someone. And if you admitted that you’d might as well throw your heart into the fire too.

“I haven’t had a reason to trust anyone in a long time. Not since New Mexico,” Wynonna said simply. Knowing she was hitting a nerve.

Nicole’s stepped closer, and for a moment Wynonna thought she was going to punch her or slap her or…something. She almost wished she did. Instead, she licked her lips and spat out, “Fuck you, Earp.”

She stared down at Wynonna for another moment before turning and hopping onto CJ. She replaced her hat on her head and turned her horse towards the road. “Now excuse me, but I have to go protect your sister from all the people you just pissed off,” she said before kicking CJ into a gallop and heading towards the town.

Chapter Text

Some of the anger in Nicole's chest had dissipated by the time she made it back to town.  The tightness in her chest had slowly dissolved away as the crisp breeze stung her face during the ride.  She had become better at not losing her temper with Wynonna, she had always been a fairly even tempered person.  But this situation was too close to repeating the past.  A past she was trying to forget.  She tied CJ to the post in front of the Saloon and wandered inside, setting her hat on the bar as she sat.  

"Coffee?" Waverly asked coming to stand in front of the red head.  The brunette smiled at her and Nicole felt more of the tension leave her shoulders.

"Yes, please," she said, "with a little bit of a kick if you don't mind."

Waverly gave her a look but poured some liquor into her coffee before sliding it over to her.  "I take it whatever you were off with Wynonna doing didn't end well?"

Nicole just sighed and shrugged.  "It was fine.  I'm alive so I can't complain."

Waverly took a long look at Nicole and leaned forward a little before asking.  "You and my sister...you're not-...are you two together?"

"No," Nicole said with a shake of her head, offering a teasing smile, "You already asked me that.  You need to clarify?"  

"I was just wondering.  You two seem close," Waverly admitted with a blush.  Nicole ducked her head to get a better look at the brunette, all her previous frustration completely gone from her mind.

"Jealous?" 

"Psh, no," Waverly said with an awkward laugh, twirling the var towel in front of her as she looked up towards the rafters, "I mean-...no!  I'm dating a boy.  Man."

"Boy man," Nicole said raising her eyebrows, "Those are the worst.  Yours doesn't seem to have any decorum at all."

Waverly shrugged and leaned forward with both elbows on the table.  "He's...sweet.  Just fragile.  And it's a small town, there's not a lot of dating options around here."

The red head nodded and took a long sip of her coffee, the added liquor giving her a little more courage then normal.  "Well, maybe you should just keep yourself open.  You never know who might roll into town," she said as she looked up at the brunette.  She kept eye contact with her as she watched the wheels turn in her head.  The prettiest blush lit up Waverly's cheeks and she giggled nervously, making Nicole smile wider.  She stuttered some nonsense and Nicole smiled wider.  Until Champ came out of nowhere and wrapped his arms around Waverly from behind.

"Hey, beautiful," he said kissing her cheek, "You want to ditch work and watch me shoot?"

Nicole rolled her eyes and went back to her coffee.  This boy really did have the best timing.  It was almost like he was subconsciously doing Wynonna's work by making sure Nicole couldn't have uninterrupted time with Waverly for too long.  Something about Waverly really drew Nicole to her.  It was something she couldn't quite put her finger on yet.  She was just so beautiful and kind.  It was safe to say that Nicole had never met a girl like her before.

"I have to work, Champ," Waverly said shrugging him off and walking to the other end of the bar.  The boy looked confused but also annoyed.  Nicole figured it was an emotional state he often found himself in.  "I don't have time to time to watch you miss a bunch of cans on a fence."

Nicole couldn't help the chuckle that bubbled from her throat.  Champ turned to her with a scowl.  "What are you laughing at?"

"Not much," she said with a shrug.  Champ looked at her a moment and she saw when what she said clicked into place.  He pointed a finger at her, about to say a retort when Waverly stepped in front of him.

"You can't be behind the bar, Champ, remember?" she said turning her back to him as she continued wiping down the counter.  She poured more coffee into Nicole's cup and the red head just smiled politely up at the boy.  Waverly sighed, "Go sit down and I'll bring you a drink."

Champ seemed complacent after that and wandered off to a table to sit.  Nicole went back to her coffee and pretended like his presence didn't bother her.  She sat there at the bar, sipping her coffee and making sure Champ could see her smile at Waverly every once in a while.  She knew she was being petty by antagonizing the boy, but she couldn’t help it.  He was just so easy to mess with.  There was no harm in it per say…and if it meant Waverly kept returning her smiles then it was all worth it.

“Hey, Nicole,” Waverly said leaning forward on the bar, “can I ask you a favor?”

“Anything,” she answered easily, visibly throwing Waverly off for a second.  

She cleared her throat and looked down for moment, licking her lips.  “Can you help me take the stuff from my room over to the Homestead when my shift is done?”

“Of course,” Nicole said, “Is it a lot?  Should I borrow a wagon?”

“Maybe, just in case,” Waverly shrugged.  

Nicole put her hat back on her head with a smile before fishing some coins out of her pocket and leaving them on the counter.  She went over to the general store and borrowed a cart along with some basic supplies for the Homestead.  She got back to Shorty’s just in time to see Champ kissing Waverly’s cheek goodbye.  It was a task, but she managed to keep her eye roll in check as she pulled the cart up to CJ and put her in the harness.  She gave Champ a look as he rode away with a smug look on his face.

“I’m ready to help,” Nicole said patting her horses back and making sure the harness was on correctly.  

“Follow me,” Waverly said walking the other woman through the bar and up to the second floor.  In a few of the rooms, the typical saloon sounds of overly enthusiastic sex that came when one person was paying for it floated through the doors.  Nicole blushed a little and rested her hand son the front of her belt.

“You had to sleep up here with all this noise?” Nicole asked, trying to offset some of the awkwardness of the situation.  It wasn’t like she had never spent a night…or two above a saloon.  When she was traveling or when she was young and…aching for experience. 

“No, Shorty let me stay in the quieter area.  it’s one of the biggest rooms too,” Waverly said with a satisfied smile, like she was telling her a secret.  She pulled the end of her necklace out of her corset, using the key on the end to open the door to a room at the end of the hall.  Nicole couldn’t help the way her eyes followed the key back down the front of the girls shirt, she could only blame it on her very well fitting dress.

“Most of it’s already in boxes,” Waverly said leading Nicole into the room, “I just have to finish packing my suitcase and I’ll be done.”  The room was bare except for a vanity with two crates on it and some pictures.  “Most of the boxes are just clothes,” she continued.

“I’ll grab those then while you finish packing,” Nicole said walking over to the vanity.  She picked up the picture frames and began to put them in the box.  She recognized a younger version of Waverly and Wynonna in a photo along with who she assumed was Willa.  It was hard to recognize the oldest Earp as a child, but she guessed by the few inches she had on Wynonna.  There were a couple of more, one with two people that seemed like Waverley’s parents.  She noticed Peacemaker on Ward’s hip and cursed silently before finishing packing the frames.  It only took a few minutes to take the two crates down to the cart.  By the time she was back upstairs, Waverley’s suitcase was packed and she was sitting besides it on the bed holding a stuffed rabbit.  

Nicole sat besides her and looked at the animal.  “What’s that?”

“Mr. Rabbit,” Waverly said with a nostalgic smile, “I wasn’t very creative as a child.  My Momma gave it to me only a little before she-...before she left.”

“It’s a cute name,” Nicole said quietly, “He’s missing an eye.”

Waverly’s face fell slowly, like she was being lowered into a cold bath.  Nicole searched her face and quietly waited to see if Waverly would continue.  

“Yeah…Willa used to kidnap him and torture him for ransom,” she said brushing some dirt off one of his ears, “One time she threw him onto the ice…the snow had started melting by then and the-…the ice was thin.  I fell through and…if Wynonna wasn’t there I would have-…”  Waverly’s voice trailed off and she played with the loose strings around where the rabbit’s missing eye was.  

Nicole’s stomach turned and she found it hard to swallow.  Based on the trail of carnage and violence that Willa left behind her when she ran with the Del Rey gang, she wasn’t surprised.  It just proved that Willa was more of a psycho then she originally thought.  She was cold, callous.  Even to her own family.  

“She really was a piece of shit, wasn’t she?” Waverly said flatly.  

The red head chuckled in shock and nodded her head.  “She really really was.”

Waverly nodded and Nicole heard tears in her voice.  “Sorry, I just…I forgot about Willa and then…now…everything seems so fresh now that Wynona’s back.”

Nicole instinctively reached out and covered Waverly’s hands with her own.  “That’s understandable.  The death of a family member is always hard,” Nicole said with the type of sadness that comes with experience, “Even if they are assholes.”

The brunette was looking down at their hands as she nodded, “Sorry I’m crying on you.”

Nicole laughed kindly and shook her head, turning her hands so she could squeeze Waverly’s.  “You never have to apologize for that,” she said, “I’m here for you.”

Waverly smiled through the tears.  “You’re awfully nice for someone I met a day a go.”

“I guess you just bring out the best in me,” she said softly.  Nicole could swear that Waverly had leaned closer to her at some point and that the younger woman had looked down at her lips, even for the briefest of seconds.  She licked her lips and searched her face for any hint…clue that Waverly wanted her even half as much as she wanted her.  Brown orbs just stared back up at her softly, almost begging when-

Waverly stood abruptly, Mr. Rabbit clutched tightly in her hands as she looked everywhere but at Nicole.  “Alright, that should be everything,” she said putting the rabbit in the bag and closing it up.  “Let’s get back to the Homestead.”

Nicole sat on the bed, still processing when she noticed the youngest Earp had left.

***

Waverly wasn't quite sure what had come over her lately.  By lately she meant the last couple of days.  News of Willa's death had reached her only the day before Wynonna rolled into town with her body.  Since then everything had just felt so...different.  It was like there was an energy in the town that wasn't there before.  Not to mention the way she found her thoughts wandering to a certain red head that had wandered into town along with Wynonna.

Maybe it was her kind eyes or the way her lips curved in a smile whenever their eyes met or she thought she was being clever.  Which she definitely was not...actually she was.  Certainly much more clever then Champ at least.  Don't get her wrong, Champ was nice and sweet and attentive when he wanted to be.  And he was probably the most eligible bachelor in town.  She saw the way other girls looked at him (and he sometimes looked at other girls).

'You're an Earp,' her friends would say to her, 'You're so lucky he's courting you.  Most men wouldn't.'

It angered her, but she knew it was true.  People tended to stay away from her.  In school she had managed to transcend her family history, but as time went on, more people started to see her as "just another Earp".  She heard the rumors that went around town.  She saw the looks she got when she would ask hunters to bring her back some bird bones or certain plants.  She had been careful, but people still whispered behind her back.  It was a small town after all.

Now, sitting here in the seat of a borrowed wagon with Nicole besides her, she wondered what had really come over her recently.  She found her eyes wandering over the to silent woman besides her as they rode the long road back to the Homestead.  They had almost kissed in her old room...something about the way Nicole was looking at her, listening...like she really cared and-...Waverly didn't remember the last time someone just sat and listened to her.  Let her be herself.  But that was a problem in itself, wasn't it?  She had never necessarily found herself attracted to women.  Unless you counted that time she made out with Chrissy Nedley when they were teenagers...and it's not like she had been attracted to her, she just smelled nice and they talked for long hours near the river...

Oh god, she had totally been attracted to her.

First Chrissy and now Nicole.  Maybe this wasn't as out of left field as she had thought.

A gust of warm wind, much too warm for the time of year, hit her and she looked around.  "Did you feel that?" she asked Nicole.

"Feel...what?  That?" she asked glancing between Waverly and the road, "I mean, I definitely felt something."

"Okay, so I'm not crazy," Waverly said looking around them.

"No," Nicole said softly with a shake of her head, "Not at all."

"But it was weird, right?" Waverly asked trying to think of the last time she felt a gust like that.  It was probably two or three nights ago.  Probably about the time Wynonna got into town...

Nicole looked a little concerned and shook her head.  "I mean, I don't think it's weird.  Do...do you?"

"A little bit," Waverly admitted looking up at the red head, "I've only felt something like that once before."

"With Champ?" Nicole said sounding a little put out.

Waverly frowned as she tried to imagine what Nicole was talking about.  "N-no...a few nights ago I felt a weird shift in the air.  Is that-...what are you talking about?"

Nicole looked slightly panicked, eyes wide, "What?  Oh, yeah, no, that's what I was talking about too."  She quickly turned in her seat to face the front as they approached the property.  Nicole looked flustered as she pulled the horse up to the front of the house and jumped down to unload.  As she started to get down from the wagon, Nicole was right in front of her, offering a hand to help her down.  Waverly smiled appreciatively and let Nicole help her down.  Champ hadn't offered to help her since he first started courting her.  She took her hand as she stepped down, feeling how her hands were only slightly calloused from the work and riding.  The roughness was comforting, still possessing the gentleness she would have expected from her.  Not that she thought about it.  

"Hey," Wynonna said coming out of the Homestead, bottle in hand.

The red head glared up at Wynonna and tipped her hat in greeting before going to the back of the cart and beginning to unload.  Waverly went to help but Nicole waved her off.  "I'm fine.  Just make sure your sister's okay?" she asked like it was a favor to her.  Waverly nodded and went to her sister who was leaning against one of the beams on the porch.

"Let's go inside," Waverly said putting her arm around her sister's shoulders and turning her back towards the house.

"What if Nicole needs help," Wynonna said with a long heavy blink.

"She's fine for now," Waverly answered as she sat on the couch with her sister.  Wynonna held the bottle loosely at her side and the younger Earp gently took it out of her hand.  "What happened?"

"What makes you think something happened?" Wynonna asked leaning back on the couch.  Waverly noticed the blanket stuffed poorly behind some pillows.  

"Did you sleep out here last night?"  Her older sister just shrugged.  "I know something happened because you're way too drunk for this time of day."

Wynonna just shrugged, her head rolling over to look at Waverly.  "I almost got Nicole killed today."  Waverly tried to keep her face straight as her sister continued.  "And myself, probably.  But less people care about that."

"Wynonna, don't say that," Waverly said letting her hand rest on Wynonna's thigh, "You know it's not true."

"I don't know why I'm like this," Wynonna continued, "I just don't think sometimes.  I'm reckless.  It's the reason that Nicole left me the first time."  Waverly's mind was going a thousand miles a minute.  She had so many questions and clarifications but she knew if she made Wynonna aware of what she was saying, she'd stop.  "I just...I killed her brother, Waves," she said almost under her breath, "I was-...I was reckless. I was only thinking about myself and...he died.  He was only a kid."

Waverly swallowed the lump in her throat and scooted closer to Wynonna.  "I'm sure it wasn't your fault-"

"It was," Wynonna said, blue eyes filling with tears, "It was completely my fault.  I'm lucky Nicole even agreed to talk to me again.  And then this morning-"  Wynonna licked her lips and put her hand over Waverly's squeezing, "I'm a fucking mess, baby girl."

Tears began to leak from Wynonna's eyes and Waverly pulled her down into a hug.  The brunette's head rested against Waverly's neck.  She could feel hot tears on her skin and held her sister tighter.  "I'm here.  You're fine now,"

"I just want to keep people safe," Wynonna breathed out, "I can't even do that.  You're better off without me."

Waverly felt her heart break and she squeezed Wynonna tighter.  "No.  I lived without you for too long.  I need you here with me," she said pressing her cheek to the crown of Wynonna's head.  The idea of living without her sister was...devastating.  Willa was her sister, but only by blood.  To Waverly, she always seemed more like a torturer or prison guard.  It was actually a bit of a relief when she had left.  But her and Wynonna had been close, for a while anyways.  Waverly had always felt left out when it was the two of them, thick as thieves.  But when Wynonna finally realized how she was torturing their little sister, she began to protect her as best she could from Will and Ward.

"Maybe I shouldn't have come back," Wynonna said almost to herself.

"Hey," Waverly said firmly, forcing her sister to look at her and hold her gaze, "Don't ever say that, okay?  If you hadn't come back...who know what would have happened.  To either of us."

Wynonna rolled her eyes and nodded.  Waverly knew it was a defense tactic, her way of attempting to put the walls back up.  She wasn't hurt by it, but she knew it was Wynonna's way of telling her she couldn't handle any more feelings for the night.

The sound of a gunshot brought them both away from the conversation.  Wynonna, who’s reflexes were surprisingly fast for being drunk, was practically out the door before Waverly could find the rifle she hid under the table and run out after her.  She saw Nicole chasing a man and tackling him to the ground.  Wynonna pulled out Peacemaker and held it in front of her as she approached the two.  Waverly came right up behind her, readying her shotgun.  Nicole punched the man in the face and he kicked her off of him.  In what looked like superhuman speed, he was on top of her punching her face with a sickening crunch.  But as soon as he saw Wynonna coming for him, he looked spooked and began to run away.  Wynonna and Waverly rushed after him as Nicole jumped up to her feet.

Waverly shot at him and he stumbled as the shots hit him in the back but kept running.  She continued to shoot at him but at most he would just stumble and keep going.  Wynonna put her gun back in her holster and cursed under her breath.

"You're not going after him?" Nicole asked Wynonna incredulously.  Wynonna looked at the other woman and said something softly that Waverly couldn't hear.  The brown eyes looked at Waverly over her sister's shoulder and she just nodded curtly at the oldest Earp.  Waverly frowned and looked at the two.

"Why didn't my bullets do anything to him?  Why was he here?"

"He was sniffing around Willa's grave," Nicole said holstering her gun and picking her hat up off the ground.

Wynonna turned to her sister and sighed, "Waves, maybe you should go back inside."  She gave her a pointed look and Waverly just continued her frown.  There was something Wynonna wasn't telling her.  She could see it.  But right now she was more concerned as to why her protection spell wasn't working.

"Fine," she said turning on her heels and stomping back into the Homestead.  Sure she looked like a petulant child, but if Wynonna was going to treat her like one, she could act like one too.  She put her rifle hidden back under the table and went to her room.  She pulled out a couple of crystals and herbs and placed them together on the floor, sitting in front of them.  Pausing for a moment, she pulled the red ribbon out from under her pillow and placed it with the other items.

There was a bottle of bone dust hidden in a box under her bed, and she took it out, tapping just enough onto the floor in front of her.  She took a stick from the box and began to write symbols in the dust while saying the spell softly.

"Indem ich diesen Zauber spreche, wird kein Unheil über mich oder die Menschen, die hier leben, kommen. Göttin, schütze dieses Land vor dem Bösen."

The symbols in the dust glowed and Waverly carefully blew the dust over the objects, watching as it sparkled and glowed before disappearing.  She took a deep breath and quickly hid the items back under her pillow for later that night.

***

As Waverly walked away, Wynonna blinked at Nicole through her drunkenness.  She supposed she should...apologize.  Or whatever.  That was a thing she was supposed to do in a situation like this.  Nicole almost pretended like Wynonna wasn't there, putting fresh stacks of hay in the barn from the cart she'd brought from town.  The red head finally stopped and looked over at Wynonna with a raised eyebrow.

"Can I help you?"

Wynonna rolled her eyes just as hard and crossed her arms, looking up at the sky instead of at the woman in front of her.  "I guess I just wanted to say I'm sorry," she breathed out with a sigh, trying to remain nonchalant, "I...didn't mean to almost get you killed earlier."  She could feel Nicole's stare on her and dared herself to look her in the eye.  Nicole was looking at her with an expectant look on her face and Wynonna shook her head.  "What?  I apologized."

"Bringing up New Mexico was a really low blow," Nicole said crossing her arm to mirror Wynonna, "You know why I did what I did."

The brunette looked down at the ground and licked her lips.  It had been a low blow.  Just because it was so easy.  They had made a silent vow after it happened to never bring it up again, it was just something that was understood.  It was just another promise that Wynonna broke.  What was new?

"I know you had your reasons. Good ones," Wynonna tried to think through the fog of alcohol in her brain but just felt her tongue moving on its own. "Sometimes I just wonder what if-"

"What if I let you destroy your own life?" Nicole asked flatly, "You were going to torture him to death."

"He knew how to get to Willa!"

"You hated yourself for what you were doing to him-"

"I always hated myself. That was no change-"

"You were drinking yourself to death!  You would just turn into another Willa! Another Ward!"

"Don't you ever-!" Wynonna choked on the lump in her throat and took a moment before continuing. "I could never be like Daddy."

"I was worried about you, Wy," Nicole said quietly, "I apologized a thousand times. But it was for your own good."

"I can take care of myself," Wynonna insisted, nostrils flaring, "Always have."

Nicole's eyes softened and she took a step closer to Wynonna.  She eyed the red head carefully, like an animal ready to bolt. "Wynonna," Nicole began, "You don't have to anymore. You have Waverly. You have me."

Wynonna felt as if she'd been kicked in the gut. She looked up at the sky and tried to keep the tears at bay. She had already cried enough for the day. It was embarrassing. "Goddamn it, Haught," she said with a harsh sniff, "You're the fucking worst. You know that?"

Nicole smiled widely and Wynonna shook her head. She'd seen that look in her eyes before and it just meant-

The red head pulled Wynonna to her by the front of her shirt and hugged her tight. The brunette tensed at first, but then returned the hug just as tight. It only lasted a moment before Wynonna pushed Nicole away playfully. 

"Let's just go inside, flat foot," Wynonna said, unable to resist the small smile that touched the corner of her lips, "It's getting cold out here."

***
Nicole felt herself slowly waking up, a warm feeling starting in her toes and rolling up her body like waves. She sighed in her half asleep state, wrinkling her nose when it felt like hair had brushed over it. With a yawn, she stretched her arms up over her head. When she tried to bring them back down, there was a weight on her wrists, like someone was pinning them. She slowly blinked her eyes open and felt her mouth dry up. She could hardly believe what she saw.

Waverly Earp leaning over her, hair falling around their faces like a curtain and the moonlight from the window lighting up her hair like a halo. Nicole tried to blink the sleep from her eyes as quickly as possible. She shifted and felt the weight of another body straddling hers.

“Is this really happening?” she said barely under her breath. Waverly just smiled down at her and leaned forward so that their noses brushed, her hands still holding Nicole’s over her head. Her breath immediately shallowed, her tongue coming out to wet her lips. Waverly Earp was…on top of her? About to kiss her? “Waves, what are you doing?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” she whispered hotly against Nicole’s lips. A shot of arousal went straight between Nicole’s legs and she shifted under the other girl’s weight. Her eye dragged down Waverly’s torso, taking in the way her chemise was dipping low and her skirt was bunched high on her thighs. She took in every glorious inch of skin in front of her before looking up at Waverly again. She had so many questions, but she was so afraid to ask them. She would much rather get right to…whatever Waverly had in mind.

Waverly’s kisses traveled across Nicole’s jaw and softly down the column of her neck. She sighed when the brunette hit a particularly sensitive spot and rolled her neck to give her more access. She could feel her skin start to prickle with arousal and the need to touch the girl on top of her. When she tried to move her hands, Waverly held her wrists even tighter. Nicole felt Waverly tying something around her wrists and glanced up to see a red ribbon around them. She frowned, looking up at them with some curiosity. Waverly’s hands finally moved down Nicole’s arms and to her hips as she sucked harshly on the sensitive part of Nicole’s neck. Her hips pushed up into Waverly with a groan, cheeks blushing in embarrassment and arousal.

As much as Nicole was enjoying this, and boy was she, something seemed off to her. She wanted to keep going and ask questions later, but wasn’t sure why Waverly was on top of her in the middle of the night. “Baby,” Nicole managed to say, "shouldn’t we talk first?”

A sharp burn lit up Nicole’s wrists. For a moment, it felt like the ribbon around her wrists was on fire and she jerked up on the bed. Sitting up, Nicole held her wrists in front of her but the pain had gone. She was panting in both arousal and the shock of pain at this point as she looked around the room. No Waverly. It…must had been a dream. A great one at that. She couldn’t help but be a little disappointed that the youngest Earp hadn’t actually been straddling her and nibbling at her neck. Still, Nicole was a little embarrased about the whole thing. She looked down at her wrists and noticed that there wasn’t a red ribbon around both of them like in the dream, but rather one around just her left wrist. She sat confused for a moment and tried to tug the ribbon off of her wrist but it remained where it was.

She frowned and examined the ribbon closer. It didn’t look like it was tied anywhere, it had no knot tying it togher. She tugged even harder, dropping it when it glowed for just the briefest of moments.

She ran a hand through her hair and tried to slow the rapid breathing of her heart as she tried to figure out where this ribbon came from. She could practically still feel Waverly on top of her and squeezed her thighs together at the memory. Waverly had somehow done this. She groaned as she flopped back on the bed. There was no way she'd be falling back asleep any time soon.

Chapter Text

Nothing could seem to get the ribbon off of Nicole’s wrist.  She tried a knife, her teeth and even fire.  But the ribbon just remained intact.  It didn’t hurt or bother her in any way.  Physically at least.  Mentally, it was driving her crazy.  What was it doing there?  Who put it there?  She can only assume it was Waverly.  Because of the dream.  The one she couldn’t stop thinking about. 

She was laying looking up at the ceiling on her bed, hand in front of her as she examined the ribbon.  Waverly hadn’t gotten up yet it seemed, so Nicole decided to stay put.  Her main job was to keep an eye on her after all.  And she knew for a fact that Wynona wouldn’t be up for a while.  So she saw no harm in just laying in bed and waiting.

There was a small shuffling sound in Waverly’s room so Nicole stretched, ready to start the day.  And maybe she did double check her appearance in the mirror about five times before heading downstairs.  It was just one of those kind of days.

***

Waverly was fairly confident that the border around the Homestead was now protected.  She had buried the crystals and the herbs, said her protection spell and made sure Nicole had a little bit…extra protection.  Only because she knew Wynonna was in the habit of getting her into dangerous situations. No other reason. 

And it wasn't like she couldn't stop thinking about how when she tied the ribbon on the red heads wrist, she sighed, "Waves."  She absolutely was not thinking about how the light streaming through the window highlighted the strong curve of her jaw juuuuust right...

No. Not at all. 

When she went down into the kitchen, Nicole was already down there putting food on three plates. The red head blushed as soon as she saw Waverly at the doorway but smiled anyways. 

"Morning," Waverly said softly. 

"Morning," Nicole answered. 

Wynonna's grunted greeting from the table drew her sister's attention to how hungover she looked. Waverly went and sat at the table as Nicole put a glass of water in front of Wynonna with a couple of dried leaves. "Here," she said, "chew the leaves and drink the whole glass.  It'll make you feel better."

The older Earp gagged like a child but put the leaves in her mouth anyways. 

"Thanks for breakfast, Nic," Waverly said ignoring Wynonna's coughing sounds as she swallowed the leaves.

"No problem," she said sitting down with them. 

Wynonna took a giant, sloppy bite of the eggs and nodded. "Yeah, thanks, Nicky."

"Jesus, Wy," Waverly said watching her sister shovel food into her mouth at an impressive rate. 

"Listen, at the asylum you either eat fast or don't eat at all," she explained, already mostly done with your food. 

Nicole shook her head fondly.  "One time I tried to beat her in an eating contest. I lost."

"Surprise, surprise, Nicky. You can't beat me. Not at shooting, eating or drinking."

"Sure, I'll let you think that."

Waverly looked over at Nicole as she argued with her sister. Even in the diffused lighting of the kitchen she still appreciated the sweep of her jaw and the slope of her neck. The way her short hair was tucked behind her ear and her eyes-

Oh god, was she looking at her? She was. Waverly blushed but couldn't stop staring. Not with brown eyes looking at her so curiously and the smile that lit up perfectly pink lips. But she snapped out of her daze and looked back down at her plate. 

***

The next week seemed to go by smoothly.  Seemingly anyways.  Sometimes Wynonna and Nicole would disappear for hours and come back dirty.  Not to mention usually irritated at each other.  

Though one thing that Waverly had definitely noticed was that Nicole seemed to be everywhere. When Waverly was working, she was either in the bar or at the general store across the street. When Waverly was at the general store, Nicole would just happen to walk in or be at the livery next door. If she was reading in the fields or looking for plants, Nicole was in the barn or taking Calamity out for a ride. 

Perhaps she shouldn't be surprised. It was a small town after all. But she probably ran into Nicole more then she ran into anyone. Even Wynonna. 

She reasoned that maybe she was just more hyper aware of Nicole's presence. Since she was so distractibly pretty. She really didn't mind running into Nicole as much as she did, it just gave her pause. Like the other woman was following her. Like she said, not that she minded turning around and having a beautiful red head in her sight at all times. It was just...curious. Especially with her own extracurricular activities that she was sure Nicole wouldn't be too keen on. 

Waverly had broken up with Champ after he asked her for the millionth time why she had to read so much instead of watching him shoot. Well, that and when she saw him being very friendly with one of the saloon girls. It was like a weight being lifted off her shoulders. One she hadn't realized she was carrying. It felt like shaking off expectations and wondering what he was thinking all the time. Besides nothing, as Wynonna would gleefully say.

Predictably, Waverly looked up from her place behind the bar and saw Nicole sitting at one of the far tables.  She couldn't suppress the small smile that curled her lips as soon as she saw her.  As if Nicole could sense it, she looked up and caught Waverly's eye.  She looked back down quickly and finished wiping down the glass in her hand for probably the fifth time.  But it was worth it.

***

Wynonna walked into Shorty’s and took a quick look around.  Nothing crazy or…no one crazy seemed to be holed up in there at the moment.  Nicole was sitting at a table in the corner trying to be casual while watching Waverly.  Perfect, everything was in place except…She saw the man who had told her about the Revenant campsite a few days ago leaning against the bar.  She looked him up and down from afar.  Him and that damn hat on his head.  It really did suit him.

She wandered over to him casually and sat on the stool next to him.  “Hey stranger,” she said nodding at the man.  She looked over at Waverly and gave her a wink.  Waverly rolled her eyes but poured Wynonna her usual drink anyways.

The man didn’t even look over at her.  “Well, Wynonna Earp.  How pleased to meet you once more.”

"That's what all the guys say."

“Heard about your visit down to Bobo,” he said rattling the ice in his drink, “Didn’t quite go the way you expected it.”

“It went exactly how I expected it to go,” she said lowering her voice, “I just always expected it to be a shit show.”

“Well if you’re looking to break the curse, you’re going to need make your expectations just a little bit higher,” he said.

“Give me your name and maybe I’ll let you help me.”

“Let me?” he said with an amused smile.

“Yeah, because I need to know why you know so much about my family and I have a bullet that says you’ll tell me,” Wynonna said pulling her gun out of her holster, stepping closer so it was hidden and pressing it into his stomach.

“Ms. Earp, I am not worried about you shootin' me because you’d be dead on the floor before you could even pull the trigger,” he said taking a long easy sip of whiskey, “But I’ll amuse you.  My name is Doc Holliday.”

Wynonna blinked for a second and pressed the barrel harder into his ribs.  “You’re trying to tell me you’re the Doc Holliday?  He’s…dead-  Are you a Revenant?”

“I think you know I’m not,” he said.

She looked at him or another moment before putting Peacemaker back in her holster.  "After everything else, I guess you being...immortal or alive again or whatever isn't much of a stretch," she said looking over at Waverly who she could tell was trying to listen in from the other side of the bar.  She lowered her voice, "So.  Doc.  What's your game?"

"I have no game.  I just want to help you out as it seems you can also help me out," he said, "I need to kill a witch."

Wynonna blinked up at him with a frown.  "Okay, Ghost Boy, now you're telling me there's a witch in town somewhere?"

"Several, I presume.  But I'm looking for one in particular."

Wynonna sighed and took a long sip of her drink, "That's a lot of supernatural information for a girl in one sitting.  Why do you have to kill her?"

"Revenge," Doc practically growled out.

"I can help you but you have to help me first," Wynonna bargained.  She would just have to hope that Doc's reasons for killing the witch were justified.  She could worry about that later.  "I need to take down the Revenants.  All of them.  I  need to end the curse."

"That seems more like a task then a favor," he said as if he was thinking.

"You help me, I help you, Doc," she said with a shrug, "Simple.  Easy.  Not like it would be the first time you aligned yourself with an Earp."

"Last time it got me killed.  Almost."

"Clearly."

Wynonna looked him over.  He did have a stupidly handsome face and as much as she didn't want to admit it, he was very charming.  It was maddening.  But she wouldn't complain having someone nice to look at once in a while.

"Alright then," she said with a smirk, "Tell me everything you know about Bobo."

***

Waverly didn't catch everything Wynonna had said to Doc in the bar, but she heard enough to be worried. Doc was looking for a witch and Wynonna had to take down a lot of people.  For some reason. 

It was becoming abundantly clear that she needed to cast a protection spell especially for Wynonna.  There was a lot happening in town lately and Wynonna was always in the thick of it.  Waverly knew that her sister was keeping something from her, she wasn't an idiot.  And she was determined to figure out what it is.  After she cast her protection spell.  The strongest one she had was one based on a spell of protection through love.  Specifically a mother's love.  Only problem was, their Mamma had taken off a long time ago when she got tired of Ward's fists.  But she thought she might be able to find something.  She had been in the attic looking through her mother's old trunk when she came across a key on a long chain.  She couldn't imagine what the key had gone too, but she remembered her mother wearing it.  It was probably the best she was going to get.  

When she took it down to her room, she put some evil eye beads on it that she got from the trader that came into town every once in a while, the one everyone seemed to avoid.  She was always wary of what she bought from him, very aware of the fact that it was much easier to buy cursed items then she'd like to admit.  But the beads held a symbol meant to ward off evil and she knew she could trust them.  

She laid awake in her bed that night waiting for the moon to be almost in the exact right spot before swinging her legs to of the bed and grabbing a thick blanket to wrap around her shoulders.  She pulled a small bag out from under her bed that held everything she needed for the spell and headed outside.  

The spell called to be done in a clearing under oak trees which meant she had to wander into the woods around the Homestead.  It wasn't ideal, but the gun in her boot gave her at least a little bit of comfort that if something went wrong she'd be prepared.  The stray twigs and branches from the tree scraped across her skin as she walked through the woods but she made it to the clearing fairly unscathed.  Out of the bag she took some candles, matches, the necklace and some crystals she needed for the spell.  Once everything was set up in the middle of the clearing, Waverly took a deep breath and began.

***

Twice before Waverly had snuck out in the middle of the night.  Both times she had walked around the perimeter of the Homestead.  So when Nicole heard Waverly sneaking out again, she assumed it would be the same situation.  When Waverly started to head towards the woods, Nicole wondered what she was about to get into at this time of night.

Staying a safe distance back, she followed her into the woods and to some sort of clearing.  By the time she had gotten there, Waverly was sitting facing a circle of twigs, rocks and candles with her eyes closed. Her lips were moving, but she was speaking quietly in a language Nicole didn't understand.  In the middle of the circle was what looked like a necklace.  Waverly picked it up and cradled it in her hands like she was trying to hold water as she continued to chant.

The wind around them picked up and whispers filled the woods around them.  Nicole pulled her gun out and looked around but saw nothing.  The wind picked up and whispers got louder, making Nicole's heart jump into her throat.  She knew something was up with Waverly.  Ever since that first night.

Waverly remained in place, seemingly unaffected by everything happening around her.  The circle began to glow and the flames on the candles got higher.  The flames joined together above the circle and began to move towards Waverly who remained, eyes closed.  

Nicole felt panic rising as the flames got closer and closer to Waverly.  Right before they touched her hands, she made the last minute decision and rushed towards the other woman.  

"Waverly!" she shouted, "Watch out!"  Nicole slid on the ground, grabbing Waverly around the waist with an arm and pulling her towards her, out of the way of the flames.  Waverly's back connected to her front and she held her gun in front of them, though she was sure shooting at fire wouldn't do anything.  The flames followed Waverly's hands and engulfed them anyways.  Nicole made a move to put the flames out but Waverly's eye looked up at her from against her chest and shook her head.

"No!  Leave them, it's fine," Waverly said as the flames wrapped around her hands like a ribbon and the necklace glowed in her hands.  Nicole stared at the flames, a thousand questions running through her head.  She could feel the heat of them licking at her skin and she unconsciously pulled Waverly closer, her gun slowly lowering at her side. 

In a blink, the whispers and wind stopped, flames extinguishing like a giant had blown them out.  Nicole sat on her knees, shell shocked by what she had just witnessed.

"What the fuck was that?" she breathed out.  She realized that she was still holding the other woman flush against her chest and blushed. Her hand rested on Waverly's waist, and if she wanted to she could lean forward and brush her lips against her neck. She cleared her throat before dropping her arm from around Waverly's waist and sat back on the ground catching her breath. 

"Have you been following me?" Waverly asked spinning to look at Nicole incredulously. 

"What? No," Nicole said quickly, putting her gun back in the holster, "I just heard you leaving and decided to see what you were up to. It's dangerous to be out by yourself."

"I can take care of myself," Waverly said turning back around to pick up her stuff and put it back in the bag. 

Nicole huffed, "I just wanted to make sure you were safe!"  Waverly stood up and began to stomp out of the woods as Nicole followed closely. "Hey! What was all that?"

"Nothing!" Waverly said walking faster. 

"Hey!" Nicole said trying to get Waverly to stop, "Hey!" She grabbed Waverly's arm to stop her and the other girl spun to face her. 

"Don't touch me!"

The words stung but Nicole tried to keep her face neutral. "Listen, please," she said softly, "I just want to know what I saw back there. I think I deserve an explanation."

"After stalking me into the woods in the middle of the night?" Waverly asked crossing her arms in front of her. 

Nicole sighed, "Fair. But I just wanted to make sure you were okay-"

"Why? No one asked you to," she responded sharply. Nicole licked her lips and thought about how Wynonna had, in fact, asked her to keep an eye on her. But she was sure Wynonna would kill her if she said anything to that effect.

“Because…” Nicole licked her lips again, eyes flickering ever so briefly to Waverly’s lips, “I care about you.” She looked into Waverly’s eyes for some kind of reaction but the other woman just looked up at her with wide eyes. Nicole took a step closer and took a deep breath before asking the question that was on her mind. “Are you a witch?”

Waverly pulled her bottom lip between her teeth and looked down at her feet for a moment before looking back up at Nicole. “What if I was?”

“I’d still care about you just the same,” Nicole answered softly.

The shorter woman chuckled dryly and shrugged. “You can’t…you can’t tell anyone. Even Wynonna,” she said, “The town would hang me if they found out.”

“I know,” Nicole said with a nod.

“Are you scared of me?” Waverly whispered just barely above her breath.

Nicole smiled gently and shook her head. “Not as long as you’re still Waverly Earp.”

Waverly processed and a smile crept on her face as she did. “Thank you.”

“What are you thanking me for?” Nicole asked with a shrug, “Let’s get you back home.” Waverly gave her a look and Nicole quickly corrected herself. “You’re capable of getting back home on your own. I just want to accompany you.”

The younger woman began to walk away, but as she left she shot a smile over her shoulder to Nicole. She couldn’t help but smile back.

***

The night before, Nicole walked Waverly back to her room and bid her a good night without anymore questions about the whole…witch thing. Waverly had expected her to at least throw a few more expletives around. No one else knew about her…powers. It was something she had begun dabbling in since she was fifteen and had been wondering about the whispers of curses that she had heard around town. In particular with Gus and Shorty when they thought Waverly was asleep instead of eavesdropping on them.

But Nicole hadn’t cared. She hadn’t run or screamed or threatened her. She said she…cared about her. Waverly smiled at the memory as she walked down the stairs looking for her sister.

"Wynonna," Waverly said when she found her sister in her usual sleeping spot in the living room, "I found something for you."  The older Earp grumbled something about being woken up but Waverly sat on the couch next to her anyways.  "It was mom's."

A single blue eye slowly blinked open to look up at her sister.  Waverly held the key on the necklace in front of her and Wynonna rolled onto her back to get a better look at it.  She touched the key gently and said softly, her voice still heavy with sleep, "I remember this."

"You should take it."

Wynonna just shook her head and jerked her hand away like the necklace had burned her.  "No.  You should take it, Waves.  I don't deserve it."

Waverly shot her a look.  "It's too early for your self pitying," she insisted before practically forcing the necklace around Wynonna's neck, "And if I see you without it, I'll never forgive you."

Wynonna gave her what was supposed to be a scary look, but it just made Waverly smile.  She looked down at the necklace and held the key in the palm of her hand, thumb brushing over the engraving that Waverly had just noticed on the front.  "Fine," she said.

Waverly beamed and kissed the top of Wynonna's head.  "Thank you."

Just then Nicole came down from her bedroom.  She tipped her hat to Waverly with a smile that made her stomach flutter before she walked out towards the barn.  She didn't notice she was staring at the door the red head had walked out of until her sister made a show of stretching her limbs and attempting to push her off the couch.  Waverly slapped her hand away and turned back towards Wynonna.  "Why did Nicole come with you?"

"She was looking for some more targets.  I told her Purgatory was full of criminals waiting to be caught," Wynonna said simply, "She'll probably be moving on once she's done collecting all the bounties she can."

Waverly hadn't thought of that possibility.  The butterflies in her stomach suddenly dropped and she looked out the back window to watch as Nicole brought CJ out of the barn.  She wondered how much longer Nicole was going to stay in town.  She hadn't...seen her capture anyone.  It seemed like she was following her around more then actually catching the criminals Wynonna claimed she was looking for.

“Maybe she’ll stick around,” Waverly said mostly to herself as she continued to look out the window. Wynonna sat up on the couch and looked at her sister then followed her gaze out the window.

“Yeah. Maybe she will.”

Chapter Text

"Hey."

Nicole practically shot up in the bed, hand on the gun under her pillow as she blinked the sleep from her eyes and looked around. Her heart was beating out of her chest, reacting to the rude awakening .Wynona was sitting on her bed, staring at the red head like she was insane. Nicole sat up. "What the hell, Wynonna?" she asked smelling the whiskey on the other woman's breath, "You can't just barge in like that, I could have shot you."

"Yeah whatever," Wynonna said with a careless flick of her hand, "We need to find a witch."

Nicole's stomach clenched and she shook her head. "Why? Right now?"

"No, but eventually," she answered as she spun Peacemaker casually in her hand, "Do you know of any witches?"

"I barely learned demons are real, you think I know witches?" Nicole said running a nervous hand through her hair. Little did Wynonna know that there was a witch just on the other side of the wall from them. God, Wynonna would be pissed when she found out.

"Knowing some of the girls you've dated I wouldn't be surprised," Wynonna said jokingly, eyebrows high as she waited for Nicole to get the joke. "Get it?"

She rolled her eyes, "Yes, I get it. Even if it's untrue." She pulled her knees up to her chest and suppressed a yawn. "Is there a reason you had to wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me this?"

"I was bored."

"You're ridiculous. And drunk," Nicole said laying back down in bed, "Go to bed."

"There's no rest for the wicked."

"Yeah, well, you're not going to break the curse in the middle of the night, are you?"

"Fine," Wynonna whined as she got up from the bed and stomped out of the room, "See you tomorrow."

Nicole looked back up at the ceiling as she subconsciously fiddled with the ribbon on her wrist. If someone was looking for a witch...and Waverly was that witch...maybe they were just looking for advice or help or...

But what if they wanted to kill her? The world didn't take kindly to witches. There were plenty of times that Nicole had brought in "witches" to be jailed and ultimately hanged. She hadn't seen evidence of actual witchcraft before Waverly and she certainly wasn't like any of the witches that she had marched to her death. They had been...callous, spitting and hissing curses and death threats. Waverly just had a sweetness to her that no one she'd ever met before had. She was good and she had to be kept safe. Nicole was not going to let anyone hurt her.

***

Curse.

Waverly knew she wasn't crazy! She knew there was something going on. Wynonna was just keeping it from her. Maybe pressing her ear against the wall when she heard a drunken Wynonna barge into Nicole's room wasn't the best way to get this information, but it seemed to be the only way she was getting any information. She had missed most of the first half of the conversation but she heard what she needed to hear.

The curse was real.

She scrambled out of bed and pulled a box that was deep under her bed out. She had pictures and newspaper clippings and notebooks upon notebooks on all the information she could find on the curse. Through newspaper articles and police records, she had tracked down the names of every if not all the people Wyatt had killed with Peacemaker. If the rumors were true, those were the men that were back once again to haunt them. Now she could help! She wouldn't have to just sit around and do nothing, she could help Wynonna end the Earp curse.

Waverly stayed up all night organizing her notes and pining them to the wall in a way that made sense. She wanted it to be as organized as possible when she showed Wynonna who would, no doubt, just look at it for a second before asking Waverly to explain. The dawn came and Waverly got dressed as quickly as she could before going to find Wynonna.

"Wy," she said poking her sister who was asleep on the couch. Wynonna grumbled in response and Waverly continued to prod, "Wy, I have something to show you. That can help."

"That can help with what?" Wynonna asked cracking a single eye open to look at her little sister.

Waverly lowered her voice but couldn't help the grin of excitement, "That can help with the curse."

Wynonna sat straight up with a frown and stared at Waverly. "What are you talking about?"

"I know about the curse," Waverly said grabbing Wynonna's hand and pulling her up towards her room. She closed the door behind them and when she turned around, Wynonna had wandered closer to the wall with all the info tacked on it.

"What the fuck?" she heard her say under her breath.

Waverly walked over and bumped Wynonna's shoulder with her own. "It's all the information I have on Wyatt and the curse. I've set it up by years he was alive and put the people who most likely came back to haunt us on top and the least likely on the bottom."

"They're...called Revenants," Wynonna practically breathed, "How did you-?"

"There were a lot of rumors," Waverly said simply. Ever since Daddy died and you went away Gus has been whispering about things and I-...well you know I always got in trouble for sneaking around."

Wynonna turned to Waverly quickly and shook her head. "You can't do this, baby girl, you can't be involved."

Waverly gaped at her and shook her head. "What? Why?"

"It's too dangerous. There's a lot more involved then you know and I can't risk it. I can't risk you," she said with a shrug. She looked over at the wall of information and Waverly stepped in front of her.

"You can't just shut me out! I gathered all this information and I'm an Earp! I should be helping," she insisted.

Wynonna shook her head. "Waverly. No. I'm sorry."

"You can't just tell me no, Wynonna!" Waverly said, "I'm not a child! I haven't been a child for years. Not since I had to grow up on my own without my family."

"You had Gus-"

"She's not you! I was still an Earp. I was still an outsider," Waverly said, "This is what I'm supposed to be doing. Helping you."

Wynonna looked down at her feet, eyes shut, "It's way too early for this and I'm way too hung over."

"You can't go and hide behind your humor, not this time," Waverly said almost dangerously, "This is my destiny."

"No. It's mine," Wynonna said looking at her sharply, "It was Willa's and she fucked it up. Now it's mine. I have to do this on my own."

Waverly felt her heart break in the same way that it broke when she watched Wynonna get carted away after saying one too many things about demons. It was that sad realization and eventual just...lonliness that eats away at you. She felt angry tears welling in her eyes and knew there was no point arguing. Wynonna had shut down.

Without a word, she left the room, bumping Wynonna's shoulder roughly with her own as she went.

***

Nicole stood in the barn brushing CJ when Waverly came practically crashing in. She watched as the other woman stomped up to her with nothing but anger on her face.

“Waverly,” Nicole said cautiously as she continued to brush the horse, “Are you okay?”

“I’m not a child!” Waverly blurted out.

The red head nodded slowly and drawled, “Okaaaaay. I know you’re not a child.”

She huffed, “Tell Wynonna that.”

Nicole licked her lips and turned to face Waverly completely as she weighed her options. Getting between two sisters or…Wynonna and anyone really, was never a good idea. “What happened, Waves?”

The smaller woman began to pace in front of her and Nicole couldn’t help but feel just a little amused. Waverly was just adorable, even when she was mad. But she knew better then to make an Earp mad so she kept her smile down as she went on.

“She seems to think that I can’t handle family responsibility,” Waverly continued, “How I can’t help her break-…” Waverly’s mouth snapped shut and she looked like a deer caught in the headlights for a second.

Nicole shrugged and looked down at the horse brush in her hand. “I know about the curse. Not a lot but…I know about it.”

"Are you helping her?" Waverly asked.

"As much as I can."

"So she told you about the curse and is letting you help but not me?"

Nicole was at a loss of what to say. She didn't want to throw Wynonna under the cart in anyway and she certainly didn't want to make Waverly any more upset then she already was. It was abundantly clear that Wynonna protected her sister above anyone else. Wynonna would die before she let anyone put a hand on Waverly.

"You're the only family she has left," Nicole began slowly, "She loves you more then anything. She's just worried about you."

"I can take care of myself, I always have," Waverly said crossing her arms tightly in front of her chest.

Nicole took a couple of steps forward and ducked her head to look at the other woman. "I know you can, and somewhere deep down Wynonna does too. She's just so worried about you staying safe. Your parents are gone, Willa's gone...if something happened to you she would die. You know it comes from a place of love, right?"

Waverly's jaw tightened but Nicole could see her shoulders about to relax. "I just want to help."

"You're a valuable asset to her, she'll realize that eventually."

"I'm tired of just standing around and waiting for things to happen!" Waverly said holding her arms down at her sides, hands tightening into fists. "All my life I've just stood around and waited. When the demons or Revenants or whatever came, I just stood and waited-"

"You were six-"

"When they took Wynonna away, I just waited for her to come back. When Willa was out galavanting around and murdering people, I just waited. With you I-" Waverly stopped quickly, swallowing her own words as she looked up at Nicole. The red head felt her heart beating fast, stomach twisted in anticipation. She was waiting for...for what? The silence hung between them and Nicole couldn't take it anymore.

"Waves, I-"

Her words were cut off with lips crashing into her own. She was taken aback for a moment, CJ's brush dropping from her hands in surprise as her brain caught up with what was happening. Waverly was waiting for this. Waverly had...Waverly was kissing her. Nicole put her hands lightly on Waverly's waist, sighing with Waverly's hands cupping her cheeks. This was happening. Her lips were so soft and the kiss was firm but sweet. Nicole's heart fluttered in her chest as she relaxed more into the kiss. She was afraid to make any sudden moves or deepen it, not wanting to scare away the other woman.

Waverly slowly pulled away, hands still on Nicole's face and their lips still inches apart. "I'm tired of waiting," Waverly whispered, her eyes darting from Nicole's lips to her wide eyes.

"Darlin', you have no idea how long I've been waiting for someone like you," Nicole breathed out as she stepped closer to the shorter girl and brought their bodies flush together. Waverly practically beamed up at her, one hand moving to the base of her skull and tangling in red hair. She leaned up on her tiptoes and connected their lips once more, Nicole leaning down to compensate for their height difference. Her hands inched along Waverly's waist to the small of her back as she was pushed up against a beam of the barn.

Nicole deepened the kiss, her tongue brushing along Waverly's lips until their tongues met. She pulled the shorter girl impossibly close to feel how perfectly they seemed to fit together. Waverly's fingers tugged at her hair and she couldn't help the small groan that escaped her throat.

"Waverly!"

The two jumped apart as Wynonna's voice came in from outside. She pushed open the door to the barn and looked between the two curiously before sighing and landing on Waverly. Nicole tried to control her heave breathing and hoped her lips didn't look swollen or red...

"Waves, can we...do you want to go into town with me? I have to talk to someone about...stuff," Wynonna said with a shrug.

"Does this mean you'll let me help?" Waverly asked with a raised eyebrow.

"To a degree. No going on dangerous missions with us," Wynonna said pointing a finger at her sister, "You can help with research and other non-dangerous things."

Waverly rolled her eyes, "I'm fine with that for now."

"Forever."

"We'll see."

The two sisters stared at each other and Nicole just watched, licking her lips and tasting Waverly on them still. She was sure she wasn't going to be able to concentrate the rest of the day.

"Let's go then," Wynonna said, "Waverly, Nicky."

"Yeah," Nicole sighed, "Let's go."

***

Waverly rode on the back of Wynonna's horse into town but she couldn't help frequently looking back to see Nicole following them. She smiled at the other woman over her shoulder, lips tingling as she remembered the kiss earlier. Nicole smiled brightly at her, eyes shining and Waverly wanted to kiss her again right then. She sighed and turned back around, leaning her head on Wynonna's back as she thought of the kiss. It was perfect. Everything about it. Until Wynonna interrupted them anyways. She couldn't help but look back again and the woman tipped her hat towards her in a way that almost made her swoon right off the horse.

They made it to town and as soon as they were off the horses, Waverly was instantly at Nicole's side. Her hand itched to reach out and take her hand but she kept them firmly by her side. They walked into Shorty's, Wynonna in the lead as she scanned the saloon for whoever she was looking for.

Doc nodded over at the group and they all sat at the table with him. He leaned forward on his elbows. "There's a few more of you here then I was expecting."

"Yeah, well, we're the team," Wynonna said. Waverly tried not to beam too proudly. She was part of the team. "So, any more info on this witch?"

Waverly froze and she felt Nicole stiffen besides her as Doc answered. "Bobo needs a a witch to cast some sort of spell. That's the extent of which I know anything about the witch."

"Are his witch and yours the same? Like a two for one special or something?" Wynonna asked.

"I assume, but I can't say for sure. I just know he needs the witch before the Winter Solstice. That's the only time he can perform the spell," Doc said looking around the bar.

"What is he going to do with the witch?" Waverly asked as casually as she could.

"Well he just needs them for the spell and then if it's the same witch I'm looking for, I'm going to make sure she gets the fate she deserves," Doc said almost too easily. Waverly was afraid of asking anymore questions, too worried about giving herself away. She felt Nicole's foot bump against her own and looked up at the red head who remained looking at Doc.

"So once we find this witch, then what?" Nicole asked, "We just hand her over to you? Not knowing if you're lying or not?"

"Isn't it better I have the witch then Bobo?" Doc asked leaning forward. He squinted at her for a moment as a smile crept on his face. "Nicole Haught I presume, yes? You're reputation proceeds you, I assure. I have no doubt you'll be able to bring me the witch."

"What reputation?" she asked.

"That you're one of the best bounty hunters in the West. Even if you did seem to retire after the Calico incident."

"I don't know who you're talking to, but I assure you I don't have a reputation."

Doc shrugged and tipped his hat back, "It's nothing to be ashamed of, dear. We all have our demons."

"Waves, do you have any leads on who this witch might be?" Wynonna asked.

"Maybe," Waverly said simply, "I can...make some educated guesses."

"Good," Wynonna said leaning back in her chair, "I guess we're a witch hunting team now."

***

"You can't tell Wynonna," Waverly said when she ambushed Nicole in the barn again later. Nicole had been putting blankets on CJ and Whiskey when the other girl flew in like a bat out of hell. Waverly had been silently freaking out about Wynonna searching for a witch since they went into town. She only knew of one other witch in town and she was not ready to give her name or the other name to anyone. Especially Doc or Bobo. "If Wynonna knows I'm a witch then..." she just trailed off and Nicole put a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"I won't tell Wynonna anything you don't want me to," she assured her, "But don't you think she could help you if she knew?"

"Help me how?" Waverly asked, "I'm a witch, nothing can change that."

"I know, I'm just saying if you tell her she can protect you from whatever crazy people are looking for witches," Nicole explained as Waverly looked her arms around her waist.

"Can't you help me with that?" she asked with a flirtatious smile. She couldn't help but look down at Nicole's lips as she talked. Besides the whole fear of being hunted down thing, Waverly could only think of kissing Nicole again.

Nicole chuckled, "Yeah, I guess I could." She put her arms around Waverly and drew her closer. "So."

"So."

"Should we talk about this?"

"About what? I like you," Waverly said simply. It was the first time she'd actually said it out loud, and hearing it was like a whole new realization, even to her self. Her hands tugged at Nicole's vest and up the soft fabric of her shirt before looping around her neck.

"I like you too," Nicole said leaning down to kiss the tip of Waverly's nose ever so softly, "But you're also Wynonna's sister."

"So?"

"She's going to murder me. And while you're worth a very violent death, I'd like to avoid it," Nicole said softly as she leaned forward. It was as if their lips had magnets in them and couldn't remain separated for long.

Waverly smiled, their lips hardly touching, "Then I guess she can't find out for now."

Nicole just hummed as they kissed again. Waverly swore she could feel sparks.

Chapter Text

The next week had been hard.  Only because it was hard to remain focused on the task at hand when all Nicole wanted to do was spend time with Waverly.  She was distracting at best, the way she'd look at Nicole over the bar at Shorty's when her and Wynonna were trying to go over strategy.  All she could do was smile back at her and watch helplessly as she flipped her long hair over her shoulder.

Wynonna never needed to know that whenever she was excusing herself to the outhouse she was actually sneaking into the storage room to spend some time with Waverly.  They would kiss like they needed the other to breath until she knew if she spent any more time away Wynonna would get suspicious.

"Are you okay?" Wynonna asked after one of her trips to the storage room.

Nicole blushed, "Yeah, why?"

The brunette shrugged, "I don't know you just seem to be spending a lot of time in the outhouse lately."

She just blushed even harder. 

As soon as Nicole stepped into the barn the next morning to feed the horses, Waverly's hand was around her arm pulling her into one of the empty stalls.  The door clicked silently behind them and Waverly rested her hands on Nicole's collarbone.  She smiled widely down at the other woman and kissed her in greeting as she wrapped her arms around her waist.

"Good morning to you too," Nicole said brushing their noses together.  She ran her hands up the shorter woman's back and tried not to linger on the fact that she wasn't wearing her corset.  There was only the thin cotton of her shirt and chamise separating them and was driving Nicole slightly insane at the moment.  She pressed their lips together again and sighed into the kiss.  She couldn't imagine ever getting tired of kissing Waverly.  Especially with the way that she played with the hair at the nape of her neck or ran her fingers through it.

"I missed you last night," Waverly said with a teasing smirk, "Wynonna had you out late.  I didn't get my goodnight kiss."

Nicole hummed and and breathed against Waverly's lips, "Then by all means, let me make it up to you."  She nipped lightly at Waverly's bottom lip, letting the other woman chase her lips.  Waverly's hands smoothed over her chest and under Nicole's vest as they kissed.  She pushed Nicole's vest and duster off of her shoulders in one movement.  She would have protested but she was too distracted by Waverly's tongue stroking her own to be bothered at the moment.  Shaking her jacket and vest off of her shoulders, Nicole's hands immediately found Waverly's hips and brought her close.  Waverly jumped and wrapped her legs around Nicole's waist, throwing her off balance.  She tried to gain her footing but they toppled over into a pile of hay very ungracefully.

Waverly giggled and brushed some hair from Nicole's face.  "Not fair, you surprised me."

"I'm not complaining," Waverly said pulling Nicole back down so that their lips met.  She rested her hands on Waverly's hips once more, letting one hand travel down over her dress covered thigh.  She pulled the other woman's leg around her waist by the back of her knee.  Waverly breathed harshly out of her nose and tightened her leg around Nicole's waist.  

Nicole was pretty sure she was in heaven.  Especially with the way that Waverly's skirt had slipped above her knee and Nicole took full advantage.  Her hand went from Waverly's knee and up her thigh to where her skirt had settled.  Her skin was still warm despite the chill leaking into the barn from the outside.  Waverly pressed her body up into the taller woman and Nicole began to trail open mouthed kisses up her jaw.  

She pulled Waverly's earlobe between briefly between her teeth, enjoying the way her breath hitched in her ear.  Waverly's leg tightened around Nicole's waist as her mouth moved slowly down her neck.  Her entire body warmed, the hairs on the back of her neck standing up with each little pant that passed Waverly's lips.  God, this was like a dream.  She rolled her hips and Waverly's grip in her hair tightened with a gasp.

"Nicole," she sighed, nails scraping at her scalp, "K-keep doing that."

Waverly pulled Nicole's lips back to her own and she kissed her hungrily.  The brunette cupped Nicole's breast over her shirt and she moaned into her mouth.  Her hand moved slowly up Waverly's thigh, breaching the bottom of her skirt when-

"Nicole!"

She sat bolt upright at the sound of Wynonna's voice and looked around the barn for her.

"Ignore her," Waverly breathed out, grabbing the front of Nicole's shirt and pulling her back down.  With Waverly's lips on her neck, Nicole seriously considered letting Wynonna's call fall on deaf ears. 

"Nicole!  Get your ass out here!" Wynonna said with a hitch of panic in her voice.

With the change in tone, both Nicole and Waverly jumped up. She didn't have time to throw her coat on so she just ran out of the barn, gun drawn and Waverly close behind. Wynonna was standing over Willa's grave with distress written on her face. 

"What's wrong?" Nicole asked, her breath visible in the chilly air. Fuck it was cold. She really should have thought that through and grabbed her jacket. 

Wynonna gestured to the grave that was-

"Shit," Nicole said when she saw the open hole, "What happened?"

The eldest Earp threw her hands out to the side and let them slap back against her legs. "Either someone stole Willa's body or she was a helluva lot less dead then we thought."

Nicole looked down into the hole just to confirm the entire coffin was gone. It was. Looking into the hole she felt her stomach turn and she quickly looked back up. 

"Who would do this?" Waverly asked from besides her. 

"Who wouldn't?" Wynonna said running a hand through her hair. 

"The body of a notorious criminal has a lot more value then when they're alive," Nicole told Waverly, "They travel, sell 'em, all kinds of awful things." 

Wynonna yelled in frustration and then took a good look at Nicole and Waverly with a frown. "What the fuck were you doing, Waverly? You have hay all over you."

Nicole tried to hide her blush when she noticed the bits of hay sticking out of Waverly's hair adorably. "Oh, um..."

Thankfully Wynonna lost interest and gestured back towards the empty grave. "Now what? Who the hell is coming into our property?"

"It can't be Revenants," Waverly said to herself. Nicole looked curiously at the woman who shrugged and quickly added. "They would know better."

Wynonna began back towards the house and gestured for Nicole to follow her. "Well, we have no other leads so let's start with the Revenants. Bet you anything I know where to find one. Waves stay here and do...research. We'll be right back."

***

“Nedley!” Wynonna practically crooned as she kicked the door to the Sheriff’s office open.  The Sheriff visibly cringed at the sight of the eldest Earp.  Ah, just like old times.

“Wynonna,” Nedley said sitting up in his chair slowly, “This is odd.  Usually it’s me looking for you not you looking for me.”

“What can I say, I like to mix it up every now and then,” Wynonna said sitting on the edge of his desk.  Nicole came up behind her and gave the Sheriff a sympathetic smile.  “I hear you might have an interesting kinda guy in here.”

“This is a jail.  Not a place to pick up your next mistake, Earp,” Nedley said even as he stood up.

Wynonna smirked as she followed him back to the jail cells.  “Aren’t you glad I’m back?  It can be just like old times.”

Nedley sighed, “Some times are better left forgotten.”  He turned to look at Nicole and squinted at her.  “How’d you get stuck with the likes of Earp here?  You seem like a respectable woman.”

“I wish I knew,” Nicole joked.

“Seeming respectable and actually being respectable are two very different things,” Wynonna said throwing a wink over her shoulder at Nicole who just rolled her eyes.  Nedley just muttered under his breath something that sounded like ‘Earps’ as he gestured at the only occupied cell they had.  A figure sat in the corner, knees bunched up to his chest and head down on his knees.

“He came in last night.  Spouting nonsense,” the Sheriff said tapping on the bars of the jail cell, “Hey!  You got someone here to see you.  I’ll just leave you all be.”  Nedley walked away, still muttering to himself as he went.

The man just chuckled darkly from his corner, not bothering to look up at the two women.  Wynonna walked up to the bars, Nicole next to her.  The Earp knocked on her bars again and dark eyes looked up at them sharply.  A chill ran up her spine, something that happened every time a Revenant looked at her that way.  Like she was prey.  She had gotten good at hiding it though and just stared him down herself.  Next to her, she felt Nicole put her hand on the butt of her gun and she did the same.  

“So, Revenant,” Wynonna said, “what do you know about someone stealing my sister’s body?”

“Wasn’t it kind of useless just laying there like that?”

“That wasn't an answer.”

“What makes you think I have one?”

Wynonna pulled out Peacemaker and held it up through the bars of the cage.  The barrel glowed red, symbols appearing as the Revenant’s eyes darkened.  “Listen, all I’m saying is that usually when something goes wrong in this town it’s your kind that have something to do with it.”

“Unless it’s you, right?” he said standing up slowly, as if the strings of a marionette were pulling up his limbs, “Now put that away, girl.  Can’t get information from me if I’m being dragged to hell.”

Wynonna shrugged with a smirk, “I like to think of it as an insurance policy.  You know how it is.”

He began to slowly walk towards the jail bars.  Wynonna wondered what his name was and if he was on one of those little lists that Waverly had.  Probably was knowing her baby sister.  

“Bobo’s a big fan of insurance policies too,” he said with a smirk, his eyes darting towards Nicole, “Big fan.”

“Hey,” Wynonna said drawing his attention away from her partner, “I think you were about to tell me what was going on with my sister’s body.”

He shrugged, eyes darting to Peacemaker as he tried to look unbothered by it’s presence, but Wynonna knew better.  She had seen that look in their faces before.  “Willa’s body isn’t any good dead, now is it?  He’s not a pervert.”

“Coulda fooled me.”

“Listen, tell me one thing,” the Revenant said, “I’m back to hell either way aren’t I?”

“Actually, only if you tell me what I need to know will I shoot you.  Dealing with Nedley is a far worse fate then hell.”

The Revenant licked his lips and tipped his head to the side as he weighed his options.  “He took her body.  Found a way through that nifty little barrier around your house and dug her right up.  Don’t know why though.  Reckon that’s something only his inner circle knows."

"Barrier?" Wynonna hadn't heard anything about a barrier.  Unless he was talking about the fence, but she doubted that a rickety fence that was put up years ago had anything to do with the Revenants staying off their land.

"Does Earp not know about the barrier?" The Revenant asked licking the front of his teeth, "Interesting.  Maybe that sweet little baby sister of yours knows something."  His eyes darted over to Nicole.  "Tell me, does she taste as sweet as she looks?"

Her eyes darted over to Nicole who's face remained hard and unreadable.  Damn.  Why was she so good at that when she wanted to be?  And why was this creep asking her about Waverly?  Wynona pushed the barrel of Peacemaker into his throat and he jumped back away from the bars of the cage with a yelp.  "Do you have anymore information to tell me or are you just trying to get a rise out of us?  Doesn't seem smart considering the circumstances."

"I told you everything I know," he said leaning back against the wall of the cell, "Now are you going to shoot me or what?"

Wynonna pulled Peacemaker back from between the bars of the cell and holstered it.  "I think I'd rather see what Bobo does to you when he finds out you told the heir his secrets."

***

Maybe it was a dumb idea. That thought certainly crossed Waverly's mind as she approached the edge of the Revenant camp. So what if she had gotten the location from eavesdropping on Doc and Wynonna's conversations? She hadn't intended to use what little information she has gotten...necessarily. But here she was, done up in her full saloon girl get up that one of the prostitutes at Shorty's had given her after she got pregnant. Waverly didn't think she'd ever have a use for the shorter skirt, tighter corset that pushed her breast practically up to her neck. It was uncomfortable to say the least. But it would make her...blend in. 

She hoped the rouge on her cheeks was just enough to put her in the prostitute category, but not too much.  She wanted to get as close to the camp and wanted to make sure she had a disguise if she got caught.  It wasn't so ridiculous.  Right? 

Waverly had hitched a ride from a merchant who was all too eager to offer her a ride to the edge of town to the road closest to the camp.  From there it was only a short walk through the forest and the the site.  At least, it would have felt short if she wasn't wearing ridiculous high heels.  She breathed a sigh of relief when she made it to the edge of the camp and casually slipped in behind a tent.  Thankfully, no-one seemed to be paying her much mind as she casually walked behind the tents towards the biggest one that she assumed was Bobo's.  Everyone seemed far too interested in some kind of poker game that was happening in the middle of the camp to pay her any mind.

She swallowed the lump of nervousness in her throat and continued as casually as she could given the circumstances towards the main tent.  A man was sitting on a stump behind one of the tents, cigarette in hand and hat low over his eyes.  He sat right between the her and the tent she was headed towards so she licked her lips nervously and kept her focus ahead.  If she didn't look at him, he wouldn't stop her, she was sure of it.

Her heart beat so loudly in her chest she was sure that anyone could hear it.  Eyes forward, she passed in front of him and breathed a sigh of relief when it seemed she'd pass without incident.  As soon as she was a step away, she felt a calloused hand close on her wrist and she stopped abruptly.  Her free hand grasped the handle of the knife she had hidden high on her thigh in a garter.  Taking a deep breath, she turned around and smiled at the man.

"What can I do for ya, sweetheart?" she asked with an extra drawl and a cock of her hips.

He looked up at her from under the brim of his hat and blew smoke up at her.  "I don't recognize you from around here," he said pulling her back towards him so that she landed on his lap, "What's your name?"

"Dorthy," Waverly said with a fake giggle, "I was actually off to...freshen up.  So if you don't mind."  She made to get up but he pulled her back onto his lap by the wrist.  He smiled at her, yellow teeth holding the cigarette firmly in his mouth.

"You look fresh enough to me, darlin'," he said.

Waverly smiled tightly and tried to control the shaking of her hands.  "Well, I simply don't feel fresh.  But if you give me a moment then I'll be right back."

He looked her over suspiciously for a moment that ticked by like hours, the blood pounding in her ears as she watched him look over her face.  Another long inhale and he spoke again, smoke leaking from his lips into her face as he did.  "Don't leave me a waitin' now."

"I won't," she said, her voice shakier then she had hoped.  She stood up and stepped a few quick steps away.  When she turned the corner out of his sight, she breathed a sigh of relief and let her hand relax on the knife handle.  She realized how hard she'd been holding the knife when blood rushed back to her fingers.  She flexed her hand with a wince and took another moment to gather herself.

Waverly rolled her shoulder's and sighed, making sure she was behind the right tent.  She pressed her ear to the filthy canvas and heard nothing but the soft sound of footsteps pacing in the dirt.  Pulling back a small flap, the smell of dirt and rot hit her full force.  She peered inside and saw Bobo pacing in front of an open coffin, the top of Willa's face over the edge of the coffin.  A chill ran up her spine at the sight of her sister's lifeless body, skin grey and cheeks sunken in.  There was clear evidence of a bullet wound in her forehead and Waverly had to hold back a sob.  This was the first time she'd seen her sister in person since she was six years old.

"Willa, my love," Bobo said as he paced, "I'm working on it. I-"  He paused, as if someone had interrupted him.  "I know what I need to do.  I'm working on it.  You know I would do anything to bring you back to me."  He stopped, hands grasping the edge of her coffin as he leaned down and softly kissed her lips.  Waverly held back a gag as he talked against her lips.  "Anything.  We're almost there.  We just need the witch and the pure of heart.  Two birds, one stone with your dear sister."

Waverly strained her ears to hear his whispered words, trying not to panic too much by the fact that Bobo seemed to know he needed her.  Walking right into his camp probably wasn't the best idea in hindsight.  

Bobo nodded and stood up straight.  "I understand, my love," he said stroking her face with the back of his fingers, "I just have to pick the right moment.  They can't know I have the amulet."  He pat his chest as he said it.  "You'll be back with me soon.  I promise."

Amulet?  What was he talking about?  He strained her eyes but couldn't see exactly what was around his neck.  He moved his hand and she barely caught a glimpse just as-

A meaty hand grasped her shoulder and spun her around.  The smoking man from earlier stood close to her, the smoldering end of a cigarette hanging from his lips.  "What do you think you're doing, girly?  Don't look like you're cleaning up."

Fuck.

***

"I can't believe she took off," Wynonna said running a hand through her hair as she paced in the Earp kitchen, "I told her to stay put."

Nicole chewed on her lip nervously but shook her head.  "I'm sure she's fine."

"If someone is willing to dig up a dead Earp, what would they'd do for a live one?" Wynonna asked angrily, spinning towards Nicole.  She knew none of the anger was directed at her, so she just spoke as calmly as possible despite her own fears.  

"Let's just split up and find her before someone else does," Nicole stood up and picked her hat up from the table, returning it to her head, "You go towards town and I'll look around the Homestead and up the other roads.  She probably just went to Shorty's."

Nicole wanted to look in the woods, figuring she might have gone off to do some sort of spell.  It was a dumb thing to leave without saying anything given the circumstances, but she had to give the woman the benefit of the doubt.  She wasn't stupid, she wouldn't purposefully put herself in danger.  Right?

"Okay, fine," Wynonna said taking long strides out to the front of the Homestead where their horses were tied up.  "If we don't find her we come back here in an hour," she said getting onto Whiskey.  Nicole nodded in acknowledgement and got on CJ.  She dug her heels in to get the horse moving and did a quick check around the perimeter and Wynonna galloped towards town.  No Waverly on the property...she licked her lips and tried to keep the panic down.  Waverly was fine.  She would feel it if she wasn't.  She began to ride out towards the woods when she saw a horse running up to her, rider offering a friendly wave.  She stopped CJ as Doc approached.

"Ms. Haught," he said tipping his hat, "I thought you should know that Waverly was seen catching a ride towards Bobo's camp."

Nicole felt her heart leap into her throat.  "When?  Why?"

"Couldn't have been more then a half hour ago accordin' to my sources," he said, "I came straight here to tell Wynonna."

"Well she's not here.  We don't have time to tell her," Nicole said turning her horse towards the main road. "Come on, let's go."

She kicked CJ into action with one swift kick, holding onto the reigns tightly as she built her into a run.  The cold crisp air stung her face but she didn't bother putting her bandana over her face.  She could barely feel it at this point, her mind too occupied with Waverly and why the hell she would wander into Bobo's camp by herself.  He could have her, he could hurt her.  She snapped the reigns to get CJ to go faster, bouncing in the saddle with ease.  

They reached the woods outside of the camp in record time and Nicole brought CJ down to a stop.  Doc stopped besides her, both horses pawing at the ground impatiently after the run they just had.  "I'll go in on the left, you go to the right.  Just get Waverly out and get the fuck out of there," Nicole said checking that her gun was loaded and cocking the hammer back in preparation.

"Don't you think it might not be the best idea to ride into an enemies camp guns a'blazin'?" Doc asked even as he pulled his own gun from the holster.

"I don't think we have much of a choice," Nicole said already turning CJ towards the camp, "If one hair on her head is out of place I'll kill you and Wynonna will kill me."

"Haven't you ever heard the phrase 'don't shoot the messenger?'" Doc said just as a gun shot rang out from the camp.

"No time left," Nicole said kicking CJ back into a full sprint towards the camp.  She had no idea where she was going or how she would find Waverly, but she knew damn well she would find her.  CJ snorted underneath her as she strained  to sprint through the field.  "Come on, CJ," Nicole said leaning forward in her saddle to be more streamline, "Let's get our girl."

As she approached the camp, she saw a woman stumbling out from the perimeter, knife in hand and a group of Revenants following her close behind.  Nicole took aim and shot the first Revenant that reached out to grab her.  The woman looked up and relief flooded her at the sight of Waverly in what she assumed was some sort of disguise.  

Waverly noticed her and began to run towards Nicole.  The red head shot at the other Revenants behind Waverly, watching as they fell from the impact of the bullet against their skulls.  She knew it couldn't kill them, but she could sure as hell slow them down.  Doc was approaching from the other side of them, shooting down more as they spilled from the camp towards the commotion.  Nicole got closer and closer to Waverly and so did the Revenants behind her despite Nicole's best attempts at warding them off.  They began to shoot at Waverly and the girl screamed but kept running

"I got you, Waves!" Nicole said doing the only thing she could think of.  She squeezed CJ as hard as she could with her thighs, one hand on her gun and the one holding the reigns dropped them and reached out for Waverly, the two fast approaching each other.  She leaned over in her saddle, legs burning from the strain of remaining on CJ at the high speeds.  

Waverly was finally in reach and Nicole grasped her upper arm, the brunette doing the same.  She felt a sharp sting in her arm, the hot graze of a bullet against her flesh.  But it just made her grasp Waverly tighter and pull her up into the saddle with her as they galloped towards the oncoming Revenants.  Waverly landed in the saddle with a grunt, her front pressed to Nicole's as the red head shot at the Revenant in CJ's path before the horse leapt over his falling body. 

"Hold on tight, baby," Nicole said as she grasped the reigns with her injured arm and shot the last of her bullets between the eyes of a Revenant that had grasped her leg as she ran past him.  She tugged on CJ's reigns sharply and the horse threw it's head back, changing it's direction on a dime and running back towards the forest.  She hoped that the cover of the trees would lose their pursuers.  

"I have another gun in my boot," Nicole yelled over the sound of her horses hooves pounding into the dirt, "Grab it and shoot any of the ones following us."

Waverly just nodded and grabbed the gun like Nicole said.  Her head was resting on Nicole's shoulder, looking behind them as she shot at the few Revenants still following them.  Her pulse pounded in her ears, echoing every fall of CJ's hooves.  She vaguely heard Doc following behind as they lost the last of the Revenants in the forest.  She slowed to a stop, chest heaving along with CJ's as they calmed down from the run.  She immediately cradled Waverly's face in her hands, checking every inch for scratches or bruises.  "Are you okay?"

The brunette nodded and a shy smile.  "I am now."

Not caring that Doc was approaching behind them, Nicole smashed their lips together.  She peppered kisses all over Waverly's face.  "I'm so mad at you.  What the hell were you thinking?"

She heard Doc grumbling behind them but ignored him and took another good look at Waverly.  She stroked her cheeks with her thumbs and shook her head.  "What's on your face and what-?" she looked down at Waverly's outfit, trying not to gape too much at her breasts swelling over her top, "W-what are you wearing?"

Waverly blushed, "I um...I just dug it up to blend in."

"More like standout," Nicole breathed, her hands tightening on Waverly's hips.  When she had picked Waverly up onto her horse, she hadn't really been thinking about the fact that they were face to face, the brunette's legs practically hugging her hips to stay upright.  But now Nicole was acutely aware.  Especially of how short her skirt was.  Waverly ran her hands from Nicole's neck and down her arms.  She hissed when Waverly's hand moved over a sensitive part on her arm and looked down to see blood.

"You're bleeding," Waverly gasped, holding Nicole's arm right under the wound.

"I'm fine," Nicole said remembering Doc was there for the first time when his horse wandered up to them.

"You should probably clean that," he said casually, looking between the two of them, "Shall I escort you ladies back to the Homestead?"

Waverly turned to Nicole and her whole attention was on the girl in front of her.  "I can take you to someone who can heal your arm.  Fast," Waverly said raising her eyebrows at the red head.  Nicole nodded and turned back to Doc.

"Can you go to the Homestead and Tell Wynonna that Waverly is fine?  We just need to do something really quickly.  And oh, um...Doc, don't tell her about um...this..." Nicole trailed off vaguely with a shrug and Doc sighed.

"Sure," he said tipping his hat, "but let it be known that secrets don't make friends."  With a pointed look, Doc nudged his horse along and left the two girls behind.

"Never do that to me again," Nicole said pressing their foreheads together, "I was so worried about you.  Why did you leave like that?"

Waverly's eyes were still on the wound on Nicole's arm and she shook her head.  "I was trying to help.  Wynonna wouldn't let me go on my own."

Nicole closed her eyes and kissed the other woman.  "Next time at least tell me?  Please?"

"You got shot for me," Waverly said softly.

Nicole could hear the guilt in the other girl's voice and shook her head.  "I would get shot a thousand times if it meant keeping you safe."

Waverly rolled her eyes, good natured, and hit Nicole's uninjured arm.  "Stop it."

"Stop what?" Nicole asked, pretending to be hurt despite the smile on the corners of her lips.

"Doing that."

"What?"

"Being all...cute and chivalrous or whatever," Waverly continued, playing with the buttons on the front of Nicole's shirt.  Nicole looked fondly down at Waverly and she could vaguely forget about the camp full of angry Revenants just a few yards behind them and the painful sting in her arm.

"This outfit really works for you," Nicole said pulling her bottom lip between her teeth as she raised her eyebrows and let her eyes scan over the girl in front of her.

Waverly rolled her eyes playfully and used the stirrups to stand up and turn herself around in the saddle.  She took the reigns from Nicole her protested only for show.  "We're going to go see a friend.  Then you can fully appreciate my outfit later."

***

"Where are we?" Nicole asked as the ambled easily through the trees.  She had gotten turned around with Waverly taking them through the forest.  It was clear that Waverly had been there before, wherever they were going.  She followed an invisible path that only she seemed to see.  The air seemed quieter wherever they were and the air crisper.  She made sure her arms were around Waverly's smaller body, shielding her from some of the cold.

"We're actually not far from the Homestead," Waverly answered as a shack became apparent through the trees.  Nicole fingered the butt of her gun out of habit in an unfamiliar place.

"Stop that," Waverly said as if she could sense Nicole's actions from in front of her, "She'll freak out if she thinks you're going to shoot her at any moment."

"Who?"

"Earp!"

Waverly brought CJ to a halt and Nicole tightened her grip around her waist.  “Hello, Mattie,” she said with a stiff smile. A taller woman slid open the door on the side of the shack, heavy boots and leather apron strapped to her front.

“I thought I told you never to come back here.”

“I have to tell you something,” Waverly said as Nicole got off of CJ. She offered to help Waverly down and for once she accepted, the tighter corset making her movements stiffer. “Your in danger. We both are.”

Nicole shrugged her coat off and slipped it around the shorter woman’s shoulders to guard her from the cold.

“So you had to bring the law with you?”

“She’s not the law she’s my-…she’s my Nicole,” Waverly said pulling the coat closer around her shoulders.

“Yeah, right, I know who she is. El cazador de cabeza roja,” Mattie said, “Just tell me what it is your here to tell me and leave.”

Nicole frowned at the name. She had only been called that once before when she was down in Arizona on the heels of a gang leader. She had taken a couple of smaller bounties and one of them was for someone the locals called the Iron Witch. Nicole followed behind Waverly closely. She wanted to be able to pull Waverly away if she needed to.

“Bobo’s looking for a witch to bring my sister back to life,” Waverly said, “I just…wanted to tell you because he’s going to hunt us down.”

Mattie was talking to Waverly but her eyes never left Nicole’s. “Seems like that’s more of a danger to you then me.”

“He’s looking for two people. A witch and the pure of heart. Whatever that means. It sounded like he was…talking about me being both,” Waverly said, “and I um…was wondering if you could help me find the Stone Witch instead.”

“Why would I do that?”

“I know you’d rather if she wasn’t around anymore. But you can’t do anything about it. But I can, so if you help me find her, my sister and I will kill her,” Waverly said almost nonchalantly. Nicole blinked and began to make a list of questions to ask the youngest Earp when they were leaving.

Mattie looked between the two of them and gestured for them to come inside. “I guess the main thing I taught you didn’t stick. Don’t bother with the Stone Witch. But I’d rather you died learning that lesson then me.”

“That’s one way to look at it,” Waverly muttered following her in. The shack had all kinds of herbs, and things Nicole would rather not identify hanging from the walls. There were books piled everywhere and a simple bed in the corner. A table sat in the middle of the room filled with bottles and jars and liquids she had never seen before.

“I was saving this for when some idiot came looking for Clootie,” Mattie dug through a trunk and pulled out what looked like a map. She laid it on the table and smoothed it down. Nicole and Waverly walked over to the table to see it was a map of Purgatory, the property of the Ghost River Triangle clearly marked. Mattie took a small vial out of the front pocket of her apron and gently took off the stopper. There was barely anything in it, probably just barely a drop of thick dark liquid.

“What is that?” Waverly asked leaning closer.

“It’s her blood.”

“How did you-?”

“You don’t want to know,” she said tipping the bottle so that the single blood drop landed in the middle of the map. For a moment it just bled into the parchment, but Mattie put her hand flat over the drop and whispered something that sounded like a different language. The stain moved around the page like a rain droplet on a glass pane before stopping over an area and turning into a large ‘X’. She handed the paper gingerly over to Waverly with a suspicious gleam in her eye. “There’s your witch.”

Chapter Text

Mattie eyed Nicole who stared back at her, refusing to be intimidated. She didn't know why the Blacksmith was staring at her that way and she didn't like it one bit. She flexed her fingers, resisting the urge to put her hand on her gun in warning. Waverly said that wouldn't be welcomed and the last thing she wanted to do was to piss off a witch.

"You're hurt," Mattie said tipping her chin towards Nicole.

She shrugged, ignoring the pain in her arm. The cold helped temper the pain but she knew she should take care of it as soon as she could.

"It'll get infected," Mattie said.

"It's fine," Nicole answered.

Waverly looked between the two and shook her head. "Mattie, can you help us with that?"

"Earp, all I've heard from your mouth since you got here is favor after favor," Mattie said, her eyes finally leaving Nicole's to look at the brunette, "Why should I help you more?"

"I just need a salve," Waverly sighed, "I'll make you one in return, I just don't have the time to get the ingredients right now."

"Why should I help her?" Mattie said with a raised eyebrow, "She has my sister's blood on her hands."

Nicole licked her lips and jerked her head towards the door. "Let's just go, Waves."

"No," Mattie and Waverly said in unison. Nicole tensed, straightening her shoulders towards the Blacksmith.

"I didn't kill your sister," Nicole said firmly.

A sick grin twisted Mattie's lips. "You led her to slaughter. You've led many a witch to slaughter, haven't you?"

Nicole swallowed thickly and gripped Waverly's wrist lightly, eyes not daring to leave Mattie's. "Come on-"

"Haven't you told your little lover how many of her kind you killed?" Mattie continued, stepping around the table slowly and coming towards Nicole. "How you're probably just waiting for the bounty on her head before you turn her in?"

"I'm not-!"

"Yeah right," Mattie practically spit, her face inches away from Nicole's, "Estás buscando dinero, cazador de cabezas rojas. Rojo de sangre."

"I didn't know-"

"Didn't know what? That we were human? That we were people? That my sister had a family?"

"My job is to bring in the bad guy, okay?" Nicole said dangerously, "Not to question why they're bad. Not to judge their crimes."

"She was my sister."

"She cursed a little girl!" Nicole said taking a step closer to the Blacksmith until their chests bumped. "She cursed her to rot from the inside out. She tortured her."

Mattie stared at Nicole for a moment, her eyes blown and searching like she was looking for something. "You're just a stupid girl," Mattie concluded, "A stupid girl who can't see beyond the edge of her nariz."

Nicole felt Waverly's hand bundled in the back of her shirt and took a slow step back away from Mattie, eyes still trained on her.

"Mattie," Waverly said gently, "she didn't know. Okay? She wouldn't hurt me. She wouldn't hurt us. I promise."

"Don't make promises you can't keep," Mattie said looking Nicole up and down before turning back to Waverly. "I'll give you the salve if you never bring her back here. If you need to see me, you come alone."

"Fine," Waverly said. Nicole couldn't think of anything she liked worse then the idea of Waverly coming here to this awful woman by herself, but knew it wasn't really up to her in this situation. She had led her sister to the gallows. That much was true.

The Blacksmith nodded and went to a cabinet where she riffled through some bottles before picking one and giving it to Waverly. Nicole watched them carefully. When Mattie outstretched her hand, Nicole saw a strange symbol on her forearm that caught her eye. Mattie noticed her eye line and pulled her sleeve down, fixing Nicole with a hard glare.

"Now go," she said turning back to her work table.

Waverly put the salve in the pocket of Nicole's coat. "Thanks, Mattie."

"Remember, she can't come back!"

***

They rode in silence for a bit as they went through the forest towards the Homestead. Nicole was back in the front of the saddle, Waverly behind her with arms wrapped around her middle. She fiddled anxiously with the reins and CJ snorted in annoyance, shaking her head a couple of times.

"Sorry, girl," Nicole muttered. She kept thinking of Mattie and what she had said about Nicole leading people to slaughter. She had never really thought about it. Every moment of guilt or regret had been put into a tiny box in the corner of her mind. Most times she had no doubt that the people she was capturing were bad people, but that didn't make it easier. It especially didn't make it easy when she wasn't completely sure they were guilty of the crimes they were accused of.

Her father always told her that evil people were the best at acting innocent. That you had to put your own thoughts and feelings aside sometimes to do what was right. She had taken up her fathers footsteps in becoming a bounty hunter. Her father was a soldier in the Civil War. Before that he was a farmer but he came home with a rifle and the skills of a tracker. Suddenly the farm became too boring for him. Nicole and her brother, Jacob, had taken up the business of tending to the farm while their dad went off and tracked down the bad guys.

He'd always come home with exciting stories and little souvenirs from the places he had been, launching Nicole's imagination on all the things she could see some day. Her father taught her and her brother to track and shoot with the best of them. Everything was fine until her father caught her in the barn with the school teacher's daughter one day.

After that he wouldn't even look at her. Neither would her mom. She could shoot every can off a fence from a hundred yards away and he wouldn't have cared. But she was determined to make them proud. She packed up her things and headed off to take after her dad. To become the greatest bounty hunter in the West.

Time came and went and she gained more and more notoriety. After years of bounties under her belt, she went back home thinking she'd be welcomed with open arms. Instead her father, long retired, cursed her out on the front porch for shaming the family name while her mother watched from a window. Her face was older, more tired then Nicole had ever seen her.

Jacob still looked up to his big sister though, and he tagged along with her. After his body was sent home in a pine box she was sure her parents would never forgive her. She could hardly forgive herself.

She could never go back home, she knew that. Once a month she'd write her mother a letter under a different name so her father wouldn't see it. Each time she signed she'd say:

Don't write back. I don't have an address for you to send to since I'm always moving around.

Nicole was still unsure whether that was true, or whether she was too worried to find out if her mother would actually write her back if given the chance.

She felt Waverly's head rest on her back and it brought her back to the present. "What are you thinking about?"

Nicole shrugged, "Just Mattie I guess."

Waverly was silent for a moment before continuing softly. "How many people have you...caught?"

She hesitated for a moment before answering, "About one hundred and fifty-seven."

"About?" Waverly choked out.

"I didn't kill all of them, though," Nicole continued, "You only get half the bounty if they're dead."

"How many have you killed?"

Nicole sighed, "Thirty-two."

Every single one of the people she killed weighed on her. They hadn't given her a choice, she always assured herself. It had always come down to them or her and it definitely wasn't going to be her.

"I regret it every day."

She felt the pressure of lips on her shoulder and relaxed just a little. "You're not a bad person," Waverly said against her shoulder. They passed through the last line of trees and the Homestead appeared in the distance. "You did what you had to do."

Nicole swallowed the lump in her throat and just nodded. She wasn't a bad person. She did what she had to do. Maybe if Waverly believed that, she could too.

***

"Here, sit up here," Waverly coaxed Nicole onto the kitchen table as she pulled the salve out of her pocket. She shrugged Nicole's heavy coat off of her shoulders and draped it over the chair as she looked at the wound on her arm. Her shirt sleeve was torn and sticky with blood. It had already begun to crust and Waverly winced. "I can't get a good look at it."

"Oh, here," Nicole said shrugging off her vest and beginning to unbutton her shirt. Waverly blushed and looked down at her feet despite Nicole not seeming to give a second thought to taking her shirt off in the Earp kitchen. Brown eyes caught her own and Nicole's cheeks tinted. "Sorry. I wasn't-"

"It's fine," Waverly said quickly, her voice a few octaves higher. She cleared her throat. "I can see it better this way. Your wound I mean. Not your br-...just your wound."

Nicole smiled as her fingers finished unbuttoning her shirt and she shrugged it off. Underneath she just wore a thin, almost cropped chemise that still showed off her shoulders and stomach. She watched as her pale skin instantly erupted in goosebumps from the cold air. "I get what you're saying, Earp."

Waverly licked her lips nervously and tried to keep her eyes on the gash in Nicole's arm instead of wandering down her body the way she wanted to. She filled a bowl with water from the bucket in the corner and a clean rag, setting them both on the table so that she could begin cleaning the wound.

"This is going to be a little cold," Waverly said dipping the rag in the water. She began to clean the wound carefully to see how deep it was, but her eyes kept wandering over to Nicole's body. Specifically the way her collarbone curved under her skin and the soft skin that led to to her breasts. She could even see some lines of tone in the other woman's stomach and felt her entire body heat up. After a few moments, the wound was fairly clean and Waverly could tell it wasn't so deep that she should stitch her up, especially with Mattie's salve. But it was still fairly serious.

She opened up the salve and warned Nicole. "Okay, this might sting a little." Nicole gave a go ahead nod and Waverly began to put the salve on the wound. Nicole hissed in pain, her knuckles going white from gripping the edge of the table.

"Fuck, you call that a sting, baby?" she gritted out through clenched teeth.

"I know, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Waverly soothed as she rubbed the solution into the wound, "It'll feel better in a second." She could see Nicole's grip relax and she leaned over to kiss Nicole's bare shoulder quickly. "See, not so bad."

Nicole just groaned in response and Waverly finished, wrapping a bandage around her arm. "All better."

The red head looked at the other woman with a grateful smile. "Thanks," she grasped Waverly around the waist and pulled her between her legs, "How can I repay you?"

The mischievous smirk on Nicole's face made Waverly's stomach flip and she looped her arms around her neck, pressing their bodies together. "I can think of a couple ways."

Their lips brushed together softly, Nicole's tongue playing over Waverly's bottom lip before they kissed. Waverly moaned softly as Nicole's hands moved to the swell of her ass. She grabbed her and jerked her body closer, Waverly gasping into her mouth as she did.

"Hey!"

The two of them jumped apart, eyes wide and staring at the door Wynonna had just burst into. Waverly tried to control her breathing as to not completely give them away.

“H-hey,” Waverly said somewhat stepping in front of Nicole to hide her undressed state, “I uh-…she was shot-“

“Where the fuck did you go, Waves?” Wynonna asked letting the door slam behind her, “I was looking for you!”

“I just went to do…r-research,” Waverly mumbled with a frown. Wynonna was not reacting at all to walking in on her and Nicole kissing. Did she not even notice?

“Research?” she accused, “I thought you’d been kidnapped!”

Waverly sighed, “I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking.”

Wynonna lumbered towards her sister, Peacemaker limp at her side as she hugged her sister. “I only have one sister left. I gotta keep her safe. Ya know?”

“I know,” Waverly said gently, wrapping her arms around her sister.

“Haught, why are you naked in my kitchen?”

Waverly sighed in relief, grateful that Wynonna hadn’t noticed their tongues down each other’s throats. She of course wanted to tell her sister…eventually. But she didn’t want her to find out this way. She looked back at Nicole who’s mouth was opening and closing like a fish. Very adorably.

“We were, uh, she got shot,” Waverly said pointing at Nicole’s bandaged arm.

“Why are you always getting shot, Nic?” Wynonna asked punching her lightly in the other shoulder.

Waverly felt a panic in her chest and whipped her head towards Nicole. “You’ve been shot before?”

Nicole shrugged and gave her an apologetic smile. “It was only two other times before,” she explained.

“Two times too many,” Waverly muttered to herself.

“Put your shirt on, Haught,” Wynonna said throwing her shirt at Nicole. It hit her in the face but neither seemed to care. “We have work to do.”

***

That night Nicole was sequestered in Waverly's room with her, but not for nefarious reasons. Unfortunately. They stared down at the map from Mattie. The glowing spot on the map that was supposed to be Clootie kept disappearing and reappearing in another part of the map. Waverly pulled her knees up to her chest and groaned in frustration.

Nicole poked at it. "Maybe it's broken," she said lifting it off the floor and looking under it as if there were some sort of mechanism she could tweak and perfect.

"That's not how enchantments work, unfortunately," Waverly said plucking the map from Nicole's fingers, "She must be using some sort of concealment charm."

Nicole scooted closer to Waverly, sitting cross legged and leaning on her shoulder to get a better look of the map. "Is there a way you can fix it?"

Waverly shrugged and put the map back down. "I don't know. I'd have to do some research."

Nicole kissed her exposed shoulder softly, eyes looking up at Waverly who was still distracted by the map. Her brow was furrowed and she had the smallest, most adorable little pout just visible on her lips. Nicole was determined to kiss it away. And she did. All night. Which is why she found herself sitting in Shorty's the next day, eyes heavy as Waverly worked her shift. The lack of sleep was worth spending the whole night wrapped up in Waverly. That was, until Nicole realized she should go to her own room before Wynonna woke up and found them making out again.

She must have been dozing because there was a slight nudge to her shoulder and she jolted straight in her seat. Waverly was smiling down at her, holding a coffee out. "Looks like you need this," she said squeezing Nicole's shoulder before winking at her and walking back to the counter.

She took a long sip just as a hulking man sat at her table just across from her. The coffee cup was down and her hand was on her gun in an instant but he just looked at her, hands raised in surrender.

"Are you Nicole Haught?" he asked.

"Depends, who are you?" she asked.

He chuckled. "Xavier Dolls. I'm here on law business. I promise you I'm not here to harm you."

Nicole looked him over for a second and placed both of her hands on the table as a sign of trust. He did the same.

"What do you want with me?"

"I'm here to recruit you," Dolls said, "for the Black Badge Division."

"Never heard of it."

"That's because we don't want you to. It's a secret elite military force. Mostly made up of ex-soldiers."

"I've never been in the army," Nicole shrugged. She was intrigued but certainly didn't want to show it. She was taking everything he said with a grain of salt anyways. Time had taught her not to trust someone who just shows up in a bar and offers you a job. "I'm just a bounty hunter."

"Not just a bounty hunter," Dolls clarified, "You're probably one of the most successful ones in years. Guess your father's genes really rubbed off on you."

Nicole prickled at the mention of her father. "I don't follow much in his footsteps."

Dolls looked at her for a second before giving a curt nod. "I'm going to cut to the chase. Our team works mostly with things of the...supernatural nature. I've been watching you for a while and I'm sure you know what I mean. We want you to be part of Black Badge. You're smart, capable, and a hell of a tracker it seems. We'd pay you better then you've ever been paid."

She took all the information in and blinked as she processed. "You've been following me?"

"Metaphorically," he said before admitting, "And literally in some cases."

"Where would I work?"

"Everywhere," Dolls said, "we move around a lot. We find the cases, the cases don't really come to us."

She blinked, "So I'd...have to leave?"

"Yes."

Her eyes darter over to Waverly behind the bar before looking back at Dolls who had a knowing smile on his face. "It can be hard. But the work is very rewarding. As is the pay."

She licked her lips. "I don't think-"

"Wait," he said stopping her, "You don't have to give me the answer today. Just think about it and get back to me. I'm in town for a while on...matters."

"Matters?"

"Something about a witch," he said almost too casually. Nicole felt a lump form in her throat and she remained impassive.

"Huh," she said taking another drink from her coffee.

Dolls stared at her for a moment, reading her face and nodded. "Good talk, Haught. If you need anything I'm staying in a room upstairs." He slapped the table once and stood up from his chair, leaving her to her thoughts. She looked up at Waverly who smiled at her from afar and when she looked back at the table there was a silver badge sitting on it. She picked it up carefully, feeling the weight in her hand. She ran her thumb over the engraved letters on the front.

Black Badge Division

"Who was that?"

Nicole quickly put the badge in her pocket and looked up at Waverly. She couldn't help but smile when she looked at her and shrugged. "Some guy trying to recruit me to work for him. Happens all the time." She shrugged it off and turned back to Waverly. "Did you get the map to work yet?"

"I think so," Waverly said with a giddy smile, "We should go after Clootie tonight."

"We? What about Wynonna?" Nicole asked softly.

"If we tell her she'll know about the map and that I'm...you know," Waverly said looking around to see if anyone was listening. "We'll go tonight. After Wynonna is asleep. Then we can just get it done and we don't have to worry about it later."

Waverly squeezed Nicole's bicep reassuringly before going back to collect glasses from the tables. She sighed and watched as she flitted around the room, so comfortable and confident in herself. When men would flirt with her or make a crude gesture, she took it in stride and continued on. It was a talent. Nicole just wanted to shoot every one of them in the hand but knew Waverly would be upset if she even threatened them. Didn't make the idea of it any less appealing though.

***

"This is crazy," Nicole whispered as they hacked their way further into the deepest parts of the forest. It felt like something grabbed at her arm and she swatted it away furiously. Even if it was just a branch, these things were grabby! "I can barely see."

"Stop being a baby," Waverly teased as she led the way, much to Nicole's protests. She did have a gun, after all, and she was a good shot. Waverly had a gun and magic and she insisted that meant she should be leading the way. She reasoned that at least this way she was taking up the rear which could be just as dangerous. If not more so. "We're almost there."

Nicole nodded even if Waverly couldn't see her, gun already in her hand. Her coat kept getting caught on branches and trees as they passed. There was no way that they were making a quiet approach with the amount of leaves they had to wade through. Waverly said she had cast a concealment enchantment on them but she could still hear them load and clear. As the trees began to thin, the ribbon on Nicole's wrist that she had almost forgotten about at this point began to pulse with a soft glow.

"What the hell?" she breathed holding it out towards Waverly. She turned and looked at it briefly but waved her off, unconcerned.

“It probably just senses danger.”

“It senses danger?” Nicole asked only slightly panicked.

“Yeah. Well, the protection charm I put on it can,” she said. They continued forward through the woods and Nicole pulled her sleeve down as far as she could over the ribbon. It was unsettling. Waverly stopped abruptly and Nicole stopped behind her. She pointed through the trees and they saw a small house. It looked like it was built into the roots of trees, all wood and moss twisted together. There was some smoke coming out of the chimney but the windows looked dark.

"So what's the plan?" Nicole whispered, her hand on Waverly's hip protectively. She pulled her gun out and cocked it, pulling Waverly's back against her chest as she surveyed the scene.

"I wouldn't say there's a plan, necessarily," Waverly said squeezing the hand that was on her hip and kissing the underside of Nicole's jaw before surging forward through the trees. Nicole sighed. It seemed like surging into dangerous situations without any sort of plan was a family trait with the Earps. She always thought that Waverly was more of a planner but it seemed like that only pertained to certain situations.

Still, she followed after her, gun drawn. Waverly ducked behind a pile of wood, Nicole besides her and took a better look at the house. The ribbon on her wrist seemed to be glowing consistently now and she got a feeling in her gut that something wasn't right. There was a rustling on the other side of the door and Nicole aimed her gun at it just in case. Waverly held her hands in front of her and whispered something in a different language. She looked at her hands confused for a moment before looking up at Nicole with wide eyes.

"My magic isn't working," she whispered.

Nicole felt panic begin in her chest. "What?!"

Just then the gun flew from her hands and she whipped around to see a blonde woman standing about ten feet from them, the gun in her hand. They both stood quickly, facing the witch. Nicole stepped in front of Waverly and remembered the knife in her boot. She didn't want to reach for it yet, but kept her hand ready for when the time came.

"Oh, isn't that cute," Clootie said with a sickly smile, "So protective. Not like you are with other witches, hm?"

"Just come with us calmly and no one will get hurt," Waverly said. Nicole was impressed with how even and confident her voice was despite the situation.

Clootie just blinked at her. "Little girl, I don't know what you think you can do when your magic is useless here. You think I'd leave myself unprotected?"

Nicole stepped forward. "Just let us go and we won't come back."

"You think I don't know why you're here?" Clootie said. She took steps closer to them and Nicole tried to stand as tall as she could. "I know you came to take me to Bobo. The only problem is, I'm not the one he's looking for."

She thrust her hand forward, something like a gust of wind coming from it straight towards Nicole's chest. She went to block it but it dissipated around her like nothing. Clootie frowned for a moment and tried again, nothing. The ribbon on Nicole's wrist was practically vibrating with energy now and the other witch spotted it.

"Ah, a protection charm," Clootie said, "Not bad, little Earp." She disappeared and reappeared besides Waverly. Nicole spun around to grab her but Clootie had grabbed Waverly and disappeared again, this time reappearing close to her hut, arm around Waverly's neck in a chokehold.

"Let her go!" Nicole said reaching for a gun she forgot still wasn't there. It was hanging uselessly from Clootie's hand.

"Or what?" Clootie said, "All I have to do is turn her into Bobo and my work here is done. You came onto my property, remember. I didn't go looking for you."

Her arm tightened around Waverly's throat. The youngest Earp clawed at the arm around her neck and stomped on the witch's foot. She doubled over in pain and shock, giving Waverly enough time to shoulder her in the face. Blood gushed from Clootie's nose and her grip slacked around Waverly as she howled in pain and frustration. Waverly slipped from her grip and punched her in the face. Clootie moved her hand violently thought the air and Waverly lifted into the air by some unseen force, clawing at an invisible hand around her neck. Clootie was chanting loudly as Waverly was lifted higher and higher, skin turning blue as she kicked, trying to break free. Nicole grabbed the knife from her boot and threw it straight at Clootie's hand that was suspending Waverly in the air. She screamed when it went straight through her hand and Waverly fell to the ground like a rag doll. Nicole's gun fell too and she leapt towards it, grabbing it from the ground before rolling towards Waverly.

She can't curse me, she can't curse me, Nicole repeated to herself as she ran towards Waverly. She blocked the other girl's body from Clootie's view, watching in horror as it looked like some sort of black worm was moving through Waverly's veins. She could see the black shape on from just below the surface of her skin, Waverly gasping and writhing in pain.

"I got you, baby," Nicole said lifting Waverly onto her shoulder, her gun trained on Clootie. As soon as the blonde looked up, knife pulled from her hand and dripping with her own blood, Nicole shot at her other shoulder. She howled in pain again and dropped to her knees, eyes wild and bloodshot as she looked up at them.

"She's hopeless now," Clootie spit out as Nicole backed away towards the woods, "She's useless! You fools!"

Nicole ducked back into the trees and began to run, Clooties enraged screams getting further and further away. Her lungs burned for air and she fell to her knees as soon as she felt like Clootie was far enough behind her. She gently laid Waverly on the ground in front of her, putting her gun back in the holster.

"Baby, Waves," Nicole said brushing some hair from her face, holding it between her hands, "I'm here. I got you. Tell me what to do."

Waverly's eyes remained closed, her breathing ragged as the black worm slowly worked through a vein in her neck. Nicole looked at her helplessly and tried to think. This was more then an injury. This was magic. Something Nicole had absolutely no experience with. She knew what she had to do.

"Fuck me," she said under her breath, picking Waverly back up bridal style and setting off to her destination.

***

Nicole rode as carefully to the Blacksmith's as she could with Waverly in front of her. As soon as she got into the clearing, there was a very deliberate warning shot that hit a tree right next to her head. She threw her gun on the ground and held her hands in the air in surrender.

"I need help!" Nicole said.

"I told you not to come back here," Mattie said emerging from the door, shotgun pointed at Nicole.

"Clootie did something to Waverly," Nicole said desperately, "Please."

She watched the Blacksmith look over at Waverly who was slumped in the saddle, the black thing still moving through her veins, eyes bloodshot. She sighed and put the shotgun down and Nicole got down from CJ, taking Waverly with her. She carried her in, following Mattie to place Waverly on a table in the middle of the room.

"What happened to her?" Mattie asked.

"We confronted Clootie and she just...I don't know what she did."

"Was she saying a spell?" Mattie asked, opening Waverly's eye wide and looking.

"Yeah. It sounded like Latin but I can't be sure," Nicole said clutching Waverly's hand. Her skin was hot to the touch, sweat prickling her entire body. It looked like Waverly was suffering from a fever. The black worm was in her arm now and Mattie cursed under her breath.

"She injected her with dark magic," Mattie said looking at the thing on her arm, "She probably tried to hit her with it but Waverly ingested it instead. Stupid girl. It's too strong for her."

"What does that mean?" Nicole asked.

Mattie shook her head. "It's going to kill her."

"There has to be something we can do!" Nicole insisted, "Some counter spell or something."

The Blacksmith looked at Waverly for a second. "There's...there's only one thing I can do. But I can't do it without her permission. It's too dangerous."

A rattling breath came from Waverly's mouth and she clutched Mattie's wrist in a death like grip. "Do it," she breathed out, "Just do it."

Nicole squeezed Waverly's hand, thankful for at least some sort of conscious action from her girlfriend. She brushed away some brown hair that that had stuck to her forehead. "We'll do whatever we need to, baby," Nicole said kissing her forehead. The weight of the situation didn't quite hit her yet and she nodded up at Mattie. "Do whatever you need to do."

Mattie just nodded shortly and pushed up both sleeves of Waverly's dress. "Step back," Mattie said to Nicole as she went to her side of the table. "I'm going to need you to stand by her head and hold her down."

Nicole nodded and stood towards the head of the table, holding Waverly's shoulders. Mattie went to the fire and got an iron rod from it, the end glowing bright orange.

"What are you going to do with that?" Nicole asked.

"What Waverly told me to do. The only thing that can save her," Mattie said giving Nicole a serious look. She licked her lips nervously and just nodded, looking back down at Waverly.

Mattie began to chant and lowered the burning rod to Waverly's forearm. Her flesh popped and hissed as the hot iron hit it, Waverly screaming in anguish. Nicole held her arms down as Mattie traced some sort of pattern on her skin and chanted over her. She tried to soothe Waverly, hushing her softly and cooing at her, but it was like she was possessed. Her eyes darkened and her voice became ungodly, so unlike Waverly. The Blacksmith finished with one arm, three symbols glowing and burning on Waverly's skin, but they glowed in an unnatural way. Waverly's body relaxed for a second, but then her eyes opened suddenly and they were nothing but deep pools of black looking up at her.

"Waves?" Nicole said, her voice wavering. It was like Waverly wasn't even in there, pools of ink staring unfeeling at Nicole. She began to speak in a tongue that Nicole couldn't pinpoint.

"Don't listen to her," Mattie said, "She's just pure evil right now."

"What?" Nicole felt her heart clench, "Why would you do that?"

"I had to," Mattie said taking a look at her yet untouched arm, "It was the only way to make her powerful enough to save her."

She began to chant again and Waverly screamed as the rod touched her skin again. She thrashed about violently and Nicole had to basically lay the whole top half of her body down on Waverly's to keep her still enough. Mattie was holding down her wrist so hard Nicole was sure it would bruise when they were done. After what felt like an eternity, Waverly went still and Mattie moved away from her. The new symbols on her arm glowed blue, giving off an almost iridescent quality.

Mattie through the rod back into the fire, a sheen of sweat covering her forehead. Nicole slowly moved off of Waverly, waiting to see if she'd react violently again. Her face remained peaceful, breathing steady and the black thing that had been crawling through her veins was gone.

"Is she still evil?" Nicole asked, licking her lips.

"No. Those symbols-" she pointed to the blue ones, "Are for good. For healing. They'll balance out her powers again."

As Mattie spoke, the symbols began to loose their glow and just looked like tattoos. They took up the entire length of her forearm, three odd shapes on each arm. Nicole had seen them once before on the Blacksmith's sister.

"So then what are these for?" Nicole asked pointing to her left arm that had previously glowed orange. She had seen those symbols, more crudely drawn, on the Iron Witch's back.

"Those are for strength, and power over spirits," Mattie said, her voice going quite, "They're for evil." Nicole just nodded and Mattie continued. "My sister had them. She got the power she wanted but...it drove her mad." Nicole remained silent and looked up at the Blacksmith. She wanted to ask for forgiveness, for taking her sister to her death. She didn't know any better at the time, but she knew she couldn't hide behind ignorance. That was the cowards way.

"Mattie," she began, "I-"

"My sister did horrible things," the Blacksmith said firmly, "But she was still my sister. And I still loved her."

Nicole pressed her lips together and looked back down at Waverly, pleased to see some more color return to her face. There was nothing more that needed to be said between her and Mattie, she knew that. They had come to a silent agreement and Nicole could very well respect that.

"As soon as she comes to, take her home," Mattie said, "And don't be stupid and try to go after Clootie unprepared again."

***

"I should have known better," Waverly muttered to herself as she looked at the symbols on her arms. Nicole tightened her grip around her waist as she steered CJ towards the Homestead.

"I'm just glad you're okay," Nicole said pressing a soft kiss to Waverly's neck. The brunette leaned back into Nicole, both of them swaying with the movements of the horse. "You really scared the shit out of me back there."

Waverly played with Nicole's hand that rested on her stomach, fingers weaving and moving between hers. She felt every bone and knuckle in them and snuggled as far back into her as possible. There was a certain comfort about being with Nicole that Waverly had never felt before. It was an easy familiarity that calmed her. She had read a story once about two souls that knew each other in a different life and found each other each time they were reincarnated into new bodies. Maybe that's what this was, or what it felt like. Maybe their souls had known each other before.

They were back at the Homestead before Waverly realized it. They put CJ back in the barn and walked into the house, Waverly noting that Wynonna was absent despite the late time at night. Usually Waverly would be concerned, but there was a note left on the table telling her not to bother waiting up and she figured her sister went on one of her wild nights again. They shrugged off their coats and left their boots near the door like usual.

Wordlessly, Waverly took Nicole's hand and led her towards her room. They stepped into Nicole's room and Waverly closed the door behind them. She saw Nicole's puzzled look and looped her arms around her neck, playing casually with the small hairs at the nape of her neck.

"Can I stay the night?" Waverly asked softly, "In here? With you?"

Nicole just stared at her for a moment and Waverly felt her nerves get the best of her. She was about to make up an excuse to her words but Nicole finally spoke. "I couldn't think of anything I'd want more."

Waverly smiled widely and brushed her nose against Nicole's. Just being near her sent butterflies flying in her stomach. She let the fact that she was about to give herself completely to Nicole sink in and she surged forward, their lips connecting desperately. Nicole's hands burned from their place on her hips and her own began to untuck the red head's shirt from her pants. She pushed her vest over her shoulders as their tongue's swept together, her hand immediately tangling in Nicole's hair again. Their kisses got more frantic, teeth catching lips as they gripped on to any part of the other they could reach. Waverly began to unbutton Nicole's shirt with an urgency, ripping her lips away from hers just so she could look down as her fingers pushed the small buttons through the small cloth holes. As each inch of pale skin became revealed, Waverly felt her mouth dry up.

"Wait," Nicole said gripping Waverly's wrists like it pained her to do so, "Are you sure? I mean, it's been a long day and your arms-"

"Don't hurt at all," Waverly interrupted, her hands smoothing over Nicole's ribs. She had a large scar slashing up her side and wondered where it was from, but she looked back up into brown eyes and smiled. "I'm sure. I-..I really like you."

"I really like you too," Nicole said cradling Waverly's face in her hands, "So so much."

Their lips connected again and Waverly pushed Nicole's shirt off of her. She shrugged it off and her fingers found the strings of Waverly's corset, pulling on them and loosening them as quickly as possible. As soon as it was loose enough, she took it off and discarded it on the floor. She silently cursed how many layers she had on and discarded her shirt and skirt so she was only left in her chemise and bloomers. She didn't even have time to take in Nicole's shocked face before smashing their lips together again. Her fingers pushed and pulled at the leather of Nicole's belt until it was free and she could undo her pants. Nicole's hands moved up to Waverly's breasts, cupping them and brushing her thumbs over her nipples.

Waverly sighed and pushed her chest into Nicole's hands, backing them up towards the bed. The back of her knees hit the mattress and she tumbled back onto it, pulling Nicole with her. They both chuckled as they adjusted themselves onto the bed, Nicole settling between Waverly's legs. They sobered and stared at each other for a moment, just letting the moment settle between them. Waverly tucked some hair behind Nicole's ear and smiled up at her.

"I really really really like you," she whispered as they kissed softly.

"You already said that," Nicole teased, lips moving down Waverly's jaw.

She gasped and arched into the taller woman when she nipped at a particularly sensitive spot behind her ear. "I just wanted to tell you again."

Waverly pushed down Nicole's pants that were hanging loosely around her waist and she kicked them off. They both only had one thin layer left, soon to be less with the way Nicole was pushing Waverly's chemise up to expose her stomach. She scooted down on the bed so that she could kiss Waverly's stomach. Her muscles jumped in surprise, her skin warm under Nicole's kisses. She kissed over Waverly's stomach, pushing up her chemise as she did so. She kissed over her ribs and up her sternum, Waverly's hands tangling in red hair until she was forced to lift her arms over her head to shimmy off her chemise. She blushed at being topless in front of Nicole, her nipples pebbling to the cold air around them.

"You," Nicole said, punctuating eat word with kisses inching closer and closer to her left nipple, "Are. So. So. Beautiful. Waverly Earp." Waverly's eyes rolled back in her head as Nicole's lips enveloped her nipple. She groaned and arched her back, pushing herself more into Nicole's mouth as she scratched at the nape of her neck. After a few blissful moments, her mouth switched to the other side and Waverly could feel her entire body burning with arousal.

Waverly pushed her own bloomers down and kicked them off before flipping them so she was straddling Nicole. The red head looked up at her with wide eyes, her eyes taking in a very naked Waverly on top of her. Waverly blushed under her gaze, but felt arousal shoot right between her thighs as she watched Nicole lick her lips slowly.

"Damn," the taller woman breathed out as her hands flattened over Waverly's stomach and over her breasts again. "How did I get so lucky?"

Waverly blushed even deeper but leaned forward to kiss Nicole softly. "I think you're over dressed, don't you?"

Nicole smirked as Waverly pushed her shirt over her head. She chucked it to the other side of the room and Waverly let her eyes roam over her naked front. She traced her collarbone lightly, then down her sternum and under her breasts. She was just so...soft. Nicole's eyes watched her as her fingers tickled over her breast and around her nipple. She bit her lip, a soft groan escaping her lips much to Waverly's delight. She was so entranced, tracing every edge and line on Nicole's chest. She felt over her ribs as they expanded and contracted with her breaths, and finally over the long scar that ran up her side. Nicole tensed a little as Waverly traced her scar, but Waverly shook her head and placed a reassuring kiss over the raised tissue. Every inch of her was beautiful.

"Nicole," Waverly whispered, realizing for the first time that she was straddling the taller woman's torso, her arousal probably painfully evident on her stomach. "I need you."

Nicole's pupils were blown, her lips parted as she sat up and pressed their chests together. She kissed Waverly deeply, all the air knocking from her lungs as their tongues tangled together. Nicole pushed herself up from the mattress and switched their positions so that Waverly's head was at the foot of the bed, Nicole over her.

Their lips never disconnected, Nicole's hand dipping in the hollow of her hip and down her thigh. Her fingers ticked the inside of her thigh as they inched closer to where Waverly needed her most. Her breathing got shaky, fingers pulling desperately at red hair. Nicole barely brushed Waverly's sex with her fingers and she groaned in frustration. Her hips tipped up towards Nicole's hand as her fingers dipped through her folds and circled her entrance. She was wet, embarrassingly so, and she knew Nicole could feel how desperately she needed her. But the other woman didn't seem interested in just giving Waverly what she needed. With her slow, languid kisses, it was clear she wanted to take her time.

Nicole kissed down her throat and sternum, back over her stomach until she was placing soft kisses across Waverly's groin. She fisted a hand in red hair and let out a soft groan, fingers still exploring her reverently. Nicole's fingers were gone and she was about to protest the loss when she felt the proud stroke of Nicole's tongue along her core. Her hips jumped and she squeaked in pleasure, practically melting into the mattress as Nicole's tongue probed her most sensitive parts.

"Fuck," she sighed as Nicole's tongue circled her clit. She moaned and scratched at the back of Nicole's skull in encouragement. Her breath quickened as Nicole found a rhythm, hips moving on their own accord. She looked down, nearly fainting when she saw brown eyes looking up at her from between her legs. She had never seen anything more amazing. But maybe that was the impending orgasm deep in her belly. Her head crashed back onto the pillow as Nicole slipped a single digit into her entrance. Waverly mewled in pleasure, grip tightening reflexively in Nicole's hair.

"I'm so close, baby," Waverly panted, "More, please."

A second finger was added, their rhythm matching that of Nicole's tongue. Waverly felt delirious with pleasure, a tight coiling in her stomach ready to burst at any moment. "N-Nicole, please," she moaned. She pulled on Nicole's hair, wanting her up with her. "I need to kiss you."

Nicole moaned and shimmied up Waverly's body, fingers keeping their pace as their lips smashed together. Waverly moaned at the taste of herself on Nicole's lips. She felt Nicole's pace pick up and her fingers curl in a way that hit her just in the right spot when lights flashed in front of her eyes. Her entire body snapped like a bow that had been strung too tight as she unraveled under Nicole's touch. She kept her pace, gradually slowing to coax Waverly down from her orgasm.

She felt like she was floating on a cloud. Her entire body felt like it was floating but heavy at the same time. A small smile curled her lips as Nicole placed soft lingering kisses over her face. Waverly practically purred as Nicole pulled out of her. She wiped her hand on her thigh as Waverly cupped her face lovingly.

"That was amazing," Waverly whispered, kissing her lazily, "You're amazing."

Nicole shook her head, "You're amazing."

She settled over Waverly, propping herself up by her elbows on either side of the smaller girl's body as they continued to kiss. Waverly felt some of her strength returning and felt a new need with Nicole's weight on her. With a shocking amount of strength despite how her limbs felt like jelly, she flipped them over so that she was on top. Nicole chuckled and ran her hands up Waverly's arms, admiring the muscles there.

Without wasting anymore time, Waverly leaned down and kissed Nicole deeply. Her hand had already begun to wander down towards Nicole's center, brushing through damp curls before she found her destination. Nicole gasped at the feeling.

"Y-you don't have to," she said, "If you don't want."

"I want," Waverly confirmed, pulling on Nicole's lip with her teeth. Her fingers dipped into her entrance, collecting the wetness there before moving back up to her clit. She didn't linger on the fact that she had never done this before. Things with men were fairly straightforward and uncomplicated, but so far things with Nicole were easy. Natural. Sure there was a sense of nervousness to be touching Nicole like this for the first time, but she had been dreaming about it since before they even kissed.

The prettiest little gasps and moans came from Nicole's parted lips as Waverly traced a pattern around her clit with two fingers and back towards her entrance. She slowly slipped inside her, watching Nicole's face as she did so. Her brow furrowed for a moment and Waverly worried that she had hurt her, but her jaw went slack and released a tangled moan. She was definitely doing something right it seemed. She began a slow pace, her thumb moving to press on her clit as she did so.

"That's w-wonder-..." Nicole moaned. "Amazing, baby."

Waverly watched Nicole's face go through a range of pleasure, perfect teeth biting at her own lip. Waverly increased her pace and she felt Nicole begin to tighten around her. Her pants and moans were becoming more frequent, her hands on Waverly's biceps tightening. Nicole's back arched at what looked like a painful angle and it became harder to move her fingers. Nicole's brow was furrowed in the prettiest way, mouth open in pleasure as Waverly continued her movements.

Pride bloomed in her chest as she watched Nicole come down from her orgasm. It was one of the prettiest things she'd ever seen. And she did that. After Nicole's breathing evened out again, Waverly slowly removed her hand and wiped it on the sheets before collapsing next to the red head. She draped her leg over Nicole's hip and snuggled into her side.

Nicole hummed in contentment and looped her arm around Waverly to draw her closer. "You're amazing."

Waverly let her arm dangle across Nicole's chest, her fingers dancing absently over the scar on her side. "I learned from the best."

Nicole just chuckled and Waverly suppressed a yawn. "Go to sleep."

Waverly nodded against her neck and let sleep over take her, smile on her face.

Chapter Text

"What's this from?" Waverly asked as her fingers trailed down the long scar along the right side of her ribs. She burrowed her body as close to Nicole's as she could, the red head on her back and Waverly's front pressed against her side. They woke up slowly that morning. Rather, Waverly woke up and couldn't resist waking Nicole up with soft kisses all up and down her body. They made love slowly that morning, with heavy, lazy limbs and soft needy mouths. The light filtered in through the curtains and it was all just...magical.

And Waverly knew what magic was.

Nicole looked down where Waverly's fingers were tracing the scar and sighed. "I um...was attacked with a knife," she said with a shrug. Like this was an every day thing.

"By who?" Waverly asked. She pressed a soft kiss to the side of Nicole's jaw when she saw it tense.

"Willa, actually," Nicole said with a dry chuckle, "Small world, huh?"

Waverly gripped Nicole's side maybe a little harder then she should have. "Wha-...when?"

"Wynonna and I were going after her for a while," Nicole said. She was looking up at the ceiling and Waverly watched her throat as she worked through some emotion. "She uh...One of her guys knew where to find us and she took my brother and-...you know. Stabbed me." 

Waverly felt her blood run cold and she forced herself to ask the next question. "Is Willa the reason that your brother is...gone?" Nicole's pointed silence was enough of an answer. "She was a real bitch. I'm...so sorry."

Nicole just shook her head and smiled at Waverly. "You have nothing to apologize for."

She stretched her neck to peck Nicole sweetly on the lips. She wanted to say more, to apologize on behalf of her family, but now wasn't the time. A satisfied sigh escaped from her lungs as Nicole played with her hair and pressed a kiss to her forehead. She could easily stay like this forever. Nicole's fingers traced the symbols on her arm. 

"Do they hurt?"

Waverly lifted her arm and took a look at the tattoos with a shake of her head. They didn't hurt. All the pain she had felt when the rod carved the symbols into her skin were long forgotten. She remembered what it felt like when it was only evil flowing through her. It was a rush, intoxicating...it felt so good that it had scared her. She could feel the power flowing though her and she felt...invincible. Even now she felt different, balanced, more powerful. But it was nothing like when it was just the pure evil.

"We should get up," Nicole said into Waverly's hair, "Wynonna is bound to charge in here at any moment."

Waverly rolled her eyes but she knew it was true. And she wanted to tell her sister everything, but she was so protective and rash. Maybe while they were trying to find Willa's body wasn't the best time. Nicole pressed a final kiss to Waverly's temple before getting out of the bed. The brunette poured but followed suit. 

Nicole slipped on her pants and chemise before giving Waverly a final kiss, slipping quickly into her own room for a fresh shirt. She sighed wistfully, her body pleasantly sore from the nights activities. She finished dressing just as she heard Wynonna banging around downstairs. She went into the kitchen where Wynonna was practically chugging water.

"Rough night?" Waverly asked leaning against the counter next to her sister.

"You could say that," Wynonna said setting her cup back down. She looked over at Waverly and did a double take as soon as her eyes landed on her arms. She grabbed her wrist and pulled her arm towards her. "What the fuck is that?"

That was dumb, Waverly thought to herself as she tried to think of an explanation. She was so love sick this morning that she hadn't even thought of covering them. Maybe she should just...tell Wynonna. Especially since they were looking for witches and well...Wynonna would protect her better then anyone if it came down to it.

"Wynonna," Waverly said as if she was talking to a frightened animal, "I have something to tell you. And I need you not to get mad over it." The eldest Earp frowned at her and Waverly yelled up the stairs. "Nicole! Can you bring down the map please?"

There was a pause but then she heard a confused. "Sure."

"Waves," Wynonna said, looking at her sister seriously, "Tell me what's going on."

Waverly took a deep breath, closing her eyes to get the courage before continuing. "When I was about sixteen, I began to notice certain things...about me. I was reading about curses and that lead to magic and-...I realized I had a sort of...talent...for it."

She looked at Wynonna who was looking at her almost blankly, just as she heard Nicole coming down the stairs. "What are you trying to say?"

Waverly licked her lips. "I'm a...witch," she said with a shrug, "A white witch. Obviously."

"Obviously?" Wynonna said dropping Waverly's arm. The sisters looked at each other for a moment. Waverly saw the hurt in Wynonna's eyes, the betrayal. "Since when are there such things as good witches?"

"Since always," Waverly said lightly, "I promise, it's fine."

"What the fuck, Waverly?" Wynonna said with a scoff. "You aren't- this isn't you. You can't do this anymore." She gestured vaguely at her arms. "It's not safe."

"I've been a witch for five years now, Wynonna," Waverly said crossing her arms defensively in front of her chest, "This is just who I am."

"Bullshit!" Wynonna said pacing for the briefest of a moments before stopping in front of her sister again. "You're supposed to be the normal one," Wynonna said. She looked like she wanted to shake Waverly and she fixed Wynonna with a look. 

"This is my normal."

Wynonna rolled her eyes, "This is the kinda stuff that will get you killed."

"Or protect us!" Waverly said gesturing to the general outside. "Who do you think put up the protection around the Homestead? It was me! I have a map that will tell us where Clootie is!" She pointed towards the map. "I don't see your stupid magic gun doing that."

Wynonna looked over at the map and seemed to notice Nicole for the first time who was just standing, trying not to look awkward. The brunette pointed at her and Nicole's eyes got wide like she was cornered. "And you!" Wynonna said walking around the table to get in Nicole's face. "You're supposed to be protecting Waverly! Not encouraging her to get into this magic stuff!"

Waverly frowned, a sick feeling settling in her stomach at Wynonna's words. She looked over at Nicole who's eyes darted between the sisters.

"Wynonna-"

"You're not being paid to let my sister get into this witch bullshit! You're supposed to be keeping an eye on her."

"Paid?" Waverly breathed out. It felt like she'd been punched in the gut. Nicole was being-...it was the piece that made everything else slide into place. Why Nicole had always been around, why she came with Wynonna, why she was staying in their house. "Paid"

She blinked up at Nicole, and only then did she notice the tears in her eyes. Nicole was shaking her head slowly. "Babe, it's not what you're thinking-"

Nicole made to step around the table towards Waverly, but Wynonna pushed her shoulder to stop her. "Babe?" Wynonna asked incredulously. "Have you been fucking my sister?"

The red head just ignored Wynonna, her eyes trained on Waverly. There was a panic, a concern in her eyes but Waverly just wanted to crumple into a ball. Nicole had been...paid. To be with her. She leaned against the counter, arms even tighter around her stomach. It was like all the air had been sucked out of the room. She heard Wynonna yelling at Nicole and Nicole trying to talk to her, but it all sounded like it was underwater. She just kept going over every moment she'd spent with Nicole in her head and analyzing it. But maybe-...maybe it didn't really mean anything. Maybe Nicole still had feelings for her. She came back into the moment just in time to hear Wynonna say-

"I can't believe I paid you to sleep with my sister!" she said shoving Nicole again.

Nicole looked at her dangerously, but kept her voice even. "Wynonna. You don't know what you're talking about."

"Like hell I do."

"I care about her-"

"Then what the fuck-" Wynonna walked over to the coat rack, reached into Nicole’s coat pocket and threw something small and hard onto the kitchen table. They all stared quietly at it for a moment, then Wynonna continued. “-is this?”

Nicole reached for it but Wynonna was quicker. “It’s nothing. I hadn’t accepted anything yet.”

“Yet!” Wynonna said with a triumphant smile. She held the object out to Waverly, and she took it carefully. 

Black Badge Division.

It almost looked like a sheriff badge, but the symbols were different. 

“Do you know what that is?” Wynonna asked. Waverly shook her head, still staring at its shiny surface.

“It’s nothing!”

“Haught Pants over here was about to take a job with some guy so that she could get out of here,” Wynonna said looking back over at Nicole. “Taking the job means she's out roaming around on her own again.”

Waverly slowly looked up at Nicole. She had tears in her eyes and just kept shaking her head. “Waves, I wasn’t going to take the job.”

“Then why was this in your pocket?” Waverly asked.

Nicole’s mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water and she stepped around the table to step close to Waverly. She took a step back from the taller woman and shot her a warning look that dared her not to come closer. Her hurt was slowly morphing and forming into anger. She could feel the tight ball of it in her chest, getting tighter and tighter.

“Waves, babe, please-“

“Don’t babe me,”

“I was just…curious. But I wasn’t going to leave you.”

“Not until you got your money and could run, huh?” Waverly spat, “I’m not a common whore, Nicole. And I wish you wouldn’t treat me like one.”

“Please, just listen-“

“No, Nicole. And don’t follow me!” Waverly said before running back up to her room. The tears ran freely up there when she threw herself on the still unmade bed. The hot tears stung her cheeks. She took a deep sigh, only to inhale the scent that was so clearly Nicole. Waverly could smell her everywhere. All in the bedsheets and pillows. It made the anger boil over and she stood up from the bed, ripping all the covering and pillows off of it. She threw herself back down on the bare mattress, relieved when it didn’t smell like much of anything anymore.

***

Wynonna purposefully stepped in front of Nicole as she turned towards the stairs Waverly had just run up. They both just stood looking at a moment for each other. She really hated that Nicole was so much taller then her. 

“I need you to leave,” Wynonna said lowly, “Just get on CJ and get off of my family’s property. Now.”

The anger swirling in her chest got tighter every second that Nicole just looked back at her with her unreadable face. Suddenly Nicole’s eyes softened and she hung her head for a moment before looking back up at her. 

“Can we please just…talk?” Nicole pleaded.

Wynonna refused to give even an inch. “The way I see it there’s not much to talk about.”

Nicole licked her lips, and Wynonna saw tears sparkling in the corners of her eyes. “I care about Waverly,” she said, “I truly do.”

“And I trust you about as far as I can throw you. And even though I am very strong you’re very tall.”

“I love her,” Nicole practically chocked out.

Wynonna rolled her eyes, a sick feeling rolling in her stomach. “I don’t know why you’re doing this. Why you’re taking my poor sister down with you.” Wynonna scoffed and set her jaw. “Do you hate me so much for killing your brother that you had to take my sister and break her heart?”

As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Wynonna wished she could swallow them. If she was a bigger person she would apologize and tell her she’d gone a step too far. But she wasn’t a bigger person. Hadn’t been for a while. If ever. It was something that she had never been good at and a problem she could only blame on her family. She had never heard her daddy apologize a single time in his life. Why should she break the family tradition?

“Fuck you, Wynonna,” Nicole said curtly, “You know damn well I don’t blame you for that. And you know I wouldn’t do anything to hurt her, especially because I would never do anything to hurt you.”

Wynonna felt her throat close, but she managed to say the only two words she could think of. “Get. Out.” 

She was prepared to punch Nicole and drag her out of the house by the collar if she had to. The last thing she was going to let happen was her go up and try to talk to Waverly. Luckily, Nicole turned on her heel, grabbed the badge and her jacket and slammed the door behind her as she walked out. Wynonna let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. There was a seed of disappointment that Nicole hadn’t tried a little harder to stay but she pushed it down.

They all left in the end anyways. Everyone knew that. Her especially.

***

“There’s no way we’re going to be able to get your sister to perform the ritual,” Bobo said pacing in front of Willa’s coffin. He stopped abruptly, gripping the edge and taking a deep breath through his nose. “There has to be a way to convince her…what’s that?”

He put his ear close to Willa’s mouth. Lips practically grey and flaking. Her cheeks and eyes were sunken, hair matted to her head. To Bobo, she was beautiful still.

“Your’e right,” he said with a nod, “I need leverage.” His tongue darted out to lick his lips and a wicked smile lit up his face. “Someone who Waverly will do anything for-…no.  Not Wynonna. She’s got that gun, too risky. But there is someone else.”

 

He stroked Willa’s face, the hardening skin not giving way under his fingers the way it used to. "Don't worry, my love," he whispered against her cheek, "You'll be back to me soon. I know exactly what to do."

***

Nicole adjusted the hat on her head and straighter her coat. The tears she has allowed herself to shed had dried on her cheeks long ago on the ride back into town. She wasn't going to let herself think about Waverly and the possibility of not getting her back. She would give her space, but she was going to get her back. She knew it. At least, she had to tell herself that or she might go crazy. 

What she felt for Waverly was...something she had never felt before. In the month or so that she'd been in Purgatory, she really felt like she couldn't live without her. Her every thought surrounded around her: was she okay? Was she safe? Was she thinking about her?

Sure, those feelings might dissipate, but she knew that the love she felt for Waverly wasn't going to go. She didn't even hesitate to say love because she knew that's what it was. She hadn't told Waverly, for obvious reasons, but she would. When it was right. When Waverly would talk to her again. 

She hated that she had lied to her, that she hadn't told her that Wynonna had hired her to come here. It was something that was so at the back of her mind she had almost forgotten about it in the past couple or weeks. What had started out as a temporary job was...not so temporary or a job anymore. 

That being said, she needed a job. She couldn't be a bounty hunter just in the Purgatory reason. Once word spread she was there criminals would keep a far distance and her income would dry up. That's why she was standing in front of the Sheriff's office straightening her clothes. 

One last adjustment, and Nicole walked into the office. Nedley looked up at her and tipped his hat in greeting. 

"No Earp?" he said looking at the door as if Wynonna would burst in at any moment. 

"No Earp," Nicole confirmed. 

Nedley smiled wider then she'd ever seen him smile. Which wasn't saying much. "Then have a seat! What can I do you for?" Nedley asked pouring her a glass of whiskey then one for himself. 

Nicole took it gratefully and sat down in the chair across from the Sheriff's desk. "Actually I was wondering if you needed a new deputy," she said before taking a sip of the whiskey, "I find myself in need of some honest work."

"Now listen, you're a damn good bounty hunter and you want to trade that in to be a deputy of a small town that doesn't know up from down most-a the time?" he asked with a squint. 

"Yessir," Nicole said with a nod. 

Nedley leaned back in his chair and took a long look at Nicole. "Purgatory would be damn lucky to have you," he said, "But...are you sure?"

Nicole smiled and gave him one firm nod. "I'm sure."

Nedley was quiet for a moment before he smiled and held out his hand for her to shake. "Then welcome to the force."

***

"Waves?" Wynonna cautiously poked her head into her sister's room. The bedding was all on the floor haphazardly and Waverly was laying on the bare mattress, staring up at the ceiling. "Is...can I come in?"

Waverly just nodded, eyes still on the ceiling. Wynonna walked in, noticing her tear stained cheeks and red eyes. God, she was going to kill Nicole. 

"Are...you okay?" Wynonna asked sitting on the mattress next to her sister, "Want me to go beat her up for you?"

She didn't even respond, just kept staring at the ceiling. Wynonna looked down at her lap played with the ring on her right hand absently. She wasn't great at the whole...sister thing. Obviously. She hadn't been around Waverly long enough when they were younger to learn what that meant. She loved her and cared for her, that wasn't even a question. But she still didn't quite know how to express things other then anger. 

"I'm sorry I yelled at you about the...witch thing," she mumbled. Waverly graced her with a small look but then continued to stare at the ceiling. 

Wynonna licked her lips and started again. "You know, when I was in the looney bin, there was this girl there. A little younger then me, but she reminded me so much of you. She um..." Wynonna hated thinking of those days, she hated bringing them back up to herself. It always hurt. 

"She um...was there because her parents put her there. She had started talking about magic and witchcraft. The town got wind of it and they wanted to hang her. A little girl, can you imagine?"

Still nothing from Waverly. 

"Anyways, yeah, she was pretty crazy. But I guess I was there talking about demons so I was just as crazy..." She began to pick at the skin around her thumb. "She got worse though. The longer she was in there and...eventually she just gave up and died. I'm not sure if that's better or worse then if she'd been hung. Dying alone in that place. Thinking no one cared about you."

Wynonna trailed off and frowned. She had made her thumb bleed. Fuck. 

The growing silence was heavy and Wynonna could feel her legs itching to run. To just get up and go somewhere else. Away from...whatever this was. But this was her sister. She had to try. 

"I guess, what I'm trying to say is that I want you to be safe," Wynonna said with a shrug, "I've seen...more of the world then you and I know how awful people can be. You're my sister I can't risk you...I can't risk you getting yourself killed."

"I'm not going to stop practicing witchcraft," Waverly said firmly, "There's nothing you can say that would make me stop anymore then I could convince you to throw that gun in the river."

Wynonna sighed and looked over at Waverly who was finally looking back at her. "Fine," she said, "just stop hiding things from me then."

"Same goes for you," Waverly said sitting up in the bed, "It's not like you've been open about everything either."

“Yeah, well, I was protecting you,” Wynonna said still picking at her thumb, “At least…I was trying. Guess I shouldn’t have brought a hot lady into the mix.”

Waverly shot her a look that could kill and Wynonna held up her hands in surrender. They were silent for a moment before Wynonna laid down next to her sister. They both laid there, staring up at the ceiling for a moment before Waverly turned and hugged her sister from the side.

***

They must have fallen asleep, emotionally exhausted more then anything. Waverly would usually be mad at the waste of time from a midday nap, but she was too distracted. The sound of loud neighing and the pounding of hooves against the dirt jolted her awake. She sat up, Wynonna grumbling at the disturbance. She looked out the window above her bed and saw CJ running towards the house, Nicole no where to be seen. 

She climbed over Wynonna (more grumbling) and ran downstairs. She went outside and intercepted CJ on her way to the barn. She grabbed her reigns and the horse through it's head back, eyes wild. Waverly soothed it and noticed that her back and saddle were sticky with blood. 

Her heart jumped to her throat and she searched the horse for a sign of injury. Nothing. So did the blood come from...

She couldn't let herself finish the thought. 

"What happened, girl?" Waverly said trying not to panic. She ran her hands over CJ's neck trying to calm her. 

Wynonna came out the front door with a loud: "Who the fuck is this?"

Waverly turned and saw a smaller black horse tied up to the tail outside the homestead. She walked towards it, CJ following her as she went. Wynonna then saw Nicole's horse and cursed under her breath. She went up to the oldest Earp and nudged her hand with her head. 

Waverly touched the black horses side cautiously. It snorted a little but didn't seem too disturbed. There was a ribbon in its' mane and a note tied to the saddle horn. She almost immediately recognized Nicole's writing and felt her heart squeeze. She opened the note and read quickly. 

Dear Waverly,

I'm so sorry I didn't tell you everything. I should have told you Wynonna had hired me to come here as soon as I began to have feelings for you. You don't want to talk to me, and I don't blame you. Just know that never once did I lie to you about my feelings. I care about you. So much. Please know that. I could never leave you, I should have never even taken that badge. If you want to talk, I’m here. I’m staying in Shorty’s for now.

Also, meet your horse. Her name was Daisy when I bought her, but I’m sure you can come up with something better.

Love,
Nicole

She looked back up at the horse, Daisy, she guessed. Though she was determined to change her name at some point. “Hey, girl,” she whispered. She held her hand out and the horse nuzzled it.

Nicole had bought her a horse. And was staying in town. She still felt betrayed, her heart still aching from the realization that Nicole had been keeping lies from her. But maybe…maybe…they could talk. She couldn’t deny her feelings for Nicole. Her heart missed her even when she wanted to stay mad at her.

“Waves,” Wynonna said from her place next to CJ, “I don’t want to panic you but…” She held up a note, crumpled and dotted in dirt. “I think Bobo has Nicole.”

Waverly’s heart sank and she just stared at her sister for a moment. “W-what?”

Wynonna shook her head and dropped the letter to her side. “Bobo says your have to go get her.”

“Then we go,” Waverly said feeling the panic rise in her voice, “What’s so hard about that?”

“We can’t just go walking into Bobo’s camp,” Wynonna said, “I’ve tried.”

“Not hard enough,” Waverly said. She untied her horse from the rail and swung herself onto her back. The horse tapped it’s hooves in response but calmed after a moment. Right now she didn’t care about who was mad and who and who lied. She was going to go get Nicole if it killed her. She would worry about apologies and semantics later, when Nicole was home safe.

***

“Ah! The Earps!” Bobo was standing in the middle of his camp, arms wide as Waverly and Wynonna rode into his camp. Doc trailed along behind him, Wynonna having convinced him to come. The more manpower the better. Wynonna had Peacemaker out, cocked and in view so everyone knew she would shoot at any moment.

The Revenants had been waiting for them. It was clear in the way that they were all standing around the camp, almost forming a circle as they rode in. Waverly looked around but tried to keep her focus. Bobo. Bobo had Nicole. Bobo had to die.

“I heard you were looking for me,” Waverly said as she rode up to him.

He clasped his hands in front of him and smiled up at her. Just him looking at her made Waverly’s skin crawl and she felt sick. But she remained stone faced.

“I knew you’d come if you found out I had your little girlfriend,” Bobo said twirling his fingers in the air to no general purpose, “I wasn’t expecting the whole clan though. You should have left them at home.”

Bobo looked back Waverly to Wynonna and Doc. “Guess we’ll just have to deal with them too.”

“Don’t hurt them!” Waverly insisted. She got off of her horse, shotgun in hand. Wynonna and Doc got off their horses after her and Bobo just shrugged. “I have no need for them, girlie, but if not hurting them means you’ll participate then I’m fine with that too.”

He held his hand up, palm out and moved it quickly to the side. Wynonna and Doc both flew off their horses and tumbled to the ground. Revenants swarmed their almost immediately and grabbed them. Waverly set her jaw and cocked her shotgun, pointing it at Bobo.

“I told you not to hurt them!”

“Oh, I’m not going to hurt them,” Bobo said as the Revenants forced the other two to their knees, “They’re going to be very comfortable over there, little Waverly.”

“I’m here, now where’s Nicole?” Waverly said trying to hide the fear in her voice. There wasn’t really a plan. The extent of their plan was: get in there and get Nicole out. They hadn’t thought of much beyond that. Bobo wanted her for some reason. She would trade herself for Nicole if need be, even if she knew that Wynonna would probably murder everyone involved if it came down to that.

Bobo snapped his fingers and the flaps of the tent behind him opened up. Two Revenants were dragging Nicole out by the arms. The red head’s head was hung in front of her, her knees and feet dragging on the ground. They let her fall onto the ground and it took everything for Waverly not to run to her. Even from a few yards away, Waverly could see the blood matting her hair.

“Deals off if she’s hurt,” Waverly said as evenly as she could.

Bobo walked over to Nicole and gently pet her head, “I didn’t mean to hurt her. But she’s a feisty one. She put up a struggle. This pesky protection charm you gave her didn’t help either.” He nudged her wrist with the ribbon on it with his boot. Waverly’s grip tighter on her gun. She breathed a sigh of relief when Nicole groaned and stirred from her spot. She sat up carefully, clearly disoriented. But her eyes landed on Waverly and she offered a painful smile.

Waverly felt her heart patter and tears threatened to leak from her eyes. She smiled weakly back.

“You came,” Nicole said attempting to sit up.

“Of course I came,” Waverly said softly.

“Aw,” Bobo said crouching down next to Nicole, his face horribly close to hers, “Isn’t that sweet.”

Nicole fixed him with a look before lunging at him. The two Revenants grabbed her by the back of the shirt, holding her back. Waverly licked her lips nervously and looked back at Bobo.

“What do you want from me?” Waverly asked.

“Ah, the question of the evening,” Bobo said standing up and walking closer to Waverly, “Rumor has it that you’re quite the witch these days. And I need a spell.”

Waverly frowned, “I perform the spell and you let Nicole go?”

Bobo nodded.

“Seems too easy.”

“No tricks,” Bobo said, “You perform the spell and you get to do as you wish.”

“What’s the spell?”

Bobo smiled impossibly wide, “I’ve been waiting for you to ask.”

Another two Revenants came out of Bobo’s tent, this time carrying a coffin. Willa’s coffin. They dropped it right in front of Waverly and she felt her stomach churn. She could smell the rot mixed with dirt coming from her body. They also brought some candles, salt and a variety of things.

“And with this,” Bobo said taking a large, leather book from one of his goons “And now you have everything you’ll need to bring your sweet dear sister back to life. “ Bobo said with a flourish, “Just bring her back and you can take Nicole.”

“The Codex Gigas,” Waverly breathed out, eyes on the book, “I thought that was gone forever.” There were plenty of legends about the book. It was basically the Devil’s bible. There were spells and prophecies, elaborate illustrations depicting horrible things…all written in Latin. It had gone mussing in the Thirty Year War and people presumed it was in Sweden. She had seen several illustrations of it in books. She certainly never thought she’d ever see it in real life.

“You motherfucker,” Wynonna said from behind Waverly, “You dug up my dead sister you sick fuck.”

“Ssh shh shh,” Bobo said putting his finger to his lips, “Watch your language, Ms. Earp.”

Waverly tried to think this through. If she brought Willa back to life…what would happen? Her body would probably barely be able to hold her up, so maybe they could just…kill her again once Nicole was fine. Bobo was dangerous, that wasn’t a question. The question was whether or not him bringing her back to life had any nefarious reasoning.

“I’m waiting for an answer, Waverly,” Bobo said, “The clock is tick tick ticking.”

“What are you going to do with her?”

“Don’t do it, Waverly!” Nicole shouted, “It’s not worth it!”

Bobo sighed in frustration then turned around and slapped Nicole across the face. She fell back to the ground with a grunt. “Shut up!”

“Stop!” Waverly screamed, “I’ll do it! I’ll do it.”

Bobo turned quickly and smiled at Waverly. “Good choice, sweetheart.” He walked the Codex over to Waverly and opened it to the exact page. It was a spell written in Latin, an illustration that depicted some sort of orb flying out of a body and into a heart. She hesitated before putting down her shotgun and walked over closer to Willa. The smell only got worse and she felt bile rising in her throat. She looked down at her sister’s face. It looked nothing like Willa. At least not the Willa she remembered.

Just get it over with, she told herself. She read it to herself quickly before she held her hand to hover over Willa’s face.

Adducere ad vitam mortui. Tolle animam meam et non inveniam in plaustro novo. Ex toto corde et pura est, omnis caro.

She began to chant it, the wind beginning to swirl around them as she went. A light like electricity shot from her finger tips, her hair standing on end. The electricity began to collect in the air around them, swirling around Waverly and Willa.

“Waverly!” she heard Wynonna yell from behind her. The tattoos on her arms began to glow, something like a light began to pull from Willa’s face. It gathered in her palm until it was in an orb shape. Waverly turned over her hand, holding it there until she pulled her hand away. The ball remained hovering and suddenly all the air swirling around them stopped. The ball moved towards Waverly’s face, but she could only stare at it.

“Waves!” Nicole’s voice sounded more distant, echoing as the ball got closer and closer to her face. Lights began to pop in front of her eyes just before she felt herself being pushed by the side.She fell to the ground with a thump, slowly coming out of her haze. When she looked up, she saw the ball of light hit Nicole in the face. Her eyes were wide and she gasped for air. Suddenly all the light disappeared and the air was still again.

The air was quiet, everyone waiting to see what was happening. Nicole was just standing still, her breathing labored. Waverly got up off the ground and started carefully towards her.

“Nicole?”

The red head turned towards her, eyes wide and confused. Relief went through Waverly until a slow, almost liquid smile that wasn’t Nicole’s grew on her mouth. “Well, hello, little sister.”

Waverly’s blood ran cold. It…couldn’t be.

“Willa?” Bobo said almost reverently, “My Willa?”

Nicole…not Nicole…turned to look at Bobo. She held her hand out to him and he took it, falling at her feet and kissing her hand. Waverly felt more sick now then when she had been over her sister’s dead body.

“N-Nicole?” Waverly managed.

“No more Nicole here, little sister,” Willa said, “She got banned to in-existance. She’s not alive or dead.”

A shot rang out and the Revenant closest to Waverly dropped, the ground opening up and hell dragging him down.

“Run!” Wynonna yelled to Waverly. She sprung into action, starting towards where their horses were but the Codex catching her eye in the dirt a few feet closer to Nicole. The shots rang out around her as Doc and Wynonna ran towards their horses, taking out Revenants as they went. Waverly scooped the heavy book in her arms and swung her shotgun over her shoulder. She ran back towards her horse and jumped on. She kicked her into a gallop and the three managed to escape. Though it didn’t seem like they were trying very hard. Bobo’s only concern seemed to be that he had Willa back at the moment. As soon as they were a safe distance away they all stopped, breathing heavily.

“What the fuck was that?” Wynonna practically screamed, “Did you just reincarnate your sister into your girlfriend? That is wrong on so many levels!”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t realize that’s how it would happen!” Waverly hissed, “I thought she would just come back to life and we’d get Nicole and then we could kill Willa. Again.”

“See! This is why magic really sucks a big one!”

“We have to go back for her,” Waverly said, “We have to get her back.”

“We don’t know how,” Wynonna said, “We can’t go in and demand Willa get out of Nicole.” She paused for a moment. “Gross, by the way.”

“Follow me,” Waverly said already pointing her horse in the direction of the Blacksmith’s shack.

Chapter Text

"Waves, where are we going?" Wynonna asked from behind her. They had been going through the forest towards the Blacksmiths at a steady pace. Waverly was itching to go faster but there was no clear path where they were and the last thing she wanted was for a horse to trip. The Codex was held so tightly in her arms she swore she could feel her pulse in it. At least...she hoped that was her pulse. She loosened her grip with a shiver and balanced the book on the saddle as best she could.

All she could think about was the way Nicole...Willa had looked at her. Nicole's usually warm eyes were hard and cold...she had hoped there'd be just a little bit of Nicole left in there but she didn't see anything that resemble her. She felt sick.

It was supposed to be her that Willa took over. Maybe she could have fought her. But now Nicole was stuck...somewhere. They reached the clearing with the Blacksmith's shack before she realized it, and she jumped off her horse. She pulled the Codex with her and held it against her chest.

"Keep your gun in it's holster," Waverly said to Wynonna and Doc as they got off their own horses.

Mattie's head appeared in a window and was gone a moment later. Before Waverly could even call for her, she was walking out of the shack and taking strides towards her. "What the hell did you do, little girl?"

Waverly gripped the book tighter and set her jaw. "I was trying to get Nicole back."

"Yeah, well I felt the spell you did. That was black magic, you know. I could feel it from all the way over here," Mattie said pointing at the book, "And then you bring that magic with you? Do you know how much evil your calling here with that? They can sniff it out."

"It's better I have it then Bobo," Waverly argued. She could feel Wynonna and Doc right behind her and felt a comfort in it.

"You bring the Codex and another Earp to me?" Mattie said looking at her sister, "You just really like bringing danger onto my property, don't you? Let me guess, you're going to ask for help again."

Waverly shifted uncomfortably as Mattie's gaze landed back on her. "Willa took over Nicole's body."

The Blacksmith looked at them for a second and crossed her arms in front of her chest. "I'll tell you what. I help you try and figure out how to get your girlfriend back if you give me the Codex afterwards."

"Wait, wait, wait," Wynonna said stepping up besides Waverly, "If this thing is as powerful as you say it is, should be really be letting some random witch have it. How do we know she's not going to blow us all up?"

Mattie raised an eyebrow at Wynonna. "First, this is between me and your sister. Second, I want the book to hide it. So no one else can find it again."

"Why should I believe you?" Wynonna asked with a squint.

"If I just wanted the book, I would kill all of you right now and take it," Mattie said putting her hands on her hips, "Now. Deal or no deal?" She held her hand out to Waverly who didn't hesitate a second before shaking. She didn't want anything to do with this book anymore. It was evil and she didn't want the responsibility of protecting it. Plus, it was worth it. Anything was worth getting Nicole back.

Mattie smiled for...probably the first time since Waverly had met her. "Great. Let's get started."

She turned and walked into the shack, all of them following her cautiously.

"Don't worry, Nicole," she said to herself, "I'm coming for you.”

***

Black.

It's hard to describe what the absence of sound is until you feel it. It's hollow and heavy at the same time. It's so quiet that you think you're hearing a thousand things at once. But maybe it's just the sound of all your thoughts echoing in your skull over and over and over and-

Nicole blinked, but she couldn't tell if her eyes were open. It was the same either way.

Black.

She wanted to move, to sit up from her curled position but she was scared. What if she moved and fell into nothing? There didn't seem to be an up or a down, no sense of gravity...she wondered if she'd even be able to see her own hand. She blinked, assuming her eyes were open and slowly lifted her hand in front of her face. Her fingers looked back at her, stark against the blackness around her. She looked down at herself but forgot what she looked like as soon as soon as she looked away.

"Hello?"

Her voice echoed and disappeared, like it was being swallowed by something unseen.

She tried to remember everything about herself she could. Her name was Nicole. She was twenty-six years old and from Nevada. She used to have a brother named-...what was his name. Squeezing her eyes shut, she began to whisper what she remembered over and over.

"My name is Nicole. I'm twenty-six. I'm from...I'm from...Nevada. I have a brother. And I have a Waverly."

Waverly.

Waverly Earp looking at her from across the field. Waverly Earp trying to get her back.

The memories came flooding back so suddenly it felt like brain freeze, her skull throbbing with pain. Waverly's hands, how soft they were in her own. Waverly's hands in her hair. Hands pulling her down. Kissing her. Soft lips. On her mouth, cheek, neck, on her whole body.

"Waverly," Nicole whispered into nothing. The sound echoed further this time before being swallowed.

"I'm coming for you.

It was like a whisper in her ear, hot and quick, barely even tangible. Nicole turned but saw the same emptiness as before. But her heart fluttered just a little and she knew. Waverly. Waverly was coming for her.

***

“I don’t think the spell is reversible,” Mattie said as she looked up from the page she’d been scanning over and over. Waverly looked up from the other spell book she had been reading and shook her head.

“That’s impossible,” she said, “Every spell can be reversed. There’s no such thing as an irreversible spell.”

Mattie rubbed her eyebrow in frustration. “This is dark magic, Earp, even if there was a way to reverse it...it would probably require some kind of sacrifice you wouldn’t be willing to give up.”

“I’d give anything to get her back.”

“Well it might not be yours to give,” Mattie said standing up from her chair. Waverly felt both Wynonna and Doc stiffen up from where they were sitting behind her scrolling through their own books. “Some things are worth more than a passing fantasy of a young girl-”

“She’s more than that,” Waverly said firmly, slapping both of her hands on the table in front of her. She felt a warm prickling run down the veins of her arms, tattoos pulsing with a glow just once. “Don’t talk like she’s not.”

The Blacksmith looked at her warily, eyes darting down to her arms and for the first time, she looked scared of Waverly. She looked down at her own arms in wonder. She could feel the power running through them, almost like she could do anything and- it was horrifying.

Mattie sat back down at the table, trying to appear unaffected. “If there is a reversal, it may be impossible. In the meantime, we don’t know what Bobo wants with Nicole or...Willa.”

Wynonna stood up, tossing her book back on the pile and adjusting her belt. “Doc and I will figure that out. You don’t need our help here.”

“I’ll walk you out,” Waverly mumbled. She stood up from her chair and walked with them outside. Doc went ahead and untied his horse, Wynonna held back, falling into step next to Waverly. She slipped an arm over her shoulders and brought Waverly in close. Running a hand up and down her sister’s arm, Wynonna sighed.

“We’re going to get her back, Waves,” she said.

Waverly kept looking at her feet. “What if we can’t? What if I can’t reverse it?”

“Nicole is stubborn, stupid, and…totally head over heels in love with you,” Wynonna said when they stopped at her horse. Waverly looked up at her sister just in time to see her roll her eyes. “She will-…she’s going to do anything she can to get back to you. Because she’s a real asshole that does all she can to get what she wants.”

Waverly let out a watery chuckle, tears pooling in the corners of her eyes. “She is an asshole.”

“Your asshole.” Wynonna paused for a second, thinking and then shaking her head violently. “That’s…gross. But you get it.”

Waverly just hugged her sister tight and took a big breath, telling herself that Nicole would be okay.

***

Waves...I'm here.

Waverly sat up straight in her bed, the sheets around her soaked in her own sweat. Her chest was heavy, breathing rapid for some unknown reason. She could have swore she heard-

Waverly. I...don't know where I am.

She swung her legs out of the bed and sat there for a moment, ears straining for any other sound. It was Nicole, she knew it. And it wasn't a dream or a figment of her imagination...she knew she could hear her. That wherever Nicole was right now, she was communicating with her.

"Nicole," Waverly said into the emptiness of her room, feeling slightly silly when just the sound of the crickets outside answered her, "Nicole, I'm looking for you."

Her eyes stung with tears, a feeling that was all too familiar these days. They had scoured through the Codex for hours and still found nothing. At least in the pages they could interpret. There was still some pages that couldn't be deciphered at all, neither Waverly nor Mattie knowing the language they were written in. The longer that time went on, the more tempting a blood ritual sounded. She shivered at the thought. It wasn't ideal. But if it could help her get Nicole back...

It's cold.

Waverly was snapped away from her thoughts at the sound of Nicole's voice. Distant yet...right besides her. She licked her lips and looked around the room like it might offer her a clue.

I'm...forgetting.

Panic gripped Waverly's chest and she clutched the edge of her mattress. Forgetting? Forgetting what? Herself? Waverly? Everything?

"Don't forget, please," Waverly pleaded to nothing, "I love you."

She hoped and pleaded for an answer but heard nothing but the wind. A breath shuddered in her lungs and she looked at her hands in her lap, trying to keep her tears at bay. It didn't help Nicole to cry. It didn't help...at all...she just had to stay strong and...find a solution. Right? Right.

***

“I hate this body,” Willa complained stretching out her leg and examining it with a critical eye. She let it sink back beneath the water of the tub that she was lounging in. Bobo was kneeling besides the tub, an elbow on the edge and holding his own head up like a love sick girl.

“No body could ever be as beautiful as your own,” Bobo said stroking her bicep with the back of his hand, “But it could definitely be worse.”

“This bitch was too tall,” Willa said adjusting herself in the tub, “Waverly would have been better.”

Bobo stood up. “We worked with what we had, sweetheart,” he said with a bit of an edge, “Now we have to get on with the rest of the plan.”

Willa looked up at Bobo as she ran a soapy cloth over her arms. “Maybe I can rub the freckle’s out.” Bobo cracked his fingers one by one as Willa stood up from the tub. She looked over Nicole’s body critically, poking at her hip bones and grimacing at the scar on her side. She ran her fingers over it and then smirked. “Oh yeah, I did that.”

Bobo picked up her towel and carried it over to her. “My love, we must focus.” He wrapped the towel around her and she stepped out of the tub.

“I am focused,” she said opening the towel to look down at herself again. She looked up at Bobo with a small pout. “Are you sure you don’t think I’m hideous?”

Bobo softened for a moment and wrapped his arms around Willa. “I would love you no matter what body you were in,” he said kissing her forehead a little too gently. She wrapped her arms around his neck and smiled up at him. It was a little odd being taller, but she’d have to get used to it.

“Now, our plan…” he said as he began to waltz with her slowly, “We only have a week to make sure it happens.”

“I don’t see how it’ll be a problem,” Willa said, “We just need to make sure my stupid sisters don’t get in the way. We need the Codex back. I tried to stop her when she grabbed it but this stupid new body wouldn’t let me go anywhere.”

Bobo pulled back for a second and looked at her. “The body revolted?”

“I was just getting used to it,” she sighed, “You have the amulet still?” He pulled a necklace out of his shirt, a piece of ammolite on the end of it. A wicked grin spread across her face. “Perfect. Then let’s go get it.”

***

“A blood sacrifice?” Waverly said in disbelief, “We can’t-...how are we supposed to do that?”

Mattie ran a hand through her hair and looked over Waverly’s shoulder at the page she had finally translated. “We need a dark witch and a disposable witch.”

“Of which we have neither,” Waverly muttered, hiding her face in her hands. She felt tears, hot and heavy in her eyes and willed them away. They were so close to finding the solution but so far. Wynonna and Doc were still trying to figure out what Bobo was up to and two days had already passed since Nicole was-...wherever Nicole was.

Waverly still heard her once in awhile. Sometimes she was distant, further away. Other times it was like she was in her head. It had only been a couple of days, but she was getting less and less communicative. Short sentences were becoming less frequent and Waverly wondered if there would come a time when Nicole would stop communicating altogether...she pushed the thought from her mind and focused on Mattie.

“Well, we have at least one,” Mattie said almost reluctantly. She nodded towards Waverly’s arms. She looked at them as if there would be an answer written on them. Mattie pointed to her left arm. “This holds dark magic. You have dark magic in you, little girl.”

She blinked up at the Blacksmith for a moment before shaking her head. “No-...I don’t. I’m a white witch.”

“Not anymore mija,” she said almost sadly, “Clootie infected you with her dark magic. It’s still in your veins, but now you can control it. You have the balance of the dark,” she pointed to her left tattoo, “and the light.” She pointed to her right tattoo and Waverly looked down at them in wonder. She knew the significance of the tattoos. She had learned that from Mattie a long time ago. They were infused with magic and made a person more powerful, but it was tricky. Tricky magic was usually avoided at all costs. Tricky magic meant that nine times out of ten it ended badly. Like with Mattie’s sister. She went mad with the power. The counterbalance of the light and the dark was the only way to prevent something like that happening, and it wasn’t something that people were usually willing to do. Too much of any magic, light or dark, could consume a person and turn them into...something not human anymore.

“Fine, I can perform the spell, but we still need a sacrifice of magic.”

Mattie looked at Waverly for a moment and sighed. “I think you know what you have to do.”

***

Wynonna and Doc rode up to the Homestead to decompress. All leads as to what Bobo might be trying to accomplish led nowhere. They had killed half a dozen revenants at least, and none of them seemed privy to any of Bobo’s plans. It was really fucking inconvenient.

“You know, for someone who likes to run their mouth, he’s really tight lipped about all this,” Wynonna said getting off of Whiskey. Doc followed and they began to walk their horses to the stables.

“Maybe there is no plan,” Doc said pushing his hat back on his head, “Maybe he just wanted Willa back.”

Wynonna scoffed. “I doubt he went through all this just for love or whatever,” she said, “Especially now that she’s stuck in Haught’s body. She is definitely not Bobo’s type.” She opened the door to the barn and Whiskey spooked, kicking her front legs up and rearing her head, refusing to go in. Doc’s horse began to do the same. Wynonna tried to calm Whiskey down, but both barn doors blew open and knocked her off her feet. Whiskey’s reigns slipped from her hands and she ran back towards the house, Doc’s horse close behind. Her elbow stung where it hit the hard ground. She grabbed for Peacemaker and rolled onto her back, holding it out in front of her at whatever unknown force had pushed them.

Bobo walked towards them and Wynonna shot on instinct. He jerked to the side just in time that the bullet missed him and lodged in the pillar of the barn. Peacemaker glowed and before Wynonna could pull the trigger again, Bobo strode up to her at superhuman speed and kicked it out of her hand.

“The fuck-?”

“Where's the Codex?” Bobo growled, bending down so he could get close to Wynonna’s face.

“I don't know!” Wynonna spat back. A gunshot rang out and Bobo’s shoulder jerked back. His eyes darted up to land on Doc who had his gun outstretched towards him.

“Now now, Bobo, it's not polite to yell at a lady that way,” he said pulling back the hammer.

Bobo licked his lips, the corners turning up into a smile as the second ‘click’ of a hammer rang in their ears. Nicole...Willa, was standing on the other side of Doc, gun to his head. “Where the fuck did you come from?” Wynonna said from her spot on the ground, “Nicole wasn’t-...isn’t that stealthy.”

Willa grinned wickedly, “Just one of the many improvements I’m going to make to this body.”

Wynonna eyed Peacemaker about five feet away from her, eyes darting back to Willa before anyone noticed. “Don’t you think it’s a little weird that you’re in our sister’s girlfriend’s body?” she asked rolling her wrist, “I mean, it’s a little freaky right? Little incestuous? I know it’s a small town but-”

“Enough!” Willa said, her head snapping to face her sister, “Where’s the Codex?”

“The what-ex?”

Willa’s nostrils flared in the same way they used to when they were kids. Wynonna would rile her up, usually for being a jerk to Waverly, and her nostrils would flare. A tell tale sign that she was about to lose her cool. It had become a sort of game for Wynonna, getting her worked up until she broke. Usually Willa would loop her arm around Wynonna’s neck and choke her until she gave in or until she learned to fight her off. But that was when they were kids, and now there were guns involved and other people's lives.

“The Codex,” Willa gritted out, “Where. Is. It?”

While Willa was distracted, Doc cocked his gun and shot her arm. She screamed, dropping her own gun that Doc lunged for as Wynonna leapt for Peacemaker. She cocked it, pointed it at Willa and tightened her grip when-

“Don't!”

Wynonna looked over and saw Waverly standing a few feet away, Codex clutched tightly to her chest. Her stomach twisted but she relaxed her grip on the gun. “Waves-”

“Don't hurt her,” Waverly whispered softly, tears obvious in her eyes, “please. I love her.”

“It's not Nicole,” Wynonna hissed at her, eyes back on Willa. Bobo laughed and clapped slowly, so Wynonna pointed Peacemaker at him, Doc’s gun on Willa. Blood was pouring from her forearm and she clutched it tightly. Blood pushed between her fingered, red stark against her white skin. She looked up at Waverly, eyes wide and scared.

“Waves,” she said softly, eyes pleading, “help.” It sent a chill up Wynonna's spine. It was too much like Nicole.

“Nicole,” Waverly said, eyes on the other woman.

“It’s me,” Willa said walking closer to Waverly.

Wynonna felt sick and she screamed. “Waverly! It’s not Nicole! It’s Willa. She’s trying to trick you.”

Waverly looked at Wynonna and back at Willa, pretending to be Nicole. She could see the struggle in her sister’s face as she tried to disassociate herself from the face in front of her.

“Waves, baby,” Willa said pathetically, “Give me the Codex.” She held a bloody hand out, a foot away from her little sister, reaching for the book. Wynonna saw something in Waverly switch then and watched as Waverly rushed Willa, ducking and ramming her shoulder directly into her stomach. The wind got blown out of Willa and she fell on her back into the dirt. Waverly rushed over to Wynonna, book still clutched in her arms. Willa recovered quickly, standing up with a scowl on her face. “You little bitch!”

She reached for Waverly and only caught her hair, yanking it and pulling it back. The Codex fell from Waverly’s arms as Willa pulled her against her body, hand tightening in her hair. Waverly grimaced in pain and Wynonna dove for the book. Bobo began towards Wynonna, so Doc shot at hit, hitting his shoulder and making him stumble back and lose his focus for a moment. Doc punched him square in the nose so that he dropped to the ground, turning him on his stomach like a calf being roped. Wynonna turned her gun back to Willa who was still gripping Waverly by the hair. She pulled a knife from her waistband and held it at Waverly’s throat.

Everyone froze for just a moment, trying to gain their bearings. Wynonna licked her lips nervously and kept Peacemaker trained on Willa, Codex in her other arm. The knife glinted against Waverly’s skin and she swallowed thickly. “Let go of my sister and I won’t punch you full of holes,” Wynonna said lowly.She saw the fear in Waverly’s eyes but shot her a look telling her to just stay silent.

Willa pressed the knife harder against Waverly’s skin. “Give me the Codex and I won’t butcher your dear sweet Waverly,” she said with a smile. She put her face close to the side of Waverly’s, smile even wider. “Sweet baby sister. She always did like you better. Everyone did. If only they knew what a stuck up little whore you really were.”

“Hey!” Wynonna said taking a step closer. Willa mirrored her, stepping back with her cheek pressed against Waverly’s and the same stomach turning smile on her lips.

Bobo laughed from the floor, the side of his face pressed into the dirt. “Silly Earp,” he said, “So stubborn. You might as well give us the Codex now. You’re all dead either way.”

Wynonna didn’t dare take her eyes away from Willa, afraid that if she did the knife might go into her throat. She never trusted Willa, especially with Waverly. She always had some sort of vendetta against the littlest Earp. Maybe it was the way their mother doted on her, or the way Wynonna protected her. But she had become almost dangerous around her.

“Not if I kill good ol’ Willa over here,” Wynonna said airily, “She already died once. Can’t be all that bad.”

Bobo just laughed again. “It’s a lose lose situation, Wynonna. Either you give us the Codex and you all die, or you shoot Waverly’s girlfriend and she hates you. Then you’ll all die anyways, but this time you die being truly alone. You can’t stop our plan. Only delay it.”

“There’s no way in hell you’re getting this book,” Wynonna gritted out as she watched a single drop of blood slowly drip from Waverly’s neck.

“Here’s the thing about being the heir, Wynonna,” Bobo began, “You’re all alone in this. No one can help you. No one can take away your burden. You’re stuck trying to end this madness all by yourself. And until you do, you will constantly put your loved ones in danger. Not that it really matters to you, does it? Because Wynonna Earp doesn’t care about anybody but herself. She didn’t have to be the heir to die a lonely, loveless little bitch.”

Wynonna’s grip on Peacemaker tightened. Bobo might as well have grabbed her heart out of her chest and crumpled it in front of her. Every single fear and anxiety that she had was out there and she felt it creeping into her brain, making her second guess everything. She squeezed her eyes shut for just a moment before looking back at Willa over the barrel of Peacemaker. She was Wynonna Earp. Granddaughter of great lawman Wyatt Earp. She was not someone that could be messed with.

She suddenly remembered every poke and prod from when she was in the asylum. Every single invasive question and callous answer the doctors gave her that made her doubt everything. She thought of Nicole’s brother, her dad...Willa. She couldn’t save any of them. But she could save Waverly. She had to.

Wynonna swallowed thickly, her eyes connecting with Waverly’s. An understanding passed between them and the eldest Earp nodded shallowly. “Waves…”

“I know,” she replied softly, “I understand.”

“I love you, baby girl,” Wynonna said adjusting the aim of Peacemaker to be right at Waverly’s head.

“I love you too, Wy,” Waverly said taking a deep breath. Wynonna squeezed the trigger and the shot rang out. Waverly elbowed the crook of Willa’s arm and she dropped the knife. She ducked just in time and the bullet grazed the tip of Willa’s ear. Willa cried out again clutching at her ear as Waverly ran back towards Wynonna. She turned Peacemaker to Bobo and shot but he rolled out of the way, knocking Doc off his feet. Doc shot two more rounds at him, but Bobo remained unaffected as he stood and brushed himself off dramatically. Willa rushed towards Wynonna and knocked her off her feet. Waverly jumped on Willa from behind, looping an arm around her neck and trying to pull her off of Wynonna who she punched in the jaw, blood spitting from her mouth. Willa threw Waverly off of her like she was nothing and she landed with a thud as Bobo strode over and easily pulled the Codex from Wynonna’s arm. Bobo held his hand, palm towards Doc and sent him flying into the barn. The old wooden siding broke and he flew into the barn in storm of dust.

Willa reached for Peacemaker, gripping Wynonna’s wrist and slamming it onto the ground to get her to loosen her grip. Wynonna felt a surge of adrenaline and used the way Willa was straddling her to flip them over in a yell, Peacemaker between her eyes. A boot hit her swiftly in the ribs and the wind got knocked out of her. She rolled off of Willa, gasping for breath and her sister took Peacemaker from her hand.

Wynonna clutched at her side, a warm pain spreading along her ribcage. It felt like she was drowning, and she looked up to see Waverly staring down at her.

“Wynonna, are you okay?” she asked frantically. She just nodded and watched as Waverly stood up, facing Willa and Bobo. Wynonna willed her legs to work but they felt like jelly, her vision going blurry. Waverly had both hands balled at her sides and she stalked up to the two of them like a petulant child. In her head, Wynonna was yelling out at her, telling her to run but only wheezing came from her throat. But she marched right up to Bobo who was grinning smugly, not threatened by the unarmed girl in anyway. “Get off our land!”

She reached up and pulled something that looked like a necklace from around Bobo’s neck. He immediately began to burn and he screamed in agony before he collapsed like a rag doll, his body shooting back by from unseen force. Willa ran after him, and shouted behind her. “You’ll pay for that!”

It would be comical if Wynonna didn’t feel like she was dying. Waverly rushed over to Wynonna’s side, smoothing some hair from her face and looking at the side she was clutching. “I think it’s just bruised,” she muttered lifting up her sister’s shirt.”

“What was-” cough, “What did you pull off of him?”

Waverly held up a necklace with a small stone on the end. “Ammolite,” she said triumphantly, “it’s what allowed him to cross the perimeter I put up.”

“Did they get the Codex?” Wynonna asked looking around, pretending like she understood anything her sister had said.

The brunette bit her lip and nodded. “Yeah. But, I think we know how to stop them and get Nicole back.”

“Whoop dee do,” Wynonna said letting her head flop back onto the ground, “Where’s Doc?”

“Shit,” Waverly jumped up and ran into the barn where Doc had been thrown. Wynonna took a deep right, running her tongue along her cut lip with a wince.

“Fucking Willa.”

***

“Are you sure Doc is going to be okay?” Waverly asked as she paced just on the outside of the ritual circle they had set up. Wynonna stood far off the sidelines and stared at the circle warily.

“Yeah, he’ll be fine,” she said watching her sister pace, “Tell him he can use explosives and catch Clootie at the same time? He’s not going to fuck this up.”

As if on cue, the sound of hooves came barrelling towards them from the trees. The sound slowed and Doc’s horse came through the trees, rider and Clootie astride. Mattie stood next to Waverly and watched as Wynonna helped Doc with Clootie.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” she asked, nudging Waverly with her elbow, “We can...there might be another way.”

Waverly let out a shaky sigh and strained her mind, as if she hadn’t been looking for another solution, any solution. But they had scoured every book and manuscript they could find that might hold a solution. They had come up empty time and time again until they knew they had the only solution. She looked down at her simple white dress and wondered if it was a touch too dramatic. When she told Wynonna that Bobo and Willa were planning on bringing down the magic of the Ghost River Triangle to let all the demons lurking on the other side of the Triangle in. They would flood in, destroy Purgatory and move on from there, taking out every single town until there was nothing left of the West. From there, who knew. They had to reinforce the Triangle. Something that could only be done with a blood ritual. Black magic.

“If you do this...you might not come back,” Mattie said as Wynonna and Doc wrestled a tied Clootie into the middle of the circle.

They hadn’t told Wynonna about that risk...Waverly didn’t want her worrying for no reason. The black magic could very easily take her over and wipe out any good that she had left. Wynonna didn’t understand what it was being a witch. The risks involved. There was no point worrying her at all. “Mattie, you have to promise me something,” Waverly sighed, “Promise me that if I can’t save Nicole, you will.”

“Fine,” Mattie sighed with a role of her eyes, “Goddamn dramatic Earps.”

“One more thing, actually,” Waverly said holding up a finger, “That if I turn...evil, you’ll kill me.”

Mattie stared at Waverly and shook her head, “Again with the dramatics.”

“Please,” Waverly pleaded, “I know Wynonna won’t do it. And if she did it’d...probably kill her.”

The Blacksmith rolled her eyes and handed Waverly a long knife with a pearl handle. “I’ll do it.”

Waverly looked down at the knife and took the handle carefully, cradling it in her hands. A stone dropped in her stomach and it clenched with the reality of what she was about to do. A blood sacrifice. It was some of the darkest magic there was. She looked up towards the circle where Doc and Wynonna were holding Clootie there, both of them holding her arms. She rolled her shoulders and tried to remind herself: She’s a bad person, she’s a bad person, she’s a bad person…

She stepped into the circle, looking down at Clootie who had a rag gagging her mouth, arms being held out by Doc and Wynonna. Her heart was beating out of her chest and she looked down at the knife again. She didn’t know if she could do it. She didn’t know if she could take this woman’s life. Sure it was to save Nicole and countless other people...but it-...she was still human. Not only that, but she was bound and gagged with no chance of escape.

She fidgeted with the knife and looked up with Wynonna. “Take her gag out.”

“Waves-”

“Please.” She looked at Wynonna seriously, before gripping the knife properly.

Wynonna sighed and loosened the knot behind her head that was holding the gag in place. “You don’t have to do this, Waves,” Wynonna said softly, “We’ll find another way.”

She licked her lips as Clootie looked up at her, surprisingly calm. Waverly shook her head. “I have to.”

Wynonna pulled the gag away from Clootie’s mouth and the blonde looked up at Waverly. “So I see you’ve finally gone bad.”

Her grip tightened on the knife, “I didn’t. I have to do this.”

Clootie shrugged as best she could with Wynonna and Doc holding her arms. “I don’t know what you’re doing it for. Your girlfriend is already gone.”

Waverly felt her stomach drop. “You don’t know-”

“Oh, but I do,” Clootie said with a smile, “You hear her, don’t you? Or you did anyways. Has she stopped talking to you?” She paused, trying to push past what Clootie was saying and remember the spell she had memorized. She shut her eyes tight and began to think, trying to find the words. But Clootie kept talking. “She’s in the middle, the in-existence. It’s worse than hell and nowhere close to heaven. Stronger people have gone mad in there. The ones that come back anyways. She’s probably already forgotten you.”

Waverly closed her eyes tight and began to chant. ”Domine sacrificium hoc carnis et sanguinis. Valida ea potestate uti. In pascat eam carne bibe sanguinem autem eius. Tolle eam et in corde tuo dabo eam.

Clootie cackled, chills running up her spine at the sound. She felt the warmth begin in her stomach and spread as she continued chanting. It was working. Now she had to...she had to do the sacrifice as she chanted. Her palms felt sweaty, smooth handle of the knife slipping in her hand.

“You killed her,” Clootie said loudly over the sound of Waverly’s spell, “You were selfish, and now she’s suffering a fate worse than death!”

Waverly felt like she was engulfed in flames, power was surging through her and anger flared in her belly. She felt nothing but rage, all consuming rage as she chanted louder and louder. Then she felt something warm on her hand and looked down to see the knife hilt deep in Clootie’s belly, blood gushing over her hand. She blinked in shock for a moment, the rage subsiding as the chanting stopped. She looked up at Clootie who was still smiling at her, and the witch started laughing. She laughed until it gave into coughing, blood from her mouth sputtering onto Waverly’s dress. Clootie collapsed forward, Doc and Wynonna letting go of her arms. She remained upright just from Waverly still holding the knife in her belly.

“Fuck,” Wynonna breathed besides her, staring down at the witch as her blood stained the dirt. “Fuck.”

Waverly dropped the knife and Clootie slumped forward. She felt sickness rise in her throat but Mattie yelled from outside the circle. “You have to finish it, Waverly!”

She nodded shakily and dropped to her knees, the blood soaking into her dress and warming her knees. She started the spell again, the circle around them glowing. Wynonna and Doc practically jumped out of it. With a grunt, she pushed on Clootie’s shoulder and rolled her over on her back. Glassy eyes stared up at the sky, pearl handle sticking out of her stomach. Waverly kept saying her spell, ignoring the nausea that was rising in her throat. She pulled the knife from Clootie’s stomach and felt the same surge of energy pass through her. It was like she passed out, her mind blank. All she felt was rage...anger...power. It was scary and addicting and gone before she knew it.

Blinking a few times, she began to come to. Her head was fuzzy and heavy...somehow she was standing now. She breathed out through her nose carefully, a hard copper smell hitting her. She looked down and saw Clootie in front of her, eyes wide and glassy staring up at her. Her chest was gashed open, a gaping cavity evident above her ribs where her heart should be. Her eyes looked down at her own hands and she barely recognized herself. Her entire body was covered in blood, dress heavier from being soaked in it. Her eyes found Wynonna who was staring at her from the other side of the circle.

“Baby girl?” she asked cautiously.

Waverly’s hands began to shake and she noticed she was still holding the knife, the entire thing slick with blood. “W-wynonna,” she breathed out, tears welling in her eyes, “What did I do?”

Wynonna rushed over to her sister and caught her before her knees gave out. She heard Wynonna whispering things to her, probably trying to be reassuring, but all she could think about was how much blood she had on her. Clootie’s blood. When they were out of the circle, Waverly collapsed to her knees and stared at her hands. Every single inch of skin was covered in dark blood. Wynonna took a bandana from her back pocket and kneeled in front of Waverly, wiping blood from her face.

“You did it, baby girl,” she said with a soft smile, “You re-enforced the Triangle. We can go get Nicole now.”

Waverly just nodded, her whole body shivering as the blood began to congeal on her skin and dress. She looked back at the circle and saw a bloody mass in the middle that looked a lot like a-...heart. The bile rose in her throat and Waverly fell on her hands, contents of her stomach emptying onto the ground. Wynonna was behind her, moving her hair away from her face and rubbing her back. The retching subsided and Wynonna pressed a soft kiss against her temple. “Let’s get you cleaned up so we can save your girl.”

***

All Nicole could remember was...black.

The neverending darkness and loneliness and...black.

She couldn’t tell you what hearing nothing felt like, but it sounded like a thousand voices whispering into your ear all at once as if trying to fill a void. Angry, insistent voices that made you forget. She remembered...a girl. She remembered brown hair weaving between her fingers-...maybe it was a dream. It must have been a dream. In the times she did remember, all she’d see is a flash of a face and she knew she must be an angel.

Maybe she was an angel, visiting her to take her to heaven. Or hell. She wasn’t sure she cared at this point.

Nicole wished over and over again that she were dead.

That she was anywhere but here. She would take the eternal damnation of hell, fire licking at her heels for all eternity over this...nothingness. There was no way to tell if she was sleeping or awake or dreaming or-...alive. Most times she struggled to remember her own name.

Waverly.

The name was like a whisper in the darkness. A small breeze past her face. But she didn’t know why. She couldn’t remember.

Chapter Text

The silence was heavy.

Deafening.

Nicole wondered who Waverly was.

And why she could hear her voice.

Like an angel talking to hell.

***

“Fuck!” Willa screamed at the top of her lungs as Bobo pressed the hot blade against her open wound. He pulled it away and she slapped it from his hand.

Bobo held Willa by her shoulders as she screamed in pain. He tried to gently hush her as she clutched the injured arm to her chest. “My love, I fixed it. Now we can finish the task at hand,” he said gesturing towards the Codex sitting besides them in his tent.

Willa leaned into his chest, hissing when the fresh burn on her arm touched the rough fabric of his coat. But she found comfort in his embrace anyways. “Let’s do it,” she said through clenched teeth, “Let’s get back at those two cunts who unfortunately are my sisters.”

Bobo chuckled and pulled back just enough to kiss Willa hard on the lips. He pulled away and said with a nod. “Let’s bring hell to Purgatory.”

“And the world?” Willa said gripping the edge of Bobo’s coat.

He nodded slowly. “And the world.”

***

Waverly was still shaking as she dried herself off from the tub. The Blacksmith had pulled some of her old trousers and a shirt for her to put on. The shirt was a little long in the sleeve but she rolled it up, fingers shaking. She noticed there was some blood dried under her fingers and she stared at them. With a shaky breath, she began to pick at the blood under them, her movements getting frantic as she tried to rid herself of the evidence.

She had killed a woman.

It was Clootie. And she was evil. But she was still a woman. A woman that was very much alive until Waverly stabbed her in the stomach and ripped her heart out.

Her heart beat quickly at the memory, a certain feeling of excitement starting in her chest that scared her.

She didn’t want to like it. She shouldn’t-...

But a part of her...the dark part of her...had enjoyed it. She felt the power that had run through her when she performed the spell. It was a rush. Like she could do anything. She could still smell the coppery scent of Clootie’s blood in her nose and it made her stomach turn, but at the same time she wanted more.

“Waves?”

She jumped and turned to see Wynonna standing in the doorway. Her sister looked at her cautiously, something in her eyes that Waverly had never seen before. Fear.

“What’s up?” Waverly asked rolling up her other sleeve.

“Just wanted to check on you,” Wynonna said, leaning against the door jam with a shrug.

Waverly forced a small smile, “I’m fine.”

Wynonna nodded and looked over her sister. Waverly walked over to Wynonna and wrapped her arms around her waist. Wynonna quickly returned the hug. The younger Earp felt her kiss the top of her head, tears forming in her eyes. She closed her eyes, letting the tears form along her lashes before she blinked them away. She had to get through this. She had to do this for Nicole.

She shut her eyes tight and focused all her energy on sending Nicole a message.

“Nicole. I love you. Please hold on.”

“Baby girl,” Wynonna said, bringing her from her thoughts, “What’s next?”

Waverly sighed and pressed her face into Wynonna’s shirt to dry the tears. “We have to get the Codex back. And get Willa out of Nicole’s body,” Waverly said standing away from her sister. She began to braid her hair, still wet from the tub, hoping that Wynonna didn’t notice the way her hands were shaking.

“Do we know how we’re doing that yet?” Wynonna asked with a hopeful smile.

“Not really,” Waverly said with a sigh.

“Perfect.”

***

Wynonna had always been the big sister. The protector. Growing up she was the one who protected Waverly. Now was no different. It seemed.

Except something had come over her sister when she was performing that spell. Wynonna watched as the Waverly she knew left her body and someone else, someone more evil, replaced her. She watched as Waverly’s eyes turned completely black, a blood lust over her face as she cut carefully into Clootie and ripped her heart out.

But she still had to protect her. The shaking Waverly she had held, covered completely in blood, was her little sister that needed her. Not whatever had taken her over before.

She didn’t understand this whole magic business. There was nothing about it she liked and nothing that seemed to be redeeming about it. Especially after seeing what it did with her sister. Though apparently it seemed like the only way that they could save this god forsaken town and Nicole. Seeing Waverly after she had cleaned up assured Wynonna that she was still her little sister. She was still the Waverly who had crawled into bed with her when they were kids and asked her to keep the monsters away.

They wandered back into the main part of Mattie’s shack where the Blacksmith was pouring over an old book. She looked up when the sisters walked in and slowly closed the book. Wynonna shifted uncomfortably under her look and tapped on the handle of Peacemaker anxiously.

“So,” she said rocking back in her boots, “we need to get rid of Willa.”

Mattie looked over at Waverly nervously before looking back at Wynonna. “I know how. But...you’re not going to like it.”

“I can’t say I expected anything less,” Wynonna said sitting backwards on one of Mattie’s chairs, “I wasn’t exactly thinking making her pet a puppy would turn this shit show around.”

Mattie just looked at Wynonna for a beat and turned to Waverly. “We...you...in order for Willa to be banished back to hell, you have to destroy the vessel she’s in.”

Wynonna felt her stomach drop and she glanced over at Waverly who was stone faced. Mattie looked at her then and Wynonna swallowed thickly. “You mean...we have to-?”

Mattie nodded even though Wynonna couldn’t finish her sentence. Wynonna felt sick to her stomach. “Are you you sure there’s nothing else we can do?”

The Blacksmith rubbed the back of her neck and shook her head. “I’ve exhausted all other possible options.”

“Fuck,” Wynonna said simply.

“You can’t tell me there’s nothing else,” Waverly finally said, her voice cracking, “A spell. A dark spell-”

“You’ve used too much dark magic,” Mattie warned, “You have to hold off or you’ll overload yourself. You may not come back-”

“But there is a spell to do it?” Waverly asked.

Mattie shook her head, “Even with dark magic, I couldn’t find a way.”

Waverly looked down at her feet and Wynonna took a step closer to her. “Waverly,” she said taking both of her hands in her own, ducking to try and make eye contact, “we’ll find another way. There has to be something else.”

“There’s no time,” Waverly said, voice barely audible, “She’s going to perform the spell and everyone in Purgatory will be dead.”

They had discovered pretty quickly that reinforcing the Ghost River Triangle meant that nothing was getting in or out of it. Including spells. If Willa performed the spell meant to destroy the Triangle and let the Revenants roam free, the power of it would remain in the triangle like smoke in a bottle. It would destroy everything and everyone within the bounds.

Wynonna licked her lips and gripped the handle of Peacemaker. “Fine. But killing-...destroying Willa’s vessel will be the last resort. Maybe Peacemaker can scare her out of our girl.”

Waverly looked at her sadly. It broke Wynonna’s heart. She knew Peacemaker was no good in this situation. Willa could pick it up no problem. There was no way the threat of it would do anything for them. But they could try. Like fuck they were going to take the easy way out.

“Where’s Doc?” Waverly asked, looking down at her feet.

“Stalking Bobo’s camp just in case,” Wynonna said rubbing a hand over her face.

“Let’s go then,” Waverly said grabbing her coat from the hanger near the door and shrugging it over her shoulders, “Thanks for your help, Mattie.”

The Blacksmith nodded once and reached to shake Wynonna’s hand. She took it with a small, grateful smile. “Take care of that girl,” Mattie said under her breath, only for Wynonna to hear.

“Always have, always will,” Wynonna said.

Mattie’s eyes darted over Wynonna’s shoulder where Waverly was lacing up her boots. She grabbed Wynonna’s wrist, turned it palm up and placed a heavy crystal in it. One end was sharpened almost like a blade, the whole thing so long it barely fit in Wynonna’s hand. “It’s amalyt,” she said lowly, closing Wynonna’s fist around it, “You might need it to kill Willa. Nicole...she’s strong, she might survive. But it’s not likely. Waverly...she loves her. She might not be able to-”

“I know,” Wynonna said with a sad smile, “I’ll do the messy work if I have to.”

Mattie smiled stiffly and dropped Wynonna’s hand. “Buena suerte.”

Wynonna nodded like she understood. And...in a way she did. “Right back at ya, sister,” she said with a wink. She put the crystal in her pocket, feeling the weight of it as she walked back to Waverly who was just straightening up. “Alright, baby girl,” she said putting her hand on Waverly’s shoulder, “Let’s do this.”

***

“Nicole. I love you. Please hold on.”

Nicole heard.

But remembered nothing.

***

The pages of the Codex fluttered and flipped on their own. Willa held both of her hands over the pages as she chanted the spell. She wasn’t a witch, never had been and never would be. But she knew enough about magic to cast the spell. Along with the help of some powerful crystals and the knowledge of a Revenant who had had been a witch before Wyatt Earp shot her down, Willa felt more than prepared to bring hell to earth. And finally, the demise of her sisters.

The air began to swirl around her as it popped and crackled with electricity. Bobo stood on the side, watching with wide, excited eyes as Willa’s spell gained power. She could practically feel the flames of hell licking at her feet as it opened up. And she would know what it felt like. She had spent months there already.

***

As Wynonna and Waverly galloped closer to Bobo’s camp, horses breathing heavily underneath them, There was a distinct crackling in the air that Waverly recognized.

“Shit,” she said as they brought their horses to a stop. Doc rode up to them from his hidden spot among the trees. They were on a bit of a ledge and could get a pretty good view of Bobo’s camp from where they were. Mostly they could just see Bobo’s tent, looming large at the edge. The Revenants had built a large bonfire in the middle and were clearly having a good time. Probably celebrating opening up hell like Willa was trying to do right in that very moment.

“They’re performing the spell already,” Waverly breathed out as she searched for any sign of Willa or Bobo in the camp. She felt a surge of energy hit her in the chest and she sat back a little in the saddle. “Bobo’s tent,” she said pointing to it, “They’re in there.”

“How do you know?” Doc asked with a frown.

“I just do,” she said righting herself in the saddle, “We have to stop them.”

Wynonna nodded and pulled Peacemaker from her hip, Doc copying her actions. Waverly pulled her own handgun from it’s holster, taking a deep breath.

She had to kill Nicole.

It was the only way to save everyone.

Waverly hadn’t been able to stop thinking of brown eyes staring up at her, pleading...begging her not to. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to block it all out. She thought of her sister and everyone here in Purgatory. Everyone that would die if they didn’t stop Willa. And there was only one way to stop her. She had to do this. Only she could.

“Alright, if we go through the woods and come up behind the tent, we can get to it without disturbing their little fiesta,” Wynonna said moving Whisky towards the forest. Waverly nodded and followed her sister, Doc not far behind. They went along the perimeter of the woods like Wynonna said until they came close to the tent. They all dropped from their horses and silently made their way to the main tent.

As they crept closer, Waverly could feel the magic radiating from within it. She felt a surge of power in herself and swore she smelled blood again. But she shook it off, pulled back the hammer on her gun and aimed in front of her.

“Waves, wait-” Wynonna said just before Waverly stormed into the tent. Willa was standing over the Codex palms down and the pages flipping from some unseen force. Bobo was standing off to the side, smiling widely at Waverly. Wynonna and Doc followed, guns also raised.

“You’re too late,” Bobo said, his eyes glowing red and marks like hot brands appearing on his face, “You can’t stop us now. Hell is already opening. All the Revenants will be back. The demons will roam the earth and take it back for themselves.”

“Not if we can help it,” Waverly said, gun still pointed at Nicole...Willa. It was Willa. It wasn’t Nicole anymore. It was Willa. She licked her lips and tightened her grip on the trigger just a little bit.

Peacemaker was trained on Bobo and his smile just got wider. “Even if you kill me, I'll just come right back, Earp,” he said to Wynonna, “So go ahead and shoot your little Magic gun.”

“Gladly,” Wynonna said pulling the trigger without hesitating. Bobo’s head jolted back with the force of the bullet, but his smile never dropped. Even as a hole opened up on the earth, the sounds of hell echoing from it, he smiled. His body was dragged down through the hole as he laughed. An unearthly sound that chilled Waverly to her bones.

They turned back to Willa who remained undisturbed by what just happened. She was still chanting, her hands glowing and eyes closed. The hair on Waverly's arms stood on edge from the magic moving like electricity through the air.

“Stop!” Waverly said taking a step closer to her oldest sister, “Stop now and I won't have to kill you!”

The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them. Emotion choking her. She told herself she had to kill Willa. Destroy her vessel...but her vessel was Nicole. And she loved her. She loved her more than she thought she could. Maybe she could convince Willa to leave. Maybe...maybe there was another way.

Willa's eyes shot open, familiar brown eyes landing on Waverly. She felt a sob escape her throat as Nicole's eyes glanced at the gun and back at Waverly. She repeated in her mind over and over that she wasn't Nicole. It wasn't her Nicole. It was barely even her sister. A hole much like the one Bobo had disappeared into began to open around Willa.

“Willa, stop!” Waverly yelled desperately, “Please. We can- I can-”

“What? Willa said cruelly as mangled, decaying hands began to claw that the edges of the hole. The sound of a million screams echoing in a hollow space came from the hole and sent chills up her spine. “What will we do, little sister? We’ll hold hands and sing together? I'll leave your precious little girlfriend’s body?”

Waverly swallowed thickly. She tried to remain firm but her voice cracked. “Leave her and I won't have to hurt you?”

“Why would I care?” Willa smirked, “I stay and either you kill me and I come right back through this convenient hell hole,” she gestured to the ever growing hole below her, “Or I stay and still reap the rewards. Win win for me. Lose lose for you. Because either way your girlfriend is dead.”

Wynonna stepped up besides Waverly, a cautious hand on the small of her back. “Listen, I can do it-”

“No,” Waverly said firmly as tears began to cloud her vision, “I have to.”

“Are you su-”

“It has...to be me.”

Waverly took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger. But she moved her hand at the last second and the bullet lodged itself in Willa’s shoulder. She screamed in pain, but still the pit under her grew. Waverly watched the blood poor from Willa-...Nicole’s shoulder. It was Nicole’s shoulder. Not Willa’s...that was Nicole there in front of them. Her flesh and bone. The same flesh that had pressed into her own...warm fingers pressing into supple flesh.

“It. Has. To be me,” she repeated to herself, taking another step forward and aiming again. She blinked and some tears escaped down her cheeks. Nicole’s other shoulder jolted back, this time the bullet just grazing the top of her shoulder.

“You can’t do it. Can you, Waves?” Willa said with another laugh.

Waverly breathed hard through her nose, trying to control the sobs that threatened to come up from her throat.

“Waves,” Wynonna said again from behind her, “Baby girl.”

She took another deep breath, aimed at Nicole’s head and flexed her finger against the metal. Brown eyes looked back at her and she dropped her hand down to her side, gun hanging loosely from her hand. “I-...it has to be me...it has to-...”

Wynonna stepped in front of Waverly, blocking Nicole from her view. She blinked at the back of her head and she heard her sister say, “I got you, baby girl.”

Wynonna pulled something out of her pocket and ran towards Nicole. Her boots crunched over the rotten fingers clawing at the edge of the hole and lept towards Nicole. She tackled Nicole around the middle, throwing themselves off to the very edge of the pit. Willa pushed at her, but Wynonna straddled her and batted away her hands.

“Sorry,” she said softly before plunging something into Nicole’s chest. Wynonna might as well have stabbed her too. It felt like something sharp was going through Waverly’s chest. All she could do was stare as Willa’s hands clawed at Wynonna’s arms, losing strength with each second. Blood pooled under Willa’s back as her hands clutched weakly at Wynonna’s forearms.

“N-Nicole,” Waverly said as the gun fell to the ground besides her. The hell pit had begun to shrink and Waverly ran over to where Nicole lay. Her jaw began to open and close helplessly like she was gasping for air. “No no no no,” she said kneeling besides her.

“It’s not Nicole,” Wynonna said pulling what looked like a crystal from Willa’s chest, “It’s not-, It’s Willa.” She sounded like she was trying to convince herself as blood bubbled up from Nicole’s chest. Waverly sobbed, her hands moving to cover the wound in Nicole’s chest. A white orb began to rise from the wound in Nicole’s chest, like the one that hit her in the face when Waverly performed the resurrection spell. Right before the hell hole completely closed, the orb flew down into it, the screaming coming from it disappearing in an instant.

An eerie quiet fell over the tent. All Waverly could hear were her own sobs and the rattled breaths from Nicole’s mouth. Wynonna climbed off Nicole and she knelt on the other side of the redhead. Brown eyes blinked up at the sky for a moment, blood trickling from her mouth.

“Nicole?” Waverly sobbed, one hand over the wound on her chest and the other brushing hair behind her ear, “Nicole is that you?”

Brown eyes closed briefly and reopened, looking towards Waverly. Her heart stopped for a moment, and she saw Nicole. She really really saw Nicole. There was no doubt in her mind that Willa was gone. She smiled sadly down at Nicole, tears falling hot and heavy down her cheeks. Nicole smiled weakly, eyes trained on Waverly. “Who-?...Are you my angel?” she rattled out.

Waverly shook her head and kissed her forehead. “No, it’s okay. We’re going to get you help. You’re going to be okay, just try and relax,” Waverly said as calmly as possible.

“I-...I’m finally...dying,” Nicole said reaching blindly for the hand on her face. Waverly gripped her hand tightly and kissed her softly.

“No, you’re not,” Waverly said shaking her head, foreheads pressed together, “Don’t leave me. You can’t.”

She could feel Nicole’s grip weakening on her hand and she just gripped tighter, like if she didn’t let go Nicole would be fine. She had to be fine. Nicole smiled briefly at Waverly, eyes fluttering shut and breathed she out, “Angel.”

Her head tipped back, and her hand went completely limp in Waverly’s hand. “No no no no no no,” she chanted desperately to herself as she held Nicole’s hand to her chest, “No, please no.”

“Waves,” Wynonna said softly, a cautious hand on her shoulder, “She’s-...she’s gone.”

“No,” Waverly said more firmly, eyes blurry from tears.

“Nicole’s...she’s gone, baby girl.”

Waverly shook her head. It felt like her heart had been ripped out of her chest. Her breathing stopped for a moment before she let out the loudest, most earth curdling scream so loud that the birds flew from the tops of the trees.

Chapter Text

There was fire. And immense pain. A deep burning that started from the inside of her body and worked it’s way out.

Everything hurt.

There was screaming in her ears but she could feel again. She could feel and see and all Nicole could think was-

At least I’m finally dead.

***

All Waverly could hear was blood pumping through her ears. Nicole’s hand was already going cold in her own. Or maybe it was the cold air around them. It had to be. There was no way she was-

Nicole looked so peaceful. Waverly gently wiped some of the blood away from her mouth with her thumb. She was beautiful. She was finally her Nicole again. Her Nicole and she was-

She couldn't save her.

“Waves,” Wynonna said, voice sounding like it was underwater and hand squeezing her shoulder, “We have to go.”

Waverly looked up from Nicole's face for the first time and looked at her sister. Wynonna’s eyes were red, rimmed with tears and it jolted Waverly for a moment. The sound returned to her ears like someone had pulled cotton from her ears. They could hear the Revenants outside, approaching the tents.

“We have to go now,” Wynonna repeated.

“I'm not leaving her,” Waverly said, her palm sweaty and still clutching onto Nicole's own limp one. “I can't.”

Doc kneeled next to her and she stared at him in wonder. She'd forgotten he was here until this moment. “Now, Ms. Earp, I have Nicole. Just run and don't stop shooting. Okay?” he said with a firm nod.

He gathered Nicole in his arms, one arm under her neck and the other under her knees. He lifted her body and Waverly let her hand slip from her own reluctantly. She stood up and ran to pick up the gun she had dropped as the noises from the outside got louder with each second.

She pushed some hair back from her forehead, streaking her own face with Nicole's blood. Waverly checked the bullets in the gun and cocked it, her sadness growing and morphing into anger. Both were so strong she didn't know which was stronger at this point. The Codex was lying uselessly on the ground, Nicole’s blood splattered over the cover. Waverly picked it up and put it under her arm before following Wynonna and Doc out of the tent.

Revenants were around them almost instantly, Wynonna taking out three quickly while Waverly took down more. Thankfully their horses weren’t very far away so they cleared a path to them. They stomped their hooves impatiently until they reached them. Doc struggled to get Nicole’s body onto the horse but managed to get her over the saddle before he climbed up. Waverly and Wynonna stood around him, shooting away the horde of Revenants until he was situated. Luckily most of them ran as soon as they saw Peacemaker.

As soon as Doc was up, Nicole in front of him and slumped over in a way that almost made it seem like she was still with them except for the large spot of blood on her chest. Waverly lifted herself and the heavy book onto her own horse, kicking it into action with her heels. The horse snorted and began to gallop back towards the woods. She could hear Doc and Wynonna behind her as they headed for the Homestead. The cold wind stung her face as she rode, a welcome hurt that made her want to go even faster.

She could feel the tears drying on her face and she couldn’t help but replay everything in her head.

How long had it been. Ten minutes? If even that?

It felt like no time had passed yet it felt like a lifetime away. If Waverly let herself, she could very easily chalk it up to a bad dream. A bad, bad dream. But she knew if she looked behind her, she’d see Nicole slumped over on Doc’s saddle. Just imagining it was like a stake through her heart and she breathed a little easier when the trees began to thin, Homestead in the distance. They slowed the horses to a trot when they reached the path to the front of the house, Waverly still in the lead.

They were silent as they got to the front of the Homestead and Waverly tied her horse up to the post in front. She heard Doc and Wynonna tie up their horses and walk into the Homestead. She didn’t want to look back and see Nicole’s body. Slumped, helpless...so she patted her horse’s neck with a shuddered sigh and offered a small smile, trying to keep her tears at bay. “I still haven’t named you,” she whispered as she stroked the short black hairs on the creature’s neck, “You need a good name don’t you?” The horse lifted it’s head as if nodding in agreement. “What about Lucy?”

The horse chewed on the bit in it’s mouth and Waverly nodded. Lucy. A fine name for a horse. Nicole would have liked it. The sound of boots against the old wood porch let Waverly know that Wynonna was back. She leaned against the doorway and Waverly looked up. The front of her clothes were covered in blood and Waverly swallowed thickly. She didn’t want to think about where it had come from.

“We uh...she’s in her bed,” Wynonna said softly, “I’m going to go to town. Get the...get the undertaker.”

Waverly just nodded, tears hot behind her eyes. She gave Lucy one last pat and walked up the steps and onto the porch. Wynonna’s eyes were red and she sniffled, hands crossed tight in front of her chest. She could tell her sister was trying not to cry. It’s the same look she had every time their Daddy beat her for something Waverly did. Or didn’t do. Trying to stay strong for her baby sister. She had appreciated it then.

As Waverly approached Wynonna, she was pulled instantly into her older sister’s arms. Wynonna kissed her forehead and Waverly let the tears fall from her eyes. She hiccuped, sobs wracking her shoulders as she pressed her face into Wynonna’s shoulders.

“I’m so sorry, baby girl,” Wynonna said, her voice thick with her own tears, “I’m so so sorry.”

Waverly wanted to be mad at her sister. Now that they were out of immediate danger, she wanted to scream and cry. She wanted to hit her and tell her she should have never stabbed Nicole. She should have let Waverly talk to Willa and maybe everything would have been fine...maybe they could have Nicole...but she knew, deep down, it was impossible. They had been put in an impossible situation and...there was nothing else they could have done.

Waverly sniffled and shook her head. “It wasn’t your fault. I don’t blame you, please don’t blame yourself. It wasn’t-...we had to.”

The sisters stood holding each other for a moment, just crying and taking a comfort in each other. Doc came up behind them and cleared his throat to let them know he was there. Waverly pulled away from Wynonna and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, the older Earp doing the same. Doc held his hat to his chest, sadness apparent on his face.

“I can go contact the...necessary people in town to make sure Nicole is taken care of,” Doc said softly, “Is there a next of kin I can send a telegraph to?”

The sisters looked at each other and Wynonna answered first. “There’s a um...her mom but…”

“She might have some letters...in her room,” Waverly said softly, “I’ll take care of the telegraph tomorrow.”

“Are you sure?” Doc asked. Waverly nodded, it just felt like something she should do. Doc moved closer to Waverly and put a hand on her shoulder. “I know you already know this, but Nicole was a very brave woman. And she cared for you like no one else. We couldn’t have saved everyone without her.”

Waverly nodded wordlessly, offering a sad smile before Doc went back to his horse and hopped on. As he rode away, Waverly grabbed the Codex and walked into the house with Wynonna close behind. She looked up the stairs, daunted by the fact that she knew Nicole was up there. But she was up there...alone. The thought twisted Waverly’s stomach and she turned to Wynonna. “I’m going to go...just...I’ll be in Nicole’s room,” she said softly, her voice raw from tears.

Wynonna just nodded and offered a sad smile as she shrugged off her coat. “I’m going to change,” she said plucking at her blood covered shirt. Waverly put the Codex on the kitchen table and slowly made her way up the stairs. Each step echoed in her ears and felt like a nail going through wood. The stairs had never felt so long before.

She was in front of Nicole’s room and she slowly pushed open the door. The air felt thick...heavy...hot despite the cold air outside. Nicole’s body was laying on her bed and she looked...peaceful. Her hands were folded over her chest and her chin was tipped back towards the ceiling. If it wasn’t for the blood covering her chest, Waverly might actually think she was fine.

A sob stopped in her throat as she slowly approached the bed, her hand reaching out to cover Nicole’s. Her hands were cold, not warm like she was used to. Waverly pulled a stool besides the bed and sat down. She licked her lips and forced a small smile, tears still present in her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” she breathed out, thumb rubbing over the back of Nicole’s hand, “I’m so sorry I-...I should have never cast that spell. Maybe Wynonna was right, maybe magic isn’t worth meddling with.”

She sniffled and used her free hand to wipe away some stray tears. It felt like her heart was being ripped out of her chest just looking at the redhead, the reality of the day falling on her like hail.

Nicole was dead.

Waverly allowed Willa to take over her body and now-...she was dead. Wynonna had killed her. She couldn’t bring herself to kill her. She never got to tell her she loved her. The last thing that Waverly had ever said to her was that she didn’t want to see her again. The memory made her sick. The tears began to fall faster and she shut her eyes, squeezing them shut as if it would erase the memories.

“I shouldn’t have said those things,” she sobbed, shoulders shaking, “I should have-...” She brushed some hair from Nicole’s face and shook her head. “I should have told you I loved you. I do. I love you, Nicole Haught.” Waverly leaned over and kissed Nicole softly on the lips, her tears falling on her skin. The kiss was brief and ever so light, but Waverly could swear a small sound escaped Nicole’s lips. She jumped back in surprise, looking down at the woman as her heart raced.

She knew-...she knew bodies sometimes made...noises but-

Licking her lips and trying not to get her hopes up, Waverly put her ear to Nicole’s chest just above her heart. She strained to listen over the sound of blood rushing through her ears, but she could make out a weak, slow heartbeat in Nicole’s chest.

Waverly felt her own heart stop for a moment as she just listened to the weak sound. Her heart leapt into her throat and she held her hand over Nicole’s nose for a moment until she felt a weak breath against her palm.

“Wynonna!” she yelled, standing up straight. She heard her sister’s footsteps echoing down the hall before she burst into the room.

“Wha-? What’s wrong?” she asked, one hand on the doorway.

Waverly turned around to face her sister, a smile lighting up her face. “She’s alive,” she whispered, “Nicole’s alive.”

Wynonna paled and stared at the body just as another groan left her lips. “Nicky, you son of a bitch.” She ran up to the side of the bed and put her head on her chest to hear her heartbeat like Waverly did. “You fucking-! You asshole!” Wynonna turned back to Waverly, happy tears in her eyes as she grasped her sister’s shoulders. “I’m going to go get a doctor.”

“Get the Blacksmith,” Waverly said with a nod, “We don’t know the extent of the magic-...we don’t know-...she’s alive.”

“She’s alive, baby girl,” Wynonna said kissing Waverly’s forehead before heading back out of the room.

Waverly sat back down on the stool, her mind racing a million miles a minute. Nicole was alive. She was shot and stabbed and worse for the wear but-...she was alive. Waverly sobbed again, but this time in joy.

***

Waverly hadn't left Nicole's bedside since they realized she was alive. She kept checking she was still breathing every few minutes until Mattie told her to stop fussing.

“There are other things you could be doing to help,” the Blacksmith said after Waverly smoothed back Nicole's hair once again. Mattie was hunched over her, having just extracted the bullet from her shoulder, and was sewing up her wound.

“Then tell me,” Waverly said crossing her arms in front of her chest.

The Blacksmith finished her stitching and looked over at Waverly. “Listen, mija, I need you to prepare yourself for your girl not coming back as...your girl.”

“What do you mean?”

“She spent...how many days in in-existence? Almost a week? Her mind might not be there anymore. People have gone crazy for even shorter amounts of time in there.”

Waverly shook her head. She just got Nicole back, she didn't want to think that it might not be her Nicole anymore. “She came back to life. She can get her mind back. She's stronger than most.”

Mattie took a clean rag and began to clean Nicole’s stab wound. “She shouldn't be alive,” she began, “Your magic brought her back.”

“I didn't cast a spell-,” Waverly started.

“The protection spell on her wrist,” Mattie said pointing to the red ribbon that Waverly had put there months ago, “It kept a part of her alive. A sacrifice of true love brought her back.”

Waverly looked over at Nicole's pale face. “But I didn't-...Do anything. I didn't sacrifice anything.”

“Your sister told me what happened,” Mattie said dipping the rag in warm water and continuing to clean, “She sacrificed not only her best friend, but she chanced that her sister would be mad at her for doing it.”

Waverly licked her lips and resisted the urge to throw herself on Nicole and just hold her. She wasn't supposed to be alive. She shouldn't be alive. It was a fluke. But she was here and alive and maybe, just maybe...she would remember her.

“Is she going to be okay? Physically?” Waverly asked quietly.

Mattie nodded and offered Waverly a small smile. “She's already gotten through the worst of it.”

Waverly nodded and held back tears. “Okay,” she said softly, “Thank you.”

The Blacksmith gave her a sympathetic smile and nodded. “You’re welcome. Even if you owe me your life after this.”

“I owe you so much more than that,” Waverly said wiping away a tear.

***

Wynonna did all she could to keep herself busy. She filled in Willa’s grave, burying the wooden cross with her name on it deep in the dirt. She didn’t deserve even the slightest bit of reverence anymore. Wynonna would be happy if she never heard her name again. After that Wynonna cleaned up the barn, stacked hay and made sure the horses were taken care of. Calamity Jane still had some blood on her and Wynonna scrubbed her down, not wanting any reminder of what they had been through since Willa took Nicole. She even went into town and got wood to fix the hole in the barn that Doc had made when Bobo threw him through it.

When she sat still too long, she started thinking of Nicole laying helpless up in that room and Waverly watching over her. She remembered tackling Nicole to the ground and stabbing her. Sometimes she swore she could still smell the blood in her nose. It had been two days and she was still repeating it in her head on a loop.

That’s where the whiskey came in.

Lots and lots of whiskey.

She hadn’t been in to see Nicole yet, because she didn’t want to see her there with Waverly. Helpless. Waverly probably crying. All because of her.

Wynonna was putting blankets on the horses when Waverly wandered in. She looked over at her sister who looked like she hadn’t slept. The older Earp offered a strained smile and adjusted the blanket on Lucy.

“How’s Haught Stuff doing?” she asked pulling the flask out of her jacket pocket and taking a swig.

Waverly smiled and ran a hand through her hair. “She’s good. She hasn’t woken up yet but she’s out of the woods. Physically.”

Wynonna nodded and took another long swig. “Good.”

There was silence between them for a moment before Waverly spoke up again. “It’s not your fault, you know.” Wynonna just snorted in response and Waverly walked up to her. “It’s true. I know you like to blame yourself for things but you don’t have to. You saved her.”

Wynonna raised an eyebrow at her and finished off the contents of the flask, whiskey burning her throat as it went down. “Yeah. Sure.”

“You did,” Waverly said as Wynonna looked away from her. It was like Lucy’s blanket was the most interesting thing in the world. “You killing her actually saved her. I need you to believe me. Please.”

She looked at her little sister who was pleading to her, eyes wide and shrugged. “You know I don’t like all that magic shit.”

“Doesn’t matter if you like it, Wynonna,” Waverly said, “It’s what saved her.”

Wynonna sighed. “Baby girl, I’ll try. Okay?”

“I think Nicole would like it if you visited her,” Waverly said softly, “I would like it if you slept in the house again.”

The dark haired woman forced a smile, whiskey making her limbs heavy. She didn’t want to argue, didn’t want to tell her sister the guilt would always be there in the back of her mind. Just like everything else in her life that she deemed her own fault. There were boxes upon boxes in the back of her mind, stuffed with memories of times she truly messed up. She really could only keep the boxes closed when she had just the right amount of alcohol. “I’ll sleep in the house tonight,” Wynonna said with a nod. She would try...for Waverly. She would try like hell.

***

Mattie left the next morning.

She told Waverly that there was nothing else for her to do. Nicole would wake up eventually, but they couldn’t predict how much she would remember. If anything. Waverly was preparing for the worst but she still held out hope that everything would be fine. That Nicole would wake up and remember everything. It would be like no time had passed.

Wynonna helped her put a fresh shirt on the redhead since they had to cut off her other one to dress her wounds. She had stitches in her shoulder and her stomach but she was fine. Waverly had to keep repeating it to herself, she could hardly believe it. Nicole was fine. Nicole was alive.

Waverly was using a rag to drip some water into her mouth when Nicole coughed. She paused for a moment, used to the little sounds Nicole had been making the past couple of days. There was no other movement from the redhead so Waverly lifted her shirt just enough to see stitches and put some salve on it.

“This will make you heal faster,” Waverly said to her, “It won’t prevent a scar, unfortunately, but it means I can take your stitches out sooner.” Another groan escaped Nicole’s lips and Waverly tried not to get her hopes up. Instead she continued to talk. “The Blacksmith thinks you’re not going to remember anything. But I think you will. Eventually anyways.”

Another groan and Nicole turned her head to face Waverly, eyes still closed. She waited with bated breath as she watched Nicole’s eyes move under her eyelids. “Nicole?” she said softly, running her fingers lightly over the other woman’s furrowed brow.

Suddenly, brown eyes shot open and Nicole sat straight up in the bed, chest heaving in a panic. “Ssh, ssh,” Waverly soothed, trying not to scream for joy. She put both hands on Nicole’s shoulders and gently pushed her against the bed, “You have to lay down. You don’t want to pull your stitches.”

Nicole looked up at her, eyes wild. But as Waverly talked and soothed her, her breathing began to even out. Waverly licked her lips and tried to find even the littlest bit of recognition in Nicole’s face. All she saw was confusion and panic. She took a cup of water and held it up to Nicole’s lips. “Here, have a little bit of water.”

Nicole accepted the water, gulping the entire thing down quickly. Waverly smiled at her, tears shining in her eyes and heart hammering in her chest. Nicole was awake. She was awake and hadn’t said a single word. Waverly wanted to ask her a million questions but she was worried what the answer might be.

“Do you-...Nicole?” Waverly said softly, “Are you okay?”

Brown eyes blinked up at her and Nicole licked her dry lips. “I-...” her voice was rough, deep from not being used, “Are you...an angel? If I’m dead, why does everything hurt?”

Waverly’s heart skipped a beat and she shook her head. “You’re not dead. You don’t-...do you remember who I am?” Nicole’s brow furrowed as her eyes searched every inch of Waverly’s face. She shook her head slowly and Waverly held back a sob. “You don’t remember anything?”

“I remember...dark,” Nicole breathed, “And an angel, talking to me. She sounded like you.”

“Do you remember what she told you?” Waverly asked, “Anything?”

Nicole shook her head again. “I’m not dead, am I?”

“You’re not. You’re very much alive,” Waverly said with a sad smile, “You’re alive.”

“But I don’t remember anything,” Nicole said, her voice small.

Waverly kissed her forehead. “You will. Eventually.”

***

Three days passed.

Nicole hadn’t been able to sleep because the darkness reminded her too much of when she was in that other place. The place worse than death.

No matter how hard she would strain her mind to remember things that had happened...all she remembered was darkness. Darkness then the flames. The heat. The pain.

There was a girl, Wynonna. The guilt in her eyes when she looked at Nicole was almost too much. She reached out and held her hand because she knew she needed it. She didn’t know who this girl was or why she needed it, but Nicole knew she was the only one who could give it to her. It wasn’t a surprise when Wynonna began to cry, even if she tried to disguise it as hay fever.

The girl who called herself Waverly was constantly in her room. Even at night she had put a bed roll in the room and was sleeping on the floor. Nicole was thankful for the company. Her heart beat a little faster when their eyes met, and it made her palms sweaty. Her breath would catch when Waverly got close to her to check her stitches.

Waverly was beautiful and Nicole found it hard not to look at her. Sometimes the way the light streamed into the window would light up her hair like a halo and it took her breath away.

“Before all this...what were we?” Nicole asked her softly. Waverly’s hand that was putting salve on her stitches faltered but she smiled anyways.

“We were...extraordinary.”

***

“I can finally take your stitches out,” Waverly said one morning. She had some scissors and sat on a stool next to Nicole’s bed, “It might hurt a little.”

“Does that mean I can actually walk around again?” Nicole said with a smile, “I won’t be stuck in this bed anymore?”

Waverly smiled and lifted Nicole’s shirt. “We’ll see if you even remember how to walk,” Waverly said carefully snipping the first stitch. She’d only ever done this to animals, but figured it was the same general concept. Except a dog couldn’t yell at her for hurting them.

“I bet I can walk,” Nicole said gritting her teeth in pain, “I may need you to teach me how to dance though.”

With a blush, Waverly snipped the last stitch and began to slowly pull the thread out. “I could do that.”

Nicole not remembering anything had been hard for Waverly. And that was an understatement. Everytime Nicole looked even the slightest confused, it broke Waverly’s heart. The only thing that kept her going was the way the redhead would look at her. Eyes wide and caring. It was the same way she would look at her before. Waverly had been advised from Mattie not to overload Nicole with too much information for fear it would put her back.

“Just let her be for a few days. You can’t even begin to imagine what she’s been through,” Mattie had said, “See if she remembers anything on her own.”

Waverly just nodded and chewed on her bottom lip. Nicole was awake and in front of her, but she missed her. Her hands itched to hold her and her lips begged to kiss her. So she found other ways to keep herself busy. Folding clothes and bedding, refolding...braiding and unbraiding her hair. Only to rebraid it a little later.

She finished taking out the stitches and moved on to her shoulder. With their placement, Waverly had to lean over Nicole and get close to her face. She could feel Nicole’s breath on her face and it was more than a little distracting. She could feel Nicole looking at her as she worked and tried not to think about how their lips were only a few inches apart if she were to turn her head.

“Waverly,” Nicole said softly. Waverly looked at her, blushing at how close their faces were before she turned back to the stitches.

“Yes?”

“Did we-...before all this...did we kiss?”

Waverly blushed deeper and nodded. “Yeah. We did.”

Nicole didn’t say anything else, just continued to watch Waverly as she took the stitches from her shoulder.

“Did I love you?”

Waverly’s heart stopped, stomach clenching as she sat up. A shaky breath left her mouth and she took her time putting the scissors and wet rags aside. “I...don’t know. You never said,” Waverly said. She had to bite back her own profession of love, not wanting to overwhelm or scare Nicole in any way.

“If...I did…” Nicole said carefully, “Would that have been bad?”

Waverly tried to subtly wipe away a tear, but shook her head with a smile. “No. Not at all.”

***

Nicole still couldn’t sleep. She had managed to nod off earlier in the day but woke up in a panic. Waverly had long gone to sleep on her floor and Nicole had just been watching her. She watched the gentle rise and fall of her chest and how peaceful she looked while she slept.

Her legs itched to move and she had a horrible headache. She needed to get out of the room. It was dark outside but she figured she could walk the perimeter of the house or wherever she was. Throwing the blankets off of herself, Nicole carefully swung her legs out of the bed and put a little weight on them. They seemed fine...not too weak…

She stood up and her knees instantly gave out, but she caught the bed frame just in time and didn’t hit the floor. Nicole glanced over at Waverly who was still sleeping soundly. She gave herself a moment before trying to walk again. After a couple of shaky steps she managed to shuffle out of the room and down the stairs. She slipped someone’s boots on and grabbed a coat as she quietly slipped out the front door. Standing on the porch, she took a deep breath of fresh air, the cold air stinging her lungs in the best way possible.

Her mind was racing with thoughts so quickly she couldn’t even begin to make sense of them. It was like a hundred people were arguing back and forth in her head and she couldn’t figure out who to listen to. Her legs were getting stronger with each step as she walked off the porch and back towards the barn. Nicole tightened the jacket around her and gently pushed open the barn door. The smell of hay and horses hit her in the face and she breathed it in deeply. There was a familiarity to it that she didn’t quite understand, but she accepted it.

One of the horses, brown and almost orange in color, lifted their head immediately and let out a long whiny. Nicole smiled and walked over to their stall, hand out in greeting. The horse nudged her hand, velvety soft lips moving over her palm in search of food.

“Hey, girl,” Nicole said patting her nose gently, “You’re a pretty one, aren’t ya?”

The voices began to get louder and Nicole shut her eyes, trying to drown out the noise. The horse nudged her head with her nose and Nicole suddenly remembered pushing Waverly against the beam to her right and kissing down her neck. She blushed at the thought and ran a hand through her hair. She could practically feel hot dexterous hands pulling on her belt as they fall into a pile of hay. She could feel Waverly’s hands in her hair and rubbed her eyes with the heels of her hands.

Blinking a few times, she looked up at the horse. “Calamity Jane,” she breathed out as the horse nudged her again. She remembered Waverly with her arms wrapped around her from behind as they rode...somewhere. Anywhere. “I remember,” Nicole whispered to herself a smile growing on her face, “I...I remember.”

***

Waverly woke with a start, the undeniable feeling that something was wrong in her chest. She blinked the sleep from her eyes and looked at the bed to check on Nicole, but the girl wasn’t there. The bed was empty and Waverly felt her heart stop. She shot out of her place on the floor and quickly ran down the stairs. She looked around but still saw nothing.

Where could she have gone? Did she leave? Was she tired of being cooped up? Was she...tired of Waverly?

She noticed that Nicole’s boots and coat was missing from near the front door and her heart hammered loudly in her ears. Nicole had gone outside. Nicole had left. She ran out onto the porch and looked around in the dark. No sign of her. She couldn’t have walked all the way to town, she must have used a horse. Maybe she was still there.

Waverly ran in her barefeet to the barn, too worried about Nicole to bother with a coat or shoes. Frankly, she was too worked up to even notice the cold against her skin. The barn door was open slightly and Waverly ducked in, looking around until she saw Nicole standing next to CJ. Waverly breathed a sigh of relief and put a hand on her chest.

“Thank god,” she said, “I thought you had left.”

Nicole just stared at her, an almost delusional smile on her face. “Waverly.”

The sandy haired girl blinked at her and nodded slowly, wondering if she had fully lost her mind. “Yes. I’m Waverly.”

“Waverly Earp,” Nicole breathed out, as Waverly walked closer to her.

Her breath caught in her throat as she raced to remember if she had told Nicole her last name since she’d woken up. “Yes. Waverly Earp.”

“And Wynonna is your sister. And Willa is an asshole,” Nicole said with a frown, “I don’t quite remember why she’s an asshole, but I know she is.”

Waverly felt tears at the corners of her eyes and she chuckled, “Yeah. Yeah, she really is an asshole.” She swallowed thickly and dared to ask. “What...else do you remember?”

Waverly was close enough to Nicole that she could reach for her hand. Nicole took both of them and swung them between them, her smile even wider. “I remember kissing you,” she said in awe, “And I remember hurting you. I don’t quite remember how-”

“Ssh, that’s not important,” Waverly said cupping Nicole’s cheek with her hand as the tears leaked from her eyes. Her heart was bursting with happiness as she looked up at Nicole, her Nicole. “Do you remember anything else?”

Nicole pressed her forehead to Waverly’s, gently nudging her nose with her own. “I remember that I love you,” Nicole whispered, eyes searching Waverly’s, “I love you so much, Waverly Earp.”

Waverly let out a watery chuckle, a shaking hand threading through red hair as she cried tears of joy. “I love you too,” she said to Nicole, “So so much.”

Nicole smiled back at her before leaning down and kissing her softly.

It was freezing, Waverly was barefoot in the barn and crying, her tears getting Nicole’s face wet. But their lips moved slowly together like no time had passed. And it was perfect.

Chapter Text

Waverly wasn’t sure how long they’d been kissing. It could have been hours for all she knew. But no matter the time it would never be enough. Her body ached to be as close to Nicole as possible, like she still couldn’t believe she was alive. Not only was she alive, she was breathing in front of her and kissing her and she loved her.

She pulled away and looked up at Nicole again, her stomach somersaulting at brown eyes she thought she’d never see again shining down at her. Nicole pulled her close and Waverly pecked her lips one more time before reluctantly pulling away. She gripped the edges of Nicole’s fingers and pulled her into the empty stall across the way. She pushed Nicole’s coat off of her shoulders and Nicole chuckled.

“What are you doing?” she asked softly as Waverly laid the jacket over a pile of hay.

“Ssh, don’t worry about it,” Waverly said with a wink before gripping onto her hand again. Eyes never leaving hers, Waverly laid down and brought Nicole down on top of her. She straddled the brunette, noses just barely brushing together. “Is this okay?”

“More than okay,” Nicole said as some hair fell in her face, “Waverly, can I touch you?”

A slow smile spread over Waverly's lips as she pushed red strands away from Nicole's face. “Please,” she said softly, “I missed you.”

Nicole brushed the tip of Waverly's nose with her own before connecting their lips again. Waverly sighed and pressed her tongue to the seam of Nicole's lips. Their tongues met and curled together and Waverly swore she was falling in love all over again.

Her heart exploded in her chest and she felt her body accelerate, every nerve on fire. She slipped her hands up the back of Nicole's shirt and pushed it over her head, thankful there was nothing under it. Waverly cupped Nicole’s face as they kissed, her entire body aflame as the redhead’s hands slipped under her nightgown. The brunette didn’t bother waiting for Nicole’s hands to finish their slow movement over her body. Instead she shimmied out of it and pulled it over her head, leaving her bare under Nicole.

The other girl looked down at her, eyes rolling up her body like she was seeing her for the first time. Although, Waverly guessed she kind of was. Just the thought made her blush and she ran her hands over Nicole's chest.

“You're so beautiful,” Nicole breathed out with a shake of her head, “I can't believe you're mine.”

Waverly gently touched the fresh scar over Nicole's heart, fingers ghosting over her breast and settling over the scar on her stomach. She felt her throat close as she remembered what the past week had been like. Seeing Nicole limp, helpless...dead.

“I watched you die,” Waverly said with a small sniffle, “I thought-”

She choked back a sob and Nicole held Waverly's face between her hands as she kissed her firmly.

“I'm here now,” Nicole said with a smile, “I'm here with you. Now and forever. Okay?”

“Do you promise?” Waverly asked looping her arms around Nicole's neck.

“I promise you,” Nicole whispered before kissing her again.

Waverly gave into her kisses, feeling the weight of her on her chest. She hooked her leg over Nicole's hips, feeling the rough fabric of her pants against her. Breathing deeply, Waverly tilted her hips up towards the other woman and pulled her mouth away to husk, “Touch me. I need to feel you.”

Nicole nodded, their lips sliding together easily as she slowly ran her fingers over Waverly’s collarbone, dipping into the hollow of her throat and over her breast. Waverly’s whole body was thrumming with energy and it ached for Nicole in every way. She tried to be as subtle as possible when she pressed her core into Nicole’s hip, the leg that was over her hips flexing to bring the other woman closer. Nicole’s fingers moved over every ridge of Waverly’s ribs, down her stomach and over her hips. Every touch left a trail of fire on her skin and she willed Nicole’s fingers lower.

Nicole’s fingers finally made it to coarse curls as she pulled away from Waverly’s lips, despite her whimpers of protest. Her fingers dipped into damp heat and Waverly’s brow’s furrowed, a small breath leaving her lips. The edges of Waverly’s vision blurred, hips moving on their own as Nicole explored her heat. Waverly whimpered as Nicole found her clit, eyes rolling back into her head.

“Baby,” Nicole said kissing along the line of her jaw and up to the earlobe that she pulled between her teeth, “I missed you.”

She circled Waverly’s clit with two fingers that were already slick with her arousal. The brunette groaned in Nicole’s ear, hips already moving against her hand, but she kept the pace slow. Waverly’s curled her hands around Nicole’s biceps before she her tongue made a path back down Waverly’s jaw until their lips met again.

Waverly felt like her whole body was on fire and she needed...she just needed to feel Nicole. Really feel her. She needed that feeling of Nicole inside her, proving that she was there and alive and she’d never have to be without her anymore.

“Nicole,” Waverly breathed out, “I love you and everything that’s happening but I really...really need you too-”

Her breath hitched as Nicole dipped her head down to nip at her pulse point. “Need me to what, baby?”

Waverly’s fingernails dug into Nicole’s forearms as she whispered. “I need you to…” Waverly blushed, “fuck me. Please.”

Nicole groaned at the words leaving her girlfriend’s mouth and the sound only made Waverly need her more. Her fingers moved to Waverly’s entrance and she kissed Waverly again. Their tongues swirled together, mouths desperate and pulling at each other. Nicole wasted no more time, pushing two fingers into Waverly.

Nails dug into Nicole’s arms and Waverly would apologize later, but all she could feel was the redhead pushing herself as deeply as she could into Waverly. The sandy haired girl moaned into Nicole’s mouth, followed by a gasp when she made sure the heel of her hand was pressed up against Waverly’s clit.

“God, yes,” Waverly sighed as Nicole began a steady rhythm. Nicole pressed her hip into the back of her hand and thrust, Waverly feeling the breath leaving her lungs as she begun a pace. Nicole held herself up on her elbow as best she could with it sinking into the hay and Waverly didn’t know where to put her hands. Lights were popping in front of her eyes with each thrust of Nicole’s fingers and she finally settled on tangling her fingers through red hair.

There was a heaviness in her chest as she opened her eyes and saw brown eyes looking down at her, wide and loving. She felt her breath hitch for more than just the intense pleasure that was flowing through her body at the moment, tears gathering in her eyes.

Nicole was here. With her. Nicole was alive.

Waverly had done so much, made so many mistakes, that almost lead to her being lost forever. Every new scar on Nicole’s pale flesh was her fault for every selfish and rash decision she had made. But she was still here, above her, loving her. She didn’t deserve her.

“M-more,” Waverly managed as she scratched at Nicole’s scalp. Her girlfriend’s head fell to her shoulder, lips leaving a trail of burning kisses along her skin. Waverly dug her heel into Nicole’s back as her thrusts became rougher, more frantic. She could feel the coil tightening in her stomach, a fire deep inside her. One hand behind Nicole’s neck, one on her back, Waverly felt the sweat dotting over strong muscles. Nicole dipped her head to take Waverly’s nipple in her mouth and she was sure she was in heaven. She felt teeth scrape the sensitive bud and nearly fell apart right then.

Nicole did...something, Waverly wasn’t sure what. Her brain wasn’t functioning properly and she could feel her whole body tighten like the string of a bow, ready to snap. Her pants turned to moans as she gripped Nicole desperately, her back bowing when she reached that particularly sensitive spot inside her that made her vision go black.

The string deep in her belly snapped and Waverly felt an energy run through her entire body, hair standing on end and lights popping in front of her eyes. She dug her nails into Nicole’s skin, every muscle in her body contracting as she gave into the pleasure. She wasn’t sure how long it took, but she felt her brain function returning back to normal as her body came down from the high. Her limbs felt heavy and she loosened her grip on the woman above her.

Waverly let out a long sigh, eyes fluttering open to see Nicole looking at her. She smiled, dimples on full display and Waverly felt herself fall a little more in love. She ran her hands over Nicole’s shoulders, spending a little more time on one raised scar on her shoulder. Waverly remembered shooting Willa and barely grazing the flesh there. She shut her eyes to block out the memory and blindly reached for Nicole’s face.

She felt soft kisses kiss away tears she didn’t realize had fallen and couldn’t help but smile. Waverly looked at Nicole and said hoarsely, “Hey, baby.”

“Hey, cutie,” Nicole answered, brushing her nose with Waverly’s, “You okay?”

“Wonderful,” Waverly said, gasping a little as Nicole slipped her fingers out of her. Nicole settled on top of her, now propping herself up with both of her elbows as she kissed Waverly lazily. Waverly hummed and wriggled under her, turning her head and stretching her neck so Nicole could place soft kisses down the column of her neck. She smiled cheekily and kissed the palm of Nicole’s hand before wrapping her lips around Nicole’s thumb and sucking.

Nicole groaned as her eyes darkened, “You’re going to be the death of me, woman.”

Waverly released her thumb with a pop. “Too soon, don’t say that.”

Nicole chuckled, “Fine. Then make me stop talking.”

Waverly wrapped both legs around Nicole’s hips and rolled her over so she was on top. She straddled her hips and leaned down to kiss her. “Gladly.”

***

Nicole woke up in a cold sweat, her entire body shaking. Her long johns were soaked through and she looked around the room wildly. For a moment she couldn’t remember where she was, she only saw darkness and felt cold as her eyes adjusted to the light. Her heart was pounding wildly in her chest, blood rushing through her ears. She felt a hand on her arm and jumped out of the bed, hand groping at her hip for a gun that wasn’t there.

“Hey, hey, babe, it’s me,” she heard a familiar voice come through the darkness as her eyes finally adjusted. Waverly was sitting up on the bed, looking at her, hand still outreached. Nicole felt her breathing start to even out and Waverly got up from the bed, approaching her slowly. “I’m here. Can I hold you?”

Nicole tried to let her body relax as Waverly approached her. Her hand touched Nicole’s arm and she tensed at first, but then relaxed a little more into her touch as Waverly wrapped her arms around her gently. Waverly placed a small kiss right below her ear and Nicole pressed her face into brown hair, heart slowing.

She was here...she was alive. Waverly was here...with her.

After a moment of effort, she wrapped her arms around Waverly and kept reminding herself…

She was alive.

Waverly pulled back a little and placed slow kisses on every part of Nicole’s face she could reach, mostly being the underside of her jaw and cheeks. Nicole couldn’t help the smile that broke over her face as she turned to capture Waverly’s lips.

“Sorry,” she mumbled between kisses.

The shorter girl put her hands on either side of Nicole’s face and forced her to look into hazel eyes. “Don’t. Apologize,” Waverly said firmly, “You have nothing to apologize for. Do you understand?”

Nicole just nodded and Waverly brushed damp strands of red hair from her face. She took a deep breath and found comfort in Waverly’s hands smoothing over her face and shoulders.

She was fine. She was here with Waverly.

“You’re soaked through,” Waverly said plucking at Nicole’s shirt, “Here, let’s get this off of you. Okay?”

The redhead nodded and helped Waverly pull her out of her long johns. She stepped out of them and kicked them aside before following Waverly back to the bed. They slipped under the covers and Waverly opened her arms for Nicole to snuggle into. She ran her hands through her short hair as Nicole laid her head on Waverly’s chest and tried to match her breathing.

“Was it a dream?” Waverly asked softly.

Nicole shrugged, wrapping her arm around Waverly’s waist. “I think so? I don’t even know any more. I feel like I can’t tell the difference between dreams and memories anymore.” The soft cotton of Waverly’s night dress was soothing against Nicole’s cheek and she sighed. “I just...wish they would stop.”

It had been the same dream...vision...memory? She wasn’t sure, but it had been the same way for weeks now. She would wake up in the middle of the night, horrified and not entirely convinced she was even alive. The first few times it happened, she had actually drawn a gun on Waverly, so since then she’d been keeping her holster across the room where she couldn’t reach it. The worst dream was when it was darkness. Nothing but...darkness. It was the worst because there was no way to escape it. Every time she closed her eyes she was met with darkness and the memories of floating in nothing would come flooding back. Though it wasn’t a memory as much as...a feeling. A heavy...dark feeling.

Soft lips against her forehead brought her from her thoughts and she snuggled impossibly close to Waverly. “I just want to be normal again,” she muttered.

“You are normal,” Waverly said surely, “You’re just dealing with some things.”

Nicole wished she could believe her. But every time she looked at her body and saw the scars from wounds that weren’t her own, she felt her heart crumble. She had scars from bullets she never felt and fights she never never had. It was just a reminder of the time she wasn’t in control. When she had been banished somewhere else.

“I hope you’re right,” Nicole said, Waverly’s fingers in her hair making her eyes heavy. She didn’t want to sleep, but she was exhausted from all the sleepless nights she’d had. Sleeping scared her these days.

“I've got you,” Waverly said kissing the top of Nicole’s head. It offered her the comfort she needed to drift off to sleep once more.

***

“Hey, Waves,” Wynonna said one day as she poured herself a drink, “You gonna like...get this hell book out of here? Or?”

Waverly looked up from where she was prodding a fire to life to where Wynonna was pointing. The Codex sat on the table, front still covered with dried blood. Her stomach churned just at the look of it and she shrugged. “Yeah, I’ll find a way,” she said standing up and walking over to it.

She reached for it, intending to store it somewhere she didn’t have to look at it. As soon as her fingers touched the old leather cover, she felt a surge of energy go through her. The edges of her vision blurred and her tattoos glowed, an angry fire starting in her belly.

All she felt was fire and anger deep in her belly and a power she hadn’t felt since before they took out Willa.

“Waves!”

Waverly blinked her eyes, the feelings fading and tattoos returning back to normal. “What?”

Wynonna was frowning at her, concern etched over her features. “What happened?”

“What...do you mean?” Waverly asked. She noticed the Codex was on the floor next to the table. It must have fallen.

“You went all weird. Your eyes got all black and creepy and weren’t responding to me at all,” Wynonna said, “I had to throw that fucking book out of your hands!”

Waverly looked down at her hands and back up at Wynonna. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine,” Wynonna said taking a deep breath and dropping her hands from Waverly’s shoulders, “I just-...are you okay?”

“I think so,” Waverly said with a strained smile, “I...I think so.”

***

Waverly held the vial of green liquid up in front of her, letting the light stream through it. “And this will help?” she asked feeling the weight of it in her palm.

“It should,” Mattie said setting her glass down on the Earp’s kitchen table where they were sitting, “It should put her to sleep enough that she won’t wake up in the night.”

“Thank you,” Waverly said licking her lips, “And thank you for taking...this.”

She gestured towards the Codex that was sitting in the middle of the table. It needed to be out of the house sooner rather than later. There were definitely times she felt like the book was...calling to her. Sometimes she’d find herself in the kitchen, staring at it, and wasn’t sure how she’d got there.

“No problem, mija,” Mattie said pulling the book closer to her and eyed Waverly warily, “You have to be careful with dark objects, you know. Now that you’ve tasted dark magic.” Waverly nodded before Mattie continued. “The darkness wants you. You’re very powerful.”

“I’m not going to let it take me,” Waverly said simply.

Mattie nodded. “I know. You have la cabeja roja, the love there will keep you safe,” she said before her eyes moved to look behind Waverly, a smile forming on her face, “Speak of the devil.”

A soft kiss landed on the top of Waverly’s head and she looked up to see Nicole smiling down at her. “Hey.”

“Hey.”

The Blacksmith smiled at the two before standing up. “I’ll handle this,” she said picking up the Codex, “Try not to bother me too much anymore, huh?” She winked at Waverly and the brunette mouthed a thanks at her as she walked out of the Homestead.

“It’s gone for good?” Nicole asked sitting at the table besides Waverly.

Waverly smiled, looking down at the vial Mattie had given her. “Gone for good.”

***

Nicole walked out of the Sheriff’s office and across the dirt road to Shorty’s. She pushed open the wooden doors and took the hat off her head. Her eyes immediately found Waverly behind the bar, her girlfriend’s eyes darting down to the shiny Deputy badge on her chest. Nicole winked at the youngest Earp, starting over to the bar when she heard someone calling for her.

“Hey! Haught Pants! I have to talk to you.”

She turned and saw Wynonna gesturing her over to a table in the back. Nicole sighed and strode over to her, sitting across from her. “Can I help you?”

“What? You too busy for me now that you’re part of the law?” Wynonna said leaning back in her chair.

Nicole smiled and set her hat on the table, “I live with you, Wy, I see you all the time.”

Wynonna tilted her head dramatically with a pout. “You never go on adventures with me anymore.”

The redhead chuckled, “I’m working now.”

“Ugh, you’re so boring. Getting a job and bedding my sister has made you so boring.”

Nicole blushed and rubbed the back of her neck. “Yeah well-”

“Speaking of,” Wynonna interrupted, leaning her elbows on the table, “when are you going to make an honest woman out of my sister?”

“What?” Nicole nearly choked, looking back at Waverly working behind the bar.

“Things seem to be going well,” Wynonna muttered, “The walls are very thin, you know.”

“Oh god-”

“Yeah, so when are you going to marry her?” Wynonna said with a raised eyebrow.

Nicole opened and closed her mouth as her mind ran a million miles a minute. “I- um...I mean we can’t just waltz into a church and get married, can we?”

Wynonna shrugged. “There are other ways. Just because it wouldn’t be official doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be...official.”

Nicole pulled on the collar of her starched shirt. It’s not like she hadn’t been thinking about it. She just didn’t see it as a real possibility. They already had to keep their relationship pretty under wraps for fear of too much scrutiny, the last thing that would be acceptable would be asking a priest to marry them. Even so she had asked the blacksmith to make her a simple gold band in Waverly’s size.

She played with the brim of her hat. “I’ve thought about it,” she admitted, “I...soon.”

Wynonna’s eyes lit up and she punched Nicole’s shoulder with a smile. “Good. Now, I believe you owe me a beer.”

***

Waverly was walking Lucy towards the barn, back from her ride when she noticed Nicole fixing the hole in the barn. She took a moment to appreciate Nicole’s sleeves rolled high up her arms, muscles flexing as she lifted a board to the barn and hammered. The weather was starting to get a little warmer and Waverly had never been more thankful. As she got closer she could see the sweat falling down Nicole’s temple and she jumped down off of Lucy. She walked her into her stall before walking over to hole and looking at Nicole on the other side.

“Hey,” Waverly said as Nicole noticed her.

“Hey,” Nicole said before stretching her head through the hole and kissing Waverly, “How was the ride?”

“Lonely without you,” Waverly said resting her arms over a newly added board in the half fixed hole.

Nicole smiled and ducked her head before looking back up at Waverly and her heart fluttered. It had been nearly four months since Nicole regained her memory. Things had been going swimmingly since then. Nicole was a deputy, Wynonna was slowly dispatching the leftover Revenants and seemingly having a great time with both Doc and Dolls. The latter hanging around more and more even if he claimed he was only supposed to be in town for a short period of time. It seemed like he might become a permanent fixture around Purgatory.

Waverly was more in love than ever with the woman in front of her. Her night terrors had become less frequent as had Waverly’s dark moments. They were still there, both of them. The night terrors were becoming easier to handle but the darkness...Waverly wasn’t quite sure how to handle that yet.

The redhead tilted her head, sun reflecting off her hair in a way that made Waverly blush as she spoke. “Hey, Waves.”

“Yeah?”

“I’ve been thinking,” Nicole said toeing the dirt with the her boot, “I um...I think we should get married.”

Waverly felt her breath catch and she tried to figure out if she imagined what Nicole had said. “W-what?”

“Only if you want,” Nicole quickly added as she rubbed the back of her neck, “I mean...it’s not a big deal if you don’t-”

“Yes,” Waverly said breathlessly.

Nicole blinked at her, eyes wide. “What?”

“Yes,” she repeated, “I-...we should get married.”

“Really?” Nicole said, smile spreading across her face.

Waverly just nodded, a giggle bubbling up from her lips in happiness. Butterflies lit up her stomach and she pulled Nicole by the collar towards her. She kissed her soundly, both girl’s dissolving into laughter. They were getting married.

The happiness in Waverly’s chest only expanded. They were getting married.

***

Waverly smoothed the white dress over her front, taking in her appearance in the mirror of her room. Wynonna had come out of the attic one day, dust and cobwebs hanging from her hair. She thrust the dress at Waverly, smile wide on her face.

“It was Mama’s,” she had said softly, “I just thought...you know...you should wear it.”

The tears clouded Waverly’s eyes when she threw her arms around her sister’s neck in thanks.

Now standing in front of the mirror, it felt perfect. Everything felt...perfect. Wynonna had wrangled someone into making her a wreath of pretty pink flowers that sat perched on the top of her head. Waverly looked out the window and saw Nicole pacing in front of the wooden arch of the Homestead, Mattie behind her. Nicole was all done up in a three piece suit that made Waverly’s heart beat even harder.

It was all really happening.

There was a knock on the door and Wynonna poked her head in. “Hey, you ready?”

“Yeah,” Waverly said still looking herself over in the mirror, “How do I look?”

“Perfect, baby girl,” Wynonna said with a smile, “Now let’s go. Your girl is pacing a hole in the yard.”

Waverly chuckled. “Okay. Let’s go.”

She turned to Wynonna who offered her arm. Waverly looped their arms together and they walked down to the yard. With each step the butterflies in her stomach took flight, especially when Nicole noticed her and turned to face her. The brightest smile stretched across Nicole’s face and Waverly couldn’t help but match it. Wynonna kissed the side of Waverly’s head before dropping her arm and the younger Earp stood in front of Nicole.

Waverly was vaguely aware of Doc, Dolls, Chrissy and Nedley standing around them but she could only see Nicole. The redhead took both of Waverly’s hands in hers and swung them between them. “Hey, Waves.”

“Hey,” she replied softly.

Mattie cleared her throat and the two looked over at her with a blush. The Blacksmith raised an eyebrow but couldn’t hide her own smile. “Are you two ready?”

They nodded before turning back to each other, Waverly resisting rocking back on her heels in excitement. Mattie cleared her throat, opening the book in front of her.

“We are gathered here today to celebrate the love between these two souls, Nicole Haught and Waverly Earp. They will be recognized by their friends and family as one. They have decided to use a passage from Ruth as their vows. Nicole, please start and Waverly repeat after her.”

Nicole licked her lips, her hands squeezing Waverly’s reassuringly. “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back,” she said.

“Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back,” Waverly repeated, already feeling tears pricking at the corners of her eyes.

“Wherever you go, I will go.”

“Wherever you go, I will go.”

“Wherever you live, I will live,” Nicole said, her voice cracking.

Waverly’s heart pounded in her chest as she managed the next line. “Wherever you live, I will live.”

“Now, the rings,” Mattie said.

Wynonna cursed behind them before stumbling forward with the rings, handing Nicole Waverly’s.

Mattie continued, “Repeat after me. With this ring, I thee wed. With my body, I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”

Nicole began to slowly slip the ring on Waverly’s finger and the brunette’s vision blurred as the taller woman repeated. “With this ring, I thee wed. With my body, I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”

“Now, Waverly,” Mattie said as Wynonna handed Waverly Nicole’s ring, “With this ring, I thee wed. With my body, I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”

Waverly cleared her throat, trying to rid herself of emotion as she said, “With this ring, I thee wed. With my body, I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”

With shaky hands she slipped the ring on Nicole’s finger, a bright smile on both of their faces. Her entire body begged to kiss Nicole but she kept herself in check, waiting for Mattie’s final words.

“In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen,” Mattie said, her own voice thick with emotion.

“Amen,” they both said in unison before Waverly threw her arms around Nicole’s neck and pressed their lips together. She felt Nicole’s arms loop around her waist and she squealed when she felt herself being lifted in the air.

Their friends hooped and hollered behind them and Waverly pulled away, holding Nicole’s face in her hands. The gold band on her finger shone stark against pale skin and she was sure she had never been happier.

“We’re married,” Waverly whispered, the tears flowing freely now.

“We’re married,” Nicole repeated, still holding Waverly up in the air, “You’re mine for as long as you’ll have me.”

Waverly pressed their foreheads together and whispered. “Forever.”