Oooooh...ooohhh.. There Haughtstuff!!!” Wynonna points excitedly, “Quick!.. There’s a spot!!”.. The protruding arm cuts off Nicole’s vision briefly as she navigates her cruiser in the busy mall parking lot. Rolling her eyes, she reaches out quickly snagging Wynonna’s wrist, pushing it down and away, freeing herself of the sudden blindspot.
For a moment the deputy wonders how she ended up tagging along on a ‘not planned suddenly have to leave the homestead right now shopping trip’. All Nicole clearly remembers is that there was some joking around dinner about how many years it had been since they had a good family Christmas. Waverly looked adorable as she recalled memories of lights and decorations with Gus and Curtis. And Wynonna looking rather guilty. It was a bit of a blur after that as Wynonna suddenly grabbed Nicole, jabbering about a Revenant nearby that needed taking care of. Pulling the tall woman with her, she rambled on and yanked the reluctant deputy out of the front door, nearly crushing her into the driver’s seat of the cruiser she quickly piled into the passenger side.
Waverly followed them outside noting Nicole’s confusion and also very aware of Wynonna’s forgetfulness of holidays simply nodded from the front porch and waved them goodbye, shaking her head she sauntered back inside.
Glancing to the left Nicole sees the indicated spot and turns on her blinker.
“Why not just flash the lights?.. Let em’ know who's boss!?” Wynonna crosses her arms and taps her foot as miss ‘by the book’ carefully navigates into the available parking spot.
Nicole smirks gently, she knows that Wynonna still feels guilty for all the holidays and birthdays she missed.
Taking the spot easily, Nicole cuts the engine and slides out. Taking note of their parking spot she turns to see Wynonna nearly halfway across the lot. Her eyes go wide as she wonders how many meta human skills the heir truly has. With a quick long stride Nicole catches up just as Wynonna enters the massive mall center.
Once again the deputy ponders how she got duped into driving all the way into the city just so Wynonna could find the perfect gift for her little sister. There was a lot of pleading and begging.. And the mention of some jewelry shops that might have a suitable engagement ring or two. Nicole caved. How could she not. Something about how the Earp sisters would pout and that was it. Game over. Nicole could not deny either one. Waverly, because she was the breath of her soul. The spark that gave her life. And Wynonna, because deep down, Nicole knew what is was to be part of something you didn’t choose. To be cursed. The name Bulshar whispered across the hairs on her neck. She shivered despite the warm mall temperature. Deputy Haught would give everything to protect both sisters. Even if it meant going into a crowded holiday shopping mall following Wynonna Earp.
Dodging several women shooting “samples” of flowery and musky fragrances in the department store they had entered, Nicole kept an easy stride with the shorter woman. “So what’s the plan? Where are we going?” Nicole asked the speeding woman as they neared the main exit into the maze of mall corridors.
Without warning just as they began to exit the department store, Wynonna stopped dead in her tracks as the question sank in. In a near panic at the sudden halt Nicole lost her balance momentarily and curving to the right grabbed Wynonna's shoulder swinging around to face her and simultaneously avoiding knocking a display of sweaters over.
“Okay.. Sooo no plan?” Nicole looks quizzically at the dark haired woman in front of her.
Sighing deeply Wynonna looks pleadingly at her, “that’s kinda why i brought you along. Okay...umm.. Dragged.. Forced.. Oh, come on… it’s not like i used Peacemaker on you!”
Nicole's eyebrow has reached the highest it can go in a smug smirk. Wynonna holds up her hands, “okay.. Okay.. Anything you want.. Please help me? I want to make this a good Christmas for her. I kinda really owe her.”
Nicole softens at the admission. She knows Wynonna well enough that it's not easy for her to open up like this.
“Alright.. Well.. Since you mentioned it, Waverly mentioned she wanted the new edition of the latin language subtext dictionary…”
“Nooo noooo noooo..” Wynonna groans, “sooo not a good sister gift… come on,... I need a real gift.. Something that is me but that she would like??”...
Sighing softly Nicole lets her mind wander and her vision blur… something for sisters.. Something sentimental but still ‘Wynonna’... Perking up Nicole becomes focused,.. “Come on I have an idea..”
Nicole watches as the mall traffic flows by.. Counting to three she grabs Wynonna by the wrist and falls into step with the river of holiday shoppers. With a destination in mind she maneuvers through the crowd, long strides carrying her swiftly. The smell of baked goods coming from a nearby stall offer a relief from the stale smell of too many bodies in too many perfumes and other odd scents that only a mall can contain. Briefly looking over her shoulder to make sure Wynonna is still with her she groans as she realizes the heir has stopped at the kiosk with the baked goods. Turning abruptly the tall woman nearly crashes into another shopper. Quickly apologizing, Nicole checks to be sure the older lady is alright before she begins to fight her way against the tide to get back to Wynonna.
"...and go ahead and give me three of the strawberry cake pops too.." Wynonna is grinning as the young man behind the counter fills her order.
"I thought we were here to shop for Waverly?" the red headed woman inquires as she slides up to Wynonna.
"I am, well, ..I will be. I couldn't help it, I need a snack... And they have my favorite kinds of deserts..junior is hungry too.." she smiles at her baby belly sticking out from her heavy coat.
Sighing inwardly Nicole waits as Wynonna pays and promptly pulls out one of the cake pops. She takes a big bite and waves the rest at Nicole.."so you're sure Waverly is gonna like this gift right?.. I mean, she has everything she needs .. What could she possibly want?.. She has you and me.. That's awesome as is..." she trails off taking another bite of her pop.
"Trust me,.. It'll be perfect. Just need to find a mall map for the right store." Nicole glances around seeing a large upright display that has mall info on it. Making their way carefully over to it, the deputy does a quick check of their location and destination. Sighing she considers they may have been better off parking on the other side of the mall.
"Come on Wynonna, we have to make it to here, and we are currently here" she points at the map.
"Exactly how much walking is that??, why did we come in over here if we're going to the other side of the place?" Wynonna grumbles as she fishes another cake pop out of her bag. "Well we need to make a pit stop there's a bathroom along the way" The heir finishes the second cake pop tossing the stick back into her bag as a trash bin isn't close, "well let's go Haught-to-trot, we have a lot of ground to cover." she starts off into the crowd with Nicole hot on her heals.
Rounding the bend the smells of the food court assult their senses. Wynonna vears off course causing Nicole to nearly crash into yet another poor shopper.
"Where are you going??" she shouts as she struggles to follow the wayward heir.
"I smell chinese food!" Wynonna tosses over her shoulder as she beelines for the nearest offering.
"Earp! We just had dinner less than two hours ago.."
Reaching the back of the line Wynonna shakes her head, "two hours is like a week in prego time, Earp junior is hungry too."
"Please tell me you're not going to name the baby 'Earp Junior'?" Nicole groans.
"Maybe... Why not? It has a good ring to it.." Wynonna quips, waggling her eyebrows she playfully hits the deputy in the arm.
Nicole shakes her head smiling and turns her attention to the menu. They do have pot stickers and they are her favorite.
Ordering their food they weave through the crowded commons spotting an empty table near an oversized fake palm plant.
Nicole studies the crowd as they swirl by. Men and women, lots of kids, families of all kinds in bright sweaters, and colorful holiday garb. Watching one particular family she can't help but smile. A little girl no older than four, is carrying an overstuffed unicorn with a bright rainbow mane and tail. The toy is nearly twice her size and although her parents are encouraging her to let them carry it she holds it away each time one of her parents tries to take it away. "My unicorn" she stubbornly pouts. Finally giving up the family moves on, the little girl bouncing happily with her stuffed toy.
Potstickers and lo mein consumed Wynonna is up and off again. Nicole quickly clears their table and puts up the tray tracking Wynonna through the crowd to the ladies room.
Leaning against the wall outside to wait, the red head pulls her phone out of her pocket to send Waverly a quick text, "still at the mall, trying to keep Wynonna on track is like hearding cats." she hits send and waits for a reply.
"Are you really that surprised? Thank you, by the way, it means a lot to me that you're tagging along with her." Waverly types back quickly, she includes a heart emoji and a kiss one too for good measure. What ever got Wynonna so riled up was concerning but knowing her girlfriend was there with her eased her mind.
A few more minutes pass and Wynonna comes out wiping her hands on the back of her pants.."damn dryers are as useless as tits on a Nun.." she grumbles off handedly.
Nicole chuckles quietly at the remark and once again they find themselves being carried by the crowd down the long corridors.
Pausing briefly at another information map Wynonna takes the lead making her way around and through the shoppers. Left then right down another long hallway, she glances behind her to find she is alone. Not being able to see over the mass of bodies she realizes she needs to get higher. Spotting another fake oversized tree in a huge cement pot she clambers up to take a view of the area ignoring the strange looks from passerbys. Holding on firmly to the trunk of the tree she surveys the crowd. Spotting the bright red mop of hair she scurries down quickly and weaves through the crush of bodies coming to a stop next to the deputy she follows her line of vision, to a window mannequin wearing a lacey pink lingerie set with white fuzzy lining.
"NOPE! Hard pass.. We are not going in there Haught! We are here so I can get Waverly something. You can shop for that stuff without me. I don't need or want to know!!" Wynonna makes a fake gagging sound and pulls on Nicole's sleeve.
"But pink is her favorite..it's on sale too, and comes with a bonus gift." Nicole stammers as the blush spreads across her face, "It will only take a minute.. You can wait here.. I'll be right out, I swear.. Please?"... Nicole pouts at her, giving her the best puppy eyes she can manage.
Wynonna sighs, giving into her friends whim, "Fine! I have to pee again anyway. Meet me by that big tree thing when you're finished, and Haught, that box better not be under the tree come Christmas morning." she wags her finger at her to emphasize her warning.
Nicole bursts into a huge grin her dimple full on as she quickly enters the store.
Carrying the obvious pink bag Nicole makes her way over to the tree where Wynonna has sat down and is finishing a cake pop.
"How many of those things did you get?" her brow furrowed at the mysteriously never ending bag of cake pops.
"A few.." Wynonna rolls her eyes as she stands back up stretching a bit. "Well let's get on with it." she states as she once again enters the flow of shoppers. Nicole stays close behind keeping her eye on the woman. Anymore stops and they'll never make it out of here before closing.
Coming to a cul-de-sac of shops at the end of the long corridor Wynonna comes to a halt. "Well Haught which store? There's nothing here, just a shoe shop, a piercing salon, a card store, and a toy shop."
"Look closer," Nicole encourages.
Wynonna sighs heavily and looks again. Not the shoe store, or cards. A piercing wouldn't be that thoughtful. She looks at the toy shop again this time reading the sign, "Build a Bear Workshop.'
"You're joking right? You dragged me all the way across this mall because you think the perfect gift would be this!?" Wynonna shoots the red head a sharp look.
Nicole put up her hands, "hear me out."
"I'm listening." Wynonna crosses her arms and taps her foot.
Smiling softly, Nicole looks sheepishly at the heir, "My thought is, Mr. Plumpkins has seen some better days. Maybe a replacement is in order? I think if you designed it and made it, Waverly would really love it. It would be you but something she would like."
Wynonna stops tapping her foot, letting out a shaky sigh. "Yeah, you're right Mr. Plumpkins is a little rough around the edges." she quickly wipes her eyes and smiling looks at her friend. Only someone as thoughtful as Nicole would see this as a chance to not only replace a teddy bear, but also to give Waverly something of herself to her sister, to make some amends for some of the cruelty Waverly endured at her oldest sisters hands, and simultaneously giving both of them a symbolic fresh start. It was the most perfect gift Wynonna could give her sister. Reaching out Wynonna squeezed Nicoles shoulder as she headed towards the shop.
Smiling brightly, the tall woman followed her friend into the store. Laughing loudly, Nicole pointed to the unicorn on display, it was the same one the little girl at the food court had. Wynonna laughed with her shaking her head, "it's cute, but not really my style."
She looked over her options, a dog, a cat, the unicorn, the item of the month a snowman or a reindeer, a rabbit, and of course a variety of teddy bears. Mr. Plumpkins was a soft tan bear and so in the spirit of replacing him, Wynonna decided on a velvet fur tan teddy.
"Are you going to give him a sound too?" Nicole inquired as she followed along. She had thought to make one herself, but knowing how important this was for the Earp sisters she decided she would come back another time. The cat was a ginger cat and reminded her of her own, though she wondered if Calamity Jane would appreciate a stuffed version of herself.
Wynonna looked over her options and decided on a lion roar. Her sister was a lion at heart and she knew Waverly would understand the meaning of it.
Making their way through the fluffing station and skipping the washing station as Wynonna rolled her eyes at it. They finally came to the wardrobe choices. Wandering in different directions Nicole found herself in the section that was career oriented. Picking up the officers uniform she smiled broadly, "Wynonna! Check it out! It almost looks like my old uniform with the ugly khakis!"
Wynonna looked up and laughed at the uniform. It did look like the old Purgatory PD suit. Dark blue button down shirt and khaki pants. It even came with a blue police hat and badge. "It's pretty good, wrong hat though."
Nicole looked around spotting some bins with hats in them. "Here we go!" she shouted excitedly, holding up a white stetson style hat.
Wynonna burst out laughing, "you have to get it, it's too good to pass up."
Grinning broadly Nicole joined Wynonna, "what did you find for an outfit?"
"Check it out, a leather biker jacket, jeans, and a t-shirt. I hoped they might have leather pants cuz they are awesome, they don't, so I'll settle on denim. Oh, and look sunglasses too" Wynonna showed off the various items.
"It's perfect. Waverly is gonna love it!" Nicole beamed at the shorter woman. She put a hand on her shoulder giving it a gentle squeeze.
Wynonna looked at the bear she had made for her little sister. Her grown up woman of a sister. The thought that she had missed so much of her life made her ache. Everything they had been through recently only emphasized how much she loved Waverly. That she needed her sister in her life now more than ever. With a baby on the way, wife witches causing issues, a demon about to be on the loose, Bobo Del Rey out and about somewhere, and who knows what else could happen in the cursed triangle. Wynonna may be the heir but without her sister she was lost. In her heart she knew that if it hadn't been for Waverly they never would have made it this far. It was a teddy bear, and unknowingly Wynonna had put a piece of herself into it. The longer she looked at it the bigger her smile became. Nicole was absolutely right, it was the most perfect gift she could possibly give.
Nicole kept her hand on Wynonna's shoulder as she watched waves of emotion pass across her face. Sorrow into anger into grief into resolve and finally into a smile. The shadow that crossed her eyes gave way to sparkling blue. Smiling brightly along with Wynonna she had a feeling that her hunch was correct. This was a good gift.
Wiping her eyes again, Wynonna looked up at Nicole, "thank you,.. This is good.. I owe you one.." she trailed off but feeling Nicole's hand still on her shoulder she reached up and put her hand over Nicole's, holding it briefly before shrugging it off. "I like you, but you're still holding that pink bag and I just feel the need to bleach my mind and my eyes."
Nicole pulled her hand away turning a shade as red as her hair, "let's just go already."
They paid for their items, Wynonna looking at the box the bear was put in skeptically.
"This place is for kids you know," Nicole elbowed Wynonna gently as they exited the store.
Making their way back through the mall seemed easier. It was getting late and many shoppers had left for other destinations. Making their way to the parking lot Nicole lead them back to the cruiser. Traffic was light and they made good time back out of the city.
Wynonna had pulled the bear out of the box and had it in her lap. She smiled gently as she checked it over one last time. Squeezeing the paw to hear the soundbox roar.
Nicole chuckled hearing the bear roar. It seemed a perfect fit for Waverly. Glancing over she could see Wynonna holding the toy to her chest, a smile on her face.
Wynonna reached out and put a hand on Nicole's arm, "thanks again Haughtshot i owe you one."
Nicole nodded and Wynonna closed her eyes as she leaned against the seat letting herself doze off while the deputy drove them home.