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The Choice

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Nicole Haught never thought she would be here. It was always something she was told to expect, but the realization never really hit her until now. There are a lot of things in her life that she is proud of. She graduated high school and went to one of the best universities in the state. She graduated with a double major in criminal justice and in public administration. After that, she entered the police academy and ended up graduating at the top of her class. She has always kept a good head on her shoulders and tried to be a good person. She is kind and compassionate and she knows those traits make her a better cop. She was so proud when her hometown’s Sheriff recruited her and even more so when the department’s division chief offered to start training her prior to graduation. She arrived back home in her hometown of Purgatory to make it a better place. She was proud of all of these things, these accomplishments.

 

But in this moment, all Nicole feels is awkwardness and discomfort. She looks at the young woman standing before her and she feels a little sick to her stomach as she reads the expression on her face. Fear, anxiety and despair.

 


 

 

6 months earlier…

Nicole walks into the station after a particularly rough shift and is ready to clock out once she finishes up her paperwork. She walks over to her desk and places her Stetson on the desk. She secures her service weapon in its proper place and turns her computer on. She pulls a small stack of papers towards her and is about to start on them when someone walks into the bullpen.

 

“Haught.” Ward Earp greets happily as he takes a seat at his desk next to hers.

 

“Sir. You just come on?” Nicole asks with a respectful smile. “You are a little early. Shift change isn’t for another 45.”

 

“Yup, just clocked in and called in to dispatch. Decided I wanted to catch up on some paperwork before I go out on patrol.” He says with a soft laugh. “So, any plans after you are off?”

 

“Same as always, drive home, eat, sleep, gym, work, repeat.” Nicole says with a smirk directed at her papers.

 

This earns her a laugh from Ward, shaking his head at her as he turns to look at his computer. “You need to get a life Haught. That is no way to live life.”

 

Nicole chuckles. “I just want to focus on being a good cop. It matters. Once I get settled, maybe I will try and… “get a life”. And like you are one to talk. You just go to Shorty’s after every shift with the guys.” Nicole jokes, filling in a sheet with the proper information.

 

“True. But I do that to bond with people. And, as soon as I am done, I go home to my family.” Earp says, smiling at the mention of his girls.

 

“I wasn’t aware you had a family Sir.” Nicole says, smiling at the man. “I guess it really has been a long time since I came back home and talked to people.” She remarks.

 

Ward smiles at the young redhead. “That isn’t all your fault Haught. Your dad sent you off to boarding school the moment he had the chance. It will take time, but you will get caught up. Not much happens in this town anyways.”

 

“Thank you, Sir. I appreciate that.” Nicole says. “And your family?”

 

“My wife left a few years after my youngest was born. She couldn’t take my job and the hours. She was a mess but she gave me my girls so I will never regret her.” He says. “I have three daughters. Willa is my oldest. She is going to be thirty this year. Then there is Wynonna. She is around two years older than you I believe. And my youngest is named Waverly. She is twenty-two.”

 

“I’m sorry, you said your oldest was thirty.” She looks the man over. “Sir, no offense but you don’t look quite old enough to have a child that old.

 

Ward laughs and smiles at her. “I met my wife when we were in middle school. We were together through high school and ended up pregnant with Willa during my junior year. I was sixteen, she was eighteen. It all ended up working out in the end. She delivered Willa and we got married after Wynonna was born.”

 

“I am glad Sir. Much respect. I can’t imagine how hard that was at sixteen.” Nicole says genuinely.

 

“Eh, I made a lot of mistakes along the way. But I have three beautiful daughters so that’s all that matters to me. I didn’t stick with her because it was the “right thing to do”. I did it because that baby, we made her together and I wanted to be there for it all. We waited to get married until after Wynonna. We were a little older then and it made things easier.”

 

Nicole nods, finishing her last sheet of paperwork. She turns to him and smiles. “Thank you for sharing that with me.”

 

“Me getting to talk about my family. I should be the one thanking you. So, what about you? You got anyone special?” He asks.

 

“Not at the moment, no Sir. Although I am sure my father won’t let that go on for much longer.” Nicole says, her distaste for the man evident.

 

“Not one for tradition, are you?” He asks.

 

“Forcing women to marry before age thirty seems a little… old fashioned. In my opinion.” Nicole says.

 

“Some people would be proud to uphold the tradition. But I can understand those who wouldn’t. I am a man and I was with my wife long before she would have had to deal with it.” He says, regarding her with a look of compassion.

 

“You have daughters, any of them have arranged marriages?” Nicole asks as she gets up and shuts her computer down.

 

“Willa married her high school boyfriend a year or so ago. Robert is a good man, known him since he was a boy. Wynonna is a different story. She is arranged to be married to a man named Henry Holiday.”

 

“Henry? As in Doc Holiday?” Nicole asks.

 

“That’s the one.”

 

“I went to high school with Doc. He and I were friends. Lost touch once we graduated. I didn’t realize he came back to Purgatory.” Nicole says with a wide smile. She and Doc had been pretty close during their years of schooling. Both of them came from wealthy families that shipped them off as soon as possible.

 

“I don’t know him all that much, but he seems like a good man. And he seems to enjoy putting up with Wynonna’s antics.” Ward laughs. “Maybe we could all get a drink together some time.”

 

“Sounds good.” Nicole says. “And your youngest?”

 

“Waverly is my baby girl. I love her. But she dated some horse shit rodeo clown in high school. Hasn’t really dated since. Soon, we will have to start thinking about the future.” Ward says, clearly, he is not fond of his daughter’s ex-boyfriend.

 

“Well, you sure do have your hands full. Goodnight Chief.” Nicole says. “Stay safe tonight.

 

“Will do. Get home safe Haught.” Ward Earp replies, watching the young woman exit the station with a grin. “She’s one of the good ones.”

 


 

 

Five months earlier…

“So, is Haught coming tonight?” Bill Rider asks as he takes a seat at the table.

 

“Yeah, she was just finishing up with the Sheriff when I left. Told me she would meet us here.” Ward replies, taking a sip of his beer.

 

“She seems to be blending in well. That partner of hers though, I can’t really get a read on him.” Rider says.

 

“She is.” Ward says with a smile. “She is a good cop and I have enjoyed training her. Nedley and I were up at the academy on weekends for months training her (even before she graduated). She is a hard worker, that’s for sure. Her partner, Dolls, came with her from the academy. He graduated a couple years before her and was interning as an instructor. He was also at the top of his class. He is smart, but guarded. Not really sure what to make of him either but Nicole seems quite fond of him.”

 

“Wait, like… as in…?”

 

“No Rider! No! Not like that. Anyone with eyes can see that Nicole Haught is only friends with her partner. They treat each other like siblings.” Ward exclaims with a loud laugh.

 

Bill blushes, trying to hide it by taking a sip from his beer.

 

A short brunette walks over to their table and places a full pitcher on the table.

 

“Thank you Darling.” Ward says with a warm smile to his daughter. “Any one of these yahoos giving you trouble?”

 

Waverly smiles and places a hand on her father’s shoulder. “Nothing I can’t handle Daddy. And Shorty is here too. Don’t worry.”

 

“I will always worry when the likes of Champ Hardy are hanging out here on the regular.” Ward replies with a touch of seriousness.

 

“I will be alright.” Waverly says with a giggle. “Anything else I can get you?”

 

“Mind getting us two more pitchers? A couple more officers will be joining us.” He asks.

 

“Certainly. Be back in a bit.” Waverly says, jumping over to the bar to fulfill their order. She is just about done when the front doors open and two officers in uniform enter. A redheaded woman enters first, followed by a tall and barrel-chested man. The female smiles at the table as she approaches, the man behind her giving respectful nods but staying stoic. Waverly is about to go over and take them her drinks when Shorty calls for her help.

 

“Will you take the group of construction workers over there? I can take these over. I got to clean up a beer Champ and his buddies just spilled over there anyways.” Shorty asks.

 

“Sure Shorty.” Waverly says, smiling at the man who has been like a second father to her for most of her life.

 

Waverly does as he asks but turns around just in time to see her father motion for the redhead to sit in the chair next to him. She smiles at him, sitting and motioning for the man with her to sit on her other side. Waverly turns away to serve the other customers waiting.

 

It is about an hour after the newcomers’ arrival when things start to go wrong. Before that though, Waverly worked. As she served and made small talk with customers, she stole glances at her father’s table. Along with the two strangers, there was her father, Rider, Stevens and another officer there. The redhead seems to flow well with the others, having seemingly easy conversation with all. Waverly is a little distracted by the group, so she doesn’t notice when Champ comes up to the counter.

 

“Wave.” He slurs.

 

Waverly startles a bit but recovers quickly, her eyes snapping to a very drunk Champ. “What do you want Champ?” She asks, annoyed by his presence.

 

“Another round for me and the boys.” He says, giving her a smile that Waverly finds creepy.

 

“Champ. You already know you were cut off. I can’t and won’t serve you. Neither will Shorty. Call yourself a cab or walk home.” Waverly says.

 

“C’mon babe. Just one more round.” He says, reaching through the line of taps and across the bar to grip her arm.

 

“Champ, let go. And no.” Waverly says, voice low and warning.

 

Waverly notices the redhead stand up from her seat, clearly the only one who has noticed the altercation. Her father turns soon after, eyes widening in anger.

 

Champ grips her harder and Waverly knows that will bruise later. “Champ, let go. Now.”

 

“Just give me another drink.” He says, voice raising a little in drunken anger. He pulls at her, as if to pull her over the bar, but is stopped by the line of taps. He loses his grip on her and she is freed, but his beefy arm hits a few of the taps as it retracts. One… breaks open… all over Waverly.

 

Champ takes a step back and looks at her for a moment before bursting into laughter. She knows her shirt is now practically see-through now, and Waverly instantly hates the man even more. Wolf whistles and cat calling begin to spread from around the bar, Champs and his buddies being the center of it all. She feels a presence behind her and she turns to see the redheaded officer standing a foot away. The redhead has her arms outstretched with her heavy PSD jacket opened in her hands.

 

“Here.” The woman says. She gestures for Waverly to move out of the puddle of beer and towards her. Once Waverly does, the woman carefully wraps the jacket around Waverly and helps her put her arms through it. It is too big for Waverly, but the coverage helps considering it blocks the rest of the bar from seeing her practically bare chest.

 

During the encounter, Ward Earp had taken it upon himself to put Champ in handcuffs. This action and the look on all of the officers’ faces got everyone to quiet down and leave quickly after. You don’t mess with one of their own or their families.

 

Waverly returns her attention to the redhead, who is looking her over with concern filled eyes. “Are you okay?” She asks.

 

“I… um… yes. Thank you for this.” Waverly shudders out, gesturing at the jacket.

 

 The concern is still in the woman’s eyes, but she smiles a dimpled smile at Waverly. The officer’s head whips to the side as she hears the other officers lifting a complaining and cursing drunk off the floor. Nicole nods at Waverly before quickly rounding the bar and walking over to the other officers. Ward Earp had Champ by the handcuffs, whispering threats and obscenities at the intoxicated man.

 

“Chief. I will take him in.” The redhead says.

 

Ward gives her a look that basically asks her what the fuck? Why? But then realization hits him.

 

“Sir. Dolls and I are sober. We will make the arrest and take him in. No need for you to get a strike from the Sherriff for making an arrest with even a drop of alcohol in your system.” She says softly enough so only he can hear her.

 

He nods to her and gives her an appreciative look before handing Champ off to her. She has him by the cuffs when he decides this is the best time to open his stupid mouth. “Hey, babe! Why don’t you call me when you get that stick pulled out of your ass and we can have some fun!” He shouts at Waverly, slurring so bad that only portions were clear.

 

Ward looks like he is about to completely lose his cool and kill Champ, but the sound of a cry of pain and then the sound of Champ hitting the floor stops him.

 

He tries to comprehend what he just saw. Because if he is right and his mind isn’t playing tricks on him… Nicole Haught just close lined Champ Hardy and then let her boot land hard on his groin. He looks at his deputy shocked. He never expected Nicole to be on for street justice.

 

He goes to speak but she does first. “You should go make sure the bartender is okay. We can get her statement later. Got a name for this one?” She asks, looking down at the man who is squirming under the pressure of her boot.

 

“Champ Hardy.” He says.

 

“More like Chump.” She mutters to herself. She and Dolls get him off the ground and start to escort him out.

 

Ward looks over at his daughter and sees Shorty and Stevens standing near her protectively. He turns back just in time to see Nicole and Dolls push Champ face first through the doors. He walks over to his daughter quickly and takes her in his arms. “Baby girl. Are you okay?”

 

“Yes. I’m fine Daddy.” Waverly replies, relaxing into her father’s embrace. “Just a little annoyed by Champ.” Ward grumbles something to himself and Waverly smiles. “I’m serious. I am good.”

 

He reluctantly releases her and takes a step back. He looks at the jacket that his daughter is wearing like a dress. He reads the name Haught that is sewn into the left corner of the chest. He grins slightly, making a mental note to thank his deputy for everything later.

 

“I think I should probably wash this thing before returning it to your officer. Pretty sure it is going to smell like stale beer.” Waverly remarks.

 

Ward laughs lightly and hugs his girl once more. “I don’t think she would mind. But if you want, I can drop it off at the cleaner on my way to work tomorrow and give her the ticket for it. We all have uniform pickups tomorrow anyways, so she can just grab it while she is already there.”

 

Waverly nods and allows her father to walk her out. Shorty tells her to take tomorrow off and enjoy her weekend. She nods gratefully, although a bit reluctantly. “Thanks Shorty.” She says and they are gone.

Chapter Text

Waverly lets her father drive her jeep home that evening. She is still in the female officer’s jacket and can’t help but lower her nose to the collar and smell. The scent of vanilla is strong, but there is also a small whiff of cinnamon as well. The jacket is warm, clearly the officer had been wearing it prior to giving it to Waverly. She is so embarrassed. Not only the tap and Champ, but then in all the chaos, she didn’t even get the new officer’s name or say thank you. She turns in the passenger seat to look at her father. She opens her mouth to ask him about her when she feels the jeep come to a stop. They are home and her father immediately gets out of the car and moves to the other side. Waverly opens her own door before he can get there, but does allow him to help her out of the vehicle.

 

“Daddy?” She asks as they walk to the front door. He looks at her to tell her he is listening. “That redheaded officer, I assume she is one of yours. I never got a chance to thank her or even get her name.”

 

“Oh, yeah. That is my new deputy. She has a partner that is a rookie as well. Her name is Ni-”

 

His sentence is cut off when his middle daughter comes busting out the front door.

 

“Are you okay?!” Wynonna exclaims, taking Waverly into her arms. “I am going to skin him alive!”

 

Her father mumbles, “Get in line.” Before raising his voice to a normal level. “How did you find out?”

 

“Shorty called a few minutes ago to make sure you two got home safe.” Wynonna says.

 

Waverly allows her sister to hold her for another long moment before pulling away and entering the house. She goes upstairs and takes a shower, making sure to leave the jacket near the door for her father to take tomorrow. Under normal circumstances, she would deliver the jacket and the thank you herself. But Wynonna is refusing to let her leave this weekend in the hopes that it will force Waverly to rest. Unfortunately, Wynonna is off this weekend too. She loves her sister and rarely gets to spend alone time with her. But Wynonna in protection mode can be a bit much sometimes.

 

Waverly gets to bed and allows sleep to take her quickly. Her arm is bruised and sore, but her mind is almost dead. Her head hits the pillow and she is out less than thirty seconds later.

 


 

Ward goes to work the next morning and finds Nicole sitting at her desk with a mountain of paperwork on her desk.

 

“Well that seems like one step away from hell.” He jokes as he sits down.

 

Nicole smiles at him in greeting but then groans as she looks at the paperwork.

 

“So, did Hardy give you any trouble last night after you left the bar?” He asks.

 

“Nope. Just a little drunken bitching and slurred complaints as we booked him and tossed him into the drunk tank.” Nicole says. “Dude makes me want to punch him every time he looks like he is going to open his mouth. I went to school with guys like him. Boy men are the worse and he is their king.”

 

Ward nods in agreement. “Thank you Haught. For all that you did last night.”

 

She turns to look at him with questioning eyes. “For what Sir?”

 

“For not letting me try and take Hardy in and for taking care of the young woman he was harassing.” Ward says, gauging for her reaction.

 

“That’s just me doing my job Sir. I’m just happy I could help.” She says, both having an unspoken agreement to not speak of her striking the boy man to the ground after his comment.

 

“Yes, well you did more than your job last night, so thank you. And the bartender, the one he grabbed… that’s my daughter.”

 

Nicole’s face morphs to some weird form of panic and her eyes widen. “Yo-your daughter, Sir?”

 

“Yes, my youngest, Waverly.” He says with a smile. His officer took care of her, not knowing she was his family. It says a lot about the young deputy’s character.

 

“I didn’t know. I’m sorry. Now I kinda wish I…” She stars but he raises a hand to stop her nervous ramble.

 

“Haught you did great, that’s the point. I wanted to thank you Nicole.”

 

The use of her first name throws her a bit but she smiles a little and nods.

 

“Oh, and Waverly wanted to thank you in person but my middle child is making sure she takes it easy at home for the rest of the weekend.” He hands her a ticket stub from the cleaner in town. “I already paid for it to be cleaned and it will be ready when you pick up your uniforms this afternoon.”

 

“Sir, that wasn’t necessary. But thank you.” Nicole replies.

 

“You took care of my girl and literally gave her the jacket off your back. The least I could do was make sure it didn’t smell like beer when I gave it back to you.” He says.

 

Then nod at each other and both go back to their respective tasks.

 


 

 

Nicole drives to her father’s house to find that her father’s car is in the garage. He always works late, so it is a surprise that he is home before the early hours of the morning. She is just here to pick up a few boxes full of her things to move into her new house. Hoping she can get in and out without running into her father, she takes extra care to be quiet when entering the mansion. Unfortunately, her father is sitting in the front lounge, smoking a cigar and reading his newspaper. He motions for her to join him without even looking up from his paper. She (albeit reluctantly) sits on the couch across from him.

 

“Have you given any more thought to our previous conversation?” He asks with no other introduction.

 

“We had the conversation yesterday and I have been working, so not really. But my stance on the matter hasn’t changed.” Nicole replies.

 

“Nicole, I will not argue with you over this. It is tradition. Whether or not you are going to be married is not up for discussion. But I am willing to discuss your options.” Her father insists.

 

Nicole wants to argue and ask why this stupid, ancient tradition is so damn important. But she has argued and it got her nowhere.

 

“What options are you talking about?” She asks instead, jaw locked to hold her temper in check.

 

“Well, I am aware you are only attracted to women. Not that I was surprised. But that does change things.” He continues.

 

Nicole doesn’t speak, she just stays silent so he can get all he wants to say out.

 

“So, is there a particular type of woman you want? Occupation? Hair color? Skin color? Etc.”

 

“God, you make it sound like I am picking out a new sweater from a catalog.” Nicole grouses, disgusted by the whole idea.

 

Her father opens his mouth to scold her but is stopped when a soft knock comes from the entryway. Charlie Walsh, her father’s assistant, stands in the doorway and waited to be invited in.

 

“What is it Charlie?” Her father asks.

 

“Sir. The office called and said they need you back ASAP. Something went wrong with the deal and they need you to help rectify it.” Charlie says respectfully. He steals a glance towards Nicole, giving her a discrete smile and wink.

 

Charlie has always been kind to Nicole. He has been working for her father since the year she was born so they have become quite close over the years. He reminds her of the homeland. She used to spend all her summers and school breaks in Ireland with her extended family. After the academy, she spent almost three years there training with the Irish Defense Forces before returning to Purgatory. She misses it, wonders if things would be different if she had decided to stay there and not come home to Purgatory and to her father.

 

Her father stands and follows Charlie to the door. At the last second, he turns and looks at his daughter. “Nicole, you will be married by the end of spring. That is final. I will make all the necessary arrangements, seeing as you seem to have no interest.” With that, he leaves and makes his way out towards his waiting car.

 

Nicole sighs and sits in the room a moment. She soon gets up and makes her way up the two flights of stairs to her room. It is mostly boxed up, but a few simple things of hers remain. All the furniture is still in there and the electronics. A few photos, posters and trophies as well. She grabs the boxes she wants and takes them down to her truck. After loading the final box, she walks back inside and into the kitchen. Gus, her father’s maid and personal chef, smiles when she notices her.

 

“Nicky dear, how are you?” She says with a warm smile. “Can I make you anything?”

 

“I’m doing alright. Thank you, Gus. And no thank you. Please, I am sure you are busy enough. I ate before I came actually. I just wanted to come in and say hello. See how you are doing?” Nicole responds.

 

“Aw that’s sweet of you doll. I am doing just fine. Just busy as always.”

 

“My father works you too hard and doesn’t pay you enough for all you do around here.” Nicole says, hopping up to take a seat on the counter. “You practically raised me until I was shipped off and you took care of Máthair.”

 

“Oh, hush now. I loved every second of it.” She says. “So, how is the job going?”

 

“Good. I like the people I work with. Plus, Sherriff Nedley and Chief Earp had already been training me since the academy (and I have Xavier) so I wasn’t coming back not knowing anyone.” Nicole says.

 

“Oh, and how is Xavier doing? Haven’t seen him in… of gosh almost two years now.”

 

“He is doing well, still adjusting to life here in Purgatory. But I think he is doing great so far. He doesn’t trust anyone, but that is just Zay for you. I think once people realize that, he will grow on them.”

 

“I am sure of it dear.” Gus says.

 

Nicole’s phone chimes and she looks down to check it. “Alright well I got to get going. I have a lot of unpacking to do. How about we all have dinner together next week. I will bring Dolls and some takeout so you can take the night off from cooking.” She offers. Gus smiles at her and nods. “How about next Friday. I believe Charlie said my father would be out of town that night and the following one.”

 

“Sounds great Honey. I will see you later.” Gus says with a short hug.

 

Nicole smiles at her and kisses her on the cheek. “Bye Gus.”

  


 

 

Two months later…

Ward Earp knocks on the door of the Haught mansion and waits for a response. A few moments later, Gus answers the door. “Hello Chief Earp.”

 

“Afternoon Ma’am. I have a meeting with Mr. Haught.” Ward replies kindly, removing his hat.

 

“Of course.” Gus says, opening the door wider to let him in. “Please come in and make yourself comfortable.”

 

Gus closes the door and leads him to the cigar room down the hall. She motions for him to take a seat. “Would you like a drink or something to eat?”

 

“That is mighty kind of you but no thank you Ms. Gibson.”

 

“Please Chief Earp, call me Gus.”

 

“Only if you call me Ward.” He fires back with a smile.

 

She laughs and nods. “Okay then, Ward. Mr. Haught should be down any minute now.”

 

Mr. Haught enters the room at the conclusion of that statement through the door at the other side of the room. “Gus, a scotch, neat.”

 

“Yes Sir.” Gus says, quickly pouring him his drink and exiting the room.

 

“So, there is something you wanted to discuss with me Mr. Earp?” He asks, looking at the uniformed officer.

 

“Yes.” Ward replies, studying the man. “I was made aware that you are looking for someone to betroth your daughter to…”

 

“I’m sorry Mr. Earp, but you are far too old and male for my daughter’s taste.” Mr. Haught interrupts.

 

“I was going to suggest my youngest daughter. I have already been married once and wouldn’t want to be married to a woman the same age as my children.” Ward says, keeping his composure with ease.

 

James Haught seems to mull this over before speaking. “And why is your daughter good enough to be married into my family, let alone to my only child?”

 

Ward really has to try to keep his cool now. All he wants to do is punch this man in the face for speaking so lowly of his daughter, as if she is nothing. But he reminds himself of why he is here.

 

“My daughter is a kind and smart girl. She was born and raised here in Purgatory. Our Earp name goes back far more generations than any other family and we are known for our honor. My daughter is the epitome of the Earp name and is a shining example of the pride and honor it holds.” Ward says. “My family may not have the wealth that yours does, but we have the long-time reputation that yours lacks. Your daughter is one of my deputies and I know she is reluctant about the tradition. But maybe letting her into a family like mine will help her along. It will maybe make it easier on her and you get the status boost you want.”

 

“I will consider your offer and make a decision by the end of next month. I am leaving out of town and won’t be back until then.” Mr. Haught says, standing. “Gus will see you out. Thank you for coming by Mr. Earp.”

 

Gus enters the room and leads Ward out.

 

“Good to see you Gus.” He says.

 

She returns the sentiment and he leaves.

 

Chapter Text

One month later…

 

Nicole is at her desk when the sheriff calls her name from his office. “Haught! Dolls! My office!”

 

He and Nicole exchange questioning looks once before getting up and walking into the office.

 

“Shut the door and sit.” Nedley says as they enter. Once the door is shut, Nicole and Dolls both take seats in front of Nedley’s desk.

 

He looks at them once over before speaking and handing them both a file.

 

“You two have been chosen to be a part of a new division here at PSD. This division will be tasked with apprehending the more… difficult and dangerous perps. You will also do your own regular police work when you can and will act as our acting SWAT team when necessary.”

 

“Not that I am not flattered Sir. But why us? We are the rookies of the department?” Nicole asks.

 

“Haught, you did almost three years with Irish Defense Forces. I talked with the general you were working under. That job you did there was no joke. It will be similar to the job you will be doing here. And you, Dolls, were in the military for a short time before the academy. You two are the best qualified for this unit.” Nedley says with an almost imperceptible grin.

 

He reaches across the desk and hands them both new badges. They look like the normal PSD badges, but these are matte black and have the words “Black Badge Division” etched into the logo.

 

Both she and Dolls pick them up and run their fingers along the face. Nicole looks up at the sheriff and nods. Dolls soon does the same.

 

“Good. You are going to need some help. We are going to bring in new people to work on your team as we see fit. We are hoping to have four more additions to your team by the end of the spring. We already have a forensic scientist on his way here from the city. Should be here by the end of the week. I also had a conversation with Doc Holiday this morning and he may be a great addition to your team. Of course, these new additions have to work for you and get your green light before being sworn in.” Nedley says.

 

Both officers nod.

 

“The office two down from the bullpen, it’s yours. It used to be an old file room but we had it all cleared out last week. Just needs some cleaning and then it should be good to go. The department is going to set you up with anything you may need. Those files list everything you need to know about the unit and what it entails. If you need anything else, you let me know.”

 

“Yes Sir.” Dolls responds.

 

“Thank you, Sir.” Nicole follows, standing from her chair and shaking the Sheriff’s hand. Dolls does the same.

 

“Okay, now both of you get out of my office and get to work.” He says, effectively scaring them out of the room quickly. He smiles to himself, knowing he made the right choice.

  


 

 

Nicole and Dolls spend the rest of their shift cleaning the new office. At some point, the city painter comes by and prints their division name on the door’s glass. They clock out sweaty, sore and tired, but also satisfied with their progress. New equipment will start being installed in their office tomorrow, which is exciting. Everything is moving so quick, but Nicole loves it. The coolest part about having the Black Badge Office was that it is actually three separate rooms in the office itself. There is in main, large room that will be the center of activity for their division. On the side, there are two smaller offices. Dolls took one for himself and Nicole took the other. This way, they can both work with some modicum of privacy or quiet, even if the other portions of the office are being used.

 

They exit the station and walk over to their cars.

 

“So, what do you think?” Dolls asks as they reach their cars.

 

“I think it is going to be good for us, add a little more to our normally pretty dull occupation.” Nicole jokes.

 

He cracks a smile, a smile only Nicole can seem to get out of him. He nods his head as a goodbye and hops into his cruiser. Nedley had said they would have to go by motor pool tomorrow to get reassigned with new vehicles, but they at least had one more night driving home in the standard issue Crown Vics. Nicole gets into her cruiser and turns the key in the ignition. The cruiser comes to life with a triumphant roar.

 

“Drive home safe partner. See you tomorrow.” Dolls says through the open window.

 

Nicole nods and tells him to do the same. 

 


 

 

By the end of the week, Nicole and Dolls are all set up. Both of their private offices are set up and the main room of the BBD office is as well with flat screens and electronics galore. They also created a small armory area in one corner and the other corner is set up for the forensic scientist to work at with all the equipment they could want. No longer are they driving the standard issue Crown Vic. No, no, no. Now Dolls drives a blacked-out Chevy Tahoe that he has become quite fond of. Nicole, who is in love with her new cruiser, is set up in a Dodge Charger Pursuit. This thing drives better than the Vic and is a whole lot newer. But it is just an overall better car for their needs. It is designed for federal law enforcement and she is really enjoying it. She feels like a ten-year-old kid in a candy store sometimes. But she also knows how important this job is. They do their regular eight-hour shift and then spend at least another four hours each day training together. They study new fight techniques, new weapons and even work in strategy and threat assessment. Dolls is a weapons expert, that being what he did during his short stint in the Army. Nicole’s expertise came in the form of hand to hand combat and strategy. During her time with the Irish military, she trained with several different units ranging from bomb techs to hostage negotiation teams. That, in addition to the martial arts she has been studying since childhood, makes sparring very exciting. Their new team member, a smaller man named Jeremy, arrived this week. He is pretty nerdy and rambles a lot, but Nicole likes him. Dolls is even slowly warming up to the man.

 


 

About a month and a half later…

 

Dolls enters the station behind Nicole but stops short when he notices the division chief leaning just outside the BBD office door.

 

“Chief.” Nicole greets, not missing a beat and smiling.

 

“Haught… Dolls. How is it going?” Ward Earp asks.

 

“All good.” Nicole replies. “Had a tricky call yesterday, but all ended well and we got the guy.”

 

“Yeah, I heard about that. Ended up coming to a stand of with the perp and Dolls?” Ward inquires.

 

“Yes Sir. But Nicole snuck up behind him and subdued him before he even knew what was happening. Mission was successful. No civilian casualties and minimal injuries to all parties involved.” Dolls responds respectfully. “Excuse me Sir. I have some things to attend to for his court date next week.”

 

Ward nods and Dolls enters the BBD office, closing the door behind him.

 

“So, you are liking the new position?” He asks her once Dolls is out of earshot.

 

“Yes Sir. It is nice. I get to continue with my normal police work, but also get to work on a different intensity and caliber when necessary. I am learning more and more about being an investigator and although it is challenging, I enjoy it.” Nicole responds.

 

“I’m glad.” He says, smiling at her. “I heard you got Nedley to agree on a uniform change for your team.” He chuckles.

 

“No offense Chief. But those khakis are the worst.” Nicole says with a soft laugh.

 

“They are a classic trouser.” Earp replies.

 

“You sound like Nedley.” Nicole jokes.

 

Ward laughs and claps her on the shoulder once before walking back to the bullpen. “Stay safe out there officer!”

 

“You too Chief!”

 


 

Later that week, Sheriff Nedley calls Nicole and Dolls into his office. They both stand and look at the other occupants of the room. Chief Earp is there and a brunette woman sits in a chair near him as well.

 

“Haught. Dolls. Come in.” Nedley says.

 

They do and Nicole actually gets a good look at the woman. She has dark long hair and looks just like she did in the pictures on her father’s desk. Although a little older now.

 

“Haught, Dolls, this is my daughter Wynonna. Wynonna, Officer Nicole Haught and Officer Xavier Dolls.

 

“It is a pleasure miss.” Dolls greets.

 

Wynonna looks over at them and nods, although she doesn’t look all that thrilled to be here.

 

“We were hoping to get Wynonna set up as a member of your team.” Nedley says after a pause.

 

“No offense intended, but what makes her qualified to be on the team? I know she isn’t a cop, it would have come up by now if she was.” Nicole asks.

 

“Wynonna applies her expertise as a very successful bounty hunter.” Chief Earp replies.

 

“What’s your recovery rate?” Nicole asks.

 

“Ninety six percent.” Wynonna replies.

 

Nicole nods, impressed. Ward and Nedley take that as a good sign. Both Dolls and Nicole look a little wary, but don’t seem completely opposed to the idea.

 

“I assume she will be on a probationary basis?” Dolls asks the men.

 

“Yes, until you decide to take her on your team permanently or kick her to the curb.” Nedley replies.

 

“Will Holiday working on this team with her be a problem? Considering their… personal relationship?” Dolls asks.

 

Doc had been working with them for the last few days and seemed like he was going to be a valuable member of the team.

 

“No, but if it becomes a problem, feel free to fire one or both of them on the spot.” Ward says, Nedley nodding in agreement.

 

“All sounds fine with me.” Nicole says.

 

“I agree.” Dolls concurs.

 

“Great. Earp, meet your new bosses and team members.” Nedley says.

 

Wynonna looks unamused but doesn’t argue.

 

“We will start you tomorrow morning.” Dolls says to Wynonna. “Report by eight tomorrow morning so we can get you all set up.”

 

Wynonna stands up and exits the room without another word. Dolls leaves soon after. Nicole is about to follow him, but Ward’s voice stops her. “Haught. Hold back a minute please.”

 

Nicole takes a seat and looks at her two superiors.

 

“Look. Wynonna is good. If she didn’t have such a wild card feel about her, she would have been a good cop. But she needs for this position in BBD to work for her.” Ward says.

 

“Why?” Nicole asks.

 

“Because her last bounty didn’t go as planned and someone ended up dead.” Nedley interjects. “We need to give her some credibility and working with your team can hopefully get her that. Plus, she hasn’t been herself since. We are hoping this will help her get back on the right path.”

 

Ward looks at Nicole, drawing her attention back to him. “Haught, I want her on your team. But if she is a danger to you or anyone else… pull her. I want her better, but she can’t be a liability either.”

 

“I understand Sir.” Nicole stands. “I will keep you posted.”

 


 

Two weeks later…

“You did what?!” Nicole exclaims, yelling so loud it hurts. She isn’t someone who yells, she isn’t even someone who loses her cool very often. But her cool went out the window the moment her father uttered his first statement.

 

“I have arranged your marriage. You will be getting married at the end of the month.” James Haught repeats, taking an uninterested sip from his drink. “I have come to an agreement with Ward Earp. You will marry his youngest.”

 

“I heard you the first time! Dad! She is straight! You can’t force a straight woman to marry another woman! That’s just cruel and wrong!” Nicole says, pacing the large living room.

 

Gus is standing in one of the entryways with Charlie by her side, both looking worried and a little surprised by Nicole’s yelling and pacing.

 

“Her sexual preferences are none of my concern. It is already done Nicole. There is no use in you arguing with me over it.” James replies, demeanor sill calm and detached.

 

“Father…”

 

She is interrupted by a knock and a ring of their door bell from their front door. Gus goes down the hall and opens the door. A few moments later, Ward Earp is entering behind Gus. He notices the frustration in Nicole’s features and her balled up fists. He then turns to see her father looking down at his paper.

 

He clears his throat. “Excuse the interruption. I was just hoping to have a moment of Nicole’s time to discuss some things.”

 

James Haught gets up. “This discussion is over Nicole. She is all yours Mr. Earp.” With that, he leaves the room with Charlie in tow.

 

Ward turns to see that Nicole is glaring at the spot where her father was previously sitting.

 

He takes a deep breath. “Nicole, sit, please.”

 

She does, but she doesn’t look up to meet his eyes.

 

“Clearly your father has told you the news.” Ward begins.

 

“How could you let him do this?” Nicole asks, still looking down at her hands.

 

“Pardon?”

 

“Your daughter is in her early twenties. She shouldn't have to get married right now. She shouldn’t even have to start worrying about this for another five years. So, my question is, why would you let him do this to her?” Nicole clarifies.

 

“It was my proposition.” Ward says,

 

“What?” Nicole asks, genuinely shocked. “It was your idea? Why would you do that?”

 

“Because you are a good person Nicole and you will treat my daughter better than any man she could marry in this town.” Ward replies with certainty.

 

“Except, that is it. I am not a man. I met your daughter’s ex-boyfriend. She is straight.” Nicole takes a deep breath, trying not to let her anger surface. “She deserves to marry someone she has a chance of actually loving.”

 

“Look Nicole. I know this isn’t what you wanted for yourself. For most, it isn’t. The world would be so much different if we all had the luxury of marrying for love. But we also have these traditions for a reason. It is something that has been passed down for generations and it is something neither you, nor my daughter, can avoid.” Ward moves around the coffee table and sits down next to Nicole. “I know you well enough to know that you are a good person Nicole. I want that for my daughter. And yes, maybe you will never be anything more than acquaintances. But your marriage will mean she isn’t forced to be with a man she doesn’t love. If it isn’t you, she will end up with Champ Hardy and he will do with her in whatever way he pleases. And as his wife, this is his right. Look, I won’t force you to do this, but I am asking you to. Not only for my daughter but for yourself.”

 

There is a long pause as Nicole digests all that her Chief (and possibly future father in law) has said. She finally looks up at him and nods once. “Okay.” She whispers.

 

He puts an arm around her shoulder, understanding she is also sacrificing a lot in this arrangement. Marrying someone not capable of ever loving you… it is heart breaking. He can see it in her eyes.

 

Part of him wants to tell her that he suspects Waverly could come to love Nicole someday. But he knows it isn’t his place to do so. He knows Waverly though, she will get through this and so will Nicole. He just hopes it won’t be a bumpy ride.

 

Chapter Text

Present day…

“Nicole. I would like to formally introduce you to my daughter. Waverly, this is Nicole Haught. Nicole, this is my youngest Waverly.” Ward says kindly, motioning to the woman. They are standing on the Earp home’s porch and the scene is tense.

 

There is a pause and Nicole isn’t sure what to do. This is incredibly awkward and uncomfortable. She finally shakes her head and takes a small step forward. “Hi. It’s nice to formally meet you Waverly.” She says kindly, holding out a hand in greeting.

 

Waverly takes it and gives her a shy and nervous look. They release their hands and look at each other, neither knowing what to do next.

 

Nicole’s father clearing his throat behind his daughter causes her to flinch and grit her teeth. She straightens and turns to look at him. “Mr. Earp and I need to discuss some things.” He says. He walks past both women and into the Earp household. Ward smiles softly at Nicole, hoping to reassure her and then moves to his daughter. He kisses her on the forehead and walks inside. Nicole awkwardly rubs the back of her neck, the silence and lack of motion making things uncomfortable. Finally, she speaks. “Well, I wouldn’t want to keep you from any plans you may have for the day. Have a good day Waverly. I am sure we will be seeing each other around.” Nicole gives her a dimpled smile, hoping to display some type of reassurance.

 

Waverly just nods and tries to smile back. It comes out more like a pained grimace, but Nicole isn’t offended. She understands.

 

She walks toward her relatively new police cruiser and jumps into the driver’s seat. Soon after, her father exits the house and enters a town car parked next to her. He tells his driver to take him home and the driver obeys. Nicole drives in front of them, parting when she turns down main street to head to the police station.

 

Well that was all kinds of horrible. She thinks to herself.

 


 

 

“Hey Babygirl.” Wynonna greets as she enters the house.

 

“How was work?” Waverly asks, curled up in blankets on the couch.

 

“Boring as usual. I mean, all I am allowed to do is paperwork and listen to the scanner.” Wynonna complains, slipping out of her boots.

 

“That’s normally what happens during the probationary phase of working Nonna. They start you out small.” Waverly says, trying to keep her voice from shaking. “How is it working with Doc?” Her voice shakes a bit on the last question, drawing Wynonna’s attention.

 

“Wave, what’s wrong.”

 

Waverly wants to cry or scream, but she can’t. She is feeling too much to do anything. “I… uh… Daddy brought by my betrothed today?”

 

“Why do you say it like that? You mean the person you are being forced to marry?” Wynonna says, but soon hugs her sister as the vulnerability in her eyes breaks her heart.

 

“Yes.”

 

“And what were they like?” Wynonna asks, holding her sister close.

 

“She.” Waverly mumbles. “She, she was nice. I didn’t even say a word to her. But she seemed nice I guess. But that doesn’t mean anything, everyone seems nice when you first meet them.”

 

The Earps were no strangers to the horror stories about the arranged marriages of the past. Men would be sweet and charming in the beginning, make the women feel great, but then they would get married, take the women to their own homes and use them in any way they please. Although it is rarer with the homosexual relationships, it still happened and people talked.

 

“Wait. Does Daddy know that you…?”

 

“No! Shhh!” Waverly shushes her sister. “Why would I tell him that. First of all, ew. Second of all, I am not even sure about it. It is probably nothing or just a phase.”

 

“Wave. It may be just a phase. But I kinda doubt it. And there is nothing to be ashamed about. Bisexuality is not some curse or something. The people around here are pretty open minded now.” Wynonna says.

 

“I don’t want to label myself as something unless I am sure. Plus, I have never been with a woman, let alone had feelings for one. That is why I think it might be a phase.”

 

“Well, you know I will love you no matter what you are or who you love, right? And you know Daddy will too. Hell, he set you up with a chick.” Wynonna jokes.

 

Waverly laughs for the first time since her father told her about her impending marriage. “Thanks, Nonna.”

 

“No problem kid. So, tell me. Who is this chick?”

 

“She is one of Daddy’s officers actually. Her name is Nicole Haught.” Waverly says.

 

Wynonna’s face goes pale and Waverly immediately worries. “What?”

 

“Nicole Haught as in, tall, red head?” Wynonna asks.

 

“That’s the one.” Waverly says, nervously holding her own hands. “Why? You know her from around the station?”

 

“Wave. She’s my boss. She is one of the heads for BBD.” Wynonna says.

 

“Oh. I didn’t really talk to her so I didn’t know. She didn’t say anything about it either.”

 

“Dammit. How am I supposed to threaten her with peacemaker if she hurts you if she is my boss? How do I threaten her without getting fired?” Wynonna complains.

 

Waverly chuckles once again. Her sister never failed to cheer her up.

 

The sisters sit on the couch and watch movies all night, enjoying their time together.

  


 

 

Waverly is almost half way through her shift when her father, Nicole and Nicole’s partner walk into the bar with Nedley.

 

“What can I get you all?” Waverly asks the group, sparing a nervous glance towards Nicole.

 

“Beers all around.” Nedley replies.

 

“I’ll just have a water. Thank you.” Nicole says politely.

 

Waverly nods and starts to fill their order. As she does, conversation in the group begins to flow.

 

“So how is Wynonna doing?” Ward asks.

 

“She’s stubborn…” Dolls begins, but is cut off by Nicole.

 

“She is doing well Sir. Have had a few hiccups along the way but that is to be expected. Time will tell but she shows a lot of potential. She just has to want it.” Nicole says.

 

Waverly smiles to herself a little. She finishes their order and smiles at them before moving on to others.

 

It is almost two hours later when Waverly can take a break. The bar is mostly empty, beside a few regulars and her father’s group. Nicole and Dolls (She later learned is his name) migrated to the pool table a short while ago. After two games of Nicole cleaning Dolls’ clock, he surrenders so he can get another beer, but promises to be back for another rematch once he is done.

 

Waverly gathers up her courage and walks over to Nicole (who is just shooting balls into pockets by herself).

 

“Hi.”

 

Nicole looks a little shocked but recovers quickly. “Hi.”

 

“I am sorry I haven’t really spoken to you. I was just a little shocked yesterday and before I just…” Waverly feels herself beginning to ramble nervously.

 

Nicole chuckles and rubs at the back of her neck before leaning down and taking another shot. “It’s okay. I get it. Don’t worry about it. I learned of the arrangement shortly after you did from what I understand.”

 

“Yeah, about that… I guess I was just wondering how this all works now? Like logistics wise?” Waverly asks, shifting from one foot to the other.

 

“A planner, are you?” Nicole jokes, hoping to ease some of the awkward tension between them.

 

Waverly lets out a breath and smiles slightly. “Very much so actually.”

 

“Well, to answer your question: I don’t really know. Never done this before. All I know is we are scheduled to get married at the end of the month. But just so you know, I can’t control the marriage, but beyond that, I won’t make you do anything you don’t want to do Waverly. With that in mind, I was thinking maybe we could get lunch this week. It occurred to me that everything I know about you is just stuff your father has told me. And my guess is you know nothing about me. Figure this would be a casual way to get to know each other before we get married.” Nicole says with a nervous, yet hopeful smile.

 

“That sounds nice.” Waverly says, watching as Nicole pockets two more shots. “You are pretty good.”

 

“Thank you. I guess. There wasn’t much I liked to do at the country club events I was forced to attend when I was young. Used to always sneak into the pool rooms to play until the parties were over.” Nicole mentions as she pockets two balls with one shot. “I’m guessing you are pretty good as well, considering I hear you practically grew up in this bar.”

 

Waverly smiles, genuinely. “I have been known to hustle a few out of towners out of their cash.”

 

Nicole laughs. “Good to know. Remind me to never bet against you.”

 

Waverly chuckles a bit to, starting to relax the slightest bit around the other woman.

 

Nicole checks her watch and sighs. “Time to take the guys home.”

 

None of them are drunk, but none are sober enough to drive either. Nicole puts the pool cue back on the rack and pulls her keys from her pocket.

 

“If you want, you can leave my dad here and I can take him home with me once my shift is over.” Waverly offers, moving around the bar.

 

“That’s alright. I don’t mind taking him. We all worked a ten-hour shift today. Sooner we all get home and to sleep, the better.” Nicole herds the other officers out the door and towards the car. Waverly moves to clean up their glasses and notices the bills folded under Nicole’s water cup. Waverly picks up the cup and grabs the money. There is more than enough to cover their bill and Waverly notices a PSD business card tucked into the folded money. It’s Nicole’s and there is a hand-written message on the back.

 

Consider the change your tip. I wrote my cell number on the front of the card as well. Just in case you need to get in touch with me. See you later.

-N

 

Waverly smiles nervously, rereading the note over a few times. She turns the card over and enters Nicole’s work and cell numbers into her contacts. She slips the card into her back pocket with the phone and gets back to work, a little less nervous about her impending nuptials. 

  


 

 

Waverly walks out on to the porch and finds her father sitting in one of the old rocking chairs. She takes a seat next to him and he smiles at her.

 

“How are you doing Babygirl?” He asks.

 

“Doing okay.” Waverly responds, knowing her father can see right through her mask.

 

“I saw you talking with Nicole at the bar.” He leads.

 

“Yeah, I just wanted to apologize for not being very talkative during our introduction. I wanted to also apologize for not bringing her jacket back myself and thanking her properly, but she didn’t let me get that far. Just said it was all good and no big deal. Asked if I wanted to do lunch this week. Try and get to know each other a little.” Waverly says.

 

“And do you? Want to do lunch, I mean.” Ward asks.

 

Waverly sighs and leans her head on his shoulder. “She seems nice, even paid for all of your drinks and left a hefty tip behind. I just don’t know what she wants from me.”

 

Ward softens impossibly more and wraps an arm around his daughter. “Waverly, all that woman wants from you is honesty. Just be honest with her. She has no expectations of you. And consider the fact that she is also probably anxious about this whole situation as well. You are both in the same boat on this.”

 

“I guess you are right.” Waverly says, nodding her head slightly.

 

“Why not start off small? Bring her coffee or I can have her drop into Shorty’s for a pickup. Just take it as slow as you need. She is a patient woman. All she wants is to earn your trust.” Ward says.

 

“I think coffee would be a nice gesture, also would give me the opportunity to talk about this lunch. We never actually set a date or time.” Waverly thinks out loud.

 

“Glad I could help.” He chuckles, squeezing his arm around her lightly. “Oh, and by the way, she loves cappuccinos. She even bought a Keurig for the BBD office so they wouldn’t have to drink whatever the hell comes out of the station coffee machine. That thing sounds like it is passing metal kidney stones when it’s turned on. Pretty sure the coffee comes out in chunks.”

 

Waverly shudders a little and laughs. “Thanks Daddy. I will keep that all in mind.”

 

“No problem Babygirl.”

 

Chapter Text

Nicole is walking into the Black Badge office when she hears Wynonna and Doc start to argue.

 

“Doc, that is stupid. If the guy has hostages, you gotta take out the guy, but not by busting through the front door with pistols.” Wynonna says.

 

“Well your plan of sneaking in and lighting him up with peacemaker is no better.” Doc fires back.

 

Dolls is standing on the opposite side of the table, looking thoroughly irritated with the two.

 

“Hey! Both of you! This exercise is trying to get you to strategize, not argue. Learn to discuss things without losing focus. If you don’t, you’re gonna get yourselves killed. People’s lives are at stake, yours included. Take this seriously” Dolls says. He hands them both tablets. “Start over.”

 

Both look exasperated but start doing the activity/simulation again, answering questions and prompting hypothetical actions.

 

Nicole chuckles and comes to Dolls’ side. “You look like you are having fun.”

 

“Apart from you, I am working with children.” Dolls states.

 

Nicole smirks and pats his shoulder. “I got this. Take a break. Strategy is my expertise anyways.”

 

Dolls nods and retreats to his office. Nicole looks at the two new members of her team and thinks for a moment. She gets an idea and it brings a smile to her face. She walks over to Dolls’ office and informs him of her idea. She returns to find both Wynonna and Doc staring blankly at their screens.

 

“Get up.” Nicole says.

 

“What?” Wynonna asks, confused.

 

“Stand up, both of you. Follow me.” Nicole says, walking out of the room and down the hall.

 

Wynonna and Doc follow but are still very confused. Nicole stops in front of the gym door. “Hand me your weapons.” She says.

 

Doc does without question.

 

“I don’t just hand over peacemaker...” Wynonna starts.

 

“Earp, you are going to get your gun back in ten seconds, just hand me the damn gun.” Nicole says, trying to not snap at Wynonna.

 

Wynonna unenthusiastically hands Nicole peacemaker and watches as Nicole unloads all the bullets from the gun. She spins the chamber shut and hands it back to Wynonna. She does the same with Doc’s guns and then returns them to him.

 

“Here is how this is going to work. Clearly the simulator applications aren’t going to work for you two, at least, not at first. So, we are going to do a live action simulation, right now. Wynonna will go first. This is how it works. Wynonna, you will stand out here and face the wall for twenty seconds. Once the twenty seconds are up, your task is to rescue Doc (the civilian) from me (the perp). You will have to use strategy and critical thinking. Don’t blow it. Dolls wasn’t wrong back there. Lives are at stake. This might just be practice, but you need to be able to do this stuff in here if you even want a chance to be able to do it out there. Got it?” Nicole instructs.

 

Both Doc and Wynonna nod. Nicole pulls Doc into the gym and closes the door behind him.

 

Wynonna looks through the door, opening it slowly. She sees Nicole and Doc standing in the center of the room. Nicole has her unloaded sidearm pointed at Doc’s head and her arm around his neck in a hold. Wynonna slowly moves through the door.

 

“Bang.” Nicole says, lowering her grip on Doc.

 

“What?” Wynonna asks.

 

“I shot him, your hostage is dead. I saw you enter and I shot the hostage.” Nicole says. “You have to use strategy and make a plan Earp.” She turns and looks at Doc. “You’re up.”

 

They continue to do this, going back and forth. After the eighth failure, Nicole decides the motivation isn’t there. “Wynonna. Your turn.” Wynonna nods and begins to walk towards the door. “But Wynonna.” Wynonna turns to Nicole. “This isn’t just some hostage. This is someone you care about. This is your father, this is Doc, this is one of your sisters. You don’t want this person to be harmed. Think about how you would react if a hostage taker had Waverly, had Doc. You aren’t going to do anything that could jeopardize their safety.”

 

Nicole can see Wynonna’s features change, a sense of determination overtaking her. She nods curtly at Nicole and steps out of the room.

 

A minute later, Nicole feels peacemaker pressing into her back. “Gotcha.”

 

Nicole smiles and releases Doc. She turns to Wynonna, who is looking at her questioningly.

 

Nicole gives her a nod and another smile. “Nice job Earp.”

 

Wynonna’s face forms in a triumphant smirk. “I went through the window.”

 

“I see that.” Nicole chuckles. “Alright Doc. Your turn. Let’s see how you fair.”

 

“With pleasure.” Doc says, his mustache twitching as he smiles.

 

They continue to go through the same simulations over and over, failing less and succeeding more as they continue.

 

“I think I got this down.” Wynonna says as she faces Nicole with peacemaker drawn.

 

“You think so?” Nicole asks with a smirk.

 

Wynonna is about to respond with a sarcastic comment but is stopped when a gun barrel is pressed to the back of her head.

 

“Bang. Not quite Earp.” Dolls says, showing up out of nowhere as far as Wynonna is concerned.

 

Nicole releases Doc and returns her attention to Wynonna. “You will always have more to learn. We all do. Even Dolls and I are still learning. That is why we train every day and do exercises.” Nicole hands Wynonna her ammunition and pats her shoulder. “You did good today Earp. Go home. Enjoy the rest of your day.”

 

“Your sending me home?” Wynonna asks.

 

“Both of you.” Nicole responds and Dolls nods to Doc. “We have been at this for over five hours. Go home. See you tomorrow.”

 

Nicole retreats to her office and takes a seat. She is going through her emails when Wynonna steps into her door and knocks on the frame.

 

“Earp.”

 

“Got a second?” Wynonna asks.

 

“Of course. Take a seat.” Nicole says, motioning to one of the chairs in her office.

 

Wynonna sits and fiddles with her hands. “Um, look. I’m not really good at this kind of stuff, but I wanted to say thank you. I know I am not easy to work with and I can be a sarcastic ass sometimes. But you went out of your way to help me and I wanted to say thank you. This job, it means a lot to me and I know I don’t show it but it does.”

 

“Wynonna, we are a team and everyone learns differently. I know Dolls and I are hard on you. I know. But we aren’t trying to be jerks. We genuinely want to teach you because the things we are teaching you have saved our lives and will save others’. But I appreciate you coming to me and I promise you, I will do my best to teach you in the best way possible.”

 

Wynonna nods and is about to say something when Ward Earp knocks on the door. “Sorry, am I interrupting my daughter being reprimanded?” He jokes.

 

“Chief. No, the opposite actually. Feel free to join the party.” Nicole jokes.

 

He laughs and leans up against the wall. “Saw you training earlier. Seemed to be going well… and a little slow.”

 

“Shut up!” Wynonna exclaims, bringing her father to laugh once again.

 

“She did great today Sir.” Nicole says with a grin.

 

“Yeah Dad. She said I am doing great!” Wynonna says in a childish tone, sticking her tongue out at the man. He chuckles again, Nicole doing the same as she watches their back and forth banter.

 

Waverly comes into the office, stopping short when she notices all the occupants of the room. She smiles shyly and Nicole smiles at her.

 

“All three Earps in my office, what did I do to deserve such a treat?” Nicole asks rhetorically.

 

“Did you kick a puppy or make an immoral sin recently?” Wynonna asks with her patented sarcasm.

 

Nicole laughs, tossing an eraser at Wynonna. “I told you to go home, get out of here. Enjoy the rest of your day and try and stay out of trouble. See you tomorrow.”

 

“No promises.” Wynonna fires back. She stands and leans on Nicole’s desk a bit. She lowers her voice to a level that only Nicole can hear. “I meant what I said. So, thanks.”

 

Nicole nods and watches Wynonna leave. Ward clears his throat and looks at Nicole. “So, she seems to be getting better.”

 

“It is a start.” Nicole agrees. “She still has a lot of work to do, we all do. But it is a start.”

 

“Well I am glad. She hasn’t been getting into as much trouble and you seem to be tiring her out. It’s good for her.” Ward says. “Well… I will leave you two ladies to talk.” He says, putting a file on Nicole’s desk and smirking as he leaves the room.

 

Now it’s just Waverly and Nicole and Waverly isn’t sure where to start.

 

“You want to sit down?” Nicole asks, nodding towards the recently vacated seat.

 

“Sure.” Waverly says, taking a seat and placing a coffee to-go cup on Nicole’s desk. “Cappuccino. My dad told me you like them.”

 

“Thank you.” Nicole says, smiling at Waverly and letting her dimples pop. Waverly smiles, relaxing a little in the seat.

 

“So, to what do I owe the pleasure.” Nicole asks, taking a sip from her gifted cup. “And this is amazing by the way.” She complements the drink.

 

“Glad you like it, and… I realized we never actually set a date and time for lunch this week.” Waverly says, smiling as the redhead practically chugs the drink.

 

“Well, if we want to do something quick, we could do lunch during my lunch breaks. Or I’m off on Friday. We could do it then if that works. Completely up to you.” Nicole says.

 

“Friday is good with me. Oh and by the way, I bring my dad’s lunch to the station every day, I could bring you one to if you want? I already come this way anyways.” Waverly offers.

 

“I wouldn’t want to impose…” Nicole starts.

 

“You’re not. That’s kinda how I figured out why we hadn’t really met before yesterday. You would leave the station to go get your lunch from Shorty’s while I was leaving Shorty’s to come here.” Waverly says.

 

Nicole laughs and shakes her head. “Alright, well, thank you.”

 

“My pleasure.” Waverly says, smiling at Nicole.

 

“So… are you off work or just taking a break?” Nicole asks.

 

“Just got off an hour ago.” Waverly replies. “Just waiting for my dad to get off in like a half an hour. We drove together this morning.”

 

“Something wrong with your jeep again?” Nicole asks. Waverly gives her a questioning and shocked look. “I swear I’m not some creepy stalker. Your dad just mentioned that you were having problems with it a few weeks ago. I had offered to take a look at it for him but he thought he had it fixed.”

 

Waverly laughs. “You know a little something about cars, do you?” Waverly asks, a little teasing in her tone. “And no, he definitely didn’t fix it. It wouldn’t start this morning when I had to leave for work. Thank god he hadn’t left yet.”

 

“I know a little something about them, yes.” Nicole says, smirking to herself. Waverly really didn’t know much about her or her family. “Well, if it happens again, feel free to call me for a ride.” Nicole closes down her computer and stands up. “So, lunch Friday it is. Noon okay with you?”

 

“Perfect. Where do you want to eat?” Waverly asks.

 

“Your choice, I’m not super picky.” Nicole replies. “Want me to pick you up from Shorty’s or…”

 

“That sounds good to me.” Waverly replies. She and Nicole walk out of the BBD office and into the bullpen where Dolls and Ward are waiting. “Sorry, did I keep you waiting?” She apologizes to her father.

 

“Nope, just clocked out a minute ago.” Ward says, sending Nicole a sly wink.

 

“Ready Haught?” Dolls asks.

 

“Xavier, we are getting out of the office before 10pm. I think that is cause for celebration. It is a miracle.” Nicole jokes.

 

“Ha, ha.” Dolls grouses. “Funny. Let’s go. We are going to spend our spare time at the shooting range. Haven’t gone all week.”

 

“Okay grumpy pants. Let’s go.” Nicole says, bumping her shoulder with his. She turns back to the Earps. “Have a nice evening, see you Friday Waverly and thanks for the coffee.” And with that, they are gone.

 

“So, I see things with her went well.” Ward says, wrapping his arm around his daughter.

 

“Yes.” Is all Waverly says in reply, walking out the door towards her father’s cruiser.

Chapter Text

Friday comes and Waverly can’t help but feel nervous. All of her interactions with Nicole have been short, and relatively public. Lunch was a whole different game. Waverly realizes she can’t really dress up for lunch because she has a shift at Shorty’s right before, but she does take a few extra minutes in the morning to make sure her makeup is done perfectly.

 

Her father takes her to work on his way to the station (she had left her Jeep at Shorty’s the night prior in favor of Wynonna driving her home) and tells her to have fun at lunch. Waverly is pretty sure he may like Nicole almost as much as he loves his family. She laughs and nods her head at him before walking in to Shorty’s.

 

 

Her shift feels like it is dragging. Morning shifts mostly consist of cleaning and serving coffee and breakfast orders. By the time noon was coming, the bar was just starting to fill with the lunch rush.

 

About ten minutes before Waverly’s shift is supposed to end, Nicole walks into Shorty’s. She walks up to the bar and starts making easy conversation with Shorty and a few of the locals (clearly content to wait for Waverly to be done).

 

Waverly jumps out from behind the bar as soon as the clock strikes noon. She walks over to Nicole and smiles as the woman turns to greet her. “Hey Waverly. Ready?”

 

“Hi. And yup. All set.” Waverly replies.

 

“Great. Where do you want to eat?” Nicole asks.

 

“I was thinking that the Chinese food place down the street would be easy. Do you like Chinese?” Waverly asks.

 

“I love Chinese food. Used to eat it all the time during college.” Nicole replies with a dimpled smile.

 

“Just another topic we get to talk about today.” Waverly jokes.

 

Nicole gives a nervous chuckle and looks down at her feet before meeting Waverly’s gaze again. “Shall we?”

 

They both head out the door and walk down Main Street to the Golden Dragon. Once they arrive, they are seated right away. They both order their food and drinks quickly, the waiter leaving soon after.

 

“So, you want to start, or should I?” Nicole asks with a nervous smile.

 

“I feel like you know more about me because of my dad and sister. I don’t really know anything about you. You first.”

 

Nicole nods and thinks for a moment. “Okay, well. I was born here in Purgatory, but was shipped off to boarding school in the first grade. As you know, my last name is Haught and I come from a pretty prestigious family. Not that I really care all that much (much to my father’s displeasure). My family mostly makes its money from retail and investments. My family is pretty small now, I am actually the only living heir to the family fortune beyond my father. None of my aunts or uncles had kids before they died. Hm… let’s see… I went to college, graduated and went to the academy. That’s where your father and Nedley recruited me. After I graduated, I spent a few years in Ireland training with their military forces. Came back here and now I sit here with you.”

 

“I have questions.” Waverly states, very interested.

 

“I have answers.” Nicole replies.

 

Waverly blushes a little. “Okay, so I guess I know why I never saw you around all these years. So, what about your mom?”

 

Nicole stiffens a bit, but relaxes after a moment. She looks out the restaurant window for a moment before returning her gaze back to the table. “Um… she died. Cancer. I was pretty young. I was almost seven and about to start elementary school here in Purgatory. My dad shipped me off a few days after she died and I never really came back for very long until now.”

 

“Oh god, I’m so sorry Nicole.” Waverly says, feeling for the woman.

 

“It’s okay Waverly. Really. I guess in some ways I got lucky. Although being alone at such a young age, so soon after losing her was hard… I think being here might have been worse. She was born and raised here in Purgatory. She loved this place. I can, as an adult, definitely understand the appeals.”  Nicole says, smiling a little sadly. “It’s funny, most of the time, I don’t tell people about losing her because I know they won’t understand. But I know you do, at least to an extent.”

 

Waverly nods. “Yeah, my momma left us when I was young. It’s different though. She chose to leave us; your mom didn’t have a choice. It doesn’t make it any easier though. But I do definitely understand.”

 

“So, what about you?” Nicole asks, shifting the focus towards Waverly.

 

“Ha, well. I was born here in Purgatory too. I have two older sisters. My dad is the division chief at PSD. I went to Purg High, graduated as valedictorian. During high school I was a cheerleader, made head cheerleader my senior year. After high school, I started taking online courses and am working towards my history degree. I started working at Shorty’s as a waitress during high school and became a bartender once I turned eighteen.”

 

“Okay, so at what point did you start dating the aggressive boy man?” Nicole asks, trying to keep it light.

 

Waverly groans. “Champ. We started dating my sophomore year of high school. He was the quarterback and the golden boy. Looking back, we sound so cliché.”

 

Nicole laughs. “Yes, yes you do. But that is okay.”

 

“Okay so you said your family is in retail. What kind of retail?” Waverly asks.

 

“Have you ever heard of Express Automotive?”

 

Waverly nods. “They are one of the biggest auto shops in the world.”

 

“Yeah, well, we own them… all of them.” Nicole says, a little embarrassed.

 

“A-all of them?” Waverly asks in shock. “Aren’t there like hundreds of those things?”

 

“More like thousands. Somewhere near four thousand worldwide the last time I checked. And yes, all of them. My great grandfather started the first one over ninety years ago. I used to work in the shop near my school on the weekends. More to pass the time than anything else. Taught me a lot about life and working hard.”

 

“So that is why you said you would take a look at my jeep. I thought you were kidding and messing with me.” Waverly says, blushing hard.

 

“I was, a little. But I will take a look at the jeep regardless. That is, if you want me to?” Nicole says.

 

“Of course, that would be amazing. Thank you.” Waverly says, genuinely smiling and laughing. “My dad isn’t really all that good with cars.”

 

Nicole laughs. “I gathered.”

 

The waiter returns with their food and they thank him once he lays it all out on their table. They eat and talk, learning a little more about each other with each passing minute.

 

Knowing they have to talk about it sooner or later, Waverly bites the bullet. “So, with this whole marriage thing… I guess I was just wondering, like what your expectations of me are once we get married. I mean, I know how it normal goes, but I wanted to talk about it with you and get your thoughts.”

 

Nicole swallows her food and taps her chopsticks lightly on her plate as she chooses the right words. “Look, Waverly, like I said before. I am never going to force you to do anything you don’t want to do. Marriage… at least in our situation, it’s just a piece of paper. I get that it means a lot, but a straight girl marrying and lesbian is not ideal for a marriage. And that is of no fault of our own. I understand what your father is trying to do. I understand it, even though I might not completely agree with it. Anyways, as far as my expectations of you… nothing.”

 

“Nothing?” Waverly asks.

 

“Yes, Waverly. Nothing. I don’t expect anything from you. You purpose on this earth isn’t to serve me, especially at your own expense. All I can hope for is that you will just be honest with me, and then maybe we can be friends. But I will never force you to be something you are not. You are Waverly Earp. That won’t change once we get married. You are not my property, you are a person.”

 

“Friends…” Waverly says, trying to absorb everything.

 

“Well, that is the best-case scenario. I hope we can be friends Waverly, I really do. Yes, you will be my wife and I will be yours. But we didn’t choose this. I believe I know what you are worried about and I understand your unease. But just know, I won’t force a romantic, sexual or any other type of relationship on you. Not only does it make me sick to my stomach thinking about that, but I had to live through it with my parents. I would never impose that on another.” Nicole says, taking a sip from her water.

 

Waverly nods and sips from her drink as well. After some thought, she smiles and looks at Nicole. “Friends sounds… nice. Especially considering the alternative.” She jokes. “But I think I am okay calling you my fiancé. Maybe we are friendly, but we are engaged to be married.”

 

Nicole laughs and puts down her chopsticks. “I guess that is true. You are my fiancé.” She lets the word roll off her tongue and thinks for a moment. “Well the way I see it, the label only means what they mean to us. So, I’m good with fiancé.”

 

Waverly is about to speak, but Nicole’s phone rings. “Shit, I’m sorry. I thought I turned that off.” Nicole apologizes.

 

“No problem, take it. It is probably important.” Waverly replies with a smile.

 

Nicole looks at the caller ID and frowns. “Hardly.” She says under her breath before answering the call and putting the phone to her ear.

 

“Haught.” Nicole says. “Hello to you too Dad.” She mutters into the phone. “No, I haven’t extended the invitation yet but yes I will do so… No Dad, please just stop and let me handle it. I will talk to her… Yes… Yes… Okay goodbye.” Nicole hangs up the phone and puts the phone back into her pocket as if she fears it will ring again if she leaves it out.

 

“Everything okay?” Waverly asks.

 

“Eh, my father is a giant pain in my ass, but that is nothing new. Actually, he was calling to make sure I invite you and your family to dinner at my father’s house this weekend. I already talked with your dad about it yesterday but wanted to ask you before confirming anything.”

 

Waverly feels a little uneasy and it must show on her face because Nicole is quick to continue. “Waverly, you don’t have to come. It is an invitation. You are allowed to decline.”

 

“No, I mean. Of course, I will go. Just makes me a little nervous.” Waverly admits.

 

“Yeah well don’t let his pretentious attitude intimidate you. And if you aren’t comfortable, you really don’t have to come. I know your dad already accepted, but this is all at your pace.” Nicole says.

 

“No Nicole. I can do dinner. Just a little nervous to meet the rest of your family I guess.”

 

Nicole chuckles a little. “Well, it will really only be a couple people. I don’t really have family beyond Gus and my father. Although Xavier is like a brother to me. Dinner should just be my dad, yours, Wynonna and Doc if they want to come, Dolls is already coming, my family’s housekeeper Gus, Charlie (my father’s assistant), you and I. I talked him down from inviting all his business associates.”

 

“Okay, well… sounds like fun.” Waverly tries.

 

“No, no it doesn’t.” Nicole says. “Like I said Waverly, you can be honest with me. And honestly, I have never been one for formal dinner parties.”

 

“What? You don’t like dressing up?” Waverly asks, a little teasing. She pops a piece of chicken into her mouth and chews as she waits for Nicole’s answer.

 

“Ha, well when you have to for almost every school event growing up, it gets old sometimes.” Nicole remarks but is smiling. “So anyways, Sunday?”

 

“Sunday is good with me. What time?” Waverly asks.

 

“Is six thirty okay with you?”

 

“Yes, that will be fine. What is the dress code for this dinner?” Waverly teases, seeing how uncomfortable Nicole seems to be and enjoying it a little too much.

 

“Formal-ish.” Nicole says, taking a deep breath. “I mean, just dressy casual will be fine. It is just dinner.”

 

“Great.”

 

They continue to eat and chat, talking about anything they can think of.

 

After they are long finished eating, Waverly looks down at her phone’s clock, realizing they have been at lunch for over three hours. “Oh god, we have been here since noon and it is almost three now.”

 

“Oh, I’m sorry. I am sure you had other things to do today. I didn’t mean to keep you.” Nicole apologizes as she wonders where all the time went.

 

Waverly laughs, recognizing the excuse from their first meeting. “I think you believe me to be much busier than I am. But no, I enjoyed this. Thank you for lunch.”

 

“Oh, trust me, the pleasure is all mine.” Nicole replies standing from her seat and allowing Waverly to lead them out of the restaurant.

 

“Mind if I walk you to your jeep?” Nicole asks.

 

“Nicole, I am parked like a block down.” Waverly giggles.

 

“It’s Purgatory, a lot can happen in a block. Plus, humor me. Please.” Nicole asks, puppy dog eyes on full display.

 

“Touché and… fine.” Waverly gives an exaggerated sigh, but her smile gives her away. “I guess I can complain when I am getting escorted by on of Purgatory’s finest, can I?”

 

“To protect and serve, Ma’am.” Nicole says with a laugh, that southern drawl she keeps so hidden slipping the slightest bit.

 

Waverly giggles and loops her arm in Nicole’s as they walk.

 

“So that accent… Don’t think I didn’t hear that slip a few times now since meeting you. And I have heard the Irish as well.” Waverly jokes, leaning into Nicole to push her a little off balance.

 

Nicole blushes, but laughs. “Yeah, I spent most of my time at school in the south. So, I kinda picked it up because that is how almost everyone talked. And the Irish is because I speak the language and my mom had a pretty thick one. Although, the Irish is less common with me because I really don’t use is too much and hardly hear it.”

 

“That’s really cool. Wait so how many languages do you speak?” Waverly asks, fascinated.

 

“I am fluent in English and Irish. But I am also conversational in Spanish. Right now I am working on French, although it is not really my strong suit.” Nicole responds. At Waverly’s stunned expression, Nicole explains. “Boarding school is boring and I had a lot of free time on my hands, so I studied Spanish and after that, French. But French was more in college and has been a new development… actually I should call it a non-development considering I can’t even make a dent in it.”

 

Waverly shakes her head. “Wait, two questions. Isn’t the Irish language called Gaelic? And wow.”

 

Nicole laughs. “Locals don’t call it Gaelic, at least, not in the countryside where my family is from. Anyone who called it that was immediately labeled as an outsider. And that second one wasn’t a question.” Nicole smirks, enjoying Waverly’s blushing cheeks. “And I hear you are quite the language and history expert as well. Your dad told me you have mastered like a half a dozen languages.”

 

Waverly smiles. “True, but none are all that useful outside of a history classroom.”

 

“I disagree. There are organizations all around the world that hire people like you to translate ancient script and analysis evidence from archeological digs. Most even get to work from home. I have some contacts from my time overseas. I could give them your info and a good word if that ever interested you?” Nicole offers with a kind grin.

 

“That’s really nice of you Nicole. Thanks. I will definitely think about it.” Waverly responds, coming to a stop next to her jeep. “See you Sunday?”

 

“Sunday.” Nicole confirms, opening Waverly’s door so the shorter girl can get in.

 

“Thank you.” Waverly says as she gets in and rolls the window down so she can still talk to Nicole after the redhead closes the door.

 

Nicole smiles and nods. “Drive home safe.” Nicole says, pushing off from where she was leaning against the jeep.

 

“I will, you too.”

 

Waverly pulls out of the parking lot and drives home at a speed that Waverly knows is very illegal, but can’t bring herself to care.

 

Chapter Text

Waverly walks into the station the next day in search of her sister and her father. Her sister needed a ride home and her father asked her to bring him a snack and coffee for his overtime shift.

 

“Hey Babygirl.” Ward greets as he notices his daughter. He looks down and finds a paper bag and a coffee carrying case in her hands. “That for me?”

 

“The food, yes. And one of the coffees too. But the other is for Nicole.” Waverly replies.

 

“The girl is already marrying you Babygirl. You don’t need to bribe her.” Ward jokes, smiling at his daughter’s blush. He was aware of their lunch and how happy Waverly seemed to be when she came home. At the very least, his daughter now has a friend that makes her happy to be herself.

 

“Daddy.” Waverly hushes. “I just thought it would be nice. Plus, she is coming over this afternoon to look at my jeep and won’t let me pay her for it. This is the least I can do.”

 

Ward raises his hands in surrender but keeps a happy and smug smirk on his face.

 

Waverly shoots him a glare that has little affect before placing his stuff down on his desk and walking over to the BBD office. She knocks on the door and waits a moment. “Enter.” A deep voice calls.

 

Waverly opens the door to find Dolls and Doc in the main office, looking through case files.

 

“Ms. Earp.” Dolls greets respectfully, but doesn’t look up from his work.

 

“Please Officer Dolls, call me Waverly.” Waverly asks, smiling at the men as Doc sends her a wink.

 

Dolls looks up and finally makes eye contact with her. “Alright, Waverly it is. But in return, please just call me Dolls. 'Officer' seems a little to formal considering everything.”

 

He doesn’t expand on what everything is but Waverly assumes it is about her marriage to Nicole and him being her sister’s boss.

 

Waverly nods and smiles. “Well Dolls, I was hoping to collect my sister and find Nicole. Can you point me in the right direction of one of them?”

 

“I can do both. Haught is in her office chewing out your sister.” Dolls replies, eyes back on his files.

 

“Wait? What? Why?”

 

“Your sister pulled her firearm in a public establishment last night and fired up in the air while chasing a suspect.” Doc says.

 

Waverly lets her head drop and sighs. “Great.” She murmurs to herself. She takes a moment for herself before walking over to Nicole’s office. She knocks and opens the door once Nicole says to come in.

 

Waverly enters, sending an annoyed look at her sister before placing a cup of coffee down for Nicole. She looks at Nicole and is surprised.

 

The Nicole she knows, the one that is always smiling and relaxed… she can’t seem to find her. Nicole’s face is stoic and maybe even a little angry. But overall, she just looks exhausted. She steals herself for a moment, smiling gratefully at Waverly before returning to look at Wynonna.

 

“Oh, Waves. Are you here to bail me out of my lashes?” Wynonna jokes, making a move to stand up.

 

“Sit down Wynonna. I have time for Nicole to finish with you.” Waverly says, annoyed. She sits in the chair next to her sister and motions for Nicole to continue.

 

With a deep breath, Nicole looks at a paper in her hands. “Wynonna, look. I am not going to scream at you or even yell. You know what you did was wrong and dangerous, but also illegal. Firing while in a crowded nightclub, even if it is in the air… someone could have been killed. And the panic that followed your shot caused several people to be injured as they trampled each other trying to escape.” Nicole wipes her hand across her face. “And the suspect got away during the chaos. If this was Dolls, he would be wringing your neck and sending you to Nedley and your father.” Nicole pauses, seeing the genuine terror in Wynonna’s features before she hides them. “But I am not going to do that. But don’t look so relieved Earp. I see a lot of potential when it comes to you. You are smart and you can do this job. But you have to do it our way. Consider this your ‘get out of jail free card’. You won’t get another one. Get your shit together Earp. You are better than your performance last night.” She looks at Waverly and then back at Wynonna. “Go home. Get some rest. Be here tomorrow morning for training. Six am.”

 

“Wait but tomorrow Doc and I have the day off. We all do.” Wynonna protests, confused.

 

“True, but in return for me taking the fall for your actions last night, you are going to wake up tomorrow morning and train with me. Just you and me. I don’t think Dolls can handle you at the moment. Consider it payback.” Nicole says.

 

“I’m having dinner at your place tomorrow night, what favor is that?” Wynonna quips, accepting that she is getting up at the ass crack of dawn tomorrow.

 

“That’s a favor for me.” Waverly chimes in. “And considering you owe me ten times over (at least), you are going.”

 

Wynonna stands and gives a mock salute.

 

“Dismissed Earp. Go home.” Nicole says exasperated.

 

Wynonna walks out of the office, leaving Waverly and Nicole alone.

 

“You were nicer than anyone else would have been to her in this situation.” Waverly comments. “I hope you are not being this way just because she is my sister or because of our daddy.”

 

“No. Her family has no bearing on how I treat her in here.” Nicole says, taking a sip of the coffee. She murmurs a soft ‘thanks’ before continuing. “Wynonna is smarter than she gives herself credit for. Only an idiot would be blind to it. But she doesn’t apply herself or take things seriously. Unfortunately, I fear that something bad is going to happen some day and that is the only way she is going to learn. Learning the hard way isn’t ideal, but it may end up being that way. But my job is to protect this town and teach Wynonna how to do the same. I am just still figuring out exactly how to do that.”

 

“I think you are doing a great job Nicole.”

 

“Last night’s performance was not a great example of that.” Nicole grimaces, turning off her computer and draining her coffee. “Anyways, how was your day?” Nicole asks. She smiles at Waverly genuinely and relaxes into her seat.”

 

“Oh, you know. Drunk people, crowded bar, loud music. The norm.” Waverly replies with a chuckle.

 

“Wave!” Wynonna calls from somewhere in the station.

 

“You better go before she throws a full-blown temper tantrum in the bullpen.” Nicole says with a chuckle.

 

Waverly nods and stands up. “Are you still coming over this afternoon? It’s okay if you can’t. I know you have had a particularly long shift.”

 

“I will be there. Around four o’clock still okay?” Nicole asks.

 

“Perfect.” Waverly responds, she is about to thank Nicole when Wynonna calls for her again. She sighs and waves to Nicole before exiting the office and walking out.

  


 

 

Waverly has just finished cleaning up the living room when Nicole’s truck pulls up. Never having seen Nicole driving anything besides her cruiser, she is surprised when Nicole pulls up in a Ford F-150 Limited pickup. She smiles and walks outside to meet the redhead.

 

Nicole shuts the truck down and gets out of the truck, smiling widely at Waverly.

 

“No cruiser?” Waverly asks with a teasing lilt.

 

“Ha, no. Cruiser isn’t really designed for this type of work.” Nicole says. “Plus, I needed an excuse to drive my own vehicle. It seems like a waste for it to just sit in my garage.”

 

Waverly laughs and leads Nicole over to the Jeep. “Let me show you the patient.”

 

Nicole laughs as well. “Mind popping the hood for me?” Nicole asks, releasing the hood tie downs in the front.

 

“Sure, but maybe you can answer a question of mine. What is the point of those latches if you still have to release the hood from inside the car.” Waverly asks, releasing the hood lever when she hears it pop free. She moves back to the front of the SUV and waits for Nicole’s answer.

 

Nicole pushes the bonnet up and places the bar in place so it stays open. She studies the car, examining it like evidence as she debates her answer. “Well, mostly they are cosmetic purposes. But many people buy better ones and use them for their intended purpose.” Nicole wiggles the plastic latches to show how unsteady they are. “These won’t hold down a hood though. If you are so inclined, the interior release latch can be removed and you could just use exterior latches. But that is up to you.” Nicole finishes, walking over to her truck and dropping the tailgate. She pulls a toolbox out and two trash bags. One is empty and one is full of towels. She brings the stuff over and goes looking over the engine block with a skeptical eye. “Mind trying to start it for me?”

 

Waverly nods and walks over. She turns the key in the ignition. Immediately, a grinding noise fills the air as the jeep tries to start. She tries again but comes up with the same result. Nicole waves her hand for Waverly to stop and she does, hopping out and rejoining Nicole at the front of the vehicle.

 

“Your starter is shot.” Nicole proclaims, looking at the jeep with a look of sympathy. “But that is not your only problem. You have fluid leaking, a fair amount of corrosion and some damage to the engine block. Plus, there are just some things in here that need to be replaced.”

 

“I know nothing about cars, Nicole.” Waverly says a little sheepishly. “What exactly does that mean? Do I have to start saving for a new car?”

 

Nicole looks at Waverly and smiles. “I can replace the starter easily and be done in an hour or so. But the other stuff will take some time. But that stuff won’t kill it. Once I replace the starter, you can drive it once again.”

 

“Really? That's amazing. Thank you!” Waverly exclaims, hopping on her toes slightly in excitement.

 

“But I do have to go into town to go get a replacement for the starter and I will grab the other parts that should be replaced soon as well. That is going to take me more time than the actual repair I think.” Nicole says with a laugh. “I will go now and grab the stuff. See you in like forty minutes or so.”

 

“Nicole, want some company? I hate the idea of you driving all the way out here only to drive back into town.” Waverly offers.

 

Before Nicole can respond, Ward walks out of the house and interrupts. “Hey Haught, I wouldn’t mind riding along with you. That is a very nice truck you got and I wouldn’t mind learning a thing or two.”

 

Waverly tries not to let the disappointment show on her face and Nicole nods at him and starts the truck with the keys in her hand.

 

“What a trick.” Ward comments.

 

“Remote start. I find that it perpetuates my laziness but can’t find it in myself to care.” Nicole jokes. “And Waves, you are still welcome to tag along. Truck seats five.”

 

Waverly brightens up and nods. She runs into the house and grabs her phone and wallet before (literally) jumping into the back seat of Nicole’s truck. Even with running boards below, her height made the task worthy of some effort. Once inside the truck, she is struck with how nice it is.

 

“Nice truck.” Her father comments as he climbs into the passenger seat and looks around. “Clearly not stock.”

 

“Thank you and no, definitely not. This truck’s interior and exterior are almost all customized. Most of the work done by me or by friends over the years.” Nicole says, shifting the truck into gear and pulling out of the driveway. “The stock colors for this truck were… boring and honestly I don’t care for glossy finishes (especially on work trucks). So, I had it painted matte dark grey because of the protection it offers and the look. There are dark blue accents on the hood, tailgate and sides as well but they aren’t really that noticeable. I loved the truck itself but the only option for the interior were the ugliest blue leather seats. So, I ripped that out right after I bought it and put in the black and grey leather. There are other small things I did myself as needed, but those were the big changes I made.”

 

“It’s nice. How much money did you have to put into it?” Ward asks.

 

“Because I did almost all of it myself, almost nothing. Only thing that really costed me any money was the paint job and even that wasn’t bad because I helped and bought the paint directly from the manufacturer.” Nicole says, watching as the town begins to come into view. “So, did you need anything else while we are in town.” She asks, directing the question to both Earps.

 

“Not really. Maybe pick up some to-go food on our way back? I don’t feel like cooking but Nicole, you are at least going to let me feed you in return for your help.” Waverly answers, shooting Nicole a look through the rearview mirror that leaves no room for argument.

 

Ward chuckles. “No use in arguing Haught. You think Wynonna and I are fierce… Waverly puts us both to shame. Even Willa too.”

 

“Yes Sir. I think I believe you on that account.” Nicole replies, looking through the mirror at a very smug and satisfied Waverly in her back seat.

 

They arrive at the Express Automotive shop a few minutes later and walk in after parking. As soon as they enter, a young woman that Waverly vaguely recognizes from around town pops her head out from around a shelf.

 

“Nicole!” She exclaims, moving so she can embrace the redhead.

 

Waverly feels a pang of something run through her as she watches, but pushes it down.

 

“Julie, hey.” Nicole says, much calmer than Julie but still warm and kind. “How’s it going?”

 

“Good, good. Just working and staying busy.” Julie replies. She looks around Nicole just as the redhead turns to look at her companions.

 

“Nice to see you Chief Earp.” Julie says respectfully before looking at Waverly. “I don’t think we have had the pleasure.”

 

“Julie, this is my fiancé Waverly.” Nicole says, only barely fumbling over the word. “Chief Earp’s youngest. We are just here for some parts actually.”

 

Waverly doesn’t miss Julie’s expression change when Nicole introduces her as her fiancé. The woman looked perturbed, but quickly regained her composure. Nicole, for her part, completely missed it (too busy watching Waverly).

 

“So…” Ward starts. “Do you know each other just from this place or…?”

 

Julie laughs and Nicole rubs her neck uncomfortably.

 

“No actually. We have the same ex-girlfriend. I met Nicole once she started dating my ex actually. She offered me a job at the local shop and the rest is history. I transferred here a few months back and will go back to my normal shop once Carol comes back from maternity leave.” Julie answers. “By the way Nicole, have you talked to Shae recently.”

 

“Nope.” Nicole rushes out, moving farther into the store quickly. She grabs a basket and goes down an aisle in search of parts and an escape from Julie and that conversation.

 

Waverly follows close behind, noticing Nicole’s demeanor change and immediately being concerned. “You okay?” She asks quietly, coming to Nicole’s side and looping her arm with the redheads as she leans on the cart.

 

“Yeah, just not really something you ever plan on discussing with your fiancé, your fiancé’s father (who is also your boss) and you ex’s ex.” Nicole says, taking a deep breath and allowing Waverly’s presence at her side calm her. “But thanks, sorry about Julie. She has never really been good with boundaries.”

 

“Nothing to apologize for.” Waverly says, releasing Nicole so she can grab something off the shelf.

 

“Kinda is. Even though we aren’t actually together romantically, you still probably don’t want to hear about my ex from Julie.” Nicole says, placing the new starter in the cart and pushing it along.

 

“I wouldn’t mind hearing about her.” Waverly says. “But your right. That story is probably better coming from you. If you are comfortable of course.”

 

Nicole smiles and nods her head, leading them down a different aisle.

 

After a few minutes, Waverly’s phone rings and she goes outside to take the call. Ward walks up and bumps Nicole’s shoulder. “Trying to figure you out Haught.”

 

“I thought you already had me figured out Sir? That's why you set me up with your daughter.” Nicole jokes with a smirk, also bringing Ward to chuckle. “But okay, what are you trying to figure out about me?”

 

“Well, I don’t know jack about cars, but I do know that that jeep is a piece of crap. And I also know it is worth less than the parts and work you are putting into it. So, my question and the thing I am trying to figure out is: Why are you fixing it? You are no dummy and had to know this yourself.” Ward says, watching Nicole for her reaction.

 

Nicole looks at him. “True, it costs more to fix than it is really worth.” She raises her gaze to watch Waverly on the phone outside the glass doors. “But it means something to her. To her, it is worth more than money can buy. It’s priceless and so are the memories that come with it. It is her first car. If I can, I want to help her keep it as long as she can.” Nicole looks back at Ward and smiles. “I see the way she looks at that red hunk of metal. She loves the old thing.”

 

“I now understand what Wynonna meant the other night when she referred to you as a ‘walking bumper sticker’.” Ward replies with a laugh. He pats her on the shoulder and walks with her down another aisle.

 

They continue searching through the store for everything they need, Nicole educating Ward on a few basics as they go. They are almost done when Julie returns and walks up to Nicole. Ward is distracted by a display, but he doesn’t miss his daughter’s demeanor change as she watches Julie place a hand on Nicole’s arm.

 

“You know, I think this is the first time I have seen you this jealous.” He jokes (not really joking at all) but wanting to keep it playful.

 

“I’m not jealous.” Waverly says. “I’m just… protective. Plus, what type of girl flirts with a woman who is engaged to be married?”

 

“A ha.” Ward muses, seeing right through his daughter’s façade. He watches amused as Waverly practically stomps over and loops her arm through Nicole’s, leaning into the redhead’s side.

 

Nicole looks properly startled and shocked, turning to look at Ward for help. He just chuckles and shakes his head. The pleading and helpless look on his officer’s face is priceless.

 

Nicole finally steers them to the checkout counter and has Julie scan the products. Waverly pulls out her wallet to pay but Nicole places her hand on Waverly’s arm before she can. “Nope. No need.” Ward tries to do the same but she sends him a look that makes him stop. “What good is being the only heir to a company if you don’t take part in the perks.” Nicole jokes, telling Julie to mark them down in the system. They gather their things and take them out to the truck in bags.

 

“I called the restaurant, the food will be ready by the time we get there.” Waverly informs, getting into the truck.

 

“Okay, we will head over there now.” Nicole says, starting the truck and waving politely to Julie as they peeled out of the parking lot.

Chapter Text

By the time they get home, it is almost six and everyone is hungry. Ward takes his food into his bedroom, claiming he needs some personal time alone with his football game. Waverly opts to eat outside with Nicole. Nicole finishes eating quickly and starts working on replacing the starter. After removing the cables from the battery and disconnecting all the bolts that hold the starter to the block, Nicole removes the starter from the jeep and places it to the side. She cleans up the area with towels and some cleaning solution before mounting the new starter on the block and attaching it with the bolts. She connects all the cables to the rightful spots and wipes her hand with a towel.

 

“Turn it over?” She asks Waverly as the brunette approaches.

 

Waverly smiles and walks to the driver’s side. She hops in and turns the key in the ignition. The jeep starts up easily and purrs as it idles. Waverly smiles impossibly wider, shutting the SUV off and hopping out. She moves over to Nicole and pulls her into a tight hug. “Thank you, Nicole. You have no idea how much of a life saver you are.”

 

“Ha, well I am glad to help. All the other work will have to wait until next week, but it shouldn’t give you any problems for the time being.” Nicole says. “And I would totally return this hug if it weren’t for the fact that my hands and arms are covered in dirt and grease and I don’t want to get you dirty.”

 

Waverly laughs and holds on to Nicole for a moment longer before releasing her. “I think it is a small price to pay for having the jeep working.” Waverly says, looking Nicole over. She has to admit; the dirty white tank top and jeans look really works for the woman.

 

Nicole laughs and starts to pack up the extra parts and her gear. “I will leave the extra parts in my truck for now and bring them by next week when I start working on it again. Sound good?”

 

“Perfect.” Waverly says with a wide smile. “And thank you again.”

 

“No problem.” Nicole says, smiling at Waverly. “Well I better get going. I have to be up early to train with your sister and I worked the overnight last night.”

 

“Oh gosh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to take up your day and keep you.” Waverly says, blushing.

 

“Trust me, you didn’t keep me from anything important. Plus, it is nice to be around you and your dad. Get to know you more and stuff. But I should let you go as well. I will see you tomorrow for dinner.”

 

“See you tomorrow.” Waverly confirms, waving as Nicole loads her truck and gets in.

 

Waverly waits until Nicole is out of sight before going inside, lost in thoughts she hasn’t really had before.

 


 

 

Wynonna returns to the homestead during the late morning looking half dead.

 

“Ouch, Nicole training you that hard?” Waverly asks with a smirk as Wynonna face plants into the couch.

 

“She is too nice to yell at, yet she is such an asshole in the gym. Like really, why do I need to be able to fight like wonder woman? I swear, sparring with her is like a cat fighting with a ball of yarn.” Wynonna whines.

 

“And you’re the yarn?” Waverly asks.

 

“Yes, Waverly God! Don’t rub it in! And don’t tell anyone I said that because I will deny it!”

 

“Your secret is safe with me.” Waverly chuckles. “You should probably take a nap and shower before dinner tonight.”

 

“Oh, yeah. That reminds me. Daddy was at the station this morning and wanted me to tell you that he is going to the Haught’s place early to talk with Mr. Haught. So, you, Doc, Dolls and I are all driving there later. Dolls will be here at six to pick us up. Carpooling at its finest.” Wynonna says, flipping over on the couch.

 

“Okay… actually, I think I might tag along with Daddy. Maybe see Nicole a little before dinner.” Waverly thinks aloud.

 

“So, remind me, are you still denying that you are gay for her?” Wynonna asks, her teasing lilt softening the blow.

 

“Nonna!”

 

“Look Wave. You bring her coffee, you enjoy spending time with her and she doesn’t make you feel like you have to pretend to be someone you are not. Clearly you like her.” Wynonna says as if it is the most obvious thing in the world.

 

“Nonna, I am marrying her and yes I like spending time with her. But that is because I am trying to get to know her. And we are… friends. And she is okay with that. All she wants is for me to be happy and I appreciate that. So yes, I bring her coffee occasionally and make an effort to see her. But that is because everything is just so… new.”

 

“Waverly Earp, look me in the eyes and tell me you do not find her attractive. If you can do that, I will let the matter drop and we don’t ever have to speak of this again.” Wynonna sits up and looks at her sister, a little annoyed.

 

Waverly hesitates. She hesitates because her first thought when she saw the officer was how beautiful she was. And then last night, even in a mess of dirt, grease and sweat… damn she looked hot. She vaguely thinks Wynonna would be making a pun about that if she could hear her thought process. Waverly shakes her head and comes back to the present. She thinks for another moment. “She is sweet and kind and helpful. And she cares. Her personality is attractive to me. And yes, she is gorgeous. But beyond all of that… I just don’t know.”

 

Wynonna loses the annoyance and quickly pulls her sister over to her for a hug. “You know I will love you no matter what (and Daddy too), right?” Waverly nods. “And I don’t know Haught that well yet, but I do know she will always care for you, maybe even love you, even as friends. I think she genuinely means it when she says that.” Wynonna laughs, uncomfortable with all the heartfelt talk. “Such a bumper sticker.”

 

Waverly laughs and smiles. “Yeah.” 

 


 

 

Waverly rides with her father to the Haught mansion a few hours before the dinner is to begin. Her father complements her on her dress and kisses the top of her head as he escorts her to the car. By the time they reach the mansion, Waverly’s jaw is on the floor. It is one thing to know that someone has money, it is a whole other thing entirely to see it in person. Nicole said her father was wealthy, but she never mentioned that her childhood home was a mansion the size a hotel.

 

“I know.” Ward Earp says, watching his daughter as he pulls his cruiser into the Haught driveway.

 

“This is crazy.” Waverly says in complete awe.

 

“Just wait until you see the inside.” Ward comments, opening the door and holding a hand out for Waverly to take.

 

They walk up to the giant front doors and Ward knocks twice. A woman Waverly recognizes from around town as Gus answers with a smile. “Chief, Waverly. Please come in.”

 

“Thank you.” Ward replies.

 

“How are you Gus?” Waverly asks as Gus shuts the door behind them.

 

“I am doing well Honey. How are you? I have been meaning to stop by Shorty’s and chat with you, but things around here have been… busy.” Gus replies with a smile.

 

“I am doing good. And don’t worry about it. I didn’t realize you work for the Haughts.” Waverly remarks. She has known Gus since she was young. Gus is a regular patron of Shorty’s, but less for the drinking and more for the socializing. She is even one of the partners in the business with Shorty (although that is not a commonly known fact).

 

“Oh yes, been here for over twenty-seven years now. I was hired by the late Mrs. Haught shortly before Nicole was born and shortly after she found out she was sick.” Gus says. She shakes her head and rids herself of those thoughts. “Anyways, does Nicole know you are coming early?”

 

“No, actually. This was all kind of last minute.” Waverly says a little sheepishly. “I’m okay to wait out…”

 

“Oh, nonsense girly. Come on.” Gus directs the Earps further into the house. “Waverly, I believe Nicole is out in the back yard. You can take this hall way out and it is straight out the French doors. Chief, I’ll take you to Mr. Haught’s office.”

 

Waverly nods and walks down the hall and out the doors to view the giant backyard. It has a tennis court, a giant pool with a waterfall and water slide, a hot tub, what looks to be a putting green, several places to lounge, and a full basketball court. The very basketball court where a very half naked and very sweaty Nicole is playing on. Waverly walks over and observes as Nicole shoots shot after shot into the basket. Clad only in a pair of black basketball shorts and a navy-blue sports bra, much of Nicole’s porcelain skin is on full display and Waverly is just grateful Wynonna asked her that question earlier because if she had after seeing this… oh no.

 

“Waverly.” Nicole greets, kindly but a little surprised. “Did I get the time wrong or…?” Nicole asks, looking worried.

 

“No, no.” Waverly quickly reassures. “My dad just had to come early to talk to yours so I decided to tag along. I hope that is okay?”

 

Nicole nods her head, looking at Waverly dumbstruck. “I uh… yeah. Just uh… you look beautiful.”

 

Waverly blushes, trying to hide it but failing. “Thanks. And by the way, this whole hot and sweaty athlete look works for you.” Waverly ducks her head, but her eyes study the tight abdominal muscles that make up Nicole’s defined abs.

 

Seeming to come back to herself, Nicole shakes her head and grabs a shirt that is folded on a bench. She tugs it on (much to Waverly’s secret displeasure) and begins to lead Waverly back towards the house. “If you want, I can give you a tour of the house, but I really need to shower.”

 

Waverly nods and walks with Nicole into the house. After several hallways and two flights of stairs, Nicole leads Waverly into her room. But in Waverly’s opinion, room is an understatement. The ‘room’ is easily four times the size of her own and it has a balcony that overlooks the backyard.

 

“Most of my stuff is in boxes at my house. Not much is left here.” Nicole apologizes. “Please, make yourself at home. Oh and, if you want to change in to something more comfortable until the party, there are some comfy clothes in the drawer and in the closet. But only if you are more comfortable that way. The TV remote is on the bed if you want to watch something too.” Nicole says, grabbing her own clothes and a clean towel before closing the bathroom door.

 

Once the water is on and Waverly can hear Nicole moving around in the shower, Waverly moves over and changes into a pair of Nicole’s sweats and a t-shirt. The dress is gorgeous, she bought it for that reason. But it isn't the most comfortable. She takes a seat on Nicole’s bed and turns the TV on. She flips channels until she finds a rerun episode of Psych. The show is stupid and funny and it never fails to make her feel happy. She is laughing softly at a joke the main character Sean made when Nicole walks out of the bathroom toweling off her wet hair. She is in a pair of shorts and a shirt that is even too big for her. She throws the towel in the hamper and walks over to the bed, plopping down next to Waverly and turning her attention to the TV.

 

“Feel better?” Waverly asks after a moment of just watching the show.

 

“Much.” Nicole says with a grin. “You seem more comfortable. That dress in amazing but you didn’t look very comfortable.”

 

“It is good for a few hours here and there, but not for an all-night thing. Thanks for the clothes.” Waverly smiles back at Nicole.

 

“My pleasure.” Nicole says, laying back on her back to be more comfortable. Waverly does the same and they spend the next hour and a half talking in between watching the TV and making their own jokes.

 

At six, Waverly changes back into her dress and checks her makeup. Nicole takes the bathroom soon after and walks back out in a crème blazer with a simple peach top underneath and a pair of nice pants that hug her curves so well. She is in a pair of flats that pair nicely with her blazer. Even with her in heals and Nicole in flats, Waverly is still slightly shorter than Nicole (not that she minds at all).

 

Nicole holds her arm out and Waverly loops her hand through to hold on to Nicole as she escorts her down to the dining room. Once they arrive, it is only a short time before Wynonna, Doc and Dolls knock on the front door.

 

Twenty minutes later, they are all sitting around the giant dining room table and digging into their food. Everyone immediately complements Gus on her cooking, the meal is amazing. With her father at the head of the table, Nicole is to his left. Then there is Waverly and then Gus. Ward is at the opposite end. Thus, leaving Wynonna, Doc, Dolls, and Charlie on the other side (across from Nicole, Waverly and Gus). Dolls talks with Gus about recent life for them both. Wynonna and Nicole discuss sports and a bit about Nicole’s Irish whiskey collection. Waverly talks with Gus and her father about the town and their lives. Charlie talked business with Mr. Haught. After the meal’s entrée is finished, Gus serves dessert. Chocolate soufflé cake.

 

Everyone is almost done eating when James Haught addresses Waverly. “So, Waverly, have you and Nicole discussed your future?”

 

Nicole rolls her eyes but stays silent. At some point during the meal Waverly had laced her fingers with Nicole’s under the table (partly out of nerves) and now Nicole was squeezing lightly to try and reassure her.

 

“Yes Sir. We have. Not quite at length thus far, but we have discussed some things.” Waverly responds.

 

Nicole exhales deeply in relief. She raises her glass of water with her free hand and drinks from her drink.

 

“Great. So, are you planning on starting a family soon or will you want to wait a few years?” James Haught asks as if that isn’t an unusual question.

 

Unfortunately for Nicole, she was half way through swallowing when her father asked the question, thus she choked on her drink. And it was not a small one either. Waverly looks shocked by the question but that look quickly turns to concern as she turns her attention to Nicole.

 

“Are you okay?” She whispers, running a hand along her shoulder.

 

Nicole is fighting to get air in, but it isn’t working all that well. She tries to speak but it comes out high pitched and croaky, if at all. She gives Waverly a small thumb up before coughing again and finally starting to breathe again.

 

“You good there Haught?” Wynonna teases. “Your face is starting to turn a little blue.”

 

Waverly sends Wynonna a glare that promptly shuts her up.

 

Gus hands Nicole a glass of water and Nicole sips from it once before looking at her father, embarrassed but more annoyed than anything. “Kind of a personal question, don’t you thing Dad.”

 

“I suppose, but considering…” Mr. Haught begins.

 

“Yeah, this is something we should discuss later. Not really dinnertime conversation, at least, it isn’t in a normal household.” Nicole says, an edge to her voice.

 

Waverly squeezes her hand. She knows why Nicole is being so protective, but it still shocks her.

 

James Haught gives an uninterested nod before returning his attention to Charlie. Nicole relaxes and coughs lightly (still not completely recovered).

 

“I think I need another drink and some fresh air. Excuse me.” Nicole says politely before standing and leaving the room. Gus had offered to get the drink but Nicole told her to sit and finish her meal. Waverly followed her soon after and found Nicole pacing on the deck in the backyard. Waverly cautiously walks outside and leans against a chair and waits. “I’m sorry about him.” Nicole finally says.

 

“Nicole…”

 

“He can just be a real blunt and inconsiderate ass sometimes and although it makes him a great businessman, if doesn’t make him a very good father or family member.” Nicole continues, still pacing.

 

Waverly can see her spinning out of control and decides now is the time to intervene. She takes a few steps forward and blocks Nicole’s path. Nicole stops and Waverly immediately pulls her by the waist into a strong hug. Nicole relaxes and allows Waverly to calm her down.

 

After several long moments, “You don’t have to apologize for him, Nicole.” Waverly whispers.

 

“But I do. He was completely out of line.” Nicole argues.

 

“Maybe, but he is your father.” Waverly fires back, pulling Nicole impossibly closer.

 

Nicole nods softly before pulling back just enough to look Waverly in the eye. “Thank you.”

 

“Thank you for protecting me. Even if you didn’t have to.”

 

“I always will.” Nicole says softly and something in the way she said it made Waverly know it was true.

 

Waverly looks at Nicole’s lips for a moment before looking back up in to Nicole’s eyes. It would be so easy to just kiss her. Waverly thinks. Just lean up and… Nicole seems to tense the slightest bit. She pulls away softly. “We better get back inside before they start wondering where we are.” Nicole takes Waverly’s hand and leads her inside. The moment broken.

Chapter Text

Nicole wakes up the next morning with a pounding headache. She opens her eyes slowly and takes in the sight of a passed-out Dolls at the foot of her bed. She turns over to find Waverly next to her with her arm draped loosely over Waverly’s hips. She removes her arm slowly, causing Waverly to sleepily grumble, but otherwise stay asleep and she moves to get up. As she does, she spots Wynonna and Doc sleeping together on the giant beanbag that Nicole has in her room. Nicole stands and grabs some clothes quickly before moving in to the bathroom. She quickly turns the shower on and gets in, allowing the cold water to wake her up.

 

As the water pours down her body, the events of last night begin to come back to her. After she and Waverly returned to the dining room, her father quickly excused himself to other duties for the night (Charlie joining him). Soon after, Ward was saying his goodbyes and being walked out by Gus. The others had decided to stay around for a little while and have some drinks. Some drinks turned into a lot of drinks and by one in the morning, none of them were sober enough to drive (well, accept for Nicole and Dolls). Nicole had planned on getting them all set up in guest beds but they all ended up falling asleep in her room talking.

 

A soft knock breaks Nicole from her thoughts. “Nicky?” Gus’ voice comes through the door.

 

“Come in Gus.” Nicole answers without hesitation. The woman has raised her practically since birth, nakedness was not an issue with them.

 

Gus enters and leans up against the wall. “Your guests are awake and eating breakfast down stairs. I set out a spread near the pool if you are hungry.”

 

“You made them a buffet style breakfast… Wynonna might try and kiss you, you know?” Nicole jokes, rinsing the last of the conditioner from her hair.

 

Gus laughs and shakes her head. “They are a strange bunch, but I can tell they are good people.”

 

“I believe so too.” Nicole agrees, shutting the water off. She grabs her towel from the hook and wraps it around herself before stepping out of the shower and actually looking at Gus. “And by the way, I didn’t get a chance to thank you for last night. The food was amazing and I have to admit, I missed eating dinner with you (even if my father is an asshole). And thank you for making breakfast.”

 

“It is my job Honey. But even so, I was glad to have you home for a little while. And I was really glad to be able to talk with Waverly. I normally only see her at the bar and that is short lived.”

 

“Yeah, she is… really great.” Nicole comments, rubbing her neck with the back of her hand.

 

“Something wrong?” Gus asks, knowing Nicole too well.

 

“Not sure.” Nicole answers honestly.

 

“Want to talk about it?”

 

Nicole hops up on the bathroom counter as Gus takes a seat on the closed toilet seat. “Last night, when I went out to get some air, Waverly followed me.”

 

“I remember. It was nice that she wanted to make sure you were okay.” Gus says, watching Nicole closely.

 

“Yes. And I value that a lot in her. But she is straight. At least as far as I know. And we are getting married. So, I offered friendship, because I would never want her to be something she is not. But last night… it was almost like she was going to kiss me outside and… I can’t do that. Like, if all she wants if friendship, I can do that. I really can Gus. But I can’t have more with her, only for her to change her mind or realize that it isn’t what she wants. I can’t go back to friends after having something more. Like I said, I am one hundred percent okay with friends, but I can’t be an experiment. It might kill me.”

 

Gus ponders this for a moment before looking back up to Nicole. “Do you say that because girls used you as an experiment in school a few times and it really hurt you? Or is this because it is Waverly Earp?”

 

“It is because I am marrying her and am going to be bound to her for the rest of our lives. Those girls in school, we would part ways and that was the end of it. But this… this is my life.” Nicole says wiping her face and hopping down to start getting dressed.

 

Gus think while Nicole gets dressed trying to think of a way to convey her thoughts into words. “Nicky. Waverly Earp is a good person. You and I both know that. But I also think she feels as though she needs to please the people around her, even at her own personal cost.”

 

“I told her, in those exact words, that that is not what I expected of her.” Nicole says.

 

“You can say it all you want and maybe she even believes you, but you should consider that maybe it is instinctual for her to want to make you (her future wife) happy.” Gus says, hating the look of anguish on the woman’s face.

 

“Her pretending to be something she is not will never make me happy Gus.” Nicole says, finally dressed. She plops down on the ground near Gus’s feet and allows the older woman to braid her hair. The action is comforting, making Nicole nostalgic for the years they used to do this. “What am I going to do Gus?”

 

“Be yourself, be honest, and don’t falter in your beliefs.” Gus says obviously. “You know what you have to do. You just wanted me to say it.”

 

Nicole chuckles and stands as Gus pats her shoulder (signaling she is finished). “Thank you.”

 

“For the braid or for the bathroom, toilet-side chat?” Gus asks jokingly.

 

“Both, but also for just being here for me. It has always been you, just you, since Máthair died.” Nicole says, opening the door and leading them out of the bathroom.

 

“I don't have any children of my own so you know I have always considered you and treated you as my own. That will never change Honey.” Gus says, allowing the taller woman to wrap an arm around her shoulders as they make their way downstairs.

 

Nicole emerges from her house to find her houseguests eating at one of the outdoor tables near the pool. Wynonna is in Doc’s lap but is leaning into an annoyed looking Xavier. Waverly sits at the other end, watching them with an amused grin on her face. Nicole walks up with her plate of food and takes a seat next to Waverly. She sips her coffee, watching as Xavier tries (and fails) to push Wynonna more on to Doc.

 

“Morning.” She finally greets, smirking as they all finally notice her presence.

 

“Haughtstuff, your house is bomb as fuck! This place is like a resort.” Wynonna exclaims. “Are you sure you can’t marry me instead of Waves? I could totally get used to this.”

 

Waverly glares at her sister but chuckles despite herself.

 

“It is my father’s house, I don’t actually live here anymore. But thank you. And yes, this place is… big and very nice. I never really spent much time here beyond some summer vacations and winter breaks. But calling it a resort is not too much of a reach I guess, except for the fact that you have to deal with my asshole father.” Nicole jokes.

 

She begins eating as Wynonna tells her the tale of Gus giving them a tour of the place and how she would get lost in a house this big. Nicole nods along, listening to Wynonna go on and on. It should bore her or at least annoy her, but she has to admit, the elder Earp sister is growing on her. She has her own personal charm to her. It is an acquired taste, but Nicole actually enjoys it sometimes.

 

Gus comes out about a half hour later and asks Nicole is she would mind resetting the pool filter. Apparently, the pool man is driving in from the city and wouldn’t be able to be here for at least a day.

 

“Sure Gus. Not a problem. I’m done eating anyways.” Nicole replies, picking up her plate to go put it in the dishwasher.

 

“I got that Honey.” Gus says, taking her plate. “You just get changed and reset it for me. I really would rather not do it myself.”

 

“Why is that?” Doc asks.

 

“It requires one to get into the water in order to reach the panel. It is situated under the rock waterfall. I am not one for pool swimming myself.” Gus says, looking at the pool as if it will jump out at her.

 

“I will go change. I wonder why it keeps turning off?” Nicole says as she walks back towards the house. “You are all welcome to use the pool or any of the other amenities while you are here. You could borrow swimsuits from Dolls or I!” Nicole calls over her shoulder. “Although, it's private her. Undergarments are acceptable as well!”

 

Dolls smiles and laughs. “Always one for a little extra fun, aren’t you Haught?!”

 

“Always!” She responds with an exaggerated fist pump to the air, never turning back to look at them.

 

“It’s nice out. I’m swimming. You guys in?” Dolls asks.

 

They all nod to him.

 

“Doc can borrow from me. I still keep a few pairs of trunks here from a few summers I spent here. Gus, you can set the girls up with some of Nicole’s stuff if necessary, right?” Dolls asks.

 

“Yes Dear.” Gus says. She has always adored Xavier. Even when he and Nicole became fast (yet a little peculiar) friends, she knew he was good for the young redhead.

 

Waverly hops out of her seat and stops Gus from walking away. “Wynonna and the boys drove my Jeep here. I have a spare bathing suit in the trunk. I can use that.”

 

“Oh god, Ms. Planner has arrived.” Wynonna says in mock annoyance.

 

“Great. Wynonna, come with me. Let’s get you set up.” Gus says, walking towards the house. “You all won’t be able to get in until Nicole resets the pump, but might as well get ready while you wait.”

 

They all move into action, picking and grabbing bathing suits. They all decide to wait until the pool is ready to change, so they all regather at the table and chat until it’s time.

 

Nicole emerges a few minutes later on top of the rock waterfall. She is in a black bikini, that (in Waverly’s and basically in everyone else’s opinion) makes her look hot as fuck. Waverly watches with rapt attention as Nicole walks along the top of the rock, looking down at the water below casually.

 

“Holy shit.” Wynonna breathes out. “Dude, if I was into chicks…”

 

“Wynonna.” Waverly scolds, but she doesn’t take her eyes off Nicole’s long and muscular yet slender legs. And that ass…

 

“Your right. I don’t even have to be into chicks to find that attractive.” Wynonna says, totally oblivious to her sister’s stare because she, herself, is still staring. Doc elbows her but it has no effect.

 

“Will all of you pick up your jaws off from the ground?” Dolls asks in a tone that is half teasing and half serious.

 

Wynonna finally looks at Waverly, who is still staring and she chuckles. She throws her borrowed bikini top at Waverly’s head and finally breaks the younger Earp’s trance.

 

“Hey!” Waverly protests, throwing the offending garment back at her sister and missing, hitting Doc in the face. “Sorry Doc.”

 

Waverly turns back and watches as Nicole (without hesitation) dives into the pool from a height that is at least fifteen feet. She dives into the water with little splash and disappears under the waterfall without coming up for air. After another minute, Waverly begins to get worried.

 

“Is she okay under there? She hasn’t come up for air?” Waverly asks.

 

“It is hollow under the waterfall, you can breathe and there is even a ledge to sit on if you are so inclined.” Dolls answers, not at all worried. “But it can be pretty loud with the waterfall. It is normally pretty hard to hear the outside world from in there.”

 

At his final words, the water from the waterfall stops momentarily before starting up again.

 

“Perfect. I am going to change.” Dolls says happily as he moves to go change in the house. Everyone else does the same and by the time they are back outside, Nicole is standing on top of the waterfall once more.

 

“Wait!” Nicole calls before they all enter the pool near the shallow end. She motions for them all to come up to the top with her and they all do. “It is kind of a tradition. First time in the pool, you got to jump from the rock wall.” She says.

 

Waverly looks at her skeptically.

 

Nicole notices and wrings out her hair. “Ask Dolls. I made him do it his first time here too.”

 

“It’s true.” Dolls says. “It was only scary the first time, and I was twelve at the time.”

 

“How high up are we?” Doc asks, looking a little apprehensive in comparison to a very excited Wynonna.

 

“Where we are standing right now, this is the shortest jump. It is only fifteen feet and a few inches.” Nicole points to the other end of the rock that is noticeably higher up. The highest point is twenty feet.”

 

“And how deep is the pool?” Waverly asks.

 

“In this area, it is the deepest because of the rock and diving. It is fifteen feet deep. Far beyond any regulations. Completely safe. You won’t hit it. Not even sure if it’s possible without swimming down after jumping.” Nicole comments.

 

“Wanna demonstrate Haught?” Dolls asks.

 

Nicole laughs and takes a step back. “What are we thinking?” She asks him.

 

“Surprise me.” He says with a grin.

 

Nicole takes three big steps and jumps off, tucking her legs and doing a backflip on the way down before splashing down in the water feet first. She surfaces and gives Dolls a thumbs up that makes him chuckle.

 

“Let’s go Holiday.” Dolls says

 

“Ladies first.” He says, motioning for Wynonna to go first as she bounces around in anticipation.

 

Wynonna only hesitates for a moment before she is throwing herself off the rock and down into the water below. She swims over to where Nicole has backed away from the rock to watch the others, but as to not get jumped on. “Thanks for the swimsuit rental Haught.”

 

“No problem, you can use it whenever you come over here, if you want. I don’t wear that one. I don’t think I ever have actually.” Nicole comments as she watches Xavier double front flip off the rock.

 

“That explains the tags and stickers still on it when Gus handed me it.” Wynonna says.

 

Nicole looks at the top of the rock, seeing a very nervous Waverly and Doc. She quickly swims over to the ledge and pulls herself out of the pool. She jogs over to the rock and climbs to where Doc and Waverly are standing. She places a reassuring hand on Waverly’s shoulder, but looks at both her and Doc. “I know I said it is tradition, but I won’t force you to jump. Don’t worry if you aren’t ready.” She says, not a drop of condescension in her voice. She genuinely doesn’t want them uncomfortable of scared.

 

“Doc Henry Holiday. Get your ass down here!” Wynonna calls from the water below. She softens a bit and looks up at him. “I promise. It is really fun. You won’t regret it.”

 

He nods and slowly steps off the rock, pencil fishing down into the water. He quickly comes to the surface, his mustache raised in a smile.

 

The others swim to the edge of the pool as to not get jumped on and wait.

 

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to.” Nicole offers, looking into Waverly’s eyes.

 

“I want to. I like doing things that scare me. It is just… well, scary.” Waverly says, blushing.

 

“Well, it is up to you Waves. But if you decide you want to jump, I am more than happy to jump with you. If that makes you more comfortable of course?” Nicole offers, hand still placed lightly on Waverly’s shoulder.

 

“You called me Waves.” Waverly says softly, feeling something in her chest flutter.

 

“I’m sorry, I mean… I just…” Nicole stammers, fearing she offended the small brunette.

 

“No, Nicole. I like it. I like the way it sounds when you say it.” Waverly says taking Nicole’s hand from her shoulder and holding it with hers. “Jump with me?”

 

She is saying that because of you accent idiot! Don’t be such a useless lesbian, not right now! Nicole berates herself before nodding and squeezing Waverly’s hand. They move to the edge and step off together after a three count. They impact the water and surface almost immediately.

 

“You okay?” Nicole asks, treading water and keeping an arm out for Waverly to hold on to for support.

 

“Yes.” Waverly says with a wide smile. “God that is breathtaking.”

 

Nicole laughs and Waverly soon follows. They swim over to their friends and they all gather in the shallow end. They spend the next few hours drinking, talking, swimming and napping in and around the pool.

 

At some point, Waverly notices Nicole has been absent for a while now. She looks around but doesn’t see the redhead. She looks over her shoulder to the waterfall.

 

The falling cascade of water is too fast and thick to see through, but she has a feeling she will find Nicole in there. She swims across the pool and takes a deep breath before plunging under the water and swimming under the heavy pounding wall of water. She surfaces in a spacious cave completely concealed from the outside world by the waterfall. Dolls was right, it is a bit loud in here, the sound of the water bouncing off the rock/stone walls.

 

Waverly hops up on to the ledge at the back of the cave wall, next to her fiancé. “You okay?” She asks. She looks at the waterfall and stretches her legs out. Even fully extended, the face of the cave is an easy five feet from her toes. Plus, the ledge leaves them still submerged from the waist down.

 

“Yes, of course. I just like coming in here. I am not built for the sun, so it gives me some reprieve from that. Plus, the water sounds help me relax and think.” Nicole says, smiling.

 

“I can understand the appeal.” Waverly says.

 

“So why are you in here? Bored?” Nicole asks.

 

“What? No! I just noticed you had disappeared and I figured I would find you in here.” Waverly says quickly.

 

Nicole nods and leans back against the wall, closing her eyes and enjoying the moment.

 

Waverly does for some time before being distracted. In particular, being distracted by Nicole. Waverly looks at her. Through the water, she can see Nicole’s well-defined legs (that are uniquely feminine in a way Waverly has never witnessed). As her eyes travel up, she studies Nicole’s abs, the tight muscles covered with a thin layer of softness that is basically a metaphor for Nicole in general. She purposely avoids looking anywhere near Nicole’s chest, knowing that will only bring her trouble. Her eyes finally land on Nicole’s face, drifting along to her strong jawline and cheekbones. Waverly looks at her lips, the way Nicole seems to unconsciously moisten them from time to time.

 

“I can feel you staring at me Waves. Got something on your mind?” Nicole asks without opening her eyes.

 

Waverly blushes hard but finds her voice. “I think my brain is just trying to compute seeing you in clothing that isn’t pants and long shirts.” She jokes.

 

“Wow, you make me sound like a nun.” Nicole jokes back, opening her eyes.

 

Waverly laughs and bumps her shoulder into Nicole’s. Nicole bumps her back and settles back against the wall, noticing how Waverly is significantly closer to her now.

 

Waverly leans her head on Nicole’s shoulder and sighs. “I like it in here. It’s loud because of the water, but also strangely quiet in a way. All you can hear is the water, nothing of the outside world.”

 

“After my mom died, couldn’t really handle it. Every voice I heard, every ring of the phone, every sound I heard just made me feel like I was going crazy. Even Gus couldn’t get through to me at some points. So, one day I just jumped in the pool, fully clothed, and swam in here. It was then, for the first time since my mom died, that I actually felt… sane. I didn’t feel like the world was collapsing around me. After a few hours, Gus figured out I was in here and came in after me. She sat in here with me until I felt like I could go. I liked this spot as a hangout area before, but I also find solace in it as well.” Nicole says.

 

“I’m sorry Nicole.”

 

“Why?” Nicole asks, turning her head to look at Waverly. “Like I said. This place is solace. It is a good thing. Nothing to be sad or sorry about. Just good vibes.”

 

Waverly nods wordlessly and scoots a little closer to Nicole so their sides are pressed together.

 

A few more minute pass before Nicole can barely make out the loud sound of Wynonna shouting. A moment later, she is swimming through the water and entering the cave. “Damn! This is awesome!”

 

Dolls and Doc soon follow and enter the cave as well. The ledge barely fits them all, so Nicole lifts herself off and allows for them all to get more comfortable. She leans her arms across Xavier’s knees so she doesn’t have to keep treading water and looks up at them as they all engage in conversation once again.

 

At some point in the conversation, Nicole and Waverly traded places, except Waverly opted to lean on Nicole instead of Xavier. They continue talking until Nicole notices Waverly shiver. The lack of body heat and the shady cave probably getting to her. Nicole leans down, noticing the others are too distracted to notice. “Want to trade again. I know you are cold, I can see and feel you shivering. Or we can go back out.”

 

Waverly thinks for a moment and shyly looks at Nicole. “Mind if I sit with you? I am not really ready to go out yet.”

 

Nicole seems to think about it for a moment before nodding her head and holding a hand out. Waverly takes it and allows Nicole to help her up. She ends up basically in Nicole’s lap, being that there is not a lot of room and the others don’t seem too concerned by Waverly and Nicole’s dilemma. Waverly eventually settles in to Nicole’s lap and leans back into the redhead. Not knowing where to put her hands, Nicole lets them float on the surface for a moment before Waverly pulls them around her for warmth. She hums contentedly, allowing Nicole’s supreme body heat to warm her in a way that it probably shouldn’t be able to.

 

They stay that way for a long time, Wynonna leaving and returning at some point with beers for her and the boys. Waverly doesn’t remember falling asleep, she really doesn’t. But when Nicole shifts and gently wakes her, her cheek is leaning into Nicole’s shoulder and she is in a weird ball in Nicole’s lap. Wynonna and the boys head out, claiming the sun was calling to them with its warmth. Nicole agrees, but looks down as a clearly sleepy Waverly.

 

“Want a piggyback ride out?” Nicole asks, shifting to better look at the woman. Something about the way Waverly folds into her tells her the younger woman isn’t up for swimming by herself. Waverly leans up on the ledge and gets behind Nicole, wrapping her legs around the redhead's waist and her arms around her neck loosely.

 

Once she gets a nod from Waverly, Nicole starts to swim, keeping Waverly mostly above water as she goes. Besides the water from passing through the waterfall, Waverly is dry from her chest up.

 

They make it to the shallow end and Nicole is a little surprised when Waverly doesn’t let go. She seems content to just hang on to Nicole like a koala hugging a tree. Nicole doesn’t mind necessarily, but the looks Wynonna and Dolls are giving her are making her second guess her indifference to the situation.

 

Gus saves her when she comes out with a bunch of food for lunch. “I was sure you guys were getting hungry. These are just a snack to hold you all off. Is there anything in particular y’all want to eat?”

 

“Whatever is convenient. You know I’m not picky. Thank you, Gus.” Dolls says, rising from the water to help her with the platter of snacks she is holding.

 

“Okay and thank you Xavier. What about the rest of you?” Gus asks.

 

“I do not color myself particular as well Ma’am. I will eat what he is having.” Doc replies.

 

“I’ll come in and help you cook Gus. I think I want to make my secret grilled cheese.” Nicole says, moving towards the wall and silently prompting Waverly to release her.

 

“Oh, yes. I will definitely eat that.” Dolls says excitedly. “Been a long time.”

 

“Alright Chef Haught, get your butt dry and in the kitchen. Looks like you are in high demand.” Gus jokes.

 

Nicole gets out of the pool and kisses Gus on the cheek, conscious not to get the other woman wet, and smiles. “You always know you are in demand, at least in my book.”

 

“Oh, hush and go.” Gus says, pushing her in the direction of the towels and the house. “Ladies? What can we get you?” She asks as she turns to the Earp girls.

 

“Super-secret grilled cheese sounds good to me.” Wynonna says, earning a nod from Waverly.

 

Waverly then follows up with a, “Thanks Gus.”

 

Chapter Text

Waverly sits in one of the many entertainment rooms of the Haught mansion with her sister and male companions. They are all watching big bang theory while also making commentary. Waverly had been in the kitchen with Nicole but was quickly shooed out claiming the secret recipe is for her eyes only. Nicole had teasingly thrown a towel at the Earps when they came in practically salivating at the smell.

 

Nicole walks in a few minutes later with a platter piled high with grilled cheese sandwiches. To the untrained eye, they look very basic, but the smell gives them away immediately. Wynonna is the first to take a bite and moans loudly as she tastes it. Waverly does the same soon after, although she does a better job of repressing the animalistic sounds the food triggers. Nicole hands Dolls two of the sandwiches that were balanced on a separate plate and he takes them happily.

 

“Why does he get a separate plate?” Doc asks curiously, taking a bite of his own as his eyes widen.

 

“Mr. Big and Tough always makes a special request when I make these. His has a few extras added for his liking.” Nicole says, smirking at Xavier (who doesn’t seem to care as he demolishes the first sandwich).

 

“Haught, two things…” Wynonna says, holding up two fingers with her free hand. “One, I am pretty sure these sandwiches could give someone an orgasm.”

 

At that comment, Waverly and Doc both choke a little on their food.

 

“And two…” Wynonna continues. “What on god’s green earth is in these things?”

 

“It is a secret Earp. If everyone knew about it, it wouldn’t be special.” Nicole says, taking a bite herself. “But I can tell you it includes cheese (obviously), sourdough bread, bacon and about twelve other ingredients.”

 

Wynonna looks at her like a kicked puppy but Nicole isn’t budging. “Fine.” Wynonna says, taking a bite into another sandwich. “You can just make them for me.” She says brightly.

 

Nicole rolls her eyes, but the smile on her lips betrays her feigned annoyance.

 


  

They all eat and watch movies for a few more hours, before Nicole gets up.

 

“Hey, where you going?” Waverly asks, admittedly sad that her pillow has moved and gotten up.

 

“Gym. Gotta get a workout in before dinner. You guys are more than welcome to stay here as long as you want. Stay the night even. My father left this morning for Japan and I think Gus doesn’t mind the company. She misses having me and Xavier running around this place.” Nicole says with a laugh.

 

“I miss it too.” Xavier says, laughing as well.

 

“Alright, well, make yourselves at home as always. Mi casa es tu casa.” Nicole says, standing up and wrapping the towel around her waist once again.

 

“I’m on your six Haught. I need to get in one too. Swimming was good but I need a little more than that.” Dolls says. He stands and follows her out the room and up the stairs.

 

Once they are gone, Wynonna is the first to speak. “Damn.”

 

“Agreed.” Doc says absentmindedly, earning him a pillow to the face from Waverly.

 

“Hey, that’s my future wife you are undressing with your eyes there, cowboy!” Waverly protests, only half joking.

 

“To be completely fair, my eyes don’t have to do much work when she is in a bathing suit, but I am a gentleman. I was merely commenting on how well Dolls and Officer Haught fit together. They seem even more cohesive in this casual and relaxed environment than they do in the professional one. I knew Nicole for a few years of high school, but never met Dolls. He was older than her and myself by a couple years.” Doc says in his defense. “I am very happy with the woman I have, thank you very much.”

 

“Better be.’ Wynonna says, relaxing into the couch. “But I have to admit. They are two very sexy people.”

 

“Nonna.” Waverly scolds.

 

“Wave, c’mon. Even a blind person would see it. Dolls is buff and Haughtstuff there is stacked and packing a six-pack.” Wynonna continues.

 

“That’s what happens when you are dedicated to the gym, eat better than just donuts, don’t drink like a sailor or smoke.” Waverly explains, eyeing her sister and Doc.

 

“Hey! My body is banging.” Wynonna says. “Clearly I got the good genetics.” She jokes, smirking at Waverly.

 

Waverly removes the towel and shows off her abs. “Yeah, Wy. Sure ya did.”

 

Wynonna scoffs and Waverly laughs back at her. They continue to watch the movie until they begin to hear music. It is muffled and low, but the bass is deep.

 

Gus walks in a few moments later. “Is there anything I can get y'all?”

 

“Nope, thank you Gus. Actually, that music? What is that?” Waverly asks.

 

“Nicole, and possibly Dolls, in the gym. The room is sound proof but they probably forgot to shut the door. They listen to that damn music so loud in there. I will never understand why.” Gus responds. “It is the last door at the end of the north hallway. Basically, on the opposite side of the house from where you are now.”

 

“Okay, thanks Gus.”

 


 

Waverly walks around the house alone, figuring Wynonna and Doc can stay out of trouble long enough for her to check the place out a bit more. She follows the music and finally finds the gym. She stands next to the doorway, out of sight, listening to make sure she isn’t going to interrupt something.

 

“So, you haven’t said anything about Waverly.” Dolls says, taking deep breaths as he bench-presses another rep.

 

“And what is it that you believe I should be saying?” Nicole asks, spotting him as they talk.

 

“Maybe how you saw her in a bikini that didn’t leave much to the imagination and you think she is really hot. Oh, and that you are marrying said hot woman in… five and a half days.” Dolls supplies, watching his friend as he speaks.

 

“Three things Dolls. One, I didn’t look at Waverly like that. She is not here to be ogled by me or anyone else here. Two, yes, I’m aware she is attractive and that, yes, I am marrying her. And three, you know just as well as I do that Waverly Earp is straight. I might be marrying her, but you have a better chance with her than I do.” Nicole says, helping him rack the bar.

 

They move over to the punching bag and Nicole quickly wraps and prepares her hands. She takes a swing, hitting the bag Dolls is steadying.

 

“She was awful touchy feely with you yesterday and today. What about that makes you think, straight woman?” He asks.

 

Nicole hits the bag hard several times, wishing they weren’t having this conversation. “Dolls, listen. Girls are, touchy feely, as you put it. Some just are naturally. Waverly seems to be. But she isn’t attracted to me and I am okay with that. I won’t try and make her be someone or something she is not. She may not believe me yet, but it is the truth.” Nicole hits the bag even harder, throwing Xavier off balance for a second before righting himself. “And you remember all the straight girls in school. They used me as an experiment, realized it is not what they wanted, and left. It was fine when I was in school. We would go our separate ways and that would be the end of it. But I can’t do that in my adult life. Especially with a woman who I am going to be legally married to. There are no separate ways to go in this situation. And to top it all off, I have to go to Nedley tomorrow because her ex boy-man is complaining that I used excessive force when I arrested him for assaulting Waverly.”

 

“And did you?” He asks.

 

“Totally, but I won’t apologize for it. He is just trying to get his charges dropped faster. Thinks because I am a woman, that he can get away with it. He would have gotten so much worse if I had let the Chief or any of the other boys take him in alone.” Nicole says, moving to kick the bag a few times.

 

“And have you discussed this with the Chief, or Waverly?” Dolls asks.

 

“The Chief and I talked about it before dinner last night. He says Hardy is just a dimwit. Says Champ recently found out I was engaged to Waverly and that started this all up in the first place. But I am not in danger of losing anything. He only can gain from it.”

 

“And Waverly?”

 

“Bringing up her ex who assaulted her in a crowded bar… not something I would bring up to a normal victim, let alone one I care for.” Nicole says, resuming her punches. “Hardy is a prick. He is just trying to get off easy, that’s all. Waverly had the charges dropped, but the destruction of property, the sexual harassment and a few other charges stuck because Shorty filed them. I don’t give a damn about Champ Hardy. Tomorrow morning is merely an inconvenience that will cause me to have to wake up an hour earlier. But, that being said, I don’t take kindly to anyone who thinks they can put their hands on another without their permission.”

 

“So, you are admitting you care for the youngest Earp?” Dolls asks, trying to hide his grin.

 

“Of course I do. But as friends. We will never be more than that though and… I am okay with that as long as she is happy.” Nicole says.

 

“And what if she wants to see people on the side while you are married, men?” He asks. It isn’t an uncommon practice. Some would cheat on their arranged marriages to be with people they genuinely liked. It is highly frowned upon, but that doesn’t mean people don’t do it.

 

Nicole takes one last hard punch and steps back. She takes a deep breath and looks at him. “Like I said. I want her happy and safe. I am not here to control her. She is a human being. She will make her own choices.”

 

“Fair enough.”

  


 

 

Waverly hears the conversation, but only because she couldn’t walk away. She shouldn’t be eavesdropping, but… well… she doesn’t even have a good excuse. She gets out of there and begins to walk back through the house. She decides that she wants to go to the station tomorrow and talk with Nicole after the meeting. She isn’t completely sure what Dolls and Nicole are talking about, but she knows it has to do with that night at Shorty’s.

 

They all go home later that afternoon and head to bed soon after. Dolls was right, Waverly and Nicole are getting married in five days and every day until that and after will be a trial. So much to think about, so much to do and not nearly enough time for it all.

 

Chapter Text

Nicole gets to Nedley’s office a few minutes early the next morning.

 

“Haught.” He says as she knocks. “Enter.”

 

“Morning Sir.” She says as she moves inside and leans up against the wall. She crosses her arms over her chest and waits patiently.

 

Twenty minutes later (ten minutes after their scheduled meeting is supposed to start), Champ enters Nedley’s office and takes a seat in one of the chairs. Ward (who had volunteered to wait outside for Champ) follows in behind him and shuts the door.

 

“Hardy, you made a verbal complaint accusing my officer of excessive force. Care to share some details so we can get this all settled accordingly?” Nedley asks, glaring at the man sitting in front of him.

 

“The dyke officer…” He starts but is quickly cut off.

 

“Hardy, if you don’t want to end up in a cell for a hate crime, I suggest you adjust your vocabulary.” Nedley interjects before Ward can. Nicole doesn’t even clinch or react. She just continues to lean against the wall and watch Champ.

 

Champ lets out an exasperated breath, turning to glare at Nicole before turning back around and starting over. “Officer what’s-her-name over there cuffed me and then hit me to the ground and brutalized me while I was still cuffed. She then kicked me in my junk several times and shoved my head into the door and banged it. Her partner should be here too, he helped her.” Champ spits out, turning to smirk at a stoic Nicole.

 

Nedley seems to ponder this for a moment before looking up at Nicole. “Haught? Got something to say about the matter?”

 

“Clearly Mr. Hardy was so drunk that his reality is distorted. He fails to mention how he assaulted a young woman, moments before being detained. He said I cuffed him and then brutally assaulted him. My actions were a response to him assaulting Waverly Earp and continuing to verbally taunt her after the fact. I don’t deny that I was rough with Mr. Hardy, but not in the way he is describing. A clear indication of this is the fact that he claimed I cuffed him. When in fact, I was over fifteen feet away with the victim he assaulted (checking on her) when he was being detained. And he would have shown signs of this alleged assault if it had happened the way he claims, yet… I never even saw a bruise on him. No one else (doctors or other) reported it either. He did not seek or receive medical treatment. And as you are fully aware of Sir, if said assault had happened, he would need a hospital. That’s all I have to say about the matter.” Nicole says, stoic and unaffected.

 

“No bitch is going to send me to the hospital, you…!” Champ turns looking angry and stands.

 

“You should be aware that Officer Haught is a highly trained law enforcement officer with a background in hand-to-hand combat. I wouldn’t recommend standing up boy.” Chief Earp says in warning.

 

Champ scoffs but sits back down and faces Nedley.

 

“Well Mr. Hardy, I think we are done here. Your charges against Ms. Earp were already dropped. But I see no reason to drop the other charges for disturbing the peace and property damage. You will pay the fines and make a formal apology to Shorty. I checked security footage and Officer Haught is correct, she did not cuff you. Clearly you are trying to use the system for your own game. I do not appreciate anyone trying to use my officers against the law. Now get out of my office before I change my mind and lock you up for public intoxication. I can smell the beer on your breath from here.” Nedley says harshly.

 

Champ growls at him but gets up and leaves, but only after giving Nicole a glare that she thinks he means to be intimidating. “She will never love you.” He whispers just loud enough for her to hear. “You aren’t worth it. She will always come back to me. This marriage is a sham and an abomination. She will always need me.”

 

Nicole just stares at him, still no emotions in view and watches as he leaves.

 

Nedley turns to Nicole and Chief Earp. “Dismissed.”

 

They both nod and leave Nedley’s office.

 

Ward turns to Nicole and puts an arm on her shoulder. “You okay?”

 

Nicole looks at him and nods. “I told the truth. And honestly, Champ didn’t have to blow that story out of proportion. If he had just told the truth, I would have taken the punishment with no contest. But the stupid idiot decided to take it a step further and it ended up screwing him. But I am glad Nedley didn’t ask me more questions.”

 

“Why is that?”

 

“Because inevitably, one of those questions would be if I regret my decision and my actions. And my answer would be no.” She says without hesitation.

 

Ward gives her a meaningful nod and releases her shoulder. Nicole walks towards a waiting Dolls in the bullpen and he moves to walk back to his desk but is stopped when he sees Waverly leaving the BBD office. He watches in what feels like slow motion as the smaller brunette bumps into Champ in the hallway.

 

“I knew you couldn’t stay away.” He says with a shit eating grin. He grabs her and pulls her close.

 

Waverly struggles to get free, wiggling out of his grasp. “Champ, don’t touch me. I just didn’t see you. If I had, I would have walked in the other direction.” Waverly says, taking a step away from him for good measure.

 

Champ takes a step towards her, backing her up against the opposite wall. Ward grinds his teeth. His first instinct is to protect his daughter, but he also knows she is strong and he needs to give her the opportunity for defend herself. He waits and watches.

 

Champ moves closer, laying one of his arms against the wall above Waverly’s head. “C’mon Waverly. You know you miss me.”

 

Ward watches as Champs eyes dart away from his daughter and to a figure at the other end of the hall, or rather, two figures. Nicole and Dolls are walking down the hall towards them but are looking down at a file in hand.

 

Champ retrains his focus on Waverly and with a mischievous look in his eyes, rushes forward and kisses Waverly, slipping his tongue in while she is still too stunned to respond or protest.

 

Nicole looks up at that moment and Ward wishes he didn’t see the look on the redhead’s face when she saw Champ kissing Waverly. Waverly’s hands are on Champs face and his free hand is on her ass.

 

Nicole immediately pulls Dolls’ arm and they walk back in the opposite direction, stepping out of the station quickly.

 

Waverly uses her hands on his face to shove Champ away from her, looking offended and angrier than Ward had ever seen his daughter. She hadn’t seen Nicole, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Waverly punches the boy man square in the jaw, knocking him off balance and to the ground like a hot rock.

 

Ward decides in that moment that he wishes he had intervened sooner. He jogs over and takes his daughter in his arms before looking down at Champ. “You are lucky we are in a police station boy ‘cause if we weren’t, I would shoot you myself.” Ward growls, anger rising.

 

Champ cradles his already swelling jaw, but smirks.

 

“I can arrest him for sexual assault Babygirl.” Ward offers, looking at his daughter.

 

Waverly shakes her head, angrily looking down at the fallen man. “No, not worth the paperwork. Just… can you have someone get him out of here.”

 

“Peters and Lonnie!” Ward yells down the hall.

 

“Yes Chief!” The officers say, jogging towards him.

 

“Escort Mr. Hardy out will ya. He has no further business here and is no longer welcome on the premises. If he resists or gives you any trouble, cuff him and toss him in lockup.” Ward says with a look towards Champ that makes the man below visibly shudder.

 

“Yes Sir.” The officers say. They pick up Champ from the floor and practically shove him towards the doors.

 

Once they are out of sight, Ward turns to Waverly, looking her over. “Are you okay?”

 

“Daddy, I’m fine. I just have the urge to brush my teeth with bleach, but besides that, I am fine. I am actually here to talk with Nicole. I brought her coffee, but she wasn’t in her office when I checked. That’s how I ran into Champ. Have you seen her?” Waverly asks.

 

“Unfortunately, I have. Come with me.” He says, leading her into one of the meeting rooms and shutting the door.

 

“Daddy, what's wrong? Is she okay?” Waverly asks, nervous because of her father’s behavior.

 

“Yeah, she just um… We had a meeting with Hardy and Nedley this morning. Chump tried to say Nicole used excessive force and basically said she beat the crap out of him while cuffed. It isn’t true and Nedley concluded that, but then Nicole walked down the hall to see you and Champ kissing.” Ward says, watching as his daughter’s face morphs from anger to fear and then to regret. “She walked out of the station with Xavier. They probably just went out for patrol.” He says, hoping to pacify a pacing Waverly.

 

“Shit.” Waverly mumbles under her breath, trying to comprehend everything. “Shit, wait. She thought I kissed Champ? But I am marrying her?”

 

“Babygirl, sit. Let’s talk this out before you pace holes in the floor. He pulls out a chair and has Waverly sit before taking a seat next to her. “Look, there are people who are in situations like you and Nicole. Where the arranged marriage isn’t one of love. Thus, some of those people, especially those who have spouses as accepting and as… non-constricting… as Nicole, seek relationships outside of their marriage. Infidelity is extremely frowned upon, but it does exist in these situations. And with what she knows about you and Champ being on and off together for years now, I don’t think it was a stretch for her to believe that you took him back.”

 

Waverly lets her face fall to the table, remembering the conversation she overheard between Dolls and Nicole. “Oh my god.”

 

“I should also mention that I overheard Champ make a dig at Nicole at the conclusion of this morning’s meeting. I didn’t hear what was said and Nicole didn’t visibly react. But the look on his face made me believe it was something in reference to you.” Wards says, resting a comforting hand on Waverly’s back.

 

“Oh my god.” Waverly repeats into the table. “This is so bad.”

 

“Babygirl, Nicole is your friend. She will understand that this is just a misunderstanding. She is reasonable and rational. Just talk with her later and explain.”

 

“I am such an idiot.” Waverly says, shaking her head.

 

“That is something you are not.” Ward says. “Hey, my lunchbreak is right about now. Let’s go get a bite together?”

 

Waverly nods and stands up. Her father hugs her and she reciprocates it before they both walk out of the room.

 


 

 

“Nicole. You okay?” Dolls asks as they begin to finish their lunch in Shorty’s.

 

“Just comprehending things.” Nicole responds, but her voice is hollow.

 

“Look…” Dolls begins but is cut off.

 

“Dolls, she is allowed to have a life. I wish she would be with better than Champ the chump, but that is beside the point. It’s her life.” Nicole says.

 

“She is going to be your wife…” He says.

 

“Like that means anything!” Nicole says voice raising, standing from her chair. She takes out her wallet and pulls out enough cash to cover her meal. “Xavier, I won’t control her life. But that doesn’t also mean I will always be happy with her choices. But that is just it. She is an adult. They are her choices to make. I don’t earn an input just because my name will be on the same piece of paper as hers.” With that, Nicole walks out through the back door of Shorty’s and down the alley towards the police station.

 

In the heat of their conversation, both Nicole and Dolls failed to notice Ward and Waverly taking seats in the nearly empty bar. Dolls exhales deeply before fishing out his wallet and putting some cash on the table. He turns and his eyes go wide as his gaze meets both Earps.

 

“Your partner seems pretty upset.” Ward comments, breaking the uncomfortable silence.

 

“In all honesty Chief, I think I am more upset than she is.” He looks at Waverly, who is looking at her hands that have suddenly become more interesting. “Haught is just having a rough day. I think you would know more about it than I would. Anyways, you two enjoy your meal.”

 

Ward nods at Dolls and watches as his officer leaves the bar.

 

Shorty comes up to them. “Rough day at the station?” He asks, looking at a defeated Waverly and the door that Nicole practically broke down as she left.

 

“You have no idea.” Ward says to his longtime friend. “How’s your day been so far? Seems quiet.”

 

“Pretty much. Although I had Hardy in here a little while ago with a half assed apology, hoping I would serve him in the future.” Shorty comments, eyes on Waverly.

 

“Oh joy.” Ward jokes, wrapping an arm around his moping daughter. “Wave, relax. Talk to her later. She is probably more pissed about Hardy trying to pin her as a dirty cop.”

 

“Or she is pissed because we are getting married in like four days and she thinks I was willingly kissing my ex right in front of her office door.” Waverly supplies in a defeated tone.

 

“Haught is not petty or an idiot Darling. She will listen once you talk to her. It is just a matter of time. Let her cool off first though. I would rather not have her murdering Champ. That is a whole lot of paperwork I don’t want to do.” Ward jokes.

 

Waverly chuckles softly, allowing her father to try and cheer her up even if she feels like crap.

 

Chapter Text

Ward’s radio crackles to life as Shorty serves them their lunch.

 

“Armed robbery at the mini mart on 3rd.” The dispatcher calls.

 

It is not even a second later that Nicole responds. “Haught and Dolls responding. ETA three minutes.”

 

“Should you go?” Waverly asks her father.

 

“If they need me, I will. But this is kinda their expertise. That division is in charge. If they need backup, then we go.” Ward responds, taking a bite of his steak.

 

“And Wynonna is on this team?” Waverly asks.

 

“Technically, yes. Nicole and Dolls have her and Doc taking firearm qualification tests this week in the city. But even if they were here, not sure they would be brought along. They are still probationary.”

 

Waverly nods and goes back to her food.

 


 

Nicole walks into her office to find Waverly asleep on the small couch near the door. Nicole closes the door quietly and walks over to her desk. She works on paperwork and replies to emails until Waverly wakes some time later.

 

“You’re here.” Waverly says, wiping the sleep from her eyes.

 

“You’re awake.” Nicole replies.

 

Waverly expects to hear anger or hurt in Nicole’s voice, but she doesn’t. Nicole sounds like her normal, confident self.

 

“Look, about this morning…”

 

Nicole puts a hand up and silences Waverly. “Waverly, you don’t have to explain anything to me. It’s your life. You are an adult and you are free to make your own choices.”

 

“Nicole, I am not back with Champ. He kissed me and I pushed him away. I am done with him and have been for a while now.” Waverly says, searching Nicole for any reaction but she doesn’t get any.

 

“Good to know. But, like I said, it’s your life Waverly. It is none of my business. You can and will make your own choices and I will support what makes you happy.” Nicole says, looking back at her paperwork.

 

“Nicole, I’m sorry.”

 

“For what? You didn’t do anything wrong.” Nicole says and she is being genuine.

 

“Even so, it probably didn’t feel great to see that. Plus, I heard you had a rough morning with Champ before that.” Waverly says, trying to hide the hurt she feels with Nicole distancing herself. She can practically feel the walls being built up around Nicole.

 

“Like I said. I’m happy if you are happy. Nothing to apologize for. Oh, and thanks for the coffee.” Nicole says.

 

Waverly eyes the untouched cup that is still sitting on Nicole’s desk where she left it this morning. Waverly nods and stands, moving to leave.

 

“Hey Waverly.” Nicole calls as Waverly is crossing the threshold.

 

Waverly leans back in. “Yeah?”

 

“Let me know if I need to beat the shit out of Champ Hardy and frame it on Pete York.” Nicole says with a grin that makes Waverly relax instantly.

 

Waverly giggles, smiling for the first time since this morning. “I will keep that in mind Officer.” She jokes. “Lunch tomorrow?”

 

“I will meet you at Shorty’s.” Nicole replies in agreement.

 

Waverly gives her the signature smile and wave before turning and leaving.

 

Nicole leans back in her chair and rubs her face with her hands. “Haught, you are a total idiot.” She says to herself.

 

“And why are you an idiot?” Ward asks from the doorway.

 

Nicole startles slightly but recovers quickly. “Chief.”

 

“Saw my daughter leaving looking less like a kicked puppy, so I assume that you both worked things out?” He asks, leaning on the frame.

 

“Nothing to work out Sir.” Nicole says, moving some paperwork around on her desk.

 

“I saw your face Nicole. No one else is here, you don’t have to lie to me. It hurt you to see that.”

 

Nicole regards him for along moment. “It did, but more because it was Hardy and a bit shocking. But like I told Waverly, she is free to make her own choices. It would be different if we were marrying for love. Then I could get away with feeling betrayed. But that isn’t the situation we are in Sir. I am well aware she has gaps in her life that I am not capable of filling and there is no way to change that. But I will never judge her for seeking it out. Doesn’t mean I will necessarily like it all the time, but I will deal with it. It’s not her problem, it’s mine.”

 

“Does my daughter strike you as a cheater, Nicole?”

 

“No Sir. But she is a straight woman marrying another woman. Circumstances seem to change people. And, is it really cheating if I tell her it is fine?”

 

“It is.” Ward confirms. “But my point is, I don’t think my daughter would be unfaithful to your marriage.”

 

“I don’t expect her to be alone and celibate the rest of her life Sir. In my opinion, that is unfair to her.”

 

“And you? How can one ask that of you if not of her as well?” Ward asks.

 

“Because I am okay being alone.” Nicole says without hesitation. “I don’t get that deep, romantic connection that people talk about. I just don’t. And I am not ashamed to admit that I gave up years ago on it. I focused on my career and it paid off. I have no problem living my life that way.”

 

Ward nods and leaves, knowing that if he didn’t, he would probably want to comfort a woman that clearly feels detached. Now is not the time.

 


 

Dolls hands a beer over to Nicole and they sit in her living room, watching the game on the television. After a long moment of silence, Nicole breaks it. “I lied to the Chief today.” She doesn’t pull her eyes from the screen, only movement being her sipping her beer.

 

“About?” Dolls asks.

 

“I told him I don’t get that deep connection with people. That one the poets write about, that great love. That that is why I am okay with Waverly seeking out love outside our marriage.”

 

“And that is a lie? I was under the impression that is how you have been living your life since Shae.” Dolls turns to look at her.

 

“It isn’t completely a lie. That was how I lived my life for a long time.”

 

“Was?”

 

“Waverly.” Nicole says simply.

 

“You love her? You feel that with her?” He prods.

 

Nicole exhales deeply and sighs. “I do.”

 

“So why not tell her? Why allow her to be with others? Why give her that choice, knowing it will hurt you, kill you to stand by and watch?” He is genuinely confused.

 

“Because loving someone is putting their own happiness above your own. Love is caring more about someone else’s happiness, more than your own. Even if it causes you pain.” Nicole says softly, taking a long pull from her beer. “I want her to be happy. And I love her enough to support her in that endeavor… even if it isn’t with me. But you are right, it might kill me (or at least my soul).”

 

“Why would you do that to yourself?” Dolls asks, agitated all of a sudden. He hates the idea of his friend in pain.

 

“Because Shae stole my soul, my drive and broke my heart. She broke me and I never really recovered from that. Not until Waverly. She makes me feel… whole. I don’t feel like part of me is missing when I am with her. She gave me that back after so many years of being without it. I am grateful of that. So even if she finds someone else and that piece she has given me is ripped away once again… I will be just grateful I had it for a little while. I could live with that.”

 

Dolls wraps an arm around the redhead’s shoulders and gives her a squeeze. “You deserve to be happy. You are in love with that woman.”

 

“But doesn’t she deserve to be happy too?” Nicole counters softly, leaning into Xavier. “I love her Dolls. So much that I would give up everything for her. Even this. I told the chief that I have no problem living my life that way. And that is the honest to god truth. As long as Waverly is happy, I can go on and be whatever she needs me to be.”

 

“That’s a really lonely way to live.” Dolls comments, still holding her tight.

 

Nicole nods, turning into him and burrowing her face into his shirt. “And it isn’t easy some days. So that’s why I need you.”

 

Dolls looks down at her questioningly.

 

“I need you to support me on this. Because some days are going to test me and there will be days I want to quit. I need you to be here for me and talk me down. Remind me why I am doing this and make sure I keep perspective. I need you to do that for me Xavier. I can’t do this alone. I am tired of fighting alone. I know you don’t agree with my choice, but please help me anyways.”

 

Dolls looks at her sadly, seeing the tears welling in her eyes. “Yeah. I got your six Haught. Always have and always will.”

 


 

Nicole and Waverly are at lunch the next day and Waverly is relieved that the Nicole she is so fond of seems to have returned. Their conversation is easy and they even talk about the upcoming wedding with smiles on their faces.

 

All is going well until Champ, Pete, and Kyle York walk into Shorty’s. The brothers walk straight to the bar while Champ moseys over to Waverly and Nicole’s booth. Waverly notices him first, squeezing Nicole’s hand in hers and leaning a little more into the redhead as he gets closer.

 

“Waverly. Want to finish what we started yesterday? I’m sure the apartment upstairs still has our old mattress up there.” Champ says, winking at Waverly.

 

Waverly wants to respond but can’t find the words. Thankfully, she doesn’t have to because Nicole speaks.

 

Without looking up from her menu, “Hardy, if you touch her without her permission ever again, I will cut your balls off and feed them to you. Are we clear?” She says it with no emotion whatsoever, but her tone is the definition of stone wall seriousness.

 

Champ scoffs, but Waverly can tell by the step back he takes that he is intimidated. Something about the way Nicole never looked at him and the way she said it… everyone knows she is dead serious.

 

Nicole looks over in her peripheral vision and sees Shorty nodding at her.

 

“You wouldn’t…” Champ starts but doesn’t get the chance to finish.

 

Nicole jumps out of the booth, causing Champ to jump back and tumble to the floor.

 

“Really?” She takes a step towards him leaning down to growl her next words in his face, low enough so only they will hear. “I wouldn’t hesitate. Like it or not. She is my family now Chump. You mess with her, there will not be a place on this earth that you can hide from me. I will end you.”

 

“Is that a threat?” He asks.

 

“No. It is a promise. Now get your ass out of here before Shorty calls the station and allows me to legally throw your ass into a cell.” She says, plastering a smile on her face and walking back over to their booth. She sits back down next to Waverly and picks up her menu once again as if nothing had happened.

 

“What did you say to him that got him walking out of the bar so quickly?” Waverly asks, watching as Champ walks out with his friends.

 

“Oh, I just informed him it would be in his best interest to leave before I lost my cool.” Nicole says breezily.

 

Waverly retakes Nicole’s hand in hers and leans into the woman’s side once again. “I didn’t know you could lose your cool. You always seem so calm.” Waverly comments, looking over to see a very happy Shorty smiling at the door Champ recently left through.

 

“It is not fun for any parties involved. Let’s just say that… actually, when I lost my cool on Champ, I think your dad enjoyed it a little, once he got over the shock.” Nicole comments, chuckling and grabbing her vibrating phone.

 

“Haught.” She answers.

 

A female voice on the other end of the line says something that catches Nicole’s attention.

 

“Yes ma’am, thank you. I will drive up tomorrow afternoon to pick it up. Thank you… You too ma’am, goodbye.” Nicole hangs up the phone and returns her attention to Waverly. “Sorry.”

 

“Who was that?” Waverly asks.

 

“A jeweler in the city. I am going tomorrow afternoon to pick up our wedding bands.” Nicole comments, typing something into her phone.

 

“Oh, really? Can I come?” Waverly asks.

 

“It is gonna be kinda boring.” Nicole says. “It’s just a two-hour long drive and then a brief time in the city before I gotta get back here for my night shift. You sure you want to come with me?”

 

“Of course. And by the way Nicole, I haven’t been outside the ghost river triangle, so any trip I get outside of here is exciting.” Waverly says with a smile.

 

“Alright, well then I will pick you up at three. Want me to grab you here or at the homestead?” Nicole asks, smiling at the clearly excited brunette.

 

“I’m not working, so the homestead would be preferable, but whatever is convenient.”

 

“Homestead at three it is.” Nicole says with a chuckle.

 

Shorty walks over and takes their orders, making sure to give Nicole a few well-meaning comments about kicking Champ’s ass. 

 

Once he is gone, Waverly retrains her eyes on their joined hands. “So, what exactly is this wedding going to look like? I mean, I know we aren’t going to have some big ceremony, but I am not even sure how it works when we are just going to the courthouse.”

 

“Well, we meet at the courthouse. My father, Gus, Dolls and Charlie will be there with me. Your dad, sister, and Doc will be there with you. We hand in some paperwork, a judge is our officiate, there is a small ceremony and then we are officially married. After the courthouse, my father is hosting a party at his house. It is mostly business people, townsfolk, and then our families. From what I understand it is almost four hundred people. Honestly, I am not sure how long I will last at that party. I have never been one to enjoy those types of functions. I don’t know most of them, why would I want to entertain them as ‘wedding guests’. You don’t have to go to that if you don’t want to. My father might bitch about it, but it is completely up to you.” Nicole says. “After that, it is basically just traditional stuff. The whole first night rule and that kind of stuff.”

 

At the mention of the first night, Waverly feels herself tense the slightest bit. One of the wedding traditions is that, for the first night of marriage, the couple must be under the same roof with no one else on the premises. It was designed so consummation (a very sacred part of marriage in Purgatory) was not disturbed. Her father had asked for them to spend their first night on the Homestead, claiming that he was working the night shift and Wynonna would stay at Doc’s for the night. Plus, it is closer to Nicole’s father’s house than Nicole’s house is.

 

Sensing Waverly’s uneasiness, Nicole squeezes her hand and gives her a reassuring smile. “Hey. Everything is going to be okay.”

 

“Promise?” Waverly asks, not caring how she looks in this moment.

 

“I promise. And if it is not, I promise to do everything in my power to make it so.” Nicole says, pulling Waverly in for a hug.

 

Waverly immediately reciprocates, pulling her arms tight around Nicole. It is a little awkward because they are sitting in a booth, but neither seem to care.

 

Chapter Text

Nicole picks Waverly up in a car she has never seen before. She leans on the open passenger side window and peaks in to look at Nicole. “How many cars do you have?” She jokes.

 

Nicole laughs. “Get in. And for your information, I only have the cruiser, my truck and the baby. She is by far my favorite.” Nicole says, running her hands lovingly on the steering wheel.

 

Waverly quickly gets in and closes the door. Nicole puts the car in gear and guns it out on to the road, eliciting excited squeals and laughs from Waverly.

 

“You going to give me the specks on this car or are you fighting your inner car geek?” Waverly teases.

 

Nicole gives her a look but can’t help the smile that lights up her face. “1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 RS. She has a 4.9-liter small block V8 engine, 15-inch rally wheels and a front disk lock braking system. Four hundred horsepower. Rear wheel drive and she will do zero to sixty in seven point four seconds. Top speed is somewhere around 130.  When I got her, she was a mess. But after a lot of TLC, she is a crown jewel. The guts of the car are all original or restored. The interior was basically cardboard so I pulled the seats and put in procar bucket seats, basically replaced all the flooring and then restored the headliner. Everything else in the car is either original or restored. Oh, except I removed the ash tray (I have never smoked in this car and never will) and put in a Bluetooth speaker so if I didn’t want to listen to the original FM radio, I could connect my phone. I could have replaced the radio, but I wanted to keep the car as original as possible. Spent almost three years on her before I felt like she was perfect. Did all the work myself. When I got her, the previous owner had a really shitty grey paint job on her, so I repainted her the classic Camaro yellow with the black racing stripes.”

 

“The car is a her? Why?”

 

“Because this car is a badass. It leaves all the cars of its class in the dust. Of course, it’s a she.” Nicole says.

 

“Okay, well if you gave her a gender, I am guessing you also gave her a name.” Waverly surmises.

 

Nicole shifts in her seat for a moment before answering. “Yeah, well. Um… I named it after my mom. Her name was Kelly. At the time, I was struggling a lot with her being gone. This was my first car, I was sixteen and trying to figure out how I fit in in this world. Working on her helped me think and get perspective.”

 

“Kelly…” Waverly repeats, letting it sink in. “It is beautiful. Simple. Means intelligent and bright.”

 

“Yes, she was.” Nicole says softly. “So, yeah. This is one way I keep her memory alive. The car was originally hers. After she died, my father sold it to a friend of his. I used money I made working at the shop to buy it back from him when I was fifteen. And I have had her ever since. Gus even taught me how to drive in this car.”

 

“Wow.” Waverly says. She sees the love put into the car, the details. “I don’t know much about cars, and I only understood about half of your little spec spiel, but I can see how much the car means to you. It is your first car and one that your mom drove. I see why it is important to you.”

 

Nicole laughs, nodding and smiling as they begin to hit open road. Waverly connects her phone to the Bluetooth speaker and plays music as they drive. The drive soon becomes a karaoke party, the girls singing everything from classic rock to pop songs. They are both almost disappointed when they finally arrive. They both get out and Nicole leads Waverly into the jewelry shop. Nicole walks up to a woman at the counter. “Ms. Haught, so good to see you again. Glad you could make it. How was the drive?”

 

“Good to see you as well Gertrude. The drive was nice, I had good company. Gertrude, this is my fiancé Waverly. Waverly, this is Gertrude. She owns and runs the place.”

 

“Nice to meet you.” Waverly greets, shaking the woman’s hand with her patented smile on her face.

 

“It is nice to finally meet you as well Waverly. I will go grab your orders and be right back.” Gertrude says as she walks to the back room. She returns a moment later with a ring box in hand. She places it down on the counter and then huffs out a breath. “Oh shucks, I forgot the other box. One moment dears.” Gertrude retreats back to the back room.

 

“Hey Waves? I think I left my wallet in the car. I need my ID. Mind going and grabbing it for me?” Nicole asks a little quickly, but Waverly is to absorbed in the moment to notice.

 

“Yeah, sure.” Waverly says, taking the keys Nicole hands to her and walking out to the car.

 

Gertrude walks back out with another, slightly smaller box. “Here it is doll.”

 

Nicole opens up the newly arrived box and snaps it shut with a smile on her face. “You did an amazing job on it. Thank you, Gertrude.” Nicole pockets the smaller box as Waverly enters carrying her wallet, but leaves the other box on the counter. She winks at Gertrude, signaling that Waverly doesn’t know about the second box. Gertrude smiles back and opens the box she first brought.

 

Inside are two simple wedding bands. Both are platinum but they have a few differences. Waverly had left the rings up to Nicole, so this is her first time seeing them. Beyond asking her ring size, Nicole hadn’t discussed any details with her. And honestly… she can’t say she is disappointed.

 

She can immediately tell who’s is who’s. Nicole’s is a three-millimeter-wide classic wedding band with a small engraving on the inside. Waverly’s is slightly less simple. It is a two millimeters wide band. It has elegant textured edges that adds a modern touch to it, but doesn’t ruin the timeless style and simplicity.  She notices the small engraving on the inner wall of her ring as well, she can’t read it without taking it out of the box, but it looks like it matches the one inside Nicole’s.

 

“They are gorgeous. Oh, my god Nicole.” Waverly says.

 

“That’s all Gertrude. She is the best.” Nicole says, smiling at the woman. “Thank you for all the work you did. They look stunning.” Nicole says to her.

 

“Honey, you came in and knew what you wanted. I just did as I was told.” She jokes. She closes the ring box and places it in a larger box filled with packing tissue so it won’t get damaged during their ride home. She hands the box to Nicole, who promptly hands it to Waverly. Gertrude has Nicole sign a confirmation of pickup and then they are out the door after thanking Gertrude once again.

 

“Are you hungry?” Nicole asks, looking at a still a little stunned, Waverly.

 

She nods and Nicole smiles, knowing exactly where to take the woman.

 

They drive through the city with the windows down, Waverly completely enamored with her surroundings. Breathing in the air, taking in the sights and sounds of the vibrant and alive city. They stop at a taco stand and Nicole gets a bunch of food to-go. They then drive to a particular building. Nicole gets out and hands her keys off to a valet and then opens the door to help Waverly out.

 

“Good afternoon Ms. Haught.” The valet says.

 

Nicole nods at him and leads Waverly into the building. They make it to an elevator after walking through the lobby (all of the staff greeting Nicole friendlily).

 

As they enter the elevator, Waverly finally speaks up. “Nicole, what is this place? Everyone here seems to know you?”

 

Nicole laughs. “This is Haught Enterprises. My family owns this building. It acts as the home for Express Automotive. So, yeah. Almost everyone in this building knows me. I used to run around this building while I waited for my father to notice me.”

 

Waverly squeezes her hand and watches as they climb up the one hundred floors. Once they reach the top, Nicole types in a passcode on a keypad and the door unlocks. It opens up to the rooftop access. Waverly gulps as she sees everything.

 

“At 1,670 feet above the ground, you can see everything.” Nicole says, leading Waverly over to where a small couch and a few chairs are set up.

 

Waverly just nods, holding on to Nicole tight as she views the vast area around her. She looks down, and she can’t even see the people she knows are walking the city streets below. The cars are mere specks of moving color. They both take a seat and Nicole sets the food out for them to eat.

 

They eat in relative silence, simply enjoying the view. The loud city is not that up here. The wind is all one can hear at this height. Nicole will occasionally give Waverly a fun fact about a particular sight or answer the questions Waverly asks.

 

By the time they are done, Waverly is leaning into Nicole, completely full from eating probably the best Mexican food she has ever had. Nicole for her part, is completely full as well, enjoying the peace she has always sought out when she was here.

 

They sit for a long time together until Nicole checks the time and says they should get going. They make their way downstairs and back to the car.

 

Once they are on the road again, Waverly looks out the window silently.

 

“You okay Waves?” Nicole asks, noticing the other girl’s silence.

 

“I have a question, but I don’t know if I want to ask it.” Waverly replies.

 

“Well, you could try and ask it, and then if it doesn’t feel right, I won’t answer it?” Nicole supplies.

 

Waverly takes a deep breath and watches Nicole as she asks, “You seem really open about your past. Like you talk about your struggles with your mom and your dad so easily. Does it bug you that I don’t reciprocate or do the same?”

 

After a pause, Nicole smiles softly and chances a glance over at Waverly before refocusing on the road. “Do you want me to answer that?”

 

After a moment of thought, Waverly nods her head.

 

“Waverly, I share so openly with you because you make me feel comfortable to do so. In reality, at least with most people, I am extremely private. But the way I figure it, we are going to be spending the rest of our lives together, so you will find out all this stuff eventually. That being said, no, it doesn’t bother me that you don’t do the same so easily. Your story is yours to tell on your own timeline. I never want you to feel pressured to tell me something you aren’t ready to talk about. That can do more damage than good.” Nicole says, taking her hand off the gear shift to squeeze Waverly’s. “I want you to know you can always talk to me, about anything. But never push yourself before you are ready.”

 

“Thank you.” Waverly says, squeezing Nicole’s hand back. “But if it is okay with you, I would like to tell you a little bit about me and my past. I know my dad told you the basics, but I think there is some stuff you should know.”

 

“Whenever you are ready. Take your time.”

 

“Momma left and things were really bad for a while. My eldest sister Willa, she blamed me for Mamma leaving us. She hated me. And Wynonna was just too sad to do anything. Daddy started drinking, a lot. Nedley even suspended him because of it. He got into a program about a year later and ended up getting it all under control. But that year was horrible for me. Willa hated me, Wynonna couldn’t even look at me, and our dad was always either asleep or too drunk to function. I was young and I felt alone. Eventually, Wynonna started acting out in school and getting into trouble with the law. Willa and Wynonna both started drinking too. I got really depressed and sad. I think that was what really got my dad to realize he needed to be better. He saw his daughters falling apart so he got clean. He put Willa and Wynonna into a program to help get them back on track, made house rules and spent every moment he wasn’t working with us. Willa stopped drinking all together, since then, I have only seen her drink a glass of wine with dinner occasionally. Wynonna… not so much. Shorty started coming around more, making sure we were okay when our dad was at work. I focused on school and that worked for me. I found something that made me feel special and happy. Wynonna started working for a local bounty hunter when she hit high school, so that helped keep her out of jail most of the time. Put her on the straightened arrow. Willa went off to college with her now husband and got a degree in business. She and Robert now do freelance work for different big companies. Time, age and maturity really were the only cure for my relationship with Willa. We eventually got back to a good place. Now we are close. We try and call frequently and keep in touch. She is actually super excited to meet you. Wynonna got into bounty hunting and never looked back. She left for a few years, traveled the world. She claims she was chasing bail jumpers, but I think she was the one running. Running away from herself. I started working at Shorty’s and pursued my degree online. Um… Champ… after we graduated high school. He asked Daddy’s permission to marry me. Daddy said no. He said that Champ had never been faithful or good enough to me and a marriage wouldn’t change that. Champ basically didn’t care and asked me anyways.”

 

Waverly waits for Nicole to respond to the information, but she doesn’t. She just nods along and gives Waverly all the time she needs.

 

“Anyways, I told him no. I wasn’t ready and I wasn’t sure I would be. A couple weeks after that, Champ and I had a pregnancy scare. Honestly the whole ordeal from beginning to end was horrible and I realized that the thought of having his child scared the shit out of me. But not because of the baby. But because I would be permanently bound to him. Once I realized that, I knew I was done with the relationship (hell, I was done years before that). I just didn’t want to admit it. I broke up with him and three months later, you were giving me your jacket in Shorty’s. You know the rest after that.”

 

Nicole nods slowly and allows the information to settle. “Mind if I ask you a question?” She asks.

 

“Sure.” Waverly replies.

 

“So, I want to start by saying I am not judging you when I ask this. I just don’t really understand. If Champ cheated on you for all those years, why would you stay with him. And why did it take an unplanned pregnancy to push you to end it? Like I said, not judging. Just curious and confused.” Nicole says cautiously.

 

Waverly thinks about it for a long moment before answering, deciding she can truly be honest with Nicole. “Um, well. I knew about Champ cheating, I knew from the beginning. But I wasn’t ready to have sex with him so I convinced myself that it was okay. That what he was doing was okay as long as we stayed together. And he made me popular and not ‘just an Earp’. Dating him turned me into the town sweetheart that everyone in Purgatory likes. I actually didn’t have sex with him until after he had proposed and I had said no. He told me that I was rejecting him in every way and that he was going to break up with me. My brain just couldn’t handle that. So, I slept with him, he refused to use protection, and that is what caused the pregnancy scare. I think I stayed with him all those years because I didn’t want to be alone and didn’t want to lose what being with him gave me.”

 

Nicole nods but looks like she wants to say something.

 

“What? I can tell you have something to say?” Waverly says, preparing for the judgy comment Nicole is gonna throw her way.

 

“I do. But I only want to say it if you want to hear it. If not, I don’t need to say anything.” Nicole says softly.

 

“Let’s hear it.” Waverly says, preparing for the insults and jabs to come.

 

She is surprised when Nicole takes her hand and holds it tight in an act of reassurance that Waverly has never felt before. “It is just an observation, as an outsider looking in. But I think maybe you never felt comfortable sleeping with Champ because you knew he was doing it with other girls. Your first time should be special and exclusive. No one wants to feel like they are coming in second place. And I also believe that you, Waverly Earp, are much more than the popularity Champ Hardy gave you. You broke up with him, and I don’t see any of the townsfolk treating you differently because of it. I have actually heard people make remarks of praise for you finally doing it. But I also understand that young age can make you do things you normally wouldn’t do. Especially when it comes to love.”

 

“I don’t think I ever loved him.” Waverly comments.

 

“Maybe, but I am guessing you tried and really wanted to. Even if he wasn’t worth it.” Nicole says softly. “And trust me, I understand. I made my fair share of mistakes when it came to dating. You aren’t stupid for trying with him and you aren’t the only one who did it. We all do it. We try hard for people who don’t deserve it.”

 

“You did it too?” Waverly asks, relaxing at Nicole’s words.

 

Nicole chuckles, but it is a little sad. “More like someone tried for me when I wasn’t worth it.”

 

“I can’t imagine that.” Waverly says. “You don’t strike me as someone not worth it.”

 

“I used to be different Waverly. It took a lot of heartbreak for me to get to the place I am in now. But that is a story for another day.” Nicole says.

 

Waverly nods and after a moment she looks out the window and sees Purgatory on the horizon. “Thank you for today.”

 

“Thanks for tagging along. It was far from boring with you here.” Nicole says, releasing Waverly’s hand so she can down shift.

 

They drive through town and towards the homestead, stopping briefly to talk with Mrs. Fran about the party.

 

By the time they get to the homestead, Waverly is sad to have to leave. Nicole drops her off and takes off once Waverly is safely inside her house. As she walks in and hangs up her coat, Waverly jumps when her father clears his throat.

 

“Daddy! Jeez!” She exclaims, holding a hand over her heart.

 

“Sorry Babygirl. Didn’t mean to startle you.” Ward says with a low chuckle.

 

Waverly gives him a look before taking a seat next to him on the couch.

 

“So how was your little outing with Nicole?” He asks.

 

“Amazing. We went and picked up our rings and then Nicole got us some amazing Mexican food. Then she took me to her family’s building and we ate lunch on the roof. Daddy, it was amazing up there. I felt like a was on top of the world. And we had a lot of fun on the drive as well. We sang and we talked and I am really starting to feel… ready.”

 

“Ready? For…?” Ward asks, hopeful.

 

“This whole marriage thing. Like, I think I can spend the rest of my life with a person like her. She is such a good person and friend and I genuinely like being around her. She makes me feel like…”

 

“You can be yourself?” Ward supplies.

 

“Exactly.” Waverly confirms. “She is just so… her. I can’t really explain it.”

 

“Well, I am glad you enjoyed yourself. So anyways, what are your plans for tomorrow?” He asks, wrapping an arm around his daughter.

 

“Well, I am having coffee with Nicole after she finishes her shift in the morning. Then I have to go pick up my dress from the cleaners. After that, nothing. Why?” Waverly asks.

 

“Well, I have some exciting news. Willa and Robert are driving in tonight So they can be at the wedding. They will be here in a few hours. I was thinking we could have a family dinner with all of us tomorrow night. It could be just you, me, Willa, Robert, Wynonna and Doc? Or you could invite Nicole if you wanted to introduce her to your sister before the wedding?”

 

“Willa is coming for my wedding?! I thought she couldn’t because of work?” Waverly exclaims, excited beyond words.

 

“Actually, things wrapped up quicker than expected and I wasn’t going to miss my sister’s wedding.” Willa says from the front door.

 

Waverly turns in surprise, but quickly jumps off the couch and bear hugs her sister. “You’re here!” Waverly says, holding her sister tight.

 

“Yes, you are. How are you here? We weren’t expecting you for a few more hours?” Ward says, getting up to greet his daughter.

 

“I drove.” Robert says as he enters, carrying Willa’s and his own bags. “And traffic wasn’t as bad as expected.” Robert shakes hands with Ward before quickly accepting a hug from Waverly. “Congratulations girly.” He says to her kindly. “I hear this whole arrangement has actually been pretty compatible as one can get in the situation.”

 

“Yes, Nicole is great. You both will love her.” Waverly says as she steps back.

 

“Well we should celebrate. Where is Wynonna and Doc?” Willa asks.

 

“Working, actually Doc has the night off but Wynonna is working.” Ward says.

 

“Call him up then. Shorty’s is calling!” Willa says. “You only get married once and you probably shouldn’t drink tomorrow night. Best not to have a hangover on your wedding day.” She jokes.

 

Waverly laughs and nods. “I’ll call him and have him meet us there in an hour.”

Chapter Text

Waverly and her sister quickly catch up and are all laughs and giggles by the time the reach Shorty’s. Doc is already there when they arrive, a large booth saved for them.

 

“Well I’ll say, the life of an important business woman sure suits you Ma’am.” Doc says as he embraces Willa in greeting.

 

Willa laughs and sits down as Robert and Doc share pleasantries.

 

“Beer? Wine? Spirits?” Ward asks, motioning to the bar. The men order beers and whisky while Willa and Waverly stick to wine.

 

By the time they all have their drinks, the bar is well filled and active. Conversation within the group is easy and light, discussing anything and everything. All is going well until a group of guys begin to argue over a game of pool.

 

“Oh boy.” Waverly says, watching as Shorty calls the station and her father readies himself to step in. From what she can tell, Carl is the one who started the fight, but the biker he is going after is not helping the matter and is antagonizing him. Voices raise and then someone breaks a pool cue over their knee and begins swinging.

 

Shorty yells at everyone to take a step back, giving the fighters a wide berth as to not injure anyone else. People do, thus giving Waverly and the rest of the booth a clear view.

 

Nicole, Dolls, Wynonna and Lonnie enter the bar, yelling for them to break it up. Lonnie backs people up more as Nicole, Wynonna and Dolls go about breaking the brawlers apart. One of them uses the broken cue and swings for Wynonna and Nicole. Nicole grabs the stick before it can hit Wynonna, swiftly twisting it from his grasp and pinning him to the pool table in one motion.

 

“Cuff him Earp. Nedley’s sending more unis to take them in.” Nicole says.

 

Dolls fights with Carl, exchanging a few blows before Dolls has had enough and just punches Carl out. Carl hits the ground, but for some reason he thinks it’s a good idea to stand up and pull a concealed knife. He is so focused on Dolls that he doesn’t notice Wynonna and Nicole walking up behind him. They grab his arms in unison and pull them behind his back, taking him to the ground in the process. Nicole nudges the knife out of reach and cuffs him quickly.

 

“Dolls, you good?” Nicole asks, she doesn’t look at him, but her voice shows she is listening.

 

“Good.” He responds.

 

“Earp?” Nicole inquires. Wynonna nods in affirmation and smiles when Nicole gives her a grin. “You did good.” Nicole whispers, but Waverly can read her lips and the triumphant smirk that crosses Wynonna’s features.

 

More uniformed officers enter the now calmer bar and begin to drag the cuffed trouble makers out. The bar goes back to normal, some helping Shorty right chairs and cleaning up the mess. Shorty motions for Nicole to walk over to him and they both meet and begin talking at the end of the bar. Wynonna and Dolls begin updating Nedley as he enters.

 

“Wynonna is… a cop? And like… a good one?” Willa asks in disbelief. The last time she was home, Wynonna was a bounty hunter with little respect for the law or those who enforce it.

 

“She is a work in progress.” Ward says with a laugh. “But she is in the right place working in that division. I think she is starting to feel like she belongs there. Plus, Dolls and Haught are good to her. Good friends. Doc here works with them too.”

 

“An unfortunate scheduling discrepancy required me to take the night off tonight.” Doc says, taking a sip from his whiskey.

 

“They seem like a good team.” Robert comments, watching the three.

 

“They definitely are. Plus, they are all almost family so they are close.” Waverly comments, watching Nicole as she smiles at something Shorty says.

 

“They all will be family in thirty-six hours.” Ward says with a laugh. Willa and Robert look at him confused, making Waverly, Doc and Ward all laugh. “Waverly’s fiancé, Nicole, is the redhead. And Dolls, the man, he is her best friend since childhood. She regards him as her brother.”

 

“No way.” Willa says, looking over at Nicole and observing her. She nudges Waverly in the shoulder. “She’s pretty, and from what you have said, she is nice too. Although you wouldn’t know it with how fierce and powerful she seems. I wouldn’t want to go against her.”

 

“The best.” Waverly concurs. “And yeah, she is kinda a badass. Oh god, remind me to tell you what she did to Champ. I swear, I think she hates him more than you and Wynonna do. And that’s a lot.”

 

“Well, if she hates Chump, I already like her more than your other love interests.” Willa says jokingly. “Wait, what did you say her last name was?”

 

“Haught.”

 

“Any relation to James Haught?” Robert asks.

 

“Her father.” Ward says.

 

“Oh wow.” Willa says. “Never would have pegged her for a millionaire.”

 

“Billionaire.” Robert corrects. “Once she gets the company anyways. Although I think she is probably close to a billionaire right now without full ownership.”

 

“She will surprise you in many ways.” Ward comments. “She sure did surprise me and that is not something easily done.”

 

Waverly watches as Dolls and Wynonna finish up with Nedley and make their way over to the booth.

 

“Earps and company.” Dolls greets as they approach.

 

“Dolls, this is my oldest daughter Willa and her husband Robert.” Ward introduces.

 

Dolls shakes hands with both, Wynonna reaching across for quick hugs with both after.

 

“Is this your first call of the night?” Ward asks.

 

“Naw, responded to a ‘shots fired’ reported at the Armstrong place. Bill was just can shooting but the neighbors were worried. We were driving past when the call came in so we decided to take it.” Wynonna says.

 

Waverly takes this opportunity to stand up and crosses the bar to where Nicole is having Shorty sign a paper. She hops up on the bar next to Nicole and looks down at the woman as she turns to her. “Hey officer.”

 

“Well, hello Ma’am.” Nicole says, accent in full effect.

 

Waverly laughs, seeing Shorty smile as well.

 

“Anything else you need from me Officer Haught? And thank you again. I really don’t want to have to replace another entire pool table. Already had to do it twice this year. Things are expensive.” Shorty says with a grateful grin.

 

“We are all settled here Shorty. Thanks for your time. I’ll make sure to let you know if anything changes.” Nicole says, releasing Shorty to go back to work.

 

With Nicole’s full attention now on her, Waverly smiles wider. “It is not often that I am the one looking down at you. Normally it is the other way around.”

 

“You like it? Does it make you feel powerful?” Nicole jokes.

 

They both laugh and Waverly takes Nicole’s hand as she hops down from the bar.

 

“Hey, I want you to come meet my sister Willa and her husband.” Waverly says, pulling Nicole over to the booth.

 

“Nicole, this is Willa and Robert. Willa, Robert, this is my fiancé Nicole Haught.” Waverly says.

 

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Nicole. I have heard a lot of great things.” Willa says.

 

“The pleasure is mine.” Nicole replies. “And same here.”

 

“So how long until your breaks?” Waverly asks Nicole, still holding her hand and arm.

 

“Fifteen minutes. We have to go file the reports on this thing anyways.” Nicole responds.

 

“Want to come over here once you are done?” Waverly asks hopefully. “You get an hour, right?”

 

“I’m down.” Wynonna agrees quickly.

 

“Yeah, I’m in. Dolls is too. He needs to get out more.” Nicole jokes.

 

Dolls knocks her arm lightly but doesn’t object.

 

“Alright perfect.” Waverly says.

 

“See you in a bit.” Nicole says, releasing Waverly and walking towards the door with Dolls and Wynonna.

 

“She’s hot.” Robert comments once Nicole is out the door.

 

Willa laughs and punches his arm jokingly. “Don’t get any ideas.”

 

“Don’t worry babe. I only got eyes for you. Plus, I don’t think I am her type.” Robert jokes, earning a chuckle from everyone at the table.

 

“Most definitely not.” Doc chimes in. “Although, having known her off and on for a few years, I will say, she has good taste.”

 

“Wait, what were her other girlfriends like?” Waverly asks, not sure if she really wants to know the answer but still curious.

 

“I only met the one. Shae, I believe her name was. No one else really made a lasting impact during the time I was around.

 

“What was she like?” Willa asks.

 

“Smart, became a doctor. Tall, dark and beautiful. Nice enough girl from what I saw, but she wasn’t right for Nicole.” Doc says.

 

“I met the girl when I was up at the academy recruiting Nicole. She seemed nice enough, but I agree, not right for Nicole. Haught even admits that herself.” Ward comments.

 

“You met her?” Waverly asks.

 

“Yeah. She and Nicole remained friendly after the break up. She was up visiting the cadet one of the weekends I was there.” Ward adds. “She ended up on the east coast I believe. From what I understand, she and Nicole don’t talk anymore. Decided to go their separate ways with a clean break. Nicole left for Ireland and Dr. Pressman went to do her residency.”

 

Waverly absorbs the information, hating the jealousy she is feeling. She thinks she hides it well, but Willa and Ward both notice it.

 

The topic of conversation changes and they all go back to easy conversation until the Black Badge team arrives. Nicole goes over to the bar and orders some food while Dolls and Wynonna take seats in the booth. Willa walks over and joins Nicole at the bar while she waits for her food.

 

“Well, it’s nice to finally put a face to the name.” Willa says.

 

“I would say the same, but your dad showed me a picture of you and your sisters about thirty seconds after I met him.” Nicole jokes, eliciting a laugh from Willa. “Proud Papas and their girls.”

 

“Ha, yeah. He is a good dad.” Willa says. “Speaking of, I didn’t realize my baby sister was marrying into the Haught family. You are the heir to quite an empire.”

 

“Waverly told me you and Robert were in business, so I shouldn’t be surprised you know about us. But yeah, she is. Although, I have never been a big part of the family business like my father.”

 

“I disagree.” Willa says. “I did some research a few years back when we were trying to get in on a deal with Haught Enterprises. Seems to me that the owner’s daughter working minimum wage in one of their shops really had an impact on company policy. Your family’s company is one of the kindest and most loyal to their employees.”

 

Nicole nods and smiles at Willa. “They work hard for us, it’s our responsibility to do what we can to work hard for them.”

 

“I think in any other business, I would tell you it was bad for business, but in this case, your company seems to continue to grow from it.” Willa comments.

 

“That’s the thing about business. I learned one thing from grandpa. He said the only thing better than crunching the numbers and making profits is loyalty. That’s why our company doesn’t do layoffs or pay cuts. You make employees happy to work for you, it generally makes them do their jobs at the highest level. And those who don’t, quickly see the door.”

 

Willa nods and looks Nicole up and down, noticing the gun at her thigh and the badge on her belt. “So, you are a cop… and you are actually working with and training Wynonna? I never thought that could happen.”

 

“It’s a daily struggle.” Nicole jests. “But she is smart and good at her job when she applies herself. Doc too.”

 

“Yeah, they are a weird couple.” Willa says with a smirk.

 

“Aren’t we all?” Nicole says with a smirk in return.

 

Willa nods and laughs. “Speaking of… you and Waverly.”

 

“I assume she told you our arrangement?” Nicole inquires.

 

“She did.” Willa confirms. “And I appreciate that you are willing to do that for her. I just met you and I already see how much you care for her… Plus I heard you beat up Chump and I have been wanting to do that for years.”

 

Nicole laughs and nods. “I am pretty sure Shorty has permanently saved that footage from his security tapes and wanted to adopt me after the last incident. That rodeo clown pisses me off to no end. When I heard the call about the fight in here, I almost wished he was involved so I could throw his ass back in a cell.”

 

“I would pay to see that.” Wynonna comments, walking up behind them. “Like, big bucks.”

 

Nicole laughs hard, liking the older Earps. Willa is exactly as Waverly described. To the point, but not necessarily rude. Just blunt. It’s refreshing. Nicole wishes more people were like her. And Wynonna is now considered a close friend of hers. She is happy to have her.

 

“So, you coming to the wedding and the party after?” Nicole asks.

 

“Of course.” Willa says. “I’m happy to be here. Let me know if there is anything I can help with.”

 

“Just make sure Wave gets there in one piece. If left up to Wynonna… I don’t even want to imagine.” Nicole says in mock horror.

 

Wynonna punches her arm. “Hey!”

 

“Tell me I’m wrong.” Nicole challenges.

 

Willa laughs. “She’s got a point Sis.”

 

Nicole nods and smiles, watching the sisters bicker playfully back and forth.

 

Shorty arrives with the food, helping Nicole Wynonna and Willa carry it over to the table. Nicole slides in next to Waverly and pretends not to notice as Waverly steals some of her fries.

 

“So, I see my sisters didn’t scare you off.” Waverly comments. She had been a little nervous when she noticed both of her sisters alone with Nicole but was quickly reassured when she saw all the laughing and teasing going on.

 

“Nope. They are great by the way.” Nicole says in a hushed tone. Everyone else is too preoccupied by other conversations and food to notice them anyways.

 

“Good. Life would be far less exciting and nice without you around. And yeah, they are… entertaining.”

 

Wynonna chooses that moment to throw a fry at Willa, getting it caught in her hair. Willa (of course) retaliates.

 

“They certainly are.” Nicole agrees.

Chapter Text

Waverly wakes up early and goes out to meet Nicole for coffee. By seven, they are seated in the coffee shop with hot drinks in hand.

 

“How was the rest of your shift last night and this morning?” Waverly asks.

 

“Pretty uneventful (which I appreciated).” Nicole says, taking a sip of her coffee.

 

“How was the rest of your night. You all got home really late. I am surprised you actually got up this early.” Nicole says.

 

Nicole had asked Waverly to text her when she got home later that night, just to know she was safe at home. But by the time she did get into bed, it was close to three in the morning.

 

“It was good, slept like a rock.” Waverly says with a smile.

 

“Glad to hear it.” Nicole says. “So, what are you doing with your final day as a free woman… besides getting up early to have coffee with me?”

 

Waverly smiles at Nicole. The way Nicole can always have her laughing and making jokes to ease her worries… damn this woman is perfect. “Well, I am picking up my dress after this. Then I have the rest of the day free until family dinner tonight. Are you sure you can’t come?” Waverly asks. She was pretty disappointed last night when Nicole politely declined the offer.

 

“I have a business dinner with my father and some of his associates tonight. But Maybe I can stop by for a few minutes after I finish up with them. If you want? Although, I think tradition states we aren’t supposed to be together the night before the wedding.” Nicole says.

 

“That would be amazing. But I think you are right.” Waverly says a little sadly. “Wait, so this business dinner? Is it like a casual thing or do you actually have to dress up?”

 

“It is pretty formal.” Nicole says, sipping from her coffee and taking a bite of Waverly’s muffin.

 

“Ah so, fancy?”

 

“Ha, yeah. I can handle it. But I am definitely a sweaters, flannels and jeans type of gal.” Nicole states.

 

Waverly laughs and nods, Nicole still looked stunning in sweaters, flannels and jeans… in her opinion.

 


 

Willa offers to go with Waverly to pick up her dress, meeting her at the shop.

 

“Hey Sis.” Willa greets as she enters.

 

“Hey, you made it.” Waverly says.

 

“Of course.” Willa takes the opportunity to look over her sister. She looks gorgeous in a more casual wedding dress. It is elegant but is also modern as it is a two-piece gown (showing just the barest amount of midriff. “God, Waverly… you look beautiful.” Willa says, a little awestruck.

 

Waverly blushes and smiles, ducking her head a bit. “You think Nicole will like it? She said most of this is pretty casual.”

 

“I think she will love it.” Willa says, a hidden smirk playing on her lips.

 


 

Willa walks into Shorty’s with Willa and Wynonna at her sides for a much-needed late lunch. As they eat, they talk about the wedding, and the next few days. Both older Earps are curious about Waverly’s feeling on the matter and neither have the patience to beat around the bush.

 

“So, have you told Nicole you are gay for her yet?” Wynonna asks through a bite of her burger.

 

Waverly almost spits her drink, trying to instead swallow and respond.

 

“I knew it!” Willa exclaims in happy victory.

 

“What?!” Waverly asks, a little horrified by her sisters’ matching smirks

 

“I knew you were into her!” Willa says, sitting back into her seat with a triumphant smirk.

 

“Nonna, I’m not gay for her. We are just friends… who are getting married in less than twenty-four hours.” Waverly says lamely. “I still don’t know if I am even into girls, let alone her.”

 

“Wave you couldn’t stop ogling her when we were at her pool the other day. Don’t pretend you don’t find her attractive.” Wynonna states.

 

“I was not ogling her and hey! You were staring too!” Waverly fires.

 

“Because she is hot as hell, even a straight girl can appreciate a body like that.” Wynonna fires back.

 

“My point exactly. Me appreciating and thinking she is attractive doesn’t make me gay.” Waverly states.

 

“Wave, no offense. But you were doing a whole lot more than appreciating. You were actually sitting in her lap at one point. You fell asleep in her arms! She carried you out and you clung to her like a koala hugging its favorite tree.” Wynonna continues.

 

“Oh, I have so much I need to catch up on.” Willa says as she takes a bite of her salad.

 

Waverly is about to respond when her phone dings, signaling a new text. She gets her phone out and smiles when she sees the text is from Nicole.

 

Nicole (04:12pm): What do you think?

Nicole (04:12pm): [picture attached]

 

Waverly’s jaw goes slack as she looks at a picture of her fiancé in a short, slim, black dress looking… drop dead gorgeous. 

 

Nicole (04:13pm): Making those stuck-up suits pay for making me meet with them the night before my wedding ;)

 

“Holy shit.” Waverly mumbles,

 

Wynonna grabs Waverly’s phone from the other side of the table and looks at the screen with Willa looking over her shoulder.

 

“Damn.” Wynonna drawls.

 

“Agreed.” Willa says and then laughs when she looks at a still blushing Waverly.

 

Waverly grabs her phone back and types a quick response back before going back to her food as if that hadn’t just happened.

 

Waves (04:15pm): You look great. Have fun tonight! Try and not murder them with that dress ;)

 

Nicole (04:16pm): Fun? Unlikely. Haha, I’ll try ;)

 

The sisters finish up their lunch and begin to walk down the streets of Purgatory. They just talk, catch up on life and do a bit of window shopping. They are walking along a group of restaurants when a flash of red hair catches Wynonna’s eye through one of the restaurant windows. She turns and looks in to see a familiar redhead at a large table with a bunch of business looking people and her father. Wynonna grabs Waverly’s hand, causing the girl to stop and follow Wynonna’s line of sight.

 

The picture really didn’t do her justice. Nicole is even more jaw dropping in person. She stands up with a young man and they both walk over to the bar. Watching her walk over, Waverly gets a first-hand look at how the dress hugs Nicole’s body in all the right places. She is in a pair of simple, black heals and dons a small, white necklace. She wears a pair of earrings that shine in the light and her makeup is done well as to show off those killer cheekbones. She watches as Nicole stands at the bar with the young man at her side, talking about something that she can tell Nicole is confident about. Waverly feels anger and jealousy rear their ugly heads as she sees the man look Nicole up and down and then move closer to rest his hand on top of hers on the bar. Nicole doesn’t pull away, but it is clear she is fully aware of it all.

 

“She’s good.” Willa comments, watching the scene as well. “I heard rumors she was as good as her father, but seeing it first-hand…”

 

“What do you mean?” Waverly asks, trying to keep the bite out of her voice.

 

“Down girl.” Wynonna teases.

 

“That guy she is talking to. He is a big player in world trade. Specifically, trans-Atlantic. And from the looks of things, she is playing him like a fiddle. Letting him believe he has the upper hand before she pulls the rug out from under him. Well done. Very impressive.” Willa says, watching the exchange as if studying for a test.

 

Waverly watches closely as Nicole retrieves her drink and heads back to the table after a few quick words to the man. He looks to be in a bit of a daze, but quickly shakes it off, retrieves his drink and returns to the table.

 

Waverly returns her gaze to Nicole and almost jumps when she sees the redhead looking back at her through the window. Nicole smirks at the brunette and the two behind her before quickly excusing herself from the table. Walking out of the restaurant, Nicole looks over at the three blushing and embarrassed Earps.

 

“Stalking me Earps?” She teases with a smirk.

 

“Oh, you know…” Waverly starts.

 

“Yeah, totally.” Wynonna interrupts.

 

Waverly punches her in the shoulder but doesn’t say anything. Thank god Willa cuts in.

 

“Got some big players in there Haught.” She comments.

 

“Indeed, but if you are interested, almost all of them will be at the party tomorrow. I can introduce you and Robert to some people if you want?” Nicole offers.

 

“That would be very kind of you.” Willa says genuinely.

 

“Well, on that note. I better get back inside before they start to wonder if I took off. See you tomorrow.” She says to all three. “Bye Waves.” She says, focusing on Waverly.

 

Waverly gives her a shy wave and watches as Nicole walks back inside and back to her table.

 

The Earp women quickly start walking again and back down the street towards their cars.

 


 

Dinner that night with the family was amazing. Everyone laughed and enjoyed themselves. By the end of the night, Wynonna and Doc are both passed out on the couch, Waverly has gone to bed, Robert as well, so just Willa and Ward remain. They sit on the porch, both with a glass of their choice beverage.

 

“Daddy?” Willa asks after a beat.

 

“Hm?”

 

“I’m really happy for Waverly. I think Nicole is going to be really good for her.” Willa says genuinely.

 

“I think so to… especially if Babygirl can stop lying to herself about how she feels.” Ward comments.

 

“Wait… you know?” Willa asks, surprised. Waverly was clear she didn’t want to talk to their daddy about this topic.

 

“She’s my daughter. Of course, I know. Same way I know more than you and Wynonna think I know about you two.” Ward says with a chuckle. “But even if I didn’t, I still would have noticed. She looks at Nicole like she hung the moon. And although she fights it out of fear of getting hurt, Nicole looks at her the same way. When Waverly is with Nicole, she truly acts like herself in a way I have never seen before. She is…”

 

“Happy.” Willa finishes. She looks at the glass of wine in her hand and tilts it side to side, watching the red liquid move around the glass. “The heartbreaking part is that we are the reason that happiness has been hidden for so long. Ever since we…”

 

“There is no use in starting up with the guilt again Darling. Waverly isn’t angry with us and forgave us years ago. The hard part is forgiving ourselves. We will never forget, but we will move on. We already have. She is just happy to have all of us in her life.” Ward says, trying to erase the sad look of guilt written all over his eldest daughter’s face.

 

“We abandoned her, worse actually. I went out of my way to be mean to her, to blame her, to hate her. I was so cruel to her and her forgiveness and love just makes me feel even more guilty about it all.” Willa says honestly, shifting to sit closer to her father.

 

“I think Waverly is smarter than all of us combined, want to know why? And no, it’s not because of all the books she reads.”

 

Willa nods softly.

 

“Because she figured out it wasn’t her we were all so angry at. We might have unfairly let her suffer for it, but we didn’t hate her. You, didn’t hate her. You were angry with your momma, but she wasn’t here for you to take it out on. And I was too drunk to care. So, you took it out on the person you knew would hurt the most from it.” Ward continues.

 

“That’s horrible.” Willa says, completely disgusted with herself. “She was just a baby when this all started.”

 

“Yes, but you were also just a girl yourself. We are all responsible for our actions Willa. There is no getting around that. But Waverly wants us all here in her life. The least we can do is honor the second chance she is giving us, even if none of us deserve it.”

 

“Is that why you don’t drink anymore?” Willa asks.

 

“I do occasionally have a drink. But in a way, yes. But also, because I missed out on a lot of you girls growing up when I was at the bottom of the bottle. I like life sober. I want to feel and absorb every moment of the rest of my life with you girls and our family. So, I do have a drink from time to time when I go out with the boys… and gals. And that’s okay. As long as it is in moderation and I am doing it for good reasons. I don’t drink when emotional.” Ward explains.

 

Willa looks at her glass and puts it down. “I think about that a lot. About how Wynonna still drinks, how she can’t seem to face her demons. It makes me sad for her. I wish there was something I could do to help her.”

 

“Me too Darling. Me too. But have hope. I am beginning to see some changes in that girl. Drinking less, working more, even eating a little better. I think working in the Black Badge Division has finally given her purpose… something worth working at. She wants it, she wants to succeed. I can see it in her eyes.” Ward says. “Plus, for the first time, Wynonna actually has some real friends… and good ones.”

 

“Seems like Haught is solving a lot of our family’s shitty problems.” Willa comments with a laugh.

 

“Nah, I think she is just happy to be in our lives. I think her just being herself… it makes us solve our own problems.” Ward states with a chuckle of his own.

 

Chapter Text

Waverly wakes up the next morning nervous. She wasn’t at all yesterday, but now… holy shit. I’m getting married in six hours. She thinks to herself. She quickly gets out of bed and checks her phone. She has three unread messages.

 

Chrissy (08:11am): Hey Wave, can’t wait to see you tonight! Try to relax and enjoy the wedding. Text me if you need anything! XO

 

Waverly types a quick thank you to her before checking the other two. They are both from Nicole.

 

Nicole (10:23am): Good morning. Hopefully this doesn’t wake you up if you are still sleeping. Anyways, your dad invited me out to coffee this morning. I wanted to see if you would want to join us. We are meeting up in Shorty’s at 11:30. If not, that’s totally alright. I know you are probably busy.

 

Nicole (10:24am): But in all seriousness Waves, don’t stress out about today. I promise everything will be okay. If you are nervous, I hope you know you can always come to me. I will never judge you because your feelings are valid. I am here for you Waves. Always. See you later :)

 

Waverly bites her lip, smiling like a lovesick teenager as she stares at Nicole’s texts. Nicole always seemed to be able to predict her emotions and always knew how to make her feel at ease.

 

She quickly checks the time and sees she has a little less than an hour until her dad and Nicole are meeting. She quickly showers, braids her hair and gets dressed. She runs down the stairs and out to her jeep. She stops dead in her tracks when she looks at her SUV. For a second, she almost doesn’t recognize it. It is not only cleaned, but the paint… where it had once been faded, the jeep is now back to its original red coloring. It looks exactly the way it did when she got it as a teen. She smiles wide and grabs the card sitting on the hood.

 

Waves,

Consider it a little bit of an early wedding present. It’s not much, but I figured you and the jeep would enjoy a little makeover. Thank your dad and sisters. He helped me with the paint job and your sisters helped keep you busy while we did it.

-N

 

Waverly smiles and laughs, holding the card close to her chest as she looks at the jeep. It looks amazing. When Daddy had asked to borrow it yesterday for a project, she had never expected this.

 

She quickly jumps in and starts the jeep up. As she drives, she sings along to the music and in no time, she is pulling into the Shorty’s parking lot. She quickly hops out and looks towards Shorty’s. Nicole is about to walk in the door, but Waverly calls her name. “Nicole!”

 

Nicole turns to her, hearing her name called, and immediately smiles when she sees Waverly. The redhead walks over and is taken a little off guard when Waverly literally jumps into her arms squealing. “Thank you!”

 

Nicole laughs and wraps her arms around Waverly, hugging her back and holding her up. “Your welcome. Like I wrote, it’s not much. But I figured you would like it.”

 

“It’s amazing! And it looks like you got all the dents out too! Best surprise ever!” Waverly says, still hugging Nicole tight with her legs wrapped around Nicole’s waist.

 

“Well, I can’t take all the credit. I had help.” Nicole says.

 

Waverly pulls away just enough to grab Nicole’s face in her hands and place a kiss on the redhead’s cheek. “You’re the best. You know that?”

 

Nicole lets Waverly slide down and dips her head, hiding her blushing face. “Much obliged Ma’am.”

 

Waverly laughs as Nicole’s playful accent slip and loops her arm into Nicole’s. They walk into Shorty’s together and have coffee and breakfast with Ward and Shorty until both women need to go home to get ready.

 

 


 

 

Waverly walks out of her room and down the stairs in her dress. Robert is sitting on the bottom stair in a nice suit and checking his emails on his phone. He turns when he hears her coming and smiles up at her, standing and holding a hand out to help her down the last few steps.

 

“You look beautiful Waverly.” He says softly, bringing her into a warm hug that has Waverly smiling wide. She and Robert had their rough years as well, mostly because he was trying to be supportive of Willa. But he was never unkind to her and she is so happy to have him here today. Although they aren’t as close as she is with the rest of her family, she knows all she has to do is ask and he will always be there for her.

 

She thanks him softly and moves farther into the living room where Wynonna, Willa, Doc and her father are waiting. They are all in conversation when she walks in but stop and go silent when they see her.

 

Willa is the first to stand, immediately embracing Waverly and kissing the top of her head in a gesture she hasn’t done in years. She remembers the first and the only time she had kissed Waverly like that. It had only been once, the day her parents brought Waverly home from the hospital. Willa wasn’t sure how she felt about having a baby in the house at the time, but one look at the cute baby and she was sold. Wynonna got to hold her first (something that made Willa very jealous at the time). But once it was her turn, Willa carefully opened her arms as her father placed the newborn in her arms. Willa had loved her the moment she was set in her arms. Her mother and father had asked the girls what they should name her. Willa herself had no idea, but said it should be pretty. At almost eight years old, all she could do was stare at the tiny little baby in her arms and smile. Wynonna suggested the name Waverly. Both of her parents agreed, knowing their suggestion of naming her Welcomewould not be well received. “Waverly, it is.” Her father had said. Willa had smiled down at the baby and kissed the top of her head softly as the baby pushed her face into Willa’s chest and fell back asleep.

 

Willa pulls away and wipes the watery tears that are silently falling down her face. She smiles wide at her sister, so happy to be here and in her life. “You look beautiful Babygirl.” She says softly pulling her in to another quick hug before releasing her.

 

Waverly has light tears of her own, holding Willa close and whispering, “I am so happy you are here.”

 

“Me too.” Willa says with a nod.

 

She lets go of Waverly and moves so Wynonna, Doc and her father can have a turn.

 

Wynonna doesn’t say anything, just simply grips Waverly’s hand after a hug that says more than words ever could. Doc removes his hat and bows respectfully, kissing her cheek in a brotherly fashion that makes Waverly blush. Always the gentleman. Her father is smiling, but something in his features is a little sad. Wynonna lets go of her hand so Waverly can approach him. He looks down at her and holds out his arm to her. She takes it and allows him to lead her to the car, the others closely in tow.

 


 

They arrive at the city courthouse and stand near the door of their assigned room. Dolls quickly joins them and greets everyone, introducing Gus to Willa and Robert. Ward steps away and walks down the hall. Waverly watches him go and sees a flash of red hair in the entryway where he enters. The brunette watches intently as Ward exits the room with Nicole and they converse at the end of the hall. Nicole is talking to him, her face expressing the seriousness, yet gentleness of her words.

 

That small amount of sadness that was clouding Wards features begins to recede and his smile continues to grow as Nicole continues talking. Once she is done, Wards eyes are glassy and he quickly pulls Nicole in for a hug. She embraces him with a soft smile and nods in the direction of the group as they separate. He nods and says something to her that makes her chuckle, covering her mouth with her hand.

 

James Haught appears at their side with Judge Cryderman and Charlie with him. Nicole shakes hands with the judge and he says something that had the redhead smiling (although Waverly can tell it is not completely genuine). Nicole had mentioned a few times that her dislike for Judge Cryderman went beyond their professional relationship. He tended to be soft on punishment and that didn’t sit right with the redheaded officer.

 

The five walk down the hallway towards the ground and Waverly finally gets a good look at Nicole. Her dress stops just above her knees, hugging her body in all the right ways. The dress is a white, slim, stretch-jersey dress with a geometrically textured illusion overlay and sleek illusion sides. It is simple in concept, but the geometric cutouts that go along the dress give it a complexity that is so much like Nicole herself. They approach and Waverly is finding that she can’t take her eyes off her wife to be. She meets Nicole’s eyes and notices that the redhead seems to be in a similar predicament. The judge moves forward and greets everyone before opening up his office and motioning for everyone to enter.

 

Nicole finally looks away from Waverly and to the group walking into the office. “We just need a minute, we will be right in.” Nicole says, nodding to the group to go on. Once the door is shut, she turns back to Waverly and smiles down at her. “You are a vision.”

 

Waverly looks at Nicole and smiles at her. “I seriously don’t even know how to describe how beautiful you look Nicole, so I am just going to leave it at that.” Waverly says, stunned.

 

Nicole blushes and laughs softly, taking one of Waverly’s hands in hers. “You nervous?”

 

“A little.” Waverly admits.

 

Nicole squeezes her hand softly and pulls her into a hug. “I have something that I hope might help.” Nicole says softly. She pulls away from Waverly slightly and gets down on one knee. She pulls out a ring and holds it out in one hand. “This marriage, it is not something we chose. It was chosen for us. And I am not saying I am disappointed, I am just pointing out the obvious. But I told you that our relationship goes beyond this. This ring was my mom’s, the stones are actually. They have been in her family for generations, passed down to the first-born female. More importantly, this ring is a promise. I realized that we got engaged but I never actually proposed. So here is my proposal and my promise Waverly Earp. I promise you that I will always be here for you, in whatever way you want me. I promise that I will be your shoulder to cry on, your protector and your number one fan. I promise to never ask you to be something you are not or do something that you don’t want to do. I promise to never treat you with any less respect than you deserve or make you feel anything but proud of who you are. I promise to listen, respect and care for you. So, as long as you want me, I will be by your side. That’s my promise to you and this ring is the physical representation of that. Normally a marriage would be, but this ring means more to me than a piece of paper. I’d like to go back and do this the right way. So, Waverly Earp, will you marry me and hold me to my promise?”

 

Waverly nods her head and smiles wide. “Yes, Nicole.”

 

Nicole smiles and stands, placing the ring on Waverly’s finger. Waverly grabs her and hugs her, feeling the love that Nicole is giving her. She is offering her lifelong friendship and unwavering loyalty. That is something she has never been offered. She holds Nicole tight, happy when the other woman does the same.

 

“We better get in there.” Nicole says after a long moment. “You still nervous?”

 

“Yes.” Waverly answers honestly. “But I feel better with you by my side.”

 

Nicole smiles at her and holds her hand as they walk into the Judge’s office.

 


 

They walk out of the courthouse hand in hand with a new ring on Nicole’s left hand and two new ones on Waverly’s. Their families follow behind them, making friendly conversation. Ward catches up to the newlyweds and kisses Waverly’s cheek. “Hey ladies, sorry to interrupt but Babygirl, I need to borrow your wife for a few minutes.”

 

Waverly looks concerned but Nicole gives her hand a reassuring squeeze. “Don’t worry, he and I just have to go pick something up really quick.” She reassures.

 

Waverly reluctantly releases Nicole, giving her a warning look. “Something I should know?”

 

“You will soon enough.” Nicole says with her charming smile, kissing Waverly on the cheek. “We will meet you all at the lunch spot in just a few minutes.”

 

Waverly nods and watches her father and wife walk down the street. He is speaking animatedly with her and she is doing the same in return.

 

“I believe as Nicole’s best man, it is my duty to escort you to lunch in her absence.” Dolls says, coming to stand next to her and holding out his arm for her to take.

 

Waverly laughs and takes it gratefully, following the others down the street in the direction towards where they are all eating lunch.

 

They had decided lunch before the party was a good idea and decided on a bistro down the street from the courthouse. It was probably the nicest restaurant in town and probably also the most expensive. None of the Earps had ever eaten there, so they were excited to try it (especially with James Haught paying the bill). James for his part, simply had the waitress charge his account, not sticking around for lunch. He was off to continue the party preparations with Charlie, leaving the Earp’s with Gus and Dolls.

 

“Any idea where Nicole and Daddy ran off to?” Willa asks Waverly.

 

Waverly just shrugs, not knowing either.

 

A few minutes later, Nicole walks in with Shorty and Ward at her sides.

 

“Shorty!” Waverly exclaims happily, standing from her seat and embracing the man.

 

“Hey ya Waverly. Congratulations.” Shorty says, hugging her tightly.

 

“You’re here.” Waverly says.

 

“We couldn’t celebrate without Shorty. He is family too.” Nicole says, smiling at the happiness on Waverly’s face. She knew Shorty couldn’t be at the wedding, but she made sure he could be here for lunch and the party.

 

Waverly moves away from Shorty and hugs Nicole. “Thank you.” She quickly turns to Shorty, confusion on her face, but doesn’t leave Nicole’s arms. “Wait, how are you here? Who is running the bar?”

 

“Bar is closed for the day.” Shorty says.

 

“Shorty, I love that you are here, you know that. But that is bad for business, you can’t afford that.” Waverly says, knowing Shorty keeps the bar running on a week to week basis.

 

“I agree, but Nicole and your father made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse… and when I say couldn’t refuse, I mean I really couldn’t. Two sheriff deputies threatening me with death puts things into perspective.” Shorty says with a laugh, patting Ward on the shoulder.

 

Waverly turns to look at Nicole with a raised and questioning eyebrow.

 

Nicole laughs. “I bought Shorty out for the next two days so he can enjoy the wedding festivities and not worry about losing profits. I knew you wanted him here but I also knew he couldn’t go without profit for two days.” She looks at Shorty and smirks. “And yes, your dad and I threatened him when he was refusing to take the money. Desperate times, desperate measures.”

 

Shorty laughs and moves to take a seat, winking at Nicole as he does. He greets everyone as Nicole returns her focus to Waverly.

 

“You bought Shorty out for two days?” Waverly asks, surprised.

 

“Yes. He deserves a break, you deserve to have him here and he shouldn’t have to lose profits or possibly the bar altogether for us to get both those things. Plus, I knew he really wanted to be here for you. He is your family Waves.” Nicole says softly, looking at her with those disarming brown eyes.

 

Waverly leans into Nicole more, laying her head on Nicole’s chest for a moment and sighing. “Thank you, Nicole. You have no idea how much this means to me.”

 

“I probably don’t.” Nicole admits. “But what I know is enough. And there is no need to thank me, but you’re welcome Waverly.”

 

They all sit and eat what Waverly and Wynonna believe is the best meal of their lives. The lunch is fun and loud and full of laughter. Waverly can’t remember a time when she was this happy before.

Chapter Text

The party kicks off without a hitch, everyone excited to meet the new couple. Waverly gets introduced to more people than she can count, all congratulating them and explaining their roles in Nicole’s family business. Nicole gives them brakes, trying not to overwhelm Waverly. She leaves her with Wynonna for a while offering to introduce Willa and Robert to a few people she would like them to meet. Willa and Robert both follow her eagerly, excited by it all.

 

“Your wife is… kinda awesome.” Wynonna says, handing her sister a drink that a waiter offered.

 

“She is amazing.” Waverly agrees. Watching as Nicole leads Willa and Robert around the room.

 

 

“Leroy French, I’d like you to meet my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Willa Earp and Robert Svane.” Nicole introduces.

 

“It is a pleasure to meet you both.” Leroy says.

 

“The pleasure is ours Sir. We have seen your work in action. We are big fans of your project management team structure. It seems to be part of the strong backbone that makes Haught Industries a world leader in business.” Willa says, a little star-struck.

 

Leroy laughs and begins to converse with them, holding Willa and Robert’s attentions like he was their lifeline.

 

Nicole excuses herself and makes her way to the pool room down the hall. She grabs a glass of champagne from a waiter when offered and continues to move across the first floor of her father’s home.

 

Once she finally enters, she finds it empty and sighs a little in relief. She can do the social thing with her eyes closed, but the moment of peace is very welcomed.

 

She grabs a pool cue and racks up a game. She is about to break when the door opens and Waverly steps into the room. “There you are. Thought you disappeared.” She jokes, coming to lean against the pool table.

 

“Hey.” Nicole says, still a little dazed every time she sees her wife. “Sorry, just needed a break. We have been at it with guests for over three hours. They are all pleasant and mostly nice, but a girl can only take so much. Wanna play? I know you will kick my ass but I am willing to take the defeat.”

 

Waverly laughs and nods in agreement. She picks up a cue from the wall rack and moves back to the table.

 

“Your break.” Nicole says, moving to give Waverly room.

 

Waverly breaks easily and the game begins. Within a few minutes, both of them only have two balls and the eight-ball left. Waverly is a pro, but she is surprised by Nicole’s skill. She knew Nicole was good from that day in the bar, but not this good. 

 

It’s Nicole’s turn and she takes a quick shot, pocketing one of her balls. Waverly watches with fascination and Nicole’s face morphs to one of adept concentration. Nicole takes another shot, hitting her ball but missing the corner pocket by mere centimeters.

 

Waverly pushes off from where she was leaning and takes another shot, not missing the way Nicole watched her carefully. After two shots, Waverly only have the eight-ball left. One problem… Nicole’s last ball is in the way. Waverly deliberates for a moment before thrusting the cue forward and shooting with expert precision. She makes the shot she wanted smiling wide and looking to Nicole triumphantly. Nicole laughs and bows in mock surrender.

 

They decide on food and Nicole leaves and returns with two plates of food and two glasses of champagne.

 

By the time they are done, Waverly has abandoned her shoes to the floor and curled up into Nicole on the couch in the pool room.

 

“I think it is a little fitting.” Waverly says out of the blue.

 

“What is?” Nicole asks.

 

“That our first kiss was at our wedding ceremony. Considering that was originally part of the tradition as well.” Waverly answers, matching blushes with Nicole.

 

“Ha, yeah.” Nicole says, looking away from Waverly, not trusting herself. “Well, I don’t think people would have guessed it was our first.”

 

Waverly thinks back to earlier that day and blushes harder as she recollects.

 


 

Earlier that day…

"By the power vested in me by the State, I now pronounce you married." Judge Cryderman said. "You may now kiss the bride."

 

Nicole looked at Waverly hesitantly for a moment, not sure what to do. Apparently, she hadn’t remembered this part of the ceremony and clearly hadn’t planned for it.

 

Waverly blushed a little, she definitely had. And one thing she knew by the end of last night… she was going to kiss Nicole Haught on their wedding day. Waverly pulled Nicole towards her and moved closer herself. She reached and took Nicole’s arm, pulling her in and connecting their lips. Nicole was hesitant at first, but it lasted less than a second because her hands quickly wrapped around Waverly’s back to support her. Waverly’s hands moved up and around the back of Nicole’s neck, pulling the taller woman impossibly closer as they kissed. Nicole was the first to lean out, eyes closed and not looking like she is breathing. She takes a deep breath and opens her eyes, looking down at Waverly.

 

Their friends and family clap, as does the judge as they both smile at each other and blush. They pull away a little and face their family, walking off the alter hand in hand.

 


 

Waverly looks at Nicole, remembering how that kiss made her feel. How Nicole’s hands wrapping around her waist gave her the most wonderful goosebumps. How Waverly couldn’t stop herself once she started kissing Nicole. She is about to respond when Wynonna enters the room with a bottle of very expensive whiskey. “Haught! I know you said you liked your Irish whiskey, but damn! This is the good stuff!”

 

Nicole laughs, the moment gone and turns her attention to Wynonna. “Earp, that is a three-hundred-dollar bottle. You want to drink it, you better bring over three glasses and share.”

 

Wynonna looks over at her like she kicked her puppy but does as she is told. She quickly pours three glasses and Nicole grabs two for her and Waverly. Wynonna raises her glass. “To the newlyweds… and probably the hottest kiss I have ever seen in a wedding ceremony, like damn.”

 

Waverly downs her drink quickly, hoping it will magically erase Wynonna’s comment. Nicole seems to not have the same issue, simply smirking at Wynonna and sipping from her glass.

 

“Damn that’s good.” Wynonna states, pouring herself another glass.

 

“It’s 21-year-old whiskey Earp. It is aged for part of its life in American bourbon barrels, then switched over to Spanish sherry oak. Of course, it’s good. Plus, you think a bottle of Smirnoff is good. You’re not really picky.” Nicole teases.

 

“Fair.” Wynonna concedes.

 


 

“So Haughtstuff, what are your plans for you and Waverly moving forward?” Wynonna asks, taking a swig from her beer. The whiskey didn’t last too long and has been empty for hours.

 

Nicole looks at her quizzically, not understanding the question.

 

“I mean, like, your lives and shit now that you are married.” Wynonna continues unhelpfully.

 

“Well, not a lot will change I guess…?” Nicole says, a little unsure of what Wynonna is getting at. Waverly is still by her side, seeming to be a little more understanding of Wynonna’s question.

 

“She means like, are we going to live here or your place or the homestead and what your expectations are for our relationship.” Waverly clarifies.

 

“Gotcha, well like I said, not a lot is really going to change. Waverly is still going to live at the homestead with you as long as she wants, um… yeah I don’t really have any expectation of her to be honest.” Nicole says. “But to be fair, your dad asked me the same question right before the wedding. He seemed relieved when I said I didn’t mind Waverly living at home.”

 

Waverly, taking a deep breath of relief, reflects back to earlier in the day when her father seemed to have a sad look. It had immediately disappeared once he spoke with Nicole at the court house. Now she knows why.

 

“Let me ask you something Wynonna. What are your expectations of me?” Nicole continues, surprising Waverly out of her thoughts and even shocking Wynonna.

 

“What do you mean?” Wynonna queries.

 

“I mean, are there any things you want from me? I mean, I know you already gave me the Scary Big Sister Talk™, but there has to be something else.” Nicole says calmly.

 

Waverly looks between the two women. She was not aware this talk had occurred. Part of her wants to be pissed at Wynonna but a bigger part of her is just happy that it didn’t scare the redhead away.

 

“More like I have a question. How does this affect our team and work stuff?” Wynonna asks.

 

“Well, I am still your team leader and trainer. We still have to keep a professional relationship when at work and you still have to work hard. I won’t take it easy on you just because I married your sister. Beyond maybe seeing me more outside of work, nothing is really going to change Wynonna.” Nicole says.

 

Wynonna nods, sipping from her drink. “Well, I’m done for the night. I gotta go find Doc. Goodnight lovebirds.” She says.

 

Nicole laughs and looks at Waverly. “We should probably get going too. It is almost three in the morning.”

 

Waverly nods, feeling the effects of the alcohol she consumed throughout the night. She had been nervous about tonight, being with Nicole in the homestead… alone. Nicole had said she wasn’t like that and didn’t want that from Waverly, but… she could have been just trying to appease Waverly.

 

Nicole stands and holds a hand out for Waverly. They walk out hand in hand and walk through the house, towards the exit. After some quick goodbyes with her family, Waverly is being helped into her jeep by Nicole and then they are off.

 

They arrive at the homestead and Nicole is quick to help Waverly out. Waverly is tired and stressed and maybe a little tipsy. Overall though, she is just exhausted emotionally and physically.

 

Nicole seems to sense this immediately, scooping Waverly into her arms bridal style and carrying her the rest of the way. Nicole manages to open the front door and get Waverly up the stairs without too much difficulty. She lays Waverly down on the bed and exhales hard once she straightens back to her full height. Ideally, she would get Waverly into PJs, but she fears that would be crossing some boundaries that Waverly wouldn’t be comfortable with. She decides to take Waverly’s heals off and places them quickly in the brunette’s closet. With that, she makes sure there is a glass of water and a few pain pills on the nightstand and that Waverly’s phone is plugged in before turning off the lights and closing the door behind her.

 

She gets some water herself before settling in on the couch. She grabs the throw blanket and drapes it over herself before falling into a dreamless sleep. Her own exhaustion taking over.

 


 

Waverly wakes up with a start, bolting up and looking around the room. She expects Nicole to be in bed with her and to be pretty unclothed. Instead, Nicole is nowhere to be found, the opposite side of the bed is untouched, she is still in her wedding dress and there is a glass of water and medication on her nightstand. She looks down and then falls back onto her back. “It was all a dream.” She says aloud softly. She lifts her left hand and sees the new additions. “Well, not all of it was a dream.”

 

She quickly takes the pills and downs the water before moving to the bathroom and brushing her teeth. Her mouth tastes like stale alcohol and that needs to change. She quickly changes out of her dress and hops into the shower. After her shower, she dresses in a pair of leggings and a t-shirt, moving downstairs in search of Nicole. Once she reaches the bottom floor, she looks at the couch. The throw blanket is folded neatly on the back, but it is not where Waverly left it the morning before. Clearly Nicole slept on the couch last night. Her duffle bag is also on the couch with her phone charger.

 

Waverly walks into the kitchen and finds a note on the counter.

 

I am not much of a cook, but one thing I can do is breakfast. Pancakes, waffles, bacon, and eggs are in the warmer if you are hungry. Syrup and butter are in the fridge. Couldn’t figure out your coffeemaker though. Sorry.

 

-N

 

Waverly smiles, laughing at Nicole’s last remark. She checks the warmer and almost starts drooling when she sees the food Nicole made. All her favorites. She starts the coffeemaker, listening to it work as she eats. Once she is done and the coffee is too, she pours two cups and goes in search of Nicole.

 

She eventually finds her… under the jeep. Only Nicole’s legs are visible, but Waverly can hear her working on the undercarriage and the soft sound of her humming along to music.

 

“Nic? Nicole?” Waverly taps her foot and winces when she hears Nicole hit something.

 

“Shit.” Nicole wiggles herself out from under the SUV and looks up at Waverly. Nicole pulls her earbuds out of her ears and smiles up at the brunette sheepishly. “Waves. Good morning.”

 

Waverly smiles and hands Nicole one of the cups of coffee. “Morning, and thanks for breakfast. It was amazing… And thanks for taking care of me last night. I think the day got the better of me.” Now it’s Waverly’s turn to look sheepish.

 

Nicole smiles and sips her coffee. “No problem. I totally get it. I crashed out soon after you did anyways.”

 

Waverly sits on a towel Nicole has laid out and smiles at her. “So, what are you doing?”

 

Nicole turns to look at the jeep and then back at Waverly. “Just replacing and fixing a few things. Your fuel tank pressure sensor wasn’t functioning any more so I replaced that first and right now, I am installing a new undercarriage guard. It will help protect everything under there. I had actually just finished when you came out here.”

 

Waverly smiles at her, thinking about all the things that this woman has done for her in the short time they have known each other. Part of her feels guilty that she can’t give her anything in return, but she also knows Nicole doesn’t want anything from her if last night was any indication about the validity of Nicole’s words.

 

Nicole stands up with Waverly and uses a rag to wipe off the dirt, oil and grease from her hands. “Mind if I use your shower? I feel kinda gross, you know, sweat and grime isn’t really my normal preferred state of hygiene.” Nicole jokes.

 

Waverly laughs and nods. “Of course. C’mon, I will show you the way.”

 

Chapter Text

They end up watching movies until about five. Nicole has to head to work in an hour and Waverly has some stuff to do around the homestead. Nicole is packing up to leave when Ward walks through the door. “Ladies.” He greets.

 

“Sir.” Nicole says.

 

“Hi Daddy.” Waverly says from the couch.

 

“You leaving Haught?” He asks, noticing her packed bag.

 

“Yes Chief. I have a shift starting in less than an hour.” Nicole says, grabbing her bag and moving towards the door. She turns back to Waverly and smiles. “See you later Waves.”

 

Nicole leaves, Ward following closely behind her. “Nicole, hold up a second?”

 

Dolls pulls up to pick her up, Nicole signaling him to wait a minute. “Sir?”

 

“Would you mind staying here for a couple days. I know Waverly won’t ask, but I think it will be good for you both. Even if you are just friends. You need more time to get to know each other.” He asks.

 

Nicole purses her lips in thought before meeting her eyes. “If Waverly is okay with that and the other residents of your home are as well… sure. Just let me know before my shift ends.”

 

Dolls honks and Nicole walks back to his car, throwing her bags into the back before hopping in and waving to Ward Earp.

 


 

It has been almost a month since the wedding and Nicole is still sleeping on the couch at the homestead every night per Ward and then Waverly’s request. Willa and Robert had gone home a week after the wedding, promising to call and visit again soon. Ward offered Nicole Willa’s room, but Nicole respectfully declined.

 

After a month, Waverly has gotten used to having Nicole around. Depending on Nicole’s shifts, they are either having breakfast or dinner together every day and Nicole spends much of her free time working on Waverly’s jeep or spending time with the woman herself.

 

So, when Nicole informs them all that she is leaving town with Dolls for two weeks, Waverly can’t help but feel off.

 

“You’re leaving?” Waverly asks, trying not to sound as sad as she is by the thought.

 

“Yeah, just for two weeks. Dolls and I are running training exercises with a military contractor in the city. It’s work, not really all that exciting.” Nicole says. “It was also kind of last minute. Dolls and I got the call this afternoon. We are leaving in the morning.”

 

“Wait, if it’s work, then why aren’t Doc and I going?” Wynonna asks.

 

“Because we are leaving you two in charge of BBD in our absence… think you can handle that?” Nicole asks. “Seriously Earp. This isn’t a joke. This is just like any other test we give you. Prove you can handle a little responsibility.”

 

Wynonna nods, barely containing her excitement.

 


 

Waverly wakes up early the next morning to see Nicole off. Nicole puts her bags in the trunk and closes it before moving back to the porch, where Waverly is watching her with sad eyes. Nicole gives her a sympathetic smile before moving in and hugging Waverly tightly.

 

They had been doing this every day since the wedding. Nicole would go to work, Waverly would hug her goodbye and tell her to be safe. Nicole would smile down at her and reply that she will be and then Nicole would leave.

 

Waverly doesn’t release Nicole after a few moments like she normally does. She simply holds her close and whispers, “Please be careful.”

 

“Always.” Nicole says softly, running a hand up and down Waverly’s back. “It is only two weeks Waverly. You won’t even notice I am gone. Plus, you will enjoy having me out of your hair for a few days.” She jokes, kissing the top of Waverly’s head before pulling back from the brunette.

 

Waverly just looks at her not saying anything or moving at all.

 

Nicole smiles once more at her before turning and walking back to the car. She gets in and starts up the engine, driving away to pick up Dolls and head to the city.

 

Waverly stands there and watches Nicole disappear, hoping to god that the horrible feeling in her stomach will go away soon.

 


 

Five days later…

 

Waverly walks into the BBD office and finds Wynonna and Doc reading through case files… kinda. She places cups of spiked coffee down for them and watches as they accept the cups quickly and thank her. “How are things going?”

 

“Boring.” Wynonna states. “We had a ‘shots fired’ call that ended up being bogus. But we still have to fill out a shit ton of paperwork on it for the incident report.”

 

“That sucks.” Waverly says.

 

“It does indeed.” Doc chimes in.

 

“Well I just wanted to let you know that Nicole is going to conference call here in the next few minutes.” Waverly informs as she takes a seat.

 

“Great, haven’t heard from her since she left.” Wynonna says.

 

“Really, she hasn’t been checking up on you?” Waverly asks, genuinely surprised.

 

“Oh, they have been, but it has only been Dolls calling.”

 

“Hm. Yeah, Nicole has been texting back and forth with me a little, but she has been really busy with the training. I felt like I was pulling teeth as I finally convinced her to facetime us.” Waverly says a little exasperatedly.

 

At her words, the flat screen chimes, signaling the incoming call. Wynonna quickly answers it and Dolls face appears on the screen. “Earp… Earps and Holliday. How are things going?”

 

“All good over here boss man.” Wynonna quips. “Where is boss lady?”

 

Dolls looks off camera and sighs. He follows something with his eyes until that something (Nicole) sits down next to him in frame.

 

Waverly gasps immediately. “Oh my god Nic! What happened?”

 

Nicole holds the package of frozen peas against her face a little harder and sighs much like her partner did moments earlier. “It’s not that bad. Just a busted lip and a bruised cheek.” One look from Waverly and she knows that isn’t enough explanation for the small brunette. “Two of our trainees got into a bar fight with a bunch of football players from the local college. In breaking it up, one guy was blindly throwing punches and clocked me. I will be fine in the morning.”

 

Waverly still looks upset, so Nicole changes the subject. “So, how are things going down there? Any good cases?”

 

“Not really, been pretty quiet. We are sitting on the edge of our seats, waiting for something big to come in.” Wynonna says.

 

“Don’t jinx yourself and don’t wish for that.” Dolls says.

 

“I didn’t think you were a superstitious man Mr. Dolls.” Doc teases.

 

“Only when it comes to this.” Dolls fires back.

 

Waverly is still staring holes into Nicole, angry and frustrated. Now she knows why Nicole has been so reluctant to video chat. Nicole purposely stays silent and keeps her eyes downcast.

 

“We have to go. New session starting.” Dolls says to the camera. “We will check in again in a few days.”

 

“Aye, aye captain.” Wynonna says with a mock salute.

 

“Can I have a second to talk with Nicole… alone.” Waverly says before either party can hang up.

 

Dolls gives Nicole a glance before nodding and leaving. Wynonna and Doc talk about doing a ‘coffee run’ and leave the room as well.

 

Once everyone is gone, Waverly takes a deep breath. “Are you okay? Like really okay?”

 

Nicole releases a breath she didn’t know she was holding. She was expecting anger and agitation from her wife. But Waverly’s voice is full of concern and care. “Yes. I’m okay. It was just a bar fight. No big deal. Just a little soreness and stuff, but that is also from training, I promise.”

 

Waverly nods, wanting to hug the woman on the other side of the chat. “Well, I shouldn’t keep you. I know you have to go. Talk to you later?”

 

“Of course.” Nicole says.

 

“Bye.” Waverly whispers, ending the call.

 


 

“Babygirl, what’s wrong? You have been in a funk all day… all week actually.” Ward says, taking a seat next to his daughter on the porch.

 

“I’m fine.” Waverly says, not looking away from her book. 

 

“That’s bull. What’s going on?” Ward says, looking at his daughter.

 

Waverly closes the book and looks out at the landscape. After a moment of thought, she decides honesty is best in this situation. “I miss Nicole. I know it’s not in the way that married people normally miss one another, but I still miss her.” Waverly twists the rings on her finger and continues. “She has been here for a while and she has become a part of my daily routine. It doesn’t feel right without her here now.”

 

“Is that all you think it is?” Ward questions, watching Waverly fiddle with her engagement ring.

 

“What do you mean?” Waverly asks, not meeting his eyes.

 

“Well Darling, I am going to be honest with you, because I think there is no point in being anything but at this point.” Waverly nods and he continues. “I believe you feel more for Nicole than just friendship. And before you call me crazy, just know I am not the only one with this belief. I do however, believe that you aren’t sure exactly what you feel for her, even if it is right under your nose.”

 

Waverly meets his eyes and he sees hers are glassy with unshed tears. “I am so conflicted.” She admits.

 

Ward pulls her into his arms and she cries, feeling a small amount of comfort in saying it out loud. “It’s okay to be.” He tells her.

 

“I care about her, but I don’t really know what that means. She… my feeling for her challenge all the other feelings I have ever had in the past. A-and I don’t know how to handle that.” Waverly says through sniffles.

 

“That’s okay too.” Ward says softly.

 

“What do I do?” She asks, pulling away just enough to look at him.

 

“You explore, you think, you spend more time with her, learn more about her and yourself, you research… it’s your thing. You do that and then, when you have all the information you need, you make a decision.” He says. He seems to debate something in his head for a moment before continuing. “But Babygirl, be sure about your feelings. Nicole cares for you. If you go down that road, have her break down her walls, and then change your mind… it will break her heart and I know you will never forgive yourself. She has a lot of walls built up around her heart because of her past and all the pain she has had. You have seemed to find a way in through the cracks. I would hate for you to lose what you have with her. She makes you happy, happier than I have ever seen you. So, research and figure out what you want. She will love and support you, no matter what you choose.”

 

“How are you being so cool about this?” Waverly asks.

 

“You mean about you questioning your sexuality? Or specifically your feelings for Nicole?”

 

“Both.”

 

“That’s simple. Because I love you and you loving a man or a woman doesn’t change that. And with regards to Nicole… I have gotten to know her professionally and personally. She is a good person, great cop and even better friend. I want her to be happy. Same way I want you to be happy. You might not have married for love, but she is my daughter-in-law and one of my officers. She means a lot to me. I want her happy too.” Ward says, wiping the tears from Waverly’s cheeks.

 

She nods and thinks for a moment before asking, “You think she likes me back?”

 

Ward laughs as if that is the silliest question he has ever heard. “Darling, that girl loves you. You know how I know? Because she was willing to just be friends with you, even though she is married to you. She put her own feelings aside to make sure you are as happy as you can be. Loving someone is putting their happiness above your own. And that’s what she does for you every day.”

 

Waverly nods, thinking about Nicole’s proposal and how she always reiterated how she would never ask Waverly to be something or someone she is not. She feels her heart swell, knowing she really needed to figure this all out. “Thank you, Daddy.”

 

“My pleasure Babygirl.”

 

Chapter Text

Nicole arrives at the homestead a few days later and is barely out of the car when Waverly jumps into her arms, wrapping her legs around Nicole’s waist. Nicole staggers back a few feet but regains her balance and wraps her arms around Waverly. Waverly burrows her face in Nicole’s neck and breathes her in, smiling wide for the first time since Nicole left. “Hi.” She says softly, not moving to get off Nicole.

 

“Hey.” Nicole says at equal volume.

 

“I missed you.” Waverly says, holding on to Nicole impossibly tighter.

 

“I missed you too.” Nicole says.

 

Waverly loosens her grip and Nicole puts her back on the ground softly, not completely letting go.

 

They stay that way, looking at each other for a long moment before Wynonna comes running out of the house. “Haughtstuff!” She shouts.

 

“Wynonna.” Nicole responds, releasing Waverly completely and fist bumping the elder Earp. “Didn’t burn the place down in our absence, did you?”

 

“Nah, nah. It’s still there.” Wynonna says with a dismissive wave of her hand.

 

Nicole grabs her bags and follows the women inside with the promise of dinner from Waverly.

 


 

Waverly has been in her room all day and Nicole is beginning to worry. She walks upstairs and knocks on Waverly’s bedroom door. “Waves?”

 

There is sounds of shuffling and a computer being abused before Waverly’s responds (a little higher in pitch than normal). “Nic?”

 

“You okay? Haven’t seen you all day, getting a little worried.” Nicole says, trying to be casual about it. “Can I come in?”

 

More shuffling sounds come from behind the door before there is a long moment of silence. “Yeah, come in.”

 

Nicole opens the door and finds Waverly’s room to be in orderly chaos. It is organized, but the room is covered in papers and magazines. Waverly is sitting up on her bed, laptop closed on her lap. Several magazines and printouts on either side of her. Nicole gives her a questioning look.

 

“Research.” Waverly supplies. Her cheeks are red and she fiddles with her engagement ring nervously.

 

Nicole slowly nods, looking at her for a moment before picking up one of the magazines. It is opened to a sexual personality test. The page is dog eared, so she knows this is what Waverly was looking at.

 

“Well, okay then.” She puts the magazine back in its previous spot and looks anywhere but Waverly. “I will leave you to it.”

 

Nicole moves to leave but Waverly’s voice stops her. “Wait. Um, actually, if you aren’t busy… I had a couple things that I wanted to ask you about… if you are okay with it of course.”

 

Nicole freezes, deliberating internally for a moment before turning back and taking a seat on the bed. “Okay, what questions?”

 

“How did you know you liked girls? How old were you when you found out?”  Waverly asks, blushing even harder.

 

Nicole rubs the back of her neck nervously and thinks about her answer. “I was in my late years of middle school when I figured out that I liked girls. It just sort of clicked one day. I had had suspicions, but never really did anything about them. Then a girl in one of my classes kissed me in the locker room after PE one day and I knew. Or rather, I confirmed my suspicions. It wasn’t really a big deal for me. I had been honest with Gus about my suspicions from the beginning so when it was confirmed, she was just happy as long as I was happy. My dad was a little upset when I told him, but he got over it.”

 

Waverly nods, observing Nicole closely. “I uh… I was just curious. Sorry if that was too personal.”

 

“Not at all.” Nicole says with a small smile. “You can always come to me with anything Waverly.”

 

Waverly moves the laptop to the side and hugs Nicole. “Thank you.”

 

Nicole hugs her back quickly before getting up and leaving the room in search of food.

 


 

“We got a call!” Jenny the dispatcher calls from her office. “BBD, we got a 10-35 at the Grant household. Shots fired. 911 caller says they watched a suspect execute someone on the front lawn. At least two civilians inside.”

 

“Gear up!” Dolls says, doing so as he watches Doc and Wynonna do the same. Nicole is already ready to go, strapping on the tabs on her vest and holstering her gun. Thirty seconds and everyone is ready. “Let’s move.”

 

They all pile into Dolls’ SUV and drive lights and sirens to the scene. When they arrive, several gunshots are being fired. They all exit the car are approach behind some tractors as cover.

 

“This is Haught. We are on scene with a 10-71 (shooting) in progress. Be advised, we can see at least two dead outside the home. Backup requested.” Nicole says into her radio. She releases the button and turns to Wynonna and Doc. “What do you got?”

 

“I see two shooters. One near the front door and one in the large bay window. I say we make a run for the cover of that truck over there and get closer. Give us a better shot.” Wynonna says.

 

One of the gunman seems to notice them because he opens fire on the tractor they are crouched behind and yells to his partner.

 

“I think that is a poor decision. We won’t make it to the truck without getting shot.” Doc argues.

 

Dolls pulls up and takes two shots, Nicole following suit. He hits the gunman in the bay window, but it is one of Nicole’s shots that makes the man fall lifelessly out the window and onto the ground. “One down.” He says. He takes a few more shots before crouching back down again and reloading. The other gunman continues to spray them with bullets, causing them all to hope that the tractor holds firm.

 

Doc stands and takes a few shots as well, hitting the gunman in the chest and taking him out. “Got him.”

 

“My plan still would have worked.” Wynonna says bitterly, eyeing Doc as he gives her a cocky smirk.

 

“Sure Darling. I don’t think so.” He says.

 

“It would have. Let’s just move to the truck and approach.” They all begin to move, Wynonna and Doc still bickering. They both are so distracted by the argument that they don’t notice the light reflecting from a muzzle in the top floor window. But Nicole does. Doc has made it to the truck, but Wynonna is still in its line of sight. “Wynonna!” Nicole yells jumping and tackling the Earp to the ground as two gunshots go off.

 

Dolls, who had moved back to the SUV to report in, turns and sees both Wynonna and Nicole on the ground. Wynonna shoots up at the second-floor window, hitting a gunman they had missed quickly before looking back down at Nicole.

 

Even from where Dolls is standing, he can see the blood. “Haught!” He yells, running towards them. He slides in next to Wynonna, who is ripping Nicole’s uniform shirt open.

 

“She is wearing a vest! Why is she bleeding?!” Wynonna asks franticly, pressing her hand to the part of the vest that is pooling with blood.

 

“Vests can only do so much! He was probably using a rifle!” Dolls yells grabbing his radio as he does. “This is Officer Dolls! I got a 999 at the Grant household! Officer down! I repeat! Officer down!” He turns to Wynonna and Doc. “Clear the scene! I got her!”

 

“I can’t leave her Dolls!” Wynonna argues, noticing a second spot where blood is oozing out.

 

“I got this!” Doc yells approaching the house and clearing it as he has been trained to do.

 

“Ambulance in route! ETA two minutes!” The dispatcher calls back.

 

“Haught!” No response. “Nicole! Can you hear me?!” Wynonna yells.

 

“Earp.” Nicole whispers eyes barely open and unfocused at that.

 

“Stay with me Nicole! You hear me!” Wynonna yells.

 

“Too bright.” Nicole mummers, eyes sliding shut. “It burns.”

 

Wynonna uses her free hand and slaps Nicole’s cheek lightly, shaking her awake again. “You are going to be fine! All you got to do is stay awake! Stay awake Nic!”

 

Nicole begins to fade once again, eyes closing.

 

“No, Nicole! Not today! Wake up! Stay with me!” Wynonna yells loudly but Nicole is out. She checks Nicole’s pulse and can barely find it. “She has barely got a pulse. Dolls! Where is that ambulance?!”

 

“They’re here Earp, they’re here!” Dolls yells directing the paramedics over to them.

 

Wynonna reluctantly moves out of the way to let the paramedics work but doesn’t stop talking to Nicole. “Listen Haught, you gotta stay with us. We need you to stay with us. Waverly needs you and my dad needs you and Gus and Dolls and Doc and Shorty. And hell, even I need you! So, you gotta keep fighting.” Tears are streaming down her face as she says this. Doc is at her side, supporting her weight as she begins to breakdown.

 

“We are losing her!” A paramedic tells one of the others. There is a long tonal noise as they load her into the ambulance and close the doors. Even with the doors closed and the engine on, they all can still here the paramedic shout, “No pulse.” The driver takes off down the road and towards the hospital with full lights and sirens. Two Purgatory Sherriff Department cruisers giving them an escort.

 

Wynonna stands there frozen, just staring at the shrinking ambulance.

 

Dolls shouts at her and Doc from the car, breaking her trance. “Let’s go!”

 

They both run and get into the SUV, Dolls flooring it once they are both inside and chases the ambulance with lights and sirens as well.

 

“So-someone… someone has to call Waverly... my dad.” Wynonna stutters out.

 

“Nedley heard it over the radio, he is contacting them now.” Dolls says. He is doing his best to keep his stoicism, but even he cracks the slightest bit when his friend is on deaths door.

 

They don’t speak for the rest of the trip to the hospital. When they arrive, they run through the ER and find a bloody trail where a gurney was obviously rolled through maybe two minutes before. Dolls jogs to the nurse’s station. “Nicole Haught? She is a cop just brought in.” He asks the nurse.

 

“Are you family?” The nurse asks.

 

“I’m her executor/power of attorney … and her partner.” Dolls says flatly.

 

The nurse looks up at him and nods, typing into her computer. “Nicole Haught. Two gunshot wounds to the torso. They lost her in route, had to resuscitate on site as they pulled away from the scene. They took her straight into surgery. That’s all I have. The waiting room is down the hall. As soon as we know more, I will send someone out to speak with you.”

 

Dolls nods and walks into the waiting room with Doc and Wynonna in tow. They take seats in an empty area of the waiting room and sit in silence. More officers show up, sitting down and waiting to hear news about their girl. About twenty minutes after their arrival, Nedley enters with a few of his officers. “Any news?” He asks as he approaches. Everyone knows he loves Nicole like his own child, so the concern on his normally gruff face isn’t surprising.

 

Wynonna doesn’t look up from her hands, Doc just stares at Nedley. “No Sir.” Dolls says after a moment. “I do have a few details, but I think it would be best to share them once the chief and Waverly arrive.”

 

Nedley nods turning to some of the officers. “It’s all hands-on-deck. I know you want to be here but we need more officers on the scene. I will give you updates as soon as we know anything. Now go, all of you.”

 

The other officers nod sadly and leave to follow Nedley’s orders.

 

Nedley finally sits down and holds his hat in his hands.

 

“And the Chief and Waverly?” Dolls asks.

 

“Should be here in twenty minutes or so. Ten if Waverly is driving. They were both at the homestead when I called.” Nedley answers. He looks over at Wynonna, who still hasn’t moved or said anything. He then shifts to Doc and sees the look on the man’s face. He knows they aren’t ready to talk yet.

 

Chapter Text

Ten minutes earlier…

 

When Waverly’s phone rings, she is busy reading a book on the couch while her father eats his lunch by her side. Reaching for the phone, Waverly sees the PSD caller ID and immediately answers, thinking it is Nicole.

 

“Hey, are you back at the station already? I thought you would be on patrol right about now?” Waverly asks, cheery and happy to hear from Nicole.

 

“Waverly, it’s Sherriff Nedley.” Nedley says, sounding pained.

 

Assuming the call is for her father, Waverly puts it on speakerphone so her father can hear. “Good morning Sherriff. What can I do for you?”

 

“Is your father with you?” The sheriff asks.

 

“Right here Randy.” Ward says, hearing the tension in Nedley’s voice. He sits up and pushes his lunch aside. “What happened? Is it Wynonna?”

 

“It’s Haught. Ward, get yourself and Waverly to the hospital. There was a shooting.” Nedley says. The sound of him driving with his siren on echoes in the background.

 

Ward and Waverly both jump up and Ward grabs his cruiser’s keys.

 

As they run out the door, Ward speaks into the phone. “Randy, what happened?”

 

“I don’t have all the details. The BBD team is at the hospital and I will know more when I get there. All I know is that Dolls called in a 999 on Haught and that we had two units escorting the ambulance to the hospital. It doesn’t sound good Ward. She… I could hear Wynonna screaming over the radio as Dolls called it in.”

 

“We are on our way!” Ward says, hanging up and flooring the cruiser with lights and sirens. Waverly is stock still and silent, truly unable to function or process what is happening.

  


 

 

It is only mere minutes before Waverly and Ward Earp come running into the waiting room, both with frantic eyes full of fear. They run over and stop when they see Wynonna, Dolls and Doc.

 

Wynonna’s hands are covered in dried blood, much of Dolls’ shirt and pants are too, Doc has a haunted look on his face and none of them look up when Waverly and Ward rush over. Ward turns to Nedley, who just shrugs, not knowing any more information than he had when he called them.

 

“Nonna?” Waverly asks, sounding small and fragile.

 

That’s it. That’s what does it. Wynonna begins to sob, not able to look away from her hands and the blood covering them.

 

Waverly quickly crouches down in front of her sister and pulls her into her arms, sobbing with her as they both fall apart. Wynonna is whispering ‘I’m sorry… I’m so sorry’ over and over again as she cries.  After several long minutes, Wynonna seems to gain back some of her composure, but still holds Waverly close.

 

Nedley is the first to speak. “Dolls. What happened? Take your time.”

 

Dolls looks at Nedley and then at Ward. “We responded to the call. After some deliberation on what the best strategy would be, Nicole and I took out the first assailant. Holiday took out the second. We believed the threat was neutralized so Holliday, Earp and Haught began to advance to a place of cover closer to the house with the intent to clear the scene. I went back to the vehicle to radio in and get equipment. I heard two shots, then a few more. I turned as Wynonna took out a gunman on the second floor we didn’t see earlier. Haught was on the ground and unresponsive. We called it in and requested an ambulance. Nicole regained consciousness for a short period of time but was fading when the ambulance arrived. I heard the paramedics calls as they left. When we arrived here, the nurse informed me that they had to resuscitate her in route as they left the scene. She was rushed into surgery with two gunshot wounds to the torso. We haven’t heard anything else.”

 

No one says anything for a long while. When Wynonna breaks the silence, everyone is a little surprised. Her voice is gravely and hoarse from the crying and yelling, but what she says is understood by all. “It’s my fault.”

 

Waverly turns in her arms and stares watery eyed at her sister. “What?”

 

“It’s my fault. Doc and I were arguing over strategy and because of that, we didn’t notice the third asshole in the second-floor window. Nicole saw him at the last second and saw he was aiming for me. She tackled me and used her body to shield mine. She took those two rounds for me. It’s my fault. If I had been paying better attention, this wouldn’t have happened. Her blood is literally on my hands.” Wynonna’s guilt and anger with herself are so evident they are palpable.

 

“I am just as much at fault in the matter.” Doc says, fiddling with his hat and not meeting anyone’s eyes.

 

“Neither of you are at fault.” Dolls says in his normal authoritative fashion. “The only person truly at fault is the guy that pulled the trigger.” He pauses and seems to lose himself for a moment before continuing. “Just… learn from it. Don’t let it happen again.”

 

Dolls stands and brings Wynonna and Doc up with him. “Let’s get cleaned up. We are going to be here for a while.”

 

Neither say anything, but they follow wordlessly, leaving the waiting room.

 

Waverly moves over to sit with her father, curling into his side. Unfortunately, she doesn’t find the comfort that she does when she does this with Nicole. She cries a little more, knowing there is no point in holding it back now.

 


 

Dolls, Doc, Wynonna, Waverly, Ward, Gus and Nedley are all sitting in the waiting room, hoping, praying and wishing for good news and soon. Nicole has been in surgery for over 4 hours and they have heard nothing.

 

“Dolls, how did you get the nurse to talk to you when you walked in?” Nedley asks, knowing the hospital is strict on the policy of not releasing information to anyone but family.

 

“I am Nicole’s power of attorney. But if that didn’t work, I would have flashed the badge or used Wynonna.” He says. “Normally they ask for next of kin, but I have similar rights as her power of attorney.”

 

"Do we need to contact her next of kin, her father?" Doc asks.

 

"He isn't Nicole's next of kin anymore." Dolls responds.

 

“I do not understand. Why is he not?” Doc asks.

 

“Because Nicole and I are married.” Waverly says. “I’m her next of kin now.”

 

“Exactly.” Dolls says.

 

“But Waverly is not her power of attorney? You are?” Wynonna asks.

 

“Correct.” Dolls answers. “She didn’t want Waverly to be burdened with making… those decisions. Plus, you have to talk about your wishes after life with your designated power of attorney. She chose me back in our school days because we talked about what we would want. She also didn’t want her father to have any say in the matter.”

 

“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.” Ward says, not liking the turn in the conversation. The thought… it just makes him sick to his stomach in the worst way.

 


 

Another three hours pass and everyone is starting to go a little stir crazy. Wynonna is sitting on the floor in Doc’s arms, trying and failing to relax. Nedley and Ward play a game of cards, keeping their minds sharp. Gus reads a book Nicole got her a month ago, trying to distract herself. Waverly sits with Dolls in some chairs. She grips his hand, using him as an anchor. He seems to be doing the same with her, not letting go of her hand for even a second.

 

“How are you holding up?” He asks softly, breaking the silence they have been in for over an hour.

 

“As well as can be expected I guess. Not knowing anything… I think it is driving me a little mad.” She says honestly.

 

“You should try and sleep.” He suggests. “I promise to wake you if we get news.”

 

“I can’t sleep. I wish I could. I wish I could escape reality for just a little bit of time. But I can’t. My brain and my churning stomach won’t slow down.” Waverly admits.

 

Dolls nods. “Waverly, I know I don’t know you well, and I may be overstepping, but I have a question to ask you.” She nods and he takes that as a go ahead. “Are you and Nicole more than friends? I mean… do you care for her as more than a friend? She is my best friend and my partner. She is the only family I have left and she is practically my sister. I just have to ask.”

 

Waverly takes a long moment, looking at Dolls. She sees the genuineness in his eyes, even if his voice and facial features are stoic. “We are more than friends… or rather, my feelings for her are more than friendly. But I haven’t acted on them or even discussed them with her. I am still trying to figure them out myself.”

 

Dolls nods. “Well, when she survives this, yes when, not if, I think you should talk to her. She could probably help you figure it out better than anyone else. She won’t judge you no matter what you choose and she cares for you too much to leave you… even if you don’t end up choosing her.” He pauses and looks deeply into her eyes. “But Waverly, be gentle with her. Please don’t break her heart.”

 

“Why does everyone think I can break her heart, or that I would?” Waverly asks, recognizing the words from an earlier conversation with her father weeks ago.

 

“Because she trusts you, she cares for you and she has let her guard down to let you in. She doesn’t do that with many people… or really any for that matter. You, Waverly Earp, could break her heart. You might be one of the only people who can.”

 

Waverly nods, understanding what Dolls is saying. She is about to ask more questions but a doctor comes out looking exhausted. “Haught?”

 

All of them jump to their feet. The doctor approaches and motions for them all to sit. “Good evening. My name is Dr. Urabe. I am one of the surgeons that operated on Officer Haught. First thing I will tell you is that she is alive and very lucky.”

 

Everyone lets out a collective deep breath, staying otherwise quiet and letting the doctor continue.

 

“She took two high velocity rounds to the abdomen and lost a lot of blood though. She had to be resuscitated in route to the hospital and once again on the table. Once we controlled the bleeding, we removed the round lodged near her rib and the other near her diaphragm. There was some damage to her spleen, so we performed a partial splenectomy. She is lucky. The vest took a lot of the impact and slowed the bullet down. If she hadn’t been wearing it, the second bullet would have likely gone through and through and killed her. Nicole was very lucky today. I came out here as soon as the surgery was over, didn’t want to keep you waiting any longer. They are going to move her into the ICU for about an hour or two for observation before moving her to a private room. We can’t have visitors in the main ICU, but I will have a nurse escort you to her room once it is ready. You all should go down to the cafeteria and get something to eat. Maybe try and get some sleep. We will come and get you in about two hours.”

 

They all nod and thank him, most of them moving towards the elevator that leads to the cafeteria.

 

“Oh and Mrs. Haught?” The doctor calls.

 

Waverly moves back to him and he hands her a clear bag.

 

“Her personal effects. We figured you were the best person to trust with them.” He says.

 

Waverly takes the bag and thanks him once again before moving back with the others.

 


 

After she finishes eating. Barely, Waverly opens the bag that the doctor gave her and pulls out its contents one by one. After Nicole’s cell phone, Nicole’s BBD badge appears. Clearly someone cleaned the blood off of it because it smells of disinfectant. The next thing is a necklace with a single (and small) dog tag on it. On it are several names.

 

Máthair

Gus

Xavier

Waverly

Wynonna

Ward

Doc

Nedley

 

Waverly runs her thumb over her own name.

 

“She doesn’t have tattoos.” Dolls says, watching Waverly.

 

“What?” She asks.

 

“Nicole. She doesn’t have tattoos.” He repeats. “So, as time went on, she has added the names of the people she loves to that tag as a way to keep them physically close to her, even when they aren’t together. It started with just her mom and Gus. I got added on next. Then no one for a while. Then you and Wynonna. Then Your father, Doc and Nedley.”

 

Waverly tears up. Not only because of her name on the tag, but Wynonna’s too. Not a lot of people care for Wynonna. But even before now, it was clear Nicole does. She pulls the final item from the bag and holds it in her hand. Nicole’s wedding ring. Waverly puts all three items in her hands and holds them to her heart, resisting the sobs that want to escape.

 

Chapter Text

When a nurse leads them to Nicole’s room, they walk as quietly as possible. They all enter the room quietly, none really wanting to look up from the floor and face the reality.

 

After a long moment of silence, Nicole speaking startles them all. “Wow, you would have thought I actually died. God, you guys are so depressing right now.”

 

“Oh my god, you are awake.” Waverly says, looking at the nurse who looks just as surprised.

 

The doctor walks in but stops short when he looks at Nicole. “How long has she been awake?”

 

“I don’t know Doctor. She was when we walked in a second ago.” The nurse responds.

 

“Yeah… um.” Nicole coughs, causing everyone to wince at the hoarseness. “I have been conscious for about an hour. But how much of that I was actually aware and coherent? Who knows?”

 

“And you didn’t say anything?” The doctor asks, checking her over and looking at the machines.

 

“Why say something when you have nothing to say. Seems like a waste. Plus, I can’t really complain about anything, I am so drugged up I can practically see unicorns.” Nicole says, voice slurring.

 

“Nicole, do you know where you are?” He asks, taking a clipboard from the nurse.

 

“A hospital… probably Ghost River County Hospital to be more specific.” Nicole answers.

 

“Do you remember what happened?”

 

Nicole turns her head and looks at her friends and family. “Yes.” She looks directly at Wynonna, who is cowering in the corner, guilt written all over her face. Even in her doped-up state, she wants to comfort the elder Earp sister. “Wynonna, c’mer.”

 

Wynonna does, looking like she is preparing for her execution, never meeting Nicole’s eyes. She stands at Nicole’s bedside and finally meets her gaze.

 

“It was not your fault. And by the look on your face, I can tell you believe it is. So, as your boss and as your sister-in-law, I am telling you right now… get over yourself and move on. We all make mistakes and choices. The important part about all of this is that we learn from it. And not just you. We all made mistakes out there today. I made a choice and I don’t regret taking the hit. So, stop feeling guilty cuz it is making me feel bad and also makes me want to punch you really hard when we go back to work. Seriously, you look like someone kicked your puppy… and your other puppy.” Nicole says, beginning to waver towards the end. She takes Wynonna’s hand as best she can and squeezes it as tightly as she can. “It’s not your fault. Not yours. Not Doc’s. Not Dolls’. Sometimes things just happen and we have to work past them.” At the end of her sentence, Nicole’s eyes begin to flutter shut, the drugs taking over once again.

 

Wynonna’s first instinct is to panic, because the last time she saw those eyes shut, she wasn’t sure if they would ever open again. Doc’s soft, yet firm hand on her arm reassures her though. She takes a seat next to the bed, not letting go of Nicole’s hand.

 

“I think that is enough to answer your last question Doctor.” Nedley says.

 

“Indeed, she seems to not have memory issues from what I can tell. But we will have to do more tests to confirm once she awakens again. Don’t be alarmed if she awakens and falls asleep every so often. The drugs are pretty heavy, but necessary considering the amount of pain she will be in once she is off them. Please let us know when she wakes again so we can check her over.” With that, the doctor and the nurse leave.

 

Waverly stays at the end of the bed, clutching the bar until her knuckles are completely white. Ward places his hands over hers, easing them from their strangle hold. Gus kisses Nicole’s forehead, before taking a seat across the room. Waverly moves to Nicole’s side, taking her free hand in her own and rubbing soft circles over the back of her hand. Dolls pulls a chair to her for her to sit next to Nicole and finds a seat next to Ward near the window. Nedley stations himself by the door, doing the only thing he knows how to do at this moment, protect.

 

Everyone settles in, knowing it is going to be a long night.

 


 

Nedley eventually has to leave, duty calls. He needs to wrap up the scene and make sure the boys are doing alright. He requests Doc’s assistance and the cowboy reluctantly agrees after a kiss to Wynonna and soft pat to Nicole’s leg.

 

Nicole wakes up a few hours later, insisting Gus go home and get some rest. Her father is not a forgiving man and he won’t like her staying this long. Gus mumbles something about how he can ‘shove it’ but leaves after kissing Nicole on the forehead and promising to visit tomorrow.

 

“What are the chances that I could convince y’all that I am fine and that you should go home?” She asks, looking at the three remaining Earps and Dolls.

 

“Not a chance.” Waverly says, never letting go of Nicole’s hand.

 

“Ditto.” Wynonna says.

 

“I will go. They probably need more hands at the scene anyways. But first, I need a minute alone with Nicole.” Ward says eyeing the other occupants of the room.

 

Dolls and Wynonna get up and leave, Waverly following behind, but not before placing a quick kiss to Nicole’s cheek. Once they are out the door, Ward turns to look at Nicole.

 

“So, be straight with me Haught. And no pun intended. How are you doing?” He asks, all business and serious.

 

“Honestly, I am in pain, I am sore everywhere that isn’t painful. My chest feels like someone is stacking weights on it. I keep waking up and going to sleep, which is incredibly frustrating by the way. Oh yeah, and the fact that I am stuck in this room is making me a little crazy.”

 

“You have been in this room all of six hours and you were asleep for most of it.” Ward says with a chuckle.

 

“Exactly.” Nicole replies, cracking a smile.

 

“Seriously Nicole, I need to thank you.”

 

“No, you don’t Sir. I was doing my job.” Nicole says quickly.

 

“Nicole, Nedley showed me the dash cam footage from Dolls’ SUV. It caught the whole thing. You went beyond the call of duty today. You saved my girl and at great personal cost.” Ward fires back, his pride and gratitude evident in his features.

 

“She is part of my team Chief. Not only that, but she is family now. You all are. So, yes, I am a little extra motivated to protect her. But even with that in mind, I still would have done it. It could have been anyone and I wouldn’t have treated the situation differently. But for the record… I know how much family means to people. I honestly don’t think Waverly would recover if anything happened to you or Wynonna.”

 

Nicole waits, watching Ward for his reaction. After a deep breath, he meets her eyes once again. “Knowing you care about Waverly and Wynonna… knowing you would not think twice about risking your life for theirs… it makes me incredibly happy. But it also scares me Nicole. Because I have come to know you and care for you too. In my eyes, you are a part of this family, you have been even before you said I do. So, the idea of losing you makes my stomach tie into knots.”

 

“Chief, can I be honest with you?” Nicole asks, the drugs loosening her lips.

 

“Of course.”

 

“You, Waverly, Wynonna, Doc… you are a family and hell, the whole town would mourn your loss. People need you, they depend on all of you.” Nicole takes a deep breath but doesn’t look away from him. “I don’t have that. I have Gus and she is amazing. But beyond her, I don’t really have that. And no one depends on me. If anyone were to mourn me, they would eventually move on. I am not a life-changing factor in anyone’s life. My mom is dead, my father has never acted like a father, and all of my other relatives are dead. Xavier is my best friend and my partner, but he would move on. He is strong and has been through much worse. Gus would eventually move on too. My point is… I don’t have people that need me like you guys do. No one needs me…” Nicole smirks a little, looking at her hands. There is no self-pity in her voice, just resolute acceptance. “And that’s okay with me. But I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if something happened to any of you and I didn’t try and stop it.”

 

Wards first instinct is to hold the woman before him. That mask she wears so well, hiding the pain of loneliness, loss and heartache. Another part of him wants to argue that people do need her, that she is a part of their family and that they might all not recover if something happened to her. He has so many thoughts but doesn’t get the chance to voice them because his youngest daughter shuts the door hard and starts yelling.

 

“What do you mean no one needs you?! We all need you Nicole!” Waverly yells, anger masking the fear that Ward can see clear as day.

 

“Waves…” Nicole starts with a sigh.

 

“No, don’t ‘Waves’ me! How can you say that?! How can you believe that any of us would be unaffected if you died or got hurt?! How can you think that it wouldn’t destroy me if I lost you?!”

 

“We will finish this talk later Haught.” Ward says, leaving the room. His daughter may have been voted nicest person in Purgatory, but no one wanted to be at the bad end of her anger.

 

The door clicks shut and Waverly is giving Nicole a look that could possibly actually kill her. Nicole wants to argue, but she can’t. Because it is painful to even think about, let alone admit aloud. “Waverly, I believe in what I said. Can you imagine how distraught you would be if it was Wynonna in this bed? Or worse, if the injuries had actually killed her? You would be a mess.”

 

“And you don’t think I was and am a mess with you laying in that bed Nicole?!” Waverly exclaims, tears rolling down her face since the moment she started listening to Nicole talking with her father. “You don’t think that I lost my shit driving over here when Nedley called to tell us that you were shot and in critical condition?! You don’t think I had a panic attack when the doctor told me that they had to resuscitate you, twice?! You died, your heartbeat stopped! Twice!” Waverly is sobbing hard, no emotional stability left to hold it back.

 

Nicole lifts her hand and pulls Waverly closer to her. The smaller brunette lets Nicole lead her on to the empty side of the bed and wraps her arm around her. Waverly cries into Nicole’s shoulder, balling her right fist in the top of Nicole’s hospital gown.

 

At some point, Waverly, emotionally and physically exhausted, falls asleep in that position. Nicole does to, no longer having the strength to fight off the meds.

 


 

When Nicole wakes again, it is almost twelve hours later and Wynonna is staring down at her. “Earp? Staring at a woman while she sleeps is considered creepy by some people.”

 

“Which people?”

 

“Me people. What’s wrong?” Nicole asks.

 

Wynonna laughs gesturing to Nicole as if it isn’t obvious.

 

“Besides that. What’s on your mind?” Nicole pushes, knowing there is more to it. She tilts her chin down and sees Waverly is still in the same position, although the tenseness that was there before is gone.

 

“Um… Dolls, Nedley, Doc and my dad are outside. They have the dash cam footage from the shooting. They have to take your statement and they also wanted to ask if you wanted to see the footage.” Wynonna says nervously.

 

“Of course, and yes, I would like to see it.” Nicole says, taking measured breaths.

 

Wynonna nods and opens the door for the others to enter. After Nedley takes her statement, they hookup the hospital room TV and hit the play button. They skip ahead to when Nicole and Dolls take out the first shooter. That’s when Nicole notices that Waverly is now awake. The brunette holds on to Nicole a little tighter.

 

Nicole watches as Doc takes out the other guy and Dolls moves back to the SUV. The rest of the video is only seconds. Wynonna and Doc arguing, neither seeing the gunman in the window. Nicole sees it, the moment visual as her face changes. She yells but also leaps for Wynonna, knowing there is not enough time. Waverly winces and turns into Nicole’s shoulder the moment she gets shot but turns back to watch Wynonna plead for Nicole to stay awake. Nicole doesn’t remember much after the bullets hit her, so the video brings a lot of light to the situation. Wynonna yelling, holding pressure to the wounds. Doc clearing the house. Dolls calling the ambulance and the crackle of radio chatter. She can faintly hear the long beep on the paramedic’s setup as she flat lines. At that same moment, Waverly looks away from the screen and buries her face into Nicole’s shoulder once again.

 

Nedley ejects the disc and looks at Nicole.

 

“Mind sending me a copy of that?” Nicole asks. Nedley raises an eyebrow. Nicole smirks. “For… personal and professional reflection.” She supplies.

 

Nedley nods, understanding. “Sure. I will have one sent over.”

 

Dolls clears his throat. “I went to your place and grabbed some stuff for you.” He says, holding up a duffle bag. “Clothes, laptop, and some other stuff you might need for the next few days.”

 

“Thanks Dolls… and I am going to try and forget that you had to go through my underwear drawer to get that stuff. Never speak of it again?” Nicole asks, cringing.

 

“Agreed.” He replies.

Chapter Text

“Waverly, please stop fussing over me. I told you I am fine.” Nicole says for what feels like the tenth time that day.

“Nicole, I know you are all into playing the tough cop lady who is invincible. But I know for a fact that as of today you started refusing the IV pain medication. Thus, I know you are in pain. So, don’t try and tell me differently.” Waverly says, fixing the already perfect sheets on Nicole’s hospital bed.

“Did it ever occur to you that maybe I am refusing them because I don’t need them?” Nicole asks with a cocky smirk.

“No, but it did occur to me that you are doing this so that you can discharge yourself as early as later today.” Waverly retorts, wiping the smirk almost completely off Nicole’s face.

Nicole gives a low whistle and leans back. “Damn, my wife is beautiful and wicked smart. I think it is clear who settled for who.” She jokes, making Waverly blush.

“Eh, you’re not too bad yourself Officer Haught.” Waverly jokes back, finally settling down in the seat next to Nicole’s bed.

Wynonna walks into the room with coffee in hand and a pair of sunglasses on. “Seriously Earp. It’s Wednesday afternoon.” Nicole whines, seeing that Wynonna is very clearly hungover.

“True, but last night I had the night off.” Wynonna shoots back.

“Keep it under control Wynonna. When I am cleared, I’m making your ass run laps until I get tired of watching. Don’t think my absence will be any type of vacation. I already gave Dolls a workout and training sheet for him to work with you on.” Nicole says, smirking as Wynonna’s jaw drops. “Now, if one of you would be so kind as to call in a nurse so I can get my paperwork started.”

“Why are you so hell bent on getting out of here? You were shot, twice. You died, twice. I would be living it up in this place, milking it for as long as I could.” Wynonna says before hollering out the door in the direction of the nurse’s station.

“I don’t like being here with machines beeping and needles in my arms. Plus, this shit is expensive.” Nicole says.

“Your rich.” Wynonna deadpans.

“You know how rich people stay rich? By not spending their money on unnecessary nights in a private hospital room.” Nicole fires right back.

Waverly watches the exchange with a small smile on her face, but it soon drops when a nurse comes in with papers on a clipboard. Dr. Urabe enters in after her, not looking all that pleased.

“You do realize that you are signing yourself out of the hospital Against Medical Advice? Nicole, you have only been here for five days, I would prefer you stay a few more days.” Dr. Urabe says.

“Sorry Doc, but you have more serious patients to see and I have things to do.” Nicole says. “I understand the risks and what comes with the AMA. Don’t worry.”

“Fine, give her the AMA. If she passes final tests in an hour, she can be out of here before dinner.” He says to the nurse.

She nods and hands Nicole the form. “Just call if you need any help filling it out.” She offers before leaving.

“Thank you, Nurse Betty.” Nicole says, already filling out the paperwork.

“Done this before?” Wynonna asks, watching Nicole fill out the forms without really looking at it closely.

“Um… yes. A couple times.” Nicole says. She looks up and sees both women looking at her expectantly. She sighs. “My ex is a doctor. I got hurt a few times during academy training and stuff, nothing major, but they always wanted to keep me longer than necessary. So, I would fill out a AMA and inform them of my girlfriend’s profession and then they were less reluctant to release me, considering I was literally living with a doctor.”

“Ah, was she hot?” Wynonna asks.

Nicole fidgets uncomfortably and glances at Waverly. “She was attractive, yes, and smart. But she wasn’t the right person for me. We not only wanted different things, but we were just going different places in life. It just wasn’t really healthy to be together anymore.”

Waverly seems to dissect the answer for a moment before relaxing into her chair, satisfied.

“Got any pictures?”

“Nonna!”

 



Waverly insists on taking Nicole back to the homestead after she is discharged, stating it will make it easier for her to keep an eye on the redhead. By the time they pull into the homestead, Nicole is just exhausted from the little amount of motion she did during the day. Ward and Dolls help guide her into the house and, at Waverly’s request, up to Waverly’s room. They place Nicole on the bed as lightly as possible, hoping not to jar any of her injuries.

“Thanks guys, I got it from here.” Waverly says, closing the door once they leave.

“You don’t have to do this. I am fine on the couch.” Nicole says, sounding too exhausted to even lift her head, let alone move down to the couch.

“Nic, that couch is horrible and you were s-… are hurt. No way I am making you sleep on it. You are going to sleep in here with me.” Waverly says, moving to remove Nicole’s sneakers.

“Can I at least shower first? That hospital…” Nicole shudders to emphasize her point.

“Fine, but the doctors said to make it quick and to try and not get your wounds or dressings wet.” Waverly concedes. “But you are letting me redress your wounds when you are done.”

“Deal.”

 



Nicole has been in the bathroom for over an hour now and Waverly is starting to get worried. She knocks on the door several times but gets no response. She cracks the door open and sees that Nicole, is in fact, no longer in the shower and the water is off. Nicole stands, wet hair falling down her back, in a sports bra and a pair of sweat pants. She is looking in the mirror, looking at the wounds she clearly un-bandaged after her shower.

“Nic?” Waverly asks tentatively.

No response.

“Nicole?” Waverly says a little louder, moving into the bathroom and shutting the door. She moves up behind Nicole, but she knows Nicole can see her in the mirror.

The redhead nods slowly, but it is clear she isn’t really all there.

Waverly slowly wraps her arms around Nicole’s waist, careful of her injuries and watches her face for any sign of stress. Much to her relief, Nicole seems to relax into the embrace shaking her head slightly as she is welcomed back into reality. “You okay?”

“Yeah… just thinking. Sorry.” Nicole says.

“Don’t apologize. No big deal. If you’re ready, I can dress those wounds?” Waverly offers, still holding on to Nicole.

“Yeah… thank you.”

 



Nicole and Waverly are both laying down in the bed a few hours later. Nicole is listening to music on her phone with earbuds in, staring up at the ceiling. Waverly is propped up with a few pillows, pretending to read a book. But if Nicole has noticed that Waverly hasn’t turned the page in almost thirty minutes, she hasn’t said anything about it.

After a little while longer, Waverly shuts her book and places in on the nightstand.

“Waves?” Nicole asks, the sound of the book over her music breaking her from her thoughts.

“Sorry.”

“For?”

“Disturbing you.” Waverly says.

Nicole snorts and pulls Waverly down so they are at the same eye level. “You didn’t. What’s wrong?”

“Nicole, are you serious? What isn’t wrong? You got shot.” Waverly says, saying it for the first time.

“I can think of a lot of things that are right in this world. Let’s see… the bad guys are dead. Your sister, Doc and your dad are safe, your family is all fine. You have food in your refrigerator and a roof over your head. You are okay and the world is spinning. Life is good. And that’s just the stuff I can think of off the top of my head.” Nicole says, taking one of Waverly’s hands in hers.

“I know you don’t believe me, but you are my family too. And you being hurt, it hurts me too. We are a package deal.” Waverly says, turning on her side and facing Nicole.

“Only because it was forced on you. Waverly, just because we are married… it doesn’t mean-” Nicole’s words are cut off when Waverly places her free hand over Nicole’s mouth.

Nicole mumbles something under Waverly’s hand, causing Waverly to smirk. “Don’t finish that sentence.” She raises her left hand and indicates to her engagement ring. “You promised me that you would always be here for me. And I almost lost you this week.” Her voice starts to waver at her words, but she pushes through. “When my dad and I got the call, I literally felt my heart crack inside my chest. As we drove, it was all I could do not to hyperventilate. And then I had to sit in that waiting room for hours, not knowing if you were going to live… Nicole, my life has been hard, but I have never felt that kind of torture. And while I was waiting to hear if you were going to be okay, I just couldn’t function. I walked into that waiting room and saw Wynonna’s hands covered in your blood…” Waverly takes a deep breath, not bothering to wipe the tears falling down her face. “And then I heard you tell my dad that you… your life… that it didn’t matter. That you believed we would move on and I lost it. That was the moment I knew.”

“The moment you knew what?” Nicole asks, looking into Waverly’s eyes like they are her life line.

Waverly leans up and kisses Nicole on the cheek, lingering a moment longer than really necessary. “That was the moment I knew that we, my feelings for you, are more than friends. I am not one-hundred percent sure what it all means yet, but I do know we have been more than friends for a while now.”

Nicole lifts her free hand and caresses Waverly’s cheek lightly. “Well, with all of that in mind, when you figure out what it all means, you let me know. I will be here no matter what. And I am here to help you in any way I can, but I also won’t pressure you.” Nicole smirks, dimple making an appearance, breaking the seriousness. “Plus, I have a couple promises to keep.”

Waverly laughs and smiles. “Yes, yes you do.”

 



Nicole wakes up to someone screaming, she quickly jolts up, bringing a stabbing pain to her wounds but she doesn’t care. She reaches for a gun that isn’t there and opens her eyes. She turns and sees Waverly thrashing around in the bed, whimpering in between screams.

“Waves.” Nicole says, moving to shake the woman awake. It doesn’t work. “Waverly, baby, stop. It’s okay.” Nicole scoots across the bed, on to Waverly’s side, and wraps a protective arm over the smaller brunette.

Waverly immediately stops screaming, but the whimpering doesn’t end. “Waves, honey. You’re safe. You’re here with me. It’s okay.”

Waverly pushes herself into Nicole, causing Nicole to flinch in pain for a moment before settling. Nicole looks down and sees Waverly has situated herself so Nicole is spooning her, pulling the redheads arm into her chest and holding it tightly. “Shhhhh.” Nicole whispers, silencing Waverly’s whimpers as she falls back asleep.

Nicole is still looking down, shocked, when Wynonna and Ward come barreling in a few moments later, both armed. Nicole looks at them and shrugs as best she can.

“What the hell? How did you get her back down so fast?” Wynonna stage whispers.

“This happens often?” Nicole asks, looking down at the woman seeping contentedly in her arms.

“When she was little, yes. But I don’t recall her having one in almost a year.” Ward says, lowering his weapon and rubbing his face. He sees the way Waverly is holding Nicole’s arm to her chest, the way the blankets are shoved around clearly indication Waverly moved into her current position herself. He smiles softly and returns his gaze to Nicole. “Goodnight Nicole. Good job.”

“I don’t even understand.” Nicole says, looking down at the brunette with a worried look.

“She won’t talk about it with us.” Wynonna says softly. “But it normally takes me an hour to get her calmed back down and she never goes back to sleep after.” Wynonna looks them over thoughtfully but shakes her head. “Night Haughtstuff.” With that she leaves, closing the door behind her.

Nicole relaxes back into the bed and pulls Waverly in a little closer. This earns a happy sigh from the other woman, a small, sleepy smile on her face. Nicole moves to Waverly’s ear and whispers, “I will always be here for you Waves. Always. I got you.”

Nicole falls back asleep soon after that, exhaustion taking over once again.

Chapter Text

When Waverly wakes up, she feels a warmth enveloping her from the back. She is hugging something warm as well but doesn’t recognize it right away. She opens her eyes and sees it’s a hand, more specifically, it’s Nicole’s hand. And Nicole is spooning her, evidently kept in place by Waverly’s grip on her. She decides to enjoy the moment for a few more minutes before carefully extricating herself from the bed.

 

Nicole grumbles a little at the loss of heat and the motion but stays asleep.

 

Waverly quietly puts on a robe and leaves the room to go downstairs and start coffee.

 

When she arrives, she finds Ward sitting in the kitchen with a cup of coffee in hand. He has another cup, this one with tea, for her and she gratefully accepts it and sits down. “Good morning.” She greets.

 

“Morning Babygirl. You doing okay?” Ward asks.

 

“Yes? Why do you ask?” Waverly inquires with a raised eyebrow.

 

“You had another nightmare last night, were screaming and shaking. Nicole had you calmed down by the time Wynonna and I got there, but you seemed pretty shaken up. You don’t remember anything?”

 

Waverly wipes her hands over her face and shakes her head. “No, I don’t remember a thing. Shit. I need to apologize to Nicole. That was the last thing she needed right now.”

 

Ward regards her closely before speaking. “I don’t think she cared Babygirl. I think she was just concerned with your wellbeing. She handled it well, had you back to sleep in seconds. Even your sister was impressed.”

 

Waverly drinks from her tea, thinking.

 

Before she has come to a conclusion, Nicole slowly passes them, walking out towards the front door. “Morning.”

 

“And where do you think you are going?” Waverly asks, shooting Nicole a dangerous glance.

 

“Um… out…?”

 

“Is that a question or a statement?” Waverly asks, a mixture of amused and annoyed.

 

“Depends, which will get me in less trouble?” Nicole asks.

 

“Neither.” Ward answers with a chuckle before Waverly can, earning a glare from his daughter.

 

A honk sounds from outside and Nicole not so discretely moves slowly backwards towards the door.

 

“So? Where are you off to?” Waverly asks again, returning her focus to her wife.

 

“Work.” Nicole says, giving her best effort to speed out of the house.

 

That is to say, her injuries make her slow and Waverly bolts out of her chair and catches up with her almost immediately. “You’re not cleared for duty.” Waverly protests.

 

“Correct, but I scheduled my first psych evaluation today so I could get it out of the way.” Nicole says, climbing into Dolls’ SUV. “I’ll be back as soon as it is over, I promise.”

 

Waverly leans into the open window and looks at Dolls’ threateningly. “Bring her back in the same condition she left in or I will hold you personally accountable Xavier Dolls.”

 

Xavier nods and drives away once Waverly takes a step back from the vehicle.

 


 

“Wave?”

 

“Yeah?” Waverly responds, looking up from her book so she can properly look at the redhead next to her.

 

“Are you okay? I mean… last night. You had a nightmare and it seemed pretty bad. And you don’t have to tell me about it if you don’t want to. You really don’t. I just… I want to make sure you are alright.” Nicole says softly, taking Waverly’s hand and holding it softly, brushing her thumb over the brunette’s knuckles.

 

Waverly tries to find the words and takes a deep breath. “Um well. I used to get nightmares when I was little. It took a while, but I figured out why. It was always the same flashback, but with a different and more twisted result. My parents, my sisters and I were all driving home one night from dinner when another car came up and hit us out of no where. We were all okay but when the car hit us, we rolled and the car took three flips before settling right side up. The driver was one of The Revenant gang members. He was drunk but sober enough to notice a familiar car of a Purgatory sheriff’s deputy and decided to ram us. He was arrested and we all ended up being okay in the end. Just some cuts and bruises. I was so young and it is one of the last memories I have from before our momma left. But in my dreams, my family dies in front of me and leaves me alone. In the nightmares, I hear my sisters’ screams and my father’s cries of pain and loss.”

 

“So last night… you dreamt that the car accident killed your family?” Nicole asks carefully.

 

Waverly swallows hard. “No… Last night I dreamt that those bullets killed you. That the doctors couldn’t save you and that you were gone.” Waverly feels the tears begin to fall and she can do nothing to stop them. “That your heart stopped and they couldn’t get it beating again.”

 

“Hey. Hey.” Nicole says softly, pulling Waverly into her and holding her close in her embrace. She takes Waverly’s hand and holds it to her chest, right over her thumping heart. “Feel that. I am here. Okay? Nothing is going to take me away from you. I am here for as long as you want me Waverly Earp.”

 

Waverly immediately burrows into Nicole, keeping her one hand over Nicole’s heart and wrapping the other around Nicole and clutching at the back of the redhead’s shirt. “I know this may feel stupid. I know I am being over dramatic…”

 

“It’s not. You’re not. It’s okay.” Nicole interrupts, holding Waverly as tightly as she can without aggravating her injuries. “Your feelings are valid and you are allowed, no, encouraged to tell me. I want to be here for you Waves. No matter what. This incident didn’t just affect me. It affected all of us. It is okay to admit that.”

 

Waverly nods into Nicole’s neck, hiding her face there and taking comfort in the warmth and safety she finds within the redhead’s arms, her hand never leaving its place from over Nicole’s heart.

 


 

Days turn into weeks and as Nicole improves, she spends less time at the homestead. She is cleared for desk work after two weeks at home and is cleared for full field duty in two months. The doctors were happy with her progress and even seemed surprised when she passed all her final tests. And although Waverly is happy Nicole is back to work, she can’t help but feel a little sad about it too.

 

When Nicole was on bedrest, she would sleep during Waverly’s shifts. When Waverly was home, they would talk, watch movies, or listen to music. They really got to bond on a level that they wouldn’t otherwise. So, Waverly can’t help but feel sad and miss the time they shared.

 

But Nicole still makes an effort. She tries to get home at a decent hour, she continues to sleep with Waverly, and they go back to their normal routine that they had before the shooting.

 

It’s a Friday night and Shorty’s is unusually slow. Waverly remembers that there is a rodeo going on one town over so much of their Friday night regulars are probably there. She smiles wide when the BBD team walks in behind Nedley and her father, almost hopping up and down in excitement.

 

“Hey Baby.” Nicole greets casually. Ever since that night when she had the nightmare, Nicole had begun using the pet name more often. And if Waverly is being completely honest, she couldn’t be happier about it.

 

“Hey stranger. What can I get you?” Waverly asks, leaning her arms on the bar.

 

“Well, I would prefer a hug, but everyone else wants three pitchers and a few baskets of fries.” Nicole says with a smirk.

 

Waverly smiles back and rounds the bar. She embraces Nicole quickly, leaning up on her tiptoes and placing a kiss on Nicole’s cheek before pulling away. They had gotten more comfortable like this, being not only around one another but also being affectionate. It is slow, but both feel secure in knowing that no one is being rushed or pushed.

 

Waverly moves back around the bar and goes about filling the order while Nicole stares at her dreamily.

 

“Stop.” Waverly scolds lightly, blushing hard.

 

“Stop what?” Nicole teases, not taking her eyes off Waverly.

 

“You know what.” Waverly teases back.

 

“I can’t help it, you fascinate me Waverly Earp. I don’t think there has ever been a moment where you haven’t captivated me.” Nicole says, batting her eyelashes.

 

“Flatterer.” Waverly says with a little shyness creeping in.

 

Nicole decides to give it a rest and leans on the bar. “I will be back in a few minutes, I forgot my phone in my office. Keep an eye on those guys. All of us have the next three days off and they are all looking to celebrate.”

 

Waverly laughs and nods, watching the redhead leave before moving to her family’s table and serving them their order.

 

A few minutes later, a tall dark-haired woman enters the bar and makes her way over to the counter. She is beautiful, Waverly notices that right away, but there is something about her that is familiar. She can’t put her finger on it, but Waverly knows she recognizes her from somewhere. The woman is in a slim dress with high heels and a purse that Waverly knows is worth more than her kidney. The unknown woman places her bag onto the counter and smiles at Waverly.

 

“Can I help you?” Waverly asks cheerfully.

 

“Maybe. First, you can tell me whether all the women in this town are beautiful, or is it just you?” The stranger flirts, making Waverly lean back the slightest bit.

 

“Purgatory has its fair share of good and bad gene pools but thank you. Although, I wouldn’t waist your energy flirting. I am very happily married.” Waverly raises her left hand for emphasis. “I’m Waverly, by the way. You must be new or just visiting. Don’t recognize you.”

 

The stranger laughs and holds out a hand to shake Waverly’s. “Just visiting. Actually, that is what I was going to ask your help with. I am looking for a close friend of mine Nicole Haught.”

 

At the blank look Waverly gives her, the stranger continues quickly. “Oh, I’m sorry, where are my manners. My name is Shae, Dr. Shae Pressman.”

 

Waverly doesn’t have time to react because Nicole comes waltzing in and rounds the bar, evidently not noticing the other woman. She hands her a set of jeep keys. “Evidently, you left those in my office earlier when you dropped by.”

 

At Waverly’s lack of response, Nicole looks up and sees that the woman Waverly had been talking to when she walked in is her ex-girlfriend. “Shae.”

 

“Cole, miss me?” Shae teases, a flirty smirk returning to her features.

 

This seems to break Waverly from her daze and Waverly immediately starts to sputter. “W-wait. You’re Shae, like as in, Nic’s ex-girlfriend, Shae?”

 

“Ex-fiancé.” Shae corrects.

 

“One has to say yes for two people to become engaged Shae. That didn’t happen so don’t try and play it differently.” Nicole says, stoic.

 

“Ew, grumpy. Well, I guess we can catch up later. Until then, I was very much enjoying Waverly’s company.” Shae says flirtatiously, eyes back on Waverly like she is a piece of meat and Shae is a hungry lion. “You were telling me you are married Waverly? Who is the unlucky man I have to fight over you with?”

 

“Me.” Nicole says flatly.

 

Shae laughs and lets her open palm hit the countertop. “That’s so funny! We always did have the same taste in girls Cole.” Shae says, eyeing Waverly up and down.

 

Nicole is rigid and Waverly can feel it where she is leaning into the taller woman slightly. Nicole moves back around the counter. “Shae, a word please.” It’s polite, but there is an edge to it that is reminiscent of Nicole’s tone towards Champ.

 

Shae gives Waverly one more look over before turning and standing, following Nicole to the other side of the bar. Waverly watches as Nicole fiddles with the jukebox, picking a song as she starts talking to Shae.

 

“What are you doing here?” Nicole asks curtly.

 

“What? No hello? No ‘I missed you’ or ‘It’s good to see you Shae’?” Shae replies teasingly.

 

“What are you doing here Shae?” Nicole repeats, just as cold and more annoyed.

 

Shae exhales deeply for Nicole’s benefit and leans on the jukebox so Nicole is forced to at least partially look at her. “A nurse that used to be on my service during my internship called me a few weeks ago. She remembered the redheaded cadet that I was with for all those years and was surprised to see the same woman in her hospital ward only a few months back. Called to see if someone had notified me that my fiancé was in the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds.”

 

“I was never your fiancé Shae. She shouldn’t have called you. But even so, she called you weeks ago, why are you just showing up now? And for what reason?”

 

“Cole, I couldn’t just drop everything in my life and come to some podunk town to follow you. But once I got a free weekend, I came here. And to answer your question, I am here to bring you home.” Shae says as if that is not very insulting.

 

“I’m not going anywhere Shae. This is my home now.” Nicole says, looking her ex square in the eyes.

 

“Oh, yeah, with that [gestures vaguely toward the counter with her hand] wife of yours? Please. Anyone with eyes can see how much of a sham that marriage is.”

 

“Well, think what you want. But, let’s put it this way. If something happened to her, I would drop everything to make sure she is okay.” Nicole jabs. “And clearly, even after all our history together, you still won’t do that for me.”

 

“Oh, I have no doubt you would, but the real question is, would she do the same for you? Because once she gets over that feeling of obligation…” Shae moves closer and places a hand on Nicole’s chest. “She is going to drop you like a hot rock. Go off and be with a man or a woman who she is capable of loving. But you Nicole, your mine. You always have been.” Shae places her hand over Nicole’s heart and holds it there. “Waverly, she seems smart, is definitely beautiful and anyone can see she is too good for you. That is not even including the fact that she doesn’t love you and soon… the honeymoon will be over and she will look for love and pleasure in someone else. And where will that leave you? Alone.”

 

Nicole doesn’t know what to say. She is literally speechless. Unfortunately, Shae knows her fears, her vulnerabilities and her deepest insecurities.

 

“No arguments, well good. That saves time. So, come home with me. You belong back in the city. They would hire you onto the force and I am going to be named head of cardiothoracic surgery this fall. We could go back to how it was. You know I love you. I am the only one that knows how to love you. Don’t burden Waverly with trying to be something for you that she just isn’t capable of being.” Shae intones, leaning into Nicole and whispering the last part in her ear.

 

Nicole has her hands together, her fingers fidgeting with the wedding band on her ring finger. She is frozen. She can’t speak, she can’t move. She is even having a hard time breathing.

 

As this all transpires, the others at the table notice Nicole and Shae. Wynonna stands from the table and moves towards Waverly. “Who is that over there talking to Haughtstuff?” Wynonna asks.

 

Waverly looks over and notices that Nicole looks on the verge of hyperventilating, devastation clear in her features. She hears a chair scratch out on the floor and watches Dolls stand and move to break up the conversation. Nedley stands too but pushes Dolls back in his seat and mutter something to him. Dolls stares over at them though, glaring holes into the back of Shae’s head.

 

“Nicole’s ex. Dr. Shae Pressman.” Waverly finally answers.

 

Wynonna doesn’t even wait a second after seeing Nicole’s face before walking over to the pair and clearing her throat loudly. “Is there a problem here?” She asks.

 

Shae turns to her and looks her up and down. “Not at all. I don’t think I have had the pleasure. Shae Pressman. And you are…?”

 

“Nicole’s sister-in-law.” Wynonna bites out, eyes never leaving Shae but very aware of Nicole and her shrinking posture. “Wynonna.”

 

“Well, sisters… quite the gene pool indeed.” Shae comments more to herself. “Well, it is nice to meet you Wynonna, but I was just having a conversation with my…”

 

“I gotta pee.” Nicole squeaks out hurriedly, moving for the first time and quickly walking into the bathroom to escape.

 

Wynonna watches Nicole disappear into the bathroom and then returns her gaze to the taller woman in front of her. “Look, I wouldn’t recommend starting trouble. Nicole is well liked in town and almost half the people in this bar are her family. I have been told enough about you for me to know you are not someone she wants in her life anymore. I think it would be in your best interest to leave.”

 

Shae nods her head, but not in agreement. She walks over to the bar and grabs her purse before heading to the door casually. She stops at their table and looks down at Dolls. “Xavier. Good to see you again. Henry, you as well.”

 

“You leave her alone Shae.” Dolls warns dangerously. “Haven’t you fucked her up enough. Just leave her alone.”

 

“I second that.” Doc adds.

 

“I am just doing what I know is best for Nicole gentleman. That’s all.” She moves to walk away. “See you around.” She says, walking out the doors.

Chapter Text

Waverly walks into the bathroom as soon as Shae is gone to check on Nicole. When she enters, she finds all the stalls empty and the window in the bathroom ajar. Waverly pokes her head out the window but doesn’t see Nicole in the alleyway. She leaves the bathroom and quickly exits the saloon. Nicole’s cruiser is no longer in the Shorty’s parking lot. Shit! She walks back inside and leans up against the bar.

 

“She okay?” Dolls asks her.

 

“She’s gone.” Waverly answers.

 

“I’m not surprised.” Doc says.

 

“That bitch is lucky I didn’t shoot her.” Wynonna grumbles.

 

“What am I missing? I was under the impression Haught and the doctor ended on good terms.” Ward asks, extremely confused.

 

“I was under the same impression.” Waverly adds.

 

“Dr. Pressman abused Haught during their relationship. Mostly mentally and verbally, but sometimes that’s worse. It did get physical from what I understand.” Nedley says. He stands and dons his hat. “I don’t care to hear this story again, hearing it from Nicole once was enough for me. I am going home.” He leaves after, texting someone on his way out.

 

“Shae abused her?” Waverly asks, hurt Nicole didn’t tell her.

 

“Yes. They were together a long time, Shae toyed with Nicole’s emotions and played head games with her almost the whole time they were together. Made Nicole into someone even I didn’t recognize. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to watch. They were together over six years when Nicole finally left Shae.” Dolls says. “Nicole is a good person and has been through a lot, and Shae is responsible for a lot of it. That woman tore Nicole to shreds over and over again, made her feel worthless and horrible. I had read about Stockholm syndrome, but never really understood or believed it until Nicole and Shae. Even after Shae would bring her to the end of her rope, Nicole wouldn’t leave her. She felt like she couldn’t and that was exactly what Shae told her.”

 

“Why didn’t Nicole tell me?” Waverly asks, knowing Dolls knows the answer and will tell her the truth.

 

“Embarrassment. Not wanting you to believe her to be fragile or broken. That’s the thing about Nicole. She is so strong and will take on anyone who stands in her way… except Shae. That woman plays on Nicole’s deepest fears, insecurities and nightmares.” Dolls says. “She had actually been planning on telling you. Just hadn’t found a good time to yet.”

 

“But she told Nedley?” Waverly asks. “And Wynonna?”

 

“She told Nedley because Shae was harassing her during her first few weeks here. Calling the station and making false allegations in an attempt to get Nicole fired.” Dolls answers. “Nedley protected Nicole personally and professionally.”

 

“And she didn’t actually tell me. I picked up her phone one day and answered it while she had her hands busy. It was the bitch. She didn’t realize that I wasn’t Nicole answering and just started throwing insults. I hung up on her and bugged Nicole to tell me. She refused and went as far as to leave the office to avoid me. I went to Gus and explained what I heard. She told me what she knew but made me swear to keep it between us for as long as possible.” Wynonna says.

 

“They always seemed happy when I was around them, but that isn’t saying much. I was only around for the beginning of their relationship.” Doc adds.

 

“Why didn’t she just get a restraining order?” Waverly asks.

 

Ward looks down at his hands and shakes his head. “Because that would involve admitting what has been happening. It would be public record. The Pressman family is very well known on the east coast, almost as well as the Haughts. Even if Nicole filed, it is unlikely it would go through. It is my understanding that Dr. Pressman’s father is a state senator.”

 

“It’s bullshit.” Wynonna barks, taking a shot.

 

“Wynonna, no one is saying it isn’t. But what do you suppose we do?” Doc asks. “We cannot just make her disappear.”

 

“I could arrange that.” Dolls mutters to himself.

 

Waverly just shakes her head and returns to the bar. She pulls out her phone and opens up her text messages.

 

Waves (07:36pm): You okay? I’m here if you want to talk or need anything.

 

Nic (08:11pm): I’m sorry

 

Waves (08:12pm): For?

 

Nic (08:14pm): Everything

 

Waves (08:19pm): You have nothing to apologize for. I just want to know you are safe and okay. And if you are not, please, tell me and let me help.

 

Nic (08:21pm): I’m safe.

 

Nic (08:21pm): I just need to be away for a while. Going home for a few days.

 


 

It’s been two days and Waverly hasn’t seen Nicole since the bar incident. Shae has been around, popping into Shorty’s from time to time and exploring the town. She is always flirty with Waverly and falsely endearing towards her other family members. Having Shae around and having Nicole with radio silence… it’s driving Waverly nuts.

 

She is sitting on the couch, tapping her pencil on a page she can’t seem to concentrate on when Wynonna finally snaps. “Wave! Stop abusing that poor pencil!”

 

“Sorry.” Waverly mutters, dropping the pencil in her lap.

 

“Look, I know you miss Haughtstuff, so just go see her.” Wynonna says exasperatedly.

 

“I can’t.”

 

“Why not?” Wynonna asks.

 

Waverly’s silence tells her everything she needs to know.

 

“Holy shit, you are married to her and you have never been to your wife’s house?!” Wynonna exclaims.

 

Waverly groans. “There has never really been an occasion where I needed to be. Ever since the wedding, she has been sleeping here.”

 

“She lives three miles from Main Street. She lives off Henderson Ave., up in the woods area. Only house within three miles.” Wynonna says, shaking her head at her sister. “Now go! You are driving me crazy.”

 

Waverly kisses her sister on the cheek and runs up the stairs to her room. She returns a few minutes later with a duffle bag in hand and her car keys. She walks out the door and drives towards Nicole’s.

 


 

Waverly pulls up outside Nicole’s house and is struck by the simplicity of it. In comparison to her father’s mansion, Nicole’s house is modest. It is a simple two story, craftsman style home with a small porch up front and a large garage and driveway. The house is white with an olive-brown door and definitely well cared for. Waverly parks the jeep and walks up to the front door. She hesitates a moment, wanting to knock but also a little nervous. She finally gathers the courage and knocks. She doesn’t get a response. She knocks again, also pulling out her phone and calling Nicole. The phone rings inside the house, Waverly can hear it, but no one answers. She knocks once again, this time, she hears someone walking towards the door. The door opens and Waverly blushes at the sight.

 

Nicole is in just a towel, hair wet and smells of her shampoo and conditioner. “Waves?”

 

“Um, hi.” Waverly says nervously. “I’m sorry for just showing up. But you weren’t answering my texts and I know you said you wanted to be alone. And I get that but I missed you and…”

 

Nicole stops Waverly’s rambling by pulling her inside and shutting the door once they are both clear. Nicole leads Waverly over to the couch and motions for her to sit. “I’ll be right back. Sorry if you were out there long, I was in the shower and didn’t hear you until my phone rang.”

 

Nicole leaves the room, going up the stairs and presumably up to her bedroom. Waverly looks around the room and smiles. It’s very… Nicole. The walls are a light shade of crème with dark hardwood on the borders and running boards. The ceiling and floors are also hardwood, but lighter and look to be more for functional purposes than for luxury. There are a few bookshelves, a desk and a few picture frames, all very minimalistic (very Nicole). Waverly stands and walks over to one of the bookshelves and scans Nicole’s library. There are a lot of classics and a few newer pieces. Another bookshelf seems to be mostly textbooks and other related things. She moves over to Nicole’s desk next. A few papers that look like work are laying on the top and a cork board hangs on the wall above. It is mostly empty, only a postcard, a list of emergency numbers for the area and a photo hang on it. The photo… it’s of them. It was taken during the dinner at her father’s house before they got married. They both look so happy, smiling genuinely into the camera. God that feels like forever ago. Waverly thinks. She is still looking around the room when Nicole descends the stairs.

 

Waverly sits back down and Nicole does the same. “Can I get you anything? Something to drink or something?” Nicole asks.

 

“No, I’m fine… um, sorry for just dropping by.” Waverly says sheepishly.

 

“Waves. Your always welcome here. What’s mine is yours.” Nicole says genuinely. “But I gotta ask, why the sudden appearance at… [looks at the clock] eight pm?”

 

“Honestly… I missed you and I was worried about you.” Waverly states, moving her bag and sitting next to Nicole. “Plus, I don’t sleep well without you with me anymore. I need my bonus blanket around.” She skims a finger lightly on Nicole’s palm. “If you don’t want to tell me about Shae, you don’t have to. I have heard some from others and I can understand why you don’t want to talk about it. But I hope you know you can trust me and talk to me… about anything.”

 

Nicole tenses up at the mention of her ex but relaxes when Waverly continues to run her fingers over her hand softly. “I should have been the one to tell you… I’m sorry. And I want to tell you, I really do. There was just never really a good time to talk about it and at this point, I am just not sure where to start.”

 

“How did you guys meet?” Waverly asks, starting out slow and from the beginning. She continues to rub Nicole’s hand, hoping to comfort the woman beside her.

 

“I met Shae my sophomore year of high school. She was in college, finishing up her undergraduate studies. We started hanging out more that summer and by the time junior year started, I had a new girlfriend. I was sixteen and she was twenty-three at the time. Um… that’s kinda how this all started. She was older, more mature and I was kinda crazy for her. The first couple months were great, we were happy. We treated each other with respect and genuinely went out of our ways to spend time together and make each other smile. Um, but then she started to change. She started to outwardly hate on my friends, especially Xavier, and started demanding more of my time. I started to fight against her, and that is when things really got bad. She knew how to manipulate me, better than anyone in the world. She played on my insecurities and threatened to leave me if I didn’t do as she said. She told me that no one would ever love me like she did, that no one was capable of loving me because I was damaged. I am a hard person to love. So… I did as she said. I stopped hanging out with my friends regularly, moved in with her, and basically did nothing but school, work and stay home. But even that didn’t please her. I got really depressed and that just made things worse. She used sex, alcohol, and harsh words as weapons to hurt me. But eventually I was so numb and dead inside that even those didn’t affect me as they once did. That’s when it started to get physical. Shae got mad about something and threw her phone across the room. Well, it hit me like a baseball in the head and sent me falling down. I hit my head on the coffee table and that is where I got the scar on my forehead from. Eight stitches and a night in the ER. Gus made a surprise visit later that week, although I learned later it was because Xavier called her. She saw my face and the condition I was in. She broke down begging me to leave Shae. Said my mom would be telling me the same thing if she was here. Shae had a long shift that day so Gus and Xavier helped me pack up my stuff and I moved out. When Shae got home, I told her I was done and that I was leaving her. She started off begging me to stay. When that didn’t work, she got mean. Telling me once again that I was nothing without her and no one would ever love me besides her. I believed her, but I still left. I moved in with Xavier for the last eight months of my police academy training. Gus visited more and I went into therapy. I tried to be friends with Shae, but I just couldn’t. I left for Ireland and three years later, I moved back and started working here in Purgatory. I hadn’t talked to her directly since I left for Ireland almost four years ago now… until she showed up at Shorty’s. She had caused some trouble when I moved back here, but I never engaged with her directly in hopes that she would just get bored and move on. And after some calls with Nedley, she did.”

 

Waverly stays silent, trying to absorb and comprehend all of the information. She takes a deep breath, wiping a few tears that had fallen during the retelling and looks at Nicole. The redhead has her head downcast and looks like she is waiting for a blow.

 

“Nic.” Waverly says softly. She wraps an arm around Nicole and pulls the taller woman into her embrace. Nicole goes willingly, melting into Waverly. “I know it doesn’t help or change anything, but I am so sorry that happened to you.”

 

Nicole nods into Waverly stomach, silent tears running down her face. “Thanks for listening Waves.”

 

“Always.” Waverly replies, leaning down and placing a kiss on Nicole’s cheek.

 

“I know Shae is a liar and what she said isn’t true. I know that now. It took a lot of therapy and a lot of time. But now I am in a good place and I know that. And then she shows up and I feel like that same teenager again, scared and beholden to her. She just makes me freeze. She scares me. Not many people scare me, but she does. She scares me to death. She makes me feel… alone.”

 

“But you’re not. You have me. And the team and our family. You have so many people who love you and will protect you and support you.” Waverly says, squeezing Nicole. “She doesn’t have any power over you anymore, no one does.”

 

“You do.” Nicole remarks. “That was what Shae used on me this time.”

 

“Me? Why me?” Waverly asks in surprise.

 

“Because a straight girl marrying a lesbian is not ideal and although I know you have… feelings… that you are figuring out, there is still doubt and Shae played on it.”

 

“Nicole.” Waverly says, looking down and turning Nicole’s face up to look at her. “I want to tell you something. Actually, I have been meaning to tell you for a few days now…” Waverly shifts them slightly on the couch to be more comfortable before continuing. “Do you remember last week when you picked me up from work and we went out for ice cream like teenagers?”

 

Nicole nods, smiling at the memory.

 

“Well, there was a moment when you and me and the world just felt… right. So, I leaned across the table and kissed your cheek because I just couldn’t help it with those dimples. I got some lipstick on your cheek though. I moved to wipe it away. But you grabbed my hand and kissed my knuckles. And you told me to leave it and that it looked good, even though I know you hate lipstick and prefer lip gloss. In that moment, everything just kinda clicked for me. It was such a simple moment, yet it’s effect was life changing. I made my choice.” Waverly takes her hand and caresses Nicole’s cheek, the very same way Nicole does to her when she is sad or in need of comfort. “What I am trying to say is that I am no longer figuring things out. I know what I want.”

 

Waverly leans down and kisses Nicole on the lips for the first time since the wedding. It is soft and it takes Nicole a moment to react, but it is perfect in its own way. Waverly pulls back and Nicole sits up on the couch.

 

“So?” She asks, trying to hide her hopefulness. “What is it that you want Waverly?”

 

“You, dummy. I want you Nicole.” Waverly says with a soft smile. It feels like a weight being lifted off her shoulders, finally saying it out loud.

 

Nicole smiles and leans in, kissing Waverly firmly. They begin to move together and the kiss heats up. Waverly ends up on her back with Nicole on top of her, Waverly’s hands wandering all over Nicole. Nicole pulls back first, a little breathless and smiles down at Waverly. “Are you sure?”

 

“Yes.” Waverly responds without hesitation. She pulls Nicole back down and connects their lips, her tongue immediately requesting entrance. They continue to kiss, Nicole palming Waverly’s ass through her yoga pants, Waverly tangling her fingers in red locks.

 

At some point, Nicole pumps the breaks, feeling that this will go further than either of them are ready for. “Hey, Waves. We need to slow down. There is no rush.”

 

Waverly pouts a little but relents, pecking Nicole on the lips as she sits up.

 

“But um… stay with me tonight?” Nicole asks tentatively.

 

Waverly pats her bag and smiles. “Like I said, I don’t sleep well without you. I came prepared.”

 

Nicole laughs and places a quick kiss on Waverly’s lips before standing and leading her around the house in a little tour.

 

When they eventually get to sleep, Waverly is in one of Nicole’s academy t-shirts, wrapped in Nicole’s warmth, and the most content and happy she has ever been in her life.

Chapter Text

Shae walks into Shorty’s a few days later to find Nicole, Waverly, Wynonna, Doc and Dolls all sitting in a booth. Nicole and Dolls are both in uniform, although it isn’t the same as other officers’ in this town. Wynonna and Doc seem to not ever wear uniforms. Waverly is in Nicole’s lap, talking animatedly with Doc and Wynonna while Dolls and Nicole share a glance. Obviously, they noticed her. Shae walks up and leans her hip against the edge of the booth. “Well, nice to see you all again. Missed you the last couple days Cole.”

 

Nicole looks at her for a moment before giving a forced smile. “Yeah, I was enjoying a little me time.” Her hands tighten around where they are resting around Waverly’s waist.

 

“Good for you. I always told you that you spent too much time out and about. Always working or goofing off with your friends.” Shae replies, eyeing Nicole

 

“I do not mean to be rude Shae…” Doc starts.

 

“I do.” Wynonna interjects.

 

“… but we are actually having a private conversation.” He continues.

 

Shae smiles at him and shoots a not so discreet look to Nicole before making her way across the bar and to the bar top.

 

“Bitch.” Wynonna mutters.

 

“Agreed.” Dolls mutters as well.

 

Nicole just smiles up at Waverly and squeezes her a little. Waverly looks down. “Are you okay?”

 

“You’re here. And so is Wynonna and the guys. I’m great. Shae will go home in a few days and hopefully will not come back. I can’t imagine her ever returning to a place like Purgatory. Let’s just say that she has… a different taste than what Purgatory can offer. More like Ritz Carlton than Motel Six.” Nicole says with a smirk.

 

They all laugh and dive back into their previous conversation, all too aware that they are being watched.

 


 

“C’mon Nicole. Please.” Waverly whines teasingly at the redhead sitting at the bar.

 

“Nope.” Nicole replies, shaking her head vehemently, but she really can’t hide her amused smile at the brunette’s antics.

 

“Why not?” Waverly pouts. She looks down at the bar between them and then looks back up at her wife as she pulls out the puppy dog eyes.

 

“Oh no, Haughtstuff. What does she want from you now?” Wynonna teases as she comes up to sit next to her boss at the bar.

 

Nicole smirks. “Your sister, my lovely and beautiful wife, wants me to…”

 

“Nothing!” Waverly interrupts, reaching over the bar and covering Nicole’s mouth so she can’t finish her sentence. The look Nicole is giving her and the scrutiny in Wynonna’s eyes makes the blush on her face spread.

 

“Oh kay…?” Wynonna says slowly, eyeing the two women. She looks down and takes a swig of her whiskey before looking up at them again. Nicole is looking at Waverly with mirth in her eyes and a smirk on her lips as Waverly continues to get redder. Wynonna laughs. “You okay there babysis? Your face is getting redder than Haught’s hair.”

 

Nicole busts up laughing, only trying to hold it back after Waverly swats her shoulder.

 

Wynonna downs the rest of her drink and looks to them. “I am hitting the ladies room and then we are going to party!” She announces as she walks away.

 

Nicole is still trying to get her laughter under control and Waverly swats at her again in a mixture of annoyance and embarrassment.

 

“What?” Nicole asks, still fighting off her laughter. “It’s your own fault. You are the one who was talking about sex in the middle of the bar.”

 

Waverly continues to blush, but there is a subtle shift and her confidence lifts. She laughs lightly too and interlaces her finger with Nicole’s on the bar. “Well, it’s not like you weren’t a part of the conversation Officer.”

 

“Of course I was. I am married to the most intelligent, beautiful, and sexy woman on the planet. And…” Nicole leans forward so only Waverly can hear her. “Of course I would love to talk about sex, just… maybe not in front of your sister or in a crowded bar.”

 

“Impossible.” Waverly teases, squeezing Nicole’s hand. “I know for a fact that I am married to the sexiest, most beautiful, most intelligent woman in the universe.”

 

Nicole scoffs mockingly and then smiles wide at the smaller brunette. “Hm. I don’t think so. But I guess I can let it go this time.”

 

“How generous of you.” Waverly mocks, rounding the bar and coming over to Nicole’s side.

 

Pulling Waverly into her side, Nicole dips her face and places a soft kiss to Waverly’s cheek before nuzzling her face into the crook of her neck. “I love you. You know that?” She whispers, suddenly serious.

 

“I do know that and I love you too. Hey.” She pulls Nicole’s face up to look her in the eyes. “What’s going on?” She was concerned. Nicole, who had moments ago been nothing but smiles and jokes, now looks nervous and sad.

 

Nicole nods in the direction of the door to their right before burying her face back into Waverly’s neck. “Shae just walked in.” She whispers, holding Waverly just a little tighter.

 

“Hey.” Waverly runs a soft hand through Nicole’s hair before rubbing her back and holding her close. “I got you, okay? Remember, she has no power over you. You are Nicole Haught. You are strong, you are intelligent, and you are loved by so many. And that especially includes me.”

 

Nicole nods into Waverly’s neck before taking a deep breath and straightening up. She gives Waverly an awkward half smile but leans down to kiss Waverly on the cheek. “Thank you.”

 

“Cole. Nice to see you.” Shae greets as she stalks over.

 

Waverly gives Nicole’s hand a long, tight squeeze before walking back around the bar and going back to work. Although she isn’t sure Shae realizes it, she continues to shoot glares at the doctor as she serves other patrons.

 

“Shae. Going back to the city? I thought you were only going to be here for a weekend.” Nicole asks not all that politely, taking a sip of her beer.

 

“I decided to take some personal time. I had some loose ends to tie up and decided to enjoy my stay here.” Shae responds, taking the stool next to Nicole.

 

“Well, I will let you get on with your evening.” Nicole says, standing to leave.

 

“Wait.” Shae says, putting her hand on Nicole’s arm softly but firmly, holding her in place. “Just have a drink with me.”

 

“Shae…”

 

“Come on Cole. One drink won’t hurt.”

 

“Actually, it will. I don’t want to be rude Shae but, in all honesty, I have no desire to spend time with you. You made my life hell and it took me a long time to put myself back together. So, thank you for the offer but I am going to pass.” Nicole stands and walks out of the bar, very aware that Shae is following her.

 

“Cole!” Shae shouts once they are outside.

 

“What?!”

 

“Don’t you dare walk away from me!” Shae growls, moving to block Nicole’s path.

 

“Get out of my way Shae. Please. I will only ask nicely once.” Nicole warns.

 

“Or what?” The doctor challenges.

 

“Or you will find yourself in a cell for harassment charges.” Nedley pipes up as he walks over to them with an angry Wynonna, a concerned Doc, an annoyed Ward and a completely stoic Dolls in tow.

 

“Ah Sherriff. Lovely night, isn’t it?” Shae says easily.

 

“Cut the crap Ms. Pressman. I believe my officer asked you to kindly leave her alone. I suggest you respect her wishes.” Nedley says, professional but cold.

 

Shae huffs, but doesn’t follow Nicole as the redhead walks to her car after nodding gratefully to her family.

 

After Nicole is gone, the others just stare at Shae for a long moment before going back into the bar. All of them except Dolls, that is. Once he is sure the others are inside the bar, he stomps over the Shae and speaks for the first time. “Leave her alone Shae. I am warning you. Don’t push your luck.” He growls. “You will regret it if you don’t.”

 

“It that a threat? OfficerDolls?” Shae asks, mockery in her tone as she emphasizes his title.

 

“I am not speaking to you as an officer. I am speaking to you as Nicole’s best friend. Back the fuck off Shae. Nicole is happy. Let her be. Do not ruin it.”

 

“She belongs to me Xavier.”

 

“She belongs to no one but herself! You don’t own her! Despite that you think and what she used to believe, you don’t own her. She is her own person! Leave her alone and on that note, Leave us all alone. Better yet, leave Purgatory. Go home Shae.” Dolls takes a step away from her.

 

“I don’t care what I have to do Xavier. Nicole belongs to me. I don’t care if I have to ruin her life here to get her back to me. My father can make a call and get her sent back to the city in a flash. He could make sure no department in the west would hire her. She will go where her job goes. I am not leaving without her. I don’t care if I have to make her leave.”

 

“I don’t care what strings you pull or who your daddy is. If you try to ruin her, you will regret it. Karma is a bitch Shae. I suggest you keep that in mind.”

 

With that, he leaves her outside and enters into the bar to join his family and friends.

 


 

Nicole hears her front door open and shut softly and then the soft padding of feet up her stairs. Still mostly asleep, she sleepily smiles to herself and lets her head rest back down on her pillow. After some shuffling around and a few minutes in the bathroom, a small but strong body crawls into bed with her. Smiling sleepily as Waverly curls around her and kisses the back of her neck, Nicole pulls Waverly’s arm around her and allows the smaller brunette to spoon her and make her feel loved and safe.

“Goodnight Nic.” Waverly whispers, tightening her grip on Nicole comfortingly.

 

“Good morning Baby. Sleep well.” Nicole responds, trying to enjoy the last few minutes of peace before she has to get up for work.

 


 

Nicole walks into the coffee shop on Main to get her usual cup of coffee before her shift starts. Unfortunately, she runs into Shae, almost literally, as she is leaving. “Nicole.”

 

“Shae.”

 

“How’s the wife?” She asks.

 

“Waverly is good.” Nicole answers and moves to walk away but Shae asks a question that stops her.

 

“Really? She seemed a little… tense earlier. The sexual frustration in that girl is almost tangible. Maybe you should be the one to suggest getting her some side action from someone more… equipped… to meet her needs. She might still not be comfortable enough with you to ask herself.”

 

“Maybe you should mind your own business Shae. My marriage and our sex lives are none of your business.” Nicole says harshly but keeps her face neutral. “Have a safe trip home.” Nicole walks away, leaving Shae to think of a different plan.

 


 

Catching Waverly as she is serving at the bar, Shae leans on her elbows and signals the young barmaid.

 

“What can I get you?” Waverly asks, wiping down a glass.

 

“A moment of your time.” Shae responds.

 

“I’m working Shae, what do you want?” Waverly says, dropping her normal smile to a thin line grin.

 

“I just wanted to know how you and Nicole are doing? You see, I am aware she can’t satisfy you in the way a husband normally would. So, as a doctor and as a friend, I worry for both of you.”

 

“I didn’t realize we were friends. Sorry, I have enough friends, but thanks for the offer. And for your information, Nicole and I are doing just fine in all aspects of our marriage. So, no need to worry.” There is something dangerous in Waverly’s tone, something Shae picks up on.

 

“Well, Nicole and I are friends. Actually, we are a lot more than that but that’s for another time.” Shae muses.

 

Waverly scoffs. “I didn’t realize friends show up months after their friend is shot and then act like it should be considered some grand gesture? Shae, I have to get back to work. Unless you want to order something, we are done here.”

Chapter Text

Shae uses her credentials and a few white lies to get Nicole’s home address from the hospital and drives over there the night before she is going to head home. She is determined to have Nicole come with her. So, she came up with a plan. Drive to Nicole’s house at night, seduce her, and then she will be putty in her hand and coming back home with her once again.

 

When she arrives, she notes the lack of cars in the driveway. No visitors. Perfect. She purposefully wore a short black dress that pushed her breasts out and accentuates her body. Her high heels also make her ass look amazing.

 

Shae walks up the steps and on to the porch, knocking on the door and leaning slightly provocatively to the side. There is no answer. She knocks again and then the door open a few moments later. Nicole stands there in t-shirt and boxers, looking annoyed and tired at the same time. “Shae. What do you want? And how did you get my address?”

 

Shae takes a slow step forward, getting a little closer. “I have my methods. And what I want is you.” She glances down at her own breasts and then back up at Nicole. “And I know you want me too. I have to believe that, since your marriage, you probably aren’t getting what you need. Probably all… pent up. But I can help you with that. I know how to make you feel good Cole. Let me help you.”

 

Nicole holds up a hand with four fingers up. “One: I am married. Two: I am happily married and faithful to my wife. Three: You may want me but I definitely don’t want you. And four: …”

 

At that moment, movement coming down the stairs draws both women’s attentions. Waverly steps into the open, in just a large t-shirt, which is definitely not what she was wearing when Nicole left the bedroom, and stretches dramatically. It is clear she has no bra on underneath and no underwear either. The shirt just barely covers her ass, giving them both a visual that will be burned in Nicole’s mind for the rest of her life. “Nic, I definitely think I am going to be sore tomorrow. Damn wifey. I am never going to get tired of your mouth… Shae. What a surprise.” Waverly says, pretending to be surprised, as if this whole show of hers isn’t because of the woman’s presence.

 

Waverly walks over to a stunned looking Nicole and wraps her arms tightly around Nicole’s neck before pulling her down into a rather intense kiss. She releases the redhead, who is smiling down at her dreamily and she almost breaks. “Come back to bed, need you.” She intones, walking away with a little more sway in her hips than is entirely necessary. She stops once she is out of view and stays silent, listening.

 

“Like I was saying. And four: I am doing just fine in that department. Thank you though. Have a safe trip home. Now if you will excuse me.” With that, Nicole shuts the door in a shocked Shae’s face and takes a deep breath. She watches discretely from a window as Shae shakes off her confusion and stomps back to her car, slipping in the dirt on her way. Nicole laughs and smiles as the vehicle disappears from sight.

 

Nicole turns and looks at a very proud looking Waverly. “Well, you certainly committed to that.” Nicole says with a chuckle. “I thought you were going to stay upstairs? Not lose almost all your clothing and walk down stairs.”

 

“Are you complaining?” Waverly asks, smirking at Nicole’s adamant shake of her head.

 

“No, just surprised. I was pretty sure you had shorts… and underwear on when I left you.” Nicole jokes.

 

“Well the way I saw it, if she refused to leave, I would have just taken the shirt off all together and stunned her long enough to kick her ass off the porch and lock the door.” Waverly says. She saunters over to Nicole and wraps her arms loosely around the redhead’s neck. “She thinks we are having amazing, muscle straining sex and I got to see her face when I walked down like this. I only see benefits in this situation.”

 

“I couldn’t agree more.” Nicole hums, looking down at Waverly. “So, are you going to change back into PJs or are you going to stay like that because… I am okay with either option, although one is more appealing than the other.”

 

Waverly laughs and punches Nicole’s shoulder lightly. “You’re the one that wanted to take this slow.”

 

Nicole laughs as well and nods. “Yes, but that is because I didn’t want us to rush because of Shae or because we felt like we needed to. I want our first time to be special and not just some hurried quickie to get it over with. I want more and I know you talked about wanting more too. We are married, we have the rest of our lives to have amazing sex and I can’t wait. But I don’t want to rush things for you. It’s new and you should be able to enjoy every step and part of it.”

 

Waverly leans up and kisses Nicole, letting her tongue slip in. The kiss is heated, but Nicole pulls away slightly before it can lite. “Look, I am all for being a gentlewoman, but I can’t kiss you and touch you while you are dressed, or rather undressed, like that. I am strong but that is pure torture.”

 

Waverly knows Nicole is joking and that if she asks or even hesitates, Nicole will immediately pause and give Waverly what she needs, even if that is to stop. But she gets Nicole’s point and nods before walking back upstairs to redress in her comfy clothes.

 

Nicole joins her and they go back to the movie they were watching before their unexpected guest’s arrival. Waverly had never seen “She’s the Man”, but she already loves it.

 


 

As Shae leaves her hotel room and walks out to her car, she finds Xavier and Wynonna Earp leaning up against the hood of her sedan. They watch her come over to them with a smirk on her face. “Well, what a nice sending off party. I am flattered.”

 

“Just making sure you get out of our town.” Wynonna says icily. Playing with a switchblade, spinning it between her fingers and glancing down at Peacemaker. Dolls stays silent, but his glare says it all.

 

“Don’t worry Wynonna. I won’t be gone long. You all would miss me too much. I have to return to the city for work. But I will be back. Nicole needs me in her life and she belongs back home with me.” Shae says with confidence.

 

“That is what you don’t seem to get Shae.” Dolls speaks, voice calm and unemotional. “Nicole doesn’t need you. Maybe youneed her, but she definitely doesn’t need you. This is her home Shae. It always has been. But not because of the place. No. It is because the people who love her and respect her are here. This is her home Shae. If you care about her at all, you will let her go.”

 

“You don’t get it, do you Xavier? Nicole is broken without me. I fixed her. I made her better. She was a sad excuse of a woman when we met. She had no idea what she was doing or where she was going. I gave her direction.”

 

“She was sixteen.” He growls. “She was a teenager. She was allowed to not have direction, to not know what she wanted. She was a child and you were an adult. Don’t you dare say you fixed her. All you did was break her in a completely different way than she was before. You controlled her, manipulated her, and made her feel worthless.”

 

“Oh, well, she definitely knew what she wanted. Me.” The doctor brags, looking her body up and down.

 

“She wanted to be loved.” Wynonna says softly, but then her voice gets hard. “She wanted to be loved so badly that she was willing to put up with all your bullshit. Just so she could feel like she mattered to someone. That someone cared. But that’s the thing. That’s the worst part about all of this. You don’t care about her at all.”

 

Shae moves to the car and gets into the driver’s seat, turning it on and rolling down the window to look at them. “Think what you want, but I don’t care. I will be back and Nicole will see that I am who she wants and needs.”

 

“No, you won’t Dr. Pressman.” A deep voice says, startling Shae.

 

James Haught walks over to them with Gus at his side and a company lawyer on his other. Shae smiles, knowing she was always on the elder Haught’s good side. But her smile soon drops as the lawyer hands Gus an envelope and Gus practically throws it through the car window and into Shae’s face.

 

“What is this?” Shae asks, glaring at Gus as she opens the envelope.

 

“It’s a restraining order.” James says, looking at the woman coldly before turning to his lawyer.

 

The lawyer clears his throat. “Dr. Shae Pressman, you have been served. You are here by ordered to stay at least 500 feet from Mrs. Nicole Haught and are not to communicate with Mrs. Haught in any form. I repeat, you are not to communicate with her in any way. This includes phone calls, text messaging, mail, social media, sending messages through other people or any other communication methods. The penalty for violating this order would be decided by a district judge if such an infraction were to occur. If you violate this order and are found in contempt of court, you could be fined up to $5000 and be sentenced to up to a year in prison. This order was signed into effect yesterday and applies to you as of now.”

 

“This is a joke.” Shae states.

 

“Hardly Bitch.” Wynonna says, pulling out two envelopes of her own and throwing them on top of the one Gus threw at her. “Same rules apply with those ones. But those are for me and Waverly.”

 

Dolls pulls an identical envelope from his back and tosses it on top of the growing pile. “Mine too. Oh.” He leans into his own car and grabs two more envelopes before throwing them on top. “Those are for Doc and Gus.”

 

“You have got to be kidding me.” Shae says in disbelief. “James, does Nicole know about this? How could you do this after…”

 

“I would suggest not finishing that sentence Dr. Pressman.” James interrupts, looking at her harshly. “Truth be told, I was not aware of what happened between you and my daughter and I sure as hell wasn’t aware that you were in a relationship when she was still a minor. You committed statutory rape and if I had known at the time, you would be getting far worse than a restraining order. And the abuse after… Let’s just say you are a lucky woman because no one told me until now.”

 

“It isn’t rape. Legal age of consent in Canada is sixteen.” Shae argues.

 

“True. But you started a sexual relationship with my daughter while she was in school in the States where the legal age of consent is eighteen.” James argues, anger rising. “You took advantage of her. Doesn’t matter how you tell the story. The law is the law. And your father can’t change that. Now. Get out of my town and out of my daughter’s life before I allow Ms. Earp here to use that gun she is so proud of.”

 

Shae shakes her head in shock but puts the car in gear to reverse.

 

“And Shae!” Dolls shouts as she pulls out of the spot. She looks at him with angry eyes. “Nicole knows. She signed the papers herself this morning!” He tells her with a triumphant smirk.

 

Shae just glares at him and them all before driving away, not missing how the Sherriff was at the city limits, watching her leave with a hard and warning look to never come back.

 

James turns to the others and nods before returning to his car with his lawyer in tow. Gus hugs Wynonna and whispers a soft thank you before following him and they drive away.

 

“What made you go to James Haught for help?” Dolls asks after a moment.

 

Wynonna looks at him seriously. “Simple. He might be a shit father, but he does love his daughter in his own twisted way. I knew he would handle it if I told him what happened. I knew Gus hadn’t because Nicole made her promise. But I made no such promises and I can live with her hating me if it means she is free of that abuser. Plus…” Wynonna pauses and looks down at the blade still in her hand. “If I handled it by myself, I would have killed the bitch and ended up in prison. But I know that’s not what Nicole wants and Shae isn’t worth the prison time.”

 

Dolls nods slowly and then chuckles slightly. “You are quite the enigma, aren’t you Earp. You are just full of surprises.”

 

“You think it will work? That Shae will stay away?” She asks him, suddenly a little worried.

 

“Yeah.” He says, taking a relieved breath. “I could see it in her eyes. She knew she had lost. She won’t be back. She won’t risk ruining her life to pursue Nicole. She doesn’t care enough and it is a good thing. We won Earp.”

 

“No.” Wynonna says firmly. “Nicole won.”

Chapter Text

“Okay, so? Why can’t we just storm the trailer park and arrest all of their asses?” Wynonna asks through a bite of food.

 

Nicole leans back in her chair and eyes Wynonna. “Because we don’t have probable cause or any evidence. If we just go in and round them up without cause, they will just be set free and it will make our jobs harder in the future.”

 

“Okay, but everyone in town knows the Revenants are a gang of thugs.” Wynonna protests.

 

“The court of public opinion is not the same as the court of law. You should know that better than anyone Wynonna.” Nicole says, taking a bite of her food.

 

Dinner at the Earp household is always different. Apparently tonight, Wynonna chose work as the topic of conversation .

 

“Why are you so focused on the Revenants?” Ward asks. “I’m surprised you would want to have anything to do with them.”

 

There is an unspoken understanding that everyone knows Wynonna used to run with them for a little while during high school. She got out quickly though and never looked back.

 

“Because after some investigation into the Grant case, it lead back to them.” Doc states.

 

“The autopsy found their gang tattoos and they positively identified them as known gang members. They killed Mr. Grant, his wife and their son that day. The son, Adam, he was a low-level member of the gang. He must have done something they didn’t like and they found out. Killed him and his family as punishment and in warning to others.” Nicole adds.

 

“The Revenants are run by Bobo Del Ray, right? Dude is creepy as hell.” Waverly adds absentmindedly. “He has been running it for almost twenty years now, longer than any leader before him. Rumor has it the he was even the one to kill the last leader and take his place.”

 

Everyone stares at her, forks dropping to plates.

 

“What?” She asks.

 

“How do you know so much about the Revenants and Bobo Del Ray?” Nicole asks, something like fear in her eyes.

 

“Research? I am a history major and my focus was on Purgatory. I have thousands of documents and a good amount are on the gang. They have been in Purgatory since the forties.” Waverly answers.

 

Nicole just stares at her, Ward looks nervously between Waverly and Nicole. Doc looks impressed and Wynonna glares at no one in particular.

 

After a long pause, Doc speaks. “Well, I reckon that research could be mighty helpful for us. You should become a consultant for the Black Badge Division.”

 

“No!” Wynonna and Ward say in unison.

 

“Not a chance in hell.” Wynonna emphasizes, glaring at Doc.

 

“I agree.” Ward adds.

 

Nicole stays silent, looking at her plate and beginning to eat again. The others argue over the topic, Waverly and Doc in favor of her working with them, Ward and Wynonna strongly against it. Waverly looks over and sees Nicole is still silently eating her food. Once she finishes, she grabs her plate and walks it over to the sink. Waverly watches her closely but keeps up with the argument at the table. Nicole washes her plate and utensils and places them on the drying rack before moving out the kitchen and into the living room. She still hasn’t said anything and Waverly is starting to worry. The others don’t seem to have noticed, but Waverly has.

 

Wynonna, finally frustrated by the conversation and not getting her way, stands from the table and stomp over to her room. She closes the door behind her and silence descends. Doc goes in after her, but there is only silence.

 

Ward stands and takes his stuff to the kitchen sink. Once he is done, he kisses Waverly on the head and wishes her goodnight.

 

When Waverly turns back to the living room, Nicole is no longer there. She quickly clears the table and walks upstairs. She finds Nicole staring out the window in her bedroom, sitting on the end of the bed with her feet firmly planted on the floor. Waverly closes the door silently and walks over, but Nicole still doesn’t move. Noticing this, Waverly crawls across the bed and wraps her arms around Nicole’s shoulders from behind, trapping her. She softly leans forwards and kisses Nicole’s neck, moving from the back of it, to the side and up to her jaw. “Nic?”

 

“I don’t know if I can do it.” Nicole says softly, speaking for the first time. “I don’t know if I could let you work in the BBD.”

 

Waverly wants to argue, but the softness and vulnerability in Nicole’s tone stop her. “Why?” She asks, kissing just below Nicole’s ear.

 

“Because it is dangerous, because you are my wife and I don’t want to see you hurt. Because even though I know you can handle yourself, that will never stop me from trying to protect you, from worrying about you. Because at the end of the day, it’s not Wynonna’s or Doc’s or your dad’s decision, it’s not even yours. It falls on Dolls and me. We… I-. If anything were to happen to you… it’s on me and I don’t know if I can live with that.” Nicole says, voice wavering. “I love you Waverly. I do and have for a long time. And you don’t have to say it back out of obligation because I want you to only say it when it’s real. But I am saying it because I want you to understand that this issue is not you. With proper training, you could be a very good consultant. The problem is me… and I am just not sure how to deal with it at the moment.”

 

Waverly keeps kissing her, pulling Nicole so she finally turns around to face her. There are unshed tears in Nicole’s eyes and the pain in her features makes Waverly want to hug all the bad feelings away. Instead, she kisses Nicole with all the passion she can muster and holds her close. Waverly begins to lead them back, walking backwards on her knees and pulling Nicole along with her. She falls back on the bed, Nicole lowering down with her as to not break the kiss, placing both arms on either side of Waverly’s head to support her.

 

Waverly feels Nicole’s thigh slip in between hers and she instinctually bucks her hips up, trying to get friction. Nicole doesn’t move though, instead she just keeps kissing Waverly and teasing her with her lack of motion.

 

“Nic…” Waverly whines.

 

Nicole chuckles but then sobers, pulling away ever so slightly. “Are you sure?”

 

“Nicole Haught, I love you too and because of that fact, I want to be with you in every way humanly possible. So yes, I’m sure. I am ready. Are you ready?” Waverly speaks with unwavering confidence.

 

Nicole smiles softly and kisses Waverly before saying, “Yes.”

 

Waverly smiles a radiant smile and pulls Nicole back in. Lips and tongues move together, teeth touch from time to time as clothes begin to come off and moans begin to get louder. Both of them are shirtless and gasping for air when they hear rustling downstairs accompanied by Doc and Wynonna’s voices.

 

Nicole lets out a deep sigh and drops her head to Waverly’s shoulder. “I think I am going to die before we actually have the privacy to really enjoy this.” She jokes dryly.

 

Waverly is almost a mirror, understanding Nicole’s frustration completely. They aren’t alone in the house and not only that, but others, meaning Wynonna, are likely to just barge in. “I swear, the universe never wants me to have sex again.” She grumbles back with a deep breath, trying to tamp down the need burning hot in her core.

 

Nicole chuckles and moves to lift herself off Waverly but small, warm hands stop her and grip onto her bare back. “No. You’re warm and soft and comfy.” The smaller brunette says, pulling Nicole down into her body.

 

“I don’t want to crush you.” Nicole says, but allows the smaller woman to pull her in.

 

“I like your weight on me. It makes me feel safe.” Waverly admits, breathing in Nicole as she tucks her nose into the crook of Nicole’s neck.

 

“I like being like this with you too, but if your sister or father come up here and find me laying on top of you, both of us half naked…” Nicole trails off, knowing Waverly gets what she is saying.

 

“Nicole, we are married. We are allowed to have sex and lay naked together and do anything else we want.” Waverly states, watching Nicole blush in the moonlit room.

 

“I know but…”

 

Waverly laughs and leans up to connect their lips. “I get your point though. Relax babe.”

 

“I was more going to point out that you haven’t told them we are together, like really together. Probably wouldn’t go over well for them to find out this way.” Nicole says softly.

 

“Are you mad I haven’t told them yet. I know it’s been over a week and I know you have been really patient and…”

 

“Waves, baby. Relax.” Nicole says, stopping her rambling with a quick kiss. “You tell them when you are ready to. I will wait as long as you need.”

 

Waverly smiles a little sheepishly and runs her hands down Nicole’s bare back, stopping at the hem of Nicole’s sweats. She dips her chin down and gets a glimpse of Nicole’s breasts pressing into her own and smirks. “I feel like this little endeavor is definitely motivating me to do it soon.”

 

Nicole laughs and nods her head. They stay that way for a few more minutes, just listening to each other breathe. When they do finally get dressed and get up, they make their way downstairs and sit on the couch, Waverly on Nicole’s lap. Ward leans forward in his recliner and clasps his hands together. “So?” He asks Nicole.

 

Nicole looks at him and then at her other team members. “I have to talk with Dolls, but even if he approves, she won’t be in the field. Waves will strictly be a consultant. She will consult from the BBD office and from home. And all of this is probationary and she has to train before we even sign the papers.”

 

Waverly claps her hands together and smiles, beaming at Nicole and then at Doc. Ward gives a small smile to his daughter and nods, understanding that Nicole hasn’t come to this decision easily and knowing she won’t let anything happen to his Babygirl. Wynonna stands and looks at Nicole head on. “Haught, I need a minute with you outside.”

 

Nicole nods and stands, following Wynonna out the front door and on to the driveway. They walk far enough away from the house so no one can hear them. “What are you thinking?” Wynonna asks, her anger only barely contained.

 

“I am thinking about what is best for the team and what is best for Waverly.” Nicole answers sternly, but not unkindly.

 

“And how is risking her life working with us looking out for her best interest?! It’s dangerous!” Wynonna yells.

 

“And you think I have forgotten that?! Really Wynonna?” Nicole yells back. “It’s hard to forget taking two rounds and almost dying! I will never forget how dangerous this job is! And I have been doing it a hell of a lot longer than you and sacrificed more than you ever can for this job so don’t try and tell me how to do my job! Dolls and Nedley have wanted to recruit Waverly for weeks! Weeks Wynonna! But I told them no! But I can’t and won’t stop her if she really wants to do this! She is too smart and gifted to waste her talent as a small-town barmaid! She deserves better! I will train her, so will Dolls and anyone else that can help. I will ALWAYS protect her with my life! The same way I protect you! But I won’t be the one standing in the way of something she really wants! So, get on board with this, or don’t bother showing up tomorrow for her first day.”

 

There is hurt in Nicole’s eyes, but it is masked with frustration, anger and offense. Wynonna sees it, but just can’t keep her mouth from continuing. “You know Haught, you’re a real piece of work! You pretend to care about Waverly, but you obviously don’t! And, how could you?! Your ex fucked you up! Then you married a straight girl who doesn’t love you back! Who can’t! And then you follow her around like a lost puppy in hopes she will someday change! You can’t mold her into the wife you want! She is who she is and you gotta deal with that or go! You are not my sister’s keeper Nicole! You can’t protect Waverly! Only her family can do that and as her family, I am saying no!”

 

Nicole looks at her, completely taken aback for only a millisecond before her features turn cold. The pain that Wynonna’s words inflict on her… they bring back Shae’s words so they are fresh in her mind. It hurts, it really does. But the anger she feels makes her feel like electricity is flowing through her. It’s hot and burning and wants to consume her. But then she remembers Gus and Dolls and the years of therapy. Her hands had been in fists for the entirety of the conversation, but now they relax. Nicole takes a deep breath and lowers her voice back down to a normal level. “You can disagree Earp. But at the end of the day, it’s not your decision.” Part of her breaks because she can’t deny the other stuff Wynonna said. About Waverly being unable to love her and the other stuff. She decides she needs to walk away, before either one of them does something they will regret. “We are done here Earp. You want to discuss this more, you gotta do it with Dolls and I in the office.” Nicole begins walking towards her cruiser.

 

“Hey! We aren’t done talking about this! Don’t you dare walk away from me Haught!” Wynonna yells, but Nicole ignores her. This seems to anger Wynonna even more. Wynonna, so enveloped in her anger and rage, loses it. She takes a few quick steps and swings a closed fist at the back of an unsuspecting Nicole’s head.

 

Well, not so unsuspecting because Nicole turns quickly and grabs Wynonna by the wrist before it can make contact. She twists the arm and pulls up until her own arm and Wynonna’s are both being used to put Wynonna in a choke hold from behind. She doesn’t apply enough pressure to hurt or even choke her, but she does enough to keep Wynonna from fighting back or struggling. “Calm down Earp!” Nicole shouts before shoving Wynonna back towards the house.

 

There are several shouts that come from the house, but Nicole doesn’t look back. She hears gravel crunching again and sees Wynonna running towards her again. Wynonna swings, hitting Nicole in the ribs, but she deflects most of the blow. She quickly takes Wynonna’s forearm and spins, twisting it behind the Earp’s back. Wynonna yelps ever so slightly, Nicole pushing her front first up against one of the cars. “I am going to say it one more time Earp! Calm down! Before I don’t have a choice but to arrest you! Go inside and sober up!” With that, Nicole shoves her once again, noticing Ward, Doc and Waverly all running towards them. Wynonna looks to be gearing up to rush her again, but Doc and Ward both grab her by the arms and hold her back. Waverly scowls at her sister before rushing a little further to Nicole. Nicole is already in her cruiser and has the engine started. Waverly knocks on the window and Nicole rolls it down.

 

“I am so sorry! Are you okay? I don’t know what is wrong with her!” Waverly rushes out. “She didn’t mean it Nicole.”

 

Nicole takes a deep breath and manages a thin lined smile. “Go help your family take care of your sister. I will see you later.”

 

Waverly wants to lean in through the window and kiss her wife, but another shout of expletives from her sister reminds her of where they are. There is so much to unpack and it is all overwhelming.

 

Nicole doesn’t give her a chance to respond. She simply pulls away and drives back towards town.

 

You are my family too.

 

Chapter Text

Ward and Doc manage to get Wynonna inside, her fighting them the entire time. Waverly slams the front door shut and feels the rage hit its boiling point. “What the hell were you thinking?!”

 

“You can’t work at BBD Babygirl! I forbid it!” Wynonna yells back.

 

At those words, Ward and Doc immediately drop her and take a few steps back. Wynonna could be scary when angry, but Waverly… let’s just say their little bottle of sunshine could also be the most terrifying thing on earth.

 

“You forbid it?!” Waverly asks in disbelief. “You aren’t the boss of me Wynonna! I am a grown ass adult! I make my own choices! But, what’s worse is you took out your anger on Nicole! She didn’t deserve that! And what you said wasn’t even true! And then you went and tried to assault her!”

 

“Haught doesn’t…!” Wynonna begins but Waverly interrupts.

 

“Nicole! Her name is Nicole! Nicole! The same woman that took two bullets to save your life! Nicole! The woman who stuck her neck out for you on multiple occasions so you wouldn’t get fired or get your ass thrown in jail! Nicole Haught! The woman who has been nothing but kind to you! Even when you didn’t deserve it! Even tonight! She could have arrested you and thrown you in jail! Fired you! Hell! She could have kicked your drunk ass! But she didn’t! You address her by her last name and you seem to forget that she is a person who has given up so much for you! Hell, for all of us!” Waverly yells, interrupting her sister.

 

Wynonna doesn’t know what to say, her mind is still catching up.

 

“Not to mention the fact that you brought up her personal life! That was a low blow, even for you Wynonna!” Waverly yells, her anger rising impossibly higher. “You don’t even know what you are talking about, yet you throw her pain in her face and feel proud about it! What the fuck is wrong with you?! You think you are so much better than her? Because just to put things into perspective for you: unlike you and everyone else in this family, Nicole has never left someone behind! She never left me behind! I can’t say the same for you! So, butt-the-fuck-out of my life Wynonna, because right now it’s clear, you know nothing about it and you are too fucking stubborn and full of yourself to ask!”

 

Wynonna seems to gather herself back up. “You will never be what she wants Waverly! You can’t be! And soon enough, she will break and fall apart because you can’t possibly love her the way she loves you! It’s that simple! You got married because you were forced to! That’s not love!”

 

Ward sees it in his youngest daughter’s face, he has for several days now. Something shifted and it has to do with Nicole. And she obviously wasn’t ready to share it but anger and challenge can make truth run free.

 

“God, you loved to joke about it but when it is actually real, you can’t see what’s right in front of your face! I love her Wynonna, you oblivious idiot!” Waverly yells. “I have for a long time and you just didn’t see it and never asked! And that’s the problem! It’s always about you! I know you love me, but it is always about you! What youneed! What youwant! What youdon’t want to do! What youwant me to do!” Waverly says, only taking a breath then. “And you bringing up her abusive ex and throwing six years of abuse in her face as if that makes her less of a person… I thought you of all people would understand that you shouldn’t be defined by other people’s actions and opinions of you!”

 

Wynonna seems to sober, her muscles beginning to relax as the fight begins to leave her. Everything she said, everything she did, it all starts to flood back into her mind. Shame and regret hit her first, then anger and self-hatred follow suit.

 

Waverly sees her sister deflate and feels herself start to do the same. She walks away, up to her bedroom, and closes the door behind her.

 

Ward releases a loud breath and sits down in his chair. “Sit down Wynonna.” He says.

 

She seems like she wants to run but sits down on the couch. Doc leaves the room, giving the two some privacy.

 

“You know what you did was wrong, so I am not going to repeat it. But I want you to know that if you were anyone else, you would have been thrown in a cell before you could even comprehend what is happening. So, know that you are very lucky tonight. But there is something else I want to talk to you about on a slightly different note.” He says, voice calm. “For a long while, since you started working at BBD, I noticed you started turning your life around. You were drinking less, being more responsible and being a better sister to Waverly. But then Nicole got shot and you started to fall back into old habits again. Like tonight, you are three sheets to the wind. And unfortunately, Darling, no one is very controlled when drunk, you especially. So, I want to focus on getting you on the right path again.”

 

“And where does that start?” Wynonna asks, looking defeated.

 

“Well, I think the best place to start is with apologizing to your sister. Then, tomorrow, go talk to Nicole and apologize your ass off.” Ward says, smiling a little at the end. “Wynonna, Nicole regards you as her family, she feels that way about all of us. So, I doubt she will turn her back on you, but it may take her some time. I just want you to be aware. And unfortunately, she may forgive you, but she will never forget. Just… go in tomorrow and try and talk to her. Apologize. That is the first step. We will figure out the rest later. But right now, you really need to go talk to your sister.”

 

Wynonna nods and stands up. Ward does the same and hugs his daughter once before releasing her and nudging her in the direction of the stairs.

 

She walks up slowly, nocking softly on the door. A moment of silence follows and then the door is quickly opened just a few inches. “What do you want Wynonna?”

 

“Please, Wave. Just, give me the chance to talk to you. I know I don’t deserve it but I am asking anyways.” Wynonna says, sounding defeated.

 

Waverly wrestles with the idea for a moment before opening the door wider and allowing Wynonna to enter. They sit on Waverly’s bed and talk for hours. Wynonna apologizes, Waverly accepts it but is still a really upset with her. They talk about her feelings for Nicole, Waverly being completely honest about them for the first time. Wynonna talks about going to see Nicole tomorrow. Waverly thinking that is a good idea. They talk about the past, Wynonna’s multiple absences and all the pain they each have caused. They end up both falling asleep in Waverly’s room.

 


 

Wynonna walks into the BBD office with Waverly at her side. Today is her and Doc’s day off, but she wanted to talk to Nicole after everything that happened last night. They enter the main office to find Dolls working on something that resembled old-fashioned tracking. He scowls at Wynonna, clearly, he is aware of what happened the last night. He looks at Waverly and his features soften back to normal. “Little Earp, mind giving me a hand? Consider it your first assignment.”

 

“Sure, I’ll just drop Nicole’s coffee off to her and I will be right out.” Waverly says excitedly.

 

They walk over to Nicole and knock on the closed office door. “Enter.” Comes the response from inside the room.

 

Both women walk in to see Nicole sitting at her desk with Ward Earp and Sherriff Nedley in the seats in front of her desk. They all look up at the sisters, Wynonna shrinking slightly under their gazes. Did Nicole decide to actually press charges?!

 

“If that will be all, Sirs?” Nicole says after a long moment of silence. Both men turn back around and nod. Nedley gets up first, leaving the room grumbling. Ward stands next, hands Nicole a small piece of paper and leaves as well.

 

Once they are gone, Waverly moves further into the office and puts the cup of coffee down on Nicole’s desk. “Good Morning.” She greets a little tentatively. She looks at the tired eyes staring back at her. “You look exhausted.” Worry seeps in about the events of last night.

 

“Morning. And yeah, I am. Nedley called me in only an hour after I left your place. I have been here all-night working.” Nicole says, looking up at Waverly lovingly.

 

Waverly leans down and pecks Nicole on the lips before straightening back up to normal height.

 

Nicole smiles at her and watches her walk out of the office before looking at Wynonna, her smile dropping to a professional grin. “Earp, it’s your day off. Why are you in my office?” The way she says it isn’t cold, but it lacks some of the friendliness Wynonna is used to hearing when they talk. It’s professional and indifferent.

 

Wynonna draws an invisible circle on the floor with her shoe before looking back up to meet Nicole’s gaze. “Um, I was wondering if I could have a minute of your time… please.”

 

Nicole doesn’t even blink. “You going to try and assault me again? Because if so, I would rather table this for later. Dolls will not be as kind as I was if he sees that.”

 

“I promise to keep my hands to myself.” Wynonna says, making a placating gesture with her hands.

 

“Assault can be defined as verbal and physical, but I will accept the promise.” Nicole says. She looks up at Waverly and smiles before the brunette leaves the room and shuts the door behind her.

 

Wynonna stands there, fiddling with her hands.

 

“You had something to say Earp?” Nicole asks after a long moment of silence.

 

“Yeah, um… I owe you an apology… for last night.” Wynonna says hesitantly. She exhales a deep breath and sighs. “Listen, I’m not good at apologies. But I am sorry for all that I said and did last night. I was drunk and scared and pissed off and I took it out on you. I am sorry. I really didn’t mean what I said. I was just… angry. And I have a track record of saying and doing stupid stuff while I am angry.”

 

Nicole regards her closely, watching Wynonna squirm under her observing eyes uncomfortably. “Have a seat Wynonna.”

 

Wynonna does and Nicole continues. “Listen, I am not going to say what you said and did didn’t hurt last night. That would be a lie and we agreed a long time ago to never lie to one another. And when it comes down to it, if you had to take it out on someone, I would rather it be me than Waverly. That being said, you were drunk and clearly emotional. And not only as your boss but also as your friend, that worries me. Last night reminded me of the old Wynonna. The one I met for the first time in Nedley’s office. Reckless, unrestrained, and lonely. I didn’t trust that Wynonna Earp. She was unpredictable and she didn’t care about a team. You were a lone wolf. I didn’t like that Wynonna.”

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

Nicole takes a long moment but then nods. “I know and I accept the apology. Consider yourself forgiven. But Wynonna, get it together, got it?”

 

Wynonna grins and Nicole gives her one back, although it is still a little muted.

 

After a long moment, Wynonna asks the question that has been rattling around in her mind since Waverly told her about her real feelings for Nicole. “Hey, Nicole. Um, when I said all that stuff about you and Waverly and said you would never be together… why didn’t you tell me the truth. Call me on my crap and tell me I was wrong?”

 

“Because it wasn’t my truth to tell. It had to come from Waverly. She wasn’t ready to tell you all yet and I wasn’t going to out her and throw her under the bus. That’s not who I am.” She cracks a smile and laughs, “Even when it knocks my pride down a few notches.”

 

Wynonna laughs and Nicole does with her. There is still residual tension, but it is slowly melting away and Wynonna can almost feel the weight being lifted off her shoulders. She just hopes it will continue to get better. “Thank you, Nicole.”

 

“Yup, now get out of my office Earp. See you tomorrow.” Nicole says, moving back to her computer.

 

“Tomorrow? You aren’t staying at the homestead tonight?” Wynonna asks tentatively.

 

“Not because of last night, if that is what you are worried about. But no, I’m not staying there tonight. I actually have some work to catch up on so I will probably take a nap later and then work through the night.”

 

Wynonna nods and leaves the office, nodding to Dolls as she exits Nicole’s office. She kisses Waverly’s forehead and wishes her to have fun before leaving the station, doing her best to swallow the worry in the back of her throat. Waverly can do this. I got her back. We got her back. Nothing is going to happen to her. Shaking her head, Wynonna keeps walking towards the exit. In the back of her mind, she wonders what the two older men were doing in the redhead’s office when they arrived but decides to drop it in favor of moving on from this whole situation.

 


 

Waverly settles well into the team dynamics. She does research and scours the databases to help them identify Revenant gang members. Unfortunately, she doesn’t mesh so easily into the physical training as she did with the research. She is fit, but BBD is a whole other level of fitness. She is realizing this once again when her back hits the blue mat for what feels like the hundredth time today. “Ouch.”

 

“You okay Babygirl?” Wynonna asks, holding a hand down to help her up.

 

“Yeah.” Waverly says, accepting the hand and getting to her feet. “Hey, why do I never spar with Nicole? Just you guys [indicating to Doc and Wynonna]?

 

Dolls coughs, hiding a laugh, from his seat a few feet away.

 

“Oh Babygirl, you don’t want to spar with Haughtstuff. She beats me so bad I end up twisted up like a pretzel.” Wynonna says, smiling but clearly not joking.

 

“Oh, come on.” Waverly says. She knows Nicole can fight, of course she can. She is a trained police officer. But they are making her sound like a ninja. Her sweet, soft and loving Nicole can’t be that bad.

 

“Waverly, I hate to admit it, but your wife is a badass.” Wynonna says, looking at Waverly’s skeptical and unbelieving look.

 

Waverly turns to Dolls expectantly.

 

“When Nicole went to Ireland after the academy, she spent three years training with the Irish Defense Forces. Her specialty was in hand to hand combat and strategy. She had been doing karate since she was young so it made sense. She is a second-degree black belt but she also advanced well in other martial art forms like Brazilian Ju-jitsu and Krav Maga. So, even though Haught always takes it easy on Wynonna, she is right. Nicole is good.” He says.

 

Waverly looks at him in surprise, but she realizes she shouldn’t be. The way Nicole deflected Wynonna during their scuffle, the way she handles Champ. It all screams of advanced training.

 

The lady in question enters the office a few minutes later looking a little frustrated. “Hey.” She says, walking past all of them and towards the locker room.

 

“You okay there, Officer Haught?” Doc asks.

 

 “Yes, Doc. Thanks. Just tired.” She says with a smile that Waverly can tell is a little forced. “Dolls, I’m heading out early. Just got to grab my stuff. Leave anything else you find on my desk for me. I’ll be back in the morning.” She walks into the locker room and Waverly follows after citing the need to pee. Wynonna and Doc start sparring as she enters the locker room and closes the door.

 

Waverly looks down the row of lockers and sees Nicole leaning heavily into hers. She stays that way for a long moment before pulling out a duffle bag and her Kevlar vest.

 

Waverly approaches, eyeing her curiously. “Hey lady killer, where are you off to in tactical gear?” She asks jokingly, but her eyes show concern.

 

Nicole startles a little but sighs when she realizes it’s Waverly. “Geez Waves, you startled me.”

 

“Sorry, but you didn’t answer my question.” Waverly apologizes.

 

Nicole puts the bag and the vest down, wrapping her arms around Waverly’s waist. “Working on something for Nedley. It’s off the books and a personal matter. I can’t talk about it. I’m sorry.”

 

“So that’s what you have been working on lately. Is that why you have been disappearing off with my dad and the Sherriff sometimes?” Waverly asks.

 

Nicole nods and dips her head to kiss Waverly. “Yes, but let’s not talk about that now.”

 

The kiss heats up and Waverly pushes Nicole back into the now closed locker. Her lips drift down on to the sensitive skin at Nicole’s pulse point. After some kissing and sucking, Waverly can’t help it when she ever so slightly bites Nicole, leaving the smallest of bruises.

 

Nicole moans, capturing Waverly’s lips with her own once again and grabbing her ass.

 

Waverly breaks away first, fighting off moans that want to escape as Nicole fondles her butt. “Fuck, I need you Nicole. Like for weeks now.”

 

“If only we could get some privacy.” Nicole purrs, her mouth trailing down to Waverly’s neck.

 

Waverly moans, using her hand to pull Nicole in closer by the neck. She is breathing hard. “Your place tonight?”

 

“I’m working til morning.” Nicole replies through kisses.

 

“Nedley’s personal thing has you working through the night?” Waverly asks curiously.

 

“Waves.” Nicole says in warning.

 

“Right, can’t talk about it. But just so you know…” Waverly pulls away and smiles devilishly at Nicole. “I will be sleeping there tonight… in our bed… probably naked…” She has found that she loves teasing Nicole. The reactions she gets out of the woman so different from her calm and collected persona she normally maintains. She walks away, letting her hips sway as she does.

Chapter Text

Nicole sits in her car, staring at the building across the street. Luckily, the new cruiser she got when she started BBD is black and doesn’t don the PSD decals or insignias. It makes it a great vehicle for nighttime stakeouts. One would have to look closely to realize it is a police car. Although, it was very obvious when the lights and sirens were on.

 

Nedley texts her, asking for a progress report before he goes to sleep.

 

Nicole (11:56pm): All clear. No sign of unusual activity. Things are pretty quiet here. Nothing to report.

 

Nedley (11:57pm): 10-4.

 

Nicole relaxes in her seat but keeps a watchful eye on the building and the surrounding area. Another long night.

 


 

When Nicole arrives home the next morning around five, she is happy to see Waverly’s jeep in her driveway. She makes her way inside and walks up to her room. That’s where she finds Waverly. The smaller brunette is asleep on the bed, hugging Nicole’s pillow to her bare chest. She wasn’t kidding. Nicole thinks with a laugh.

 

She quickly takes off her uniform, locks her gun in the safe and is about to slip on pajamas when Waverly’s sleepy voice stops her. “Don’t you dare put on clothing Nicole Haught. It is just going to make it harder when I have to take them off later.”

 

“And why would you have to take them off?” Nicole asks teasingly.

 

Waverly doesn’t miss a beat. “Because we are going to make love later, when it’s not so ungodly early, and I don’t want any damn clothes getting in the way.” She states boldly, rolling over. The action shifts the sheet, giving Nicole a very nice view of Waverly’s perfect ass.

 

Nicole chuckles but also obeys, undressing completely and climbing into bed with Waverly. She steals her pillow back, much to a sleepy Waverly’s dismay. But she is soon appeased when Nicole replaces the pillow with her own body. Waverly snuggles into Nicole, allowing the now fresh and strong scent of vanilla to lull her back to sleep.

 


 

Nicole sleeps hard, like really hard. Clearly the random sleeping schedule and the excessive coffee consumption is starting to get to her. Hopefully this little side project resolves soon. She wakes up with Waverly on top of her, her lips and tongue massaging her left nipple while a hand plays with the other. “Fuck.”

 

“Oh, thank god your awake.” Waverly says breathlessly, chuckling at the end. “Took you long enough.”

 

Nicole moans and Waverly goes back to what she was doing, encouraged by the light pressure as Nicole places her hand on the back of Waverly’s head. “Fuck baby.” Nicole moans. “That feel so uhhhhhh-”

 

“We have waited a long time for this Nicole.” Waverly says, finally releasing Nicole’s nipple with a pop.

 

“Are you sure?” Nicole asks, regaining composure to ask the question, but just barely.

 

“Yes. Are you?” Waverly returns.

 

“Baby, I will always want you.” Nicole says, pulling Waverly up to kiss her. “Especially when I get woken up like this.”

 

Waverly giggles lightly, running her free hand lower. She runs her fingers along Nicole’s ribs, then down further to her abs, smiling into the kiss even wider when she feels the taught muscles jump. Then her fingers tab her hip, staying there for a while.

 

Nicole rolls them over, so now she hovers over Waverly. “Can I? I mean… I want to make you feel good and I want you to be comfortable. I know you haven’t done this before. We will go as slow or as fast as you want.”

 

If Waverly wasn’t so far gone in her desire, she might have commented on the sweetness of the sentiment. Instead, she kisses Nicole hard and then moans into her wife’s mouth as Nicole’s fingers start to run up her inner thigh. “Nic- Nicole baby please. Please make me cum.” Waverly almost begs, not caring about dignity at this point. They have been married almost six months and she has wanted this since the moment they sealed their marriage with a kiss. She has been waiting a long time and it is almost excruciating, and a little embarrassing, how much Waverly needs Nicole.

 

Nicole begins to kiss down Waverly’s body, taking time to take care of her breasts and abs before moving down to her core. As she does, her hand still climbs and she runs her index finger through Waverly’s slick folds. “Baby, you’re so wet.” Nicole purrs, a hungry look in her eyes.

 

“All for you Nic.” Waverly just barely breathes out.

 

Nicole smiles wickedly and lowers herself down further, letting her tongue run through Waverly’s wetness. She hears Waverly gasp, but then Waverly’s hand is in her hair and gently pressing her harder into her pussy. Nicole won’t complain. She licks up several times, varying the shape of her tongue before sucking on her clit and teasing the entrance with one finger. Waverly moans loudly, free hand balling up the sheets on the side while the other tightens in Nicole’s hair. Nicole increases her effort, making Waverly almost scream in pleasure. Her moans grow and Nicole inserts a finger, pumping in and out slowly to let Waverly adjust. She is aware she dated a man. But she hasn’t had sex in a long time and honestly, Nicole is enjoying teasing Waverly with a slower pace just a little too much. Moments pass and then another finger is added. Waverly accommodates it well, moans Nicole’s name, getting even louder as Nicole inserts a third finger.

 

Waverly isn’t sure what to do with herself. She feels like she is on fire, but in all the best ways. Nicole removes one of her fingers, going back to two and sucks on Waverly’s clit after a quick flick of her tongue. Then Waverly is falling over the edge and screaming Nicole’s name to the heavens.

 

She isn’t sure how much time has passed, but when she opens her eyes again, Nicole is looking down at her with a mixture of concern and pure lust. Waverly pulls her shaky arms from the sheets and wraps them around Nicole, pulling the redhead down to kiss her. Tasting herself on Nicole’s lips, she moans, liking the taste of Nicole and herself mixing. “I love you.” She says.

 

“I love you too. Are you okay? You were gone there for a little while.” Nicole asks.

 

“Blissed out from earthshattering orgasm can do that to ya.” Waverly jokes, finally starting to catch her breath.

 

Nicole smiles down at her, seeming to be in a trance of her own, staring at Waverly. Waverly quickly flips them over with new found energy. The thought of doing that to Nicole, making her feel as good as she just made her feel…

 

Waverly kisses Nicole softly, licking the last remnants of herself off Nicole’s lips. She slowly makes her way down Nicole’s body, not much unlike how Nicole had earlier. But she doesn’t tease much, quickly licking between wet folds. Nicole’s hips buck upward, but Waverly used an arm to hold them down. She starts using her tongue to thrust into Nicole’s entrance, quickly switching so her fingers are two digits thick and thrusting inside her while her tongue teases and stimulates her clit.

 

Nicole’s moans are loud, hips making a valiant effort to rise. “Waverly, I gonna…”

 

“Cum for me Nic. Cum hard for me. I want to taste you more baby. I want you to taste yourself on my lips.” Waverly says.

 

That does it. Nicole climaxes hard and Waverly feels so good knowing it was her words that sent Nicole over the edge.

 

After spending a joyous amount of time lapping and cleaning up Nicole with her tongue, Waverly crawls back up Nicole’s body and is immediately pulled in for a kiss. They both moan loudly, pulling each other impossibly closer. They both begin to laugh happily, Waverly eventually settling her head on Nicole’s chest.

 

Some time passes and they both enjoy the comfortable silence that falls upon them. Nicole closes her eyes but opens them a little while later when she feels a wetness on her chest. She dips her chin and sees the tears in Waverly’s eyes.

 

“Baby? What’s wrong? Was that not…? I mean did it…?” Nicole asks, starting to panic.

 

Waverly grips on to Nicole tighter, not allowing the redhead to move. “No.” She quickly says. “No, that was probably one of the best moments of my life.”

 

“Then what’s wrong?” Nicole asks softly. She relaxes but is still very concerned.

 

Waverly releases a deep, shuttering breath. “Well, it occurred to me that that is what it is supposed to feel like…” She tilts her head to look up at Nicole. “It has never felt like anything close to that for me. Ever. And I realized that it is because, for the first time, I am actually making love. All the other times… it was just sex and it hurt and was uncomfortable. It was all about him.” Waverly stops talking, burying her face in Nicole’s chest as more tears fall.

 

“So… this feels like…” Nicole starts, understanding sinking in. “…your first time.”

 

Waverly nods, tears beginning to subside. “I didn’t have any emotional response my first time, and then right now… it hit me like a train.” She wipes her eyes with one hand and sniffles. “I’m sorry. I’m a mess and totally ruining the moment.”

 

Nicole pulls her in tighter and kisses the top of her head. “You are not ruining anything and you are not a mess. And I love you. And although I know this is painful for you…”

 

“Nicole, I’m crying mostly because of how happy I am.” Waverly interrupts, not wanting Nicole to get the wrong idea. She leans up and kisses Nicole softly. “I love you so much.”

 

Nicole lets a tear of her own slip as she whispers, “I love you too”. They continue to kiss, their hands coming together above their heads and their fingers interlocking. The morning light that slips through the curtains hits their wedding rings just right, making them shimmer and shine beautifully.

 


 

Waverly enters the BBD office with a wide smile on her face. Her right hand in Nicole’s, her left holding her coffee cup. Nicole is carrying both of their bags in her free hand, using that extra weight to push the door of the BBD office open for Waverly to enter first.

 

“Morning.” Nicole greets as she normally does, putting Waverly’s bag on the large table before moving into her office.

 

Dolls nods at them both in greeting, handing Waverly a file. “I got another one for you to track.”

 

Waverly beams at him excitedly, taking the file.

 

“More like afternoon.” Wynonna quips. “It’s almost noon.”

 

“Nonna, its eleven. And on that note, I’m surprised your even here before noon.” Waverly quips right back.

 

Wynonna sticks her tongue out in response but offers up, “touché” after a few moments.

Chapter Text

By three in the afternoon, it’s time for Waverly’s lunch break. She is about to go into Nicole’s office when Nedley and her father come in and go straight into Nicole’s office. She decides it could probably take a while, so she goes off with Wynonna to Shorty’s.

 

They order quickly and are waiting for their food when Chrissy walks in.

 

“Chris!” Waverly greets, getting the girls attention.

 

Chrissy seems to startle a little but smiles wide at Waverly as she approaches. “Hey Wave, hey Wynonna.”

 

“Little Nedley.” Wynonna greets affectionately. She never liked Waverly’s friends growing up, but she didn’t mind the Sherriff’s daughter. She knows Chrissy has been a good friend to Waverly over the years, especially after they graduated high school. “How’s it hanging?”

 

“Been a little stressful but good otherwise. How are you settling in at the station Waverly?” Chrissy asks, quickly changing the subject.

 

Waverly doesn’t miss it but decides to let it go for now. “Good. I am genuinely enjoying the research aspect of crime fighting and learning how to use all the technology. Plus, getting to watch my lady work…” She clicks her tongue and makes finger guns. “… that’s my jam.”

 

Chrissy laughs and Wynonna pretends to barf in her mouth. They all end up eating together and chatting idly.

 

“So, Chris, what are you doing in town today? I thought for sure you work during these hours?” Waverly asks as they near the end of the meal.

 

Chrissy fidget uncomfortably in her seat, not meeting Waverly’s eyes. “Um, actually I took some personal time off. I had some vacation time saved up and it seemed to be a good time to use it. I am actually going to head to the station after this. I just needed to eat something first.”

 

Waverly knows there has to be more to the story but decides this is not the time or the place to push it.

 

They all walk back to the station together, Wynonna quickly breaks off towards the breakroom, while Waverly and Chrissy walk to the BBD office.

 

“So, are you just here to visit your dad?” Waverly asks, now that they are alone.

 

“Um, no.” Chrissy says. She walks into the BBD office with Waverly and Dolls looks at them for only a moment before going back to work. Waverly is surprised, normally Dolls would freak if they brought a civilian in here. Chrissy must understand Waverly’s perplexed look because she whispers. “I have been here before.”

 

Waverly nods but is still very confuse by everyone’s weird behavior. Nicole’s office door opens and Nicole herself pops her head out the door. “Chrissy, come on in, your… Waves.” Nicole stops short, noticing her wife. “Um…”

 

“It’s okay Nicole. Actually, is it okay if Waverly comes in too? I want her to know what’s going on but I would rather only have to say it one more time.” Chrissy asks, moving over and hugging the redhead quickly.

 

“If it will make you feel more comfortable, of course.” Nicole responds. She releases Chrissy and holds the door open for her and then for Waverly.

 

Her wife gives her a questioning look as she passes but Nicole just nods and whispers to, “just listen”. Waverly nods and enters the private office. Her father is all the way to the left in a chair, then there is an empty seat next to Chrissy on the couch. Then Nedley sits in a chair on the far right. One of Chrissy’s hands are clasped in his much larger ones. Waverly takes a seat next to her friend and watches Nicole close the door and return to her desk chair.

 

“Chrissy, do you want to talk first or would you rather I? Nicole asks softly, looking Chrissy in the eyes.

 

“I think I should probably start.” Chrissy says, turning to look at Waverly more. “Do you remember a few months back when I went out on that stupid date with Carl? Just to get him off my back about going out with him?”

 

Waverly nods.

 

“Yeah, well I went out with him and like I told you the day after, it was not as bad as I thought. He wasn’t a huge asshole the entire time and was actually kinda sweet sometimes. I went out with him again that weekend, but he got drunk and was his typical stupid self. I broke it off and said I didn’t want to see him again. A few days later, he showed up at my apartment and wouldn’t leave. I called my dad and he got Carl to go. But then he started showing up everywhere and started to get more aggressive. That’s when my dad came to Nicole and your dad and asked for their help.” Waverly shakes her head and reins back all the emotions that want to spill out. “I got really scared and he knows where I live, so Nicole and your dad started watching my apartment while I was home at night and have been helping my dad keep an eye on Carl. Nicole got a judge to file a protection order to try and keep him away after he cornered me at the gas station.”

 

Waverly takes Chrissy’s hand and squeezes it reassuringly but doesn’t say anything. She looks at her wife and gives her a look that expresses all the gratitude she can muster. Nicole is helping her friend feel safe and it means the world. It also speaks to Nicole’s character that she fought to maintain Chrissy’s privacy, even from Waverly.

 

“So, Chrissy. I asked you to stop by because I have some news.” Nicole says after a long moment. “I was watching your place last night and Carl finally showed his face. He tried to break into the building but couldn’t get passed the locks. He ended up throwing a rock through the lobby window and went in that way. I called it in and the silent alarm in the building went off as well. I arrested him, but not before he tried to stab me to get away, so that’s another charge to add. I arrested him for breaking and entering, assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and violating the protection order. Other charges related to stalking and harassment are also being added at arraignment. He will be held until then and it is very unlikely he will make bail. The district attorney is asking for remand and the judge will probably grant it after this stunt. He won’t be bothering you again. In fact, the DA said he believes he has enough to charge Carl without you testifying, so you probably won’t even have to go to court unless you want to.”

 

Chrissy squeezes both her father’s and Waverly’s hands, letting out a deep, relieved breath. She nods her head, smiling and finally letting the emotions show. Nicole stands up and rounds the desk with a box of tissues. Instead of taking the box, Chrissy stands quickly and hugs Nicole. “Thank you.”

 

Nicole smiles and gives her a one-armed hug, but it comforts the young woman nonetheless. “Just doing my job. You deserve to feel safe walking down the street or sleeping in your own home Chrissy. I wasn’t about to let him take that from you.”

 

Chrissy nods into Nicole’s shirt, finally stepping back and taking the tissues. Nedley kisses his daughter’s head before standing up and shaking Nicole’s hand. Waverly can tell the hand shake means more than what it looks like though. The way they look at each other, the way Nedley’s eyes look so relieved and so proud. How Nicole’s eyes look so happy that he is relieved. There is unspoken love there that no one besides the two will probably ever understand. Chrissy hugs Ward briefly and thanks him before leaving out the office with her father.

 

Ward is the next to stand, taking a few steps and hugging Nicole. “Nice job kid.”

 

“Couldn’t have done it without you Chief. This was a team effort and a team win.” Nicole says.

 

“Team Justice for the win then.” He jokes, smiling at his daughter before leaving as well and shutting the door.

 

After a long moment of silence, Waverly stands and moves to where Nicole is leaning back on her desk. “So, this is what has been keeping you out four nights a week, huh?” She asks, loosely draping her arm around Nicole’s neck.

 

“I’m sorry. You gotta know I really wanted to tell you. It was killing me… not telling you. But Chrissy…”

 

“Deserves her privacy and it was incredible that you protected not only that, but her. Thank you.” Waverly interrupts, placing a kiss on Nicole’s lips at the end.

 

“I am still sorry for having to hide it from you.” Nicole pushes.

 

“It’s okay. Plus, this is better than the alternative I had in my head for a few awful, PMS filled, days.” Waverly comments.

 

Nicole gives her a perplexed look. “What was the alternative?”

 

“That you were cheating on me… even though at that point we still hadn’t had sex yet.” Waverly responds. “Like I said, PMSing.”

 

“You really though I was cheating on you?” Nicole asks, wrapping her arms around Waverly’s waist a little tighter.

 

“No, but I would be crazy not to at least consider it. Part of that is probably just from my experiences with Champ. I know it’s not fair to compare and let past insecurities effect us, but…”

 

“I get it.” Nicole says with a soft expression. “No need to justify it to me. We are all guilty of it sometimes. Wait, but you said it like you knew I wasn’t before Chrissy explained everything?”

 

“True. I knew before now.”

 

“How.”

 

Waverly gives her a look. “Because you are not Champ. You wouldn’t do that and I know that.” Waverly places another kiss on Nicole before adding, “Plus, you don’t have the sexual tension like we have and have sex like we did this morning, and then go cheat on the side. It just doesn’t work like that. I don’t think you would even have enough energy to do it.”

 

They both laugh, but then Nicole’s voice drops. “I think you are underestimating my stamina Mrs. Haught. Although I wouldn’t go somewhere else to get it, I could definitely go more rounds with you.” She whispers into Waverly’s ear.

 

Waverly instantly feels the heat beginning to burn in her core but remembers where they are and tempers it down as best she can. “We are at work.”

 

“I wasn’t suggesting now Earp.” Nicole teases with a laugh. “God, we just finished having mind blowing sex less than six hours ago and you are already wanting more?”

 

“Shut up and you know I will always want more. And I can tell by the way your abs tensed under your shirt, you want more too.” Waverly teases back. “And whoa, am I Earp or Haught now?”

 

“Whichever one that means you will allow me to take you to dinner tonight and then take you home.” Nicole replies smoothly.

 

“Wow, that was a good one Officer.” Waverly says with a giggle.

 

“I aim to please.” Nicole responds, placing one last kiss on Waverly’s lips before releasing her and going back to work.

 


 

Waverly wakes up feeling cold. This is very unusual as of late, due to Nicole’s regular presence in her bed. But when she turns over and feels for Nicole on her side of the bed, she finds it empty. Nicole was there when they fell asleep… after some pretty rigorous activity. So, her absence is strange. The bathroom light is off, so Waverly gets out of bed, covering her body with a blanket, and moves down the stairs. She finds Nicole awake, sitting on the couch and staring out the window as the first lights begin to hit the land.

 

“Baby?” Waverly asks.

 

Nicole turns to her and looks exhausted. “Hey Waves? You okay? Why are you up?”

 

“I was about to ask you the same questions.” Waverly responds. “I was cold without you there. What’s wrong?”

 

Nicole is rigid, something clearly is up. “Waves, baby. Sit down please. We need to talk.”

 

Waverly gives her a sleepy and weary look but takes a seat on Nicole’s lap and relaxes the slightest bit when Nicole’s strong arms wrap around her.

 

“Look. Your dad called a few hours after we went to sleep. Someone drove up to the homestead road late last night and then turned around after a few minutes.”

 

“Okay, so?” Waverly asks.

 

“Waves, you have no neighbors for miles and there is no way to go the wrong direction and end up there. It was deliberate. Cops’ phone numbers are blocked and our addresses are private for a reason. People we arrest and take down… they sometimes come after us or our families after they get out. Or their friends do it for them.” Nicole says solemnly.

 

“And you were afraid someone would show up here.” Waverly says in understanding.

 

“Yes. The thing is, I don’t have neighbors for miles either. That’s part of the reason I chose this place. And I can hear a car coming up the road from the bedroom long before it gets to the house but…”

 

“You just couldn’t stop thinking about it so you came down here to keep watch.” Waverly finishes, leaning into Nicole more.

 

“Yeah. I know it’s stupid and you probably think we are being paranoid.” Nicole sighs.

 

“Maybe, maybe not. But I have learned to trust your instincts, both of yours. And the fact you stayed up to make sure we stayed safe, to make sure I stayed safe. It means the world. But now, it is daylight and no one would dare to come by now. Let’s go to bed.”

 

Nicole nods and allows Waverly to lead her back to bed.

Chapter Text

“So, is she a Revenant?” Doc asks from across the BBD office.

 

“Well, Nedley has her in the gang database. From what I can gather, she used to be in an all-female gang known as the widows until about 1995. Then her gang merged with the Revenants and she became a higher up for that gang. So yeah, she is. The name is… Gretta Perley.” Waverly says, reading through all the information.

 

“I have it on good authority that she is out of the gang.” Dolls states.

 

“Okay, how?” Wynonna asks.

 

“Because one of our first cases we [gesturing to himself and Nicole] had in BBD was when her sister Mattie came to us for help.” Dolls replies.

 

“We used our contacts outside to get her and her sister out of Purgatory and out of the Ghost River Triangle. They were good people who got caught up in a game they didn’t want to play.” Nicole says. “Dolls arranged transport and security and a buddy of mine did the rest. We get updates from their handlers every couple of months, making sure they are safe and well. Nothing too detailed though.”

 

“Well, it looks like you took one of Bobo’s most trusted lieutenants out of the game and he wasn’t happy about it. Searched for her for a while before giving up only a few months ago.” Waverly adds.

 

“Well, that’s one less player to contend with.” Doc says a little relieved.

 

Nicole’s phone rings and she looks down at it for a moment with furrowed brows before looking back up at them. “Yup. Great. Let me know when he targets another.” She answers the phone “Haught.” Closing the door to her office behind her and effectively giving herself some privacy.

 

Nicole is thanking her lucky stars that the rooms are almost completely sound proof. “Willa? You okay?”

 

“Um yes. But I’m worried Nicole and I think you should be too.” Willa responds. In the background, Nicole can hear cars and the steady rumble of an engine.

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

There is a long pause before Willa speaks again. “Here is Robert.”

 

Nicole hears the phone being passed off and Robert clearing his throat. “Nicole.”

 

“Robert. Something wrong? Willa seems pretty spooked.” Nicole asks concerned.

 

“You are investigating a man named Bobo Del Ray, correct?” Robert asks, sounding nervous.

 

“And if I hypothetically said yes?” Nicole inquires slowly.

 

“Well, then hypothetically, I would tell you that Bobo Del Ray is my cousin and runs the biggest gang in the triangle. I would also tell you that I don’t have any contact with him because he is a criminal and a bad person.” Robert says.

 

“Okay. Thank you for the info, but why now?”

 

“Because one of Bobo’s goons came to our apartment in the city looking for information on you. My neighbor said he was asking if any of you had come by recently. Nicole… I think he is coming after your team.” Robert says, sounding very worried.

 

“Ward, Dolls and I have been monitoring the situation for a few weeks now. We suspected, but the confirmation is helpful. Where are you two now? You need to get somewhere safe.”

 

“We are on our way to Purgatory.” Willa says, clearly the phone is now on speaker phone.

 

“Why would you come to the most dangerous place to be? You should be getting as far away from here as possible.” Nicole states, feeling anxiety from the idea.

 

“You guys are our family. We stick together. I abandoned my family once already. I won’t do it again. We will be there by tomorrow morning.” Willa states.

 

“Okay. Drive safe. Give me updates when you can so I know you are both safe. Bye.”

 

Nicole hangs up the phone and walks back out into the main office. Waverly, Dolls and Wynonna are gone, only Doc sits there.

 

“Where are the Earps?” Nicole asks.

 

“Dolls accompanied them back to the homestead to retrieve some research materials. I believe Chief Earp accompanied them as well.” Doc replies casually.

 

“Wait! What? They left?” Nicole asks, starting to panic a little.

 

“Yes.” Doc replies slowly, observing the stress clear in her features. “What is wrong?”

 

Nicole pulls out her phone and dials Waverly’s number. It rings but there is no answer. She calls Dolls and Wynonna too, but gets the same response.

 

“Dammit!” She curses. She begins to gear up.

 

“What’s wrong Nicole?” Doc asks, standing from his chair and following her lead.

 

“The gang, Bobo Del Ray. Willa and Robert think they put a hit out on the team. We need to go and make sure they are okay.” Nicole replies, leading Doc in a jog out the office.

 

“Shots fired at the Earp homestead Officer Haught!” The dispatcher calls.

 

“BBD responding! Tell Nedley we need backup!” Nicole shouts, not breaking stride as she and Doc run out the door and to her cruiser.

 

To say Nicole drove too fast to the homestead, would be an enormous understatement. Unfortunately, it isn’t fast enough.

 


 

“Babygirl, you go inside with Dolls and get what you need. Nonna and I will grab the crate from the barn.” Ward says.

 

They all nod and go their separate ways.

 

After gathering all that they need, Waverly and Dolls end up drinking coffee and tea in the kitchen, waiting for her father and sister to be ready.

 

“So, how’s actual married life treating you?” Dolls asks, smirking.

 

Waverly laughs at him and smiles. “So much better than fake married life, that’s for sure.”

 

He chuckles too and they continue to talk about that until a window to Dolls’ left breaks. The projectile that broke the window is smoking. “Smoke bomb!” Dolls yells, grabbing a sheet and using it to cover the smoke grenade.

 

Automatic weapons begin to pierce through the walls and windows. Dolls turns over the kitchen table yelling for Waverly to get down. She crawls as fast as she can to the kitchen, leaning up against the cabinets below the sink.

 

“Dolls! Nicole has a rifle stashed under the cabinet! Grab it!” Waverly yells, seeing his pistol and knowing it will do no good against fully automatic weapons.

 

A grenade is thrown inside and hits the floor near where the rifle in question has been dislodged and lays. “Grenade!” Dolls yells, picking up the metal sphere and throwing it back out the window. He quickly grabs the rifle and yells, “Waverly hide!” over the sound of gunfire.

 

“God, I wish people would stop saying that to me!” She shouts to herself, grabbing her sawed off shotgun that she had leaning against the fridge. She can hear her phone ringing, but now is not the time to make a social call.

 

Waverly hears Dolls call something about ‘bitches’ before hearing the rifle go off twice. “C’mon!” He yells.

 

Waverly herself turns and fires out the broken kitchen window twice, falling back under cover as a bullet zooms past her and she feels a sharp, burning pain in her side.

 


 

Ward and Wynonna hear the gunshots and peak out the cracks in the boards of the barn to see several gunmen with automatic weapons firing at the house.

 

“They don’t know we are in here.” Wynonna says.

 

“Let’s surprise them then.” Ward says, pulling back a crate and opening it. Four shotguns and a few semi-automatic machineguns lay inside.

 

“Ohhhh.” Wynonna says in awe. “Where did we get these?”

 

“They are Dolls’.” Ward says, pulling a shotgun from the crate. “He has been storing them here for target practice later. Grab a gun and let’s go girl”

 

Wynonna doesn’t need to be told twice, grabbing one of the machineguns and following her father to the main barn door. He kicks it open and they begin firing on the unsuspecting intruders.

 

With a combined effort with the shooters in the house and themselves, only one remains and he flees. Ward and Wynonna run into the house, seeing Dolls first. “Dolls! Waves!” Wynonna yells.

 

Dolls pats her shoulder, a little out of breath. “We’re okay.”

 

Wynonna looks around urgently, then her eyes land on Waverly. She is holding her hand to her side and is leaning heavily on the wall. “Um guys.” Waverly says weakly. “I think I got a little bit shot.” With her words, she falls to the floor.

 

“Waverly!” All three run to her, Wynonna checking her injury and taking her hand.

 

“It’s just a graze.” Dolls says, taking a relieved breath.

 

“Just?” Waverly asks.

 

A loud gunshot goes off in the distance, then a few seconds later another gunshot sounds. It’s close. They can all hear the sound of a car approaching. Dolls quickly grabs a rag from the kitchen and presses it to Waverly’s wound. “Ow.” Waverly whimpers.

 

“Hey, you’re gonna be okay. It’s okay.” Dolls sooths.

 

Wynonna looks out the now none existent window and sees it is Nicole’s cruiser that is charging up the driveway. She feels relieved, but then confusion when Doc is the driver and the only one in the car. Wynonna walks outside quickly. “Where is Haught?!”

 

Before Doc can answer, another loud gunshot goes off. He points to the sky in answer. “Are you all okay?” He asks, pulling Wynonna into a hug.

 

“Waverly was grazed, but Dolls has the bleeding under control.” Wynonna says, leading Doc towards the house. Another gunshot goes off. This one really close. They all turn and see Nicole running up the driveway, a body on the ground behind her.

 

Everyone okay?” She asks as soon as she arrives.

 

Wynonna gives her a look, Nicole not stopping and running straight into the house.

 

“Waves!” Nicole shouts, seeing her wife on the ground with blood on her shirt and right hand. She kneels down at her side and takes her left hand. “Dolls?”

 

“Just a scratch. Bleeding already stopped. A few stitches and she will be good as new.” He says, looking at his friend.

 

She nods but still looks down at Waverly worriedly. Her voice is soft when she speaks to her, but it trembles. “Hey baby. You’re gonna be fine.” She says, softly petting the top of her head and clearing the hair from her sweaty forehead.

 

Waverly nods, lower lip wobbling, and closes her eyes. She squeezes Nicole’s hand tight, letting her presence ground her. “Nic.”

 

“I’m here. I promise.” Nicole says softly.

 

“Please don’t go.”

 

“I promise you I won’t.” Nicole says, leaning down to kiss Waverly’s forehead. “I love you. You are going to be okay. I promise. I got you.” She whispers against Waverly’s skin.

 

Nicole looks across Waverly to Ward.

 

“I already called it in before I even left the station parking lot. They are bringing a bus and backup.” Nicole says.

 

“Good.” Ward says simply. He looks down at his daughter and then back up at Nicole. “One got away. Ran towards the road.”

 

“No, he didn’t Sir.” Nicole says a little darkly. “I handled it.”

 

Ward looks at her, sees the anger and rage in her eyes. He knows she knows something more about this but decides it can wait. The ambulance’s sirens get closer and then the lights are visible. Waverly never let’s go of Nicole’s hand, even when the paramedics are cleaning the wound and patching it up.

Chapter Text

They all gather what they need from the homestead and after doing witness statements and procedural things, they all drive over to Nicole’s house. Nicole gets them all inside and comfortable, ordering pizza from a place in town and having Nedley pick it up on his way there.

 

Nedley soon arrives with food and they all dig in. Waverly is insisting she is fine, but Nicole still hovers a little. She finally settles and everyone is looking at her.

 

“Okay.” Nicole starts, taking a deep breath. “So, as we all are aware, a few weeks ago, a suspicious vehicle approached the Earp homestead. But other than that, things have been quiet. That is, until I got a call today from Willa Earp and Robert.”

 

Ward, Wynonna and Waverly all look at Nicole in surprise, but she continues. “Willa and Robert called to warn us. Robert said Bobo Del Ray, the leader of the Revenants, sent a goon to Willa and Robert’s apartment in search of information on myself or anyone on the team. Robert also informed me Bobo is his estranged cousin.” Nicole stops and looks at Ward, Waverly, and Wynonna.

 

They all have their heads slightly bowed and look uncomfortable. “And clearly some of us were aware of that fact but neglected to share it.” Nicole continues, a little agitated but deciding to let it go. “Willa and Robert insisted on coming here, they will be here in the morning. I ended the call and walked out to warn the team but you all were already gone. I drove with Doc towards the homestead but had him take the wheel so I could tap into the home security system at the homestead. It is all on camera. I had a live feed and saw the final assailant escape. I had Doc drop me off a quarter mile from the homestead and I tracked the gunman on foot, while Doc continued to the homestead.”

 

The room is silent for a long moment as they all process the information. “So, they are targeting our team.” Dolls states.

 

“Yes. And that is why, with the exception of Nedley, we are all staying here until further notice.” Nicole states.

 

No one moves to argue so Nicole continues. “No one leaves alone or even goes outside the property alone. Communication with the outside world needs to be limited. Never tell anyone we are here or the address. No matter what. We will make efforts to lose any tails and do periodical sweeps of the surrounding area if necessary.”

 

“Nic, what about Gus and your dad?” Waverly asks.

 

“Dolls and I are going to go pick up Gus and Jeremy in an hour, as well as hit the grocery store. My dad is in China on business until tomorrow and has personal security. He will be safe.” Nicole answers. She turns to the others. There are two guest bedrooms here on the first floor. Doc and Wynonna can take one and Willa and Robert can have the other once they get here. My office is next to my bedroom. There is a pull-out couch in there that Gus will probably take. If it is alright with both the Chief and Dolls, this couch reclines back and converts into two twin sized beds. They are yours if you want them or I can make other arrangements? Also, Jeremy is also going to stay here, but he will be in a sleeping bag on the floor.”

 

“That will be just fine Haught.” Ward says and Dolls nods in agreement.

 

“Okay, well, make yourselves at home. I am sure you are all exhausted from the day’s events.”

 

Everyone nods and goes off to their assigned quarters.

 

Nicole looks down at Waverly, easily scooping her up in her arms and carrying her up the stairs and into their bed. Nicole leans down and places a delicate kiss on Waverly’s lips, as if she might break. Waverly places her hand on the back of Nicole’s neck, dissatisfied with Nicole being so tentative.

 

“Waves, baby. Your side.” Nicole weakly protests between kisses.

 

“It barely hurts Nic, and plus, science says that sex can release oxytocin and a bunch of endorphins. It’s a natural painkiller.” Waverly says, letting her tongue lick across Nicole’s jaw.

 

Nicole moans softly. “I am more worried about inflicting more pain then killing it.”

 

Waverly just shakes her head and pulls Nicole in for another deep kiss.

 

Nicole pulls away, looking like she is hating herself for it. “I gotta go pick up Gus with Dolls. But, I will be back. Do you need anything while we are out?”

 

“Only you.” Waverly says, earning a soft growl of approval from her wife above. Nicole kisses her one last time before leaving the room, and eventually, leaving the house.

 


 

Wynonna walks into their bedroom a few minutes after Nicole leaves and smirks at her sister. “So, this is where the magic happens?” She jokes.

 

Waverly laughs and pats the bed for her sister to come in and sit. “What’s up Nonna?”

 

Wynonna lays on her side at the foot of the bed and looks at her sister. “How are you?”

 

“I’m okay. I promise. I mostly stopped hurting once the paramedics cleaned it and put the bandage on.” Waverly pauses for a moment. “Do you think it will scar?”

 

“Dudes dig scars.” Wynonna says without thinking.

 

“Do chicks?” Waverly asks with a smirk.

 

Wynonna laughs and gives her a conspiratorial smirk. “So, tell me… is the sex hot?... and yes, pun intended.”

 

Waverly laughs again and blushes. “Literally the best sex in the world, like… earthshattering.”

 

“Do you think Haughtstuff is just that good, or Chump just sucked, or because of the gender thing? Like, without getting too detailed because you are my baby sister, I’m curious.”

 

“Well let’s just start off with, yes, Champ sucked. But not necessarily because of the sex part. It was just that… sex. There was no love or care there. But with Nicole… it changes everything. And because I know what you are hinting at, yes, I’m bisexual. I still find men attractive so you don’t have to worry about never talking boys with me again.”

 

“Oh, thank god. I thought I was going to have to start making friends to vent issues too.” Wynonna breathes out.

 

Waverly just laughs.

 


 

“Never have I ever had a threesome?” Waverly says.

 

Wynonna, Doc and Nicole all drink from their cups. Waverly looks over at her wife in shock, but just gets a little embarrassed, yet still charming smile in return.

 

“Okay, my turn.” Wynonna says. “Never have I ever cheated or been cheated on.”

 

Nicole, Waverly and Dolls all drink.

 

“Never have I ever kissed a woman.” Jeremy states, almost proudly.

 

Waverly and Nicole glance at each other and smile, drinking from their cups. Everyone else drinks from their cups too.

 

“Never have I ever kissed a man.” Doc states.

 

Waverly, Jeremy and Wynonna all drink and then look surprised when Nicole takes a sip from her cup as well.

 

“What?” Nicole asks.

 

“Nothing, I just totally thought you were a gold star lesbian.” Wynonna quips.

 

Nicole smirks and rolls her eyes.

 

“Okay. Never have I ever been arrested.” Dolls continues, moving the conversation away from his friend.

 

Wynonna, Doc and Jeremy all drink.

 

“Jeremy? Really?” Waverly asks.

 

“Got caught hacking into a part of the internet that I shouldn’t have been in.” Jeremy replies.

 

Nicole thinks for a moment. “Never have I ever been walked in on while having sex.”

 

“Not yet.” Waverly whispers to herself, watching some of her friends drink from their glasses. “Never have I ever, had a one-night stand.” Waverly states to the rest of the group.

 

Nicole, Doc, Dolls, and Wynonna all drink.

 

The game continues well into the night, people finally getting back to their sleeping arrangements by almost two am.

 


 

Willa and Robert arrive the next morning with relieved faces. Having heard about the ambush at the homestead from Nicole, they were both very relieved to see everyone was okay. As expected, Willa was a little too concerned with Waverly’s wound but eventually got over it.

 

“Where’s your wife?” Willa asks, noticing the only one absent is Nicole.

 

“In the garage. She woke up at like five and worked for a few hours before needing a break.” Waverly says.

 

“Ah yeah, she mentioned she was a grease monkey. Are we allowed to go take a look?” Willa asks.

 

“Of course.” Waverly says. She leads Willa, Robert and Wynonna through the kitchen and the door that leads to the garage. When they open the door, “Simple Man” by Shinedown hits their ears.

 

From the outside, it looks like a simple two car garage. But the inside reveals that it can actually hold four vehicles.  Nicole always keeps the cruiser out front in the driveway. But inside the garage are Nicole’s truck, Waverly’s jeep and Kelly, Nicole’s yellow Camaro. In the empty spot in the back, Nicole has two motorcycles. Tools, two large workbenches, and cabinets lining the walls, all organized. Everything has a place. Nicole wasn’t much of a neat freak in her regular life, but the garage was a different story.

 

Wynonna practically screams when she sees the bikes, startling Nicole and Dolls, who were working on one of the motorcycles. Well… Nicole is working on the bike. Dolls is just good company. “You didn’t tell me you had motorcycles!” Wynonna shrieks in joy.

 

“Probably because she didn’t want you coming over here all the time to drool on them.” Willa jokes.

 

Wynonna ignores everyone’s snickers and keeps her focus on Nicole and the bikes.

 

Nicole stands and grins at the middle Earp after a carefully placed look to her younger and older sisters. Wynonna nods eagerly to her and Nicole begins, happy to have someone who might love them as much as she does. “Wyn. Meet the Indian Scout Bobber and the Triumph Speed Triple R.” Nicole starts. She points to each as she calls them. The Indian is almost completely blacked out, a silver Indian Scout logo on the tank. The triumph is definitely less modified. It has what looks to be a factory matte graphite paint job with some red ‘R’ detailing on seat stitching, rear subframe and wheel pinstripes.

 

“How fast?” Wynonna asks, staring at the bikes as if falling in love.

 

“The Triumph is faster. Goes zero to sixty in about 2.7 seconds with a top speed of 150 miles per hour. The Indian Scout, my personal favorite of the two, has a zero to sixty time of 3.81 seconds with a top speed of 125 miles per hour. Although, it does have a few modifications that could change that.” Nicole says.

 

Wynonna looks timid for the first time since Nicole met her. The redhead laughs and smiles at the childlike joy in Wynonna’s eyes.

 

“Earp, you are allowed to get within ten feet of them. They won’t bite.” She jokes.

 

Wynonna, still cautious, makes her way over. Her eyes scan the bike’s as if trying to memorize every detail like it is a piece of fine art. And for them… it is. “Can I…” Wynonna asks, gesturing to the Triumph.

 

Nicole nods and Wynonna swings a leg over the bike and sits in the seat. She leans her head down on the tank, purring happily. “They are beautiful.” She whispers more to herself than to Nicole.

 

“Thanks.” Nicole breathes out with a soft chuckle. “I probably won’t have that one much longer so I am glad someone is enjoying it.”

 

“You are getting rid of this… masterpiece?!” Wynonna asks, frankly more than a little insulted.

 

“I don’t ride it often, it is expensive to maintain and honestly… growing up is getting rid of things you don’t need. It deserves to be ridden and enjoyed.” Nicole says, looking at the bike forlornly. “Plus, your sister doesn’t like the idea of me on a bike that can go 150 miles per hour.”

 

“Whipped.” Wynonna coughs not so subtly.

 

Nicole grins at her wife and then back at Wynonna. “Totally.” She agrees.

 

Wynonna reluctantly gets off and watches Nicole quickly wipe both bikes down before returning her focus to them. “Willa, Robert, glad you made it here safely.” She says, wiping her hands with a rag that comes back clean anyways.

 

“Glad to be here.” Willa says, hugging Nicole tightly and then allowing Robert to do the same.

 

“Are you hungry? Your dad, Doc, Jeremy, and Dolls are about to start cooking an early lunch.” Nicole asks.

 

“Starving.” Willa says with a smile.

Chapter Text

After going through details with Willa and Robert, the entire team decides to take a break for the rest of the day and energize for the days to come.

 

Nicole eventually finds herself on the front porch, an unopened bottle of tequila in her hand. She sits the hanging porch swing, enjoying the quiet and peace that made this land so appealing in the first place. She is so lost in her thoughts that she doesn’t notice Willa come outside and lean on the house, looking out at the land and then at Nicole.

 

“Thinking hard there Haught?” Willa asks, making her presence known.

 

Nicole smiles softly and nods, motioning for Willa to sit.

 

She does and they softly sway for a while in comfortable silence.

 

“So, a lot has happened since I last saw you guys. You got shot, almost died. Your ex showed up in town and tried to destroy your marriage. You and Waverly actually got together. My baby sister joined your team. Apparently Nonna tried to drunkenly fight you about it. Then the homestead gets shot to hell and my sister gets wounded. And now Robert and I are here.” Willa says, not taking her eyes off Nicole.

 

“Ha. You probably think I am a horrible influence on your family.” Nicole jokes with a self-deprecating tone.

 

“You couldn’t be more wrong actually. If it weren’t for Nonna working at BBD, she would probably be dead by now. You know the bounties she was taking. They were bound to catch up with her. And Waverly… Nicole I have not been a good sister to her in the past, but I know her. And I have never seen her this happy.”  Willa says firmly. “And my dad showed me the footage of your shooting. You saved Wynonna’s life and almost got yourself killed protecting her. I don’t know what you think that means, but people around here would call that being a hero.”

 

“I would call that being a cop.” Nicole says, trying to deflect the praise. She has never been good at accepting complements.

 

“Even so. There are bad cops out there Nicole. And they are bad cops because they are bad people, deep down. But you’re not. I think your actions with regards to my family speaks volumes to your character. You protect them with your life. It worries me, because I can see it in your eyes that you would do it over and over again for any of us. And that might be the way Waverly gets her heart truly broken, if she loses you. But there is also a comfort in knowing someone will always have your back.”

 

“Always.” Nicole confirms simply.

 

Willa looks down at the bottle in Nicole’s hand. “So, why the tequila? You planning on drinking some of that?”

 

“No, just thinking about my ex actually.” Nicole answers honestly, staring down at the bottle in her hands.

 

“Penny for your thoughts?” Willa asks.

 

Nicole nods and takes a deep breath. “When I was with Shae, she used to use stuff to hurt me. Most of the time it was words, sometimes it was sex or her fists. But alcohol was another that she was particularly fond of.” Nicole hefts the bottle a little in her hand. “We would go to house parties at her friends’ places. I would be there for hours, but the first thing I would do was grab a bottle of tequila. I would drink a whole bottle in a one to two-hour period. It made Shae and all the pain feel… insignificant. I had never been a big drinker before and wasn’t after I left Shae. But for a couple years… I should have died.” Nicole places the bottle down on the ground but doesn’t take her eyes off it. “One night, I was just done with pretending to be happy in front of Shae’s friends. I told her I wanted to go, she wasn’t ready to. She threw me the car keys and said she would find her way back when she was ready. And honestly, I was so depressed, drunk and over it… I might have tried to drive. But I wouldn’t have gone home. I would have driven off a bridge or something. I could have hurt someone. But, the universe was looking out for me that night. A cop friend of mine was at the party with his girlfriend. He was basically the person making sure the drunks didn’t drive. He breathalyzed me and then immediately drove me to the hospital himself.” Nicole looks at the bottle, remembering the shock and then fear on his face as he told her the result. “I blew a .338 that night. That’s over four times the legal limit. Most people die before .34 BAC. And with the amount I drank and how quickly… I should have collapsed and died in that shitty shoebox apartment. But I didn’t. I went to the hospital, had an IV in my arm and an oxygen mask over my face for over twenty hours. Then Shae found out and made my life hell the moment I got home. Threw a phone at my head, I fell, ended up with stitches. By the end of the week, Gus and Dolls convinced me to leave her and my life started to change.” Nicole picks the bottle up again and lets the weight of it ground her. “But even when I think about how shitty things are right now, and how scared I am… Back then was worse. A powerful gang is targeting the people I care about and I am still happier with all of this going on than I was back then… when I had very few issues to deal with in comparison.” Nicole looks over at Willa, reading her shocked features and shakes her head. “Shit, I’m sorry. I know you and your family have strained relations with alcohol. Sorry, I kinda forgot who I was talking to. Jerk move.”

 

Willa rests a hand on Nicole’s knee. “Don’t apologize. You didn’t make me uncomfortable. I am in a good place with it now, but your concern is sweet. I just… how are you okay? After being with someone like her for so long?”

 

“For a long time, I wasn’t. Especially when Shae came around looking for me a few months after the break up. But then I went to Ireland and learned how to be my own person.” Nicole laughs softly and looks at Willa. “I made a lot of mistakes, did a lot of things I wish I could forget, but all the scars and the pain… it is part of who I am. It makes me, me. The only thing I can do is learn from them.”

 

“And that’s the hard part, huh? Living with it and learning from it. Earning forgiveness and trust back once you’ve lost it… once you’ve thrown it away.” Willa states a little absentmindedly.

 

“I don’t think the hard part is earning the forgiveness of others, or their trust. I think the hard part is forgiving ourselves and learning to trust ourselves with them once again.” Nicole comments, looking at Willa. “Look Willa, it might not be my place to say this but, I think it is time you start forgiving yourself. Because Waverly loves you, everyone does. But Waverly looks at you and Wynonna like you hung the moon and all the stars. You are her big sisters and no matter how old she gets, she will always look up to you. So, if not for yourself, then for Waverly. Forgive yourself. Start to trust yourself once again. She forgave you years ago, now it’s your turn.”

 

Willa nods and smiles a little sadly. “And what about you? Have you forgiven yourself?” She asks softly. “The guilt on your face isn’t lost on any of us.”

 

Nicole smiles back and nods. “I am a constant work in progress. But I am trying. And the stuff that I have forgiven myself for… it has made me a better person by letting it go.”

 

Willa nods and smiles a little wider. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

 

Nicole nods and looks back out at the afternoon sky.

 


 

Gus and Waverly sit in the living room, looking out the front window and watching Willa and Nicole talk.

 

“I wish there was something I could do to change that look in her eyes.” Waverly says absentmindedly. “Sometimes I see it and it just makes my heart hurt.”

 

“You already have honey.” Gus says.

 

Waverly turns to her with a look of confusion.

 

“Waverly, that sad look you see in her eyes. That used to be there all the time. Up until she got out and found herself. But even then, it still showed often. And then she met you and started to get to know you. That look continues to show up less and less as time goes on.” Gus states with confidence. “I raised that girl, and although no one could ever replace her momma, she was my child in my eyes. Because of that, I know her Waverly. I have never seen her this happy. Even with all of this crud going on, she is still so much happier than I have ever seen her.”

 

Waverly blushes. “It can’t be just me.”

 

“Correct, but you are a big reason why. You, your sisters, your father, Nedley, Doc, Xavier, even me. She wants to be better for all of us. She wants the family she never had as a child.” Gus adds.

 

“Speaking of family, I have been meaning to talk to you about something.” Waverly starts.

 

Gus’ eyes go wide and she tilts her head quickly towards Waverly’s stomach.

 

Waverly’s eyes widen in recognition. “No, no. Neither of us are pregnant. That would be a lot of doctor’s office visits and we would have talked about it with you first.” Waverly reassures with a soft laugh. Gus visibly relaxes and waits for Waverly to continue. “Um, I actually had a question about Nicole’s father. I noticed he never showed up at the hospital when she got shot. Or shows up for anything for that matter. I was wondering why.”

 

Gus sighs and looks out at Nicole. “Have you ever seen a photo of Nicole’s mother Kelly?”

 

Waverly shakes her head no, so Gus pulls out a photo from her wallet and hands it to Waverly. The photo is of Gus, James Haught, a very young Nicole, and a woman Waverly assumes to be Nicole’s mother. The first thing she notices is how much Nicole resembles her mother. She is like a mini me. They have the same smile, same red hair, same beautiful eyes. “She’s beautiful. Nicole looks just like her.”

 

“She does. Acts a lot like her too.” Gus agrees. “Both of them were stubborn, witty, smart and had an incredible capacity for love.” Emotion colors Gus’ voice but she continues. “James, his marriage to Kelly was arranged. And although they never fell in love with each other, they became best friends. And because they wanted their marriage and friendship to mean more than a piece of paper, they decided to bring a child into the world with the hopes of raising someone with both of their best traits. They wanted more. That’s how Nicole happened. But then Kelly got sick and James started to fall apart. He became distant, couldn’t handle it. Once she died, all the characteristics of the man I formally knew were gone. I think his soul died with her. She was the only woman who could ever put up with him. The only person that could ever change his mind or make him see things from a different perspective. She was his everything. And every time he looked at Nicole…”

 

“He saw Kelly.” Waverly finishes, understanding.

 

“James loves his daughter Waverly. I know he does. But I think he also believes she would be better without him. That is why, in his own mind, he thought he was doing the right thing by sending her away. It was just too painful for them both. He believed he couldn’t comfort her or console her the way she needed, and he was in too much pain to see that the only thing she needed was her daddy. I think they both just got to a point where neither wanted to work on the relationship anymore. They love each other, but from a distance. It is sad, but it is how they survive. And your right, he didn’t show up at the hospital. But he tried to act disinterested as he grilled me every time I returned from there. And when he heard Shae was in town, he gave me a day off to make sure Nicole was safe and okay. Told me to take as much time as she needed me for. And that was before your sister informed him of Shae’s actions and got him involved in her permanent departure. He even had a sit down with Nedley, knowing Nicole saw him as family, as a father figure. He loves her, even though he hides it well. The scary part is that, much like her father, she is good at hiding it too. She got a lot of good things from her parents: James’ generosity, Kelly’s kindness. But that defense mechanism to build up walls to protect herself… that she learned from James.”

 

“Nedley regards her like a daughter.” Waverly agrees. “I guess it is just weird to see them together. They seem so different, but… they have their moments.”

 

Gus nods. “Indeed, they do.”

 

“Do you think Nicole will ever want to be a parent? It is too early for me to talk about it with her, but I am curious what you think. After all she went through, do you think she will reject the idea of having kids?” Waverly asks, looking at Nicole and Willa smiling at one another.

 

“She loves children. Always has. But as for having some of her own… I think she wants that. But I fear that negative emotions will get in the way.” Gus looks at Waverly and squeezes her hand. “But I also believe she will get over it. She is strong, she can deal with it.”

 

Waverly nods.

 

“Do you want children Waverly?”

 

“Ha, um. Well, since the pregnancy scare I had last year… I have had to really think about it. I was indifferent before, actually, I didn’t want kids when I was with Champ. But with Nicole… I definitely enjoy thinking about it. It scares the crap out of me, but it is also exciting. I think about Nicole being a mom, raising kids together and growing old together. It makes me smile.” Waverly answers honestly, twisting the rings on her finger absentmindedly.

 

Gus nods and looks at the rings. “You know Nicole used to wear that ring on a necklace around her neck for years. Made her feel close to her momma.”

 

“And she gave it to me?” Waverly asks more to herself than to Gus. “We weren’t really even together yet.”

 

“She saw something special in you Waverly Earp. She knew you were going to be important to her whether you ended up together or just friends.”

 

Waverly has tears welling in her eyes, smiling down at the rings. “I think I did too, even if I didn’t know it yet.” She whispers.

Chapter Text

Waverly gets out of the shower and finds Nicole lying face down in bed. The sheets cover her from the waist down, so Waverly has a beautiful view of Nicole’s bare back. She finishes her nightly routine and slide into bed with her wife. Nicole stirs, but doesn’t wake. Waverly smiles at the mumbled ‘Waves’ that escapes Nicole’s lips, leaning over to kiss Nicole between the shoulder blades. Nicole stirs again, but still doesn’t wake.

 

“I love you Nicole.” Waverly whispers, kissing down Nicole’s back.

 

“I love you too Waverly.” Nicole replies, seeming to be at least half awake now.

 

Waverly moves back up Nicole’s back and slides back off to her side of the bed. Nicole follows her, placing herself on top of the smaller brunette and leaning down to kiss her. “Hi.”

 

Waverly caresses Nicole’s cheek with her palm, smiling. “Hi back.”

 

“You are a vision. You know that?” Nicole whispers.

 

 “You are only saying that because I am naked underneath you.” Waverly says, blushing at the memory of Nicole saying those exact same words on their wedding day.

 

“That is a plus, but no, that’s not why. You are always beautiful in my eyes. Doesn’t matter if you are in a wedding dress or a pair of old sweats and a tank top. Although… seeing you walk around wearing nothing but one of my old t-shirts is definitely one of my favorite looks on you.”

 

“You are such a bumper sticker, you know that?” Waverly teases, trying to calm the pink in her cheeks, not that Nicole could see it in the dark.

 

“Fair, but it doesn’t make what I said any less true.” Nicole replies.

 

Waverly pulls her down and kisses her with so much feeling that it takes her breath away… or maybe that’s just the effect Nicole has on her.

 

Nicole pulls away. “Waves, you just showered. We shouldn’t. I mean, I want to. But…”

 

“So? This way, you and I can shower together once we are done. I like showering with you so much better.” Waverly drags her tongue across Nicole’s jaw, relishing in the shiver that runs through Nicole.

 

“Fuck.” Nicole breathes out.

 

Waverly slips a hand down in between their bodies and teases between Nicole’s thighs, not quite touching where Nicole needs her most.

 

“Waves, don’t tease.” Nicole begs. She grips the pillow on either side of Waverly’s head tight, trying to keep control of a game she already lost.

 

Nicole lowers down further, kissing, biting and sucking on Waverly’s neck, earning a low moan from her wife.

 

Waverly’s fingers immediately find Nicole’s waiting pussy, moaning even louder when she feels how wet her wife is for her. “Baby. God.”

 

“Waverly.” Nicole growls into her neck.

 

Waverly doesn’t waste time after that. She can hear it in Nicole’s voice, the need that shouldn’t be played with, at least, not right now. She quickly enters Nicole with two fingers and begins pushing her towards a cliff that Nicole eagerly runs towards herself.

 

There is something about it, something desperate. And it isn’t after some big event or confession either. It is just them being them. But that is the thing, there is something there for both of them. Desperate for each other’s touch, each other’s love.

 

Waverly felt Nicole’s mouth leave her neck and tilt down to take one of her nipples into her mouth. Waverly gasped hard, feeling herself start to slip.

 

It ends up being Nicole who goes first, hard and out of breath. But that doesn’t stop her from bringing Waverly with her a few seconds later.

 

Nicole rolls off Waverly and back onto her back, trying to regain her breath.

 

“Do you want kids?” Waverly blurts out, surprising Nicole and herself.

 

“Um…I don’t know. I don’t know if I would be a good mom. Why?” Nicole asks between gasps, surprised but receptive.

 

“I have been just thinking about it for the last couple days since everyone has been staying here.” Waverly explains, blindly taking Nicole’s hand and intertwining their fingers.

 

“Do you want children?” Nicole asks after a moment.

 

“I hadn’t before, or rather never really thought about it enough because I knew I wasn’t with someone who would be a good parent. But now… I don’t know, I am really thinking about it for the first time.” Waverly answers honestly.

 

Nicole turns on her side, looking at Waverly. “You didn’t think about it during your scare with Chump?”

 

“The obvious answer would be to say yes, but thinking about it seriously… At that point, it was no longer about wanting it. I didn’t have a choice, I thought I was pregnant. That was it. But now, I can actually think about it for the future. I have a choice now and I am with someone who I know would be a great parent if I wanted kids.” Waverly kisses Nicole lightly.

 

“Okay.”

 

“Okay? That’s it? You don’t have more to say?” Waverly asks.

 

“No, not at the moment.” Nicole says. “When we talk about this again, sure, I will probably have more to say. But right now, I don’t have anything else to says beyond ‘okay’. Oh and that I want you to know I will still love you no matter what you decide. But for the record, I think you would be a great mom.”

 

Waverly smiles and kisses her again. “Shower?”

 

“Definitely.”

 


 

Willa, Robert and Ward all went out to get food and replenish some of the necessary household supplies the next morning. By the time they return, Nicole’s basement has been converted into its own operations room. Walls covered in research done by Waverly and Jeremy. Whiteboards covered in math, charts and other useful information. They had brought copies of a lot of the stuff from the BBD office here to better help them work. Now, Willa watches as Nicole meticulously cleans her already clean pistol, while Dolls watches Wynonna eat a donut far too fast to be healthy. Waverly and Jeremy are in their own world, talking to the room whether the other occupants are listening or not. Doc sits next to Ward and Nedley, playing a round of cards and pretending to listen.

 

Willa is sure everyone is ignoring the explained research until Nicole interrupts Waverly and Jeremy without looking up from her task. “So why us? Why now? Why target this team? PSD has been tracking and arresting Revenant gang members for years. Why start targeting BBD specifically?”

 

“Maybe because we are doing it a lot better than the PSD did in the past? No offense Daddy and Nedley. But BBD has captured and arrested almost triple the number of Revenants in one year that PSD did in that same time frame.” Waverly offers.

 

“Unlikely, there has to be a more important reason than that. That could be part of it, but there has to be more.” Jeremy states.

 

Nicole looks at Wynonna and Wynonna looks at Nicole. Wynonna nods a little sadly and swallows hard on her bite of donut. Nicole nods back and goes back to her job but does also speak. “Could it be Wynonna’s involvement?”

 

“Why would Nonna working for BBD cause this?” Robert asks.

 

“I’m not saying it did, but…” Nicole starts, looking at Wynonna to finish. It wasn’t her story to tell.

 

“When I was an idiot in high school, I dated a guy that is now a major player in the gang. I was never an actual member. But I ran with them for about a year. I cut ties and left Purgatory for a while. Haven’t had contact with them since.” Wynonna says, looking anywhere but her father, Waverly and Willa.

 

Jeremy, Dolls and Doc all start firing off theories, taking the focus of most of the room. Nicole finishes assembling the action on her pistol and stands, she walks over and takes a seat next to Wynonna. She is discreet, makes it look like she is just getting a better view of the boards, but Wynonna sees it for what it truly is. Under the table, Nicole silently offers her hand and Wynonna takes it and squeezes it tight.

 

No one seems to notice, much to Wynonna’s relief. She doesn’t want to look weak but admitting that in front of her friends and family was one of the hardest and scariest things she has ever done. She was petrified when she first started working at BBD and Nicole had called her into her office to talk about it. To her surprise, Nicole simply asked if it would be a conflict of interest later. When Wynonna answered no, Nicole dismissed her. They had talked about it more later, but that didn’t make it any less scary. Nicole knows that and her silent support almost brings Wynonna to tears. Nicole doesn’t even look at her, just acts as an anchor as the meeting continues.

 

But their little hidden display of support isn’t lost on everyone. Ward and Waverly both see it, but only because they have been hyper focused on Wynonna since her confession. The little action under the table makes Waverly smile, Ward grinning as well.

 

The meeting continues long into the night and early morning. One by one, they all retreat to go to sleep until only Waverly, Dolls and Nicole remain. Waverly has read the same page four times and still can’t remember the information so she decides it’s time to throw in the towel too and start fresh in the morning.

 

“Goodnight.” Waverly says to Dolls. She leans down and pecks Nicole on the lips before walking up to the ground floor.

 

“How are you two doing?” Dolls asks once he is sure Waverly is gone.

 

“As far as I know, good. I’m really happy with her, even in a situation like this.” Nicole answers. “Hey, I was wondering… tomorrow should be a calm day from what I understand. Would you… would you want to go to the cemetery with me. I was thinking about going to see my mom and maybe you would want to visit Eliza while we are there?”

 

Dolls looks down at his hand and then back up to Nicole, eyes filled with emotion. “Uh, yeah. I… I think that would be a really good idea. Thanks Nic.”

 


 

“Where are you two off to?” Gus asks as Nicole and Dolls put on their coats and shoes.

 

“We were going to go to the cemetery. See mom and Eliza for a little bit. Willa is coming too.” Nicole says.

 

Willa walks in and smiles to Gus. “My grandparents are buried there too. I try to go and pay my respects when I visit. Now seems like a good time.”

 

Gus nods and hugs them all before watching them go. The others are all still sleeping and won’t be up for a while.

 

 

Dolls pulls into a spot and parks. The doors open and they all step out. “Willa, where are your grandparents?” Dolls asks.

 

“Just over there.” Willa says, pointing north.

 

“Okay, mind if we let you visit with them first? We can see our loved ones on the way back from there.” Dolls requests.

 

“Of course, this way.” Willa says leading them over to an area where one headstone lay.

 

Edwin Earp

May 19, 1940 - April 23, 1968

 

Justine Earp

January 4, 1949 - August 10, 1990

 

As Willa moves closer, Dolls and Nicole stand off to the side as to give Willa some privacy. After a few moments, Willa turns and pulls Nicole over there with her. Nicole looks down at the headstone.

 

Nicole closes her eyes and bows her head. “Féadfaidh solas na bhflaitheas a shine ar do uaigh.”

 

“What is that?” Willa asks softly.

 

“It is a prayer we said back in Ireland when we lost people we cared about. My mom taught me it, but I didn’t really use it until I was there.” Nicole says softly.

 

“What does it mean?” Willa asks.

 

“May the light of heaven shine on your grave.” Nicole answers.

 

Willa nods and squeezes Nicole’s arm. “Thank you. I can’t really come here with my sisters. It is nice to not be alone.”

 

“Mind if I ask why?”

 

“Waverly and Wynonna were both too young to remember, but I do. Grandad was almost twenty-eight when he died, daddy was only five. But Grandma lived a lot longer. She died a month before Wynonna turned one. But I remember her. She used to spoil me every time she came to visit on the weekends and god, the way she looked at Wynonna’s pudgy baby face… She was an amazing woman. But they don’t even remember her because Wynonna was too young and Waverly wasn’t even born yet. It isn’t there fault, I just don’t want them to feel uncomfortable.”

 

“I understand.” Nicole simply says, staying silent until Willa says she is ready to go.

 

They walk to Eliza next. Nicole makes a quick hello there before moving away and back to Willa. Dolls takes her place, standing and speaking softly.

 

“Eliza was Dolls’ girlfriend.” Nicole whispers to Willa. “She died during a robbery gone wrong. Perp spooked, panicked, and ended up fatally shooting her and two of her coworkers who tried to grab the gun.” Nicole chocks up a bit. “Dolls was away on a trip and we were living together at the time. I got the call. I had to call him and tell him what happened. It was really rough. They were starting to talk about marriage when it happened. He loved her. Hell, she was just a friend to me but I loved her too. She made it hard not to. She was a good person taken away from the people she loved and those who loved her. We found out later that the robber that killed her was a Revenant gang member. Eliza was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

 

“I’m sorry.” Willa says softly. “Was the guy ever caught?”

 

Nicole looks at her hands. “Dolls and I were not allowed to be assigned to the case. Conflict of interest and all. But it turned into a cold case so the department allowed it. We eventually tracked the bastard down. Took a couple months and we didn’t sleep much, but we got him.” Nicole pauses and looks at Dolls’ back. “Xavier doesn’t know this, but… I killed him. He pointed a gun at Xavier and I reacted. The other officers on the scene fired too, but the autopsy later showed my two shots were the only fatal wounds… He took one person I loved. I wasn’t going to let him take another.” Nicole takes a deep breath. “Dolls had her buried here because Purgatory was really the only place he ever returned to… because it was my hometown.”

 

Willa nods and they both look out at the open lawns and wait for Xavier to finish. When he does, they all walk together to where Nicole’s mom rests.

 

Nicole squats down in front of her tombstone and looks at the carefully engraved marble.

 

Kelly E. Haught

Loving mother, wife, daughter and friend.

She is forever in our hearts.

 

Nicole feels tears well in her eyes. She doesn’t always get emotional when visiting her mom, but this is the first time in a while that she has been here. “Hi mom. I’m sorry I haven’t been back lately. Things here have been crazy. And in these crazy times, I find myself wishing even more than normal that you were here. I have so much I wish I could tell you. I would tell you about Waverly and how things between us have changed. How, because of her, I have this amazing family that drives me nuts, but also makes me happier than I have ever been. I would tell you about my job and how much I love what I do and that I get to work with my family. God, I think about what you would think if you were here. I know you would’ve loved Waves the moment you met her. And Wynonna would have grown on you eventually, just like she did with me. And Willa and Ward and Doc. You would have loved them too. You would marvel in how much Xavier and I have grown and had tea with Gus on Sundays and talk about things I find bore me to tears.” Nicole chuckles through little tears, wiping her nose. “Dad misses you. He will never say it but he does. And I miss you… god I miss you. Because I don’t know how to do this and I wish you were here to tell me how. But part of me knows that even if you were here, you would still make me figure it out on my own.” Nicole looks down at the grass. “I miss your hugs, I miss your voice, I miss the way you used to sing to me after nightmares and how you used to make dad smile. I don’t think I have seen him really smile since. I miss you Máthair.”

 

Nicole stands and looks at the headstone.

 

“Iad siúd is breá linn ní théann siad amach,

Siúil siad in aice linn gach lá,

Gan chonaic, gan cháipéis, ach i gcónaí in aice,

Fásta grá, fós caillte agus an-daor.”

 

Willa looks to Dolls, who watches his friend with glassy eyes. “It’s a poem her mom told her every day after Nicole found out she was sick. She recites it ever time she comes here. It’s an old Irish poem.” He takes a deep breath.

 

“Those we love don’t go away,

They walk beside us every day,

Unseen, unheard, but always near,

Still loved, still missed and very dear.”

 

He looks at Willa and sighs. “It helps her I think.”

 

“It’s beautiful.” Willa whispers. “It’s sad, but beautiful and hopeful.”

 

Dolls nods and Nicole rejoins them. “Lets get going.”

 

Both nod and Dolls wraps an arm around Nicole’s shoulders.

 

They are almost to the car when the sound of a vehicle backfiring causes them to jump. Then there is a rustle of leaves and a yelp as a tattooed man jumps out from behind a car and grabs Willa. He holds a gun to her head and has a knife pressed against her throat.

 

“Willa!” Nicole shouts, pulling her gun as Dolls does the same.

 

“Now, now. No sudden moves or the girl gets it.” The man says. Nicole recognizes a red tattoo on his neck that identifies him as a Revenant.

 

“What do you want Revenant?” Dolls asks in his authoritative tone.

 

“For starters, drop your weapons.” He responds.

 

“Not a chance.” Dolls responds. “Release the young lady before someone gets hurt.”

 

The gang member laughs. “The next thing I want is for your partner to come with me.”

 

“You know what my answer is going to be.” Dolls answers.

 

“In exchange for what?” Nicole asks.

 

“Haught!” Dolls starts.

 

Nicole gives him a look that silences him and returns her focus to the man.

 

“You come with me willingly, I let the girl go. Real simple. You see, you are worth a lot of money to a lot of people. Your father in paticular. We would really like to get ahold of some of that money. So, decide. It’s you or it’s her.” He states.

 

Nicole lowers her gun and drops it to the ground. She pulls her badge from her belt and her phone from her pocket as well. She also pulls off her wedding ring and sticks it into her wallet. Standing up, Nicole raises her hands in the air and walks slowly closer. “Okay. Take me.”

 

He sneers at her, only letting go of Willa once he has the knife around Nicole’s neck.

 

“Willa, go.” Nicole commands, watching and making sure she gets safely to Dolls.

 

The Revenant begins to walk them backwards, towards a van that opens it’s side door as soon as they are close. “Don’t follow us. If you do, your friend is dead for sure.” He says. She gets into the van and two men bound and gag her while the one she was with earlier shoots out Dolls’ tires. They speed off, Nicole vaguely hearing Dolls curse as they drive past.

 

A hood is placed over her head and the lights go out. The hood is thick, blocking much of her hearing and all of her sight.

Chapter Text

When she feels the hood being removed and opens her eyes, she squints as the lights of the room assault her eyes. They adjust and she focuses on a man sitting a few feet away from her. Bobo Del Ray.

 

“Officer Nicole Haught. Such a pleasure for you to join us. I have been waiting a long time to formally meet you.” Bobo says.

 

“I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a pleasure. But I havebeen waiting some time to meet you as well Bobo. By the way, I got to ask, who names their kid Bobo? Is it a pet name, or just some cruel nickname kids gave you on the playground?” Nicole bites out.

 

Bobo laughs. “God given I am afraid.”

 

“I don’t think god had anything to do with it, but okay.” Nicole counters.

 

“Snarky one, aren’t you?” Bobo teases, getting up from his seat.

 

“Only with people I mildly hate… so, just you.” Nicole states.

 

“Well Nicole, as long as things go smoothly, your time with me will be limited. Speaking of which…” He turns to one of his men. He walks over with a briefcase and hands it to Bobo. Bobo opens it, pulling a few items, and then hands it back. “Here is how this is going to work, we are going to make a call and you are only going to speak when requested got it?”

 

Nicole just glares at him and he smiles back. He dials a number and it rings three times before a familiar voice answers.

 


 

Dolls, Willa, and James Haught all drive to Nicole’s house quickly, knowing there isn’t much time. Dolls was vague when he picked up Nicole’s father, but the man didn’t argue when Dolls said it involved his daughter and that he wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important. They park in the driveway and jog quickly towards the house. They all enter, everyone else in the house waiting in the living room. Waverly is in Wynonna’s arms, dried tear streaks on her face. Ward and Nedley just look pissed and all the others seem to be in shock.

 

“Willa.” Ward breathes out hugging his daughter. “You okay?”

 

“Yes, but I’m not important right now. Nicole is.” Willa responds firmly.

 

“Speaking of which, someone better tell me what is going on.” James says, walking to sit next to Gus.

 

“We were at the cemetery, visiting Kelly Haught and a few other loved ones. As we were leaving, a man took Willa and only released her after Nicole agreed to take her place. He wanted her. His tattoos identify him as a Revenant member. He claimed they are going to hold Nicole for ransom. They will call you, Sir. They know who she is and they know she is worth a lot.” Dolls says, addressing James.

 

James looks at him for a long moment. “Nicole wouldn’t have gone along with that plan. It doesn’t make sense.”

 

“Why do you say that?” Ward asks.

 

“Because our company has a no ransom hostage policy.” James says.

 

“Did Nicole know about that?” Willa asks.

 

“Know about it? It was her idea in the first place. Nicole instituted the policy herself. The company won’t allow anyone to withdraw large sums of money to use as ransom payment, and that includes Nicole and I.” James states.

 

“Oh my god, she did it to save me. She knew and she did it anyways.” Willa mutters, guilt and pain rearing their ugly heads as Robert holds her tight to him and Wynonna grabs her hand.

 

“Willa it’s not your fault. They must have been staking out the cemetery. No one could have predicted it.” Dolls states.

 

Waverly still hasn’t said anything, but she reaches and takes Willa’s free hand, holding it tight to keep from crying and freaking out.

 

James’ phone rings and he freezes.

 

“Answer it and put in on speaker. Jeremy, try and track it.” Dolls orders.

 

James does as he is told and answers, putting it on speaker phone and placing it on the table. “Hello?”

 

“Mr. Haught. My name is Bobo Del Ray and I believe I have something you value. I am going to assume you have been in contact with her team and know of the situation so I will get to the point. Three billion dollars, or it’s your daughter’s life.”

 

“My company has policies that don’t allow me…” James starts.

 

There is a clicking sound and then a short scream.

 

Waverly grips Willa and Wynonna tighter, wanting to scream herself at the sound of her wife screaming in pain.

 

“I am not hearing the words I want to hear Mr. Haught.” Bobo states. “Tell me, have you ever taken two million volts from a stun gun to the neck? Because your daughter just did. Nicole, why don’t you tell your father how that felt?”

 

“Go to hell!” Nicole yells in the background.

 

Another clicking sound and a slightly more muted scream.

 

Waverly whimpers, trying to cover her ears but also unwilling to let go of her sisters.

 

“What did I say?” Bobo chastises her.

 

“I don’t know, I was too distracted by that huge stick up your ass to pay attention.” Nicole quips, earning another shock, this one a little longer.

 

Bobo curses at her and speaks into the phone once again. “Well James, I am going to call you James. You know what I want. You are going to bring it to me. Actually, you and Wynonna Earp are going to personally deliver it to me. The longer it takes, the longer your daughter has to spend with me. As an incentive, for every minute that passes, she is going to get a shock from this stun gun. In an hour, I am going to put a bullet in each one of her major joints before putting one through her head. You and Wynonna will deliver the money to the trailer park front gate and then, maybe, I will let your daughter live… if she is still alive by then.”

 

“Don’t do it!” Nicole yells, out of breath. “Don’t give him a dime! Anything you give him will be used to hurt more people! Don’t do it!”

 

“Shut her up!” Bobo yells and the stun gun charges again. Nicole doesn’t scream, but the sound of something heavy thudding on to the floor is telling enough. “Clock is ticking James.”

 

Bobo hangs up and leaves the room silent for a long moment. Waverly is the first to move, grabbing her keys.

 

“Where are you going?” Ward asks.

 

“The bank. Nicole gave me access to some of her accounts. It isn’t enough, but it is a start.” Waverly answers.

 

Doc catches her arm and pulls her into his chest so she can’t leave. “Hold on Darlin’.”

 

“No! I won’t wait! You heard him! Every minute we wait, the more they hurt her! I can’t sit here and wait!” Waverly protests, struggling to escape his grasp and slapping him across the face.

 

“Waverly, the moment we pay him that money, he shoots Nicole in the head.” Dolls says. He looks around the room at the outraged faces and then sees the flaming anger in Waverly. “I know it is blunt, but it is the truth.”

 

“So, what do you think we should do Dolls. We can’t just let them kill her.” Ward argues. He looks to Nedley and gets a nod. “We are willing to do what we have to, but we need to do something.”

 

“Gus, a word?” James says, taking Gus into the kitchen.

 

No one seems to care at this point, all focused on Dolls.

 

“What about a rescue operation. Nicole and Dolls have had us training for them for months. Go in incognito, get Haught out, kill anyone who get in our way.” Wynonna offers.

 

“And if you fail? You get Nicole and possibly yourselves killed.” Nedley states bluntly.

 

“We don’t fail. We learn from our mistakes Nedley and I trust the training Haught and Dolls have taught us.” Wynonna argues.

 

“I agree, and I do not see another plan that will get Officer Haught out alive.” Doc concurs.

 

“Okay, I agree. But we need James Haught to be a distraction. Make Bobo think he is bringing him what he wants.” Dolls says, grabbing a notepad from Jeremy and jotting stuff down. “Jeremy, that trace you did. Did you get anything from it?”

 

“The call originated in the trailer park, so we know both Bobo and Nicole are at the drop sight.” Jeremy replies. “But for that distraction to work, Wynonna needs to be with Mr. Haught.”

 

“Not if we give him someone more interesting than Wynonna.” Robert says. “I will go. He won’t expect it, but he will play the game.”

 

James and Gus return to the room and look at Dolls. “We will get them the money, but not in enough time. I can secure only about five million on short notice.”

 

“That will be fine. Okay, everyone. Here is the plan.”

 


 

James and Robert drive with a shipping crate in the back of the truck towards the trailer park. They stop at the gate and cut the engine. There are gang members everywhere, but none seem to go beyond the fence line. Both men get out and stand at the front of the hood. It is several minutes before Bobo Del Ray appears, looking surprised but very pleased.

 

“Cousin, what a surprise! I requested Wynonna.” Bobo states with fake enthusiasm.

 

“Wynonna is at the bottom of the bottle as she normally is in hard times. I guess you will have to settle with me.” Robert says.

 


 

“Wynonna and Doc breach the right side, Nedley and the chief will go left. Waverly and I will take the middle.” Dolls says, directing them towards the three main trailers. “On my call, we breach.”

 

They all get into positions, doing final weapons checks and nodding. “Breach.” Dolls commands in a whisper shout.

 

All in sync, they begin to clear one trailer after another, taking out hostiles as they go. They knock out as many as possible, only using bullets when completely necessary. The silencers make it easy for them to go about undetected. There are only three trailers left and they sit dead center in the middle of the property.

 

Each team takes one, but ultimately, it’s Dolls and Waverly who find Nicole on the ground, tied to a chair. She is barely conscious, but alive and that is all Waverly can ask for at the moment. “Hey baby.” Waverly says softly, trying to rouse her. She takes a knife Dolls hands her and cuts Nicole’s hands and feet free. She also unstraps the belt holding Nicole’s waist to the back of the chair. Waverly pulls Nicole into her arms, holding her so tight as tears fall down her face. “I was so worried I would never see you again.”

 

“Why? You know I will always come back to you.” Nicole mumbles, beginning to come back to herself. “Wait. Waves! You shouldn’t be here!”

 

“Oh, shut up Nicole. Look at yourself. You really thought I wasn’t going to come and help?” Waverly says, a little pissed.

 

“A girl can hope.” Nicole jokes, using Waverly’s help to stand.

 

The others join them and look relieved to see Nicole. “You okay?” Wynonna asks.

 

“Fine. You guys need to get out of here. My guess is you are having my father be a distraction, maybe Robert too because Bobo asked for Nonna and she is here?”

 

Dolls nods and hands her a gun. She looks at the gun Waverly is holding and realizes it is hers. She smiles a little before getting back into work mode.

 

“Go out and get my father and Robert to safety. I will handle Bobo.” Nicole orders.

 

“I am not letting you go alone.” Wynonna challenges.

 

“Yeah, dummy. That’s why you’re coming with me. Everyone else should go.” Nicole says with a knowing smirk. “And before she can argue as well, yes Waves, you’re coming too. If I tried to stop you, you would probably murder me.”

 

“There is no probably.” Waverly says, following Wynonna and her wife out one door while the others leave through the other.

Chapter Text

“Bobo, let’s just finish this up. The cash is in the back. Your men can check it for themselves, but you don’t get anything until you release Nicole to us.” Robert says after some horrible and almost physically painful small talk.

 

“Don’t talk to me like you are in charge here!” Bobo yells. “You are not in charge here!”

 

Robert smirks, seeing motion behind Bobo. “You’re right. I’m not.”

 

“I am.” Nicole says, pressing her gun against the back of Bobo’s skull. “Turn around and put your hands up.”

 

Bobo smiles and turns to look at Waverly, Nicole and Wynonna. “Ah, Wynonna. So glad you could join us.”

 

Wynonna doesn’t respond. Instead, she flips peacemaker in her hand and hits Bobo directly on his neck with the butt of the gun. He falls to the ground, breathing hard and groaning. He looks up with squinted eyes and focuses on Waverly.

 

“Baby Earp. Long time, no see.” He says, slowly getting to his feet.

 

“Shut up Bobo. And by the way, that coat you are wearing. That’s a women’s coat.” Waverly spits out, her gun pointed at Bobo.

 

“Ouch. New gay Waverly is a little judgy. I like the new sass.” Bobo says, standing back to his full height.

 

Nicole grits her teeth, wanting nothing more than to beat the living shit out of him. Dolls and the others are there now, standing with James and Robert.

 

“It’s over.” Nicole says.

 

“Oh, Officer Haught. It is far from over.” Bobo says. At his words, five Revenants pop out from hiding and train weapons on them.

 

Nicole immediately pulls Waverly behind her back, Wynonna going to Waverly’s back so they sandwich her between them and use their bodies to shield her. She tries to fight them but knows it’s useless.

 

Bobo laughs and points to the gate. “You leave now, I may let you all live. But the offer will soon be gone.”

 

Nicole and Wynonna begin to move towards the gate, making sure to keep Waverly covered. Unfortunately, one of Bobo’s guys makes a move to shoot and the BBD team reacts. Dolls takes out two guys in quick succession. Wynonna and Doc shoot at the same guy and take him down. The other two guys move to guard Bobo, but they aren’t fast enough. Waverly takes three shots, hitting Bobo in the shoulder, in the knee and in the thigh, sending him to the ground.

 

Using the Revenants’ distraction at their wounded leader, they all run to the van and pile in. They drive off as quickly as possible, driving straight back to Nicole’s place.

 

Everyone is okay, although Nicole’s pain still lingers in her eyes. Waverly holds Nicole in her arms, pressing her face into Nicole’s hair. “You’re okay. You’re okay.” She whispers, not really sure who she is trying to convince. Probably more herself than anyone else. “Shhhh. You’re okay. I love you. You’re okay.” Tears run down her cheeks and she lets them, allowing herself to breathe in this feeling of her wife in her arms.

 

When they pull up, Gus and Willa come running out with first aid kits and are relieved when everyone looks okay.

 

“Everyone alright?” Gus asks, pulling Nicole into her arms.

 

“Yes.” Dolls affirms.

 

Gus pulls Nicole away from her to look her over and then pulls her back into the hug.

 

 

“Thank you… for everything.” Nicole says as her father readies to drive back with Gus.

 

“Of course.” He says.

 

They look at each other for a long moment before sharing an awkward hug. “If you aren’t feeling well later, I left the number for the best doctor in the state on your fridge.” He says, feeling and looking as awkward as his daughter.

 

She nods in thanks and they both stare at one another for another moment before going separate ways.

 

Nicole walks back into the house and him to the car.

 


 

“So, you think it is safe to go home?” Wynonna asks.

 

“I do, but you know you are welcome to stay here as long as you want.” Nicole says, her head in Waverly’s lap. Doc hands the elder Earp a drink and sits down with her.

 

“Bobo Del Ray is wounded thanks to Waverly. He won’t be up and running for a while and he doesn’t have the manpower. I don’t think he will be a problem any time soon.” Dolls states, sitting down next to Doc on the couch. “And when he comes, we will be ready.”

 


 

Waverly watches Nicole closely for the rest of the night. Truth be told, she never even let’s go of Nicole for more than a minute or two as if she is afraid she will disappear. Everyone decides to go home that night, but all promise to meet for breakfast Monday morning after using the weekend to recuperate.

 

Thus, by ten that night, Waverly and Nicole are alone in the house once again. Taking a deep breath for what feels like the first time in weeks, Nicole lays down on the couch so her head is in Waverly’s lap again. They are watching a new SyFy show and are actually enjoying it, even though Nicole isn’t normally one for the genre. As they watch, Waverly runs her fingers through Nicole’s hair, putting the other woman to sleep. Once the show ends, Waverly moves to get up but sees Nicole is sleeping. She doesn’t want to move her but sleeping on the couch after the day they have had… not a good idea.

 

“Baby. We need to go to bed.” Waverly whispers into Nicole’s ear.

 

Nicole nods and grumbles but doesn’t move to get up.

 

Waverly huffs out a breath. “Nic. Please. I really just want to sleep together in our bed and cuddle all night in each other’s arms.”

 

Nicole stands and takes Waverly’s hand without a word, slowly making their way to the bedroom so she doesn’t jar the few spots that are still sore. When they get there, Nicole simply strips and gets into bed. Waverly, still always a little dazed by her wife’s body, pauses a moment before she strips herself of clothing as well and joins her after turning the lights off.

 

Once she is settled into Nicole’s arms, she feels the warm safety Nicole always provides cover her. “I was so worried.” She whispers into Nicole’s neck. “God, I thought I might never see you again.”

 

“I love you Waves. Nothing was going to stop me from coming home to you.” Nicole whispers sleepily. “Plus, I know you would come rescue me. I married a badass.”

 

Waverly smiles against Nicole’s skin and snuggles in a little closer. “I love you, you know that?”

 

“Wait, you don’t take on dangerous gang leaders for just anybody? Well, yeah I guess I love you too.” Nicole jokes.

 

“You guess?” Waverly asks, amused.

 

“Nah.” Nicole shakes her head and pulls Waverly closer. “I know and have since the moment I really started to get to know you. The real you.”

 

“God, I love you.” Waverly breathes out.

 

Nicole just kisses a bare shoulder and holds Waverly. The comfort, relief and the stress of the day melting away, it sends them both straight to sleep.

 


 

When Waverly wakes, Nicole is clearly in the shower. Steam pours from the open bathroom and Waverly doesn’t hesitate to jump out of bed and join her. When she enters the bathroom, she is confused because she can’t see Nicole through the glass of the shower. Waverly slowly opens the door and finds Nicole is laying on the floor of the shower and looks to be sleeping. She sighs in relief but is a little worried by this as well.

 

“Nic? You okay?” Waverly asks.

 

“Hm?” Nicole asks, stirring. She opens her eyes and sighs. “Shit, I must have fallen asleep. Sorry Waves. I just felt gross and needed a shower.”

 

“What are you apologizing to me for, the only person that is going to be pissed is you when you see your water bill.”

 

Nicole laughs and shakes her head. “I love you, you know that?”

 

“I do. Do you need help getting up?” Waverly asks with a smile.

 

“No.” Nicole says, standing up. She takes one of Waverly’s hands and pulls her into the shower, pressing her into the warm stream of water.

 

Waverly squeaks in surprise but doesn’t complain. She pulls Nicole in for a heated kiss, moaning into Nicole’s mouth when the redhead’s hands drift down to grab her ass.

 

Waverly isn’t even fully aware what is going on, but next thing she knows, Nicole is lifting her and she has her legs wrapped around Nicole’s waist. Nicole presses her up against the wall of the shower, kissing her with a patience Waverly is unaccustomed to.

 

She knows she shouldn’t compare Champ and Nicole, but it is hard not to. It was something that meant nothing when she was with Champ. He just took what he wanted and never took the time to take care of her in any way. That was the case with sex, finances and everything else in life. But Nicole… Nicole not only does but wants to be there and make Waverly feel loved. She pays for lunch and walks Waverly to her car, even before they got married, and never expected anything in return. Champ would only walk her to the car if he wanted to make out and disguise it as a goodbye kiss. Champ used to whine until she gave him and his friends free drinks. Nicole has always paid for her own, and many times other people’s, and always leaves more than enough for a substantial tip. And it wasn’t just with her. Nicole was that way with all the staff. Nicole cleans up, something Champ never did. She listens to Waverly, even when the information is probably boring, but she still listens. And god! She and Champ had sex, but what her and Nicole share… it goes beyond a simple physical act. It is making love in the purest form. Love… that’s the difference. They are in love.

 

“Waves? Where did you go?” Nicole asks, stopping to look at Waverly.

 

“Nowhere.” Waverly responds, coming back to the present.

 

“You weren’t here. Is something wrong?” Nicole asks, concern washing over her features as she moves to put Waverly down.

 

Waverly tightens her grip on Nicole and kisses her deeply. She pulls away and smiles. “Don’t. I am here. I was just thinking. Sorry.”

 

“Don’t apologize. What were you thinking about?” Nicole wraps her arms more securely around Waverly.

 

“You.” Waverly answers. “You and how much better my life is because I have you in it.”

 

“You know, we are already married. No need to continue boosting my ego. You can tell me how you really feel.” Nicole teases.

 

“Hey! I’m serious.” Waverly protests, laughing and swatting Nicole’s arm before kissing her again.

 

Nicole pulls back, looking down at her wife’s bare chest and then looking up. “Well…Okay I want to say something really sweet and charming, but I can’t really concentrate with your boobs so close to my face and your butt sitting in my hands. I am not ashamed to admit that you scramble my brain. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it, you’re gorgeous and very distracting.”

 

“I thought you said you couldn’t say something sweet and charming in this position?” Waverly asks with a smirk.

 

“That wasn’t sweet and charming.” Nicole says. “That was me simply stating facts.”

 

“I think my beauty is a matter of opinion.”

 

“Nope. Fact!” Nicole says, dropping Waverly back down to the floor and grabbing a shampoo bottle. “And now I really do need to actually shower before I get messy all over again.”

 

“I like when you get messy.” Waverly pouts, wrapping her arms around Nicole and pressing the side of her face into her chest.

 

“Yeah, so do I when it involves you. But I am starving and I can hear your tummy growling over the sound of the water.” Nicole says with a laugh, soaping up her hair and rinsing it. She goes about the rest of her shower with Waverly practically or actually attached to her the whole time.

  


 

 

“Waves?”

 

“Yeah baby?” Waverly answers a little distractedly, folding laundry on the bed.

 

“Would you consider moving in with me full time?” Nicole asks. “And before you answer, hear me out. Okay, so I have lived alone for almost five years now. And I admit, living alone can be comfortable. No one notices if I wear the same pajamas for a week straight. Moving in with someone means changing a few things I have been accustomed to while living alone. But being with you makes me not even think of what I unconsciously already gave up. We have been through so much already. I want to be able to truly share my life with you. I want to be a part of yours and you a part of mine. I want to be there for the laughs and adventures. But I also want to be there during the tough times. And when I am asking you to move in, I am not saying it has to be all right away. But I wanted to throw the offer out there because I want you in my life Waverly. I love you. And if you are not ready right now, that is okay with me as long as you know the offer is out there.”

 

Waverly stares at her slack jawed for a minute and just takes in the information. She stops her folding and pushes it off to the side. “Come here and sit with me?” Waverly asks, patting the spot next to her on the bed.

 

Nicole walks over and takes a seat, waiting patiently for Waverly to answer.

 

“First of all, it is really sweet of you to offer and part of me wants to just say yes and jump right into it. But the logical part of me knows I am not ready. Even though I spend most of my nights here, I do go back to the homestead. My dad and sister are there and I am just not sure I am ready to let that go. And yes, we are married, but we didn’t really know each other before that and this whole thing is just backwards. I love you, you know I do. But I don’t think I am ready just yet.” Waverly answers, hoping her brutal honesty is the best option.

 

“So… you are thinking about kids and we have even talked about it a couple times now… but you aren’t ready to move in with me?” Nicole asks slowly.

 

“Yes.” Waverly replies just as slowly, unable to read the expression on her wife’s face.

 

“Okay…” Nicole says.

 

“Okay?” Waverly asks.

 

“Yes, I mean, I am not going to pretend that that is the answer I wanted. But I love you and I am willing to be patient. But, I would like to talk about this again at a later date.” Nicole says, still deep in thought.

 

Waverly releases a breath and kisses Nicole on the cheek. “Thank you.”

 

“Yup.” Nicole says, standing up and grabbing her jacket.

 

“Wait. Where are you going?” Waverly asks, a little panicked.

 

“Relax baby. I have a meeting with Nedley and your dad today. I will be back later.” Nicole says, leaning over and pecking Waverly on the cheek.

 

“Mind if I ride into town with you? Shorty has something for me that I need to pick up.” Waverly asks.

 

“Yeah, come on. My meeting should only take a half hour or so.” Nicole says, walking out of the room to start the car. As she makes her way out of the house, she tries to swallow down the hurt feelings and the fear gripping her heart.

Chapter Text

Nicole drops Waverly off at Shorty’s before going to the station. When Waverly walks in, she sees a woman she doesn’t recognize working behind the bar. Before she can introduce herself, Shorty comes out from around back. “Waverly! Come on back!” He greets with a smile.

 

Waverly does as instructed and follows him into his office. “What did you need to give me Shorty?”

 

“Here.” He says, handing her an envelope.

 

“What is this?” She asks.

 

“It is some money. I realized that you haven’t been grabbing your paychecks lately because you haven’t been here as much. I combined the last two so it would be easier.” He explains.

 

“Oh, thanks Shorty.” She says, walking back out into the bar with him.

 

“Not a problem. Oh Waverly, this is Rosita. She is my new hire. Rosita, this is Waverly Earp.” He introduces as the Latina woman approaches their end of the bar.

 

“Ah, so you are the famous Waverly everyone keeps telling me about.” Rosita says, smiling and shaking Waverly’s hand.

 

“It’s nice to meet you Rosita.” Waverly says, blushing despite herself.

 

Shorty leaves them to go talk with a local and Rosita offers Waverly a drink.

 

“Lemonade please.” Waverly orders as she takes a seat.

 

Rosita sits a glass down in front of Waverly and leans her arms on to the bar.

 

“So, Waverly, I heard you work part time at the police station. That why Shorty hired me for extra help?” Rosita asks.

 

“Yeah. I am a consultant for one of the divisions there. But I am glad you seem to be fitting in well here.” Waverly says genuinely. She notices how Rosita seems to be leaning more and more across the bar but doesn’t think much of it.

 

“So far, yeah. Besides the drunk men always hitting on me, this job is great. Plus, Shorty gave me one of the apartments upstairs to stay in while I work here.”

 

Waverly giggles. “Yeah, the guys can be a bit much sometimes. I think the alcohol just makes them too stupid and stubborn to realize that they aren’t your type, you know? I eventually just got used to saying no. It is definitely worse when you are single too.”

 

“Yeah, once word got around I was single, seemed like all the guys and girls descended upon this place to take their shot. I don’t want to sound full of myself, I feel like I should be flattered. But standards for me don’t include asking me out while they are three sheets in the wind.”

 

“I totally get it.” Waverly agrees. “After I broke up with my ex, I kinda had the same thing going on.”

 

Rosita’s eyes widen and she softly lays her hand over Waverly’s on the bar. “Sorry to hear that.”

 

Waverly just smiles. “It’s fine. Like I said, things get better.”

 

“They sure do.” Rosita says, leaving her hand on Waverly’s.

 

Nicole walks into the bar and instantly sees Rosita and Waverly’s contact. She has a look on her face but doesn’t say anything and quickly schools her features as she approaches the pair.

 

“Hey Waves. Ready to go?” Nicole asks with her normal, friendly tone. In all honesty, she wants to walk up and kiss her wife hello, but she isn’t that type of person. Waverly isn’t her property and she won’t be that type of partner. But she doesn’t miss or like the way Rosita is eyeing Waverly. She knows that look and doesn’t want anyone looking at Waverly that way, besides herself, of course.

 

“Yeah. Hey, Nic. This is Rosita. She is Shorty’s new hire. Rosita, this is Nicole.” Waverly introduces.

 

“We met actually. Shorty had me run her background check and I came to meet her in person that day. Nice to see you again Ms. Bustillos.” Nicole says politely.

 

“You as well Officer Haught.” Rosita responds.

 

Waverly turns back to Rosita and smiles. “Thanks for the drink Rosita. See you around.”

 

“Definitely.” Rosita says, watching Waverly get off her stool and walk the few steps over to Nicole.

 

Waverly interlaces her fingers with Nicole’s and kisses her on the cheek before leading them out the bar.

 

Shorty comes up behind Rosita and taps her. “Seems like you and Waverly got along great.”

 

“Yeah, she seems really nice. Are her and Officer Haught dating?” Rosita asks. She thought she had noticed a ring on the officer’s ring finger during their first meeting, but maybe she was mistaken. And she never looked for a ring on Waverly’s hand, probably because it was under the bar the whole time.

 

“Ha, no. They are married. Got hitched last year, why?” Shorty asks with a laugh.

 

“It’s nothing. Waverly just introduced her as Nicole. She didn’t introduce her as her wife. Probably just slipped her mind, especially if they just got married not that long ago.” Rosita deflects.

 

Shorty watches her carefully as she walks off to serve a customer, getting a weird vibe all of a sudden.

 


 

“Nicole.” Waverly says after an almost completely silent ride home.

 

“Yeah. What’s up?” Nicole asks, trying to refocus after being in her own head for the last few minutes.

 

“You haven’t said anything since we got in the car.” Waverly says.

 

Nicole is silent for a long moment before her grip tightens ever so slightly on the steering wheel. “Um, well… I think I just underestimated my disappointment, if I am being completely honest.”

 

Guilt hits Waverly hard, but also some agitation. She stays silent.

 

“I guess… I guess I just didn’t think you would say no to moving in with me. You practically already live with me and you have been talking about the future a lot recently… It’s my bad. I shouldn’t have expected you to say yes. I just think I let myself get my hopes up.” Nicole continues, rambling nervously at Waverly’s silence.

 

“Nicole. I love you. Isn’t that enough?” Waverly asks, looking at Nicole.

 

“You know it is. But Waverly, how can you talk to me about kids and starting a family if you aren’t even willing to move in with me? It’s not like we can start a family with us living in different places.”

 

“I talked about starting a family in the future. Not right now.” Waverly bites out, the agitation starting to overpower the guilt. “No one said anything about soon or a timeline. I said someday. That goes for moving in together and kids.”

 

Nicole hears the change in tone, but she continues. “Waverly, if not now, then when?”

 

“Do not rush me into doing something I don’t want to do Nicole Haught. Haven’t you done that enough to me since you came into my life?! When we got married, you told me I could live with my family!” Waverly says as the agitation takes complete control.

 

Nicole slams the cruiser into park as they pull into the driveway and she turns to face Waverly. “What?! I have never forced you to do anything you haven’t wanted to do! And for god’s sake Waverly, our marriage was arranged! Get over it! You weren’t the only one effected by it! You weren’t the only one forced into marrying a stranger! You don’t think I was affected by all of this?! You think I didn’t feel powerless?! And I am not telling you that you have to live with me Waverly! I am asking you! I invited you! And I said I was okay with you living at your childhood home before because we weren’t really together! I wasn’t your family back then and based on your words, I am still not!” She roughly gets out of the car and slams the door shut as she stomps towards the front door.

 

“You weren’t powerless!” Waverly accuses, raising out of the car as well and slamming her own door shut. “You’re rich and you have a good job and everyone fuckin’ loves you and thinks rainbows shine out of your fuckin’ ass! You are privileged and always were! You don’t have a care in the world because any problem you have can be bought away!”

 

“Your father and my father took my choice away too! Mine! I was just as much powerless as you! And don’t you dare say life was easy for me Waverly! From the moment my mother got sick, my life has never been easy! You know what! Fuck you! I can’t believe you are actually trying to blame me for you being forced to marry me! I didn’t have a choice either Waverly! It wasn’t just you! And I really didn’t think it was so bad for you! That it is such a burden for you! So you know what, forget it! You don’t want to live with me, fine! And because you have made it very clear that you don’t want to be under the same roof as me, have fun sleeping at the homestead! You have made it very clear that that is where you want to be!”

 

And with that, Nicole goes inside the house and slams the front door shut.

 

Waverly is furious and she angrily grabs her keys from her purse and drives off in the jeep.

 


 

When Waverly arrives at the homestead, Wynonna is sitting on the front porch. “What’s wrong?” She asks as she sees Waverly’s angry tears streaming down her face.

 

Taking a deep breath, Waverly sits down next to her sister and lets her head fall into her hands. “Nicole and I got into a fight. A bad one. She asked me to move in with her this morning and I said no. And I could feel it bothered her and so I confronted her about it and I just got so mad and said some things I shouldn’t have.” Waverly sniffles and wipes at her nose.

 

“Why would you say no?” Wynonna asks after a moment.

 

“What do you mean, why? You and Daddy are here. This is my home.” Waverly says a little defensively. “And, she said I could live at home even after we got married.”

 

“Babygirl, you know I love you and think you are the smartest person around. But right now, you are being really stupid.” After receiving an unimpressed look from her sister, Wynonna continues. “Wave, we will still be here, even if you move in with Nicole. And wouldn’t you like to move away from this place and all the bad memories? Also, Nicole was happy to have you live at home then because you didn’t love her. That was before. Before everything. That was before you really became fundamental parts of each other’s lives. So, cut the crap. What is the real reason you are so afraid of moving in with her?”

 

Waverly doesn’t answer immediately and when she finally does, it is low and practically a whisper. “What is she leaves? What if something happens and things change?”

 

Wynonna pulls her sister into her side and sighs. “It is really easy to talk about the future. The hard part is making that future you want happen. You want a life with her Waverly. It is written all over your face every time you smile at her. Stop being afraid of the future. Live life and continue to move forward. Don’t let fear stop you.”

 

“I’m not ready.”

 

“Then tell her that and ask for patience. Apologize your ass off for whatever you said and just ask for time. She has been patient. I think you need to be honest with her and ask for her to wait.” Wynonna pauses, hesitating. “But Waves, don’t ask her to wait if you aren’t going to someday be ready. Be honest and upfront. Anything else than that will just hurt you both.”

 

Chapter Text

When Nicole enters her father’s home, she immediately calls out for Gus. “Gus! You here?”

 

There is some silence but then she hears footsteps coming closer to her. “She is at the market.” James Haught says, looking at his daughter curiously. “You alright?”

 

“Yeah, fine. I just needed to talk with Gus.” At his raised eye brow, she continues. “I am having marital problems and wanted to talk to her about it.”

 

James nods his head. “I see.” Rubbing the back of his neck, he looks down at his feet. “Well, I can’t really offer I will be good company or know anything about marriage, but I can offer alcohol.”

 

Nicole debates it for less than a second. “Eh, second best option.”

 


 

“So.” James starts looking anywhere but at his daughter. “What is going on with you and the Earp girl?”

 

Nicole bristles slightly at the way he addresses Waverly, but just drinks her whiskey down and refills her glass. “She doesn’t want to move in with me and that caused a fight.”

 

“You do realize that she doesn’t really have a choice? You are her wife and the law states that you would have the right to have her in your home. Most people do after marriage.”

 

“I won’t force her to do anything she doesn’t want to do.” Nicole says sternly. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish that she would want to do it.” Her voice softens as she downs yet another drink. “You know, I think this arranged marriage was the best and worst thing to ever happen to me. At least when mom died and when Shae was abusing me… those didn’t hurt like this. They made me feel numb. This just hurts.”

 

James swallows hard, looking to the one photo in his office. It is up on a high shelf and one would have to look for it to notice it. It is the one photo he has of his wife and daughter. He knows Gus has many she could give him, but this is the only one he keeps. It was taken the day Nicole was born. It is a simple photo, but one he couldn’t bear to throw out. Kelly is in a hospital bed, a newborn Nicole in her arms and James is leaning over and kissing Nicole’s baby head. “I don’t really know anything about real marriage Nicole. If I did, I would tell you, but I don’t.”

 

Nicole laughs humorlessly, refilling her glass. “Well, it seems that I don’t know anything about it either, so we are in the same boat. God I just feel like I can never do anything right! If it’s not Waverly getting upset with me, it’s Wynonna. Like fuck? I feel like I am walking on eggshells sometimes.”

 

James is silent for a long moment, so long Nicole is almost concerned. “Your mother and I had issues when we first got married.” He says softly.

 

Nicole looks over at him, mouth agape. He had never spoken to Nicole about her since she died.

 

“Obviously, your mother was a saint. But that didn’t mean she wouldn’t get frustrated with me from time to time. I was young, rich, and stupid. I thought I knew how the world worked and that the world was mine to conquer. And then your mother came by and would have to knock me down a few pegs. Looking back, I know she was just keeping my ego in check but at the time, it pissed me off.” James continues, a fond smile on his face.

 

“I don’t remember you fighting much. At least, not like that.” Nicole says slowly, trying to not push her luck.

 

“That was quite a few years before you were born. It took time, a lot of fights and a lot more mistakes before we finally figured our marriage out.” He admits, but the small smile is still there. “You are a lot like her, you know. And when she would fight with me, god she just took so much of my shit, until it would become too much and she would blow up. No one was happy when that happened. It happened once and I never let it get that bad ever again.”

 

“How?” Nicole asks, feeling defeated with tears in her eyes.

 

James laughs, genuinely. “Lots of flowers and expensive dinners.” He turns to Nicole for the first time and looks her in the eyes. “Honesty Nicole, honesty and spending quality time together so we could talk about the important things.” He says seriously.

 

Nicole nods, taking another sip of her drink. “Yeah.” She sighs.

 

There is a knock on the office door and Gus leans in, looking at them both, concerned. “Um…” She looks down at the half empty bottle of whiskey between them and then to the glass in Nicole’s hand. James doesn’t drink whiskey; he is a scotch man and always has been. “I guess I will be driving you home. Would you like to stay for dinner Nicky?”

 

Nicole stands, downing the rest of her glass and setting it down on the table. “No, thanks. I should go.”

 

She moves to leave but Gus puts a hand up. “You are not driving. Give me your keys. I will drive you home.”

 

Nicole glares, saying nothing.

 

“Nicole. Listen to her. You are in no condition to drive.” James says, feeling weird as he tries to parent his daughter a little.

 

“C’mon darling. I’ll drive you home.” Gus says, holding her hand out still.

 

Nicole glares still but pulls her keys and throws them on the couch behind her. “No thanks, I’ll walk.”

 

“Nicole your house is over ten miles away. You can’t walk all the way there.” Gus argues, following after Nicole as the redhead walks towards the front door.

 

Nicole opens the front door and walks out. “I’m not going home.”

 

Gus wants to follow, but knows Nicole needs to be left alone.

 


 

“What can I get you Officer?” Rosita asks as Nicole enters Shorty’s. It’s a particularly slow night and only a few regulars are scattered around the saloon.

 

“Whiskey.” Nicole says, taking a seat. She sighs. “Please.”

 

Rosita notes Nicole’s state, but fills her drink order regardless. “You okay?” She asks as she places the filled tumbler on a napkin in front of the redhead.

 

“Sure.” Nicole says, taking a long gulp of the whiskey. “Keep ‘em coming.”

 

“Nicole, you need me to call someone?” Shorty asks, walking over and looking at her with concern. “I can call Waverly to come get you or come keep you company.”

 

“No.” Nicole says, voice hollow. “I just want to drink and be alone.” She looks up to Shorty and her eyes plead with him to just leave her be.

 

He nods, albeit reluctantly and then turns towards Rosita. “Rosie, a moment.”

 

Rosita follows him over to the taps and they busy themselves filling pitchers as they talk. “Keep an eye on her okay. Don’t let her drive. If she wants to leave, take her keys and call someone. And don’t overserve her.”

 

Rosita agrees and goes back, making Nicole another drink.

 

“Thanks.” Nicole grumbles, taking the new glass.

 

“Yup. You want to talk about what is bugging you so bad that you are here drinking alone? Based on your reactions, I am guessing it has something to do with your wife?” Rosita asks.

 

“You bartenders are like cheap therapists in crop tops.” Nicole says, sipping her drink.

 

“We do tend to be good listeners.” Rosita agrees, motioning for Nicole to continue.

 

“I am married to someone who I fear doesn’t want to be married to me.” Nicole huffs out. “Now, can I just drink alone in peace?”

 

Rosita just gives her a curious look before nodding and going off to serve other customers.

 


 

“Haught.”

 

“Go away Earp.” Nicole grumbles, not even turning around on her barstool to look at Wynonna.

 

Wynonna comes up by her side and takes a good look at her. “Holy crap, are you drunk?”

 

“Yes.” Nicole answers simply, tapping the counter to indicate Rosita to fill her glass again.

 

“Rosita, no.” Wynonna says, eyeing the bartender. “How much has she drank, jesus?”

 

Rosita shrugs her shoulder and this just angers Wynonna. “Shorty!”

 

Shorty comes out from the store room where he was doing inventory and looks at the three of them, frowning. “Rosita, I told you not to overserve her.”

 

“I’m fine!” Nicole says, annoyed. She stands on shaky legs and bats away the hand Wynonna puts out to steady her. “I just want to drink and not get hounded on by everyone.”

 

Nicole makes it outside before Wynonna can say anything else, but the brunette follows after the redhead. “Nicole! Hey, wait a minute!”

 

“No. Leave me alone Earp. I want to just be alone. I know it doesn’t seem to matter much to anybody what I want anymore, but still. I just want to be left alone.” Nicole growls, not even turning around to face Wynonna and continues walking down the road.

 

“Where are you going?!” Wynonna shouts, trying to match the redhead’s stride. For someone who is completely hammered, she walks like a champ.

 

“Away from you and everyone else that keeps asking me to talk or do anything.”

 

“Nicole, please stop.” Wynonna asks, stopping where she is.

 

“Leave me alone Earp.” Nicole says, continuing to walk towards the edge of town that her home is at.

 


 

The sun is setting by the time Nicole can see her house. She walked and it was a long walk, but she has sobered up some and now just feels empty. She is about ten yards from her front door when she slips and lands in a pile of snow. The impact wasn’t horrible, but she is now covered in snow. She is about to get up, but then she looks up to the sky and sighs. It really is a pretty sky and the cold snow helps cool off her slightly warm and sweaty body. So, she lays there in the snow and stares at the sky, finally allowing the hurt to come to the forefront as the anger is cooled away by the snow. Her face hurts, her head hurts and her heart hurts. Everything hurts, but at least she isn’t numb. She remembers that feeling, when she was with Shae. She remembers how the feeling of nothing was the best she could do. But now, everything hurts. It hurts and the pain is almost too much at certain times. But then the snow cools the burn and she is able to breathe again. She isn’t sure when or why, but she ends up falling asleep or passing out right there in the snow.

 


 

Waverly is driving up the road that leads to Nicole’s house when a blue blob in the stark white snow on the front lawn of the house catches her eye. Seeing red hair attached to the blob sends Waverly’s heart racing. She screeches the jeep to a halt and scrambles out of the car. As she runs over and slides right into the snow, her hands clasp Nicole’s cold face. “Nicole! Baby!”

 

Nicole moans, her eyebrows pulling together and Waverly sighs in relief. She pulls Nicole’s head so it is cradled in her lap and uses her hands to try and warm Nicole up. As best she can.

 

“Baby, what happened? You are freezing? How long have you been out here?”

 

Another displeased moan is her answer until Nicole cracks her eyes open and her brown meets Waverly’s hazel. “I slipped.”

 

As Nicole speaks, Waverly finally smells the whiskey on Nicole’s breath that she had expected. Wynonna had come back to the homestead after trying to get Nicole, only to tell Waverly that her wife was drunk and walking home. Shorty had called Wynonna an hour prior to ask her to pick up the redhead asap because she was not in any condition to drive. Waverly herself had missed calls and voicemails from Dolls, Gus and Shorty, but she put driving to Nicole’s house as her priority.

 

“Let’s get you inside, okay?” Waverly moves to get them up but Nicole shakes her head no. “Nicole, you are going to get sick and this is bordering along dangerous. Please, let’s go inside and warm up.”

 

“We need to talk.” Nicole says, looking at Waverly.

 

“I know, and we will. But we should do that somewhere where neither of us are in danger of hypothermia. I promise, we will talk.” Waverly says urging Nicole up again.

 

Nicole does get up this time and even allows Waverly to pulls her close and hug her. She wraps her arms around Waverly too, but they say nothing. Then, they are walking towards the front door together, both mentally preparing for what comes next.

Chapter Text

“Why?”

 

“Why what?” Waverly asks, staring at Nicole, who is staring at her hands.

 

“Why are you here?” Nicole asks, shoulders hunched over as she sits on the couch.

 

Waverly takes a seat on the coffee table so she is knee to knee with Nicole, facing the redhead. She takes a deep breath and psychs herself up to be as open an honest as possible. “Because I love you. Because I didn’t like how we left things. Because I am your wife and although I haven’t been acting like it, that is one of the best things to ever happen to me.”

 

Nicole doesn’t say anything, doesn’t even move.

 

Knowing she has to say more, Waverly continues. “I don’t know how to commit to anyone Nicole. It sounds bad, but it is the truth. No one has ever stayed for me, committed to me. My momma left, Willa and Wynonna did the same years later, and although my dad never left Purgatory, he had a while where he was here, but not really. His body was at home, but his mind was at the bottom of the bottle and even after that, he spent a lot of time in his own head. I felt… alone. Even Champ wasn’t there for me or even faithful to me. So, as a way to protect my heart, I stopped leaving myself open to getting hurt. I don’t commit to people, and you asking me to do so scared me. It scared me because for the first time in as long as I can remember, I want to. I want to be yours completely and for you to be mine completely. But, even though I want it so badly, it scares the shit out of me. And when you asked, I panicked. I panicked because I am scared and don’t know if I can commit, but I also can’t bear the thought of losing you. And then we fought and I said things I didn’t really mean. I pushed you away because that was easier than if someday, you pulled away. It was easier, or at least, it seemed that way at the time. But now… it just feels, empty. Guilty. Sad. Alone. I feel alone.”

 

“How many times do I have to tell you that I am all in before you start believing me?” Nicole asks in sarcastic disbelief, shaking her head.

 

“People have said it to me before.” Waverly says softly. “And then they left.”

 

“I am not ‘people’ Waverly.” Nicole says, voice slightly raised. “To my knowledge, I have never given you any reason to doubt me. So please, just… believe me. Please, because I don’t know how many more times I can have my heart trampled on before it can’t be fixed again.” Nicole sighs. “If you can’t at least try… Waves, then what’s the point of being together at all?”

 

“I-” Waverly swallows down the lump in her throat. “I am… I am gonna try. I am. And… I will move in with you but… I need to take this slow, please. Please just… be patient with me? I know you have been for so long and that I don’t deserve it but… I am asking anyways. I am asking because I want this. I want us. I want this house and kids and a family and the happily ever after. I want it all. But I need to take it slow so my brain can catch up with my heart. So please Nicole, just… stay with me?”

 

Nicole finally looks up and meets Waverly’s eyes, showing the brunette the tears she had been hiding throughout the conversation. She stares into Waverly’s equally wet eyes, searching for the validity of her words. “What exactly do you want? What is your plan?”

 

“Start off slow. Bring my stuff over a little by little, one box at a time. Spend my nights here and get used to the idea that I am married to the most amazing and patient woman in the world. Build a life, one box at a time. If… if you will still have me?” Waverly asks with a worried look.

 

Nicole lets out a deep breath and opens up her arms in invitation to Waverly. Immediately, the brunette stands just long enough to move a foot closer and into Nicole’s arms. They both lean back so Nicole is laying with her back on the couch and Waverly on top of her, face to face. “Okay. One box at a time, but I have some conditions of my own.”

 

Waverly nods, letting her head rest over Nicole’s heart.

 

“We need to communicate better. This type of shit can’t happen anymore. We will have disagreements and fights, everyone does. But we need to talk and be open and honest. We need to be better. And… I want us to spend time just the two of us more often. It doesn’t have to be anything special, but we need to just be together sometimes. We need some time where we are just wife and wife, doing normal things that don’t involve work or any of our crazy family’s crap. We need some time every once in a while to just be us.” Nicole says softly.

 

“Deal.” Waverly says, smiling for the first time all day. “You know, you are being very articulate for someone who drank the majority of the day.” She jokes.

 

“Nah, the three hour walk and the time in the snow sobered me up pretty good.” Nicole says, resting her hand on Waverly’s back.

 

Waverly fists her hands in Nicole’s shirt and feels tears in her eyes once again. “You got drunk because you were upset and hurt…” Waverly pauses, hating the next words that were about to come out of her mouth. “Just-just like you did when you were with Shae. I caused that. I caused you that pain that drove you to that and I am so sorry Nicole.”

 

“Waverly, no.” Nicole says quickly, holding Waverly higher. “Yeah, what you said hurt. But me drinking too much and making poor choices, that’s on me. You can’t control how I react to things and I shouldn’t have gotten drunk. It was stupid and just made me feel worse.” Waverly is still crying and Nicole tips Waverly’s chin with her finger so Waverly meets her eyes. “You are nothing like Shae. Nothing, you hear me? You are the love of my life and are not to blame when it comes to the drinking. That is on me and that is something I am going to work on. But hear this Waverly Haught, you are extraordinary and nothing like my abusive ex. You hear me?”

 

Waverly nods and buries her face back into Nicole’s chest.

 

“Oh, and one more thing.” Nicole says, smiling herself even though Waverly can’t see it. She tips Waverly’s chin up again so they are looking at each other.

 

“What?” Waverly asks, almost a whisper.

 

“This.” Nicole smiles and pulls Waverly up a bit more before joining their lips in a kiss.

 

Waverly is hesitant, but only for a moment. Then, she is kissing her wife back so softly it makes her heart ache. “I love you. And I love being with you.” She says, breaking the kiss.

 

Nicole uses her thumbs to wipe away Waverly’s tears. “Good, because I can’t imagine my life without you. I love you too.”

Chapter Text

“You know, I am used to being the cold one. You, however, are normally like my personal space heater.” Waverly says, smiling into Nicole’s shoulder as they lay in bed.

 

Nicole just shivers, wrapping her arms around Waverly’s naked body tighter. Once she had gotten inside and the adrenaline of their day had worn off, she had really started to feel the cold. When she had kissed Waverly after their talk, she had been too out of it to notice. But, soon, Waverly’s significantly warmer body was touching hers and that is when the uncontrollable shivers had started. Next thing she knew, Waverly and her were both upstairs, in their bed, naked with Waverly laying on top of her.

 

“Jesus Nicole; you’re freezing. How long were you out there?” Waverly’s voice half teasing, half concerned. She rubs her hands back and forth over Nicole’s skin, trying to warm the taller woman up as much as possible.

 

“I dunno. I fell and then ended up just passing out in the snow. It felt nice… until it didn’t.” Nicole says through chattering teeth.

 

Waverly leans up and away from Nicole for a moment, much to the redhead’s dismay, and grabs another blanket from the foot of the bed. Once it is settled over both of them and over their many other layers, Waverly settles back into Nicole.

 

“Well, now it seems I am the bonus blanket.”

 

Nicole chuckles, but her eyes are closed. She is smiling, but it fades just a little as the shivers come back.

 

“Shhh.” Waverly hushes. She raises her head allowing her nose to run up Nicole’s neck before her lips kiss the underside of her jaw. “Just relax now Baby. You are going to need it once you hit hangover.”

 


 

“So, we aren’t going to work for a whole week?” Waverly asks in disbelief.

 

“Dolls can handle your sister and Doc for a week. He figured we would need a little recovery time from the Bobo incident and figured it was now or never. Plus, he really was crabby about everything that happened and I think it is best neither of us are around him anytime soon.” Nicole says as she takes a bite of her Chinese food. She swallows and a thought catches her attention. “Are you okay with that?”

 

Waverly smiles and places her own food off to the side. Scooting over so she can curl into Nicole’s side, she whispers her response into Nicole’s neck. “Of course. A week off will be great. A week off with you… well, that is a whole other level of greatness. There are so many things we could do.”

 

Nicole smirks and places the to-go container of noodles on the coffee table. “Hm. Did you have something specific in mind?”

 

Waverly smirks as well. “In fact, Mrs. Haught, I do.” She pounces on Nicole, them both tumbling back further into the couch and laughing through kisses. “I have many, many ideas.”

 


 

“Are you going out with Chrissy tonight?” Nicole asks from inside the bathroom.

 

“No.” Waverly calls back from the bed, playing candy crush on her phone.

 

“Why not?” Nicole asks, peeking her head around the door frame to look at Waverly. “Is something wrong?”

 

“No, Chrissy just got hung up at work and asked for a raincheck.” Waverly says, seeming disappointed but also understanding. “This town is so frickin small. Sometimes I wish I had more than one friend to hang out with.”

 

“Then why don’t you make other friends?” Nicole asks innocently.

 

Waverly chuckles and looks at Nicole. “Nic, I know you haven’t lived here all your life like me, but you have to have noticed how small this town is. New people are rare and there are not many locals that want to be friends with an Earp.”

 

Nicole shuts the bathroom light off and walks into the bedroom, crawling onto the bed so she is bedside Waverly. “There is nothing wrong with being an Earp.”

 

“I know that and you know that. But the townspeople are not so forgiving of my family’s past and that isn’t going to change.”

 

“Everyone in town loves you. You were voted the nicest person in Purgatory. There was a vote. You got a sash. I saw it myself.” Nicole says, kissing Waverly. “But, I get it. I’m sorry Babe.”

 

“It’s fine. Just sucks sometimes.” A thought hits Waverly and she gives a hopeful shrug. “Maybe I will try and hang out with Shorty’s new hire. Rosita seems nice and she isn’t from Purgatory.”

 

Nicole feels a little uneasy about that idea but smiles encouragingly at her wife. “I think that might be nice. I remember being new in town… maybe someone who isn’t local will make a good friend. I mean, she doesn’t have the history the rest of the town has with your family.”

 

“You think?” Waverly asks, seeming slightly less down about having to reschedule her plans with Chrissy.

 

Swallowing down her pride and a bad taste in her mouth, Nicole nods and smiles encouragingly. “You deserve to have more than one friend Waves. I don’t see a harm in giving it a shot I guess.”

 


 

 “So, are you two good?” Wynonna asks, elbowing Nicole lightly.

 

They are both in the BBD office, Waverly and Doc having just left to go make a coffee run.

 

“Yeah, I think so.” Nicole says, putting her file to the side and opening up her laptop. It had been a week since their fight and things had been going well, but they hadn’t been back to work until today. “Taking a couple days off was good for us I think. But… I just worry sometimes, that maybe I am not enough or that someday she will just change her mind.”

 

“Have you told her that?” Wynonna asks, turning in her chair.

 

“Yes. But there isn’t much she can say except that she won’t. And honestly, I feel bad for needing the constant reassurances. Like, I am afraid she will get tired of it and just… leave.” Nicole admits.

 

“Two damaged people getting together is harder than you initially thought, huh?” Wynonna smirks, trying to lighten the mood.

 

Nicole chuckles. “Yeah, something like that.”

 

“But seriously, I am sure it will all work out.” Wynonna states, genuine now.

 

“Thanks. I hope so.”

 

“Shorty’s tonight? The boys and I were gonna go after our shift. You and Waves in?”

 

Nicole nods and nudges Wynonna playfully before they both go back to work.

 


 

The BBD team walks into Shorty’s and they commandeer a booth, sending Wynonna and Waverly to grab drinks. Wynonna ends up carrying all the drinks back though because Waverly is busy talking with Rosita.

 

Nicole looks over at her wife with a conflicted look but just shakes her head and sips her drink. This continues for a while, Nicole only joining the table’s conversation when she is asked. Dolls notices and pulls his friend up from the table. They go to the opposite end of the bar and order from Shorty.

 

“What can I get you, officers?” Shorty asks.

 

“A beer for me.” Dolls replies, looking to Nicole.

 

“Let me get a shot of tequila. Actually, make it two.” Nicole says.

 

Shorty looks at Dolls and Dolls just nods, but he is looking at his friend with concern.

 

Shorty comes back with their drinks and watches Nicole down both shots in quick succession. “What?” She asks Dolls at his startled expression. “I don’t have to work tomorrow.” She turns to Shorty. “Can I also get a beer and another shot? Please.”

 

Shorty complies but sees Nicole’s focus is on something else. Or rather, someone else. She is staring at Waverly and Rosita, who are both talking with their faces inches away from one another and Rosita has her hand clasped over Waverly’s.

 

“Nicole, I don’t…”

 

“Shorty, just don’t. She is a grown up. She can make her own choices.” Nicole cuts him off, downing her new shot and washing it down with her beer.  

 

Wynonna comes up behind them, noticing their extended absence and sees what they are all looking at. “Something that we should be concerned with?” She asks Nicole.

 

Nicole looks at her. “No. Your sister is a grown ass woman. She can make her own decisions and have her own friends. Leave her be. If she wants to hang out with Rosita, so be it. It is not any of our places to tell her to do otherwise.” Nicole pushes away from the bar and walks back to their table, taking a seat next to Doc without another word and nodding gratefully at the water he hands her.

 

Wynonna looks at Dolls and then they both look back to Waverly and Rosita. “I don’t like this.”

 

“Neither do I. But Cole is right. It isn’t our place.” Dolls responds.

 


 

About an hour later, Waverly is still over with Rosita and the others are just trying to ignore it. Nicole watches Rosita take a seat at the bar next to Waverly, apparently taking her break, and place a hand on Waverly’s shoulder. Nicole looks away.

 

“I thought you said you were going to communicate better?” Dolls asks, agitated with Waverly and with his best friend. “You are upset. Go tell her.”

 

“She is allowed to have a friend Xavier. As long as that is all they are, I have no right to be upset.” Nicole growls at him, annoyed that he is challenging her.

 

“Cole.”

 

“Enough Xavier. Drop it or I’ll walk home. I’m done talking about this.” He sighs but nods his head. Standing up, Nicole walks over to Shorty at the bar. “Close my tab Shorty. I gotta go home.” She says politely but she seems uncomfortable.

 

He quickly charges her card and hands it back. “Nicole, you are not driving. Give me your keys.”

 

“Don’t worry Shorty. Dolls is driving me home.” Nicole says. She glances over to her wife but looks quickly back to the man. “Keep an eye on her for me?”

 

“Sure. Have a good night.” Shorty says, clearly sympathetic.

 

He hears her grumble “yeah right.” Under her breath before her and Dolls leave out the front door.

 

Shorty glances over at Waverly, shaking his head when she doesn’t even notice her wife has left. Unfortunately, she doesn’t notice for hours. When she asks and he says she went home a while ago, she seems to only think about it for a minute before returning to her conversation with Rosita. What the hell?

 

Across the bar, he can see Wynonna and Doc glaring at the brunette pair at the counter.

 


 

When Waverly makes it home that night, Nicole is asleep in their bed and doesn’t stir when Waverly climbs in. Nicole normally pulls Waverly into her, but instead lays like a statue. Waverly tries to cuddle into her but gets no response. She just turns around and sighs, thinking about all the interesting things Rosita and she discussed that night.

 

For this first time since meeting Chrissy as preschoolers, Waverly has a new friend. And not only that, but one that is so different from what she is used to. Rosita has traveled to places Waverly has only been able to read about and done things Waverly dreams of someday doing herself. It’s exhilarating, being able to talk to someone so different that those she is used to being around.

 

Chapter Text

“Waverly! Seriously!” Nicole growls agitatedly as she stumbles over the brunette’s purse that is haphazardly laying on the floor.

 

It has been a long day and Nicole knows she is in a bad mood but she can’t help it. First, they had been chasing down a suspect and he ended up escaping when the team stopped working together. Dolls and Doc had been bickering all morning and didn’t stop, even as they chased this scumbag four blocks through town. They just wouldn’t stop sniping at one another and their distraction had led to them forgetting to keep in radio contact. Thus, no one told Nicole and Wynonna that the suspect was heading straight for them. This ended with the guy sucker punching Wynonna in the gut and tossing Nicole into a parked car. Luckily, both had walked away only bruised but the guy had gotten away and they had no leads as to where he would go.

 

Then, Jeremy had been late and, in his haste to get into the office faster, he had accidently ran into the sheriff as he was leaving the breakroom. Unfortunately, Nedley had just filled his cup with hot coffee and preceded to have the entirety of the hot liquid dumped on him. He had yelled at the smaller man and then dragged him into his office to reprimand him further. She was also summoned in there and took an earful from the sheriff as well for her team member’s carelessness. “How can someone so clumsy be trusted to handle evidence analysis?!” He had shouted. She had reassured Jeremy after that the sheriff didn’t mean it, that he was probably just having a bad day too.

 

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Nicole was sent out on a call ten minutes before her shift ended. The worst part was that the call was to Shorty’s to deal with a drunk and disorderly. The drunk really was just an older resident who had too much to drink. He didn’t seem violent or dangerous, but Rosita had insisted that the guy needed to be escorted out. As Nicole and Dolls helped him up from his seat, she saw Champ Hardy sitting at the bar and talking to Rosita. They both glanced at her and their looks weren't friendly. She had had to come back in after putting him in the car to take a statement for the report. Champ had glared at her the entire time as she took a short statement from Rosita. After writing everything down, Nicole sighed. “I gotta be honest Rosita, I don’t think we will be able to charge him with anything. From your testimony, he didn’t assault anyone and we have no evidence of him harassing anyone.”

 

“I thought you cops were supposed to do your jobs and arrest people.” Rosita says annoyed, a clear edge to her voice.

 

“Ha, yeah right.” Champ scoffs from down the bar. Nicole swears she hears a “dyke” coughed into his beer, but she ignores it.

 

Clearing her throat, Nicole keeps her focus Rosita and her professional face on. “I will file a report Ms. Bustillos. I will do my job, but I cannot and will not charge a man without cause.” She places her hat on her head and tips it respectfully to the bartender. “You have my card if you think of anything else.” As she leaves, she sees Champ slide back over to Rosita and start up a conversation with the bartender once again.

 

“Yeah.” She hears him say. “She stole my girl with her money and brainwashed Waverly into believing…” She doesn’t hear the rest as she lets the doors to the bar close behind her.

 

Shaking her head back to the present, Nicole nudges the purse to the side and looks around the homestead living room. It is a mess and it is clear hurricane Waverly has gone through here. There are articles of clothing spread out, books and paperwork on many of the surfaces and several pairs of shoes laying haphazardly on the floor.

 

Grumbling to herself, Nicole closes the door a little louder than really necessary and walks further into the house. “Waves?! You here?”

 

“Upstairs!” Her wife calls back.

 

Walking upstairs, Nicole comes into Waverly’s room to find her and Rosita sitting around and reading while they munch on some weird health food they are trying. “Hey Nic.” Waverly says, kissing her wife on the cheek.

 

“Hey.” Nicole says back, trying to not sound as annoyed as she feels. She looks around, but doesn’t see what she is looking for. “Have you packed up some stuff to take over?”

 

She and Waverly had been doing this every week since their big fight. Nicole and Waverly would eat dinner at the homestead, pack up a box or a bag of Waverly’s, and take it over to her house. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Waverly has packed anything up. If possible, quite the opposite.

 

“Oh, shit. Sorry Nicole. We got to reading this article about Hispanic heritage in modern society and we completely forgot to do that.” Rosita says, her voice sounds apologetic but her eyes tell Nicole she is not.

 

Waverly does genuinely look apologetic, nodding along with Rosita’s words. “Sorry. Next week though.”

 

Nicole sighs and moves to leave.

 

“Wait, you’re leaving? You just got here?” Waverly asks.

 

“Waves, I have had a long day. I’m hungry, I need a shower and I need to go to sleep. If we aren’t going to move some of your stuff over, then I think it is just best if I go home and get some much needed rest and recovery.”

 

Nicole leaves the room hearing Waverly follow her down the stairs and out the front door. “Nicole, hey wait.”

 

Nicole turns to her, looking more exhausted than before.

 

Waverly feels a little awkward, not having thought this through. “I uh… I’m sure we can make you something here… if you want to stay.”

 

Nicole shakes her head. “Waves, you dad’s fridge is empty and we both know you and Rosita got that food for yourselves. Enjoy your night. I am just gonna go.”

 

“Alright…” Waverly says, wondering why this feels so strange. “I guess see you at home?”

 

“Yeah, just don’t drive too late. Nothing good happens on the roads here after midnight.” Nicole says, smiling a little before getting into her cruiser and driving away.

 


 

“Hey Rosie!” Waverly greets the Latina after a long day at work.

 

“Hey Wavy! Want a drink?”  Rosita asks.  “Whiskey, on the rocks and a water?”

 

“Please.” Waverly says with a smile. “You know my order?”

 

“I know you. Plus, whiskey seems to be the Earp family drink of choice. Wynonna, Doc and your dad all seem to favor it.” Rosita says, filling a glass. She reaches down to the cabinet below the bar and pours a clear liquid into the drink she has already poured while Waverly waves to someone who called her name. She looks up just in time to see Waverly refocusing on her. She smiles and places the drink on the bar.

 

Waverly quirks an eyebrow, noticing Nicole was excluded from the family list. “Uh, yeah. Actually, Nic is the real whiskey drinker in the family. Woman knows her whiskeys. The rest of us will drink whatever cheap crap we can get our hands on.” She jokes.

 

“Well, I am sure the money has helped her get well educated in the practice. Drink your drink. Anyways, what’s up with you? How was work?” Rosita says, trying to hide her judgment towards the redhead.

 

“Well, Jeremy spilled coffee all over my laptop this morning and had to spend the whole day fixing the hard drive, replacing the screen, etc. so I was a little behind today. But I have some good research coming in.” Waverly says, sipping her drink casually.

 

“You know, that boy seems sweet. But I imagine his clumsiness gets annoying. Especially if it causes you to have to wait around and fall behind on your work.”

 

“It was an accident and he did fix it. It really wasn’t such a big deal.” Waverly says genuinely.

 

“Sure. Sure. So, what are your plans tonight? I see the rest of your gang are not here.” Rosita asks.

 

“They all will be here in a few minutes. They were just finishing up some paperwork.” Waverly answers.

 

“And you and the officer are still going strong? Or is she still pestering you about moving in?” Rosita asks, leaning on the bar.

 

“I told you Rosie, we settled that over a few weeks ago. I am going slow and Nicole seems to be okay with it, or at least she is acting like she is.” Waverly says. “Her and I are good.”

 

Turning towards the doors at the sound of them opening, both women watch as the BBD team comes and commandeers a booth in the corner of the bar. More officers, including her father and Nedley, come in after them and pull tables over to connect to the booth.

 

Nicole leaves them all and walks over to the women at the bar. “Hey.” Nicole greets, ghosting a kiss to Waverly’s cheek before looking towards Rosita. “Evening Rosita.”

 

“Officer.” Rosita greets, not unfriendly but also not friendly either. “Can I help you with something?”

 

“The boys and Wynonna would like some pitchers of whatever import you got on tap and a few baskets of fries and onion rings. Myself and the chief each would like a beer and a bunch of waters for the others.” Nicole responds politely. “You can just charge it to my tab. The guys will just buy lunch tomorrow.”

 

“Sure.” Rosita responds slowly before moving away a little to fill the pitchers.

 

“Oh, I gotta go tell Nonna something. Be right back.” Waverly says cheerily, pecking Nicole on the lips before hopping of her stool and walking towards her sister.

 

Nicole watches her go with a soft smile but is pulled away from her gazing by Rosita clearing her throat behind her. Nicole turns around and raises a questioning eyebrow at the other woman.

 

“Stop pressuring Waverly to move in with you.” Rosita says bluntly.

 

Nicole gives her a confused look, but only for a second before she schools her features. “I’m not.”

 

“I beg to differ.”

 

“Has Waverly told you I have been pressuring her?” Nicole asks pointedly.

 

“She doesn’t have to.” Rosita fires back. “I know enough.”

 

“Rosita, don’t pretend you know anything about me or my relationship with my wife.” Nicole says in warning, her voice low.

 

“She talks to me. Her and I are close. She talks to me about the things she isn’t comfortable talking to you about. Waverly is just too nice to talk about things that might hurt your feelings.” Rosita says, just as low. “I know enough.”

 

Nicole scoffs and shakes her head. “You are really arrogant, aren’t you?” Nicole shakes her head again and picks up the beer off the counter. “Word of advice. Butt out of my relationship Rosita. Mind your own business. You don’t know what the hell you are talking about.” And with that, Nicole returns to the table just as Waverly is leaving to go back to Rosita. She quickly places the beer down and softly snags Waverly’s wrist before she can go.

 

“Hey baby.” Nicole says softly, pulling Waverly back to her and smiling when the brunette rests her hands on the taller woman’s shoulders.

 

“Hi.” Waverly responds. “What’s up?”

 

“Are we okay?” Nicole asks softly, clasping her hands together behind Waverly’s waist.

 

“Of course.” Waverly says, leaning up on her toes to kiss Nicole on the jaw. “Is something wrong?”

 

“No, no. Just wanted to check in, that’s all.” Nicole says, smiling a little.

 

“Good.” Waverly says, squeezing Nicole’s shoulders before moving to leave.

 

“Wait, you aren’t going to sit with us?” Nicole asks, trying to hide the hurt.

 

“Later. I actually want to talk with Rosita for a bit about the museum exhibit in the city I want to eventually go see. I will come over later. It is really nice to actually have a friend who isn’t from Purgatory, you know?”

 

Nicole swallows her pride, nods and plasters on a fake smile. “I am glad you have a friend Waves”

 

“See you later.” Waverly says before moving back to the bar.

 

Nicole sighs a little dejectedly but shakes it off so she can enjoy her night. She and Wynonna leave a few hours later to go home, both feeling a similar feeling of rejection.

 

Waverly never came back to the table.

 


 

“My patience is running thin Waverly!” Nicole says as Waverly explains why, for the third week in a row, she is unable to pack up things to move over to Nicole’s.

 

“I don’t know what you want me to do Nicole! I have research to do and I promised Wynonna and Doc that I would help them with wedding planning. Rosita is even offering to help too. They need me! My dad is gone on his trip to visit Willa so they need my help with things!” Waverly shouts back.

 

Nicole looks to the ceiling frustrated, as if the wood above would tell her the answer to a question she didn’t even ask. “Waverly, seriously?!”

 

“Nicole!”

 

“You know what?! Forget it!” Nicole says, cutting Waverly off before the fight can get any more out of hand. She lowers her voice. “I don’t want to fight about this anymore. Just… forget it.” And then she leaves for work without another word. She is tired of fighting. She is just tired.

 

Chapter Text

Spending her evenings talking with Rosita becomes a thing for Waverly and she can’t say she isn’t happy about it. Rosita is smart and educated and so worldly. She challenges Waverly intellectually and it excites Waverly. She really feels like she can confide in Rosita. She can talk about her marriage issues, or her family issues or her work issues and not hurt anyone’s feelings. It is nice. It is nice to talk with someone who is outside her family.

 

Unfortunately, Waverly is so engrossed in Rosita that she doesn’t notice her wife and how she is becoming less and less present. Her friends definitely notice and even her father notes it. But Waverly doesn’t. The only time she seems to notice Nicole at all is when the fight happens.

 

Waverly comes home from the bar and finds Nicole and Dolls drinking in the living room. Nicole hadn’t felt up to watching Rosita and Waverly ignore everyone for yet another night, so she had asked Dolls to just come with her to the house.

 

As she enters, Dolls stands up and walks over to her. “I need a moment of your time… outside.”

 

Waverly looks at him questioningly, but follows, noticing that Nicole seems completely in her own head.

 

As soon as the front door closes and they are out in the driveway, Dolls speaks. “What is your game Earp?”

 

“What?” Waverly asks, confused by his harsh tone.

 

“What is going on here? Am I missing something? Because you haven’t spent any of your free time with your wife in over a week. You know how I know that for certain? Because your sister and I have been here every night with her while you go have fun with your new friend. And that is all fine and dandy for you, but it’s not enough for her. I don’t know if you are just here, playing house and trying to act like you care for her or if you are just too blind to see what is actually happening. Either way, it is not enough. She deserves better than that.” Dolls says, his voice surprisingly angry. “I have kept quiet out of respect for Cole’s wishes, but I am done being quiet about this. That is my best friend, my sister in there and she is upset. And I will not just stay silent and allow you to trample all over her heart. Nicole is a good person Waverly, many would be lucky to have her in their lives. And I see the way you look at her, the love you have for her when you actually pay attention to her. Problem is, you haven’t even been paying attention to her since Rosita entered the picture.” He takes a deep breath and his voice softens. “I know what real love looks like, what it feels like. I have experienced it myself so I recognize it when I see it. You two have it. But you are throwing it away.” He takes a step closer to her but doesn’t hug her like he once would have. “Fix it.”

 

After Dolls leaves, Waverly just stands there for a moment. She isn’t sure where that came from but decided she will sleep on it and figure things out in the morning. As she reenters the house, Waverly notices Nicole hasn’t gotten up from the couch. “Nic? You coming to bed?”

 

“Later.” Nicole says simply, voice void of emotion.

 

“You okay?” Waverly asks.

 

“Fine. Goodnight Waverly.”

 

“What the hell is your problem.” Waverly asks, tossing her purse on the chair. I guess this isn’t going to wait until morning.

 

“Nothing Waverly.” Nicole stay, voice stoic.

 

“Clearly it is something because you are being a grump. What? Are you pissed at me over something? It this about the whole moving in together thing? Look Nicole, if it’s a problem then we really need to rethink things. I thought we talked about this.” Waverly says, her voice agitated.

 

“Waverly, just don’t. Not tonight. We can talk in the morning if you want. But I am not doing this now.” Nicole says, standing up and walking into the kitchen.

 

“Doing what? You aren’t doing anything. You aren’t saying anything. You are just being a jerk.” Waverly growls, following Nicole into the kitchen. She is careful not to start yelling, but she feels the frustration building.

 

“I’m the jerk?” Nicole feels her control slip. “Really? Are you that blind Waverly? I haven’t said anything, because you are an adult. But that is bullshit.”

 

A little startled by Nicole’s response, Waverly recovers and feels a new surge of fire run through her. “No. You know what is bullshit? This. This is bullshit. How can you be angry at me for something that you have no right to be angry about? Where I want to live is my decision and I told you I needed to take this slow.”

 

Nicole just stares at her. “This isn’t about moving in together or anything that has to do with that. This is about the fact that you are basically ignoring everyone else because you spend all your free time elsewhere. I feel like I have a right to be upset about that. If you want to get angry with me, fine. But I don’t have to do this. I am going to bed. Do what you want. I know you will do that anyways.”

 

Nicole leaves the kitchen and slams the door to their bedroom. Waverly stomps out the house and drives to Shorty’s, hoping her friend is still there.

 


 

It’s two in the morning and Waverly realizes her, Rosita and Shorty are the only ones left in the bar. “Damn. I completely lost track of time.” Waverly says, giggling.

 

“Me too. I guess that is what happens with good company. We got quite the connection.” Rosita responds, sipping her drink.

 

“Ladies, I am heading home for the night. Waves, you need a lift home?” Shorty asks.

 

“No, I am okay. Thanks Shorty.” Waverly responds.

 

“I will lock up Shorty.” Rosita says, waving goodbye to her boss. He is acting a little weird tonight, but she isn’t sure why.

 

He walks out and leaves the girls alone in the bar. “If you’re tired, I can go. My jeep is in the parking lot and I am okay to drive.” Waverly offers.

 

“No, no. Please stay. I like having you here. It is nice talking with someone like you. So, tell me, what is up with you and Officer Pleat in her Pants?”

 

“What do you mean?” Waverly asks with a giggle. She takes another shot, losing count as to what number she is on.

 

“Well, you told me about the fight. But I mean beyond that. She just isn’t really what I envisioned your type being. I mean, she is just so… cop.” Rosita jokes.

 

Waverly laughs. Okay maybe I am a little more intoxicated than I thought. She says to herself. “Well, yeah. I mean, we were put together by our parents. There wasn’t really a lot of choice beforehand. And I am still not ready for a lot of stuff she is ready for. I guess I am just angry with her and overwhelmed by her. Things just seem to be a little harder between us recently. It is like she just… I don’t even know. She doesn’t even look at me anymore. I worried about a loveless marriage before but now… it feels like a reality. I know part of it is my fault, I just am so afraid to do something wrong with her that I don’t do anything at all.”

 

“I am sorry Wavy. Maybe you two just aren’t, you know, right. It wouldn’t be the first time. Happy marriages need that connection. That love and bonding. Some couples just don’t have it. You deserve that. You deserve to have everything and someone willing to give it to you.” Rosita says, looking deep into Waverly’s eyes. Waverly looks at her, starring at the Latina’s eyes. Rosita scoots closer and shifts her hand from Waverly’s knee to her thigh.

 

“Rosie, what are you doing?” Waverly asks, sobering a bit at Rosita’s brazen move. Waverly doesn’t lean in, but she also doesn’t pull away when Rosita kisses her. A little in shock. After a second, Rosita deepens the kiss and that is what pulls Waverly from her shocked state.

 

Waverly’s brain fails to catch up, her thoughts slow. There are lips on hers, but they feel wrong, not like it should. As if something snaps inside her, Waverly shoots up and gets off her stool and away from Rosita entirely.

 

“Wavy?” Rosita asks.

 

“I’m with Nicole.” Waverly says. “I’m… oh god I am married to Nicole. Oh my god Rosita, no. Oh no. Shit, Rosita. I love my wife. Why… what just happened?”

 

“Waverly. Relax.” Rosita says, sitting up. She moves over and kisses Waverly’s neck roughly as the brunette tries to scramble away. “You said it yourself. Things aren’t working between you two. There is nothing wrong with going after what you want.”

 

“This was a mistake.” Waverly says, grabbing her bag and putting over her shoulder. “Rosita, I’m sorry but I love my wife. Things might not be great but I love her and I am just a mess.”

 

“Waverly, wait. Let’s talk about this. C’mon. You and I have talked through stuff every day since the day we met. Our connection, we can get through this.” Rosita says, standing and trying to kiss the shorter brunette again.

 

“No, Rosie. I can’t.” Waverly says. “I can’t but I also don’t want to. I am drunk and sad and I really just need to make things right. I am sorry.” And then it hits her. Rosita’s words. Every day since the day they met.Oh shit.Waverly pulls herself away from Rosita further and texts her sister.

 

Wave (2:27am): Can you pick me up from Shorty’s? I am too drunk to drive. Please.

 

Nonna (2:28 am): I am on my way, I will be there in 10.

 

Waverly moves to go up the steps but Rosita grabs her. “Waverly. Wait. Why are you leaving? Why are you going to stay in a marriage you don’t want to be in?”

 

“Rosita, I love my wife. Things are hard and I am struggling with my own mind and heart, but I do love her. I love her and I have made a big mistake. I would never cheat on her. I vented to you because I thought you were my friend. I just needed to talk things out. I never wanted this. I am sorry if I led you on but I don’t have eyes for anyone but Nicole.” Waverly says in a rush, panicking.

 

“Waverly, you are making a mistake. Don’t leave. I can be what you want, what you need.” Rosita says, trying to connect with the shorter brunette again.

 

Waverly keeps their distance between them. “Rosita, Nicole is who I want.” And it is at her own words that everything clicks in Waverly’s head. She wants Nicole and the life they both want. She wants that. Both her head and heart want that. The only fear left is that she has done too much damage to repair her marriage. Waverly runs out the front doors and waits outside for her sister. She feels tears streaming down her face, but she holds the sobs back, knowing she just needs to focus on getting out of here.

 

Wynonna pulls up minutes later in her truck, stopping just long enough for Waverly to get in before driving off.

 

“You want to talk about it?” Wynonna asks, not taking her eyes off the road. 

 

Waverly just sobs, shaking her head and curling into a ball on the seat.

 

They arrive at the homestead and Wynonna just shuts the engine off but doesn’t move to get out of the car. Neither knows how much time passes before Waverly’s sobs quiet. She sniffles and finally looks at her sister, who has an unreadable expression on her face. 

 

“Do you want to talk about it?” Wynonna repeats.

 

Waverly nods, but gets out of the car and leads Wynonna inside. They sit on the couch and Waverly curls back up in a ball, leaning slightly into her sister. 

 

“I cheated on her. Fuck, I cheated on my wife. What the hell is wrong with me?” Waverly says, looking at her hands as if they will tell her the answer.

 

“So, you must really love Rosita then...” Wynonna ventures, popping the cap off her whiskey bottle. 

 

“I liked Rosita as a friend but... wait, hey, how did you know it was Rosita?” Waverly asks in horrified shock.

 

“Babygirl, Rosita has been all over you since she and you met and you spend all your free time with her. A few guys in the bar were even placing bets on how long it would take for you to cheat on Haught or dump her for Rosita.” Wynonna says matter-of-factly. 

 

“Oh my god.” Waverly whines, rubbing her eyes with her hand. “I fucked up Nonna. I had a fight with Nicole and I was angry and Rosie was saying all the right things and she kissed me and I didn’t pull away quick enough. But then it just felt wrong, because it wasn’t with Nicole. It wasn’t Nicole touching me and it wasn’t Nicole kissing me. And I stopped it but I stopped it too late. Fuck! What have I done.” 

 

Wynonna doesn’t say anything. She just holds her sister and waits, knowing nothing she can say in this moment will change anything. And, in all honesty, she doesn’t have comforting words for Waverly. All her words are angry and will eventually come. But not now. Now, she will take her cues from her sister on this one.

 

“I can’t believe I did this. What is wrong with me? Oh my god, I have to tell Nic. She is going to hate me. This is going to break her heart. What if she divorces me because of this? Or because of how I have been treating her? What if she never speaks to me after this? Why aren’t you saying anything?!” Waverly begins to panic.

 

“Because I am almost one hundred percent sure you don’t want to hear what I have to say and I refuse to lie to you or give you anything but the truth.” Wynonna says softly.

 

“I don’t care. Speak. Give me the truth.” Waverly says.

 

“I think you already did break Nicole’s heart. I think it broke as she watched, every day, as you chose to spend time with Rosita and completely ignored her and the rest of us. That is why she stopped coming with us to Shorty’s after work. It was either go home or sit there and watch you and Rosita flirt. Outside of work, we never see you because you are always with Rosita. I am not trying to guilt you Babygirl, I am just stating the facts as I see them.”

 

“Why didn’t she say anything?” Waverly asks softly, tears once again streaming heavily down her face.

 

“For the same reason that she has never made you do anything you didn’t want to do. Because she doesn’t want to take your choices away. You were forced to marry her. She didn’t want to take anything else away from you. Even at her own personal pain. She just wants you to be happy Waverly. We all do. Even if that meant being with Rosita. And if she had told you not to hang out with Rosita. We both know you would have been angry and done it anyways.” Wynonna sighs and pulls her sister in tighter. “She told Dolls she thought you might be having second thoughts about… you and her. And that she wasn’t going to interfere. And um…”

 

“And?” Waverly asks.

 

“And she said if you wanted to go… she would let you as long as you were happy. She wouldn’t cause trouble or go after you with the courts or bad mouth you to the town. She would just sign the papers and be done with it. If that is what you wanted.” Wynonna say, sounding pained by the information.

 

“What do I do?” Waverly asks.

 

“Go home and tell your wife the truth. But maybe wait until morning. You’re still drunk and you should probably sleep it off.” Wynonna says.

 

Waverly nods and hugs her sister once more before going up to her room. She knows she won’t sleep much tonight, but at least some privacy will be granted to her.

 

Chapter Text

Waverly gets dropped off at Nicole’s house the next morning, entering the front door quietly.

 

She finds Nicole awake and in the garage. As she enters, the sound of the door alerts Nicole to her presence. Nicole looks at her from her stool, something in her eyes that Waverly can’t read, but says nothing.

 

Waverly just stands there for a second, wondering how to say this or even start this. Apparently, she voiced this thought aloud because Nicole puts the wrench in her hand down slowly and wipes her hands with a rag.

 

“Waverly. I already know.” Nicole says softly, looking at Waverly, but not at her eyes.

 

“What?” Waverly asks.

 

“I know. I know about you and Rosita. I knew it would happen eventually.” Nicole says again, still not looking at Waverly’s eyes.

 

“How?”

 

“Because I am not an idiot. Because I see the way you two look at each other, how you touch and neither reacts. You didn’t come home last night. I even went to the bar early this morning and your jeep was still there. That, and you have a hickey on your neck and we haven’t had sex in over a month. So, I can pretty much guarantee that it isn’t from me and is from Rosita.” Nicole says it in a way that Waverly can’t quite place.

 

But then she realizes. Nicole isn’t looking at her eyes because she is staring at her neck… at the hickey on her neck. She moves to cover it but Nicole puts a hand up.

 

“You don’t have to. The cat is out of the bag Waverly.” Nicole almost looks like she might laugh.

 

“Nicole, I am so sorry.” Waverly says, tears welling in her eyes.

 

“So am I.” Nicole says softly. “I am sorry you had to marry to me. I am sorry you are stuck in a situation you don’t want to be in. A life you don’t want to be in. I am sorry that I couldn’t be enough and I am sorry that I hate Rosita because she is. I am sorry for hating her for being everything you want. I am sorry that I hate her because I am jealous. And I am sorry for yelling at you last night because I hate the idea that you two are better together than we are. I am sorry that I am so damn jealous of her because I want that feeling back. I know that feeling. That feeling of love that you can give people. I am sorry I hate her because I feel like she took that from me.”

 

Waverly watches with every sentence as Nicole falls deeper and deeper into the hole. Waverly moves towards her but stops short.

 

Nicole stands and braces her hands up against the hood of her truck. She takes a few deep breaths, trying to compose herself. “I will do what you need Waverly. It you want a divorce, I will give it to you. If you want to be with Rosita…” Nicole swallows hard and Waverly sees Nicole crack. “If you want to be with Rosita, I will wish you the best. That is all I want for you. The best.” There are tears streaming down her face and Waverly watches in that moment as Nicole’s heart shatters. It hurts. It hurts to watch. But she feels her own heart do the same and the pain becomes even more unbearable. It is unbearable because she knows it is her fault.

 

“Nicole, will you sit with me?” Waverly asks after a long moment.

 

Nicole looks at her now, eyes red and cheeks wet. The redhead nods and follows Waverly into the house and into the living room. They sit on the couch and Waverly looks at Nicole, who is twisting and pulling on her wedding band.

 

“Nic, I don’t want a divorce.” She is looking at Nicole, but the redhead has no reaction. Waverly takes a deep breath and decides to just get it all out. “Rosie and I, it was a mistake. I knew it and I stopped it. But I did make a lot of mistakes last night and long before that. I don’t have an excuse for my actions. I could say we were fighting and Rosie was there for me. Or I could say that I just didn’t know what I was doing. But I know excuses are meaningless and not the real reason why. The real reason is because I was selfish and she was different and new. And then she kissed me and that made me snap back to reality. But it took me a while, too long, to realize how wrong life felt without you. Because I don’t feel anything when she touches me. She would touch my hand and I wouldn’t even notice it was there. Because when you touch me, I feel it and it makes me feel alive. I didn’t even notice Rosita in that way because… because it wasn’t you.” Still no reaction from Nicole, but she isn’t leaving so Waverly continues. “I love you Nicole. I do and that is the truth. And I want to be with you and no one else for the rest of my life. I want all the things we talked about and I want to grow as an individual and as a partner. I want a life with you Nicole Haught. But…” Waverly takes a deep breath. “I will understand if the damage I have done is too much. I will understand if you are done and don’t want this anymore. I will understand if you are done being patient.”

 

Nicole is silent for several minutes, still fiddling with her ring with her eyes glued on a point on the floor. Then, she is jumping up from the couch and running over to the kitchen trashcan. Bending over, Nicole pukes into it and Waverly immediately jumps up and dashes over to her side. Once Nicole is finished, she washes her mouth out at the kitchen sink and then slumps down to the ground. She finally looks at Waverly and motions for her to join her on the cold floor.

 

Nicole holds a hand out to Waverly and Waverly slowly takes it, intertwining their fingers together. “Nic?”

 

“I am not…” Nicole stops and lets her head thud back on the cabinet behind her. “I am not saying I am over it. I am not. But I am going to be, eventually. And if you are sure you want this, us… I am willing to try. But I am not going to pretend this didn’t affect me. Like I said many times, I can’t go back to friends after all we have done. You broke my heart Waverly. It is going to take time for that to be put back together. And… I think we need to talk to someone. Someone professional. Because, this…this isn’t working. And I want it so badly to work but it won’t if we don’t change something.”

 

Waverly nods and wipes tears from her face with her free hand.

 

Nicole lifts their joined hands. “And Waverly…” Nicole waits for Waverly to meet her eyes. “We won’t be doing anything more than this until that hickey and any other mark she left on you are long gone.”

 

Waverly breaths out a pained chuckle. Nicole never stops trying to ease her pain, even in moments when she deserves it. “Deal.” She says softly. “So, what now?”

 

“Now, I need to shower and get coffee into me because I have to go to work in a few hours. Do you want me to give you a ride into town on my way?” Nicole answers.

 

“Yes, please. I will uh, just… make coffee while you take a shower.” Waverly says awkwardly.

 

Nicole nods and squeezes Waverly’s hand once more before leaving her to go take a shower.

 


 

Walking into the station with Nicole, Waverly isn’t surprised to find her sister and her father in Nicole’s office, waiting for the redhead. They seem surprised to see her, but don’t really comment on it.

 

“Nicole.” Wards greets.

 

“Chief. What can I do for you this morning?” Nicole replies in her normal casual tone, sitting at her desk and starting up her computer.

 

“Just here to check in…” He looks at his youngest daughter. “Making sure I am in the loop if anything drastic is going to happen.”

 

Nicole looks at him but doesn’t say anything.

 

After a long moment, Nicole turns to Wynonna. “And why are you here Earp?”

 

“Kinda the same reason and uh… I care about what happens here so… yeah.” Wynonna says, acting almost pained by the words.

 

“They are trying to figure out if you are divorcing me because of what happened with Rosita and because of me just being a general shit ticket to you.” Waverly says bluntly.

 

Nicole leans back in her chair and peers at all three Earps for a moment. She looks down at her wedding ring and then up to Waverly. “We aren’t getting divorced. At least, not now anyways. That is not what I want. But we aren’t… I have to take this slow. I don’t want to rush and realize too late that I am not over it. I need to give myself time to decompress and put myself together. And, I think we both need to seek professional help. I already told Waverly that this morning. But um… I am taking some time. Dolls and I have an assignment that will take us out of town for a few days. I was debating taking it but I think now would be good timing. So, I think that will give everyone some time to decompress.”

 

“You’re leaving?” Waverly asks, panic settling deep in her chest.

 

Nicole motions for Waverly to come over to her and takes the brunette’s hand in hers. “Yeah. It has been on the schedule for almost a month. We even talked out it last week.” Nicole doesn’t say it with accusation, but Waverly feels in anyways. She has been so focused on Rosita and everything else… she doesn’t even remember having a single conversation with her wife in the past few weeks.

 

Waverly shakes her head and refocuses, pushing the guilt to the side for now. “A few days?”

 

“Dolls and I are tying up some lose ends in the city. Should only take a few days.” Nicole responds.

 

Waverly nods, but doesn’t seem thrilled. “When do you leave?”

 

“Tomorrow afternoon.” Nicole says.

 

Waverly nods once again. “Okay, well. I better get to work.”

 

Nicole squeezes her hand and then releases it. “Briefing will start in ten. I will be out in a minute.”

 

Waverly exits, leaving Ward and Wynonna seated in her office.

 

“So?” She asks, looking at the both of them.

 

“I think our conversation is best had over alcohol. It can wait.” Wynonna says, leaving out the door.

 

Nicole waits for Ward to start.

 

“Are you okay?” He asks genuinely.

 

“As okay as I can be in this situation.” Nicole responds.

 

“I didn’t raise her to be this way. When Nonna told me what happened, I didn’t believe her.” Ward says.

 

“It isn’t about how we were raised or morals and values. That stuff went out the window the moment Waverly and Rosita kissed. Now, it’s about trying to figure out if I can accept, forgive, and move on. And Waverly too for that matter.”

 

“So, you are not divorcing her, not yet at least?”

 

“Chief. If you are worried about the financial aspect of things, don’t be. I won’t go after you or Waverly for compensation. The funds your family received because of the wedding were a gift. It is yours to keep. And if divorce is the end game, then I will handle the fees and keep it as quiet as possible. If she prefers, I am willing to keep the marriage official but live our lives separately. In either case, you have nothing to worry about.” Nicole assures. “You and Waverly are both protected.”

 

“And who is protecting you?” He asks. “I don’t ask about the divorce because of the money. I ask because I love you both and care about what happens between you two.”

 

“I need time to figure out if I can deal with it and move on. I won’t lie and say I am not hurt. It would have been one thing if she had done it before we actually got together. Like I had said, if she wanted other people outside the marriage, I could deal with that as long as her and I were just friends. I said I couldn’t go back after being with her romantically. I meant it then and I mean it now. I really hope I can get past this, I really do. Because I can’t be just friends with your daughter Sir. I can’t go back. But I also don’t know if I can be with someone who cheats on me either. You don’t do that to someone you love. I understand that it was a mistake. I get it. But after the whole Champ thing and now Rosita thing… I see all these red flags telling me that Waverly wants someone else. Anyone else. I don’t want to hold her back if that is what she wants, but I also know myself well enough to know that I can’t be with someone who doesn’t love me enough to be faithful.” Nicole pauses and looks at her ring again. “But… just so you know, I am not quite ready to give up… Not quite yet.”

 

Ward looks at her and nods. “I am truly sorry Nicole.”

 

“Yeah, so am I.” She responds absently.

 

Chapter Text

Walking into Shorty’s, Nicole spots the woman she is looking for immediately and takes a seat at the stool behind her. When Rosita turns around, she startles at the redheads unexpected appearance. “Officer Haught! Damn, you scared me.”

 

Nicole nods in acknowledgement but doesn’t say anything, rather, she just studies the woman before her.

 

“Is there something I can do for you? Want a drink?” Rosita asks, looking cautious.

 

“No, I think you have done enough.” Nicole says, it is impassive and Rosita can’t tell what emotion Nicole is feeling. She is trying to figure out how much the officer knows and whether she should be getting ready for a beat down. “Actually, there is one thing you can do for me.”

 

“Stay away from your wife?” Rosita supplies.

 

Nicole chuckles humorlessly and shakes her head. “No. Although I would love to come in here and threaten you and tell you just that, I won’t. Waverly is an adult and you both made adult decisions that night. I am not my wife’s keeper. No, what I need from you is for you to tell me why.”

 

“Why what?” Rosita asks.

 

“Why you did it. Why you did something that is essentially destroying my marriage.” Nicole elaborates.

 

“I didn’t destroy your marriage Nicole. You did that all on your own.” Rosita accuses. “And what do you expect? She was forced to marry you. Hell, you and your father paid for her. How could you ever think she would actually love you? Maybe she said she did, maybe she even tried to show you that she did, but that is just what ‘good wives’ do. That is what you paid for. I didn’t destroy anything except the lie your money created.”

 

Nicole takes a deep breath and looks at the other woman. “Rosita, let’s be honest. You have been pining for my wife the moment you laid eyes on her. The fact the she was married didn’t turn you off like it normally would others. You just kept pushing. Now, one could make the argument that Waverly and I were not right, but you didn’t know that in the beginning and you stillwent after her. I am not trying to place blame solely on you Rosita. If I am being honest, I feel that I hold some blame as well as you and Waverly. But don’t pretend what you did wasn’t wrong. You set out to take Waverly. And if she wanted to go with you, be with you, I would have let her go. But she doesn’t. So, please just respect her and leave her be. If she wants to talk or see you, she will come to you and I have no problem with that.”

 

“Doesn’t want to be with me?” Rosita scoffs and looks at Nicole. “It didn’t sound like she wanted anyone else but me when she was moaning my name and ripping my clothes off.” Rosita sneers and actually chuckles. “Or when her hands touched my bare skin and I made her feel so good just with my mouth on her…”

 

Nicole grips the counter tightly, really holding back the urge to slap and punch the lies out of the woman in front of her.

 

“Rosita!” Shorty shouts, looking at her with angry eyes. “Get back to work while you still have a job! Now!”

 

Rosita gives Nicole a predatory smile. “Waverly only went back to you because you own her. She wants your money. Don’t be surprised if someday that isn’t enough for her.” Rosita grabs a rag. “Have a nice day Officer.” She says before walking away.

 

Shorty walks over and stands there. “You okay?”

 

“I need to get out of here.” Nicole says, standing from the bar stool. She looks at Shorty and tips her Stetson. “Have a good day Shorty.”

 

He doesn’t get a chance to respond before she is out the door.

 


 

Nicole leaves with Dolls that afternoon without saying goodbye to anyone. She doesn’t tell Waverly of her earlier encounter with Rosita and doesn’t plan on it anytime soon. Rosita said a lot of hurtful things, many of them lies, but that doesn’t mean Nicole doesn’t feel affected by them regardless. Nicole has to really think about things and she can’t do that with Waverly trying to reassure her that she wants this. So, she leaves with Dolls and decides it is what she needs right now.

 

As they drive towards the city, Nicole pulls out her phone and dials a number.

 

“Hi, Dr. Shults. My name is Nicole Haught and I am one of your former patients. You treated me about ten years ago while I was still going to school in the states.”

 

“Nicole, yes. I remember you. How are you doing?” The doctor asks on the other end of the call.

 

“Ha, well. Depends on the day. Thank you. But, I am actually calling to see if you could refer me to a therapist in the vicinity of my home town of Purgatory. I am actually going to be spending some time in the Calgary for a while if there is someone you can refer me to there.”

 

“Of course, dear. What kind of help are you looking for?”

 

“Marriage counseling.”

 

There is a pause and Nicole can hear the doctor flipping through pages or something. “Okay Nicole. There is an old friend of mine that specializes in marriage counseling. He is a good man and an even better therapist and councilor. Her is located in the city so it might be a bit of a drive from Purgatory, but he really is great. His practice is new to the city but I think you might like it there. Shall I give him a call and set things up?”

 

“Please. I would like to see him as soon as possible.” Nicole says, looking out the window. “Thank you, Dr. Shults.

 


 

Ward comes home and finds his two youngest daughters sitting in the living room together, eating take out from in town. He takes a seat and grabs his own food before looking between the girls. “What’s up?”

 

“Did Nic say goodbye to you this afternoon before she and Dolls left?” Waverly asks.

 

“No. She only stopped by the station to grab her stuff and check in with Nedley. She seemed to be in a mood. Shorty called me this afternoon and said Rosita and Nicole had a… disagreement.” Wards says carefully.

 

“A disagreement?” Waverly asks.

 

“You will have to ask Shorty for details, but it is my understanding that Rosita basically claimed you are only with Nicole out of obligation and for her money. Shorty says it was pretty ugly but Nicole kept her cool. He said he was surprised Nicole didn’t hit Rosita after all she said. But you really should talk to Shorty or Rosita or preferably Nicole.” Ward explains.

 

Waverly pulls out her phone, opens her messages with Nicole as she mutters threats of bodily harm towards Rosita and begins typing.

 

Waves (9:18pm): Hey, are you busy?

 

Nic (9:19pm): Just got settled into my hotel.

 

Waves (9:19pm): I know I probably shouldn’t say this, and I don’t deserve to say this but… I miss you.

 

Nic (9:22pm): I miss you too.

 

Nic (9:22pm): But I think maybe this time apart might be good for both of us. Time to heal and figure out what we really want.

 

Waves (9:23pm): I know what I want. I told you what I want. I don’t care what anyone else says. I can speak for myself.

 

Nic (9:25pm): I know you can. But I fear you are putting other people’s emotions and happiness in front of your own. I don’t want that. You deserve to be loved and to love. I deserve that too. Neither of us deserve a loveless or one-sided marriage.

 

Waves (9:29pm): I heard you talked to Rosita. Why didn’t you tell me? From what I heard, it was ugly.

 

Nic (9:29pm): Honestly… Because I was really pissed off and hurt and insecure and I didn’t want you to see me like that. I didn’t want to risk taking it out on you.

 

Waves (9:30pm): We are married Nicole. I know I am not in the best place to point that out right now but… you can come to me. Especially about this. I can’t imagine how hard this is for you. But let me help if I can. I want to be there for you. In the good times and in the bad. Even if it isn’t pretty. Please.

 

Nic (9:32pm): Okay. From now on, I will try to come to you more with… feelings.

 

Waves (9:34pm): Wow, you make it sound like torture ;)

 

Nic (9:34pm): Lol.

 

Waves (9:35pm): Is it wrong and selfish to tell you that I love you?

 

Nic (9:35pm): No.

 

Waves (9:36pm): I love you Nicole and I miss you already. Get some sleep. Talk tomorrow?

 

Nic (9:38pm): I love you too Waves, more than anything. Goodnight. I will text you when I can.

 

Waverly sits back and smiles, although a little sadly. She puts her phone down but quickly picks it back up and composes another text.

 

Little Earp (9:45pm): Watch out for her for me? Please make sure she is okay and stays safe.

 

Dolls (9:46pm): 10-4. I got her back. Always.

Chapter Text

Waverly walks into Shorty’s and immediately scans the almost empty bar. Finding who she is looking for, Waverly walks over to him and hugs him quickly before following him back to his office. Shorty closes the door behind him and sits down next to Waverly.

 

“Tell me everything, please Shorty.” Waverly asks, needing to know all the details.

 

Shorty tells her about the encounter and even shows her the security camera footage from that morning. It gets the whole conversation on film, with audio. Waverly’s heart cracks a little more watching and listening as Rosita basically tells Nicole that Waverly not only doesn’t love her but doesn’t even like or care about her. First Champ, then Shae and now Rosita. Waverly wouldn’t be surprised if Nicole actually started to believe the party line.

 

After thanking Shorty, Waverly stomps upstairs to the apartments above the bar and pounds her closed fist against a door Waverly knows is Rosita’s. After some grumbling and shuffling from the other side of the door, Rosita opens it up and smiles at Waverly. “Hey, come on in Hun. Guess I was right. Officer Hard-ass left town and here you are.”

 

“Rosita, don’t. I am not here for that. I am here to tell you that what you said to Nicole was mean, a lie and out of line.” Waverly says coldly.

 

“Of course, that little brown-noser told you.” Rosita jabs.

 

“No actually, she didn’t. I watched the security tapes from that morning.” Waverly defends, hating the way Rosita talks about Nicole. “You had no right Rosita. That was so selfish and rude of you. Why did you have to take it that far? She never did anything to you!”

 

“You’re right, she never did anything to me. But she trapped you! She is ruining your life and your future!”

 

“She saved me!” Waverly yells. “If Nicole hadn’t come along when she did, my family would have gone bankrupt! We would have lost our home, I would have had to marry Champ or any other asshole in this town just so I had somewhere to live and food to eat! Because that is the law here! She saved me and my family!”

 

“So now you owe her?! Because she paid your father so she could marry you?! Now you are going to stay with her because she is rich and you will never be poor again if you stay with her. Because you are payment in return for hers?!” Rosita shouts.

 

“No! Because I never asked her to help my family! I never asked her to do any of it! She just did it! She did it because she is a good person! There was no deal for Nicole to ‘pay for me’! All she did was give my dad funds so he could save my childhood home! And that was before her and I even met! She didn’t have to do that but she did it anyways! And I knew nothing about it until after we got married! And you know what Rosita, I know I don’t owe her anything! She tells me that all the time! But you are right, the money and the time and the thoughtfulness she puts towards me and my family keeps me with her! But it is because all those things are the reasons I love her! I love her Rosita. I am happy with her! We are not perfect and we have our ups and downs. But I love her and I want a future with her! She is a good person and she didn’t deserve what you and I did to her! What I did to her! Or what you said to her the other day! She didn’t deserve any of it!”

 

“If you really loved her, you wouldn’t have let me kiss you! You wouldn’t have spent time with me! You wouldn’t have complained about her to me! You wouldn’t have done that if you really loved her!” Rosita fires back.

 

“I made a mistake! And I didn’t kiss you back! I thought you were my friend and I was so desperate to have one that I didn’t realize what was happening! I made a mistake! A mistake that I will never forgive myself for! But I do love her Rosita! I am sorry! I am sorry you got tangled up in this! But don’t be angry with Nicole! She doesn’t deserve it! If you want to be angry with someone, be angry with me! But not her!”

 

“You are delusional and naïve.” Rosita says, anger at a low growl.

 

“And you are an ass who can’t see what is right in front of her. I can’t live without her. I need her Rosita and I love her.” Waverly fires bask, voice only slightly raised.

 

“Because of her money.” Rosita says.

 

“No.” Waverly says, letting out a shaky breath. “Because she is my everything. And unfortunately, it has taken the threat of me losing her to make me realize it. It isn’t about the money. It really isn’t. It is her. I need her. I love her. Please, just… accept the truth and let it go.”

 

“You are lying to yourself. But don’t worry, I will be gone by the end of the day. I quit the bar.” Rosita announces.

 

“What? Because of what happened?” Waverly asks.

 

“No. Because I am too good to be a barmaid in Purgatory. I am moving back to the city. My old boss is giving me a job managing a club there.” Rosita says.

 

Waverly stares at her. A week ago, this woman made her feel appreciated and normal. They were friends. But all she can see now is the cold and calculated jerk beneath. “Safe travels.” Is all Waverly says before leaving, having nothing else to say to the other woman.

 


 

It is only a few minutes after Waverly left when Rosita hears another knock on her door. She smirks, walking over to open the door. “I knew you couldn’t stay away-” She is cut off as the door opens and someone punches her square in the face. “What the fuck?!”

 

Someone knees her in the stomach and punches her in the throat, causing her to fall to the ground. As she gasps for air, Rosita looks up to see who her attacker is.

 

“Wynonna. What the fuck?!” Rosita rasps, looking right into the angry eyes of Waverly’s sister.

 

Wynonna pulls Rosita to her feet and shoves her up into the wall, hard. “You bitch.” She growls with deadly intent. “You took advantage of both of them. You got my sister drunk and forced yourself on her. You took advantage of Nicole’s patience. You took advantage of everyone.” Wynonna punches her in the gut and Rosita tries to double over but Wynonna shoves her back up. “Things might have been screwed up before, but you went out of your way to make it worse. You tried to destroy their marriage. You tried to destroy two members of my family. You tried to destroy my family. And you might have actually succeeded.”

 

Rosita smirks ever so slightly and Wynonna hits her hard in the face in response. “You are lucky bitch. If Doc wasn’t standing outside, I would do so much worse to you.” Wynonna throws her to the ground. “Get the fuck out of my town. If I see you here ever again, I won’t hesitate to make you disappear. And that time, it would be permanent.”

 

Rosita just groans and stays on the floor, wincing as the door to her apartment slams shut and splinters in the frame with the force.

 


 

Waves (7:57pm): Do you still love me?

 

Nic (8:13pm): You know I do. What’s wrong Waves?

 

Waves (8:15pm): Long day, emotional day… I miss you.

 

Nic (8:15pm): I miss you too and I am sorry about your day. Want to talk about it?

 

Waves (8:16pm): Nothing worth repeating. Just a lot. I wish you were here. I feel like you would know just the right thing to say.

 

Nic (8:19pm): I’m right here Waves.

 

Waves (8:20pm): It’s not the same over text. Hearing your voice. It makes me feel better.

 

Waverly’s phone begins to vibrate and she sees Nicole is calling. She smiles wide, wiping soft tears from her eyes and answers.

 

“Hey. Better?” Nicole asks once Waverly picks up.

 

Waverly gives a watery chuckle and sniffles. “Yeah, so much better.” As they talk, Waverly can’t seem to wipe the smile off her face.

 


 

Waverly is on her way to the homestead for dinner with her dad when her phone rings. It has been a long week at work and she is just looking forward to eating a quiet meal with her father. Checking the caller ID, she sees it’s Nicole and makes sure the car’s Bluetooth is connected before answering. “Hey.” She says happily.

 

“Hey.” Nicole responds, the background of her call sounding like she is walking on the busy city streets. “Just calling to check in. I saw that I missed your call last night, sorry, I was out late with my dad.”

 

“Oh, it’s okay. Your dad is in the city? I thought he was in Turkey this week?” Waverly asks.

 

“He got back a few days early to get some work done at Haught Enterprises. Actually… that is kinda the other reason I am calling.” Nicole says, sounding a mixture of nervous and something Waverly can’t decipher.

 

“Yeah?” She asks hesitantly.

 

“Dolls and I are almost done with our work here and he should be heading back to Purgatory sometime in the next few days.”

 

“He?” Waverly asks, her heart sinking into her stomach.

 

Waverly can hear Nicole move to a quieter place and the redhead sighs into the phone. “Yeah… I’m… I’m not ready to come back yet. I-” Nicole pauses and takes a deep breath. “I have some things to do here. I started therapy here with a good doctor and there is plenty of work for me to do at Haught Enterprises. I may not participate in much of the day-to-day running of the company like my father, but I am still one of the co-majority shareholders. There is stuff for me to do here while I spend some time away from Purgatory.”

 

“Oh.” Waverly says softly, pulling into her spot at the homestead and shutting the jeep’s engine off. There is stuff for her to do there while she spends some time away from Purgatory. From me.Swallowing hard, Waverly shakes her head and tries to keep her voice steady. “Okay, well… I am glad you seem to be keeping yourself busy.”

 

Nicole doesn’t say anything right away, still contemplating her next words. “Waves, I just… I need to find my equilibrium again. Everything just feels so out of control right now and I am not good with feeling helpless. And right now, that’s how I feel about the course of my own life. And… I can’t do that in Purgatory. I mean, it helps. It helps to be away and be here. I am one in a large sea of thousands here in the city. Not one in a few hundred like at home.”

 

Waverly has silent tears in her eyes, but she refuses to alert Nicole to her sadness. She won’t make Nicole feel guilty about prioritizing herself. “I’m happy if you are Nic. Do what is best for you.”

 

“Waves, this isn’t just about me. My therapist is a very smart man and he has made me realize that I need to work on myself before I can expect to be able to work on my marriage. Because, without two mentally healthy people, there is no healthy marriage possible.” She pauses, seeming to debate something. “And, I am not in a good place. I haven’t been for a while. But I feel better, here, working on myself. And maybe when we are both ready, we can start working on us again.”

 

Waverly wipes at her face and takes a deep breath. “Yeah, Nic. I would really like that.” And she would. She would like to work on their marriage. She would like them to be in a healthy place. But, more than anything, she wishes she had never caused Nicole so much pain in the first place.

 

“Uh Waves, I got to go. I am going into a meeting, but… I…” Nicole hesitates.

 

“It’s… it’s okay Nicole. You don’t have to say it.” Waverly says, tears streaming heavily down her face.

 

“It’s not that I don’t mean it Waverly. I think that is the hardest part. I do love you Waverly. That’s why everything hurt so much. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t care or have been hurt by any of this.” Nicole says, voice emotional and honest.

 

Waverly nods her head to the empty car, trying to stop the tears. “I love you too.”

 

“I love you, Waverly. I will talk to you later. Bye.” Nicole says, hanging up as Waverly hears voices addressing Nicole in the background.

 

“Bye.” She whispers to the empty space.

 


 

“So, your sister seems like she is actually excited for the wedding.” Ward says as he and Waverly sit down to eat. “Or, at least, as excited as Wynonna can be about anything other than whiskey and donuts.”

 

Waverly chuckles and shakes her head affectionately. “Yeah, I think so. Doc is good for her and I think she has accepted that now. They have their issues, but he grounds her without smothering out her fire. They really are great together.” There is a wisp of sadness in her tone, even though she is genuinely happy for her sister and Doc.

 

“And you and Nicole?” He asks, watching his daughter carefully.

 

“She’s… she is doing better, as far as I can tell. She seems to be keeping busy.”

 

Ward sighs, putting his fork down and halting his eating. “Look, Babygirl, I know I have tried to stay out of this because Nicole asked me to and you are both adults but… I think it is time you and I have a talk.”

 

Waverly nods, waiting for him to start.

 

“Did I ever tell you the story about the night your mom and I took a trip to the city?” Ward asks.

 

Shaking her head no, Waverly gives him a puzzled look.

 

“Well, about a year before Willa was born, I decided to take your momma out for a night on the town. We drove up that morning and spent the day walking and eating around the city. We went to the museum and saw a show… that was one of the best days of our relationship.” He sighs a little sadly. “Your momma was sick, had been since she was young. Her daddy wasn’t a good man and he took it out on your momma. She could be fine one minute and the next, she is angry and frustrated. The doctors diagnosed her as bipolar, but the meds really didn’t help and I still believe that they misdiagnosed her. But that day in the city… she was truly happy. I could see it in her eyes. She was free. She was her usual, witty, fun self and I remembered once again why I loved her. Seeing her in the museum, her fascination and thirst for knowledge. And then at the restaurants, how she just loved hearing the history of the dishes we were being served. It was… beautiful.”

 

“You don’t talk about her much.” Waverly says softly, seeing the happiness and the sadness in her father’s eyes.

 

“It hurts to.” Ward admits, sitting up a little straighter. “It hurts to think about your mamma. Because she is one of the best damn things that ever happened to me. Because she gave me you girls and at one time, she made me very happy. But she was also one of the worst things to ever happen to me. Because when she left… Waverly, I can’t tell you how much that hurt me. You saw what it did to me and to you girls. That is something I can’t ever forgive her for. I will never be able to forget. But that doesn’t mean, even after all these years and all that she did, that I don’t still love her.”

 

Why are you telling me this story?” Waverly asks, unsure of where this is going.

 

Ward wipes at his right eye and sighs. “Because I want you to understand something. You are not your momma, Waverly Earp. And unfortunately, your actions as of late feel all too familiar. Your mamma left us, abandoned us in pursuit of her own goals and wants. And although you may not have physically left Nicole, you did emotionally. You neglected your marriage and hurt the woman you love. I love you and I will always support you. But I also won’t sugarcoat this. You hurt your wife in the very same way Champ Hardy used to hurt you. Except, this is worse because unlike your relationship with the boy-man, you and Nicole really do care about each other.”

 

“I know I messed up with the whole Rosita thing Daddy…”

 

Ward cuts her off. “Waverly this really isn’t about Rosita. It is about you and Nicole. It is about you pulling away from her and using her as your emotional punching bag. Rosita kissed you and you pulled away. That isn’t your fault. What is your fault was that you were even in that situation in the first place. Nicole wasn’t even that upset about the kiss. She was upset about how you and her were unable to communicate. You could barely be in the same room together unless you were completely ignoring each other. Waverly, Nicole was planning on leaving you. The situation with Rosita actually changed her mind.”

 

“What?! How do you know?” Waverly asks, shocked and horrified.

 

“Because a few days before the Rosita incident, I went to go talk to her and we had a long discussion about it. I was concerned but she asked me and everyone else to stay out of it during prior conversations but I was tired of staying silent. So I went to see her and we talked. She told me she was thinking about divorce, or at the very least, legal separation.”

 

“She was going to leave me?” Waverly asks in disbelief.

 

“She was in tears Waverly. It was not an easy decision for her but it was easier than watching you pull away. And at that point, she felt like you already left her. She just wants you to be happy and she wants to be happy to. She felt like she was no longer the person that made you happy.” Ward says, knowing Nicole will probably not be happy with him for telling Waverly all of this but knowing Waverly needs to understand the seriousness.

 

Waverly isn’t crying, she can’t anymore. But the devastation is clear on her face. “So why didn’t she? Why didn’t she leave me? After the Rosita thing? Wouldn’t that solidify everything? Wouldn’t that make it easier for her to just… pull the plug on this marriage and be done with me?”

 

Ward takes a deep breath and sighs at his daughter’s question. “Because she loves you. And because you came clean to her about Rosita.”

 

“I don’t understand.”

 

“Babygirl, if you no longer cared for Nicole, would you have been honest with her about that night? Would you have gone to see her and apologize and ask for another chance?”

 

“I guess not. No.”

 

“Well, Nicole found some hope in that. She has hope that things will work out and get better. More importantly, she has faith in you. She has faith in you and in herself. The connection you two have… it is rare. And when you two are connected, it is so strong. Unfortunately, at some point you started to disconnect and it showed.” Ward gives her a small grin, but there is a seriousness to it. “Don’t throw that away because you are scared. She is special and so are you. People wait their whole lives to find what you two have and most never do.”

 

Waverly nods, looking down at her left hand and the two rings on her finger. “I- I don’t want to be like Momma. I don’t want to abandon the love of my life. I don’t… I don’t want a life without Nicole in it.”

 

“Then, for god’s sakes Waverly, show her!”

 


 

 

When Dolls arrives back in Purgatory a few days later, he is alone. Waverly isn’t all that surprised, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less. She continues to text with Nicole daily and even gets a phone call every so often, but that is no substitute for having the redhead in person. After another week, Waverly is starting to get nervous. She messed up really bad and she knows it. And she couldn’t blame Nicole for needing the time away. But as Nicole stays away longer and their communications get shorter and less frequent, Waverly really starts to worry.

 

On the day that marks Nicole being gone for three weeks, Waverly finally loses it. She hasn’t heard from her wife in four days and she can’t bring herself to even eat at this point. She had been sleeping at Nicole’s their house for the last two weeks, trying to keep busy and distracted. Unfortunately, BBD doesn’t have many cases at the moment and Shorty’s is closed for some renovations. She tried reading, watching tv, etc. but none of it worked. That was when she decided to sleep at their house instead of the homestead. It was a double-edged sword. On one hand, she liked being there because it was hers and Nicole’s. The sheets smelled of the redhead, the pictures on the wall of both of them, even the house itself made her feel close to the redhead. But it also made her miss her wife even more. After traditional methods of relaxing failed, Waverly tried cleaning. She did all the laundry, cleaned every room in the house and even reorganized the junk drawer in the kitchen.

 

But once the cleaning is done and she has possibly worn grooves into the floors with all her pacing, Waverly caves to her true desires and runs upstairs. She grabs a bag she packed days ago and runs out the door to the jeep.

 


 

The drive to the city was long and Waverly drove in a tense silence. As she pulled into the hotel parking lot, she double checks the address and room number she convinced Dolls to give her. Once she is parked and has her bag in hand, Waverly walks into the very nice hotel and takes the elevator up to the tenth floor. She double checks the room number again before knocking on her wife’s hotel room door.

 

There is no answer at first, but then Waverly hears someone call out and a few moments later a man Waverly doesn’t recognize is opening the door. “Oh, hello? Can I help you?” He asks politely.

 

Chapter Text

“Oh, I’m sorry. I must have got the wrong room. I am looking for my wife. My apologies Sir.” Waverly says, cheeks reddening in embarrassment. She moves to walk away but his voice stops her.

 

“You wouldn’t happen to be Waverly, would you?” He asks.

 

She turns to him with wide, questioning eyes.

 

“Waverly Haught? You are married to Nicole Haught.” He asks, looking at her questioningly.

 

“I uh… yes, I am.” Waverly says a little stunned.

 

The man seems to grin ever so slightly and shake his head. “You have the right room Mrs. Haught. My name is Dr. Yates. I am an associate of Nicole’s.” He says, holding out a hand to hers. She shakes it slowly, looking very confused. “Please, come in.”

 

Waverly does and sets her bag near the door but is still very confused by this all. She is so focused on him that she doesn’t even take in the extremely luxurious room.

 

“Please, have a seat. Nicole will be out in just a minute.” Dr. Yates requests kindly. “Would you like a drink Mrs. Haught?”

 

“No, thank you. So… how do you know Nicole?” She asks trying to break the uneasiness she is feeling.

 

“Well, I can’t say much without violating doctor patient confidentiality. Many of your questions will have to wait until Nicole returns in a moment. She was just taking a quick shower.”

 

“So, Nicole is your patient?” Waverly asks.

 

The doctor smiles at her perceptiveness. “I can’t answer that due to confidentiality. I am sorry.”

 

“Okay, so you can’t answer questions regarding Nicole. Can you, or rather will you, answer questions about yourself?” Waverly asks, studying the man before her. She can hear someone moving around in the bedroom, but the door is closed so she cannot see anything.

 

“I suppose.” He responds.

 

“What kind of doctor are you, Dr. Yates?”

 

“I am a psychologist. But my area of expertise is with marriage and family counseling. Although, I do do individual counseling in special, referral based, cases.” He responds evenly.

 

Waverly nods and sits back on the couch. “And you have a practice here in the city?”

 

“Yes, for about four years now. I am a part of a team with my wife of forty years.” He says proudly. “It is more of a family practice now though. My eldest three children work in our office as well.”

 

“Eldest three?” Waverly asks, surprised. “You have more than three children?”

 

“Eight.” He says with a smile, chuckling lightly at her wide eyes. “We are Mormon, if that helps.”

 

“I am sorry, I don’t mean to be rude. I just… wow, eight.” Waverly says, still in shock.

 

He laughs genuinely. “It is quite alright.”

 

It is at that moment that Nicole walks out of the bedroom, hair damp and dressed in comfortable clothes. “Waves?”

 

“Uh, hi.” Waverly says with an awkward little wave.

 

Nicole seems to not be breathing, just staring at Waverly. Waverly, doing the same, doesn’t even notice the doctor stand up from his seat. “Nicole, I will see you again tomorrow. Maybe the both of you. It was nice meeting you Mrs. Haught.”

 

Waverly turns to him and nods with a small smile before turning her focus back to Nicole.

 

Nicole does the same to him and he sees himself out.

 

Once he is out of the room and they hear the door click shut, the room is completely silent.

 

Then, Nicole speaks. “Waves. What are you doing here?”

 

Waverly stays in her seat, afraid to move. “I um… I needed to see you. I mean, I just, I wanted to see you and make sure you are okay. I hadn’t heard from you in a while and I was worried and this just sounds stupid. I am sorry, I will go.” Waverly moves to leave but a soft grip clasping around her wrist stops her. She looks up into Nicole’s eyes and sighs, letting her head drop and rest on Nicole’s chest. “Sorry.”

 

“For driving over two hundred miles to see me? Why would you have to apologize for that?” Nicole asks softly, her hand still grasping Waverly’s wrist.

 

“Because you are here to get away from me and Purgatory. I shouldn’t have come and invaded…”

 

“Waverly.” Nicole interrupts, her voice still soft.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“I am happy you are here. Surprised and a little shocked, but happy too.” Nicole replies honestly.

 

“You are?” Waverly asks, raising her head.

 

“Yes.” Nicole replies, smiling a little at her wife. Her hands slide down until Nicole is holding Waverly’s hand by her fingers and pulls her back over to the couch. Pulling them down to sit, Nicole is surprised when Waverly holds herself back a bit and gives Nicole a few inches of a gap between them.

 

“Are… are you okay?” Waverly asks after a moment, looking Nicole over with concern filled eyes.

 

Nicole looks at her head on, trying to hold firm. “No, not really. But… I am working on it.” She answers honestly.

 

Waverly sags, but not towards Nicole. Instead, she leans away even more and back into the side of the couch. “Okay. Is there anything I can do? I mean, anything Nicole. Even if that means me leaving. Whatever you need. I just wanted to make sure you were… alive… I guess. Damn, it sounds stupid out loud now that I say it but…”

 

“Thank you.” Nicole interrupts, smiling ever so slightly. “For your concern and for coming. I didn’t mean to worry you. I have really just been busy. I uh… I have been working with Dr. Yates, who you just met. And I have also been working at Haught Enterprises. It… helps. I don’t feel like people are whispering about me behind my back here like I did in Purgatory. There are too many people here in the city to gossip about just one person.”

 

Waverly nods her head, but stays silent, just wanting to listen.

 

Nicole rubs the back of her neck, looking at Waverly’s face a moment more before her eyes drift down to the rings on her left hand. Reaching out and tracing her fingers over each, Nicole sighs. “I am not ready to go back. Not yet.”

 

“I won’t ask you too. Going back to Purgatory is your choice and on your timeline.” Waverly says softly.

 

Nicole takes a deep breath and stares at the rings. “It’s-it’s not just Purgatory. I am… I am not ready to go back to the life we lived in Purgatory. You and me.” Nicole swallows hard and looks up to meet Waverly’s eyes. “I can’t live like that anymore. Marriage has challenges and battles, but the last few months… that was just too much. And unfortunately, because I know we are capable of being better, I can’t accept anything less.”

 

Waverly holds her gaze, determined to try. “Tell me what you need Nicole. Tell me and I will do it. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how this works or where to go from here. All I know is that I will do whatever it takes.”

 

“I am all or nothing Waverly.” Nicole says, taking Waverly’s hand. “No more half way. I can’t. So that is what I need from you first. Honestly. Are you all in or not? If yes, then we may have a chance. If not, then we will start divorce proceedings and be done with it.”

 

“Nicole, I know my actions of late haven’t been great and I have a lot of work ahead of me. But please believe me when I tell you that I am all in. Now and forever. I will do whatever it takes. I will do whatever you need. I am here for you, like I should have been since the beginning.” She squeezes Nicole’s hand, holding back the tears that want to fall. “Just tell me what you need.”

 

The room is silent for a long moment before Nicole speaks. “Patience.” She whispers. “Patience and commitment.”

 

Taking a deep breath, Waverly raises hers and Nicole’s hand to her lips. “You have both. I am all in… for as long as you will have me.”

 


 

Sitting in the small waiting room of Dr. Yates’ practice is a little nerve wracking for Waverly. Although someone clearly made an effort to make the room less clinical and intimidating, there is only so much that can be done. As she sits in one of the seats, her knee nervously jittering up and down, Waverly cant help but fear what lays behind the door to her left.

 

Seeing the stress her wife is failing to hide, Nicole squeezes her hand from the seat beside her in silent reassurance.

 

Waverly looks over to her with a weak smile, but she is sweating and looks a little pale.

 

“You okay there, Waves? You look like you might be sick or pass out right here.”

 

“Sorry, just nervous.” Waverly says, trying to stop her knee from moving.

 

“You do realize therapy is noninvasive, right? There are no shots in this practice of medicine.” Nicole jokes, smiling a little wider in victory when Waverly lets out a deep breath and even smiles a bit herself.

 

“Sorry, you shouldn’t have to be reassuring me.”

 

“I would rather you be honest with me about your fears and need reassurance than bottle things up inside. It doesn’t lead to anything good when you do that.” Nicole states with a raised eyebrow, daring Waverly to challenge her.

 

Letting out another deep breath, Waverly nods and squeezes Nicole’s hand once more. “Okay. But, this is about you, not me. I am the one who fucked up. This should be about reassuring you. This should be about taking care of you.”

 

“This is about taking care of us. Not just me and not just you. Us.” Nicole says firmly. “We are a team. This needs to be just as much about me as it is about you. This is about us. This is so we can be a healthly version of us.”

 

Nodding again, Waverly smiles a little at goes back to stressing and staring at the sterile white walls.

 

A few minutes later, the door opens and Dr. Yates and a woman Waverly doesn’t recognize walk out to greet them.

 

“Nicole, Waverly. Great to see you both again. Waverly, this is my wife Sandra.” Dr. Yates greets kindly.

 

“Dr. Sandra Yates-Myers. It is a pleasure to meet you Waverly.” The woman says, shaking Waverly’s hand. “Nicole, it is nice to see you again. Are you both ready to get started?”

 

They both look at each other and then turn to the two doctors. “Yes.”

Chapter Text

“Dr. Myers, forgive me, but I thought couples counseling was done together?” Waverly asks as she enters a cozy office that belongs to Dr. Yates-Myers.

 

“Yes, in some cases. But the treatment plan we have for you and Nicole will actually have two different components. Individual therapy for you each and then a session together.” She responds, shutting the door behind them. “And please, Waverly, call me Sandra. I am a doctor but therapy should be comfortable and casual.”

 

Waverly nods and takes a seat on the couch across from the seat Sandra sits in.

 

“So, Waverly, is there a certain place you would like to start?”

 

“I don’t really know where to start. I haven’t done this before. Not like this.” Waverly answers honestly, wiping her sweaty palms off on her jeans.

 

Sandra smiles. “Why don’t you tell me your story. The story of your life. From the beginning. Who is Waverly Earp?”

 

Waverly laughs a little humorlessly, shaking her head and looking out the office window that shows the city. “I guess that depends on who you ask. The patrons at Shorty’s would tell you I am the town sweetheart with the famous smile and wave. My sisters and my father would tell you that I am the baby of the family and always in need of their protection. James Haught would tell you I am simply the girl married to his daughter. If you asked my ex, he would claim me to just be an object, a possession. Dolls would say I am the woman who broke his best friend’s heart.”

 

“And, what would Nicole tell me if I asked?”

 

“I am sure you already have, so why don’t you tell me.” Waverly replies. “Because I have no idea what she would say about me at this point. I don’t deserve her or her kindness… her love. But knowing her, she wouldn’t bad mouth me to anyone. It just isn’t who she is.”

 

Taking a moment to write something down on her pad of paper, Sandra looks back up at Waverly. “Okay, well, the most important answer to the question is what you think of yourself. Who is Waverly Earp in your own words?”

 

Waverly is silent for a while, really thinking about it. “Someone who doesn’t know who she is anymore. Someone who continues to hurt people that care for her because she doesn’t know how to care for them. How to connect in a healthy way, I guess.”

 

“Hm.” The older woman continues to write but also speaks. “Why don’t we start from the beginning. Where does the story begin for you? This is your story Waverly. It is yours and only yours to tell.”

 

“Well, I guess it begins with a teenage Ward Earp meeting a troubled teenager named Michelle.”

 


 

Nicole sits on the window sill, looking out at the city from the view of Dr. Yates’ office.

 

“Nicole?” He asks.

 

“Do you think she is okay?” Nicole asks, looking out the window.

 

“Waverly?”  Dr. Yates asks, chuckling softly at the woman. “Sandra won’t bite Nicole. Waverly is fine.”

 

Nicole finally looks at him, confusion in her eyes. “Yeah?”

 

“Waverly is fine. You will be reunited soon enough. But this time is about you. So, let’s try and focus on you.” He says kindly. “Yesterday, we spoke about how you are struggling with your feelings towards Waverly.”

 

“Well, it can be confusing when you simultaneously love and hate the person you vowed to spend the rest of your life with.” Nicole grouses sarcastically.

 

“I know for a fact that it is. Marriage can be frustrating, especially when in a situation like yours.” Dr. Yates states calmly.

 

Nicole looks at him. “I don’t know what to do about that.”

 

“Nicole can I ask you a question?” She nods. “What made you fall in love with Waverly? When did the arranged marriage become more than that for you? When did you start to develop real feelings for her?”

 

Nicole sighs, chuckling softly to herself. “Well, I first met her while she was in a beer soaked shirt. I don’t really know. I guess I just started to get to know her and, in the beginning, it was so one sided… and then she started trying to get to know me and.” Nicole stops and wipes at her eyes. “And I realized that even though I didn’t choose her, I was still getting to marry the love of my life. I can’t pinpoint just one thing or one moment. It was all of it. It was… is her.”

 

“And when do you believe she started to fall for you in return?” He asks.

 

“Things changed and I told you that story already. But everything really started after Shae showed up. That is when Waverly started to really be…mine.”

 

“And why do you think that was? What about that time changed Waverly? What solidified her feelings for you?”

 

Nicole is contemplative for a while before shaking her head. “I don’t know.”

 

“Could it be that, maybe, you were showing vulnerability? That the arrival of your ex made it so you did not hold back your emotions, and thus… Waverly responded to it? Is it possible that Waverly responded so strongly because you were really showing your true emotions and not just hiding them away like you tend to do?” He looks at her seriously. “From what I have heard from you, the stories you have told, she has always responded stronger to you when you show her that vulnerability. You told her about the story of your mom on a long drive and she told you about hers. She sought you out in your pool and quite literally clung to you tightly after you told her the importance of that place.”

 

“The mess we are in is not my fault. Waverly didn’t do all that she did because I don’t always show emotions the way I should.” Nicole says quickly in her own defense.

 

“Agreed, but these sessions between us are about bettering yourself. We are here to focus on you Nicole. We are here to make sure you are healthy yourself so you can start working to have a healthy marriage. You know this.” He says calmly. “We talked about this.”

 

“I know, I know. Sorry.” Nicole says, leaving the window to sit in a chair.

 

“No need to apologize. It is okay to show your frustration, especially here.”

 


 

As Waverly enters the office with Sandra, she immediately looks to Nicole with questioning eyes. They had been separated for one hour individual sessions before coming together and Waverly is relieved to see her wife. Nicole scoots over on the couch and only after that does Waverly move closer and sit at her side. They aren’t touching, except for the hand Nicole holds softly over one of Waverly’s.

 

“Alright, well, normally, we would spend the next half hour working together as a group but I think we all could use a shortened session today. Starting tomorrow, we will begin going at the normal time.” Sandra says, getting a nod from her husband. “Unless there is anything pressing that cannot wait until tomorrow?”

 

Both Waverly and Nicole nod and stand, still hand in hand. After some quick goodbyes, they are back out on the street. “Dinner?” Nicole asks, stopping and looking at Waverly.

 

“Yeah… I could eat.” Waverly says, a soft smile on her face.

 

“Okay, are you comfortable in what you are in or do we need to go back to the hotel?” Nicole asks, eyes raking up Waverly’s lithe frame.

 

“I am good.”

 

Nicole nods and leads Waverly down the street, neither letting go of the other’s hand.

 


 

As they sit in a downtown restaurant, eating dinner and people watching from the window they are sat at, both are deep in their thoughts. It is only when Waverly notices a couple sitting on a bench across the street that she breaks her stare. They look happy. They look in love. She has to look away. The jealousy stings and just makes her feel like a failure in her own relationship.

 

Nicole sees it, follows the direction of her wife’s gaze and sees what makes her turn away from the window. “You okay?”

 

“I just feel like it is all my fault that we aren’t happy like that.” Waverly admits honestly, chewing on her bottom lip.

 

Nicole doesn’t speak right away, really trying to be brave and speak her mind. “It isn’t all your fault. But yeah, you have fucked up pretty bad the last few months.”

 

Waverly laughs, genuinely laughs and nods her head with a smile. “Yeah, yeah I have.”

 

Nicole smiles, chuckling a little herself. “But it wasn’t just you. This is a team effort. We are a team. We just need to start acting like it.”

 

Waverly nods, smiling when Nicole lays her hand over hers.

 

The waiter comes with their food and they go about eating and catching up about what had been going on with them. By the time they are finished and walking out of the restaurant, both are relaxed and full of a bottle of wine that they shared.

 

As they walk back to the hotel, Nicole once again takes Waverly’s hand and interlaces her fingers with Waverly’s. “Wave?” She asks, pulling them to a stop under a tree.

 

“Hm?” Waverly asks.

 

“You… do you not want to touch me?” Nicole asks hesitantly, suddenly finding the tops of her shoes very interesting.

 

“What? Of-of course I do.” Waverly rambles in shock, squeezing Nicole’s hand.

 

“You haven’t, you haven’t tried to touch me since… the night you…”

 

“Yeah, I uh… I wanted any contact between us to be on your terms. I didn’t want you to be uncomfortable.” Waverly replies honestly. “I have crossed so many lines and made you feel so horrible recently… I just wanted to make sure you set the pace.”

 

“So, you still… want me? Even after… Rosita?” Nicole asks softly, scuffing her toe on the ground and looking very afraid to meet Waverly’s eyes.

 

“Nicole.” Waverly breathes out, reaching out to catch her wife’s chin and initiating contact for the first time since the night Rosita kissed her. Tilting her chin up so their eye meet, Waverly allows her hand to slide up to hold Nicole’s jaw. “I want you. Like, if I am being honest, I want you like all the time to the point it is frustrating. What happened with Rosita… all that did was make me realize, or rather solidified what I already knew. And that is that you are the only person I want Nicole Haught. Yours are the only lips I want on mine. Yours are the only hands I want touching me.” Waverly moves closer so her wife’s front is now pressing into hers. “It’s you Nicole. It’s always been you since the moment we met. And I am so sorry I lost sight of that but I can promise you that it will never happen again. I am all in Nicole. And… I want to be. This.” She squeezes Nicole in her arms. “This is my choice. I chose and will continue to choose you and me for as long as you will have me. I really buggered things up and it is going to take a lot of work on my part to fix things. But I am here and I am ready to speak with action and words. I love you Nicole.”

 

Nicole leans in and kisses Waverly for the first time in months. And oh, were those months long.

 

The kiss is slow, tentative at first. It almost felt like their first. Except this time, Nicole is the one who leans in and is the one smiling in relief when Waverly responds to the kiss in more than equal measure.

 

Then, Nicole is pulling Waverly in closer and the smaller brunette pulls her wife down so they are locked together. “Nicole.” Waverly gasps, pulling away reluctantly. She looks around the sidewalk, noting that the people walking past are paying them no mind. She keeps Nicole close, but starts to get them moving again.

 

Nicole follows her without comment, allowing Waverly to lead her by the hand through the city and back to the hotel. They have just made it into the elevator when Nicole speaks. “I missed you. Like, I am really mad at you, but I still missed you.” She says, kissing Waverly hard on the mouth as the elevator begins to lift them up to their floor.

 

It takes some fumbling, but Nicole does get the room door open and they tumble in together. They land in a tangled heap on the couch, Nicole’s head landing on the pillow and folded blankets Waverly had used the night before to sleep with. Something inside Nicole twists at the memory of her wife insisting she would sleep on the couch.

 

Feeling as if the bad feelings are because of the furniture piece itself, Nicole sits up with Waverly in her lap and stands so her wife is in her arms with her legs wrapped around Nicole’s waist. A few steps into the other room has them both tumbling again, but this time onto the bed.

 

Waverly ends up on the bottom, breaking their kiss and watching the redhead crawl up to reconnect their lips. Nicole does reconnect their lips, but it is slow and no longer feels frenzied. She is holding herself above Waverly, only lowering down so she can roll them so Waverly is now the one on top.

 

Waverly breaks the kiss, pulling away just enough so she can look down at Nicole’s face. “Nic? You okay?”

 

“I…” Nicole seems to try to look anywhere but at Waverly but the brunette moves to keep her eye.

 

“Hey.” Waverly says softly, her hand caressing her wife’s cheek. “Talk to me.”

 

“I… I want this. I want to…” Nicole swallows hard, trying to find the right words. “I want to make love to you and be with you and do the things that we should be doing. Bu-but, I am not… I’m not ready to…”

 

“Baby.” Waverly says, hating how insecure and scared her wife looks. “We don’t have to do anything you aren’t ready for. Consent is yours to give or to take away at any time. I mean it Nicole; we don’t have to do anything at all.” Waverly moves to get off of Nicole but the redhead tightens her grip on Waverly, holding her there.

 

“Wait! I mean, you don’t have to go. I mean… if you don’t want to? It’s just…” Nicole stops and takes a deep breath. “What I am trying to say is… You don’t have to sleep on the couch if you don’t want to. If you are okay with it, I would like you to sleep in here with me.”

 

Waverly looks down at her wife, wanting to make sure this is what Nicole really wants. Truth be told, sleeping on the couch last night knowing her wife was just a few feet away was horrible. And she would love nothing more than to spend the next week wrapped around her love in blissful ignorance of the outside world. But the most important thing to Waverly right now is making sure Nicole is setting the pace. For so long, she neglected her wife and her feelings. Never again. Especially now that they are just starting to reconnect.

 

“Are you sure?” She asks softly.

 

“I’m not ready to be intimate. Not yet. But… I want you here.” Nicole says, running her hand up Waverly’s back.

 

“Yeah Baby, whatever you need.” Waverly agrees easily, kissing Nicole softly before propping herself up on one elbow. “How about we get changed into comfy clothes and enjoy the rest of our night?”

 

“Yeah, let’s do that.”

 

And that is exactly what they did. They laid together in bed, cuddling, watching TV, talking and even kissing as their conversations warranted extra contact and reassurance. That night, they were just Waverly and Nicole and that was all that mattered.

Chapter Text

“Waverly, would you mind telling me about Rosita?” Sandra asks. She and Waverly are going on their fifth session together and although she is pleased with their progress, she is finding Waverly more complex and challenging than anticipated.

 

“I already told you what happened.” Waverly says, feeling raw and just the slightest bit agitated. These sessions normally end in her feeling this way. Sandra doesn’t pull punches and really pushes Waverly to evaluate herself. Unfortunately, this often ends with Waverly’s emotions being all out of whack. She was so raw and unsettled after there last session that Waverly had had to get her own room in the hotel for the night simply out of fear that she would explode all over an equally raw and emotional Nicole.

 

“You told me what happened, yes. But you never told me why?” Sandra says calmly, reading Waverly like a book.

 

“Why?” Waverly asks in confusion.

 

“Yes, Waverly. I want to know why the situation with Rosita even progressed as far as it did.” Sandra says, but not in a judgmental way.

 

Waverly sighs. “I don’t know. I guess I just was so desperate to have a friend that was… normal and from the outside world. I guess I just lost sight of everything else.”

 

Sandra drops her pen down on her notepad and looks at Waverly. “Pardon my language Waverly, but I am going to call bullshit on that. It isn’t that simple. If it was, we wouldn’t be sitting here today, would we?”

 

“I don’t understand.” Waverly says, looking genuinely confused.

 

“I spoke with a forensic analyst back in Purgatory over the phone yesterday. A… Jeremy Chetri, I believe. He informed me that you gave a sample for a toxscreen the day after the incident. Why did you do that?”

 

Looking away, she takes a moment to respond. “Because… I remember that night. I do. But… not all of it. There were snippets that were missing that I couldn’t explain. And, I am an Earp. I can hold my liquor. But that night I was drunk after two drinks. I told Wynonna that and she insisted I go give a sample so they could do a drug test. I had just thought I drank too much, but Wynonna insisted so I did it before I went to Nicole’s that morning. Wynonna insisted and I was in no position to argue.”

 

“And did you read the results of the toxicology report?” Sandra asks.

 

“No.” Waverly answers firmly. “Because no matter what it says, it doesn’t change what I did. Because even if something happened that night that caused a change in my behavior, this all started weeks before that. My mistreatment of my wife is not to be blamed on anything or anyone but myself. And I gotta live with that. Knowing the results of that report won’t change that.”

 

“Do you mind if I tell you the result?” Sandra asks.

 

“The result does matter Waverly. Or at least, it should.” Sandra says strongly. “You are right, it doesn’t excuse your behavior or your treatment of Nicole. But it does matter.”

 

Waverly just looks anywhere but at her and nods her head in agreement.

 

Sandra sighs. “The panel showed that you were drugged with some cross mixture between rohypnol and alprazolam. And… not just that night. The blood work showed signs that you had been ingesting low dosages of the drugs over a period of a least two weeks. But it is worth noting that that night was a fairly larger dose than what the toxscreen suggests you had ingested in the past.”

 

“It doesn’t change what I did.” Waverly says, tears in her eyes and her voice low. “It doesn’t change that I hurt my wife in a way that she may never forgive me for. It doesn’t change that I cheated on her emotionally and physically. It doesn’t change the fact that we had problems before Rosita showed up and that this is my fault.”

 

“Waverly, it does change things. You are right, you hurt Nicole and Rosita is not entirely to blame here. But neither are you. I won’t sugar coat it, you really hurt your wife and compromised your soul and morals. But there are circumstances that you have to acknowledge in order to move on. You can feel guilty, but that guilt you are feeling right now is too much. This isn’t all on you. A lot of it is, but not all of it.” Sandra says, wanting Waverly to really listen. “Because until you start to let some of that weight off your shoulders, you will get nowhere.”

 

Waverly just stares at her hands, not saying anything for the rest of their session. Instead she just stays silent and thinks.

 


 

Waverly finds Nicole in the hotel gym by herself at two in the morning and she is concerned. Not only is it too early to be up, but she knows for a fact that Nicole never came back to the room after going for a workout at nine.

 

Nicole is using the punching bag off to the side, but the weights and other equipment scattered around the room tells Waverly that she has been doing other exercise as well. As she nears her wife, she finally takes Nicole in with worried eyes. Her wife is drenched with sweat, body red and aflame as she pounds her fists into the bag. Her eyes travel to the redhead’s hands, which are bleeding because the taller woman had forgone the preparation of wrapping her hands. Then Waverly’s eyes travel up to look at Nicole’s face. It is bright red, sweating profusely and pulled together in what Waverly can only explain as pure rage. The worry grows, but Waverly makes herself approach slowly.

 

“Nic?”

 

No response and the only sound is flesh hitting canvas.

 

“Nicole.” Waverly says a little louder, but still gets no response.

 

“Nicole!” She yells, instinct driving her to duck under the fist that flies towards her head. She looks up in disbelief.

 

Nicole is looking at her, eyes wide with mortification. “Oh my god, I am so sorry. Did I hit you?” She had been so worked up and in her own head, she had just reacted.

 

Waverly stands back to her full height. “No, you didn’t. It’s okay. What… what are you doing down here? It’s two in the morning.”

 

“Working out some frustration. Go back to bed Waves. I will be up later.” Nicole says, going back to her workout.

 

“Nicole.”

 

“Hm.” Nicole mumbles, focus back on the bag she seems intent on pummeling.

 

“Nicole.” Waverly says more forcefully. She steps in between Nicole and the bag, sighing a little in relief when her wife’s fist freezes in the air before it can hit her.

 

“Waverly, move.” Nicole says, trying to gently move her to the side.

 

“No.” Waverly says, defiant. She places her hands on the top of Nicole’s chest, gently moving her back a few steps. Removing one hand to grab one of Nicole’s bloody ones, she silently asks the question as her eyes look at the angry splits in the skin.

 

“I’m fine.” Nicole says, unable to keep her body from relaxing at Waverly’s gentle touch.

 

“You’re not.” Waverly says softly, looking more concerned. Nicole turns her head away. Waverly uses her index finger to turn it back gently by Nicole’s chin, allowing her hand to stay there after forcing Nicole to face her. “Hey, what’s going on?”

 

“I said-”

 

“Bullshit.” Waverly interrupts, voice still concerned but also stern. “Nicole, talk to me. Please.”

 

Nicole pulls away, taking a few steps away from Waverly as anger surges hot through her veins. “I am angry! I am pissed! Rosita drugged you!”

 

Waverly swallows hard, taking a step towards an angrily pacing Nicole.

 

“She drugged you, roofied you… That’s fucked up and illegal! And all I feel is anger. All I feel is the rage and the desire to go beat the shit out of her for what she did!” Nicole says, voice slightly raised and her hands still balled into fists. “And I!” She stops talking, just staring down at her fists. “I didn’t even see it! I am a cop for fucks sake! I am a cop and I didn’t even notice a woman roofying my wife right in front of me!”

 

“Woah, woah.” Waverly says, shaking her head and trying to catch up. She knew Nicole hadn’t reacted well when Dr. Yates had told Nicole the news in their session the day prior. But she hadn’t been like this. She had been all comforting words and supportive. But that Nicole is a far cry from the person she is looking at right now. “Hey, come here.”

 

Pulling Nicole to her and pinning the redhead between her and the wall of the gym, Waverly braces her arms around Nicole so her palms lay flat on the wall. “Look at me.”

 

Nicole looks at her, but her eyes are distant and not focused on Waverly.

 

Waverly leans forward and kisses just the corner of Nicole’s mouth, bringing herself closer to her wife so little space is between them. “Nic. Please, take a deep breath and look at me.”

 

Nicole does after a moment and really sees Waverly, their eyes connected and open.

 

“Rosita doing what she did… it doesn’t change my actions. And, it was wrong and illegal, but it happened. There is nothing we can do about it now.” Waverly says, trying to use the right words. “And you didn’t see it for the same reason no one else saw it. You were focused on something else or… focused on not focusing on something else. Only Rosita is to blame for the drugs Nicole. Not you and not me. But my actions, even if aided by Rosita’s chemical cocktail, were my own. I wish I could blame her drugging me for all that I did but I can’t. What is important now is that we are together and working through things.”

 

“I want to shoot her.” Nicole grumbles, but she is breathing a little steadier now.

 

“No, baby.” Waverly says with the smallest smile. “No, you don’t. That isn’t who you are.”

 

Nicole’s legs slowly lower her down until she has slid down the wall all the way to the ground. Waverly follows, sitting cross legged in front of her wife. They are silent for several minutes, both just breathing and trying to calm down. “I’m sorry.” Nicole says. “You were the one drugged by a crazy bitch. Are you okay?”

 

Waverly sighs and turns so her back is against the wall and she and Nicole are side by side. “Don’t apologize. You are allowed to feel things and take some time to care for somebody other than me.  It’s healthy. But, to answer your question… I am. I mean, the results don’t really change much for me. It explains some things, but overall my goal is the same.”

 

“And that is?” Nicole asks leaning her head to the side so it rests on Waverly’s.

 

“A future with you. A healthy marriage with the love of my life. A healthy version of me that is secure enough to have a future that is my own. To have my life, the one I want and the one I choose. Not one chosen for me.” Waverly says as if stating a list of facts, and to her… they are facts. They are the truth.

 

Nicole closes her eyes, exhaustion finally hitting her and the pain in her hands starting to throb.

 

Waverly notices and carefully helps Nicole up off the ground and to their room. After running a hot bath and making sure Nicole is relaxing inside it, Waverly heads down to the lobby.

 

Walking up to the desk, she smiles at the tired looking attendant. “Hi, I am in room 1022. I was wondering if I could get a bottle of hydrogen peroxide? Our first aid kit in our room is running low.”

 

“Of course, Madam. Is everything alright?” The attendant asks.

 

“Yes, just a small accident and figured it needed restocking.” Waverly says with a smile as the young man hands her the new bottle. “Thank you.”

 


 

With Nicole half passed out in the tub, Waverly gently treats her cut hands and covers them before placing small icepacks on top of them. Nicole whines a little but doesn’t stir beyond that. After double checking her work and kissing Nicole lightly on the forehead, Waverly leaves the bathroom to change into a robe so she can shower. She gets through her shower and even gets dressed before Nicole begins to wake.

 

“Ouch.” Nicole whines, flexing her fingers as Waverly removes the icepacks.

 

“Nice move not wrapping your hands, dummy.” Waverly jokes, smiling when Nicole cracks a smile of her own. “Come on, let’s get you dried off and into bed.”

 

Nicole chuckles, mumbling a joke Waverly doesn’t catch and allows her wife to care for her in a way that she is unfamiliar with. In a way, it feels nice. It is foreign and a little frightening because of how vulnerable she feels. But Waverly’s care simply overshadows it with time and Nicole is able to relax and allow Waverly to be the caretaker.

 

After some grumbling and mumbled curses, Nicole is still naked, but now she is dry and asleep in their bed. Waverly had tried to get Nicole into PJs, but Nicole’s muscles just wouldn’t cooperate. They barely got her to the bed before the redhead had collapsed and started snoring softly.

 

Deciding she needs a few more minutes before going to bed, Waverly grabs her phone and walks out into the sitting area. Dialing a number she knows by heart, Waverly waits for it go to voicemail. It is almost five in the morning and she knows Wynonna is asleep and won’t answer. After the beep of the machine, Waverly takes a deep breath and speaks.

 

“Hey Nonna. It’s me. I know it is early but I just wanted to check in and let you know we are both alive. Um… I miss you and the boys. Not sure when we will be coming back but I will probably have to come home soon to attend to some work stuff. Nic and I are making progress, so that is something. It is slow but I am happy with the direction we are heading in. She’s angry. She tries to hide it from me but she is. First she was angry with Rosita, then at herself. Soon, and I think really soon, it will come full circle and she will realize who she is really mad at. Me. And she deserves to be.” Waverly pauses, looking into the other room where her wife lays. “I… I think we are going to be okay though. Not right away and probably not anytime soon, but… someday. I want that and I know she does too. Anyways, I love you. Call me later. Bye.”

 

Plugging her phone in and setting her alarm for later that day, Waverly slides into bed and does her best to ignore the fact that her wife is naked on the other side of the bed. She would be lying if she said she didn’t crave it. If she said she didn’t desire Nicole’s touch and the freedom to touch Nicole. But she knows that Nicole isn’t ready and until Nicole says otherwise, this is how things will remain. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a little pain in knowing that she hurt her wife so badly that the physical connection they share isn’t something Nicole is ready to resume. So Waverly just looks at Nicole, smiling at the light snoring and the drool coming from Nicole’s mouth. Because even with the pain in her heart, this moment… it’s priceless.

Chapter Text

“Waverly, no.”

 

“Waverly, yes.” Waverly says back to Nicole’s clear annoyance.

 

“Waverly, no. We are going to report this. What Rosita did was a crime. I will not drop this.” Nicole fires back, pacing their hotel room.

 

“Nicole, it isn’t worth it.” Waverly says, letting out a deep breath. “The test was done by Jeremy and was processed through our office. That is a clear conflict of interest. It would never hold up in court. I just want to move on and be done with it.”

 

You are worth it! Waverly, she drugged you and assaulted you. And even possessing those drugs is illegal. That is a misdemeanor at the very least!” Nicole replies, face red. “Shorty has the CCTV tapes. We could prove it! She is guilty!”

 

“And what would that change?” Waverly asks, rising from the couch. She moves over to Nicole and wraps her arms loosely around the redhead’s waist. “Rosita is gone and no one knows where she is. And honestly… I don’t want to go through it all over again during an investigation that will likely lead to a mistrial.” The brunette pauses, lowering her voice and leaning her face into Nicole’s chest. She can feel it’s rapid beat and the heavy breathing going along with it; displaying the level of Nicole’s stress. “Going after her won’t change what happened.”

 

Nicole tries to start pacing again, but Waverly holds her close.

 

“Waves, I am a cop. It’s my job to charge her and make her pay for what she did.” Nicole says.

 

“Nicole, I am not here talking with a Purgatory sheriff’s deputy. I am here talking to my wife. This is my decision baby and I have made it. I just want to move on from all of this. Getting Rosita won’t give me closure. The only thing giving me closure is working together on being a better couple. All I need it us.”

 

Nicole lets out a deep breath and then looks down at Waverly. Tilting her wife’s face so she can meet her eyes, Nicole searches their depths for any sign that Waverly is not as okay as she says she is. But all she gets is honesty and she sighs a little in defeat. “Okay Waves. Whatever you need.”

 

“Look, I just…” Waverly has to pause, trying to be brutally honest with the one person she needs to be honest with most. “I am at fault for all of this. So, as far as I am concerned, the drugs are irrelevant.”

 

Nicole shakes her head. “Waverly, no. That isn’t true. The drugs had an effect on you. And Rosita was administering it over time. Inhibitions… they weren’t completely in your control. You were a victim of a crime. Of an assault.” Nicole leans down and kisses Waverly’s cheek. “This isn’t all on you.”

 

“I’m not a victim.” Waverly says, eyes watering at Nicole’s soft tone and her words.

 

“You’re right.” Nicole says with a watery smile. “You’re a survivor. We both are.”

 


 

Nicole and Waverly are both sitting on the couch in Dr. Yates’ office, having yet another group session. The room is silent and Sandra looks to her husband in question. She and Waverly had just entered the office to find it in an almost painful silence.

 

He clears is throat and begins. “Before you two joined us, Nicole and I were discussing her recollection of the night Rosita kissed Waverly.” He sees Waverly flinch but sends her a calming smile and she relaxes a bit. But then Nicole offers her wife her hand and it is only then that Waverly really relaxes at all.

 

Sandra nods and looks at the couple. “Well, Nicole, would you mind telling me your version of the events leading up to that night?”

 

Nicole sighs and lightly squeezes Waverly’s hand. Her own hands are still sore and bruised, so she has to be careful. “Well, we fought about moving in together and even when we finally made up… I had hoped things were alright but if I am being honest, I knew they weren’t. We spent some time together and things were great, but everything kinda just went back to the way it was before once we went back to work. And then Rosita started showing up more often and I think I just… I gave up after a while.” Nicole looks at her hand in Waverly’s but refuses to look at her wife. “Waves clearly wanted to spend her time with Rosita and although it hurt, I felt it wasn’t my place to say she couldn’t have Rosita as a friend. I thought… I didn’t realize how far I let it go until it was too late. It feels like one night Waverly and Rosita are just talking and the next night I am fighting with Waverly and she is leaving to go back to Rosita. I know there were weeks in between and I remember them, but it just didn’t feel like it slowly progressed. It felt so sudden and fast and it threw me for a loop.”

 

Waverly’s hand is shaking in hers, but the brunette says nothing.

 

“Nicole. Waverly expressed that you seem uncomfortable talking about that night and the incidents that occurred. But, if it is okay with you, I would like to give her the floor to say exactly what happened between herself and Rosita. After conversing with Richard, I believe it would be beneficial.” Sandra says.

 

Dr. Yates nods his head in agreement. “Nicole, I agree that hearing what happened and allowing Waverly to tell you what happened in this setting may be beneficial.”

 

Nicole nods and meets Waverly’s eyes. “Sure.”

 

Waverly swallows. “I uh… we fought and I was so angry. At the time, I didn’t realize that my anger wasn’t completely directed at you. Partially, yes. But not completely. So, I went to see Rosita and I told her about the fight. I guess I just lost track of how many drinks I had, I honestly don’t remember drinking that many. So, the drugs kinda make sense now. And then Rosita started talking to me about how we weren’t right and my brain just was so fuzzy. Like, I felt giddy and happy on the outside but angry and sad on the inside. And then she got closer and I started realizing how uncomfortable I felt. And then she kissed me and I pulled away. She tried again and left a bruise on my neck. It wasn’t a hickey, per say. At least, not a voluntary one. I left and Wynonna picked me up and that was the end of the night for me.

 

Nicole has tears in her eyes, full of pain. But there is also something she didn’t expect to see there too. Relief. It is small but it is there. Something in what Waverly said caused Nicole to find some relief. And then Waverly remembers the CCTV video from Shorty’s. The conversation between Nicole and Rosita. They hadn’t talked about the details together since the morning after. So, in some way, Nicole doubted her. Or rather, Rosita’s lies put doubt into Nicole.

 

“I am so sorry Nicole. I would never cheat on you. I would never do that to you. I love you and I wasn’t thinking and Rosita took advantage of that. I thought I could trust her and let my guard down with her but I was wrong. I am so sorry Nic.” Waverly says, wiping away tears as they fall.

 

Nicole looks at her, as if looking for the truth she wants to find. And after a few long moments, she seems to find it and nods her head before letting it drop. Waverly immediately hugs Nicole, sniffling back tears as the redhead hugs her back.

 

The two doctors exchange a knowing look and then turn back to the couple.

 

Waverly and Nicole separate and look back to the doctors, waiting and trying to regain composure.

 

Sandra smiles a little and straightens up in her chair. “Alright. Let’s move on.”

 


 

“I am worried.” Waverly says, pacing Sandra’s office.

 

“About what?” Sandra asks from her seat.

 

“I am going back to Purgatory in two days. What if everything goes to shit all over again?”

 

“Do you believe that might happen because you are going home? Or because Nicole will not be joining you?” Sandra asks.

 

“No, I am not worried about that. I mean it when I say that I am totally committed to my marriage and to my wife. I just worry that going home will be too much for Nicole. And honestly… I made so many mistakes. Part of me is afraid to go back simply out of shame I guess.”

 

Sandra looks at her with an emotion Waverly can’t place. “Waverly. Do you feel like you are the same person you were four weeks ago when you came to the city to be with Nicole?”

 

“No, of course not. I mean, I know I still have a lot of work to do. But I am not the same person I was.” Waverly says confidently.

 

“Then, why are you worried?”

 

“What if I get home and mess up again?” Waverly asks softly.

 

“Waverly, we all mess up. That is part of life. The goal is to be able to communicate well enough to avoid messing up when possible. And when that doesn’t work and we do mess up, we need to deal with it in a healthy and fair way. That is what you and Nicole have been learning these past few weeks and what you will continue to practice and learn as you go on.”

 

“How do you do it? You and Richard seem so solid.” Waverly asks, shaking her head at herself in disbelief.

 

Sandra laughs. Honest to god laughs and smiles at Waverly. “Oh, honey. We are solid, but we do have our issues. Every married couple does. But we do our best to communicate and work through things together. Trust me Waverly. We barely survived raising our kids. But we did it and we did it together. That is what matters.”

 

Waverly nods, smiling a little and looking a bit relieved. She is quiet for a moment, contemplative. She looks at Sandra and then smirks a little. “I think… I think I am starting to understand this whole therapy thing.”

 

Sandra gives her a questioning look.

 

“You know I am stubborn and hate to be told what to do. So, you made me figure this out and work through my emotions on my own timeline. You guided me to the conclusions, but made sure I was the one to come to them.” Waverly says, smiling.

 

“When Nicole first proposed the idea of bringing you in, she told me three things about you that she thought I should know. One, you are incredibly intelligent and are the smartest person she knows. Two, you are almost as stubborn as you are smart. You can be guided, but not forced. And three, she is willing to do whatever it takes to make things work because she truly believes she can’t live without you.” Sandra says. “I always think about it this way. You and I are in a car, on a journey to a healthier version of you. You wouldn’t have responded to me driving the car. So, I let you drive the car. I just sat shotgun and made sure you had the right directions. I am the navigator for the journey Waverly. But you, you are the driver. It is your journey.”

 

Waverly nods, seeming satisfied with that response.

 

“So, because this is our last in person session before you leave, I think there is a question I have yet to ask you and I would like to ask it now.” Sandra says, putting her notepad to the side.

 

“Okay.”

 

“Where do you see yourself a year from now? What about in five years?”

 

“That is technically two questions.” Waverly says with a genuine smile. “Well, in a year… I want to really cement my place within the BBD. I want to be more settled in with Nicole in our home. And… I guess everything else I want would be more contingent on Nicole’s timeline.”

 

“How so?”

 

“Well, before shit hit the fan I was thinking about kids. About starting a family with Nicole in the future. But, after everything that has happened… I just haven’t talked with her about what she wants for the future. I think that is a decision that we would have to talk about and make together.”

 

“Okay, but in a perfect world: where would you want yourself to be in a year or even five years?” Sandra presses, having a sneaking suspicion.

 

Waverly sighs and breathes out heavily through her nose. “In a perfect world, five years from now, Nicole and I would be raising a family. Maybe a family pet. We would be… happy. And I would be secure, feel secure in not only myself but in my ability to be a good partner, wife and mother.”

 

Sandra smiles and nods her head. “Those are some great goals. I look forward to seeing you grow and achieve them.”

 


 

Walking Waverly to the jeep is hard for Nicole. The thought of Waverly leaving to go home and Nicole staying makes her stomach clench painfully.

 

“This is me.” Waverly says a little lamely as they reach her jeep and Nicole helps her put her bags in the back.

 

Turning to her wife, Waverly smiles sadly and hugs the redhead tightly. “I love you.”

 

“I love you too.”

 

“I am going to miss you like crazy.” Waverly says, knowing her words are a severe understatement.

 

“Hey, I will be home soon. I promise. I just have a few loose ends to tie up here before I come home. Three days, tops.” Nicole reassures.

 

She sees hesitation in Waverly’s eyes and feels the feeling again. That feeling like she is running towards a cliff. But the difference now is that she knows in her heart that she will fly; because she has Waverly at her side. She leans down, taking Waverly’s lips in a passionate kiss that leaves them both gasping for breath when they pull apart.

 

“I love you, Waverly Haught. I will see you in a few days.”

 

Waverly smiles and gets on her tip toes to peck Nicole on the lips once more before nodding and getting into the jeep. She turns the key in the ignition, even though she would do almost anything to not leave.

 

“Call me when you get back to let me know you got home safe, alright?” Nicole requests, a smile on her face.

 

Waverly nods again, words failing. Swallowing hard she nods more firmly. Okay, I will. I love you.”

 

“I love you too. Drive safe.”

 

And then Waverly is driving off, leaving Nicole where she stands. It hurts, it really does. But part of her is a little relieved Waverly is gone. But for only one reason: Nicole doesn’t want Waverly to have to see what happens next.

Chapter Text

As Nicole walks down the busy city street, she tries to calm the fire within. The fire and the anger that wants to consume her. Fuck!She has been doing so good. She really has. But the thought of leaving things unfinished… it is the one thing keeping her from going home. She needs to finish this.

 

Turning a corner and moving down a very familiar street, Nicole peers at the building that she used to think of as a prison. She had lived in one of the top floor apartments in that building with Shae for over three years. God, the shit that happened up there.

 

Refocusing, Nicole shakes her head and focuses on her goal. It is the only reason she is even on this street. The bar. The bar across the street from her former home. Knowing better than to go in through the front door, Nicole walks down the side of the building until she comes into the back alley. Sighting the figure she is looking for immediately, Nicole clenches her fists. Here we go.

 

As she moves closer to the person, the woman, leaning up against the wall of the bar, Nicole takes in her details. Tight clothes, check. A lit and smoking cigarette in hand, surprising. A sneer on her face as she notices Nicole approaching, not so surprising.

 

“Officer.” Rosita greets mockingly, an evil smirk hinting at the corner of her mouth.

 

Nicole doesn’t respond. Her face is a cold blank and she just continues walking towards her.

 

Clearly it unnerves Rosita a little, her confidence faltering just the slightest. “What can I do for you?” She asks.

 

Nicole stops a few feet away and speaks. “Stay the fuck away from Waverly, my town and my family.” She says, voice hard.

 

“Or what?” Rosita asks mockingly.

 

It is clear by her delayed reaction that she wasn’t expecting Nicole to react the way she does. It is very clear that she wasn’t expecting Nicole to get into her space, grab her by the collar of her shirt and press her up against the wall, hard. Her breath leaves her in a gasp and she is looking wide eyed into Nicole’s cold eyes.

 

“Or.” Nicole growls, voice icy and dripping with barely contained rage. “I will hunt you down and make sure my face is the last one you ever see.”

 

Rosita is afraid, she is. But something stupid in her brain makes her reply. “Now, now. Are you, an officer of the law, threatening me with bodily harm and death?”

 

Nicole growls and shoves Rosita a little harder into the wall. She looks down at her own body purposefully and then back up to Rosita. “Do I look like an officer right now?” Nicole’s eyes harden impossibly more and Rosita feels herself starting to shake. “Trust me Rosita. I won’t even hesitate to hurt you if you so much as breath in my family’s direction. You fuck with me on this, I promise you that you will regret it. Nicole lets go of Rosita with one hand and pulls a piece of paper from her pocket. She taps Rosita in the face with the half folded sheet. This one piece of paper could throw you in jail for the rest of your life. I know everything. I know about Shae and how she paid you to go to Purgatory. I know about the money you embezzled from Shorty’s and every other bar and club you have worked at. I know about the women you have assaulted and the guy you stabbed in Chicago. I know about every robbery, every con, every mistake. So, if I even think you might try and pull something stupid, I won’t hesitate to turn this over to the feds. And I, for one, would love to do that. The only thing I would love more is for you to try and test me on this. Because I would feel no remorse with either option.” She shakes Rosita a little. “Have I made myself clear?”

 

When the Latina nods, Nicole lets go of Rosita and shoves the other woman away from her. She smiles at her and then begins to walk away casually. “Now, I am going to go. Have a shit life. And if I ever hear about you again, I will follow through with my promise.

 

The smile Rosita sees on Nicole’s face is the most unnerving thing she has ever seen from the redhead. She is so stunned that she is silent for several long seconds. Nicole is about to leave the alley then Rosita finds her voice. “How did you find out?”

 

Nicole turns around and stares at her for a long moment.

 

“You did my background check for Shorty. It came back clear. So how did you find out?” Rosita asks as Nicole just continues to stare at her.

 

Nicole takes a step towards her and Rosita takes a step back. Nicole stops and the smile fades to the cold mask she had worn before. “Correct, the background check I did on the name Rosita Bustillos came back clean. But after our conversation together before I left town, I started looking into you. You see, during that conversation, you practically quoted Shae Pressman. And you seemed to know more about me than a stranger should. So, I started digging around. Once I found out your real name, it was easy to find out the rest. You are lucky no one in Purgatory found out you are a former member of the Bandidos. You would likely have been shot on site.” Nicole smirks.

 

Rosita looks even more pale than before.

 

Nicole turns to leave but stops once again and turns to Rosita. “Oh, and Rosita. I would suggest you leave town and get far, far away from here. I might not turn you in yet but I already filed this with the local police in regards to Shae.” Nicole smirks a little more as she hears police sirens getting closer. “Shae violated almost all of the terms of the restraining orders placed on her by sending you. She is going to jail Rosita. If you don’t want to go with her, you better run.”

 

Rosita turns to leave quickly.

 

“Rosita.” Nicole calls, making the Latina woman stop at the other end of the alley. “You better run and never come back.”

 

Rosita just runs out of sight and Nicole finally lets her balled up fists relax.

 

As she makes her way back out on to the street, Nicole sees three squad cars pull up to the building across the street. She continues to walk back towards her hotel, but looks back just in time to see a handcuffed Shae Pressman being put into the back of the cop car.

 


 

When Waverly gets a text saying Nicole is finally home, she immediately drops what she is doing and drives over to their house. When she arrives, she quickly parks the jeep and dashes up to the door, not even bothering to knock before using her key to let herself in. Nicole walks down the stairs and smiles, dimples making an appearance for the first time in what feels like years. Waverly dashes over and throws herself into Nicole, wrapping her into a tight hug. After a moment, she pulls back, looking sheepish. “Sorry, is this too much?”

 

Instead of answering her, Nicole pulls her back in close. But this time, she leans her head down and kisses Waverly. In complete shock, it takes Waverly a moment for her brain and body to catch up. But when it does, she matches Nicole’s movements and feelings tenfold.

 

Waverly chases Nicole’s lips unconsciously when Nicole finally pulls back, not wanting to let the redhead go just yet. Nicole chuckles at her and hugs her close, kissing her temple in their embrace. “I missed you.” Nicole whispers.

 

“You did?” Waverly asks, needing to hear it.

 

“Of course, I did. I love you Waverly Earp. I will always miss you when I am not with you.” Nicole responds without hesitation.

 

“So, you aren’t upset anymore?” Waverly asks, genuinely surprised.

 

“No. The past is the past and I can’t dwell on it too long. If I do, it will ruin my future. I have made my peace with what happened. And I want a future with you Waverly Earp. I want that and as long as you will have me and want me, I will be by your side. I promised that to you on the day we got married and I do it again today. And if necessary, I will do it every day ‘til our last because… even a week away from you was torture, especially knowing we were not in the best place. I need you Waverly. I need you in my life. I love you.” Nicole has tears in her eyes, looking down at Waverly as the smaller brunette lets tears fall freely.

 

Waverly nods and pulls Nicole to her, finding comfort in the warm strength of her wife, her partner and her soulmate.

 


 

Six months later…

 

“So, is the sex still good?” Wynonna asks her sister as they finish up their paperwork.

 

“What?” Waverly asks, confused by her sister’s random question.

 

“With Haught.” Wynonna insists. “Is the sex still mind blowing even after living together for six months?”

 

Waverly laughs and blushes, trying to figure out a way to answer the question with some dignity.

 

Before she can, Nicole walks out of her office and drops a file in front of Wynonna. “The sex is still good Earp. Don’t worry.” Nicole teases, much to Wynonna’s displeasure. “We keep each other entertained.”

 

Nicole winks at Waverly and smirks before walking back towards her office.

 

“Ew dude! Not cool! That’s my baby sister!” Wynonna complains.

 

“Go home Earp. It’s eight. See you tomorrow.” Nicole says, shooting Waverly a telling look before closing her office door.

 

“She doesn’t have to tell me twice.” Wynonna says, standing up and grabbing her leather jacket. “Goodnight Babygirl.” She kisses Waverly on the top of the head before leaving, likely to Shorty’s.

 

Waverly waits a moment before rushing into Nicole’s office and locking the door behind her. “Hey.” She says, stalking over and watching her wife carefully. “So, BBD is empty and the station is practically deserted.”

 

“Yeah?” Nicole asks, leaning back in her chair and appraising her wife hungrily.

 

“Yup, and, both our shifts ended forty minutes ago.” Waverly continues, pushing Nicole’s chair back just enough for her to get on and straddle the redhead.  

 

“What are you suggesting Researcher Earp?” Nicole asks.

 

Waverly leans forward and kisses Nicole’s neck, letting her tongue drag. “I think you know what I am suggesting Officer Haught.” She whispers back.

 

Nicole moans, immediately lowering her hands down to cup Waverly’s ass.

 

Reacting, Waverly grinds into her and moans when Nicole connects their lips in one of the most heated kisses Waverly has ever had.

 

Sliding the zip of her top down, Waverly pulls Nicole’s uniform shirt over her head and tosses it. Next goes Waverly’s shirt and then both of their bras. Nicole brings herself to her feet, holding Waverly up and lays Waverly down on her desk. Nicole pushes the skirt blocking her view off of Waverly, finding that the smaller woman has no underwear on underneath. This woman is really going to be the death of me. Leaning in between the brunette’s legs, Nicole sucks each nipple into her mouth and makes sure both get the right amount of attention. Traveling down, kissing and sucking a path as she goes, Nicole finally finds her way to Waverly’s core. Not wasting any time, Nicole only teases Waverly’s thighs a little before letting her tongue and finger hit home.

 

As Waverly comes undone around Nicole’s fingers and mouth, she can’t help but breathe out a laugh and a happy sigh. Her body still shakes, but she finds the strength to lift her arms and pull Nicole on top of her. “The sex is definitely still good.” She breathes out, kissing Nicole deeply.

 

“Just good?” Nicole asks with a smirk.

 

“No, it is mind blowing and amazing. But I can’t tell my sister that you are able to give me earthshattering orgasms on your desk, can I?” Waverly deadpans.

 

Nicole chuckles and lets her tongue slide across Waverly’s lower lip. “No, no you cannot. But you can continue to tell me that.” Nicole intones, moaning when Waverly’s takes her earlobe in her mouth and nips at it lightly. “Oh my god, we are going to get in trouble. What if someone hears us? What if they already have?” Nicole weakly protests.

 

“So, what? We are married. We are in a private office and we are off the clock.” Waverly reasons, but knows Nicole isn’t buying it.

 

“Having sex in the police station is against department policy, you know?” Nicole whines.

 

Waverly unbuttons Nicole’s pants and slips her hand in. “True. But that pertains to department employees. I am an independent contractor that doesn’t work for the department. Plus, it might be against policy but it isn’t against the law. Isn’t that correct, Officer?”

 

Nicole just nods her head and moans as Waverly’s fingers start moving just right.

 

 

Chapter Text

Their one year anniversary comes and goes, both happy to just do dinner and a night in the city together. As life continues to move on, Waverly feels that thing again. That thing she felt before moving in together and before Rosita. She hasn’t felt it since, hasn’t let herself. But now, after over a year and a half of marriage, she allows herself to feel it.

 

She feels it when she and Nicole cuddle up together in the morning, she feels it when her wife wakes up early to make her breakfast before work, and she definitely feels it when she sees Nicole holding hands with a little boy as she asks his newly single mom how she is doing. If she is being honest with herself, she always feels it now. She wants it, that. She knows Nicole wants it too, or at least she did before everything happened. But now, after living with her wife and continuing to fall more in love with the woman every day… she wants a baby.

 

They are at work that afternoon when Wynonna brings it up. “Babygirl? What is up with you?”

 

“What do you mean?” Waverly asks, shaking her head to clear her thoughts.

 

“Clearly there is something on your mind.” Wynonna says, getting to the point.

 

Waverly sighs and checks to make sure no one is around. She scoots closer to her sister and lowers her voice. “I um… I think I am ready… for kids.”

 

Wynonna looks at her for a long moment before blinking hard and shaking her head. “Okay? And Haught?”

 

“I have no idea. I haven’t really had the opportunity to talk with her about it.” Waverly admits.

 

Wynonna laughs and sees Nicole entering the office. “Haught! Waverly’s biological clock is ticking and she wants to know if you are ready to be a momma!” Wynonna shouts, making Nicole spit out her coffee she had been drinking.

 

As Nicole bends over and tries to stop choking, Waverly punches her sister’s arm. “Nonna!”

 

“What? Now you two are going to have to talk about it.” Wynonna defends.

 

Waverly sighs and stands, patting her stunned wife’s back. Nicole straightens after a moment and looks at Waverly. “We should talk in my office.” Another cough.

 

“Yeah.” Waverly agrees nervously, walking in when Nicole holds the door open for her and then closes it.

 

“So…” Nicole says, leaning up on the edge of her desk. “You want to talk about having kids, or rather, you are ready to have a baby?”

 

“I was more just wondering your feelings on the topic. We haven’t talked about it in a while and…”

 

“You are wondering if I have changed my mind.” Nicole says, knowing Waverly well.

 

Waverly nods and blushes.

 

Nicole smiles softly and holds her arms out in invitation.

 

Waverly doesn’t even hesitate and walks right into her wife’s arms, sighing happily and relaxing as the taller woman wraps her arms around her. “Well, if you are asking if I am ready… I think I am. But if you are asking if I have concerns and reservations, that is also a yes.” Nicole says softly.

 

“Tell me. Please.” Waverly asks, nuzzling into Nicole’s chest.

 

“I fear that I will be a bad parent, that I won’t be able to connect with our child.” Nicole says, her honesty speaking volumes.

 

“You will be an amazing parent Nicole. You are so kind and smart and I know you will be the best mom a kid could have.” Waverly says, leaning up to kiss the redhead.

 

Nicole smiles and wills herself to believe Waverly’s words. She nods and kisses Waverly again. “So, what is the timeframe you want to work in? Is this a ‘right now’ kind of deal or is this a ‘I want to wait a year or two’ thing?”

 

“Well, I would like to make an appointment soon. You know, get the bloodwork done and get all the information we need. If that is good with you? This is just as much about me as it is about you Nic.”

 

Nicole smiles and kisses her wife. “Make the appointment. You just tell me when and where and I will be by your side.”

 

Waverly, a little shocked by Nicole’s unwavering confidence, simply nods and allows a mad smile to hijack her face.

 


 

“As she walks through the only department store in town, Waverly’s eyes scan the shelves and racks. She came in just to return a shirt she bought but the system is down and she is asked to wait a few minutes for the clerk to fix it. So, that is how Waverly finds herself scanning the aisles of the store. Stopping near a display of toddler outfits, Waverly smiles wistfully. Part of her is so excited for this next chapter in their lives. The biggest part of her is. But there is still the smallest part of her screaming that the IVF won’t work. That she has fucked up too many times in her life and the universe will choose now to punish her for it.

 

But then her heart kicks in and tells her that no matter what, they will be okay. She knows they will, even if they are unable to expand their family.

 

The clerk calls her over and she is broken from her thoughts with the sound. She shakes her head, trying to clear her thoughts and smiles as she walks back over to the counter.

 


 

“I’m sorry, what?” Wynonna asks, looking back and forth between her sister and her sister-in-law.

 

“I have a scheduled appointment next week to get artificially inseminated.” Waverly repeats, trying to hold back a laugh.

 

“Weren’t we just talking about you not knowing if Nicole wanted kids like… two months ago?” Wynonna looks like she might just hyperventilate.

 

“That was six, almost seven months ago Nonna.” Waverly corrects. “We have seen several different specialists and have gotten all the bloodwork done. We picked our donor and now we are telling you.”

 

Wynonna smiles, but still a little shocked. “So, you are getting pregnant, that is what you are telling me?”

 

“We are going to try.” Waverly says, lacing her fingers with Nicole’s and squeezing her hand. “Percentages are not on our side and it might take a while, if it works at all, but we are hopeful.”

 

“Me too Babygirl.” Wynonna says, smiling a little more. “Oh my god. My Babygirl is going to have a baby.”

 

“Hopefully.” Waverly cautions, trying to not get her hopes up.

 

Wynonna jumps up and hugs her sister and then Nicole before moving across the room and pouring herself a celebratory whiskey. Nicole and Waverly just laugh and watch her go.

 


 

After doing all the injections and tests, Waverly is happy to finally be at the hospital for the procedure. Nicole is by her side the entire time, even when Waverly can tell at times her wife is totally freaked out by the whole thing. The procedure doesn’t take long and Waverly only has some cramping to complain about. Once finished, she had to lie there for twenty minutes, but couldn’t complain about that either because Nicole sat there with her and they talked about their plans.

 

After two weeks, they found out the first try didn’t work. To say Waverly was surprised by how disappointed she was being an understatement. She had told herself not to get her hopes up but knows that isn’t entirely possible in these situations. Nicole holds her as she cries, whispering soothing words and telling her they will keep trying. Waverly falls asleep that night in Nicole’s arms, needing the comfort of her wife. As Waverly sleeps, Nicole holds her tight and lets silent tears fall. She looks out the window of their bedroom and prays to any god or the universe itself that this feeling won’t last.

 


 

Waverly wakes up one morning, smiling into her pillow. She scoots back, smiling even wider when she presses her back into Nicole.

 

The redhead stirs, groaning a little in her sleep but turns to pull Waverly into her on instinct. With the brunette now on top of her and her arms wrapped securely around Waverly’s body, Nicole smiles sleepily but refuses to open her eyes. “G’morning.”

 

Waverly smiles and places a soft kiss to Nicole’s lips. “Good morning. How did you sleep?”

 

“You mean, how did I sleep after you decided sex is now a competition?” Nicole asks teasingly, eyes still closed.

 

“If I recall correctly Mrs. Haught, it wouldn’t have become a competition if you weren’t so competitive.” Waverly counters, kissing Nicole’s jaw and letting her teeth graze the soft skin lightly. “But I can’t say I didn’t enjoy every second of it.”

 

“Me too.” Nicole says, holding Waverly tighter.

 

Waverly sighs and pecks Nicole on the lips. “Hey, I know we got distracted last night but there was actually something I wanted to talk to you about.”

 

Nicole hums and nods for her to continue.

 

“I was just thinking… if the IVF doesn’t work… how would you feel about adoption?” Waverly asks tentatively.

 

Nicole finally opens her eyes, looking up at Waverly seriously. “Well, I guess it is something we would have to look into more but… yeah Waves. I would be okay with that. It would just be a matter of finding the right fit and it is a long process from what I understand. I would just need to read more about it I guess.”

 

Waverly smiles. “I just… I am feeling a little discouraged and thinking and planning out alternatives… it helps me keep calm.”

 

“Such a planner.” Nicole says with a slight shake of her head. “I love you and no matter what, I want you to know you have my full support in this; no matter what you choose.”

 

“What wechoose.” Waverly corrects, kissing Nicole again.

 


 

Nicole feels her phone vibrate in her pocket and quickly grabs it and looks at the screen.

 

Waves (12:48pm): Hey, have you taken your lunch break yet?

 

Nicole (12:48pm): Nope, was thinking I would take it around 1. Why?

 

Waves (12:49pm): I am coming to the station. Be there in ten.

 

Nicole wants to ask what is going on, but she decides to just wait for Waverly to get here. Going back to her work, she finishes the paperwork she had been working on and closes the file just in time to see Waverly walk in.

 

Shutting the door behind her, Waverly smiles brightly at Nicole and walks over to her wife.

 

“Hey beautiful. What’s up?” Nicole asks, leaning back and observing her wife carefully.

 

“I have news.” Waverly says excitedly, sitting down into Nicole’s lap and draping her arms over Nicole’s shoulders.

 

“Okay…?”

 

“The doctor called me about twenty minutes ago. They got my blood test results back.” Waverly says, still smiling. “I’m pregnant.”

 

Nicole looks at her in shock and then recovers, smiling broadly at her wife and pulling her in for a kiss. “That’s amazing baby.”

 

“They said I had a really strong hCG level and it was even a little high, but nothing to worry about.” Waverly explains. “I honestly am so excited I can’t stand it! I mean, we have been trying and trying and I was really starting to lose hope a little.”

 

Nicole smiles and nods. This is their fifth cycle and she can’t say she wasn’t feeling slightly defeated after the first four failed. She kisses her wife again and giggles when Waverly nuzzles her face into the crook of her neck. “I love you.” She whispers, holding Waverly tighter.

 

“I love you too.” Waverly says, sighing happily. She had cried after the call from the doctor, overcome with happiness. But sharing this quiet moment with Nicole… it finally feels like reality. Telling her wife, her partner, her soulmate… it made it actually feel real.

 

“Gus is going to flip. She always wanted a grandchild.” Nicole laughs.

 

“Wynonna is going to flip.” Waverly says with enthusiasm.

 

“Honey, I hate to break it to you, but your whole family is going to flip out.” Nicole jokes. “Willa has been texting me every week just to ask if we have succeeded.”

 

“Yeah, me too.” She smiles and looks at her wife. “Hey Nic?”

 

“Yeah baby?”

 

“I am really happy right now. But I want you to know that having a baby only adds to the joy I feel every day when I wake up by your side.” Waverly declares earnestly.

 

Nicole’s eyes sparkle and Waverly can see the tears lining her eyes. “Same here babe. It is exactly the same way for me too.”

Chapter Text

Nicole is a little unsure of what she walks into as she enters her bedroom. It is late, or rather early, and her shift ended not too long ago. When she had checked the time on her phone before leaving the station, it had been well past two in the morning. She had a text from Waverly, wishing her a good night and telling her to be safe. So, Nicole is confused when she enters their bedroom to not only find Waverly awake, but awake and out of bed. The tiny brunette is standing in front of the full length mirror, looking at her completely naked body. Her hands are running the planes of her flat stomach, a pensive look on her face.

 

“Wave?” Nicole whispers quietly, not wanting to startle the brunette. It is clear that the younger woman is deep in her own thoughts, still not noticing Nicole.

 

Taking a step forward so she is only inches from Waverly’s back. “Waverly.”

 

This and the movement she can see in the mirror snaps Waverly from her thoughts. She quickly spins away from the mirror to look at Nicole. “Nicole!” The embarrassment is clear on her face and if Nicole hadn’t known better, she would have thought Waverly was trying to cover her body out of modesty. “What are you-? Jesus I wasn’t-”.

 

Wrapping her arms around Waverly in a gentle but strong grasp, Nicole doesn’t allow Waverly to retreat to cover. Pressing her nose into the soft hair on the top of Waverly’s head, Nicole whispers softly as her hands run softly up Waverly’s arms. “Hey. What’s going on? Why are you still awake? You texted me goodnight like four hours ago.”

 

“It’s nothing. I am good.” Waverly says, unconvincingly.

 

“Waves, you’re not. That is clear. You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, but just know that I am here if you want to talk.” Nicole says, genuine and comforting.

 

Waverly turns her head to look back at the mirror, suddenly feeling less self-conscious of her bare body. “I am just… I don’t even know. I guess I am just feeling a bit uneasy right now, and impatient, and nervous.”

 

“About what Baby?” Nicole asks, kissing Waverly’s neck with feather light kisses.

 

“My body. I just… I was sleeping and then I had a nightmare and then I went back to sleep. But then I had another one that was just as scary and I woke up but couldn’t get the fear out of my head to go back to sleep. So then I had to get up and I didn’t realize how much time had passed until you showed up.” Waverly rambles.

 

Nicole furrows her eyebrows, genuinely confused. “Waverly, you look absolutely beautiful. I don’t understand.”

 

“That’s just it. I look exactly the same. I am pregnant and have absolutely nothing to show for it except for the worst morning sickness and the constant headaches that only seem to go away when I am home.” Waverly continues, placing her hand back on her frustratingly flat stomach.

 

Nicole shakes her head, trying to catch up. “Wait, so you are upset because you don’t look pregnant?”

 

Waverly shakes her head, as if not understanding her own thoughts. “I am being ridiculous. Sorry. Let’s just go to bed.”

 

“Hey, hey. Hold on. You are not being ridiculous. If this is genuinely bothering you, we should talk. Tell me about these dreams.” Nicole says, cupping Waverly’s jaw with her hand softly as she leads them over to sit on the bed.

 

“It’s stupid.”

 

“It’s not.” The redhead gently insists. Nicole stands to strip off her uniform before joining Waverly in the bed and under their covers. “Tell me. Please.”

 

Waverly sighs and curls into Nicole. “The first one was that I miscarried. That this would all be over just as it was getting started. I woke up and I couldn’t remember all the details, but I remembered the fear and the heartbreak. And then to wake up and see nothing. It just isn’t very reassuring. And the rational part of my brain knows that I shouldn’t be showing yet, but that doesn’t make me want it any less.”

 

Nicole simply kisses her wife’s forehead. “And the second dream?”

 

Waverly swallows hard. “Y-you leaving. You leaving me when the pregnancy changes me. When I don’t look all slim and sexy. When the mood swings and the cravings get to be too much. When…”

 

“Waverly.” Nicole says seriously, tipping Waverly’s chin up so their eyes meet. “I am not going anywhere. Not until you order me away. I will always find you sexy. But sexy isn’t just looks. The things that make you sexy and so lovely have very little to do with your looks. You are smart and caring and considerate. You are so amazing with people and so strong. That is what makes you sexy.” Nicole smirks and kisses Waverly playfully. “You having an amazing rack and a top shelf ass also helps too but…”

 

Waverly laughs and shoves Nicole’s shoulder lightly. “Jerk.” She says but doesn’t mean it.

 

Nicole becomes serious once more and sobers. “But in all seriousness Wave, I promise, you don’t have to worry about me going anywhere. I am here for it all, as long as you will have me.”

 

“You promise?” Waverly asks, leaning over the redhead to kiss her. She needs the reassurance. “You will still love me?”

 

Nicole smiles and nods her head softly. “Yes, I promise. Want me to prove it to you?”

 

“Well, if you are not too sleepy.” Waverly says with a smile. Feeling Nicole’s muscles shift as the redhead flips their positions and begins kissing Waverly passionately.

 


 

Weeks later:

 

“Nicole!” Waverly yells, panic clear in her voice as she calls for her wife from their upstairs bathroom.

 

Nicole comes running, acting on the instinct that Waverly’s terrified cry caused in her. Taking the steps two at a time, she forgets that they were previously getting ready for dinner with the family at the homestead. Nothing else matters except Waverly.

 

What Nicole finds makes her heartrate pick up further, but not in a good way. In a panic sort of way. There is blood. Not a crazy amount, but enough to be clearly recognized. And it is all across Waverly’s underwear and pants. Waverly, who is sitting on the closed toilet seat, looks like she is about to cry and Nicole is still trying to understand what is happening in this moment.

 

“I just noticed it. I have been cramping and feeling more morning sickness. Nicole what if I miscarried? What if something is wrong?” Waverly begins panicking once again.

 

Nicole comes and kneels at her side, Placing her hands on Waverly’s shaking knees. “Shhh.” She sooths softly, kicking the bloodied clothing farther away from them before engulfing Waverly in her arms. The sobs Waverly releases are horrible and they make Nicole’s heart clench even harder. “Shhh. Waves, we don’t know anything for sure. But no matter what, we will face it together.” Nicole holds back her own fear and sadness, not wanting it to consume her. She will wait until they have all the facts. “I will make a doctor’s appointment asap, okay?”

 

Waverly nods, but doesn’t let go of Nicole’s arms that are wrapped around her. Nicole only manages to call the doctor’s office by slipping one arm out to dial and hold the phone. After explaining what has happened, the doctor comes on the line and says they shouldn’t panic and that this could mean a lot of things. Nicole thanks him and they have an appointment set for the next morning.

 

“Waves?” Nicole asks softly, still kneeling in the bathroom, even after the call is finished.

 

“Hm.” Waverly says, taking deep breaths as she calms down.

 

“We don’t have to go to dinner tonight. I can call your dad and ask for a raincheck.” Nicole says softly, helping Waverly up with a hand.

 

“No.” Waverly sighs softly. “No. Let’s enjoy our night. We can figure this out tomorrow.” She continues, looking in the bathroom mirror at the little start to her baby bump. She runs her hands around it, looking at it worriedly.

 

“Okay, I will go get your change of clothes.” Nicole says, leaving the bathroom after giving Waverly’s forehead a kiss.

 

Waverly nods but she is still staring at her stomach. She is showing, it is week twelve and this was the last thing she wanted happening to them. The thoughts of the worst case scenario make her feel so sick she has to shake her head to rid those thoughts entirely. “No.” She whispers softly to the bump as she runs her fingers softly over it. “Just, be okay in there, okay?” We all need you to be.”

 


 

Nicole walks out of the doctor’s office pale and a little dazed. Oddly enough, it isn’t far from the way she looked walking in either. Waverly, by her side, is smiling but also looks a little concerned. Holding Nicole’s hand, they walk to the cruiser and Nicole helps Waverly into the passenger seat before moving to the driver’s side. She doesn’t make it though, and ends up leaning up against the trunk, taking deep breaths. After a moment, Waverly gets out of the car and joins her wife, pulling the redhead around her. She can see the tears in Nicole’s eyes and holds her tighter.

 

“Nic?”

 

“Sorry.” Nicole apologizes earnestly. “It’s just… we came here worried you were miscarrying because of the bleeding and…” A smile spreads slowly across Nicole’s face and Waverly smiles at the dimpled grin on display. “And I was expecting them to tell us this was the end but instead they told us we are having twins.”

 

“They did. That is true.” Waverly agrees, tentatively. “And is this something you are happy about?”

 

Nicole looks at her and cocks her head slightly in the way she always does when perplexed. “Why wouldn’t I be happy about it? Waves, we are having twins!”

 

Tears well in Waverly’s eyes as she reads the genuine joy on Nicole’s face. She pulls her wife impossibly closer and kisses her soundly. “Yeah baby. We are having twins.” She whispers against Nicole’s lips. They stay that way a long time, laughing and crying and smiling like fools at each other.

 

“Oh my god we now have even bigger news to tell everyone!” Waverly says, wiping her tears.

 

They had decided to keep it a secret for the first trimester because of the high miscarriage probability during that time. They had planned on telling everyone last night at dinner, because this week marks the twelfth week of Waverly’s pregnancy. But the bleeding had started and they decided to wait because they feared today would bring bad news.

 

“Who do you think is going to freak out most?” Nicole asks, a teasing smirk on her lips. “I bet it will be one of your sisters… actually, I think it will be Wynonna.”

 

“I think my dad will freak.” Waverly says. “And, I think they will all probably freak out when they realize I have been showing for weeks and none of them noticed.”

 

“To be fair, it’s almost winter. It’s chilly, so you wearing my oversized jackets isn’t all that unusual. And, it isn’t quite that noticeable yet.” Nicole comments. She leans down and kisses Waverly. “I love you. Have I mentioned that?”

 

“Not in the last ten minutes, so not nearly enough.” Waverly teases, kissing her wife back. She smiles even more into the kiss when she feels Nicole’s warm hands slide across her barely there baby bump.

 

“I love you Waverly. I love you and our babies and I can’t wait to experience all the ups and downs with you by my side.” Nicole says without hesitation, kissing Waverly again and smiling when Waverly returns the sentiment.

Chapter Text

They are having everyone over in just a few hours for dinner. After their doctor’s appointment this morning, they didn’t want to wait any longer to tell their loved ones. But Nicole, she has to tell one person first. The most important person first. She knows she really needs to get home. She knows this probably seems stupid to an outsider looking in. But she needs to do this.

 

So, as she carries a small bundle of flowers and walks down the path to her mother’s headstone, Nicole simply tries to stay in the moment. The Purgatory cemetery is always empty, always. In all the years of her coming here, the only time she remembers seeing people is when the funerals are happening. Because of this, she isn’t expecting to see anyone else there. And she really isn’t expecting to see someone sitting in front of her mother’s headstone. She can tell, even from yards away, that it is her father. But part of her thinks her eyes are playing tricks on her.

 

“Dad?”

 

“Nicole!” He startles, clearly not expecting her. He looks at her wide eyed, looking almost… ashamed. “What are you doing here?”

 

“Visiting Máthair. What are youdoing here?” Nicole asks, genuinely surprised by his presence. She moves closer and sits down so they are side by side. She then adds softly, “I didn’t think you ever came here.”

 

“I didn’t. Not for a long time. For years it was just… too hard.” He says, staring at the headstone.

 

“And now?”

 

He sighs. “And now... well, I eventually realized the pain and the grief never go away. It never gets easier. So, a few years ago, I started coming here when I could… when I needed to.”

 

“Why didn’t you tell me? I would have come with you. You didn’t have to do it alone.” Nicole says, looking at the flowers in her hand.

 

“I couldn’t ask that of you Nicole. Not after everything. Not after I sent you away and made you deal with her death all on your own. And… I needed to do it on my own. I owed it to your mother.” He says, sounding ashamed once again.

 

“So, why are you here now?” Nicole asks, trying to move it along. She can’t say she forgives him. She can’t comfort him and absolve him of his guilt. She can’t and she won’t. She knows it is best to move on.

 

“Had a hard day at work. Made a bad call that will cost us some money to fix. Just… talking it out with her, or at least, where she is… it helps me equalize.” He chuckles sadly. “Your mother, god she was the only woman that could ever put up with me. She would listen when I needed her to, kick my ass back into gear when required and jeeze, was she the most amazing person. Your mother was the person anyone could go to for help and she would do her best to help in any way she could.”

 

“I wish I had more time with her.” Nicole admits softly.

 

He still isn’t looking at her, but Nicole knows her father has tears in his eyes based on the emotion she hears in his next words. “I wish that too kiddo. More than anything. I wish we both had more time.” He wipes at his nose and clasps his hands together tightly. “When your mother and I found out she was pregnant with you, that was the best day of my life. Not only because I was going to be a father but because of how happy and excited she was to be a mother. From the moment she knew you existed, she loved you with all her heart.” He has to pause, looking up at the sky and blinking his eyes rapidly before returning his gaze to the headstone. “And then, not too long after that, after doing some routine bloodwork… Kelly found out she had cancer.”

 

The way he says her name, the pain behind his words, it shakes Nicole to her core and makes her feel so young and small again.

 

“Within weeks, I saw your mother the happiest she ever was, and then the most devastated. Because more than anything else in the world, she wanted to be your mom.” He says and Nicole is now continuously wiping tears from her eyes. “The only time I ever saw your mom happier is when you were born and placed in her arms. Because even after a long labor and birth, she smiled so wide, kissed your head and cried. And what time she had left… she cherished every moment with you. You were her world.”

 

“She loved you.” Nicole says, surprising herself with the omission. “I know you two weren’t… you know. But you were her best friend. She loved you too. I think I learned more about you from her than I did from anybody else. She used to tell me about your trips and how important it was for me to be a hard worker, just like you.”

 

James looks up to the sky again, this time not even trying to hold back the emotion. “Your mother… Kelly.” He corrects. “She was my best friend too.” He shakes his head, wiping his tears and finally looking at Nicole. The broken heart he has is worn into his features. He always kept is so well hidden, Nicole is surprised by it. But only slightly because it mirrors her own. “I will give you two some time.” He says, moving to get up and leave.

 

“Wait.” Nicole says softly, grabbing his wrist before he can get up. “You don’t have to go.” Nicole lets go of his wrist and uses that hand to place the flowers down on her mom’s plot. “I actually have something to tell you. I was planning on coming by the house tomorrow but… well now feels like a better time, a better place.”

 

He nods, looking to the sky still.

 

Nicole returns her attention to the headstone. “Hi Máthair. I have news. I have amazing news and you are the first person I wanted to tell.” Nicole pauses, taking a deep breath and smiling. “Waverly is pregnant. You are a grandma.” She turns to her father and looks at him teary eyed. “And you are going to be a grandpa… to twins.”

 

James smiles, wide and true up into the sky. Nicole can’t recall ever seeing him smile like that… ever. He finally lowers his head and turns to look at Nicole. “Congratulations kid. Really. That is great. I am happy for you.”

 

Nicole smiles wider, reading the genuine happiness coming from her father. The moment is almost so foreign she feels like she is in a dream. But then she looks at the headstone. No. This is real. Because if this was a dream, her mother would be alive and with them. That is the only thing that could make this more perfect. But saying it out loud, she hopes her mom heard it. Because now, it truly feels real. Nicole leans her head on her father’s shoulder. He doesn’t move to comfort her further, but he also doesn’t pull away. Instead he simply relaxes his shoulder and allows them both to enjoy the unfamiliar, yet still comforting moment together, just the three of them.

 


 

Having everyone over for dinner that night, Nicole and Waverly are excited to share their news. Gus brings over food to add to the large array of dishes Nicole and Waverly prepared earlier. They all eat buffet style and end up lounging all together in the living room. Waverly gets up to grab Wynonna and Doc new drinks from the kitchen. She has the beers on the counter and the fridge closed when she feels strong arms wrap around her from behind. “Hey beautiful.” Nicole whispers in her ear.

 

“You still going to call me that when I am the size of a water buffalo?” Waverly asks, trying to hide her insecurity with humor.

 

Nicole kisses her neck softly and sighs. “Yes. Two reasons. One: Because you are so beautiful and will continue to be as you carry our babies. And two: Your beauty is just as much internal as it is external. You are beautiful on the inside Waves, that’s what made me fall for you in the first place.”

 

Waverly wants to cry and take her wife somewhere with privacy and show her how much she means to her. But they have an announcement to make so she settles for a meaningful kiss.

 

Rejoining the others, Waverly sits in Nicole’s lap and hands Wynonna her beer. “Um, guys. We have an announcement to make.” Waverly says, gathering everyone’s attention.

 

“Two, actually.” Nicole says smirking. “Two announcements I mean.”

 

Waverly smirks back, almost laughing at her wife. She turns to everyone else and smiles. “So, we have been waiting for a while to tell everyone because of the risks, but we are really excited to announce that we are expecting.”

 

Everyone smiles and cheers, congratulating them both. Although, all the Earps look stunned and have dopy grins on their faces.

 

“What is the second announcement Honey?” Gus asks, wiping away a single tear.

 

Nicole smiles wider and places both hands on Waverly’s abdomen. “We are expecting twins.”

 

The room is completely silent for a moment before almost everyone erupts into cheers. Doc removes his hat and immediately kisses Waverly on the forehead. Gus stands as well and brings Nicole and Waverly both into a bear hug.

 

Waverly looks to her father, who has silent tears in his eyes and smiles at him. She walks over and hugs him. “You are going to be a grandpa.” She whispers.

 

He hugs her firmly and sniffles. “I am so happy for you Babygirl.” He doesn’t let go of her for a long time, both of them needing this time.

 

Once they do separate, Willa immediately hugs her baby sister and kisses her head. “Congratulations Wave. You deserve this happiness. I am so happy for you and Nicole.”

 

Waverly embraces her older sister like she never has before and doesn’t let go for a long time. Willa seems just as reluctant to separate, but a clearing of a throat to their left pulls them apart.

 

Waverly looks with watery eyes at Wynonna, unable to read the expression on her face. Wynonna holds her arms out and Waverly doesn’t hesitate to walk into them, immediately feeling Wynonna’s arms wrap around her shoulders protectively. “Nonna?” Waverly asks softly.

 

“Are you happy?” Wynonna asks, face and tone still unreadable.

 

Waverly sniffles and nuzzles into her sister. “Happier than I have ever been in my entire life.”

 

Wynonna smiles and kisses her sister on the forehead before holding her in her arms again. “You and Nicole… you deserve this. I am so proud of you for all you have overcome and I am so happy you get to experience this.”

 

“Twins.” Waverly muses aloud.

 

Wynonna laughs and squeezes her sister. “Well, life is definitely going to be interesting from here on out.”

 

“Yeah, it really will be.” Waverly agrees, smiling so hard it hurts.

Chapter Text

“Nicole, baby.” Waverly whines, feeling Nicole slipping into the bed in the dark early morning hours. Nicole had texted hours earlier that she was going to have to work late, so Waverly isn’t surprised that her wife is entering their bedroom close to dawn.

 

“Sorry.” Nicole whispers, pressing herself into Waverly’s back and kissing her shoulder blade. “Did I wake you?”

 

“Kinda, but I have been in an out of sleep all night. Can’t seem to ever get comfortable.” Waverly replies, trying not to whine but knows she is failing.

 

“What can I do?” Nicole asks, completely at a loss.

 

“I don’t know.” Waverly says a little pitifully. She was always a belly sleeper, so the baby bump shut that down really quick. No, not only the pregnancy itself, but also the change in position is also causing her to feel uncomfortable and unable to sleep.

 

Nicole props her head up a little and sees the way Waverly is sleeping. She just looks incredibly uncomfortable.

 

Waverly turns over with a grunt and wraps Nicole up in her arms like her own personal teddy bear. Nicole’s leg slots between Waverly’s, just below her knees and her flat stomach lightly presses into Waverly’s bump.

 

Waverly’s still seems slightly uncomfortable, but her face relaxes and her body follows too. She sighs, exhaustion seeping gratefully into her mind. “Better.” She whispers as she almost immediately falls into deep sleep.

 


 

Cranky is an understatement. It is a terrible one. But that is the best Nicole can come up with as a description for Waverly’s mood when the brunette’s alarm rings at eight.

 

“For fucks sake!” Waverly grumbles, throwing the ringing phone off the bedside table in her attempt to turn the sound off.

 

Nicole, herself, is exhausted and has only been asleep for a few hours since getting home. She doesn’t have to go into the office today and had planned to spend her day off catching up on some sleep, but it seems the universe has other plans.

 

Groaning a little because of the position she slept in for the few hours she was asleep, Nicole gets out of bed. Waverly, still half asleep, grumbles and grabs Nicole’s pillow to press to her torso.

 

After retrieving Waverly’s tossed phone and turning the alarm off, Nicole heads downstairs to make them some breakfast. Waverly could use a few more minutes of sleep.

 

Turning on her audiobook and putting on her headphones, Nicole goes about making Waverly’s favorite omelet and cutting up some fruit to go in her yogurt. After popping in some toast into the toaster and grabbing a fresh avocado from the bin, Nicole goes about prepping the rest of their meal. The toast finishes and Nicole adds some avocado spread to them before plating them. Grabbing a clean shaker and her tub of protein powder from the pantry, Nicole makes her morning shake as she watches the omelet finish in the pan. Waverly is just walking into the kitchen as Nicole is placing the last of their food on plates.

 

“G’morning baby.” Nicole says, pulling her headphones from her ears and carrying their plates to the table. After everything is safely placed down, Nicole leans over and kisses Waverly softly on the lips. “How are you?”

 

“Tired.” Waverly says, but she smiles at her wife. Nicole sees it. She knows Waverly is trying to hide her frustration and exhaustion. But she doesn’t want to push it right now.

 

After directing Waverly to sit and start eating, Nicole goes to the fridge to grab them drinks.

 

“Thank you for making breakfast.” Waverly says as Nicole finally sits down with her at the table.

 

“No problem. I thought you could use the extra few minutes of rest. You seem exhausted.” Nicole says, taking a bite of her toast.

 

“Sorry. Didn’t really sleep last night. I only slept longer than twenty minutes at a time once you got home.” Waverly admits, pointedly ignoring her ringing phone that is sitting on the counter.

 

Nicole chuckles at Waverly’s defiance of reality and grabs the phone to answer it. “Hello?”

 

“Haught? Shit, sorry. I thought I called Wave.” Wynonna says from the other line.

 

“You did Earp. She is just eating so I answered for her. What’s up?” Nicole replies, smiling as Waverly practically inhales her food.

 

“Oh, good. Well, I just wanted to tell her that Doc and I switched shifts today so he is going to be her research assistant today.” Wynonna says, seeming happy about the prospect.

 

“Alright, I will let her know. Enjoy your day off.” Nicole says before hanging up.

 


 

“Do you want me to drive you into work today? I don’t mind and you seem exhausted.” Nicole asks as she walks Waverly to the jeep.

 

“I will be okay. Promise. But if I need a ride home, I will get one, okay?” Waverly replies, smiling at Nicole. Even with how exhausted she is, she can’t help but smile at the redhead.

 

Nicole smiles back, leaning in to kiss Waverly goodbye. Neither knows who deepens it first, neither cares that it was supposed to be short and chaste. But next thing they know, Waverly’s back is up against the driver’s side door and Nicole is pressed securely into her front. But, even in her desire, Nicole is mindful of the baby bump. Babies bump?

 

Smiling into the kiss and pulling away slightly, Nicole breathes out heavily and lets her chin drop a little. “Sorry.”

 

“Don’t be.” Waverly whispers, tipping Nicole’s face back up by her chin and kissing her again. “I liked it.” She continues after another kiss.

 

Nicole removes her hands from Waverly’s waist and places one on her belly and one on her jaw. “I love you.” She leans down to the belly and kisses it before coming back up to peck Waverly on the lips. “All three of you.”

 

Nicole opens the door for her and helps her in. “Have a good day at work. See you for lunch.”

 


 

Nicole should go back to sleep, she really should. But the thought of how uncomfortable Waverly was almost all night and has been for the last few nights bothers her. The only time the brunette seems to get any real sleep is when Nicole is there to be her human stuffed animal. And although Nicole has no problem with that, she isn’t home every night. With the job getting busier and busier and more gang members beginning to pop out of the woodwork… her case load has almost doubled. So, the thought of Waverly struggling to sleep every night she isn’t home… it makes her unable to focus when at work and unable to sleep right now. It just doesn’t seem fair. Waverly had tried using an extra pillow, but it didn’t help.

 

Having a thought, Nicole walks up to her office and gets on the computer. After almost three hours of tireless research, Nicole is sending a link to her phone and grabbing her keys. She has some errands to do.

 

 

Nicole never thought she would be embarrassed buying a pillow at a store. Never. It just never occurred to her that that was something that she would ever blush about. But as she stands in line, a well-researched body pillow in her arms, Nicole can’t stop the pink that continues to darken her cheeks. Some people gave her weird looks, some gave her looks of sympathy. It took her a while to realize why, and then once she did, she just got more red. She clearly wasn’t pregnant, so people’s next assumption was…

 

To say she payed and got out of there as fast as she could would be an understatement.

 


 

Arriving back in Purgatory from her quick shopping trip in the city, Nicole stops by the house to drop the stuff off before going back into town to meet Waverly for lunch.

 

She is a little early, but she doesn’t mind waiting in Shorty’s until Waverly arrives. As she waits, she looks down at her phone and responds to some emails.

 

A tap on her shoulder draws her attention and she looks up. Smiling, Nicole stands and hugs Gus. “Hey Gus. What are you doing here?”

 

Gus hugs her back and motions for Nicole to sit back down. “Hey kiddo. Just here to meet with Shorty. He and I are thinking about doing some renovations on this place so we need to start planning. What are you up to today? Day off?”

 

“Yeah, just waiting to grab lunch with Waverly.”

 

“And how is she doing?” Gus asks, leaning her hip on the booth.

 

“Well, she is having your typical symptoms and discomforts, although I think it is earlier and more severe because she is carrying twins but… she is doing okay I think. We are talking and working and trying to just enjoy the ride.”

 

Gus nods. “And how are you doing?”

 

What do you mean? I am not the pregnant one. Waves is.” Nicole asks confused.

 

“Nicole, do not sit there and pretend this all doesn’t affect you too. You have changed just as much as Waverly since this all began. It is a team effort and a partnership. So, I am going to restate my question. How are youdoing?” Gus says in her gruff tone.

 

Nicole sighs and sinks into her seat a little more. “Honestly, I am good. I am reading a lot of books, or listening to the audiobooks, I am trying to be home more, work is busy but good… honestly, my only complaint is that I can’t be home more. I have to take all the shifts I can get because I am going to need to use my leave days for when the twins are born. Besides that, I am great. I’m… excited and happy.”

 

Gus smiles and pats her shoulder. “Well, you are doing good so far. Let me know if you need anything, you hear?”

 

“Yes Ma’am.” Nicole agrees, smiling at Gus before the woman walks back to Shorty’s office.

 


 

“Good afternoon Officer Haught. Lovely day today.” Mrs. Greer greets her as Nicole enters the older woman’s flower shop.

 

“Good afternoon Ma’am. How are you doing?” She asks with a smile.

 

“I am doing well Doll. How can I help you today?”

 

“I was wondering if I could get a small arrangement. I know you have to ship everything in because of the cold, but I was wondering what you had.” Nicole states, walking up and removing her hat.

 

“May I ask, are you looking for something for dear Waverly? Or…?”

 

“Indeed. My lovely wife is deserving of the world, but I guess some flowers will have to do. Planning a night in together and was hoping you could help.” Nicole says, a cheeky smile set in place.

 

It is no secret that Mrs. Greer is one of the biggest Waverly fans in the town. After years of having a young Waverly Earp volunteer in her shop to help after her husband’s arthritis made him unable to work, the woman developed the softest spot for the youngest Earp.

 

“You are so sweet, and smart.” The woman praises, patting the redhead’s hand before moving over to her computer. “Let’s see. What are you looking for? Do you want something romantic and classic like a red rose bouquet? Or maybe something seasonal?”

 

“Maybe somewhere in the middle?” Nicole asks, shrugging her shoulders. “I don’t really know a lot about flowers, but… What about white roses?”

 

Mrs. Greer smiles and types into her computer. “You know, I can work with that. One moment Doll. I will be back.” And then she is going to her back room, leaving Nicole to look around the small shop.

 

“Okay!” The florist cheers, walking out with bundles of flowers in her hands. “I am thinking… white roses, arranged with white carnations and tied with a gold bow. It is festive, but also has the symbolism and intimacy of the white roses. I have cream roses, but I think you are spot on with the white.”

 

Nicole smiles wider. “Perfect. Thank you, Mrs. Greer.”

 

“No problem at all my dear.” She says, going about arranging the bouquet. “So, how is Waverly feeling? I talked to her a few weeks ago, but it was brief and she seemed to be in a hurry.”

 

“Well, she is keeping busy. When she isn’t working, she is preparing for the twins or trying to get a little rest. But she is excited too. I think with the stress of the first trimester over, she is enjoying it more.”

 

“Ah, I remember. When I had my daughter and then my son. Gosh those were some tough days in the beginning. And then you start to adapt. But then, right as you start to feel like you are in control, your body and the life growing inside you sends you a curveball. My poor Charlie used to have to do craving runs to the store more than three times a week when I was pregnant the first time.”

 

Nicole laughs and hands the woman her credit card. “Yeah, it is a journey alright.”

 

The older woman smiles and hands Nicole the bouquet and her card. “But what a journey it is.” She says with a smile.

 

Chapter Text

When Waverly arrives home that evening, she expects to find Nicole working in her office or maybe sleeping in their room. She had spent the entire drive home lost in her thoughts and one of those thoughts was what she would be making for dinner. So, she sure doesn’t expect what she sees when she walks through the front door of their home.

 

Nicole is there, downstairs, in an oversized pajama shirt, and smiling at her with dimples on display. She has a bouquet of flowers in her hand and has the other outstretched to Waverly. “Hey Waves.”

 

Waverly sighs and the shocked look on her face turns into a wide grin. “What is this?” Waverly asks, closing the front door and hanging her coat and purse.

 

Nicole walks towards her and holds out the flowers. “A night in. Just the two of us. Or I guess… four of us?” Nicole says with a soft smile. Leaning down, she kisses Waverly on the lips softly.

 

Waverly smiles into the kiss and then at the flowers as she looks down. “These are beautiful.”

 

“So are you.” Nicole says easily, kissing Waverly softly once again. “How about you go upstairs and change into PJs and get comfortable while I put these in water. I got dinner handled. I was thinking we could eat up in bed and binge watch some Kill Joys. If that is okay with you?”

 

Waverly smiles impossibly wider. “Yes, that sounds perfect. She smells the scent of dinner from the kitchen and smirks. “It smells delicious.”

 

“I can’t take all the credit. Gus helped me with the cooking. I didn’t know how to cook what I wanted to make so I needed her help.” Nicole says, blushing slightly.

 

“What did you make?” Waverly asks, trying to pinpoint one thing but there were just so many amazing smells that it was hard to focus on one.

 

“We actually made two. I wasn’t sure what you would want to actually eat so I decided to go with my two best guesses.” The redhead admits, trying to stay focused as her wife’s fingers gently trace along her jawline. “I’ve got zucchini lasagna bubbling in the oven or we also got some seafood enchiladas in the warmer if that is more what you want.”

 

“You are perfect, you know that?” Waverly asks, pecking Nicole’s lips a few times.

 

“Hardly.” Nicole says with a blush. How is it possible that Waverly Earp still make her blush, even after all this time and all they have been through.

 

“You are perfect Nicole. Perfect in my eyes anyways.” Waverly insists. “And honestly, both of those options sound amazing.”

 

“How about I get us some of both and then I will meet you up there?” Nicole suggests.

 

“Deal.”

 


 

Waverly walks into their bedroom to find a large body pillow laying on their bed, a small gift box on her nightstand and the room lit with soft light from the dimmed overhead light. She smiles, trying to tamp down the emotions and tears that threaten to appear. After some maneuvering that she has begun to become used to, Waverly is dressed in one of Nicole’s PSD sweaters and a pair of soft sleep shorts. She is just slipping her shorts all the way up when Nicole enters with their food. After setting their food on their respective nightstands, Nicole joins Waverly at the foot of their bed and circles the shorter woman in her arms. “Hi.”

 

“Hi.” Waverly giggles, beaming. “Not that I am complaining, but why is there a giant pillow that would make the great wall of china jealous in our bed and a gift on my nightstand? Did I forget about an anniversary of some kind or something?”

 

“No, you didn’t forget anything.” Nicole replies, pressing her forehead to Waverly’s. “Tonight, I just wanted to enjoy being together. And I don’t think I could bear another night of you struggling to sleep. The pillow should help. I researched like hundreds of these things. It is made with the best materials and it’s machine washable and it even had the best reviews on-” Her words are cut off by Waverly’s lips slanting over hers in a soft but insistent kiss.

 

“Nicole, it’s perfect.” Waverly breathes out, kissing her wife again.

 

“There is also a little wedge pillow in the closet, if you want to use that too. I wasn’t completely sure if you needed it yet.” She admits sheepishly, as if she should know more about this by default.

 

Waverly just shakes her head lovingly at her rambling wife and kisses her again. “Okay Haught, I think it is time for us to start eating and watching some tv.”

 


 

Three episodes and three plates of food later, Waverly, Nicole and the body pillow are all curled up on the bed, enjoying the quiet moment together. Waverly grabs the box off her nightstand and motions Nicole with it.

 

“Open it. But this one isn’t from me.” Nicole says with a tremulous smile. “Wynonna actually dropped it off a little before you got here.”

 

Waverly does and pulls out two small infant onesies. Both match and are a soft cream color. The design makes Waverly laugh and wipe at her eyes. Each has a baby bottle on them with the words ‘Drinking Buddies’ on each. So Wynonna.She thinks to herself. “These are adorable.”

 

Nicole smiles wide and kisses Waverly’s temple. “She seemed pretty proud of them. Her and Doc actually picked them out together.”

 

Waverly rewraps them and places them back on the bedside table. When she turns back to Nicole, her wife is facing her and holding a small box in her left palm.  “Nic?”

 

Nicole laughs softly and a little nervously. “So, remember last week when you had to stop wearing your wedding rings?”

 

Waverly nods and Nicole continues.

 

“Well, it bothered me. Not because you weren’t wearing them, but because it bothered you that you couldn’t wear them. I didn’t know how to solve the problem though. And then Dolls suggested I ask Jeremy for help.” Nicole opens the lid of the box and reveals the ring inside. It looks simple and like any other metal band at first glance, but Waverly knows better than to assume. Nicole giggles and continues. “So, Jeremy and I workshopped it and made… this.” Nicole pulls the ring from the box. What Waverly realizes first is that it is not metal. Although is shines like her platinum band normal does, it warps in Nicole’s grasp. “It isn’t metal like the real ones. It is made of a synthetic polymer that Jeremy created. It looks like metal, shines like it. But it’s composition and feel is more similar to that of silicone. But the key differences are that it will stretch without becoming tighter, it won’t melt in high heat or freeze in extreme cold, it’s more durable, it breathes better, and…” Nicole turns the ring inside out so Waverly can see the inner side. “I got Jeremy to copy the engraving from the original onto this one too.”

 

Waverly has tears in her eyes, her smile almost painful. “Nicole…”

 

The redhead takes Waverly’s hand in hers and slides the ring onto her previously bare ring finger before lifting the hand higher to kiss the top.

 

Waverly leans forward and connects their lips in a slow but passion filled kiss. “You didn’t have to do all of this. But thank you. This… this is amazing.”

 

“I had help.” Nicole says, smiling into the kiss before pulling back just a little. “Oh, and when your dad heard my plans for the evening and how everyone was helping me pull it off, he and Nedley wanted to contribute too. So, we both were given tomorrow off.” Nicole continues kissing Waverly again and pushing the empty box out of the way.

 

Waverly laughs and wraps her arms around her wife’s shoulders as the redhead pulls her into her lap. “You might have had help, but this was you just being your amazing self. Thank you, Nicole. I love you.”

 

“I love you too.” Nicole says, trying to tamp down her pink cheeks. She continues the kiss, but pulls out slightly at a thought. “But if that pillow tries to replace me any time I am actually home, it is going in the trash.” She jokes.

 

Waverly laughs and tips her head to kiss Nicole’s jaw. “Nothing and no one could ever replace you. No need to be jealous of an inanimate object.”

 

“I am not jealous. I am just laying out ground rules.” Nicole says with a mock pout.

 

Waverly just chuckles and continues kissing up Nicole’s jaw, knowing how lucky she is to have the best wife, friend, lover and partner ever. More than ever imaginable.

Chapter Text

As days turn into weeks and Waverly’s due date seems to be getting closer and closer, Nicole starts to feel her stress and anxiety levels skyrocket. Not only because they are soon going to be parents to not one, but two babies, but also because work is beginning to pick up once again. And as Nicole grows more stressed, she becomes more distant from Waverly. Instead of coming home at night after a long day of work, she normally stays the night in the station. Normally, spending her nights doing extra research on the Revenant gang or working out in the department gym. At first, Waverly tries to be supportive. She brings Nicole clean uniforms when she comes to work and inevitably, food as well. But by week two of Nicole’s new routine, Waverly has had enough.

 

So, it isn’t all that surprising that she comes into the department gym at eight am yelling. “Nicole Marie Haught! So help me, if you do not come home tonight, you will be in so much trouble!”

 

Nicole turns to her, looking genuinely stunned at her wife’s anger and volume. “Huh?”

 

Waverly stomps over to her angrily, but it is sort of more of a waddle with how pregnant she is. “You haven’t set foot in our home in over two weeks! Two weeks Nicole! And I am tired of it! No more! You work your scheduled shifts, and then you will leave this building! On time! No more excessive overtime, no more all-nighters alone in the BBD office! None of it!” She rages, coming up and poking her wife in the chest with her pointer finger.

 

Nicole, understandably, looks like a deer caught in headlights and her eyes look like they might just pop right out of her head. “Um…”

 

Waverly is still glaring at her, but there is also soft and sad desperation in her eyes. She takes a deep breath and sighs. Lowering her voice to its normal volume, Waverly looks back up at Nicole and nods her head towards the locker room. “Shower and get cleaned up, please. We are going out to breakfast and then we are going home. We both have the day off and we are not spending it here at work.”

 

Nicole nods, looking apologetic and begins to walk towards the locker room to get showered and dressed. She knows Waverly is right, she knows she deserves to get yelled at and that Waverly’s hormones make that even more apparent. But ever since the baby’s became a part of their lives, she can’t help but stress out. Because now, she has more than just Waverly to fight for.

 


 

As Nicole showers, she hears the locker room door open and peeks her head out of the shower stall to confirm it is just Waverly entering. She gives an apologetic smile to her wife before going back into the shower to rinse out her hair.

 

She hears rustling outside the shower, but doesn’t think anything of it until she sees the shower curtain pull to the side and sees Waverly step in in front of her. Looking down, Nicole takes in all the bare skin and the body that she hadn’t realized she had craved so much until now. Until it was right there in front of her and on display.

 

“Waves?” Nicole asks softly, leaning forward but still not enough to touch.

 

Waverly sighs, shaking her head before letting it drop in defeat. Her shoulders heave and Nicole doesn’t hesitate to pull her wife into her own body and wrap her arms tightly around her. “Shhh. It’s okay. I’m sorry.” She whispers into Waverly’s wet hair.

 

Waverly is shaking her head softly against Nicole’s chest, but doesn’t protest otherwise. She just allows the emotions of the last few weeks fall in the safety of her wife’s embrace.

 

“Shhh. I got you. I’m sorry. You’re okay. I am okay. We are going to be okay.” Nicole continues to sooth, pleased when Waverly begins to calm down and wrap her own arms around Nicole’s waist. “Better?” She asks once Waverly seems better put together, but she doesn’t let go of her.

 

“Much.” Waverly replies, arms tightening around Nicole.

 

Leaning down, Nicole captures Waverly’s lips in a soft kiss that says what words can’t. It says ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m sorry’. It says ‘I’m here and I am not going anywhere’. It promises truths that neither woman can think to voice. It is a vulnerable moment, a quiet one. Just for the two of them.

 

“I’m sorry for yelling at you.” Waverly says after the kiss breaks.

 

“I am sorry for worrying you.” Nicole says, kissing Waverly again. “I will try to be more… present.”

 

“You do worry me. But only because I love you and I am afraid of losing you. I can’t lose you and it makes me feel like I am when you drift away like this.” Waverly admits.

 

“I am not going anywhere Waverly. I can promise you that. I will be by your side until my dying breath.” Nicole promises, holding Waverly’s hand to her heart.

 


 

Sleep evading her, Waverly sighs and turns her head to look over at the other side of the bed. Nicole is there, asleep but not restful. Her wife’s hands are clenched into fists and her face is pulled with tension. There is a light sheen of sweat covering her face and her entire body seems stiff and rigid. It takes a moment, but Waverly realizes that not all the moisture on Nicole’s face is sweat. Tears, silent but continuous in their path down her cheeks.

 

Deciding this needs to stop, Waverly scoots over in the bed as best she can and places her hands lightly over Nicole’s fists. “Nic.” She whispers softly, trying to rouse her without startling her out of her nightmare. “Nicole baby. You’re okay. You’re at home with me and we are safe. Shhh. Everything is okay baby.”

 

“Waves” Nicole whimpers, voice broken even in her half asleep state. She is clearly still in the clutches of the dream. “Stop. Leave them alone. Waverly, run.”

 

“Shhh. You are just fine and I am right here. Why don’t you wake up and come on back to me? Everything is okay.” Waverly says.

 

Nicole’s eyes begin to flutter and her breathing begins to slow just the slightest bit.

 

“There’s my girl.” Waverly says with a smile, leaning down to kiss Nicole softly.

 

“Sorry.” Nicole says, voice raspy.

 

“Nothing to apologize for. I am going to run a bath. Join me?” Waverly asks, moving to stand up and get out of bed.

 

“I can get it ready for you.” Nicole says quickly, try to get up as well.

 

“Nicole, laydown. I got it. Please, just… let me take care of you.”

 

“You shouldn’t have to take care of me.”

 

“I want to. Please baby. Please just let me.” The brunette pleads, rounding the bed. She leans down as best she can and kisses Nicole. “There is no shame in letting someone take care of you for a change. Even if that someone is your pregnant wife.”

 

Nicole nods, allowing Waverly to leave and set things up. And that is how they end up making a nightly tradition of sitting in the bath together. It is simple, but it is a priceless thing in the middle of their crazy lives.

 


 

Nicole hangs up her call and walks back into the main office to face the others of her team. “I just got a call from a contact of mine. She says word on the street is that the Revenants seem to be starting up again.” Nicole seems worried, looking over at Waverly.

 

“Nic, don’t worry. I won’t let him get to me or the babies.” Waverly assures, keeping her hand protectively over her now large belly.

 

Nicole looks over to Wynonna with pleading eyes. “I got her back Haughtstuff, we all do.” The elder Earp pledges.

 

Doc and Dolls nod in agreement. Jeremy nods from his seat as well , even though he is facing away from them and not involved in the conversation at all thus far. Nicole nods, more to herself than anyone, but her panic only fades slightly. With Bobo likely becoming active again, Nicole fears he will come after Nicole by hurting Waverly and their unborn children. If she was an evil, gas lighting sociopath, that would be her move.

 

But she nods and they go about their work, everyone hating the idea that this fight is starting again.

Chapter Text

Over the next three weeks, the team arrests and jails over fifteen members of the gang. Because of this, Waverly ends up hanging out with Willa at the homestead more, able to do almost all her research from home.

 

“How are you doing Babygirl?” Willa asks one night as she joins her sister in the living room.

 

Waverly sighs and rubs her stomach comfortingly. “Good. I am constantly tired and am worried about my team but… I am good.”

 

Willa takes a seat on the couch with her sister. “You want to talk about it?” She offers.

 

Waverly smiles and lays down so her head can rest in Willa’s lap. “I don’t know. I might be worrying over nothing, but… they aren’t in a good place.”

 

“How so?”

 

“Well, this case, this gang, it’s personal. It is personal for all of them. The revenants killed Dolls’ girlfriend and Nicole’s friend. They kidnapped Nicole and tortured her. And Wynonna and Doc… they both have smaller connections to the gang but are just as motivated to take them down. But all that motivation they all have, the emotions… it is almost obsessive.” Waverly admits.

 

“Have you tried talking to them about it?” Willa asks.

 

“Yeah. Doc and Nonna both agreed to try and take it easy. But Nicole and Dolls… Well, those two are tough nuts to crack. I mean, I talk with Nic about it and I know she is trying but… she has tried to talk to Dolls about it but I am guessing he is being just as stubborn as her.” Waverly takes a deep breath. “The Revenants are responsible for Dolls’ girlfriend’s death. He holds them and Bobo Del Ray personally responsible. Nicole feels the same. I think it is just too personal for them to let go.”

 

Willa nods. “Robert doesn’t talk about Bobo a lot. I think it is too hard for him. When they were young, he and Bobo were close and spent a lot of time together. But by the time they were teens, Bobo got involved in gangs and drugs while Robert kept himself too busy with school and work to do that.” Willa looks at her phone wallpaper of her and her husband. “Robert tried to get him help, tried to get him out. He tried multiple times to get him to leave the life. But that was never going to happen. And now, Robert no longer sees the boy he grew up with. Now, all he sees is the monster he has become.”

 


 

Nicole, Wynonna, Doc and Dolls all are called out late that night and don’t arrive back to the homestead until early morning.

 

“Hey baby.” Nicole says with a tired smile as she greets Waverly with a soft kiss. “And babies.” She says with a smile as she rubs the belly with her hand and leans down to kiss it twice. “How are you?” She asks Waverly as she straightens.

 

“Tired. But I am happy you are home. Are you hungry? I can make you something?” Waverly offers, nuzzling into Nicole’s side.

 

Before Nicole can respond, Wynonna walks over. “Hey, sorry to interrupt but, Haught, the station paged you and said you have to do some arrest paperwork you forgot to do earlier for those guys we grabbed. They said it can’t wait until tomorrow and you need to head in ASAP. Dolls is taking the couch and Doc is already asleep in our room so I will tag along. There is some stuff I would like to grab from the office anyways.”

 

“Really?” Nicole asks.

 

“That is what it said.” Wynonna confirms with a tired nod.

 

Nicole turns to Waverly with a guilty smile. “Raincheck on that offer?” She kisses Waverly. “I will be back as soon as possible. Try and get to sleep okay? I will see you when I get back.”

 

Waverly sighs but nods her head. “Fine.” She says with a fondness for the woman in front of her. “But don’t be too long, okay? And be safe driving out there.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“I love you.” Waverly says, getting on her tip toes with her hands braced on Nicole’s shoulders. She places a chaste kiss on Nicole’s lips before stepping away.

 

“I love you too.” Nicole says with a smile before following Wynonna out the door.  

 

They both hop into Nicole’s cruiser and drive back towards town. Before she leaves, Nicole tells Waverly that she will be home in an hour or so.

 


 

An hour passes and there is no sign of her wife or her sister. Then another hour and then another. Now awake, Doc joins Waverly in her pacing and neither stop until Ward comes out from his room. “What’s wrong?” He asks.

 

“Nic and Nonna still aren’t home.” Waverly answers, not pausing her pacing. “I have been texting and calling them both, but there is no response. Nicole… she always answers her phone.”

 

Ward turns serious and enters into cop mode. He pulls out his phone and calls Nedley. After some exchanges over the phone, he looks at his daughter and Doc. “Nedley says they never made it to the station. Haven’t been there since jailing their arrest last night. He isn’t even sure why they were going in.”

 

“Nonna said they paged Nicole in for some paperwork. Wynonna tagged along.” Waverly says, confused.

 

Ward relays the information to Nedley and his face goes paler as Nedley responds. He pulls the phone away from his face once Nedley is done. “Nedley never paged her, no one at the station did. The dispatcher isn’t even there tonight. She got into a car accident on her way to work and her replacement is still an hour out.”

 

Doc’s mustache twitches. “Are you telling us someone, someone who doesn’t work for the department, had enough abilities to break into the department communications system? And that same person paged for Nicole to come to the station for reasons unknown?”

 

Before Ward can nod, Waverly is in motion.

 

Waverly grabs her keys and moves to leave before her father plucks the keys from her hand. “No. You aren’t driving in this state Babygirl. I will drive.” Ward says,

 

Dolls appears out of nowhere and plucks the keys from Wards hands the same way Wards had a moment prior. “All due respect Chief, neither of you are in a state to drive. I am driving.” Jogging over to his SUV, Dolls waits for Doc, Ward, and Waverly to get in. A moment later, Willa comes running out and jumps into the back seat with Waverly. They take off down the road, all of them looking around for their missing pair.

 

Doc shouts and points Dolls down the road. Sitting in the middle of the road is Nicole’s cruiser. Both front doors are open and even from a distance, they can all tell something horrible is about to be discovered.