Waverly Earp’s Friday night plans would be going perfectly if the dead man buried before her would just answer the spiritual phone.
Frustration threatened to break her zen further. Waverly grit her teeth, adjusted her robes, lifted her uncle’s scythe, and tried again. She shut her eyes to the city cemetery around her and ignored how ridiculous she must look. She was going to do this. No more failures.
She was beginning to hate the rain.
But listen: Pouring rain is the perfect condition for raising the dead. You want the barely-above-drowning, soaked-to-the-bone rain. You want distant, ominous thunder and the darkness of an overcast night. Some people theorize mud is easier to dig through. Others just say storms are magic batteries.
Regardless, you do necromancy in the rain, but hopefully without getting caught by that cute cop you have a crush on.
“Put down the weapon and put your hands in the air,” a calm, familiar voice ordered. Waverly’s heart jumped to her throat. She obeyed instinctively and her borrowed scythe fell with a wince-inducing clang against the gravestone.
Stupidly smart and unfairly sexy police officer Nicole Haught, the one person in Waverly’s life who could absolutely not know about her actual occupation, had caught her mid-occupation.
“Finally caught you.” A smile entered her voice. “Now lower your hood and turn around. Slowly.”
“Fudge nuggets,” Waverly muttered under her breath. No magic could get her out of this one. She pasted an embarrassed smile on her face and did exactly as ordered.
Nicole stood in an authoritative stance, flashlight raised and hand on her holstered gun. Her rain jacket barely held back the deluge that greeted Waverly’s hair now the waterproof robe wasn’t hiding it.
“Hi, Nicole,” Waverly greeted with a small wave.
“ Waverly?” Nicole’s eyes widened in the dim cast of the street lights. “ You’re the tiny trespassing satanist I keep getting calls about? ”
Waverly’s face fell to fury. “I am not tiny and not a satanist.”
“Ooh boy,” Nicole breathed before clearing her throat. “Well, I have to take you in.”
“You’ve been breaking the law, Waverly.” Nicole shrugged apologetically. ‘I can’t just ignore that.”
Waverly swallowed and gave a terse nod. Very well. She could try the next night. As long as Nicole didn’t ask --
“Why were you out here, anyway?”
Nicole, ever perceptive, took a step forward. She lowered her voice. “Did someone put you up to this?”
“What? No!” Waverly said far too quickly. She looked around as if to find a reason in the dark around them. “Uh…a…” Nicole’s cruiser had a pumpkin on the dashboard. “Halloween…” She looked down at her own ridiculous black robe. “Prank!”
“A prank?” Nicole asked dubiously, perfect eyebrow lifted and a slight smile on her lips. She made a show of looking around. “In the pouring rain, at midnight and on…dead people? In tombs and cemeteries around the city?”
Waverly nodded furiously and Nicole sighed in resignation. “Waves. I know something is up with this city and that if you’re involved...” Nicole’s eyes softened. “I just want to know if there’s anything I can do to help. I want you to be safe.”
Then Nicole did something completely unexpected.
Nicole reached out and touched Waverly’s hand.
Light. Gentle. A ghost of contact. But it did something, not just to Waverly: the air sparked invisibly and with a deep, humming thoom , the magic vanished from the air and sank into the ground.
Waverly gasped and lurched forward slightly as the magic left. Nicole steadied her, distracted from the revitalized grass and suddenly-blooming bouquet left by a grave nearby.
“Waverly?” Nicole asked quiet and soft, face close enough to kiss, “Are you all right?”
Just as Waverly opened her mouth to explain all of this with a whole bunch of placating lies, a quiet, insistent sound -- barely audible under the rustling rain -- took their attention.
Nicole first looked to the street. Waverly looked to the darkness under the tree. But the sound was far too close and muffled, as if it was…
“Oh, God,” Nicole breathed in horror.
...coming from underground. Waverly felt a sinking feeling deep in her gut.
Nicole drew her gun as if the grass was about to break the law. “Waverly. Tell me this is the prank.” Waverly, her horror growing by the second, shook her head mutely. “You got me. I’m scared. The prank worked. Now please, please make it stop.”
“I don’t know how,” Waverly admitted dismally.
The sound shifted in a way that was almost inaudible as if her feet were really hearing it and not her ears.
Waverly wouldn’t have blamed Nicole if she fled, but she didn’t. Nicole shifted, putting herself between Waverly and the sound. She shook rain from her face and steadied her hat. Ready.
God. Nicole was ready to defend her from something that was breaking the laws of normal, human shenanigans.
That was so hot.
Adrenaline smashed all social boundaries, making Waverly fear nothing, not even embarrassment. After all, they might just be about to die if the spell had gone wrong.
“Hey, uh...” The sound grew louder, the source surely within a foot of the surface. “Do you want to go out for dinner sometime?”
Nicole’s head turned in utter bafflement. “You’re asking now?”
“I wouldn’t have the courage to otherwise!” Waverly insisted, “So is that a yes or a no? Oh god he’s hit the surface --”
The grass broke open to a grasping, gloved hand under the shaking beam of the flashlight. The tremor of the light got worse, betraying Nicole’s terror though she made no sound other than a dull, hissing rasp as she expelled the air from her lungs.
Both watched, frozen, as the hand grabbed onto the grass and lifted itself. Another hand joined it, clawing from the dense mud to join its brother with hat in hand that was quickly tossed aside, and they both began to work in earnest.
The head came next through the mud with a sucking noise and crested, showing one eye empty darkness, the other still containing something. Taller and taller it rose, dirty water pouring out of holes until the desiccated skull leered at them with bared teeth. Tiny wisps of hair still clung to the yellowed skin that remained.
Blue fabric followed next, revealing shoulders, upper torso, stomach. Clothes clung in rags to the man and a belt still hung around his waist with ammunition surely too old to work and guns rusty with age.
The dead man bent down, dirt raining from his body, and took his soaked hat from the grass. He shook it free of water and placed it atop his muddied head. Rain began to drip from its edges.
Then, very carefully and very deliberately, he tipped it.
Silence. An owl hooted. The rain poured on.
Nicole found her voice first.
“What do you want from us?” Nicole demanded. Waverly nearly swooned, but laid a hand on a tense, soaked shoulder as the dead man failed to respond. “Why are you here?”
The dead man finally moved, only to lift his gloved hand and point directly at the culprit: Waverly.
“Waverly.” Nicole hadn’t turned her head, keeping the man in her sights. “Why is he pointing at you? ”
“Because, uh.” Waverly fidgeted. “I sort of… raisedhimfromthedead .”
“You what? ” Nicole hissed in disbelief.
“I…” Waverly shrunk. “I’m a necromancer. In training. Magic is real. I used magic to raise him from the dead.”
Nicole stared openly, blinking a few times, rapid as if she were trying to make the situation vanish as a hallucination.
Finally, she spoke.
“I don’t even know if that is against the law,” Nicole whispered hoarsely.
“If you ask the FBI, it is,” Waverly supplied helpfully. “But not here in Canada. I have a learner’s permit from the RCMP.”
“The -- The FBI?” Nicole rasped in a rough exhale, “The RCMP? Learner’s permit -- ”
It’s midnight. You’ve been on the night shift for four days straight and are already struggling. You’re soaked to the bone, freezing cold, and covered in mud. Then, the girl you’re interested in, Waverly Earp, a ray of sunshine on a rainy day, announces she can raise the dead and it’s perfectly legal.
Oh, and magic is real.
The weight of the revelations settled heavy on Nicole’s shoulders. Waverly winced, recognizing her struggle, and made a snap decision.
“Sorry,” Waverly said, waving a hand. “This will make things easier, I swear I’ll explain later, but I’m really sorry about this.”
“For wha…” Nicole wobbled impressively against the spell, determined to remain awake, but could do nothing against magic. Nicole fainted into Waverly’s arms.
Waverly looked over at the dead man.
“A little help, please?” Waverly asked politely. He stepped forward and grabbed Nicole hard by her collar. “Gently, please.” He did not adjust his grip. Waverly sighed.
Waverly had no choice. Gus was going to be pissed. She stooped to collect the gun and her uncle’s scythe.
“All right, dead guy.” Waverly stomped off through the mud. “Let’s go home.”
The cottage sat among a wild tangle of vines and plants, vibrant even in the dark. The rain had lightened considerably as she pushed open the gate. It creaked loud and she winced. If only her magic could ensure Gus was sleeping.
No such luck.
The door opened and Gus stood there, frowning. Footsteps in the dark and she caught sight of the dead man holding a police officer like a drowned cat. “Oh, Lord, Waverly, just what have you done?”
Waverly hugged herself and shrugged with a small smile. “Passed Curtis’ exam?”
They brought Nicole inside and set her down on the couch, deep under Waverly’s spell to keep her under until morning. Gus dried her and the dead man with magic.
“But you ,” Gus said with a disappointed glare. Waverly wilted. Gus took the scythe from her and pointed up the stairs. “What is the first rule of this household?”
“Don’t get caught,” Waverly said dejectedly.
“And do not kidnap police officers.” She sighed, easing a bit seeing Waverly’s guilt. “Clean yourself up, I’ll put the tea on. Go on, wake your sister, too.”
It wasn’t long before the whole house had a Disappointed In Waverly party in the living room. Curtis inspected the dead man closely as Wynonna tried not to fall asleep leaning against the wall. Gus made noises of disapproval every now and then before setting out tea on the table. Nicole slept peacefully.
“Congrats on finally raising the dead, Waves, but are we going to talk about the elephant in the room?” Wynonna asked, irritated at being awoken.
“Which one?” Curtis rubbed his chin. “I told you to talk to the spirit, not to raise its entire corpse.”
“Extra credit?” Waverly suggested hesitantly. “I swear it was an accident.”
“Or failure!” Wynonna gestured wildly at the cop. “I think that’s points off!”
“You accidentally raised the dead?” Curtis asked, completely unconvinced.
“It was the rain. I underestimated it!”
“The cop in our house!” Wynonna snapped. “There’s a cop ! In this house!”
“I know why you made me check.” Waverly crossed her arms, bold. “I know you were hired to investigate the murders, and I can help --”
“No.” Curtis took the dead man aside. “Dear, would you?”
“I called him. In the morning he’ll be here to wipe her,” Gus reported. Curtis nodded and retreated to his study with the undead gunslinger and his cup of tea.
“No!” Waverly said, putting herself between Nicole and everyone else. “She deserves a chance. She tried to protect me.”
Gus and Wynonna exchanged a glance.
“I know you like her, baby girl, but she’s…”
“... Normal .” Gus finished. “She’s damned normal and orderly to boot. Everything has its place. You suppose she can handle this sort of chaos? You think that’ll allow her to sleep at night? The poor girl already has enough worries without a whole world added on.” Waverly looked down at the floor. “All of you to bed.” Gus had that Look on her face that meant no arguments. “She will be wiped in the morning.”
Wynonna dialed the police from a payphone.
“Hey,” she said with a strained smile, “Just telling you your officer Haught hasn’t been kidnapped.”
“Excuse me? Who is this?"
“She’s fine!” Wynonna insisted. “She’s okay, not kidnapped, don’t send a search party or fire her because she’ll be back in the morning. Thank you.” She hung up and backed away from the phone as if it might snap at her.
That…probably didn’t help at all.
“Shit,” Wynonna muttered before vanishing completely.
Two hours of tossing and turning in bed later, Waverly slipped into Curtis’ study. The dead man raised his head and fixed his one eye on his master. He tipped his hat.
Curtis didn’t look up from his work inspecting the dead man’s responses. He didn’t have prophetic magic, but he knew his adopted daughter well. “You’re here to tell me it wasn’t the rain or borrowing my scythe.”
“No, it wasn’t,” Waverly admitted quietly. She hugged herself and didn’t meet Curtis’ gaze. She explained it from the start -- Sneaking out at night and Nicole catching her -- “She touched my hand and the magic just…”
“Yeah.” Waverly flushed with embarrassment. Curtis didn’t respond. “You’re not going to tell me why, are you?”
Waverly sighed and changed the subject. “Did I pass?”
He grunted in response and set aside his glasses. He eyed the dead man critically. “The exam was to commune with the dead, to listen to them speak.” Waverly’s heart sank. “This man won’t say a word.” He paused, took in Waverly’s sadness. “Half credit.”
Waverly took the blow with a small nod. “But what about Nicole?”
“You know I can’t go against Gus without her taking my tomatoes hostage.” Curtis stood with a heavy sigh. He settled calloused hands on Waverly’s shoulders, tried to look her in the eye. Waverly stubbornly refused. “So I’ll call Nedley. Have him decide about Nicole.”
“Thank you,” Waverly said, slumping with relief. He nodded, ruffled her hair, and left her with the dead man.
“I can speak just fine,” the dead man rasped. Waverly jumped a foot in the air and landed with her hands before her in defense.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” Waverly demanded. “I only got half credit!”
“I don’t particularly like you,” the man drawled, “That’s what you get for disturbin’ a man’s sleep.”
“Asshole,” Waverly muttered before heading to bed. Not before gazing a little too long and a little too softly at one particular sleeping cop, though.
Morning arrived with more rain.
Gus shoved things a bit too hard, flipped the pancakes with a bit too much force. She shook her head every now and then. She wanted everyone gathered for breakfast to know she disapproved. Wynonna kept elbowing Waverly under the table, trading back whispered sisterly bickering.
Three polite raps. Waverly was at the door opening it before Gus could order her to. Nedley tipped his Stetson in greeting. He wore his simple, everyday uniform covered in a rain jacket.
He listened to Waverly’s story with a stony expression. He only took a moment to consider.
“All right,” he said, “She’s in, if she decides so. Who wants to tell her?”
Extreme care is taken to introduce adults to the supernatural. Usually, there’s a lot of screaming, sometimes a bit of crying, and a whole lot of emotional turmoil over being told you’re living the biggest lie ever. Sometimes there’s joy. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t secretly hope magic is real, but learning there are monsters included in said package usually brings out the tissues.
They designated one person that Nicole would trust: Waverly. The rest waited patiently downstairs to avoid overwhelming her (Or embarrassing her -- as Wynonna had opted to dress her in Waverly’s pajamas, not hers.)
Wynonna set Nicole down on Waverly’s bed. She moved to the door, but before closing it she gave one last warning: “If I hear moans and the headboard banging, I’m coming back with an airhorn and a camera.”
The shut door blocked Waverly’s vulgar gesture. She turned to Nicole, who slept peacefully, and took a deep breath in preparation to ruin it.
Wake, a voice commanded.
“Waverly!” Nicole shouted, bolting upright in bed, reaching for a gun on her hip that wasn’t there.
“Hey, whoa! It’s okay!” Waverly said, bracing Nicole’s shoulders. Nicole panted, swept her hair back, and took in the room with the speed of a good cop. A nice room. Waverly’s room. Not a graveyard in the rain. Just her crush’s room, in her crush’s house, during the day. Still raining.
Nicole blinked and fixed on Waverly, who appeared whole and unharmed.
Danger. Dead man. Rising from the dead, necromancy, learner’s permit --
“Magic,” Nicole breathed, “You’re some sort of witch . With witchy magic .”
Waverly nodded, a little embarrassed. Of all the magic in the world, Necromancy…well, wasn’t exactly wholesome, license or no. Admitting to your crush that you trample over the laws of natural order was difficult.
So many questions.
“How?” Nicole asked first. “ How ?”
Waverly tried not to fidget. “Well, see, magic is…real. And there are people who do magic. I’m from a family that does magic, so…Magic.”
Nicole nodded, eyes wide.
“So. The world…” Waverly gestured with her hands awkwardly. “Can’t…handle magic? Okay, I don’t understand that part either. But magic is hidden and there’s all sorts of laws about it because I have this theory, see, that people want to believe in magic and we’re only hiding it to feel special and the laws around it are sort of a reflection of the classist divisions that have plagued humanity since --” Waverly stopped herself, blessedly. “Anyway, it’s secret.”
“Secret,” Nicole repeated. “Magic’s real. You do magic . Like…”
“Please don’t say Harry Potter,” Waverly said with a frown. Nicole’s mouth clicked shut. “It’s different.”
Nicole took in a few deep breaths, thinking. Gus was right. Nicole did have a space for everything. But it just so happened that her space for Waverly was quite large indeed, so she took up all the magic, all the revelations, and put it there. The most fantastic part about that space is that it never filled up. It just got bigger.
Waverly’s magic, Nicole thought.
Well, I already knew that.
“Okay,” Nicole said with a nod and growing confidence.
It was Waverly’s turn to be confused. “ What ?”
“Okay as in, okay.” Nicole looked down at her ill-fitted pajamas with a frown. “Where am I?”
“Wait -- you’re not disgusted?” Waverly asked. Nicole shook her head “Horrified? About to storm out of the house and never talk to me again?”
“Why would I?” Nicole tilted her head, brow furrowed adorably.
“I raise the dead! ” Waverly exclaimed, gravely serious, “I literally pulled a corpse out of the ground right in front of you!”
Nicole pursed her lips, thinking it over for Waverly’s sake. She shrugged. “You said you had a permit.”
“I do, but I’m a necromancer, I necromance --”
“Hey.” Nicole set her hand on Waverly’s, causing her to stop and blush. “Waves. I don’t care if you sprout wings and horns.” Nicole frowned. “Well, I would care. Because I care about you.” She shook her head clear. “What I mean is, I doubt there’s anything you could do that would make me storm out and never talk to you again.” She brushed her thumb across Waverly’s hand when she got a smile. “Plus…I kinda remember you asking me to dinner.”
Waverly caught herself in Nicole’s smile. She froze there, heart fluttering, feeling like that smile was just for her.
Waverly took Nicole’s hand at last. “Let me show you where you are.” She pulled Nicole to her feet and too late remembered her outfit.
There was a lot of skin on display.
“Oh, jesus!“ Waverly flushed and covered her face, gesturing vaguely toward the end of the bed, “I forgot my sister dressed you -- Your clothes are there and shit I’m so sorry, shit, shit, shit, shit --” The door closed behind her, the words muffled and retreating.
Nicole snorted in fond amusement before pulling on her uniform. Her phone, keys, and wallet were all there and so where thirty-two missed calls and rising.
After a dozen ‘I’m fine, I’ll explain later’ messages, Nicole stepped out of the bedroom. Waverly seemed to have decided something and took her hand to lead her. Nicole said nothing, only smiled, and didn’t mind a single bit.
There were plants everywhere -- hanging from every beam and sunning in every windowsill, set atop any surface they could inhabit, spreading green life in every frame along with bright, shining colors. Not a single deadhead in the house save for the skulls atop the fireplace.
Waverly lead her into the cute dining room flanked by massive windows that provided sun to even more plants.
“This is my Aunt Gus and Uncle Curtis,” Waverly introduced brightly.
“Thank you for allowing me to say. You have a lovely house.” Nicole shook their hands with a polite nod. Gus seemed pleased with her manners and her intense stare eased as she put a cup of tea in Nicole’s hand.
“This is Wynonna. She’s…Wynonna.” Waverly said with a fond frown.
“Thanks sis. You’re welcome , by the way,” Wynonna said pointedly. Waverly blushed furiously. Before Nicole could figure it out, Wynonna slung an arm around her shoulder and hugged her close. “How is our kidnapped cop adjusting?”
“Slowly,” Nicole said, wondering why Wynonna was slightly familiar. “Do I know you?"
“Nope!” Wynonna said immediately and pulled away.
“And this is Nedley!” Waverly said. Nicole’s eyes went wide and her face paled. She almost dropped her tea.
“Officer Haught,” Deputy Commissioner Nedley of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in lieu of greeting. Nicole opened her mouth to try and speak but he raised a hand. “Come on over and sit. You’re not in trouble.”
Nicole sat obediently.
“Waverly filled you in?”
“Told me how you handled yourself.” Nedley said gruffly. “You’re a good cop.” He slipped a piece of paper across the table. “I’d like to offer you a job. No more parking tickets.”
“No more unexplained cases that vanish into your jurisdiction?” Nicole asked, eyes taking in the RCMP seal at the top and the words Supernatural Division.
Nedley smiled, obviously proud. “You’re a keen one.” His face turned serious. “It won’t be easy, simple, or safe,” he warned, “There’s a whole lot of monsters in this world that aren’t exactly human.” He smiled. “You get a moose.”
Nicole glanced at Waverly, only for a moment. She had already decided.
Enchantments take a long time, as do proper fittings. It was a few weeks before the ceremonial uniform was completed in her size.
Once it was, Nicole had driven up to the cottage as instructed for a celebratory dinner, only for Waverly to leap at her the instant her foot hit the lawn.
Waverly attacked her a devastating kiss that Nicole felt in every inch of her body. She drew her arm around Waverly’s hip, pulling her girlfriend against her, smiling into every touch of her lips.
“Wow,” Nicole said as they finally parted. Her tone turned teasing. “A thing for uniforms, huh?”
“No,” Waverly said absently, picking at the buttons. “I have a thing for you . After dinner, we’re going to your place and you’re taking my clothes off.”
Gus, Curtis, and Wynonna were stacked together, watching from the window by the door as plants bloomed wildly around the distracted pair. Neither had noticed the peculiar phenomenon.
“Should we tell them?” Wynonna asked. “I wanna tell them just to see the look on their faces.”
“No.” Curtis smiled. “Let ‘em figure it out.”