“Ok...so are you going to shoot me or…?” Nicole grimaced inwardly, she’d tried to go for casual and it really was not the time.
“I haven’t decided yet.” Wynonna gripped her gun tighter, a look of absolute betrayal on her face that Nicole hated being responsible for. “Peacemaker might even work for Waverly in this case…you lied to her.”
Nicole had to choose her next words wisely. She had already enraged one Earp, another one wouldn’t do any good. She couldn’t see any other way around it though and the likelihood that she’d be around to even deal with it was dwindling fast.
“No!” Wynonna barked, shaking her head, clearly, she didn’t believe Nicole. Nicole couldn’t blame her, it wasn’t like Waverly to keep anything from her sister. Especially not something this big.
“She’s known for a while now…since before we…” Nicole’s shoulders slumped, none of this was going according to plan. Waverly was supposed to be here for her if it didn’t go well, she was supposed to help calm Wynonna down or more likely, in Nicole’s opinion, just be there so Nicole could say goodbye. Now she might never get the chance.
“No…she would have told me. Why wouldn’t she tell me?!” Peacemaker shook wildly in Wynonna’s hand and Nicole flinched for just a moment before she steeled herself for what was about to come.
“Well…” Nicole pointed to the still glowing gun aimed directly at her face.
“Fair point.” Wynonna shrugged and for a moment Nicole thought she might just lower her weapon, it actually seemed like Wynonna was about to, but then something flashed across her eyes and she held firm. “Were you ever going to tell me?”
“Yes,” Nicole said with a firm nod. That had always been the plan.
Wynonna let out a sarcastic laugh that made Nicole wince. “When?”
“We were planning on telling you…this weekend.”
“You expect me to believe that?” She laughed again, and Nicole gritted her teeth, this really was not going well.
“We wanted to tell you when I was the last one but-“
“But no one even knows if I’ll be able to break this stupid curse.” Wynonna began shaking her head, her aim never faltering even when her gaze drifted, and she seemed lost in thought.
“I do,” Nicole stated honestly, and Wynonna’s eyes fixed on her.
Nicole did know it, mainly because with her help Wynonna had been able to take down more Revenants than any Earp heir before her and Nicole knew Wynonna would get the rest of them too. She just wished Wynonna knew how much she had helped.
“All that information about the Revenants, it’s been coming from me. I can’t stand the thought of Waverly…of either of you living under this curse for any longer than you have to.” Nicole took a step forward, moving more into the firing line of Peacemaker. “You have to put me down though, I know that.”
“Y-you’re... going willingly?” Wynonna asked, doubt clear as day on her face even as she steadied her arm and her grip towards Nicole.
“Yes.” Nicole wouldn’t exactly call it willing, but she knew it had to happen at some point and Wynonna was so close now. With all the information Nicole had left Waverly to find, they could easily finish the job without her. She knew Waverly would be safe soon. “I am.”
“Waverly is never going to forgive me…”
“She will…she knew it was always going to end this way. We both did.” Nicole smiled weakly; that wasn’t strictly true. Waverly had her hopes and her wild dreams and no matter how many times Nicole tried to get her to think rationally, she knew it never really stuck. No matter what though, Waverly would eventually forgive Wynonna. Nicole didn’t doubt it.
“She stayed with you? Why?” Wynonna’s brow furrowed, and Nicole smiled for real this time because she knew why.
“I’m pretty sure neither of us meant for this to happen. It wasn’t exactly my plan to fall in love with an Earp.” Nicole hadn’t said it out loud before, but that’s what it was and had been for quite some time. She was absolutely certain it was love for her, and she had a pretty good inkling it was for Waverly too. That would have to be good enough now.
She thought it might make it worse, if she admitted to herself how she truly felt for Waverly, but it had simply solidified her plan. She loved Waverly too much to let the curse remain unbroken. She deserved a life, a real life not overshadowed by this and by what Nicole was.
“Can I just ask for one thing before you...” Nicole gestured to Peacemaker once again and Wynonna’s face hardened like she thought Nicole was about to ask her not to do the job she was destined to do.
“Can I say goodbye? One phone call, I just…please?” Nicole could feel the tears coming. She was positive it had to be a strange image, her eyes their hellish red, her brand glowing under the scrutiny of Peacemaker and tears rolling down her face. Wynonna didn’t lower the gun, but she nodded, her face softening just a little.
With a shaky hand, Nicole pulled her phone out of her back pocket. She hit the most recently called number and brought it to her ear as she turned away from Wynonna. Even before telephones allowed you to see another person’s face, she had found the things incredible. Nicole knew she couldn’t handle seeing Waverly right now though, no matter how much she wanted to just one last time.
“Hey baby!” Waverly’s voice chirped in her ear and Nicole bit down on her lip to stop it from trembling so much.
“Are you ok?” Waverly instantly sounded worried and Nicole wished she had been able to keep her emotions out of her voice. She was doing the right thing, Waverly had to know she believed that.
“Yeah…yes. I…” Nicole hesitated, she wouldn’t have picked this moment as the moment to tell Waverly, maybe she shouldn’t tell her at all and make it easier, but Waverly deserved to know how much Nicole cared about her before she was gone. “I just wanted to tell you that I…love you.”
“I know I should have said it in person for the first time. Believe me I wish I could but-“
“Nicole.” All the wistfulness was gone from Waverly’s voice, an authoritative tone that Nicole was usually quite a fan of taking over. “Put Wynonna on the phone.”
“Put her on the phone, Nicole. I know she’s there, I know she’s…does she have Peacemaker on you?”
“Waverly, it’s ok.” Nicole knew she was fighting a losing battle, Waverly was always going to fight this. No matter when it happened. Waverly would never be willing to let Nicole give herself up like this.
“No, it’s not. It is so far from ok! This was not how this was supposed to happen, not now…not like this!” Waverly was shouting now, and Nicole lowered the volume on her phone. The last thing she needed was for Wynonna to hear how distraught Waverly was before she had done what needed to be done.
“I love you...more than I’ve ever loved anyone.” Nicole sniffled as she spoke through the burn in the back of her throat. “You’re going to have such a great life Waverly. The life you deserve!”
“Nicole…” Waverly’s voice cracked, and Nicole’s chest felt like it was being ripped open. “You can’t…you can’t say that to me and then expect me to be ok with you leaving me!”
“I know...I’m sorry, I just needed you to know. I love you.” Nicole openly sobbed as the last words she needed to say got stuck in her throat. She took a deep breath. “G-goodbye, Waverly.”
Nicole ended the call on Waverly’s desperate screams, she dropped her phone to the ground and hoped that Wynonna hadn’t heard them. Her knees buckled, and she landed on them, head hung low as she took a few final deep breaths. She could do this.
“She’s ok…” Nicole lied as she lifted her head and faced Wynonna. “Do it. She knows you have to.”
The low hum of Peacemaker was the only sound she could hear as Wynonna’s finger began to squeeze at the trigger. Nicole closed her eyes, rushing through every image of Waverly Earp she had stored away in her mind for this exact moment.
“I’m sorry,” Wynonna said quietly as she pulled the trigger.
Four months ago.
“You’re an idiot.”
“Thanks Bobo.” Nicole rolled her eyes.
“You have absolutely no idea what you’re doing.” Bobo let out a clipped laugh and Nicole tried to tamp down her growing annoyance. She couldn’t get into a fight with him in the middle of town, despite how much she might want to.
“Did you really come into town just to call me an idiot?” Nicole put her Stetson back on her head, she knew she’d take the shape out of it if her fingers gripped it any harder.
“No,” Bobo said before he ran his tongue along his teeth, leaned forward and narrowed his eyes. “You stay away from her.”
“You might have decided after eighty years of self-imposed exile from the rest of us that becoming a cop was actually a bright idea, but you stay away from the Earps and we won’t need to have a problem.” Bobo didn’t back away and Nicole hated how much she wanted to take a step back from him.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Nicole had never been a particularly good liar, a good number of decades of not practicing her social skills had only made that even more true.
Bobo’s eyes narrowed further, and Nicole was beginning to squirm. She didn’t have to answer to Bobo, but she knew when she decided to move back into town, she was always going to run the risk of him trying to hold his influence over her again.
Bobo had to know what she’d been up to, she should have known there was no way he wasn’t going to keep an eye on her when he figured out she was back and had decided to join the Sheriff’s department. It might have held her back slightly from putting her plan into action if she had thought that would be the case but she wasn’t going to back down now. She squared her shoulders as his gaze hardened.
“Yes, you do,” Bobo replied knowingly before walking away, leaving a shiver down Nicole’s spine.
Of course, Nicole knew exactly what he was talking about, but she hadn’t imagined Bobo would think her brave enough to give any of the information she had stored away in her head about all of the Revenants to an Earp. Anyway, there wasn’t anything wrong with wanting a friend, right? Even if said friend was part of the family tasked with sending Nicole and everyone like her back to hell…
Nicole had only been sent down once after her first time. Josiah. Not long after she came back from that nightmare, she made herself scarce. She wasn’t under any kind of assumption that she didn’t belong down there-- she did. What she had done while she was alive haunted her, tormented her in her sleep and it was the reason she wanted to be right where she was, right now.
She wanted to do something good, be a better person before the inevitable happened again. She thought it might help if she ever came back, help her keep more of herself when she returned. Now that she’d met the current heir though, she wasn’t so sure she would ever be coming back once she faced down Peacemaker again.
She’d only met Wynonna a handful of times, but Nicole was pretty sure if any Earp was going to end this curse, it would be her. There was a fire behind those eyes, one she hadn’t even seen in Wyatt’s when Peacemaker was pointed at her for the first time, her arm around the throat of his partner and her gun pointed at his head.
Nicole squeezed her eyes shut. Every single time she was around another Revenant the memories came back stronger. She could feel his fear, her own fear and then her acceptance as she shoved him forward and Wyatt took the shot. She doubled over in the middle of the street, hands on her knees as she took in some deep breaths. She shouldn’t be seen like this in uniform.
Nicole’s eyes opened and she straightened up as fast as she could. Before she could stop it, a bright smile spread across her face at the woman in front of her. The warmth that was present whenever Waverly Earp was close to her returned and chased away her unpleasant memories. The first time Nicole had laid eyes on Waverly she realized that in some way her warmth burned hotter than hellfire itself, and she knew she was in trouble. If hell was Waverly Earp’s smile, Nicole would happily go back over and over.
“Afternoon, Miss Earp.” Nicole tipped her Stetson and Waverly’s answering blush gave Nicole a thrill that rivalled anything she’d done in her entire time on this earth. “Please though…call me Nicole.”
“Alright…Nicole.” Waverly’s eyes wandered across the street to Shorty’s briefly before darting back to Nicole. She was obviously on her way to work, that t-shirt Nicole liked so much adorning her frame, but she’d gone out of her way to come and check on Nicole.
“Do you need to get to work?”
“Yeah…but, are you ok? You looked a little…” Waverly’s blush came back. They weren’t exactly on such friendly terms that Waverly could openly state that Nicole looked like she was about to throw up all over the street.
“Just a migraine…I’ll be alright.” Nicole nodded, rubbing her temple for good measure.
“You’re sure? You could…come in and grab a glass of water?” Waverly hooked her thumb across the street towards the bar.
It was definitely a tempting offer, more time spent around Waverly despite Bobo’s ominous threat, but Nicole was determined to continue with the good impression she was making down at the station. Blowing off patrol to sneak some time, even with the town darling, was not going to win her any favors.
“I’m sure, thank you though. Maybe I’ll come by for a drink after my shift?” Nicole tilted her head, bravely bringing out that smile that always seemed to make Waverly a little nervous as she slipped her thumbs through her belt loops. It appeared to have the desired effect as Waverly seemed to zone out for a moment before clearing her throat.
“Yeah…that…sounds good. I’m on all night.” Waverly bounced once on her toes before she gave a single nod of her head and turned to cross the street. “Bye Offic-Nicole.” Waverly ducked her head and Nicole could have sworn she was muttering something to herself.
“Bye, Waverly.” Nicole couldn’t help but chuckle, at least she knew she could still fluster a pretty girl when she wanted to…even if said pretty girl had a boyfriend .