"Nicole? Are you here?"
The redhead flinches, startled by the noise. "In here," she calls from the couch. Waverly appears in front of her, face etched with worry. The brunette's shoulders sag, heavier than before. "Are you okay, Waves?" Nicole sits up, letting out a groan as she winces. Kevlar is definitely effective at stopping bullets from forming fatal wounds, which Nicole is grateful for. But it doesn't do much about the bruising and soreness. Waverly, coat and all, sinks to her knees in front of the couch.
"God, you got shot, Nicole," Waverly says, barely above a whisper. Her voice shakes, spilling over with unfiltered emotion. "And you're gonna ask me if I'm okay?" Nicole flushes, shrugging.
"I'm okay. I was wearing a bulletproof vest, remember." Nicole leans forward to touch her arm, but rears back when a flare of pain spreads across her chest. Waverly's eyes are puppy-like, and Nicole sighs. "Okay, yes. It hurts a little. But it's just some bruising and aches."
"Can I see?" Waverly asks.
"Can you answer my question?" Nicole challenges. Waverly sighs, giving Nicole a look.
"Please. I just— I need to make sure you're okay because honestly I don't think anyone else is and I really need you to be okay, because, god, Nic, I don't-"
"Waverly," Nicole says softly. "Here." Nicole sucks in a breath and sits fully up, reaching for the hem of her shirt and pulling it off. She's not wearing a bra, and damn, Waverly was not prepared for that. If the circumstances weren't so fucked, Waverly doesn't doubt she'd be having some very indecent thoughts right now. But Nicole's chest is an ugly purple color, with a spot of red in the center of the bruising. She gasps softly, looking up at Nicole.
"I-I'm so sorry, Nicole," Waverly mutters, tears welling in her eyes. Nicole reaches for her hand, pulling it gently to the left side of her chest. Waverly feels her pulse, rapid, but beating. It's beating. She's okay. "See? It's alright. I'm alright."
”But this is my fault,” Waverly argues. “Because my family is really messed up, a-and because Wynonna and I couldn’t stop Willa from-“ Waverly falters.
“Waverly, I know about the curse. Doc told me.” Nicole says flatly. She sounds almost bitter that Doc, not Waverly, was the one to tell her.
”O-Oh, right,” Waverly freezes for a moment. “Well, because we couldn’t stop Bobo and Willa until after you got shot.”
”You did stop them though, right?” Nicole asks, looking for confirmation. Whatever dryness was in her tone before has shifted back to her usual, kind one. Waverly gives her a watery smile.
”Yeah, b-baby,” Waverly stumbles on the pet name, testing the waters. “Wynonna, well, she had to. . .” She trails off, but Nicole nods; she understands.
“Uh, anyway, can I get you anything?” Waverly switches gears, handing Nicole her shirt back. The redhead keeps a straight face, but Waverly can tell she’s hurting, more than she lets on.
“Are you hungry? I can make you something. Or I can go get food if you want. Or we can—“
”Waverly. I’m fine.” Nicole clips, her voice coming off harsher than she intended. Waverly’s face crumples a little, and she moves to stand up.
“Oh. I guess I should just go then,” Waverly says quietly.
”Wait, no,” Nicole’s tone turns almost panicky. “No, I‘m sorry, please don’t leave.” Waverly turns back in an instant, rushing to Nicole’s side.
“Hey,” Waverly brushes a strand of hair red hair that has come loose from Nicole’s bun. “Hey, what’s the matter?”
In a rare moment, Nicole is vulnerable. Eyes wide, brow furrowed; she’s scared. She looked death dead in the eyes last night, and still, nothing scares her more than fucking things up with Waverly.
“I. . .” Nicole searches. “I, I don’t. . .”
“Hey, I got you, okay?” Waverly doesn’t hesitate, for once, and leans forward to kiss Nicole on the forehead. “Do you want to go lay down in your bed?”
Nicole nods, moving to get up. Waverly helps her, despite the redhead’s protests, and guides her toward the bedroom. For as small as Waverly is, the girl sure is strong.
She pulls back the covers for Nicole to get under them, and then lays them back over Nicole. Even with the weight of exhaustion and cast under a cloud of painkillers, Nicole Haught is the most beautiful thing Waverly’s ever seen.
“I’m going to go get you some food, alright?” Waverly tells her, only to be met with Nicole shaking her head.
“Lay with me, please,” Nicole says, and though it’s a statement, it sounds like a question. And while Waverly can’t imagine a universe where she wouldn’t want to be close to Nicole, she knows Nicole is nervous. It’s a relief, really, to know that she’s not the only one who’s scared.
“Of course,” Waverly smiles at her. She turns the light off and climbs under the covers with Nicole. For a moment, there is space between them, but eventually Nicole’s resolve breaks and she rolls onto her side, resting her head on Waverly’s shoulder. Her arm falls across Waverly’s stomach, nestling into her. Waverly wraps her arms around the redhead, shifting toward the headboard slightly to make herself taller than Nicole.
“Does this hurt your chest? Are you okay?”
“I’m better than I have been in a while.”
“Me too.” Waverly threads her fingers in Nicole’s hair, fingers running through fiery red locks.
“Hey, I’m sorry I didn’t ask earlier,” Nicole mumbles. “Are you doing okay? With, well, you know. . .”
“Wynonna’s taking it really hard.”
”I didn’t ask about Wynonna. How are you, Waves?”
“I feel different, but I don’t know.”
“That’s okay. We can figure it out together.”
”You mean you’re not gonna head for the hills now that you know the truth about my family?”
Nicole tilts her head upward, resting her chin on Waverly’s shoder. Her lips move against the bottom of Waverly’s ear when she speaks. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Waverly doesn’t respond; what could she even say? Instead, she tilts her own head and kisses Nicole. Eventually, they revert to their former positions. Nicole curled into Waverly’s side with the brunette’s arms wrapped around her.
“Thank you for coming to check on me.”
”Thank you for being okay. And for staying.”
While she may be the one who got hurt, Nicole knows Waverly needed this as much as she did. Perhaps that’s what makes the whole thing sweeter. Yes, they need each other, but it’s something more than that. Nicole just can’t quite figure out what it is yet.
But her curiousity can hold off for a while; she doesn’t mind waiting as long if it means she gets to be here like this with Waverly.
Nicole Haught may have gotten shot, but she’s certainly not feeling any pain.