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Dust to Dust

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November 22, 2017 

 

It’s been more than a year, but Wynonna still isn’t sure if she’ll ever get used to riding around in the front of a cop car instead of in the back of one. 

Nicole pulls into the parking lot of the construction site, looking up at the large, daunting building. There’d been reports of strange things happening around here, and now one of the workers is missing. 

Lucado figured the strange things part fell in BBD’s area of expertise, while the missing person was crossing the line into Nicole’s territory. She’d passed the case off easily to Wynonna and Nicole. 

Working as a team like this is a dream come true for both of them. For Wynonna, doing things alone just doesn’t cut it anymore. Not since getting Nicole back. 

For Nicole, being the Sheriff has some perks. She can make her own decisions about which cases she works on and doesn’t have to risk being forced to do paperwork instead of being out here, by her girl’s side when she needs her. 

Wynonna turns and watches the way Nicole studies the large building that’s set to become some luxury condos, before turning her gaze to the building as well. 

“If the assholes in this town knew what was good for them there wouldn’t be a need for these goddamn apartments.” Wynonna thinks out loud, drawing Nicole’s attention to her. 

The officer turns back around, settling into her seat again and taking off her seatbelt. She reaches across the console to take Wynonna’s hand in her own and squeezes lightly, the corner of her mouth turning up just so as she watches the older woman still looking out the window. 

“Baby, if you knew how many times I heard something exactly like that when I came back here...” She almost laughs. 

People called her crazy for wanting to work in this weird little town. Told her she’d be better off somewhere else. Still, she knew this was where she had to be. 

Wynonna laces her fingers with Nicole’s and turns to face her, lifting an eyebrow. “I guess that’s fair,” she admits with a long sigh. 

Thinking about the unseen, unspoken danger Nicole, and even Waverly, were in each day before she came back still bothers her sometimes, even if that time is long over. “Let’s go find out what gross thing needs to be sent to hell. Whatcha say, Red? ” She asks after a moment. 

Nicole smiles at her and reaches out to tuck her hair behind her ear. “Well, who am I to say no to my future wife?” The younger woman tilts her head to the side, big brown eyes shining with love. 

Wynonna can’t help the wide grin that stretches from ear to ear at Nicole’s words. “Oh, come on, you loser…” She laughs, rolling her eyes playfully and shaking her head as she gets out of the car. Even though she pretends, she’ll never truly get tired of the way Nicole loves reminding her they’re engaged.

It’s been just shy of two weeks, but every day the feeling is new. Looking at Nicole’s hand and knowing that she really did it... Nicole will be her wife one day. It’s insane to her still, and each sweet or silly reminder from the redhead only makes it feel so beautifully real all over again. 

“Oh, that’s how it is? Fiiiiine…” Nicole says, getting out and looking over the car at Wynonna. Her eyebrows are raised and there’s laughter in her voice. 

Wynonna is still grinning and shaking her head when she comes around the car and grabs Nicole by the front of her jacket, leaning up on her toes to press a deliberate kiss to her mouth. Nicole makes a soft noise against Wynonna’s lips, one of her hands resting on her hip and the other on the back of her head. 

Wynonna pulls back with a smile and her hands slide down Nicole’s front, doing up the zipper of her jacket and pulling it up halfway. “It’s a little cold,” she says softly, patting her fiancée’s hip. 

Nicole watches her and thinks about how grateful she is that this side of Wynonna is and has always been reserved for just her. “I love you.” She sighs sweetly, resting her hand on Wynonna’s back as they walk closer to the construction site. 

“I love you, too, Haughty,” she responds, tucking her hands away in her pockets. 

They walk for a couple of minutes before Wynonna notices another seemingly familiar head of red hair a few feet away. She stops in her tracks, tripping Nicole up a little bit.

“Woah, baby! What…” 

Wynonna reaches out and hooks a finger in Nicole’s jacket pocket, pointing a little with her other hand. “Is that?” 

Nicole squints at the redhead, trying to get a good enough look at her face to see if she can figure out who Wynonna is thinking it could be. Before either of them get the chance, the woman turns around in her bright pink jacket and Wynonna instantly knows she’s right. 

“Earp?!” Mercedes says brightly, taking in Wynonna first. Her gaze then moves to Nicole and her eyebrows raise a little more. “And...Haught?!” She laughs, looking genuinely surprised to see the two women she’d known in high school standing in front of her. 

The greeting causes the two women to relax a bit and they both lift the hand that isn’t on the other one and offer her a small wave, smiling. 

“God, it’s been…” Mercedes starts. 

“Like 9 years or something.” Wynonna finishes, not realizing the way she’s still got her finger hooked in Nicole’s pocket. 

Mercedes looks over them again now that they’re closer and lifts her eyebrow at the way they touch one another, the corner of her mouth pulling up in a smug smirk. 

“Oh my god, Haught. The last time I saw you you were looking for her everywhere, now you’re a cop. And clearly, you did it.” She comments, sounding almost proud. 

Wynonna’s eyebrows pull together and she turns to look up at Nicole, who is already looking down at her with soft eyes.

The Sheriff looks back to Mercedes and dips her head. “Yeah…it took a while, but we’re here now. We got engaged, actually.” She smiles softly, still feeling the relief of being able to say that. 

Mercedes doesn’t miss the look on Wynonna’s face and reaches out to rest her hand on her arm. “Oh my god? Seriously?! You two...getting married?!” 

Mercedes is way more excited than Wynonna expects. It’s not exactly surprising that someone who knew all the shitty rumors about her would be surprised that someone wanted to marry her though. Wynonna nods proudly in response, leaning into Nicole’s side just a little bit. 

“Ugh, good for you! Congrats! You know, I kind of knew even back then... especially that night at that stupid Halloween party, do you remember? God, the way you looked at each other. And it’s still like that… that’s so sweet.” Mercedes beams, stepping back to look at the two of them side by side. 

“You hear that, Haughty? Your heart eyes were giving us away, even back then.” Wynonna says playfully, her blue eyes softening in a way that only Nicole would be able to pick up on. Her heart warms so much with the reminder, and with knowing that someone else thought that about them even all those years ago. 

“Oh, yeah I’m sure it’s all on me.” Nicole kids, rolling her eyes and chuckling her hand coming to rest on Wynonna’s shoulder. “Thank you, Mercedes it means a lot.” Nicole says genuinely, feeling a heavy wave of pride wash over her. 

“What the hell was that about anyway though? The disappearing act?” Mercedes says, scrunching up her nose. 

The abruptness of the question brings back feelings and memories that Wynonna has only shared with Nicole and some with Waverly. Nicole knows and tightens her arm around Wynonna’s shoulders.

“Ugh, I’m such an asshole — I shouldn’t have said anything about that, I’m sorry.” Mercedes apologizes sincerely, making Wynonna sigh in relief. 

“No it’s--fine. Just a long story.” 

“Well maybe some other time.” 

“Yeah, maybe,” Wynonna confirms with a curt nod.

“Well, what are you lovebirds doing here, anyway?” Mercedes finally says. 

“Oh, we got reports of some workers going missing?” Nicole answers, resting her free hand against her utility belt. 



*** 

 

Wynonna is so fucking thankful that Nicole was able to come with her here. The whole place gives her this sinking, sludgy feeling--something that she can almost taste and she hates it. 

Peacemaker is practically vibrating in her hand as they turn the dark corners and walk the long, dark halls. Up ahead, someone peeks around the corner before taking off in the other direction. With the way her gun reacts, Wynonna knows she has to follow.

Nicole notices the orange glow and pats Wynonna on the back, drawing her own gun.

“Go, baby. I’m right behind you. I’ll make sure it’s clear around here,” Nicole promises. 

Wynonna takes off after the runner, knowing Nicole will keep her promise. 

“Hey!” Wynonna calls after the guy who just keeps running. 

“Hey!” She calls again, picking up her pace a little but not running anymore. It’s a deadend anyway, and he’s fumbling like an idiot with a locked door. 

Peacemaker trills more intensely the closer she gets to him. Finally, when Wynonna is right beside him, he puts up his hands. 

“Don’t shoot!” He begs, trying to keep his eyes closed. 

Wynonna knows what that means and pushes up his hardhat with the barrel of her gun. 

His eyes burn bright red and the skin underneath them darkens but she recognizes him.

“Goddamnit, Earl.” She sighs, shaking her head. “You work here?!” She asks. 

“I-I needed somewhere to stay!” He counters. 

“Well, you know how this works, lifelong enemies…” She starts, sighing deeply. 

Even though Earl is as harmless as they come and Rosita and Waverly are actively helping her search for an alternative way to end the curse, Wynonna doesn’t want that information getting back to the wrong Rev. 

The man doesn’t seem phased, though. In fact, he’s distracted, sniffing at the air.

“Do you smell that? What is that?” He asks. 

In one swift breath, Wynonna’s lungs are filled with the scent and it seizes her.

“Shaladelle.” Wynonna breathes out, shaking her head. “I haven’t smelled that in…” 

Suddenly, the hall feels cold, and Wynonna feels something looming behind her. She turns, gasping when she sees the dark wispy figure hovering at the end of the long hallway. 

A feeling of dread washes over her and she’s overwhelmed with the memory of the last time she saw her big sister. At the end of Peacemaker’s barrel. 

It feels like she’s right there again, out in the cold, killing her sister. 

She’s pulled from the memory by the sound of Nicole’s voice in the distance.

“Wynonna? Baby?!” She calls, the sound getting closer and closer. 

Wynonna shakes her head, blinking away tears and trying to get a grip. 

Nicole takes Wynonna’s face in her hands when she gets to her, inspecting her with concern. 

“Wynonna, I turned the corner and you had Peacemaker drawn but there wasn’t anything... baby, what did you see? Are you okay?” She asks, smoothing Wynonna’s hair out of her face. 

Wynonna finally breathes, relaxing with Nicole’s hands on her face. She takes a deep, shaky breath. “I’m okay, Nic. There was… this black thing – looked like a ghost, something I’ve never seen before but there was this smell… and my head just went to Willa… I’m sorry.” She shakes her head again, trying to really figure out what she’d seen, feeling unsure. 

A second later, she hears feet on a staircase and it dawns on her. “Fucking Earl,” she growls, pulling out of Nicole’s grasp and taking off towards the stairs behind them. 

Nicole follows close behind this time. When they reach the stairs, she sees the man Wynonna is after, a few flights ahead of them. 

“Goddammit, Earl just stop running!” Wynonna yells, coming off the stairs and turning the corner she’s sure he’d rounded running right into a sticky web. 

She makes a high pitched noise and then Nicole is right behind her, running right into the web, too. 

“Aggh! What the fuck?! What is this?!” Nicole yells, twisting and writhing to get the massive, nasty web off her and failing. 

Wynonna pulls at what’s stuck in her hair and it makes no difference. She looks over at Nicole and stifles a laugh. 

Nicole glances at Wynonna, her face still twisted in horror from being covered in gooey mystery webs. “What?! What are you… are you laughing?” Nicole scoffs, still trying to brush the webs off of herself. 

“No, God, no of course not.” Wynonna clears her throat, looking away from the taller woman and back ahead. Any semblance of a smile she’d been wearing at the sight and sound of Nicole reacting to the webs dies away when she notices the massive, disgusting egg sac hanging from the ceiling. 

She points, getting Nicole to follow her gaze. The almost mummified hand sticking out of it confirms their fears. “Looks like we found Jesus.” Wynonna breathes. 

 

*** 

 

The drive back to the station covered in web goo with a huge, even webbier cocoon in the backseat is less than stellar. 

The plus is that they’re basically shoved into a decontamination shower together when they arrive. 

Nicole stands behind Wynonna under the steaming water, running her fingers through her long hair and making sure the last remnants of webs are long gone. 

“I think you’re finally, finally clean, baby.” She sighs letting her hands fall away from Wynonna’s hair and wrapping her arms around her waist instead, pulling her flush against her. 

“I’m so glad I cut my hair, or we’d be in here forever.” Nicole grumbles, resting her cheek against the side of Wynonna’s head. 

The smaller woman chuckles darkly, relaxing into the embrace and resting her hands over Nicole’s on her stomach. 

“Now, would that really be so bad, Sheriff Haught?” Wynonna smirks, turning in Nicole’s grasp and draping her arms around her neck. 

The taller woman settles her hands against Wynonna’s back, raising an eyebrow. “No...no, I guess it wouldn’t.” She drawls, letting her hand drift down to Wynonna’s ass. 

Just as Wynonna is about to press her mouth to Nicole’s ––

“Earp! Get in here already, I know you’re clean and I need someone to cut into this thing!” Lucado leans against the doorway and her loud voice cuts right through their moment, causing them to jolt apart. 

“Jesus Christ!” Nicole hisses, running her hands over her face. 

“Fucking hell, does no one respect the sacred privacy of the containment showers?!” Wynonna groans, poking her head out of the plastic curtain to glare at the blonde. 

“Don’t take all day.” Lucado says plainly, rolling her eyes as she walks back out into the office. 

Wynonna turns back to Nicole shaking her head, arms crossed over her chest. 

“Who does she think she is?” She asks bitterly. 

Nicole laughs gently, reaching out to pull Wynonna against her again. She holds her against her chest for a moment or two, just enjoying it. 

“Your – well, our – boss. Sadly.” She states with a sigh. 

Wynonna knows she’s right but she doesn’t want to admit it. She hates being bossed around by anyone who isn’t Nicole. 

“You gonna help me cut into this thing when we get out?” Wynonna sighs, leaning back enough to see the redhead’s face. 

“Oh… about that.” Nicole laughs, shaking her head slightly. “See, I’m still the Sheriff, so… I gotta… y’know… scoot.” She motions towards the door with her head, trying not to look too amused. 

Wynonna deflates, pulling her eyebrows together and glaring up at Nicole. The expression almost gets Nicole to laugh. 

“Seriously? What, because there’s something more urgent than a dead dude inside a big nasty spider egg?” Wynonna shrugs, clenching her jaw to hide the fact that Nicole almost laughing is getting to her. 

“Baby, you know what it’s like – I’m positive there’s somebody going 45 in a 30 or peeing in public as we speak.” She finally grins, squeezing Wynonna’s sides playfully. 

The tickling sensation paired with the absolutely stupid excuses make Wynonna laugh loudly, twisting in Nicole’s arms. 

“Jesus, Haught...you’re so…” She starts, but trails off, still smiling up at the other woman. 

“I’m so what , Earp?” She teases, leaning closer to Wynonna. 

“So fucking adorable. And sexy. God. And mine .” She chuckles again, leaning up on her tiptoes and pulling Nicole into a deep kiss. 

“You got that right. Especially the last part. And uh… does that mean you forgive me for not bein’ able to help cut up the cocoon?” Nicole asks a bit breathlessly when they part, biting down on her lip. 

“We’ll see. As long as you make it up to me later.” Wynonna lifts her eyebrow, cutting off the water. 

“Oh, that I can promise.” Nicole smirks, giving Wynonna one last kiss before they get out. 

 

***

 

Wynonna’s alone with the Jesus cocoon thing. This is so not her forte. She’s the woman with the big ass gun, not the dissect and analyze type of gal. She picks up a small scalpel. The aching in her chest reminds her that this used to be her dream. She looks at the small tool in her hand for too long. Every time she had dreamed about holding one of these, it had been in a hospital with a mask and one of those scrub cap things… In full scrubs and those stupid cottony shoe cover things. 

She shakes her head and the disgusting mass in front of her reminds her that all of that doesn’t matter anymore. A heavy sigh expels through her nose. She reaches forward and starts the “incision,” cutting through the sac. Soon after, she feels something… gooey. 

“Ewaaagh, not again, ew ew ew ew ew ew…” Wynonna groans, her mouth falling open and her tongue sticking out. 

“Baby, why aren’t you wearing gloves?” Nicole’s voice startles her and she spins around to find the sight of her tall Sheriff looking at her with a raised brow. 

Wynonna pouts and gives her fiancée the most pitiful puppy stare. “Well, if you’re so smart , why don’t you do it?”

Nicole grins, grabbing a few wipes from the desk near the decontamination area. She walks over to Wynonna and cleans the bit of goo off of her hands. “I thought you wanted to be a doctor…”

“A people doctor, Nic! I don’t want to cut open demon egg sacs with humans inside!” Wynonna whines. 

“Okay, well, people doctors wear gloves, too, you know.”

“Oh sure, rub it in… I still think you should put the gloves on then and help me. It’s not like you have a job to do or anything,” Wynonna teases. 

Neither of the women realize that Rosita and Waverly walk in quietly. 

Nicole scoffs playfully. “Oh hell no, I’m not doing your job for you, Earp.”

“But what’s mine is yours!” Wynonna bares her teeth adorably. 

“We’re not married yet,” Nicole shoots back. Wynonna pouts again--this time laying it on real thick. Nicole’s mouth drops open. “Oh no. Nuh uh! Not the pout. You’re not gonna win this one. I’m not getting all gooey again after that turnipy shower.” 

“B-but--”

“Oh my god! What are you two going on about?” Rosita is the first to break, alerting Wynonna and Nicole to their presence. 

“Fuck! Christ! How long have you two been standing there?” Wynonna asks. 

“Long enough to confidently say you two are so married. We’re just waiting on the ceremony and papers at this point.” 

Waverly smirks at Rosita. “This is how they’ve been this whole damn time. You don’t know the half of it.” She turns to her sister. “What are you trying to pass off on poor Nicole?” 

Wynonna pffts and Nicole chuckles. “Poor Nicole,” she whispers to Wynonna who responds with a gentle shove. 

“Lucado wants me to examine this spider cocoon thing that has Jesus in it from the construction site. But I’m the girl with the gun, not the scalpel and lab coat.” 

Waverly and Rosita exchange a wordless look before turning back to the other couple. “Let me and Rosie handle it, then. Rosie’s got--”

“Three PHDs…” Wynonna and Nicole finish in unison. 

“We get it, Waves. Both of your girlfriends are super geniuses with PHDs and it’s sooooo sexy,” Wynonna says, sticking a finger into her mouth and her tongue out to mimic gagging. 

“On second thought, we have somewhere to be…” Waverly starts, reaching for Rosita’s hand. 

“No wait-- Ugh, fine. I’m just joking. Don’t get your knickers in a twist! Please, my dearest, bestest, most loveliest sister… Will you and your equally lovely, super smart and hot girlfriend take this one from me?” 

Rosita grins when Waverly huffs. “C’mon, baby, let’s give your sister a break. We can knock this out easy.” 

“Fiiiiiine…” Waverly drawls. 

The two geniuses suit up and glove up and take the scalpel from Wynonna. 

“See? Gloves…” Nicole teases under her breath. 

“Shut up, Haught, before I shut you up.” 

“Oh, please do…” 

Just then, a deputy knocks on BBD’s door. She calls out. “Sheriff Haught? We need you out here.”

“Duty calls…” Nicole sighs. “Have fun with your goo.” 

“Booooo. Have fun being the sexy boss.” Wynonna leans up and kisses her briefly before she walks out. 

When Wynonna makes her way back over to Waverly and Rosita she notes how precisely both of them seem to be approaching this. Again, she finds herself aching a little… Watching more closely than she would admit. 

“So why is Lucado sticking you in here with this when you should be out there sticking it to supernatural nasties?” Waverly asks. 

“Because she doesn't need dead humans, she needs the things that get them dead. She's... dangerous. If we don't follow her rules…” Wynonna answers, trailing off at the end, unable to finish her thought. 

“We’ve all got you, Wynonna… We’ve gotta do this. So that Dolls can stop hiding. At least he gets to see Henry.” 

“Oh shit!” Rosita’s voice cuts through the Earp Sisters’ conversation. A second later a spiderling creature hops out of the sac. Waverly jumps back and screams. Wynonna starts to hop around, trying to avoid it. Rosita and Waverly climb on top of the table while Wynonna grabs the trash bin and traps it underneath. 

“Shoot it!” Waverly calls.

“Lucado would want it alive!” Wynonna retorts and then winces, disgusted. “I hate myself for saying that.” 

Rosie comes down off the table and holds the bin down as it rattles. Her eyes glow red and her lids and under her eyes go black. 

“Rose, your eyes…” Wynonna whispers. Black Badge doesn’t know that Rosita’s a revenant and they all intend to keep it that way--the last thing they need is for BBD to dissect Waverly’s girlfriend. Rose closes them quickly and tries to get a handle on herself. When she opens them, they’ve returned to normal. Wynonna gives her a reassuring nod and a small smile. 

“How long before this thing eats its way through this thing?” Wynonna asks. 

“If you don’t take care of it, it’s going to eat its way through Rosie!” 

Wynonna groans. “Fine!” She pulls Peacemaker from the holster on her waist and aims it near the bottom of the can at the floor. “Okay, Rose, go!” 

Rosita pushes the bin over and nothing comes out. They all freeze. Rosita bends down to search for it.

“Rosie no!” Waverly calls out. 

The spiderling comes running out and Rosita jumps back, running to the table that Waverly’s still standing on. Wynonna aims Peacemaker and fires. Dead spiderling. Waverly grabs a container, hops off the table, and promptly shoves the disgusting demon into a jar, screwing the lid on tight. 

Waverly turns to look at Wynonna. “Oh! Goo alert!”

Wynonna looks down at her hand and groans. “Motherfucker, I’m tired of this goo shit…” 

“I’ll run and get you a towel.” 

“Hell no, I’m not getting in there again. I just got out of there. I’m going home… Coconut-y goodness is waiting for me. Fuck this, I’m not Lucado’s lapdog. This is my team. I’m taking it back,” Wynonna declares confidently. 

Waverly looks back at her girlfriend and smiles. She turns to her sister again. “Speaking of your team and taking it back… Rosie and I have a lead on a way to break the curse without all the killing. Is it okay if we--?” 

Wynonna looks to Rosita and then back to her baby sister. “Waves, duh. You’ll be careful?” She says pointedly, her eyes wandering back over to Rosita. 

Rosita hops down and walks to stand beside Waverly. “I’ll keep her safe, Wynonna. You know I will.” 

“Okay… Call me the second you two are done.”

“You got it, Sis! Now go get your coconut-y goodness!” 

 

***

 

“So what exactly is this lead again, Rosie?” Waverly asks as they climb into her jeep. 

“A book. Supposedly in some ancient language… With details about the Earp curse and how it started and how to break it. Hoping it’s more than the obvious shit--’kill all the revenants, the end.’ There’s so many like me, Waves. People just caught in the crossfires. Never wanted this.” Rosita says sadly. 

“Hey…” Waverly reaches over and grabs Rosita's hand as they drive. “We’re going to find another way. That’s kind of Wynonna’s whole thing.”

“It’s yours, too, cutie. Give yourself some credit,” Rosita urges, smoothing her thumb over Waverly’s hand. “And it hasn’t been all bad, Waves. Without this curse, I wouldn’t have been around long enough to meet my girls… You changed everything for me, Waves. Both of you.”

Waverly can’t believe it on the best days that she has not one, but two women who care for her so deeply--who take care of her and are so attentive and understanding. “Feeling is so mutual, mi rosa perfecta ,” Waverly says sweetly. My perfect rose.

“¡Que encantadora!” Rosita teases. What a charmer! 

They arrive at the location and immediately Rosita feels unsettled. There’s a tingle at the base of her neck, but she can’t place it nor can she see what is making her senses go off in warning. “Waves… Stay in the jeep a second? Please?” 

“Rosie…No...”

“Baby?” Rosita begs. 

“Fine, but I’m getting out at the first sign of trouble.”

“Let me have a little bit of credit, eh?” Rosita urges. She brings Waverly’s hand to her lips and kisses the back of it before stepping out of the vehicle and taking hesitant steps out into the open. 

A man in a suit comes into view. He looks… Very plain. Still, Rosita can’t shake the daunting feeling looming throughout her chest. “Do you have it?” She questions cautiously. 

The man doesn’t speak. He tilts his head to one side and narrows his eyes. He seems to take in a deep breath through his nose… Smelling? Rosita scrunches up her nose in confusion. She lets herself really look over the man, taking in every detail. That’s when she notices the slow dripping from one of his clenched fists. Black blood? Goo? Drips onto the snow from his hand. 

“What the…?” Rosita looks back at the man’s face. His eyes have gone completely black. “Damn it!”  

He smirks and lunges at her, but she jumps out of the way at the last second. Her own eyes come to life as she brings out the demon within her. The next time he leaps towards her, she catches him by the neck and lifts him off the ground. “Where is the book?!” Rosita demands, a deep guttural voice layering over her natural one. 

“What do you want with the tome, revenant?” the man practically hisses, voices layering into his as well.  

“None of your concern.” 

“You want it?” He taunts. A moment later, his fist comes down hard across the side of her face and she loses her grip on him. He tumbles to the ground, more black goo oozing out onto the ground. “Come and get it!” He takes off and Rosita chases after him. 

Waverly can’t stand the sight of Rosita being hit. The younger Earp woman scrambles out of her jeep and goes to run after her girlfriend when something seizes her chest and stops her in her tracks. Her eyes find pools of black goo where Rosita had just been fighting that strange man. 

Goo bad. Goo bad…  She chants it over and over to herself, but her feet seem to move on their own towards the shiny… Black… Her steps are slow. The dazed look on her face is lost on her. Completely unaware, she crouches down and presses her finger into a pool of blackness. Her eyes go black for only a moment before they settle back to normal. She stands and blinks. 

All at once, she can see again. Her feet move her towards where she’d seen Rosie run off, away from the pools of goo. “What…?” She asks herself. Shaking her head, she gathers her bearings right as Rosie runs up to her with a large book in her arms. 

“Waves, baby, are you okay?” Rosie asks, reaching one of her hands up to cup Waverly’s face. 

Waverly smiles softly and genuinely, not recollecting anything that she’d done over the last several movements. “Yeah. Are you? Everything okay?” 

“I got it! Let’s get the hell out of here… I have no clue what that man was…”

“My sexy baby… So brave. C’mon…” Waverly takes Rosita by the hand as they walk back towards the car. Her eyes flash black again, but she blinks them away a moment later. 

Rosita looks ahead, completely unaware. 

Chapter Text

November 29, 2017 

 

Nicole shuts the homestead’s door quietly behind her. She looks deeper into the house searching for any evidence of movement as she undoes her gun belt. Normally, Wynonna would meet her at the door with about a million sweet kisses and eager, wandering hands. No matter what time. 

Nicole saddens a bit over the ritual being broken, but it’s worry that settles the heaviest in her chest. “Baby?” she calls, stepping towards the living room with her belt in her hand. 

“Here.” Wynonna’s voice is soft, but it still startles Nicole. She’s sitting so still, staring into the empty fireplace. Nicole hadn’t seen her in the dark. 

“Hey, you scared me.” She chuckles a bit, feeling relief when Wynonna is in front of her. Something is wrong though, she can feel it. “You didn’t meet me at the door, thought the world might be ending,” she jokes, sitting down on the arm of Wynonna’s chair and running her fingers through that long dark hair. 

Wynonna doesn’t say anything. She just sits there, Nicole’s fingers in her hair, staring into the dark, empty fireplace. 

“Baby…” Nicole says again, an edge of urgency in her voice. 

Wynonna finally looks up at her. The whites of her eyes are bloodshot and the irises are much brighter blue than normal. She’s been crying. A lot. 

“Nicole, we have to talk.” She sounds ragged, even after she clears her throat. 

Nicole reaches out a hand with the intention to rest it on Wynonna’s cheek but the older woman pulls away, pushing herself up from the chair. Wynonna looks smaller, more frail. Her skin looks paler and her eyes are a sickly purple underneath. 

“Well I thought that’s what I was doin’...” Nicole says, swallowing the lump that’s formed in her throat. She’s trying to keep it light, trying to pretend she isn’t scared. More than scared . Of whatever is happening. 

“Nicole, we can’t do this anymore. We – we can’t get married. It was so stupid to think I could have that.” Wynonna says the words like they burn coming out. 

Every single bit hits Nicole like a truck. Worse and worse with every word that comes out of Wynonna’s mouth. She feels dizzy, like she might pass out. A wave of nausea washes over her and she lets the gun belt slip from her lap and into the empty chair as she stands up, her hand pressed against her belly. 

“Wynonna…” She says softly, her own voice sounding far away. She steps closer to the smaller woman, who only takes a step back, keeping her distance. 

Nicole feels like she’s crumbling. Falling from a tall cliff knowing that there are only more rocks underneath her. 

“Come on, baby. You don’t mean that. Not after… after everything. Please tell me you don’t.” Nicole begs, shaking her head as her fingers twist in the uniform shirt. 

Wynonna’s arms cross over her chest and she looks anywhere but at Nicole’s face. She can’t bring herself to look into those eyes. Not while she hurts them both the worst they’ve ever been hurt. 

But it has to be done. Has to. Before Nicole can get hurt again. Before she can get killed again. For good this time. Wynonna has to go, it’s the only way. She can’t protect Nicole, she can’t protect anyone. She has to mean it, even if it’s the last thing she wants. 

Wynonna’s silence only makes Nicole ache more. She just wants to touch her, to hold her, to tell her that this will be okay and they can get through it. But she doesn’t move towards her again, doesn’t want to push. She just wrings her own hands together nervously, swallowing hard again as she waits. 

“I do, Nic. I’m sorry. I just –– you’re not safe with me. Nobody is. And I can’t put you in danger every single day. It’s selfish.” Wynonna sighs, digging her fingers into her bicep hard. 

Nicole’s mouth feels dry and she knows the tears are coming, she can feel them burning in her eyes just before they roll hot down her cheeks. Her eyes go to the ring around her finger and it feels like it’s made of lead all of a sudden. 

“Please… don’t. I can’t – not again. I can’t do this again, Wynonna.” Nicole sounds small, her voice breaking. 

The sharp sound makes Wynonna look up at her finally. Her eyebrows pull together as she watches the woman she loves break and crumble because of her. Because of her

If you don’t do this now, something much worse will happen to her. You’ll get her killed. You never deserved her anyway. Everyone was right, Wynonna. You ruined her fucking life. 

Wynonna hears the words echoing in her mind as clear as day. She believes them, more than ever. She doesn’t deserve Nicole and she never did. It was so fucking stupid and selfish of her to put that ring on her finger and promise her forever. She could never give her that. She’ll just put her in an early grave. 

“Nicole, it’s the only way. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have… I can’t… I can’t let you get hurt.”

This hurts, Wynonna. This is what’s hurting me,” Nicole pleads through her tears, her hand over her chest, crumpling the fabric there. 

It stings and Wynonna winces, clenching her jaw tight. 

“I’m not gonna let you get killed. I can’t be selfish like that, Nicole. Not anymore.”

“You’re not selfish, Wynonna. You’re not. I’m not – I’ll be okay, I just need you.”

“We can’t. Okay? It’s over, this –– it’s all over. It’s done.” 

“Please, ‘Nonna… don’t –- don’t leave me again. I’m begging. Please, don’t leave me again. I love you, I –– we’re supposed to get married, ‘Nonna. Please. You promised.” Nicole clutches the ring on the chain still hanging around her neck after all of these years.

Wynonna looks into those big brown eyes and finds the most broken, aching and desperate look she’s ever seen in them staring back at her through the tears. She feels her own tears falling and does nothing to wipe them away or stop them. There’s no point. She’ll cry over this for the rest of her miserable, fucking life if she even makes it through the night. 

Losing Nicole is like a knife in her gut, twisting and twisting forever. But she has to give it up. For Nicole. 

“I love you, too. More than anything. That’s why I have to. You deserve better, Nicole. A better fucking life. I hope you find it. Away from here. You shouldn’t have ever come back here,” Wynonna chokes out, wiping at her nose with the back of her hand as she walks away, leaving the redhead alone in the living room. 

Nicole’s knees buckle and she collapses to them, broken and sobbing harder and louder than she ever, ever has. 

Wynonna’s head is foggy for a minute as she begins to wake. When she gets her bearings enough to know that she’s awake –– when she can hear her heavy breathing and feel the sweat-damp sheets underneath her, she sits up straight.

The quick movement alerts Nicole, who lifts her head from the pillow immediately. “Baby?” She says, her voice low and rough from sleep. 

Wynonna’s face falls into her hands and she wipes roughly before pushing the sweat soaked pieces of hair framing her face back. 

Nicole blinks a few times, shifting to prop up on her elbow. She watches the way Wynonna’s shoulders rise and fall, and knows what’s happened. 

Nicole had woken with Wynonna after so many nightmares for so long, the signs are obvious by now. Still, it doesn’t make it any easier to see her baby afraid and trembling like this. She reaches out with a soft hand, rubbing soothing circles over Wynonna’s bare back.

“Are you okay, ‘Nonna?” She asks quietly, a little less foggy. 

Wynonna sighs, her shoulders slumping a little under Nicole’s mending touch. She turns her head to look at Nicole, almost afraid to – like she’ll see the broken expression from her nightmare. But she does it anyway and she’s met with only love and concern in those sleepy eyes.

Nicole is blinking fast, but her lids are heavy, trying to keep her eyes open to be there for Wynonna. The corner of the older woman’s lips pull up just a little as she begins to recover. 

Nicole is here with you and she’s okay. You’re both okay. Wynonna takes a deep breath and tries to remind herself. 

“Bad dream. Really bad.” She sighs, chewing on the inside of her lip as she keeps her eyes on Nicole. 

The redhead opens her arms, motioning with her hand for Wynonna to come lay against her chest. Wynonna obliges easily, moving to let Nicole wrap her up. 

“Sorry. ‘m all sweaty.” 

“Doesn’t bother me, baby.” 

“Sorry I woke you, too.”

“Don’t be...do you wanna talk about it?” Nicole mumbles the words against the top of Wynonna’s head, holding her close to her body and stroking her arm and her hair like she’s delicate. 

Wynonna thinks about it for a moment. The images and the words are still so vivid in her mind. She reaches up with one hand to take Nicole’s left off her arm, holding in her own two. Wynonna’s fingers find the band around her fourth finger easily, even in the dark. She touches it for a moment, breathing a sigh of relief that it’s there. 

She decides after thinking for a few moments that she doesn’t want to get into the details. That they don’t matter because she has this. She has Nicole, right here, holding her and protecting her and loving her. Wanting her to be okay. And she isn’t going to let that go, no matter what. She’ll die before something happens to this woman or before she puts her through hell by leaving her again. 

Wynonna pushes herself up enough to look down at her fiancée, so beautiful just from sleeping. Those beautiful eyes look up at her in the dark and she lets her fingers drift to Nicole’s chest, resting right where the necklace she’d been clutching in the dream would be if she were wearing it. She takes it off for bed, only for bed. So that it won’t get ruined in any way. 

“What is it, baby?” Nicole asks softly, her free hand comes to rest against Wynonna’s cheek. 

“I just want you to know that I love you. More than anything. And that no matter what happens, I’m gonna be here. I’m not gonna leave, not gonna fuck this up.” Wynonna’s voice is almost a whisper, but she just lets the words flow out however they want. 

“I do know that. I promise that I know.” Nicole replies just as softly, bringing Wynonna’s face closer so that their noses are touching. She lifts her head just enough to press a sweet kiss to the end of Wynonna’s perfect nose, a small smile playing on the corners of her lips. “I love you, Wynonna. And I know that you always keep your promises.” 

The faith that Nicole has in Wynonna will never not astound her. Nicole never stops believing in her and she’ll be grateful forever. Wynonna smiles, shaking her head softly in disbelief. 

“Besides, didn’t think you put this here for nothin’.” Nicole smirks, lifting up her hand and wiggling the finger with her engagement ring on it. 

Wynonna laughs gently, happily. She looks at the ring, so perfect on Nicole’s finger and takes the younger woman’s hand in her own. Wynonna presses a kiss to the palm of Nicole’s hand, before moving up to leave one on the ringed finger as well. 

“I am not breaking that promise. I swear, Haughty. I’m marrying you. Whatever it takes.” Wynonna breathes, still holding her hand. 

Nicole’s smile widens and Wynonna thinks about how pretty she looks smiling and sleepy-eyed. 

“Kiss me, please.” Nicole asks, lifting her eyebrows. 

“Gladly. Everyday. All the time. Always. God, I love you.” 

“I love you, baby.” Nicole whispers against Wynonna’s lips as they connect. 

The kiss is long and sweet and when it’s over Wynonna’s body feels completely settled again. All of the aching and panicky vibrations have vanished. 

She curls up in Nicole’s arms and rests her head against her chest letting the sound of the heart that she’s always loved soothe her back to sleep. 

 

*** 

 

Rosita moves about the kitchen to “Nicole’s” house. The house had really become hers and Shae’s (and at times Waverly’s when she isn’t at the homestead with Wynonna). Breakfast is ready, but they seem to have run out of forks… 

The revenant goes to the dishwasher when she sees the dish drying rack is clear. Nothing in there either. 

“What the hell…?” Rosita asks herself as she closes the dishwasher. She’d only used three forks while cooking and there are two set at the table. Little by little over the last few days, Rosita had started to think she was losing her mind. Where is the silverware just evaporating to? 

“What’s up, babe?” Shae asks, walking in dressed for a shift at the hospital. 

Rosita turns and purses her lips to the side. “Have you noticed that we seem to be missing some silverware?” 

“You sure they’re not in the dishwasher?” 

Rosita shakes her head. “No, I just checked… I can just wash one of the ones I used when I was cooking but… Where the hell is it disappearing to?” 

“Dunno. But I can buy some more on my way into work and bring it home? Does that work for you, Rosie?” 

“Huh… Yeah, I guess, but…” Rosita rubs her face. “Have you--” She lowers her voice. “Have you noticed… Sometimes Waves has started to space out and like… Stare at it? And that she… has been forgetting little things?” 

Shae’s eyes shine with concern. “Her sister just killed her other sister… After her other sister turned out to be evil and tried to kill the whole town with Bobo... After her sister basically came back from the dead… Not to mention the fact that they are basically almost dying every week. She’s going through a lot, Rosie. She’s just… Traumatized.” 

The three of them are all scientists to some degree… Rosie’s specialty is chemicals. Shae’s is healing people. As much as Rosita doesn’t exactly buy it, she has to admit that her girlfriend makes a good point--one she can’t really argue with without using her gut as evidence. In her time on this forsaken earth, she knows her gut is just as important, but… Shae is more of a sound, logical mind. 

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” 

Waverly enters the kitchen with a bright smile, bouncing up to the both of them and giving them each a good morning kiss. She looks to the table and slumps exaggeratedly. “Rosie! You spoil us! Seeeeeee? It’s not so tough being vegan! This looks delicious! Were you two waiting for me? Sweeties!” 

Rosita and Shae share a look and smile in sync at their girlfriend. For the time being… Missing silverware can be forgotten. Waverly is happy and Rosita can appreciate that above all else. 

They eat breakfast once Rosita washes another fork. A couple of times, Rosita’s sure she sees Waverly start to daydream intensely while staring at her butter knife. In the next instant, Waverly’s right back to normal, smiling in the way that makes her eyes turn into crescents. The pit in Rosita’s chest eases only slightly. She’s afraid something deeper is going on with Waverly and she doesn’t know what to do… 

 

***

 

Shae kisses them both goodbye and Waverly turns to Rosie when they’re alone. “Are you okay, Rosie? You seemed kinda spacey at breakfast…” Waverly moves to link her fingers at the back of Rosita’s neck and play with some of the stray strands of hair from her messy bun. 

Rosita moves into the embrace, linking her fingers at the small of Waverly’s back. “I’m good, Waves. Are you okay, though?” 

“Yeah! Why?” Waverly asks, knitting her eyebrows together, perplexed. 

“Just checking on you… I know you’ve gone through a lot lately… With Willa and… Everything. If you need to talk, you know you can talk to me about anything right?” 

Waverly tilts her head, eyes shining with all the love and adoration she carries around in her tiny body. “Baby…” she coos. “Of course, I know. I feel… Kind of powerful lately, actually. I get sad sometimes, but… I lost Willa a long time ago. That person… That wasn’t my sister. Not that Willa was a stellar sister to begin with, but… I never thought she was evil. I’ve got two brilliant women who take care of me… My real sister is engaged to another wonderful woman. Shitty demons aside, I’d say we’re all doing pretty okay, right?”

Rosita listens carefully. Now, she’s really lost. Shae says Waverly is traumatized. Waverly says Waverly feels powerful and seems to be coping pretty incredibly. Maybe it’s denial? That’s one of the stages of coping, Rosita tells herself. Something shifts in Waverly’s eyes for only a fraction of a second, but Rosita sees it. She’s seen it a few times before. She narrows her eyes. 

Before Rosita can speak again, Waverly is kissing her and she can’t help the natural way that she falls into it. When Waverly’s tongue moves against hers, she pulls back, shaking her head a little. 

“What is it?” 

Waverly should taste like maple syrup and tofu omelets, but Rosita tastes something else--something that alerts the demon that sleeps within her. And it trembles.   Rosita looks deep into those green eyes she is so in love with. “Nothing…” The fear stops her from being honest and she hates herself for it. “I’ve gotta help Doc open the bar today… I totally spaced and forgot.” 

“Okay, baby, go get ready! I can drop you off.” 

“Okay… I’ll be down in like twenty.”

 

***

 

Rosita locks herself in the bathroom and pulls out her phone to call Wynonna. 

“Hey, Rose, what’s up? Waves was supposed to be with you. Is she okay?” Wynonna breathes almost in one breath. The way the woman worries for her younger sister touches Rosita and she smiles softly despite her worry. 

“Yeah, Wyn, she’s here. She’s about to take me to Shorty’s,” Rosita speaks quietly. 

“What’s with the whispering?” 

“Listen, I have a weird question. Have you guys started missing silverware?” 

“Can you drink whiskey from silverware? If not, I’m not gonna notice. I don’t do the cooking. I wash and go.” 

Rosita hears Nicole say something in the background. 

“Rose is asking if we have missing silverware. What? Oh… What the fuck? Nic says yeah we are missing silverware. How the fuck did you know?” 

“I was just-- Trying to connect some dots.” 

The line is quiet for a moment. Wynonna speaks softly now. “Is it Waverly?” 

Rosita sighs. “I think so. Something is… Going on with her. Ever since we got that book… She’s been kinda... off. Have you noticed?”

“A little. I chalked it up to all the bullshit we just had to go through. What the fuck is she stealing silverware for? Are you guys stocked up there or some shit?” 

“That’s the thing… We’re missing tons of it, too. I don’t know where the fuck she’s putting it… If it is her… Feels like it has to be…” 

“Hold on-- What, baby? Shit, really?! Nic says the cop shop is missing silverware, too…” 

“What… the fuck?” Rosita questions more for herself. 

“I don’t know… Rose, what the fuck is going on with my sister?” 

“I--” Rosita pauses. She swallows the tough knot stuck at the base of her throat. “I don’t have a clue. Don’t-- Don’t bring it up. I tried to ask if she was okay and she’s either in denial or really doesn’t know anything. I don’t want her to get freaked out.”

Wynonna pauses. “What does Shae think about all this?” 

“She thinks Waverly’s just traumatized from all the shit like you said. She doesn’t know that Waverly seems to be mass-thieving cutlery. I didn’t want to freak her out either. Especially right before work.”

“Fair. What are you gonna say to her later?” 

“The truth. Hopefully with more details. Let me know if you notice anything else weird today?”

“Will do. Thanks for calling me and giving me a heads up. I’m glad you’re with us, Rose.”

Rosita smiles. “Thanks, Wyn. I’m gonna go. I gotta get ready and I don’t want Waves getting suspicious. Talk to you later.” 

 

***

 

Wynonna walks into their bedroom in time to see Nicole putting the finishing touches on her uniform in front of the mirror. The short red hair really suits her… Wynonna stops to stare. The flashes of an utterly broken nightmare-Nicole flash through her mind briefly. Real Nicole looks over her shoulder at her and grins brightly. 

This is her reality. And she’s not going to fucking blow it up like the deepest, darkest parts of her want her to. Destroy it now before it destroys you. Wynonna tightens her jaw and screams a silent NO! back at the demons that live inside her head. If it destroys her, then so fucking be it, but it won’t be because she tears it to pieces first. 

“Baby, can you hand me my necklace on the table by my side of the bed?” Nicole questions sweetly. 

“Sure thing, Haught Toddy.” Wynonna crawls over the bed and picks up the familiar chain, but it clinks unfamiliarly. “What--?” Wynonna examines the necklace more closely. There are two rings hanging from it now instead of the one she’d promised herself with so long ago. “Haught, what the hell is thi--?” 

Wynonna stops.

Ringed fingers bring the rings in for a closer look at the new addition. The ring looks very similar to her old ring, but better. So much better. Diamonds line the intricate band around a beautiful, black, pear-shaped onyx. Wynonna looks up to Nicole with her jaw slack. 

The stalwart redhead looks back at her with a glint in her eyes and a slight smirk on her lips. She takes slow steps towards where Wynonna sits on the bed, dumbfounded. She reaches out to take the necklace gently from Wynonna’s hands. Wynonna lets Nicole take over. 

Nicole unclasps the necklace and carefully removes the new ring before placing the chain back on the table. Slowly, she sinks down to one knee beside the bed and reaches out for Wynonna’s left hand with her right one. Her thumb brushes steadily against the back of Wynonna’s hand. 

“Wynonna Earp…  I love you more than every sappy movie I ever made you watch. I love you more than you love beluga whales. I love you more than I love dolphins. I love you more than you love donuts. I love you more than Westley loves Buttercup. I love you more than I ever knew I could love a person… I know… You already asked me to marry you and I said yes. But... Will you marry me?” 

Wynonna listens, breathless through every word. Nicole always manages to be the biggest, romantic sap in the stupid universe. Wynonna spent years hating every damn thing that had to do with romance… Because of Nicole Haught’s stupid, perfect romantic self. She missed every second of this. She missed getting to be soft… She missed getting this woman who loves her more than even the things she named doing things like this for her. 

The tears brim in her eyes and she doesn’t try to stop them. Tears fall freely as Wynonna laughs. “Yes, you asshole, I’ll marry you. And you fucking know that. You just had to make me cry. Asshole.” 

“Yeah, you said that already…” Nicole grins. She slides the new ring onto Wynonna’s finger smoothly, looking up to Wynonna at the end. Piercing blue eyes, bluer from the tears, stare back at her. 

“Come here, you idiot,” Wynonna beckons, reaching for Nicole’s face with both her hands. Nicole rises so that she can meet the passionate kiss she’s pulled into. Nicole pushes Wynonna back down onto the bed. 

Wynonna smirks. “Don’t you have to get to work, Sheriff?” 

“I’ve got enough time for this…” Nicole breathes against Wynonna’s lips. 

“Oh, you so don’t… But I guess you have time for at least one round…” 

Chapter Text

Dec 2, 2017 

 

The soft buzzing of her phone alarm wakes Nicole. She reaches to shut it off as quickly as she can, trying to save Wynonna from waking up before she has to. When brown eyes find the brunette, relief and joy settle in her bones. The woman is fast asleep. 

Nicole sits up and swings her legs off the bed.  She stretches her arms out above her head, yawning with her eyes screwed shut. Instinctively, her hands sink onto the bedside table searching for her necklace. Seconds pass and Nicole’s eyes snap open. Panic wakes her completely. It’s not there.

“No…” she whispers. The tall redhead goes about searching around the bedside table, under her bed, and anywhere else in their small space. No luck. Her voice remains quiet as she tries to keep her fiancee sleeping peacefully in their bed. “Fuckfuckfuck.” 

A light goes off in her head. 

“Waverly,” she comments, louder than she intends. 

Wynonna stirs slightly, still not fully awake yet. The sound of heavy, furious footsteps on the stairs jolt her awake. “Nicole?” 

The Heir reaches out across the bed, hands gliding over still-warm sheets. “Nicole?!” Wynonna calls out louder. She’s on her feet in the next moment and stepping onto the stairs. 

“Where is it?!” Nicole’s voice reaches her and terrifies her. It had been a long time since Wynonna had heard the woman take that tone. Even more terrifying now, the woman she loves is using that tone with the only other person she’s loved her whole life--her sister. 

“Nicole?” Waverly’s soft, quiet voice is almost indiscernible because of the ruckus that sounds throughout the room next. 

When Wynonna reaches the room, she’s frozen for a moment. Nicole has pulled open the drawers of Waverly’s chest of drawers and her bedside table by the time that Wynonna regains her devices. “Nicole! Nicole! Stop! What are you fucking doing?!” She yells. 

“She fucking took it, Wynonna!”

“Wynonna, please, I don’t know what Nicole’s talking about!” Waverly interjects pitifully. Wynonna’s blood runs cold at the sight of Waverly curled into herself, sitting in the middle of her bed with the covers pulled up around her and crying. 

“Nicole, fucking stop it!” Wynonna yells again. This time she reaches the taller woman and takes her by the shoulders and then takes her face in both of her hands an instant later. She’s torn between the utterly destroyed state of the two most important people in her world. “Nicole… Nicole, baby… Please talk to me what the fuck is happening?” 

Nicole shakes her head. Red hot tears streak her cheeks but Wynonna’s touch would always soothe her--even if only slightly. “My necklace… With your ring. It’s gone.” 

Speaking the words aloud seems to undo the healing of Wynonna’s touch. Nicole straightens and pulls out of Wynonna’s reach and points an accusing finger at Waverly. “Obviously, it’s the latest thing to fall prey to her sticky fingers!”

Waverly’s mouth falls open in pained shock at the accusation. “Nicole, I would never take your necklace! What are you talking about? What-- Nicole, please!”

Nicole falters and then finds her resolve again. Before she can open her mouth to spew more venom at Waverly, Wynonna grabs her by the arm and starts to drag her out of the room. “Go downstairs. Cool the fuck down. I’ll be down in a second.” 

They share a look--Wynonna pleading, desperate and pissed, Nicole pissed, desperate, and broken. Nicole scoffs and stomps back down the stairs. Wynonna turns back to her baby sister and gives her an apologetic look. “Waves…”

“‘Nonna, I don’t know what Nicole’s talking about. I don’t know why she would-- I’m--” Waverly starts to cry. Her head drops and she presses her eyes into her knees. 

“Baby girl, listen to me, listen…” Wynonna walks over to sit on the bed in front of Waverly and places her arms around Waverly. “We’ve gotta talk. Whatever’s going on, we’re gonna fix it.” 

Waverly looks up at her sister. “Something’s wrong with me, isn’t there?” 

Wynonna shakes her head. 

“No, I’m-- I’m missing time. There are these… gaps… where I don’t know how I got somewhere or what I’m doing… What is happening to me?” 

Wynonna sags with the defeat of the truth of Waverly’s words. “I don’t know, Waverly. I don’t know. Listen, I’m gonna go talk to Nicole and then she’s leaving for work. Then, we’re going to talk through this, okay? Are you okay?”

Waverly rubs her hands over her covered legs. “Go... Tell her-- Tell her I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, ‘Nonna. I never-- I’m sorry.” 

“Shhh, baby girl. No sorries. We’re going to figure this out. It’s not you… Something-- It’s not you,” Wynonna speaks weakly. She’s not sure whether she’s trying to convince herself or Waverly. 

 

***

 

Wynonna finds Nicole in their room, pulling on her uniform. 

“Nicole, what the fuck was that?” Wynonna bites harshly. 

Nicole doesn’t answer. She pulls her pants up over her shirt and fixates on making sure that her uniform looks as pristine as it can. 

“Haught!” Wynonna storms over to Nicole and grabs the woman by her wrists. Nicole avoids her gaze. She’s still crying. Wynonna softens. Her hands find Nicole’s face again. “Baby… I’m sorry about your necklace… But you know-- You know something’s going on with Waverly.” 

Nicole sniffles, still keeping her eyes down and off of Wynonna’s face. 

“Nic, please, talk to me before you leave…” 

A few long moments pass and Nicole’s voice is hoarse and frail as she finally speaks. “I know… I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I just-- Haven’t gone a day without your ring. Feels like I’m breaking our promise.” 

“Oh, baby…” Wynonna melts. The anger directed towards her fiancee dissolves to sadness and she aches for her just as much as she aches for her sister. “It’s not your fault. And look…” Wynonna raises her hand to show the ring in place on her finger. That same hand reaches for Nicole’s left hand to run her thumb around the ring she’d placed there. “No promises broken. We’re together… We’re engaged... to be married, loser.”

Nicole’s jaw clenches. “Not in the mood for that, Wynonna.” 

Wynonna blanches at the way Nicole says her name. “Sorry…” Wynonna moves both of her hands back to Nicole’s face. “I know it sucks and it’s not gonna feel good at all today, but we’ll find it okay… I’m going to talk to Waverly before I come in today. Maybe she can give me some answers.” 

“Okay. I gotta go.” Nicole turns to leave but Wynonna pulls her back. 

“Don’t do that shit,” Wynonna begs with a pained expression. “Not to me. We don’t do that shit anymore…” Wynonna smooths her hand around to the back of Nicole’s head. “No matter how pissed you are, don’t ever walk away from me like that… Not after--” 

Nicole leans down and presses her forehead to Wynonna’s. “I know. I’m sorry… I’m sorry.” 

“C’mere…” Wynonna whispers a moment before their lips are touching softly. The kiss breaks and they remain pressed against one another for a few seconds. “Just try to focus on work… Okay? I’ll figure out what’s going on with Waves… I’ll find your necklace.”

Nicole nods. “I love you.”

“I love you, too, Nic. Now go… I’ll see you soon.”

 

***

 

Wynonna enters Waverly’s room to find her baby sister starting to put her room back together between sniffling and wiping her nose. 

“Nicole’s gone,” Wynonna offers in an attempt to get Waverly to relax. 

“Okay.” 

“Do you wanna tell me about these weird memory gaps?” 

“Not really.” 

Wynonna moves to help with the cleanup. For a while, they just clean. When the room looks to be in order, Wynonna tries again. “Waves, can we please talk?” 

Waverly sighs. “I don’t know what to say Wynonna. I feel like shit. Rosie’s been asking if I’m okay a lot and I haven’t really understood why. Then, that with Nicole? Nicole’s never even been annoyed with me before... That was… hard.”

“I’m so sorry, Waves. I know Nic is, too…” 

“Yeah… I know what that necklace is-- I’m sorry that I-- Took it, I guess?” She pauses and shakes her head. “I don’t remember taking it. I thought I slept all night.” Waverly looks to her boots that are strewn out of place and pulls her eyebrows down. She hadn’t worn those in days so why are they out? “Maybe…” 

“Hey, we don’t know you took it…” Wynonna offers, unconvinced. 

“Yeah, we do,” Waverly replies. She’s defeated. 

“Well… Maybe… But we also know that no matter what’s going on, we’re going to find a way to make it right. That’s our whole thing, remember?” 

“Yeah, sure.” 

They continue to clean out Willa’s belongings until Wynonna finds an old journal--Willa’s. She can almost smell the shaladelle again. Her memory flashes with the image of the lady in black and she drops the diary. 

Waverly turns to see Wynonna frozen. “Wyn... You okay?”

“I think Willa is haunting me.” 

“You think what?” 

“I’ve seen this… lady in black a few times. And she always smells like… Like…” Wynonna chokes on the word. 

“Like what?” 

“Shaladelle.” 

“Mama’s perfume.”

“Willa liked it best.” 

“Wynonna… I don’t think she’s haunting you… You just-- You’re just still dealing.” 

“I killed her, Waverly. She has every right to haunt me.” 

“Yeah, well she turned against us and tried to kill the whole town, so…” 

Wynonna turns to look at Waverly with a mixed expression of hurt and sadness.

Waverly walks over and picks up the journal off the ground. The page that it had been open to has her name on it. There’s also a photo of a young Willa and Wynonna… with Waverly ripped off of it. She starts to read. 

“‘I hate that they brought the baby into the house. There’s something wrong with it. Mama told Daddy we have to do what is right. What does that even mean?’” 

Wynonna looks over Waverly’s shoulder. “Waves…”

Waverly looks to her older sister with already-red eyes that start to glisten with new tears. She shakes her head, turning back to read more. “And why does she get the pretty name? Waverly. Whatever. She’ll never be one of us.” 

“Waverly…” 

“She didn’t think I was an Earp.” 

Wynonna considers their childhood. It’s blurry at this point, but Willa had always been meaner to Waverly. “She was just being a mean kid…” 

Waverly shakes her head. “I don’t know, Wynonna. Bobo said--”

“Bobo said what? Since when do we listen to that fucking weirdo?”

“Look, he was shitty but he wouldn’t lie…” 

“Waverly!” Wynonna wonders if this faith in Bobo has anything to do with the weirdness that they can’t seem to explain. “He was a psychopath. He fucking stole Willa from us and-- No, I’m not listening to fucking Bobo. You’re an Earp. You’re my sister. I was here when they brought you home. I gave you your pretty name. They wanted to name you Welcome… Welcome!” 

There’s a pause. Waverly chews her lip in consideration. Wynonna interrupts her thoughts again. 

“Nope. You’re an Earp. You’re Waverly Earp. My sister. Just as cursed as me. Hell, Willa might have fed Bobo some stupid lies…” 

Wynonna’s phone goes off. Lucado. “Shit. Waves, I gotta go.” 

This talk only leaves Waverly more broken than before, but she puts on a brave face and nods. “Okay.” 

“I love you, baby girl. I’m sorry!” 

Waverly watches her sister leave. She curls up on the bed with Willa’s old journal, alone. The scene from earlier plays over in her head. Nicole had been so angry at her… Gentle Nicole… One of the best friends she’d ever had. She starts to cry again, ruining the pages of the journal filled with words of loathing directed at her. Is she really that bad?  

 

***

 

It feels like years pass before Nicole gets to take a break. The whole day has been one big shitstorm after another. Nicole doesn’t exactly expect this to make it any better, but it might at least get them some answers. 

The Sheriff walks into Shorty’s, her eyes scanning the room for one person only. Rosita comes out of the backroom carrying a box of new liquor bottles just as Nicole is approaching. The shorter woman smiles brightly at her, looking happy

Evidently, she hasn’t gotten a call or visit from her girlfriend yet. 

“Howdy, Sheriff! Can I get you something? You hungry?” Rosita asks casually, setting down the box and dusting off her hands. She turns to give Nicole her full attention, leaning against the counter. 

Nicole doesn’t budge. She rests a hand against the bar and keeps the other on her belt, a nervous habit. She can’t stop thinking about that fucking necklace and she doesn’t want to sit down for another minute. 

Rosita’s grin falters when she notices that Nicole doesn’t seem happy at all. She’s not smiling, not even a little bit. She looks far away. If the Revenant is being honest, it scares her a little bit. 

“Hey… is everything okay, Nicole? What’s going on?” Rosita’s eyebrows pull together and she keeps her voice low as she asks. 

“It’s Waverly.” Nicole says sternly. 

Rosita stiffens, straightening up immediately. “What happened to her? Is she okay?” 

Rosita looks distraught and Nicole hates herself for wording it that way. She sighs and runs her hand across her face. “Nothing happened, Rose. She’s – fine. At home with Wynonna. Fuck, I’m sorry I know how that sounded. Shouldn’t have said it like that.” 

The brunette visibly relaxes, sighing deeply and letting her eyes close for a moment. Thinking about something happening to Waverly makes her ache deep in her bones. Especially now with everything that’s been happening lately. 

She shakes her head, letting her mind ease and her shoulders relax a bit as she leans back into the counter. “It’s okay, Nicole… you didn’t mean it. You’re stressed, I can tell.” Rosita sighs, nodding to her and reaching out to pat her arm. 

Nicole sighs in return, nodding to her and leaning in a bit more so they can talk more discreetly. “Do you know what’s goin’ on with her, Rosita?” Her voice sounds tired and upset, no matter how hard she tried for it not to. 

Rosita seems to sink into herself again. The worry becomes evident on her face and she begins trying to busy her hands with whatever she can find. “I wish. I’ve been looking –- trying to find something… anything that will give me an answer about what’s going on but there’s just nothing.” 

Having to admit that feels like a kick in the gut to Rosita. She’s supposed to be a fucking genius, she’s lived for over a hundred years and yet she can’t fucking figure out what’s going on with her girlfriend. It aches in a way she hates, a way that threatens to break her open. She feels like she’s failing and this visit from Nicole doesn’t help that. 

Nicole balls her fist and lets it come down on the bartop slowly, over and over again. “Great.” Nicole seethes, looking away from the bartender and around the room. 

“What did she do, Nicole? Why are you so upset?” 

“She took my necklace.” Nicole’s words are venomous. 

Rosita’s eyes widen and she looks at Nicole's neck. The silver chain was usually apparent, even in uniform it’d be tucked away under her button up shirt. Not today. 

“You saw her?” Rosita questions, looking up at her hopefully. This was the closest they’d been to someone actually seeing what weird things Waverly was doing with silver objects. Or what they all suspected, anyway. 

“No, I didn’t. I woke up and my necklace was gone. Where else would it go, Rosie? I didn’t lose it. I put it on the nightstand before I went to sleep, just like I do every single goddamn night. Only difference is when I woke up this morning it wasn’t there. And I looked everywhere before I blamed her for it.” 

The word ‘blame’ strikes Rosita a little. Even though she knows what Waverly is doing, or what they think she’s doing, is weird and inconvenient…she’s still Waverly. 

She reminds herself that this is also Nicole, and no matter how upset she is about her necklace, she probably hadn’t snapped at Waverly or anything over it, right?  

“Well, did you get it back?” 

“No. I didn’t. That’s why I came to ask about her. Somethin’s wrong with her. I just know . Like I know she took the necklace.” 

Rosita swallows hard. It was one thing for her to realize something was up with Waverly, and for Wynonna to suspect something too…but all along, Shae has remained skeptical. That had given Rosita the briefest amount of hope that maybe it wasn’t too bad. 

All that hope is gone now. The only person who is more chill and logical than Shae is Nicole… and here she is, entirely convinced that Waverly is up to no good. 

Rosita sighs heavily, hanging her head as she breathes out harshly. “I...I’ll keep trying, okay? I’m sorry about your necklace. Whatever happened to it…I’m sure we’ll find it.” Rosita tries to reassure her, even as she feels like her own head is splitting open. 

“Wait here, alright? I’ll be right back.” Rosita says plainly, stepping away. 

Nicole rolls her lips together and taps her fingers against the bar. This had been so useless. No new answers, just a renewed annoyance for the situation and a deep fear that the ring she’d worn since she was seventeen was gone for good. 

Her mind goes back to seeing Waverly whimpering and sobbing in her bed this morning while she yelled at her. Nicole feels an ache of pity and sympathy for her friend, for her fiancée’s little sister. The redhead hadn’t ever even been annoyed with Waverly to the point of raising her voice at her before this...no wonder she’d been so upset. 

Still, Nicole feels the rage bubbling inside of her at the loss, knowing that there isn’t any other option. It has to be Waverly. 

“Here. Take this, on me.” Rosita passes a bag with a to-go box inside of it off to the cop and offers her the best smile she can. It’s weak and barely pulls up the corners of her mouth, but it’s something

Nicole takes the food in both her hands and softens a bit, offering a tight smile to Rosita in return. “Thanks Rosie...If you – if you figure anything out, call me, alright?” 

They share a look and a nod and Nicole leaves Shorty’s not really feeling much better than when she’d walked in. 

Only a few minutes pass between when Nicole walks out the door and when Rosita’s phone rings. She feels it vibrating in her pocket and pulls it out. Waverly.  

Rosita’s stomach clenches and she gives a look to the other bartender, letting her know she’s stepping away. 

“Hey baby, how a-” Rosita stops mid sentence. The smile she’d been wearing when she answered, expecting to hear Waverly’s sweet voice is completely wiped away. 

She doesn’t hear Waverly’s voice at all, all there is is sobbing. Gut-wrenching, aching sobs. 

Rosita feels like she’s going to throw up. “Waverly, baby… please – are you okay? Are you safe?” 

Rosita relaxes only slightly when Waverly manages to choke out that she’s okay, that she’s still in bed. What the absolute fuck could’ve happened to make her feel like this? 

“Why are you crying, Waves?” Rosita asks softly, wrapping her free arm around her waist, holding herself. 

It takes a few minutes for Waverly to calm down enough to tell Rosita what’s happening, but when she does...Rosita feels rage seep into every part of her body. 

“She did what ?” Rosita’s voice deepens, becoming plagued by rumble from low in her chest. The skin around her eyes darkens to black and her brown irises flash burning red. She’s glad no one is around to see. 

 

*** 

 

Nicole is sitting at her desk, finishing up a report she’d finally been able to focus on after hours of feeling furious and empty at the same time when the door swings open. 

It startles her, making her mark across the page and hop back in her chair. The redhead looks up with wide brown eyes and a clenched jaw to find her best friend standing in her office. 

Shae came directly from a shift at the hospital, that much is obvious. She’s still dressed in her white coat and her long braids are pulled back in a perfect ponytail. She looks beautiful, but pissed. 

“What the fuck, Shae?” Nicole shakes her head, blinking up at the woman. 

“I could ask you the same thing, Nicole. What the fuck ?” 

She sounds so angry, Nicole feels rattled to her core. In all the years they’ve known one another, Nicole doesn’t know if she’s ever heard Shae this upset. Especially not with her. 

It dawns on her a second later that this is probably about Waverly. Nicole sets her jaw and rolls her eyes, moving back closer to her desk and huffing at the ruined report. 

“You can’t just fucking go off on people like that, Nic. You have no idea how shitty that made her feel.” 

“I think I do, I was there.” 

“So, you do and you don’t care?” 

“I didn’t say that I don’t care, Shae. I’m at work.”

“Yeah, and so was I. Til I got a call from Rosita saying Waverly called her crying so hard she couldn’t fucking breathe. Over a fucking necklace. Jesus, Nicole. You’re engaged, for god sake, do you really need some stupid ring from high school that badly? ” 

Nicole’s heart sinks. Her whole being feels like it’s breaking in two. Her eyebrows raise and pull together and her mouth falls open a bit, completely shocked by Shae’s words. She’d been there through nearly everything. 

On Nicole’s worst days when all she could do was lay in bed and cry, clutching that stupid ring, Shae had been there with her. She knew everything, every detail that Nicole had about her life with Wynonna, about how much she missed her and needed her. Shae knew how much that ring meant to her. 

The redhead feels her lip begin to tremble and hot tears well up in her eyes. Anger and pain radiate through her, pulsing in every cell of her body. “Get out.” 

“Nic, I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t mean it like that, it just – Why would you blame Waverly ?” 

“I said get out. I’m not talking about this anymore.” 

“You gonna push me away, too? Blame me next?” 

“Leave, Shae! Just go!” 

Nicole is crying now, wiping her tears away harshly. She can’t think about anything other than those hateful words. Something she never thought she’d hear from Shae.  

Shae crosses her arms over her chest, taking a deep breath in and releasing it. She’s hurting for both of them, too. Her best friend and one of the women she loves more than anything. She waits for a moment to see if Nicole will change her mind. 

Shae chews on the inside of her lip and nods when it’s obvious that she won’t. “Fine, Nicole. Whatever. I hope you find the necklace, and so does Waverly, if you care. She loves you. I love you. Think about that next time you’re looking for someone to blow up at.” She says, slamming the office door shut behind her. 

Nicole jumps at the sound of the slam. The Sheriff sits for a moment, the heels of her hands digging into her eyes furiously as if trying to rub out all the tears, all the hurt. 

Nicole pushes away from the desk and rises to her feet a moment later, shoving all the papers and books and anything within reach off the desk and onto the floor angrily. She sinks back into the chair and drops her face into her hands, crying violently, not caring who can hear. 

 

*** 

 

Wynonna’s sitting on the kitchen counter with a cup of coffee in her hands when Nicole comes trudging in. 

“Hey, baby.” Wynonna calls, a little too cherrily for how Nicole is feeling. Her eyes are puffy and red from crying and she just wants to fall into bed. 

“Hey, Wyn.” Nicole says softly, rubbing her eyes. She looks down at the plate and cup sitting next to Wynonna on the counter. Wynonna slides them closer to her. 

A grilled cheese and a cup of coffee. Wynonna isn’t good at cooking and that’s one of the only things she can make without burning down the house. 

It’s nearly 11PM and Nicole hasn’t eaten all day aside from picking over the lunch Rosita had made for her. She just couldn’t make herself eat. Now, after that shit with Shae… She wants to eat even less. She just pushes them back and shakes her head. 

“Sorry. Thanks for makin’ it, I just...don’t feel like it.” She sighs, pushing a hand through her messy red hair. 

“That’s okay, Nic.” Wynonna assures, reaching out to rest a hand on her arm. 

Nicole sighs, resting her hands on Wynonna’s thighs. “Is Waverly...is she okay?” She asks, her voice a mix of sad and bitter. 

Wynonna smiles softly, taking a sip of her coffee. “She decided to… go stay with Rosie and Shae for a few days.” She sighs, raising her eyebrows as she finishes off the mug and sets it down on the counter. 

Nicole sighs, pushing herself away from Wynonna and shaking her head. “So she’s still upset then. Great. Shae’s pissed at me, too. This fucking day couldn’t have been any worse.” 

Wynonna pushes out her bottom lip a bit as she hops down from the counter. “Aww...Nic, C’mere…” She offers, pulling the woman into her arms. Her hand reaches up to run through Nicole’s hair as she hugs her. 

Nicole settles into the embrace, finally feeling like she can breathe again after the suffocating days she’s had. Her eyes feel heavier the longer she stays in Wynonna’s arms. 

“Can we go to bed? I feel like a fucking zombie.” She sighs, stepping back a bit.

“Of course.” Wynonna smiles up at her. 

Nicole leans in to kiss her and Wynonna accepts the kiss, pulling back after only a moment and smoothing her hand over Nicole’s hair. 

 

***

 

Nicole curls up into a ball when she’s under the sheets. Her arms wrap around herself and she feels the weight of everything again. She can’t cry anymore though, even though her body wants to. It’s too tired. 

Wynonna presses against her back, wrapping her arm around her and pressing a lingering kiss to the back of her neck. 

“Rest, Nic. Tomorrow will be better.” Wynonna whispers. 

Nicole takes a shaky breath and nods, pulling Wynonna’s arm tighter around her and lacing their fingers together. 

Wynonna smiles, leaning her cheek against Nicole’s back. 

“I love you, ‘Nonna.” Nicole murmurs, already feeling her sore eyes getting too heavy to hold open. 

“I love you, too.” Wynonna says sweetly. 

 

*** 

 

Nicole wakes up with her alarm the next morning and reaches for the nightstand, hoping to find the cool metal of her necklace laying there. Even though it’s stupid, her heart still aches when her fingers meet only wood. 

The younger woman sighs, pulling herself out of the bed and going to take a shower. 

When she’s out and ready for work, Wynonna is still curled up on her side sleeping peacefully. 

Wynonna’s back is to Nicole and the redhead climbs across the bed to just sit by her for a moment. She runs her hand soothingly over her back and side, just enjoying a moment of quiet before she leaves without waking her. 

“I love you.” Nicole mutters gently, leaning down to press a sweet kiss to the side of Wynonna’s head. 

“Mmm... love you.” Wynonna mumbles, even in her sleep. 

It earns a soft, honest smile from Nicole. The sweet sound makes her heart flutter in a way she hadn’t felt at all the day before. 

When the kitchen door shuts and locks behind Nicole, Wynonna wakes. A smirk pulls up the corner of her mouth and her eyes flutter open, filled completely with an empty blackness. 

Chapter Text

December 3, 2017 

 

Doc stirs when he hears the door open downstairs. It’s close to 4am and he knows who should be coming in. A moment later, the footsteps on the stairs confirm that it is who it should be. Henry has the sound of Xavier’s feet on the stairs memorized. 

He pushes himself up to lean on his elbow when the other man comes into the loft, carrying a metal case. Dolls puts the case down on the desk and starts shrugging out of his winter coat. 

“Did I wake you up?” Xavier asks lowly, turning to look at Henry. The only light filtering into the room is the light from the moon coming in the window, but it’s all they need. They’d know how to find one another even in pitch darkness. 

“No, I was not asleep,” he says gently, his mustache twitching as the corner of his mouth pulls up. Henry doesn’t say it, but there’s no way he would have been able to sleep until Xavier was back. The best part is that he knows he doesn’t have to say it--Xavier knows. 

“What have you got there?” 

“Something important, apparently. The people I took it from weren’t too keen on handing it over.” 

“You do not know what is inside?” 

“No. It’s locked. There’s some initials on it though, pretty sure it’s an Earp thing.” 

Doc nods, pulling the covers back and moving over so that Dolls can climb into bed. They settle, and despite being out in the cold, Xavier’s body is warm against his own. 

“Were you seen?” 

“I don’t think so. I made it back, didn’t I?” Dolls smirks, nestling closer to Doc and wrapping his arm around the other man. 

“Yes and for that, I am most grateful.” The smaller man smiles, sighing as he drapes an arm across his abdomen and presses a kiss to his cheek. 

“Tomorrow, you’ll take it down to the station and have Jeremy and Wynonna look at it?” 

“Of course, Xavier.” Doc’s voice already sounds more tired as the exhaustion from the day and from worrying while he waited for his boyfriend to come back washes over him. 

Xavier hums, pressing a kiss to the top of Henry’s head before pulling the covers up some more and closing his eyes. 

 

*** 

 

Rosita wakes up to the sound of Shae’s alarm. She grumbles, snuggling closer into the doctor’s back for a moment, pressing kisses all over her bare shoulders before even opening her eyes. 

Shae smiles, reveling in the warm embrace for as long as she can before she has to pull herself away. The day before had been rough to say the least and waking up like this is at least a good start to the day. 

Rosita doesn’t even realize she’s drifted off to sleep again until Shae wakes her up by pressing kisses to her face. The revenant blinks, her girlfriend slowly coming into focus. Shae stands next to the bed fully clothed, much to Rosita’s disappointment. 

“There’s coffee downstairs. When you see Waves later give her a kiss for me.” Shae says sweetly, pressing a kiss to Rosita’s lips. 

“Mmhm – will do. Please be careful.” 

“You know I will. I love you, Rosie.” 

“I love you, too, baby.” Rosita smiles, kissing Shae one more time before she leaves their bedroom. 

When she’s alone, Rosita sinks back against the pillows and reaches for her phone. No new messages from Waverly. 

It’s not exactly surprising, considering it’s only 7AM – but Waverly is an early riser. Rosita tries to shake the worry that stirs in the pit of her stomach. 

When Shae texts her letting her know she’s safe at work, Rosita pulls herself from the warm bed and hops into the shower. 

A few hours after that are spent doing things around the house – cleaning up, doing laundry and whatever else she can find to busy herself. Rosita checks her phone for what feels like the thousandth time around ten. Waverly should be up and about by now, she should’ve called… but there’s nothing. 

Rosita’s eyebrows pull together and she texts Shae, knowing she may not get a response for a while. 

 

Rosie: Have you heard from Waves? 

Shae: No, baby. She still hasn’t called? 

R: No. I’m gonna call again and try Wynonna. I love you.  

S: Okay, Rose. Let me know. I love you. 

 

Rosita calls Waverly and there’s no answer. Her phone rings until the voicemail turns on. She sighs deeply, rubbing her forehead as she waits for the tone. 

“Hey, Waves… is everything okay? Can you give me a call back, or a text if you’re busy? I’d go over but I… yeah. Right. I love you, I just wanna know you’re okay.” Rosita leaves the message and stares at her phone for a minute. 

Panic begins to fill her. She can feel her chest tightening and she swallows hard, trying to drown it. Rosie dials Wynonna this time, hoping that the Heir is at home with her baby sister and that everything is okay. She gets no answer there either. 

Rosita ends the call abruptly, not bothering to leave a voice message. Anxiety pricks at every nerve in her body and she rubs her hands over her face. 

After a few minutes of unsuccessfully trying to calm herself down and sending out a text to each of the people she knows, she decides that the next person she’ll contact is Dolls.

He’s the only person she knows who is bound to be in one place, and she prays that he’ll answer. 

 

Rosita: Are you good to talk?

Dolls: Yeah, what’s the problem?

R: Hopefully nothing. I don’t know. Waverly isn’t answering her phone and neither is Wynonna.

R: I’m just worried.

D: Henry went to the station. Wynonna’s there. 

D: I’ll go check on Waverly.

R: Would that be safe?

R: Hello? 

 

She waits but he never answers again. Rosita can only hope that it’ll all be okay as she pulls in a deep breath and exhales, closing her eyes.

 

*** 

 

“What do you think the E.E. is for?” Jeremy asks, inspecting the heavy silver briefcase intently. 

“Uh… um… god, I dunno. Earp… something Earp, obvi.” The demon using Wynonna’s body thinks aloud, rolling her lips together. 

Mictian is strong and vast. It makes Wynonna’s true consciousness feel like she’s folded up and stuffed inside a too-small box. It pulls from her memories, from Waverly’s memories… whatever it wants, it can have. 

Eventually the thought comes. “Edwin. Edwin Earp.” Mictian can see the name clearly inside of Wynonna’s head. 

“Oh! Good one… and it’s a four-digit code. Here let me just…” Jeremy’s tongue pokes out of the corner of his mouth as he fishes his phone out of his pocket.

He doesn’t bother looking at the multitude of texts he’s received, he just goes right to google and searches for Edwin’s birthday. The scientist puts in the code and the locking mechanism clicks as the case pops open. 

Doc and Jeremy both look at Wynonna with a bit of surprise. The demon rolls her eyes. 

“Good guess? What? Is something super cool in there?” 

“It is uh -  just a plate?” Doc’s eyebrows pull together as he examines the decorative ceramic laying in the case. Why did his boyfriend have to fight anyone for something like this? 

Jeremy examines the plate a bit further, rubbing over the paint and picking the plate up out of the case. A quick sniff and a lick against the paint, much to Doc’s confusion, makes him perk up. 

“It might not be just a plate… the paint on here is lead! One sec…” Jeremy puts the plate down and steps away for a moment, coming back with some type of BBD scanner. 

One swipe of the green light and a new symbol is visible underneath the paint. One Wynonna immediately recognizes. “I’ve seen that before.” She says, unimpressed. 

“As have I. At the Fire Station.” Doc finishes, looking from the plate up to her. He doesn’t quite understand the uneasy feeling that lingers in his gut today, especially around Wynonna. 

“You guys should go see to be sure. And I guess see if something weird is going on there? Since Dolls said this thing was hard to get…” Jeremy talks quieter, looking around to make sure nobody else is listening. 

“Whatever. Long as we’re back before the storm.” Wynonna shrugs, smiling wickedly as a thought comes to her. “Lemme just go tell Haught we’re heading out.” Wynonna smirks, turning on her heel and heading out of the BBD office and down the hall. 

 

*** 

 

Wynonna waltzes into the Sheriff’s office with a mischievous grin on her face. 

“Hey, baby!” Nicole smiles, looking up from her paperwork to see her fiancée walk in. 

Wynonna doesn’t stop until she’s seated on the edge of Nicole’s desk, the movement shifting her papers a bit. 

“Hi, Haughty.” Wynonna chuckles, watching the redhead raise her eyebrows and try to straighten the slightly crumpled papers. 

Nicole sighs as she looks up at Wynonna. Yesterday was a disaster. Today is busy, but better. The younger woman feels more prepared and ready to do whatever they need to do to make Waverly better. And to apologize again whenever she can, no matter if Shae is still pissed at her. 

“Is everything okay? Have you heard from Waves today?”  

“Nah… I’m sure she’s fine at home with Rosie.” Wynonna waggles her eyebrows in a way that makes Nicole’s pull together for a moment before she nods. 

That’s – okay? She thinks. A little weird that Wynonna hasn’t heard anything from her younger sister but… 

Nicole looks back to the papers on her desk, filling out a few more lines. 

“As fine as she can be, after yesterday.” Wynonna reminds too casually, looking around the office. 

Nicole’s head jerks up, brown eyes narrowing at the other woman. 

“What? I’m just saying… you were really fucking mean.” 

“I know, Wynonna. I’m sorry . It just scared me and hurt me. I don’t know why I’m having to explain all of this again.” 

“Waverly was so scared, she was shaking for hours.”

“I’m going to apologize to her when I see her.” Nicole sounds a little colder. 

She feels herself going rigid at the abrasive way Wynonna is bringing up yesterday’s debacle. After she’d been so understanding… after she’d comforted Nicole. Surely, she knows that Nicole is sorry?

“I guess. Might be too late. Her girlfriends got pretty miffed too.” 

“Wynonna, I’m sorry but why are you reminding me of all of this? I didn’t forget. I know I fucked up.” 

“All over some stupid, shitty necklace.” Wynonna laughs darkly, standing up from the desk and shaking her head. 

Nicole’s blood runs cold. It’d been painful enough to hear Shae say something like that the day before, but to hear the words come from Wynonna’s mouth in such a menacing way felt way worse. 

“Wynonna…” Nicole manages to choke out, feeling hot tears welling in her eyes. 

“It’s honestly my fault, though. I’m the one who made you make that stupid promise all those years ago, huh?” The demon is spewing anything it can to hurt Nicole and all Wynonna feels like she can do from the inside is sit by and watch. 

Fighting it barely works, it’s too strong. But she tries anyway. Tries everything she can to swim to the surface of the thick blackness that consumes her. She can’t manage to push Mictian out of the way and speak for herself, but she does get her feet to move. 

Wynonna walks her body towards the table near the door of Nicole’s office and makes her hand pick up the pen there, her back to Nicole all the time. 

Nicole feels like she’s moving robotically, but she forces herself up out of her chair. “Wynonna! What the hell? You didn’t make me do anything! Why are you talking like this?” 

Wynonna aches inside herself. Watching as her body and her voice do and say things to Nicole just to hurt her. She hates this fucking demon more and more by the second. 

Wynonna wraps her fingers around the pen harshly and pulls the nearest piece of paper, using all the strength she has to scratch words into the paper. 

“Come on, Nicole. Face it. I’m just a loser, I’ve always been one. Even back then, giving you that ring? Making myself think that making a promise to you could save me.” Wynonna shakes her head. “I did that knowing I’d probably ruin your life and look…” She tsks. 

“Wynonna, please… baby, you haven’t – ruined anything?” Nicole can’t wrap her mind around this. Everything feels horrible, dark. Like her insides are turning black. 

“Then again, you agreed. You promised, too. Maybe... you’re just as fuckin’ stupid as I am. Maybe you deserve it.” Wynonna bites. 

Nicole can’t make words come out this time. She feels empty, like Wynonna reached inside her chest and tore out her heart with her bare fucking hand. She might as well have. 

Wynonna feels like she’s being ripped apart. This must be how hell feels. She screams and screams inside herself knowing that nobody can hear. Because she isn’t fucking strong enough to reach the surface, not enough. She can’t take over. 

Just as she finishes the note, Doc pokes his head into the office. “Are you ready, Wynonna?” 

He seems to look around, eyebrows pulling together as he looks to Nicole. She straightens up and turns around, not wanting him to see her cry. 

“For sure! Let’s go… stir it up!” Wynonna purrs, laughing and dropping the pen to the table as she follows Doc out. 

No! Turn around! Let me go to her. Let me talk to her. Let me go, you evil fucking bitch. Wynonna sobs and begs inside, but the demon doesn’t budge. 

 

*** 

 

Dolls manages to get to the homestead without an issue. He hasn’t been out during the day in a while and even though it’s cold as hell, the sunlight still feels good. 

He checks inside the house first, calling out Waverly’s name as he walks in. “Waverly? Waves?” He asks loudly enough for her to hear no matter where she is inside the old house. 

The ex-Marshall walks with purpose, his steps making little to no sound even on the old boards. There’s no answer and no sign that Waverly’s been moving around in the house today at all. 

Dolls even makes his way up the stairs, knocking three times before opening the door to Waverly’s bedroom. It’s untouched. The bed is made. No indication that she’s been there, either. 

He begins to feel some worry of his own. 

Xavier shoves his hands into his pockets as he walks back outside. He stands still on the porch for a moment, breathing in the cold air as he thinks. His attention keeps pulling towards the old barn off to the side of the property, no matter what he does. 

Dolls takes this as a sign, even if it doesn’t make sense for Waverly to be out in the barn on her own. The closer he gets, the more his heart seems to race. Once his hand is on the door handle, he can’t seem to get it open quick enough. 

As soon as the creaky door swings open and sunlight pours into the structure, his heart sinks. 

There she is. Waverly sits slumped against one of the beams that holds up the barn. Her arms are tied behind her back by a rope that wraps around the wooden beam as well, holding her in place. Another smaller rope is tied tightly around her ankles. There’s tape over her mouth and she looks like she’s asleep. 

She’s not even wearing shoes, just fuzzy socks. The rest of her outfit is what he can only assume she’d been wearing inside the house before this happened. An oversized sweatshirt and some old sweatpants. The barn isn’t terribly insulated, but it’s not great, either. And she’s not wearing nearly enough clothing for this weather, not for Waverly.

“Waves…” Her name comes out quickly and he rushes to her side, sinking to his knees when he reaches her. This close up, he can see tear stains on her cheeks and he takes her face in his hands. She’s freezing. “Waverly, wake up.” Xavier says more sternly, his gloved hand patting lightly against her cheek. 

Slowly, she begins to open her eyes, jerking when she becomes aware. Once her vision focuses and she sees that it’s him, her eyebrows raise and tears begin to fall. 

“Okay, okay… shhh…” He says, exhaling with relief. At least she’s awake and responding. Dolls slowly begins to remove the tape from her mouth, and he’s as careful as he can be not to hurt her. 

“Shit…” Waverly whimpers, a heavy sob leaving her when the tape is off. She takes a deep breath for the first time in what feels like a million years. 

“Hey, you’re okay. You’re okay.” He tries to reassure, quickly moving to the ropes binding her feet, then around to undo the ones holding her hands. 

It’s impossible not to notice how red and raw her wrists are. 

“How long have you been out here, Waverly? Who put you here?” He asks, feeling angrier by the minute. Whoever did this… 

Waverly can barely see or speak through her tears. Dolls pulls her against his chest, wrapping his arms around her and rubbing her back, trying to warm her as she calms down. Eventually, she’s able to squeak out some words. 

“Wynonna…” 

“Wynonna’s fine, she’s at the station or something. Helping with a case.” 

“No, she –- she’s the one who put me here.” 

Dolls feels the blood drain from his face. He sits back, holding Waverly at arms length so that he can look at her. For the first time, he looks past her to the huge pile of silver that’s built up in the middle of the barn. 

“It’s not her though, not really. The thing that – that made me build that… the thing that was inside me… it got into her.” 

Things begin to click into place in Dolls’ mind. The weird way that Doc told him Waverly had been acting. The complaints about missing things… specifically silver items. Something inside of her?

He racks his brain, mentally flipping through all the information he’s learned over the years. Finally, he starts to recall something. 

“There was… something in you… and it made you do this?” 

Waverly nods pitifully, collapsing weakly back into Dolls again. Her whole body aches from fear and struggling all night. From fighting the thing for so long before that. 

“I don’t remember much from the times it took over. There’s these huge gaps in my memory… It was making me do things. I kept fighting it and eventually pushed it out. Now, it has Wynonna.” 

“Waverly, what was it trying to get you to do with this?” Dolls asks, pointing towards the huge metal structure. 

Waverly shakes her head for a moment, reaching up with her cold hands to brush the tears from her eyes. “I think it… it wanted to attract. Something to do with the storm. Fusing .” Waverly recalls the bits and pieces she can from the demon. 

“Metal…storm. Fusing. Mictian .” Dolls breathes, finally grasping the demon’s name. “We have to get to Wynonna.” 

He moves to stand, reaching out to help Waverly up. The tiny woman winces with pain as she stands for the first time in hours. She looks smaller than she ever has to him as Dolls looks down at her now. 

“First, we gotta get you into some better clothes. And some food and water.” 

Waverly whimpers, biting her lip as she looks up at him and fights the urge to cry again. She feels weak all over. 

When they reach the doorway, she looks out at the fresh snow covering the ground and aches at the thought of having to walk back to the house like this. 

Dolls seems to read her mind. A second later, she’s swept off her feet and being held in his arms. 

The youngest Earp makes a tiny sound of surprise, but settles easily, wrapping her arm around his neck. “I’m sorry, this is so stupid.” 

“What, you’re sorry you got possessed by a demon that then jumped into your sister and tied you up in a barn all night? Yeah, all that really sounds like something you should be apologizing for, Earp.” 

Waverly laughs for the first time in a long time, feeling a few tears escape down her cheeks even so. 

“Yeah, I guess that is silly… Still. Wait, you’re supposed to be hiding… how’d you know to look for me?” 

“Rosita. She couldn’t get a hold of you and was worried. Nobody else would answer her.” 

Waverly’s heart sinks thinking about her girlfriends and how they must feel. “Oh, God… God, I can’t believe....” She shakes her head, sighing as they step into the house. 

Immediately the warmth of the homestead washes over her and makes her feel like she’s thawing. Dolls sets her down gently and steadies her by her shoulders. 

“Do you need help up the stairs?” 

“No, I think I’ll be okay now.” Waverly pauses for a moment before she reaches out to wrap her arms around his waist. Dolls hugs her back without hesitation, patting the back of her hair sweetly. 

“Thank you for coming.” 

“I’m glad I did. Glad you’re okay.” He sighs, pulling back. “Go get ready and I’ll get you some water and a snack or something.” 

“You don’t have to –” 

“Go, Earp.” He instructs, not asking. 

“Okay, okay. Going!” Waverly raises her hands in mock surrender, making her way slowly up the stairs. 

She comes down not too much later, in fresh warm clothes. Dolls passes her the water bottle he’d filled for her and a paper bag containing a few things that he thought could be a good vegan snack. 

Waverly takes both and they begin to head for the door. “Wait!” She calls, stopping abruptly in front of him. 

Dolls almost trips over the smaller woman but stops, looking down and tilting his head in question. 

Waverly shoves the water bottle and bag back into his hands and pushes past him into the living room. When she comes back out, she’s carrying Peacemaker and Dolls raises his eyebrows. 

“She left this.”

“I didn’t see it when I looked for you earlier.” 

“It was under the blanket. Now, we can go. Quick.” She says, walking out the door ahead of him this time. 

 

***

 

Nicole sits with her head in her hands once again. There are only two people she wants to talk to. One of them had just stomped on her heart repeatedly. The other is pissed at her with every right. Her fingers hover over Wynonna’s name in her phone. She knows the woman just left on recon, but she can’t believe the things that she said… 

She scrolls a little farther down in her phone and hovers over Shae’s name. Her best friend probably wants nothing to do with her, but she has no one else… She presses the call button and waits. 

“Hello?” Shae answers, sounding unsure. 

“Shae, I know that-- I don’t have anyone else to call. I-- I’m sorry, I just--” 

“I’m sorry, too. I never should have said that thing about your necklace. I know probably better than anyone that it’s more than that.”  

“I know, I know. Everything just-- Everything is fucking falling apart. I don’t know how I’m gonna make it through all this…” 

“Nic, what happened? What are you talking about?”  

“Wynonna… She just… She just… Well, honestly, she made me feel like shit. Brought up the Waverly thing, called it a shitty necklace and said that she ruined my life… That I’m as stupid as her..”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait… she did what!?”  

“I know! She--”

“Nicole, you can’t actually think that Wynonna would say all that to you.” 

“I don’t. I mean I didn’t. Not before… But she did.”

“Wait… Waves has had a few mean spells recently, too. Nicole, what if…” 

“Shae. Is Waverly still at home with Rosita?” 

“What do you mean? She stayed at the homestead last night. She texted…”  

“Wynonna said she was staying with you two last night…” 

“She never came here, Nicole. Where is she? Why would she text and say she’s staying there if she wasn’t there? We haven’t heard from her today. Nicole…” Shae’s worry grows with every word. 

“Nicole Haught!” Rosita’s voice reaches Nicole before the woman storms into her office. “How fucking dare you! I should-- I should--”

“Rosita, whoa! What’s--”

“Shut up! You know what you did. And now Waverly’s not answering her phone! Because of you And I can’t go fucking check on her because I’m--” Rosita spits venom at the Sheriff with each syllable.

“Rosita! Waverly isn’t at the homestead! At least… Wynonna said…” Things start to connect in Nicole’s mind. 

“She said what?!” Rosita demands. 

“Nicole… What if Wynonna’s…” Shae begins to deliberate

Nicole rises wordlessly from her chair and walks over to the piece of paper that Wynonna had been scribbling on before she left. She reads the word aloud. “Possessed.”

Rosita looks to the paper and then to Nicole. “What is that?” 

“Wynonna wrote it before she left… Whatever has Waverly… It’’s got Wynonna, too… I have to call Doc. Shae, I’ll call you back later. Get here to the station as soon as you can. Family emergency.” 

“Haught, what is going on?” Rosita asks. 

Dolls and Waverly enter the Sheriff’s office a moment later and close the door. Rosita turns and every single cell in her body comes back to life at the sight of Waverly. She wraps her girlfriend in a tight embrace “Waves, oh my god! Baby, I was so worried-- I couldn’t--”

“Wynonna’s possessed,” Waverly rushes out. Her arms still wrap around Rosita and she sags into the embrace even as she interrupts her. 

“The demon knocked Wynonna out yesterday before you got home, Haught. Apparently, transferred itself through Waverly’s… Mouth… Into Wynonna’s…” Dolls explains, allowing Rosita and Waverly a moment to themselves.

“Okay, ew!” Nicole exclaims. 

“Hey, at least it didn’t make me kiss her or something grosser!” Waverly counters. 

“She’s with Doc. I was just about to call him…” 

Dolls tenses. “I have to go find them.” 

“No! We can’t-- Doc has to trick it. We can’t let it know we know.” 

“Fine, Sheriff,” Dolls replies coldly. “Call him.” 

 

***

 

By the time that Nicole had called Doc, he had already been on his way back with Wynonna in the trunk. Without Peacemaker, it became apparent that Wynonna was not herself. 

Doc and Dolls had struggled to get Wynonna into the holding cell, but for now… Mictian is restrained in Wynonna’s body at the station. 

Dolls, Doc, Waverly, Shae, Rosita, and Nicole stand in BBD and discuss the options they have. They’re grateful Lucado is off on some bullshit mission to try and regain the favor of BBD HQ because they all know that she will execute Dolls on sight. 

“We have to get a tissue sample… I think I read something before about a way to drive the demon out so Wynonna can use Peacemaker to--”

“A tissue sample?” Nicole asks. “How would we get that?” 

Dolls’ eyes go nervously to Wynonna’s other half. “I would have to… Cut off a finger… I could take her pinky---” He tries to rush through the last part. 

“You are not mutilating Wynonna! Out of the question.” 

“Yeah, I’m also against the cutting off my sister’s finger plan…” 

“What if it’s the only way to drive the demon out?” 

Rosita seems to think for a moment.  She pulls Doc off to the side so that she can whisper to him while the rest of the gang continues to discuss how they can get rid of this menace once and for all. “Doc, I have an idea. Do you know where Peacemaker is?” 

“It is in Waverly’s coat over there… You cannot touch that gun, Rosie,” Doc reminds her. 

“But you can… I read something… I think I can take Mictian on… Inside. Demon versus demon…” Rosita whispers, leaning in closer. She doesn’t want any of the others to hear her--especially Waverly or Shae. They would never let her do this.

Doc seems unsure, too. He shakes his head. “I do not know if that is such a good idea. What if--”

“It’s our best option. You burn Mictian out of Wynonna… It jumps into me. I fight it until I defeat it.”

“And what if it defeats you… Rosita, I cannot--”

“The world needs the Earp Heir… She has to end the curse, Doc. It’s time… Waves needs her. Please help me do this. Help me save her… For Waverly, for Wynonna… For Nicole. Wynonna is needed way more than I am.” 

Doc takes a few moments to consider, cutting his eyes over to the group still discussing the possibilities. Nicole is growing more and more frantic… Waverly’s trying to stay calm and failing. Dolls is stone-faced trying to protect himself from how much it will destroy him to lose Wynonna. Doc aches for his boyfriend… And for himself. He loves Rosita, too, though. It is an impossible choice. 

“Henry…” Rosita begs desperately, eyes pleading and on the verge of tears. “Help me. I can do it.” 

After a few more seconds pass, Doc nods. Soundlessly, he walks over to where Waverly’s coat is lying on a desk. Rosita slinks away to the holding cell that not Wynonna’s lying down in. Mictian grins with Wynonna’s face. The dark chuckle makes the hairs on Rosita’s neck stand at attention. 

“Mmmmm if it isn’t my favorite demon lover… Let me out of the cage and we can have so much fun. This one thinks you’ve got a nice rack… Even if she’d never let herself admit it. Not when she’s got her perfect Nicole wrapped around her fucked up fingers...” 

Hearing Wynonna’s voice say all of these things is jarring. The love Wynonna and Nicole have for each other is inspiring and earth-shaking. It isn’t shallow like Mictian is making it out to be. This is her opportunity to draw the body in close. She’ll need it… Waverly had said Mictian left through her mouth… Disgusting… And into Wynonna’s…. 

Rosita tilts her head, seeming to consider the offer. “So tempting…” She lies. It makes her feel sick to even act like she could stand betraying Shae and Waverly. The revenant walks up closer to the bars and forces a convincing smirk onto her lips. 

“Ohhhh… You can’t say that you’ve never thought about it, huh, Rosie? Bet it gets you going when Wynonna looks a little too hard at you, doesn’t it? The Earp Heir… and a revenant… Wouldn’t that be something? I can make your fantasies come true…” 

It’s all bullshit. Rosita and Wynonna would never do that. Not once had Rosita ever had eyes for the older Earp. But, she has to get close… Has to. Rosita grins wider now, showing her teeth. Her head falls back so that she can see Doc is standing by for a signal. 

Rosita walks right up to the cell and whispers something under her breath. Mictian leans forward and presses Wynonna’s face between the bars. “Huh? Be louder, Rosie. I thought you were a screamer.” 

In an instant, Rosita’s eyes flash red and she holds Wynonna’s head in place. “Doc, now!” Wynonna struggles against Rosita’s hand, but the revenant is too strong and keeps her still. 

Doc runs in with Peacemaker and presses the barrel against Wynonna’s face. Immediately, the gun begins to sizzle against her skin. A low, pained sound erupts from Wynonna’s mouth. Rosita opens her own, barely brushing her lips against the other woman’s. 

A black smokey substance travels between them. Rosita tastes the ashen darkness immediately. Instantly, she questions herself… If she’s strong enough to take on this being… With the storm nearing, Mictian is more reckless. Mictian knows that it can’t get to the homestead in this vessel, but it can’t seem to take control of Rosita. She’s fighting too hard. 

Rosita stumbles back against the wall in the holding room and folds into herself, barely remaining on her feet. “Ahhhhhhhhh!” A loud agonizing scream rips through her, devastating the rest of the gang who were still arguing a couple rooms over. 

Doc moves to unlock the cell. Wynonna lies on the ground. Mictian leaving her had left her feeling weak and exhausted. “The barn… Doc… the barn… You--” She struggles to catch her breath. “Doc, you have to go destroy the silver tower in the barn… The storm… It’ll--” 

“I’m on it!” Doc says, sliding Peacemaker to the recovering woman. He knows. The barn will go up in flames the moment lightning strikes. The storm is coming… He runs in a hurry, rushing past the rest of them who follow the sounds of Rosita’s agony. 

“Henry, where--” Dolls starts to ask 

“The homestead. Don’t ask questions. Go in there… Make sure no one gets near Rosie… She’s… Fighting it.” Doc explains as quickly as he can. 

Dolls nods, no further questions, running after Shae, Nicole, and Waverly who have gotten ahead of him. 

Waverly and Shae call out for Rosita in the same instant. “Rosie!” 

“Stay… back!” Rosita struggles to command. Waverly and Shae freeze at their girlfriend’s request. 

“‘Nonna!” Nicole calls out a moment later. 

“Nic, I’m fine. I’m fine… She-- Rosie took it from me,” Wynonna explains. Slowly, the Heir feels her strength coming back. She stands to her feet. The weight of Peacemaker in her hand feels heavier than it ever has. She’s carrying the weight of a decision that would destroy the lives of three women she cares about so deeply… That would destroy herself. “Hold them back.” 

“What?” Waverly asks, blinking in confusion. 

Nicole and Dolls pick up on it immediately and their arms close around Waverly and Shae. 

“Hey!” Waverly shouts and struggles against Nicole’s strong arms. Waverly’s stronger than she looks and almost breaks free, but Nicole is stronger… Just barely. 

“Dolls, let me go!” Shae warns. 

“Do not let them go… Don’t get near Rosita… Mictian can’t get what it wants… Rosita can’t go to the homestead. What it needs is at the homestead. It needs a new host to get there. It can’t have any of us,” Wynonna explains in a hurry. Her fingers tighten around Peacemaker’s handle until her knuckles turn white. 

“I-- I can’t--” Rosita struggles to say. Her fingers go to her own chest and she starts to claw there, trying to rip Mictian right out of her. It hurts… Neither the revenant within her nor Mictian are pulling any punches. The battle inside of her might kill her either way. 

“You fucking can, Rose! Fight it!” Wynonna screams. Her hand shakes. Peacemaker shakes. 

Waverly starts to sob loudly. “Rosie, please, please! Let me help her! Let me go! Let me go!” She flails in Nicole’s arms, elbowing back into her chest over and over. Nicole will have bruises--and the Sheriff thinks maybe she deserves them for how she had treated Waverly yesterday. 

Shae’s struggle against Dolls is futile. The man is far too strong for her and all she can do is cry and watch. All she can fucking do is cry and fucking watch. She has never hated being a part of this supernatural bullshit more.

“Wynonna!” Rosita calls out. “You-- You have to… Send it to Hell. And me with it…” 

“No!!!” Waverly’s and Shae’s voices tear through all of them. 

Wynonna’s eyes brim with tears of their own and she shakes her head. She can’t shoot another person she loves. She can’t do it. She can’t do it. 

She may have to.

Slowly, Wynonna raises the gun to point at Rosita’s head. It flickers between blue and orange rapidly as Rosita and Mictian have an internal battle. One she would hate to kill. One she absolutely has to kill. 

“Wynonna, you can’t! You can’t! You promised you wouldn’t! You promised you wouldn’t shoot Rosie. You promised we’d find another way! Wynonna, please!” Waverly has never sounded more desperate. She sobs and screams. Her voice is hoarse with desperation. 

As Peacemaker flickers, Wynonna feels something like electricity course through her veins. She tightens her jaw and blows a harsh breath through her nostrils. 

“Rosita Bustillos, you fucking listen to me, you stubborn fucking genius,” Wynonna starts. “You are stronger than this slimy tentacle-y piece of shit. The women you fucking love are hysterical. And I don’t like fucking breaking promises. I told myself I’d never break another promise again the second Haught walked back into my life, so you fucking listen here and you listen good. You will fucking beat Mictian and we’ll send it to fucking Hell. Together.” 

Waverly turns to look at Rosita. The revenant is still clawing at her skin. Her eyes glow red, then black, then red, then black… Lingering longer on each color with every flash. It’s impossible to tell who is winning. 

“Wynonna, I c-can’t…” Rosita whines. 

A moment later, a dark chuckle falls from her lips and black eyes look up to Wynonna with a wicked grin. “She really can’t… She can’t defeat me. If you wanna kill me. You gotta kill her. You don’t have the stones. You love this one too much…” 

Rosita grapples and gets control back. “Wynonna, shoot me!” 

“No!” Wynonna, Waverly, and Shae all say in unison. 

“Rosie… Baby,” Waverly begs. “You can beat this. You can. No one is stronger or smarter or better at surviving than you are--my Rose.”

“Please,” Shae pleads alongside her girlfriend. “We need you, baby. Please… Fight it.” 

Rosita looks at her girlfriends. Their desperation is shattering… And empowering. She can’t let this tentacle-y piece of shit win. A loud, drawn-out scream fills the room. Rosita stretches herself and stands tall with her arms extended out beside her. A moment later, a terrible stream of black goo projects from her mouth and the tentacle demon materializes on the floor in front of Wynonna. 

Wynonna moves Peacemaker to point at the demon. “Fuck your peace.” The shot sounds and Mictian burns quickly like a piece of flash paper. It’s gone. 

Rosita sinks down against the wall and sits, exhausted. Nicole and Dolls release Waverly and Shae and the two of them surround her, taking her into their arms. They kiss one another without hesitation. After everything, none of them care if anyone outside of their little family happens to walk by and see them, however unlikely. 

Nicole makes her way to Wynonna and cups her face. “Nonna?” 

“It’s me, Haught. It’s me… I promise. All those things it said to you-- I didn’t--”

Nicole shakes her head firmly. “I know. I know…” 

Wynonna looks up at Nicole with pleading eyes. Nicole brings a hand to the back of Wynonna’s head and presses forward to kiss Wynonna’s forehead sweetly. Wynonna’s eyes fall closed for a moment before she moves to pull Nicole into a soft, emotional kiss. 

 

***

 

Wynonna sits in Nicole’s lap on the chair in Rosita’s and Shae’s living room, what used to be Nicole’s living room. Waverly, Shae, and Rosita are cuddled together on the couch. Doc and Dolls walk in, coming from the homestead where all was well. Short greetings are passed along as they settle in to the feeling of a post-battle victory.

Doc clears his throat. “Waverly, can I speak with you for a moment? 

Waverly stills her fingers playing with Rosita’s hair and gives Doc a confused look. “Sure, Henry… Everything okay?”

“Yes, come with me for a moment?” 

Waverly nods and rises to her feet, following Doc until they’re out of sight of the rest of the group. “What is it?” 

Doc reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a chain and lets it dangle in front of the short woman. “I believe this is something you should return to its owner…” 

“Nicole’s necklace,” Waverly breathes out. The woman would have sworn she was all out of tears, but she can feel her eyes getting misty. 

“Yes… I do hope this can set things right between the two of you…” 

Waverly flings her arms around Doc and Doc accepts the embrace with a soft smile. “Thank you so much,” Waverly whispers. 

“I only retrieved it, darlin’. Go on…” 

Waverly takes the necklace into her fist, concealing it, before she walks back into the living room. Doc follows her and joins Dolls sitting on the ottoman by the window. 

“Nicole?” Waverly calls weakly. 

The redhead tears her eyes away from Wynonna and looks at Waverly with hopeful, puppy dog eyes. “Yeah, Waves?” 

Wynonna shifts off of Nicole’s lap and nudges her fiancée until the Sheriff is on her feet. Nicole and Waverly meet a little off to the side of the couch in the middle of the room. Waverly takes one of Nicole’s hands in her free hand. The chain unravels from the other into Nicole’s open palm. 

Nicole looks at the precious piece of jewelry, mouth open with awe. Her fingers close around the chain once it is completely out of Waverly’s grasp. She clings to it until her hand trembles softly. Nicole feels a heaviness in her chest dissolve. 

“I’m so sorry that I took it--” Waverly starts. 

“No,” Nicole interrupts her. “You didn’t. You didn’t do anything wrong. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I blew up at you. Waves, I’m so sorry.” 

Waverly looks up at her friend and chews the inside of her lip. “I forgive you. I know-- It’s okay.” 

Nicole wraps Waverly up into a tight hug and they stand there for so long, just hugging. All eyes are on them. Each and every last one of them look on with immense love and adoration as the peace is restored between them. 

“Go be with your girls,” Nicole tells Waverly with a grin. 

“And you go be with yours.” 

For just a few precious moments… Everything is okay. 

Chapter Text

The past two weeks have been suspiciously quiet. Of course, there’s been the odd demonic creature or stupid revenant that Wynonna has had to send back to hell, but other than that, nothing has really come up against the team. No possessions, no sight of the lady in black. The bit of quiet time has made it easier for all of them to get into the Christmas spirit. 

A few days after ridding themselves of Mictian, Doc went out and cut down two trees. The two most beautiful pines anyone could manage. 

 

December 5, 2017

 

Nicole walks in the back door at almost 7PM, a big grin on her face. Wynonna greets her fiancée, draping her arms over her shoulders and raising up on her tiptoes to kiss the smile off her face. 

Only one of Nicole’s arms goes around Wynonna’s body and the unusual sensation makes Wynonna’s eyebrows pull together as she breaks the kiss. 

The older woman’s gaze drops in the same moment that Nicole lifts her other hand. Several bags are clutched there and Wynonna lifts her eyes back to Nicole’s face, quirking a brow. 

“Waverly called me earlier gushing about Doc bringing them a Christmas tree and said that he brought us one, too. So... I figured I’d pick up some stuff for it before I came home.” Nicole smiles again. 

The expression is so soft and genuine that it makes Wynonna’s heart feel warm and melty. Nicole looks so happy and excited. The brunette woman’s face softens, shoulders slumping just so. 

“Baby…” Wynonna coos, leaning up again to brush her nose against Nicole’s. 

Nicole’s smile widens, a soft laugh falling from her lips as Wynonna nuzzles against her. 

“Well, it was meant to be a surprise. I didn’t know Waverly would call you, so I’m definitely gonna give her a huge fucking wedgie for this but…” Wynonna settles back flat on her feet and takes Nicole’s free hand, leading her from the kitchen into the living room. 

The large pine tree stands, looking beautiful already without any decoration. 

“Wow, he did a really good job,” Nicole commends. Her eyes scan over the area and finally fall to the set of blue ornaments and spool of white lights sitting next to the tree. 

She breathes in and turns to look at Wynonna. The smaller woman looks red faced and apologetic. 

“I’m sorry! I didn’t know she’d tell you, and I didn’t want to tell you I got stuff because I wanted it to be a surprise… is it stupid? God, I’m sorry you stopped and got stuff after work when you’re probably fucking tired anyway and I just…” 

Nicole sets the bags down and moves in to take her wife-to-be’s face in her hands, cutting Wynonna off with a deep kiss. Wynonna makes a pitiful sound against the taller woman’s lips, letting herself melt into her. 

“Baby. Don’t be sorry. It’s not stupid, okay? I love your surprise. Now, just look in my bags.” Nicole mutters against Wynonna’s mouth, lips pulling up in the slightest smirk. She steps back and grabs for them again, handing them off to Wynonna. 

Wynonna plops down on the couch, sitting the bag between her feet and opening it up. Inside is one more spool of white lights and a set of red ornaments. Wynonna starts to smile, shaking her head slowly as she looks up to Nicole. 

She’s standing with her hands on her hips, her head tilted with the most satisfied expression on her face. 

“Why’re you lookin’ like that, Haughty?” Wynonna asks, her lips pulling to the side as she tries to fight her grin. It’s all she can do, Haught just looks so fucking cute and proud and in love.  

It takes Wynonna’s breath to be able to think that without getting scared or sad, without wondering. They’ve been engaged for a little less than a month and it still surprises her everyday. 

“Because. We really did that. We didn’t even talk to each other about this and it still worked out perfectly.” 

“I guess you’re right. Most idiot couples probably would’ve gotten upset or even worse, gotten shit that didn’t match and had to return something.” 

“Exactly. But not us. Our tree is gonna look so sexy in these colors. And that thing is way bigger than I thought, so two things of lights is probably for the best.”  

Wynonna laughs so much her nose scrunches. Nicole smiles so hard it makes her cheeks hurt. She moves closer to the chair, stepping in between Wynonna’s legs. 

“God, I fucking love you.” Wynonna chuckles, opening her arms and wrapping them around Nicole’s waist. 

“I fucking love you, too.” Nicole breathes, taking Wynonna’s face again and moving to place a knee on either side of her lap. 

Wynonna’s brows shoot up and she smirks, looking up at Nicole. “We’ve got a big ass tree to decorate.” 

“Yeah, yeah… you complaining?” 

“Not at all.” Wynonna purrs, pulling Nicole down on top of her as she lays back. 

 

*** 

 

About two hours later, a freshly showered Wynonna and Nicole are in the living room finally decorating. 

Wynonna’s phone goes off and she moves to grab it as Nicole expertly wraps the second strand of lights around the tree. The older woman keeps glancing at her, stopping to stare for a moment more before even looking at her phone. 

“God, you look so hot. I’m glad you’re doing that.” She sighs dreamily, staring at Nicole. 

Her short, still wet hair is pulled back in a tiny bun and she’s only wearing Wynonna’s old Rumours t-shirt and some black boyshort underwear. To Wynonna, it’s one of the sexiest sights she’s ever seen. 

“Please, you’re just saying that because it’s the hardest part and you didn’t wanna do it.” Nicole rolls her eyes playfully, but Wynonna can see the way her cheeks redden. 

“Just because that’s also true doesn’t mean that what I said isn’t.” Wynonna shrugs, finally looking down at her phone. 

It’s a text from Waverly. A picture of the trio’s completely finished, perfectly decorated Christmas tree. 

“Jesus Christ…” 

“What’s wrong?!” Nicole stands up straight, some strands of hair falling in her face. She blows them away. 

“Nothing except that the fucking Powerpuff Girls’ Christmas tree looks like it came out of a goddamn magazine.” Wynonna gawks, still staring at the screen as she walks closer to Nicole. 

The redhead steps closer to her, settling her front against Wynonna’s back and looks over her shoulder at the picture. The tree is perfect. It’s decked out completely in beautiful pink and gold decorations that put whatever hope Nicole had for their own tree to shame. 

“We have to make ours better.” Wynonna shakes her head, turning just enough to look up at Nicole. 

“What?! Wynonna we’re never gonna be able to. Look at us. We’ve got some ornaments and some lights. They’ve got – ribbons and all kinds of other shit on there. What is that? Are those feathers?! What the hell…” 

“Where’d they even find some of this shit?” 

“One of those fancy home stores that always smell like potpourri, I bet.” 

“The house does smell like potpourri since they moved in.” Wynonna nods, pulling her lips to the side. 

“Exactly. I barely wanted to go into the mildly-homophobic craft store I went in.” 

“Ugh, whatever. Screw them and their perfect, stupidly pretty tree. Ours will be better because it’s ours. I can’t believe that this is the first time we’re really getting to do something like this together.” 

They had Christmas together the year before for the first time in what felt like forever. Even though it was still special just to be together, they hadn’t really been able to enjoy the holiday because of all the extra shit going on at that time. 

Everything with Willa more or less put a damper on setting up the perfect tree or anything like that. This year is their chance to make up for that, and as far as Wynonna is concerned, they most definitely are. 

Nicole breaks into a smile. She wraps her arms around Wynonna’s waist from behind and pulls her as close as she can to her body. Her nose brushes against Wynonna’s cheek before she presses a series of kisses there and down her delicious neck. 

“If you keep that up this thing is never gonna get finished.” Wynonna chuckles, turning herself around in Nicole’s arms. 

“I feel so lucky, you know? This holiday, this season… it’s so special to me ‘cause of you. I can’t believe we’re really - putting up a big ‘ole tree together in our home .” 

Wynonna feels that same melting feeling inside her chest again. Our home. Of course, it’s theirs. They’d been referring to it as that for a while now, but it never stopped getting to Wynonna in the best way. 

A home with Nicole is all she’s ever wanted. To be Nicole’s in a place that is perfect for them. Now she is, every day. 

“I got so damn lucky.” Wynonna breathes, pulling the hair tie gently from Nicole’s hair and tangling her fingers in the damp strands. 

 

*** 

 

In the early hours of the morning Waverly lays in bed, nestled between Rosita and Shae. They’d spent hours prior decorating their tree perfectly--a first for their relationship. 

Waverly had taken a million and one pictures and they’d played Christmas music and laughed and danced for so long. Every time the youngest girl thinks about it she can’t stop herself from smiling. 

Now, Rosita lays sleeping with her head on Waverly’s chest, her arm stretched across Waverly’s tummy. Her hand rests against Shae’s hip, underneath her t-shirt. Waverly watches Rosie sleep, her bottom lip pulled between her teeth. 

When she’s like this, it’s especially easy to forget about the demon inside of Rosita, not that it bothers either of her girlfriends. They love her more than anything regardless. But right now, Waverly thinks about it specifically because of the day they’ve had.

Out of all the excitement and the happiness between the three of them, the one that was the most overjoyed was without a doubt Rosita. Sure, this is their first year getting to really celebrate Christmas together, but she has to wonder how many Christmases Rosita has ever celebrated. How many she’s had anyone at all to celebrate with. Waverly runs her fingers gently through Rosie’s long dark hair and her heart breaks a little bit. 

There’s a soft stirring at her other side. Shae turns over, resting her hand against Rosita’s arm and nuzzling her nose against Waverly’s cheek. She blinks, letting her eyes adjust to the dark and notices that Waverly is looking at her. 

“What’s wrong, baby? Why’re you up?” Shae asks softly, her voice a quiet whisper in the dark. 

“Nothing’s wrong… not really I was just thinking.” 

“What about?” Shae is the quickest to become coherent after waking out of the three of them. Probably because of her job.

“Rosie. How happy she was earlier.” Waverly smiles again, thinking about the three of them dancing around their living room by the Christmas tree light together. 

Shae smiles too, shifting her head some to look down at Rosita sleeping soundly against Waverly. She lifts her fingers to brush lightly against Rosie’s arm, then up to do the same against her cheek. 

“She did seem really happy, huh?” 

“Yeah and I… just keep thinking – how many good Christmases has she had, you know? You and I… we’ve always had someone. Our families, or friends… has she ever had anyone?” Waverly tries to keep her voice low, but it starts to break. 

She can feel the tears filling her eyes and she tries to keep them from falling by taking a deep breath. It only gets worse when the image of Rosie fighting Mictian from the other day fills her mind again. 

Shae hushes her, moving her hand up to rest against Waverly’s cheek. She turns her girlfriend’s face towards her, pressing a gentle kiss to her nose and then her lips. 

“Hey… shhh, Waves, it’s okay. She’s here. She’s safe, and happy with us .” 

“I know. God, I know I just -” 

“You wanna make this Christmas extra special for her…” Shae finishes Waverly’s thought with a smile, kissing her cheeks where the tears have fallen. 

“More than anything.” Waverly breathes out, her fingers still threading softly through Rosita’s hair as she leans into her other girlfriend’s kisses. 

“Then we will. We will. I promise.” Shae presses one more kiss to Waverly’s head before leaning her forehead against it. “Sleep, baby.” 

Waverly sniffles, taking another deep breath. She settles into Shae and lets her hand drift down Rosita’s back. She feels the smaller woman shift in her arms just slightly, making a soft sound as she settles back against her. 

Waverly holds both her girls close to her and breathes them in. Breathes in the quiet and the dark and the peace and lets herself fall asleep thinking of Rosita laughing and smiling by the Christmas tree light. 

 

*** 

 

December 13, 2017

 

Waverly kisses Rosita and Shae goodbye and watches them drive off for work. As soon as they’re gone, she hurries up the stairs to their bedroom and gets ready for her day out with Wynonna. 

Christmas shopping with Wynonna is something Waverly hasn’t ever gotten to do. Waverly was still young enough to believe in Santa when Wynonna got sent to foster care and in the time between they never got the chance.

She’s practically vibrating behind the wheel of her Jeep as she drives them into the city. 

“Remember when I drove us to the aquarium for my seventeenth birthday?” Waverly asks, poking out her bottom lip in a pout as she recalls the memory. 

“Yeah, I do. I remember because I thought we were gonna fucking die.” Wynonna laughs, slipping out of her seatbelt as Waverly finds them a parking lot at the biggest shopping center in Ghost River County. 

Waverly gasps, turning towards her sister. “That’s so mean! I’m really good at driving!” 

“Yeah, now maybe! But back then?! Waves, you’d barely been on any other road outside of Purgatory. Sorry for fearing for my life. Besides it’s not my fault that you wanted this big ass car.” 

“I love my big ass car, thank you.” 

“Whatever, you look kinda silly. Like a fairy driving a fucking tank.” 

Wynonna keeps poking fun at Waverly the whole time they’re out. They talk almost the entire time, about anything. It’s nice to be out doing something completely normal with Waverly. No demons in sight, just time to bond with her baby sister. 

Waverly is comparing two different sweaters in the mirror in one of the stores they’re in when she switches the path of their conversation. 

“So have you and Nicole picked a date for the wedding yet?” 

Wynonna feels her heart skip a beat. It’s so fucking weird to imagine. She has to decide on a day for marrying her best friend. The only girl she’s ever been in love with. Someone she thought she’d for sure lost. How the fuck is that real? 

“Not yet. We haven’t talked about it much, other stuff going on.” 

“Not really, no. There isn’t much going on. It’s been really weirdly quiet – which color do you like better for Rosita? Anyway, weirdly quiet… which is why it’s a great time.” 

Wynonna rolls her eyes, hating the way her face gets red when anyone talks about her wedding. 

“I dunno, Waves. I guess I’m just…” Wynonna shrugs, pointing to the dark green sweater Waverly is holding to answer her question. 

“Nervous? Scared? Look, you can’t chicken out.” 

“I’m not. I’m not chickening out of my fucking wedding, Waves. I love Nicole. I wanna marry her or I wouldn’t have asked. I just -– don’t feel like I’m ever gonna think I deserve this.” Wynonna takes a deep shaky breath. 

Waverly turns towards her, looking up at her with a softened expression. “‘Nonna…” Waverly sighs, draping the sweater over her arm and reaching out to put her hands on Wynonna’s shoulders. 

“I wake up everyday thinking ‘I don’t know what I did to deserve either of them’. That doesn’t change the fact that they’re either there, sleeping so close to me and keeping me warm or just a phone call away.” Waverly reasons, her lips tugging into a gentle smile. 

The younger woman’s hands slide down her sister’s arms and grab both of her hands, holding them tightly. “When you wake up in the morning, what do you see? What do you feel?” Waverly asks, lifting an eyebrow. 

Wynonna doesn’t have to think about it. Of course, it’s Nicole. Sometimes she’s lying with her head on Wynonna’s chest, or her back. Sometimes her face is buried in Wynonna’s neck and sometimes Wynonna wakes to see Nicole looking down at her. 

No matter what it is, Wynonna always gets the same warm feeling in her chest when she wakes up and Nicole is there. Nicole wants her, she’s still there. Still loving her, after all this time.

Wynonna knows she must be smiling, because Waverly mirrors the expression. 

“Yeah, that’s what I thought. That woman loves you so much, Wynonna. Nothing is ever gonna stop that.” 

“Yeah, I know. I promise I know, Waves.” Wynonna sighs, giving Waverly a soft look. She does know, even if it feels hard to believe sometimes. 

Waverly moves to loop her arm with Wynonna’s and pulls her ahead. “Come on, we’ve got tons of shopping to do.” 

“Baby girl… I don’t even know what to get her. Shopping is fucking hard.” 

“Oh, you think your shopping is hard? Try having two girlfriends.” 

 

*** 

 

December 24, 2017 

 

Waverly lights the candles in their living room while Shae turns on Elvis and connects her phone to the speaker, sending the soft music playing through the house. 

It’s almost time for Rosie to come home from work. Waverly had conspired with Doc to keep Rosie there until she and Shae were finished with everything they needed to do. 

Right on time, Shae and Waverly hear Rosita’s keys rattling in the lock and they each scramble to be near the door, ready to greet her when she comes in. 

The short woman finally gets in the door and closes it behind her, a smile spreading slowly across her face when she sees the two of them waiting for her. 

Everything around them feels like Christmas. The house smells like peppermint and cookies and Rosie can hear the faint sound of Elvis playing from the living room. It feels like something out of a really cheesy, really cute movie. 

To make it even better, her girlfriends are standing in front of her wearing matching Christmas pajamas and Waverly is holding a third set for her. 

“Guys… What is this?” Rosie laughs, her eyes softening as she moves closer to them. 

Waverly giggles first, wrapping her arms around Rosita and kissing the side of her face and her lips. Shae repeats the action on the other side of Rosie and presses her lips to the shorter woman’s a second after Waverly. 

“It’s Christmas. Now, go put on your pajamas and we’re gonna give you one of your presents before we make cookies.” Shae smiles, putting some stray hairs behind Rosita’s ear. 

“You guys didn’t have to do all of this.” Rosie’s voice is soft and her eyes are a little shiny. She’s not sure what made all of this click so well for them, or how they managed to pull off hiding a surprise like this from her. 

“We so did, baby. We wanted to. You haven’t even seen anything yet, go change and come back.” Waverly leans down enough to press her lips to Rosita’s again and smiles at her. 

The bartender bites her lip, shaking her head as she looks up at the two women. “I love you both. I’ll be back.” 

When Rosita comes back downstairs, her hair hangs loose around her shoulders and she’s wearing a pair of Waverly’s fuzzy socks along with the red and white striped pajamas they were all in. 

She finds Shae and Waverly sitting on the couch, a gold wrapped present sitting on the coffee table in front of them. She narrows her eyes, moving to sit in the space between them. 

Shae wraps an arm around Rosita’s waist and presses a kiss to her cheek. Waverly shifts, tucking one foot underneath herself as she reaches for the present and rests it in Rosie’s lap. 

It’s wrapped perfectly, undoubtedly by Waverly’s careful and precise hands. The revenant flips the pretty envelope attached to the top and it reads, To: Our Rose .

“Guys…” Rosita softens, looking at each of them. She feels like she’s going to wake up any minute. In all honesty, she’s felt that way since last October.

The fact that these two women want someone like her and that they love her. Every single day? How does that make any sense? 

“Just open it, Rose.” Shae nudges, making Rosita laugh softly. 

Waverly puts her hands together and rests her chin against them as she watches Rosita start to open the envelope. Inside is a note that she and Shae had written out together. Part of it is in Waverly’s handwriting and part is in Shae’s. 

Altogether, it’s the most beautiful piece of paper Rosita has ever seen. She starts to read. 

 

To Our Rosie, 

We know that we did have Christmas together last year, but with everything going on we couldn’t make it as special as it should’ve been. This year, we decided to try and make up for it.  Our year with you has been our greatest gift. Every single day, you give each of us something that could never be replaced or forgotten. You love us wholly on good days and bad days and you make both of us feel more special than we could ever truly say. 

The thought of being without you is one that neither of us can stand, in any way. Feeling like we were about to lose you was the worst pain I’ve ever felt, and I know Waverly feels the same. Loving you is the best thing that’s ever happened to us and we hope that you know that and feel it everyday. 

You’re everything, Rosie. We love you with all we are. Merry Christmas, our perfect Rose. 

All of our love - forever, Waverly & Shae 

 

Rosita has to wipe her eyes before she looks up from the paper. Waverly makes a soft sound and scoots closer to her, leaning into her shoulder. Shae presses another couple of sweet kisses to her cheek and head. 

Rosita finally takes a deep breath and looks up at them with shiny eyes and the softest smile. 

“You two…” She laughs softly, making a few more tears trickle out. 

“That’s not even the whole gift. I bet you’ll cry even more.” Shae shrugs, joking with her. 

“No matter what’s in this box… I can promise that the two best gifts are sitting on either side of me.” Rosita breathes as if she’s doing it for the first time. 

When she looks to Waverly, her hazel eyes fill up with tears. “Oh Rosie…” 

“You stole that from us, it’s right there in the letter.” 

Waverly and Rosita both laugh and Rosita nudges Shae with her elbow playfully. “Oh, shut up . But seriously, you both… you don’t know what this means. All of this. Just getting to be like this with you. I’ve never had anything like this before.” Her usually strong, steady voice sounds softer almost like it might break. 

Shae puts her arm all the way around Rosita’s shoulders until she can touch Waverly, too. “I’ve had a lot of Christmases with a lot of people, but I promise that no Christmas I’ve ever had has been as special as this one. Because I get to be with the two of you.” The sincerity cuts through the playfulness from before and makes them all feel warm inside. 

Rosita leans her head against Shae’s shoulder for a moment and Waverly leans into her. They stay like that for a couple of moments before Waverly remembers the present in Rosita’s lap. 

“Oh! Gosh, you still have to open this!” She squeaks, sitting back up fully. 

Rosita adjusts to sit criss-cross, looking between the two of them again before she starts to tear the neat paper. “I don’t think it’s fair that you two aren’t opening something tonight.” She says, still slowly tearing through the wrapping. 

“It’s just one! There will be more to open tomorrow.” Waverly says, glancing over Rosita’s head to give Shae a pointed look. 

The other woman smirks, reaching forward to pick up her wine glass and take a sip as she settles back and watches Rosita. 

Inside the main box is something wrapped in tissue paper and another smaller box. Rosita smiles softly to herself, taking the thing wrapped in tissue out first and unwrapping it. 

It’s a beautiful wooden frame with a black and white picture of the three of them. The picture had been taken by Wynonna when it was still warm outside and they’re all standing close together and laughing. 

Most of all, Rosita can feel the happiness and love right now that she felt then. Only now, she’s more sure of it than she’s ever been of anything. 

“Can we put this up in here?” Rosita asks after a moment, brushing her fingers gently over the glass. She looks up and around the living room, searching for the perfect spot.

It’s a simple, seemingly insignificant request but it’s the first picture of all of them that will go in their home together. 

Waverly’s hand rests against Rosita’s knee and she squeezes gently. “Of course, baby. Whatever you want.” 

Rosita leans over to place the picture frame on the coffee table safely. She picks up the smaller box and undoes the satiny ribbon that’s around it, lifting off the lid. 

Inside is a beautiful gold chain with a small, flat round pendant. There’s a small, light pink tourmaline gemstone in the middle. Rosita’s eyes widen, her eyebrows raising as she brushes her thumb over it. It’s so incredibly beautiful.

“Waverly… Shae…” 

“Turn it over.” Waverly says, her voice more even now. 

She sits up, and so does Shae, both of them reach and pull out a chain that’s been tucked into their pajama shirts. 

It’s identical to the one Rosita holds. Her heart flutters as she looks between the two of them, seeing the proud happy looks on their faces. The oldest woman flips the pendant over like she’s told and finds the letters ‘W’ and ‘S’ engraved into the back. 

“Mine has an ‘R’ and a ‘W’ and Waves’ has an ‘S’ and an ‘R’.” Shae explains softly, flipping her own to show Rosita. 

Somehow this feels even more like a dream. Rosita decides that if it is one, she doesn’t ever want to wake up. 

Waverly takes the necklace out of Rosita’s hands and urges her to turn around. Shae reaches forward and gathers Rosita’s long hair to one side, lifting it out of Waverly’s way as she fastens the necklace securely around her girlfriend’s neck. 

Rosita smoothes it against her chest, resting her hand over it for a moment when it’s in place. Her chest fills with emotion in a beautiful, painless way. She almost feels like she might cry again. 

“I love both of you. More than anything. Thank you. I-I’m never… I’m never gonna leave you. I’ll always be right here. I don’t wanna ever be anywhere else.” Rosita says to both of them. 

“Oh, baby…” Waverly coos, wrapping her arms around Rosita from behind. 

“We love you, too. So much.” Shae promises, resting her hands on Rosita’s face and leaning in to press a kiss to her lips. 

So, so much .” Waverly confirms, her heart swelling as she watches the two women she loves kiss. 

When they part, Rosita turns her head enough to press her lips to Waverly’s. 

“I don’t think I need to say it, but this is the best Christmas I’ve ever had. Last year’s is a close second.” Rosie smirks, making the other women laugh softly. 

The three of them keep kissing and whispering all snuggled up together on the couch for a while before Shae reminds them of the cookies they’re supposed to be baking. 

They race to the kitchen, laughing the whole way and playfully arguing about whose cookies will be the best. 

 

*** 

 

Wynonna stands in the kitchen humming along to Dolly Parton’s version of White Christmas . The timer for the oven goes off, making her jump a little. She feels giddy all over, excitement coursing through her whole body as she pulls the cookies out of the oven. 

It’s Christmas Eve and that’s special enough on its own, but Wynonna can’t stop thinking about something else. 

Today, ten years have passed since the night Wynonna and Nicole gave themselves fully to one another. Every time the memory perks up in Wynonna’s mind, her lips twitch into a smile. 

In all these years, nobody has ever gotten her the way Nicole does--the way Nicole always will. 

Wynonna pulls everything she can about that night from her memory and does her best to replicate it. There’s Rocky Road in the freezer, fresh cookies on the stove. Wynonna is wearing Nicole’s old green basketball hoodie and her underwear, just waiting for her fiancée to come home from work. 

The door in the kitchen opens not long after. Wynonna has gotten the cookies onto a plate and cleaned up the kitchen and she’s sitting on the counter, swinging her feet back and forth when the redhead walks in. 

“Hey, baby! Merry Chris– Christ. ” Nicole breathes out, faltering. Her mouth hanging open when she sees Wynonna finally. 

She doesn’t bother with her gun belt or her boots, instead she just opens her arms and walks to Wynonna. 

“He is the reason for the season, apparently. Merry Christ -mas to you too, Haughtstuff.” Wynonna chuckles, opening her legs for Nicole to step in between them. 

Big, cold hands find their way underneath the still oversized hoodie and run over smooth, warm skin. Nicole hums, leaning in and breathing in the smell of Wynonna before she captures her lips. 

She lets herself settle in how it feels to come home on Christmas to this woman. To touch her and kiss her and see her in her hoodie from all those years ago. In basically only that hoodie… 

Wynonna pulls out of the kiss, breathless and smiling up at the taller woman. 

“I made you cookies, and there’s –” 

“Wait, lemme guess… there’s Rocky Road ice cream in the freezer?” Nicole raises an eyebrow expectantly. 

Wynonna pulls her eyebrows together, shaking her head. “Huh? No…” 

Nicole’s face immediately switches and she feels bad, thinking she’s made Wynonna feel like she missed something. “Oh, okay, baby. That’s okay… uh… I’m sorry, I–” 

Wynonna laughs and it cuts through the panic. “Relax, Red. Yeah, that’s – that’s what I was gonna say, I was just fucking with you. There’s Rocky Road in the freezer.” 

Nicole rolls her eyes and laughs, smacking Wynonna’s arm lightly. “You’re such a dick, Wynonna.” 

“Well, would a dick bake you your favorite cookies and get your favorite ice cream and… other stuff?” 

“Depends on what the other stuff is… but since you did all that I’m gonna say yeah.” 

“Fuck you, get outta my way.” 

“Nuh-uh, no ma’am.” Nicole laughs, tightening her arm around Wynonna’s waist and lifting her up. 

The smaller woman instinctively wraps her arms and legs around Nicole, clinging to her tightly. 

“Now, tell me about this other stuff, Earp.” Nicole smirks, brushing her nose along Wynonna’s as she holds her. 

She bites her lip at the feeling of Wynonna’s skin and underwear under her hands as she smoothes up her leg and over the curve of her ass. 

Wynonna’s fingers tangle in Nicole’s short hair as she holds her. The way Nicole’s eyes look as she gazes up at her takes Wynonna right back to standing outside of her bedroom window in the middle of the night. They reflect the exact same shining look Nicole had when she pulled her inside and kissed the hell out of her. 

Wynonna’s lost in the memory and Nicole’s voice pulls her back to today. “What’re you thinkin’ about baby?” 

“Just –- remembering.” She smiles, letting out a short breath through her nose. 

Nicole’s lips twitch and her smile grows. She adjusts, holding Wynonna so that her belt isn’t digging into her. 

“I remember thinking you didn’t want me. That I wasn’t gonna see you anymore. I thought I bored you to death or something and it just –- wasn’t what you wanted. You were so cool even then and I was just… An awkward dweeb. All that time… I was layin’ in bed that night almost in tears watching some stupid ass Christmas movie when you showed up.” 

“You mean when I fucking scaled the side of your house in the snow at midnight?” Wynonna laughs, the sound fills the kitchen and makes Nicole crack up too. It’s such a beautiful, silly memory to recall.

After everything they’ve been through, thinking about being teenagers who had no idea they’d ever get here… and now being here… 

Wynonna stops laughing abruptly, making a sound of surprise. Her hands come down Nicole’s shoulders and she taps her. “Put me down for a second, I just remembered something…” Wynonna smiles with her bottom lip between her teeth. 

Nicole’s eyebrows pull together but she obliges, figuring that it can’t be something bad if Wynonna is smiling at her like that. 

Wynonna takes Nicole’s hand and pulls her into the living room. 

“I need to grab my phone and something and I’ll be right back!” Wynonna warns, scurrying off into their bedroom. 

Nicole uses the time to slip out of her boots and her gun belt, setting it aside. She unbuttons and untucks her uniform shirt and flops back on the chair in front of the fire. 

Wynonna comes back a second later with her phone in one hand and the light blue polaroid camera she’d given Nicole ten years ago in the other. 

Nicole had packed it up before moving and hadn’t found the time to unpack everything. 

“I was looking for something in the closet the other day and this was poking out of one of the boxes.” Wynonna shrugs, smiling down at her fiancée. 

“Baby! You found it. That’s so cute. I meant to unpack it I just never got to. I dunno if there’s any film in there.” She admits. 

“I put some in. Got it today.” Wynonna smirks, taking a seat on Nicole’s lap. She scrolls through something on her phone for a second, her tongue poking out of the corner of her mouth as she looks. 

Nicole watches her in complete awe. The girl who’d crawled in her bedroom window and cried while confessing her family and financial secrets to her, who brought her ice cream and made her cookies, who looked like the most perfect vision in her big hoodie and sweatpants and that necklace she’s still wearing now… 

That nervous, beautiful girl had become this absolutely breathtaking woman and she’s still here. She’s going to be Nicole’s wife, for God’s sake. 

Suddenly a song starts playing from Wynonna’s phone and she sits it down on the side table. Nicole recognizes it immediately, but still pulls her eyebrows together in confusion. 

The Things We Do For Love by 10cc starts to play instead of the Dolly Parton Christmas album that had been on before. Nicole settles back in the chair and holds Wynonna’s hips, pulling her closer to her chest. 

“What’s this for?” The redhead asks, tilting her head with the question. She’s almost positive that Wynonna had never played this song for her before, nor had she covered it just to sing to Wynonna. If there is a significance, she doesn’t know anything about it. 

Wynonna smirks, pulling her knees up and settling into Nicole’s chest a little more. Her hand comes up to push Nicole’s hair behind her ear. 

“When we were talking about… about that night I remembered something. Maybe it’s stupid, but –– when I was climbing up the side of the house in the dark… this fucking song started playing in my head and I couldn’t get it out. I felt like such a nerd. It’s all I could think about. The things we do for love.” Wynonna laughs, shaking her head as she starts feeling teary eyed.  

“I was climbing up the side of your house to be with you for Christmas because I – I was in love with you. And I just kept hoping that when I got up there, that you’d love me, too.” Wynonna admits, looking small and breakable. 

“Oh, baby. Wynonna…” Nicole smiles, her brown eyes shining in the light from the fire. 

Her hands come up and push Wynonna’s hair back, getting it out of her face. Nicole holds her sweet face in her hands and brushes her thumb against her cheekbone. 

“Of course I did. I loved you with everything, all that time. I know we didn’t say it, but…” 

“I think we made it pretty clear. I felt it.” Wynonna grins, her voice breaking just slightly. 

Nicole’s careful hand brushes away the tears before they can truly fall. She uses her free hand to nudge against the camera in Wynonna’s lap. 

“Take a picture of us.” The younger woman smiles, her eyes never leaving Wynonna’s face. 

Wynonna gets the camera ready and settles back against Nicole’s chest. She holds it with one hand and Nicole uses one of hers to steady it and press the button. 

The picture prints and Wynonna turns the camera back off, sitting it to the side and leaving it there to develop. Her arms wrap back around Nicole’s neck. 

“C’mere, ‘Nonna.” Nicole breathes, letting her arms circle around the smaller woman and pull her in. 

Nicole kisses her deeply, moaning against her lips. Wynonna opens her mouth for her and Nicole lets her tongue press in, moving against Wynonna’s expertly. 

Nicole’s hands push underneath the hoodie again, moving over Wynonna’s sides and across her back. She lets her blunt nails press into the flesh just a little, enough to make Wynonna whine against her lips. 

The redhead’s heart is beating fast, a common occurrence when Wynonna is near her, kissing her, touching her. It sends her back to that night. She can feel the nervousness and the excitement rattling through her bones the same way it did ten years ago.

She’ll never lose this, she knows. As long as Wynonna is hers, she’ll never stop feeling like it’s magical. Christmas will always be her favorite holiday. 

Wynonna pulls out of the kiss just enough to brush her lips against Nicole’s. “I was gonna give you one of your presents tonight but I don’t wanna stop kissing you.” 

“I don’t wanna stop kissin’ you either. I never want to stop. I love you, so much.” Nicole’s hands wrap around Wynonna’s small waist and hold her tight, the words are breathed right against Wynonna’s parted lips. 

“So don’t. I love you, Haught.” She opens her eyes and looks down at the redhead, seeing forever. 

Wynonna pulls in a deep breath as some kind of realization washes over her. 

“What is it?” Nicole asks because she can tell. 

“How do you feel about marrying me on November 10th next year?” Wynonna asks, keeping her hands in Nicole’s hair. 

The younger woman smiles, pulling Wynonna close and standing up from the chair with her in her arms. She kisses Wynonna fiercely, walking with her in her arms towards their bedroom. She could walk this trail in her sleep by now. 

Nicole drops Wynonna onto the bed and crawls over her immediately, her hands moving to push the hoodie up and over Wynonna’s head. Wynonna is left bare from the waist up and her long necklace falls to the side, getting lost in her hair. 

“Let me show you. I’ll show you how I feel about marrying you on November 10th, and being with you every Christmas for the rest of my life, and everything .” Nicole promises, running her thumb over Wynonna’s lips. 

Wynonna whimpers, letting her legs wrap around Nicole’s waist. She arches up into her, long fingers digging into Nicole’s back. Her uniform shirt still hangs around them and Wynonna moves to push it off of her shoulders and down her arms. 

Nicole’s mouth goes to Wynonna’s neck and she gasps, tangling a hand in red hair again. “Please – God, Nicole. Show me.” Wynonna begs, even though she doesn’t have to. 

“I will, baby. Then, we’ll watch some stupid Christmas movie and eat ice cream and cookies and I’ll… I’ll show you again after that?” Nicole grins. Wynonna can feel it against her chest and it makes her smile, too, a soft laugh falling from her lips as Nicole moves down her body. 

“Sounds like a plan.” Wynonna breathes out, tossing her head back when she feels Nicole’s tongue on her chest. 

They give everything to one another, over and over again. It’s the same as before and different in so many ways. There’s a deep rooted sureness, something nobody or nothing can ever truly move. It feels new and like something they’ve both known for hundreds of years. 

All the while, The Things You Do For Love plays over and over on a loop from Wynonna’s phone out in the living room until it dies. 

Chapter Text

 

January 11, 2018

The Sheriff’s Department is quiet today, as it has been for the last few days. It’s strange how there seems to be nothing going on anywhere. Wynonna hasn’t seen hide nor hair of the mysterious lady in black that had been creeping around in her mother’s perfume. There’s been the odd revenant or other supernatural dipshit, but nothing too crazy. For the most part, things have just been normal. Wynonna doesn’t know whether to be thankful for it or to hate it. Right now, she just feels restless. 

She walks down the hall towards her fiancée’s office, wearing her usual boots and black ripped jeans with Nicole’s favorite blue sweater and her hair up in a bun. The other woman’s sweater is a little loose on her; it hangs off her shoulder a little and the sleeve’s cover the palms of her hands. It makes her feel like she’s wrapped up in the redhead’s arms and that’s what matters. 

Wynonna knocks twice on the door but opens it and walks in anyway, keeping quiet in case Nicole is on the phone. She isn’t. Wynonna smiles at the sight of the Sheriff looking up from her computer to see her. 

Nicole’s eyes soften immediately and her shoulders slump when she sees the older woman. There’s never been a time since she met Wynonna that Nicole hasn’t thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world. Every time, even after years, Nicole’s heart leaps every time the Earp Heir is in her presence. She still hasn’t fully processed the thought that this woman is going to be her wife . That they’ve picked a date and everything. If she’s being honest with herself. She doesn’t know that it will settle until it’s actually happening, maybe not even then. 

“Hey, baby. Good mornin’...” Nicole breathes, stopping to take in Wynonna the way she always has to do. 

“Morning Sheriff… might wanna wipe your chin, you’re drooling.” Wynonna teases, coming to sit on the edge of Nicole’s desk. 

The officer actually reaches up to the corner of her mouth just in case, but rolls her eyes when she realizes Wynonna was just messing with her. 

“Geez, can’t even look at my fiancée now? What kind of deal is this?” Nicole pretends like she’s going to go back to her work, but Wynonna catches her hand. 

“Hey… nobody said that.” Wynonna smirks, lacing her fingers with Nicole’s and leaning in to kiss her on the lips. 

They make a soft, content sound at the same time, smiling against one another’s lips. Nicole’s free right hand moves to rest against Wynonna’s thigh, her finger brushing underneath the fabric of her sweater that hangs on Wynonna’s thin frame. 

“Mmm.. stealing my clothes now?” 

“I thought you liked it when I did that? Besides, they’re our clothes.” 

“Right… ours. You’ll be sorry you said that when I steal your leather pants or somethin’. And I’m definitely not complaining about it, no … not when you look like this.” Nicole pulls back, resting both her hands on Wynonna’s hips and looking over her again. She looks absolutely mouthwatering. Nicole bites her lip and lifts her brows, having to drag her hands away to stop herself from lifting up the sweater and peppering Wynonna’s perfect body with kisses. 

Wynonna laughs at the idea of the taller woman in her leather pants. “Yeah, right! The things I’d fucking do to see that , Haughty. God, your ass would look ––” Wynonna closes her eyes and practically purrs

“Hey, don’t get your hopes up. It was a joke. Couldn’t pay me to squeeze into those things. They’re tough enough to get off’a you . God, now you’re the one drooling.” 

Wynonna wipes her mouth with the back of her hand, not surprised in the least when she does find a bit of wetness there. “Jerk.” 

Nicole is wearing that cute, sideways grin that brings out her dimples when she looks back to her computer. She keeps one hand on Wynonna’s knee, rubbing and squeezing at her leg while she works. 

Wynonna leans back on the desk, propping herself up with a hand behind her. “It’s hella boring out here, you know? There’s like nothing… nothing spooky, nothing sketchy.” 

“Isn’t that… good?” 

“Well, yeah, I guess but –- you still have to work, so I’m left all alone and horny ‘til you come home. And when I’m here, I’m just forced to look at you in that sexy new uniform and there’s nothing I can even do about it?” Wynonna pouts. 

Nicole looks back to her with raised eyebrows and her mouth hanging open slightly. She can’t believe Wynonna is doing this… actually, she absolutely can. 

“Baby…” 

“Yeah?” Wynonna bites her lip and smiles, kicking her feet. The behavior is so bratty. Nicole has to take in a deep breath and rub her hands over her face. 

“Like you said… I still have to work. Which you’re making… so damn hard to do right now.” Nicole almost sounds pained to say it. She wants more than anything to just push Wynonna back on her desk like she has so many times before, but today she actually has time sensitive reports to get through. 

“I can make it so much harder…” Wynonna smirks, rubbing the inside of Nicole’s leg with the toe of her boot. 

Nicole makes a low noise and grabs Wynonna’s ankle, her tongue pressing into her cheek. “Wynonna, baby, c’mon… I’m gonna be in so much trouble if I don’t get these reports done.” 

“What is even the point of being the Sheriff if you don’t get to make and break the rules?” Wynonna presses on. 

“You know, maybe I will break ‘em…” Nicole’s hand skims up Wynonna’s leg again, gripping at her thigh as she leans up, their lips almost brushing. 

Oh … heh.. Really?” Wynonna begs, breathless as she leans forward, chasing the kiss. 

“Mmm… No. ” Nicole breathes out against Wynonna’s lips before kissing her deeply for a couple of seconds. She pulls back, pressing a final soft kiss against those lips before sitting back in her chair and taking her hands off of her wife-to-be. “You’re just gonna have to keep it in your pants for a little bit longer, unfortunately. But, I’ll be done before noon if you let me work.” 

Wynonna slumps back against the desk, feeling dizzy as she gapes at the younger woman. “That… was so mean. You owe me so fucking big for that, Haught.” 

“And I promise to pay, baby. I swear.” 

“What are we swearing about?” Waverly squeaks from the door, making Wynonna turn her head. 

“Absolutely nothing you’re interested in knowing about, baby girl.” 

Waverly wrinkles her nose and shakes her head, stepping into the office anyway. “Gross. Could have at least closed the door.” 

Waverly puts down the coffees she brought for Nicole and Wynonna and hands them out. Nicole’s face is red as she takes the cup from her fiancée’s sister. 

“Thanks, Waves.” 

“Yeah, thank you… sorry not sorry for being a horndog, though.” 

“Whatever, I’m used to it. Anyways, I wanted to talk to you about some wedding stuff.” Waverly gets so giddy every time she brings up the reality of Wynonna and Nicole’s wedding. 

Wynonna feels her stomach flutter and she glances towards the redhead, who is smiling up at her as she drinks her coffee. It makes Wynonna blush. God, it’s so stupid how she still feels like a kid in love whenever it comes to Nicole. She’ll never get tired of it. 

“I promise I’ll be listening but I’ve gotta work too so, feel free to stay in here and chat.” Nicole explains, earning an understanding nod from the younger Earp and a pout from the older one. 

“Stop that.” Nicole breathes with no kind of conviction. 

“You know I won’t.” Wynonna smiles. 

Waverly cracks open the thick notebook she’s had tucked under her arm and sits down in one of the chairs in front of Nicole’s desk. “Okay, since you picked the date I was able to come up with a few things. Of course, we need to talk about where you wanna do it. Figured the homestead was a no-go.” 

“Absolutely not.” Wynonna grumbles. Living on the homestead and making it their own was good. It made some of the bad memories associated with the place fade away. That doesn’t mean she wants to get married there. “Besides, I do want Rosie to be there.” Wynonna crosses her arms, rolling her lips together as she thinks. 

They don’t have a ton of money. Black Badge doesn’t pay her anymore and even though Nicole is the Sheriff now… this is still Purgatory. Wynonna has almost considered getting a job someplace but Nicole always talks her out of it. Handling the curse and holding down a job just sounds like a fucking nightmare. 

“I don’t really want it at a church, if that helps.” Nicole chimes in, glancing up from her screen and giving Wynonna a pointed look. 

“Did you think I would argue with that?” Wynonna tilts her head with the question. 

“Oh my God!” Waverly squeals, her book clattering to the floor. 

“Okay, why are you so surprised?” Wynonna turns back towards her sister and she sees the real reason for Waverly’s reaction. 

There’s a woman standing in the doorway with her hands and her clothes drenched in dark red blood. 

“Come on, this can’t be because we don’t wanna get married in a church…” Wynonna whispers. 

“My boss was killed.” The nun’s voice trembles when she speaks. 

“God really is dead.” Wynonna sputters, squeezing her eyes and shut and shaking her head right after. “Why’d I say that?” 

A second later, the three of them are on their feet. Waverly reaches the woman first and looks her over. “You’re okay, though, right? This blood isn’t yours?” 

The woman just shakes her head, still looking wide-eyed and shocked. Nicole’s hand finds the small of Wynonna’s back and the shorter woman turns to look up at her. 

“We’ll take her down to Jeremy to get swabbed and question her. You – stay put and finish your work?” Wynonna says softly, running her hand down Nicole’s arm. 

The taller woman takes a deep breath and nods, leaning in to kiss Wynonna’s forehead. “Okay, I’ll come grab you when I’m done?” 

Wynonna smiles up at her and pushes up on her toes to kiss her mouth. She doesn’t even think about the lady of God standing in the room and when she does she can’t find it in herself to care. “Sounds good. I love you.” 

“I love you, baby.” Nicole smiles, sitting back down in her chair and taking a long drink of her coffee as she watches Wynonna and Waverly leave. 

*** 

“I was sorting through the boxes of decorations in our basement when I felt…” The distraught woman begins. Waverly leads her to an open chair where Jeremy is waiting nearby, ready to swab the blood for testing. 

“Hungry? Nauseous? Horny?!” Wynonna pesters, possibly projecting her own feelings onto the woman. 

Both Waverly and the woman narrow their eyes at her and Wynonna puts her hands out in surrender. 

“Hey. No judgement! You’re a nun, not a saint!” 

“Cold. Freezing cold. I could see my breath! Then I turned around and I saw her. A Victorian woman in b–”

“Black. A woman in black.” Wynonna finishes her sentence. She feels her chest sink as the woman continues to explain how she couldn’t move, how all she could do was watch the priest be eaten

Wynonna zones out, getting lost in the memory of seeing the lady in black for the first time at the construction site. That’d been months ago. She’d caught the smell of her mama’s perfume or seen small glimpses since but nothing crazy… surely not the ghostly bitch chowing down on anyone. 

Waverly leads the woman off to get cleaned up and ask her more questions and Wynonna just keeps staring. She doesn’t even realize she’s chewing on her lip too hard until Jeremy grabs her wrist gently. 

“Hey… you – you’ve seen this… this woman in black before?” He asks softly, pulling her back to the present. 

Wynonna shakes her head, blinking before she nods. “I – uh, yeah. At the creepy crawly condo. She must be the one who got all ceremonial with the crows and… poor Earl.” She thinks back to finding the mostly innocent revenant dismembered. 

Wynonna pushes her fingers into her temples and shakes her head again. “Shit. I – I thought I was seeing things. I thought it was Willa. Haunting me.” Wynonna feels more stupid by the second. God, why hadn’t she told anyone? Really told anyone? Maybe they could’ve stopped this… 

“Hey, it’s okay, Wyn… Well, the uh – condos were built in the place of a former Catholic school… now we’re looking at a church basement. Both are ––” 

“Holy ground.” 

“Right.” 

“She was looking for the same thing again! Another seal?! There’s more than one seal??” Wynonna feels all the questions rushing out of her. Sometimes when her brain connects things like this after trying so hard and just lets them spill, she feels really fucking smart for a moment or two. It’s times like this when it stabs her in the gut that she’d probably never become a doctor. 

Jeremy widens his eyes at her. For as much as the words are spilling out haphazardly, Wynonna seems to know what she’s talking about. It all makes sense. He nods and she keeps talking. 

“Okay. If someone moved it… it could be on another sacred site, right? I mean, how many of those do we have?” 

“In the triangle? There’s synagogues, mosques, churches… I can narrow it down using an algorithm and a complex set of –” 

“Jeremy!” Wynonna cuts him off.

“Math. I can narrow it down using math. I just might need… 24 hours and a burrito.”  

About that time, Doc and Dolls step into the office together. 

“You might wanna sit down…” Dolls says to Jeremy. The agent does it without another question. 

A while later, Wynonna is sat staring at the picture of the bitch in black from the file Dolls and Doc brought in from BBD. Or the single agent left that had given it to them. BBD was done for. Gone. They’d completely cut the Ghost River Triangle off and left them to fend for themselves. God, Lucado was gonna burst a fucking blood vessel when she found out. 

They go back and forth with questions about what this means for them. Being abandoned like this feels like a pit, even to Wynonna, but she can’t let herself drown in it right now. They have shit to do. 

“Guys, I know this is some really shitty shit, but there’s still a fuckton of demons terrorizing Purgatory. For example, the one running around eating priests. Super illegal. Not super Christian. So I dunno about the rest of you, but as far as I’m concerned… we hunt supernatural shit, we kill supernatural shit. No shitty piece of metal needed.” Wynonna tosses the now useless badge over her shoulder and Jeremy barely catches it. 

“Peacemaker is – is metal.” 

“Zip it, Algebra.” 

Nicole comes in, leaning against the doorframe. Wynonna turns her head to the tall woman and the weight on her shoulders feels lighter just looking at her. 

“Goodish maybe bad news, baby, BBD is BB-Done.” Wynonna gives her fiancée a bright grin. 

Nicole’s eyebrows raise and she shakes her head, trying to digest the news. “I –- oh. Okay. Do you uh… maybe wanna go with me for lunch and you can tell me more about that?” Nicole’s voice lowers and Wynonna smirks, already standing up from the desk. 

“Sounds like nothing I wanna do more right now.” 

“I’m gonna grab coffee, lotta research to do…” Jeremy laughs nervously, heading out before things can get any more romantic in here. 

“How about we all dip out for a while? I need to go home and do… stuff .” Waverly says, biting her lip as she looks at her phone. 

“I need to go get the bar ready.” Doc adds, tipping his hat to the rest of them. 

“And I’m goin’ with him, so…” Dolls points and moves to follow his boyfriend. 

“Great, we deserve a break if you ask me. Nicole! I’ll get my book out of your office later?” Waverly says, already halfway out the door. 

“No problem, Waves. It’s safe in there.” Nicole chuckles, pulling Wynonna into her arms as they watch the rest of them leave. 

“We’re not going for lunch, are we?” Wynonna brushes her nose against Nicole’s jaw just before she presses a kiss against her neck. 

“Hmmm, I dunno about you but I plan on eating.” 

*** 

Wynonna’s arm dangles over the bench seat, brushing light against the leather of her gun holster. Eventually, skin touches metal and the long gun sends a sharp spark of electricity up through her fingers, jolting her awake immediately. 

She opens her eyes, blinking the deep sleep out of them slowly. What the fuck? Her head is resting on Nicole’s chest. She can feel the woman’s heartbeat and her deep, even breathing underneath her. It only takes a second for her to realize she’s still straddling her. And that she’s completely naked. 

Wynonna pushes herself up slowly, sitting back on Nicole’s hips and letting her hands come to rest against her abs. The Sheriff is naked, too. This is new, Wynonna thinks. Never passed out that hard before, especially in the truck… Her eyebrows pull together and she rubs her face, trying her best not to succumb to the way her body is begging her to just lay back down and sleep some more. 

“Baby… Nicole.” Wynonna says her name, running her hand up and down her arm over and over. It usually wakes Nicole right up, but this time she doesn’t budge. “Nic… Nicole!” Wynonna says it louder, moving her hand to smack lightly against her cheek. 

Finally, she opens her eyes, blinking up at Wynonna. “ Oh , hey…” Nicole smiles sleepily, running her big hands over Wynonna’s bare hips and up her sides. “Damn, this ain’t a bad way to wake up…” 

Wynonna’s breath catches and she feels herself smiling just for a moment before she remembers. Something is wrong. She shakes her head, looking around. Nobody is moving outside and it’s still day time. She looks down at her phone and it’s completely dead. 

“No, Nic… Something is wrong. My phone’s dead. Peacemaker woke me up.” 

“What do you mean?” Nicole questions, adjusting so that she can sit up with Wynonna still on her lap. 

“I mean… It zapped me. So, I don’t think we just fell asleep naked in the parking lot. I think something spooky is going on.”

Nicole rubs her eyes and nods, feeling so fucking tired still. She reaches into her pocket and fishes out her phone. 

“Dead, too.” 

Finally, the chill of being out in the lot with no clothes on runs through her. She shivers and reaches out for Wynonna’s body again, keeping her close as she reaches for the sweater Wynonna was wearing. “It’s cold.” Nicole says softly, helping Wynonna back into it. 

“Yeah, hella cold. We gotta get outta here, find Waverly.” Wynonna finishes pulling the sweater on and finds Nicole’s sports bra and shirt, handing them over to her. 

The pair dress one another as much as they can before Wynonna has to climb off of her so they can put their pants and shoes back on. 

*** 

Nicole drives the truck to her old house and Wynonna stays snuggled into her side the entire time. It’s hard not to drift off again with the warmth of Wynonna and heat from the truck, but she knows she can’t. She’d never let herself put Wynonna in danger like that, no matter how hard she has to fight her own body. 

When they’re parked, Nicole and Wynonna hurry up to the house. 

“Waverly! Rosita! Shae!” All the cars are present, they know they’ll find all three women inside. Nobody comes to the door, though, no matter how hard they bang or how loudly they yell. 

“Hold on…” Nicole puts her hands on Wynonna’s hips and moves past her, looking under something on the porch. There, she finds the hidden spare key easily. 

“Right where I left it.” She says triumphantly, showing off the shiny key to the smaller woman before turning it in the lock. 

“Right where I left it,” Wynonna mocks, speaking with her tongue hanging out of her mouth exaggeratedly. 

Nicole looks down at the brunette with a stern look.

“Can’t help you’re a big dork,” Wynonna teases with a smirk. “I coulda just kicked it in, though.” 

“That’d be super sexy but I don’t wanna have to buy and fix a door when we’re trying to save for a wedding.” 

“Good point.” 

The pair step quietly into the house. The first thing each of them notice is that the throuple don’t seem to be in the living room or kitchen. They can’t say the same for their clothes, though. So many articles of clothing are strewn through the rooms, leading to the stairs. 

Wynonna pushes her lips to the side and looks up at her fiancée. Nicole looks down at her with a puzzled expression. 

“Well, what’re you waiting for? Head on up, Haughtstuff. I’ll start making coffee.” Wynonna points up the stairs. 

Nicole is horror-stricken. She knows the predicament they woke up in, she can only imagine what these three got up to after they shed all their clothes. “What?! Why? Why do I have to?” 

“Uhhh… maybe ‘cause one of the three muskateers isn’t your sister?” 

“Okay but one of them is my best friend?” 

“Who you dated and banged for... how long?” 

Nicole doesn’t answer, just keeps her lips pressed together in a hard line. 

“Exactly. So get your Haught ass up there and wake. them. up.” Wynonna smacks Nicole on the ass hard and turns back towards the kitchen. 

“God, fine…” Nicole rolls her eyes and takes the stairs two at a time. 

Nicole squeezes her eyes closed as she turns the knob to her old bedroom… The officer opens one eye tentatively and breathes out as she looks towards the bed. Relief washes over her and she lets out the breath she didn’t know she’d been holding. Thankfully, the trio seemed to be taking a break when they’d fallen asleep. 

Waverly is in the middle with her head resting against Rosita’s chest and Shae is curled into Waverly’s back. It’s actually really adorable. 

“Thank fuck.” Nicole breathes out, stepping towards the bed to begin the process of waking them up. 

Wynonna is in the kitchen watching the coffee brew when she hears the pitched screams upstairs. She laughs darkly to herself, shaking her head as she moves to the fridge to find milk for Nicole’s coffee. 

The redhead comes bounding down the steps a moment later, leaving the other women to get dressed and collect themselves. 

“See anything fun?” Wynonna wiggles her eyebrows as she jokes. 

“I can’t deal with you.” Nicole tries to hide her smile and nudges Wynonna out of the way playfully. “They were just snuggling, thankfully. And Shae was the closest to the door.” 

“Boooo… Sorry it was no fun.” Wynonna pokes out her lip and hands Nicole her coffee before she turns around to hop up on the counter. She’d sat on this counter many times when this house still belonged to Nicole. Many, many times. She smiles against her own mug as she thinks about it. 

Nicole moves into her space a moment later, drinking from the mug that she holds with one hand and using the other to grip Wynonna’s thigh. The older woman wraps her legs around Nicole easily and pulls her close. 

“You should know by now that the only ass I’m interested in lookin’ at is yours.” Nicole brushes her nose against Wynonna’s before kissing it softly. 

“I know. But teasing is still fun.” 

Nicole pulls back a bit when they hear the other women coming down the stairs. 

“I am so sorry, Nicole…” Waverly is apologizing as she walks into the kitchen. 

“Yeah, so sorry you had to see us naked.” Rosita laughs, still pulling her hair up. 

“It’s alright, I’ll live.” Nicole laughs, too, dipping her head a bit. 

“Not the first time, probably not the last.” Shae shrugs, moving to grab a mug off the counter. 

Wynonna laughs with them. It’s kind of nice to think about going from how she felt when she first met Shae to this . Nicole just rolls her eyes, turning around and leaning against the counter between Wynonna’s legs. 

“Drink up. And make more. We’re gonna need something way stronger to keep everyone awake.” Wynonna tells them, finishing her cup. 

“What’s doing this?” Waverly asks, taking the mug from her sister and filling it up again. 

Wynonna’s arms wrap around Nicole’s neck and she leans her chin against her shoulder. “Dunno. Something that’s about to get dead.” 

“It has to be some kind of… like a spell or a curse or something. I mean this many people? And We’re assuming it’s everyone?” 

“Yeah, we saw people sleeping in their cars and stuff on the way over here. Which reminds me that we should probably get a move on with waking everyone up.” Nicole explains. 

“Woah, no…” Shae offers, holding up a hand. “Waking people up, won’t that… make it harder to find out who’s doing it?” It’s such a smart thing to think of. 

Nicole sticks out her bottom lip and nods. “You’ve got a point.” 

“Yeah, finding the source will be much easier if everyone’s zonked,” Wynonna agrees, nodding and taking the next cup of coffee from her baby sister. 

“Well, I’ve got enough pharmaceuticals in the evidence locker to keep all of Purg High buzzing.” Nicole tosses in, shrugging with a sly look on her face. 

“Oooh, Naughty Haughty.” Wynonna purrs against her cheek, pressing a kiss there. 

“Well, if you snort it or shoot it, I’m out.” Waverly holds her hands up innocently. 

“My own sister, a narc.” 

“Okay, most of it is not illegal when taken by the person to whom it is prescribed,” Nicole defends her offer. 

Wynonna’s smile against her cheek only widens. “God, you’re sexy.” 

“Okay, geeez, you two.” Rosita rolls her eyes, downing the coffee. “But Nic’s right. If we don’t self medicate, we’re all done for. This can’t keep us up.” She turns towards the fridge and searches for a moment before pulling out a couple of energy drinks and setting them on the counter. 

Nicole moves out from between Wynonna’s legs and turns to help her down from the counter, just because she wants to. Nicole’s fingers lace with Wynonna’s and she looks down at her.
“Okay, so… Shae and I will go make sure nobody fell asleep outside. You three head to the station and get the medicine, combo to the locker is in my desk. We’ll meet you.” 

Wynonna looks up at the redhead and smiles softly, nodding in agreement. If eighteen year old her could see them now. Nicole digs into her pocket and pulls her office keys out, placing them gently in Wynonna’s hand. 

“Got it. Be careful, please. Charge your phone, if you can. We won’t have contact for a bit.” Wynonna feels the worry begin to burn through her veins, tearing into her chest as she thinks about Nicole going off alone with her totally human best friend. 

She just wants both of them to be safe. Having to subject the people she loves to this supernatural shit doesn’t get any fucking easier. She hates being who she is more and more as time goes on and shit goes down. 

“We will, baby. You too. All of you.” Nicole turns to address Rosita and Waverly. 

Rosita passes one of the energy drinks to Shae. “You guys share, we’ll share this one for now, til we get the other stuff.” Rosita suggests. 

Waverly and Rosita both take turns kissing their girlfriend before Waverly settles into Rosita’s side. Rosita rests a hand on Shae’s face and Waverly takes her hand.

“Be so, so careful. Please.” Rosita begs her, brushing her thumb against Shae’s cheek.

“Please.” Waverly adds, squeezing her hand softly.

“I promise. I love both of you. So much.” Shae says softly, leaning in to kiss each of them one more time.

Haught pulls Wynonna by her waist into a deep, sweet kiss. “I love you. Come back to me, okay?” Nicole says so quietly, only for Wynonna to hear.  

“I will. I promise, Nic. I love you.” Wynonna nods, her teeth sinking into her lip as she pushes Nicole’s hair behind her ear and smoothes it some. 

They rest their foreheads together for a moment, each one praying this will be easy before they all head out the door. 

 

*** 

 

Wynonna leads the way into the station, hoping to find Dolls and not Lucado there. Two of Purgatory’s deputies are slumped at their desk as they quietly make their way to the BBD offices. Dolls isn’t there, but neither is Lucado. 

“Well, I’m taking no Lucado as a win. We’re not going to wake that bitch up… I don’t know where she lives anyway, but she can stay asleep as far as I’m concerned,” Wynonna comments. 

“No Doc or Dolls either, though,” Rosita notices. “Probably at Shorty’s? Doc would have needed to get the bar ready to open when we all fell asleep.” 

Wynonna purses her lips and looks around. “Wait, where’s Jer Bear?” 

Waverly perks up at this. The BBD scientist had quickly become her best friend. “Maybe he went home? Or to get lunch?” 

Rosita makes her way over to a rack in the room and checks the radios setting in their charging docks. She clicks them on and sighs. “Radios are charged. We’ll use these to stay in touch.”

“Ooh! Ooh!” Waverly bounces. 

Rosita grins at her girlfriend, knowing exactly what’s coming next. Waverly continues, “Cutesy callsign time! Okay, uhhh. Wynonna… You’re… Bacon Donut! And I’m--”

“Angelpants,” Wynonna interrupts. 

“Ooh! That’s cute. And Rosie’s… Burning Love…” Waverly says with a smirk. 

“Okay, I’m not calling Rosita that…” 

Rosita shakes her head. “It’s okay I don’t need a callsign, because where Angelpants goes, I go. We’ll get Nic and Shae radios and go see if Doc and Dolls are at Shorty’s. Then, we’ll look for Jeremy.”

Waverly moves to nudge her girlfriend. “So sexy when you get all bossy and take charge.” 

“Okay… Where’s my fiancee? This is no fun on the other side,” Wynonna laments. 

Rosita’s cheeks redden a bit at Waverly’s compliment before she straightens again. Handing Waverly her favorite shotgun, she turns back to Wynonna and nods firmly. “You good here?”

“Yeah, I’ll link up with Haught after I look around and see if Jeremy found anything out. You guys go get the smelly boys.” 

Waverly cocks the shotgun and slings it over her shoulder. 

Wynonna raises the radio to her mouth. “Attagirl, Angelpants.” 

“See you around Bacon Donut,” Waverly replies into her radio before walking off with Rosita in tow. 

Wynonna spots a large book open where she assumes Jeremy had been working before he disappeared to wherever. 

“Jeremy!?” Wynonna calls out loudly. “Chetri! Wake the fuck up wherever you are, we got shit to do!” Wynonna’s mouth opens wide as a long yawn escapes her. Coffee. She needs coffee even if Peacemaker has decided to act like some taser alarm clock device. 

Thankfully, the Keurig doesn’t give her immense trouble this time and she’s got a full cup of coffee in a few short minutes. Walking through the mostly deserted cop shop is an eerie experience. Even being a deputy now and having a sheriff for her soon-to-be wife, she still hates the atmosphere of this place when it’s totally normal and quietly bustling. 

“Ooh, the drugs,” she remembers. She gathers them from lockup and shoves them into her jacket pocket. 

The radio on her hip makes a noise and her fiancee’s voice comes through. “Wynonna?” 

“It’s Bacon Donut on the radios, Haughtshot. What’s up?” Wynonna answers. 

“I think we got most of the civilians off the street. We’re gonna keep watch for anything fishy. We’re sitting out on the main road in the cruiser trying to see if we notice anyone moving around that isn’t us.”

Wynonna walks back into the BBD office and narrows her eyes at the open book again. “Okay, I’m gonna see if Jer found anything before he went MIA then I’ll come find you.” 

“Okay, baby. Hurry? I don’t like you bein’ alone right now…” 

“Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!” Waverly’s voice interrupts their conversation and Wynonna rolls her eyes. 

“Mind your business, Angelpants,” Wynonna says playfully before addressing her fiancée again. “I’ll be out there with you before you know it.” 

Wynonna walks over to try and make sense of any of the research Jeremy had done. Research isn’t her strong point. She’s the guns… The street smart. Books and all that shit are definitely Rosita, Waverly, and Jeremy’s area of expertise. Maybe, she should have gone to wake the boys up... It all looks like gibberish to her, but she can pick up a couple things. He was working on locating the second seal. 

Before she can even begin to decipher his notes, the room goes cold and she smells…

“Shaladelle,”  she whispers to herself. No. Nonono. 

She turns and sees her--the lady in black. Mustering all the nerve she has, Wynonna tries to get them talking. “Love the veil. Somebody die or are you just over hats?”

The lady raises a terrifying hand out to her, dancing her fingers on her hand scarily. There are some sort of metal claws attached at the ends. Great. 

“Guess the whole sleeping beauty routine is your doing… So you could find the second seal…” 

A presence becomes evident behind her and she cuts her eyes to the side, trying to see the offender without turning around. “Speaking of second…” she remarks. When the first moves in on her, she turns her head to find an identically veiled lady in black behind her. “Double double shit ton of trouble.”

Wynonna is able to dodge the first attack but they move too fluidly… Appearing and reappearing in thick fog and smoke. Before she can land a single blow or reach for Peacemaker, she’s launched over one of the desks and she hits the ground hard. Everything is hazier than before. Her vision is blurred as she watches the ladies move around the offices. 

They grab Jeremy’s book… And then a large piece of paper. It’s the last thing Wynonna sees before she slips into unconsciousness again. 

 

***

Waverly and Rosita pull up to Shorty’s in Waverly’s Jeep. Doc’s car is there. That’s a good sign. Rosita opens the door for her girlfriend and together, they walk into the empty bar. 

“Doc? Dolls?” Waverly beckons. 

“They’re probably upstairs.” 

Waverly follows her girlfriend’s suggestion and walks up the stairs. Rosita stays close. Ever since the goo-ncident, Rosita finds it hard to let Waverly do anything without her. She still feels guilty for running off to get that stupid book and leaving Waverly alone to touch the fucking black slime that terrorized her for weeks. If only, she’d stayed by Waves side, maybe she could have saved her from being tricked. 

Waverly pushes the door open quietly, not wanting to startle the sleeping men that await her on the other side. Her eyebrows raise up at the scene before her. “Oh!” she exclaims softly. 

“What?” Rosita asks, leaning so that she can peer past her girlfriend. “Oh… Uhh… I’ll let you handle this one.” Rosita chuckles as she steps back a bit. 

Dolls is lying on his back with one hand behind his head and the other resting on Doc’s head… Which is resting against Dolls’ hip beside his… Doc’s hand thankfully covers Dolls groin, but it’s pretty obvious what they were doing when the spell hit.

Were they all really having sex in the middle of the day when the big bad decided to put them all to sleep? Waverly ponders and shakes her head, taking a deep breath. She clears her throat as loudly as she can, but the men don’t budge. 

“Doc?” her voice is louder than normal but not quite screaming yet. The man shifts, but continues to snore. Reluctantly, Waverly moves further into the room and approaches the side of the bed. She reaches out her hand and places it on Doc’s bare shoulder before turning her head back to Rosita, away from the naked men in bed. 

She shakes the man hard, effectively shaking his boyfriend as well, and calls out both their names. The men finally jolt awake. 

“What the hell?!” Doc’s voice is rough and loud with sleep. 

Dolls hands move to his groin quickly and he clears his throat. 

“Waverly… What is going on?” Dolls asks shyly. 

“Um, how about you two boys get dressed and meet us downstairs?” Waverly offers. 

Rosita flashes the men a smile and waves just before her girlfriend drags her back down the staircase. 

 

***

 

“Wynonna?!” Nicole comes running into BBD, weapon drawn. “Baby?” 

“I’m here… I’m here,” Wynonna manages to say, still slightly out of it from losing consciousness again. “They’re gone.”

Nicole falls to her knees beside the Heir and takes her face carefully into her hands, checking the woman for any injuries. All she finds is the perfect face she loves so dearly. “Who’s they?”

“There were two of them… Two ladies in black. Two…” Wynonna’s voice is barely above a whisper as she tries to get complete control of herself back. “Why’d they run? I-- I had ‘em right where I wanted ‘em.” 

Nicole shakes her head and pulls Wynonna against her body. “I told you I didn’t like you bein’ alone… I shouldn’t have--”

“Haught… We both have shit to do. We can’t stay attached at the hip. As much as I want to… I’m okay, it’s okay. Not your fault.” 

“Have I mentioned how much I hate all this shit?” Nicole asks with a small laugh, letting her thumb smooth over the soft skin of Wynonna’s cheek. 

Wynonna looks into soft brown eyes carefully. That was a joke, right? Still, that question… I hate all this shit. Wynonna hates it, too, but she has to do this. She’s cursed. Nicole…

“Baby?” Nicole’s voice draws her out of her spiraling thoughts. 

“Hmm?” Wynonna offers quickly. 

“What’re you thinkin’ about?” 

The Heir does her best to shake her head and force out a laugh. “I guess I’m still out of it from being zonked again.” 

The answer seems sufficient because Nicole’s dimple shows deep with her sideways grin. “Well, I’ll go get you some more coffee… You gonna be good to go back out?” 

“Yeah, Haughty, I’ll be fine… Let’s go.” 

 

***

 

“Wynonna? It’s Dolls,” his voice comes clear over the radio. 

“What’s up, Lizard Man?” 

“Is that really the best callsign you could come up with?” There’s a short pause. Nicole chuckles at Wynonna and shakes her head fondly. “Anyways. I was on my way to the station and I noticed the lady in black and tracked her over to the Clockmaker’s Mansion… I’m standing by for backup.” 

“Copy that, Godzilla, we’ll be there soon.”

 

***

 

Wynonna, Shae, and Nicole pull up behind Dolls. Wynonna wastes no time in kicking the door in for them to move through the mansion carefully. All have weapons drawn except for Shae who refuses to touch a gun. 

Dolls heads downstairs first and they find exactly what they’re looking for. The former deputy marshall identifies the old man sitting in the chair as a tempus monstrum . A sandman, in layman's terms. The evident source of the sleeping curse. 

Wynonna raises Peacemaker, but the gun doesn’t light up yet. 

“They made me do it,” the sandman declares.

“Don’t give a fuck. Wake everyone up. We’re done with this shit,” Wynonna threatens. 

“I can’t…” 

“Well, guess I’ll have to do it. One bullet between your eyes…”

“I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way. You kill me, they all die. Asleep forever. Until their bodies rot.”

Wynonna can’t stop the image from flashing through her mind of Nicole… Then Waverly… Then everyone… All rotting from an eternal slumber. This man could be bluffing. A dull thud sounds behind her and she turns just in time to see Nicole slump into a chair, asleep again. A moment later, Shae sinks down to the floor and falls asleep as well. 

“And yes, that includes you four... And anyone else… Is that what you want?”

“Dolls?” Wynonna asks through gritted teeth. 

“He’s right. The spell’s irreversible if the caster dies without lifting it.” 

“Fucking--” Wynonna sucks in a sharp breath and lowers her gun. If looks could kill, they would all be cursed with the eternal sleep in the next moment. 

“Listen, asshole. I’m not in the mood to play some stupid demony mind game. I want my people awake and alive. I got shit to do this year that I’d really like to be awake for… Can’t kill you? Fine. I’ll bring you just to the brink of death until you lift the spell.” 

“There is no need. I will cooperate,” the sandman acquiesces. “On one condition… The Widows have taken my Poppy.”

The Widows? 

Dolls bounds forward with his weapon still drawn and pointed on the sandman. “So what? We rescue your girlfriend, you wake everyone up?”

“She is my daughter. Not my girlfriend.”

Wynonna shakes her head. “Tell me about The Widows.” 

“There is no time!”

I really hate all of this shit, too, Nic. Wynonna thinks to herself. In an instant, she is in the man’s face, holding Peacemaker next to it. That does it. 

“They seem to know me, but I have no memory of them. They are looking for something.”

“The second seal--old news. What happens when they find it and break it?” 

“I assume nothing… As there are three.” 

“Three?!” 

“Wynonna!” Dolls interrupts. “They’re not looking for the second one anymore. They found it. Shorty’s.” 

“Waverly, Rosita…” Wynonna says at the same time that Dolls says...

“Doc…”  

 

***

 

Waverly messes with the radio, trying to get a signal. She’s been trying to tell Wynonna for the last several minutes that they found Jeremy in the basement of Shorty’s along with the second seal. 

Rosita is huffing about not drinking an energy drink, but after the Elvis incident, Doc won’t let her have them anymore. She begrudgingly watches Jeremy knock them back one after another. 

“Angelpants to Bacon Donut, come in, Wynonna!” 

There’s more static, but she thinks she can finally hear Wynonna talking. Waverly sighs and moves to walk back up the stairs. “Say again, Wynonna, you’re breaking up.”

“Waverly! Leave now! The women in black. The seal’s in Shorty’s. They know.” 

As the air around them cools and their breath appears in a light mist from their mouths, Waverly knows it is far too late to leave. 

“They’re here.” 

The four of them take defensive positions. Jeremy refuses one of Doc’s pistols, but the rest of them raise their weapons. Rosita finds herself glad that she chose to grab one of the guns at the cop shop. 

“There’s two…” Rosita informs them. They’ve entered behind them. 

Multiple gunshots from all three of them do absolutely nothing. The frozen mist expels from the Widows’ mouths and the four of them collapse to the floor. 

 

***

 

Wynonna pulls the shot of adrenaline out of her coat and kneels next to her fiancee. The needle goes directly into the officer’s thigh and Wynonna empties the contents. Dolls uses one on Shae. 

“Wynonna!” Nicole gasps. 

“Right here, Haughty,” Wynonna assures. “And sadly, we’re wearing clothes this time.” 

“Waverly and Rosita are in trouble…” Shae says groggily. 

“Yeah,” Wynonna speaks softly. “Nic, I need you to do something…”

“No, we’re not separating again.”

“Nicole…” Wynonna sounds sad, but firm. “You and Dolls have got to get the sandman’s daughter or everyone--including us--will be asleep forever… And I have to go save my sister. I have to… We just got her back.”

Nicole takes the one second she needs before nodding. “Okay.” The word comes out more like a last breath. “Where am I goin’?” 

“The shit stain brother of Mercedes apparently took her…”

“Fucking Tucker?” Shae asks, spitting pure poison as she speaks. 

“I’ve been tracking his phone for weeks… Ever since he started being weird with Waves,” Nicole admits. 

“Oh my god, isn’t that illegal, Sheriff Haught?” Wynonna teases with a smirk. 

“Very illegal,” Dolls cuts in. 

“Okay, well, he’s the worst and he set off all my warning signals… Shae’s, too. So I bugged him. So what? Don’t judge me.”

“Oh, I’ll judge you,” Wynonna starts. “Judge you incredibly sexy… My rule-breaking sheriff…” Earlier in the day flashes back into her mind as she gives Nicole her bedroom eyes. 

“Alright… We gotta go. Waves and Rose are in trouble,” Shae reminds them. 

“I’ll get Poppy… We’ll wake everyone up. Go save Doc and the girls.” 

Nicole and Wynonna share a short, but intense kiss. Every time they part, even when it is for work or something completely unthreatening, it’s almost impossible. When it is for reasons like this… It makes Nicole remember exactly the way it felt day after day, sitting on her bed and refusing to eat anything, after Wynonna had disappeared from her life in the blink of an eye. 

“I’ll see you soon,” Wynonna promises. She means it. 

 

***

 

Wynonna runs down the stairs of Shorty’s just in time to let one shot loose from Peacemaker. One of the Widows flinches and then they’re both gone. 

“Shae! You can come down!” Wynonna screams back towards the opening at the top of the staircase. 

Wynonna runs to Waverly’s side. “Don’t do that to me, baby girl… Please, go one damn week without almost dying?” 

Waverly nods before turning her head to look at Doc struggling to sit up. Wynonna goes to him. 

Shae runs down and goes to Rosita, bringing her in for a hug. A moment later, Waverly crawls over to the two of them. Waverly and Rosita settle into Shae’s chest, their arms overlapping over Shae’s middle. 

“Doc? Are you okay?” 

“Where is Xavier?” Doc doesn’t bother answering. 

“He’s with Nicole. They’re getting this sleeping shit taken care of. They’re both okay. We’d know…” Wynonna says with the utmost faith. 

“You are correct… I would know if he was.. You are right.” 

On cue, the radio sounds on Wynonna’s hip. 

“Bacon Donut, it’s Haughtshot,” Nicole says evenly. 

Wynonna sags visibly, grinning. “Bacon Donut is here… Did you find him?”

“Uh, yeah he was… He was in Waverly’s room on the Homestead with Poppy.”

Wynonna chances a glance at the throuple sitting not far from her. Waverly looks to both of her girlfriends… Who are both sending daggers to the radio in Wynonna’s hand. She can’t blame either of them. Tucker on the homestead… and in Waverly’s room. It makes Wynonna sick, too.

Nicole continues, “I was able to get a shot on him when he wouldn’t budge, but… He jumped out the window and got away. Dolls and I are headed back to the Clockmaker’s Mansion with Poppy. We’re almost there. Everything good at Shorty’s?” 

“The widows were here. I got a shot in on one of them, too, but they’re gone. Everyone’s safe. I’ll meet you at the mansion?”

“See you soon, baby.” Nicole echoes Wynonna’s words from earlier. 

 

***

 

On Wynonna’s way to the mansion, she notices citizens emerge from within the safety of their homes. The spell is lifted. It’s a curious thing to watch. Everyone just…. resumes. She barely sees a confused brow or a questioning look. It’s like it never happened. 

Nicole is standing outside when Wynonna pulls up. The two crash together in a fierce hug regardless of the short time they’d just spent apart. Their lives are always on the line and this time felt scarier with each second they had to spend away from one another. 

“Is everyone awake? Did you see?” 

“Yeah, everyone’s up and about… The widows broke the second seal, though,” Wynonna reports shamefully. 

“That’s okay… There’s the third. We still have time… Poppy’s in the cruiser, still. Dolls said we had to wait until the spell was lifted to let the sandman see her just in case. He’s inside.”

Wynonna’s eyebrows pull together in confusion. “Well, it’s broken... Let’s--” 

“Dolls said he didn’t want Poppy let go until you got here and talked to the sandman.”

“Okay, I guess. Let’s go.” 

 

***

 

“People didn’t even seem to notice they’ve lost like a month of time,” Wynonna comments.

“They haven’t. It is still the same day as when you first slept… My influence freezes your bodies as they were… Time will resume now.”

“Huh… Here I was hoping we were that much closer to our wedding day…” Wynonna offers with the tilt of her head. 

“Alright… Now that the spell is lifted, I would like to see my Poppy. I am harmless when dormant… I will go back into hibernation as soon as--”

A gunshot sounds and Wynonna’s ears begin to ring. She turns to see that Dolls has his weapon raised and it smokes lightly with the just-released bullet. 

“Something like that…” Dolls says. 

“Dolls! He was blackmailed! They used him!” Wynonna says desperately. 

“Yeah, and what happens when something else uses him again? He’s a demon. A powerful one. Do your job.” Dolls is cold when he gives the order. “Now.”

It pains Wynona to raise her gun and finally shoot the sandman sitting harmlessly in his chair. Another dead body on her hands that could have been avoided. 

“Why are you being like this?” Wynonna begs. 

“Like what? Your boss… You’ve gone soft,” Dolls accuses. 

“Soft?! I shoot people… revenants who were people--some of them who never fucking asked for this--like Rosita --every fuckin day and you think I’m soft?” 

“Not all demons used to be humans… Some of them are just evil, powerful beings. That you can kill with one shot from Peacemaker… Get your shit together. With BBD gone… You’re the last thing standing between demons overrunning the whole goddamned town.” 

Nicole steps in between them and stands face-to-face with the man. “You back off. Now. Before I make you back off. We’re leaving. You take the cruiser. I’m moving Poppy to the truck. Wynonna and I will take care of her.” 

Wynonna watches closely as her fiancée takes control of the situation. With BBD being gone, Nicole is the sheriff of the town and what she says, goes. Dolls tightens his jaw and nods. 

 

***

 

Nicole drives. Wynonna sits silently, staring ahead at the road. 

“You got somewhere you can go?” Nicole asks the scared woman in the backseat of the truck. 

Wynonna snaps her head over to Nicole, surprised. 

“I-- I’ve never… I don’t know-- I’ve heard of--” Poppy stutters. “C-could you take me to the bus station? I have enough money to--”

“We don’t need to know. I’ll drop you off,” Nicole assures her. 

Wynonna remains quiet. Nicole continues to amaze her with each passing second. The empathy the redhead shows to each and every person she encounters… Wynonna falls more in love with her each time she watches the woman interact with anyone… She falls hardest each time she interacts with her. 

Nicole doesn’t take her eyes off the road, but Wynonna can see the effect that the scene with Dolls has had on her. Her jaw twitches and her mouth stays a thin line. Wynonna reaches out and places a hand on the inside of Nicole’s thigh. Nicole shifts, relaxing, and brings one hand down to link her fingers together with Wynonna. 

They drop Poppy off and ride their way to the station in silence. 

Cutting the truck off, Nicole turns to look at Wynonna. “I’ve got to make sure everything is set in the station…”

“Yeah, I understand,” Wynonna replies. 

“You go home. I’ll be there as soon as I can, okay?” 

“Will you-- I see Waves’ jeep. Will you tell her to come home soon?” Wynonna asks sweetly. 

“Yeah… Are you okay?” 

“Mhm. Just need some sister time.”

“Okay, baby, I love you.” Nicole leans over to kiss her slowly and deliberately. Wynonna allows herself to get lost in heaven for a few short moments. 

“I love you, Nic. More than anything,” Wynonna swears against her lips. 

“I’ll be home before you know it.”

Wynonna laughs humorlessly. “That’s bullshit and you know it.” 

“Yeah, well, I can dream, eh?” 

 

***

 

Wynonna sits at the kitchen table with an open bottle of whiskey. Waverly comes in through the kitchen door and eyes her sister carefully. “Wyn? Nicole said you needed some sister time … Are you okay?”

The simple question is one she’s become accustomed to hearing, especially from Nicole and Waverly. It’s one she had never heard from anyone else for most of her life. It’s one people had never concerned themselves with when it came to her. That simple question opens the floodgates and Wynonna shakes her head, starting to sob. 

“Waves… I--” 

“Oh, Wynonna,” Waverly coos at her sister, pulling a chair right up next to her and taking her older sister into her arms. “Shhh, I’ve got you. Whatever you need, I’m here, ‘Nonna.” 

Wynonna just cries for the longest time. She cries until her throat feels raw and her eyes ache. Waverly holds her silently and understands. 

“Waves, what the fuck am I doing?” 

“What do you mean?” 

“Everything is just-- Shit. There’s always something. Nicole--earlier-- Earlier, she said… She said that she hates all this shit.” Wynonna remembers. The “joke” had been haunting her ever since. 

“Well, duh, don’t you?” Waverly offers gently. 

“Of course, I do, but I don’t have a choice. I have to break this curse… For you. For us,” Wynonna manages through sniffles. “Nicole shouldn’t have to--”

“Hey! No. I’m not letting you go down that road.” Waverly moves stray hairs out of Wynonna’s face. “Nicole’s the sheriff of Purgatory. She’s not going anywhere. No matter what you’re thinking about doing, Nicole’s not leaving you alone. So, don’t even for a second think about trying to do some noble lone wolf thing.” 

Wynonna’s eyes are bloodshot, but shining such a bright, crystal blue as she stares at her sister with every single word she says. “I just-- love her so much .” 

“And she loves you.” The voice that reaches her ears isn’t Waverly’s. 

Wynonna turns to see Nicole walking up behind her. 

“Baby, are you okay?” Nicole asks gently. 

“I’ll let you guys talk…” Waverly says, excusing herself and heading up to her room. 

Wynonna’s head falls and she starts to cry again. “Nicole…” 

Nicole falls to her knees in front of where Wynonna’s sitting and takes both of Wynonna’s hands in hers. “‘Nonna… I know today was hard and Dolls was-- But, what’s going on?” 

Wynonna worries her bottom lip and shakes her head. It takes her a short while to muster the ability to reply. “I just want you to be happy. I don’t want you hating your life because of all this shit.”

It dawns on Nicole instantly. “Oh, Wynonna… I love my life. I love having a purpose at your side. I love being a protector… I love helping people. I fucking love helping you. The part I hate is walking in and seeing the love of my life on the floor after being attacked… Watching her break apart every single time she has to pull the trigger on her stupidly big gun… I’ll never be able to stop hating that… But that doesn’t mean I’d change one fucking thing.”

Wynonna can’t find words whenever Nicole starts one of her super speeches. For over a decade, this woman has been saying exactly the right things to her. Tears continue to fall quietly and Nicole reaches up to brush them away with the back of one of her fingers. 

“This is the hand we were dealt and we’re kicking its fucking ass, if I say so myself. But I don’t hate my life. And I hope you don’t hate yours, either?” 

“No! Nicole, no, I don’t-- Not anymore, I don’t hate my life. I feel-- I actually have a mission, a purpose. And it’s hard and it sucks, but I don’t hate it-- How could I when I have you?” 

“I feel the same way, okay?” Nicole assures her. “Wherever you are, that’s where I am. Always.” 

Wynonna nods. 

“Can we go out to our spot? I know it’s cold--”

“I’ll get the heater and we’ll get bundled up.”

“I’m sorry.” 

“You don’t have to be, Earp.”

They spend the night under the stars in each other’s arms.

Chapter Text

January 20, 2018 

 

This morning is the coldest one they’ve had in a while. Wynonna and Nicole had to put extra blankets on the bed the night before and Nicole had almost been late for work because of the ice on her windows. 

The last person Wynonna expects to see when she steps onto the porch is Waverly sitting out by the frozen pond. 

She’s bundled in several layers, but Wynonna still notices her light tremble when she walks up behind her. It’s not a surprise, Waverly can hear her boots crunching on the snow, but she doesn’t speak up. 

“Waves? What you doin’ out here? It’s cold as hell, baby girl.” Wynonna shoves her gloved hands deep into her pockets and tries to create some kind of heat to keep them warm. 

“Remember when… When I fell through the ice?” Waverly starts, messing with one of her nails. 

Wynonna notices that they look like she’s been biting at them again. And that she isn’t wearing gloves. Wynonna takes her own off and hands them over to Waverly, who puts them on robotically. 

“I do. You were going after Mr. Rabbit.” Wynonna nods. 

Her memory fails her sometimes, she’s not exactly sure why. But she doesn’t forget the good things she had with Nicole when they were younger and unfortunately, she doesn’t forget the bad things from her childhood, either. 

“When I fell through, I was scared. But I finally understood… Willa had tossed Mr. Rabbit out there on purpose. She knew the ice was thin. That even if she was watching, she wouldn’t pull me out. That she hated me. Now I know why.” 

“Is this about that journal entry thing? About you not being an Earp?” 

Waverly stiffens. She doesn’t need to answer, this is answer enough. Wynonna moves closer to her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. 

“Waves, I remember the day you came home from the hospital. I picked out your name myself. They wanted to call you ‘Welcome’ for fucks sake. Welcome Earp , think about that!” 

The attempt at a joke doesn’t seem to give Waverly any kind of reprieve from her deep, saddening thoughts. 

“I tried so hard. Nobody but you ever celebrated my birthday. Or ordered copies of my school pictures. Or paid attention to my report cards.”

“Mama used to call you her angel.” 

That almost gets Waverly to laugh. “Yeah, well… Mama left. And Daddy wouldn’t even look at me. Maybe… because I wasn’t his?” Waverly leans into Wynonna’s shoulder better, resting her head there. 

“Look… I didn’t realize how hard it was for you. But that doesn’t mean you’re not an Earp.” 

“Well, we’ll see. I filled out some papers… just waiting for Shae to get them back.” 

“Like – like a DNA test?” Wynonna asks softly. 

“Yeah.” 

They’re quiet for a moment, just looking out over the frozen water. Wynonna slides her hand down, lacing Waverly’s fingers with her own. 

“No matter what the results say, you’re my baby sister. You’re Waverly Earp. You always will be. Got it?” Wynonna’s reassurance is firm, but gentle. 

It soothes Waverly in a way she hadn’t realized she needed. She will never doubt Wynonna’s love for her, but it helps to hear her say it. Waverly squeezes Wynonna’s hand, a soft smile making its way into her face finally. “I love you, ‘Nonna.” 

“I love you, baby girl. More than anything. Now, get your ass inside or something, it’s too damn cold out here. I have to go. Meetin’ Nic at the cop shop,” Wynonna mentions as they’re walking back to the house. 

“Cute coffee date with your sweetie pie?” Waverly asks, eyes gleaming a bit at the thought. Always the hopeless romantic.

“Sweetie pie? Gross .” She pauses. “I wish, but nah. We’re bustin’ in on your creepy ass stalker.” 

It’s Waverly’s turn to cringe. “ Gross. ” She makes a disgusted face, crossing her arms over her chest. 

Tucker has always been downright creepy, but his obsession with her has gone to new extremes lately. Finding out he’d been up in her bedroom, pretending that that poor girl was her … the thought still makes her shudder. 

“If you two don’t get to him before Rosie does, there might not be much of him left to get.” 

Wynonna grins at the possibility. “Might not be the worst idea.” 

“Hey, he’s still human. He can change. Right?” 

“Doubt it. Dude’s muy fucked up. But I admire your sweet, beautiful soul and I know that your super sexy demon and doctor will, too. Even if they want to rip that fucker limb from limb. As they should.” 

Waverly finally laughs and Wynonna feels triumphant as she opens the door to her truck. 

“Oh! Speaking of my sexy demon…” Waverly turns back to face her sister, tilting her head to the side, “Rosita and I are going to pick up your save-the-date cards later on and if you’re done, you know, wrangling Tucker, I thought it’d be nice if you came with?” 

Wynonna’s eyebrows raise. Save-the-date cards . Every time a new detail about her wedding is mentioned, she has trouble processing it. Maybe it’s dumb, but the thought of finally holding the cards and seeing which of the bajillion engagement pictures Waverly took she decided to use is… exciting

Besides, any time she gets to spend with Waverly is treasured and important, especially now when her little sister is having such a rough time. 

Wynonna nods to Waverly, getting into her truck. “For sure, baby girl. I’ll let you know when we’re done cleaning up that shit stain and you can grab me from the station?” 

“Got it. Be safe, okay?” 

“Always am. Besides, I’ve got my Haughty. Everything will be A-OK.” 

***

Wynonna and Nicole come crashing through the doors of the Gardner mansion together. The older woman enters first, holding Peacemaker by her side and Nicole flanks her, weapon drawn and ready. 

“Police! Come out with your hands up!” Nicole calls loudly, the sound echoing through the expansive house. 

Wynonna’s gaze is fixed up the stairs. “Tucker Gardner, we’re here for you, you little skidmark.” 

Somewhere in the house, a woman yells. Nicole reaches for Wynonna instinctively with one hand, still holding her gun in the other. They give one another a look. That’s all they need. 

The couple moves together towards the calls for help, finally reaching the room the screams seem to be coming from after a few moments. Wynonna kicks the door in and Nicole is a little surprised to find that it’s just the two Gardner sisters, Beth and Mercedes. 

“Wynonna?” Mercedes sounds confused. 

“Thank god you came!” Nicole can’t tell if Beth is putting on or if that’s just her real, annoying voice. Judging by her sister’s… she wouldn’t be surprised if it was. Either way, she drops her weapon, staying close to Wynonna. 

“Where’s your deviant brother?” Wynonna deadpans. 

“You don’t have him? Great police work. Just stellar.” Mercedes snaps, earning a sharp glare from both women. 

The older redhead straightens up, trying to resolve it. “I’m sorry. I-I just am really freaked out and… and angry!” Something about the way she speaks seems off to Wynonna. This doesn’t feel a whole lot like the fun bitch she knew in high school. 

Wynonna turns her head to look at her fiancée, who is already looking at her. 

“I’m gonna check the bedrooms. Stay here and stay safe, okay? Yell if you need me. I’ll be right back.” Nicole’s still serious tone is slightly different when she speaks to Wynonna. Softer. 

“You know it, Haught. Same to you.” Wynonna winks, watching Nicole leave the room before turning back to the sisters. 

“The last thing we remember is we passed out then we woke up locked in this room.” Beth explains, like it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to her. 

Wynonna starts a slow circle around the room, trying to take in everything as she does. If something is awry here, she doesn’t wanna miss it. 

“While you say you were asleep, Pervert Gardner Junior kidnapped a girl and held her in my sister’s bedroom.” Wynonna’s stone faced. Not giving them an inch. If either of them have any remorse for their younger brother, she doesn’t want shit to do with them. 

“I wish I could say I didn’t know it was just a matter of time. Tucker’s out of his tree. He must have roofied the Pinot Grigio.” The more Mercedes says, the less Wynonna buys. 

“So you two don’t happen to know a couple of bitches that like to get their Halloween on in creepy, black dresses?” She lifts an eyebrow, coming around behind Beth’s chair. 

“Um… no idea what you’re talking about. Sure you weren’t just drunk again?” Mercedes stands. 

The jab stings a little bit, but Wynonna won’t show it. 

“We’ve been locked in here for days! We’re victims! Just like everyone else!” Beth starts to sound frustrated. 

With that, she gives just enough to make Wynonna lean over the chair and near her face. “Everyone?” 

“Yeah?” With that answer, Wynonna grabs hard at Beth’s shoulder. The same shoulder of the Widow that she’d put a bullet in in the basement of Shorty’s. 

Beth gasps and Mercedes quickly moves to her side, pushing Wynonna’s hands off her sister. 

“She doesn’t need a fucking back massage, we need you to get your ass in gear and find Tucker.” Mercedes bites. 

“Frankly, he terrifies me.” Beth tries to sound pitiful. 

Wynonna stands up again just as Nicole is coming back into the room. “I heard a gasp, everything okay?” She asks, only to Wynonna. 

Wynonna nods, moving back to the Sheriff’s side. “We’ll be watching the house 24-7.” Wynonna says, not bothering with a further explanation. 

“What?! You’re gonna be watching us?” 

“It’s just for your protection.” Nicole adds, “In case he comes back.” 

“If you have nothing to hide then what’s the problem?” Wynonna narrows her eyes, looking between the two of them. 

She doesn’t know Mercedes well enough to know her tell for when she’s lying. 

“We’re not like our brother. I thought you of all people would get that.” Mercedes spits acid at Wynonna. It burns, just the way she wants it to, but Wynonna doesn’t let that show, either. 

“Nah, sorry. I don’t have time to play nice anymore.” Wynonna’s smile is almost scary. 

Nicole clears her throat and pulls a card out of her pocket. “Here’s my card. Call if you see him?” She sets the card down on the coffee table and follows the shorter woman out. 

“Baby, what is it?” Nicole says when they’re outside and out of the Gardner’s range. 

“I don’t know yet but something isn’t right. I feel it in my gut.” 

Nicole puzzles a bit and just looks at her. Wynonna turns her head to see the look on her face and urges with her hands. 

“Mercedes wasn’t Mercedes . Don’t you agree?” 

“Well, I don’t know her like you do…” 

“She’s usually a fun bitch, not a bitch bitch.” 

Nicole considers it, pulling her lips to the side and shrugging. “Okay, yeah. I can see that.” 

Mercedes had been lacking her usual, upbeat charm… if that’s what you wanted to call it. 

“Tucker had Hypnos put the town to sleep for the widows, right? Do you think his sisters were working for them, too?” Wynonna says it with so much conviction. She’s really on to something. 

Nicole’s lips pull into a sideways smile and her chest warms, still looking at her finacée as they walk back to the cruiser. Wynonna catches her staring and looks towards her, wearing a smirk of her own. 

“What, Haughtstuff?” 

“I just – you’re so goddamn smart , baby. You figured that out in like 3 minutes, all on your own.” 

Wynonna feels her cheeks and nose flush with heat. This cold ass day is no match for Nicole Haught’s love and praise. 

“You just love me, Haught.” Wynonna shakes her head, chewing on the inside of her lip. 

“I do, but that doesn’t take away from how smart you are. You don’t give yourself enough credit.” Nicole says sweetly, kissing the side of Wynonna’s head as she opens the passenger door for her. 

Wynonna pauses and turns her head to kiss Nicole fully. Her mouth is warm and tastes like coffee. Wynonna hums into the kiss and drags it out a little longer before pulling back and dropping into the cruiser seat. 

“What was that for?” Nicole’s cheeks are bright red and she sounds breathless. 

“You know how I get when you start callin’ me smart.” 

Nicole laughs, shaking her head. “You’re somethin’ else, Earp.” She says softly as she closes the door for Wynonna. 

***

“I texted Waverly on the way, she and Rosie should be here soon.” Wynonna tells Nicole as they stand by Nicole’s car in the parking lot of the Sheriff’s Department. 

Nicole has Wynonna wrapped up in her arms and her back pressed against the driver’s side door. They’re keeping one another warm, without a doubt. Nicole’s hands smooth down Wynonna’s sides underneath her big jacket and she presses kisses against her neck. 

“Keep that up and I’ll say screw the save-the-dates and follow you into the office.” 

That’s supposed to get me to stop?” Nicole chuckles against Wynonna’s ear. 

“You two. How come every time I see you you have your tongues down one another’s throat?” Lucado’s voice startles them apart. 

Nicole starts frantically smoothing the front of her uniform and Wynonna stands up straight, still cursing under her breath. 

“That’s how it is when you actually have someone who wants your tongue down their throat. I know you can’t relate…” Wynonna quips back, giving Lucado an overly sweet smile. 

“Hilarious. Got any news about your black ghost bitches? Something I actually care about?” 

“I- we… maybe we’ve got something. I can tell you about it i-inside. Wynonna’s got stuff to do with her sister.” Nicole explains, one hand resting against Wynonna’s hip as she leans in for a kiss.

It’s short and sweet, but Nicole refuses to leave Wynonna without one. 

“Be careful, okay? And come right back when you get ‘em ‘cause I wanna see.” Nicole grins. 

Even the annoyance caused by Lucado can’t keep her from being excited about seeing the first piece of their wedding come together. 

Wynonna nods, smiling up at Nicole and leaning back against the car. “I’ll hurry back. Pinky swear.” Wynonna offers, raising her pinky to the redhead. 

Nicole melts, wrapping her slightly larger pinky around Wynonna’s. “I love you.” 

“I love you, too.” Wynonna promises and watches her girl walk into the station. 

***

Rosita and Waverly pull into the station parking lot with Greedy by Ariana Grande bumping on the radio. Waverly pulls the Jeep into the empty parking spot right beside Wynonna’s truck and waits for her to come out of the station and join them. 

Waverly taps her fingers on the steering wheel, leaning her head back against the seat as they wait. Too much time passes. 

“Didn’t you tell her we were on the way?” Waverly looks to Rosita and asks softly. 

Rosita’s nose scrunches up with the question and she shows her girlfriend her messages with Wynonna, “Yeah, look. She texted back, said she’d be waiting.” 

Waverly leans over enough to see the messages and sure enough… Wynonna should be here. 

“I guess she’s inside and lost track of time?” Waverly tries, chewing on the inside of her lip. Waverly has a weird feeling deep inside. Something’s off. 

They wait for just a few more minutes before Waverly turns back to her girlfriend, her hands resting on the steering wheel. “Maybe we should just go in and see?” 

“Okay, baby.” Rosita can see the worry in Waverly’s eyes. She wants nothing more than to make it go away. 

Rosita and Waverly get out of the Jeep and Rosita opens the door to the station for Waverly. As she’s holding it, something off to the side catches her eye. Something on the ground near Nicole’s squad car. 

“Wait a sec, baby…” She says softly, stepping around Waverly and walking towards it with her arms crossed over her chest. 

The revenant kneels next to the darker spot on the pavement. From this close up, it’s impossible to deny or argue it away. Thick, dark red blood pools there in a few different spots. 

“Is that…” Waverly’s voice sounds far away. 

Terror practically pulsates off of her body. Rosita wants to reassure her, wants to prove to her that they’re wrong. That it isn’t blood, certainly not Wynonna’s or anyone else’s that they know. But when a metallic glint near Nicole’s back tire catches her eye, Rosita feels her stomach twist even more. 

“Oh no…” Waverly’s soft, pitiful voice gets even sadder, more frantic. 

Rosita lifts the long, gold chain from the ground and holds it carefully in her hands. All the pieces are there. The key, the beads, the tassel… just the clasp is broken. Like it was pulled off Wynonna’s neck. 

“Nicole! Oh, god… god , Nicole!” Waverly is hysterical as she can Rosita make their way down the hallway towards the Sheriff’s office.

With Waverly’s yelling, the heads of several deputies pop out of doorways to find the source of the problem. It doesn’t take long at all for Nicole to come clambering out of her office. 

“Waves?! What is it, what’s wrong?” Nicole’s hands find Waverly’s shoulders before going to her face, holding it gently. Her cheeks are wet with tears that are still falling. “Waverly, where’s your sister? Where’s Wyn?” 

Waverly just starts to cry harder. 

Nicole feels her heart start to pound. Hard. She turns to look at Rosita, who honestly looks more scared than Nicole has ever seen. “Rosie, wha ––” 

Rosita doesn’t know how to say it. “Nicole, I –- we pulled up. We were waiting for Wyn to meet us and she didn’t. We thought she was just in here with you but then on our way in I saw…” 

Nicole shakes her head. “No. She – I just came inside like 15 minutes ago. I was just with her. She… what did you see?” 

Rosita holds up the necklace for Nicole to see. A bit of blood has tracked from the chain and stained Rosita’s fingers. “It was by your cruiser. And there’s… blood. A lot. On the pavement.” 

Nicole feels dizzy. No way. There’s no fucking way this is happening. Wynonna’s necklace. The one she never takes off. Not in years. The redhead prays that when she reaches for the necklace, her fingers will just go through it. It’ll be some kind of mirage and she’ll just wake up from this nightmare.

Long, shaking fingers reach for the chain and close around ice cold metal. Her head spins and she has to catch herself on the wall to keep from collapsing. The way her stomach lurches warns her that she might get sick. 

“Woah, woah… Nic.” Rosita is at her side immediately, a strong arm around her waist keeping the much taller woman up. 

“I’m fine. I – we don’t have time for this. We need to f-find out what happened.” Nicole breathes, shaking her head to rid herself of the tears that sting in her eyes. Nicole moves out from Rosita’s hands and back into her office. 

She wastes no time pulling up the security cameras for the building and going to the ones out front. She pulls the footage back to the correct time. Rosita and Waverly huddle around her and watch. They see the two of them kissing against Nicole’s car. Then Lucado comes. Nicole goes inside. Wynonna waits around for a couple of minutes before a big Dodge truck pulls up and a man gets out. The recording then cuts to Rosita and Waverly being outside. 

Nicole’s eyebrows pull together angrily. “What the fuck? No. No! It can’t just… it can’t fuck up right there!” She sounds so afraid as she pulls the footage back over and over, only to find the same gap. 

“Nicole… hey… at least we can see the truck, and the guy. He looks a little bit familiar. Do you recognize the vehicle?” Rosita tries to speak evenly, doing her best to calm down both of the women next to her. 

“Every hick in this town has a fucking truck and you can’t see the plates here, I don’t have a clue!” 

“Okay, well, let’s see… it looks like –– Wynonna!” Rosita’s eyes widen and her mouth drops. 

“It looks like Wynonna what ?!” Nicole talks so fast and intensely. 

“She- your phone! She’s calling you! Nic, she’s calling!” Waverly practically squeals, more or less hopping up and down when she sees her sister’s contact info pop up on Haught’s phone that’s lying on the table. 

Nicole scrambles for it, forcing her jittering hands to answer it as fast as she can. “Baby? Wynonna?!” 

“Hey, baby, I – I’m sorry, I-”

Nicole feels so much relief spread through her chest at the sound of Wynonna’s voice. It just sounds like… like Wynonna. And she sounds okay. 

Nicole stands up from her desk, pushing her hand through her hair roughly. She doesn’t even acknowledge the tears streaming down her cheeks or the way her own voice shakes. “Baby, oh my god. What the fuck? What happened? We – watching the security footage from outside, it looks like someone took you? There’s blood and y-your necklace?” 

“Oh, that. Not mine. I got in a killer right hook before JC explained himself. Please tell me the necklace can be fixed though.” 

“JC? I– o-of course it can. Wynonna, are you –– okay?” 

“Juan Carlo just has some things he wants to discuss with me.” 

Wynonna’s being cryptic. Trying to say enough without saying too much. He doesn’t want her on the phone. Nicole gets it immediately and her brain switches, trying to decode as Wynonna speaks. 

“Wynonna, where are you?” She asks, sounding a little steadier with Wynonna speaking to her. Knowing she’s okay. That it wasn’t her blood. 

“Ahem… let’s just say, we’re at a cross-roads. We’ve reached a communion. Jesus Christ’s country house!”  

That’s all Wynonna gets out before the phone goes dead.  

“Wynonna? Baby? Ugh, fuck. Fuck !” Nicole clutches her phone hard and rubs her face even harder with her free hand, groaning. 

“Heeeey, hey this is good news, right?! She’s okay. And she said Juan Carlo… I think I know that name.” Rosita mentions. 

“Isn’t he the… the volunteer fire chief?” Waverly questions, wiping her eyes. Knowing her sister is okay at the moment has calmed her enough to help her stop crying, at least for now. 

“That and he’s… special. Not sure what it’s about, I can’t put my finger on it. But he doesn’t hurt people. Not that I’ve ever heard of.” Rosita moves to Waverly’s side and wraps her arm around her, holding her girlfriend close. 

“I just –- don’t trust that. His... his name doesn’t tell me where he is and I need to get to her.” Nicole breathes. She sounds completely exasperated and she’s pacing. 

Rosita understands. She can practically feel the deep ache that Nicole is experiencing. It’d happened to her when Waverly was possessed. 

“Well, she gave you hints… right? Cross-roads. Too many of those in the Triangle… uh, communion? Jesus Christ… They’re at a church!” It only takes Rosita a second to figure it out.

In this moment, Nicole is beyond grateful for the genius. Her eyes widen and she starts racking her brain. 

“There are a ton of churches around here, right? D-Didn’t Jer come up with a list?” Nicole moves around her desk, closer to them. 

“A list that got stolen by the spooky sisters? Sure!” Waverly quips. 

“You said he’s the volunteer fire chief, right? Maybe a call to the fire station would be a good idea? I mean, maybe one of them knows something?” Rosita suggests. 

Nicole and Waverly both look to Rosita with cinched eyebrows and parted lips. 

The call to the fire station takes more time than Nicole likes. Her worry for Wynonna only grows with every passing second, and Ewan is being less than cooperative. 

Just when Nicole thinks she’s going to start having another panic attack, Rosita and Waverly come crashing into the office once more. 

“Highway 62. There’s an old chapel out there. Juan Carlo has a chop shop nearby so that’s totally where she is!” Waverly explains, almost excitedly. 

Nicole feels her heart start to beat faster. Now that she has a location, a target, she needs to get into gear. The redhead starts scrambling into her jacket and plucks her keys from the drawer in her desk.

“Okay, if uh –- if anyone needs anything just… well, Waves, maybe just call Nedley and tell him what’s going on. So, he can be looking out…” Nicole talks at the two of them and is almost out the door when she notices Rosita shrugging into her own jacket and kissing Waverly goodbye. 

“What’re you doin’?” 

“I’m going with you, duh,” Rosita says it plainly, like Nicole didn’t even need to ask. 

“No, Rosie – I can’t ask you to… what if – ” 

“What if, what? What if Wynonna kicks my ass for letting you go alone? And you didn’t ask. I volunteered. Plus, Ewan mentioned stuff about the seals and I’m starting to think this might have something to do with the Widows. I can’t let you go into that alone.” 

Nicole lets out a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding. A bit of weight lifts off her shoulders with Rosita’s dedication. It’s true, Wynonna would kick someone’s ass if Nicole went after her into a potentially dangerous situation alone. 

“Don’t worry, Nic. I’ll call Nedley and then I’ll go grab the cards so you guys have something nice to look forward to when you bring my sister and my girlfriend back home safe.” Waverly tries to smile. 

The attempt makes Nicole smile only a little in Waverly’s direction. She nods to Rosita. “Let’s go.” 

***

Wynonna hasn’t really ever seen anyone look as calm as he always seems to with Peacemaker pointed between his eyes. Juan Carlo clutches her cell phone and doesn’t budge. He’s almost… smirking. It’s not devilish or coy, just… calm. 

“Thought we’ve done this dance before?” The smirk grows. 

Of course, they had. Wynonna met this man the day she killed her older sister. He was standing on the other side of the line and when she pointed Peacemaker at him, he looked how he does right now. Calm.

Juan Carlo had warned her about the things that wanted into the Triangle. Wished her luck. Told her they’d be watching, whatever the fuck that meant. Probably whatever this is , she thinks. 

“You know I’m not a bad guy. And you got into my truck after you decked me.” He hands her back her phone and she snatches it from him, shoving it into her pocket. 

“You said you have answers about the venomous vixens.” 

“I do.” 

“Then tell me.” 

“I can’t. I mean, literally. It’s my burden. My ‘curse’ . To survive, and witness. Never to decide. But you, Wynonna Earp… you’re all choices. I can show you what you want to know but you must go willingly.” 

Wynonna laughs. “Whoomp, there it is. The illusion of free will.” 

“Go into the church, with his gun and this…” Juan Carlo reaches out to her with something held in his hand. 

“Wyatt’s badge?” Wynonna looks and feels beyond confused, but she takes the piece of metal from him. 

“Place them in the center of the mark I have made and read the words. Now, before the sun sets. Or… you know, don’t.” He shrugs, seemingly neutral about whatever choice Wynonna decides to make. 

The Heir breathes for just a moment. Her brain is rapid-firing a million thoughts a minute. Finally, she looks up from the badge and at him. 

“Nicole is on her way.” Wynonna swallows thickly, feeling a little sick at the notion of Nicole coming out here into the middle of nowhere for her. Sure it seems safe enough right now but what if… 

“I have no doubt.” 

“I supposed to be looking at my stupid save-the-date cards right now.” Wynonna huffs. 

“You’ll be reunited with your fiancée and your sister before sundown.”

Wynonna looks at him with narrowed eyes, then back at the badge. She laughs a little, she can’t help it. “This is fruity, even for you.” 

“What do you have to fear, Wynonna? With Peacemaker at your side?” His question seems genuine. 

What do I have to fear? Everything. Because I’m not at their side. I’m not at Nicole’s side. 

Wynonna swallows her fear and steadies herself. “So, this little ritual is gonna show me how to stop the Widows before they find the third seal?” She ignores his question and asks one of her own instead. 

“Oh, Ms. Earp… it’ll show you a shitload .” 

Wynonna lifts her eyebrows and makes a face at him. Her cold hand clutches Peacemaker tighter and she steps away from him and towards the old church. 

***

Nicole barely puts the cruiser in park before she and Rosita are out. The Sheriff draws her weapon on the only man standing outside the church. She’s not sure how, but in less time than it takes her to blink, the gun is out of her hands and resting flat on his open palm. He’s standing more than six feet away, it doesn’t make sense… 

Rosita doesn’t take time to ask questions. All she knows is Wynonna is nowhere to be found and this man has powers of some kind. That’s all she needs to know. 

She steps in front of Nicole, the skin around her eyes darkens to black and her irises burn red. “I don’t need a gun to rip you apart.” She warns. Her voice is angry and dark as the demon within her rumbles to life. 

“I know you don’t, Ms. Bustillos.” 

“Where is she? What did you do with her?” Nicole speaks up, sounding more scared than she wants to, even though she might be more scared than she’s ever been. 

“She’s a willing participant. That’s the way it has to be.” 

Rosita lunges forward and grips the collar of Juan Carlo’s jacket. The sound that comes out of her is animalistic. She almost lifts him off the ground. 

“Hey… I know what you are and what you’re not. I know the things you’ve done… because you had to. You’re not evil, and neither am I.” His voice is strained and cautionary as he tries to reason with the revenant. 

The honesty and kindness makes Rosita falter. She releases her grip on him just a little and her eyes flicker back to brown slowly. “Just.. open the door.” 

“It’s not locked. And though her body lies in the chapel, Wynonna is no longer in our time.” 

Nicole isn’t even really sure what that means but it burns her. Makes her feel shattered and broken apart all over again. Wynonna’s body. She fucking hates how those words make her feel. 

“Her… body? Did – did you drug her?!” Nicole feels anger and fear surge inside her and she steps up, getting in the man’s face. 

“No drugs. She’s fine. But she won’t be if you wake her.” 

The small woman calms, reaching out and pressing a hand against Nicole’s abs, pushing her out of Juan Carlo’s space. “What the fuck does that mean?” She asks, still standing between him and Nicole. 

“Wrenching someone from a vision quest before they have completed their journey breaks their mind, or kills them.” 

Nicole feels like she’s going to pass out or throw up again. She can barely see the man in front of her for the spots in her vision. The cop swallows hard and tries to push the way it feels to know Wynonna is doing something that could get her killed out of her mind for just a second. Just long enough to learn what she can do until this fucking vision quest is over. 

Nicole pulls herself together just enough. She knows she has to, for Wynonna. If there’s any hope of getting her home alive, she has to. With tears in her eyes, she straightens up and looks down at the man, poking a finger into his chest hard. “If you fucking hurt her…” 

“I couldn’t, Sheriff. And she needs to see the past, if we have any hope for a future.” 

Nothing makes Nicole feel any better. She’s pretty positive that it won’t until Wynonna is awake and okay and in her arms. Safe. 

Juan Carlo hands the redhead her gun back and she takes it before turning away from him and heading into the chapel. 

The sight of Wynonna laying there on the ground threatens to break her all over again. Rosita is right behind Nicole, calling her name as she steps into the church but nothing can pull Nicole’s focus away from Wynonna. She rushes to her side, dropping to her knees and skimming her hands over her fiancée’s unconscious body. 

“Oh, baby… Wynonna…” Nicole breathes, tears wetting her cheeks. 

She pulls a glove from her hand with her teeth and wraps long, warm fingers around Wynonna’s wrist, searching eagerly for a pulse. She finds it quickly, even though Wynonna feels cold. Nicole lets out a heavy, shaky breath and a few tears fall with it. The thrum of Wynonna’s strong, unyielding heart soothes more than anything else has so far. More than anything ever could. 

“Be careful… don’t wake her.” Rosita’s voice finally cuts through. 

Nicole looks up to her friend and she can see relief on her face too. She wipes at her tears with the back of her hand and nods, sniffling. “I-I know… I just… had to check.” 

Nicole lets go of Wynonna’s arm gently and pulls her jacket back over the exposed skin, trying to keep her as warm as possible. Her fingers brush lightly against the older woman’s cheek and she can feel her lip trembling. In this moment, she can’t even care that Rosita is seeing her cry, seeing her weak. 

As many times as she’s died or almost died for Wynonna, the idea of her doing it hurts too much to take. Even the thought of Wynonna not waking up from this is too much for her to manage. Nicole squeezes her eyes shut and takes in a deep breath. Her fingers tuck a couple of hairs behind Wynonna’s ear. 

“Don’t do anything too fun without me, okay?” She almost laughs softly through her tears. “I’m here, baby. I’m here.” Nicole’s voice isn’t much more than a whisper, but it’s broken enough to make Rosita feel like she’s going to start crying too. 

They both notice the way Nicole’s voice makes a tiny smile appear on Wynonna’s sleeping lips. It makes Nicole’s heart start racing with fear and relief. A bright smile appears on Rosita’s face and she reaches out and grabs Nicole’s free hand, squeezing it gently. Nicole lets herself sit back against one of the rickety old pews and blows out a heavy breath, prepared to stay there for as long as it takes. 

Once Rosita is sure Nicole is as okay as she’s going to get, she decides to give her some time alone. She closes the big clunky door behind herself as quietly as possible and steps out into the cold. Juan Carlo is leaning against one of the old hitching posts, rubbing his arm. 

“How long does this take?” She asks, crossing her arms over her chest. 

“Time’s not really my strong suit.” 

“Yeah, and you’re not entirely human.” It’s an observation she’d made and decided on when he’d magically snatched Nicole’s gun. Plus the whole not being able to force anyone to do anything had to mean something. 

“Not for a while now. I was granted immortality, like your friend Doc. Along with some other perks, and some burdens.” 

Rosita nods, walking around to lean against the post next to him. She looks at the strange way he’s rubbing his arm and thinks she couldn’t have hurt him that badly. Then, she looks out into the white abyss and wonders how the hell this group always gets themselves into situations like this. “Have you ever thought of… I dunno, sitting down with us over dinner? Explaining some stuff? Well, them at least. I can’t go to their house.” 

“I’m not allowed to interfere.” 

Rosita’s eyebrows raise and she laughs. “This isn’t interfering?” 

“Oh, indeed! It is, but at this point I’m no longer afraid of the consequences.” 

Rosita’s eyebrows pull together as she watches him slowly lift his coat sleeve. Dark veins of rot stretch down his forearm, a sickly wound taking up almost all of the space. Even she winces. 

“A wound like this is fatal, even for me.” 

“Hey, listen… I can call someone from our team, we can get you to a hospital.” Rosita can’t seem to take her eyes off of it. 

“There’s no time. She’s here. Sooner than I expected, damn her. She’s looking for the third seal and I don’t have it nor do I know where it is.” He explains. Rosita’s heart starts pounding as she looks up and finds who he’s talking about. It all clicks into place. 

“The widows… they did that to you?” Rosita rises from her position, adrenaline coursing through her. Her first thought is Nicole and Wynonna inside the church. She makes quick decisions, doing what she thinks is best. Right now, that’s leaving Nicole with Wynonna. She moves to Nicole’s car and pulls out an extra gun, making sure it’s loaded. 

“Can you fight?” Juan Carlo asks. 

Rosita looks at him and cocks the gun, her red eyes coming out to play again. “Try and stop me.” 

The revenant moves past him, away from the church to meet the incoming widow half way. 

“Rosita! Whatever happens to me… don’t let her get to Wynonna.” Juan Carlo warns. 

Rosita hears him, but she doesn’t answer. For as long as she’s lived, she’ll die before she let anything happen to Wynonna or Nicole. She just hopes it doesn’t have to come to that now that she really has something – two somethings –  to live for. 

Rosita scans the trees down where she’d seen the ghostly woman appear. There’s nothing, and then there is. She’s there, right in front of her. Rosita’s body feels cold on the inside, the same sensation as when she’d met the widows before. It makes her bones ache and she can see her breath more than before but she doesn’t falter. 

“It’s over. Step away and you might be spared.” The distorted, annoying voice speaks from under the black veil. 

Rosita’s eyes burn bright and she grins, tilting her head. “Jinx. I was just gonna say the same thing. Except for the spare part.” Her demonic grumble is much more threatening than whatever this spooky sister has going on.

“Wynonna Earp dies tonight. I’ll kill her little girlfriend, too, I’m not picky.” 

Rosita feels angry. She grits her teeth together and points the gun at the shadowy figure. “You’re gonna have to go through me first.” 

“That’s the best invitation I’ve had all day.” The widow sounds almost cheerful as she lifts her hand. “Come, sister.” 

Rosita is caught off guard by the other widow sister sneaking up behind her and only realizes at the very last second. Just enough time to get out of the way. The widows move too fast and in circles. It’s like they’re everywhere and nowhere at once. Rosita aims and reaims, trying to get her eyes on them so she can shoot, even if she’s pretty positive it’ll be useless. 

Her heart is pounding in her ears. The next thing she knows, she’s on her back and they’re over her. She screams and their vapor clouds her vision. She doesn’t breathe it in this time, instead she holds her breath and closes her eyes, hoping that’ll work. 

Rosita blinks up at the two sisters standing over her, feeling a little dizzy. Holding her breath hadn’t worked. 

“Well, now I’m hungry.” 

“You’ve tracked the prey. Now, we feast.” 

Rosita knows with complete certainty that the only thing that can kill her is a bullet from Wynonna’s gun. No matter what these bitches do to her, she’ll come back. She only hopes that she doesn’t have to suffer the way Juan Carlo is suffering. The revenant swallows a hard lump and leans her head back against the soft snow before she passes out. 

Nicole hears the scream from inside the church and knows immediately that it’s Rosita. Her blood runs cold and her hands start to tremble. She kisses Wynonna’s face and stands to go and help her friend. Leaving Wynonna feels like the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. 

When she steps out of the church doors, Nicole is met with the searing screams of Juan Carlo. He’s laying there on the steps of the church and his body is being torn into by two shadowy black figures. Nicole figures that if the sight wasn’t so shocking, she’d probably feel the urge to throw up. She’s never seen the widows like this before, never this close. 

She feels the cold wash over her and sees her breath differently than she can in the normal weather. This was the experience Wynonna had told her about, when she thought she was being haunted. They look up at her with pieces of Juan Carlo hanging from their mouths and Nicole knows that she’s next. They’ll do this, or worse, to her in order to get to Wynonna. Nicole steadies herself and prepares to fight as hard and for as long as she can. 

One of them lets out a steady stream of vapor and a piercing screech. It makes Nicole’s ears ring and the vapor knocks her to her knees. 

Before they can move, towards her Rosita appears and steps in front of her again, with burning eyes and ice clinging to her lips. She fires two shots, one at each sister. 

The shadows scramble and Juan Carlo, or what’s left of him, is left gasping for breath on the church steps. 

“Rosita…” He chokes. It doesn’t take a second before Rosita shoots him to put him out of his misery. Slowly, the red fades from her eyes and she pulls in a harsh breath. She looks down at Nicole, stone faced. 

“Rosie…” Nicole sounds shaken and breathless. Ice pales her lips and she goes cross-eyed before she falls against Rosita’s legs. 

“No, you don’t…” Rosita groans, bending and pulling the much larger woman into her arms. 

The revenant makes her way into the church with Nicole’s deadweight and lays her near Wynonna. She stumbles back to the front, groggy from the poison and grabs one of the stray pews, heaving it in front of the door. Rosita works as fast as she can, stacking as much as possible between them and the door. 

Her vision is starting to waver again, she’s seeing two of everything. Rosita makes it back to where Nicole is before she collapses next to her against the hardwood. Her muscles feel tired and sore, but she’s surprised to find that the twisted sisters hadn’t tried to make a meal of her. 

They must not like how demon tastes , she thinks. The thought almost makes her laugh before she’s pulled into unconsciousness again. 

Night falls soon after. The three women remain sleeping on the church floor when the widows metal claws push the door open as much as they can. No matter how they try, the wood doesn’t budge. 

“Damn her! She has claimed sanctuary. Get the torch.” One widow spits at the other. Soon, both of the sisters stand in front of the old wooden structure with burning torches in hand. 

“Church or brothel, house or barn. These houses of men. In the end, they all burn.” One sister chants, leaning in and letting the fire catch and spread through the church. 

***

A bell ringing. Chiming, over and over. That’s all that echoes in Nicole’s ears from the moment she wakes. Her face is hot, much hotter than it should be in the snow. The first face she sees is Rosita, standing over her. Yelling at her. Saying her name. She looks scared, tired. Like she’s been crying. The flames from the burning church glow in her warm eyes. 

“Wynonna…” Nicole chokes out, pushing herself up out of the snow. 

“Nicole, no, you need––” 

“Sheriff…” A firefighter tries. 

“I need Wynonna. W-Where is she? Where’s my fiancée?” Nicole pushes by the fireman and Rosita. The smaller man has no chance in hell of stopping her and Rosita could if she wanted to but she doesn’t. 

Nicole sees her not far away, laying on the ground. Nicole feels like she hasn’t slept in weeks. Every part of her burns and hurts but she runs anyway. She doesn’t think about anything else, just getting to Wynonna. When she runs, she doesn’t hear the people calling after her or trying to put out the burning church. She doesn’t hear the bells anymore or notice the man following her, calling her name.  

The redhead crashes on her knees beside Wynonna’s body. She reaches for her wrist, then her neck, not finding the beat she needs in either place. Wynonna doesn’t have a pulse. 

Nicole is trembling everywhere, her hands, her lips. Snot and tears are running down her face and she still can’t hear anything, not even her own voice. God, she must be screaming and Wynonna just looks like she’s sleeping. 

“Wynonna. Baby. Please! Please wake up. Please be okay. Please!” Nicole checks for her breathing again and... nothing. She pulls off her remaining glove and pushes her hands into Wynonna’s jacket, starting compressions on her chest. 

“Sheriff, your friend already tried… an ambulance is on the way but… Haught, you’re hurt, I can help with that. Just let me help you…” The fireman tries but Nicole doesn’t listen. 

She elbows him out of her way hard and lifts Wynonna’s chin, pinches her nose and breathes two breaths into the love of her life’s lungs. 

“Come back to me, Wynonna. Don’t do this, baby. Don’t leave me again. Please.” Nicole begs through tears. 

Finally, Wynonna coughs. And again. And again. 

“Yes! Oh, god. Yes! Come on, Wyn. I’ve got you. Oh my god. Thank you, thank you.” Nicole takes Wynonna’s face in her hands, touching her cheeks, her hair. Everything. 

Wynonna opens her eyes, pulling frozen breaths into her burning lungs. All she can see and smell and taste is Nicole. “Nic.” 

Nicole pulls Wynonna up and into her arms, holding her against her chest and sobbing into her hair. “I t-thought I lost you.” Nicole chokes out. 

Wynonna buries her face in Nicole’s neck, her cold nose pressing into Nicole’s warm neck and nuzzling. She laughs softly even though her throat burns. The older woman’s voice sounds creaky when she speaks. “You can’t g-get rid of me that easy, Haughtstuff. You p-promised me a –– wedding.” 

***

Nicole doesn’t try to argue about going to the hospital when she knows Wynonna is alive. They both get checked and come out with nothing more than some smoke inhalation and some scrapes, and some bruised ribs from the CPR. Rosita, of course, is perfect. No injuries, no problems. 

Waverly shows up to the hospital, almost more hysterical than she’d been earlier in the day.

Shae and Rosita come out of the examining room and she rushes into their arms. 

“Oh! Baby…” 

“Waves, oh… When I called the station… I didn’t mean you had to come, they’re fine. We’re fine.” Rosita reassures, pressing a kiss to Waverly’s face. 

“Nicole was about to come home with Wynonna, they’re just getting dressed.” Shae adds, brushing some of Waverly’s hair back out of her face. 

The youngest Earp looks up at her girlfriends with red eyes and a trembling lip. “I–I just heard there was a fire and someone was dead and I – hurried. I was so scared. So scared, god.” Waverly buries her face in Rosita’s chest. 

Shae looks at them with a soft smile and rubs Waverly’s back, kissing her head and soothing until she calms. “Shhh… it’s okay, sweet girl. I’m sorry today has been so fucking insane for all of you. I’m gonna go check in with the nurses but I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to come home with you, okay?” 

Waverly nods, taking a deep breath and wiping her eyes. “Okay, yeah I… really need it after today. Need you both.” She confirms, taking one of each of their hands and pressing a kiss to the back. “Besides, I think they deserve the house to themselves for the night.” Waverly nods in the direction of the examining room that holds her sister and Nicole. 

“That reminds me… I guess I might as well say this now. I got your results back, they’re in my office. I’ll bring them home and you can open them whenever you’re ready, baby.” Shae lifts Waverly’s chin with her finger and wipes her tears, speaking softly to her. 

Waverly thinks about the morning. About sitting with Wynonna by the frozen pond. The reassurance that had filled her when Wynonna held her hand and promised that no matter what, she’d always be her sister. Wynonna’s unwavering love. 

“I… I think I wanna do it with Wynonna. Not tonight, God, not tonight. But when I do, I wanna be with my sister.” Waverly nods, looking at each of her girlfriends. Their eyes reflect nothing but love and understanding back at her. 

“Of course, angel.” Rosita nods, pulling Waverly into another tight embrace and just holding on to her. 

“Yeah, Waves. Whatever you want.” Shae agrees. “I’m gonna go get ready, so we can all get the hell out of here. Please be careful driving home and don’t… run into anything else terrifying. I love you both.” 

“We’ll try.” Rosita smiles softly, leaning over to kiss Shae’s cheek and return the ‘i love you’ before she walks away. 

***

After a tearful interaction with Waverly at the hospital and a careful shower at home, Nicole and Wynonna lay quietly together in their bed. Wynonna is curled into Nicole’s chest, eyes closed but not sleeping. They haven’t said much more than ‘I love you’ over and over again. Wynonna hasn’t brought up the vision quest or the fire so Nicole hasn’t pushed. 

Nicole keeps pressing kisses to Wynonna’s face and head, touching her back and her arms, every part of her she can. Trying to remind herself that Wynonna is okay and here with her. 

“Nicole…” Wynonna speaks up finally, her sweet breath tickling Nicole’s neck. 

Her necklace lays on the nightstand with Wynonna’s for the night. Nicole has already promised to take it to be fixed first thing in the morning. 

“Yeah, baby?” Nicole leans back enough to see Wynonna’s face. 

“The – the third seal? It’s Doc’s ring. Constance Clootie’s wedding ring. She gave it to Doc, tied his immortality to it.” 

“That’s… pretty smart. Who's gonna rob a gunslinger, right?” Nicole decides, brushing her fingers softly through Wynonna’s drying hair as she explains. 

“I also know what happens if those bitches in black break it.” Wynonna’s eyes fill up with tears, but she swallows, not letting them fall. 

Nicole stiffens a bit, aching at the fear she sees in those blue eyes. She doesn’t speak, she just lets Wynonna take the time she needs before she finishes. 

“Clootie, the demon who started this whole goddamn story… will rise. And he will be pissy, given the whole buried alive thing…” She starts to sound like she’s rambling and her gaze is past Nicole, it looks far away. 

Nicole leans in and kisses her face, down her cheek and to her lips to bring her back. When the kiss breaks, Wynonna smiles against Nicole’s lips. 

“I’m fine, baby.” Wynonna whispers, kissing Nicole again softly. 

“Good. Because you really, really scared me tonight, Wynonna.” The sincerity and pain Wynonna finds in her favorite pair of eyes breaks her heart. Her smile falls and she tilts her head. 

“I just… passed out for a little while, Nic. I’m okay. I was okay.” 

“No, you didn’t. You didn’t just pass out. You didn’t have a pulse when I got to you. You weren’t breathing. Wynonna you – for more than a minute, you were dead and I was so fucking scared I wouldn’t get you back.” Nicole’s voice is thick with tears and they slide down her cheeks freely. 

Wynonna’s eyebrows pull together and she reaches up, brushing at the tears under her finacée’s eyes with her thumbs. Her lips part and her eyebrows raise as she tries to digest the information she’s been given. 

“I – wow. Never done that before.” She breathes, biting down on her lip. “Nicole, I’m.. I’m sorry.” 

Nicole shakes her head, wrapping Wynonna’s hand in her own and bringing it to her lips for a long kiss. 

“Just… please, god, don’t do it again.” Nicole begs, opening her eyes to look at Wynonna. She reaches and caresses the brunette’s cheek. 

Wynonna’s heart flutters in her chest, reminding her she’s alive and that she’s so fucking in love with this woman. That she never wants to do anything to hurt her. She hates that this happened, that it hurt her. She doesn’t know how she can keep a promise like this, but she nods anyway. 

“Okay. Okay, Nic. I won’t. I love you.” Wynonna kisses her again and prays that she didn’t just lie to the woman she loves most in the world. 

“I love you so much, Wynonna. More than anything.” 

“I know. I know.” Wynonna swears, twisting her fingers in short red hair. 

They kiss, just kiss, for who knows how long before it becomes anything else. It’s slow, they aren’t in any rush. Warm hands travel where they want and rest there, brush there, squeeze there. They love one another for what feels like forever in the quiet of their bedroom, under the light of the star lamp Nicole bought for Wynonna. 

After a while, Wynonna looks up from tracing patterns on Nicole’s bare chest. “I also.. saw Robert. Bobo. He was…” Wynonna seems to think, to be remembering something. 

Nicole props herself up on her elbow and looks down at her. She watches as her eyes widen and she sits up too, legs dangling off the edge of the bed with the covers still wrapped around her. 

“Baby? What is it?” Nicole asks, shifting across the mattress to press herself into Wynonna’s back. She wraps her arms around the older woman’s waist and rests her chin on her shoulder. 

“The Earp Heir, dead.” Wynonna wonders aloud. 

Nicole thinks she gets what Wynonna is hinting at. If the heir dies, all the revenants she put down come back. Does that mean… 

“It was only for a few seconds, right?” 

“77.” Nicole confirms the exact number of seconds. Too many , she wants to say. 

“Do you think…” Wynonna tries to question, but laughs and shakes her head a little. 

“I don’t know, baby. But I promise… no matter what, I’m here.” Nicole swears, holding her hand up and offering her pinky to Wynonna. 

Wynonna turns her head enough to brush her nose against Nicole’s. She nods and lets herself settle back into the warmth and sturdiness of Nicole. Beautiful, kind, steadfast. Her Nicole. Always. She looks down at the waiting hand and smiles, wrapping her pinky around Nicole’s and kissing her lips. 

“I almost forgot.” Nicole whispers, grinning as she pulls away from Wynonna and moves off the bed for just a second. 

Wynonna’s brow furrows as she settles back into the bed, resting with her back against the headboard. She watches Nicole go to her jacket and dig around in the pockets. The tall woman comes back to bed and wraps herself in the covers, sitting up against the headboard with Wynonna. She places a thick envelope on Wynonna’s lap. 

Wynonna smiles, knowing immediately what it is. Long fingers reach for the flap and she leans her head against Nicole’s shoulder as she pulls it open carefully. She reaches inside, pulling one card from the stack of many and turning it over. 

The picture Waverly had chosen shows Wynonna sitting on the tailgate of her truck and Nicole standing between her legs. Nicole’s hands rest on Wynonna’s thighs and Wynonna’s left hand is on Nicole’s cheek, her ring on display. They look close to kissing, but Nicole’s grin is miles wide and Wynonna just looks content and so happy. Behind them, the mountains and sky stretch on forever. 

“It’s perfect.” Nicole sounds breathless when she speaks. She leans more into Wynonna, her hand resting on her leg and squeezing softly. 

Wynonna smiles brightly, her dimples deepening. She can’t stop looking at the card. At Nicole’s smile. At her ring. At their names and the words ‘Save The Date’. At November 10, 2018 , right there on paper. 

“It’s.. this is really happening.” 

“Oh, it’s happening. We promised, remember?” Nicole turns to rest her face against Wynonna’s, nuzzling her nose against her. 

“I remember, Haughty. I won’t let you down.” Wynonna’s still smiling. She’s really doing it. She’s gonna marry the love of her life. The only person she’s ever loved. Nothing is gonna stop it, not some stupid fucking curse, not even death. 

Chapter Text

February 12, 2018 

Waverly left the DNA results in the manila envelope on the kitchen counter for three and a half weeks. Wynonna was only dead for seconds, but apparently it was long enough to bring back some of the enemies she’d put down over the last year. They’d all been pretty busy thanks to that, especially Wynonna. 

Not to mention, the women in black. Everything was too hectic to bring something else stressful into the mix. Waverly needed Wynonna to be able to focus completely on that with her, at least for the moment. So she waited, until now. 

The homestead is quiet when Waverly pushes open the front door and sticks her head in. Wynonna’s truck is outside, so she must be here. Soon, there’s a commotion from upstairs that makes her jump and draws her attention upwards. 

“Must be her.” Waverly says softly to herself, a tiny smile urging the corner of her mouth up. 

Waverly takes the steps two at a time, clutching the envelope tight in her arms. The door to her bedroom is wide open and her soft smile turns into a confused smirk as she steps inside. 

“Wynonna…” Waverly calls softly, trying not to startle her sister. 

It doesn’t work. Wynonna jumps hard and there’s a dull thud before she steps out of the closet in Waverly’s room cursing and holding the back of her head. 

“What the hell, Waves?!” 

“Well! I didn’t know what you were doing! Why are you in my bedroom anyway?” 

“I’m –– shit that hurts.” 

“Let me see.” 

“No, it’s fine. No blood, just sore. Anyway, I was looking for the DVD player you used to have.  Do you know where it is if you even still have it?” 

Wynonna keeps looking into the closet, narrowing her eyes as if it’ll help her see through packed boxes while she rubs her head. 

Waverly moves to sit down on the edge of her bed that hasn’t been used much in the last three weeks and folds her legs up underneath her. She puts the folder down on the bed and turns towards her sister with a heavy sigh. 

“Come sit down then, at least for a minute?” Waverly asks, both eyebrows raised in Wynonna’s direction. 

The older Earp finally turns around fully and her eyes land on Waverly for the first time. Once Wynonna sees her, it’s not hard to spot the big yellow envelope on the bed next to her. Her shoulders sag visibly and the hand on the back of her head slips away slowly. 

“Waves...I’m such a dick, I’m sorry.” 

“What? No, it’s fine. I swear, it’s fine. I’m not – even worried about it.” 

The lie is obvious. Waverly looks tense and nervous in every inch of her body. Wynonna can see the soft tremble and notices the way she rubs her arms because the anxiety it’s making her feel cold. 

The older woman pulls in a sharp breath through her nose and rolls her lips together, moving to sit on the edge of the bed beside her baby sister. 

Waverly doesn’t ask or wait for much more than that. She pushes the envelope further up the bed and scoots as close to Wynonna as she can get. Her knees rest in Wynonna’s lap and she folds herself into her big sister’s arms. Waverly tucks her face into Wynonna’s neck, feeling warmer already. Safe

Wynonna wraps Waverly up without question. One hand rubs circles against her back, the other holds the back of her head and her chin rests sweetly on top of Waverly’s head. Blue eyes slip shut slowly and she exhales, settling into the embrace. 

Waverly isn’t sure how long they stay that way before Wynonna speaks. 

“You don’t have to do anything.” Wynonna’s voice is low, soothing. 

Waverly sighs, closing her own eyes and breathing in. “You don’t get it. That’s okay, but... I-I do. I have to know.” 

Waverly is right. Wynonna knows she’s an Earp, she’ll never know what it’s like to hold papers that will tell her something different. She can’t imagine all the things Waverly has been thinking or feeling for the last three weeks. 

“Getting the papers made it harder. For a while I thought –– I thought I could just pretend. But now, I can’t.” Waverly lifts her head and looks up at Wynonna. 

Ringed fingers brush softly through long hair. Wynonna tilts her chin down to study her sister’s face. The tears welling up in her green eyes and the slight tremble of her bottom lip make the older woman’s heart ache. 

She thinks about the first time she ever heard Waverly cry when she was just six years old. She’d been the one to name her. To take her in her tiny arms and hold her close. The one who sang to her until she calmed down and fed her until she fell asleep. 

Not much had changed. All these years later, it’s still just them. Waverly being soothed by Wynonna’s embrace. Wynonna wiping her tears. There’s a tingle in her chest that reminds her that no matter what, nothing can ever take that away. 

Wynonna tucks Waverly’s hair behind her ear and brushes away a shiny tear with her thumb. 

“Okay, baby girl. I-I get it. And I’m not going anywhere. Ever.” Wynonna promises softly, fighting her own tears. She wants to keep being strong for Waverly. 

Waverly’s lip trembles harder, but she ducks her head and nods before reaching for the envelope. Her fingers drag it slowly back across the bed towards them and she takes it in both of her hands, holding it like it’s heavy or poisonous. 

Wynonna sits back just a little, enough to give Waverly room to maneuver the envelope and pull out the papers. Her hands rest against the other woman’s knees that are still in her lap. 

Slowly, Waverly pulls the stack of papers out of the envelope and exhales the breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding. 

Seeing it in black and white simultaneously makes her stomach sink and a weight lift from her shoulders. Wynonna is her half sister. They share a mother, but not a father. She’s not an Earp and she has no idea who her father is. 

Waverly sags, feeling fresh hot tears spilling down her cheeks. They hit the paper and soak in and she does her best to read everything she needs to before she breaks down completely. 

“Waverly…” Wynonna says softly, knowing. 

When Waverly tosses the papers to the side and collapses in a sobbing heap against Wynonna’s chest, she doesn’t know if the tears are from anguish or relief. She decides that it’s a mix of both. She hates that her long awaited answers came with more questions.

She loves that reading the papers didn’t change a single thing, just like Wynonna promised. Wynonna’s arms still feel like home. She’s still the safest she’s ever been, soothed by the love of her big sister. 

“I love you.” Waverly murmurs, sniffling and reaching up to wipe at her nose with the back of her hand. 

“I love you, Waves. I always have, always will.” Wynonna says surely, finally letting go of the tears that have been begging to slip down her cheeks. 

“You promise?” Waverly asks a moment later. Even though she knows the answer, her heart craves reassurance. She wants to hear Wynonna tell her out loud as many times as she’s willing to. 

“Duh. I promise. I’m gonna be your big sister and love you forever and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Just try and stop me.” Wynonna jokes, softly tickling Waverly’s ribs. 

The words bring a soft smile to Waverly’s lips instantly and the actions widen it, making her laugh and her eyes, teary and red, disappear into moon shapes. 

Waverly burrows further into Wynonna as she laughs and Wynonna laughs with her, tickling her until Waverly is begging for mercy. She stops tickling to wrap her arms around Waverly’s shoulders and hug her close. 

A gentle kiss is pressed against her baby sister’s forehead before Wynonna rests her cheek against the top of Waverly’s head. Waverly sags into Wynonna’s chest, her breathing still slowing from the fit of laughter. 

“Thank you. For everything. All you’ve ever done.” Waverly says softly, feeling herself about to cry again. 

Wynonna can’t make herself answer. Her eyebrows raise and she opens her mouth to speak but fresh tears roll down her face instead and she can’t make words come out. Instead, she just nods softly and kisses Waverly’s head again. 

“I got you.” She manages to force out, closing her eyes to cry quietly. 

“I know. I’ve got you, too.” Waverly mutters, her voice barely more than a tearful whisper. 

 


 

“If you guys did more of this, maybe I’d hang out more.” Shae jokes, wrapping her arms around Rosita from behind. 

The scientist smirks, never faltering as she continues dropping small measurements of solution into a tiny bottle. They’d been working tirelessly for days trying to figure out a way to replicate Dolls’ black badge drugs. The ones that keep him from going full dragon. 

Their most recent trial seems to be the most promising, they just need to bottle and test it. 

“Yeah, yeah. Don’t act like you don’t love all the supernatural things we get into.” Rosita teases back, putting down the dropper and twisting a cap onto the bottle. 

“Baby, there’s only one supernatural thing that I love getting into…” Shae says smugly, brushing her nose against Rosita’s cheek. 

“Okay! I’m still here, so…” Jeremy clears his throat and pipes up from across the room.

The two women fall into a fit of laughter. Rosita elbows Shae playfully and steps out of her arms, collecting the tray of samples and carrying them over to Jeremy. 

“I’m sorry, Jer.” Shae tries, turning to lean against the table with her arms crossed over her chest and a wide smile still on her face. 

“You’re not, but that’s okay. I get it. I’d probably be horny all the time if I had a super hot boyfriend, too.” 

Two is exactly right.” Rosita confirms, smiling softly to herself as she and Jeremy start labelling the bottles. 

“I’d be lucky to just get one, okay? You don’t always have to rub it in that you’re double taken.” Jeremy sounds soft even as he protests. 

He’ll never admit it while he’s suffering from being single, but he loves that Rosita, Waverly, and Shae all have each other. Waverly was his friend before the rest, but the other two quickly made their way into his heart. Seeing the way they all love each other gives him hope, as cheesy as it sounds. 

“You’ll find a cute, good, man eventually, okay?” Shae lifts an eyebrow, tilting her head in their direction. 

“Yeah, yeah.” 

“You will, Jeremy! Maybe just –– wait until the town gets less demony, before you go looking. Or you might end up with some kind of weird demon boyfriend who eats kittens or something.” Rosita warns, smoothing the sticker onto one of the last bottles. 

It’s light-hearted, Shae knows, but comments like that never stop her from wanting to wrap Rosie up in her arms and kiss her. To remind her that she’s not less because she’s a demon. 

Shae steps up behind them and rests her hand on the small of Rosita’s back. She leans in to press a soft, lingering kiss against the side of Rosita’s head before she gets to work helping her finish labelling the bottles she’s working on. 

“Don’t listen to her, Jer. A demon girlfriend has worked out pretty well for Waves and I. She doesn’t eat… actual kittens, or anything though…” Shae and Rosita both try not to laugh at the accidental joke, but they fail. Even Jeremy laughs with them. 

“Okay, seriously. I can’t deal with you guys. This is why you can’t work together.” He shakes his head, focusing on the new solution running through the testing sequence they’d created. 

“Hey! We work together just fine!” Rosita defends, leaning more into Shae. 

“Imagine how it’d be if Waves was here.” Shae smiles, finishing up the last bottle and setting it back down in the tray for Jeremy to test. 

“Where is she anyway?” Jeremy asks, scribbling in his notebook as the blue serum runs through the tubes of the testing mechanism. 

Rosita and Shae look at each other softly, sharing their concern for their girlfriend with just a silent glance. 

“She… finally decided she was ready to look at her DNA results, so she’s been with Wynonna all morning.” Rosita explains, pulling the gloves from her hands and tossing them into the nearby trash. 

“Yeah, she said that if we didn’t hear from her we’d know that the results are a ‘ no ’.” Shae sighs, stepping away from the table and shoving her hands into her back pockets. 

“I'm guessing you haven’t heard, then?” Jeremy asks hesitantly, looking up at Shae with his eyebrows pulled together. 

The concern he always has for his friends makes Shae feel warm. We’re all lucky to have him , she thinks. She gives him a gentle nod and he drops his head, understanding. This would be hard for Waverly. But she’d have all of their love and support whenever she was ready to receive it.

“Ooh, I need to run upstairs and grab something. Rosie, will you watch the rest of this synthesization?” Jeremy steps away from the table and tosses away his own gloves. 

“For sure.” Rosita steps around the table to get a better look at the tubes. 

“That means no making out while I’m – what the fudge?! Ow! Owowow!” Jeremy cries out in pain. 

When the two women turn their heads towards him, he’s clutching his hand and looking frantic. Shae rushes to his side first, taking his hand in her own and turning it over. Imbedded in Jeremy’s palm is a small blackened fragment of... something. 

“Jeremy, what the hell?” 

“I don’t know! I grabbed the railing and… geez, it hurts!” 

“Okay, give me a sec.” Shae steps back to the table and grabs a pair of gloves and the tweezers sitting in the line-up of tools. 

“Here, baby.” Rosita says softly, bringing Shae some napkins and a couple of alcohol pads to clean the tool and Jeremy’s hand. 

Shae thanks her with a kiss on her cheek and goes back to Jeremy’s side. She guides him to sit on the steps and sits down next to him, laying his open palm against her leg. 

Slowly, Shae cleans the tweezers and extracts the object from Jeremy’s skin and lays it against the bright white napkin. She barely gets his hand cleaned and the band-aid in place before Jeremy is leaning over to try and inspect the item. 

“What is that?” Rosita asks, standing over them both. Shae looks up at her and then down again, looking almost disgusted. 

“Honestly? looks like a broken fingernail to me.” Shae explains, very carefully poking at it with the tweezers as she inspects it. 

“A fingernail? Wait, let me ––” Jeremy carefully takes the tweezers from Shae’s hand and picks up the fragment. 

Rosita and Shae both watch as the thought comes to him and he looks up at Rosita with wide eyes. 

“Rose, remember the two widows…” 

“Yeah, duh, how could I forget?” 

“Well, Nicole said that the other day, when they checked up on the Gardner sisters, Beth had a bandage on her hand. Two sisters… two widows. Their brother was involved with the time demon. Do you think…” Jeremy asks, shaking his head softly.

Mercedes and Beth were good. Mercedes was Wynonna’s friend, sort of. They couldn’t be involved in this… could they?  

“That… the supernatural bitches who keep haunting you guys are actually the sisters of the shithead who is obsessed with Waves?” Shae speaks up, connecting the dots aloud. 

Rosita and Jeremy mirror one another, slack jaws and raised eyebrows. Shae looks between the two of them and stands up. “I’ll go call Dolls. You two finish your tests.” 

 


 

February 13, 2018 

Their hypothesis had been exactly right. Dolls found the faceless bodies of Beth Gardner and Mercedes in the basement of their home. Mercedes was clinging to life, but only by a thread. The scene was grim enough the way Dolls explained it. Wynonna was thankful she hadn’t had to see it. 

By the time she and Nicole got there for questions, Mercedes had been bandaged up and put into a coma. Wynonna still sat with her and talked while Nicole spoke to Dolls, even though she was sure Mercedes couldn’t hear her. 

When it comes to normal police duties, things are pretty quiet. The station is calm enough that Lonnie is able to offer to look after things for Nicole to have some time off before the upcoming holiday, so she goes home early. 

It’s the day before Valentine’s and Nicole feels more prepared for the day than she has in a long time. It’ll be the first and the last one with Wynonna as her fiancée. Next year, she’ll be spending Valentine’s Day with her wife

Nicole smiles to herself, lost in her thoughts as she washes the dishes they’d left behind from breakfast. Wynonna had texted her that she’d run out to get some things, which let her know it was some kind of surprise for the occasion. 

All these years and the two of them still hadn’t stopped doing sweet, special things for each other, even if they were small. 

Nicole hadn’t planned much. There would be no big elaborate displays in the bedroom like she used to do when they were in high school, but she still put together a few things she knew would make her girl smile. 

“Hey baby, what are you doing home?” Wynonna’s voice sounds sweet and surprised as she comes in from her errand. The ring in her voice is special, it’s the way she gets when she’s alone in a room with Nicole. 

“Oh, Lonnie is looking after everything. There’s nothin’ too crazy happening in human-land so he figured he could do it, let me have the day off today and tomorrow. To spend with you.” Nicole smiles over her shoulder, finishing up the dishes and drying her hands off on the towel hanging on the cabinets. 

“Always liked Lonnie.” Wynonna comments with a smile, moving to the kitchen table. She drops the bags she’d carried in. One is clearly groceries, the other Wynonna wraps up carefully so that Nicole can’t see what the contents are when she steps closer.

 Wynonna’s eyebrows pull together when she notices a shiny new softball sitting in what seems to be an equally shiny new glove on the tabletop. “What’s this, Haughtstuff?” 

“What’s what?” Nicole turns around, drying her hands the rest of the way on her pants and walking to Wynonna’s side. A strong arm wraps instinctively around Wynonna’s small waist and pulls her into her side. “Oh, that…” Nicole smirks, dropping a kiss onto the top of Wynonna’s head. 

“Did you get a new glove?” 

“No, I’ve still got my old one.” 

Wynonna turns into Nicole more, scrunching up her face and looking up at her. 

“It’s for you. I got it ‘cause it’s gonna be warm soon. Okay, not soon soon but… it was on sale, and I figured it would fit you. I thought it could be fun if we got outside and tossed the ball around together a little bit.” Nicole explains, moving both her hands to Wynonna’s hips and pulling her closer. 

Wynonna studies the woman she’s marrying, the woman she’s loved for the better part of her life. That lopsided grin and the crease of her dimple. The shining in those big brown eyes. Always thinking, always trying to make Wynonna smile. Some things never change. 

“Why are you lookin’ at me like that?” Nicole asks, her voice lower and her cheeks growing warmer. 

“You want me to toss a ball around with you? Haught, you know I’m not any good at that kind of thing.” 

“I don’t know that. And neither do you because you haven’t tried it.” Nicole laughs, moving her hands up Wynonna’s sides and locking her fingers together behind her back. 

Wynonna rolls her eyes, a big smile taking over her face. “Nicooole…” Wynonna drags the name out and lets herself lean back, trusting Nicole’s big arms to hold her up. And they do. 

“Baby, come on. You used to love watching me play!” 

“You’re right, I used to love watching you know what you were doing. Not to mention, how hot your ass looked in the pants.” 

“Well, imagine how much hotter it’d look now, eh?” Nicole offers, raising her eyebrows and leaning in to press a kiss to Wynonna’s neck.

“Ugh, god, you’re right. Fine. I’ll toss the goddamn ball around with you when it’s warm outside. But you’re not allowed to make fun of me. And I get to smack your ass as many times as I want.” Wynonna closes her eyes and gives in, letting Nicole lather her in kisses. 

The redhead smiles against Wynonna’s neck, a sweet laugh falling from her lips. She nuzzles into the older woman, breathing her in. “I’d never make fun of you, baby. As for the second part of the deal, what’s new?” 

Wynonna presses her hands into Nicole’s chest and pushes her away playfully, righting herself and turning back to the bag of groceries. Nicole settles against Wynonna’s back, resting her hands against the table and her chin on Wynonna’s shoulder. 

“I guess now would be as good a time as any to tell you we’re making dinner for Doc tonight.” Wynonna begins unpacking the bag, putting everything in a ‘fridge’ group or a ‘cabinet’ group. 

Nicole’s eyebrows raise and she sticks her lip out. Wynonna’s news isn’t bad, it’s just that she hadn’t been expecting it. Her mind goes back to Wynonna talking to her on the night of the church fire and a shiver ripples down Nicole’s spine. 

A big hand comes up and brushes Wynonna’s hair to the side, her fingers playing softly in it. “Are you gonna talk to him about the ring?” She asks softly. They hadn’t talked about it since that night, but Nicole knew it wouldn’t be easy. 

“I have to. They’ll come for him eventually if I don’t, and if he gives it up to me we’ll have a leg up on the spider bitches.” Wynonna sighs, her tone matching Nicole’s. She lets those long fingers soothe her until she has to spin out of Nicole’s grasp to put the ‘fridge’ group away. 

Nicole turns when Wynonna is gone and rests her back against the edge of the table, crossing her arms over her chest. “I know you want me to help cook, but do you want me to… be here? Through it?” 

Wynonna looks over her shoulder at Nicole like she’s speaking another language. “What kind of question is that? I want you with me for everything.” 

Nicole hadn’t honestly expected anything less, but it’s still nice to hear. She can’t combat the gentle way the corners of her mouth turn up or the twinkle in her eyes. “I just wanted to make sure.” 

“It can be like a double date? Pretty positive he’s bringing Dolls. I don’t want it to be weird. It’s just –- heavy, you know? Sucks. Everything he is is pretty much tied to that ring.” Wynonna sighs, shaking her head as she closes the fridge. 

Nicole gathers the items that are meant for the cabinets in one arm and wraps Wynonna up in her other one. “Hey… look at me?” Nicole asks softly. 

Blue eyes find brown ones instantly and Wynonna sighs again, feeling lighter with Nicole touching her. 

“We’ll figure it out okay. I’m proud of you, for putting this all together and initiating it.” Nicole tells her softly, leaning in and pressing a kiss to the tip of her beautiful nose. 

Wynonna closes her eyes and smiles softly. “What would I do without you?” She asks after Nicole when she steps away to start filling the cabinets. 

“I dunno… Probably just make these men the best damn grilled cheese they’ve ever had?” Nicole smirks as she reaches up high in the cabinet to stow away a box of cereal. 

Wynonna’s loud laughter fills the small kitchen and Nicole’s heart to the brim. 

 


 

“Wynonna..” Nicole calls, coming back into the bedroom where Wynonna is just finishing curling her hair. 

“Yeah?” 

“Baby, Waverly called me. She needs help with something at the house.” Nicole explains, bending down to grab her shoes and moving to the edge of the bed to sit and put them on. 

Wynonna sees Nicole behind her in the mirror. She looks beautiful in a blue button up shirt and dark jeans. The sleeves of her shirt are rolled up neatly and her hair is wavy, having air dried after their shared shower. Wynonna almost forgets what Nicole told her, but shakes her head when she remembers. 

“Is she okay?” 

“Yeah, I think so. Something about needing a toolbox, though.” 

“Are you gonna be back before dinner?” 

“I should be. I don’t think it’ll take too long, but if they get here early or something don’t wait for me.” 

Wynonna finishes with her hair and turns towards her fiancée, resting both her hands on Nicole’s soft cheeks. 

“Nicole, I waited for you for years. I think I can convince Dolls and Henry to hold off on dinner if you happen to be running a few minutes behind.” Wynonna teases softly, brushing her thumb against Nicole’s cheek. 

She closes the space between them to press her mouth against Nicole’s in a sweet kiss. 

“I’ll try not to keep you waiting too long, okay?” Nicole whispers against Wynonna’s lips, pressing another kiss there. 

Wynonna smiles and steps back, offering her hand to Nicole to pull her up from the foot of the bed. With Nicole at her full height, Wynonna stares up at her for a moment. She lets her thumb brush over the engagement ring on Nicole’s finger before she lets go. 

Wynonna steps to the side and her hand moves to deliver a firm smack against Nicole’s ass. “Go help my sister and get your Haught ass back here pronto.” 

“Yes ma’am.” Nicole laughs, leaning in and kissing Wynonna’s cheek before she heads out. 

“I love you.” Wynonna calls, stepping to lean against the wall and watch Nicole leave. 

“I love you, baby.” Nicole smiles back at her, slipping into her jacket and shutting the door behind herself. 

 


 

Nicole is about to knock on the door to her hold house when it swings open. Nicole’s eyes are wide, matching Waverly’s green ones as she huddles on the other side of the door. 

“Hey, I brought my stuff ––” Nicole holds up the small toolbox and feels Waverly’s small hand wrap around her other wrist, yanking her inside the house. 

“Rosie and Shae are still at Shorty’s working on the serum for Dolls, but they’ll be coming home for the night soon and I fudged up. Bad.” Waverly explains, dragging Nicole into the kitchen. 

“Waves, I’m sure you couldn’t have ––” Nicole stops talking when she sees water pooling on the floor and the countertop. Evidence that Waverly had somehow flooded the sink. 

“At least you got it to stop?” Nicole shrugs, scratching her head and looking down at the smaller woman. 

A loud sound and a spurt of water from the sink make them both jump. 

“Guess I spoke too soon?” 

“That’s not even the worst part. That’s what happened after I tried to fix the worst part.” Waverly’s voice is higher than Nicole has ever heard it. 

“Okay… Okay, well…” Nicole sets the toolbox down on the dry part of the counter and pops it open, pulling out a wrench. “What’s the worst part?” 

“I was wearing one of Rosie’s rings. One of her really beautiful, nice old rings and I started making cookies – forgot about it, noticed when it was all covered in junk and thought I’d just rinse it off. Well…” Waverly motions pitifully to the busted sink. 

“You dropped one of Rosie’s rings down the drain?” Nicole looks down at Waverly like she can’t believe it. 

“Don’t make me feel worse!” Waverly squeaks, bringing her hand to her forehead and looking like she might start crying. 

“Hey, don’t. Don’t cry. Okay? We’ll get it. We will! Go grab me some towels and give me this.” Nicole doesn’t ask before she takes the hair tie off of Waverly’s wrist. 

The taller woman starts unbuttoning her blue shirt and shrugs out of it, draping it over the back of a chair. She’s left in a tight white T-shirt  and her jeans. 

She pushes her short red hair back into the best ponytail she can manage, just enough to keep it from falling in her eyes. Waverly comes running back into the kitchen with a couple of towels and helps Nicole spread them on the ground by the sink. 

“Go down into the basement and make sure you turned it off.” Nicole tells her, getting down on the floor and laying on her back to look under the sink. 

“I already did that, Nicole. I’m not an idiot.” Waverly raises an eyebrow and crosses her arms over her chest. 

Another spurt of water comes up from the sink and out from the pipes above Nicole’s head, making large drops of water splash onto her face.  

“Right. Well.. no, you’re not an idiot, Waves. But can you just — go look and make sure it’s off all the way? Please?” Nicole sighs, reaching up and wiping the water off her face with the neck of her shirt. 

“Okay! I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” Waverly calls, running off through the house to get to the basement entrance. 

Drops of water fall onto Nicole’s face and run down into her hair the entire time she works to get the pipe loose. Eventually, she hears the gentle stream of water previously running through the pipes go silent. Waverly must have finally succeeded in getting the water shut off. 

Nicole finishes detaching the pipe carefully and the ring falls out onto her chest. There’s a heavy sigh of relief and Nicole smiles to herself proudly as she reattaches the pipe. 

“Waverly! I got it!” She calls, slowly trying to crawl out from underneath the sink with the ring held tightly in her closed fist. 

A loud noise from below followed by a blood curdling scream sends Nicole into a panic. She sits up too fast before she’s out, hitting her forehead on the edge of the counter and splitting it open. 

“Goddamn it… Waverly! Waverly, I’m coming!” Nicole presses her hand to her head and feels hot blood pouring down her face. There’s a dull throbbing and black spots in her vision, but she doesn’t let stop her from getting to her feet as quick as she can. 

 The throbbing gets worse when she moves, but Nicole powers through and gets to the basement door quickly. It swings open and Waverly practically falls into her arms. 

“Waves… wha-” 

“No, she’s here! We have to –” Waverly doesn’t get to finish her sentence. The basement door flies open again and one of the widows joins them. The one wearing Mercedes’ face. 

Nicole’s eyes widen and she instinctively pushes Waverly out of her arms to put her body between the monster and the younger woman. 

“You look like hell.” Nicole challenges, holding out her arm to keep Waverly behind her. 

The widow almost looks like she’s decaying. Probably the bullet Wynonna put in her. Hadn’t been enough to kill her, but at least it didn’t look like she was doing great. 

Nicole’s head is pounding and blood is running in her eye, but she focuses on one thing: keeping Waverly safe. Images come back to her mind of the way Juan Carlo looked after the Widows finished with him back at the church. 

Nicole makes a silent promise that she’ll keep that from happening to Waverly or she’ll die trying. 

“I’m here for the seal.” The widow with the face of their old friend spits. It makes Nicole’s blood feel cold, but she doesn’t budge. 

Slowly, Nicole steps back until Waverly is pressed against her back. Small hands cling to the fabric of her t-shirt and Nicole walks backwards slowly, trying to put distance between them and the widow. 

“Well, I don’t have it.” Nicole raises her eyebrows and defies, standing strong. 

Widow Mercedes closes the gap like it’s nothing, leaping for Nicole. It gives the Sheriff just enough time to push Waverly out of the way before she and the monster collapse in a heap on the ground. 

“Nicole!” Waverly pushes herself up off of the floor, looking around for something she can use as a weapon. Her gun is upstairs, it would take too long to get to. 

Green eyes flash between the two redheads struggling on the ground and the open room. Finally, Waverly’s eyes land on the broom resting against the wall in the kitchen. Adrenaline courses through her veins, sending her scrambling for it. With every ounce of strength in her body, Waverly forces the wooden handle over her knee, successfully breaking it in two. 

She could be proud of herself later, right now, she has to fight. 

“Get off of her, you bitch!” Waverly yells, gaining the widow’s attention for a second. 

She lets out a heavy grunt as she puts all her weight into hitting the demon with the stick. It works, she knocks her off her feet and onto her back. 

“Where’s your gun?!” Nicole yells, pulling herself across the ground away from the widow. The bitch is strong. Not as much as a revenant, probably, but still really fucking hard to best. 

Plus, she’s good with her hits. The widow lands a few to her torso and some swift kicks to Nicole’s legs, making her entire body throb as she tries to pull herself up. The sounds of Waverly whooping ass in the background make Nicole feel slightly better, like Waverly might be able to take care of it until Nicole can get up. That she might actually be able find the gun if she ever gets up. 

“Upstairs. Too far.”  Waverly answers, cracking the stick against the side of Widow Mercedes’ head. 

Finally Nicole pushes herself up, feeling the ache in all her bones. She has to wipe her face with the back of her hand because of the bleeding. So much blood has poured down her neck and soaked into the collar of her t-shirt. 

“We don’t know where the seal is!” Waverly yells and something else breaks. 

That was partially true, Nicole thinks. You don’t know where it is. This thing is probably here for me and the timing is just unlucky. Waverly, I’m so sorry. 

Nicole almost makes it back to the kitchen to grab a new weapon when she hears Waverly’s body crash into the coffee table. One glance back in that direction shows her helpless Waverly, barely missing the spray of the widow’s cold, paralyzing breath. 

Nicole reaches for the first thing she can grab, one of the heavy wrenches off the counter, before turning on her heel and forcing her body back into gear. The widow’s foot is pressing hard into Waverly’s back, keeping her in place against the floor. Nicole doesn’t think, she just reaches out, locking her elbow around the demon’s neck and pulling her back, away from the younger Earp. 

Everything happens so fast, Nicole thinks that if not for the searing, mind melting pain of it, that maybe she would have missed the widow’s teeth sinking into her forearm and drawing streams of blood immediately. 

She cries out, a shaky hand coming to clasp over the wound. Everything seems foggy when she looks up at the body that sort of resembles Mercedes and sees it wipe her blood from its mouth. 

“You really don’t have it.” The voice almost sounds distorted when it reaches Nicole’s ears. The next thing she can recall is feeling herself slump against Waverly’s body. There’s an overwhelming sense of peace, a gentle hum that tells her she’s okay.

Maybe this is what dying for good feels like , she thinks. But she can still hear Waverly’s voice. It’s barely there, and it sounds like a memory, but something tells her it’s here and now. It’s real. She’s alive. You’re alive, keep living. For Wynonna

 


 

Wynonna has a nervous feeling in the pit of her stomach. They waited far too long before they started dinner. If any more time had passed everything would’ve started getting cold and Nicole would’ve been upset with Wynonna for letting that happen. But it wasn’t like Nicole not to call and check in, especially if she was going to be this late. She promised , Wynonna reminds herself. 

They’d settled the ring business. After a slightly tense argument, the three had been able to come to a decision and Dolls left Doc and Wynonna at the Homestead to go put the ring in a safe place for the time being. 

Henry watches Wynonna from the other end of the kitchen table. Watches the way she fidgets with her phone and the crease in between her eyebrows as she checks over and over again even though it doesn’t make a noise to alert her that something might be different. 

His eyebrows crease in concern and he reaches out a gentle, ringless hand, resting it over Wynonna’s. “How do you feel?” 

“What?” Wynonna narrows her eyes and shakes her head, looking up at him. 

“How do you feel? In your heart? I believe that if something is wrong with Miss Haught, that you will know. Inside.” 

Wynonna takes a moment to let the words settle. Takes in a deep, shaking breath and really lets herself consider his question. How does she feel? Miserable. Sinking. Lost. Like if she thinks about it too hard, she’ll make herself sick. 

Tears begin to well up in her eyes and she pushes herself out of the old wooden kitchen chair and stands. “I think something’s wrong, Doc.” Wynonna admits, her voice breaking slightly. 

As if on cue, her phone buzzes so hard it almost falls off the table. She scrambles to pick it up and answer it, missing the moment Henry comes to stand by her side.

“Baby? Baby, are you okay?!”  

The voice that comes through the phone isn’t Nicole’s. It’s Waverly’s tearful, hysterical voice. “Wynonna? Wynonna, I’m sorry. I don’t know where my phone is, I – You need to come to the hospital. It’s – It’s Nicole. She’s hurt.”  

Waverly can barely get the words out and when she does, they pull all the air out of Wynonna’s lungs. Henry doesn’t need them to be repeated. He takes Wynonna’s hand without a word and grabs her coat, leading her out to the car as quickly as they can go.