"My thighs hurt, and not in a goodtime way," Wynonna complained. She did not say aloud that Doc's theory about needed to get out on the land, clear their heads, relax was thus far total bullshit. Looking at the horse in front of her, she could see how easily he moved with it, how his whole back had relaxed and he breathed more easily. She wasn't enough of a bitch to want to spoil his day out, even if he'd dragged them both along on it, and her horse kept trying to stop and chomp down on every bush it passed. It'd been a long time since Daddy'd tried to put her and Willa on horses, and Wynonna hadn't taken to them then either.
Dolls' horse didn't like him, but they were in a jumpy, mutually-wary stand off, both understanding that if Dolls let his attention wander, the horse would try to buck him off, and if the horse tried to buck him off, he'd probably eat it or something.
"I assure you," Doc called back over his shoulder, "We are almost there."
"Looks like it's going to rain." That was the first thing Dolls had said in twenty minutes. His horse flinched.
Wynonna pulled out her phone to check the forecast, something she should have thought to do before they'd left town, but there was no service. What kind of barbaric place was this?
Doc just grunted, which meant he didn't want to admit that Dolls had a point, but couldn't think of a plausible rebuttal. A literal black cloud was rolling in over the hills, the shadow of rain dragged along below it.
They made it into a stand of fir trees before the rain hit, the wind pushed ahead of the shower making the branches whip and hiss. Dolls twitched, his horse looked smug.
"Is this it?" Wynonna asked. There were about a dozen trees together on a hill top, the grass and sage brush giving way to packed needles below them. The rain dripped in, but the trees caught most of the deluge. Long-ago campers had built a fire ring in the grove, but the wind had drifted it full of dirt and moss covered the stones. It looked about old enough for Doc to have made it back in his day. Hell, maybe he had Wynonna kicked free of the stirrup and slid onto the ground. "Doing this all day must have sucked."
"You didn't come to mind it after a while," Doc said. He'd already taken the reins of Dolls' horse, to their mutual relief, and now collected Wynonna's as well, taking them off to do some necessary horsey thing with them.
"I didn't ask where he got them," Dolls said in a low voice. He was standing so close their shoulders brushed, and Wynonna could feel his body heat through three shirts and a hoodie. She wanted to huddle into him and use his solid body as shelter from the wind.
"No way I want to know," Wynonna agreed. She edged closer, and Dolls circled her in a half-hug, resting a hand on her hip. "It makes him happy," she added. "None of us get that much. It's been all death threats, curses and goo."
Dolls glanced up, looking at the branches knocking together and the fat raindrops falling between them, and for a moment he frowned. But a few paces away, heavy rain fall on open hills, blocking the Rockies from sight. "I guess we all could use the break," he said, which were the exact words he'd used when Doc had showed up with the horses. He didn't sound any less dubious now.
Having tied up the horses, Doc was now spreading a rug and laying out plastic containers of food, looking pleased with himself. A bottle of whisky featured prominently in the layout, and Wynonna wondered if there'd been a law against drinking and riding back in the day. It had likely been the sort of problem that resolved itself pretty fast.
"When was the last time you were on a picnic?" Dolls asked, in the same tone as he'd ask if she'd ever eaten prairie oysters or slept with a demon.
"Hush, don't ruin it. I'm the one who gets to ruin it." More loudly, she asked, "You always such a mother hen, Henry?"
Doc narrowed his eyes, but she could see his lips twitch under his moustache, like he was about to laugh, and when Wynonna dropped to the ground and sprawled out on the rug, he held out a strawberry for her.
He clearly meant for her to take it, before he threw the next one at Dolls, but Wynonna leaned up and bit it from between his fingers. Her lips brushed his hand, and the sweetness came from the way his eyes widened, not the shitty, imported strawberry that had been half green when it left Mexico.
Behind her, Dolls grunted, and she heard the needles scuff as he turned away.
Doc moved as though he would jerk away, but Wynonna caught his wrist and pulled his hand down until it covered her breast. He looked at her, then up at Dolls, then reached up with his left hand, palm open.
Wynonna forgot to breathe, and the only sound was the wind in the firs and a scatter of rain drops that fell through branches. Then, in the distance, thunder rolled.
When Dolls didn't say anything, or move either towards them or away, Doc said, "Deputy Agent, from my perspective, you have two choices." He waited a beat for Dolls to answer but when he did not, he pressed on. "You can take my hand, and do what's been all our minds for these past months. Or you can get on that horse, and ride off into the rain, all alone."
"I know which one I'd like," Wynonna said. She shifted, tilting her hips up and keeping Doc's hand hard against her. Her nipples had already tightened, and she could feel Dolls' eyes on her, even as Doc looked at him.
"Really?" Dolls asked. His voice was high, and a little scratchy.
"Truly," Doc confirmed. He hadn't moved, just kept his hand outstretched and his tone soft, like he'd talked to Dolls' horse.
Dolls took his hand. He had to step in and lean down to do it, and when he did, Doc pulled him close and kissed the back, looking up at Dolls from under his hat, eyes crinkled in a smile. Dolls dropped to his knees with a thud, and leaned across Wynonna to kiss Doc properly. Their first, as far as Wynonna knew, though Doc was right; they'd all been thinking of it. Their hands were still joined, and Doc was still touching her, and Dolls tipped Doc's hat back and kissed him hard. Wynonna heard their lips meet, and Doc take a sharp breath, like he hadn't expect this, and Dolls groan so low he almost purred.
They broke apart a second later, Dolls rubbing his upper lip and looking a little stunned. Wynonna cleared her throat and raised both eyebrows, making her feelings about remaining unkissed clear. That was enough to make Dolls laugh, and Doc sigh as though hard done by and reach for the zipper of her hoodie.
"Really?" Dolls asked again, and Wynonna snapped, "Get with the program for fuck's sake!" and then no one said anything coherent for a long time after that.
Eventually, Wynonna got cold and yanked the rug over all three of them, scattering food across the grove. Doc had managed to work his way into the warmer middle spot, half sprawled across Doll's chest with Wynonna spooned behind him. Lying on half the rug with the rest pulled over them, even drying sweat and chilly wind couldn't cut into the heat Dolls generated. She could have fallen asleep there, if she weren't on the ground, outside, in the rain.
"Okay, so now my thighs hurt in a goodtime way," she said, and she felt Doc's back shake under her when he laughed.
Dolls reached across and twined his fingers through her hair at the nape of her neck and squeezed lightly. "We going to talk about this?" he asked.
"God, I hope not," Wynonna told him.
"It seems to me that all the necessary explanations have already occurred," Doc added, voice muffled as he pressed his face into Dolls' tank top, one of the three pieces of clothing they were collectively wearing.
"Whatever," Dolls said, but didn't sound pissed about it. He sounded like he was smiling, even.
Wynonna lifted her head to look at him, then looked past to the hills. "Hey, it's stopped raining." She sighed and made herself say, "We should probably head back. There'll be mutant baristas or something else to shoot."
"Sounds terrifying," Doc agreed, but didn't move until Dolls rolled out from under him and pushed himself up to look for his pants. "Once more into the breach," he said.
"I thought we just did that."
Dolls threw her jeans at her head with enough force that Wynonna had to duck.
Eventually they got most of their clothes back on, the horses untied, and started the ride back into town. Which didn't feel any better after the afternoon's debouch. Wynonna focused on the ears in front of her, and figured the horse's motivation to get back to the barn would save her from any participation in actual riding.
"Would you look at that," Doc breathed, and his tone was enough to make Wynonna look up. Their rain cloud had kept going northeast, still darkly ominous against the sun on the grass. Or it would have been, save for the brilliant curve of the rainbow arcing from it to the green hillside. "Could we call that a blessing?"
"In Purgatory?" Wynonna asked. "Get real."
"It probably means we're extra cursed," Dolls agreed, but they all watched until it faded from sight.