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(Safe) House in the Woods

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When Wynonna and Doc get their first glimpse of Dolls inside the cell, Doc has the not-so-errant thought that when they've fed Dolls back up and let him sleep for a few years, he's going to pump Dolls to the ears with whatever shit enhances his abilities and watch him tear this place apart with his bare hands. He looks…wrecked doesn't quite cover it, but there's also enough resistance in his gaze that 'broken' isn't right, either. In any case, it's clear they haven't been giving him his drugs. He looks like he hasn't slept in the month he's been missing, or eaten a damn thing. There's blood down the side of his face and he's favoring his ribs.

Wynonna might kill them all before Dolls ever gets the chance.

Doc would like to take a moment to enjoy watching her in action, but he's got his own set of incoming to fend off, and Dolls is hanging on to him, clearly only managing to be upright and pull off a shot now and then from the gun they handed him by sheer willpower alone. Most of his weight is resting solidly on Doc.

It's a good thing he was already going to hell, because Doc's certain he's enjoying that far more than he should be.

*

Wynonna is their getaway driver. She's still a lot better at the wheel than Doc. Doc pulls Dolls into the back of the car and asks quietly, "You got a way to get hold of the stuff you need?"

Dolls doesn't answer for long enough that Doc thinks he not going to. Then he says, "Maybe. Not sure."

"What happens if you can’t?"

Dolls shudders hard enough that it's visible. He's chilly to the touch and his eyes have a decidedly non-human element to them. He repeats, "Not sure."

*

They take him to a safe house Nicole had set up the week before. She's not there. They'd decided to have her stay with Waverly at the homestead, in case Dolls' captors start there with their search. Also, neither Doc nor Wynonna had figured Dolls would appreciate the two of them seeing him in this state, let alone someone he barely knows.

The house lies several miles outside Purgatory in a densely wooded area. It's not particularly easy to find, even knowing it’s there. Wynonna parks on the side, and Doc helps haul Dolls out of the car. Wynonna's already on the porch, shouting, "Gonna get a fire started, see what there is to eat."

Doc supports Dolls through the door and stays quiet when he collapses on the sofa as soon as they've reached it. Wynonna's just gotten a flame burning. Doc looks around and spies several quilts on a chest under the window. He grabs them and shakes a few out, spreading them over Dolls, who's still shaking hard enough that it's audible.

Dolls nods his thanks and then closes his eyes. Doc considers him for a second before heading to the kitchen. Neither he nor Wynonna are exactly what you could call accomplished in the culinary arts, so he's hoping whatever Nicole's stocked the place with can be made fairly easily.

Wynonna's standing in the middle of the kitchen, staring at nothing. Doc comes around her front so as not to startle her. She blinks at him and looks around. "Oh. Um."

He quirks the side of his mouth and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. "We got him. Your plan worked."

"You saw his eyes, right?"

Doc hesitates for a moment, because this is not his secret to tell, and for all his faults, Doc's not a gossip. But Wynonna looks small, and he can't have that. "He—that's not a new development."

Her gaze goes sharp, and he does shake his head at that. "He'll tell you. Maybe if you ask, maybe when he's ready. I found out by sneaking. But whatever else, they didn't do that. Something, yes, probably more than one thing, probably all bad, but not that."

She brings a shaky hand to the back of her neck and takes a slow breath. "He should probably eat some protein. Fat. Wonder if there's peanut butter around here?"

In the end, their search unearths almond butter, which Wynonna says will do. There's a variety of types of crackers, a near endless supply of different kinds of canned beans and soups, apples and oranges, a few packages of pasta with jars of sauce, coffee, tea, milk, dried cereal, trail mix, and some frozen dinners. Wynonna announces, "We'll survive."

She spreads the butter on some crackers and fills a glass with water while Doc cuts up an apple and segments an orange. They bring a tray into the living area, where the fire is now healthy and letting off a goodly amount of heat. Dolls is still tucked beneath the blankets, his brow furrowed despite seemingly being asleep.

Wynonna says, "Dolls. Hey, Dolls."

Dolls' eyes fly open even as he falls off the couch. When he's regained some semblance of calm and pulled himself back onto said couch, Wynonna hefts the tray and says, "Breakfast time!"

Dolls looks outside the window. It's definitely afternoon. All he says is, "Sounds good."

*

It takes a while, but Dolls eats what's on the tray, and promptly sacks out again. The shaking seems to have lessened, and he only covers himself with one blanket. Wynonna looks about to drop where she's standing, and now that they have Dolls back, the adrenaline that's kept her upright through knocking the possession right out of Waverly and coming up with a plan to rescue Dolls has clearly deserted her.

Doc prods her into the loveseat and says, "Sleep."

For his part, he takes the tray into the kitchen and tidies up. He showers because in his mind or not, he can smell the laboratory-come-hellhole smell of where they were holding Dolls still on his skin. He calls Nicole and small talks with her for a minute or so. She'll know it means they're all safe and at the house. She tells him Waverly and she are going on a date that evening. Doc says, "I believe the modern thing for me to say is 'don't do anything I wouldn't.'"

Nicole snorts. "Don't leave the barn door wide fucking open, or anything, there."

*

Doc sleeps on the floor in the living area. He tries using one of the rooms on the first floor, but he can't fall asleep.

He wakes to Wynonna's voice, saying quietly, "Hey."

Dolls says, "I think something died in my mouth." After a second. "A lot of somethings."

Doc sits up and rests his back against the bottom of the couch. "There're extra toothbrushes in the bathroom."

Dolls asks, "We got any coffee?"

"Yeah," Wynonna says, and stands up, stretching out. "No cream or sugar, though, so good thing you take it black."

She brushes her fingers over Doc's scalp as she walks past him to go make the coffee. Doc waits until she's in the other room to ask, "How's your condition?"

"Steady." Dolls takes a breath. His voice is still rough. "Can I borrow your phone?"

Doc hands it up to him, closing his eyes as Dolls makes a call and leaves a message about weather patterns. A few minutes pass and the phone rings again. Dolls picks up with a, "Yes."

Doc can't hear what the person on the other end of the line says. Dolls says, "All right," and hangs up, giving the phone back to Doc.

Doc knows what rejection sounds like. He knows Dolls is on his own. He doesn't ask what the plan is. They'll come up with something.

Wynonna comes back with the tray from the day before. It has three mugs of coffee with three corresponding bowls of cereal. Doc gets up to stoke the fire a bit. It's died down, but the room is still warm.

Dolls takes a sip of the coffee and says, "Thanks for coming to get me. I might have forgotten to say that. With everything."

Wynonna smiles and holds her coffee mug out to him in a toast. Doc thinks that sums things up just fine.

*

Dolls decides to take a shower after eating, and when Wynonna asks, "Um. Are you sure that's a good plan?" just gives her a Look, so they both let it go.

Wynonna calls Waverly and asks about the date. Doc listens to make sure there aren't any suspicious thudding sounds emanating from the bathroom. There aren't, though, and while it takes longer than Doc imagines it does when Dolls is at full strength, the latter comes out dressed in the black badge sweats Nicole had left at the house.

He promptly sacks out on the couch again.

Wynonna sits down on the loveseat and Doc settles next to her. She hesitates for a moment before leaning into him. He wraps his arm around her. She says, "You should sleep in the bedroom tonight. Floor's not great for anyone, not even immortal assholes."

"Your opinion warms my soul."

She nudges him. "I mean it, though, about the bedroom."

He rubs his free hand over his face. "Tried. Last night. Didn't take."

She cranes her face up to look at him. "Oh."

"Oh," he agrees.

*

Dolls starts throwing up everything he swallows that afternoon. Doc asks, "The people in your program, they the only people who know anything about you?"

Dolls starts to nod and then slowly shakes his head. "No. Uh, no. There's—something else. But I'm not sure how to find her."

"That's what we've got Waverly and Nicole for," Wynonna says. "Who are we looking for?"

"Ainun Mila, Malaysian scientist. She did her PhD over here, GW, but last I knew she was back in Malaysia. She didn't really agree with what our government was using her work for."

While Wynonna gets back on the phone and starts speaking with Waverly, asking Dolls questions as they're fed to her, Doc asks, "She…create you?"

Dolls rolls his shoulders. "Mutated would be a better word, but yes."

Doc nods. "We'll find her."

*

Doc tries the bed again that night. After about an hour, he heads out to the living room. Wynonna's sitting on the couch, Dolls's head on her lap. Doc considers going to the loveseat, but decides against it, instead sitting on the other side of the sofa, lifting Dolls' feet and setting them in his own lap.

Dolls is breathing heavily, and the shakes are back. Wynonna says, "We're gonna fix this."

Dolls reaches out with one of his hands and squeezes at her knee. Doc says, "Well yeah, we've already gotta plan, haven't we?"

Dolls laughs, a short, huffing noise, but Doc is pretty sure the amusement is genuine. "Yeah," he says. "A plan. Those never go wrong with us."

"Never," Wynonna agrees, with a laugh of her own.

*

Doc actually does end up sleeping the bed that night. It probably helps that Dolls is right next to him, sandwiched between himself and Wynonna. But hey, whatever works.