It’s the worst moment of Wynonna’s life.
Her hand is on his chest and she can’t feel his heartbeat, even though she’s pushing and pushing and praying and god she’s never been much of a believer— how could she be after everything she’s been through?— but all she wants right now, all she needs right now is one miracle, one holy kind of second chance, one need for him to pull through, to wake up, to breathe, to open his eyes and smile or laugh or cry or maybe even yell at her, she doesn’t care what he does as long as he does something.
All through her body is this sickening dread, too strong to name or even address head on; she doesn’t feel like she’s in her body, doesn’t feel like she’s dreaming either but if hell was a place it probably feels a bit like this, perhaps amplified. She chokes back a sob, mumbles words even Waverly can’t understand, and when her sweet sister leans against her and brushes a hand through her hair she just shoves her away, bitter. She doesn’t want her, she wants
It happens quick, as deaths like these always have, and goddamn it she can’t even think of the word death, can’t tie it to Dolls, her Dolls, not the one lying before her, cold and motionless and still and definitely absolutely certainly not dead because he can’t be.
It’s the worst moment of her life and that’s saying a lot, and as the thought rushes through her mind quicker than adrenaline, she thinks maybe she shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss all her past tragedies; she’s like a fucking walking version of Murphy’s law, but even still how can she be so quick to dismiss her family? The loss of her father, of Willa twice, of her child, and of the person she could have been and the life she could have had— it’s all up there in the mile long list of tragedy. Still, every tribulation hurts more, and she’s never felt quite as broken or hopeless as she has now, hands weak on the weight of Xavier Dolls, stiff beneath her.
She’s desperate, breathing air into his lungs and pressing on his chest and begging, pleading, screaming to whatever exists in the sky above, whether it be demons or angels or something even worse than all the creatures that exist on earth. Wynonna’s sobbing, shaking almost violently, and she rests her head on his chest without confidence that she’ll ever be able to pick it up again.
She hears Waverly and their mother walk away and she’s thankful. A thought runs through her mind that perhaps Michelle is just her mother, but she can’t bring herself to care; ancestry doesn’t really matter, because both her baby girl and the man beneath her are proof that family exists in roots more complicated and deep than just blood. But she needs to be alone, needs to feel her heart break over and over with every passing second Dolls— her boss and friend and something much more that they never really got to explore— doesn’t rouse beneath her.
It’s too much. Wynonna worries she might faint, and for a brief, fleeting second she hopes she does, hopes she drifts away in his arms and doesn’t come to for a long time, maybe ever again, because a life without Dolls fighting by her side, ending this curse with her is not one she wants.
“Come on, Xavier,” she mumbles against his coat. It’s sticky from pine sap, smells like mint and the air freshener in his car and something that’s a little like soap but mostly just him, and she dampens the fabric with her tears. “I can’t do this without you, please.”
She doesn’t know what she’s going to accomplish with this. She keeps trying to resuscitate him, keeps kissing him, as if he’s fucking Sleeping Beauty and she, of all people, is his hero. That’s wrong, he’s hers. He’s always been hers. Always always always.
She cries, so hard and loud and heavy it hurts, and then she’s silent, a quick change of pace, shoulders shaking as she weeps and tries to breathe, even though she doesn’t really care if she does. If there was a way to turn your lungs off, to log out of your consciousness or shut it down for good or to be able to sell it to someone else, she would. She would have by now, and then maybe she’d never even be in this mess, maybe she wouldn’t know Dolls, maybe he wouldn’t know her, maybe he’d still be alive and happy without her, maybe he wouldn’t even be this kind of dragon creature he ended up as. Maybe he’d be with someone who loves him the way he deserved, someone who doesn’t have to watch him fight and ache and suffer and die.
But no, she was that person, and maybe she didn’t love him the way he deserved but she sure as hell loved him. And now, she has to deal with the consequences, and this is the worst moment of her life.
Dolls’ skin is cold, and Wynonna’s only just realized they’re going to have to get him out of here, he’s going to get frostbite and his lips are going to turn blue so they have to leave soon and they’re going to have to fucking bury him and she’s crying again, raucous sobs that don’t relent, but then he moves. He moves.
It’s too ragged and sharp and sudden to be a hallucination, and Wynonna knows she’s crazy but she’s not that crazy, so she screams for Waverly, for Nicole, for Doc and Jeremy and the whole world because Dolls is sputtering beneath her, panting and breathing somehow, he’s breathing, he’s alive.
She’s in his lap before she can think better of it, before she can decide that climbing on top of him is probably not the best option at the present moment given his only recent return to consciousness occured mere seconds ago, but she does it anyway. She whispers sharp confessions into his ear as she cradles his head and holds him up, she breathes more air into his lungs but tries to kiss him too and maybe it’s stupid that she’s trying to kiss him while she should be trying to keep him breathing but he’s
so she needs to kiss him and—
“Wynonna,” are the first words that come out of his mouth, mixed with a groan and a sigh and something like a dry heave, and it’s the best moment of her life.
“You’re okay,” she breathes into his neck. “You’re okay, you’re okay, I got you, you’re here.”
Xavier’s arms wrap weakly around Wynonna’s waist, hands gentle on her back, smoothing her hair away from her tear stained face, and she bites back another sob.
“God, I love you,” Wynonna says against his cheek, and only once the words are out of her mouth does she realize not only how true they are, but also that she’s been murmuring the same three words for the past five minute or so. It strikes her hard— the honesty with which she says it, the fearlessness in how she meets his eyes and kisses his forehead and feels every part of him she can reach. She’s been stupid, so stupid, to ever wait around for him, to think that her feelings for him could ever be brushed away or undealt with, and that it took a brush with death for her to really understood. Two brushes with death, actually, considering the incident at the church with Juan Carlo that feels like years ago now. She makes a mental vow to never let herself linger, ever again, the way she has around Xavier. Too much time has been wasted, and she knows damn well enough there’s no way to go back.
She kisses him lips and he kisses her back, fierce even though he’s exhausted, with a relentless amount of passion so evident it makes her shiver. Xavier murmurs the same three words back against her lips, once, then twice, then again and again and again, and it’s the best moment of Wynonna’s life.
When they pull apart, Wynonna notices everyone’s left them and moved far across the hill to give them privacy. Faintly, she can hear Waverly crying, happy tears this time, and Nicole is laughing, relief clear in the joyous sound.
“Did they think I was going to jump your bones right here, right now?” Wynonna says, and she lets out an exhale with the joke. She can breathe again.
Dolls chuckles, loud and full bellied and so wholesome she can’t help herself but press another kiss to his cheek, fleeting and quick and soft and she might never be able to stop doing this now that she’s started.
“Because I might have if circumstances were different and if we both didn’t have snow in places snow should never be,” she hums, and it’s another quippy comment, sure, but she means it, and there’s a depth to it they both realize.
His eyes meet hers, suddenly dangerously vibrant. “I think we can figure all of that out later.”
Wynonna suddenly decides it might be smart to get off of his ribcage and help him stand up, and once he’s beside her she takes his hand. It’s a tender moment, brief but still feels important, but then Wynonna says, “what do you mean figure it out? This better not be your way of telling me you have lizard parts.”
Dolls grins, white teeth brighter than the snow around them, and he brings his lips low to her ear.
Something about it sounds like a promise. He squeezes her hand, bumps into her side as they walk close back to the others, and it’s the best moment of Wynonna’s life.