Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. The rights to those characters and to the show belong to the creators of the show, to CBS, The Sullivan Company and to A&E.

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Chapter 1: Good News

The crickets were singing loudly as Sully and Michaela made their way back to the homestead. Michaela felt as if she was walking on a cloud. Sully had made her so very happy, and she kept looking at her engagement ring to make sure she hadn't imagined it all. Sully's hand was holding hers, and he would softly squeeze it every once in awhile to reassure her that she wasn't dreaming.

The moon seemed bigger and brighter somehow, while the stars were sparkling like millions of tiny fireflies. Sully had never seen Michaela smile so much, but he was happy that he had put that smile on her face. He wanted to see that perfect smile every day for the rest of his life.

A coyote howled somewhere in the distance, and Michaela shivered. Sully put an arm around her and she snuggled in close to him as they walked. She felt so tired, but she knew that she wouldn't be able to sleep knowing that someday she would be married to Sully and he would be sharing her bed.

"It won't be too long now. The homestead's just over this ridge," Sully pointed out. Michaela nodded absent-mindedly. She wanted to get home and crawl into bed, but she'd have rather stayed out all night in the company of the man she loved.

"I'll have to write home to Boston to tell my mother and father about the wedding. I'm sure father will be thrilled."

"And your ma?"

"Well, she'll have to get used to it. I'm sure she'll be pleased that I'm getting married."

"Except for the fact that you're marryin' me," Sully replied. Michaela smiled a little.

"I don't care what she thinks. All that matters is that I love you, and I want to marry you. It isn't her place to say who I should marry and who I shouldn't." Sully responded by scooping Michaela up into his arms, as a husband would do to a bride when carrying her across the threshold. "Sully!" she cried out in surprise. Sully smiled when he heard her melodious laugh.

"You think your ma will come to the weddin'?" Sully asked.

"I don't know. I suppose that'll depend on when we set a date."

"Why don't we do that now?"

"Isn't it a bit soon? We have all the time in the world to plan," Michaela explained.

"I don't wanna waste a lot of time. I wanna have you as my wife, and I ain't gonna wait for all the time in the world." Michaela smiled knowingly and gently caressed her love's face.

"I would like a spring wedding. Perhaps May?"

"May would be good," Sully replied. "So we've got eight months to plan it. Do you want a big weddin'?"

"I'm not sure, Sully. It just depends on how many people we invite."

"I guess we'll settle that later then." He gave her a kiss on the cheek and put her down when they reached the homestead. She walked up onto the porch and Sully grabbed her hands. She turned around as he looked up at her.

"You've made me so happy," she whispered. "I love you."

"I love you," he answered. "G'nite." He kissed both of her hands before he turned to leave. Wolf, who had been lurking around, ran to catch up with his master.

Michaela walked into the homestead with feelings of hope and elation in her heart. She was never so sure in her entire life about anything until Sully asked for her hand in marriage. Yes, she had been sure that she wanted to be a doctor, but this was different. Choosing to be with Sully was something she hadn't had much time to think about. Yes, she knew she wanted to marry him, but she and Sully had only known each other for a few weeks. The feelings she had were so strong that she didn't need time to think, whereas she sent the first eighteen years of her life thinking about whether or not she wanted to try to become a doctor.

It was too dark to see anything, so Michaela stumbled around, found the matches, and lit one of the oil lamps. Her dark home lit up dimly and she realized that once she and Sully were married, she might never have to come home to a dark empty house again. She liked the idea of that, because frankly, it was way too cold and dark outside for her liking this late at night.

The coyotes began to howl again, and a gust of wind opened the shutters. She hurried over and closed them. She slipped out of her dress and into her warm sleeping gown. After a few minutes, she had a warm fire burning in the fireplace, and she felt a bit more comfortable. She had only wished that Sully were there with her to share the warmth of the fire. However, he had other things to do, and she had had the most romantic evening that had to end sometime.

Michaela knew that she wasn't going to be able to sleep. She was too happy and excited. So, she pulled out a book of Ralph Waldo Emerson's poems, sat in her rocking chair by the fire, and began to read. It wasn't too long before her head lolled back and she fell into a deep sleep filled with wonderful dreams of her future with Sully.

Michaela rode into town with a smile on her face the next morning. She was surprised to find Myra sitting outside of the clinic with Horace. They seemed to be getting along quite well, and Michaela was glad to see that Myra was fitting in.

Grace was standing over on the porch of the clinic with Robert E. She smiled when Michaela walked over toward them.

"Mornin', Dr. Mike!" Grace exclaimed.

"Good morning, Grace. What's everyone doing here?"

"We just paid Widow Cooper a visit," Horace explained. "We figured she'd be up for some company."

"How is she feeling?"

"Much better," Myra chimed in. "Grace made her something for breakfast."

"That's good. But she hasn't been very hungry the last couple of days, I'm afraid."

"Well, she seems to be getting her appetite back, so maybe she's gonna hang in there a while longer," Grace suggested. Michaela smiled a bit.

"I hope so." Myra gasped when she saw something shining from Michaela's hand. Grace's gaze followed hers.

"Oh my goodness!" Grace exclaimed, lifting Michaela's hand. "You're engaged?!" Michaela grinned and nodded eagerly.

"Since when?!" Myra asked.

"Since last night. Sully proposed to me over a romantic dinner."

"He told me he wanted me to make somethin' special, but I had no idea he was gonna ask ya to marry him!" Grace exclaimed. "That ring is gorgeous!" Michaela nodded.

"I know. I'm so completely happy! Not because of the ring, but because the man I love has asked me to marry him."

"So when's the big day?"

"We haven't decided yet," Michaela pointed out. The door to the clinic opened and Colleen came walking out. "Good morning, Colleen. How's your mother?"

"She's doin' real good. She's restin' right now. She told me to come see if you needed me to pick anything up from Mr. Bray's store."

"I don't believe I need any supplies," Michaela said, pondering for a moment. Colleen's eyes went wide when she saw the ring on Michaela's finger.

"Dr. Mike? When did you get that ring?" Her eyes lit up and she smiled brightly. "Did Sully ask ya to marry him?" Michaela nodded with a proud grin on her face.

"Yes. He asked me last night."

"Congratulations!" Colleen exclaimed, hugging her happily. The other women joined in and Michaela couldn't help but beam. She was so honored to be wearing a ring from Sully.

"Thank you," Michaela replied.

"Yeah, that's great news, Dr. Mike. I'll have to shake Sully's hand later," Robert E. said politely. Horace realized it was about time to head off to the telegraph office.

"Myra, I best be getting back to work. I'll see you later tonight for dinner?"

"You sure will," Myra replied with a shy smile. Horace started to walk away.

"Oh, and congratulations, Dr. Mike."

"Thank you, Horace!" Michaela called after him. Michaela was starting to walk into the clinic when Loren came rushing across the street.

"Dr. Mike! Dr. Mike!" he yelled. Michaela turned in his direction.

"Loren? What is it?!"

"It's Hank! He was servin' a fella some drinks and the guy pulled a gun on 'im!" Loren yelled. Jake came rushing out of the saloon with a very disoriented Hank. Hank was stumbling as he walked, and blood was gushing from a wound on his abdomen.

"Don't take me to that woman!" he yelled.

"Ya ain't got no choice, Hank. I can't sew that up, and plus that bullet's in too deep. Gotta take yer chances with her," Jake pointed out. Loren helped Jake help Hank into the clinic. Colleen followed them in and shut the door.

"Colleen, you should wait outside."

"No. I wanna stay," she replied. "I can help." Michaela looked at the girl, and she seemed sincere.

"Loren, Jake, you should wait outside."

"We'll get a posse together and find the man who shot him." Jake and Loren left and Michaela glanced at Colleen. Hank was struggling and Michaela knew he'd have to be put out for the procedure to extract the bullet.

"Put a bit of that chloroform in the brown bottle onto this cloth," Michaela said, pointing her instructions as she exposed the serious wound. Colleen nodded and put a few drops on it. That's enough. Take my pocket watch out of my pocket." Colleen nodded and did as Michaela asked. "Now hold that over his nose for a few seconds every minute. Can you do that?" Colleen nodded and did her job. With that, Michaela began the risky procedure to extract the bullet from Hank's abdomen.

She began to cut through the tissues to find the bullet. She looked up briefly to see Colleen watching in fascination as she continued to keep Hank unconscious.

"Alright, I see the bullet. She slowly reached in with one of her instruments and lifted the bullet out. Once that was finished, she found that the blood was rushing out more quickly.

"What's happening?" Colleen asked.

"It's called a bleeder. The bullet was pressed up against a blood vessel. When I removed it, the vessel started bleeding." She worked quickly, trying to get the bleeding stopped, but she found it more difficult that she had thought it would be.

"He's sure losin' a lot of blood," Colleen pointed out.

"Yes, and that's not good. I need to get this stopped or he could bleed to death."

Loren and Jake were waiting on the porch of the clinic. Myra, Grace, Robert E., and Reverend Johnson were there as well. It wasn't like Hank was the nicest person in the world, but he surely hadn't deserved what had happened to him.

Sully came walking up with Wolf, and for a moment, he thought that perhaps Charlotte had died.

"What's goin' on?"

"Hank got shot," Reverend Johnson replied quietly. He saw Loren look up at him.

"Sully, can I talk to ya for a minute?" Sully was surprised that Loren was speaking to him, much less looking at him.

"Sure," he replied slowly. Loren stood and he and Sully walked off toward the mercantile. When the arrived, they went inside and Loren closed the doors. He was quiet as he walked around to stand behind the counter. Sully stayed on the other side and just stared at the other man. "Loren?"

"I saw an engagement on Dr. Mike's finger," he began. Sully swallowed hard and nodded.

"Yes. I proposed to her last night."
"Do you love her?"

"Of course I do, but I don't see how that's any of your business." Loren looked away, and Sully felt guilty for what he had said. "Look, I know you hate me for what happened to Abagail, but I can't change that."

"I don't hate you," Loren grumbled.

"You don't gotta lie to me."

"I don't hate you! I hate myself for turnin' my back on my baby girl. She needed my support, and I wouldn't give it to her. She wanted me to give her away at your weddin', but I was too proud to even consider it."

"Don't blame yourself for her dyin'."

"Why not?"

"Because it wouldn't have mattered if you'd have been there or not. The point is that Abagail died because she had problems givin' birth to our baby. There ain't no changin' that. I loved her, but that's the past. I'm in love with Dr. Mike, and I can't fight those feelin's. I love her, and I want her to be a part of my life."

"Abagail woulda wanted you to be happy."

"You don't care 'bout me bein' happy."

"How do you know?"

"Because since Abagail died, you've done everything in your power to make sure that you show the world that I'm the horrible person you think I am."

"I ain't sayin' that you're my favorite person in the world. I'm just sayin' that I know that what happened to Abagail was somethin' that nobody coulda stopped."

"Dr. Mike could have." Loren looked at him with confusion in his eyes.

"What?"

"Emily Donovan was goin' through what Abagail did, only, Dr. Mike saved her."

"Dr. Mike wasn't there for Abagail, but if she saved that girl, I'm sure she woulda saved my Abagail." Sully swallowed hard and walked over to one of the wooden cabinets. He saw a drawing of a small girl.

"Is this Abagail?"

"Yeah," Loren said, remembering the day that photo was drawn. "I had taken her to Denver with me, and a man on the streets was drawing portraits for a nickel. Abagail begged me to let her get one, so I paid the nickel. She was so happy, and I was happy just to see that smile on her face. There was only one time after that when I saw her smile so bright."

"When was that?"

"The day she met you," Loren replied. He took his feather duster and began to sweep the dust off of the counter. Sully swallowed hard and he took a deep breath.

"I have some things of Abagail's that you might like to have. I figured it's time I passed them on seein' as me and Dr. Mike will be getting married."

"You don't gotta do that," Loren replied.

"I want to. You're a good man, Loren, believe it or not, and I don't wanna be the reason you're so unhappy."

"I'm unhappy because of a lot of things. You ain't my top priority." Sully laughed a little. Loren chuckled and extended a hand. Sully took it cautiously.

"I ain't gonna say that I'm happy 'bout you takin' my little girl away from me and marryin' her, but I do know that you made her happy, so I'm just gonna say thanks." Sully realized that he and Loren had finally gotten somewhere, and he decided to take what he could get. He nodded and shook his ex-father-in-law's hand, knowing that they were both well on their way to healing the past.

The vigil for Hank was still standing strong when Michaela left the clinic. Colleen offered to clean up, and once Michaela showed her the proper way, she went to work eagerly.

"Did he make it?" Reverend Johnson asked. Michaela nodded.

"Just barely. He lost a lot of blood, but I managed to stop it. Hank's going to need a blood transfusion."

"What's that?" Jake asked.

"It's where a needle is inserted into one person's arm and also into the patients. It's to give the patient blood to make up for what they lost."

"Is anyone willing to help?" Reverend Johnson asked. Everyone looked at Jake. He was Hank's friend, after all."

"What are you lookin' at me for?" Everyone just shrugged and looked at Dr. Mike.

"He'll need the transfusion very soon or he'll die," Dr. Mike warned. Jake swallowed hard, not liking the sound of losing his friend, if he could consider Hank a friend.

"I'll do it," Jake offered. Michaela smiled a little.

"Thank you. There's not a guarantee that it will work, but anything is better than nothing at this point." Jake, feeling nervous about letting this woman doctor stick a needle inside of him, reluctantly followed her inside and closed the door behind him.

Michaela knocked on Charlotte's door after she was finished up with Hank and Jake. She heard Charlotte cough and move around in her bed.

"Come in," Charlotte called weakly. Michaela opened up the door and walked inside.

"How are you feeling?"

"Better," Charlotte replied.

"That's good news," Michaela replied with a smile. She walked over to sit on the edge of Charlotte's bed. "Colleen assisted me with a surgery."

"Did she?" Charlotte asked, her eyes wide.

"Yes. You would have been proud. She didn't freeze or anything. She wanted to stay and help."

"That's my little girl. She's growin' up and becomin' a woman."

"Indeed she is," Michaela replied. Charlotte smiled and took a deep breath. Michaela pulled out her stethoscope and listened to her friend's lungs. She frowned. "There's fluid in your lungs." Charlotte nodded.

"I wasn't sure what that feelin' was."

"You rest now. I'll bring some instruments up later to drain the fluid."

"Alright, doc."

"You aren't going to argue with me?"

"I figure I'm too old and weak to be arguin' with someone as young as yourself."

"You aren't old, Charlotte," Michaela replied with a chuckle. Charlotte smiled and yawned a little bit. "I'll let you get some rest." She stood and Charlotte saw the ring on her finger. She grabbed the doctor's hand and made her sit back down.

"You were gonna leave without mentionin' this?" Charlotte asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I didn't want to bother you right now. I just wanted to check on you," Michaela replied.

"My friend's happiness is more important than me restin'."

"Not to me."

"It is to me," Charlotte replied. "So he finally asked ya?"
"Yes. He asked me last night," Michaela explained. She began to blush.

"I'm happy for ya, Dr. Mike."

"Thank you," the doctor answered. She smiled at her friend and stood up. "Now get some rest. It'll make everyone feel better if you do."

"That's all I been doin'. It's boring," Charlotte replied. The two women laughed together and Michaela shook her head.

"I'll bring you some books later. Just try to get a few more hours of sleep."

"I'll try. It ain't gonna be easy."

"Thank you." Michaela left and went downstairs to find Colleen putting the freshly cleaned instruments away in their proper places. "You did a wonderful job assisting me today, Colleen. Thank you."

"No, thank you," Colleen replied.

"What do you mean?"

"I decided awhile ago that I don't wanna be an actress. I wanna be a doctor like you." Michaela's eyes went wide.

"Are you sure?! Colleen, don't make any rash decisions."

"I ain't. I've been thinkin' about it for about a week, and after today, I know I wanna be a doctor and help people just like you." Michaela smiled at the girl. "If you'd let me, I'd like to help you more often so I can learn. Would you mind?"

"Of course I wouldn't," Michaela replied with a grin. "I would be relieved to have some help around here."

"Thanks, Dr. Mike!" She sighed a little. "Who knows, maybe one day I'll find a cure for cancer so that people won't have to suffer like ma." Michaela pulled Colleen into a hug and kissed the top of her head. "You think I could?"

"I believe that anything is possible."

Later that evening, Michaela was sitting on the porch of her homestead, relaxing with a cup of tea after a very long day in town. She smiled as she watched the sunset make beautiful pink and orange swirls in the sky. It was a magical time of the evening, and Michaela relished every beautiful sunset, because she had never seen anything so beautiful. Colorado sunrises and sunsets were so beautiful, and in Boston, you could even see the sun until it was high in the sky. It was just amazing to see one of the great natural occurrences in all of its glory.

"Evenin', Dr. Mike." Michaela smiled and turned to see her betrothed walking towards her.

"Good evening, Sully," she replied. Sully walked up the steps and sat down beside his future wife.

"You look tired. Are ya feelin' okay?"

"Yes. You're right though, I am tired."

"You been workin' too hard."

"No. I've just been worrying about Charlotte. I forgot to write a letter for my parents, so I'll have to do that soon. I've got so many things on my mind, but the one thing I can't stop thinking about is you." Sully smiled and put his arm around Michaela.

"Sorry if I'm distractin' ya."

"You aren't distracting me, so don't ever think that. I love you, and I can't wait to be your wife, but I'm afraid the wait is going to send me to get the best of me." They both chuckled and shared a tender kiss. When they pulled away from one another, Sully saw tears forming in Michaela's eyes.

"What's wrong?"

"It's nothing," she replied, looking away. Sully tilted her chin toward him and looked into her eyes.

"There's nothin' that you can't say to me. You know that, right?" Michaela nodded.

"I know. It's just that . . ."

"Yeah?"

"Charlotte's the first person who gave me a chance here when I arrived. I want her to be my maid of honor, but I'm afraid she might not be around when our wedding approaches." Sully sighed and nodded.

"I know what you mean," he replied. "Charlotte's a good woman, and I want you to have what you want. If havin' the weddin' early is what it takes to have Charlotte stand up with you, we can push the weddin' up."

"I don't know, Sully. I know I want to be your wife, but I'm not quite sure I'm ready to get married right now with everything that's going on. I want the wedding to be in May, and I don't want Charlotte to leave us before that. She shouldn't be sick. She shouldn't be dying!" The tears began to flow and Sully pulled Michaela into his arms, lightly cradling her.

"It's gonna be alright, Michaela." He kissed her forehead. "I know you're gonna do whatever it takes to try to keep her around for our weddin'. But if she can't make it, don't blame yourself. I don't want you to be upset on our weddin' day. If she can't be there with you as your main of honor, you'll know she's still with ya in your heart." Michaela looked into Sully's eyes and she smiled knowingly.

"Thank you for saying those words. They're just what I needed to hear."

"I'm gonna do whatever it takes to make you feel better. Just tell me what ya need." Michaela gently kissed her soon-to-be husband and ran her fingers through his hair.

"Just hold me." She rested her head on his chest and he pulled her into her into his lap and lightly rubbed her shoulders as he rocked her back and forth.

"I've got ya," he whispered. "I ain't ever lettin' go."