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.

Christmas Morning

By, Ashley J.

It was early morning, and Michaela and Sully had woken up but remained in bed, enjoying the peace and quite for as long as they could. It was only a matter of time before three-year-old Katie would bound into their room with her long blonde hair flowing behind her. She would jump onto their bed and remind them of what day it was. It wasn't as if anybody, especially the curious young child could forget. The entire house was decorated with candles and garlands to commemorate the special day. Not to mention, a large pine tree that Katie had picked out, and Sully and Brian hand chopped down, was sitting in the corner downstairs.

"How long do you think it'll be until she wakes?" Michaela wondered, being anxious to celebrate the day as much as young Katie was. Christmas was one of her most favorite times of year.

"I bet she'll be along any time now," Sully replied, stretching as he threw the blankets off of him. His sudden movement jerked the covers off of Michaela, and she pulled them back to keep herself warm. He gave her a sheepish grin and kissed her upon the lips. She grinned, knowing that she couldn't even pretend to be irritated with him right now. Everything had a magical feeling about it on Christmas morning.

Just a moment later, Katie opened the door and practically bounced into the room.

"It's Christmas! It's Christmas!" she exclaimed, clapping her hands together excitedly. She jumped up onto the bed and into her mother's lap.

"How did you remember, sweetheart?" she asked with an amused grin. Katie cocked her head to the side, put her hands on her hips, and gave her mother a funny look.

"Mama, you read mea Christmas story last night, silly," she remembered. Michaela looked at Sully, and he gave her a wink. "Can we go open presents? Pretty please? I asked Santa for my very own horse, just like Flash!"

"Well, sweetheart, I wouldn't be too disappointed if you don't get that horse just yet. You're still a little girl."

"No I'm not! I'm a big girl," Katie replied with a grin.

"Why don't you go wake Brian up and have him help ya down stairs?"

"I can do it myself, poppy," Katie replied. She had a point. The little girl had been sneaking down and up the stairs by herself for the past six months. She was becoming quite independent for a child of her age. Katie rushed out of the room, and a moment later, her shrieks of delight were heard again as she loudly reminded Brian of what day it was.

Michaela was about to pull herself out of bed when Sully gently pulled her back toward him. She laughed as his fingers tickled her sides a bit. A loud squeal escaped her throat, and Sully pointed up to the mistletoe that he'd hung above their bed.

"Well, I suppose we should obey tradition," she said, biting her bottom lip as her husband leaned down to her. Their lips met, and Michaela giggled against his lips.

"What's so funny?" Sully asked as he pulled away. Michaela shrugged with a playful gleam in her eyes. Her fingers trailed down his chest, and as she was leaning in to kiss him again, her tickling fingers dug into his sides. Sully practically yelped with surprise, and once she'd stopped tickling him, they had locked one another into another playful kiss.

A knock came to the cracked open door, and the two sat up as if a gun had been fired.

"Sorry," Brian muttered as he stepped into the room.

"That's alright," Michaela replied breathlessly as she brushed a few strands of hair out of her blushing face.

"Katie's already downstairs ripping into the presents. I figured I'd let ya know. She doesn't know which ones are hers, so ya know she's gonna think they're all for her."

"Oh dear," Michaela said with a laugh. "Go on. We'll be down in a moment."

"Merry Christmas Ma. Merry Christmas Pa."

"Merry Christmas Brian," the two replied in unison. Brian left the room, and Michaela collapsed into Sully's arms. They both laughed, remembering all of the times they had been interrupted before. If it wasn't Matthew it was Brian, and these days, if it wasn't Brian, it was Katie.

"Come on," Sully urged, pulling himself out of bed. "We better get down there."

"I hope she won't be too disappointed that she isn't getting that horse."

"Well, maybe I'll get her one in a few years. She ain't ready for that yet." Michaela nodded in agreement. She walked across the room, pulling her robe on over her gown. Her bare feet were cold against the wooden floor, so she pulled her stockings on under her gown. Sully grinned as he watched his wife. He pulled his shirt on and started toward the door. He paused to wait for her.

"You go on. I'll be down in a moment. I need to wake up our little sleepy head." She gestured toward the crib in the corner. Sully nodded and started downstairs to make sure Katie wasn't opening presents that weren't hers.

Luckily, they had been able to afford a little more for their kids this year, due to a job Sully had been paid quite well for, but Brian had insisted that the only thing he wanted was a journal and set of writing utensils so he could better perform his tasks at the Gazette. What he wasn't expecting to get, however, was a brand new saddle for Taffy. The saddle he'd received a few years ago and was still using, was beginning to grow uncomfortable, and as he grew, it became more and more uncomfortable.

Little Katie wasn't getting that horse that she wanted, but she was getting a doll and a few toys she'd seen in a catalog at Mr. Bray's store.

As for the new member of the family, well, the baby was getting a few necessities. Being only six-months-old, the baby was in great need for more clothes. It seemed that as soon as Michaela created a new garment, the baby was already too big for it. Dorothy and Grace had both pitched in to buy a few outfits from Denver, and those had come in already.

Sully had made a rocking horse for his youngest child, and though it would be awhile before it could be used, the baby loved it already. The newest Sully member was quite a happy little girl, and she reminded her parents so much of Katie when she was that age. Her hair was light in color, and her eyes were big and bright. To Sully, the baby looked just like her mother, but to Michaela, she could see Sully every time she gazed into her baby's eyes.

As Michaela picked her up out of her crib, Amelia Marjorie Sully giggled with delight.

"Merry Christmas, Mia," she whispered. The name Amelia had struck Michaela during a conversation with her beloved sister Marjorie. She spoke about Amelia Bloomer, and the name stuck with Michaela for all of the years that had passed since Michaela's family had visited for Katie's birth. When Amelia was born, Michaela suggested the name to Sully, and since Katherine was called Katie, they decided to call their youngest daughter Mia. Mia was a bright, wonderful baby, and her personality was very much like her older sister's. Katie already adored her baby sister.

As Michaela descended the stairs, she could already sense that Katie didn't mind that she hadn't gotten a horse like Flash. She was holding her brand new baby doll in her arms.

"Mama, I have a baby too!" Katie exclaimed as Michaela entered the room with Mia. As Michaela sat down in the chair across from Sully's, she looked at Brian who was admiring his new saddle.

"That's wonderful, sweetheart," Michaela said with a pleased smile. "What are you going to name her?" Katie put her finger in the corner of her mouth and thought for a moment. She turned to Brian.

"What do I name her?" she asked, tapping her brother on the shoulder.

"She's your baby, Katie. I can't name her," Brian pointed out. He looked at Sully and Michaela.

"Thanks for the saddle," he said with a grateful smile toward his parents.

"Why did you thank Mama and Poppy?" Katie asked. "What about Santa?"

"Uh," Sully stuttered, hoping that Katie's Christmas spirits wouldn't be dashed at such a young age.

"Ma and Pa made sure Santa knew what to get me." Katie's eyes went wide.

"They did!"

"Yes," Michaela said with a nod.

"You know Santa!" Katie wondered with wider eyes. Sully laughed and brought Katie into his arms.

"What are ya gonna name your baby?" he wondered, trying to lure his little girl away from the subject.

"Oh," she replied. Sully let out a sigh of relief. "I'll name her Annie." She kissed the doll's nose, climbed out of Sully's lap and went to play with the rest of her toys. After a little while, Brian had taken Taffy out for a ride using the new saddle on her, and Katie was upstairs taking a nap after her very early morning.

Michaela and Sully had decided to take a nap as well. They were lying on their sides, facing one another with baby Amelia between them. She had her feet up in the air, and her little hands were trying to bring them up to stick in her mouth.

Sully had his arm across the pillows, stroking his fingers through his wife's beautiful hair. She smiled at him as Amelia's tiny hand moved to touch her father's face. He chuckled and kissed her little fingers.

"Think she liked her first Christmas?" Sully asked. Michaela nodded and tickled Amelia's little belly.

"I think she enjoyed it very much," she replied with a smile. "I have a feeling she'll enjoy it even more when we go into town later, and she's showered with gifts." Sully laughed. As Michaela yawned and closed her eyes for a moment, Sully took the time to wonder how he had gotten so lucky. He had the best family a man could ask for, and he wouldn't trade them for the world.

Katie came rushing in with Annie in her arms. She crawled onto the bed and climbed between her parents.

"What's wrong, sweetheart?"

"Annie wants to sleep in here," she said softly. Michaela and Sully smiled knowingly at one another. They scooted over to make room beside Amelia, and Katie was soon sleeping between her mother and little sister.

After a few minutes of silence, both Michaela and Sully began to drift off to sleep as they lay on their bed with their youngest children between them. Sully's hand brushed across Michaela's cheek.

"Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas too you," Michaela answered. As husband and wife drifted off to sleep, they hoped that the future Christmas afternoons to come would be just as wonderful. They enjoyed the time they spent with all of their children, but the holidays seemed to be extra special.

No longer would holidays be spent trying to convince Brian that Santa was real. He already knew the truth of that matter. Katie and Mia, however, were too young to need to know the truth. The magic of Christmas was through their children, and Michaela and Sully knew that their home would never be without the presence of a child again.

It wouldn't be long before grandchildren were running around along with Katie and Mia, and that was something that both Michaela and Sully had to look forward to in the Christmases to come. But for now, they were content to think about the present and the blessings they already had to count.