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.
One More Miracle
By, Ashley J.
Katherine Elizabeth Sully began to cry as her father placed his shirt over a chair in the corner of the room. Sully looked over at Katie and smiled at her as she stared at him from her crib with tears in her eyes.
"What's the matter, Katie?" Sully asked his fussy daughter as he picked her up from her crib. The six-month-old wasn't enjoying the fact that her mother wasn't there when she wanted her. Michaela was in town on an emergency, so Sully was left in charge of Katie and Brian until she returned.
Brian had been very helpful with Katie and had even helped to bathe her. Now he was in his room working on an article from the Gazette, and Sully was spending time with his little girl. He had been watching her sleep, but when she woke and found that her mother wasn't there, she wasn't happy at all.
"Mama won't be gone much longer." He carried his little girl over to the bed and sat down with her in his arms. He shook the beaded necklace around his neck in front of her face, and her little hands reached out to grab them. He took the necklace off and gave it to her to play with. "One day I'll teach ya how to make one of these. Would ya like that, Miss Katie?" The baby cooed, and he tickled her tummy. She began to laugh, and he kissed the top of her head.
Katie lost interest in the beads right away, and Sully put them around the bedpost. He held little Katie up above his head, and she squealed with delight.
"Ya know what, Katie? I never thought it could be like this," he whispered. "I never thought I could have everything I've got now." He sat her down in his lap, and she looked up at him curiously. "I lost a little girl a long time ago, and I let myself believe I could never have another one. But when your ma and I found out we were gonna have you, that all changed. I promised myself to be the best pa in the world to ya. I hope that you grow up to be strong and confident like your ma, and I hope that you can grow up bein' proud of havin' me as a pa. I don't ever wanna disappoint ya." Though she didn't understand what her father had just said to her, Katie smiled up at him with adoration in her eyes. She already loved him so much, and she was still so young. Katie had been a blessing to both Michaela and Sully, and they wouldn't trade what they had for the world.
Katie soon fell asleep in her father's arms, and when Michaela entered the bedroom, she found both Sully and Katie sleeping. Katie's head was resting on Sully's bare shoulder, and the sight was breathtaking to Michaela. Just over a year ago, she hadn't been sure she'd ever get to see such a scene. Motherhood was a subject that had worried her, not because of the responsibilities of taking care of a newborn, but because she wasn't sure if she'd ever become pregnant. Needless to say, she was ecstatic when she found out Katie was on the way!
She slowly undressed and slipped into her nightgown, being careful not to make any loud noises that would break up this beautiful father-daughter moment.
After she'd turned down the lamps and made her way across the room, guided only by the firelight, she finally picked Katie up out of Sully's arms, kissing her husband's lips as she did so. He woke to her tender kiss and smiled when she pulled away.
"Hey," he whispered tiredly.
"Hi," she replied. "How was your evening?"
"Good," Sully replied. "Brian helped give Katie a bath, and he went to his room to work on an article for Dorothy."
"I just checked on him. He's sleeping now."
"Good," Sully replied with a yawn.
"There we go," Michaela whispered to Katie as she placed the sleeping baby in her crib and covered her with the blanket that Elizabeth had made for her. "Sweet dreams, sweetheart." Sully made room for Michaela on the bed, and he brought her into his arms when she joined him under the covers.
"How'd it go?"
"I lost Mr. Barnsworth."
"I'm sorry," Sully replied quietly, kissing the top of Michaela's head. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. He'd been sick for a long time, so at least he isn't suffering anymore." She sighed heavily. "Still, it's disappointing. His first grandchild is due anytime." Sully wasn't sure what to say to her, but he knew that he was helping by just being there and listening to her. "Sully, can we talk?"
"Sure. What about?" Michaela turned to sit in the middle of the bed so she was facing her husband. She took his hands in hers, and she stared at their intertwined fingers for a long time, not sure of how to start the conversation. "Michaela? Is somethin' wrong?"
"No. No, everything's fine. I just don't quite know where to begin."
"Did I do somethin' to upset ya?"
"No," she replied with a slight smile. She glanced over toward Katie's crib. "Sully, do you remember when you first carried me across the threshold?"
"When we got back from our honeymoon?"
"No. It was shortly after we became engaged, and you brought me out to show me where all of the rooms were going to be."
"Yeah," Sully replied with a smile on his face. "You looked a little nervous when I showed ya where our room was gonna be." Michaela nodded at the memory.
"Then I asked you what the little room was for."
"And I said it was for whoever might come along," Sully remembered.
"Yes," Michaela replied. "You said you'd like to have a little girl."
"And she's here." Sully looked over toward Katie.
"Yes," Michaela replied. "Sully, you know how worried I was that we wouldn't conceive, don't you?"
"Ya tried not to let on, but I could see it in your eyes. It was breakin' your heart." Michaela nodded again and took a deep breath.
"Well, we talked about having more children while we were pregnant with Katie, but since she was born, we haven't really discussed it. I'm not getting any younger, Sully, and I want to have another baby before it's too late for me."
"What are you sayin'?" Sully asked. His eyes widened a little. "Are you sayin' you're pregnant?" She shook her head quickly.
"No. No, I'm not, but I was wondering if maybe you would want to start trying to have another baby. I know it's soon, but I don't want to miss the opportunity to have another child. I know women who went through the change of life and were at a younger age than I am now."
"Ya don't have to explain yourself to me, Michaela." Sully leaned across to kiss her softly. "I would be honored to make another baby with you." Michaela's eyes lit up.
"Really," Sully replied. "Look how good our first one turned out. I think Katie would like havin' a baby brother or sister who's closer to her age." They stared into each other's eyes for a moment, and Sully finally pulled her close again. "C'mere." She rested her head against his chest, and Sully's hands slowly ran up and down her arms. "Before ya got home, I was tellin' Katie how I never thought it could be like this."
"Like it is now. I've got you, and we've got the kids. I never expected my life to turn out the way it has. I honestly thought I'd live the rest of my life alone and finally die alone as an old man."
"That must have been an empty feeling."
"Yeah," Sully agreed. "But when you came into my life, it all changed. I thought there was hope for me yet. But you turned out to be so much different than what I first expected."
"In a good or a bad way?" she asked with a chuckle.
"In a good way. You were a challenge, Michaela Quinn. Challenges can be good sometimes." Michaela laughed again.
"Well, you weren't the easiest person to figure out either. You were so mysterious, and if you'll recall, I never even found out where you lived until after we told one another how we felt. Why is that?"
"'Cause I wanted to save showin' you my all of my world 'til you were ready to see it and share it with me." There were a few moments of silence before Michaela took a soft breath.
"Do you miss it?"
"Living out under the stars."
"Sometimes," Sully replied. Michaela felt a bit disappointed.
"It's somethin' I got used to. I lived alone for a long time, and getting used to livin' in a house and sleepin' in a bed took some time. 'Course havin' a beautiful lady to hold at night sure helped." Michaela smiled as Sully moved to kiss her neck. She bit her lip as his hand traveled down her arm and onto her outer thigh. "I wouldn't give this up for anything."
"I'm glad to hear it." As Sully continued to nibble on her neck, Michaela's head filled with thoughts of their past. "Sully?"
"When was the first time you fell in love with me?"
"Ya know the answer to that."
"I know you said that you fell in love with me the first time you saw me, but when did you really feel something for me? When did you know for sure?" Sully didn't even need time to think about it. A smile crept over his lips.
"I didn't know for sure then, but thinkin' back, I think the first time I really started feelin' somethin' for ya was the night you came to the reservation lookin' for Brian." Michaela closed her eyes and thought back to that time. "You were so scared that night, but you were really brave too. You didn't know the Cheyenne, and they didn't know you, but you both started to trust each other. I saw that light inside of ya. I gotta tell ya that it wasn't easy sleepin' that night with you so close to me." Michaela felt her cheeks growing hot.
"If I can be honest here, I was wondering what you thought of me as I lay there that night. I thought you were thinking of me as a nuisance or something. I thought you looked at me as if I were a bother or some helpless woman trying to act brave."
"You've never been anything like that to me."
"Thankfully, I know that now," Michaela replied. "But we barely knew each other. I didn't want to make a horrible first impression, though I'm embarrassed to say that the first time you saw me was when I was laying in a puddle of mud."
"If it makes ya feel any better, ya looked beautiful even when you were covered in mud."
"Well, I appreciate that," Michaela said with a grin. They grew quiet, and before too long, Katie started to fuss. "I'm sure she's hungry." She pulled herself out of bed and over to the baby's crib. "Hello sweetheart!" Katie pumped her legs in the air, and Michaela picked her up. As she sat down in the rocking chair and began to let Katie nurse, Sully got out of bed and made his way over behind the chair. Watching his wife feed their baby daughter was one of the most beautiful things he'd ever seen. It was so natural, and Sully couldn't wait until she was holding their next child in her arms.
As she fed Katie, Michaela could feel Sully's hands on her shoulders, traveling down her arms. He pulled her hair away from her neck and began to kiss her skin softly.
"You're so beautiful," he whispered as Michaela closed her eyes, wanting to melt into a puddle right then and there. Katie's protests when she was no longer hungry pulled Michaela out of her trance. Sully stepped back so Michaela could stand and put their daughter to bed.
"Good night, little one," she whispered softly. After she covered the baby up, she turned to see Sully standing behind her with a smile upon his face. "You could have given me a warning, you know."
"It was more fun this way." Michaela shook her head but moved closer to her husband so they could finish what he'd just started. As his arms encircled around her, drawing her into him, he brought his lips down upon hers in a soft and passionate kiss.
His hands moved to frame her face, and they slowly moved down to her shoulders and then to the front of her gown to unbutton it. Michaela's hands moved up through Sully's hair, and their lips never parted as Sully unbuttoned her gown enough for it to float down to the floor. Feeling her naked body growing cool from the temperature of the room, Michaela pulled herself closer to Sully, letting his body heat keep her warm.
Sully picked his wife up into his arms and carried her off toward the bed. They fell back together, kissing and building the passion as the clock ticked away the minutes. When they finally became one, Michaela closed her eyes and felt Sully's kisses covering her body. She felt like she was drowning inside of him, and that feeling was one she could never get enough of. For those precious minutes, Michaela felt as if they were the only two people who existed in the world, and if they were lucky, they were creating another life out of their passion.
It wouldn't be easy, she knew, but as Sully had once said before, even if they didn't make another baby, they could have fun trying. Yes, that was true, but having another baby was important to Michaela. She wanted to give Sully one more child, and that would be her goal. She couldn't let her age frighten her and tear her away from trying to achieve that goal. She wanted to bring another life into the world and see the pride in her husband's eyes like she'd seen on their wedding day and on the day of Katie's birth.
Several weeks later, Sully was playing with Katie on the floor of his and Michaela's bedroom. The snow was coming down in blankets outside, so Sully had offered to stay home and watch after Katie. Michaela had promised to make it a short afternoon in town, but she had to go in that day for a very special reason. Dr. Bernard had been due in town on the eleven o'clock train.
Both Michaela and Sully were fairly positive that a new baby was on the way due to the way Michaela had been feeling lately, but they both needed confirmation. They needed to hear one more time that they were going to be parents. They needed to know that they were going to hold a newborn baby in their arms one more time and know that the baby would love them forever. But mostly, they wanted confirmation, because they didn't want to feel as if getting pregnant so quickly had been too good to be true. If they were expecting, they had most definitely reached their goal more quickly than they had expected.
Miss Teresa had cancelled school for the day, so Brian was in his room working on an article for the Gazette as usual. He was becoming a better writer with each piece he had published, and he was becoming quite accomplished for a boy of his age. Sully was so proud of Brian, and being able to call himself the boy's father was quite a privilege. He had never expected to be so lucky as to have a beautiful wife and four wonderful children. Sure, Matthew wasn't adopted, but no matter what differences he and Sully faced, he would still always call him his son.
Katie was kicking her legs and giggling as she chewed on her toy bunny's ear. Sully had to laugh when he saw the look on his daughter's face. She had a gleam in her eye that reminded him so much of her mother. God, there were so many occasions that he could see so much of Michaela in that little girl. Other times, he could see a hint of himself in her. She seemed to be a perfect blend of both of her parents, and her disposition was no different. At just over seven months of age, she was trying new things and was determined to do them correctly. That determination came from her mother. She was also very quiet at other times like her father. Sully wondered if she would end up getting involved with everything, like her mother, or if she would be satisfied to stay out of most situations, like her father.
"Where's Katie?" Sully asked, placing his hands over his eyes. Katie let out a shrill laugh, and he brought his hands down to tickle her belly. Her little face turned red as she laughed and forced air into her lungs. Sully was the only one who could get her to laugh like that. Michaela seemed to feel a little down when Katie would laugh like that for her father but not for her mother. Sully would always tell Michaela that Katie loved her very much, but her laughing like that for Sully was her way of saying she loved him. He would then say that when Katie would only reach for Michaela in the night, it was her way of letting Michaela know she loved her too.
Katie reached out and grabbed Sully's hand. She brought his hand down to her and started chewing on his finger. Sully chuckled and pulled his hand away.
"No, no, Katie. That's papa's finger." She scrunched up her face and kicked again. "C'mon. Let's go down the hall and check on Brian." Sully pulled Katie into his arms and stood up. He made his way down the hall and knocked on Brian's door.
"Come in." Sully stepped into the room. Brian was sitting at his desk with a pencil in one hand and an eraser in the other.
"Me and Katie just wanted to come check on ya."
"I'm just finishin' up this last sentence on my article." Sully stood in the doorway and watched his son put the finishing touches on his column for the paper. "Wanna read it?"
"Yeah," Sully replied with a smile. He never refused to read what his son had to write. It made Brian feel good that he was so involved, and it made Sully feel good, because he knew he was being the kind of father that Brian needed. At least he hoped and tried to be. "It's real good, Brian." He handed the article back to his son.
"Ya think so?"
"I do. Your ma should be home soon. She'll want to read it."
"Well, it is about her," Brian pointed out. Sully laughed. Brian had been working on this article for a long time. Dorothy had finally persuaded him to publish it in the Gazette. It was about his mother and her struggles with motherhood and her career since Katie was born. Dorothy thought it would be a nice insight on women having careers and juggling their other duties at home as well. Brian wanted to write it, because he enjoyed writing about his family. He was hoping to write a book about his life and those that he loved one day, but for now, he was sticking to the simple but in-depth interviews and articles he worked on for Miss Dorothy.
"I'm gonna go downstairs with Katie and start lunch before your ma gets back."
"Okay. Need some help?" Sully was about to ask Brian to help him, but he remembered Michaela telling him of Brian's lack of cooking skills when he was the man of the house while she was resting from a near-miscarriage.
"Uh, no, I think I can handle stew by myself."
"Okay. Let me know when Ma gets home." Sully paused for a moment after he nodded.
"What do you think about all of this? We never really asked ya how you'd feel 'bout havin' a new sister or a baby brother." Sully walked over to sit on the edge of his son's bed. He bounced Katie on his knee and looked at Brian who turned in his seat at his desk.
"I don't mind."
"Are ya sure?"
"Yeah," Brian replied thoughtfully. "I mean, havin' Katie around is kinda fun, 'cause that means I'm the big brother. I'm not the baby anymore. Right before Ma had her, I started thinkin' that maybe I wouldn't like not bein' the youngest. But I really like havin' Katie here. I get to do more stuff than I used to, and I get to help take care of her."
"You sure you really don't mind? You've been a real good big brother, but I'm sure you'd rather be out playin' with your friends."
"Sure, sometimes I would. But, Katie's fun too. I like teachin' her stuff, and when she's older, I want her to look up to me the same way Colleen looks up to Matthew. Havin' a new baby in the house would be like havin' Katie born all over again, 'cept this time it might be a boy." Sully chuckled and walked over to pat his son on the back.
"You're a good big brother, Brian. If I haven't told ya lately, I'm proud of ya, son." Brian's face lit up and he smiled at his father.
"Thanks Pa." Sully left the boy to add a few more touches to his article, and as he walked down the stairs, Katie rested her head on his shoulder. He couldn't believe how wonderful it felt to hold a child in his arms and know that she loved him with her whole heart. She was so full of energy and love, and Sully thanked his stars every day for her.
"Alright, Katie." Sully put her down in her high chair and walked into the kitchen to see if he could possibly start supper. Before he had even started chopping the vegetables, he heard the wagon pulling up in front of the homestead. He wasn't sure if he should go out there to meet her, but as he walked toward the door, his knees felt a little shaky.
He reached for the doorknob, and when he finally made it out to the porch, Michaela was walking up the steps. The look on her face told him right away. She looked as if she was trying to hide her excitement, but it wasn't working. She finally broke down and grinned brightly.
"Michaela?" he asked, feeling his heartbeat begin to quicken. She nodded happily. "You mean? You mean, you're pregnant?" Michaela nodded again with a smile so big that Sully wasn't sure it could fit on her face!
"Yes!" she exclaimed. Sully picked Michaela up into his arms and twirled her around as their lips met in a kiss. They hugged one another tightly, and he loosened his grip, reminding himself that his son or daughter was inside of her. "Dr. Bernard confirmed it and said to expect the baby around mid summer. August, perhaps!" Sully swallowed hard, trying to get over the initial shock. Why was it that hearing it confirmed was such a shock, when he had been sure she was pregnant? Perhaps it was the fact that hearing it just pushed away all of the doubt that may have been hidden underneath all of the positive thinking. "Sully?"
"Aren't you going to say anything?"
"Sorry," he said with a chuckle. "I can't believe it! I mean, I expected it, but ya never really are prepared for the news."
"I know. I think I scared Dr. Bernard when I jumped off of the exam table to hug him." Sully laughed.
"I kinda wish I coulda seen that." He pulled her into another hug and breathed in the scent of her hair. It felt so good to hold her, and with another baby on the way, another sense of hope was placed in their hearts.
They made their way into the house, and Michaela immediately went to pick up Katie.
"Guess what, sweetheart? You're going to be a big sister!" Katie looked at her mother and smiled, not knowing what her mother was talking about, but loving the way her voice sounded when she said it.
"Brian!" Sully called. Brian came rushing down the stairs not even a moment later.
"Ma! You're home!"
"Yes," Michaela replied with a grin and tears in her eyes.
"Well? What's the news?"
"Good," Sully replied with a goofy but proud grin upon his face. Brian's eyes went wide.
"Ya mean . . ."
"You're going to be a big brother again," Michaela announced.
"Really? When!" Brian asked with wide, excited eyes.
"Sometime this summer," Michaela replied. "What do you think?"
"I think that gives me time to get used to havin' another baby around."
"Are you sure you feel up to being a big brother again? There's no turning back now," Michaela said with a laugh.
"Nah. I can't wait, Ma. I'll help out as much as I can. I know it'll be harder for ya, especially with Colleen gone." Brian thought about it for a minute. "Ya think it'll be a boy this time?"
"There's a fifty percent possibility," Michaela replied with a chuckle as she brushed the tears from her eyes.
"I'm gonna write an article about this for next week's Gazette."
"Oh no, don't do that yet!" Michaela warned.
"I'd like to keep this to ourselves for a little while. We'll tell the rest of the town in a couple of weeks. I'd like to keep it quiet for just a little while."
"Yeah," Sully agreed. "It'll give us time to get used to it before everybody else knows and starts askin' questions we don't know the answers to yet."
"Alright," Brian replied. "Guess we don't gotta worry about Katie tellin' anyone."
"Certainly not," Michaela replied, holding the little girl up. Katie giggled, and Michaela placed her back down in her high chair. She took a deep breath, and the smile never left her face. She was too happy to not smile! "Well, I'm feeling hungry, so what do you both say we have lunch?"
"Sounds good to me," Brian replied.
"But, you're not cookin'."
"Sully, you have to admit that my stew is better than most other things that I make."
"Yeah, it is, but I want you to rest and take it easy. I'll cook. My wife and baby need their rest." Michaela grinned and kissed her husband softly.
"If you insist." Katie began fussing, and Michaela recognized the cry. "Uh-oh. I better take Katie upstairs for a changing."
"I'll call for ya when lunch is ready."
"Alright," Michaela replied. She picked up Katie again and started up the stairs. She had such a feeling of elation in her spirit. It seemed to extend to the far reaches of every part of her body, and she thought for sure that the happiness was even coming out of her fingertips, because Katie seemed to cheer up when her mother held her. How was it that one bit of information could make a person so happy and feel like they'd accomplished some great feat? Well, in Michaela's opinion, she had. This would be her second baby, and she wasn't getting any younger. She was grateful that Katie had come out so healthy and bright. She could only hope and assume that this baby would be nothing different.
"She's finally sleeping," Michaela whispered as she tiptoed into the room with a sleeping Katie in her arms. Sully was already in bed, but he was doing some reading while he waited for Michaela. "I think the excitement finally wore her out."
"She's gonna be a good big sister." Michaela nodded, put the baby down in her crib and walked over to crawl into bed with Sully. "I think it's good that we're havin' 'em so close together. They'll never be without a playmate."
"That's certainly true," Michaela agreed. She yawned as she and Sully settled down into the bed together. Sully's arms were wrapped around her, and her head was resting comfortably on his chest. "I have a confession to make."
"What's that?" Sully asked with a tired yawn.
"I had a dream last night that we had a little girl."
"Yes," Michaela replied softly with a hint of curiosity in her voice. "Sully? You won't be disappointed if it isn't a boy, will you? I know that most men want to have a boy to carry on the family name." Sully tilted her chin up so he could look into her eyes.
"Michaela, ya oughtta know by now that I don't care what it is. If we never have a little boy, and we end up having three more girls sometime down the road, I won't care. I love Katie, and I love the kids we got. Matthew and Brian are my sons. Maybe not by blood or by name, but they're my sons through every other bond that counts. Havin' another little girl with you would make me just as happy as I'd be if it was a boy."
"Me too," Michaela admitted. "It's hard to believe how much it's all changed, Sully. When I first came here, I didn't know how to do much of anything that didn't involve medicine. Now look at me. I'm married with four children and one on the way. I'm not complaining. It's just that I've changed so much since I first came here."
"I think I know why."
"It's called motherhood. You're a ma now. We're both parents, and it's changed us."
"I like to think it's for the better."
"Yeah," Sully agreed. "It is for the better."
"You know we may never have another baby after this one."
"I know," he replied.
"You don't mind? I know you said you didn't before, but I just want to be certain."
"I'm sure," he whispered, kissing her to convince her. "I'm happy with the way things are. I'm happy with this new baby on the way. Even if this is the last baby, Michaela, it don't matter, because livin' my life as a husband to you and a pa to the kids we got is what I'm lookin' forward to the most." No other words needed to be said that night, and as the two drifted off to sleep, their heads were filled with anticipatory thoughts of their unborn child that would expand their family in the coming summer. It was a job that neither of them expected to ever have before they found one another, but now that they had, it was a job that they'd never give up or trade for anything. That job was parenthood.