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.

Reconnecting

He felt her in his arms, and her heart pounding wildly in her chest as his arms held her to his body. The rain began to shower down upon them, and neither Sully nor Michaela cared, for they were holding one another once again. It had been weeks since they'd held one another like this. Reconnecting was something that hadn't been able to do since Sully returned from the cattle drive. No. Daniel's presence had driven a wedge between them, though Michaela had been completely oblivious. But, now that she knew the truth, having Sully to hold her felt even more right.

"I've missed you," she whispered as they pulled out of their kiss, gasping for air. It was overwhelming to both of them, but love was shining brightly in their eyes. No longer did could she see the hurt or the jealousy in Sully's eyes. The anger and hostility that had been brewing inside of his mind had vanished. There was such sorrow in his eyes, however, when she looked past the happiness. They'd hurt each other, and she knew it. She'd hurt him by taking the money and not seeing Daniel's true feelings. He'd hurt her by walking out the night Daniel left. He'd hurt her for even thinking twice about how she felt for Daniel.

"I missed you," Sully said softly, tracing his thumb over her lower lip. "I missed ya so much." Michaela's hand moved to lie against her husband's cheek as the thunder began to rumble. She watched as raindrops trickled from his hair to his forehead and down his cheeks like teardrops. As she looked into his eyes, she saw a tear trickle down his cheek, mixing with the rain from the heavens.

"I was never so scared," Michaela whispered. "I'm so sorry . . ."

"Shh," Sully whispered. "We don't gotta talk about this now. I just wanna hold ya."

"And I want to hold you," Michaela responded in kind. Sully's arm moved to wrap around her waist, and they moved inside of the house together.

"Brian!" Sully called out, feeling bad about leaving in the middle of the night without an explanation to his wife and son.

"He's in town," Michaela replied. "He's picking up a few things at the mercantile. Katie's down for her nap." Sully couldn't respond as he shut the door and gazed into his wife's eyes. Her angelic face was dampened by the rain, and as she stood in the glowing firelight in front of the hearth, he couldn't help but realize how easily he couldn't have lost her. He could have given up seeing her like this forever over his petty jealousy. No. He couldn't risk that ever again. His love for her ran deeper than the roots of the oldest, tallest oak. He could never let anyone destroy that, especially himself. He felt foolish, and Michaela knew he did. But, she would never tell him. She'd never throw his actions back in his face, because she understood what it was like to jump to conclusions and make rash decisions. That was one of the many reasons he loved her, though.

He crossed the room and took her hands in his. His thumb lightly played with the diamond ring on her finger and the gold band that accompanied it. He smiled, remembering the day he slid the wedding ring on her finger and made her his wife. They'd been so happy, and that happiness would always be there. When it came right down to it, they'd never give up their love for anything. They had a bond that couldn't be broken.

She stared at him and smiled, thinking about how good he was to her. She wondered how he ever could have thought twice about her feelings for Daniel. It hurt to think that his trust of her had flickered for a moment, but when she thought about it, she knew that he wasn't angry with her. He was merely angry with Daniel and angry with himself for having to leave to work all of the time. He was blaming himself as much as she was blaming herself.

"Michaela, I . . ."

"Shh," she whispered, pressing a kiss to his lips. "We don't have to talk about this now, remember?" Sully felt her words deep inside of his heart, and he smiled, pulling her into a loving embrace. Her head rested upon his chest, listening to the beating of his heart. They stood that way for several moments, listening to the thunder and reveling in the love they both felt for one another.

Soon, Sully felt Michaela's body submitting to the cold, damp clothes that clung to her skin. She was trembling. He slowly let her out of his arms and cupped her face between his hands.

"Ya better get outta those close. Ya don't wanna catch a cold, do ya?"

"I believe you're right," Michaela said with a nod. Sully smiled.

"Go on upstairs, and I'll draw ya a nice warm bath." Michaela shook her head. "What?"

"I don't want a bath," she said softly. "Not now, anyway." Sully saw the look in her eyes, and he knew she'd never say the words she was thinking aloud.

He removed his belt and placed it on the table. Michaela smiled, remembering the first time she'd actually tracked him down for a little romantic interlude in the afternoon shortly after they were married. He'd placed his belt and tomahawk on the table in that very manner.

"What are ya thinkin' about?" Sully wondered, drawing his wife close as they stood by the hearth, letting the warmth from the flames heat their clammy skin.

"Nothing," Michaela said innocently, letting her finger twirl around a loose strand of hair that hung down his shoulder. Sully loved it when she did that!

"Tell me," he spoke, moving his hands down her shoulders to rest upon her waist. Their lower halves met shortly there after, feeling the heat radiating from each other's bodies.

"I was just thinking about how things were after we were married," she replied, biting her lip as a smile broke out onto her face.

"Were ya?" Michaela nodded and gave him a loving smile. Her hand moved to rub his back, and he watched as her eyes fluttered closed for a moment. He swept her up into his arms and started up the stairs with her. Michaela giggled playfully as he walked her into their bedroom. He felt her lips on his neck, kissing his skin with such gentleness. Her fingers moved to play with the curls at his neck. Just those simple touches and kisses sent shivers throughout Sully's body.

Sully noticed the cold logs in the hearth, and he gently placed his wife on the bed. She watched as he walked over to kneel beside the fireplace. The room was quite dark due to the cloud-covered sun outside, but once he lit the match and tossed it upon the logs, the room began to glow.

Michaela stood from the bed as Sully's back was turned to her, and she stepped out of her shoes. She threw her coat over the nearest chair, and Sully turned to look at her. He smiled, seeing as she began to work at the buttons of her dress. He smiled and started over toward his wife. He took her hands in his, kissed them both softly, and he proceeded to work at the buttons himself.

As he slid the shirt off of her shoulders, he placed kisses there, lightly darting his tongue out to taste her soft skin. She closed her eyes as his hand moved around her damp camisole and lightly caressed the side of her breast through it. She let out a soft gasp and felt him move her hair to the side so he could have better access to her neck.

Her knees were growing weak beneath her as his hand moved further to lightly caress her nipple. She could feel her sensitive skin reacting to his touch even through the barrier of the camisole. She turned in his arms as her shirt floated off of her arms. As Sully worked with the belt of her skirt, the shirt came loose and fluttered to the floor. Sully's eyes couldn't help but notice how the damp camisole clung to Michaela's skin. He could see her taut nipples through the fabric, eagerly awaiting his mouth.

Michaela's face flushed as Sully's hands moved up her arm and caressed the sides of her breasts again. She leaned into him, pressing her lips to his cheek, kissing a line from that spot to his lips. As they kissed, Sully's hands loosened Michaela's belt even further to let her skirt fall to the ground. She stood in nothing but her stockings and a camisole before him, and his mouth began to water with desire. It had been much too long since he'd made love to her, and he couldn't wait to feel her around him once again.

Sully's hands ran up Michaela's arms, lifting them above her head. He slowly lifted the camisole off and brought one arm around her to pull her close. Her bare chest pressed against his, and Sully's free hand moved to caress her outer thigh. He tenderly picked her leg up to caress the smooth skin of her backside. Michaela stepped back, however, and helped Sully with his shirt. Once he pulled her close again, they stumbled back toward the bed. She sat back and scooted toward the center, and his hands made torturously slow movements as he removed her stockings.

As she finally lay completely exposed on the bed, Sully stepped out of his boots. Michaela stood again, this time moving to kiss her husband's chest as his hands ran through her hair. She looked so heavenly as she stood before him, but heavenly was no longer the word to describe her enthusiastic nature as her hands moved to the button upon his pants.

It wasn't long before the two naked bodies were fumbling toward the bed again, kissing and caressing along the way. As Michaela made herself comfortable in the center of the bed, Sully slowly crawled up her body, touching her in just the right spots to send her head tilting back and her fists clenching the sheets.

His hot mouth slowly clamped over her nipple, running his tongue along her firm peak. His hand moved to stroke her flat stomach, and he found that her skin was no longer cool and clammy, but it was flushing with passion and tingling for more of his touch.

As her hands slowly moved up and down his muscular back, Michaela closed her eyes, relishing the feeling of Sully's lips upon her and his hands exploring and touching. How she'd missed this! It had been quite a while since she'd seen Sully this attentive and passionate, but she didn't mind. Knowing that he was back to his normal self again and that the dust was settling after the events that transpired while Daniel was visiting, made Michaela feel even more secure and in love with her husband.

"I love you so much," Michaela whispered as Sully pulled back to stare into her eyes. He smiled and kissed her cheek before running his finger along her jaw line. She could feel his arousal and knew he was reading. She needed to feel him.

"I love you too," Sully replied softly. They met in another passionate kiss, and a moment later, Sully was buried inside of his wife. She gasped into his mouth, and he kissed her softly, moving his hand down to caress her most sensitive spot between her legs.

When he began to move inside of her, she met his thrusts with her own, bringing him further inside of her than either one of them thought possible. Yes, she had been missing this!

Two bodies joined as one and moved as one for the longest time, caressing and pleasuring one another. After Sully collapsed with exhaustion on top of his wife, he felt her trembling from the lasting effects of an orgasm. He slowly tasted the salty skin of her neck before moving to kiss her lips once again. Their fingers laced together and their hands clasped as one before Sully slowly pulled out of her an rolled onto his side, breathing heavier than he had in many weeks.

Silence followed their love making, and as the fire quietly crackled in the hearth, Michaela felt overcome with such emotion. She rolled onto her side with tears in her eyes and caressed her husband's cheek.

"Sully, I've missed this. I've missed us."

"I've missed this too," Sully whispered. "But, Michaela, we're always gonna be 'us.' That ain't gonna change." He pulled her into his arms, and she tiredly rested her head against his chest. Sully's hand began to caress her shoulder and her arm. He kissed the top of her head and took in a deep breath. "I'm sorry . . ."

"Sully, you don't have to . . ."

"Yes I do. I need to do this." Michaela finally nodded and let him continue. "I'm sorry for the way I acted. I shoulda known better than to ever think that you'd care 'bout Daniel the way ya care 'bout me. It was wrong. I know ya love me, and ya'd never hurt me."

"That's right. I would never intentionally do anything to hurt you, Sully. But, I realize now that I did hurt you. I never want to do that again," Michaela replied, sitting up and pulling the sheet around her body. She turned to face her husband, and he leaned forward to kiss her.

"Takin' the money from Daniel did hurt," he said quietly. "Ya knew how I felt about it, but ya did it anyway. But, I'm sorry I got mad. Ya were only lookin' out for our family. Preston woulda evicted us if ya hadn't taken the money from Daniel."

"Sully, I would gladly be homeless than see you hurt. You were so proud of the house, and I couldn't bear to see you work so hard to pay the mortgage, when this was my fault in the first place."

"Wait a minute. First of all, this wasn't your fault. I already told ya that what happened at the clinic wasn't your fault. Second of all, like I told Matthew before . . . pride is a foolish man's burden. I guess I shoulda listened to my own advice, huh?"

"I know you were trying to support our family on your own, and I love you more than ever for that."

"I walked out, Michaela. I never intended to do it. I made a promise when I married ya, and with that promise was trust and honor. I didn't honor ya when I walked out last night, Michaela."

"You were upset," Michaela whispered. "I don't know what I would have done if I was in your place, Sully."

"Ya wouldn't have left. I left ya alone with Brian and Katie, and I didn't even think about it. All I knew was that I feel like a fool for actin' that way in front of ya with Daniel, and I didn't wanna stick around to feel like an even bigger fool."

"You're not a fool," Michaela insisted. "You'll never be that to me." She sighed heavily and looked toward the fireplace. "If anyone is the fool, it's me. I can't believe I didn't see that Daniel cared for me before it was too late."

"It wasn't too late. Ya can't help that ya didn't notice. You were just bein' friendly. Daniel and me have an understandin' though. Never feel bad about any of this. It ain't your fault you're so beautiful and sweet, and everybody loves ya." Michaela couldn't help but laugh, and Sully took her into his arms. His fingers tickled her sides, and she squealed with laughter. Laughter had been something she'd been missing a lot lately, too. At least now they wouldn't have anymore uncomfortably quiet meals around the dinner table, or at least she hoped not! "I missed hearin' ya laugh."

"I missed you making me laugh."

"Let's make a deal, alright?"

"A deal?"

"Yep," Sully insisted.

"Alright."

"I promise not to jump to conclusions anymore if you promise to stop blamin' yourself for this."

"I don't think that's very fair, Mr. Sully," Michaela complained.

"Oh no? You got a better deal?"

"Let me see," she thought. "Alright, I've got it! I'll promise to stop blaming myself if you stop blaming yourself. We both did things wrong, but we know what those things were now. We've learned, Sully." Sully smiled, his heart filling with even more love for her.

"That sounds like a pretty good deal to me." They pulled one another into another sweet kiss before their romantic reunion began anew.

The End