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.

The Engagement

By, Ashley J.

For a moment, he wasn't sure if he had heard her right. Had she just said 'yes' to his marriage proposal? As he looked into her eyes, he knew the truth, and a smile spread across his face. That vision of her walking away had scared him to his very core, and he couldn't take the chance of losing her again.

What had happened with Catherine was something that Sully could never fully forgive himself for, even though he had had no feelings for her. His heart was only for Michaela, and it had been that way ever since he had first laid eyes on her. He couldn't let his chance of happiness get away again.

He pulled her into a kiss, and she didn't shy away. She opened her mouth to him, accepting his desperate, loving kiss. As his hands came to her face, she could hear and feel his breathing becoming staggered and shallow. He had asked if she was leaving, and she'd said no. Whatever he'd thought had made him more determined than ever to keep her in his life. There was no doubt about Michaela's feelings for Sully, and she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him.

Sully pulled away and tried to catch his breath. A tear trickled down Michaela's cheek, and she put her hands alongside his face. He put his hands over hers, and then he brought her hands down to claps between his own.

What words were there to say? No words could express how either one of them felt at this very moment, and as the steam in the sweat lodge thickened, Michaela leaned in to press her lips upon Sully's again. He pulled her close, encircling his arms around her. She felt so good pressed up against him, and Michaela could feel Sully's bare chest beginning to move against hers as his breathing deepened.

They tumbled back onto the soft furs that had been laid out as a floor for the small sweat lodge. The flap that covered the entrance to the small hut fell down, capturing the two in absolute darkness. Their passionate kiss continued for several more moments, and Michaela began to feel the effects of the building heat inside the small structure.

"I need air," she whispered, sitting up in the darkness. Sully backed away, and Michaela felt around for the way out. A moment later, dull sunlight filtered in, and Sully shielded his eyes from the bright light.

She walked out and sat down upon the soft ground. Her heart pounded fiercely in her chest, and she found herself wiping perspiration off of her forehead. It had been hard to breathe in the sweat lodge, and when she had let herself get caught up in the moment of her engagement, it hadn't been easy to control any feelings, much less her breathing.

A few minutes passed by, and her breath returned to her. She was surprised when Sully appeared from inside of the sweat lodge. He squinted his eyes, but his vision seemed to readjust quickly.

"It doesn't hurt anymore." Michaela breathed a sigh of relief and put her hand against his forehead. His fever seemed to have gone down.

"I'll get you some water," she offered, feeling a little awkward now that she was out of the comfort of the sweat lodge. She wasn't hidden from the world anymore. No, she didn't want to hide her feelings for Sully, but now that they were engaged, she wasn't quite sure how to address the situation. She was still his doctor, but her intense feelings of passion had obviously gotten in the way of that a few moments before.

She stood to fetch some water, but Sully took her hand in his, helping her sit back down.

"We gotta talk about this."

"You do want to marry me, don't you?" she asked, wondering if he'd asked that in a desperate moment, thinking he was going to die. Sully squeezed her hand reassuringly.

"'Course I do. I love you, and ya know that. You want to marry me, right?"

"Yes," Michaela replied without hesitation. Sully leaned in to kiss her tenderly, sending those passionate feelings throughout her entire being once again. "I want to be your wife more than anything, Sully. I just want to make sure you really meant the things you said."

"I did. I've meant them for a long time," he replied. Michaela could feel him trembling as she held his hand. "I needed ya to know what you mean to me."

"I know now," she whispered. "I've known for awhile." Sully brought her hand to his lips. She never took her eyes off of him, and with each moment that passed, she could see the energy and life coming back to him. He was getting better and better, and she couldn't wait to travel back to the homestead and let the children know of their intentions. "You say that you need me. Well, I need you too. You know how much I've come to rely on you, and while I hate having to rely on anyone, I don't mind needing you. When you're around, I feel like I can say anything."

"You can. You can say anything you want, Michaela. I'll always listen." A smile spread across Michaela's happy face.

"You're sure you want to marry and put up with a stubborn, independent woman who will definitely insist on keeping her career as a doctor even after she's married?" Michaela asked with a slight grin. Sully smiled back with awe in his eyes.

"I wouldn't want it any other way. But you gotta be willin' to put up with somebody who can be just as stubborn and won't change some things about himself no matter how hard his stubborn wife tries." Michaela let herself laugh now, and she nodded.

"We can make it work, Sully," she whispered. "You once showed me the place you go when you lose your way. If we ever lose our way in our life together, we'll know where to go. We'll know where to begin again."

"Let's go there now," Sully suggested. Michaela looked up at the sky, realizing it was getting quite late.

"Now?"

"Yeah."

"But we haven't lost our way."

"No, but we're about to start a new beginnin'. I wanna watch the sun set with you, and when we get back to the homestead tonight, we'll tell the kids we're getting married." Michaela realized that was a wonderful idea, and she wanted to share that sunset with Sully.

Michaela and Sully made their way toward that special place, and as they walked, they were silent, enjoying one another's company without the need for words.

Finally, they stood in the spot that Sully had once brought her to, and as the sun disappeared in the horizon, Michaela and Sully's courtship set with it, and that gave way for their new life together to surface.

Sully took her hands in his, stared deep into her soul, and brought his lips to hers. When he pulled away just inches from her mouth, he whispered his proposal again. Michaela answered him with a soft three-letter word and a kiss, and as they stood in the early night, the only thing they could both see clearly was their future together. When they pulled apart, they held hands and walked off toward Michaela's home, knowing that someday, they would be walking home as husband and wife.

THE END