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.

Letting Go
By, Ashley J.

A violent storm was on its way, and Michaela was thankful that Colleen and Brian had ridden into Soda Springs with Dorothy to help her with supplies for the gazette. Loren had wanted to go, but he was still recovering from his stroke. Colleen and Brian had offered to help her so she wouldn't have to ride alone.

As she stared out the window, she looked at the position of the storm clouds in the sky. They weren't anywhere near Soda Springs, and it looked as if that town had been missed completely. The children would be fine, but she was still concerned about Sully. He was out at the reservation and wasn't planning to be back until supper. The wind was so violent that one of the fence posts had been snapped like a twig.

Michaela sighed. Sully would fix it when he got home, but she needed to check on the horses in the barn and lock it up so they wouldn't escape through the broken fence.

She pulled on her shawl and walked out onto the porch. As she was about the shut the door behind her, the wind took it from her and swiveled it to the inside, cracking it loudly against the wall. Michaela checked the glass window, the one she and Sully had decided to keep even through their financial troubles before the wedding, and she was relieved to see that it hadn't broken.

Flash whinnied inside of the barn, and Michaela rushed through the strong wind, feeling it holding her back. She resisted it, however, and made her way into the barn. Thunder erupted in the sky, and rain burst down in heavy drops upon the earth.

Flash had escaped her stall, and Michaela slowly walked up to her, reaching for the reins to lead her back towards it.

"Shh. It's alright girl. Come on, Flash. Easy girl," she coaxed. The horse stood on her hind legs for a moment, jerking away from Michaela, but after a few more calming words on the doctor's part, Flash let Michaela lead her back into her stall. Michaela put some extra feed down in front of her, and began to brush her down.

Lightning flashed and lit up the entire sky. It had been so bright that the barn lit up as well. She pulled her shawl a little tighter around her shoulders and hoped that Sully would return home soon. The thought of him out in that storm and heading home from the reservation scared her. There weren't too many caves between the homestead and the reservation that Sully could easily take shelter in.

After Michaela had calmed Flash down, she left the barn, closing the door and making sure it wouldn't open. The wind began to pick up, and as Michaela was making her way back up to the house, she felt something hit her from behind. She felt to the ground with a hard thud, and her head immediately began to ache in the back. She noticed a large tree limb had been broken off by the wind and carried across the yard. Now it lay in the dirt, twisting in the wind as the rain pelted down onto it.

Michaela lay there for a moment, feeling the earth turn to mud beneath her. Her clothes were wet and muddy now, and all she wanted to do was get inside and take a nice hot bath.

Her fingers dug into the softened dirt, and she pulled herself up slowly, feeling the constant beat of the rain on her back. She started up to the house, removing her muddy shoes to deposit on the porch beside the door. She rushed over to the windows on either side of the door, closed the shutters, and she rushed toward the door as another clap of thunder roared overhead.

When she made it into the house, she shut the door and moved to light a candle. The wind and blown them all out, and the house was dark. The first thing she did was move to the fireplace. She found the matches, struck it once against the stone mantle, and threw it in. A moment later, an orange glow was cast about the room, and Michaela tossed in a few pieces of firewood to add to the partially burnt ones that fed the flames.

Once she had warmed herself up a bit, she started up the stairs with a candle in her shaky hand. The storm seemed to be passing, and she couldn't wait until it was over.

Her dress was still dripping from the rain water, and she made a mental note to clean up the mess after she changed out of her wet clothes.

The door opened downstairs and shut loudly. Michaela jumped, wondering if the storm had blown it open.

"Michaela?" Sully's voice echoed up the stairs. She let out a sigh of relief. It felt so wonderful to hear his sweet voice and know that he was home safely with her.

"I'm up here!" she called out, making her way into the bedroom. She put the candle aside, lit the lamps beside the bed and started over to pick out a clean dress. Sully arrived a moment later.

"Michaela? Are you alright?" She turned to him and nodded tiredly. "As I was ridin' up the hill, I saw ya fall."

"I'm fine. My head hurts a bit though."

"I'll draw ya a warm bath and make some tea," Sully offered.

"Thank you," she replied with a grateful smile. "That would be nice." Sully watched as her hand moved to the back of her head, and when she brought it back, a little blood trickled down her fingertips.

"You're bleedin'," Sully said quickly, rushing over to her side with worry in his voice and in his eyes.

"No, it's just a scratch, I promise," sure assured him. She smiled, loving how handsome he looked as his rain-soaked hair clung to the sides of his face and stuck to his shirt.

"Ya sure you don't need stitches?"

"Mmhm," she replied with a smile, feeling better now that he was home. She gave him a kiss upon the lips, and despite her muddy clothes, he pulled her to him and deepened their expression of love. When they finally pulled apart, Michaela blushed.

"What was that all about?"

"Are ya complainin'?"

"No," she replied with a chuckle, tracing her fingers along the outline of his jaw. "Your shirt is all muddy now." She grinned a little.

"I'm just glad you're alright. As soon as I saw the rain clouds and the lightnin', I figured I'd better get home."

"I've survived several storms since I've lived here, Sully."

"Yeah, but when I saw ya get hurt, my heart nearly stopped. I didn't know how bad it was."

"I'm fine," she assured him. "But I could use that warm bath you told me you'd draw for me." Sully smiled and kissed his wife again.

"Comin' right up." He removed his now muddy shirt and started barefoot down the hall in nothing but his buckskins. She felt herself blushing as the water from his wet hair trickled down his back, causing his skin to react to the cold sensation.

She felt herself begin to shiver, and she walked over to the fireplace in their room to start a nice warm fire. It wasn't long before she heard the sloshing of water from a bucket, followed by Sully's footsteps coming up and down the stairs, followed by more sloshing water.

"Bath's ready," he said, knocking on the door a while later. She found it endearing that he was giving her some privacy even though there wasn't anything they hadn't shared with one another.

Michaela hung her wet clothes over a basin to let the rest of the water drip off of them, and she pulled her robe on.

As her feet padded along the hard wood floor, she felt a headache coming on from the wound she'd received outside.

Once she'd slipped into the washroom, she saw Sully sitting in the hot water, and his buckskins were draped over a chair nearby. She blushed and felt her heart skip a beat at the sight of her husband.

Sully held his hand out to her.

"Wanna join me?" Michaela laughed a little and answered him with a nod. She slipped out of her robe and crossed the room, stepping into the steaming water. She settled in, sitting between his legs and leaning against his chest. His hands automatically moved over her arms, bringing the warmth of his touch and the water combined. A soft moan escaped from the back of her throat as his hands moved over her shoulders and her neck, pulling her hair back.

Warm water poured over her hair, and when it was fully soaked, Sully set a pitcher aside and lathered Michaela's favorite-smelling soaps into the palms of his hands.

As his fingers massaged her scalp and moved tenderly over the small scratch on the back of her head, Michaela felt her body beginning to respond to her husband's familiar touch. The warm water poured over her again very soon, adding to the pleasure she was beginning to feel build up inside of her.

As Sully rinsed out his wife's hair, he could feel her trembling body against his, and he took the opportunity to move his lips to her neck. His tongue darted out to taste her warm flesh, and Michaela sucked in a sharp breath, feeling his hand moved to graze over her breast.

"Sully," she whispered, loving the way her husband could make her feel with even the slightest movement.

"Hmm?" he moaned as he softly sucked upon her skin. His hand moved to gently squeeze her breast, rolling the delicate nipple between his thumb and forefinger slowly. Her words were completely lost, and as Sully's free hand disappeared beneath the surface of the water, she felt it moving down her belly and toward its goal. She bit her lip as his fingers slipped inside of her, and his thumb caressed the extremely sensitive bundle of nerves that reacted with just the slightest touch.

As his mouth continued to work on her exposed neck, he could feel her pulse beginning to pound. She turned her head and he captured her mouth with his own. His tongue begged for entrance into Michaela's mouth as he seductively licked her bottom lip. She opened herself up to him, and as his hand worked on her from below, his other hand moved to give her other breast the same treatment its twin had received.

The desire building between her legs came to fruition, sending sparks throughout every part of her being. Her entire body tingled with the pleasure that Sully brought to her as his fingers moved inside of her, and his tongue danced with hers in a timeless rhythm.

As Sully's hand left Michaela's most delicate region, she moved to turn in his arms. As she was doing so, a loud crash downstairs startled them both out of their moment of passion.

"What was that?" Michaela asked, her quick breaths making her chest heave against his.

"I'll check it out," he replied quickly. He gave her one last kiss before he pulled himself out of the water, wrapped a towel around his waist, and left the room.

The moment was gone now, and though Michaela's body was still reeling from Sully's touch, she knew it was time to get out of the water and get dry.

She pulled herself out and wrapped her robe around her. She walked down the dark hallway and down the staircase to find her husband kneeling down on the floor, picking up pieces of broken glass.

"What happened?" she asked immediately.

"Branch broke through the window," he replied with a heavy sigh. He broke the large limb in half and tossed it to the flames.

Michaela settled down onto the floor in front of the fireplace, and she watched as Sully disposed of the glass. He was obviously frustrated. Mother Nature had ruined their moment of passion by breaking a downstairs window. Perfect. He looked over to his wife. As she sat in her robe, the fire cast an angelic glow around her. Sully smiled at her as she ran her fingers through her freshly washed hair.

"I'll make some tea," he offered. Michaela nodded and watched her husband walk into the kitchen. She would be thankful for the hot drink, though she would rather continue what they had started upstairs.

Once he appeared with two steaming cups, he sat down across from her on the floor and handed her one. She drank the tea slowly, savoring the taste. Sully could barely stand watching as she licked her lips after a sip. She was so beautiful, and he enjoyed the fact that she looked beautiful whether she was soaking wet or dry as a bone. She'd even looked gorgeous dressed up as a man, though he preferred her natural style.

He needed to get his mind on other things, at least until they were finished with tea to avoid any serious accidents with boiling hot liquid.

"The kids'll be home soon?" Michaela shook her head.

"Dorothy said they wouldn't be home until nightfall. They had a few different stops to make. But they're staying with Matthew tonight since they'll be home so late, and his house is closer to town.

"They shoulda taken the train," Sully pointed out, thinking about how it would have been easier than going by wagon.

"They wanted to ride there instead," Michaela pointed out. "They enjoy the view. Besides, if they took the train, they would be home already, and we wouldn't be enjoying this stormy night by the fire." She raised an eyebrow suggestively, and Sully smiled across his cup of tea.

"Ya got a point there," he said with a nod. He sipped down the rest of his tea and put his cup to the side just as Michaela was doing the same thing. Sully took Michaela's hand in his and gently ran his thumb along her knuckles. He leaned down to kiss each knuckle individually, and his eyes never left Michaela's. "You feelin' better?" he wondered, still worried about the blow she took to the back of the head.

"I'm fine," she replied with a nod. "I feel much better after that relaxing bath." Sully smiled, his eyes twinkling with love for Michaela.

"Are ya sure ya ain't dizzy or tired?" They began to lean in to one another, and she shook her head.

"I'm a little tired, but I'm not dizzy."

"Tired huh?" She nodded as their lips brushed across one another's. They seemed to melt into one another, and as Sully's hands moved to tangle in Michaela's hair, her hands rubbed across his strong, muscular back. He brought a hand down to tuck inside of Michaela's robe, feeling her soft skin beneath the fabric. They pulled away from one another for just a moment, and Sully's hands moved to Michaela's shoulders to push the robe off of her body. He tossed it aside, and he crawled over her as she lay her bare back against the cooled hard wood of the floor.

He stared down into her beautiful eyes as his lips hovered over hers.

"How did I get to be so lucky?" he asked, his hot breath moving across her skin. She smiled at his words, and her hand moved to clench in his hair, and she pulled him to her, needing to feel him against her. Her thoughts began to run away with her. She could think of nothing but how she wished she could stay in her husband's arms forever. Sully had been right. Before their wedding, he told her that the only question they would be asking would be why they hadn't gotten married sooner. She'd been missing out on so much in her years as a single woman, and now that she fully knew what it was like to be a wife, she wouldn't take those years back for anything.

His mouth pressed against her collarbone and he left a trail of kisses from that spot to the flesh between her breasts. She arched her back as his hot mouth enclosed over her nipple, sending sparks to her center. She needed more of him, and as her hands moved to his sides, she tucked her hands under the towel, feeling his rippling thighs with her warm hands.

The towel came off a moment later, and Michaela positioned herself so Sully could climb between her legs. He propped himself up on his elbow and traced to contours of her beautiful lips with his thumb. She pressed her lips against the pad of his thumb and let a soft sigh escape her lips.

"I love you so much," she whispered as the flames cast glorious dancing shadows upon the lovers' bodies.

"I love you too," Sully answered, his voice full of warmth and devotion toward his wife. As he gazed into her eyes, he could see straight into her soul. This woman was his soul mate. Sully knew that if it was possible for them to spend eternity in each other's arms, they would do it, but unfortunately life wouldn't allow for that. However, they took the moments they were given to express their eternal love to one another, and now was no different. These cherished moments would forever be in their hearts.

Sully brought her hand into his, and he pressed it against his chest so she could feel his heartbeat. As their lips met again, their hearts seemed to beat in sync, and their bodies moved as one.

When they finally joined, Michaela muffled her cries in Sully's shoulders, kissing the flesh there and then gently nipping at it with her teeth. Sully's eyes closed as he gained his composure, and he felt her body trembling underneath his own. When he opened his eyes again, he looked down upon her angelic face. Her eyes fluttered open, and the softest smile spread upon her lips.

Thunder rumbled outside as the storm started up again, and as the raindrops began to shower down upon the homestead, Michaela and Sully made love with one another in front of the crackling fire.

Sweat beaded upon their flesh, and as Sully's mouth enclosed over Michaela's breast again, she gently raked her fingernails down his back. He moved so gently inside of her, treating her as if he was afraid she might break. She moved her hips with his, trying to urge him to be less gentle. She didn't want him holding back. He'd been patient with her for so long, and with their marriage still new, Michaela felt as if Sully had never given into the those desires with everything he had.

"I won't break," she whispered as she tenderly nipped at his earlobe. He pulled back to look into her eyes, seeing all of the sincerity there. He knew he never wanted to hurt her, and Michaela knew it too. He had wanted to be gentle, and they had been husband and wife for months now. "Don't hold back."

"I don't wanna hurt ya," he replied, swallowing hard as Michaela rode out the waves of pleasure she was feeling.

"You won't," she panted. "Sully, I don't want you to ever hold back to protect me." She didn't just mean while they were making love either, and Sully knew it. They were one now in body and soul.

He took a deep breath and she nodded a bit as he gathered her up closer to his body. His arms encircled around her as they lay on the floor, and her legs moved to wrap around him, bringing him deeper inside of her.

"Sully," she moaned, needing him to let go of the worries that held him back. It took a few moments, but in no time, they were loving each other with all of the power they had built up inside of them. Michaela took no time in matching Sully's pace, and once it was over, they lay in a silence that was neither awkward nor embarrassing. They had given themselves to one another and showed each other their love by just letting go of everything that held them back. Making love had never been so wonderful between them.

Now Michaela's head rested upon Sully's chest, and their breathing was beginning to return to normal. The storm raged on outside, but when Sully stood to gather his wife in his arms and take her upstairs, things had changed forever. They had taken their lovemaking to a new level, one of more intense pleasure, and with their knowledge of one another heightened a bit, they focused on nothing but each other for the rest of the night.