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.
By, Ashley J.
Written June 30, 2005
"Shall we?" His words warmed Michaela's heart beyond belief as the sweet tune soared through the air above the jovial mood of the wedding reception. Couples danced happily around the bride and groom, and Michaela let a tear slip from her eye as she took her husband's hand. The warm air cooled as they twirled and let the wind take their feet from under them. It felt as if they were dancing above the crowd and above the music that filled the afternoon. To Michaela and Sully, this was a celebration of their love. Through their love, they had raised their children, and on this day, they had given one of them away. Colleen was a capable, loving and generous young woman, and both Michaela and Sully were proud to know that they had raised her to be that way.
"We've come a long way," Michaela said with a smile as Sully moved with ease with his wife in his arms.
"We sure have." Michaela grinned and chuckled a little. "What?"
"I remember a time when you couldn't dance without stepping on my feet."
"Like Kates steps on mine when we dance?"
"Well, her feet aren't large enough to leave a bruise yet, and besides, it's charming to watch my husband and daughter dance. One day, she'll be tall enough to dance with you without standing on your feet." Sully smiled happily at the thought, though it frightened him that this beautiful child he and Michaela had created would one day be as old as Colleen and getting married herself. That was several years away, but the time people spent on earth was so little, and time flew by so fast.
"I know I had my reservations about having the wedding so early, but I know Colleen and Andrew made the right decision. I'm so happy for them. I feel like I could just dance all night."
"Ain't your feet sore?"
"No," she said with a sigh. "You're not stepping on them either. You've improved."
"I've had plenty of practice." Michaela laughed and continued along with the love of her life.
The last wedding she had danced at had been her own, and it sweetly saddened her to think that now she was dancing at her daughter's. Three years ago on this day marked the event that had changed Michaela's life forever. She had taken Sully's ring and given her vow to him forever. Now, on her third wedding anniversary, she was watching her oldest daughter dance and laugh with her brand new husband. It seemed impossible that the young girl she had met nearly six years ago was her daughter, and she was getting married and going off to medical school. She had never seen Colleen so beautiful. She was happy, truly happy, and that made Michaela the happiest mother in the Colorado Territory.
She looked into Sully's eyes as they twirled around, making circles around Dorothy and Cloud Dancing and the excited parents-to-be, Grace and Robert E. She wondered for a moment if he remembered that it was May 20, 1873, and she watched as a smile spread over his lips. His fingers traced the outline of her lips, and she kissed the pads of his fingers softly. Somehow, she knew he knew what she was thinking. He had a keen knowledge of his wife's mind, and he knew when she had something troubling her thoughts.
So many bonds, physical and emotional, connected them. Sometimes, Michaela felt it was irritating that they could sometimes almost read one another's mind, but most of the time, she felt it was an endearing quality in their marriage. It wasn't something that worked constantly, because sometimes they felt confused by one another, but luckily, knowing one another so well had gotten them through the toughest times.
"Think I forgot, don't ya?" he asked, cocking his head to the side as they stepped out of the way of the bride and groom. They continued to dance as young Katie laughed happily in her big brother Matthew's arms.
"Forgot what?" she asked, playing innocently, but the sparkle in her green and hazel eyes told her husband that she knew exactly what he was talking about. He merely smiled and leaned in to kiss her cheek. They stepped off of the dance floor and moved to a quiet spot near the gift table. "I believe there's a present for the mother of the bride." Michaela was stunned. Money had been rather tight this year with everything that had happened, and she felt guilty that she hadn't purchased anything for her husband.
"Oh, Sully," she whispered, seeing the small box-shaped package with her name on it. "You shouldn't have. I . . . I didn't . . ."
"I know," he said. "And that's okay, 'cause ya know I ain't that big on gifts. I'd rather buy 'em than get 'em. Besides, I love buyin' things for my wife. I love lettin' her know how much I love her and how beautiful I think she is." Michaela felt the tears coming again.
"You don't have to buy me presents to let me know that," she whispered. "We've been married for three years, and we've been together even longer."
"I know," he said with a smile. "And, we've been through a lot. You've been through a lot." She knew he was referring to the events of the past year. With his being in hiding for nearly seven months, Anthony's death, Grace and Robert E.'s temporary split up, the shooting at the clinic, and above all else, the miscarriage that filled Michaela's heart with pain to this day, the year had been an emotionally and physically trying one. "I wanted to give ya somethin' that would tell ya how much ya mean to me, and how much . . ." Michaela could hear Sully's voice beginning to crack.
"Sully?" Her hand caressed his cheek, and she knew he didn't want to do this here, but something was keeping him from taking her hand and leading her off somewhere so they could be alone.
"Come along. We'll go somewhere private."
"No." He shook his head and swallowed hard. "And also . . . how much havin' another baby means to me." Michaela stared down at the box and took it into her hands. She unwrapped it and opened the smooth oak container. In it was a necklace with a simple diamond within a silver heart-shaped pendant.
"Oh, Sully," she gasped. "It's beautiful."
"It means so much, Michaela," he said softly. "Not only does it mean that I love you . . . it symbolizes a month that would've been special to us." He put his hand on his wife's flat belly. She suddenly realized.
"April." April would have been the month that their baby would have been born. She hadn't forgotten. She had even said a silent prayer a month ago on the day she had calculated to be the birth date, but she had kept silent. But he knew. Sully had known how much that baby had meant to her, and though he found out after it was already gone, he still cared deeply for their lost son or daughter.
"I'll never forget."
"Neither will I, Sully."
She began to sob, and Sully took her into his arms. The band struck up another tune, and the mother and father of the bride began a slow walk into town as their family and friends danced and enjoyed the rest of the evening.
They held hands as they walked toward the clinic, and Michaela held the necklace in her hand with such care. Sully stopped long enough to put it around her neck, and she touched the precious gem that rested against her chest.
"It won't be easy," she said as they sat down upon the bench on the clinic porch. "Having another baby at my age will be a challenge, but we've been through so much already, Sully. This is going to happen for us." She stared down at their hands as they linked their fingers together, symbolizing the already known idea that they were in this together, no matter what.
"I know," he said quietly. "We struggled to have Katie, but she got here perfect and healthy." Michaela smiled. Sadness dampened her eyes.
"I must warn you, Sully, that if we do conceive again, there is no guarantee that I won't miscarry again." Sully nodded and brought their linked hands to his lips to kiss her soft knuckles.
"I know. But, no matter what happens, I'm gonna be here for you. You're always gonna be the woman I fell in love with the day I saw ya fall on your face in the mud. You're always gonna be the woman I swore myself to forever; the woman who gave birth to our daughter. We're meant to be, Michaela, and I can feel it. We're meant to have another baby." Sully's words filled Michaela's heart with a newly found strength and hope, and she felt like anything was possible at that very moment. They leaned into one another, capturing each other with a tender kiss.
"Ma! Pa!" Brian came jogging up the dirt street with a running Katie in front of them. Michaela's eyes went wide, hoping her little one wouldn't fall and hurt herself or dirty her best dress. Katie ran right into her mother's arms as the two stood from the bench.
"What is it, Brian?" Michaela asked promptly.
"Colleen wants to dance with Pa," he explained. Michaela and Sully gave one another knowing glances. The family started down the street toward the dance floor, and after the father-daughter dance, Michaela and Sully joined one another again, but this time, young Katie stood between them, standing on her father's feet and thus ending the day with much more joy and hope in their lives than they ever thought possible.The End
This story is dedicated to my wonderful friends, Canice and Saray, who have helped me out tremendously through the tough times. You ladies are awesome, so I hope this sweet little fic will make you smile, because you've made me smile when I didn't think it was possible!