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.

'Til the Day I Die
Written By, Ashley J.
Written September 9, 2005

Chapter One

"It's so beautiful out here, Sully," Michaela said softly, as she held onto the window sill. "I'm so happy you brought me." I looked at her with such love and devotion in my eyes. I couldn't wait to see her face when we got to Denver, and I couldn't wait to see her reaction to Colorado Springs.

"I'm glad ya said ya wanted to go." I stood up and moved to stand beside her, while Lydia and Albert lost themselves in a quiet conversation. Michaela and I stood together, her back leaning against my chest and my hands resting on her stomach. God, I couldn't wait until the day when I could feel a child of our own moving in there, kicking her. I couldn't wait for us to start a family. I kissed her neck softly, and her face flushed. She giggled a little as the sun sparkled against her hair and warmed her face. "We're almost home. We got the rest of our lives, Michaela."

"I'm glad I'm spending it with you." Another violent jolt startled us both. "Oh!" She turned and pressed against me as the train shook. I smiled as our eyes met, and I held her in a protective embrace. I stared down into her amber and emerald eyes. I wanted to give her everything her heart desired. I hoped I could do that and more.

The train whistle blew, snapping us all out of our thoughts.

"We're almost to Denver," I announced. I took Michaela's hand, and I sat down in one of the chairs. She grinned and sat down in my lap, something she'd grown accustomed to doing, though she blushed like a schoolgirl every time she did so.

As soon as the train pulled into Denver, we boarded a stage coach, deciding not to wait until the next day. It was comfortable, and we spent our time talking. I was growing more and more anxious to get to Colorado Springs. I was nervous for Michaela, because I wasn't quite sure how she was going to be received by the citizens. I wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted her to have to feel no pain. I wanted her to be loved and respected by the town.

I pulled my arm around her as we rode, and she rested her head on my shoulder. I noticed her watching the scenery pass us by, as Lydia and Albert did the same. It felt good to be there with my wife and friends. I wasn't a stranger, and this place wasn't strange. Colorado Springs truly was home, and I couldn't wait to get there.

Thankfully, it didn't take long.

"We're home," I announced proudly as the stagecoach rolled into Colorado Springs. Albert and Lydia grinned at one another excitedly, as the town rushed out to meet us and to get their packages that were probably three weeks late.

"I'm home," Michaela breathed, inhaling the sweet mountain air. I saw Loren and waved him over. He saw me right away and hurried to greet us.

"Sully!" Loren yanked open the stagecoach door and greeted me with a handshake. I was grateful to be home to a place where I wasn't a complete stranger. I got out and held my hand out to Michaela, so she wouldn't have to jump out by herself. I knew she was perfectly capable of doing it herself, but I knew how to treat a lady with respect, and I didn't want a lady jumping out of a carriage and possibly falling and making a bad impression on her first few minutes in town. She took my hand thankfully, and I helped her out to stand in the soft Colorado soil. Michaela breathed a breath of fresh air and wrapped her arms around my neck. It felt so good to hold her like that. We were quickly interrupted, but it was a happy surprise to see Loren up and about the way he was.

"Dr. Mike!" Loren said with a smile. "It's good to see ya." Michaela pulled away from me for a moment. Loren automatically saw the wedding ring, and he looked up at me. I knew that I had a smile on my face. I couldn't hide it, and he elbowed me in the ribs. I played along, but I was sincere when I pulled my wife closer. Being near her was exactly what I needed, because even though this land was my place of comfort, she was the one thing that made it all complete.

"It's wonderful to see you, Mr. Bray. How are you feeling?" She asked with a twinkle in her eyes.

"Just fine. C'mon, Dr. . . Mrs…Sully?" He shook his head, as we all laughed in the commotion. "Dr. Mike. It's less confusin'. I'll help ya get your things." Michaela and I watched as Albert and Lydia stepped out of the stagecoach, surveying their surroundings. Many people stared, and many others were too busy getting their packages off of the stagecoach.

"Ya gonna stand there all day?" I asked with mock annoyance. They looked at me quickly, not sure of what to think. "C'mon. We're all tired, and I think we should get some rest."

"First things first," my beautiful wife said with a smile. "Where could I find Mr. Bing?" I looked around to see Horace grabbing the mail bag.

"Horace!" I called out. The telegraph operator looked over at me with a smile. He moved over, and I shook his hand. "Horace, this is my wife, Michaela Quinn-Sully. Michaela, this is Horace."

"It's a pleasure to meet you," Michaela said, her smile brighter than the sun. She looked so happy. I only hoped she'd stay that way, though Colorado Springs could take some getting used to. I saw her look at me when she saw the quaint little town for the first time. She had been filled with such amazement, shock and uncertainty. But, I knew she'd love it. It would take a little time. The town was like most of its citizens. It took a while to warm up to, but when you did, you never felt more comfortable.

"What do we call ya? Dr. Quinn or Dr. Sully?" Horace asked with concern creasing his brow. Michaela looked at Loren and then at Horace.

"Dr. Mike works for me. It's much less confusing. Besides, my father calls me Mike." A few folks in the crowd laughed, and Michaela blushed. I gave her shoulder a soft squeeze and glanced at Horace.

"Michaela's been wantin' to get those papers signed."
"Oh! 'Course. Follow me." Sully looked at Loren.

"We'll get yer stuff over to the boardin' house…I mean…the new clinic." Loren rushed off with a few townsmen, and they carried all of the travelers' belongings toward the clinic nearby. Michaela and I followed Horace to the telegraph office.

Lydia and Albert stayed behind, and they set their eyes upon a house at the end of town. It was a tall, white house right next to Grace and Robert E.'s place. I glanced back and saw the smile on each of their faces, but I decided not to question it yet. At that moment, I wanted my wife to be comfortable with her surroundings. So, we walked into the telegraph office, and Horace began searching through the stacks of papers on his desk. Michaela looked around, and I smiled as her eyes glimmered with excitement. There was such a fire in her, and I was glad to see that coming to Colorado Springs hadn't made that go out. On the contrary, it burned even brighter! Maybe it was wishful thinking, but I was glad she was happy.

"Ah. Here ya go," Horace said with a smile. He placed the papers in front of her, and she handed him payment for Mr. Bancroft from the Bank of Denver. I watched as she scrawled and squiggled out her name onto the paper, Michaela Quinn-Sully M.D., the ink permanently staining proof of her ownership and our marriage. When she was finished, she seemed to glow. She had a clinic now. "Congratulations, Dr. Mike."

"Thank you, Mr. Bing."

"It's just Horace, Ma'am." Michaela smiled.

"Horace, I should be receiving items periodically throughout the next few months. I've sent for things from home and for the clinic."

"I'll see that ya get 'em as soon as they get here."

"Thank you." Michaela took my hand, and we walked out into the sunny street. Grace was walking over from the café with a basket hanging from the crook of her arm. Albert and Lydia joined us.

"Welcome home, Sully!" Grace said, pulling me into a hug. I laughed and hugged back.

"Thanks Grace." When I pulled away, I put my arm around Michaela's waist. "This is my wife, Michaela Sully."

"Dr. Quinn," Michaela said with a smile. Grace raised an eyebrow. "You may call me Dr. Mike if you wish. It's a very long story." Grace laughed and shook her head. "I'm sure you'll hear all about it later."

"Welcome to our town."

"Thank you," Michaela replied, blushing. Grace turned to Albert and Lydia.

"These are our friends Albert and Lydia Johnson," I explained.

"Lydia's going to work as a nurse for me," Michaela said proudly. "That is…after the baby gets here." Lydia smiled and rubbed her swollen belly.

"Well, it's nice to meet you folks. I'd stay and talk longer, but I got a café to run. Why don't ya come over? A free meal's waitin'."

"I've never turned down a free meal!" Albert said hungrily. I laughed and nodded.

"We'll be over in a few, Grace." Grace nodded and walked off toward her café.

"We found a nice little place at the end of town," Lydia spoke up. "We both saw it as soon as we stepped off of the stage!" Her gray eyes sparkled in the sunlight, and I watched as she and Albert held each other for a moment. I looked toward that house again.

"Thought ya wanted to live outta town?" I asked.

"I do, but it'll do until I find the right land and…build my own home…our own home." I raised an eyebrow. Albert Johnson didn't look like he had one ounce of carpentry skill in his body. "I wanna build it for my family." Lydia laughed softly.

"He's been talking to you too much, Sully," she replied. "You'll have to help him when he gets the notion to build something."

"I can build," Albert said with faux offense. Lydia grinned and kissed his cheek.

"Did I say you couldn't?" Before Albert could answer, Michaela spotted it. Her clinic. She looked up at me, and I nodded.

"That's it." Michaela hurried over, and I watched her with a smile spreading across my lips. She was so happy. I couldn't have been happier for her. Horace had given her a key, and now she was using it to unlock the door. I walked up behind her as she stepped inside, taking in the small but spacious room. It had potential, and I could tell by the way Michaela eagerly went about opening windows to get the stagnant air out.

She seemed so lively as she almost bounced from foot to foot as she examined every inch.

"It needs a lot of cleaning," she said with a sigh, "but I love it. It's perfect." She hurried over and pulled her arms around my neck. She thanked me with a kiss that I wasn't quite sure I deserved, but I happily accepted it!

Albert and Lydia piled in, admiring the features of the old boarding house.

"It's lovely, Michaela," Lydia said with a smile. At that moment, Lydia almost reminded me of Michaela's cheerful oldest sister, Rebecca. I was so glad that Michaela had such a good friend in Lydia. They'd both been through a lot, and it was good to see that they had each other to talk to when they couldn't talk to the men in their lives. Though, I did like to think that Michaela could speak to me about anything.

"Remember, you're both welcome to stay upstairs for as long as you need," Michaela pointed out.

"We don't want to be a bother," Albert replied.

"You're no bother," Michaela insisted. "Now you're staying, and I won't have it any other way." I grinned at my wife's persistence, and Lydia and Albert happily accepted her offer, though they were interested in talking with the bank about buying that empty house at the end of town. "Before we do anything else, I'd like to give Lydia a proper examination."

"No, no," Lydia insisted. "I feel just fine, and the baby's kicking away." Michaela looked at her with apprehension, but she finally nodded.

"It needs to be today." Lydia nodded.

"Later. For now, I want to see Colorado Springs!" I felt my stomach growling, and it seemed loud enough for everyone to hear, but it appeared that they didn't. I looked around and took a deep breath, smelling Grace's fine cooking wafting in through the open windows.

"What do ya say we go get a bite to eat first? I'm feelin' pretty hungry now." Her arm came around my waist, and I looked down at her with a smile. We shared a soft, lingering kiss before we followed Lydia and Albert out of the building. Michaela happily locked the door behind us, and I led our group to the small café behind the clinic. Michaela seemed enchanted by it, and I loved seeing the town through her eyes. It was beautiful to her; full of possibilities.

We settled down at a table in the center of the café, and it wasn't five minutes before most of the town was swarming around us. Grace was serving us her specialty: meatloaf, her husband Robert E. was talking to Albert, Lydia and Michaela, and I even saw Abagail Anderson standing there with her husband Martin. They were smiling as they listened to Michaela and Lydia talk about their upbringings in Boston. I felt like an outsider, but I didn't mind. I loved the way that the town was asking about her, even if it was mostly the women. I saw the some of the men, including Jake and Hank, talking quietly and walking away. I knew it would take a while to get through to them, and I wasn't sure if she ever would, but the town was already welcoming her.

"When's the baby due?" Grace asked as she looked at Lydia. Lydia flushed, and Albert took her hand.

"November," she replied quietly. She left out the fact that she and Albert had been married just over a month. They really didn't need to go into detail about that, because honestly, it shouldn't matter to a bunch of people that they didn't even know.

"Ya'll can't be more than newlyweds," Grace laughed. Lydia bit her lip and nodded.

"We haven't been married very long, but we're more than happy about this baby." Everyone smiled, assuming that they'd been married and blessed with a child right away, and as Lydia and Albert talked about the upcoming birth, my eyes met Michaela's, and we seemed to be communicating a silent agreement. We both wanted children, and we wanted them right away.

For now, everything was perfect and just the way I wanted it. But, both Michaela and I were ready to start the rest of our lives together in this town. We couldn't wait to get started.

Michaela Quinn-Sully woke in a bed at the Denver hospital, her head pounding and wrapped in gauze. She touched it, wincing as the top of her head hurt. What happened? She couldn't quite remember. So, she lay there and closed her eyes from the light in the room. She needed to remember, and her memories were jumbled for a moment. Everything was fuzzy, but as she took several deep breaths, things started to return to her.

Smoke, dust and blood filled her nostrils, as she woke in the overturned train car. She couldn't see when she tried to open her eyes, and she felt the hot blood rushing down her face from a cut somewhere under her hairline. She groaned and tried to move, but she was pinned under something or someone. She wanted to cry, but she feared that only blood would fall, not tears.

She coughed, but the pain in her head grew more intense. She tried to move again, but pain overtook her body. She didn't think anything was broken though, so she wanted to pull herself out and help others. She could hear their screams; their cries of agony. It was killing her to not be able to move and help them.

Michaela blinked into the darkness, seeing nothing but the small filters of light coming from the side windows which were now directly above her. She reached for something, anything, and she pulled at a curtain next to her. She pulled herself, feeling the object weighing her down move a little. She cried out as she pulled herself into a sitting position.

"Sully!" she screamed. "Sully! Sully!" She heard no response, only the incessant wails of those injured in the other cars. "Sully? Albert? Lydia!" She was beginning to grow frantic. She hear a soft whimper from nearby. It was female. Lydia. "Lydia?"

"Michaela," she groaned. "Something's wrong. What happened?"

"I'm not sure, Lydia. Are you hurt?" She didn't receive a reply, and her heart began to pound. "Lydia!" Michaela started to feel her way around, but she soon became dizzy and fell unconscious once more.

She opened her eyes. Her heart was fluttering. Where was Sully? Where was everyone? She squinted in pain and looked around. She wasn't alone. A few other patients were lying unconscious in beds near hers. She looked down at herself. Her dress was covered in blood, and she couldn't be sure if it was hers or someone else's. She wanted to get up. She had to find her husband. She had to make sure that he was all right.

"Sully?" she asked aloud, not expecting an answer but hoping for one. She sat up, all of the pain in her body rushing to her head. She groaned, but tried to pull herself out of bed despite the pain.

"What are you doing?" asked an older man as he rushed into the room. "Lay back, Miss."

"No, I need to find my husband," she said softly.

"Don't worry," he replied soothingly. "Rest now. I'm Dr. Bernard." Michaela winced a little.

"Dr. Michaela Quinn," she groaned.

"Well!" he chuckled. "I've heard a lot about you." She didn't care. She didn't care about anything this man had to say. She only wanted her husband.

"Sully," she groaned. "I need to find…"

"Just rest now," Dr. Bernard replied. "You may have a concussion, so you shouldn't be up and about."

"I don't care! I need to find my husband. We were on the train. He was…I need…"

"All survivors of the train wreck were brought here," Dr. Bernard explained. "I'm sure your husband is here, so don't worry. Rest now. We'll get it all sorted out as soon as you're feeling better." Michaela realized that she was getting nowhere with this man, so she nodded solemnly. She waited for him to check the other three patients, and once he was out of the room, she pulled herself up and began to walk toward the door, feeling unbearably ill. But, she walked along anyway, ignoring all of the pain she was feeling in her head.

So many people were sitting and lying in the halls, victims of the train accident. There were so many that they didn't have enough rooms on this floor of the hospital for all of them. She felt guilty. She was much better off than many of these people. Why should she have gotten a bed? Perhaps it was because she was a woman. Most of the people lying on the ground were men. It was then that she spotted a little blonde boy standing by the wall, crying into his hands. He didn't look injured, merely out of place. She couldn't walk away without checking on him. It was her duty as a doctor and her will as a compassionate woman.

She slowly, stiffly knelt beside him.

"Are you hurt?" she asked softly. The little boy looked up at her, his tear-filled eyes sparkling as they looked into hers. He wiped his nose on his sleeve and shook his head.

"They took Ma away," he said softly. Michaela felt a lump rising in her throat, and she put her hand on the boy's shoulder. "We brought her in, and she was hollerin'. She was hurtin' real bad. I can't find her."

"Who's we?"

"Me and my brother and sister," he replied. A taller boy with matching blonde hair walked up behind the boy and put his hand on his shoulder.

"Sorry if he's botherin' ya, Ma'am."

"He's no bother," Michaela assured him. "I saw him crying, and I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to help. I'm a doctor." A girl with equally blonde hair walked up beside the older boy.

"Looks like you're the one that needs a doctor," she pointed out.

"I'm fine," Michaela replied. "The three of you?"

"We're fine, Ma'am. Right, Brian?" Brian nodded. "We're just waitin' on our ma. We're on our way to Colorado Springs." Michaela nodded sadly.

"So was I." She paused for a moment. "I hope everything turns out well for you."

"Thank you," Colleen said with a hesitant smile. "If you're a doctor, ya know 'bout pregnant ladies, right?"

"I know my fair share," she replied.

"Maybe once ya get to feelin' better, you can check on our ma. They took her back there." Colleen pointed behind two swinging doors. Michaela nodded slowly, blinked a few times and slowly started on down the gauntlet of train wreck victims, their eyes piercing daggers into her for being able enough to walk around. Most of them were too critically injured to move at all. She felt her heart break for them. Her soul was aching. She needed him. She needed to see him and know that he was all right.

"Michaela?" Michaela turned at the voice. Albert was standing in the hall, his clothes in disarray; his skin covered in blood and sweat. More able-bodied victims were carrying in those who couldn't move.

"The room at the end of the hall has an empty bed," she said quietly to anyone who would listen. One man nodded his thanks, and Michaela turned her attention back to Albert. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine. Just a cut or two, but I got that taken care of. Lydia…she's not waking up. The doctors are afraid that the train…well, maybe the baby…" His voice cracked, and Michaela reached out to hug him.

"She's going to make it, Albert. Don't worry. Lydia's strong. She's gone through a lot to have this baby, and she's not going to give up yet." Albert tried to be positive, and he nodded when he pulled away. "I need to find him, Albert."

"Sully," Albert said quietly. "I saw him. I mean, I haven't seen him, but I saw them bring him in. They carried him…that way." Albert pointed forward, and Michaela swallowed hard. "I don't think he was conscious, Michaela." Michaela tried not to hear him. She didn't want to hear that about her husband. Sully was alive. He had to be. She wouldn't let him die, because she knew his spirit was strong. His body was strong.

Michaela moved down the hallway, her feet feeling like lead. Was she dreaming? The pain in her head told her 'no.' She peeked into every room, seeing the pain and the suffering that she'd seen so many times during her years as a doctor, though this was the first time she was truly experiencing the personal pain for herself. It seemed so surreal. She wanted to take their pain away. She wanted all of the suffering to go away. Where was the light?

"Sully," she choked out as she moved closer to the end of the hall. "I need you." She suppressed a sob, but it was replaced by a wail of emotions. Where was he? Where?

The last room at the end of the hall had a faint yellow glow about it, setting it apart from all of the others. All sounds stopped as she walked in, and she felt like time was frozen, and she was the only one allowed to stand in the center of it all; feel it's consequences.

She saw him. He was lying on a bed as flat as a board. One hand clutched the red, black and white beads that hung from his neck. The other was resting at his side, resting without a care.

Her tears froze. She couldn't move or breathe or think. She stared, seeing nothing but her husband's body lying there. Was he dead? Oh, was he ever going to open his eyes again and see her? Would she ever get to look into those azure oceans and see such amazing life and love? Of course he'd wake up. He had to.

"Sully," she whispered, finally gaining the strength to walk across the yellow room. Sully didn't move. He didn't flinch. He laid there, his eyes closed and his hand clutching his beads next to his heart. She trembled as she sat down on the bed. Her eyes were damp with tears. Her lips trembled, and a sob escaped. "No. No. No." She shook her head and put her head upon his chest. "Sully, please wake up. Please. Don't go away. Don't leave me."

"Miss, you're not supposed to be in here," an older man said as he walked in. He was obviously a doctor, but she didn't care.

"I'm his wife," she whispered, her hand gently tracing the contours of Sully's face.

"I'm terribly sorry," he whispered, his eyes downcast.

"He's not dead," Michaela snapped without lifting her head. She was listening to Sully's heart, hearing it beating strongly; beating for her.

"Of course not, Ma'am," he replied. "But I'm afraid your husband has slipped into a coma. He may not make it through the night."