Summary: A crossover fan fiction between Doctor Quinn: Medicine Woman and East of Eden. What happens when Cathy Ames a.k.a Kate and Byron Sully meet in the darkest hours of their lives?
"The gift of free will in a single word"
He welcomed the rain, the smell of dirt and raw sweat that clung to his body as he walked ahead blindly through the woods. Weeks had passed as he tried to put distance between him and their deaths, yet with every step he took, he kept seeing her still face and the small lifeless body, quickly covered by a small, white sheet.
He didn't understand how God could be so cruel. Abagail had done nothing wrong. Nothing. Yet He had refused to let her stay with him, He had refused to let their child live.
Lightening struck, lighting the sky a violent purple, and Sully looked up, screaming accusingly into the relentless thunder, "Why? Why have You left me?"
Like a blade slicing through clouds, the sky cracked again, and rain turned into highways of impossible floods. To lie down and die would be easy. It would be comforting. But Sully did not seek comfort now. Tremors ran through his body as he felt the cold eastern winds from the woods. The trees howled, like lost wolves in one direction, and in the other, an open field heading towards a twisted road waited patiently. The limbs reached out for him, their fingers pulling him, seducing him deeper into the woods, away from the field and the road. Slowly, he turned, following the hissing cries until the trees caved around him, blocking the rain and the sun and God.
Sully stumbled backwards, pushing through gnarled branches that reached out like tiny children's hands, until he fell through an open clearing. He tumbled to the ground, catching his breath as he escaped and looked behind him. There stood an abandoned old shack.
He turned around, facing the smirking trees, blocking his exit to the road. His faith in God had waned, but he never doubted fate. The rain pelted his shoulders, and he turned back again towards the shack. Quickly he shuffled towards the three steps and pushed the heavy, stubborn door open.
Sully heard her pained breathing immediately. Like a frightened lynx, she pushed back into the fireplace, her eyes wild with suspicion and intrigue.
He stepped forward, not taking his eyes away from her. She was wearing a tailored blue dress, distressed and ripped, singed with dirt and blood. Her long brown hair was disheveled, and she had deep whipping scars all over her face.
"Did Jules send you back to finish the deed?" She snarled, grinding her teeth together as she held her arm protectively to her chest. Sully frowned and stepped toward her, but her head shook, crazed with fear, "Did he?"
"No… No…" Sully knelt down in front of her, trying to catch her eyes. "I wouldn't touch a woman like that."
A slow grin spread across the side of her face. "No…" she observed him, nursing her arm. "Mr. Edwards wouldn't send your sort…but you have touched a woman, I can tell."
Sully watched her eyes appraise him in the dark cinders of the fire place, wondering if she was clairvoyant or simply mad. "Do ya want my help?"
"Would you really leave me here if I said no?" Her voice changed suddenly, becoming soft and demure. Her chest convulsed with chills, and Sully quickly stood, walked into the fireplace, and picked her up in his arms.
Sully gently put her down on a small cot in the far corner of the room. His soaked body and clothes dampened her dress, and she shivered, her teeth chattering like firing bullets. Sully searched the shack, looking for something that could serve as a blanket or anything remotely close to medical supplies.
After picking apart the cabinets, Sully returned with a single rag and a bowl of rain water. She smirked and grimaced. "Too bad there's not a doctor in the house."
"We'll make do," Sully assured her. Slowly he pulled out his new tomahawk. Her eyes glittered, fascinated as she looked at the sharpened blade, carefully crafted in leather and wood binding.
"What is that?" She whispered, her eyes wide and fixated. Sully turned his back to her and walked to the fireplace. He picked up a piece of firewood and began to shave it.
His mind traveled to Cloud Dancing. They had only had a brief encounter, but his soul had been touched by the medicine man. "A gift from a new friend. He says it will keep harm away as I travel."
"Oh?" As he carved, she watched the wood peel off like curled apple slices.
He sat down beside her, watching her closely through veiled lashes. "He thinks it will bring me back."
"From where you came?" She bit her lip as the last slice dropped off.
Sully put the tomahawk back in his belt loop. "I ain't goin' back there."
"Why?" She frowned, concern stretching across her face.
He paused, reading her face. "Ya sure do talk an awful lot for someone so weak and helpless."
She quickly dropped her expression and said bluntly, "You're running away." Sully's head rose up, caught. "What is your name?"
"My name's Sully."
She scoffed and shivered, "Just Sully?"
He shrugged, reaching for her broken arm. "I prefer it that way."
She rolled her eyes before he took it. "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard—"
The second Sully touched her arm, she screeched from the pit of her stomach like a rabid dog, but he looked straight into her eyes, even as she pulled at the roots of his hair. He pressed her arm against the wood and tied the rag around it, straightening it, even as she continued to wail, he stayed silent.
"Done," he said simply, not breaking eye contact with her, her breath still ragged and pained.
She clawed her fingers through his hair and pulled his face close to hers. "Do you know what it feels like to burn, Mr. Sully?"
His jaw locked as he felt her hot breath against his face. Sully slowly placed his hand over hers, removing it. "I'm not afraid of ya, miss."
She gripped his hand in mid-air. "I could make you burn. I've done it before."
Sully stared at her, seeing murder in her eyes. "Who did this to ya?"
She dropped his hand and pulled away from him, her attention going to her cast arm. "Did what?"
"Make ya hate life?"
She giggled coquettishly for a moment, but when she saw the serious expression on his face, she stopped laughing. "The Man. Men. All men. You're all the same, aren't you?"
Sully ripped part of his sleeve off and stuck it in the bowl of rain water. "What makes ya say that?"
She eyed him as he began to dab each cut and scratch across her face. "Because you take what you want from us, but when you truly see us, you hate what's inside."
"My wife gave me everything she had." She leaned her neck back as his he traced down her Adam's apple. "So much that there was nothing left of herself when it was over."
"She died," she said flatly. "You blame yourself?"
Sully looked up as he pressed done on an open wound. "Yes."
"Why?" Sully watched her blood stain the remains of his shirt for several minutes as she kept a continuous eye on him. "Why so quiet?"
Sully released his hold and let the blood run. "I don't know."
She grinned. "You know."
"Yeah?" He placed the bloody cloth in the bowl.
Like a slithering snake, her hand slowly slid up his leg. "You wanted more, didn't you?"
Sully looked down, and then looked in her eyes sharply. "I wanted her to live longer."
She shook her head confidently. "You wanted more. I know what it's like to want more. We're alike that way, Mr. Sully."
Sully picked up her hand and began to clean her cut knuckles. "That's ironic."
"What?" Her eyes flashed with naiveté.
Sully curled her hand around his. "I think you hate yourself."
She laughed incredulously. "Are you trying to find pity for me?"
He shook his head and pushed her tangled hair out of her face. "I'm trying to find your heart."
His fingers ran the length of her long brown hair, until his hands knotted in her rats at the ends. "Keep on your guard, Mr. Sully. Somewhere inside, it churns blood."
He welcomed the challenge and pushed through the knots. "No doubt. Do you have a name?"
Her eyes shifted, contemplating. "I think so."
He leaned on his knees. "What is it?"
She tilted her head, her dark hair falling behind her shoulder. "Why don't you call me Kate?"
Sully raised his eyebrows. "Just Kate?"
"That's right, Just Sully." She grinned mischievously. Her eyes roamed over his drenched foam. "Are you going to stay in those wet clothes?"
He stood up and looked around the shack. "Nothin' else to put on here. Might as well."
"I'm not going to seduce you, if that's what you're worried about," she said innocently.
Sully exhaled. "I thought about it."
She lay back on the cot, eyes sparkling. "Seducing me?"
Sully turned around, crossing his arms over his chest. "Ya like to play with words, don't ya?"
Kate ignored him and sat up again, her attention going to the black buttons on her dress. "You've done it before. Haven't you?"
Sully watched her released the top three buttons, and a silver chain began to sparkle around her neck. "Done what?"
"Seduced a woman."
Sully backed up, averting his eyes as she removed her top and sat only in her chemise and corset. "I've only loved one woman."
She pulled the chain out and began twisting a silver cross, flashing it against the light in his direction. "Still. Doesn't mean you didn't seduce her. How'd you get her?"
Sully moved towards the window. "I don't want to talk about Abby."
Kate's voice was rich as a collection plate, "That's a sweet name. Was she a sweet girl too before she meet you?"
Sully's face was like fire and his head jerked around to her, not caring anymore about modesty. "I'm not talkin' about her with you."
Kate stood up off the bed, her body still fragile from the beating, but her eyes were mad as demons. "You're shakin', Mr. Sully. You want to scream? Throw things? Go ahead. I know you blame yourself."
Sully stuttered, shivering as the cold finally hit his body and his heart. "I wasn't—I wasn't—"
"You weren't supposed to marry her?" She grinned diabolically.
"No." He shook his head dejectedly.
"But you took her anyway," her eyes flash with pleasure.
Sully looked up to the Heavens, his soul wide open, truth pouring out of him. "We were in love. Martin Anderson didn't see her. He just saw her pretty face and her sweetness. People called her demure and ladylike, but she had fire in her. She did. And I—"
"Made her burn." Kate stepped closer to him and put her hand on his chest. She found the top two buttons of his shirt and began to unbutton them. "You always take what you want, Mr. Sully?"
Sully shook his head. "I didn't have a choice with Abagail."
Kate stepped closer, removing another button. "But she's gone now. And you got the whole world at your feet. What are you going to do with it?"
Sully froze as her hands snaked down his chest. "I don't know."
"You need someone to touch you? Make you feel like a man again?" She whispered.
Sully opened his eyes and looked at her. "Do ya know what it's like to love, Kate?"
She stopped moving. Her right cheek twitched and she tried to laugh but couldn't. "Who needs too feel love when it gives you nothing in return?"
Sully pulled her hands off of his chest. "Then your touch is meaningless."
"You don't want me?" Her head began to tremble ever so slightly.
"You're right. I can see ya. And you're soul is rotten, Kate." He dropped her hands and began to walk away from her.
"You bastard." She growled after him. Before he could reach the door, she grabbed his hand and pulled him back to her, gripping his shirt in her hands. "Can you feel this?"
She pressed her lips over his skillfully, bringing forth years of experience as a lover as she delved into his mouth. For a moment, he opened his mouth, tasting sin, her blood still fresh from another man's beating, her heart empty, but her body so giving and ready to be taken. Yes, he tasted her, but even her physical charms could not erase his memory of Abagail… or his hope love. He broke away slowly, looking down in her triumphant eyes.
"Oh believe me, Mr. Sully, my soul is in tact. It's your soul that's in denial. I know why you came here. I know. Tell me…. Do you still pray to God every night? Don't you hate Him now? Don't you want to punish him? Turn your back on him forever? Don't you want to give up everything your mother taught you? Don't you want to laugh in God's face?"
He laughed once and ran a single finger down the side of her face. "It's your face. Not His. Goodbye Kate."
As he turned to walk out the door, a flash of silver flew past him.
His tomahawk slammed into the wood.
He turned around.
She smiled sweetly as she held an oil lamp up. "You aren't going anywhere, Mr. Sully."