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.

Warning: This contains material that has (probably) not been put into a DQ fanfic before. I must warn you that it contains a pre-marital sexual situation, it may offend some people, and it is very "out of character" for the most part. It's a fantasy. I wrote it on a whim. I enjoyed it. So if you don't think you will, please turn back NOW. Jules has her own personal title for the story, which I won't state here, (ha!) but she did fall out of her chair while reading it and claims she hasn't recovered yet! ;)

Author's Note: Takes place during "Bad Water."

Shadow Fever

By, Ashley J.

Written January 2, 2006

She hadn't heard him move for about a half hour, so she felt safe to assume that he had fallen asleep. She hadn't thought that being out in the woods alone with Sully would be so uncomfortable. But, she knew now that it was going to take a while to get used to having him be the first face she saw before closing her eyes and the first she saw when she opened them. She couldn't help but feel her heart pound at the thought. Secretly, she was thrilled to have him so close. Something about him made her want him closer. She'd never admit it, but she couldn't control what she thought about him or how she felt when he was near.

He was sleeping so close by, yet he was still so far away. She couldn't help but hear the sound of his breathing and want to scoot closer for warmth. Having no fire made it colder than usual, and she knew for a fact that body heat was good prevention for hypothermia.

She shook her head, feeling silly. She turned to look at him in the darkness, seeing his still form facing her. His eyes were closed, but his presence could still make her blush. She couldn't help the feeling that balled up inside of her. She couldn't control the way she started to sweat, even in the cold. She especially couldn't control the feeling that began to pound between her legs. Just knowing that her body was doing this made her flush heavily. She turned to her side, trying not to think about the undeniable feeling that was surging through her body. She had never felt it so strongly before. Now, she couldn't think of anything but what it might feel like to have his body against hers, his scent mixed with hers and his mouth pressed against hers.

With a soft sigh, she swallowed hard and placed her damp hand against her neck. Her pulse was racing, and her hand felt like ice against her burning flesh. She gently ran her hand across her cheek and along her forehead. She wanted to get up and go for a drink of water, but she knew that any movements might wake Sully. If there was one thing she knew about him, it was that he was always on the alert. She couldn't risk him waking to see her so flustered.

She slowly unfastened a couple of buttons on her blouse, hoping that would cure her fit of warmth. She couldn't think of what she could do to stop the pounding that begged for her attention. Well, she could think of one thing, but that one thing was something she had only read about in medical journals, had been told was disgusting and improper and had never allowed herself to attempt to try. She blushed at the thought and shook her head. What is wrong with me? At this moment, it didn't sound improper or disgusting. Her mind was wandering, and she couldn't control it. The more she thought about him, the more she felt her body respond to his closeness. The more her body responded, the harder it was to concentrate. It was a vicious circle, it seemed. She couldn't get him out of her thoughts. She couldn't get the thought of his hands on her out of her mind. When she closed her eyes, she only saw things that would make a married woman blush.

She heard him clear his throat in his sleep, and it made her heart skip a beat and her body quiver. She couldn't take it. She couldn't stop wondering what it would feel like to have his lips on hers, his tongue on her sizzling skin. She couldn't even begin to wonder how it would feel to have him inside of her, making her feel things she'd never felt before.

Another button, she decided, would be the best idea. She knew she couldn't unfasten too many, but the cool night air might feel nice against her skin. She was wrong. It only made things worse. She felt her nipples harden underneath her camisole, and she bit her lip to control the whimper that was about to escape. Her hands were trembling, and her body was begging her for release. She had ignored it since the first time she'd had that feeling. She'd kept it to herself. She had never truly known what it was, but she had known how it felt to need, to desire and to want to give in to the temptation.

Her breath began to quicken. Her hands gripped the sides of her skirt, and her toes curled in her stockings. She couldn't take it. She couldn't let her mother's well-meant advice keep her from discovering what this feeling was all about. She couldn't deny her body the right to feel satisfied. She couldn't lock up her emotions; her desires and torture herself forever.

Her eyes were glazed over with frustration now, and she slowly gazed over at Sully. God, what was she thinking? She couldn't think about this, let alone do anything with him just a few feet away. Somehow, the thought made it more exciting. She couldn't believe herself. Unknowingly, her hand had already started inching her skirt up. When she felt the cool air against her bare legs, she shuddered and nearly gasped.

I can't do this. I can't.

Her eyes studied his face, watching for any hint of him being awake. He was still. His eyes were still shut. His mouth was open only slightly, and she could see his breath in the moonlight. Her eyes wandered from his peaceful face to his broad shoulders. His hands were curled up, resting out in front of him. She could see some of his finely toned chest peaking out from his slightly unbuttoned shirt. She bit her lip, and she shook her head. She couldn't believe she was thinking of him this way. She couldn't believe that her body was reacting to a man she barely knew.

Her eyes fluttered closed, as her core began to throb harder. She couldn't take it any longer. She couldn't let herself lie there all night thinking about him; letting her body feel things she had never felt so strongly before. Her hand gripped the blanket she hadn't dared to cover up with yet. She draped it over her body, feeling even hotter than she had been before. She sucked in the cool air, not noticing when Sully's eyes fluttered open for a moment.

He could see her writhing under the blanket, propping herself up against a tree log to get comfortable. He had heard her fidgeting for the past several minutes, yet he had been afraid to open his eyes. He had been afraid to look at her and see exactly what he'd been seeing in his dreams. He wanted to ask her if she was all right, but somehow, he knew the answer to that. He peered through the slits of his closed eyes, and he could see that she had unbuttoned her blouse. He could see her head fall back just a little, as she pulled the blanket over her body. God, what was she doing? He could only come to one conclusion, and knowing Michaela, he figured he was completely wrong.

She looked toward him again, seeing him still frozen in that same position. If only his back was turned. There was nothing she could do about that, and her hands were already pulling at her undergarments, trembling along the way. She couldn't stop herself, and she bit her lip, closing her eyes as she slipped the garments down to her ankles. She suddenly felt silly, resisting the strong urge to pull them up, find her horse and race back to town before she did something she might regret. But, when the incessant throbbing grew stronger, she leaned against the log and slowly moved her hand up her thigh.

Her skin tingled all the way, and her free hand gripped the side of her skirt, tugging at it, as the tension mounted. She moaned softly, as she parted her legs, feeling her fingertips gently touch herself. She closed her eyes, her entire body trembling, as she felt the need building. She wanted to cry out, but she stopped herself, knowing his eyes could open at any moment. So, she closed her eyes, lying as still as possible, as her hand began to explore her lower body.

She squirmed slightly, her fingertips brushing against the sensitive flesh. She sucked in a sharp breath, running her finger against the neglected skin once more. She could feel the wetness on her fingers, and she sighed softly, realizing how good it felt to touch the sensitive flesh she had never dared to explore before. Her hand still shook, and her body continued to grow tense. She shut her eyes tightly, seeing his face. She could feel his hands on her, stroking her. She could feel his mouth against her neck; his tongue dancing along hers. She could feel his fingers doing what her own were doing. God, it was incredible.

He heard her whimper slightly, and he could see her face glisten with a thin coat of perspiration. He then heard a quiet moan escape her throat, and he knew exactly what she was doing. He couldn't deny the fact that it aroused him. He could feel his own heart beating, about to burst out of his chest. He closed his eyes, shaking his head. He didn't know what to do. He wanted to watch her, but he knew she'd never forgive him for that. He couldn't believe what he was witnessing. He had never thought she would do such a thing. But now, the reality of it made his desire for her grow stronger. He wanted to be her fingers. He wanted to explore her body. He wanted all of her.

Her fingers slipped across her nerve endings, torturing herself in ways that made her arch her back. Her eyes were closed so tightly, and her own body was screaming so loudly, that she didn't notice when he rolled to his other side. He couldn't take the sight of her pleasing herself. It was too much for him, and his own body was about to explode. When he heard her choke back another moan, he stopped breathing. He considered turning back again before she noticed, but he knew he couldn't. He couldn't do anything but listen to her muffled sounds of pleasure, while all he wanted to do was please her. He wondered if she was dreaming. He wondered if she was thinking of another man. Why in the hell would she think about him? He felt like an idiot.

"Sully," she whispered, not even able to stop herself. She gasped, not knowing what to do next. God, what if he'd woken up? What if he'd heard her say his name? What if…oh God. She couldn't even open her eyes. She couldn't entertain the possibility that he knew what she was doing to herself. He had to be asleep. He had to be.

He had heard his name. His heart swelled, and his arousal hardened, as his name rolled from her tongue. He couldn't believe it, but his hand was already gripping the sides of his buckskins. She's killing me. She's actually trying to kill me. I know it.

Before he knew it, his hands were tearing at the button of his buckskins. He slipped his hand inside and wrapped his fingers around his strong shaft, feeling it pulsating in his hands. All he could think about was what it would be like to feel her around him, gripping him, stroking him. He gasped at the feeling, and he slowly ran his thumb over the tip, feeling himself quivering, listening to the sound of her breath.

She turned to her side a little, curling up under the blanket, hiding herself from the world. She took a deep breath, letting a finger slip inside of her body, exploring the idea of going further with this. Her other hand slipped inside of her unbuttoned blouse and touched her hardened nipple through the camisole material. She felt her body react again, and as she slowly slipped another finger in, she rolled the taut nipple between her fingers, nearly moaning with pleasure.

His hand continued to stroke, hearing her muffled cries of pleasure. It drove him wild and heightened his arousal. He felt as if he was going to burst already, and the intensity was more pleasurable than any he'd felt before. Just thinking of her, picturing what she looked like under all of those clothes made him test his own threshold.

She tilted her head back again, arching herself, as she moved her fingers in and out, feeling her walls constrict around her. She couldn't describe the feeling. It was new and frightening and wonderful at the same time. She couldn't believe she had never attempted this before. She couldn't believe her mother called it improper and disgusting. Her entire body was on fire. It was the most erotic experience she had ever encountered in her entire life.

Sully closed his eyes tightly, feeling the dam about to break. He could feel her moving just feet away. He could hear his name ringing through the air, still firm in his memory. He wanted to hear her cry out. He wanted to hear his name on her lips again.

Her hand moved faster between her legs, her thumb clumsily circling around the flesh that made her hips feel the urge to jump each time she caressed it. Her fingers slipped deeper inside, and she could feel the pressure building up inside of herself. She didn't know what was happening, but she couldn't control her body any longer. Her toes curled so tightly that she thought she might break them. Her breathing had long ago turned into short, quick pants of breath, and she could feel her body tightening, each muscle tensing. She wanted to look at him, but her eyes were closed so tightly. She wanted to say his name, but words failed her.

He couldn't hold on any longer. It had been too damned long. He couldn't fight it. His entire body grew rigid, and he lost control, his mind shouting her name, screaming for her. Was she screaming for him?

Without warning, Michaela's body gave way to the flood of completion. She gasped, feeling her body relax, and she slowly drew her hand back, feeling her need for him on her fingers. She couldn't believe what she had done; what the mere thought of him could do to her. How would she face him? How would she ever look at him and not think of this night?

She felt her body grow cold again, and she shivered under the blanket. She pulled her garments back into place, but they felt uncomfortable against her now. She wanted to swim or bathe or something. She wanted to get away and not think about him for a while. She now knew what his presence could do, and it frightened her. She wanted more. She wanted to know if he ever touched himself when he thought of her. Was she a fool? She didn't know. She only knew what felt right and what made her feel alive.

Sully's forehead was damp with sweat now. His body was tired, but he couldn't stop thinking about her. She wasn't moving now either. They were both so still that it was uncomfortable. He knew she wasn't awake. She had no idea he'd just witnessed it all. She had no idea he'd been doing the same thing she had been doing.

She sat up a little, her body chilled by the night air. When she sat up, she saw that he had turned to his other side, and it made her heart stop beating for only a moment. Perhaps he'd rolled over in his sleep. Perhaps he'd woken up and turned to give her privacy. Her face blushed red, and she wanted to crawl under a rock. But, at the same time, the thought of him knowing what she had done made her mind start to wander again.

Sully buttoned his buckskins and slowly rolled to his other side. His eyes locked with hers instantly, and he saw her jaw drop in shock. He didn't know what to say to her, and he wondered if she had known. He watched her look away, but her eyes drew back to his again. She couldn't speak. She was in too much shock to speak. She couldn't get her mind off of what she had just done; what she had dreamed of doing with him. How could she have let this happen? What if he knew?

His own desire started to grow again. Seeing her face flushed in the moonlight, her hair unkempt and her shirt unbuttoned enough that he could see her taut nipples through the fabric of her camisole made him tense again. She wanted to cover herself, but she couldn't move.

Stop staring. Stop looking. Leave her alone. Go to sleep. She doesn't want this. He turned to his back, swallowing hard, but she didn't move. She could see him move to try to hide the fact that he wanted her. It was undeniable. And she wanted him too.

Finally, she moved, lying back down on the ground, not noticing she was closer to him than she had been before. Her center was starting to throb again. She couldn't control it anymore than she could before. She wanted to cry now, her frustrations growing too heavy to deal with alone.

He knew she'd never been with a man. There was no doubting it. He knew by the way she talked to him, looked at him and by the innocence in her eyes just a few moments before. He knew what was happening to her, and it had been so long for him. He hadn't held a woman in his arms since Abagail. But, he'd never fully given himself to anyone before.

He turned to face her, not sure of how she would look at him. He wanted to touch her. He wanted to touch her as she had touched herself. She'd never let him, he was sure, but the thought of it made his heart race. He was shocked when she shifted to her side, her eyes staring right into his.

"Can't sleep," he said softly, not even bothering to ask. She shook her head. He sat up, his body drenched with sweat already. She noticed the way he trembled, and she sat up, her own body doing the same. She swallowed hard, seeing the need in his eyes; a need that matched the way she felt inside. She didn't know how to react to the sound of his voice or the look in his eyes. All she knew was what she wanted. All she knew was that he made her feel things she hadn't felt before.

She finally broke their gaze, and he knew she was embarrassed. He knew she knew now. She didn't need to say it or think it. They both knew what had happened, and there was no denying that.

"It's all right," he breathed. She looked into his eyes again. It was all there. His desire, his need, his frustration. It matched hers.

"It is?" He nodded.

"Everything…it's right." Without any warning, his hands pulled her body close, and they were gripping at her blouse, as his lips met hers, pulling her into the most passion-filled kiss she'd ever been a part of. She moaned, as he pulled her into his lap. She felt him straining against his buckskins, and she gasped, tilting her neck back, letting his lips explore the exposed flesh.

His shaking hands framed her face, placing hot kisses against her lips again, and she opened up to him, granting his tongue access, just as she'd dreamed. She massaged his tongue with hers, nervous and aroused at the same time, feeling him hardening by the moment. She couldn't believe what she was doing. She couldn't resist the urge to pull his shirt free from his pants and graze her fingers against his flesh. She felt fire coming from her fingertips, and he deepened their kiss, his hand moving up her skirt to claw at her undergarments.

"Yes," she breathed, as he used both hands to work at her undergarments. She could feel his fingers raking down her thighs. Her flesh stung, but she didn't care. She needed this more than he did. She needed to feel him inside of her, thrusting inside of her and breaking the innocence she still carried with her. She didn't care about pain. She cared about the pleasure of being with the only man who could make her feel it.

"God," he breathed, his hands pulling her stockings off with her undergarments. He wasted no time in touching her, feeling what he did to her; feeling the way his fingers fit so tightly inside of her. She groaned, feeling him already thrusting inside of her, preparing her for what was to come. Her lips found his neck, nipping at the flesh, as her fingers clawed at his buttons. His thumb circled her core, bringing her pleasure as she fumbled with his buttons.

"Sully," she moaned. "Sully, please." She pushed his shirt down his shoulders, and he helped her remove it before returning to his task. He ignited something inside of her, and she felt herself spilling around him. She was worried for only a moment, and when she heard him moan and continue, she knew everything was all right. The pressure was so intense that she couldn't think, and when her mouth placed kisses to his chest, she felt as if she might melt in his arms. "Oh God. Oh…Sully!" She couldn't control her cries any longer. She tumbled backward, and his hands moved to her shirt, undoing the buttons and slipping it off of her arms. She was burning now, and he buried his hands up her camisole, feeling her breasts in the palms of his hands.

"So beautiful," he whispered, crushing his lips against hers, as he straddled her. His buckskins were becoming too irritating to his arousal, and he groaned uncomfortably. She hissed softly, as his teeth gently bit her nipple through the material of her camisole. When he began to pull her skirt past her knees, not bothering to rid her of it, she began to pound harder and harder, needing him. Now.

"I need you. I need you," she groaned into his ear, reaching for the edge of his buckskins.

"You've never…"

"I don't care. I don't care. It doesn't matter." She fumbled with the button, pressing her hand against his arousal for a moment, before she freed the button and slipped her hand inside. She gasped at the feel of him in her hands, pulsating so quickly. Her eyes met his, and he saw the spark in her eyes. "I need you. I need…" She muffled her words in his mouth, deepening their kiss. She gasped, as she felt his tip slip inside of her. She squeezed her eyes shut, and his hand moved to guide himself inside. When she cried out against him, he started to pull back.

"Don't go. Not now. Don't stop, Sully. Don't stop."

"I won't," he breathed. His hands gripped her hips, and he plunged himself inside of her. She cried out, gripping his shoulders, wrapping her legs around his waist. She arched her back, and he tried to gain his composure. Her nails raked down his back, and he began to move inside of her. His slow, deep thrusts caused her head to hit the ground with a hard thud. She gasped, their passion overtaking the pain. When his hand slipped between them to stroke her, she cried out, and he started to thrust inside of her.

"Sully! Sully…" Her legs tightened around him instinctively, and he pressed his lips to hers, his hands gripping her breasts.

"Oh," she moaned, pulling him tighter to her body. She could feel each move he made, and as his thrusts grew deeper, she felt her body stretching. She knew her innocence was gone forever. He knew it too, and he was taken aback. He had taken that innocence from her. As he moved inside of her, he saw her smile, and he couldn't believe it was happening. She was writhing now, her eyes started to close, and he started to slow down. He was afraid of what to do. All of the what ifs started to swim through his head, and he tried to focus. His hands kneaded her creamy thighs, as he plunged deeper into her. She let out a cry, and it startled him. He started pulling back, and she felt him.

"No! Don't stop. If you stop, I'll kill you," she breathed, her eyes closed so tightly that he wasn't sure if she was serious or not.

"You are killin' me," he chuckled into her hair, feeling her nails on his back again.

"Just don't stop."

"Ya okay?"

"Don't stop!"

"Not even an earthquake could stop me now," he panted, his focus sharpening. Her hips met his thrusts eagerly, and for a moment, he wondered if she was truly as virginal as he'd thought. Either that, or she was a fast learner.

His knees were numb, and when he felt her tighten around him again, he pressed his thumb to her sensitive flesh, causing her to cry out, a little death falling from her lips. When he brought his hand back, he saw the crimson stains.

"Mi…Michaela," he breathed. She shook her head.

"I'm all right." With that, she hushed him with a kiss, sending him over the edge, bringing her with him. She felt him spill himself inside of her, and she felt free. He pulled away, rolling onto his back on the ground. Michaela lie there, her skirt bunched up, her camisole nearly ripped in half. Her skin still tingled, but the flame had been put out…for now, anyway.

She pulled the blanket around herself, not sure of what to do next. When he rolled to his side, she saw the awkwardness appear. She suddenly didn't feel brave or anything anymore. She wasn't sure what he would think of her now. She wasn't sure what to think of herself.

"I didn't hurt ya, did I?" he asked quietly, reaching for her. She let him pull her into his arms, and she relaxed, enjoying her first attempt at cuddling. She couldn't explain how wonderful she felt and how tired and sore and in need of a bath at the same time.

"You didn't," she replied. "I just…I'm fine. I'm fine."

"Ya sure?" He sensed the uncertainty in her voice.

"Yes. I'm wonderful, Sully. I just didn't expect this," she explained.

"Neither did I," he replied. "Guess things happen when ya least expect it." Michaela blushed and nodded.

"You're right. They do. I'm sorry if I…"

"Ya didn't do nothin' wrong. It's natural."

"Before…you know…"

"I know," he said softly. "It's completely natural, Michaela. Don't let nobody else tell ya different." She smiled a little. "What?"

"You've never called me Michaela before." Sully chuckled a little.

"Well, I figure that callin' ya Dr. Mike would be kinda…awkward now."

"I suppose that's true," she answered. She shook her head, hearing a coyote howl in the distance. She wanted to ask him what was going to happen next, but she didn't know how. All she knew was what they had at this very moment. The future didn't seem to matter just yet. It didn't have to matter yet, did it? She didn't know. She knew she loved him. She couldn't be sure he loved her, but she knew. She'd known for a long while now, but actually admitting it to herself was something she hadn't been able to do until now.

"What now?" She glanced at him.

"I was about to ask you the same thing," she admitted. "I don't know."

"Me neither." He swallowed hard. "Never expected this from you. I never thought you'd want…"

"People have always told me I'm full of surprises," she replied. "I surprised myself this time." Sully smiled and closed his eyes. He felt her hand touch his chest, and she let out a deep breath. Her eyes closed, and after a while, he knew she was sleeping. His fingers played with her disheveled hair, and he smiled. He wasn't sure whether or not he was dreaming. He hoped not, but somehow he thought it might be easier if it was a dream. He couldn't help himself, however, and his hand grazed over the softness of her own hand.

"I love you," he said quietly. I only wish I was brave enough to say it while you're awake. He closed his eyes and began to doze off to sleep. Her eyes were full of tears. Had he meant to say it? Had he meant for her to hear it? She didn't know how to respond, so she let herself fall asleep in his arms, thankful when she slept a dreamless sleep, happy, content and satisfied in her lover's arms.

The End