Title: Just Another Day

Summary: A "what could have happened" scenario from What Is Love. Sully returns to spend Valentine's Day with his one true love but will his romantic day turn out as he planned? (Please note that I had to change some of the events from the episode, What Is Love, so, although the story is set during that episode, it doesn't follow it exactly.)

Disclaimer: I do not own, nor am I affiliated with, Dr. Quinn or any of its characters.

Michaela looked at the stage with sheer exhaustion, watching the townsfolk packing back and forth, rehearsing their lines one more time before the big play. Most of them seemed to have everything down and Michaela couldn't help but be proud. Even though she knew that the play was really Dorothy's vision, Michaela knew that she had done her friend, and the play, justice when she offered to take on the role of director. She had managed to turn the group of everyday townsfolk into passable actors – even Hank.

"Dr. Mike!" Michaela turned, clutching a copy of Romeo and Juliet in her hands, and saw Jake standing behind her. "Now, am I supposed ta enter from the left side or the right side when I come in on the line where I start sayin'…"

"The left," Michaela reminded him once again. She swore that it was the hundredth time that he had asked that question that morning. Michaela couldn't help but smile as he walked away, though, knowing that the closer they got to the big moment, the less the actors were worried about knowing their lines and having the proper wardrobe and the more worried they were about having to perform in front of their friends.

"Dr. Mike!"

Michaela turned her attention back to the stage where Robert E stood with a sword in his hand.

"When we're all sword fighting, Hank brings his sword over his left shoulder but when we practiced it, he was bringin' his sword over his right shoulder, and I just think you oughta tell him that he should be playin' it like we practiced and…" Robert E complained.

"Left or right shoulder, Robert E, it doesn't really matter."

"What if somebody gets hurt?"
Michaela sighed. "Well, you know that they're not real swords. After all, you made them yourself. I'm sure everything will be fine."

"That's another thing…about the swords…"

"The swords are fine," Michaela quickly reacted before he had the chance to finish his sentence.

"But Dr. Mike, the play calls for…"

"Everything's fine, Robert E. Besides, I'm sure the good people of this town won't worry about a few creative liberties that we took."

"Creative liberties?"

"Never mind. Just go back to practicing."
"Michaela!"

Michaela turned. This time, however, a big smile spread across her face as she saw Dorothy approaching her.

"Dorothy," Michaela exclaimed, rather relieved. "What are you doing out of bed?"

"Oh, I'm feeling much better, Michaela."

"You're sure?"

"Positive. Besides, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to get back to my play."

"Mind? The play is all yours!" Michaela graciously handed Dorothy the book she had been holding.

Dorothy and Michaela shared a quick hug before Dorothy headed off to behind the stage to catch herself up on what was going on.

Michaela sighed and looked around. For once, in what seemed like forever, no one was calling her name or asking for her attention. Knowing that there were still a few hours to go, and that she would no longer be needed, Michaela left the stage area and headed for the clinic. With all of the running around she had been doing and the treating of laryngitis, the clinic was becoming disordered. The shelves needed restocking, the washed bandages needed folding, and there were always plenty of articles she could be catching up on. Although Michaela knew that she should probably have been working on her own lines, she knew that she just had to get out of the hectic atmosphere just for a little while.

As she closed the clinic door, the sounds of the street suddenly disappeared and she smiled. It had been a very long week. Michaela walked the perimeter of the clinic, wondering what she should do first. Normally, she would have welcomed help from Brian or Colleen when it came to straightening up the clinic, but she didn't much feel like being around anyone at that particular moment. Anyone but Sully. As she thought of him, she was somewhat ashamed that she felt so strongly about being with him but her shame couldn't keep her from having those feelings.

Michaela looked at the unrolled bandages and the medicines that needed to be put away in the cabinet. All she could think about, however, was how she could be on a romantic trip with Sully. She sighed, knowing that as much work as she needed to get done, she most likely would not want to do it that day. That day – Valentine's Day - was supposed to be special. But, as she told Brian, and tried to convince herself, it was just another day.

Michaela sat at her desk, shuffling through a stack of medical papers that she had been reading before she had gotten herself involved in the play. She picked one up and began reading it but the words were not making much sense in her head. She couldn't concentrate on them no matter how hard she tried. Sighing, she picked up the stack of papers, ready to put them in a drawer so that she didn't have to look at them any longer, and feel bad that she wasn't reading them. As she lifted them, she saw a single red rose on the corner of her desk, something that she had obviously neglected to see before. Michaela smiled. She picked up the rose and smelled it, a sudden sense of love and warmth growing over her. She immediately thought of Sully, who must have left her the flower before he had left on his journey. She knew that he felt badly about leaving her on such an important day and he most likely left the rose as a reminder that, even if they couldn't be together, he still loved her.

As Michaela held the rose, she noticed a folded up piece of paper below it. She picked it up, unfolded it, and immediately recognized it as a note from Sully.

Dear Michaela,

I am sorry if I disappointed you by not being able to be with you today. I know that you said that Valentine's Day was just another day to make me feel better about leaving but you're wrong. It's not another day. It's the day where loved ones are supposed to be together so that they can share their love with one another. Michaela, you are the one that I love and you are the one that I want to spend today and every Valentine's Day with for the rest of my life. Look out the window.

Michaela read the last sentence a second time. Confused, she slowly rose from her chair, still holding the rose and the note, and walked over to the window. She pushed the curtains aside and smiled.

Sully stood beside his horse, a bouquet of beautiful wild flowers in his hands. He smiled back at Michaela as she stood at the window, too afraid that she was imagining what she saw before her. Sully was dressed, not in his usual buckskin pants and shirt, but in suit pants and a button down shirt. Michaela quickly looked down at her own wardrobe, wishing that she had put on one of her fancier dresses. Michaela temporarily left the window and reached up to her hair and took out the barrettes that held it in place. Her hair fell, cascading down her back. It was wavy from having been up in the bun but, as she looked at herself in a nearby mirror, she realized that it would have to do. She calmed the butterflies that had formed in her stomach, not out of nervousness, but out of excitement, and opened the clinic door. She walked over to Sully, noticing that a crowd had gathered to watch the scene that was unfolding. It seemed as if suddenly, everyone was much more interested in her and Sully than in the play, as everyone had been for the last few days. Dorothy nodded to Michaela as they made eye contact and suddenly Michaela knew that everyone in town was in on Sully's romantic endeavor except for her. Dorothy's return to the play was not so much random as it was carefully planned out by Sully and probably everyone else in town. Michaela approached Sully slowly and handed her the flowers.

"Couldn't go without bein' with my true love on Valentine's Day," Sully said as she walked towards her. He reached for her hand and kissed it slightly. She couldn't help but blush, knowing that all eyes were on her.

"What about the conference?"

"The conference'll do fine without me today."

"Then, what about the play? Even if Dorothy is back, I'm supposed to be…"

Sully leaned down and kissed her lightly on the lips, silencing her. "The play'll be fine," he whispered. Again, she blushed. "Besides, it ain't everyday that my beautiful fiancé suggests that we take a romantic picnic with just the two of us."

Michaela suddenly remembered that it had been her suggestion for them to spend a romantic Valentine's Day together.

"We don't usually get to spend a lot of time with just the two of us, do we?"

"No, and that's why I figured that, when you suggest it, who am I to say no?"

She smiled. "So, where are we off to, Mr. Sully?"

"That's a surprise, Dr. Quinn."

"Oh? And how do you plan on getting there? You only brought one horse."

"Figure one horse is cozier than two."

Michaela looked at the horse warily. "There's no saddle."

"Don't need one."

Sully hopped onto the horse with ease and then reached his hand down to Michaela. She looked at the beautiful flowers that he had given her but she knew that they would serve no purpose on their trip. Michaela looked over at Dorothy who quickly came and took them from her.

"I'll put them in water. Leave 'em in the clinic for ya." Dorothy offered.

"Thank you, Dorothy."

"Have a good time."

Dorothy winked as Michaela nervously took Sully's hand. He pulled her up behind him. It took her a minute to adjust herself on the horse's back before she felt confident enough where she was almost positive that she wasn't going to fall off. She wrapped her arms around Sully's waist tightly, hoping that she would at least be able to make it to their destination without falling off. Michaela had visions of herself falling off her horse when they first met two years earlier outside the homestead. She was hoping that she wouldn't repeat the same actions.

As soon as Sully was assured that Michaela was secure, he kicked the horse's flanks and took off. Sully kept one hand gripping the reins but kept his free hand on top of Michaela's, that was hooked around his waist. She pressed the side of her face into the back of his shoulder, taking in his scent. Although Sully usually smelled like the woods mixed with sweat, he had obviously gone for a scent from a bottle that smelled like an unidentifiable spice. Michaela didn't not like the scent but she also missed Sully's normal smell that made her feel so comfortable. Everyone at home in Boston could have told her a million times over that Sully was too rugged for Michaela but she knew that that was one of the many things that really attracted her to him.

They rode in silence, the wind around them really being too loud for them to be able to carry a conversation. Michaela leaned in closer to him, wishing that she had at least brought a shawl. Although the weather was relatively nice, it was still February and the air was chilled. Sully squeezed her hand as he felt her move closer to him, knowing she was cold. His simple touch told her that they were nearly at their destination.

Moments later, Sully pulled on the reins of the horse and it came to a halt. Michaela opened her eyes for the first time during the journey, having been content to just lean against him and take it the moment. She released her arms from around Sully's waist and suddenly missed that touch. He slid off the horse's back and then helped her get down as well.

"Where are we?" Michaela asked as she looked around at the surroundings. They appeared to be in the middle of the nearby woods. Sully did not reply but instead, took her hand and led her deeper into the woods.

"Sully, what…"

Sully turned beyond a dense area of trees and Michaela gasped. Before them was a large meadow of flowers, surrounded by the trees. Michaela had never seen anything like it – a lush garden growing in the middle of a forest but it was beautiful. A large quilt was spread out in the middle of the meadow with an array of food already spread out on it.

"Oh Sully, it's…it's so beautiful."

"I thought you might like it."

She smiled and leaned forward to kiss him. Surprised at how bold she had become, he happily kissed her back.

"I didn't just bring ya out here just 'cause it was Valentine's Day," Sully said as their lips parted.

"Oh? Then why did you bring me out here?"

"'Cause I have to ask ya something."

"Okay."

Sully paused, collecting his thoughts. He looked deeply into Michaela's eyes and held both of her hands tightly. He had thought about how he was going to ask her what he wanted to ask her for the past few weeks and now the moment had come. He didn't know why he was so nervous. After all, he already knew what her answer would be.

"When I was in that sweat lodge, Michaela, right before I proposed to ya, I had this vision."

"Vision?"

"A vision that ya would leave me. That I would lose ya forever. And I knew then that I couldn't wait to ask ya any longer. But, it wasn't right of me, Michaela. I was wrong to ask ya to marry me th…"

Michaela held her breath. Could Sully be saying what she feared he was saying? He had just told her that he hadn't meant to propose to her. She felt as if a large weight was pressing against her chest and she couldn't breathe. She turned away from him, breaking the connection that they had.

"Michaela…"

"I understand," she whispered, not really understanding at all.

"Understand?"

She turned back to him, tears running down her face.

"I understand that you're calling our engagement off."

"Calling our engagement off? Michaela, I ain't calling our engagement off."

Confused, Michaela was at a loss for words.

"But you said…," she stumbled

"What I meant was…" he sighed, collecting his thoughts once more and berating himself for ever making Michaela feel as if he didn't want to marry her when his only wish in life was to marry her.

Sully reached into his pocket and got down on one knee. From his pocket, he pulled out a small, wooden, hand-made box, engraved with Michaela's initials. He opened the box to reveal a beautiful, diamond ring.

Michaela brought her hands to her mouth and gasped. Sully reached up with his right hand and took her left hand in his.

"What I meant was," Sully began, knowing that he could no longer plan what he wanted to say. He knew that he had to talk from his heart, the part of him that would forever belong to Michaela.

"That day I asked ya to marry me, I meant it with all of my heart. I knew that day that I never wanted to be without you but…but I didn't ask ya right. You deserve a perfect proposal, Michaela. You deserve everything you've ever dreamed, the man you love down on one knee, asking for your hand, not sittin' in a sweat lodge. And that's why I brought you out here today. I had to tell ya that you are the woman that I want to spend the rest of my life with."

Sully watched as more tears fell down Michaela's cheeks but this time, he knew that the tears were of joy and not sadness.

"I had to tell ya that I want to hold you in my arms every night as we fall asleep and I want to wake you up every mornin' with a kiss. I want to raise our children together and make a home of our own, beautiful homestead. I want ta grow old with you and I want ta be able to tell our grandchildren 'bout their beautiful, amazing grandmother who stood in front of a group of charging army men and who saved the lives of countless people. I love you, Michaela, with every inch of my being and I want to ask you…again, with the proposal that you deserve, if you will do me the honor of bein' my wife. Michaela, will you marry me?"

Michaela smiled.

"Yes," she said quietly, beaming.

In a quick movement, Sully took the small ring from its box and slipped it onto Michaela's finger. It was a perfect fit. He stood and enveloped her in his arms.

"I love you," she whispered in his ear.

"And I love you," he replied.

He kissed her passionately. Michaela's stomach grumbled loudly and they broke off their kiss, laughing.

"I'm sorry that I made you think…" Sully apologized as they walked over to the quilt and sat.

"Don't be," Michaela assured him. "And thank you."

"For what?"

"For this…for everything. For asking me to marry you, again." They both chuckled. "But most importantly…for loving me."

Sully smiled. "I can't help but love you."

He scooped up a spoonful of berries and brought it to Michaela's mouth. Seductively, she ate it.

"I was wrong, you know," she said after she had swallowed the food.

"About what?"

"Valentine's Day isn't just another day."

"And it'll never be just another day as long as we're together."

He leaned over and kissed her.