Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. They belong to Beth Sullivan and CBS.
There's a Will…
Written by Ashley J
He sat outside the clinic, head in his hands, heart heavy with grief. Tears dripped onto his fingers and down onto the floorboards, staining them. He stared, willing for something, anything to happen to take away his pain.
The breeze whistled by, storm clouds rolling in. Blank faces stared at him from behind curtains, safe inside their homes, watching from a distance, afraid to get too close.
It was too quiet. It was all too quiet, too familiar. The scent of death lingered in the air, just like before. Nobody knew that scent more than he.
Thunder growled lowly, like a defensive but wounded dog somewhere on the outskirts of town. His heart pounded in his chest. He could feel it in his temples, in his fingertips as he clasped his hands tightly together. He could taste the salt from his own tears and feel the frustration building up as each moment passed.
It was too much. He couldn't take it. He had to move. He had to breathe. He had to breathe for her, because he didn't know if she was doing it for herself anymore.
He stood, his eyes sharp on the clinic door.
"I gotta see her."
"Sully, he's doin' everything he can. You gotta wait it out," Robert E. said in a hushed but soothing tone. He didn't know how to comfort his friend right now. Sully had lost so much. He'd lost a wife and a child, and history could be repeating itself again. But Robert E. knew what it was like too. He'd lost his children a lifetime ago. He'd lost Anthony. He'd lost too many chances at fatherhood. He knew all too well what that could do to a man. To anybody.
"Let's go for a walk," Robert E. said softly, putting a hand on his friend's shoulder. Sully didn't move.
"I can't leave her," he whispered. "She's got to know I'm here."
"Ya can't do nothin' for her right now. She needs ya to think positive, and ya can't do that sittin' here waitin' like ya are now." Sully nodded, his head reeling from the possibilities. "You got a little girl who needs ya right now. Let's go to the café and sit with the kids, ok?" Sully nodded slowly, and he felt the hiding eyes on him every step of the way, as his good friend led him to the café. Matthew sat stiffly at one of the tables, while Brian held his hat in his hands, fidgeting with it, trying to keep himself occupied. Katie sat in the chair next to Matthew, her blue eyes downcast to the doll in her arms. She rocked it slowly, humming to it as Michaela had hummed to her as an infant. At the sound of footsteps, she looked up to see Sully and Robert E.
"Pa!" she exclaimed, rushing over to him. She immediately threw her arms around his middle and buried her face in his stomach, crying and clinging to him. Sully swallowed hard and scooped his daughter up into his arms. She clung around his neck and cried.
"Shh, it's alright, Kates," he whispered. "It's alright."
"How is she?" Matthew asked, standing up.
"No word from Dr. Cook," Robert E. answered, as Sully could not. The father closed his eyes and rocked his daughter, rubbing his hand soothingly against her back. Her long hair, so much like her mother's now, was disheveled, and her face was now streaked from tears. They'd been up since the early hours of the morning, and it was nearly sundown now.
"It's been a long time," Brian said gently, getting a nudge from Matthew and a stern glance.
"Everything's gonna be fine," Robert E. promised. "Dr. Cook's doin' a real good job, and Colleen's helpin'. Your ma's in good hands." The boys looked at one another and sat back down. Sully let Katie down as well.
"I want to see Ma," she said, her vernacular a mix between her mother's and her father's.
"These things take time, Katie. Havin' a baby ain't easy for a lady."
"Ma had me in the middle of the woods," Katie protested.
"Hush, Katie," Brian scolded. "It's been a while since Ma had a baby." Katie sighed and sat back down.
"Sorry Pa," she said quietly.
"It's alright. " He glanced at Robert E. "Could ya sit with 'em? I need to get back there."
"They need their Pa right now, Sully. Ya can't do nothin' back there, but you can do somethin' here." Sully glanced at the faces of his children. He swallowed hard, and he nodded, slowly taking a seat. He felt helpless either way, but he knew Robert E. was right. Besides, deep down, he knew Michaela would want him to stay with the children. Robert E. walked away, and Sully glanced at the solemn faces of his sons and daughter.
"She's gonna be fine. You'll see. She'll be fine."
Colleen washed her hands in the basin, her eyes full of uncertainty. Andrew was upstairs with Michaela. He'd be down at any moment. She said a silent prayer of thanks that Michaela had survived the birth. It had been traumatic, almost fatal. But someone was watching over them. Somehow, they were ok.
The door creaked open, and Colleen turned to see her husband. He had the same uncertainty in his own gaze.
"She's resting," he said quietly.
"The coloring returned, but it's still touch and go. The girl was blue for some time." Colleen bit the inside of her lip, trying not to show her worry. "She seems to be doing better."
"Has Ma seen them?"
"She opened her eyes…she smiled. I think she saw them. She's still very groggy from the laudanum."
"She didn't want a Caesarian Section," Colleen said softly. "She wanted so badly to have an easy delivery like with Katie." Andrew nodded and put his arm around his wife's shoulder.
"Don't worry. Michaela is very strong. I'm going to keep a close eye on the sutures, make sure nothing ruptures. She's going to have the best care possible, I promise. Besides, I have one of the finest doctors in Boston at my side. You." Colleen smiled sadly.
"I'm sorry I wasn't any help."
"She's your mother. It's natural that you'd react in…" he paused. "You stepped in at the right time when your brother and sister were born. Don't be so hard on yourself, Colleen. You were wonderful."
"I need to tell Sully," she said, avoiding the conversation. "Should I wait?"
"I think it's safe to tell him that Michaela and the babies are stable." Colleen nodded. "Why don't you go see them? I want to clean up in here before we let family in."
"Right," she replied. She headed up the stairs, her feet heavy, like they were filled with lead. She couldn't believe she'd frozen when her mother had needed her. What did that say about her as a doctor?
Swallowing hard and shaking it off, she decided she couldn't think about it right now. She had to be strong for her family, and she had to make sure her mother made it through this, because there was no thinking about life without her. It just couldn't be.
"Are you alright with this, Sully?" she asked gently, stroking his cheek, as they lay in bed together. "I know we wanted another baby, but two? Do you think we're up for the challenge?"
"It's been a while, but I think we can do it," he said with a smile.
"I'm not as young as I used to be. What if…"
"Hey, don't think about that," he whispered, kissing her forehead. "You did fine with Katie. You were amazin'. I was a wreck, but you…"
"You were wonderful, Sully," she breathed. "You were there when I needed you. I have no doubts this time around either."
"I just hope we don't gotta do this against a tree again." Michaela nodded and giggled.
"Me too! More importantly, my back will be grateful for a more comfortable bed." Sully smiled, gently caressing her stomach.
"Twins, Michaela," he said softly.
"Twice the crying."
"Twice the feedin's."
"Twice the diapers."
"Yeah," Sully said with a nod. "But if they turn out any bit as great as Katie did, we're the luckiest parents there ever were." Michaela smiled.
"You do make a good point, Mr. Sully."
"C'mere." He pressed his lips against hers, reassuring her, comforting her, and more importantly, making certain she knew that he'd be there for her for the rest of their lives.
Michaela's eyes fluttered open, and she tried to stretch, but her entire body ached. Hours of agonizing labor. She remembered hearing a baby cry, but she didn't remember anything else. She didn't remember a second cry. She didn't remember the birth, except it wasn't as she'd wanted it. She remembered being afraid, and her pounding heart still carried that memory.
"My babies," she whispered.
"Ma!" Colleen exclaimed in a hushed whisper. Michaela turned her gaze to see her daughter sitting at her bedside.
"I'm right here, Ma."
"I'll go get him. I…"
"They're sleepin', Ma. A boy and a girl, just like ya wanted." Michaela's eyes lit up for a moment.
"One of each…" she felt herself slipping back to sleep. Her head fell back against the pillow, and a concerned Colleen checked her temperature. The moment her hand touched Michaela's forehead, she knew she had a fever.
"Andrew!" she rushed from the room and took the stairs two at a time, hoping they'd be able to bring down her fever in time.
"Pa? Tell me about when I was born," Katie said quietly, tracing the checkered pattern on the table cloth. Sully looked at her. It was amazing how much she looked like her mother. Her eyes, she got from him, but the rest of her? All Michaela.
"When you were born?" he asked quietly, as Matthew and Brian looked up. "When you were born, your Ma was comin' to find me. I'd gotten hurt, and she was there to save me."
"Ma always saves people," she said with a smile. "I wanna be just like her." She looked back at him, nodding for him to continue.
"Your Ma started hurtin', and we were getting up in the wagon to come home, and her water broke. She told me we had to deliver the baby out there." Katie smiled. "You were too eager to get here." That was quite representative of the child now. Always in a hurry, always ready to learn, to grow up, to do things her way.
Before Sully could finish, he saw Robert E. rushing back toward the café. Sully and the children stood, and when Robert E. stopped and motioned for them to follow, they took off in full speed toward the clinic.