Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman characters. They belong to Beth Sullivan and CBS/A&E.

Through the Darkness: Part II

The Phoenix

Chapter 1

Author's Note: This chapter contains adult content.

Outside, in downtown Denver, horses clamored across the paved streets, while business owners called out special sales in attempts to get new customers. But on the sixth floor of the hotel, the newlyweds were oblivious to the outside world. They were too wrapped up in one another to pay attention to anything else.

The drapes were drawn, and only candles lit the room. The scent of rose water filled the air, while a copper tub in the wash room sat cooling. Michaela's hair was damp, and it stuck to Sully's arm as they lay in each other's embrace, both still trembling, coming down from the high they experienced just exploring one another, loving each other fully.

He sought out her hand, finding it resting between them and he laced his fingers through hers. He could feel her pulse in her fingertips alone.

"Your heart's beatin' so fast," he marveled, reaching over to place his free hand against her bare chest. Michaela moaned softly, as his finger slowly, tenderly grazed a nipple. Her breasts had become so tender lately, but he seemed to know how to take care of her without discomfort. Her hand rested against his chest.

"So is yours, my love." She blushed, her eyes downcast for a moment, studying their hands linked together. But she grew bold again, looking into his eyes.

The past month had been incredible. Sully had managed to take her mind off of the pain and the fears she'd had back in Boston, and she was slowly transforming back into the woman she used to be. Still, in the middle of the night, she'd often wake, her heart racing and her palms sweating after a bad dream, but she'd have Sully there and feel safe enough knowing he was at her side.

They had stayed in St. Louis for a week and then had traveled on, stopping at various towns along the way to stretch and rest. But they were slowing down. They'd been in Denver for a week now, and they were already enamored with the countryside. They hadn't ventured out of the city, but they'd gone to dinner at this sweet little outdoor café that was in perfect view of the mountains. It had soon become their favorite place to dine.

They'd visited the libraries, reading more poetry than they'd ever dreamed of, and they'd gone for long strolls about the city. And at the end of the day, they would return to the hotel arm-in-arm to enjoy the pleasures of married life and the joys of the conversations that could be held in a simple smile or a stare.

Tonight was like the other nights, except in the morning, they were getting on a stage coach and heading to a little town called Colorado Springs. They had talked about it, but when they'd seen an advertisement, showing great need for a doctor, they'd wired a Reverend Timothy Johnson right away. They were riding into town in the morning so Michaela could see about the job.

"You sure you're up for the ride tomorrow?" Sully's hand moved underneath the sheets, gently caressing her belly. It was still barely even noticeable, but in a few months, it wouldn't be hard to tell that they were expecting a child. Michaela had seemed to adjust and fall well into the role of a soon-to-be mother.

She often got quite down about the situation, but Sully always knew the right thing to say to cheer her up. She still hadn't decided on what to do upon the child's birth. Adoption was a very real possibility, especially if Michaela were to find it impossible to look at the child without feeling the harsh memories of the rape come flooding back to her. She still had no idea how she wouldn't be able to think of it. She still had time to make a decision, but she knew Sully was secretly growing more attached to the unborn child with each day. It broke her heart to think of taking this away from him, especially when the whole reason for the marriage in the first place had—at first—been because of this child.

"I'm up for it," Michaela assured him, turning onto her side, kissing his shoulder. "It should only be, what did they say? Two hours?"

"Yeah. Somethin' like that," Sully yawned. "You ready for your interview?"

"I think so," Michaela said, a hint of concern creasing her brow. He squeezed her hand reassuringly.

"Hey, you're gonna do fine. They're gonna love you."

"They're not accepting of women doctors in Boston. Why should I think it would be any different here?" Sully brought her hand to his lips, kissing her knuckles lovingly.

"They don't have a doctor, Michaela. You're just what they're lookin' for."

"I hope you're right about that," Michaela said quietly. "I'm certain it's going to be a struggle if I do get the job."

"They'd be fools not to hire ya."

"Well, I suppose we have enough for boarding and to purchase a place I can practice." She looked at her husband. "I do want to pay Father back for this."

"We will. Soon as I get steady work, and you settle in…" Michaela chewed her lower lip.



"I want to help."


"I want to help with our finances. If I can get a steady flow of patients, I should be able to help out."

"I can take care of us," Sully said quietly. "Ya don't gotta worry about that." Michaela nodded.

"I know. But it might make things more comfortable for us if I were to help out…"

"Ya don't have to do that."

"Then what am I supposed to do with the money, Sully?" She eyed him. "If I can't help, what's the use of making any money at all?" Sully sighed. She had a point. He couldn't deny that. "Sully, when we both start bringing in steady money, we'll be much better off with both of our incomes."

"You're right. I just wanna give ya the life ya deserve." Michaela leaned in, kissing him softly.

"You already have," she whispered. He drew her into his arms again, rolling onto his back and bringing her on top of him. She sighed softly against his mouth, reveling in the sweetness of his kisses. His hands glided up and down her back and she balanced herself atop him, one knee on either side of his hips. His hands moved up her arms, feeling the goose bumps on her damp flesh. She smiled, her hands running over his chest and down to his firm abdomen. He shrunk back at her ticklish touch, and she grinned down at him.

"You're so beautiful," he whispered. She was slowly growing used to his absolute adoration of her body. He seemed to know all the right places to touch her and make her feel more than she'd ever felt in her life.

He placed his hands on her thighs, slowly moving upward, making her tremble and bite her lower lip. His gaze swept across each part of her, making her skin flush pink and her body begin to react to his own stirring arousal beneath her.

Finally, he wrapped his hands around her waist, pulling her down closer to him, capturing her lips with his own. Her body melted against him. Her breasts were soft and heavy against his chest, and his mouth watered for the taste of her. He turned her onto her back, crawling over her. She looked up at him, and he saw such trust there. He was the only man in the world who could draw such complete faith from her. He was the only man in the world she trusted not to hurt her.

Sully slowly pulled back from the kiss, moving slowly down, kissing her chin, her neck, and then laying his head against her chest for a moment, as she gently caressed his hair, his shoulders, his back. Sully pressed a soft kiss to the center of her chest, eliciting a soft moan from Michaela, and he smiled. As she craned her neck back, Sully gently cupped her breast in his hand, kneading it tenderly before taking the nipple gently between his lips. She sighed, her body completely relaxing against the bed sheets while he kissed his way up her body.

Her heart pounded in her chest, and they finally joined as one. Michaela's hands moved to his waist, pulling him a little closer, and she cried out, as he began working to make the experience most pleasurable for her. She felt like crying, as he held her close, his body moving against hers steadily, lovingly. She sought out his lips with her own, pressing wet kisses to his cheek before going in for his mouth, feeling his tongue dance against hers. She moaned softly, as she felt her toes curling. She closed her eyes tightly, feeling as if her entire body was afire, ignited with passion.

In a few minutes, they clung to one another again, both catching their breaths and trying to steady the heavy beating of their hearts. Sully pulled the covers over them, and they gazed into each other's eyes, still coming down from such intensity. The love they felt for one another was indescribable.

Sully pulled back a little, tracing his thumb over her lips. She kissed the pad of his thumb, smiling, as her eyes closed sleepily. He was holding an angel in his arms, and the closer he pulled her toward him, he more he never wanted to let her go.

Resting his forehead against hers, he whispered his love for her, his breath kissing her face. She smiled sleepily and let sleep silently take her as its captive.

He stood outside of their hotel, puffing on a cigar and leaning against the brick wall of the city bank. He had pinpointed their room exactly, and he stared up, waiting for a ruffle of the curtains or a glimpse of her beautiful face. But the room remained silent, and he knew they were together. He was kissing her, holding her, making love to her, and she was enjoying every minute of it.

The thought angered him. She wasn't broken. With this man, she was happy and acted as if nothing had ever happened. What kind of woman could do such a thing? He angrily tossed his cigar to the ground and stamped on it. He had already decided she would be his again, and this time, he'd make sure no man would ever want to look at her, much less be with her again.

"Hey Sugar, you look like you could use a little…relaxation." A woman smelling of cheap perfume but dressed in fancy silks came walking up, using her little fan as a way to lure him. He glanced once at her. She was attractive enough, but she wasn't her. She wasn't the beautiful, lithe little thing that he wanted so very much to hold in his arms again to feel her fragility. He wanted to break her. He wanted to crush her spirit. The thought of her cowering in fear made his heart race. Perhaps she had denied him, but he'd proven once that he would have her if he chose, and he would prove it again.

"You're looking in the wrong place," he said with a shake of his head. The woman just smiled and turned to flirt with another potential customer. He gave the hotel room window one last glance before he turned and walked away.

Josef sat in his office, unable to concentrate on much at all. He'd received a letter in the mail, however, which had heightened his spirits considerably. Michaela's penmanship had scrawled his name out on the front of the envelope, so as soon as he'd sat down at his desk, he'd opened it up and swiftly taken out the piece of paper. Before he started reading, he closed his eyes, praying that she had nothing but good news and happiness to share.

Dear Father,

I hope all is well at home. Sully and I are making the most of this trip out West. It's done a lot of good for us, and we've decided that this is to be our honeymoon. I'm sure this comes as a surprise to you, but Sully's told me he loves me! And I told him the same in return. We're very happy, and we're on our way to Denver right now. We'll probably stay a while there before deciding where to go next. We aren't quite ready to end our trip. It's been an amazing experience so far. I never thought I could be so happy so quickly, but he's changed my life. I'm very lucky to have him.

The pregnancy is progressing well. I have had some nausea, but everything seems normal. I still haven't made any decisions on the future, however. There is a very real possibility that I won't be able to raise this child, and though he doesn't say it, I know Sully grows more attached every day.

I hope Mother is well. I know we didn't part on the best of terms, but I want her to know that I miss her. I will write to her again soon. As soon as Sully and I decide where we'll be staying for good, I will write you from there, so you'll know how to respond to my letters.

Oh, before I leave you, I thought I'd mention that a few days ago, I treated someone on the train. A young man with a chest cold was coughing and keeping us up half the night. I knocked on his compartment door and offered him something, and it cleared his cough right up. He thanked me and paid me with a dollar. I told him it wasn't necessary, but he insisted. Hopefully acquiring patients will be just as easy when I find a place I'd like to practice.

It's growing late, and I must retire to bed. I hope this letter will find you happy and healthy. I will write again soon.



Josef folded the piece of paper in his hands and placed it back in the envelope. He couldn't even think of how he could tell his daughter about what had happened since she'd gone. How was he supposed to tell her that her mother had gone to stay in North Carolina and though she had said she'd write, she hadn't. It had been a month, and he'd written her letters and sent telegrams, but none of his correspondences were ever returned. His heart was heavy. He knew he was losing her.

A knock came to Josef's office door, and he looked up, taking off his glasses. Dr. David Lewis stood there.

"Oh, David. Come in, won't you?"

"You wanted to see me, Dr. Quinn?" David sat down in the chair in front of Josef's desk.

"Yes. I…I was wanting to talk to you, actually. You've been a doctor here for a long while now, and…you've proven that you're very competent." David furrowed his brows.


"David, I've watched you mature as a physician since you started working here, and I can think of no-one else I'd rather have take over for me when I leave."

"You mean Chief of Surgery?"

"Yes. I'm offering you the position."

"You're not retiring now, are you?" Josef tapped his pen lightly against the desk top.

"I've been thinking about it for a while now, and I think it's time. I have a life I need to sort out…some pieces that need putting back together. Will you accept?"

"Sir, this is an awfully big decision. Are you certain you want me to do the job?"

"You're the only one I'd trust. You're skilled enough, and you're going to improve with experience, and I can't think of any greater experience. It's been a joy to work in this hospital, but the time's come for me to say goodbye."


"I'll be coming to clean out my office at the end of the week. You're free to move your things in after that." David shook his head.

"I'm sorry to see you go, Dr. Quinn, but it's an honor and a privilege to be held in your high esteem." Josef shook the younger doctor's hand. "Have you heard from Michaela?"

"Uh, yes," Josef said, clearing his throat. "I just received a letter from her. She's doing well."

"That's good to hear. I was just on my way home. I received a letter from my brother yesterday that I should probably respond to. He's an impatient one." David chuckled.

"How is John fairing in New York?"

"He says it's overwhelming, but he sees a lot of possibilities. He thinks he's going to get exactly what he wants."

"Good," Josef said. "I'm pleased to hear it. Send him my regards."

"I will. Thank you, Dr. Quinn." David headed out, and Josef looked back at the letter on his desk. He supposed he did have one thing to be thankful for: his daughter had found love and seemed to have her spirits soaring high once again.

"I don't see why we need no doctor. Let alone a woman doctor!" Cal Jackson said from the back of the room. He was one of the town's loudest, most opinionated men. He worked at the small feed and grain mill, and he supported his wife and four children on that pay alone.

"Aw, Cal," Loren Bray, the town's most esteemed business owner said uncomfortably, "I ain't happy 'bout a woman doctor comin' here either, but the truth is, somebody's gotta be here to help us. Why, you lost a son last Winter to the grippe, and my Maude…she…well…maybe if somebody'd been here, she'd still be here today.

"Loren," Reverend Johnson said, placing a hand on the man's shoulder. " You can sit down." Loren sat down sadly, a numb expression creasing his jaw line. His two children, Abagail and Margaret sat on the front pew, grim expressions on their faces. Abagail held a young child in her arms.

"And I lost my Henry too," she said sadly. "Maybe if a doctor'd been here, my girl'd still have a Pa." Margaret drew her arm around her sister, and Abagail turned to cry on her shoulder. Loren sat there watching his girls before turning his gaze to the floorboards.

"As much as I don't want no lady doc, my girls could use some tendin' to," Hank said from the side of the church, leaning against a window sill.

"We don't even know if she's gonna take the job," Horace spoke up. "But if ya ask me, we ought to do everything we can to make her feel welcome. 'Cause we don't know the next time something catchin' might come through here 'n wipe the whole town out. Nearly happened two years ago, remember?" A few murmurs rose up from the crowd until the entire meeting erupted into frightened chatter.

"Hey, folks, settle down," Jake Slicker, the newly appointed Mayor said, banging a weathered gavel on the council table. "Look, this is the only reply we've had to the advertisement we put out. She might be a woman, but she says she graduated at the top of her class."

"I'll bet that's what they all say," came a disgusted mumble from the back of the room.

"We ain't got much choice," Jake continued. "So when Dr. Quinn gets here tomorrow, if she wants the job, she's gonna get it 'til the next best thing comes along." He banged the gavel again.

"Meetin's over." The townsfolk began to file out of the church. Abagail stood up with the child in her arms, and she placed her hand on Loren's shoulder.

"Pa? You comin'?" Loren nodded. He grew sad quite often, but every time he saw his grandbaby's face, his heart lightened, and he felt peace again. "Let me see that grandbaby." Abagail handed the child over to him, and Loren cradled the little bundle close.

"Go on, Maggie. I'll walk with Pa." Margaret nodded and headed off toward the mercantile, which her family lived above. "Don't worry, Pa. Everything's gonna be alright."

"I just…I just wish this doctor'd been here before. Your Ma…"

"It was Ma's time, Pa. She had a good life. She worked hard." Loren nodded again, and he silently walked back toward the mercantile with his daughter's arm in his, as he rocked his grandchild to sleep, thankful for the blessings he did have to count here on Earth.

In the morning, their luggage was loaded onto the top of the stage coach. Sully helped Michaela inside, and he climbed in next to her. They had a good five minutes before they took off. Michaela felt a little light headed, but as she sat back, she felt a little better. Sully noticed how pale she looked and turned to her in concern.

"Michaela? You alright?"

"I think so. I'm just a little…dizzy." She smiled reassuringly at her husband, and he took her hand.

"You're sure? We can see a doctor, and…"

"No, no, I'll be alright." Sully frowned in concern, and Michaela leaned back in her seat, closing her eyes. Sully decided she probably knew what was best, but he was going to keep an eye on her.

When after five minutes, nobody else boarded for the trip to Colorado Springs, the stagecoach heaved forward, and the Sullys were on their way out of Denver.

The journey was a bumpy one, and Sully's concern for Michaela grew by the minute. She didn't seem too concerned, however. It wasn't long before the rocking of the coach and sent her to sleep. He thought about waking her, but he also knew she needed her rest. He was certain that she was going to be accepted as the town's doctor. He had his worries, yes, but these people would be fools to turn away decent medical care.

As they passed over the land, Sully was in awe of the sights. The mountains rising up as if to kiss the sky, the buffalo roaming in the prairie grass and the sights of little homes tucked away against the backdrop of a vast green wood. This was nothing like back east. No, there were no large buildings with smokestacks rising up as tall as the trees. There were no railroads or overcrowded streets as they moved further away from the bigger city. It was so different; so beautiful. This was definitely the kind of place he wanted to raise a family. A place where the natural beauty of the earth hadn't been paved over or cut down for the betterment of the economy. There were more things in life than money.

Glancing over at his new bride, he thought of everything he wanted for her, for her child…their child. He leaned back in his seat as well, thinking about this child and how he already felt as if it were his own. He knew Michaela was uncertain, considering the child was the result of a terrible injustice to her, but he also knew that she was a mother who wanted to do right by her child. He couldn't force her to do anything she didn't want to do, but in his heart, he did want to give the child a good home and a good upbringing; anything to prevent the man's evil from spreading to this child.

With a sigh, he turned his thoughts to happier things, such as finding work in Colorado Springs and beginning the process of building a house for his beautiful wife. He couldn't wait to see the landscape for himself and to see his wife shine in the knowledge she was bringing to these people.

There was a chill in the air, and Sully could feel Michaela shivering in her sleep. He took off his own coat and put it over her, hoping to keep her and the baby warm enough until they arrived at what he hoped would be their final destination.

I thank you all for your support in "Through the Darkness," and I hope you will continue reading "The Phoenix!" Feedback would be great, as usual!