Obviously I don't own Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, or any of its affiliates. I have shamelessly borrowed lines from both the show, and a few alternative literary pieces I just thought were cool; but I meant no harm in it. Don't sue me, I'm poor.

Dedicated to Duck: Happy Birthday… two years late

Hearts Undone

Chapter 1

The strong oak door to the clinic stood proudly open, allowing a fresh breeze to cast its scent throughout the room as Matthew brought in the last of her boxes. Michaela stood by the operating table, unloading supplies as quickly as Matthew could bring them in.

"I'm so glad this shipment came in on time." Michaela reflected aloud. She knew the dire consequences which could be suffered due to the erratic schedule of the stagecoach; losing patients despite every effort on her part was one thing, but she would never, could never, grow accustomed to losing patients simply due to shortages in common medicines.

"We were runnin' awful low on some of it, Dr. Mike." Colleen agreed.

Before Michaela could give the matter any further thought, Brian's voice echoed happily across the room, "Hey Sully!"

She turned in surprise to see for herself the man she had bade goodbye only hours before. "I thought you were going hunting?"

The hint of a smile played across his lips as he approached the woman he had fallen so hard for, "The sun's out, grass smells sweet... besides, I wanted to see you again."

His voice was husky, tickling her skin from a distance, making her hairs stand on end and forcing her to take a deep breath in order to calm the inward quivering. For a moment, he thought he had broken through, he heard the slight intake of her breath... felt the charge jump straight from her elevated pulse to his...but no. Her mind was already focused back on the bottles of medicine before her. Distracted. Aloof.

"We just saw each other an hour ago."

"I missed you." He tried again softly, edging around the table to embrace her lightly from behind. Then the kiss; gentle, yet oh so sensual on the back of her neck.

"Sully, the children." She warned. The children weren't the real concern; his soft lips placed the barest of touches on her skin, and her limbs fell instantly disconnected as the heady scents of leather, wood and spices overtook her. Their dance had begun.

He only smiled, pleased with himself. He saw her, and it was pleasing to know what he was capable of doing to her, pleasing to know he too was capable of provoking the same emotions she brought out in him so obliviously. Impulsively he began backing towards the door, pulling his reluctant partner with him, "C'mon, let's go someplace... Grace's. We'll get some pie."

"Now?!" It was a stall. Maybe if he heard the incredulity in her tone, he would recognize the foolishness of his so called, "idea."

"Right now." Her hands were in his, and she was finding it difficult to remember exactly why the idea was so foolish.

"...Sounds lovely, but it's impossible." Her voice appeared firm, yet her skin continued to smoulder where he had touched it so briefly.


"I – I wish you'd, ask me in advance, I made plans." She was losing focus, and she couldn't suppress the hint of annoyance swelling just beneath her pores towards the man who could so easily alter his daily schedule.

"Go on Ma." Her son chirped cheerfully.

"You don't have patients 'til later." Colleen added.

"We'll finish up here." With Matthew's input, the ambush was complete.

They were traitors, the three of them. She looked into the "innocent," faces of her children... the children who had successfully backed her into a very cramped corner. They would pay. Michaela released an inward sigh; she would have to find a way to say no without hurting his feelings. "Sully, I'm sorry- Oh!"

Michaela swallowed her protest as she was quite unexpectedly, and quite literally, swept off her feet. "Sully what are you doing?" She exclaimed. Her voice was loud, but there was no mistaking the laughter. "Sully!" She made one last feeble protest, and then gave in to his uncharacteristic burst of high spirits. Feeling, safe in his embrace, as if anything were possible, she was rendered suddenly unconcerned with the thoughts of medicine which had so consumed her only moments before, and she held on tightly as he headed for the door.

They were barely granted time to cross the threshold before their interlude was marred by the ostentatious, thundering approach of an army wagon. The jovial atmosphere vanished completely as a nervous unsettling wormed its way to the pit of their stomachs, and the smiles died on their faces. No communication was necessary as he silently placed her on her own two feet.

"You folks will be pleased to know that we've eliminated another Indian problem from your fair town." The arrogant sergeant bragged.

She felt the tension emanating from the sturdy figure beside her; gone was all trace of the happy, light-hearted man of only moments before in the terse face she stared into now. The muscles in his jaw twitched as he looked on in anger and frustration at the scene unfolding before him, and she could feel his pain intermingled with his rage as deeply as if it were her own. Before she could formulate a gesture of comfort, the army man continued.

"There's a woman in the back of the wagon, let's leave her here with the good doctor."

"What'd you bring her back here for?" Jake's ignorant, obnoxious holler rose above the rest; as usual, and Michaela found herself consciously biting her lip; suppressing the angry retort already on her tongue in order to hear the response.

"We rescued her from the savages."

She had heard enough. She rushed into action, and felt Sully protectively behind her as she reached the back of the wagon.

"An injun woman?!" Jake continued indignantly.

"...She's not an Indian... she's a white woman." She stated. The words hung in the air as those present absorbed the new information; the sun shone brightly in a cloudless sky, and the birds flew happily onward.

He made his way to the homestead gently cradling his cargo; he hoped it fit. Regardless, it had to be better than what she was wearing now. He wasn't quite sure what to make of the woman… he just knew he had to do something for her. Something to let her know she wasn't alone in the world. Something to give her some faith in himself and Michaela and the kids. Something to enlighten her to the fact that there were those who stood aside from the general idiot population of Colorado Springs. Maybe he could bring her to the reservation with him tomorrow…

"She's a white woman." Michaela's shocked statement reverberated on an endless loop through his head as his legs guided him unseeingly from the reservation to the homestead, and he felt the tremors of his surprise anew. The woman had calmed down considerably once the town had ceased crowding her, and given Dr. Mike room to do her job; the blind panic in her expression had remained however, and Sully was not entirely convinced she wouldn't try to run again if the opportunity presented itself.

He reached the door and knocked lightly, waiting for Dr. Mike to let him in. Once she opened the door he stepped inside, anxious to deliver his token of friendship.

"Evenin' everyone." He greeted them, his touch drawn to rest briefly on Michaela's arm of its own will. Somewhat clumsily, he handed the soft deerskin dress to the female stranger, "I brought this for you."

She cautiously took the tan coloured garment from his outstretched arms and made her way to the privacy screen without a word.

"It's beautiful… that was very thoughtful of you." Michaela interjected.

She was prettier than he remembered. Well, she had been pretty from the start, anyone who wasn't blind could plainly see that, but now, freshly washed and hair shining, she was stunning.

"Well, I figured she needed something to wear." He answered distractedly while still staring at the partition.

Michaela's gaze flitted nervously between Sully, and the screen which did precious little to disguise the woman's naked silhouette. Sully made no move to avert his gaze; however, she did have to admit he seemed distracted tonight. Perhaps it wasn't the girl he was staring at so intensely… it was far more likely he was only lost in thought; she knew as well as anyone that such an action was easy enough to do. After all, he wouldn't have the audacity to be staring so boldly at another woman's figure right in front of her. He had more respect for her feelings than that. She swallowed her slight agitation. He wasn't doing anything wrong. The dress was a wonderful gesture. Sully looked towards her at that moment as if he himself wanted assurance that the gift was okay. She smiled her approval, and he smiled back, appeased.

The attractive blond emerged from behind the panel more beautiful still than only moments before, and Michaela's stomach fluttered as the sinking feeling she had been trying to ignore settled firmly in her belly. In that very moment, something had just slid out of her control, and she couldn't even begin to place what it was.

"You look lovely… doesn't she Sully?"

Michaela's voice broke through the tension that had snuck into the room, "Yes she does." Sully replied without thought.

He was not a social man by nature; very rarely was he motivated to spend extended time with anyone outside the small number of people he considered friends, and it was an even rarer occurrence for him to find himself so curious about another person… a stranger, even within the solitude of his own mind. Yet even Sully, with his immense respect for the space and privacy of others, could not help wondering about the stranger who was, for all intensive purposes, so much like himself. It was a powerful thing to find another human being who seemed similar to you in the one way which you thought you were unique; alone. He wasn't quite sure what to make of that feeling.

Michaela attempted to regain some semblance of order, burying the uncertainty rising within her, "It's late, perhaps we should all think about getting some sleep." She smiled tightly.

Sully reached for her a moment too late, and Michaela was outside his grasp in an instant, completely oblivious of the snub she had just delivered. Sully pulled his hand back, and with the ease of a practiced professional, erased all traces of injury from his face.