Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman
"The Family Name"
Summary: Brian, Colleen, and Matthew give Sully a very special gift for his birthday.
Author's Note: Takes place just after Katie is born.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I just wrote this story for fun.
Colorado Springs, Colorado 1871
Eleven year old Brian Cooper raced into Grace's Café, where his older brother and sister were eating lunch.
"What's the rush, little brother?" Nineteen year old Matthew Cooper asked him, as he all but crashed into their table.
"Sorry," Brian said, sheepishly. "I just found out somethin' important!"
"What's that?" Sixteen year old Colleen Cooper asked him, smiling.
"It's Sully's birthday in a couple of weeks!" Brian said, excitedly.
"It is?" Matthew asked, frowning.
'Yeah," Brian nodded, eagerly. "I heard Ma tellin' Miz Dorothy about it!"
"I remember Ma and Sully talkin' about it just after Katie was born, but I completely forgot," Colleen said, hesitantly.
"Cuz of that new doctor comin' to town?" Matthew smirked at her, teasing. It was no secret his little sister had a crush on Dr. Andrew Cook.
Colleen blushed at that. "I've just been busy helpin' Ma at the Clinic," she said, quickly.
"Right," Matthew said, smirking. "I'm sure that's it."
"C'mon, guys," Brian said, wrinkling his nose. "Quit fussin'. We gotta think of a gift for Sully!"
"Yeah, I guess we do," Matthew said, quietly.
"It needs to be something special," Colleen said, nodding.
"But what could he possibly want?" Matthew asked. "He ain't ever been big on 'stuff', remember?"
"It should be something that shows him how much he's loved," Colleen added. "Somethin' that shows him how much we think of him…"
"Hey, I know!" Brian said, smiling. "Let's give him us!"
His brother and sister looked at him in confusion. "What?" they asked him at the same time.
"Well, it's just I've been thinkin'," their younger brother said, seriously. "Katie is a 'Sully' cuz he's her pa, but Dr. Mike didn't want to be a 'Sully' cuz she wanted to keep 'Quinn' cuz her pa didn't have any boys."
"Yeah, so?" Matthew asked, curiously.
"So," Brian said, looking sad. "Sully ain't got nobody to carry on his name, neither."
"Because he doesn't have any sons," Colleen said, looking troubled.
"But he's got us," Brian said, looking at Matthew.
"What's your idea, Brian?" Matthew asked him, seriously.
"I say we change our names to 'Sully'," Brian told them, smiling. "That way he'll see he's our real pa—and not Ethan Cooper."
Matthew bit his lip, thinking.
It was true their father (in blood only) hadn't wanted them—had abandoned them and their ma, Charlotte, without saying goodbye or nothin'—and that Sully had filed that void in their lives from the moment he became an intricate part of them shortly afte Dr. Mike had adopted them.
"You sayin' you want Sully to adopt us?" he asked, curiously.
"He and Ma already did that," Brian pointed out. "Well, me and Colleen…"
"But there ain't no law I know of that says he can't adopt you, too," Colleen said, smiling. "I like it. It'd be the perfect gift. What do you think?"
Matthew nodded. "I do, too," he told them, smiling. "Ya'll are right. We should show Sully just what he means to us…"
But first, they had a few things they needed to do…
Two weeks later…
Byron Sully awoke to the smell of bacon. He frowned, glancing over at his sleeping wife.
He then glanced out the window, seeing that it looked just about an hour or two after sunrise.
"Michaela," he whispered, rubbing her back gently. "Michaela?"
His wife, Dr. Michaela Quinn, stirred and opened her eyes. "Sully?" she asked him. "What is it?"
"Do you smell bacon?" he asked her, curiously.
She nodded. "Yes, I do," she told him, frowning. "I wonder if the children are up already?"
"It's Saturday," Sully said, frowning. "Why would they be up this early?"
Michaela didn't answer, merely got out of bed, and went to check on her sleeping infant daughter.
"Sully!" she spun back around. "Katie isn't here!"
Sully glanced toward their bedroom door. "The door's open," he said, getting out of bed. "I don't remember leavin' it open last night…"
"Me, either," Michaela said. "Do you think one of the children came in and got Katie?"
"Why, though?" Sully said, frowning. "We'd have heard her if she'd started fussin'?"
"I suppose the only way to get some answers is to go see what's happening," Michaela said, throwing on her robe.
Sully nodded, pulling on his buckskin pants—he didn't bother putting on a shirt or his boots—and followed her downstairs.
Arriving downstairs, they found Katie laying in her home-made cradle.
"There you are, Sweetheart," Michaela said, picking her up. "Now, what are you doing down here?"
Just then, from the kitchen Matthew, Colleen, and Brian came out each carrying a plate of bicuits, eggs, and bacon.
"Ah!" Brian complained. "Ya'll was supposed to still be asleep!"
"My stomach woke me," Sully said, shrugging. "What's all this, then?" He nodded to the already set table with breakfast all prepared and ready to eat.
"It's for your birthday," Brian told him, smiling. "We made you breakfast!"
"We were planning on bringing yours to you in bed, though," Matthew said, smirking.
Sully glanced at Michaela. "Did you know about this?" he asked, curiously.
She shook her head. "No," she told him, seemingly as surprised as he was. "I wasn't even aware you children knew it was Sully's birthday…"
"Brian overheard you tellin' Miz Dorothy," Colleen told her.
"Come on, Ma, Pa," Brian said. "Come eat. We all helped, even Katie."
"Oh, and just what did Miss Katie do?" Michaela asked, curiously. She smiled at the month old infant in her arms.
"Supervised," Matthew told her, chuckling. "She watched while Colleen made the biscuits, Brian scrambled the eggs, and I fried the bacon."
"Keepin' her brothers and sister in line, huh?" Sully said, smirking. "That's my clever girl!"
They all sat down at the table, ready to eat.
"We got a present for you, too," Brian told him, glancing at Mathew. "Give it to him."
"All right, little brother," Matthew said, retrieving something from his back pocket. "Hold your horses."
He handed what appeared to be folded papers to him. Sully took them, curious, and opened them. His eyes widened when he read what they said.
"Sully?" Michaela asked, wondering what it could be. "What is it?"
Sully swallowed, feeling tears in his eyes.
"This is an official notice in change of name status for Matthew Ethan Cooper, Colleen Charlotte Cooper, and Brian Cooper," he read. "It states that the aforementioned individuals have chosen to legally change their names to the following: Matthew Josef Sully, Colleen Charlotte-Michaela Sully, and Brian Byron Sully…"
Michaela's eyes widened and she glanced at her—their—children. There were tears in her eyes, as well.
Sully looked at the three kids he had always loved like his own, though he had never once pressured them to take his name or even call him 'Pa'.
He knew they loved him and that he loved them. That was enough for him.
"W-Why?" he asked, curiously.
"Because you didn't have no boys, Pa," Brian piped up. "Like Grandpa Quinn."
"Now you do," Colleen told him, smiling. "It was Brian's idea, Pa."
"We just wanted to show you how much you mean to us," Matthew told him. "We wanted to show you how much we love you...Pa."
Sully didn't stop the tears that leaked out of his eyes this time. Hearing all three of them call him that just made him feel all warm and tingly inside.
"Kids, I-I don't know what to say," he told them, "except…I love ya'll more than you can possibly imagine. I-I'm so proud to be your pa."
"And I am even prouder to be your mother," Michaela told them, wiping at her own tears. "But why did you change your middle name, Matthew?"
"Cuz I didn't want anything that belonged to Ethan Cooper no more," Matthew told her. "Sully is my pa—my real pa—now so I chose a new middle name to go with my new last name. Do you think your pa would have minded?"
"My father would be honored to have you share his name," Michaela told him. "None of my sisters even thought of naming their sons after him—which I know disappointed him a little. Thank you so much. Your grandmother will be pleased, too."
"Ma never gave me a middle name, guess by the time I got here she was just too tired to think of one," Brian said, quietly. "I know you don't like your first name none, Pa, but do you mind if I have it, too?"
"I'm honored to have you share my name, first and last, Brian," Sully told them, happily. "Thank you, kids."
"Your welcome, Pa," Matthew, Colleen, and Brian said at the same time.
Just then, Katie began to get fussy.
"It seems someone is starting to get hungry," Michaela said, smiling. "I'll just go sit in my chair and feed her. You all start eating."
"Are you sure?" Sully asked. "We can wait."
"This is your birthday breakfast," she told him, smiling. "Enjoy it with your children, who worked really hard to prepare it for you, Mr. Sully."
"All right," Sully told her, smiling. Michaela nodded and went to feed Katie.
As he and his newly christened children began eating, Sully couldn't help but glance around at them.
He had watched over them for the last four years, watching them grow and change.
Holding them when they were sad.
Helping them whenever they had a problem or personal crisis.
Being there for them when they were hurt or angry or just plain scared.
Michaela had loved them almost from the moment they had become hers, but he had been scared at the prospect of being a husband and father again.
He'd lost his young wife, Abigail, and their baby daughter, Hannah, in childbirth and had become a loner and a drifter after that.
It was three years before he could face being around folks again, and it had taken Michaela arriving to do that.
As he started helping out with the children, he grew to love them like they were his own—and now they truly were.
"What'cha thinkin' 'bout, Pa?" Brian asked him, after swallowing a mouthful of bacon. "Ain'tcha hungry?"
Sully smiled at his youngest son, who now bore his name, and nodded.
"I was thinking about what a lucky man I am, son," he told him, picking up his fork and beginning to eat.
He truly was a lucky man.
He had beautiful wife; two beautiful daughters, and two terrific sons who would now continue on the family name.
He was more than lucky.
He was truly, thankfully, blessed.
And what man could ask for anything more?
Certainly not him.
(AN: I always felt kinda sad that Sully had no one to carry on the family name or that Matthew never called him 'Pa'. This story was my way of changing that. I hope you all liked it.)