Summary: Dorothy is brought back to Colorado Springs straight to Michaela Quinn's clinic.
Rating: T for now.
Pairing: Dorothy and Cloud Dancing.
A NEW BEGINNING:
Shadow felt strange, felt drugged. She was slowly surfacing from the black to feel the familiar arms of her love, her husband, Cloud Dancing around her, but something was off. She couldn't hear the birds in the trees. Instead she heard the chatter of the white man, the language she had forgotten long ago. There was pain in her arm, pain in her leg, and a pain in her head. She wanted to sit up, but the feel of Cloud Dancing kept her where she was, kept her in he warm embrace. But she had to wake, she had to sit up. Opening her eyes Shadow saw the face of a white woman. This alarmed her to the point she was moving as far into Cloud Dancing's arms as she could. "Where am I?"
"You are safe." Cloud Dancing answered. He should have known this would be her reaction upon waking. Shadow had more distrust for the white men than any one of his people. Only, he knew her reason for the distrust. The people who should have loved her, turned their backs on her, left her to suffer, to be beaten. Since coming to the Cheyenne, not once had she been touched in anger. Cloud Dancing had only touched her in love and that was how he would touch her for the rest of their lives. "Dr. Mike has stitched up the wounds you sustained."
Shadow stopped moving and felt her weary body, took stock of all of her injuries. There was pain in her right thigh, and in her left arm. How had she been injured? She didn't remember. Lifting her left arm she saw the bandage and felt a light tugging on her skin.
"Don't move too much or you'll break the stitches." Michaela said keeping her voice light and friendly to try and put the other woman at ease. She wasn't sure if Shadow would understand her. The woman was white, but she was dressed as a Cheyenne Indian. Buck skin pants, moccasins, a rawhide vest, and her wild mane of red hair had been tamed back into a braid with beads and quail feathers at the end secured with a leather cord. Who was this woman? Who had she been before the tribe?
Shadow angled her head to look at Cloud Dancing with questions forming, "Who is this white woman? She tended to my wounds?" It made no sense for a white woman to tend to someone like her. Why would she help a Cheyenne? People like her were feared, hated, for everything.
"Her name is Dr. Michaela Quinn; Dr. Mike to those around here. Her knowledge helped her to tend your wounds." Cloud Dancing answered looking at the female doctor. This first time he had met her she was pulling a bullet from Chief Black Kettle's neck in her homestead, risking her freedom at the hands of the army. "She is the Medicine Woman."
Michaela recognized her Cheyenne name as she watched in rapt fascination the way Cloud Dancing talked to the woman in his arms. His voice was soft, filled with love. It amazed her to no end how gentle the Cheyenne were, and yet the army wouldn't hesitate to wipe them all out.
"Why would she do this? I am not of her kind. She is a white woman." Shadow tuned her gaze to the woman, but something in the Doctors face didn't make her leap to distrust. In fact Shadow wanted to trust her.
"What's she saying?" Michaela asked, her irritation rising at being in the room yet not in the conversation. Sully had been teaching her the Cheyenne language, but she only knew a handful of words.
"She wishes to know why you helped her. My wife does not trust the white man." Cloud Dancing answered. Just as he counted Sully as his brother, the medicine man now counted this female Doctor as one of his friends. She had done much for him in the past. Then the way she had tended to his wife was one more debt he owed to her.
"I took an oath to do no harm. I help heal people rather than to do them injury." Michaela answered in earnest. She wanted the woman to trust her. There wasn't a bone in her body that could ever make her inflict pain on another living person. She only wanted to help heal mankind. It was why Michaela became a doctor.
"That…. Is… a… noble sen… senti… sentiment." Shadow fumbled with the words in a language she had long ago abandoned. It was a language of lies and deceit.
"You can speak English?" Michaela didn't know why she sounded so surprised. The woman was white; she was raised party as a white woman. Still, to hear her speak was astonishing.
Cloud Dancing answered, "She does not like to." Lightly he ran his hand down the side of his wife's face. Shadow was as brave and as strong as any warrior or Dog soldier, but she was also gentle and kind. All the gentleness he could give her was what she needed from him.
Loren trudged through the open doors of his store and passed right by his wife Maude; Dorothy's sister. Right now he couldn't function, couldn't think, he was only moving on instinct. He had just seen the last person he had thought to be seeing in Dr. Mike's clinic. It had been the red headed beauty of his dreams, Dorothy. She was the one he had been deeply in love with ever since he was a kid, but she had never looked his way so he had settled for Maude. Loren Bray had settled. Going up to the second level Lauren sat down on the edge of his bed and tried to think through everything he had seen.
"Lauren?' Maude came through the door, "Did Dr. Mike help you?" She looked at her forlorn husband sitting on the edge of their bed. "What's the matter?"
"I saw someone who should be dead." He looked up at Maude. "Over in the clinic Dorothy was lying there in one of the recovery beds. Your dead sister ain't so dead." Lauren snapped. The shock was melting away giving the anger a foothold in his mind. He was angry at seeing her alive and seeing her in the arms of some damned Injun looking like them.
"What are you sayin'?" Maude sat down next to her husband and tried not to break into hysterics. She had mourned her sister so many years ago.
"You heard me!" Lauren snapped. "She's over in Dr. Mike's Clinic. Go and see for yourself if you don't believe me!" He stormed out and back down to the store to throw himself into work until his mind could process what his eyes had seen.
Shadow watched the white doctor put some powder in a glass of water, stirring it up. She didn't know what she was doing and Shadow didn't want to know. All the Cheyenne wanted to do was get on her horse and head back to the camp. Nothing about this town put her at ease. "I do not wish to stay here."
"For now, you need a doctor and she is the best." Cloud Dancing replied resting his hands over her flat stomach. Her skin was quivering from repressed pain.
Michaela once again turned to Shadow who was nestled close to Cloud Dancing. The woman looked so comfortable and wary at the same time. Sitting down again Michaela offered shadow the glass of water with powdered morphine mixed in. "This will ease any pain you have."
There was nothing Shadow wanted less than the white man's medicine. She didn't trust them, didn't know them anymore. In her mind she was a Cheyenne and that was how she wanted to stay. "Wh…at… is… it?" Shadow struggled with the language. It hurt her heart and pained her soul to have to use the language that brought her nothing but misery.
"It's a little bit of morphine, a pain killer, mixed with water. It will dull the pain you have to be feeling." Michaela once again held out the water glass. It wasn't easy to break past mistrust, but she had done it before and hoped to do the same thing again with Shadow.
Shadow tentatively reached out taking the glass in her left hand. She hadn't let herself feel the pain until now. It was a throbbing ache traveling up her right leg and a pounding pain in her right shoulder. "Thank… you…" she inclined her head slowly before taking a drink of the odd tasting water. As she drank she could feel her pain ebbing.
"How do you feel?" Cloud Dancing asked. He knew what it took for Shadow to take the medicine offered her.
"Just fine. I wish I could go home." Shadow answered keeping her eyes on the white doctor. Two more swallows and she handed the glass back. Quicker and quicker the pain was falling away from her mind. Also at the same time she was getting tired again. She wanted to sleep even more than she wanted to go home.
"You two are more than welcome to stay here while Shadow regains her strength." Dr. Mike offered. She wanted this woman to trust her. Michaela didn't have many friends. More than anything she wanted to be friends with Shadow.
"That is not necessary. We will leave soon." Cloud Dancing answered. He didn't want to keep shadow here any longer than he should have to. It was dangerous in this town for her, he knew that, but Dr. Mike did not.
"Cloud Dancing, she shouldn't be moved yet, not while the stitches are still fresh." Michaela argued gently looking the blood seeping onto the bandage around Shadow's thigh. She reached out for fresh bandages. On an automatic instinct she started to remove the bandage so she could replace it with a fresh one. The work she would do could cause pain, but Shadow never flinched.
"I have to get her out of here. It is not safe for us." Cloud Dancing said. This was the truth, yet the Doctor refused to see it. Michaela was kind hearted and a healer. That was what he admired about her. He only wished that more of her people thought like her.
"What do you mean?" Michaela asked. Cloud Dancing had mentioned whip marks on the back of his wife. Did it have anything to do why the Cheyenne adopted her? She wanted to ask.
"Do not tell her," Shadow said. It was bad enough that she was here in this town again. It was dangerous for anyone to know she was here.
"I will not for it is not my story to tell." Gently he kissed the top of his wife's head. If he had the power he would take then far from this land to a place where no one would harm them ever again. But the white man was everywhere, infecting every thing. Soon there would be nothing left for is people.
"Do you think she will…?"
"No! Dr. Mike is a good woman. You can trust her." He assured Shadow.
"If you're worried about your safety, no one will bother you. I promise." Michaela didn't have to understand the language to know what was being said. Shadow was worried, Cloud Dancing was concerned for his wife, and together they were bound to leave as soon as she turned her back.
"How can you… pro…mise… this?" Shadow asked using Cloud Dancing's thighs to brace her hands on so she could sit up and lean back against his chest. There was nothing for her in Colorado Springs. Her family was the Cheyenne and her life was with them. "I wish… to… leave," Shadow found the words, but se still fumbled them in speaking.
"This is my clinic. No one will come in here if you feel threatened." Michaela assured. "It's not a good idea for you to be riding a horse with fresh stitches in your thigh and in your arm." She hoped shadow would listen and rest. It didn't matter to Michaela that she was Cheyenne. Michaela only cared about treating the woman's injuries and making sure she was safe.
THE NEXT DAY:
Cloud Dancing hadn't left Shadow's side all night. He could feel the unease coursing through her body, feel the way she would jump every time a door opened and closed while she rested. His heart hurt to see her so uncomfortable, but she said nothing and she rested. Cloud Dancing kept his arms gently around her listening to all the sounds of the town just beyond the balcony. He tried not to sleep, but in the dark of night his eyes fell closed and together they slept. When he woke the next morning Shadow was not in his arms. She was standing on the balcony looking down at the people. "Shadow?" He said climbing out of bed going to her. As he stepped to her side more people stopped to look at them. Out of a need for her skin, Cloud Dancing took his wife's hand as he continued to watch the people.
"I hate how they stare at us. They see us as savages." Shadow spoke clenching his hand as two men stopped to stare openly at her. With her right hand she reached up and pushed back her braided mane of red hair. She knew how she looked to others; she looked very much like a savage. Shadow was still dressed in her buck skin pants, her rawhide vest was still buttoned up with the bandage on her left arm showing no blood, and her hair was braided like any other woman's would be except she had beads through strands of her hair and at the end of the braid where it was tied off quail feathers were wrapped around under the white tie.
"We are not savages. These white men destroy every thing they touch, where we live with what the spirits have given us." It was an age old argument. The People fought to have their land stay the way it was while the white man raped and pillaged the land scarring it forever.
"I know, but that does not stop them from thinking it." Shadow replied turning from the sight of the towns folk to look at the man she loved more than life itself. He was her only world, her only life. Cloud dancing had pulled her out of the dark, out of a terrible life, and given her a home, love, and a family. No matter how much time would pass; she could never repay him. "I love you."
"And I love you," Cloud Dancing gently pulled her close encasing her in his arms Shadow tucked her head under his chin and sighed. Smiling, he began to rub small circles on her back. It was as much for her as it was for him. Cloud Dancing never got enough of her, enough of the feel of her. She was his world.
"Hello? Anybody there?" A voice called from inside the room.
Cloud Dancing and Shadow tensed hearing an unfamiliar voice emanating from the room where they had been resting. Instinctively Shadow reached for the knife at the small of her back grasping the handle. Then a darker skinned woman appeared in the balcony doorway wearing a kind smile and holding a tray of food that smelled really good. Shadow dropped her hand sensing no threat to her or to her husband.
"My name is Grace. I run the café just out back. Dr. Mike asked if I would bring some food up to you. I hope y'all like fried chicken." Grace smiled gently seeing the mistrust floating in the eyes of the woman. Grace backed up inside and set the tray down on the table.
Shadow stepped away from Cloud Dancing following the smell of food. She hadn't realized how hungry she was until she smelled the food. It had to have been at least two days since she last ate. "Thank you." She spoke, not fumbling with the words.
"Oh, you are most welcome." Grace reached out and patted the woman's hand that rested on the table. "Now come and sit. You need to eat." She motioned for Cloud Dancing to join them. Grace knew who he was from seeing him with Sully a time or two. But never had she had the occasion to talk to him.
Shadow sat down on the edge of the bed and waited. She would have been happy enough to get her own food, but Grace seemed willing enough to bring her the plate. The pain in her thigh and arm weren't as bad as it was yesterday. Hopefully the doctor would let her leave. But first she wanted to eat. Grace brought over a plate and with a smile she offered it to Shadow. Again she said, "Thank you."
"You are quite welcome." Grace smiled broadly handing the second plate to Cloud Dancing. She went to retrieve the tray, then stopped to ask, "Is there anything else you'd like?"
"No, this is enough. Thank you." Cloud Dancing answered offering Grace a gentle smile.
"Ok then, I'll tell Dr. Mike you're doin much better." Grace took the tray and headed out of the room with one last look back to the Cheyenne couple sitting on the bed eating quietly together. Personally, Grace couldn't see what everyone was talking about. She had no room to judge, her own people were enslaved, but the Indians were being wiped out slowly every day. "If you need anything else, my café is just around the corner from the clinic. Feel free to come by." She offered before shutting the door and leaving them to their meal.
"Two nice people in two days. This town is not what I remember," Shadow said around a mouth full of chicken.
"Is this not a good sign? Perhaps those who hurt you are gone." Cloud Dancing offered, but he doubted it. Not after seeing how that man reacted upon seeing Shadow yesterday.
"My luck is not that good. Those people would have to be dead and buried in the ground for my pain to ease a fraction." Shadow spoke of death easily, but there was nothing easy about her pain. She wanted them to die, to leave this world and journey into the next so they could never hurt her again.
Michaela sat with Brian and Colleen outdoors at Grace's Café. She was waiting for her friend to come back from the clinic after delivering food to Shadow and Cloud Dancing. Michaela was also waiting for Sully. He said he would have lunch with them today. Maybe he stopped by to see his beet friend.
"Dr. Mike." Grace came over to her table. "I stopped by liked you asked and brought them the food."
"Thank you Grace. How did they seem to you?" Michaela asked. she hadn't the heart to go and disturb them after she found them sleeping so peacefully together.
"They seemed fine to me. The woman is a little scared, but it's understandable. She's out of place here." Grace answered sitting down across from the Doctor for a moment.
"Hmm, it might not be the place so much as the town which unnerves her. Shadow was eager to leave yesterday when she woke up."
"You may be right. Folks round here aren't as open minded as you are." Grace said. It was the truth. When Dr. Mike came to town she was a breath of fresh air and was quick to make friends with Grace and Robert E.
"Well, after lunch I'll be sure to check on her." Michaela answered looking up in time to see Sully heading towards them. That brought an instant smile to her face.
"Ma, can I help you out in the Clinic today?" Colleen asked.
"Are you sure?" Michaela asked her daughter. She was pleased when Colleen wanted to come to the clinic. She harbored the small hope that Colleen would want to become a Doctor like her.
"Yes, I was going to spend time with Becky but her family needs her so…"
"The clinic wins by default?" Michaela laughed at the look on her daughters face. "I don't see a problem with that. I would welcome your help." After lunch she was going to go back and check on Shadow to make sure the wounds weren't reopened. If all looked well then she would let the Cheyenne woman go home.