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Sully's Girl

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Charlotte Cooper saw it first. She knew her new friend was somethin' special, and it wouldn't be long before everyone else did too. And the first person to realize it, of course, was Sully. He accepted Mike wholeheartedly, in his own, Sully-like way.

Charlotte knew Sully was carrying an open wound in his heart, but she also knew that time heals all wounds-- especially with the right doctor to sew them up. And she saw that, even if neither of them knew it yet, that Mike was the one to do it.

 

Most of all, Charlotte knew that Sully was a good man. He had a good heart, and he would always protect those he loved. And that was why she had no qualms about asking Michaela to raise her children. She knew she wasn't just leaving her children a loving and caring Ma, but a loyal and hardworking Pa. Her last thought was to wonder how long it would take them to figure that out.....

 

 

It didn't take Olive Davis long to figure it out, either. She'd barely set foot back into town before the epidemic swept in. She saw the new, upstart young doctor sweep in and take charge like a general on a battlefield. And she saw Sully try-- and fail-- to stop the doc from running herself ragged. And when Mike finally caught the grippe herself, Olive saw how carefully Sully carried her into the makeshift hospital. She saw how he didn't leave Dr Mike's side until the doc opened her eyes. She saw the care in his eyes as he looked down at Michaela and her children. She sighed and shook her head. That man clearly didn't have a clue what he was in for.....

 

 

Elizabeth Quinn was no fool. She didn't stay in Colorado Springs very long, but that man showed up at her daughter's house for dinner every night, regular as clockwork. And much as she might want to dislike him, he made Michaela happy. She hadn't seen her daughter that happy since.....well, since David. She knew the healing would take time, but she had hopes that the next time she came to this dusty, backwater town, it would be for a good occasion-- to welcome that wild young man into the family. Not that she would say a word to Michaela.....

 

 

It was Kid Cole-- a newcomer with more on his mind than the fate of another romance-- who saw it next. He quickly realized that it wasn't often that one found Sully in town-- and on the rare occasion that mountain man did come to town, you'd be sure to find him if you looked for that lovely young doctor. He smiled at the thought, and wished them both luck in his heart as he rode out of town.....

 

 

Even Loren, cold and unfeeling (supposedly), could see it. Sully didn't care two bits about that ol' homestead. In fact, Mr Bray'd bet good money that Sully would be glad to see the back of it and escape the ghosts that haunted it. But if Loren took the land back, Dr Mike and the kids would have to go live amongst their ghosts in the clinic, and Sully obviously cared about them enough to not want that for them. And considering Dr Mike had saved his life, Loren figured he ought to help her out a bit...

 

 

Ethan, selfish as he was, realized soon enough that he didn't have a chance with that pretty lil' thing as long as Sully was around. Didn't stop him from flirting with her a bit. He didn't mind riling that wild man up as much as he possibly could. Of course, that came back to bite him in the end.....

 

 

Honestly, Grace hadn't thought much about it one way or another. But some comment Olive had made stuck in her mind, and she couldn't stop thinkin' about Mike and Sully...out there on Harding's land...alone. Well! She ought to get that foolishness out of her system before they got back. Better put that energy into starting up the new cafe. All the same, when she finally had a chance to look up from serving her customers and saw those two talking out of the edge of the land, she couldn't keep a grin off of her face-- though, knowing those two, it would be years before anything noteworthy happened. Not that she was one to talk, when she could barely get Robert E to eat right at the front table next to her.....

 

 

Myra was no fool, whatever anyone else thought, and spending so much time at the clinic with Doc Mike had made her realize just how often Sully showed up there. Why, before the doc had come to town, Myra had been able to count on one hand the number of times a month he came into town, and now he spent half his time there! He didn't seem to realize it, neither. She just sighed at that. Men......

 

 

Red McCall saw it too. He saw the hurt in Sully's eyes-- a pain that matched his own. But he also saw the new light Doc Mike brought to Sully's eyes. It made him start thinkin' about his own future. He realized that someday, his lil' Mike was going to need a mother too, and he decided right there and then he'd only marry when he found a woman who made him as happy as the doc made Sully......

 

 

Black Kettle saw it in the way Medicine Woman came tearing into the camp, desperate to find Sully before he got himself into even more trouble. he'd suspected long before, but that was when he knew. He also knew Sully wasn't the type to kill a man like that, but he didn't bother explaining that to her. Let her see for herself that Sully was a man she could depend on. It was enough to bring a smile to his face-- if he wasn't so concerned over this impending war.......

 

 

Cloud Dancing had figured it out before, of course. He knew Sully well enough to notice the subtle changes, and when the two of them worked together to free him, they were in perfect sync. He wasn't surprised when Sully asked is advice, but he knew that he couldn't live his friend's life for him. The best he could do was advise Sully to open his heart and hope for the best.....

 

 

The Reverend put the pieces together eventually. Honestly, he should have seen it earlier. But the children had been so eager when they asked, he couldn't help it. And that's how he ended up on the most awkward buggy ride of his life. That, combined with the searching look Sully gave him the next time they ran into each other sealed the deal. Dr Quinn was nice enough, but he couldn't be goin' and courtin' her. Not when she already had her eye on someone else......

 

 

Matthew had guessed, of course. He wasn't a kid, after all. But what he'd seen on his quest had confirmed it for him. He'd closed his eyes, and seen his family. All of them. Colleen...Brian....Ingrid.....Dr Mike....and Sully. Not Olive, though she'd been a family friend as long as he could remember. Not Robert E, though he respected the blacksmith more than most. Just his family....and Sully was a part of that.......

 

 

After the embarrassment had passed, and she calm enough to look at it rationally, Colleen realized that Dr Mike had lied to her. Not purposely, of course. The doc claimed she just loved Sully as a friend, when anyone with eyes in their head could see it was more than that. Colleen laughed. Sully was special alright-- but so was Dr Mike. She couldn't think of anyone who'd make him a better match.....

 

 

Brian, of course, had figured it out a long time ago. Not that anyone listened to him, though. If he'd had any say, they would've been married ages ago. For now, all he could do was push them together as much as possible. Which was hard, considering that they already spent all their time together. His memories of the time he'd spent in the hospital after falling from that tree were hazy, but he was pretty sure Sully had been there. He wondered if anything had happened with Sully and Ma-- probably not, considering how slow those two were. He hoped he wouldn't have as hard of a time with it when he grew up......

 

 

Even Zack saw it. He might not be quite as bright as the other kids, but he saw how close those two were. The first picture he sent back to Brian was of Sully and the doctor, holding hands. Brian took one look at it, giggled, and then hid it with the rest of his treasures. He went to sleep that night dreaming of weddings-- at least he thought so. Most weddings had candy everywhere, right? If not, they should.....

 

 

That photographer fellow, Daniel, saw it pretty quickly. When Michaela came in with her children, he arranged and rearranged them nearly a dozen times-- but no matter how he placed them, there was always an empty space. Someone was missing, and it didn't take a genius to figure out who......

 

 

 


 

 

Now, by that time the whole town was in on it, and the betting pool on when and what would happen was so large it had its own safe. It didn't hurt that the two of them decided to have a conversation about how they couldn't get into a relationship out in public just as the entire town was walking by for the town photo. There was plenty of money changing hands that day ("They did kiss on her birthday!" "He's not proposing this week either." "She liked it, though.") but nobody believed for a second that nothing was going to come of it. And then of course, there was that whole affair with the wagon that caught fire and the broken camera....

 

But when they finally did take that picture, everybody made sure that there was space next to Dr Mike so that when Sully decided that yes, he did want to be in the photo, he could stand next to her.

 

And anybody who looked at that picture could clearly see him with his arm around the woman who anybody with a pair of eyes in their head (other than Sully and Mike, apparently) could see was "Sully's Girl."