A/N: The time line of the Stemwinder episode is all over the place with days all bleeding into each other and things appearing to happen on the same day that couldn't possibly be right without a time machine. I have tried to beat some sense in it, but take full responsibility for any time gaps that don't make sense. And, of course, for any errors. Thanks as always to the friends who previewed this for me and helped make it better.


"I'm sorry, Honey," Lee murmured into Amanda's hair as he held her in bed that night. "It'll all be done soon – just as soon as we pass her those damn frequencies tomorrow, we can walk away."

Amanda sighed. "You know how you told me once that I should be happy we weren't under the bed of someone we had under surveillance? You were so right – I thought the first night was bad, but it gets worse with every night you get closer to her. I just want to scrub off the icky feeling it gives me," she replied quietly, tucking her face into his neck. He was still slightly damp from the shower he'd taken the moment they got back to his apartment after his evening with Sonja – obviously he'd wanted to scrub something off too. She felt his warm chuckle rumble through his chest as much as she heard it.

"Oh Amanda," he smiled – she could hear him smiling - "Only you would use the word 'icky' for the past few hours."

"I have a few other words for it," she said, lifting her head to look into his eyes, "but I'm trying very hard not to use them."

"Nah, it's a good word for it," Lee sighed. "And I feel the same way. Even if you and I weren't together, I'd hate this one. She's so young, I feel like a creep."

"She's plenty old enough to be enjoying herself," groused Amanda.

"I'm not sure she is, actually," said Lee. "I think she's running on adrenaline thinking that she's succeeding in roping in a famous American agent."

"But she isn't, right?"

Lee looked at her with concern. "Of course she isn't!"

"Sometimes it's hard to tell," said Amanda, her tone aiming for light, but falling flat.

"You're not serious?" asked Lee. "Are you?" he added, uncertainly.

"No, not really," she sighed. "But when I'm sitting out there listening…"

"Listening to a script," he interrupted. "None of it is real, you know that."

"You have a script?" she asked incredulously.

"Well, yes, I do, up to a point," he admitted. "We have to be careful to say certain things or not say others because it can affect any legalities later. But in this case, I meant Sonja – you can tell she's fresh out of spy school. Almost everything she says is a line I've heard before from other Soviet girls."


"Really," he nodded. "There's a reason they call this a dance, you know. She feeds me a line, I give her back the expected reply. She makes her next move, I dance a little out of range. She increases the bait, but trails it just out of reach…"

"Is this dancing or fishing?" asked Amanda, sarcastically.

Lee laughed and kissed her. "A bit of both. She has to dangle herself in front of the desperate older man who wants her and I have to act just interested enough to draw her out. And like I said, she's young – her trainers have taught her to expect lecherous American men to respond in certain ways, so she thinks I'm just like I told you before, "statistically valid for an American male my age". A seasoned agent like Francine would never fall for the stuff I tell Sonja in a million years, but Sonja's too new to this. I'd feel sorry for her if this wasn't a matter of national security."

"Well, it's all still icky to listen to," replied Amanda, wrinkling her nose.

"Well, if it helps any, you know she's not going to let me do anything more than this teenage boy stuff until she gets what she's after," said Lee, grinning at her, his teeth a flash of white in the dim light. "You're the only one who lets me get to home base anymore."

"That doesn't help at all!" she yelped, poking him in the chest. "That just sounds like you'd do more if she let you!"

"Amanda! Of course I wouldn't do more!" he defended himself, realizing that joke had definitely fallen flat. "I don't want to do more with her any more than I wanted to do more with all the girls I flirted with when I was with Andy." He paused and swallowed heavily, worried for a moment that bringing up old relationships was not the best course of action right now.

Amanda also paused and studied his face carefully. "You mean you didn't… you know… when you were with him?"

"No, I didn't! And neither did he!" Lee answered forcefully. "I told you before, we both flirted and dated to cover our tracks, but we didn't do anything – I'm a relentless monogamist at heart."

Amanda laughed softly. "The steno pool would be so sad to hear that."

"The steno pool got most of the action from our act," Lee pointed out, relieved that she could see the funny side of it. "But it did require a lot of trust – more from him than me, since I knew he wasn't actually interested in women."

"I trust you. I do," said Amanda softly, tracing circles on his chest. "But at least Andy didn't have to listen in on you."

"Oh yes, he did," Lee contradicted her. "Sometimes because we were 'double-dating' and at least once on another dance like I'm doing with Sonja. He hated it too – but believe me, unlike some guys, there is nothing more mood-killing for me than knowing someone you lo-… that someone is listening," he finished abruptly, then buried his face in her hair. "You don't need to worry," he said gruffly.

Amanda's heart had leapt at the way that sentence sounded it was headed, but she recognized from the way he was literally hiding from her now that he still wasn't quite ready for that last step.

"I'm not worried," she said, hugging him closer. "At least I try not to be. It's just… she's young and pretty and… well, you know, you dated a lot when we first met and then you had a long dry spell there after Leslie and before we got together-"

She stopped as Lee raised his head and stared at her. "Whoa! Now, wait a minute – I never slept with Leslie!"

Amanda blinked. "You didn't?"

"No, I didn't! We'd only been dating a few weeks when she showed up at my place that night – and I sure as hell wasn't going to after that!"


Lee moved back so he could look at her fully. "All this time… through everything… you thought I had?"

"Well, yes," she nodded. "I mean, you were dating, everyone was making jokes about how you weren't getting any sleep… and she was in your apartment! Making you dinner!" she said defensively.

"Oh my God," muttered Lee, suddenly seeing it from her point of view. "No, we never… I was trying to take it slow… I was just trying to have a real relationship – and that night she showed up was when I started to realize- "

"That she was awful?" huffed Amanda.

"That she was awful. And that I wanted you, not a poor substitute," laughed Lee despite himself at Amanda's sudden smug look. "A poor awful substitute." He ran a finger along her cheek as they gazed at each other. "And Sonja isn't even that."

"Not even a little bit?" Amanda couldn't resist asking. "I mean, if your type is dark eyes and dark hair, she's definitely…"

"Amanda," Lee sighed. He rolled over, pushing Amanda onto her back and held himself above her, braced on his forearms before leaning down to kiss her thoroughly. "Not even a little bit."

As his kisses progressed down her body, and she felt his body's response in turn, Amanda let the last little sliver of doubt evaporate.



"When this is all over…can I be the one to handcuff her?"

Lee's bark of laughter was a gush of warm air against her belly. He pulled himself back up along her to look into her dancing eyes with a twinkle. "Absolutely," he promised.