Title: Two Live Pigeons

Rating: PG

Category: Romance, AU

Summary: Missing scenes from the end of "Odds on a Dead Pigeon," the way it could have been. Starts right after Karen falls off the building.

Disclaimer: All of the characters here, sadly, belong to Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Productions. Some of the dialogue even belongs to them, too. *sigh*

Feedback: Please! jlcidell@yahoo.com
Lee took a step towards the edge, close enough to see that the second set of hands was no longer there. As he looked over the edge, he saw her body--Amanda's body--on the ground below. He stared down, grim-faced, then turned back to look at the woman in his arms. He let out a huge sigh of relief and gripped her shoulders, willing his heart to slow down. She was safe. Once she had said that well-known phrase, he had no doubt that she was the right Amanda. But he still had to look her up and down, just to reassure himself that she was safely with him.

She lowered her hands to her sides and gave him a smile. "How did you know it was me?" she asked shyly.

His response was another relieved exhalation as he gently shook her by the arms. He went on in a surprisingly shaky voice, "Look, who else do I know, whose last words would be, 'Oh my gosh'?" She gave a nervous laugh in reply, and he added, "Huh?" He stared into her eyes, wondering how he could have ever been fooled by that woman in the hospital. Amanda's eyes were so--so real, so full of life. So beautiful.

Then he saw those beautiful eyes cloud over. She turned her head towards the edge that she had so recently been dangling from, but quickly turned back, not able to look. Lee pulled her towards him again, wrapping his arms around her as she followed suit.

He realized that her arms were trembling a bit against his back, which was understandable after having to support her weight while hanging off of the building. Then he realized his arms were trembling a bit, too. He took a few deep breaths, wondering why this was affecting him so much. Really, it was just another successful ending to a case, with one bad guy unconscious and the other, well, also out of the picture. And Amanda was safe.

But he couldn't forget that moment in the parking lot, when the wrong Amanda had pulled her gun on him and the world had suddenly shifted under his feet. He had been terrified for a moment, not for himself, but for her. He was afraid for a moment that she really was dead, or at least hurt, and the only thing he could do about it was obey her evil twin. He'd been so relieved to see the real Amanda unharmed that he didn't even care how much danger he was in. And then she had stepped in in her usual fashion, saving the day with something as simple as a piece of wood. God, that was why he loved her, her ability to--

That was why he _what_? asked a little corner of his brain.

Why he--oh. His brain started backpedaling from that statement so quickly that his body pulled back, too, loosening his grasp on Amanda. "Are you, uh, okay?" he asked, hoping she hadn't noticed his abrupt move. "Did they hurt you at all?"

Amanda looked up from where her face had been nestled against his chest, startled at his sudden movement. Then she shook her head, drawing her hands back so they rested on his lower arms. "No, they just tied me up and told me they were going to lure you here and..." Her gaze dropped to his chest. "I thought he said you were already dead," she said softly. Before he could move to reassure her, she took a deep breath and raised her eyes to his. "Lee, why would anyone go to that much trouble? To pay someone to have plastic surgery just so they could trick you? Why not just shoot you on the street or something?"

He shrugged. "I guess Redding wanted to make it more personal, you know? To toy with me a bit. He had seven years to think about it, after all."

"Yeah, I know," she replied quietly. Then she took a step back so that they were no longer touching, and he instantly missed her body against his. "It just seems like a lot of trouble to go to," she said. "And to pick me as the person to copy..."

"Yeah, it does," Lee answered, running a hand through his hair. That had been troubling him, too. How could Redding think that there was something between him and Amanda when it hadn't even occurred to him? Well, there was certainly friendship between them, and that was strong enough to make him want to protect her. That must have been what Redding had seen.

But when Amanda turned and took a step towards the edge she had just been hanging from, he reached out and grabbed her arm. "Hey," he said, pulling her towards him. "There's nothing there you need to see."

"Yes, there is," she replied firmly, laying a hand over his wrist. "That could have been me down there. It almost was, Lee."

"I know that," he answered sharply, putting his other hand on her shoulder. "Believe me, I know," he said more softly, gazing into her eyes and gently rubbing her arm. *And I'll be having nightmares about it for weeks,* he thought to himself.

"You will?" Amanda said, tilting her head to the side.

"What?" Had he said that out loud?

Apparently he had, for she was gazing at him quite seriously. "Lee, I'm okay," she said. "You don't need to worry about me," and she gently squeezed the hand that was still grasping her wrist.

"It's a little late for that," he said under his breath, remembering his fears during the ride to the construction site. When he saw her staring at him curiously, he shook his head. "Never mind. Look, we'd better take care of our friend back there and get out of here before someone starts wondering where you are, okay?"

She nodded, but didn't move. Finally he asked, "What's wrong, Amanda?"

"Oh, nothing's wrong," she answered, still looking at him thoughtfully. Then she smiled a little shyly and looked down. "I guess I just didn't realize that you'd gotten to know me so well. I mean, that a little thing like 'Oh my gosh' would save my life..."

He smiled in response. "Yeah, I guess I have gotten to know you pretty well, huh?" With one hand he gently took her chin and lifted her face towards his. "And it's a good thing, too," he said meaningfully. *For a number of reasons,* he added in his head.

They stared at each other for a moment, searching each other's eyes. Then Lee leaned forward and gently kissed her forehead. "Come on," he said softly, taking her hand and trying to ignore the surprised happiness on her face. "I'm afraid we've got some work to do."

* * * *

"You know, it was really awfully strange," Amanda said with a shake of her head. Lee had stopped by to let her know the news on Redding, waiting until the coast was clear before tapping on her back door. Well, that was his excuse--what he really wanted was to see her again, to rid himself of those last nagging worries about her safety. Apparently, her earlier quietness had evaporated. "Looking at somebody that looked exactly like me; you know, I used to think I that wanted a twin when I was in school; I would go to school on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and she would go to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you know, we'd alternate off like that--but to really look at somebody who looks _exactly_ like you--who could just walk right into your life, and take your place--"

Lee had been listening with an intense look of concentration, his usual annoyance at her rambling tempered with the relief that she was here to ramble at all. But he couldn't take it anymore. "Amanda, I don't think anyone could pull that off," he said.

She grinned, then paused as Phillip yelled from upstairs, "Hey Mom, don't forget the marshmallows!" Then she turned back to him and her face got serious. "You're right. And you want to know why?" she asked, leaning forward with a conspiratorial look on her face.

He couldn't help but reply in a whisper, "Why?"

Shaking her finger, she solemnly said, "Because nobody else knows where I hide the marshmallows." Then she couldn't hold back a smile that suddenly bubbled into a laugh.

Lee couldn't help the laugh that escaped him as well. Sometimes Amanda's joy was just infectious, and it felt so good to laugh with her. *I've got to do this more often,* he thought, amazed at how beautiful she looked with those little laugh lines crinkling around her eyes. Before he knew what he was doing, his hand reached out to gently trace those lines. The wave of emotion he felt in response made the smile fade from his face and his eyes grow dark.

Her face had grown serious at his touch, and he heard her catch her breath as he laid his palm against her cheek. Her eyes grew wide as he took a step closer. "Amanda," he said softly, reaching out to put his other arm around her.

"Yeah?" she whispered, her arms coming up almost unconcsciously to wrap around his waist.

He was struck again at how lovely her eyes were, and how stupid he must have been not to notice the fake Amanda. *Well, it's not exactly like I had ever entertained the possiblity of there _being_ a fake Amanda,* he told himself as an excuse. Then he realized he had only seen her eyes this close up once before--when they were in San Angelo. When their mouths were about as far apart as they were right now, with the distance narrowing almost imperceptibly as they gazed into each other's eyes. He pressed upwards on her face ever so slightly, lowering his own head...

And their lips met. Lee kissed her as tenderly as he could, trying to convey his relief, his joy, all of his feelings for her that had crystallized when they were holding each other in that half-finished skyscraper. She pressed her body against his in response, and he could feel himself growing a little warm. *This is so much better than a cover kiss,* he thought. *This is so much better than any other kind of kiss.*

All too soon, they drew apart. Amanda's eyes were still wide, but he saw happiness in them, the same happiness he could feel on his own face. He gave her a huge grin, then wrapped both arms around her and pulled her close. "I'm so glad you're okay," he whispered in her ear.

"Oh, I'm more than okay," she whispered slyly in response. Her breath on his ear made him shiver, and he tightened his grip on her. It felt so good to hold her this close, to feel her warm body pressed up against his, to feel her--

*Whoa, boy,* he cautioned himself, pulling back. There would be time for that later. He hoped. He lifted one hand to caress her face again and said reluctantly in a low voice, "Hey, you'd better get to those marshmallows before someone comes looking for you."

She smiled in response. "I could bring some out for you if you want to stick around."

Lee's response was to lean forward and kiss her again. When he reluctantly broke off the kiss, he bent to her ear and whispered, "Amanda, I plan on sticking around. Don't ever worry about that." Then he softly pressed his lips against her neck, just below her ear. Her resulting shudder made him smile against her skin.

He reluctantly gave her one final squeeze and let go. "See you tomorrow," he said quietly, starting to retreat towards the driveway.

She had unconsciously raised a hand to her neck, then blushed as she realized what she was doing. "Good night," she softly called in response. Then she turned around and went into the house.

Lee's step was jaunty as he strode back down the street to his car. "Wow," he said out loud, trying to process all of the feelings that had raced through his body during their too-short kisses. Then a thought struck him, and he couldn't help but grin. "Maybe I should send Redding a thank-you card," he muttered as he got into his Corvette and drove away.