TITLE: Pigpen

AUTHOR: Ceeg

SUMMARY: Filler scene for "Burn Out". Contains spoilers for "Burn Out" and "DOA: Delirious on Arrival".

RATING: G

DISCLAIMER: Scarecrow and Mrs King and characters are owned by Shoot the Moon Productions. Scenes and lines are borrowed as needed for plot and setting purposes. 'Peanuts' characters copyrighted by United Features Syndicate, created by Charles Schulz.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Bohemian Fling, Beth J and the bored continuum for all their helpful feedback.


Lee and Amanda left Billy Melrose's office together. They'd been debriefed separately then met up to fill Billy in on some of the events of the day. Of the past couple of days, really. Amanda King abruptly sat down at Francine Desmond's desk, as though suddenly overcome with exhaustion. Lee Stetson walked over to the coffee station, more out of force of habit than any real desire for the beverage. Any coffee left in the pot this late in the evening was probably stale, anyway.

"Do you want any?" he asked over his shoulder.

A small humorless laugh was the only response. Lee decided not to try drinking the stuff, either. But when he turned to his 'partner', he found that she wasn't paying any attention to him. Apparently she hadn't been laughing at the coffee. Amanda had pulled a mirror out of Francine's drawer and was swiping at the dirt on her face with a tissue.

"I look like 'Pigpen'!" she declared, staring in dismay at her reflection.

"Who?" Lee was confused.

"Pigpen, you know, from 'Peanuts'," she endeavored to enlighten him. He shrugged and seated himself on the corner of the desk. "It's a comic strip. By Charles Schulz. Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy??? Lee, don't any of these names mean anything to you?" Amanda knew Lee's childhood had been different, but she was incredulous that he didn't know 'Peanuts'.

"I guess they sound vaguely familiar," he admitted, not understanding the significance.

"Poor Lee! You do have some gaps in your education. Don't worry," she smiled and patted his hand sympathetically. "I'll take care of that."

"Lay off!" he mock-growled. "I don't need to be taunted by a woman who looks like she rolled down a hill and then hitched a ride in a semi!"

"Exactly!" she laughed, but then her gaze returned to the mirror. "Oh, no! How am I going to explain this to my mother?" she groaned.

Lee could never tell when this was a rhetorical question.

"Um, you could clean up at my place," he suggested hesitantly. "Shower, freshen up. . . if you want." He didn't know how comfortable she'd be with the idea. Sometimes they brought work back to his apartment, and she'd even been over for coffee a couple of times. This was a little more, but they were friends; she would trust him, not question his motives. Right?

"Really? That'd be great. Oh, I'd feel so much more better." Amanda bounded to her feet, rewarding him with a grateful smile.

"Sure, it's the least I can do." Lee realized that his nervousness had been unwarranted; they really had come a long way since that weekend at the Cumberland last year. Placing a hand on the small of her back, he escorted her from the bullpen.

********

Amanda emerged from Lee's bedroom wearing his bathrobe and toweling her wet hair. She had wavered about putting on his robe; it seemed so personal. But he'd taken her clothes to be washed and dried, she definitely wasn't going to just wear a towel. And she wouldn't have put on the 'She' robe even if it had been available!

"I wonder if that's in the wash, too?" she muttered.

Lee called from the kitchen, "I'm making coffee."

"Thanks!" She wandered around the living room, sensing something was different. "What happened to the big vase that used to be by the bar?"

"You broke it." He answered, distracted by the concept of Amanda King wearing his bathrobe. He thought about it, but it didn't bother him. He hated women wearing his robe, or, worse, one of his dress shirts; it was such an intrusion into his privacy. That was why he'd gotten the 'She' robe, so the 'she' of the week would have something to wear when necessary. And the embroidered 'She' would make sure 'she' didn't get any wrong ideas about her place in his life.

Lee breathed a sigh of relief that Amanda wasn't wearing that rag. He was embarrassed enough that she knew it existed, and would feel humiliated if she'd had to wear it. No, it was much better that she was wearing his robe.

Amanda stopped in the kitchen doorway, staring at him. "I broke it???" She thought she would have remembered something like that.

Lee froze. 'Oops,' he thought, his mind returning to the conversation at hand. "Not 'you', I meant... Yu... ri. Yuri, one of those Russians that broke in, ah... last month." He stumbled for an explanation in an attempt to cover his slip.

"Yuri? Uh-huh." Amanda was skeptical; there was something about his tone. "I think, Scarecrow, that there is something you don't want to tell me." She tossed the damp towel across her shoulder and stood watching him, hands on her hips.

He turned to face her. "Francine will kill me," he warned.

Amanda laughed. "Now I really have to hear about this!"

"Well," Lee hesitated. He didn't think Amanda was going to like hearing this. "Remember the time you ate my chicken sandwich?"

"You said I didn't do anything embarrassing!" Amanda nervously combed her fingers through her curls.

"You didn't, Amanda," he denied hastily. "You have nothing to be embarrassed about. But, while you were under the influence of the drugs, we couldn't let you go home. The Agency didn't seem like a safe place for you, either." He continued, trying to ease into the story, "I said you might be comfortable here, since you're familiar with my apartment. And we left Francine here to watch you."

"And?" She tilted her head, coaxing him to continue. "Sounds reasonable so far, although Francine probably *loved* baby-sitting me, as I'm sure she put it."

"And one of the effects of the drug was paranoid delusions. Apparently you became suspicious of Francine's motives." He finished in a rush. "So, you beaned her with the vase and made your escape."

"Oh, my gosh!" Amanda gasped, covering her face with her hands.

"Amanda..." Lee took a step towards her, preparing to offer reassurance. He halted when she raised her head and smiled at him.

"I got the drop on Francine? She's going to kill you for telling me."

Lee handed her a cup of hot coffee. "That's what I said."

"Thanks!" Amanda gratefully accepted it. "Don't worry, I'll never tell." They exchanged conspiratorial smiles.

"So, where are my clothes?" she asked.

"One of my neighbors, Mrs Miller, is taking care of them. I usually have my laundry sent out, and she could tell I didn't know what I was doing." He assured her that he hadn't left her clothes unguarded. "She said she'd let me know when they were done."

Amanda settled on his sofa. "Well, then, we might as well relax for a minute and enjoy our coffee."

Lee nodded in agreement as he sat at the other end of the sofa. "It's been a long day, huh?"

"That's the understatement of the year, Scarecrow!" Amanda chuckled. Her expression turned serious as she thought over some of the events of the past week. They had a lot to talk about, but she didn't want to discuss the current case anymore today. Abruptly, she changed the subject. "Have you heard from Paul Barnes lately?"

Lee shook his head. "Not since last month. I keep asking him when he's coming to DC for a visit."

Amanda had never met 'The Wizard', but she felt she already knew Lee's mentor. 'Scarecrow' talked about Paul a lot, although he would never tell her about the original case in which he got his codename. "I can't wait to meet him."

Lee sipped his coffee. "He wants to meet you, too." Paul had already heard about Amanda when Lee first complained about having to work with 'a housewife'. It hadn't surprised Lee, The Wizard always knew what was going on at the Agency and in DC.

"I hope he likes me!" Amanda declared earnestly. Lee had a tremendous amount of respect for Paul Barnes; she hoped to measure up to his standards.

"Don't worry, you'll get along great," Lee remarked absently as the doorbell rang, interrupting their conversation.

"That's probably your clothes." He rose and went to answer the door.

Mrs Miller tried to peer surreptitiously over his shoulder as she handed him the skirt and blouse. "I ironed them. I didn't think the lady would want to go home all wrinkled."

"Thank you, Mrs Miller. We appreciate your helpfulness!" Lee stated, gently shutting the door in her face.

Mrs Miller turned away, disappointed at not being able to catch a glimpse of Mr Stetson's latest. She just didn't have nearly enough details to share with Mrs Snyder and the others. Then again, nobody seemed to have much about his 'love life' lately. He must be getting old and slowing down. She sighed regretfully and returned to her apartment and soap operas.

"Here you go, good as new!" Lee presented Amanda's clothes with a flourish.

"Great!" She hopped up and took them into the bedroom to get dressed. Lee settled back on the sofa to finish his coffee.

"No more 'Pigpen'! Mother will never suspect a thing," she announced minutes later, returning to the living room.

"All the bumps and bruises of the day cleverly concealed," he agreed. "Mind if I shave and clean up a little before I take you back to your car?" Lee asked, rubbing uncomfortably at his day-old beard.

"Good idea, 'Grizzly Adams'," Amanda teased, picking up her cup from the table.

Lee paused, then shook his head. He didn't really want to get into any more discussions about cartoon characters. He retreated to the bathroom, while she freshened her coffee, then settled back on the sofa to wait for him.

The end