Author: Taya Johnston (tjsmklvr)
Disclaimer: "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" and the characters of Lee and Amanda are the property of Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Enterprises. The story belongs to me and is for entertainment purposes only.
Timeline: Late Third Season
Feedback: Yes, please, on list or off.
Summary: There are worse things than being stranded on a tropical island with Lee Stetson.
Author's Notes: Thank you to my wonderful beta team! I couldn't (and wouldn't) have done it without you.
In Rum Veritas (In Rum There Is Truth)
"If by my life or death, I can protect you, I will" -- Aragorn
"Ah, damn! They hit our fuel line!" Lee tapped the rapidly descending gauge hoping it was only a malfunction. No such luck.
"Lee! Look out for that tree!" Amanda screamed from beside him.
"I see it! I see it!" He jerked the plane back up, trying to project calm control. It didn't seem to be working. "Look, Amanda you're going to have to look for a place for us to land this thing."
Her panic stricken face was not what he needed to see right now. He needed to know she was focused and prepared to handle what was coming. "Land, Amanda! We're losing fuel faster by the second. I need to get us on the ground and now! Start looking for any open space--preferably not the water."
"Right." She raised her chin and then nodded.
Lee sighed in relief—that did it, she was focused now. While she scanned the great expanse beneath them for a break in the trees, he wondered briefly if there was actually a good place to crash land. Amanda's shouting pulled him from his thoughts and he examined an area she pointed out. It was small but it seemed their only choice. He'd have to be precise--there would be no room for miscalculations. He couldn't let anything happen to her—if he could just miss skimming the trees they'd be in the clear.
"Amanda, get yourself in back and strapped down. There's going to be –"
"Already here!" She yelled from behind the cockpit.
Glancing back he saw her sheepishly smiling at him. "Good girl, now when we hit, I want you to hold on tight. I'm gonna try and make it as soft as possible but –"
"I know, Lee. Just do your best."
"Amanda, if we –"
"We'll make it! You can do it." Her voice shook with conviction.
If only he had as much confidence in himself as she had in him. She believed in him. She always did. How could anyone place that much trust in another human being? He only hoped it wasn't misplaced.
Tapping once again on the fuel gauge, he realized it was now or never. "Ok, here we go. Hang on tight back there!" Stealing a glance behind him, his eyes locked with hers. It was as if they had spoken without saying a word. That one look conveyed what he couldn't say in nearly three years of knowing her. 'We have to survive this . . .'
So much for missing the trees—he cringed as the first branches bombarded the belly of the plane. His fists clenched the controls in a white knuckled death grip as the plane continued to whip through the canopy. Jagged branches stabbed through the plane's side windows as if they were made of paper and Lee dodged the splintered glass.
"Oh my gosh!"
"Just hang on!" He wanted to comfort her, but he knew nothing would calm her at this point. They were going to crash and there was nothing he could do about it.
This was going to hurt.
"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." Anonymous
She awoke to the loud snapping of the fire, and felt something cool on her forehead. Her head hurt! She moved her hand up to inspect the source of the throbbing only to come into contact with a very strong hand holding a damp cloth.
"Whoa, don't try to move."
"Lee? Wh-what happened?" She struggled to sit up--it didn't help that he was holding her down.
"You took a pretty good wallop. Take it easy—you could have a concussion." He continued to wipe the encrusted blood from her temple. "Do you know what hit you?"
She closed her eyes trying to focus on his words, but images of the last moments before the crash assailed her. It was happening all over again--the drops of perspiration that dripped down her partner's forehead as he fought to gain control of the small luxury plane, the tension, and the fear. She'd put her life in his hands dozens of times before and he had never disappointed her—if he failed this time, she knew it wouldn't be from a lack of trying.
Her stomach flipped and her eyes scrunched shut as the plane wildly tilted. This was it--they were going down. The sound of shattering glass was muffled by the scream of the engine and the pounding of her own heart.
Amanda thought of her boys and mother. Would they ever know what happened to her? What would the agency tell them? Would they understand her secret life? If only she'd had more time—she would have . . . She shook the negative thoughts from her head. "We're gonna make it." She whispered, trying to calm her frayed nerves.
She now knew what Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz must have felt like during the tornado. Objects flying out of cabinets, windows exploding, and oxygen masks falling from above. Then she felt it—a sharp blow to her head. She struggled against the haze that threatened to overtake her. What if Lee needed her? She needed to stay awake—but the fog prevailed. Amanda instinctively brought her hand up to her head and was surprised to come into contact with blood. It was no use; the blinding pain was just too much causing her world to go black.
The loud popping of the fire broke through the iron grip of her memory, and pulled her back to the present. "Um, I think it was a piece of the plane—some metal or something. I'm not really quite sure, it happened so fast." She leveled herself and looked around. The sunset was a dim orange glow across the water and there was white sand as far as the eye could see. The crash of the sea against the large rocks lining the shore and the warmth of the fire before her made it almost an idyllic setting, had they not nearly died getting there.
"Here, take this." He handed her two small white pills and a bottle of water. "I found some aspirin in your pack. You're gonna have one hell of a headache."
"Thanks. But you're too late, it already arrived." She weakly smiled, taking the pills and gingerly throwing them back before taking a gulp of water.
"Don't drink too much. Who knows how long we'll be here before they find us." He stoked the fire and the flames snapped back, warming her skin.
She placed the cap back on the water and rolled the bottle between her hands. "You don't think Brenes' men will come looking for us, do you?"
"I doubt it." She raised her eyebrow, and he continued. "I'm sure they knew they hit us and that we would eventually go down. Besides, if they were looking for us they would have found us by now."
"So, where do you think we are?"
"Well, before those Columbians shot us down, we were headed northeast toward Texas. So, my guess is we're somewhere off the coast of Venezuela."
Her eyes scanned up and down the beach and then behind them. "Lee, where's the plane?"
"You mean what's left of it? It's over that ridge." He nodded his head to his left. "They shot out the radio. I tried to fix it but there was no use. Either they knew exactly what they were doing or they were lucky as hell--they got our fuel line too."
"Thank God Billy gave in and allowed us to use the plane as part of our cover or we would have been stranded once we snuck out of that camp."
"Yeah, what are the odds that one of Brenes' men would realize that I wasn't the Daniel Harmon—weapons dealer extraordinaire after four days in their camp?"
"I thought for sure he was going to shoot us right on the spot."
"Lucky for us, he wanted to earn points with Brenes by taking us back to camp."
"And lucky that you were able to knock the gun out of his hand." She smiled proudly at him.
"Only after you were able to distract him with that supposed twisted ankle. Quick thinking there, Mrs. King."
"Thank you." She nodded. "Do you think the Agency will be able to find us?" Amanda held her breath waiting for his answer.
"Come on, Lee. Don't try to sugar coat it. I can handle it."
"Amanda, I wasn't going to sugar coat anything. I was going to say that with the beacon from our plane the Agency would be able to pinpoint the area—"
"Oh, good!" She sighed in relief.
"Unfortunately, they won't start looking for us for a at least a day or two. Remember, we weren't supposed to check in for another 24 hours or so."
"Ok, so two days. We can do that." She shrugged. It would be like camping. They could handle this. He'd already built a fire, so, that left water and food. "How much water do we have?" She shook the bottle in her hand for emphasis.
"Two more bottles. As long as they realize we're missing right away we'll be fine."
"They'll notice!" They'd need to go look for food and gather more wood before it got too dark, and Amanda stood up only to realize she'd done it much too quickly.
"Whoa! A-man-da! Where do you think you're going?" He braced her shoulders and quickly lowered her back down to the blanket.
"Lee, I'm fine. I just got up too fast is all. We need to find some food before it gets too dark." She abruptly brushed the sand off the blanket in frustration. Why did he have to treat her like a china doll? Hadn't she proven herself to him over the past few years? Judging by the stern look he was giving her, she hadn't.
"After I carried you out of the plane and found this place I went back for our gear. There were a few snack packs and the bottled water stashed away in one of the cupboards. It's not much, but it'll be enough to get us through the night. In the morning we can take a look around and maybe catch a fish or two."
"Wow, and here I sat." She laughed.
"I'll let you catch the fish tomorrow, will that make you feel better?"
She tilted her head and eyed him suspiciously. "What about firewood?"
"Already taken care of." He motioned his thumb behind him to the small pile of branches and brush.
"Just how long was I out, Scarecrow?"
His eyes narrowed as he studied her, and he answered under his breath. "Long enough."
She recognized that look. It reminded her of her boys when they were scared. He was worried about her. It was rare he lowered his walls in front of her, and when she got a glimpse it was always quite revealing. Wanting to put him at ease, she reached up and grasped his hand, firmly, willing him to feel her strength. "Lee, I'm fine, really. It was just a bump on the head. I've had worse."
He smiled weakly down at her and then the walls snapped back in place. "Why don't you just lay back and rest. I'm going to go try and find something to open this coconut with." He tossed the brown hairy ball in the air and wagged his eyebrows. "Maybe if we're lucky we can have it for dessert."
She sighed as she watched him fade back into the brush behind their makeshift camp.
TBC . . .