A/N: Alrighty…there were a very few loose ends to tie up. For those of you who requested it, here's an epilogue. Enjoy, and thanks for all the support. It's been appreciated.
Also, I've been told 20 mg of percocet was way too much. I looked at a prescription I was given when I had my wisdom teeth removed, and they gave me 5mg pills with instructions to take 1-2 tablets…thinking wisdom teeth extraction wasn't all that painful, I assumed the dose would be higher for a gun shot…little did I know my dentist gave me the good stuff! Anyway, I'm a chemist not a physician, try to enjoy the story despite the leaps in logic…I'm trying hard.
Lee awoke first. He had a slight headache, and felt a familiar weight of a female on his arm. Looking over, he quickly remembered it was Amanda he was sharing a bed with. He felt slightly voyeuristic watching her sleep. Sometime during the night she had shifted on her back, and her head was now resting easily on his shoulder.
An angry bruise peaked out from the neckline of her shirt, and he remembered her mentioning a shoulder injury.
Glancing at the clock on his night stand he realized they had been sleeping for almost five hours. Regretfully, he needed to wake her up so she could take her pain medication. Caressing her face first, he took a moment to remind himself how lucky he was to have her as a friend. He had resisted the idea of even having a partner; he hadn't realized that through the ordeal that was Amanda King, she had become his best friend. He knew in his heart he would take a bullet for her without hesitation, and realized that's what she did for him.
"Amanda?" he whispered.
A small groan escaped her lips.
"Amanda, you need to wake up," he tried again.
"Boys, you're gonna wake me up," she complained and turned her head away from the voice.
Smiling, he gently turned her head back toward him, "Amanda. It's Lee."
As recognition sunk in, her eyes fluttered open. "Lee? Where are we?" she asked trying to find her bearings. It was becoming a familiar sensation, waking up in a strange place, surrounded by a fog of confusion, but there was always one constant. Lee had been in the ambulance after the disaster at the Delano mansion, and later at her hospital bedside. He had picked her up off the floor in her own house after inhaling a gas meant to sedate her long enough for a snake bite to finish her off, and she vaguely remember him at her side as the drugs she had consumed wore off after eating a tainted sandwich meant for him.
A suddenly loneliness flashed through her as she remembered waking up near the creek bed, in pain, and with no Lee Stetson around.
Lee watched the emotions play across her features, but was unsure of her thoughts. "Amanda? Are you ok?" he asked pulling her closer to him.
Finally aware of their closeness, she pushed away slightly. "Oh yeah. I was just thinking…" she trailed off, not sure what else to say. She tried to push aside the feelings, she didn't even know what they meant. It wasn't his fault he wasn't by her side, but in her head she had always assumed he would come to her no matter what. Knowing that he may not save the day stabbed at her. But he had saved her she tried to tell herself. Because of him, Billy found her. However, that wasn't the same, and she didn't know why.
Lee cleared his throat, sensing something was going on, but not knowing what. "You should take your pills," he suggested, thinking he would take the safe route. "I'll get you some water."
Amanda watched him slip his arm out from under her, and she suddenly wondered when it had gotten there in the first place. Pulling the covers up, she subconsciously pulled at her shirt, making sure it was straight. At that moment she finally realized where she was, and that she had fallen asleep on his bed with her clothes on. Looking at the clock, she breathed a small sigh of relief. Her mother wouldn't be up yet.
He walked back into the bedroom, glass of water in one hand, and two small white pills in the other. Setting them down on the night stand, he slipped his hands under her arms, and gently sat her up against the head board. Sitting himself down at the foot of the bed, his hand rested on her covered leg.
After taking the tablets, she set that glass down at looked at her companion. "Mother will be up in three hours. I told her we had to meet with our boss about some edits," she explained.
"And you would like to get home before she grills you," he finished for her. "Let me shower and get ready for work?"
She nodded, and moved to get up. Before he could stop her she spoke, "Lee. This medication is going to knock me out if I don't get up. I'd rather not have mother catch you carrying me up the steps to my bedroom."
"Good thinking," he answered imagining the story they would have to make up to explain that one. "Do you need to get in the bathroom before I shower?"
Shaking her head, she moved toward the living room, "No. I'll make some coffee, and I want to catch the 5 o'clock news."
Lee walked into the bullpen with determination, and his focus quickly honed in on the blonde scanning through the morning news reports. Moving with purpose to her desk, she looked over her shoulder. "Anything there you want to cover up?" he asked with an air of sarcasm.
She jumped slightly, and turned to face the angry man. "Lee! I didn't think you knew this time of the day existed," she commented snidely.
"Can it Francine. I have a bone to pick with you," he said, taking her arm, and "helping" her stand. They moved to the conference room, and he shut the door.
"Scarecrow! I don't know what you think I've done, but—"
"Amanda King," he interrupted, and the sound of the name caused her to stare in shock. "I took her to the hospital last night."
Concern instantly replaced her indignation, "Is she ok?"
Pulling a chair from the table, the crack agent leaned on it. "Yes, she's ok. She popped a stitch. I brought her home this morning," he explained, and watched her breathe out in relief. "You had no right to keep this from me!"
"And you're angry at me," Francine calmly returned his harsh words.
"No! That's the problem! I'm grateful," he yelled slumping in the chair.
"I can tell," she shot back. "Look, Lee she was looking out for you. We all were."
"I know," he said, his whole demeanor suddenly changed. "She said you and Billy stayed with her."
Nodding the blonde looked her friend over, "Yeah. She was my "case" last week."
Eyeing her, he grunted. "Operation Caregiver. Nice touch," he said thinking about the case he thought he had been shut out from.
"It was need to know Scarecrow," she told him, and stood. "Are you ok?"
"I shot my partner. I am no where near ok," he told her honestly. Before he could continue, he saw his boss enter the bullpen. "Excuse me."
"Scarecrow, don't do anything stupid," she warned, and then placed a hand on his arm before he could open the door. "Amanda went through a lot to save you from yourself you know?"
"Yeah. I know," he answered.
Removing her hand, she looked in his eyes, "If you need to talk…"
"Thanks Francine," Lee told her, "For everything."
Walking out of the conference room, he saw Billy Melrose fumbling with a stack of files as he tried to unlock his door. "Here Billy. Let me help you with that," he offered with over-the-top niceness.
Francine shot him a warning glance, before his face disappeared with a wink behind the section chief's door.
Amanda pushed the coats aside, and stepped out of the elevator. It had only been three weeks since she had last been at the agency, but she felt slightly out of place. The hallway was suspiciously empty; however, she was too preoccupied to notice the detail. She was unsure why Mr. Melrose had asked her to come in. Her mother and the boys were returning from them respective trips later in the day; she really missed them, and wanted to be home when they got there.
Walking toward the glass doors, she thought about Lee and how kind he had been the previous week. With the house empty, Amanda didn't have to cover her recuperation, but it was fairly lonely during the day. Every night at six, without fail, she had heard the tapping on her kitchen window. He had kept her updated on the work gossip, and would ask her opinion about the cases he was working on over dinner. She knew he was being nice to her because he felt guilty, but she chose to enjoy the company. Several nights they had tried watching a movie, but they always ended with her waking up in her bed the next morning, with no memory of falling asleep.
"Welcome back!" a cheer from the group shook Amanda out of her reverie.
"Oh my gosh!" she exclaimed, finding Lee in the crowd, he took a step toward her. "What is all this?"
Several agents offered words of encouragement as they passed her. Amanda tried to keep up with their sentiments, but found it exhausting, and decided to look at her partner.
Lee smiled, and moved to make way for Billy and Francine. "This was Billy's idea," he explained, resting a comfortable hand on the small of her back. "He has something for you."
Amanda held his gaze for a moment, and then looked toward their supervisor. "How are you feeling?" he asked.
"Much better than the last time you saw me sir," she explained, and looked around at the group of people. "Sir, you really did need to go to all this trouble."
"Amanda, it's not often I get to do this," he told her and cleared his throat getting everyone's attention.
"Do what sir?" she asked him, but he didn't hear her. She looked at her partner, "Do what?"
Lee only smiled and pointed to the older man, who was now satisfied that everyone was listening. Taking the frame Francine offered, he looked at the house wife turned spy. "Amanda. It's my pleasure to offer this certificate on behalf of the President," he started, turning the frame toward her, he continued. "For service above and beyond the call of duty, I present you with this certificate of valor. Congratulations Mrs. King," he beamed proudly as everyone offered their applause.
Lee helped her take the award, and she ran her fingers over the words. "Sir, I really…thank you sir. But I didn't do much but get shot," she explained.
The words stung Lee as if he had been slapped.
"Amanda you had the presence of mind to pretend you were dead, and remembered the details we needed to find Lee," Billy reminded her, and squeezed her arm gently before heading for the punch bowl.
She looked up, and saw Francine. "Francine, thank you for everything you did," she told her with genuine affection.
"Anytime Amanda. Do you want some cake?" she asked.
"Cake would be great. Thanks Francine," she said and looked back up at Lee. "Did you know about this?" she asked him as he led her to his desk, and pulled his chair out for her.
"Yes, we got word about it early last week," he told her setting the certificate down in front of her.
"You didn't say anything! Oh Lee, this is great, but what am I going to do with it?" she asked reading the words again.
The thought dawned on him for the first time, "You can't bring it home."
"My family can never see it. Can you imagine mother?" she said laughing.
"I'm sure we can find a place around here to hang it," told her, and sat on the corner of his desk. "You know Amanda this week—" he was interrupted by Francine with a plate of cake and ice cream.
"Oh thank you very much," Amanda told her.
When it looked as if the agent was going to stay, Lee smiled politely at her. Taking the hint, the blonde cleared her throat, "I've got to go check on those communiqués. I'll be right back Amanda."
"Right. Ok Francine," she said slightly confused, and looked back at the man in front of her. "What were you saying?"
"Oh gosh, Lee. This week, you've been really great. I really appreciate you being there for me," she rambled.
"Yeah," he agreed. "I enjoyed our late night talks." Smiling at her, he looked around the room. "I got you something," he said conspiratorially pulling a gift box from behind the chair.
Taking it she smiled. "You didn't have to get me anything," she said tearing into the present. Pulling the top off, she felt a tear come to her eyes. Pulling out a new pink sweater she looked up at him. "Lee. How did you find it? It was my favorite sweater, how did you know."
"It only took six hours of shopping, until I finally called Magda," he began to explain, taking her hand, he kissed it, and smiled down at her.
THE END (for real this time)