DISCLAIMER Scarecrow & Mrs. King is copyrighted to Warner Brothers and Shoot The Moon Production Company. The original portions of this story, however, are copyrighted to the author. This story is for entertainment purposes only and cannot be redistributed without the permission of the author. If you want to put it on your site, please email me, I would like to thank you for the high compliment. No infringement of copyright is intended.

Timeline: Between Three Little Spies and All the World's a Stage.

Lee in Three Little Spies behaves differently from Lee in All the World's a Stage.

In the former, he's still trying to make up his mind about dating Amanda. In the latter, he's made his decision. I just decided to stretch the timeline a bit and put a "case" in between the two that got Lee thinking seriously about Amanda and got him to finally commit to the idea of a relationship with her—with all it might entail.

This is from Lee's POV, mostly.

Stays in canon. Just adds a bit of 'head time' for Lee.

'indicates thoughts.'

Rated T for language, violence and slight sexual content. Angst warning—but it all turns out all right in the end (as if I would ever permanently damage either of them...)

Reviews are appreciated. They are surprisingly encouraging.

Trial By Fire by Ermintrude

3:07am Friday late Day 1

Lee drove fast but not fast enough to be stopped by the cops. He didn't need any delays. Amanda's life probably depended on it.

He was headed out of D.C. west into the Shenandoah Mountains, to a cabin in the forest. TP assured him this was the correct place—the directions were pretty clear—that man had some contacts. And Lee was very grateful for that. Of course, it had all started with TP, or rather, someone misinterpreting a contact between himself and TP.

7:03 am Thursday morning – start of Day 1

Lee called Amanda at home from his apartment.

"Hello" she answered the phone.

"Amanda, you up for a meet this morning?"

"Good morning to you too, Lee." He could picture her shaking her head at his bad phone manners. "What do you have in mind?"

"I need to meet with TP at 8:30 in the park by the cannon. Do you want to meet me there shortly beforehand?"

"I can make that. I'll just finish breakfast and get the boys off to school and I should be there in plenty of time, traffic permitting."

"I'll see you then, Amanda." He hung up and finished his coffee. He had time until he had to leave so he perused the morning paper.

At 7:55 Lee's phone rang.

"Stetson here."

It was TP. "Lee my boy, I'm glad I caught you before you left. We have to postpone our meet—it's not safe. I'm still trying to get details. I'll call you later at your office."

"OK, thanks TP. I've gotta go. I have to call Amanda." He hung up and dialed Amanda's number again.

"Hello." It was Dotty who answered.

"Hi, is Amanda there?"

"Oh, she left a couple of minutes ago. Is this Mr. Stinson?"

"Yeah, I guess I'll talk to her when she gets in to the office. Thanks."

"Of course, good bye." Dotty sounded like she wanted to talk more, but Lee didn't have time.

He was worried—if the meet was not safe, Amanda was not safe, and she didn't know.

'Dammit, she's going into a dangerous situation because of me and I'm not there to protect her.' He grabbed his keys and bolted out of his apartment. He hoped he could get to the meet before Amanda.

8:20am Thursday Day 1

Lee arrived in the park, by the cannon, but there was no sign of Amanda or anyone else. He looked around, there were people in the park, but nobody who looked suspicious or dangerous. He did a quick walk around, looking for Amanda, and soon spotted her Jeep. It was locked and her purse was on the floor in the back seat. He made short work of the lock and opened the car. Her perfume lingered in the driver's seat. He got out and put his hand on the hood—still warm, so she had just gotten there.

'Where is she? Did someone grab her?' He sat for a minute in her car, holding her purse, and then got up. He locked the car, taking her purse and ran to the 'Vette. He used his mobile phone to call Billy.

"Melrose here."

"Billy, I think someone's got Amanda."

"What happened, Scarecrow?"

"We were supposed to meet TP at 8:30 in the park by the cannon, but TP called me back and said it wasn't safe. Amanda had already left. I got here and her car's here with her purse in it. I must have just missed her. She's nowhere, Billy."

"OK, I'll put out an alert. Come in here and we'll coordinate." Billy hung up.

8:56am Thursday Day 1

Lee was at his desk in the Q Bureau, calling his family, looking for information. TP had been his first call, now he was contacting the rest of his informants.

11am Thursday Day 1

Lee was in Billy's office with Francine.

Billy got down to business. "What have we got, people?"

Francine spoke, "There are rumors someone important was kidnapped this morning. Not by the Soviets, but maybe another satellite state. Rumor has it a team got one of our best and are going to get what information they can in a secluded hideout. Outside D.C. That's all I've got so far, I'm still digging."

Lee ran his hand through his hair. "I've got nothing, Billy. I have a couple of meets scheduled with my family later, but so far nobody has information. TP said originally the meet was not safe. He's trying to get more…"

Billy looked worried. "He has no more details…" It wasn't a question. "OK, Amanda's car was brought in and we've gone over it. Everything is OK there so we're pretty sure she wasn't in the car when she was taken. And I think by now we can assume she was kidnapped. Anything in her purse that we can use?"

"No Billy," Lee replied, "just her usual stuff."

Francine spoke up, "That must have been an interesting search, Scarecrow. Sifting through coupons, recipes…"

Billy interrupted, and shot her a look. "Can it, Francine. We'll just keep working our contacts and see what we can find out."

"What will we tell her family?" Lee asked.

Billy replied, "I'll call her mother, tell her Amanda was called out of town unexpectedly on an open-ended assignment. Last minute emergency thing. That should cover for her for a while."

"Thanks, Billy." Lee was relieved, at least that aspect was in control.

"Get back to work both of you—we need to get information about who got Amanda, why they took her, and where they are."

During the afternoon, Lee met with Rhonda and other members of his family, with no results. He was getting very worried. With Francine's information he expected someone to have some information about Amanda. The silence was worrying.

5pm Thursday Day 1

Billy, Francine and Lee met again in Billy's office.

Billy got down to business. "Anything new?"

Lee was agitated, "Zip, nada, nothing, Billy. It's like she fell off the face of the earth."

"Francine?" Billy turned to his assistant.

She spoke up, "I got a definite confirmation. One of our best agents kidnapped this morning and they're expecting big information. Who did it is still unknown, not the Soviets, but this may be a rogue operation."

Billy sighed, "That's probably Amanda. Though she isn't an agent, they don't know that."

Lee interjected, "And she isn't trained to resist interrogation. Billy—they'll kill her when they find out she isn't an agent…" He was feeling helpless.

Billy replied authoritatively, "Right now, we don't know what they'll do. Keep working your contacts, Scarecrow. Any more of your family you can contact?"

"I'm waiting on TP and Lana. I'll stay as late as I need to. We have to get Amanda back."

Billy could do no more. "Keep me informed."

9:45pm Thursday Day 1

Lee met with Lana at a place near the Bulgarian Embassy. She was wary.

"Hey, Lana. I'm here, what do you have?"

She spoke quietly. "Hello, Lee. I can't stay long, but this is important. The Bulgarian Ambassador got a call during his massage. He was talking to some Romanian official. A rogue Romanian agent and a doctor captured one of yours, and are using drugs at a cabin in the mountains to get what information they can. This is not a sanctioned operation, but they'll take the information nonetheless. They have a woman. I think it's your partner, Mrs. King…"

"Lana, you're great! At least we know who we're dealing with. Is there anything else?"

Lana looked uncomfortable. "An experimental hallucinogenic drug was mentioned. It's dangerous and some subjects have died. They stole a sample, along with other more conventional interrogation drugs. We don't know exactly what they're using but they do have the experimental one…"

"That's not good, but at least we know now. Lana, I owe you big time for this one. Really….thanks a million!"

They left and Lee returned to the Agency. Once back in the Q Bureau, he called TP again.

TP answered the call, "Lee, my boy, it's a bit late…"

Lee cut him off. "TP, I need info ASAP. I found out a rogue Romanian agent and a doctor grabbed Amanda and they're holed up in a cabin in the mountains. TP, I need this fast. They have an experimental hallucinogenic drug and it's killed some subjects. I have to get to Amanda before they use it on her…"

"I'll get right on it. It would be a great shame if anything happened to Mrs. King… Don't worry, Lee. We'll get the information and you'll find her in time."

"Thanks, TP."

Lee worked the computer but didn't get anywhere. 'This is Amanda's strong suit, she usually does this stuff. I hope she gets back OK. I need my partner back. I swear if I find these guys I'll kill them if they've hurt Amanda in any way. Hang on, Amanda. I'm doing everything I can. I'll come to get you soon, just hang in there … please … for me.'

2:10am Friday, late Day 1

Lee was awakened by his phone. He had fallen asleep at his desk, the computer still on.

"Stetson here."

It was TP. "Lee, I have your information."

"Great TP, give it to me." Lee grabbed paper and a pen to write with.

"There's a cabin in the Shenandoah Mountains, about 3 hours' drive from D.C. No phone, but nicely appointed."

TP gave Lee a complicated set of directions, then made Lee repeat them. The last 30 miles were on rural gravel roads. It was quite out of the way. Lee hoped he got it right. He had to get it right.

After the call was ended, Lee went down to research. He checked out the maps of rural Virginia and compared them with the directions TP had given him. He made copies—it looked right—and went back up to the bullpen. He called the switchboard from a desk and left a message with directions. The operator sounded dubious, but he insisted it was priority one.

Then he left a copy of the directions, the maps and a note on Billy's desk. He didn't notice the papers float off the desk into the trash as he left in a hurry and slammed the door behind him.

Then he got into the 'Vette and headed west into the night.