DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters copyrighted by Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Productions. This story is meant for enjoyment purposes only and cannot be redistributed without permission from the author. I retain the rights to the plot, not the characters. No infringement is intended.
TIMELINE: Second season.
SYNOPSIS: Filler for episode, "You Only Die Twice." Lee goes over the police files and reads about Amanda's 'death'.
Lee Stetson entered the foyer of the Agency's building and smiled at the older woman who was seated behind a large desk. "Good morning, Mrs. Marsten," he greeted amiably.
"Good morning, Mr. Stetson," she replied coolly, her own features remaining impassive under the young agent's obvious charm. "Password, please."
"Turnscrew," he supplied with another smile. Mrs. Marsten merely nodded then looked back down at her work effectively dismissing him.
Lee took the hint and opened the door to the closet cum secret elevator and entered, moving the jackets out of the way first. Once he shut the door, he pressed the button that would take him to hub of the Agency and the elevator began its smooth and silent descent.
Upon reaching its destination, the doors slid open and Lee stepped out into the white, clinical looking corridor. Returning greetings to a few of his fellow agents that passed by him, he headed to the bullpen with his first mission of the day clearly set in his mind…get a large, strong cup of coffee.
The guards opened the doors and Lee entered the busy office only to be approached almost immediately by his co-worker and close friend, Francine Desmond, who was carrying a good dozen Agency files.
"Lee, I need your reports for the Newnam and Blacklaw cases in an hour; Billy wants an update on the Stanfield assignment and today's police files are on your desk," she told him without preamble.
"Well, good morning to you too, Francine," he retorted sarcastically as he turned away and headed over to the coffee station.
"If you'd had to sit in on the budget meeting earlier with Henley from Accounts you wouldn't think so," she informed him dryly as she followed him over and helped herself to a cup of coffee as well.
Lee pulled a face. "That bad, huh?"
"Worse," Francine clarified with a pained expression. "I swear he even makes Fred Fielder seem interesting."
Lee chuckled. "Now that I seriously doubt," he commented sardonically, then grinned as he spied said agent heading their way and added succinctly, "But you can always compare, Francine, just to be sure. Fred's on his way over here and from the way he's patting down his hair, it's not me he wants to talk to."
A look of dread formed on the blonde agent's features as Lee's words sunk in and she darted a quick glance over her shoulder to confirm the truth. Turning back to Lee, she flashed him a quick smile, picked up her coffee then bade a hasty farewell before exiting the bullpen.
Fielder walked up to coffee station and stared after the blonde walking rapidly away down the corridor. Turning to speak to Lee, he frowned when he saw that, he too, had walked off. If he didn't know better, he'd swear that they were avoiding him.
Lee reached his desk and placed his coffee to one side then sat down with a sigh. Surreptitiously, he glanced up and saw the other agent carry a steaming drink over to his own desk and relaxed. Last thing he needed today was to get caught up in a conversation with Fred Fielder. The man could out-talk his housewife par…helper, Amanda King…and that was definitely saying something considering the amount of words she somehow managed to utter without stopping for breath.
Sorting through the files that were piled haphazardly on the table in front of him, Lee located the Newnam and Blacklaw cases then stood up and took them over to Francine's desk which was neat a pin.
Lee smiled to himself and shook his head slightly before looking over at Billy's office and internally debating whether now would be a good time to knock on his superior's door. His answer came when said door flew open and a very harassed agent hurried out followed by a stern looking William Melrose. His boss glared holes into the back of the leaving man then glanced around the bullpen.
"Johnson! In here…Now!" he barked out before turning around and entering his office once more.
Lee looked over at the young agent in question and grimaced slightly. He recognised the look of dread Johnson sported having been in the position to have worn the very same look many times in the past…and present.
Heading back to his own desk, Lee sat down again then leaned back in his chair with a sigh as he eyed his current workload with distaste. He really needed to get some of this under control. Maybe he'd give Amanda a ring later and see if she could come in for a few hours and help type up a couple of urgent reports.
That decided, he pushed a few files out of the way then picked up the printout of the day before's police reports and began to read. As his eyes drifted down over the many names and lists of offences that accompanied each, he exhaled slowly then glanced up briefly and reached out pick up his mug of coffee. Bringing it to his lips, he'd just taken a mouthful as he turned the page over. Almost immediately his eyes locked onto a familiar name about halfway down the page and he found himself almost choking on the warm liquid as he automatically swallowed hard.
Eyes watering slightly from the momentary loss of breath, he blinked rapidly to clear his vision then put his mug down with a thump as he gripped the printout with two hands and brought it closer to his face in disbelief.
"Amanda?" he muttered aloud in shock as he re-read the details on the sheet once more. Looking up, he stared blankly ahead of him as the unwelcome information refused to sink into his brain.
This couldn't be happening.
Standing up, his grip tightened on the printout causing the folded paper to crumple under the added pressure as he quickly walked over to his superior's office. After the most cursory of knocks, he opened the door and went in.
Billy abruptly broke off speaking and looked up in annoyance at the sudden interruption. The words of censure that he was about to utter died on his lips as he took one look at the grim expression and wan face of his best agent.
"We'll finish this later, Johnson," Billy curtly dismissed the young man seated in front of him.
The agent stood up and glanced over at Lee's taut face before nodding at Billy and leaving the office with more than a little relief evident on his features.
"What's wrong?" Billy asked without preamble as soon as the door closed.
Lee walked over to the older man's desk and slapped the wrinkled paper down in front of him. "Read this," he ordered gruffly then turned and walked over to the window that looked out over the bullpen.
Billy picked up the printout with a frown and skimmed down the page until he found the reason for Lee's intrusion. There, in harsh black print, was a brief account of the death of a woman found on top of a van with a gunshot wound to her back. A woman that had been carrying cards identifying her as Scarecrow's unofficial civilian partner…Amanda King.
Billy drew in a sharp breath and looked up, stunned. "Lee, this must be some kind of mistake," he said with a slight shake of his head.
"It says they've I.D.'d her, Billy," Lee replied in a voice devoid of all emotion as he resolutely continued his surveillance of the hectic bullpen.
"And have you checked it out?" Billy asked.
Lee sighed, the rigidness of his stance easing slightly as the shaken agent ran his hand through his hair and turned to look at his superior. "Not yet," he admitted. "I know I should to go down there to confirm, but if the police have made a positive identification then they must be certain that the bod…" he paused and swallowed hard, looking back out through the window before finishing quietly, "…that it's…Amanda."
Billy stared at Lee's taut profile and found himself wondering, not for the first time, at the relationship between his best agent and lovely partner. If they had been closer than he'd thought, then this situation could have more ramifications than just the obvious.
Standing up, the older man walked over to Lee then reached up and rested his hand on the taller man's shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. "Why don't you go back to your desk," he suggested kindly. "I'll go to the morgue and…"
"No!" Lee cut in sharply as he turned to his boss, a pained look briefly marring his features before he quickly schooled them to their usual outwardly unperturbed facade. "I want…have to go, Billy. I need to see…" He broke off and stared at his superior in mute appeal, this time not bothering the hide the pained look that was back in his eyes.
Although he had reservations, Billy decided to let them slide. He understood Lee's desire to see Amanda's body, to gain some closure, and so nodded his assent. "Alright, if you're sure."
"I am," Lee replied firmly.
Billy turned away then went back to his desk and retrieved his jacket from the back of his chair. Putting it on, he walked over to the door and opened it up before looking over at Lee. "You ready?"
Lee gave a nod then followed his boss out across the bullpen and over to the elevator that would take them up to the main foyer. Once they'd exited the building they got into Billy's sedan and headed off to the city morgue each dreading the unhappy task that lay ahead.
The drive to the morgue was made in silence, Lee's calm exterior belying the extent to which his emotions were surging up and down within him. Although he'd read the report with his own eyes, his head was still determinedly rejecting the idea that his…that Amanda…was gone.
They pulled into the parking lot and Billy drove into an empty space then turned off the engine.
"Are you sure you still want to do this?" the older man asked quietly.
"No," Lee answered truthfully. "But I will."
Billy nodded then both men got out the car and approached the morgue's entrance. They went through the door and were greeted by a rather rotund lady who was far too jovial for Lee's liking considering the surroundings. Billy flashed his I.D. and the woman waved them through with a nod.
They headed down a clean, well-lit corridor. Each step closer to the morgue, Lee could feel his feet grow more and more heavy until he could swear he was dragging them.
They stopped in front of the door and Billy shot his agent a concerned look before reaching out and turning the handle. Opening the door, he entered the room and looked around for the person in charge.
Lee stood in the doorway not wanting to cross the threshold. On the opposite wall he could see rows of drawers and wondered which one held Amanda's lifeless body.
"Lee, are you ready?" Billy asked, quietly cutting into his thoughts.
Lee turned his head and suddenly noticed that a man was standing next to his superior. He was of average height, average weight, hell, average everything, Lee thought to himself grimly. Realising he was simply staring, the agent gave himself a mental shake and turned his attention back to his boss.
With a curt nod, he took a determined step into the room and slowly followed the other two men along the row of drawers.
They were almost at the end when the man stopped and looked down at the clipboard he was holding. "Ah, here it is," he said, his voice monotone, "H3…Amanda King. She came in late last night." He grabbed the handle and with a tug the drawer slid silently open.
Lee swallowed hard as he gazed down upon the sheet covered body that lay there. It didn't seem right that she be so still. She'd always been so full of…life. A multitude of emotions washed over him in rapid succession as he steeled himself to see Amanda one last time.
The unpleasant queasy feeling in the pit of his stomach grew as the morgue attendant prepared to pull the cover back. Lee hadn't felt this sick since he'd watched his first partner take a bullet for him.
The man slowly pulled the sheet and Lee caught a glimpse of dark, curly hair before shutting his eyes as it hit him that it was really Amanda laying there. He'd hoped…wished that it wasn't true but…
Hearing Billy's shocked tone, Lee's eyes flew open. Gazing down at the corpse, his superior's words sunk in and a huge wave of relief crashed over him as he realised it wasn't Amanda.
"Iknew those damn reports were wrong!" Lee exclaimed, a huge grin lighting his features as he looked up at Billy triumphantly.
His elation was short-lived however, when he saw the pained expression on his friend's face. "I'm sorry, Billy," he said contritely, "I didn't mean…"
"I know, Scarecrow," the older man cut in frown. "And I'm pleased it isn't Amanda too, but this also means that we now have a dead agent on our hands. We have to get back to the Agency and let Dunbar know."
Lee nodded, knowing that Billy was taking Sylvia's death hard but doing his best not to show it. "I'll just go and let the guy know we've finished," Lee informed him, allowing him a couple of minutes alone.
He spoke to the attendant then waited by the door for Billy to join him. Together they left the morgue and went back to the Agency.
Entering the bullpen, Billy called Francine and headed for his office while Lee went over to his desk. He eyed the un-typed files that lay there and smiled slightly. A warm, happy, caring sensation spread through him at still being able to ask Amanda's help on those files after all and he gave a relieved chuckle.
It was a good feeling and for once in his life where Amanda was concerned, he wasn't about to push it away.THE END