The Nutcracker Sweets

The Nutcracker Sweets by Jennifer Cannon

RATING:PG for some violence and one instance of mild language

SUMMARY: A group of fanatics is intending to use a children's ballet to launch their own brand of domestic biological terrorism.

DISCLAIMER: Scarecrow and Mrs. King belong to Warner Brothers and
Shoot the Moon Enterprises, and not to me. I wish they did, but they
don't. The original characters in this story, as well as the plot, do
belong to me, and if someone wishes to use these please contact me first.

WARNING: None. If you think I need any please let me know.

NOTES: Thanks to lookoutwife (Anne) for her suggestions and encouragement-you were a huge help. Also a special thanks to Ermintrude and KimC.

TIMELINE: Post-fourth season,1997- and set in the same universe as my other stories. I know it's a little late for a Holiday story, but I hope that everyone enjoys.

FEEDBACK: Lots please, either positive or negative, hopefully more
positive but I enjoy constructive criticism.

In Aftermath I made a reference to an incident in The Nutcracker that had happened four years ago. Well-this is it.

Prologue

Sunday, December 14, 1997

10:00 PM

"Did you get it?" the woman asked the man as he entered the building. .

The man held up the vial that he'd been holding behind his back, his lips widening into a grin. "Did you ever doubt me?"

"Never," the woman said as their lips came together in a brief yet satisfying kiss. "The Lord provides; you taught me that."

"Yes he does," the man said, pulling the woman close. "And now, my dear wife, he has provided us the means to bring about his vengeance-and their destruction. "

Chapter One

4247 Maplewood Drive

Monday, December 15, 1997

8:00 PM

"No, I still haven't asked him, Lisa," Lee could hear Jenna's voice coming from her bedroom as he walked up the stairs. "I mean I want to because there isn't much time, but Mom told me to wait. I know yours said yes, but I'm not so sure-I mean could you picture mine up there actually doing that?"

Wondering what in the world his daughter could be talking about, Lee paused just outside Jenna's bedroom door. The door was half-open and he could see Jenna in her flannel pajamas and robe. She was sitting cross-legged on her bed, holding the cordless phone against her ear.

"He would look funny though, wouldn't he?" Jenna said, giggling. "I mean, I'm not even sure he knows how to dance-speaking of dancing, what did you think of those guys across the street? Did you read their signs?" There was a long pause.

"Yeah, I know," Jenna said. "So weird-I'm gonna ignore them too."

Time to find out what all this was about, Lee decided. He pushed open Jenna's door. His daughter looked up at him, a startled expression on her face.

"I have to let you go, Lisa," Jenna said. "I'll see you tomorrow at school, okay? Bye." She pushed the button on the phone and looked at Lee. "That was Lisa," she said.

"Yeah, I heard," Lee said, keeping his tone light and casual. "I came upstairs to check your homework. Did you finish it?"

"Yeah," Jenna said, handing him the two sheets of notebook paper. "It was only Social Studies this time. I like Social Studies."

Lee looked over the paper. "Everything looks good to me," he said.

"You have to sign it at the top," Jenna said, handing him her pen.

"There," Lee said, as he signed his name and gave Jenna the paper back. "Are you all ready for bed?"

"Almost," Jenna said, folding her homework in half, putting it in her textbook and putting the book in her pink backpack.

"There's just one more thing," Lee said. "What were you two talking about?"

"What were we talking about?" Jenna repeated, her brown eyes wide. "Oh-you mean me and Lisa?"

"That's who I mean," Lee said.

"We were talking about ballet," Jenna said, looking away from Lee and down at her slippers, picking at a bit of imaginary fuzz. "The Nutcracker's on Friday night, you know. We've been practicing all week."

"I know," Lee said. "What does mom not want you to ask me?"

"Ask you?" Jenna said. "But how do you know-"

"Call it a hunch," Lee said.

"Were you eavesdropping?" Jenna asked.

"I didn't have to," Lee said. "You could've been heard from downstairs, Jenna."

"I guess I was kind of being loud," Jenna said. Lee nodded. "Oh Dad, I forgot, did you know there's this group that thinks dancing is evil? They stand across the street from the community center holding signs and shouting things at us. Lisa said to just ignore them."

"Sounds like good advice," Lee said, giving an inward chuckle at his daughter's attempt to change the subject. "Now can you answer my question?"

Jenna was silent for a moment. "I can't answer it," she said finally.

"You can't?" Lee said.

Jenna shook her head.

"Jenna, I'm your father." Lee said, feeling a twinge of anxiety. What could there possibly be that Jenna couldn't tell him? "Whatever it is, munchkin- if you can tell your mom you can tell me."

"No I can't," Jenna said. "Mom said I couldn't, not yet."

Lee raised his eyebrows. "Mom said?" he repeated.

"Yeah," Jenna said. "Mom also said to tell you that it was a 'need to know' situation, whatever that's supposed to mean."

"Well what it means is that I need to know," Lee said. "So you can tell me."

"No, she can't," Amanda's voice came from behind him; Lee turned around to see his wife standing in the doorway, her arms crossed.

"Amanda," Lee said. Amanda ignored him as she crossed over to Jenna.

"Sweetheart, what 'need to know' means is that right now your father doesn't need to know." Amanda told Jenna.

"Now wait a minute-" Lee began. Amanda silenced him with a look.

"Okay," Jenna said. "But we will tell him, right? Because there isn't much time."

"We'll tell him soon," Amanda said with a smile. "Have you brushed your teeth yet?"

Jenna shook her head. "I'll do it now," she said, sliding off the bed and leaving the room. Lee walked over to Amanda.

"Mind telling me what all that was about, Mrs. Stetson?" He said.

"Not yet," Amanda said.

"When?" Lee said.

"Very soon," Amanda said, wrapping her arms around him. "Relax, Stetson-it's nothing bad. Not that bad, anyway."

"Well, if it's nothing bad, then why not just tell me?" Lee said. "Is it a Christmas present?"

"Not exactly," Amanda said. "But it might end up being something you'd enjoy."

"But you won't tell me?" Lee said.

"Sure I'll tell you," Amanda said. "Just not right now." Lee brushed his lips against her neck, and heard her breathing quicken slightly.

"I have certain ways of getting information, you know." He murmured into her ear.

"Won't work," Amanda said, her voice catching slightly as his lips caressed her cheekbone, moving slowly towards her mouth. "I've taken the courses, and I've been trained to resist-oh!" That was all Amanda managed to say before his lips touched her own.

"Still don't want to tell me?" Lee said, after breaking the kiss to catch his breath.

"I can't," Amanda said.

"Well that's too bad, "Lee said. "We might have to try something else."

"I brushed my teeth, Mom" Jenna's voice broke in.

"Saved by the child," Amanda said, with a small but triumphant grin at Lee before turning to Jenna. "Alright, sweetheart, let's get you tucked into bed."

SMK SMK SMK SMK

The Reverend Liam McIlvaney leaned across the pulpit, his dark eyes blazing as he looked down at the members of 'People for A Moral Society'. "For years, my friends, we have sat on the sidelines. People laugh at us and the media thinks we're little more than a freak show. Society flaunts their immorality before us, complacent in the knowledge that all we can do is peacefully protest." He held up a small vial filled with clear liquid. "In just a very few days all of that will change. This, my friends, is our very own Judgment Day!"

Cheers filled the small basement. The woman standing at the very back looked at the fervor and excitement filling the faces; the fists pumping the air excitedly. She swallowed hard, feeling slightly sick.

"How will they feel when their little ones start dying?" McIlvaney shouted. "How will they feel when the coffins start coming out? Will they turn to the Lord then?"

The woman at the back left the building soon after that, unaware that she was being observed.

TBC