Scarecrow Leap, by Ceeg

Disclaimer: Quantum Leap and characters are owned by Bellisarius Productions. Scarecrow and Mrs King characters are owned by Shoot the Moon Productions. Scenes and lines are borrowed liberally for plot and setting purposes. Please insert here any other appropriate disclaimers.

"Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr Sam Beckett led an elite group of scientists into the desert to develop a top-secret project known as Quantum Leap. Pressured to prove his theories or lose funding, Dr Beckett prematurely stepped into the project accelerator... and vanished. He awoke to find himself in the past, suffering from partial amnesia and facing a mirror image that was not his own. Fortunately, contact with his own time was maintained through brain wave transmissions with Al, the Project Observer, who appeared in the form of a hologram that only Dr Beckett can see and hear. Trapped in the past, Dr Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, putting things right which once went wrong. Hoping each time that the next leap will be the leap home..."

As the room coalesced around him, Sam realized he was in some kind of storage room. He wasn't alone, but the other man seemed involved in a search of the room's contents.

"Find anything, Lee?" the other man asked.

"Uh, no..." Sam responded. Of course, he had no idea what he was looking for. Maybe, he hoped, he would know it when he found it. At the very least, this was a pretty relaxing way to leap in, nobody was immediately demanding anything from him, and he had some time to pull his thoughts together. The room shifted slightly, and Sam realized he was on a boat, rather a large boat from the feel of things. Suddenly, a door sized square of light appeared in front of him, and a garishly-dressed man with a cigar stepped out, tapping on the remote he held.

"I'm going to look in the back corner," Sam called to the other man, leading Al to the far side of the room, so they could talk without being overheard. "What's up, Al?" he whispered.

"You're on a cruise ship on the way to San Angelo," Al replied, reading the tiny screen in front of him. "Uh-oh, you better hurry up on deck. A woman, a Mrs Amanda King, is about to fall overboard! Better take Emiliano with you," Al continued, motioning with his cigar toward the other man in the room.

"Oh, my god! Amanda?" Sam exclaimed, wondering at the almost physical pang of concern he was feeling for a woman he didn't even know. "Come on, Emiliano!" he cried out, rushing from room 24 of the cargo hold.

Emiliano had looked over at Sam's initial exclamation, and followed him, alarmed and curious.

Up on deck, Sam quickly spotted Al waving him over towards a lifeboat. "Oh my gosh!" a woman in a white evening gown screamed, as the boom on which she was hanging came away from the lifeboat and suspended her over the edge of the ship.

"Hang on, Amanda!" Sam called to her, as he rushed over to the rail. Climbing onto the rail, he asked Emiliano to hold on to him, so he could reach out to the frightened woman. He caught hold of her waist and pulled her towards him, embracing her briefly before Emiliano reached up to assist her to safer footing on the deck of the boat. Sam quickly removed his tuxedo jacket, and helped Amanda put it on. "Are you alright?" he asked, gazing into her eyes.

"... aerobics..." she mumbled, looking back at him. Sam assured the gathering crowd that the woman was OK, and the three of them turned to move away, Sam and Emiliano supporting the trembling Amanda between them. Emiliano filled Amanda in on the search of the cargo hold, there was nothing to tell really, but he wanted to take her mind off the fact that she had come so close to plummeting to her death in the icy waters of the Atlantic.

Amanda smiled nervously at Emiliano as they arrived at her cabin. "Can you wait here a moment, Emiliano? I need to talk to Lee in private."

Sam followed Amanda into her cabin. "Lee? Can I ask you something?" She asked, searching his eyes, and reaching for his hand.

"Uh, sure..." Sam replied, realizing too late that she wasn't reaching for his hand but his... gun?!?

"OK, buster," Amanda challenged, nervously pointing the gun at the man in front of her who LOOKED like Lee, "Who are you, and what have you done with Lee Stetson?" She didn't know who this guy was, when she looked in his eyes she didn't think he was a bad person... but she KNEW he wasn't Lee.

"Oh, boy!" Sam muttered, slowly raising his hands over his head, wondering where Al was, what he was going to do about this, and how the heck had she known???


Ten minutes later, with help from Al and Ziggy (the project computer), Sam was able to convince Amanda that he meant her no harm. 'You're far too trusting,' Amanda told herself, thinking back to that first encounter with Lee at the train station, here she was again trusting someone because of what she saw in his eyes. She still didn't know where Lee was, but was able to surmise that he was OK for now, and the best way to get him back was to go along with the strange man and his invisible friend. From what 'they' said, Sam also worked for the government, and they agreed to cooperate with each other, providing information on a 'need to know' basis. Amanda invited Emiliano back into the room, deciding for now not to turn Sam in, but she was keeping an eye on him.

As they continued to discuss the case, Emiliano noticed nothing unusual about the two, after all he didn't know them and how they usually acted around each other. Sam thought it sounded too dangerous for Amanda to stay on board the ship, in case the accident on deck hadn't been an accident. But she reminded them that the next port was San Angelo, where the revolutionaries were likely funneling the money, so she wouldn't be any safer there than with them. Sam was alarmed when she mentioned that they would have to get married, she hadn't told him that 'Lee' was her fiancé, no wonder she knew him so well! And that probably also explained why he'd been so worried about her, Sam would sometimes feel the residual feelings of his 'host'.

Amanda looked at Sam speculatively, she wasn't sure of the legal ramifications, but surely marrying an imposter Lee was even less binding than the real thing. It might even be easier on her psyche, the thought of marrying her best friend had been very weird. She'd had a 'schoolgirl crush' on Lee early on in their relationship, and still sometimes regarded him with a certain amount of hero worship, but she'd also quickly learned what a wolf he was, going from one woman to another at the drop of a hat. At first she'd judged him as shallow, but as she got to know him better she realized that it was a defense mechanism, he wasn't allowing anybody to get too close. But somehow he'd allowed her to sneak in under his defenses, and she treasured and valued their friendship, and his trust in her. Anything remotely resembling personal involvement could endanger that friendship.

Sam didn't know why he was still here. He'd rescued the woman, what more was expected of him? Al was trying to run some possible scenarios, but Ziggy hadn't had much luck getting information on Amanda King or Lee Stetson. Amanda's file was the usual details, married, divorced, two kids, mortgage, etc. Lee's file seemed to be classified, he must be at a higher level within the government.

After deciding there wasn't much more they could do tonight, Emiliano left, and Sam invited Amanda to go dancing. Amanda agreed, maybe she could get some more information out of him, and Lee was always more interested in his work than dancing. They returned to the ballroom, where they were immediately the center of attention. It seemed like everybody had to ask Amanda if she was alright, and congratulate Lee/Sam on his perilous rescue. Sam thanked them all politely, but inwardly he grew impatient, couldn't these people see that he wanted to dance with his beautiful fiancée? 'Whoa!' Sam thought, 'what's that all about?' Sam forced himself to relax, reminding himself that it wasn't himself, but this Lee who was Amanda's fiancé.

Amanda didn't bother to tell Sam that the engagement was all part of the cover, he didn't need to know, and this way she was less worried that he might blow it, endangering Lee or herself. She found that he was quite an accomplished dancer, and they spent the next couple of hours waltzing, fox-trotting, and tango-ing. "Mother would be so jealous," she thought. Anybody watching them would have assumed they were just another happily engaged couple, dancing away the eve of their wedding.


Sam was panicking as they waited in line to get married. Al had been unable to find out anything more about this couple. He had no idea what he was supposed to be doing, he'd saved Amanda from falling overboard, was something worse in store for her? For Lee? And why did she seem so calm, you'd think a woman about to marry somebody who wasn't her fiancé would be more upset. Suddenly, Sam realized it was their turn.

"Let's go." he said.

"I can't" she replied.

"Why?" he asked, relieved that she was also feeling some apprehension.

"You're on my dress."

"Oh!" he exclaimed, as he quickly moved his foot off of the white material of her dress.

The vows were read quickly, Sam answered mechanically. He heard Amanda also respond, then it was time to kiss the bride. Sam looked at Amanda nervously, it was bad enough he'd just married another man's fiancée, wouldn't she slap him if he tried to kiss her, too? But Amanda just smiled reassuringly and gave him a barely perceptible nod. Sam placed his hands gently on her arms and leaned forward... then the garden dissolved around him in a aura a blue lightning.

Lee became aware that he was kissing... someone... and she was pulling back... 'Wait!' his mind protested and again recaptured her lips with his own. The kiss was tender, sweet, it warmed him from head to toe. 'Wow!' he thought, then opened his eyes to see who he'd been kissing. 'Oh my god, Amanda!'

Amanda was surprised by Sam's kiss, she hadn't expected more than a quick peck, and that second, gentle kiss had definitely caught her off guard. She opened her eyes, preparing to give Sam a piece of her mind for being so presumptuous, and found herself gazing into Lee's very confused eyes. She smiled, relieved that he was back, and, trying to ignore the fact that his kiss had just made her toes curl, reached up to wipe the lipstick off his lips.

Lee realized that Amanda was wearing a wedding dress, and that they'd obviously just concluded the ceremony on San Angelo. Naturally the kiss was just part of it, he just couldn't remember anything that had happened just before it. Lee turned away from the minister, smiled over at Amanda, and offered her his arm for the trip back down the aisle. They smiled at the other couples, accepting congratulations. Lee desperately searched his mind trying to remember how he'd gotten there, but Amanda distracted him with talk of fake flowers.

"Yeah, well at least your 18 karat wedding ring is real, huh?" Lee smiled, wondering whether he should tell her of his memory lapse. Maybe she would have some idea why? Or maybe she would just worry? In any case, he definitely needed time to think before bringing up that kiss...

"Yeah..." Amanda answered. What does he know, she wondered, where has he been for the past 15-16 hours? She sure wished she'd gotten more information out of Sam, but Al wouldn't allow him to tell her much... 18 karat...?

"What?" Lee asked. He knew that look when she was coming up with something.

"18 karat... 24 karat. Lee, I think it means 24 karat gold!"

"No, no. 24 karat is spelled with a 'k', Amanda."

"No, no, it can be spelled with a 'c' or a 'k'. Jamie had it on a spelling bee. Didn't look right to me. I looked it up in the dictionary. Karat with a 'k' is for gold, but carat with a 'c' is for other gems. Maybe Orlando didn't know the difference either."

"Instead of paper money, Porto Fino revolutionaries are being funded with gold." Lee said, impressed.

"Right." Amanda replied.

They headed back to the ship, their minds back on the case, and any thoughts of the kiss pushed to the back to be considered... or ignored... later.


Lee was nervous as they boarded the plane to fly back to DC. He had kissed Amanda! How was he going to explain himself? He knew he couldn't just apologize, Amanda would take that as an insult. But he also had seen a flash of annoyance in her eyes before she smiled at him and wiped the lipstick off his lips. She believed him to be a playboy, and was probably none to happy with him for taking advantage of the situation. Obviously, he hadn't meant to kiss her, he valued their friendship far too much to risk damaging it by toying with her. But would she believe that? He'd just have to try to head her off with the usual speech about anything weird that happened was just part of the cover, and deal with anything else that came up.

Amanda was exhausted, the events of the day had been strenuous for her. For one thing, she just wasn't used to jumping out of a moving car! And she really hadn't slept at all well last night, Sam had been able to convince her that Lee was alright, but that didn't make it any easier to relax not knowing exactly where he was or when he would be back.

"Why don't we get some rest?" Lee suggested. He offered his shoulder as a pillow, and wrapped his arm around Amanda as she rested against him. This was a position they often assumed while on stake-outs, it 'looked more natural' they told themselves, in case the police came by. Lee smiled, apparently she wasn't too annoyed with him, at least not enough to let it interfere with her nap!

"Good night, Amanda!" he whispered.

"Thanks, Sam," she murmured, dozing off.

'Who the hell is Sam?!?' Lee wondered in annoyance...

the end