Disclaimer: Scarecrow and Mrs King is copyrighted by Warner Bros and Shoot the Moon Production Company.

William "Billy" Melrose pulled his car to a screeching halt next to the construction site.

"This must be the right place," his assistant, Francine Desmond, observed, nodding toward the nearby Corvette. They cautiously climbed out of the car, looking around for signs of activity. "Billy, over there, is that...?"

"Looks like a body," Billy finished, following Francine's gaze towards a white-clad figure lying on the ground. They unholstered their weapons, and crept towards the body, remaining ever alert. Upon reaching the body, their eyes met in shock.

"Oh my God!" Billy exclaimed, 'recognizing' the dead woman. Francine just shook her head, speechless, then knelt to check for a pulse. She glanced back up, shaking her head sadly in response to his unasked question. "Well, we better go find Scarecrow..."

Hearing a noise from the nearby stairwell, they scrambled quickly, noiselessly in that direction. They plastered themselves on either side of the construction stairs and peered cautiously upwards, guns at the ready.

"What the..." Francine and Billy gasped in shock at the sight which greeted them. Lee Stetson and Amanda King, their arms supportively around each other, were coming down the stairs. The waiting two stepped out from their place of concealment, but did not lower their weapons.

"Amanda?" Billy asked in confusion. "If you're here, then who's that over there...?"

"Billy!" "Sir!" Lee and Amanda exclaimed, startled.

"Karen Brinkman, according to Redding," Amanda answered, as they involuntarily glanced in the direction of the dead woman. She knew she didn't want to look, but her subconscious followed Billy's gesture before she could stop herself. Amanda let out a strangled gasp, then turned and buried her face in Lee's chest, his arms closed around her protectively.

"BILLY!" Lee growled, glaring over Amanda's head at his superior. "Do you mind? She's a little traumatized... understandably!

"Look, can we get out of here while somebody takes care of ... 'that'" Lee asked, nodding his head towards the figure. "Gordon Redding is cuffed to a post on the 4th floor."

"I'm sorry, Lee, Amanda," Billy felt guilty, but he had to ask, "But how do we know which is Amanda and which is the imposter?" Francine nodded in agreement, still speechless, but curious and suspicious.

"Billy! Trust me, I know Amanda King, and she is the 'real thing'" Lee was becoming irritated.

"It's alright, Lee," Amanda was recovering her composure. "Sir, I'll take any tests, answer any questions you require to prove my identity. But, please, I'd like to get away from here."

By this time, several more agency vehicles and a coroner's wagon had arrived. Billy decided he should trust the instincts of his best agent and agreed to take them back to the agency. Francine was given the keys to Lee's 'vette and the responsibility for supervising the clean-up at the construction site. They drove silently back to the agency, Lee sat in the back seat with Amanda. They held hands, unwilling to break contact after their experiences so far today. Billy also needed some time to collect his thoughts, and decided it was just as well to wait until they got back to his office to ask questions.

Amanda seated herself in front of Billy's desk. Lee fetched her a glass of water, then took up his usual position -- leaning against the window nearby. She smiled in gratitude as she sipped the cool liquid. They proceeded to fill Billy in on the events of the day. How Redding had kidnapped Amanda from the hospital, and left the doppelganger, Karen Brinkman, in her place to await Lee's return.

"When I picked 'her' up, I wondered if something was wrong, there was something in her eyes... but Karen assured me that she was just uncomfortable being the hospital," Lee relayed, "I didn't really think too much about it. Amanda's used to being in hospitals to help care for people, not as a patient herself. And she had been pretty agitated about being left there in the first place." He shook his head regretfully, maybe he should have listened to her in the first place.

"By the time we got to my car, she pulled a gun on me. She said she could take me right to Redding, and that he had Amanda to make sure I would show up." Lee reflected on how Karen had kept her gun trained on him the whole time, wary that he might pull something. She should have known he wouldn't, hurting Karen would have jeopardized his chances of finding Amanda. All he cared about then was finding out that Amanda was OK, after that he would figure something out.

Scarecrow seemed lost in thought, so Billy turned to Amanda, questioning what was going on with Redding.

"He was impressed with himself, with how well his plan was going. He told me that he hired Karen because we were similar in height and coloring, surgery completed the transformation, so that she became my double. His plan was that Lee would drop his guard in Karen's presence so that she could kill him.

"He also said that the 'phony Amanda' was instrumental in eliminating Credle and Treloggan," Amanda continued. She hadn't really wondered about that at the time, struggling with the fear that Lee was already dead, but now, repeating the statement, her curiosity was piqued. "How were they killed?"

Lee stiffened and the color drained from his face, as the implication of what she was saying hit him. He'd wondered yesterday 'what kind of a woman could set up two of the best agents we had', and now he apparently had his answer. He started pacing, his thoughts racing.

Early in their association, Lee had noticed what a beautiful woman Amanda was. He'd been attracted by her big, brown eyes -- soft, dark and deep. Her tumbling chestnut curls -- when she wore her hair up, the tendrils would brush against her long, white neck in a way that would make his fingers itch to touch them. Even the shorter style she was currently sporting held a certain charm. And that sexy, husky voice -- he got weak in the knees sometimes listening to her ramble, he would hardly even notice what she was saying... And he'd noticed more than once her affect on other men. He couldn't leave her alone for even a minute at a party, for when he returned he invariably would find her dancing with another man.

Lee had forced himself to not think about Amanda 'that way'. He'd grown to truly like and respect her. He was more interested in her friendship, then having just another casual bed partner. And he resented other men their attentions towards her. He hadn't liked Dean, and he was suspicious of any man she dated. He was certain they were all just after one thing, that they didn't realize what a special person she was. How she deserved to be treated with respect. Sure, he still experienced an 'occasional twinge of desire' but he could control it...

Billy could see that Scarecrow was unable to answer the question. "Well...," he eased into the description, trying to not overload her with information too quickly, "They were found in hotel rooms in the middle of the day. The beds had been turned down, and they'd been shot with their own weapons."

Amanda looked back and forth from Lee to Billy in confusion, her brain trying to assimilate what Billy was staying. Trying to interpret Lee's obvious distress. Her cheeks blossomed with color in dawning realization of what ... who had lured Credle and Treloggan to those hotel rooms.

"Me?" she squeaked. "Are you trying to tell me that they thought... that I...

"Sir, I barely knew them! Treloggan asked me out 2-3 times, but I never went. And Credle was married! How could they... I would never... Oh my gosh..." Amanda trailed off, chagrin and embarrassment leaving her speechless.

"Amanda, it's not your fault! It wasn't you," Lee placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. If he'd known for even a minute that Credle or Treloggan had harbored such intentions towards Amanda he would have broken their legs.

Amanda nodded, but she didn't feel reassured, she still felt guilty, as though she were somehow responsible for their deaths. She didn't know if she'd be able to face anybody at the Agency again, they would all know.

"Sir," she spoke suddenly, "If you don't mind, I'd really like to get out of here. I really don't think I can face Francine."

Billy smiled, if he'd had any lingering doubts about whether this was their Amanda or the phony they vanished. A phony Amanda might be able to feign mortification about the agents' deaths, but there was no way anybody else could fake Amanda's 'Francine tone'. Normally leaving the office would be out of the question, but this was already the most unorthodox debriefing he'd ever presided over. Besides, he could see her point of view, and wasn't too interested in hearing Francine's take on this situation right now, either. But he still had a lot of questions for these two. He nodded in agreement, looking to Scarecrow and Mrs King for suggestions on where they could continue.

Lee shrugged, "Ned's would be too busy, it'd be crawling with Agents and reporters. How about that new place a couple of blocks over, Randy's? Nobody ever goes there."

They were leaving the parking garage just as Francine was arriving, they all waved back politely, ignoring her signals that she wanted to talk to them. They arrived at Randy's and settled in a quiet booth in the back, Lee and Amanda opposite Billy. After their drinks arrived, a white wine for Amanda, and a pitcher of beer for Lee and Billy, it was time to resume the debriefing.

"Well, she apparently wasn't trying the same method on Scarecrow," Billy prompted.

Lee was still a little uncomfortable with thinking about Karen's MO. "She did say that she'd been disappointed to find out that Amanda and I aren't 'involved', that it could have been interesting. Of course, it wouldn't have worked, I would have known right away that she's not Amanda. After all, we're not..." he trailed off.

"We're not... we never have..." Amanda joined in. They glanced at each other, then quickly away, shaking their heads and gesturing negatively.

"Besides, I've kissed Amanda, and 'she' wouldn't have been able to fool me." Lee realized what he'd said and hastened to add, "I mean, while we were working undercover, of course. There have been situations..." Embarrassed, he focused on his beer, taking a drink and then staring into it's depths.

Amanda was starting to feel better. The wine was helping her relax and Lee's confidence that he would have been able to distinguish her from the 'phony Amanda' - and he had rescued her - made her feel good. She felt a happy little tingle that he was so sure he'd recognize her kisses. The man has kissed dozens, maybe hundreds, of women, and he believed he'd be able to tell her apart from the others.

Amanda swirled her wine, a small smile forming on her lips, thinking of that time in San Angelo, at the end of the wedding ceremony. Lee had kissed her, and prolonged it, apparently reluctant to break the contact between their lips. She dreamed of that kiss sometimes at night, wondering in the back of her mind what it would be like to kiss him 'for real', to feel him take her in his arms and hold her close while their lips met and...

Amanda put the brakes on that train of thought, it was best not to think about Lee in 'that way'. He was undeniably attractive, with a winning smile and dimples, and beautiful eyes, and she was frequently tempted to at least try to muss that perfect hair of his. But she wasn't his type, not that he couldn't do better than those air-headed bimbos he usually went out with. From the first they'd had a special connection, a certain trust and belief in each other that didn't happen every day. Over the months, as they'd helped each other out of various sticky situations, that trust had continued to grow, and a friendship had developed. She genuinely liked and respected Lee, and hoped to never lose his friendship.

Out of the corner of his eye, Lee saw Amanda smile. He relaxed, knowing that she was starting to recover from the disturbing events of the day. It was time to finish filling Billy in on what all had happened.

"Anyway," Lee started, bringing Amanda out of her reverie, and drawing Billy's attention back to himself. "Karen brought me to the construction site where Redding was holding Amanda captive. While their attention was focused on me, Amanda managed to cut her ropes, and levered up a board to deflect Karen's aim, then dove for the gun. I took advantage of the distraction, grabbing and eventually subduing Redding.

"Then I heard Amanda calling for me. I rushed over to the side where I found both of them dangling from the edge, they'd apparently fallen while struggling for the gun. I begged Amanda to hold on, not knowing which was her and which the phony." He smiled apologetically, "I didn't know what to do."

"And Karen was yelling and screaming, so I just decided to keep quiet. I didn't want to distract Lee, or waste my energy on anything besides hanging on. I hoped she would make a mistake." Amanda put in.

"But then Amanda said 'Oh my gosh', so I knew right away that was her, because who else do I know who's last words would be 'Oh my gosh'?" Lee continued. "So I grabbed Amanda and pulled her up, and Karen fell."

"By the way," Amanda smiled at him, "Did I ever thank you for rescuing me?"

"It was the least I could do," Lee shrugged, "After all, you saved me from being shot!" They grinned as they toasted each other, clinking their glasses together and sipping their beverages.

Billy sat back watching them in amusement. Amazed at what a team these two were becoming. He'd like to take credit for them, heaven knows he'd pushed them together enough to begin with. But the bond they'd formed couldn't be forced, and even their first meeting was by fate.

The three continued discussing the case for a while longer, but then the 'Happy Hour' crowd started to trickle in.

"Oh my gosh!" Amanda exclaimed, "Look at the time! I better get back to the hotel. Mother and the boys will be frantic with worry. And they'll be so relieved that we can go home tonight."

"I'll call you a cab," Lee told her, standing up, and gesturing for her to stay and finish her wine. He returned and assisted her from the booth. Billy and Lee agreed that they would stay for dinner, can't drive back to the Agency with just a pitcher of beer for sustenance! Lee and Amanda walked out of the bar and grill, and he waited with her on the sidewalk until the taxi arrived. When it did, they embraced again briefly.

"I'll come by later," Lee told her, stepping over to the curb and opening the door of the cab. "Bye!" he smiled at her after she was seated with the door closed.

"Bye!" Amanda smiled back, and waved as the taxi pulled away. Lee lifted his arm briefly in farewell, then went back inside to enjoy a steak.

The End