Scarecrow & Mrs King belongs to CBS and Shoot the Moon Productions. This story was written for pleasure not for profit; I've just taken the characters out of their shoe box to play with them for a while. Please don't sue, I don't have any money.
If Thoughts Could Kill – Tagline
Amanda felt the door close behind her, thankfully there was a chair in the corridor and she collapsed onto it, her whole body trembling. She closed her eyes her hands gripping the neck of the duck she held.
"Squeeze any harder and you'll break its neck," a familiar voice said.
She looked up into the face of Billy Melrose, her lack of response made him sit down beside her, "You prevented a major incident," he said softly, "saved Lee's life too I shouldn't wonder."
Amanda nodded slowly, "Th-thank you, sir."
"Just tell me how you knew about all this."
Amanda cleared her throat and began to explain about Lee's change in behaviour, the obsessive attention to detail and his dreams about sinking, steam and a blue door.
"I was standing by the nurse's station when one of the Potomac Pinkie girls – you know the ones, they're like the Bedside Bluebells but usually they're younger – you know, about sixteen, seventeen-" she paused to take a breath and then said, "well one of them asked me to help her with the bed linen, she decided to use the goods lift and she mentioned that going down in it gave her a sinking feeling-" she swallowed again, "and that made me remember what Lee had said about his dreams. When we got to the basement I saw the steam and the blue door. Barbie – the Potomac Pinkie said that Dr Glaser used it as a storage space. I went to have a look-" she swallowed again in an attempt to get some saliva into her mouth.
Billy turned and spoke quietly to one of the agents guarding the door, he nodded quickly and disappeared returning a couple of minutes later with a glass of water, Billy took it and handed it to Amanda.
She took a couple of sips and then Billy smiled, "Please continue, Mrs King."
"Well it was sort of a storage area but I walked across to the desk and there were two files on it, one was Mr Kimball's and the other belonged to Mr Stetson. I picked it up and began to read it and it was all about what Dr Glaser had been doing to Lee," she took another mouthful of water, "and I thought that I had to let Mr Stetson know what I'd discovered. I don't think he believed me," she managed a wan smile at Melrose, "Dr Ogden disconnected the call and then he took me downstairs. He thought that I was investigating him and Dr Glaser, kept saying that they weren't madmen, they were serious scientists." She paused for a wry look at Melrose, "I thanked him for his input and said that I'd be leaving but he wouldn't let me, well he wouldn't would he," she managed a weak smile at Billy. "He said that if I left I'd interfere with their experiment –which was to get Mr Stetson to kill you." She paused again and looked at the toy on the chair next to her, "I asked about the duck and he said that it was a trigger mechanism, that every time Mr Stetson saw it, it put him into a highly suggestible state." She paused again and Billy spoke softly, "We can clear all this up back at the office, Amanda."
"Dr Glaser and Dr Ogden followed me," Amanda said, "I managed to shake them off – I took an ambulance-" her hands went to her mouth, "oh my gosh, I stole an ambulance!"
"Don't worry about that," Billy replied, "the Agency can sort that out. Can you carry on?"
Amanda nodded, "He pushed me into this chair and took out a mask, he told me to take some deep breaths and I asked him what it was – he said that the right combination of gases could cause an unpleasant death. I grabbed the lamp and bashed him on the head. Then I grabbed the duck and ran-"
"And then stole the ambulance?" Billy asked gently.
Amanda nodded, "There's another of these-" she held up the toy, "at Lee's apartment."
"So Dr Ogden told you what they wanted Mr Stetson to do?" Billy asked tersely.
Amanda nodded, "Yes. He seemed quite proud of it. I don't know how it worked, Mr Melrose, I really don't."
"Sounds like by using the toy you managed to put Scarecrow back into a suggestible state and stop what he was going to do. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to ask you to stay here for the moment. I need to make arrangements for Mr Stetson's apartment to be searched. We need to get that toy out of there." He smiled again and looked up at the officer standing next to them and said, "Would you escort Mrs King down to the restaurant." He turned back to Amanda, "Anything you like, Mrs King, within reason. The Agency will cover it. I'll send Mr Stetson down shortly." He smiled tautly, "and I'll take that duck."
The officer nodded and Amanda stood up nervously, she was escorted to the elevator and down to the lobby. He positioned himself in the doorway while she sat down at an unoccupied table. A waiter came over and she ordered herself a cup of coffee. She was sitting lost in her own thoughts when a familiar voice said, "Can I sit here?"
She looked up and a shy smile lit her face, "Lee!"
"Amanda," he replied sitting down opposite. The waiter came over and Lee ordered himself the same. He stirred the dark liquid thoughtfully and looked up at her, "Amanda-" he began.
"It's all right," she said softly.
He ran a hand across his face, "No, no it isn't. I should have paid more attention – gods, my brain feels like it's been through the wringer."
"But it wasn't you," Amanda said softly, "not the real you anyway."
"Part of it must have been," he looked down at his cup.
"You fought it," she replied, "even I could see that. Me having that toy was just luck."
"Right place, right time?" he looked up at her.
"Yeah," she took another sip of coffee.
He chuckled softly, "You shouldn't have even been involved."
"Someone had to do something," she protested, "you weren't yourself."
Lee ran a hand through his hair, "But how did you know?"
"I don't know," Amanda replied truthfully, her brown eyes holding his, "When your obsessive behaviour began I just knew something was wrong, especially after I visited your flat."
He laughed again sounding more like himself, "Why my flat?"
"Well it was a mess," she looked sheepishly down at her cappuccino, "I mean who keeps their comb under a pile of magazines? So when you started saying things like 'Details are important. Step-by-step precision is crucial in life. It separates the slobs from the princes' I could tell that something wasn't right." She took another sip of her coffee, "and then when you started making lists I just knew. Not as I could get anyone to listen." She looked back down at her cup.
Lee blinked and then a half-smile touched his face, "I did say those things didn't I. I even remember making those lists-" he stopped suddenly. "I was awful."
Amanda looked up, "No, you were just you. I'm rated a GS7 Seasonal Employee, why should you pay any attention to me?"
"But I should have done," Lee replied. "You saved-" He swallowed again, "I don't know what to say-"
Amanda shook her head, "You don't have to say anything, I was just lucky."
He nodded again, "Would you like anything to eat?" he asked.
Amanda shook her head, "No thanks."
Lee looked at the Secret Service Agents who had postioned themselves by the door, "I think we're stuck here for a bit."
"How long do you think we'll have to stay here?" Amanda asked, "I really ought to get home to mother and the boys."
"We'll have to go back to IFF first," Lee looked up as the waiter suddenly appeared at his elbow, he looked across at the two men sitting at the table near the door, "Two cappuccinos please."
When their drinks had arrived, Amanda leant forward and said quietly, "What happens at IFF?"
He smiled again, "We get debriefed. Then you can go home."
Amanda smiled, and then frowned, "Are all your assignments this scary?"
He chuckled and leaning back ran a hand through his hair, "No, not usually. Amanda, thank you."
Amanda was about to respond when Melrose walked up to the table, "Lee, Amanda, if you'd like to come with me."
Both of them stood up and just before they followed Billy, Scarecrow glanced quickly across at Amanda, he wasn't sure he believed in a Deity any more, but he found himself sending a silent prayer heavenwards for her presence.