In der Stille des Nachts

By: Angel Koerkel

Disclaimers:  SMK is owned by STM and WB.  However, the story is owned by me.

Feedback:  Uh huh, lots.

Time line: 2nd season, filler scene

Rating: PG

Written: Fall 2000

Notes: After watching the episode "Legend of Das Geisterschloss" the other day, I started thinking about it.  Amanda was very upset (understandably) by the death of the waitress.  I decided I needed a little more closure to that event.  So, here it is.

Special Thanks: to eman who was a great help with phrasing the title in the proper German!

Lee Stetson was exhausted.  The past couple of days had been overwhelmingly busy.  Finally, this afternoon, he and Amanda had found Emily; and together with Col. Metzger, the international quartet of agents had captured Dr. Hanover and his cohorts.  Now, as he stood in his Salzburg hotel room undressing, all Lee could think of was how good it would be to close his
eyes and sleep for 10 hours.

He finished stripping down to his boxers; then he pulled out a pair of sweat pants from his luggage.  They were barely up to his hips when there was a soft knock at the door adjoining his room to Amanda's.  After he finished pulling them up, he walked over and opened the door.  She stood there fidgeting with the tie on her robe, looking bashfully down at the carpet.  "Hey, Amanda, what's up?"  Lee tried to sound nonchalant, but all he really wanted to do was crawl under his comforter.

"I'm sorry, Lee.  I shouldn't have disturbed you."  She still hadn't looked up at him.  "I just thought I'd say goodnight."  Her voice was almost a whisper and her hair was falling forward across her face.

Lee reached out and tilted her head up.  He could see that she had already washed off her make-up for the night, and that her eyes were slightly red rimmed.  It looked as if she'd been crying.  'What would be making her cry?'  He wondered to himself.  "It's okay, I wasn't in bed yet.  Is there anything I can do for you?  Would you like to come in for some coffee or something?"  He was truly concerned for his friend now.  He had seen her go through a lot, some of it inflicted by him, but it was rare for tears to find their way to her eyes.

"No, thank you.  I should probably let you get to bed.  I know how tired you are.  Goodnight, Lee."  She turned and stepped back into her own room, leaving a puzzled Lee to close the door.

"Alright, but I'm not going to lock this.  If you need anything, anything at all, you let me know.  Okay?"  He told her retreating form.

"Thank you, Lee."

"Goodnight, Amanda."  He pushed the door closed, but left the lock undone.  As he shook his head with worry over her, he climbed into the warmth of his bed and turned out the light.  At first, he thought sleep would overtake him within seconds, but as time went on he realized that all he could do was think of what might be troubling Amanda.  He could hear her muffled
cries in the next room and it made his heart break.  He wanted to go help her, but he didn't know what to say or do.  He lay there and listened to her for nearly an hour before she seemed to find sleep.  When he couldn't hear her any longer, it took him another half an hour to doze off himself.

The sound of screams woke him abruptly.  He jumped from the bed, fully alert.  Amanda's voice was piercing the wall as she screeched out his name.  Grabbing his gun, he was through the unlocked door before another scream could escape her lips.  When he entered the room, however, he found her completely alone.  She was sitting up in bed in the dark.  As he got closer,
he realized that she was still asleep.  His gun thudded on the bedside table as he tossed it there with one hand while reaching for her with the other.  He sat down on the edge of the bed and wrapped his arms around her.  Rocking back and forth with her, he called out, "Amanda!  Wake up.  It's me, Lee.  You're okay."  After what seemed an eternity, she opened her eyes.

Dazed and confused, she looked around the darkened room and felt Lee's tight embrace.  "Lee," she said weakly.  "What are you doing here?"

"What am I doing here?  You could've awakened half the hotel guests with the way you were screaming.  I thought something was wrong."  He admitted sheepishly.  "Apparently, you were having a bad dream."  He pulled back slightly, but kept hold of her hands.

"Yeah, I was.  I was dreaming of Marianna."  Her tone was detached, like a person in a trance.

"Oh.  Do you want to talk about it?"  Lee knew it had been difficult on Amanda when they found the cafe waitress early the previous morning, but he thought she had dealt with it.  She seemed fine that afternoon.

"I...I don't know.  I know I probably should, but I just don't want to.  Besides, I'm sure you'd like to go back to bed now."  She tried to smile at him, but he could tell that it was forced.

"Actually, I'm wide awake.  So, I can sit here and listen the rest of the night, if you want."  He hoped she would take him up on the offer.  Lee knew that she had helped him a lot over the past year, and he figured that now it was his turn.  'Besides, I kinda enjoy sitting up with her and talking.'  He thought.  Despite his best efforts, he knew that Amanda King was working her way right into his heart.  She was already his best friend, though he'd never admit that to anyone; and yesterday morning at the café
when she had held his hand while he talked about Emily, he had felt a little spark of something else brewing deep within his soul.

"Lee, that's very sweet of you," she smiled and lowered her eyes.  "You may as well be comfortable."  She patted the space next to her on the bed.  He hesitated just a second, then climbed up onto the soft comforter.  He leaned against the headboard and put his arm around her shoulders.  'To comfort her,' he told himself.  She curled up along side his body and placed her head along his chest.  "Well, I don't know where to begin."

"Just tell me what's wrong."  His breath moved through her hair.

"Ever since I came back to my room after dinner I can't seem to get her face out of my mind.  I keep seeing that poor, young, beautiful girl lying on the floor.  She was nobody to them.  They didn't have to kill her."  She was holding back the tears now as the image swam before her.  "Lee, I don't know if I can keep doing this.  I don't think I can stand to see any more innocent people shot just because they happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Her eyes were so lost looking.  Marianna.  What a pretty name.  Her family will never know why she really died.  They'll never understand that, in the end, she used her dying breath to help us.  They'll never know how many lives she saved by telling us where to find Emily.  It's not fair!"  She practically yelled it.  Lee knew that she was starting to get past her grief and move into anger over the young woman's death.  That was good.

"Damn it, Lee, it's just not fair!"  Lee had never heard Amanda swear before, and was totally taken aback by the fierceness in her tone, but he tried not to flinch.  He wanted her to continue.  "I don't understand.  If someone had to die, why not me?  Or you?  Or any of the other people actually involved in what was happening?  Why did that sweet girl pay the price for the world we live in?"  Her tone began to soften again.  Lee knew it was time to speak.

"Amanda, all I can tell you is that I'm sorry.  I'm sorry about Marianna.  I'm sorry you had to be with me when I found her.  Most of all, I'm sorry I ever got you involved in this life.  You should be at home with your children.  You should never know that this dark side of the world exists."  His voice was so soft she had to strain to hear him.  He was lightly stroking her hair, and Amanda had the sneaking suspicion that if she looked at his face then she would find his eyes moistened more than usual.

"Oh, Lee, none of this is your fault.  I'm glad that you got me into this...this world.  I really feel like I'm helping make it a better place for my boys, and someday my grandchildren, to live in.  I'm sorry I got so upset.  I know you don't like tears.  I think I feel better now."  She was still cuddled up to him, and could feel his shallow breaths.  It had a strangely calming effect on her.  She closed her eyes.Lee brightened slightly, "You as a grandmother.  Now that's a sight I can't wait to see!"  He already knew that he honestly wanted to be around to see it, too.  He just didn't know in what capacity.  He felt her slight chuckle into his chest.  Then he felt her draw in a deep sigh.  "Are you sure you're okay?"  He asked softly.

"No, but I will be, thanks to you.  You're a good friend, Lee Stetson."  She reached up and kissed him lightly on the cheek before settling back against his warm, bare chest and closing her eyes.  It wasn't long before she was in a peaceful sleep.

"So are you, Amanda, so are you."  He kissed the top of her head.  As he heard her breathing even out, he leaned his head back and closed his eyes.

The End