Que Sera, Sera

Disclaimer: 'Scarecrow and Mrs. King' and the characters therein are the intellectual property of Shoot the Moon Enterprises and Warner Brothers Entertainment Television. Some dialogue has been taken verbatim from the episode 'Bad Timing' written by Robert W. Gilmer. The song, 'Que Sera, Sera,' was written and composed by Ray Evans and recorded by Doris Day. Insofar as this story stands apart from either of the aforementioned elements, it belongs to me, and may not be reproduced or redistributed, in whole or in part, in like or in kind, without my permission.

How can I even begin: to thank the two people who read this for me? I'm grateful, I'm honored, and I'm lucky to be able to work with both of you. This story would not be what it is without your input. Wow!

* * * * *

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be

She didn't have any other clothes.

The thought struck her as she watched the trees pass by outside the windows of the Agency sedan.

Did it matter?

What would she have packed?

What does one pack when going to an Agency quarantine facility, anyway?

She picked at the upholstery - tugging at a loose thread and swearing under her breath when it stubbornly refused to snap.

She was angry - angry at the Russians for doing this to him, angry at the Agency for not working hard enough to find a cure, angry at herself for not going home with him that night, but most of all angry at him. How could he just stand by and *let* this happen? How could he not fight back?

As a streetlight briefly illuminated the car's interior, she took the opportunity to study his face. He seemed so unlike himself - quiet, reserved, his face drawn and tight - the complete antipode to the take-charge, self-confident man she'd come to know, come to love.

"Amanda, I. . ." He paused, and she turned again in his direction. "I wanted to thank you . . . for doing this."

"Oh, Lee . . ." she sighed, "I can't believe you'd even think I'd let you do this alone." She reached awkwardly for his hand and clutched it, reassured by the warmth she found in it. For now, he was still alive. ǃ

She ran her thumb over the top of his hand and then gently along the tender skin on the inside of his wrist. "Why does it seem like fate is always testing us," she mused aloud.

"Because we keep passing the test," he answered wryly. Then, turning serious, he added, "Amanda, I don't know how, but we're gonna get through this. I promise you."

She took a deep breath, fighting back the hot tears that threatened to spill over with one more word from him: tears of anger, grief, self-pity, guilt, and a wash of other painful, conflicting emotions that had taken lodge in her psyche in the hours since Billy had rung her doorbell. With another breath, she'd calmed enough to ask a question, "What happens once we get to Mrs. McMurty's?"

His eyes widened, as though the question had caught him by surprise, "I'm not sure. We wait, I guess."

Waiting. She wasn't sure she could handle that. She didn't understand how he could.

The car turned again, and she watched as they made their way down a curvy, even more densely wooded country road and then stopped at a guardhouse.

"Looks like we're here," she commented on the obvious for lack of anything else to say.

"Hmmm," Lee answered noncommittally, rubbing the spot on his shoulder where, only hours ago, his holster had rested.

The driver edged his way past the gate, and onto the narrow road that led to the cabin. In front of it, he rolled to a stop and opened the door, ushering the duo out.

"Home, sweet home," Lee muttered under his breath.

Their escort took out a set of keys and led them through the door. After they were inside, he spoke for the first time. "Okay, I don't have to tell you the routine - doors and windows are locked. You're to stay where you are, and any attempt to leave will result in a shoot-to-kill response."

Following that, he closed the door, and Amanda listened as the heavy lock slid into place.

How could Lee just stand there and let this happen?

He turned to her, and she sought in his face the answers to her unasked questions but found none. Instead he said, "There's a bed in that other room if you want to get some sleep. I'll take the couch."

She raised an eyebrow at him, but didn't know what to say. Now, with it all on the line, earlier decisions no longer mattered. She just wanted to be close to him. How could he not want the same?

"Lee?" She tried again, but he'd already turned away.

"Get some sleep, Amanda; it's going to be a long day tomorrow."

* * * * *

Pacing.

The sound of his footfalls outside her door -- rhythmic, hypnotic, and utterly distracting -- made sleep an elusive fantasy. As he completed another circuit, she threw her covers back. She was going to stay with him, whether he liked it or not.

Padding over to the door, she opened it cautiously. "Lee?"

"Can't sleep either, huh?" He offered a half-hearted smile.

She shook her head wanly. "Not really."

He sat down on the couch and patted the cushion next to him. "Why don't we just talk then?"

"Okay . . ." She walked toward him and sat stiffly.

Searching for conversation, she opened and closed her mouth several times. No opening seemed quite appropriate. 'So, you made any plans for the weekend? How're you doin'? About that case we're workin' on . . .'

Instead, he broke the silence. "Do you have any idea how much I love you?"

"Oh, Lee . . ." She didn't want to discuss this - wasn't sure she could handle it.

"No." He cut her off abruptly. He took her hand in his and squeezed it so tightly that she had to fight to keep from crying out as his fingers dug into her flesh. "I need to make sure you know this, Amanda."

She sat back, and his grip on her hand loosened. "You mean everything to me - more than anything or anyone in the world. I don't want to lose you."

"I don't want to lose *you*," she answered with equal passion. She leaned in closer to rest her head on his shoulder. "We have so much left to do - so much ahead of us. Lee . . ."

"Shh . . ." He cut her off with a gentle kiss. "You won't. You won't," he repeated and turned toward the fire.

* * * * *

The flames lapped at the logs in the fireplace -- popping, colorful, warm . . . almost as though they were alive. He found their movement, their color, their very essence hypnotic, and in studying them, Lee realized what on some level he already knew. He had to get out.

The look on her face when he told her - the feeling of her once again in his arms - her unflinching, unswerving support, served as the only reassurance he needed. He'd made the right decision. Live or die, he'd go down fighting.

* * * * *

"Oh, man . . . I don't know if I wanna do this," Leatherneck Nelson shook his head grimly at Lee's request. "Dude, I think you oughta just turn yourself in."

Lee shook his head. "If I'm gonna die, I want to die on my terms. Do this for me, please." As Leatherneck began to nod in understanding, Lee played his trump card, "I never asked where the missing lingerie from your supply closet went . . ."

"I told you, man, that was an emergency - a little Czech double-agent. . ." Leatherneck pulled at the collar of his T-shirt.

Lee nodded in sympathy. "Of course."

"Alright, I might be able to arrange something for you. Come back in a half-hour." He pulled open a cabinet and began to tinker with various metal implements, a signal to Lee that the interview was over.

* * * * *

She busied herself in the kitchen, trying both to hear and to ignore what was going on in the next room.

The low hum of voices served as a rhythm to the circles she wiped on the counter with the sponge. Looking down, she realized that she had only moved the crumbs without removing them.

As she rinsed the sponge to repeat her actions, the doorbell rang. She saw Fritz duck out the back door, while she went to answer the front one.

An Agency courier.

The weight of the papers he delivered seemed to burden every step from the door to the den. Their contents a tangible reminder of the fact she'd been trying to fight.

Lee was more-than-likely going to die, and she would be alone.

* * * * *

If he lived through this, he was going to challenge Amanda to a game of poker - her face was so transparent. So often, she never had to say a word, and he was able to know everything on her mind. The expression she wore now, as she walked down the pair of steps into her den, pained him. It had been a long time since he'd seen her so shocked, so stunned, so scared. He knew he was responsible for it - whether directly or indirectly.

He began to explain, "I never had a beneficiary for my Agency life insurance policy, and I wanted to make sure you and your boys were . . . taken care of . . ." but she cut him off, falling into his arms. He tightened them around her, breathing in her scent and drawing strength from her vitality.

"I want more time." She stepped back to look into his eyes. He saw an urgency there, and was uncertain whether it belonged to her or was a reflection of his own.

He drew her back in. "We'll have to make do with the time we have."

"Come with me." She stepped away from him to take his hand, pulling him in the direction of her staircase.

He followed her wordlessly, his previous uncertainties expunged. Clearly, the moment was as important to her as it was to him, and he was unwilling to tarnish it with further questions.

Her bedroom was bright and airy, but clouded with the aura of urgency that seemed also to have overshadowed their two previous encounters therein. She walked past him to draw the blinds and then reached for the buttons on her sweater - never taking her eyes off him.

Watching her move in the muted afternoon light, the dance of the shadows over her luminous skin, he wished for the moment never to end. He was alive and in love.

In response, he found his own actions mirroring hers, as he divested himself first of his shirt, then of his trousers. Then following her lead, he drew back the bedspread, and joined her under the cover of crisp, white eyelet.

The moment that he wanted to last forever was over too soon. He ached to lay with her, in the comfort of her bed, reveling in the warmth of her eyes, the glow of her skin, and the newly discovered aspects of one another.

"I love you." He cupped her cheek gently in his palm.

He saw her throat convulse almost imperceptibly, and she drew a deep breath. Her calm stoicism would have surprised him only months ago, but he'd come to realize that there were depths to Amanda that he could only hope to explore.

"I love you, too. . ." she answered quietly, and though the sentence was complete, it seemed to his ears that there was something unsaid. Then, she glanced over at the clock on her bedstand. "Billy's gonna be here soon," she commented, and he could hear an undertone of regret that belied her matter-of-fact statement.

"Yeah," he agreed.

She stood, unashamed of her present nakedness, and reached for her clothes. "We should get dressed."

"Yeah," he said again.

Sliding his legs into his jeans, he watched as she ran a brush through her hair. There was no way he could lose her - no way he could leave her behind. He didn't know how, but he knew he was going to escape his fate.

The doorbell rang, and the sound cut through her room like a gong - its tone summoning them to try their case in Fortuna's court.

"You ready?" he asked reaching for her hand.

"I am," she answered. "I sure am." They had their whole lives ahead of them.

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be

END