A Familiar Song

By:  Fletcher Stanton

Rating:  PG

Summary:  Someone's feeling unappreciated...

Disclaimer:  I do not own these characters.  I am writing for entertainment purposes only – I don’t make any money from this.  Any copyright infringement is unintentional.

Author's Notes:  This is just a little “what if” that popped into my head.  It has a companion piece, “Second Verse, Same as the First."  Hope you like it!

Lee Stetson was at the end of the bar nursing a drink when the other man walked in.  His agent’s training kicked in and he automatically noted the man’s appearance – tall, thin, black hair, fair skin, blue eyes, tailored suit – before looking back at his glass unhappily.

The man sat down near the other end of the bar and ordered a drink.  When it arrived, he tossed it down in one gulp and ordered another, tapping his fingers on the bar in agitation as he waited.  Lee’s mind subconsciously registered the fact that the angry man was British, though he wasn’t paying any real attention to the scene around him.

When the bartender brought the second drink over, he asked, as bartenders seemed to be trained to do, what was wrong.

“Wrong?”  The man responded, laughing bitterly.  “What could possibly be wrong?  I’ve just found the key to the mystery, solved the case.  Again.  Why should anything be wrong?”  The words were spoken in clipped, angry tones.

The man signaled for another drink to be poured, and continued.  “It isn’t like I’m asking for the world, you know,” he went on.  “Just a ‘Thank you, Mr. Steele.  You’ve been helpful.  You may not have the training and experience I have, but your instincts are good.’  Some kind of acknowledgement that I am learning, and that I do have some idea of what I’m doing out there.”  He drank again, this time a bit more slowly.

“But can she say that – no.  Not even in private.  And that’s all I’m asking, really.  I don’t need some big public display.”  He sighed in frustration, one hand coming up to run a hand through his thick, black hair.  He now seemed more sad than angry.  “I’d just like to know that the person who’s supposed to be my partner has some respect for me, for what I contribute.”  He looked down into his now empty glass.

Lee hadn’t meant to eavesdrop, but what the man had said struck a chord.  Loudly.  It was like he was tuned in to Lee’s own situation.  Or more specifically, to Amanda’s.

They had had another fight about work.  She had been upset that he’d glossed over the help she had given him in his report to Billy… again.  They’d argued over it, and she’d left the office, slamming the Q-Bureau door behind her as she went.  He hadn’t been willing to listen to her, he realized that now.  His ego, his reputation as the great ‘Scarecrow’ wouldn’t let him.  He hadn’t really thought about how that made her feel – he just didn’t want some civilian sharing the glory.

Hearing the other man say what he knew Amanda was feeling made Lee think about how unfair he had been.  Sure, at first she’d seemed to be more trouble than she was worth.  But they’d been working together for a long time now – things had changed, she had changed, and he’d never let her know that he even noticed how hard she had worked.  He resolved to apologize to her, and to let her know how much he appreciated the work his partner did.