A is for Amsterdam
Author: Julie C.
Disclaimer: Yea, all characters contained therein belong to Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Productions, world without end, amen.
Summary: We all know how the adventure started for Amanda. But how did it start for Lee? All we know about his first assignment that it involved Emily Farnsworth, and that Lee had to be taught to think before he acted. Here's my take on what "The First Time" might have been like for Mr. Stetson, before he was the Scarecrow.
Timeline: April 1973,
ten years before the start of the show
Author's Note: Hey, I *can* write stories that aren't just missing scenes from episodes! Thanks to Sally, Sherina, and Lindsey (did I forget anyone?) for sponsoring the Alphabet Challenge that inspired me to write this thing. Thanks to Miriam for her usual absolutely wonderful job of beta-reading, particularly some not-so-little details about timing.
Feedback: I'd like to turn this into a full-length case story at some point, so if you have any comments or questions or criticisms or suggestions, please contact me. Thanks!
Lee Stetson leaned back
against the worn brown leather of the booth and downed a swig of beer. The sun
had set about an hour ago, casting a warm orange light over the narrow houses
lining the canal before night
finally fell. He'd been in Amsterdam for a day now, and he was quickly becoming fascinated by the city. The canals, lined with their picturesque, tall and narrow houses, were bordered by cobbled streets and crossed by charming bridges whose arched undersides were lit by rows of small white lights at night. The open air markets and vendors' stalls were bursting with vibrant tulips, daffodils, and lilies, splashing their colors over the sidewalks and streets. There were easily more bicycles than cars or maybe even pedestrians, and it was astonishing to see how many businessmen bicycled to work. Trying to picture Congressmen and their aides cycling around Washington brought a smile to his face. Even the physically fit men of the Agency wouldn't be caught dead bicycling through Georgetown.
He sighed and took another sip. The Agency. His first mission as a newly minted agent, not even assigned to a partner yet, and he had had to catch a red-eye from Dulles to Schiphol with only four hours'
notice. Now it was after ten P.M. local time and he was approaching exhaustion despite a brief nap in the afternoon. He'd been drinking as slowly as he could for the past hour, waiting for his contact to show.
He knew he shouldn't mind the wait or the chance to enjoy the truly excellent German beer, but he was eager to get started. He'd been in training for a year for this job, and it was finally time to put his
skills to use.
He was pleased that he'd been entrusted with an overseas assignment. Presumably his language skills had been part of that; while he didn't know much Dutch, he was fluent in German, and the two languages were similar enough that he figured he could get by. He understood that the assignment was to be simple: meet his contact, learn the location of a meeting place, pick up a package there tomorrow morning according to instructions he had already received, and deliver it to the American consulate. Why the Agency needed to send him all the way across the Atlantic to be a messenger boy, he wasn't sure, but he wasn't complaining. He'd traveled quite a bit around Europe, both with his uncle's Air Force postings and after college, but he'd never managed to make it to Amsterdam until now. With the reputation the city had of, well, extreme tolerance of certain recreational activities, he'd been looking forward to making the trip.
He was also pleased that he'd be paired with a British agent. Though he hadn't seen a picture in his whirlwind briefing session at the Agency, he had her name: Emily Farnsworth. Lee's mouth curved into a grin as he thought of what she might look like, and what an *experienced* female agent might be able to teach him. Like many Americans, he found a British accent sexy for no well-definable reason, and he knew from personal experience that the reverse was true as well. He absently tapped a finger against his glass as he stared out the window at the darkening sky over the pointed rooftops, wondering what kind of a woman
Miss Farnsworth was and whether they might be spending some time together after his package was delivered.
"Oi say there, lad, yer name wouldn't be Nigel, would't?" came a piercing voice in a sharp Cockney accent.
Lee turned his head to see an old woman dressed in a bright floral-patterned housecoat standing next to his table. Her eyes were trained on him behind large bifocals, and her hair was hidden under a ragged straw hat that had definitely seen better days. She looked like she was having trouble standing up straight, and she reached out to clutch the table as if for support.
"Ah, no, no, it wouldn't," Lee replied hesitantly. She had spoken the first phrase in the sequence of recognition codes, but she possibly couldn't be MI5. Her eyes were bleary, and she was so hunched over she
wasn't much over five feet tall. Besides, there could be plenty of people looking for someone named Nigel.
Still … "My name's Leroy. Leroy Stinson."
"Leroy?" the woman bellowed, causing the patrons at nearby tables to raise their heads. "What kinduva name is that? Yeh from Chicago or somethin'? Only Leroy oi ev'r heard o' was a bloke inna song about
Lee gritted his teeth. He didn't remember "bloke" being in the recognition phrases, but then he didn't remember being told to expect anything like this woman. "No, New Jersey, actually. A town called
The woman grunted. "Yeh're not 'im, then," she sniffed. "Nigel's from Trowbridge, he is." Glaring at him as he were at fault for not being the man she was seeking, she turned away and shuffled out of the bar, struggling to push open the heavy door on her way out.
Lee shook his head and took another sip of his beer. Well, that must have not been the right woman, because she was supposed to pass him the address where he was to pick up his package. And she certainly hadn't
slipped him anything--
Except the crumpled cocktail napkin that sat next to his glass, a few lines of writing visible in the folds. Fighting the amateurish impulse to look around and see if anyone was watching, he casually stretched one finger out to grab the napkin and pull it towards him. As he carefully straightened the folds, he saw "18 Kerkstrasse" written in blue ink.
How had she done that? He hadn't even seen her leave the napkin there. Then his mind flashed back to something he had heard in one of his classes. "People only see what they expect to see," the instructor had
said after telling a disturbing anecdote about a Hungarian agent who had come within inches of a successful assassination attempt on the British prime minister by posing as a drunk stumbling down the street. He remembered her unsteady grasp of the edge of the table. Flashing a quick glance outside, he saw her stumbling off into the distance, shaking a fist at a bicyclist who had swept by a little too closely.
She certainly was doing a good job of staying in character, if it was her. Well, so much for increasing the intimacy of British-American relations on this particular interagency mission.
Lee's eyes flickered back down to the crumpled napkin, and he leaned back and raised his glass to his lips again. He knew not to instantly take off and make it obvious this had been a meet, so he slowly drained the rest of his glass and waited a few minutes more before signaling for the check. He was also careful to palm the napkin to slip in his pocket when he got the chance -- no use leaving evidence around. While
waiting for the check, he pulled a guidebook out of his pocket and perused the map. He had memorized the major streets, but didn't recall Kerkstrasse being one of them. Then he noticed it, a mile or so from his current location. Though he wasn't due to pick up the package till tomorrow morning, it made sense to at least stroll past the place and scope it out ahead of time. A good agent always checked out the situation in advance. He paid his bill and slipped out the door.
Night had well and truly fallen, and the number of passersby had diminished notably in the past hour. Still, there were a handful of people strolling alongside the canal, as Lee was doing, looking at the
collection of houseboats gently bobbing up and down. That would certainly be an interesting way to live, he thought, with an address that could be changed by simply pulling in your lines and floating off to another mooring spot. No need to pack up your possessions, but then you couldn’t have many anyway in such a small dwelling. Lee shrugged to himself as he moved on, letting out a yawn that felt like it could split his jaw. He'd gotten so used to being rootless that it had actually been a shock to realize he'd been living in the same apartment in DC for nearly two years now. Of course, now that he had completed his training he might not be spending much time there, but he was finally getting what he wanted. After months of classes and tests, he was finally doing some small thing to make the world a better place.
The sound of footsteps behind him broke his reverie, and he listened carefully. Of course, there were pedestrians still out at this hour, but the slight unevenness of the gait stood out. The footsteps slowed, then paused. He shrugged it off as he turned left onto a main street, away from the canal. A trolley passed almost silently on its rails down the center of the street, electricity faintly hissing from the overhead line. This street looked to be lined with offices, long since shut for the day. He paused to let another trolley pass by before crossing the
street and heading down Kerkstrasse.
This street was quieter,and the narrower houses were pressed more closely against each other than along the canal streets. Instead of three or four windows across, there were only two, though the houses still had the Dutch characteristic of leaning a bit over the street. He knew it was a consequence of the steep and narrow stairways; items had to be raised and lowered from the street through the large front windows without banging into the lower floors on their way up. But he didn't like the effect it had of making the street feel closed in. There were hardly any streetlights, and Lee had to fight to keep from
pulling the napkin from his pocket to compulsively check the address. It had been 18, he was sure of it. He was passing 32 now, so it would be a little ways yet.
There were footsteps echoing behind him again. He listened for a second, then felt an uneasy prickling at the back of his neck. The sound was a little different because of the narrower streets, but he was sure it was the same person who had been following him along the canal, the same slightly uneven rhythm. He told himself he was just being paranoid. There must be plenty of people living down this street who were still out after ten. Besides, he was just a tourist leaving a bar and taking the scenic route back to his hotel.
Now he was passing number 24. Angling towards the right side of the street, he counted ahead to see the house across the street that must be number 18. It was a story shorter than its neighbors, with a stair-stepped roofline and a short flight of black stairs leading up to the front door. Lee slowed his pace and dropped into a little passageway between two houses to examine the drop site more carefully. He had been told that he would find his package behind the red tulips in a planter out front, and sure enough, there were the tulips. He figured he'd have
to bend down to tie his shoe at just the right spot, then hope there weren't too many people out at 6 A.M. to see him surreptitiously rooting through the planter for a film canister. Just the thought of being out that early made him yawn hugely once again. He shook his head to clear it. Well, now he'd seen what there was to see, and it was time to go back to the hotel and finally get some sleep.
He walked out from the narrow passageway he had been standing in, patting his pocket to make sure the guidebook with its map was still secure and figuring he'd have to wait till he got to a more well-lit
street to pull it out. A car was approaching, and Lee had to step off to the side of the road to let it pass. As he started to resume his walk, a figure moved out of the shadows in front of him. Lee started
to smile and step around him, but then caught sight of something in the man's hand. It was a small pistol with a silencer attached to the barrel, and it was pointed right at him.
Lee raised his eyes to meet the man's, his mind racing. A small part of him was petrified, but he was pleased to note that his thought processes were still calm and collected, exploring possible avenues of
escape. He first tried the tourist role. "Look, mister," he started, "if it's money you want, I've got travelers' checks in my wallet that I'd be happy to hand over."
"Don't be silly," the man responded, taking a step closer. His accent was vaguely Eastern European, but Lee couldn't quite place it. Gesturing towards the passageway Lee had walked out of, he said, "I know you are not a tourist. Not coming from there. Now, hand me your weapon, slowly, and then the package, and we will continue in the direction you were heading."
Lee was slightly confused. What package? Had he done something to blow his cover? Trying to stay cool, he tossed off the flip comment that came to his lips. "Look, not every American tourist goes around armed,
you know. It's not like we're all cowboys."
The response was a distinctive click as the man thumbed the safety off his gun. "I can see the holster under your jacket. Give me your gun." There was just enough light for Lee to see the expression in the man's eyes, and it was merciless. Lee swallowed. He'd been faced with situations like this plenty of times in training, and he'd usually managed to put his fighting skills to work and disarm his opponent in
short order. But the man facing him was not a teacher, and his gun was loaded with real bullets, and Lee would not get a chance to take this test over. He slowly reached behind him and pulled out his weapon,
placing it into the man's outstretched hand.
"Good," his captor said, pocketing the gun. "Now, give me the package."
Realizing that any further bluffing was unlikely to improve his situation, Lee responded simply, "I don't have any package."
He was stunned by the speed of the other man's movement; the gun struck him across the cheek before he had time to pull back. "That is not a good answer," the man continued calmly. "Give me the package."
"I told you, I don’t have any package!" Lee hissed, bringing a hand up to check the amount of blood trickling down his face. While he wouldn't mind a little distraction from the street right now, he didn't want to risk bringing in any innocent passersby, so he kept his voice down. "I'm just out for a walk."
His captor looked him in silence, no expression showing on his face despite the fact that Lee could just about hear the gears turning in his head. Then he raised his pistol a little higher. "I am afraid
you chose the wrong time and place for your walk," he said, taking aim.
Lee froze. This couldn't be happening. This was supposed to be a simple mission, a straightforward pickup and delivery in a friendly city with a few days of free time before returning home. Not a bullet in the dark without even knowing why. He saw the man's finger tightening on the trigger, and then two things happened at once. Lee ducked, as if that were more than a temporary escape, making the bullet whiz just over his head. As he hit the ground and began to roll, he realized something else was flying through the air, something that struck the gunman in the head and sent him to the ground in a heap. As Lee sprang to his feet, he realized it was … a flowerpot?
Sure enough, the man was covered in dirt and clay shards, with a clump of pansies draped incongruously over his face. Lee bent to pick up the man's gun and his own, then whirled around as he realized a second
too late that the person who had thrown the flowerpot was approaching. He was both surprised, and not, to see it was the woman who had met him in the bar, though her appearance had improved dramatically. Gone
were the straw hat and housecoat, and she was dressed like the average Amsterdam resident in a stylish but practical suit, just as if she was coming home from a late evening at the office.
"Right, then," she said briskly as she approached, rubbing her hands together, her accent now more upper-class British and no trace of weakness apparent. "You'd best be off, Mr. Stetson. I may have knocked
him out, but he'll be coming round soon, and neither of us should be here."
Lee blinked. "Emily Farnsworth?" he asked in a quiet voice.
She nodded abruptly. "Go on to your hotel. It's likely we'll have to change the drop site now, so don't count on the morning meet as planned. I'll come by later this evening to give you the details. Order
room service when you get in."
He looked down at his would-be murderer. "Who is he?" he asked.
She sighed exasperatedly. "If you'd like to wait around till he wakes up or one of his compatriots shows up, be my guest. If you'd like to make it through your first assignment in one piece, do as I say."
"Now listen," Lee started out, a bit put off at being told what to do by someone who could pass for his grandmother. He stopped in mid-sentence at a sound down the street. Both agents turned swiftly to see a figure lurking in the shadows in the direction from which Lee had come. "Hey!" Lee shouted, taking a step forward.
The figure's head turned in his direction briefly, giving Lee the glimpse of a blond head, then whirled around, beginning to run with the same uneven gait as the person who'd been behind him earlier.
"Hey!" Lee shouted again. Tucking the silenced pistol into the side of his waistband, he took off after them, ignoring Farnsworth's cry to wait where he was.
Lee's footsteps echoed off the houses as he pounded down the cobblestones, the figure about a half a block ahead. He struggled to tuck his own gun back in its holster as he ran, aware than dashing through the streets of Amsterdam waving a weapon was not exactly a
bright move. He soon realized that whatever caused this person to run unevenly, it didn't seem to make them run slowly. Lee seemed to be gaining as they approached the major cross street, but his quarry
dashed just in front of a trolley, its bell clanging in warning. He sighed in exasperation as he waited for the tram to pass, then looked frantically around on the other side of the street.
There. The blond head off to his left was one in a dozen, but it was the only one moving at a running pace. Lee took off. The man reached the top of the bridge over the canal and briefly paused. Lee raced
on hopefully, then swore as he realized the pause had been to unlock a bicycle from the bridge railing.
Without stopping to think about it, Lee tugged at a bicycle leaning against a nearby post. It was tightly chained to the post. "Come on, come on," he muttered as he yanked on the handlebars of a few more.
Finally, he found one whose owner had not been so careful. Swinging a leg over the side, he shoved off down the street.
His quarry was almost out of sight now, but Lee pedalled as hard as he could, cursing the rough streets under his breath. The gun he had taken from his assailant was poking him in the side as he pedalled, but he couldn't do much about it. He blew through a red light, weaving around startled pedestrians and provoking a couple of car horns to shatter the relative stillness of the night. Finally he was gaining on his man, who was still occasionally looking over his shoulder. Lee put on an extra burst of speed just as his quarry turned an abrupt left. He swung sharply across the traffic that consisted mostly of bicycles, shouting an apology to the angry voices he was rapidly leaving behind.
They had entered a street much like Kerkstrasse, cobblestoned with narrow houses leaning into the street, the only light coming from the curtained windows they passed. Lee tightened his grip on the handlebars as they bumped down the street, pedaling even more furiously to gain some distance. The man ahead of him seemed to suddenly slow, and Lee was thrilled. A few more feet and he'd have him--
Then he realized why the man had slowed, and shortly thereafter taken a sharp turn that Lee was going too fast to make. Unlike most streets in Amsterdam, this one dead-ended on a canal, with only a sidewalk and
iron railing demarcating the end of the street. Lee had just enough time to brace himself as his bicycle ran up the sidewalk and hit the railing, sending him flying over the handlebars and down three feet into the chilly canal water.
Sputtering and coughing, Lee flailed his arms for just a moment before getting control and swimming back to the canal edge. A few curious passersby were looking over the edge of a nearby bridge, and one or two were running down to help pull him out. "Thank you," he acknowledged with a nod, shaking off as much water as he could. "Dank u wel." He looked futilely down the street, the other cyclist now long gone. "Damn," he muttered, shaking the water off his head and shoulders
and trying not to feel too much like a dog as he did so.
* * * *
Lee was still dripping a little after the half-hour
walk back to his hotel, but since it was by now nearly
eleven o'clock, there was no one but the desk clerk to
give him a curious look as he squelched through the
lobby. Riding the elevator up to his floor, he was
amazed to find his room key was still tucked inside
his pants pocket. He trudged down the hallway, opened
his door, stepped inside, and shut the door by leaning
back against it, closing his eyes. "At this rate I
won't live long enough to get past junior agent
status," he muttered.
"You certainly won't if you keep this up," came a
disapproving voice in agreement.
Lee's eyes flew open and he fumbled for his gun. Then
he recognized Emily Farnsworth, seated in the armchair
in the corner of the room. "Really, I thought the
Agency at least taught its people to give their hotel
rooms a cursory glance upon entering," she went on.
"What if I had been your friend from earlier?"
Lee sighed. "Then I guess I wouldn't be making it to
mid-level, would I?" he snapped back. "I thought I
was supposed to order room service to signal you," he
went on, taking a few steps forward. "And anyway,
what if it wasn't me entering this room, but my
'friend' from earlier? You're not exactly hiding in
"Don't talk back, young man," she replied sharply.
"This situation has gotten out of hand, and we need to
have a serious discussion."
"Out of hand?" Lee cried. "All I did was walk in the
room without checking it first!" Then it dawned on
him that she wasn't talking about him, but about the
mission. "Oh, right, out of hand. So what's going
on, anyway?" he asked as he crossed the room and sat
in the other armchair, trying to hide a shiver as his
wet clothing clung to his skin.
Farnsworth raised an eyebrow. "If you'd like to
change clothes, I can wait."
"No, I'm fine," he insisted as he squirmed a bit in
the chair, trying to find a comfortable position where
the clothing that touched his skin wasn't too soggy.
"Mr. Stetson, really," she insisted. "You're
shivering. And since it looks as though we might be
needing you here a bit longer than originally planned,
it wouldn't do for you to take ill."
His interest piqued by the possibility of staying
longer in Amsterdam, he gave up his stubbornness.
"All right, all right," he said, getting up to rummage
through his still-unpacked suitcase that he had dumped
on the second bed earlier that day. After digging out
a pair of pants and a shirt, he put a hand to his
belt, then looked up at her. "Do you mind?" he asked.
She sniffed. "I'm sure you wouldn't be showing me
anything I hadn't seen before."
"Oh, for God's sake," Lee declared, snatching up his
clothes and disappearing into the bathroom. "I
thought this mission was about interagency
cooperation, not antagonism," he muttered to himself
as he changed clothes. He rubbed a towel over his
head, wincing a bit at the smell emanating from his
hair. Even the fastidious Dutch obviously didn't
clean their canals too frequently. Well, hopefully
Miss Farnsworth (she couldn't possibly be a Mrs., he
thought uncharitably) would be off soon, and he could
take a long hot shower and try to forget about this
evening. What a start to his career this was turning
out to be.
When he exited the bathroom, she was giving him a
critical eye. He tossed his holstered gun and the
piece he had acquired on Kirkstrasse onto the bed,
finished towel-drying his hair, and she was still
staring at him. "What?" he asked, surreptitiously
checking to make sure his fly was zipped.
"How much training have you had at disguise?" she
He shrugged. "The basics, I guess. Clothing,
hairstyles, posture. A little bit about accents.
Why? I thought I was just picking up a package."
"Yes, well, that's changed now, I'm afraid," she said
in an exasperated tone of voice.
"And that's my fault?" Lee challenged, throwing the
towel over his shoulder.
"No, actually, that was my fault," she replied,
surprising him. "Or mine and my colleagues' fault, I
should say. You see, since Amsterdam isn't quite the
hotbed of intrigue that Paris and Berlin are, we
thought it wasn't necessary to check into the
possibility of getting our drop confused with another
drop. As luck would have it, not only was there
another drop scheduled for tonight, it was scheduled
at the same place that you passed by about 16 hours
"Hey, I was just checking out the place," Lee started
defensively, but Farnsworth held up her hand. "I
understand, Lee," she said, "and it wasn't your fault.
However," and her gaze grew more stern, "the part
where you ran off after the other agent and made a
spectacle of yourself was. Now her cover may have
been blown, and it'll be quite difficult for her to--"
"Hold it," Lee broke in. "*Her*? I was chasing a
"Are you sure?" she asked, eyebrow raised again. "Did
you get that close?"
"Well, I thought …" Lee trailed off, trying to
remember. It had been too dark to make out the shape
of the figure, though it would have been tall for a
woman. "I suppose it could have been a woman, but she
was awfully good at eluding pursuit."
"So if the person was competent, it must have been a
man?" Farnsworth inquired icily. Before he could
respond, she went on, "I suppose I shouldn't be
surprised that you don't think much of women's
abilities in this business, having been trained at
that behind-the-times Agency of yours. I'm sure
experience will teach you that women can be quite
capable intelligence agents, Mr. Stetson."
Lee raised an eyebrow. "Sorry," he said, aware that
he had hit a nerve. "I didn't mean anything by it."
"No, of course not, they never do," she muttered,
shaking her head. Then she sighed. "I'm sorry, Lee,
I shouldn't be taking this out on you. To be
perfectly honest, I'm just a little bit frustrated at
being assigned to babysit some junior agent for the
third time in a row. Unfortunately, it appears my
superiors share your unenlightened views on the
capabilities of female agents."
"Babysit?" Lee asked incredulously. "Look, I might be
new at this, but I think I can handle myself."
"Mm, yes, that's why you were nearly killed tonight,"
she responded dryly.
"Yeah, about that," Lee continued, ignoring her
comeback. "Who was that guy, anyway?"
She shrugged. "We assume it was someone lying in wait
for the woman who led you on your merry chase. From
what my colleagues and I can make out, she's a member
of Dutch intelligence. Whatever she was supposed to
pick up tonight, it was going to the West German
consulate. But what was in the package, or who that
man was, we aren't sure."
"I didn't even know the Dutch had agents," Lee
muttered, plopping down on the bed.
"They do, and thanks to circumstances, we're both
being forced to rework our plans. Now, then, it's
obvious that we can't do the drop tomorrow morning as
planned, so I want you to stay in your room. We'll
need to come up with some sort of disguise for you,
now that the other side has seen what you look like."
Lee turned towards Farnsworth as a thought struck him.
Reluctantly he asked, "Am I still useful here? Not
that I'm backing out or anything," he quickly went on.
"I'm sure I can still do whatever the Agency might
"I already inquired with your superiors," she
answered, "and the first available agent can't get
here till tomorrow night. We're going to need to move
tomorrow afternoon at the latest, so I'm afraid we'll
have to make do."
"Well, it was dark anyway," Lee said, a little miffed
that she had already looked into replacing him. "I
doubt the guy got a good look at my face."
"Oh, you'd be surprised how little time an experienced
agent needs to get a good look," she said with a
knowing nod. "Besides, you're quite a handsome man.
While the Dutch are good-looking as a rule, you're
still going to stand out."
Lee raised his eyebrows. He'd never really thought of
his looks as a liability before, more as a tool. But
she was going on, "The disguise will be a fairly
simple matter for me to arrange. I'm afraid it may be
harder to get you to think before you go running off
like you did tonight."
He snorted. "I did think," he responded. "I thought
I didn't want whoever it was to get away."
"Yes, well, whatever your reasoning, the fact remains
that you stole private property and nearly caused a
number of traffic accidents, not to mention," waving
her hand at him to forestall his protests, "making a
bit of a scene. Lee, being an agent isn't all about
wild chases and living like the hero in an action
movie. You've got to think about what you're doing,
and learn to think quickly and explore all of your
options before acting."
"Yes, Mom, I'll be more careful next time," he
muttered. He was about to further retort with a
comment about a flying flowerpot when he caught sight
of her face. She had flinched at his words, and was
staring down at her hands. "Miss Farnsworth?" he
asked hesitantly. Had he angered her again with a
stereotypical male comment? She sure was touchy for
She blinked, looked up toward him, then looked away.
"Right, then, you'd better get some rest and I'd best
be off," she said, rising from her chair.
Lee wanted to say something, but it was obvious that
he had struck a nerve again. And not exactly being
the touchy-feely type, he wasn't eager to get into
anything too sensitive. So he rose to his feet as
well and said, "Yeah, I guess it's been..." he paused
to look at his watch. Wow. "…over thirty hours since
I really slept."
Farnsworth paused with her hand on the door. "Right,"
she agreed, still looking a little flustered. "I'll
be by in the morning between seven and seven-thirty
with your room service. Please remember to order
something when you get up."
Lee nodded. "Good night," he called as she opened the
door. She nodded in response, and was gone.
He sighed and flopped onto his bed. He hadn't
realized until he'd just spoken that indeed, he'd only
arrived this morning on a red-eye flight after a full
day in DC, and he had no business still being awake.
Especially not since it sounded like tomorrow might be
a little more complicated than originally planned.
Struggling back to his feet, he stripped off his clean
clothes and slung them over the back of a chair on his
way to the shower.
In fifteen minutes, Lee reentered the bedroom, belting
the hotel robe tightly around his waist. Rummaging
through his suitcase, he caught sight of the guns
still lying on the bed and sighed. However tired he
was, he knew he had to clean them both thoroughly if
he wanted them to be in good working condition
tomorrow. He'd already screwed up enough today; he
couldn't ignore one of the most basic rules of being
an agent. Yawning, he sat down at the room's small
table and proceeded to clean his weapon before
returning it to the holster slung over the chair.
Then he worked on the other one. He turned the weapon
over in his hands once he had cleaned it and
reattached the silencer. Funny how it could look so
Yawning again, Lee rose from the table and tucked both
guns inside his suitcase. He checked the door before
crawling into bed and shutting off the light, sure he
would fall asleep instantly. Instead, thoughts and
visions chased themselves around in his head for at
least an hour. He kept remembering his fear at being
held at gunpoint, thinking that however many times he
had faced that situation in training, somehow it had
never seemed that real. He turned it over and over in
his mind, trying to think of what else he might have
done, but painfully aware that were it not for
Farnsworth's good aim, he would probably be dead. And
that other agent--had it really been a woman? And had
he inadvertently endangered her by being in the wrong
place at the wrong time? He sighed. "Wonder how many
agents get dragged into something bigger than they're
expecting and nearly get killed their first time out?"
was his last thought as he finally fell asleep.