Timeline: 2nd season
Summary: Missing scene from "Playing Possum", after the climax in Arlington Cemetary, but before the tag scene at the Agency. The partners deal with the aftermath of a frighteningly close call.
Disclaimer: Everybody in this story belongs to somebody else, namely Warner Bros and Shoot The Moon Productions. I'm only using them for my (and hopefully your) entertainment.
"Well, thanks for the ride," Lee said, shutting the station wagon door.
"Oh, well, your car was still sitting on my street, at least I hope it's still sitting there, since it's been quite a few hours, and you never know when the neighbors are going to call the police about a strange car, although your car is a pretty nice one, so it's probably okay," Amanda said as she shut her door and walked around the car. She stopped when she saw Lee staring at her. "What?" she asked.
"Nothing," he responded, shaking his head. She had been uncharacteristically quiet since her exhuberant whoop at the cemetary, dropping off the other three men at the Agency's temporary headquarters without saying more than a few words. Now she was suddenly running over at the mouth again. "Listen," he said, stepping closer to her and putting his hand on her elbow. "Are you okay? I mean, we had a really close call back there..."
"Oh, no, I'm fine," Amanda said brightly, opening her purse and digging inside for her house keys. "Yeah, I guess it was kind of exciting, wasn't it, but I suppose it's all in a day's work for you! I mean, defusing bombs, well, maybe not nuclear bombs, but certainly bombs, and with only a second to spare..." Her shaking hands suddenly betrayed her as her purse went crashing to the ground. "Oh, darn," she said so softly he could barely hear it.
She started to kneel down, but Lee's hand on her arm stopped her. "Amanda," he said quietly, but her face remained turned downwards. So he took his other hand and lifted her chin so she had to look him in the eye. "You're not okay, are you?" he asked.
She paused for a second, then pressed her lips together and shook her head. He nodded. "All right," he said, lowering his hand and briefly pulling her towards him. "Would you like to talk about it?" He felt her nodding against his shoulder. "Okay, come on, let's go."
He helped her pick up the contents of her purse from where they had scattered over the driveway. She was silent as they walked up to the front door and she let them in the house. Once inside, he could see that a little bit of control had been restored to her in the familiar routine of opening the door, entering the house, and putting away her purse. But then she stood in the dining room, staring at the table, looking a little lost. "Amanda?" he said inquiringly.
She turned to look at him. "Lee, I told my mom," she said. As his eyebrows raised, she went on, "I told her I was a spy, and there was a nuclear bomb somewhere in D.C., and she and the boys had to get out, and I had some important information that I had to get to the other spies."
He had to lean against the wall for a second to steady himself. In one way, it would be easier for her if her family knew, but there was also the potential for major security leaks. He couldn't be angry at her, though, considering what had prompted her revelation. "What did she say?" he asked.
"She didn't believe me," Amanda replied, shaking her head. He felt relieved, but before he could say anything, she went on, "She said it was like when I was a little girl and made up stories about dragons. But she agreed to go, and that's what's important, that she and the boys went to Vermont, since we were almost..." her voice trailed off and she bit her lip. "Lee, we almost blew up Washington, D.C.," she said slowly.
"Hey, now, we did no such thing," he said, coming forward to place his hands on her shoulders. "As I recall, Mrs. King, you were the one who prevented Washington, D.C., from being blown up. I would have chosen the red wire."
"You would not have," she said, embarrassed by his praise.
"Yes, I would have," he said seriously, and at that she looked up. He didn't think he'd ever seen her eyes go so wide. "Lee, the only reason I picked the blue wire was because of my dishwasher!" she wailed. "That was pure luck, and what if it hadn't been right?"
"I guess we wouldn't have had much time to regret our mistake," he said, then winced as she whacked him on the shoulder. "That's not funny," she said. "I was standing there in the cemetary, looking out over the city, hoping that Mother and the boys were far enough away when it went off, and wondering how long it would take for them to accept that I was gone, and all of the people that were about to die and never know why, not one little bit of a reason, and I can't believe," she hit his shoulder again. "I can't believe you listened to me!" and she started to cry.
This was just what Lee had been expecting, and he drew her into his arms. "Shh," he said, stroking the back of her head. "It's okay, Amanda. Everything's okay." He continued to murmur to her as she cried, releasing the stress of the past few hours. "You're here, and you're safe, and your family's safe. We got the bad guys again, you and me."
He felt her smile into his chest as her sobs quieted down. "I can't believe that I had all that information right in my head," she finally said, drawing her head back and sniffling. "And what if Yuri hadn't been able to hypnotize me, and what if..." her eyes started to look frightened again.
"Hey, Amanda, it's okay," Lee said again, raising one hand to stroke the hair away from her face, brushing away a last tear with his thumb. "'What if' are two of the scariest words in this business, you know."
"Yeah, I guess so," she said, quiet for a moment. They stood there for a moment, his arm still wrapped around her, her hands still resting on his chest. Then she asked, "Lee, do you ever think about 'what if'?"
"'What if' what?" he asked, his hand going still against the side of her head.
"Well, you know, like what if things hadn't turned out as well as they did, or what if we hadn't found that waitress, or..." her voice trailed off as she realized how close they were standing, and how his hand was touching her cheek, and how beautiful his eyes were this close up. "What if," she said, her voice even more husky when she spoke that softly.
He was lost for a moment, suddenly aware of her proximity. What if, indeed? He could see himself leaning forward just a bit, tilting her head upwards just a bit, could almost feel her lips pressed against his...after all, they had just been through a very stressful situation, and a little bonding, as it were, was not a bad thing. Besides, he could see in her eyes that their closeness was affecting her as well, that her head was lifting upwards just the tiniest bit, bringing her mouth that much closer...
But this was Amanda. Regardless of whether she was his type or not (and she most definitely was not, he firmly told himself), he wasn't right for her. She deserved someone better than a reckless secret agent with a woman in every port, never knowing when he wouldn't be able to defuse a bomb or dodge a bullet in time. Yeah, she deserved better. So he dropped his hands to her upper arms, and took a step back. "Well, not really, you know, as a-"
"Trained agent," she spoke the words with him. "Yeah, I know," she said, looking down, trying to hide her disappointment as he pulled away from her. "I guess I should get used to it if I'm going to keep working with IFF." Guess I'm going to have to get used to this little roller coaster, too, Amanda thought. He had been so close, and she had thought, just for a second...
"Yeah, I guess you are," Lee replied. There was a slightly awkward silence, and then she took a step back, breaking the connection between them. "Well, uh, I suppose you should get going."
"Yeah, I suppose I should," he said, running a hand through his hair and trying not to notice how he missed feeling her body next to his. "You sure you're okay now?"
"Oh, yeah, I'm fine," she said, and this time he could tell she meant it. "I think I just needed that little breakdown, you know. Well, you probably don't know, but that's how it works with me. I just keep things bottled up inside until poof! One day, out they come!"
"Poof?" Lee replied, raising his eyebrows.
"Yeah," she answered. "Poof."
A slow smile spread across his face, one that she couldn't help but match. Then she stuck her hand out, as they had become accustomed to doing somewhere along the line. "Thanks for your help, Lee," she said. "I mean, for coming inside with me just now. I guess I really needed that."
He clasped her hand in his and gave it a firm shake. "Anytime, Amanda. Thanks for your help, too," and he motioned towards the dishwasher.
She blushed a little. "Oh, you know, saving the world, it's all just in a day's work for me now!" She realized she was still holding his hand, and let it drop. "Come on, I'll walk you out."
After she had closed the front door, she turned around and leaned against it. Gosh, what a day. "What a day" didn't even begin to describe it. Telling her mother the truth, for once, and not being believed...dashing around Washington trying to find the bomb...and then Lee pulling the right wire with only a second to spare. And then almost kissing her in her dining room.
At least she thought that's what had happened. Something had stopped him, though, and she thought she had seen the tiniest bit of regret in his eyes. She sighed. "Lee Stetson is not your type, Amanda," she firmly told herself, closing her eyes so as to concentrate on her words. "He is gorgeous, and he is a nice man, and he is honorable, and you work together well, but he is not your type." She opened her eyes and stared ahead. "Now, if only I could just convince myself of that." Then she sighed and started forward into the house. There was a lot of cleaning to do before Mother and the boys came back from Vermont.
Outside, Lee had also leaned back against the door once it was shut. He wasn't sure what was bothering him about what had just happened, or not happened, as the case may be. For a moment, he had wanted to kiss her, but had stopped himself. It just wasn't right. They weren't right for each other, and it would complicate work too much. They were just friends.
He took a deep breath and tried to force those thoughts more firmly in his brain. He had started to move away from the door when he heard Amanda's voice, and it made him jump. When he realized she wasn't talking to him, but to herself on the other side of the door, he couldn't help but listen. His smile grew as he heard her describe him in such positive terms, then fell when she said he wasn't her type. Her last statement, though, really perked his ears up. "That sounds exactly like what I just told myself," he thought, starting down her front walk once he realized she wasn't going to say any more. "I guess it's a good thing we're in agreement!" And as he got in his car and drove away, Lee continued to firmly ignore the little voice that said they seemed be in agreement in their denial of the same thing....