"Q" is for Quadruped

AuthorJulie Maglicco

Rating:  PG

Disclaimer: Scarecrow and Mrs. King is copyrighted by Warner Bros. and Shoot the Moon Production Company. No $ is being made from this story, no infringement is intended and all that.

Time Frame:  After the engagement but before the marriage.  Lee is known to Amanda's family but still only as her co-worker and "new" boyfriend.

Author's Note: OK.  I thought this was going to be fairly easy since it was such a short story, but I found myself with a severe case of Empty Brain Syndrome every time I sat down to write.  Feedback is welcome, but please be gentle with my delicate ego, as this is my first fic posting ever, and you wouldn't want to scare me off (or maybe you will after this story, who knows).  ;-)

A Special Thanks To:  Les and Sally for giving it the good once-over for me
and making sure my first post wasn't too embarrassing.  ;-)

"Aww," Lee Stetson muttered in irritation as he walked away from the white house on Maplewood Drive toward his car.  Even from across the yard in the evening dusk he could see the outline of his new 'friend' waiting for him, seated comfortably on the
hood of his freshly washed Corvette.

"What are you doing up there?"  Lee grumbled at the skinny black cat he found sitting in the center of his hood.  "This is the third time this week I have come out here to find you on my car.  I just washed your footprints off yesterday, you know.  Out of all of the cars in the neighborhood, why do you insist on sitting on mine?"

Lee's questions were met with a soft half-meow half-purr as the cat smoothly got up and walked over towards Lee, bumping his head against Lee's hand.

"Hey pal, I'm not much of an animal person," Lee said in feigned harshness as he scratched the cat behind his ear.  "Especially ones who track mud all over my car."

"Mrrrrow," the cat answered in a deep, throaty voice as he stepped in closer and bumped his head against Lee's waist.

"OK buddy, I have to go, which means you have to go.  C'mon..."  Lee reached over to pick up the cat with the intention of setting him gently down on the sidewalk behind him.  As Lee held the cat, however, he realized that he could feel his ribs with ease from under his fur, and found himself wondering if the cat had a home.

"Feels like you've been missing a few meals ... anybody feeding you?  Yeah, like you're gonna answer me, right?"  Lee said as he set the cat down by his feet.  "OK, why don't we try a little of this then, huh?  Hang on," Lee said as he lifted the tin foil off of the plate of dinner leftovers Dotty had given him before he left.  Breaking off a bite-sized piece of baked chicken, he bent down and set his offering on the grass in front of the cat.

In one fluid motion, the cat bent down and scarfed up the chicken, seemingly swallowing it whole, and then looked back up at Lee.  "I guess you are hungry," Lee said as he broke off another piece of chicken and set it on the grass.  "Okay, gimme a minute and I'll break some of this up for you."

Just as Lee set the plate down on his hood and began breaking up the remainder of the chicken, the cat began rubbing feverishly against his ankles with a desperation that tugged at Lee's heart.  "Okay, okay, it's coming, hang on, will ya?"  Lee picked up the heaping handful of chicken pieces from the plate and set them at the cat's feet, watching with a mix of amazement and pity as the cat devoured the meat as though it hadn't eaten in weeks.

Lee was startled out of his thoughts by a gentle kiss on his cheek.  He turned his head to see Amanda standing next to him with a bowl in her hand. "Hi.  I thought maybe your friend could use a little dessert," she said with a smile.

"Yeah, poor thing acts like he's starving.  Thanks."

"Here buddy, " Amanda said softly as she bent to place the bowl of milk in front of the busily eating cat.  The cat looked up as he swallowed the last piece of chicken and went right to work on the bowl of milk.

As she stood up, Amanda looked at Lee with a twinkle in her eye and took his hand in hers.  "You know, you never cease to amaze me."

"Why's that?"

"You're revered as one of the best intelligence agents in the world, known for your no-nonsense and fearless personality, and yet you are without a doubt the most wonderful, sensitive man I know.  Worried about a hungry stray who has been tracking dirt all over your prized possession for a week."

"Sensitive, huh?  Hmmm, just don't let that get around, okay?  I do have a reputation to protect you know," Lee teased as he leaned in for a quick kiss.

"You're impossible!"  Amanda responded as they turned their attention to their new friend.  The cat,  having made quick work out of his bowl of milk, was sitting in front of the empty bowl, intermittently licking his chops and washing his face.  "Why don't you take him home with you?"

"I'm not allowed to have pets in my building," Lee answered as he bent to pet the cat who had begun to rub his thanks on his ankles. "Besides, I'm really not an animal person."

"Yeah, I can see that," Amanda returned with a grin as Lee stood up, smiling down at the cat.


"What?  I'm just agreeing with you," she smirked.

"Yeah.  Hey, can you...ah..."

"Set some food and water out for your buddy here?  Yes, I think I can do that."

"Thanks," Lee smiled.  "He's a pretty nice cat, I'd hate to think of him running around hungry."

"I really do love you, Scarecrow," Amanda said as she looked around to see if anyone was watching before she leaned in and planted a soft, lingering kiss on his lips.

"Mmm, I'm gonna have to track down more strays to feed if this is my reward," Lee joked as he pulled Amanda towards him for a hug.

Amanda snuggled into him, burying her face in his neck and inhaling his scent mixed with his aftershave.  After a moment, Amanda shivered slightly and reluctantly pulled back.  "I guess I'd better be getting back in before Mother wonders what happened to me."

"Yeah it's getting chilly out here.  Don't forget your bowl," Lee said as he stooped to retrieve the empty dish from the sidewalk.  As he picked it up, the cat bumped his head against Lee's hand and walked towards Amanda, expressing his gratitude in the form of a gentle swipe against her leg as he went on his way with his tail straight up in the air.

"Thanks," Amanda offered as she took the bowl from Lee.  "Be careful going home - I'll see you tomorrow."

Lee unlocked the driver's side door and got in.  "Sweet dreams, Amanda," he breathed as he shut the door with a heart-melting smile.

"With you to look forward to every day, how could I have otherwise," Amanda said softly to herself as she watched the silver corvette disappear into the darkness.

**The End**