Disclaimer - The characters belong to Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Productions. I don’t profit from this story or characters. I just borrow them for a while.
Rated - PG
Type - Reunion Story
Timeline - Now 2001
Special Thanks to Alliana for the suggestions and being a great beta. Reader comments are always welcome.
As the sun set over a large red Virginia barn, a truck carrying four men came around the corner and stopped. Dimitri, the self appointed leader, climbed out of the passenger side and approached the man with trepidation. This man did not accept failure of any kind.
His mama would have said his eyes were soulless. Dimitri looked at the pale man and shivered. He was grateful he wasn’t this man’s enemy. “Sir, I believe we have everything that was on your list.”
“Good, I have waited long enough for my revenge. The years I have spent in that Siberian hellhole have given me quite a hunger to see that the two agents who put me there will finally be dead. Sixteen years is a long time to survive for revenge but I will have mine. Mark my words, I will have mine.”
The two story Victorian house in Rockville was situated on ten acres of lovingly landscaped Virginia hills. Most of the land was fenced and horses romped within. There was a loved look about the property. The restored old farmhouse, while a very sedate white on the outside, was anything but quiet on the inside.
“Mom, thanks for watching the baby for us today, I should be back to pick her up around five o’clock. “
“Whenever you get here this afternoon is fine, Phillip. I hope Amy feels better.”
“I wish I could stay home but you know that criminals don’t take sick days. You know Mom, I love being a detective, but between my job, Amy’s job, and now the baby, it’s like we don’t have time for each other anymore. How do you and Lee do it?”
“Well, it’s not always been simple but we manage. We love each other today as much if not more than we did 18 years ago when we first met. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the day we met.”
“Yeah, you were taking that weather guy boyfriend of yours to the train station and ran into Lee while he was there filming a documentary on trains.”
Not exactly, Amanda thought to herself. She was walking toward her car when a ruffled up man in a waiter suit had grabbed her, shoved a package into her hand, and asked for help. Please, he had said, Please, then he looked into her eyes and the decision was made. Of course it wasn’t as easy as he told her. There were 25 men on that train in red hats. There she was stuck on a train in her nightgown and no ticket holding a box that could have had anything in it. But there had been something in his eyes that day. Though he acted so arrogant and superior, in his eyes she saw a desperate man.. Like Phillip or Jamie when they needed a hug after being trounced at a baseball game…we made a connection that day, one that has never broken…
“Mom….Mom, where did you go? I’ve got to leave or I’ll be late. Hug Jen for me and tell Lee I’ll call him tonight. Do you think he’d be interested in partnering with me in a golf tournament that the station is having?”
“I’ll let him know you’re going to call. See you, sweetheart. Well, Joseph Lee, what do you want to do today?” Amanda tickled the toddler and turned to answer the phone as it rang. “Hello?”
“Amanda, it’s Francine, how are you?”
“Fine, what can I do for you?”
“Can I talk to Lee, it’s important.”
“He’s not here Francine, he left for work about twenty minutes ago”
“Rats,” Francine sighed, “ I guess you should know too. We just got a tip from one of our operatives in Siberia that Surdayich has escaped. No one knows his where abouts yet but his cellmate says all he’s talked about for years is returning to Oz. You know what that means.”
Amanda did sadly enough. “Oh my gosh. Lee will have to be on his toes. What about Paul Barnes? Has anyone warned him? I think he would be the top of his list with Lee a close second. Look Francine, I’ll get in touch with Lee and have him call you okay?”
“Great, by the way we miss you and Lee around here. With Billy gone, it seems I’m all alone.”
“You still have Beeman,” Amanda replied laughingly, “ How is Efram?”
“Very funny,” a frowning Francine said into the phone as she hung up.
Amanda turned and shifted the baby to her other hip. As she picked up the telephone to dial Lee’s cell phone she felt a cold chill race through her body. Tin Man, why couldn’t he just leave us alone? Why, because he had no heart. While Scarecrow had long ago found his brain, the Tin Man was a different story all together. Amanda dialed the phone and waited for Lee to pick up.
“Hello, Stetson here.”
“Hi handsome. How far are you from work?”
“Just pulling into the parking garage now, why? Do you miss me? I could be back home in 20 minutes.” Lee murmured suggestively into the cell.
“Mind your manners sweetheart, I need you to call me when you get to your office. Something’s come up I need to discuss with you.”
The playfulness in Lee’s voice disappeared, “Sure hon, give me about five minutes and I’ll call you back. Hey… I love you.”
“I love you too, bye,” Amanda sighed as she hung up the phone. How I love to hear him say that. The first time he told me was over the telephone and he hung up before I could say anything. We had been in so much trouble then. So much had changed but so much had remained the same. As Amanda turned to await Lee’s telephone call, Jennifer Lillian Stetson breezed into the room.
“Mom, did Dad leave already?”
“Yes, about twenty minutes ago, why?”
”I forgot to remind him about my soccer game tonight. It against St John’s and we have a really good chance of beating them and advancing to the finals. You know how Dad is. Hey little J, how are you,” she said as she reached out to take the baby from her mother.
Amanda just shook her head. Their daughter Jen was quite a unique person. She could use her black belt that she held in confusion techniques one minute and then turn around and be as logical and serious as Lee the next. “How about some breakfast? What would you like? Pancakes, eggs?”
“Just a glass of juice and one of Dad’s donuts will do, Mom,” she said as the phone rang and she reached for it, “Hi daddy, yeah she’s right here, yeah she’s trying to get me to eat breakfast, no just juice and one of your stale donuts, ok hold on…wait don’t forget my soccer game tonight, 6:15, yeah, love you too. Here mom it’s dad. There’s my ride, see you this evening.”
Amanda kissed her daughter on the forehead and picked up the phone, “Hi sweetheart. I’ve got some bad news.”
“What’s going on Amanda?”
“Francine called from the agency, it seems your old friend Surdayich has disappeared. They have a source that says he heading this way. She wants you to call her.”
“Damn, why can’t that man just leave us alone? Have they got in touch with the Wizard yet?
“I don’t think so. Francine didn’t tell me much. Would you call me back after you talk with Francine? I’ll worry until I hear from you and you know what I do when I worry. I’ll just have to pack up Joey and come down there and then you won’t get anything done. Besides, there’s no lock on your office door anymore,” Amanda purred into the phone.
The smile Amanda’s teasing had brought soon turned to a frown as Lee hung up the telephone. He had taken this job with the State Department so his family would be safer but the past kept coming back to haunt him. When was it ever going to stop? Picking up the phone to call Francine he slammed his fist onto the desk. “Francine Desmond please,” Lee demanded, “this is Scare.. I mean Lee Stetson.”
“Lee, I am glad you called back so quickly. I just heard from the London office. It seems that Paul Barnes is dead. There was an explosion in his apartment. They are still sifting through the ashes. So far all they have found is one male body”
“Has Surdayich been seen coming through any of the airports yet?” Lee asked.
“No, look Lee I asked the State Department if they would put you on loaner to the agency until this Surdayich situation is over. Is that okay with you?”
“Francine…I don’t want my family mixed up in this. I transferred to protect them.”
“Yeah Lee and Paul Barnes retired 14 years ago.”
“Alright, I hear you. How about Amanda, can we bring her on board too?”
“You know that would be great. Though I would never have admitted it at the time, you two ended up being the best team the agency had. We sure have missed you both since you’ve been gone.”
“Look, I’ll swing by and pick up Amanda then we’ll be in this afternoon.”
Lee hung up and immediately dialed home. Amanda answered it on the first ring with her usual enthusiasm, “Hello”
“Hi Hon, I just got off the phone with Francine. They want us to come into the agency and work this case. I think we should send your Mom and Jen to visit Aunt Lillian until this is over.”
“Oh that bad huh. Your daughter’s not going to like this.”
“I know she doesn’t like to be shuttled off but this is for her own good.”
“Okay I’ll call Mother. She will be glad to take Joey for the rest of the day. Then I’ll call Phillip and Jamie to warn them. Phillip can take care of himself but I’ll call your uncle to get a message to Jamie so he can keep his eyes open. I’ll see you this afternoon sweetheart.”
“Amanda,” Lee’s voice was full of regret, “I am sorry we keep having to go through this. Sometimes I think it would have been better for you if I had just given that package to someone else.”
“Don’t you dare say that Lee Stetson. You are the best thing that ever happened in my life. You have been a great step-dad to the boys and a great dad to Jennifer. You even love my mother. You know I don’t think I ever told you this but that first day at the train station. I looked into your eyes and I think I fell in love with you then. I took that box thinking you were a gangster. Do you realize how out of character that was for me? I think I would have loved you even if you were a bad guy and that frightened me. When I found out what you really did it was such a relief. Then at first you acted like a conceited jerk one minute and a great guy the next. You had me so confused. You would complain about working with me one minute and call me for help the next. Then when the Agency caught Rostov and wouldn’t trade me back you risked treason charges to rescue me. You held me when I was scared and saved my life more times than I can count. My gosh Lee you protected me with your life, even before you loved me.”
“Amanda, I think I always loved you. I just couldn’t admit it. I guess what I’m trying to say is if I hadn’t involved you in Agency business in the first place you would never have been in danger to begin with,” Lee replied dejectedly.
“Sweetheart, remember when that Sinclair man tried to kidnap and sell me? That had nothing to do with the Agency. If you wouldn’t have been in my life, who knows where I would be today or if I would even be alive. Remember my motto-No guts no glory. I meant it that night in the swamp with Sackers men chasing us and I mean it now. Now get in your car and come home, okay,” Amanda said with a laugh in her voice.
“I’ll be there in 25 minutes,” Lee said thinking what had he ever done to deserve Amanda.
Sneaking into the country had been easy, the Tin Man thought, laughing to himself. He had walked through customs without a problem. The Wizard had been easy to, almost too easy. He knew that Scarecrow would take more effort. He was smart. Plus he had the advantage of a long time partner. He had had the makings of a good agent when he was with the oz network but then with the help of a housewife, he had become one of the best agents the Agency had ever had. “Yes,” he thought with a sneer, “I hope Scarecrow likes the little surprise I left in his office.”*~*~*~*~
Walking into the agency together after ten years, felt strangely familiar to them both. Lee was holding tightly to Amanda’s hand as they walked up to what used to be Mrs. Marsten’s desk. There was a new person sitting there. She politely asked them their names, checked the logbook, handed them visitor badges, and then started to instruct them toward the coat closet.
Looking at the receptionist’s badge Amanda said, “That’s okay Mrs….Harshey, we are very familiar with the way.” As she reached out to take Lee’s hand she noticed he was far away.
At that moment Lee was staring up the stairs toward the Q bureau. What great memories I have of that office, Lee was thinking. We spent hours together on cases in there. We kissed “the first” time standing right in front of my desk. Thank heaven for the lock on that door. Without it we might never of actually gotten together. We were always getting interrupted in those days. Then the stemwinder incident happened. She believed in me when everyone else didn’t. No one had ever had the faith in me that Amanda did. It was the first time I told her I loved her. We weren’t quite over that when Adie Birol took her. I was so afraid I wasn’t going to get to her in time. But with help from Billy, Francine, the ATAC team and Magda Petroc once again we ended up on top. I gave Amanda her engagement ring right in that room. It is a memory that will stay with me forever. Not a word was spoken out loud; we said it all with our eyes. We left from that room to go to Marion to get married and returned there after the nightmare in California. I have never stopped thanking God for letting her stay with me. Her water broke in that very room the day Jen was born. I thought being an agent was scary. Nothing will ever be scarier than seeing Amanda go through that kind of pain then hearing the doctor say the words, emergency C-section. A chill passed over Lee as he felt Amanda touch his shoulder.
“Lee, sweetheart, where are you?” Amanda asked. “The elevator’s here.”
“What? Oh sorry, Amanda. I guess Francine’s waiting.” Lee placed his arm in its customary place on her back and followed her into the elevator. A sense of familiarity settled over both of them. It was like coming home. The elevator opened and they stepped into the hallway. Walking toward the bullpen hand in hand, many people stopped to say hi. Even the guards stationed at the bullpen doors, smiled when they walked by.
At that moment Francine was watching from the windows in her office. How had that ever happened? It was still a mystery to her how the most sought after bachelor at the agency could fall for a plain housewife. Amanda had been so…normal back then. She used to drive Lee crazy with her rambling. The two of us were always laughing at her for one reason or the other at first. It’s hard to tell when I first noticed his feelings changing. She laughed to herself. It seemed that gradually the talk around the water cooler changed focus and the Scarecrow was no longer the main subject. I guess when I started noticing them holding hands or always being within touching distance to each other I should have realized. That time when she was sick and couldn’t go on that country club assignment, he spent all his spare time on the phone with her. Then he told me he couldn’t stay because he had to get back to finish paperwork! Yeah right. The Lee I knew would have stayed without a thought to paperwork. There were clues all around me but I just couldn’t let myself believe. When the stemwinder thing went to pot and Amanda was so adamant about Lee’s innocence She yelled at me, yelled at me, I should have known then. I was so dense. There were times I was in the film vault and heard them playing around, still I believed their stories. I just couldn’t grasp the concept of Lee falling for her. They were kinder than I deserved when they I found out the truth about their relationship. I was in a hurry that Friday afternoon and ran up to the Q bureau for a file on an old case. I was in the vault when they came strolling in. I remember it like it was yesterday.
“Oh, Lee I can’t believe it’s really true,” Amanda gushed, “I thought I was just tired or had the flu.”
“I still can’t quite believe it myself. Come here you, right now I need to kiss my wife.”
“I should have known, with the boys I ate everything in sight. You know I sure could go for Chinese.”
Wife…Wife..I was thinking to myself that it seemed I was always getting caught in that vault and hearing things I didn’t want to hear, when just as I was going to make my presence known…
“Okay, let’s give Billy a call, I think we have to tell him now.”
“Put me down Lee, I’m pregnant, not an invalid.”
The files I was holding crashed loudly to the floor. I stood there speechless. Before I could recover the door flew open and they were staring back at me with surprised eyes.
Lee was the first to break the silence, “Oh man Amanda when are we ever going to remember to lock that door?” as he turned to me “ Well Francine, how about lunch? It seems that my pregnant wife is hungry and we can tell you and Billy the whole story.” Lee wore a goofy grin as he stared down at a radiant Amanda. Lunch that day was an eye opener for me. It was weeks before the news was out to everyone. Not one word about it came from me. Later Amanda came and thanked me for keeping their secret.
A knock at her office door brought Francine back to the future. As the door opened and they walked in hand in hand, Francine felt a moment of jealously that was quickly replaced with happiness for her Friends luck at finding each other. Never one to let sentimentality get in the way of a case she launched right into a review of all the Agency knew. She handed them the case folder and said, “We don’t know much, just what I have told you. I’m sorry I know it’s not much to go on”
“Surdayich will not try to attack us personally. He likes to get other people to do his dirty work for him. Remember how he tried to get me to take out Paul?” Lee asked with a frown. “Who else knows about the explosion in his apartment, Francine?” Lee asked thoughtfully.
“No one but the three of us. Everything on this case has come directly to me. Why, what are you thinking Lee?”
“I am not convinced that Paul is dead. I think he’s in hiding somewhere biding his time.”
The telephone on Francine’s desk started ringing at that moment. “Hello….yes….what?….when?…okay, I’ll tell him…was anyone hurt…good, right I’ll have a team over there on the double… I’ll be in touch, bye now…Lee that was the state department. It seems that a bomb went off in your office about twenty minutes ago. The office was destroyed.”
Amanda looked over at Lee with a worried frown. If Francine hadn’t called, Lee would be dead now and from his return look he knew it. It had started.
An angry Surdayich paced back and forth in his cramped hideout, “How could this have happened?” he murmured to himself. It should have come off without a hitch. “Dimitri, this man who’s been giving me information, Gregory?…, he told me that he has been watching Scarecrow for years. He said Stetson never leaves his office on Tuesday mornings ever. But he left his office this morning. What happened? Why was I misinformed? By the time I realized he had left, there was no way of stopping the bomb. Damn, now he has been warned. He should have been dead by now. I will not miss again. Oh, and get rid Gregory for me. I do not tolerate mistakes.” A wild look flashed in his eyes as his next plan began to form.
Meanwhile, Lee and Amanda opened the door and walked into the Q bureau. Amanda reached behind her and quietly flipped the lock. As she turned around, she reached out for her husband with a look of fear on her face.
“Lee, what if Francine hadn’t called this morning? I’m scared.”
“I know. It’s okay hon… look; I am just as scared of what could happen to you. So let’s get to work and try to catch this maniac. Okay?”
Amanda took a deep breath and held him tighter to her before releasing him with a sigh. “You’re right. It’s just I haven’t had to think about losing you for so long that the old feelings hit me really hard. Where do we start?”
Lee shook his head and thought, that’s my Amanda, she is the bravest person I know.
“It’s a good thing Beeman is on vacation. That way we get use our old office,” Amanda continued on nervously.
All of a sudden she stiffened. She quickly put her fingers to her lips and pointed to the vault. Lee shoved her behind him and drew his gun from under his suit coat. He walked cautiously toward the vault. As a distraction Amanda continued to ramble on about the office. In a sudden movement, he jumped in front of the vault, threw open the door with his gun aimed and yelled freeze. The sight that met him had him lowering his gun and reaching out to the man within.
“We thought you were dead,” a surprised and happy Lee said.
“I almost was. Surdayich had me attacked in my apartment. But the man was an idiot. He tried to jump me in the bathroom but he was noisy. Couldn’t have been a professional. I hit him over the head and left him on the bathroom floor. I thought if I could sneak around front I could catch whoever was behind the attack. I had just climbed out on the fire escape when the explosion went off. The police must have mistaken the idiot for me.”
“Yeah, He tried to blow me up this morning but Francine had called me down to the agency so I left the office early. Oh, Paul do you remember my wife, Amanda.”
“Nice to see you again Mrs. King, no Mrs. Stetson. It seems you have taken good care of the scarecrow. He is married and settled--something I never thought to see. That trip to oz must have been a success, he found his brain after all,” the wizard said with a laugh.
“Paul let me call Francine. I think it’s important that you stay dead. He is going to be watching me since he missed this morning,” Lee said as he was dialing the telephone, “Hello, Francine, can you come up to the Q bureau… we need you right away…thanks…bye. She’s on her way. God it’s good to see you Paul. How was retirement treating you?”
“ Boring. How’s the state department treating you Scarecrow,” Paul asked with a smile.
“Life is good. We have two sons and a daughter. The oldest, Phillip, is a Detective with the Virginia State Police. Jamie, is studying to be a fighter pilot with the air force. Believe it or not he’s stationed at the same base as my uncle. Then comes Jen. She’s such a unique person.”
“What he’s trying to say is that she’s just like him,” Amanda said lovingly shaking her head, “and what’s worse she’s been spoiled by her two older brothers, who thinks she can do no wrong. The only one in the family who disciplines her at all is me.”
Lee broke out in laughter at that moment and Amanda walked up to him and hugged him close. Paul just laughed along with them. Francine chose that moment to walk in.
“What is going on in here? Lee what did you want that was so important that I had to come up here. I am very busy…” Francine continued to rant on as Lee walked up to her and turned her toward the Wizard, “I have a lot of responsibility now Lee Stetson and I don’t…have…Paul Barnes, how did you get here?”
“It’s a long story Ms. Desmond. Lee can fill you in later. Right now we need to come up with a plan to bring in the Tin Man,” Paul replied enthusiastically.
“Right now you can bet he’s planning his next hit on me. I am sure he knows I wasn’t in my office this morning. You know as well as I do that he watches very closely. He’s probably really angry right now. That will make him sloppy,” Lee retorted.
“And he doesn’t know that the Oz network is back. We made a hell of a team scarecrow and with the addition of the misses we’ll be unbeatable,” Paul said with a smile.
“What do we do next?” Amanda asked.
“We get Paul settled in the visitor quarters and go home. Francine has had a team search our house and there are three teams outside. He knows that I know he’s here. He’ll be in touch,”
A lone telephone company van sat outside of the Stetson home in Rockville. There was a man working on the pole beside it and one waiting inside. As the Tin Man drove by he took this in and realized that the house was being closely watched. The agency was involved now. That Gregory was an idiot. Well, he wouldn’t be making any more mistakes, Dimitri had made sure of that. He was crab bate now. The anger was burning deep inside him. I will just have to handle this myself. He reached over and picked up the stolen cell phone. He dialed and impatiently waited for an answer. It wasn’t long in coming.
“Stetson,” Lee hit the speaker button as he answered the phone.
“Scarecrow, it’s been a long time. I’m sorry that I missed you at your office today.”
“I’m not. It got a little hot for me. But hey, I’ve wanted new office furniture. What can I do for you Tin Man? I thought our last get together was memorable enough.”
“I have thought of nothing but that visit for the last fifteen years. Meet me at six am at the place where it began and ended. And this time come alone, I wouldn’t want the little lady to get caught in the crossfire. I have no war with her. Just you. We will see this ended.”
The line went dead. Amanda grabbed the phone off the counter and threw it across the room. “You are not going alone. Remember we work best as a team, you need me to watch your tail.”
“I don’t want you hurt. This is my fight Amanda,” Lee argued.
“Lee when he tried to blow up my husband it became my fight too,” she grabbed his face between her two hands and whispered, “Stetson, you are my life. We do this together or not at all.”
As Lee looked into her eyes the love they shared and years of memories passed between them. He knew at that moment he could no more proceed without her then he could leave her years ago during the stemwinder incident. “You win. Let’s call Francine. I think I know what Tin Man is thinking. He doesn’t know me as well as he thinks. Amanda he knows how the old Scarecrow would react. I did exactly as he planned the last time. He assumes I will do the same this time. But I am not that same man. Your love has changed me. I am not the hotheaded, reckless, loner he knew. He’s watching from somewhere close. We need to go outside and have a very public fight. It has to look like I am going alone. You go back into the house and go through the kitchen into the garage and hide in my car. I’ll go through the outside garage door. He’ll think you stayed home.
“Okay. Oh by the way, Lee, I’m not the same person either,” Amanda, remarked seriously, “I know a lot more Russian this time. Now let’s go have a fight.”
Lee and Amanda arrived at the agency thirty minutes later. They met with Paul and Francine and the plan was fine-tuned. It was decided that Paul and Amanda would head out to the Silver Spring Airport and get into position early. Four agency teams were scrambled and headed out at the same time to secure the perimeter. No one was getting in except one man.
As they were getting ready to leave, Lee pulled Paul to the side. “Paul, could you do me a favor and keep an eye on Amanda. She can get a little over enthused.”
“So I’ve heard. Scarecrow, I won’t let her out of my sight for a minute. I’m still the Wizard; equal parts hocus pocus, black magic, and pure bull. You don’t for a second think I’d let a little thing like being retired change that do you?” Paul put his hand on Lee’s shoulder as the conversation turned serious, “ I’ll take care of her Scarecrow. We’ll see you in three hours.”
The agency teams quietly and efficiently secured all four of Surdayich’s men as they attempted to enter the airport grounds.
The sun was just coming up as Lee pulled into the Silver Spring airport. It was quiet this time of the morning. He adjusted his bulletproof vest, shoved three clips into his pants pockets and holstered his handgun. He pulled a rifle out of the trunk of his car and hooked it to the holder on his back and covered it with his coat. A sense of deya vou came over him. The last time he had come here it was to confront the wizard. There was difference though this time he carried real bullets. This time he knew the man he was here to meet was evil. As he worked his way toward the prearranged meeting spot, he maintained cover at all times. As he stepped out into the open he heard the click before he saw Surdayich.
“Stay right where you are Scarecrow. Don’t move,” the Tin Man called out as he stepped into sight, “Right now I have men with guns pointed at you from all directions. You won’t escape me this time.”
“Amanda,” Paul whispered, “I am going to go out there and confront him to draw the fire away from Lee. As soon as I catch his attention you create a diversion,” with a nod of his head he was gone. As the Wizard, left Amanda headed for the second floor of the hanger. From her new vantage point she could see and hear everything that was going on.
“You’ll be dead and I will have taken care of the two men that ruined my life,” Surdayich sneered.
“You’re the one who sold out. How can you blame me or the wizard” Lee questioned .
“You were both supposed to die with Dorothy that day. Then fifteen years ago you were supposed to take care of the Wizard for me. You don’t do anything I want you to do. But that’s okay. I killed the Wizard myself.”
“Are you sure of that Tin Man. You must be getting sloppy in you old age,” Paul Barnes yelled out as he came out of his hiding place and walked toward the two men, “Your man in London missed me too. What’s wrong you look a little pale. Did you really think you could kill me that easily? Now drop your gun.”
She knew in her heart that the Tin Man was not going to give up easily. If the Wizard wanted a diversion, a diversion he would get. A toolbox stood open next to her, she quietly looked though it until she found a large rubber mallet. She took careful aim and through it with all of her might right at Surdayich. It hit him with a resounding clunk right on the top of the head. He fell to the ground dropping his gun. Lee jumped forward and kicked the gun further out of his reach. Surdayich struggled to get up but before he could do much more then stand, Paul Barnes was there. He delivered one punch to his right jaw then a drop kick to the stomach. Tin Man went down and didn’t get up this time. Lee flipped had him over and had the handcuffs on him as Francine and the rest of the team pulled up.
Paul looked up to where Amanda was now standing in the opening of the hanger brushing the dirt from the toolbox off her hands, “That’s some woman you got there boy. She as dangerous as that tornado that sent Dorothy to oz,” Paul was shaking his head , “Amanda sure does throw a mean rubber mallet.”
Lee laughed, “Just don’t ask what she was aiming at. I would bet you a month’s salary it wasn’t his head.”
Both men were still laughing as Amanda walked up to them. “What’s so funny?”
“How did you learn to throw a mallet like that?” Paul asked.
“Junior Trailblazers had a unit on tomahawk throwing. I just pretended I was throwing at a tree, closed my eyes and let it go. I didn’t mean to hit him on the head!”
Before Amanda could finish her sentence both men were laughing. Lee hugged her to him and said, “Let’s go home.”
Two weeks later found Amanda and Lee cuddled up sitting on the porch swing enjoying a quiet evening.
“Lee, are you sorry you changed jobs. Being back at the agency didn’t give you the itch to get back out into the field did it?”
“No but it did bring a lot of memories back. Some were good. Some were not so good. Tin Man really thought I would go out there alone. He thought he had made me mad enough to risk everything I had to kill him. The scary thing is twenty years ago I probably would have done it,” shaking his head he pulled her closer into his embrace, “What about you, do you miss the excitement?”
“Loving you is excitement enough for me these days. At first I have to admit it felt good to be working again but when that maniac had that gun pointed at your head,” Amanda shivered, “I couldn’t wait for it all to be over and us to get back to normal.”
“Remember when we thought we’d never be normal?”
“Look promise me something,” she said as she lifted her pinkie up to her husband, “from now on we’ll just be Mr. and Mrs. Lee Stetson from Rockville. We’ll let the tornado blow everything back to oz without us next time.”
Lee joined his pinkie with his wife and winked, “anything you say sweetheart, anything you say.”