History Repeats Itself

By: Kim
Summary:Another VSS (which, by the way, are not in any particular order). Lee and Amanda investigate the disppearance of an old-time agent by talking with his wife, and get a few surprises.
Time Frame:Around the third season but well before All the World's A Stage.
Disclaimer:The main characters belong to Shoot the Moon and Warner Bros. Productions. The story is a product of my rather overactive imagination.
Author's Notes:Any text in these brackets { } indicates Lee and Amanda's thoughts and reactions during Annie Stewartson's story.


"Scarecrow," Billy Melrose sat down at his desk. "Logan Stewartson is missing."

"Stewartson?" Lee exclaimed. "He's been retired for...for a long time!"

"I know, I know," Billy nodded. "His wife is beside herself. I want you and Amanda to see what you can find out from her. I have Francine checking all of their old cases."

"Okay," Lee agreed. Stewartson had an outstanding record with the Agency. Lee had read his old case reports; he'd been one of the best in his time. His wife had been an agent too. His partner, if Lee remembered correctly.

Lee picked Amanda up, and headed to the Stewartson's home. Lee explained on the way who Logan Stewartson was and what had happened.

"That's funny," Amanda said casually. "He has the same initials as you, and if you just remove a few letters from his last name, it's yours!"

"How do you come up with these observations?" Lee chuckled.

Half an hour later, they rang the doorbell of 7424 Oakhurst Drive. The door was opened by a small, attractive older woman.

"You must be from the Agency," she smiled at them.

"Yes," Lee confirmed. "I'm Lee Stetson and this is Amanda King."

The woman put a hand out and steadied herself on the doorpost. "Are you okay, Mrs. Stewartson?" Lee asked, giving her a hand.

"Quite, quite. I was just stricken by your names," she said, staring intently at Lee.

Lee and Amanda looked at each other and shrugged as they followed her into the parlor.

"Where are my manners?" she asked, more to herself than Lee or Amanda. "My name is Annie Stewartson."

"It's a pleasure to meet you," Lee and Amanda both said.

"Can I get you some tea?" she asked, indicating the tea service.

"That would be nice," Lee agreed.

"Would you like me to pour, Mrs. Stewartson?" Amanda asked.

"Oh, yes, please do, dear," she smiled, studying Amanda as she poured out tea for the three of them. "You know, dear, you look a lot like me when I was your age. Here," she took a picture from the mantle. "I don't mean exactly, but you have my build, my hair, and just your general air. You remind me of myself."

Amanda studied the photograph and smiled. "I'll take that as the greatest compliment anyone could pay me. You're beautiful," she said sincerely, handing the photograph to Lee.

Lee's mouth opened as he stared at the picture. She could almost pass for Amanda at a glance. "Lovely," he smiled, handing it back to her.

Amanda studied the pictures on the mantle and wall. "Who are these lovely girls, here?"

"Those are my daughters, Felicia and Jenny," she sighed.

"They're very pretty. I have two boys, Phillip and Jamie," Amanda told her.

"I wasn't aware that Logan had any children," Lee said.

"Well, he didn't, save for adopting my girls. I'd been married before. Jack died, and I was alone. I had to move my mother in to make ends meet. She watched the girls while I worked."

"Did she know what line of work you were in?" Amanda asked.

"Oh, heavens no! That didn't come until later, anyway," she smiled. "Isn't it funny, Amanda dear, how your boys names are so similar to my girls?"

"I suppose so," Amanda smiled.

"There's a picture of Logan and myself, on the wall." Lee looked at it. Logan Stewartson could have been his father, the resemblance was almost uncanny. "Yes, you do look like him," Annie said. Amanda looked at the black and white photograph and was amazed.

"That's remarkable!" she exclaimed.

Lee was anxious to get off this topic and ask questions about Stewartson's disappearance. "Mrs. Stewartson, when did Logan disappear?"

"Well, that's the funny thing. And please, call me Annie. You see, I woke up this morning and he was gone. So it could have been anywhere between 8:00 p.m., because I went to bed early, and around 6:00 in the morning."

"Did you hear anything? Had he been receiving any threatening phone calls or anything of that nature?" Lee asked.

"No, not that I know of. And I slept through the night. Didn't even hear him get up once," Mrs. Stewartson was wringing her handkerchief.

"Well, we're doing a full check on all of your old cases, anything marked with Stewartson is getting a full check," Lee tried to reassure her.

"That's good," she said. "Don't forget to also have them check 'Kingley'."

"Who's Kingley?" Amanda set her teacup down on the saucer with a decided clink.

"Why, me, dear. Before we were married. I was Annie Kingley. Jack Kingley was my first husband. My maiden name was Wexler. My mother is in that picture on the left. Dolly Wexler."

Lee was staring fixedly at Mrs. Stewartson. He tried to force his mind back to the task at hand. Stetson, Stewartson. King, Kingley. Dotty, Dolly. Endless similarities. "You have a point," he said slowly. "I will have them check on Kingley," he almost choked on the name.

"It's hard to believe how fast time has flown," Annie shook her head. "It seems like just yesterday Logan and I met."

"How *did* you two meet?" Lee was almost afraid to ask but found that he couldn't resist. This was all too familiar. He glanced over at Amanda, who was staring at Annie as well, looking a little pale.

"Well, I'm so glad you asked, Lee dear. Because it's a story I love to tell. Let's see. I was at the train station, actually. {Lee looked sharply over at Amanda, who had her eyebrows raised but did not look at him.} I was supposed to pick up my friend, Dan McDonald. Funny thing is, he never showed up. Anyway, this young man rushed up to me in a tattered tuxedo, demanding that I help him. {Amanda stole a sideways glance at Lee, who was paying rapt attention to Annie and at this moment was running a nervous hand through his hair.} I smacked him but good and told him to leave me alone, and he told me it was a matter of national security. I would have laughed, but he seemed so sincere. {Amanda thought, Oh, my gosh, this is the same story, word for word, except I didn't smack Lee!} He told me much, much later that he thought I had beautiful eyes, right from the start. {Lee had thought the same of Amanda, and was reminded of that fact now.} Well, I told him I'd do it. He gave me an envelope and told me to get on the train and give it to the bald man. {Lee and Amanda looked at each other, then away again.} Then he disappeared. So I got on the train and mind you I was not appropriately dressed for travel, but I'll forego the details."

Amanda couldn't resist saying impulsively. "No, no. What were you wearing?"

Annie blushed and lowered her eyelids, grinning. "My nightgown and an overcoat."

Lee coughed, his tea sputtering.

"Are you all right, dear?" Annie asked.

"Yes, fine," Lee stole a glance at Amanda, who was wide-eyed. "Please continue," he prodded. This had to be the strangest experience Lee had ever had. He felt strangely like his life was being laid out in front of him, in the past. Past, future, present, all jelled into one.

"Well, I didn't give it to any of the bald men. It was terrible. Logan came to my house and was very rude. Yes, very rude indeed."

"They always are," Amanda interjected. Lee shot her a look.

Annie smiled at her and continued. "He popped up in my kitchen window and nearly scared the wits out of me! Which he made a regular habit out of, by the way. Anyway, I told him what happened, but it didn't seem to matter. He really annoyed me. But his boss, Mr. Rose, he liked me. He recruited me. Mel was his name, but I never called him that. {Lee felt like he was going to come unglued.} Anyway, I started working with the Agency, and Mr. Rose had me working with Logan. Logan was madder than a hatter about it. So was Fanny, who worked at the Agency too and I think had a thing for Logan. She was a snippy little thing. But I liked the work, and so I didn't care what they thought. He was a real bad egg, Logan, you know? Had half a dozen women on each arm on any given night of the week. {Amanda could not suppress the smile that came to her lips. Was this some kind of elaborate set-up?} I admit that I thought he was a good-looking man. But I didn't fawn over him like those nutty girls, and that bothered him I think. We worked together for a long time, and I became an agent. He finally grudgingly admitted that I 'wasn't bad' and started really working with me. Then came the rumors that he'd found himself a steady girl. His friends never saw him at the clubs anymore. Everyone started asking me who it was, since we were pretty close. I didn't know of anyone. Said I didn't care. But then he started, well acting different. He asked me out to Artie's Deli and Coffee Shop. I think it's still there. That was like our first date."

Annie smiled at the memory. "I'm sorry to bore you with all of this," she said.

"No, no!" Lee said quickly. "It's all very interesting, really."

"May I use your ladies room?" Amanda asked. She needed to get away for a moment.

"Of course, dear. Upstairs, second door on the right."

"Thank you."

"How did the two of you come to work together?" Annie addressed the question to Lee once Amanda had left the room.

"Oh, umm. At a train station, as it turns out. She was dropping off her boyfriend Dean." Lee licked his lips nervously.

Annie smiled. "Ahhh. And?"

"And, I grabbed her and asked her to walk with me, asked her to give a package to the man in the red hat."

Annie nodded, smiling. "Yes?"

"Well, there was a whole car full of red-hatted men," Lee smiled at the memory.

"And now she's your partner." Annie stated.

"Yes," Lee nodded, smiling.

"And you love her." Another statement.

"Ye- no! No, we're not involved."

"That's what Logan used to tell me all the time, as if I was delusional and thinking his rude comments and put-downs were some kind of courtship," she chuckled.

"Really, we're just friends," Lee continued to protest.

"Okay," Annie said.

"Its true!" Lee felt the need to convince her, but she only smiled.

Amanda came back into the room and sat back down.

Annie smiled at them. "You know, I had always heard of this kind of thing. 'History repeats itself.' I always hoped it would happen to me, and now it has!"

"Yes well, there are a lot of similiarities, an awful lot of them," Amanda said. "But Lee and I are not together. Not dating, not married, not...not."

"Time, my children, all it will take is time," she said.

Amanda and Lee both kept their eyes off each other. Neither could bear to see what might be reflected in the other's eyes.

"Well, we'd better get going, Annie," Lee stood up, eager to get out of this unusual situation.

"Thank you for letting me talk," Annie said. "It brings it all back."

"Thanks for sharing your story, Annie," Amanda said. "And for the tea."

"Come back anytime, either of you," Annie waved. "And do call me if you hear anything of Logan," she added, the worry back in her eyes.

On the drive back home, neither Lee nor Amanda spoke. He dropped her off at home, then went on to the Agency.

When he walked into Billy's office, he was shocked to see Logan Stewartson sitting at the desk.

"I was hoping you'd come in soon, Scarecrow," Billy said. "Francine, why don't you take Mr. Stewartson for some coffee. I've already contacted his wife and let her know we'll be bringing him home soon."

Once they'd left, Lee said, "How'd you find him so fast?"

Billy shook his head. "There was no foul play. All his enemies are dead. Logan Stewartson has Alzheimer's Disease. He left his house of his own volition. He was found wandering around downtown with his holster on his shoulder. He was reliving the "good old days". Good thing no cop shot him by mistake. His gun was empty."

"His wife didn't mention anything about the Alzheimer's," Lee said, puzzled.

"Yeah, I talked to one of their daughters, Felicia. Annie Stewartson can't come to accept her husband's problem, and is in denial. He's always been the one to take care of her. The strong guy, you know? It's sad."

"Sure is," Lee agreed, thinking of the love in Annie's eyes and voice when she spoke of him. "Look, Billy. I'd be happy to give Logan a ride home."

"Good man," Billy slapped Lee on the back.

Lee helped Logan into his Corvette. As they drove, Lee tried to bring the man into a conversation, but he didn't say a word, until he said, "I'm coming home, Annie."

Lee looked at the old man. "Annie was very worried about you, you know."

"I'm sorry," he said, then his voice changed, took on a more solid quality. "I'm lucid right now. You're from the Agency?"

"Yeah. You know, you need some help with this thing," Lee said.

"I know. I need to talk to my daughters while I'm in my mind. Annie won't do a thing. I can''t believe I just left the house like that. Just left Annie like that." He sighed.

"You love her very much," Lee observed.

"More than life itself. You know at first she drove me nuts? But she was just so adorable. So ditzy, and at the same time so smart. Beautiful. But it took me almost five years to realize what I'd been handed."

"At least you did realize it," Lee said. Why was this so difficult? He felt a lump in his throat, not knowing exactly why.

"Yeah, I got smart, I guess," he chuckled. Moments later, the tone of his voice changed again. "I'm coming home, Annie."

Lee walked Logan up to the door. Annie opened it and they embraced, and Annie was crying. A woman appeared at the door. "Dad, we were so worried about you," she said, giving the old man a hug.

Annie took Logan into the other room, and the woman stepped out on the porch. "I'm Felicia, their daughter. Thank you for all you've done. We had no idea Dad had gotten so bad off. Mom thinks he can still rope the moon, so to speak."

"We were happy to help," Lee smiled.

He drove back home, deep in thought. He decided to swing by Amanda's and let her know how things had turned out. He passed through the old section of town first, and sure enough, Artie's Deli and Coffee Shop was there, looking much as it must have fifty years ago.

Amanda was at the sink, doing the dishes and thinking of Annie. The story was incredulously close to her's and Lee's. It was surreal.

A knock at the window startled her out of her reverie, and she jumped slightly and went over and opened the door, stepping out into the cool night air.

"You 'nearly scared the wits out of me'," she laughed.

Lee laughed too. "I wanted to let you know that Logan is at home, safe and sound."

"So soon?" Amanda asked in surprise.

"Yeah, there was nothing going on except a little Alzheimer's on Logan's part. He was out on the town thinking he was on a case."

"Oh, that's so sad," Amanda shook her head.

"So, uhh," Lee shuffled his feet. "That story, huh? How weird was that?"

"Pretty weird," Amanda agreed.

"Just a coincidence, of course. Doesn't mean anything except we had some similar experiences to Logan and Annie, that's all."

"Of course," Amanda agreed quickly. "Shouldn't read too much into something like that. Just like deja vu."

"Yeah," Lee smiled. "Well, I should get going. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Okay. Goodnight," Amanda smiled, started to walk into the house.

Lee didn't move. "On the other hand," he shrugged.

"On the other hand what?" Amanda frowned.

"Well, I don't know. You know that old deli, Artie's, is still there? I saw it on the way over."

"Artie's is on the way over? It's in the old section of town."

"Yeah well I was curious."

"Yeah well, Annie said she thought it was still there," Amanda shrugged.

"Would you want to, maybe, go to lunch there? Tomorrow?" He looked into her eyes, swallowed over the lump of nerves in his throat. Maybe there was something to Annie's story, he mused.

"Tomorrow's good, tomorrow's fine," Amanda agreed, shrugging again. "No reason to read anything into lunch at Artie's."

Lee smiled softly. "Well, you never know."