Disclaimer: Scarecrow and Mrs. King and all it's characters belongs to Warner Bros. and Shoot The Moon Enterprises Ltd. I'm just borrowing them, since THEY won't do anything with them anymore, for my pleasure and yours! The story is completely my own. Any resemblance to any other fanfic or one of the episodes is entirely unintentional. You know how these stories all become 'real'!
Summary: A new beginning for Lee.
Timeline: July 1990--Marriage is common knowledge.
Archive: Yes, at SMKFanfic, fanfiction.net. Also anywhere else, just let me know!
Feedback: Yes, yes, yes! Constructive criticism accepted with a very open mind, on list or off, I could use the help. Flames will be used to light my husband's cigarettes as he is always losing his lighters.
Notes: Just how I thought their life would be. This is my very first fanfic. I posted it without having it beta'd. How incredibly naïve of me! In light of the recent revamping of some stories, cannon/characterization discussions, working with some very awesome beats, and really great reviewing on the list, I decided to toss my first ff in for a little help.
A tapping on the window woke Amanda from her light sleep.
He slipped in the door and stood just inside it, not sure what to do. Amanda smiled and held her hand out to him, "Come here, Lee, there's someone I want you to meet."
Lee had never been so nervous in his life, not even the first time he had kissed her. Running his hands through his already unruly hair, Lee raised his eyes to meet Amanda's. Without dropping his hands from the back of his head, he walked slowly across the room, feeling as though everything was going in slow motion. "I'm so sorry, Amanda. . ." he offered dejectedly. Dropping his arms to his side, he sank onto the bed next to her.
"Shhh" she said quietly as she placed two fingers of her left hand on his lips.
Lee looked at the ceiling, inhaling deeply as if to prepare himself for what was about to happen. Amanda shifted in the uncomfortable hospital bed and took his hand. She had always loved the feel of his hand holding hers. It had always come naturally to them; she couldn't even remember when he had started reaching for her. Now, it was her turn.
"Lee . . . ?" Amanda prompted.
Soft grunting noises came from the bed in front of Amanda and finally he couldn't stand it anymore. Lee looked down at Amanda and pulled the light blue blanket away from her. He reached out with a trembling hand to stroke the soft, fuzzy head lying at his wife's breast, happily nuzzling her.
"Oh my . . . Amanda . . . he's . . ." His voice trailed off, and she looked up at him to find tears streaming down his face.
Amanda smiled again and wiped them away with the back of her hand, still clutching his hand in hers. "Lee, I'd like you to meet your son."
Those were words he never thought he'd hear, had never wanted to hear, until he met Amanda.
She lifted the half-awake baby away from herself and handed him to his father. Lee took the baby, still uncertain of how to hold him, what to do. "You do realize I have never done this before, right?" He gave Amanda an uncharacteristic look of bewilderment, as she hid a smirk behind her hand.
"And what, may I ask, do you find so funny, Mrs. Stetson?" Lee growled as he tried to find a safe, comfortable way to hold the now squirming baby.
"You." she said softly. "Soviet agents with automatic weapons don't scare you but you're afraid of a newborn baby," she said, tears coming to her eyes. Lee without a doubt had a soft side; she'd seen it often enough before, but this -- this was totally different. She knew how he had felt about children, any children, when she had first gotten to know him. His own childhood had left an emotional scar that was just starting to heal 30 years later. Phillip and Jamie had been instrumental in helping him come to terms with his feelings. In the last few years, he and the boys had become inseparable, sharing everything. Together, the three of them had filled what was missing in each of their lives. Lee didn't think of her boys as his 'step' sons but 'his' sons, and they had started calling him 'Dad' not too long ago. He had seemed content with the way things were, just the four of them, but upon discovering that she was pregnant, she had realized how much he really wanted his own child. He had stared with wonder at the sonogram pictures for days after they had found out, even taping two of them to his computer at work. He had confided in Amanda how nervous he was that he would screw something up. How, to him, becoming a father to two teenage boys was something totally different than being solely responsible for satisfying the every need of a newborn. He wanted more for his child than what the Colonel had given him, more than Joe gave to his sons.
'Hopefully we've gotten past that' she thought with a sigh.
Lee stared at his baby, who looked back with the same serious expression. Amanda was amazed at how much her newest son looked like his father. She leaned back on the bed and sighed again.
"Are you all right?" Lee asked. He was still trying to come to terms with missing the entire thing.
"Yes, Lee, I'm fine. A little sore, a lot tired, but wonderfully, incredibly, happy." She sat up again and leaned on his shoulder reaching up to stroke their son's face. "He looks just like you, Lee," she smiled.
"Let's hope he grows out of that," he smiled back, his lopsided grin and dimples melting Amanda's heart as they always did.
She shook her head and laughed. "Those poor little girls won't know what hit them I'm afraid"
He turned his head and kissed her forehead then sighed, resting his forehead on hers.
"Amanda . . ." he began softly.
She could hear the sadness in his voice. "Lee, it's all right. He's fine. I'm fine. I HAVE done this twice before, you know. I'm just relieved that you're home now. The doctor came in earlier and said we could leave this morning. He just has to check us first. Now we can go home as a family. Jamie and Phillip can't wait to see you, you know, they've missed you so much. And Mother is just about ready to burst knowing there will be a baby in the house again. And she's missed you so much, too." She talked quietly but quickly and, as usual, didn't allow him an opening to start talking again. "I can't wait to go home today. I need some fresh air. You didn't bring the 'Vette, did you? We'll never get him in there. And the car seat? I didn't bring the car seat. Came here right from the doctor's office so I couldn't grab it. Maybe mother will . . ."
"A-man-da," he said, cutting her off. "I need to apologize to you— I . . . I missed everything. I promised you I'd be back in time. I've been kicking myself for the last day and a half." Was his son really almost 2 days old already? Lee could hardly believe it had only been thirty-six hours ago that MP's had pounded on his hotel room door, told him to gather what he could, and hustled him to the closest Navy base -- three hours away. The MP's had been frustratingly quiet during the trip, having no knowledge of why Lee needed to be returned to the States so abruptly. The only thing he had known as he had been ushered onto the C-130 Navy transport, was that he had been needed home. Immediately. The twenty-four hour flight had been torture -- no one on the plane had known what was going on any more than he did. He had mentally counted how many weeks early this was, five to be exact, and had prayed Amanda and the baby would be all right. After losing so much in his life this would have been the one to send him over the edge. But, as he had stepped off the plane and onto the tarmac, Billy had met him with a huge smile, a cigar, and a car and had started filling him in as they sped off. Lee was relieved to know everything was all right, but saddened to realize he'd missed the birth of his first, and probably only, child. He had stood outside the hospital room peeking in the window for 15 minutes before mustering the courage to go in. Funny how he had the strength to chase 'bad guys' all around the world but when it came to a 5 pound baby he lost all his nerve. Standing in the hospital corridor, he had experienced the same feelings as he had had years before, standing in the West-King flowerbed. He had observed the happy chaos unnoticed and longed to be a part of it but felt as though his feet were rooted to the ground like the flowers Dotty had planted. But they had let him in - opened their lives to him and made his more fulfilling than he had ever dreamed. Until now. No amount of danger or intrigue was remotely close to bringing him as much satisfaction as this, as being a part of "suburban life" as Francine had derisively called it.
"Lee?" Amanda startled him out of his thoughts quietly.
"It's this damn job" he stated. He stood and paced the floor, the baby still snuggled in his arm. "I can't miss another thing Amanda. EVER." The look on his face was pained. "I will NOT do that to my son."
"Lee, this all happened so fast I don't think you'd have made it in time from D.C." Amanda soothed. "This little man gets his patience from his father," she paused and, trying to lighten his mood, added quietly, "which is going to be real fun at 2 a.m."
He dropped gingerly into the recliner across from Amanda's bed and looked down at his son.
His heart felt like it was being squeezed harder and harder. He looked up at Amanda with tears in his eyes. "How can someone so little make me feel like this?" he asked her quietly.
She smiled at the two of them and, closing her eyes, leaned back on the bed. It had been a tiring two days for her, but she didn't want to make Lee feel worse than he already did. The uncomfortable burning in her chest that had been nagging her for days turned out to be far more than simple heartburn. At her 35-week appointment the doctor had looked at her very strangely as he examined her. Her heart had jumped to her throat as horrible thoughts went through her head.
"Have you had any contractions, Amanda?" He asked, a puzzled look on his face.
"No, just really bad heartburn" she returned, "Why?"
"Well, seems you're about ready to deliver this baby, Amanda!"
She had been flabbergasted. It hadn't been this quick or easy with Phillip or Jamie and she hadn't expected anything different this time. But Lee's son had had different ideas. He had been ready, whether or not they were. And, considering his father had been half way around the world, they had definitely *not* been ready. But a scant 2 hours later she was lying in the hospital with her tiny son in her arms, not sure what to feel, knowing that Lee was a good day away from being home. He had been under contact zero and Amanda hadn't been sure they'd even gotten word to him until she had spoken to Billy.
A quiet knock at the door startled Amanda out of her thoughts.
"It's open," she said quietly.
As the visitor entered, Amanda was shocked to see Francine standing with a gift and a camera in hand and a look of uncertainty on her face.
"Is it safe to come in?" she whispered.
Amanda laughed. "Of course, Francine -- it's not catchy," she teased.
Francine seemed to relax at Amanda's teasing tone and smiled at her genuinely. She looked around puzzled until spotting Lee with his son on his chest, both sound asleep in the recliner across the room.
Amanda's breath caught in her throat as she followed Francine's gaze to her husband and newborn son. She wondered if she'd ever tire of looking at him, at them, ever get over the shock that they were really hers, after everything they had been through.
Francine shook her head and sighed in amazement. "Now there is something I never in a million years thought I would see. In fact, I would have placed big money on it. Come to think of it, I think I did." she half-joked.
"I'm as surprised as you are, Francine," Amanda said quietly.
"Oh, no you're not, Amanda Stetson," Francine emphasized her 'new' last name with a grin. "You knew it all along," she waggled a perfectly manicured finger at Amanda with a smirk. "All those times I told you he wasn't the marrying type . . . " Francine shook her head slowly. "And there you were, knowing just how he felt about you the whole time. You have every right to tell me 'I told you so'".
Amanda laughed quietly thinking back to how many times she had wanted to do just that. "Consider it said," she grinned.
Francine laughed and lifted the camera to her eye. "I know a lot of people who won't believe this until they see it. Maybe I can make enough money to cover my losing bet," she said laughingly.
The flash woke Lee, but not the baby, and he sat up in the recliner looking around to reorient himself to his surroundings.
'Always the spy,' Amanda thought to herself. She was surprised he had even allowed himself the luxury of sleep here in the unfamiliar hospital room -- especially with his back to the door.
"Francine?" Lee said groggily, sounding as surprised as Amanda had been to see her there.
"Hello, Lee. Congratulations," Francine moved to hug Lee as she smiled at him.
Lee stood and offered her the baby in his arms. "I'd like you to meet William Hamilton Stetson," Lee said with a proud grin.
"Oh, no. Look but don't touch. You know, the whole 'you broke it, you bought it' thing." she said a bit nervously as she backed away slightly. "He is cute, though."
Amanda laughed to herself at how quickly Francine declined holding the newborn.
"Your loss," Lee laughed at her. "She'll be sorry one of these days, won't she, Pal?" he whispered to his son.
"Well, Amanda, I have to be heading to work. With you AND Lee gone, I'm on overtime," Francine sighed and shot Lee a menacing glare as she handed a brightly wrapped gift box to Amanda. "Here, just a little something for junior," she grinned, patted Amanda's hand and turned to leave. "Now don't you be a stranger, Lee Stetson. Just because you're a 'family man' now doesn't mean you can desert the rest of us!"
"See you in 6 weeks, Francine," he said with a wink.
Francine shook her head as she walked out the door. "I never would have believed this . . ." her comment was cut off as the door eased shut behind her.
"Well," Amanda shook her head in wonder, "there's something I never expected!"
Lee had again seated himself on the bed next to her and laughed. "She's so jealous she doesn't know what to do with herself. Wait until I start calling her 'Auntie Francine'."
Amanda laughed, "I want to be there the first time you say that to her face!"