Rating: PG-13 (maybe)
Genre: AU - totally. I've taken 'Utopia Now' and basically torched it with a flame-thrower. Come on, we all screamed at the TV when they ALMOST kissed, right? It doesn't matter how many times I watch it, I still think they...just...might...then NO! Well, I've taken some liberties and have written a filler that tosses canon right out the window.
Timeframe: Right after 'Utopia Now'
Feedback: please, please, please!
Amanda stepped out of her clothes and turned the faucet on full force. It was late and her mother and the boys were sound asleep, but she still felt the need to shower one more time before finally going to bed. It had been nearly twelve hours since the incident with Sacker's men, but she could still feel the grime of the swamp on her skin. She tested the water and, satisfied with the temperature, turned on the shower and stepped in.
As the steaming water cascaded down her tired and sore body, her mind was in overdrive, reeling from the events at the Agency that afternoon. After the debriefing, when she and Lee were leaving the office, she had started to say something when Lee interrupted with his patented 'in the line of duty' speech. She knew he was going to kiss her that night in the swamp. She had surely intended to kiss him; there was no question about that.
But, for some reason, Lee felt the need to justify what had not happened. Something clicked though, while he was speaking, and Amanda realized that the speech he was giving wasn't for her benefit, but for his. A grin had crossed her face when the thought occurred and, without thinking, the words had just come out. "Not exactly."
The look on Lee's face had been priceless. Amanda smiled at the memory while she worked her hair into a lather. She had turned on one heel and walked straight to the elevator, the picnic basket on her arm. Let him think about that for a while! Now, though, she was wondering what he was going to be like in the morning. Would he act differently? Should she have left it alone? Let him believe that it was, indeed, just two cold people huddling together for warmth? No. Why lie? If he couldn't see it, she sure could. There was something there, between them, some kind of spark. Amanda had always prided herself on being a good judge of character, especially on being able to read someone's emotions. How many times had she been able to point out to Lee that there was something wrong about the way 'couples' were acting? Oh, yes, she could easily tell if someone was truly in love or not, and she could definitely see something in Lee's eyes when he looked at her. He just wasn't ready to admit it yet. What was the harm in pushing him a little?
With a shrug, she turned around, shut off the faucet and stepped onto the bath mat. She towel dried her hair and then her body, examining the small bruises on her arms and legs. She sighed with the realization that she was going to have to be extra careful around the house for the next week to keep her mother from asking a ton of questions. The Sacker case had certainly given her a beating. Pulling her nightgown over her head, she reached for her brush and combed out her hair, pulling it up into a loose ponytail. Satisfied, she turned off the light and walked toward her bed.
The room was dark and it took her eyes a moment to adjust. The first thing she noticed was the open window. Funny, she thought she had closed it, yet, it was wide open, the curtains billowing in the light breeze. She walked toward it and lowered it to her preferred height, drawing the shade. When she turned around a form was standing in front of her. She opened her mouth to scream, but a hand quickly came up and covered it, silencing her.
"Shhhh, Amanda, it's me." She instantly recognized the voice and nodded.
"Lee! What are you doing here?" she whispered when he removed his hand. He didn't move though and he was standing so close that Amanda could swear she could hear his heart beating.
"I wanted to talk to you, is this okay? I can leave if you want me to." Lee took a tiny step back, waiting for her answer.
"It's fine, Lee, but be quiet. I don't want Mother or the boys to hear you." Amanda walked to the bed and sat down on the edge, patting a spot next to her. Lee nodded and sat next to her.
"Is everything okay? Has something happened?" she asked, searching Lee's eyes in the dim light. She could find no answers, only confusion within them. Something had to have happened for him to show up in her bedroom like this, in the middle of the night. Right?
Lee was looking down at the floor, at the window, at his hands, anywhere but at her. She could sense his nervousness and was fearing the worst when he finally took a deep breath.
"I was thinking about what you said today," he said as he fingered the cuff on his sleeve. "I think you might be right." He paused for a moment and looked up at Amanda.
She couldn't believe her ears. She had certainly intended for her comment to cause some soul searching on Lee's behalf, but had not expected him to reach a conclusion so soon. "What do you mean, I might be right?"
Lee shifted so he was facing Amanda and took one of her hands in his. She could feel him trembling, slightly, and it hit her how hard this must be for him.
"Amanda, hear me out before you say anything, please." He paused until she nodded, then he continued. "After you left today, I went for a long drive. I wound up at Union Station. I don't know why, but I did. I parked and found a bench in the Station and just sat there for a while, thinking. I was thinking mostly about you and me, where we stand, you know?"
Amanda opened her mouth to say something but the look in Lee's eyes prompted her to pause. He was silent for a minute, seemingly searching for the right words, then he began again.
"Amanda, we've known each other for...well, over two years now, and I consider you a good friend. No, more than that. There are things I've told you that no one else knows, things I would have only told my best friend. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, after giving it a lot of thought, I am glad I picked you out that morning and...well...you were right. It wasn't just two people trying to keep warm in the swamp. I don't know why I said that. Maybe I felt it would be safer that way, but, the more I thought about it tonight, the more I realized that this isn't a safe business, or a safe world for that matter, and I'd hate for anything to happen without you knowing the truth." Lee looked into her eyes, and she could see expectation dancing in his deep hazel pools.
"Amanda, I think you're one of the most remarkable women I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, and I know we've been seeing a bit more of each other, off the clock, but I would like to have the opportunity to get to know you better. Much better."
The air in the room hung heavy as the weight of his words bore down on her. Amanda sighed softly. He wanted to get to know her *much* better. It had worked! She knew there was something there, all it needed was a little push, that's all. A little nudge in the right direction. And here he was, looking at her, waiting for her answer.
She gave him the only appropriate answer she could think of. Still holding his hand, she leaned forward and softly touched her lips to his. Time seemed to stand still when their lips met. Lee gripped Amanda's hand tighter when Amanda slowly backed away. She smiled at him and he returned her smile ten-fold.
He released her hand and reached up to caress her face. His touch felt like it was charged with electricity, sending a wonderful warmth throughout her body. She felt his other hand slowly tracing a path up her arm until it was on her face as well. With a grin, Lee pulled her into a tight embrace. She wrapped her arms around him, holding him tight against her, afraid that she might wake up and it would all have been a dream. She could feel his heart pounding through their clothing and wondered if he could feel hers too. Suddenly, he pulled back and looked into her eyes.
"Are you sure about this?" he asked, the fear of rejection evident in his eyes. Amanda could only imagine the thoughts running through his mind; fear that this next step would ruin their friendship; fear she would leave him, or worse. She shuddered to think of the power she had over him at this particular moment.
"Oh, yeah," was all she could manage. Relief flooded his face and he leaned closer, capturing her lips with more intensity than before. The softness and warmth she felt made her knees weak. Her lips parted and their kiss deepened, sending her on a roller coaster ride of emotions she had only read about.
When their lips finally parted, Amanda closed her eyes and stifled a yawn. Lee noticed, then yawned, too. Amanda laughed at the irony of it all. Here he was, baring his soul to her, taking their relationship to the next level, and they were both too tired to stay awake. Lee smiled, too, realizing how tired she must be. They both stood and walked toward the window.
He embraced her once more before turning and pulling up the shade. He unlatched the window and turned to her, reaching out to take her hand. They stood in silence for a moment, staring into each other's eyes. Finally, Amanda spoke.
"Aren't you going to be cold out there? You don't have a jacket." She indicated the thin sleeves of his shirt and shivered a little herself at the thought of being out in the weather again. Lee raised the window and climbed through.
Before he started his descent, he touched his lips with his fingers, blowing a kiss to her, then he winked, "Not exactly."