Veteran's Day

By: SpencertheCat

Disclaimer: I thank Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon for creating characters that won’t die. Scarecrow and Mrs. King is copyrighted to them.  No infringement is intended.  The story however, is copyrighted to the author. This story is for entertainment purposes only and cannot be redistributed without express permission of the author.

Date: 11/11/00

Rating:  PG13 for minor romance (nothing graphic) and some violent incidents.  No humans, adults or children, snowflakes, or Grand Wagoneers were harmed in the writing of this story.

Summary: "Another Typical Evening (or two) with “The Spy Family"

Timeframe:  November 11, 1987 (Lee and Amanda have been secretly married for nine months)

Author’s Notes: This story is based, in part, on a real and very unusual (for November) event that happened in the Washington, D.C. area on Veteran’s Day, 1987.  The snowstorm accumulated thirteen inches of snow in a very short period of time, with near blizzard conditions.  Everyone was caught off guard.  The weatherman kept on predicting that the snow 'flurries’ would change into rain.  People were stranded at work, cars stranded on the Beltway and, as a result, the snowplows couldn’t get through to clear the roads for at least twenty-four hours.  Several of the area counties waited too long to close schools--as a result, hundreds of children were trapped at school overnight.

Thanks:  To Gaylynn and Sybil for their encouragement.

Special Thanks:  To Emma F. for taking me up on my DARE and backing me into a corner.

And A Very Special Thanks: To my guardian Angel, Sybil, who gave tirelessly, her time and talent to Beta-Read for a beginner like me.

Part 1

The Q-Bureau, Tuesday 7:00 PM, November 10, 1987 ~*~*~*~

"Yes, Mother--it's gonna be an all nighter in the editing room tonight.  We want to get it finished, so we can enjoy the government holiday tomorrow," Amanda spoke into the phone as she smiled up at her husband who was sitting on her desk.  Yeah, IFF will be closed.   I know the boys still have school...yeah, its 'Parents Day'--you know, when parents go and view their kids' classes. Yeah!  I am supposed to go to the boys' classes at the middle school tomorrow morning and observe.  Uh-huh!  Yeah, I know you'll be with Captain Curt all day.  I'll be home before the boys get there.  OK, see you Thursday evening --Bye!"

"Tonight, you are all mine!"  Lee said grinning as he rubbed his hands together.  "We haven't been able to be together-together for the last six weeks and now, finally, we can celebrate getting Brannon safely behind bars where he can't bother either of us anymore!  I am starving for your attention!"

"Yeah, well, IF we ever get this paper work finished up," Amanda reminded him, putting her hand on his knee and smiling. "You were incredible, a true Veteran, as always...he never even knew what hit him!"

"Yeah!  Well, he just made me mad; that's all--when he threatened to hurt the boys...I still don't know how he could have found out so much about them...and then, when he attacked you...I--I just lost it!"  Lee said with a shiver, shaking his head, grabbing Amanda's hands, and squeezing hard.

Amanda licked her lips and smiled, gazing into his eyes.  "Remind me, not to make you mad!" she smiled, returning his squeeze.  "Anyway, it's over now.  The boys never knew they were being threatened and I am fine!"


"What is it?"

"The weather is gonna be a mess tonight.  We're supposed to have rain mixed with snow, becoming all rain tomorrow--and I can't think of any place I'd rather be through it all, than cozied up with you in my arms.  What do you say we spend what's left of the evening huddled together in front of my fireplace, satisfying my appetite?"  He said wiggling his eyebrows.

"Ummm, sounds like a plan," Amanda cooed,  "The problem is, your appetite is never satisfied!"

"Um-hum, that's why we gotta keep on feeding it!"  Lee said grinning as he gazed into her eyes.



"Are you sure it's gonna be rain?  It looks pretty cold out there--the wind is kicking up."

"Snow in November?  In D.C.?" Lee laughed.  "The weatherman said the temperature will sharply rise in the morning, and it will just be a very messy, wet, and rainy day!  Lee smiled, sporting his biggest dimple.  "It will be perfect cuddling weather!  Lee whispered, standing up, walking over, and planting himself behind his wife.  He slowly slipped his arms around her shoulders.  Ummm, you smell so good!"  Lee breathed as he bathed in the feel of his wife's hair against his face.

"Lee, if you don't stop it, this report will never get finished and we'll be spending our cozy evening in front of the typewriter."  Amanda swallowed hard, clearly distracted by Lee's advances.

Lee grinned as he started nibbling on her ear, "I'm 'hungry, Now!" he whispered, licking his lips and smiling in between nibbles as he started working his way down the back of her neck.  "You could finish the report in the morning, at my place."

"I haven't got a prayer of winning this argument, do I?" Amanda tried to suppress a smile and tilted her head back, exposing her neck even more.

"No chance at all," Lee said as his lips grabbed the opportunity to follow her neck around and up along her cheekbone.  Just as he was about to seize her lips with his, footsteps sounded in the hallway, the door swung open, and Francine stuck her head in.

"Did you find it, Lee?" Amanda covered quickly as Lee dropped to the floor and crawled around, half under the desk.

"Yeah, there it is!"  Lee rapidly grabbed a pen from his pocket and stood up handing it to Amanda.  "Her favorite pen!"  Lee smiled, cocking his head at Francine and giving Amanda a wink, trying to keep a straight expression on his face.

"Yeah, ri-ight!"  Francine said, staring at them doubtfully.  "You certainly wouldn't want her to lose her favorite pen!   Billy said that you guys did so well with the Brannon case, that he wants you both to enjoy your holiday and that the report can wait 'till Thursday."

"Great, we'll just be checking out of here then, before that slushy mess starts.  Have a nice holiday, Francine!  Ready, Amanda?  I'll just walk you to your car," Lee said, quickly grabbing her coat and handing it to her."

Lee then snatched up the report and the companion files, and carefully tucked them into a weatherproof folder, while Amanda slipped into her coat.  Together, they walked out of the Q-Bureau and towards the parking garage.

"Why don't you just leave your car here, Lee, in a protected garage?  You will be happier not having your 'Vette exposed to the bad weather, and my car has four-wheel drive, it's better designed for icy roads and hazardous driving."

"Works for me, Amanda!  What do you say I drive, then?  I'm better designed for hazardous driving, too!"  Lee said with a chuckle as he opened the passenger-side door for his wife.  'No matter what the weather is like,' Amanda mumbled under her breath as she slid into the car smiling.  "It's all yours!"

In Lee's Apartment, Tuesday 10:00 PM, November 10, 1987 ~*~*~*~

"What a night to be outside, just listen to the beating rain and the howling wind." Amanda sighed, staring out the window while Lee wrapped his strong sheltering arms around her.   It's so much better to be in here with you," she reflected as she leaned back into his embrace.

"I love you, Mrs. Stetson," he whispered.  "You have the most positive attitude of anyone I have ever met...and I, on the other hand, all I keep thinking about is what would have happened if Brannon had succeeded at hurting you..."

"But he didn't, Lee.  You rescued me in time; just like you always do!"

"I'm just afraid that someday my luck for doing that is simply gonna run out!"

"That will never happen," she smiled, turning in his arms to face him, placing her calming hands on his chest. "And I love you, too!"  Lee's lips lightly brushed against hers, then, never breaking eye contact, he led her over to the fireplace and they cuddled up together on the floor with their wine.

"I've missed you" he smiled, still holding her eyes with his, "I love you so very much."

"And just what are you gonna do about it, 'Big Fella?' she asked quietly, looking down at him and slipping her hand inside his shirt.

Taking a deep breath, Lee responded, "Anything and everything it takes to show you how much I love you."

"Ummmm, sounds promising.  Are you hungry? My mother always taught me to feed the hungry," she whispered sensually.

"We sure wouldn't want to disappoint your mother, would we?"  Lee grinned, still lost in her eyes.  He rolled her over onto her back and covered her lips with his.

"No, we sure wouldn't want to do that," Amanda cooed, continuing to run one hand up his warm chest.  Meanwhile, her other hand slowly undid his buttons until the shirt was hanging open--exposing his magnificent chest to her eager eyes.

In Lee's Apartment, as the fire is dying, Tuesday 11:30 PM, November 10, 1987 ~*~*~*~



"The rain got awfully quiet all of a sudden!"

"Well, they said it would go back and forth from snow to rain, but that the rain would win out.  We're probably just having a bit of snow right now."

"If they cancel school tomorrow, I'll have to go home earlier than we planned."

"They won't be so quick to cancel this time.  The last time they canceled, it was based on a prediction that never materialized.  This time the prediction is for rain and slush--they won't cancel based on that--besides, it's supposed to get really warm," Lee said, taking sip of his wine.

"Ahhh, it's raining again," she purred leaning into her husband's shoulder and sliding her delicate fingers lightly across his warm chest.

In Lee's Apartment, Wednesday 7:00 AM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

"Wow, there is a dusting of snow on the ground, but no cancellations!"  Amanda said, staring out the window; the TV blaring away the news in the background.

"Well, it hasn't covered the main roads, yet, and with the Government closed, there is a lot less traffic for the buses to worry about.  See, Amanda, there's that weatherman 'boyfriend' of yours, that Dan guy. He is still saying it will all melt within the next few hours," Lee mused, pointing to the TV screen.

"That's Dean, Lee.  Who'd have ever thought he would become a TV personality?" she smiled,

"Not exactly 'Mr. Charisma'," Lee chuckled as Amanda gave him a 'drop-it-buster' look.

"Well, I hope he's right this time," Amanda said doubtfully, "but I don't know, it sure looks like it's cookin' up a big one out there."  Well, I gotta get ready and go out to the middle school for a little while..." Amanda stated, and then, suddenly, Lee took off toward the bedroom.

"And where are you going, mister?" Amanda questioned as she grabbed her husband by the arm.

"I'm getting ready, too, as a matter of fact, I'm driving.  I'm gonna make sure you stay in one piece, just in case you are right about the weather getting worse.  I'll just wait in the car while you do your parent thing.  Those roads are starting not to look so good, and if you get stuck or something, I'll be there to help you out!

"That's awfully sweet of you Lee, but you don't have to wait in the car.  The boys would be thrilled to have you come in with me and observe their classes.  You are their 'parent,' too."

"Yeah, but they don't know that." Lee sadly shrugged his shoulders, looking at the floor, "Sometimes I think we will never be a 'normal' family."

"Oh, I don't know, I think Phillip is hoping," Amanda smiled as she squeezed his arm.

"You really think so?"

"I heard Phillip say so to Jamie!"

"Yeah, but Jamie..."

"Oh, come on now, he'll accept you, he just needs a little more time.  He's my baby, what can I say.  Maybe you, taking this kind of interest in him, will help."

"OK, then, it's all set.  We both go and observe, and if the roads keep getting worse, we'll just take the boys out of school and bring them back home ourselves.  I'll bring some extra clothes--so I can do something fun with the boys later this evening--who knows, I may even get stuck at your house, Lee grinned hopefully."

At the Middle School, Wednesday 10:45 AM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

"What does your mother think of the new car phone IFF gave you?"  Lee suppressed a smile as he turned off down the long narrow road that led to the school.

"She thinks they're spending too much money," Amanda grinned back, "She thinks they should give me a raise instead."

"Why did they build this school out in the middle of a huge open field?"  Lee asked looking puzzled as they continued down the road.

"They wanted to limit the kids ability to skip school," Amanda responded, "Pretty easy to spot the kids sneaking out when there are no places for them to hide," she smiled.

Lee and Amanda pulled into the school parking lot and got out of the car.  They entered the building and quietly slipped into the back of Jamie's class.  Jamie turned and glared at a very uncomfortable Lee.

"I don't think he's warming up to my interest in him, Amanda," Lee said cautiously.

Amanda patted her husband's knee, "Just give him a little more time, he'll come around."

They headed toward Phillip's class, just as the announcement came over the loudspeaker that schools would be closing at one o'clock, due to the weather.

"Why are they waiting until one o'clock?  It's only twelve and it's bad out there, now!" Lee exclaimed.

"They want the day to officially count as a full day of school, and they can't do that until the kids have been in school a full half day.  Also, the buses have to take the high school kids home first, before they come back here."

"Is that what they teach you at PTA meetings?"  Lee laughed.  Amanda only smiled, and gave him a 'look' as they walked into Phillip's class and took a seat.  An excited Phillip waved, elbowed his friends, and pointed at them.  When the class was over, Lee and Amanda grabbed the opportunity to look out the window and check the progress of the storm.

"I want to stay a few minutes after school, Lee, to talk to the principal about PTA stuff," she said as they watched the buses line up to pick up the kids.

"Whew!  It's doing a pretty good job of sticking in the parking lot, now," Lee said as he ran his fingers through his hair.  It was shortly after one and many parents were arriving to take their kids home.  Many of the buses had come and gone, but some of the buses, including Phillip and Jamie's, had not shown up at all.  Most of the teachers had flooded out the doors in a hurry to get home before they couldn't; while the few on bus duty were forced to stay and wait for the last of the buses to come and pick up the kids.  Lee and Amanda stared at the snow piling up before them.

"Oh, wow, Lee!  How are we ever gonna get out of that parking lot?  Maybe I should just talk to Mrs. Hagen another time."

"OK, but we'll still have to wait for all the buses to leave," Lee mumbled. He surveyed the scene outside the window, when he noticed a young mother with a crying baby and a young child.  She was trying to clean off her snowed-covered car parked next to the Jeep.

"How about you go on to the office and sign the boys out, Amanda.   I'd feel better having them with us.  I'm just gonna head on out and rescue that damsel in distress over there," he pointed toward the woman and her snow encrusted car.  Meet me at the car."

"Always the knight in shining armor," Amanda whispered proudly as she gave him a quick peck on the cheek.  "OK, then, we'll meet you at the car."  Amanda entered the building and went back into the school to sign the boys

Part 2

At the Middle School, Wednesday 1:15 PM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

Lee had finished getting the lady's car shoveled out and pushed into a cleared area behind a departing bus.  He was returning the ice scraper and shovel to the Jeep when the phone rang.

"Stetson here!"

"Lee, this is Billy, I have bad news!"

"You better not be asking me to come in today, I'm with Amanda at her boys school, and we're stuck here.   I don't know when we're going to be able to get out of this snowed-in mess."

"LEE!  Brannon's escaped!  He got away during the prisoner transfer.  He overpowered a guard and took his gun.  He's killed two people already!  Do you understand??"  Billy's words and tone of voice caused a shiver to shoot down Lee's spine.  "He is armed and dangerous, and he could be headed your way.  We've got a search going, but this weather is slowing us down!"

"What?  Those idiots!" Lee shouted.  No, no one is home, her mother is out with a friend 'till Thursday, and the boys are here at school, with us. Brannon knows where she lives and about the boys, Billy.  Oh God, you've gotta put a team on Amanda's house immediately!

"Already done, Lee.  If you can keep Amanda and the boys with you, they would be a lot safer!"

"I'm not gonna let them out of my sight, no way!  I'll just take them all home with me, back to my place--if we can ever get out of this damn school parking lot!"  Lee looked around and shook his head.  "Brannon shouldn't be able to get very far in this storm.  I'll check in every hour."

"Be careful, man!"

"Yeah, right," said Lee, closing his eyes and swallowing hard as he felt a cold chill run through his body. "Scarecrow out."

Lee looked at the scene before him.  "Oh, no!" He moaned as he hung up the phone and watched the bus that was departing become stuck in the snow, blocking the few cars remaining in the parking lot.

"Can this day get any worse?"  Lee mumbled to himself.  Running his fingers through his hair, Lee quickly got out of the car, and slammed the door shut.  He took off in the general direction of the bus and its driver.

Inside the school, Amanda had taken Phillip and Jamie from the Multi-purpose room where the kids were waiting to be called to their buses.  Together, they walked into the Principal's office.  Just as she finally reached the desk to sign the boys out for the day, the principal made an announcement.  She told the few remaining parents, that the side parking lot was blocked and that some of the buses were stuck on the Beltway and wouldn't be able to get to the school for quite a while, if at all.

"We've notified the authorities of our situation, but there is little they can do and there are several other schools in the same boat," she said nervously shuffling through some papers.  "The snowplows were unprepared, and now it's too late, they can't get through!  Many of the smaller roads are blocked.  The weather service is now saying the cold air is trapped and that we will continue to have heavy snow throughout the day and into the night with near blizzard conditions!"

"Oh, my gosh!" Amanda gasped.  What about all the kids?"

"I guess we'll have to make arrangements to sit out the storm right here, Mrs. King.  Most of the teachers have gone home.  We're going to have to call every parent and let them know the situation. Worried parents are ringing the phone off the hook, and they don't even know about the bus situation, yet.  Mrs. King, you're one of our dedicated PTA members, do you think you could help us out and stay with the children?"

"I'd be happy to help out in any way I can, Mrs. Hagen.  How many people will be staying here?"

"We have about sixty students and four teachers, plus you and me."

"And Mr. Stetson, he's outside waiting for us," Amanda added as she looked out the office window.  "I'll just go out and let him know what's going on."

"Wow, we're gonna be staying here...overnight?   Cool!!"  Phillip said excitedly.

"Yeah, neat!!" Jamie added, jumping up and down, "a giant sleep over"

"Sure looks that way, boys!  You both wait here, I'm gonna go out and talk to Lee."  'He's not going be too happy about this change of events, either,' Amanda mumbled to herself as she made her way outside to find Lee.

Lee was busy trying to help the bus driver get the bus out of the way, to no avail.  Amanda explained the situation to Lee, expecting him to explode.  She was completely flabbergasted when Lee not only accepted the situation, but seemed almost relieved to be staying at the school.  Not that he had much choice, at this point, but she had still expected a little screaming and yelling at the idea of him helping to take care of sixty kids.

"Amanda, when we get a moment alone, later this evening, I need to talk a little shop with you."  'No use worrying her now,' Lee thought to himself, relieved that he wouldn't have to explain just yet, why she and the boys wouldn't be able to go back to her house.

"Oh, OK, Lee, we can do that as soon as we get the kids organized.

Inside the school, Amanda was busy initiating calls to some parents and fielding calls from others.  Lee grabbed the opportunity to check out, and become more familiar with the school building, just in case they had any unwelcome visitors later.

In the School Gym, Wednesday 4:00 PM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~
While Lee, the only adult male, changed into his sweats and was busy on the basketball court with a couple of girls and about twenty boys, including Phillip and Jamie, Amanda and the teachers were busy making plans for the evening.  The snow kept coming down and there was about eight inches on the ground, so far.

"Mr. Stetson is really cool!" one of the kids said to Jamie.  "You sure are lucky!"  Jamie just shrugged his shoulders.  Lee overheard the comment, and took in Jamie's expression.  'How am I ever gonna get through to you, Jamie?' Lee sighed to himself as Phillip passed him the ball.

Earlier, Lee had set up a TV and a VCR on the stage in the multi-purpose room, and one of the teachers had found some videotapes for it.  He also made sure there was a TV in the Gym and the main floor of the Multi-purpose room all set to news--so they could track the storm.  The kids that weren't playing basketball in the Gym were busy on the stage, watching a video, or enjoying the art supplies set up at one of the tables.  There was another TV set up in the office that was also set to on-going news.  All of the kids were taking turns coming into the office to telephone their parents.

"We have eighty tumbling mats, that the kids can use to sleep on," the Principal said as she analyzed their resources.  "Between the gym and the videos, we should be able to keep the kids entertained.  We have a cafeteria full of food.  I've chained shut all the doors, except the front one and the side door in the Gym, but they are both locked from the inside."

"I'll be happy to whip up some dinner for the kids," Amanda added cheerily.  Amanda, and two of the remaining teachers, headed off to the cafeteria to see what they could find to serve sixty-seven people.

In the School Office, Wednesday 7:00 PM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

A hearty meal consisting of hamburgers, hot-dogs, potato salad, BBQ beans, corn pudding, potato chips, regular salad and BBQ chicken wings was prepared for the stranded group.  Amanda also found ice cream bars and cookies for dessert.  In the office, Lee was making his check-in call to Billy, just as everyone else sat down to eat.

"Yeah, we're stuck here-can you believe it?  They haven't caught Brannon, yet?  Damn!"  Lee pounded his fist on the desk.  "We should be safe here though. The school phone number is: 555-8000 and ask for Mr. Stetson-yeah they're keeping that line open. Yeah, I'll check back with you in an hour.  Scarecrow out!"  He turned to look out the window and rubbed his hand over his chin.

"What's going on, Lee?" Amanda asked with a worried tone as she stepped into the room looking for her husband.

Lee swallowed hard and turned to face her.  "Can we talk in private?" he asked sheepishly.  Concerned, Amanda closed the outer office door and the two of them stepped into an interior room.

"What is it, Lee?" she said, becoming nervous, "You're scaring me!"

Lee took Amanda's hands in his own, and squeezed tightly, "Amanda, Brannon escaped!"  Lee's heart wrenched, as he watched his wife turn a sickly shade of white.  He went on to explain the details of Brannon's escape.  "Amanda, he has already killed two people, and the last anyone saw of him, he was headed towards Arlington."  Amanda only nodded while Lee took her tightly into the safety of his comforting arms, rocking her lovingly.

She buried her head in his chest, "When will it ever end?  I -I'm so scared!" She mumbled.

"I know, I know!"  Lee held her tighter.

"The boys?" she whispered.

"They'll be fine--there is not much chance that Brannon will think to come here," he said as he ran his hand gently over her hair, attempting to comfort her.

"But he knows the boys go to school here...the fact that people are stranded here tonight, it's all over the news, Lee!" Amanda shivered.

"Yeah, but I don't think someone on the run, in a blizzard, has time for the news." Lee tried to sound more confident than he felt.  "He's more likely to go to your house, and no one is home, there. Besides, Billy has a van parked about a block away--they couldn't get it any closer because of the unplowed road and the snowdrifts.  If anything happens, all we have to
do is let them know."

"You knew about this earlier, didn't you..." She searched his eyes.

Lee shrugged his shoulders, "Amanda, you had so much on your mind, I didn't think it was the right time to lay this on you, too.  Please, forgive me," Lee said, resting his forehead in her hair.

Amanda only nodded, "I guess we'd better get back out there, the boys are gonna wonder where we took off to," she said, trembling.

"Yeah, I guess so," Lee agreed as he led his wife back out, and down the long hallway towards the multi-purpose room.

In the Middle School, Wednesday 9:00 PM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

Lee and one of the teachers were back in the gym with many of children.  Some were playing basketball, while others were playing badminton.  Two of the teachers were cleaning up what was left of the dishes in the kitchen.  The other teacher, along with Mrs. Hagen, was busy readying the mats for the kids to sleep on in the multi-purpose room.  Amanda was in the school
office using the phone to make the nine o'clock check in with Billy.

"No, Sir, Mr. Melrose--all is quiet here.  Yes, Sir, Lee is entertaining about thirty of the kids.  Yes, Mr. Melrose, he is managing very well, Sir," Amanda said, suppressing a smile as she listened to Billy laugh hysterically. "Yes, yes, we will, Sir, Bye."

Just as Amanda had hung-up the phone, an ice-cold clammy hand slammed down on top of hers.  She gasped as she felt the shock of cold steel pressing against her skin.  The gun barrel dug deep into her temple-and her arm was roughly forced behind her.  "One sound, Mrs. King, just one little sound, and your boys lose a mother!" the familiar voice hissed.

Fear struck and paralyzed Amanda, and all she could do was nod and attempt to breathe.  "You do as I say, and those kids down the hall live!  Disappoint me, and it's a blood bath!" Brannon breathed against her cheek.  Amanda closed her eyes, shuddering.  Her breathing became ragged.  She fought with all her strength to keep her composure.  She knew Brannon had killed before and would readily do it again.  "Where is your partner, Mrs. King?" he demanded.  "I know he's here, I heard your phone conversation."

"He and a bunch of kids left the building and headed down the street to a shelter.  They won't be back here," she lied and swallowed hard.

"Don't lie to me!" he said, slapping her across the face and slamming her hard against the cinderblock wall.  Amanda was dizzy from the blow.  She touched her hot stinging face with her hand, and looked up at Brannon in shock.  He coldly aimed the gun at her face and grabbed her wrists, holding them roughly together, forcing them above her head.

"I- I won't help you kill him," she stammered fiercely in a cracked voice.

"Oh, yes, you will."  An evil smile crept across his face.  He dropped Amanda's arms and yanked all the phone wires out of the wall, killing the entire phone system.

Satisfied that they could no longer use the phone, he again grabbed Amanda tightly by her arm, and forced it behind her back.  He pushed her out the door and up the steps to the second floor.  Once there, they made their way to the AV room.  Once they found their way into the room, he tied her hands behind her with cord from the window blinds, and then, he callously
shoved her into a chair. He was pleased to discover that the room doubled as the school's television station and quickly hit upon an idea.  He aimed the lens of a TV camera directly at her and flipped some switches.

"And now, Miss Bravery, you're gonna help me bring your partner to his knees!" Turning on the microphone, he started his announcement.  "Attention, Scarecrow!  Attention, Scarecrow!" the voice boomed over the public address system.  "If you are near a TV, turn it to the monitor setting.  You have 10 minutes to show yourself to me or the lady dies.  Make one false move
and there will be a school full of dead kids.  You can't protect them all!" Brannon snorted.  Be at the foot of the main stairs, unarmed, in ten minutes, and come alone!"  Brannon moved into camera range, held his gun to Amanda's head with one hand, and grabbed her chin in the other.  "Now smile for the camera, honey!" he chided.

Part 3

In the School Gym, Wednesday 9:20 PM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

Lee looked up in a panic at the sound of the announcement and quickly ran over to the TV, flipping the switch to 'monitor'.  Horrified by the sight of his wife, bruised and bound in a chair, a gun aimed straight at her head, he ran his fingers through his hair, stared at the room full of kids, and quickly turned the TV off.

"And Stetson, don't try the phones, service has been slightly interrupted, permanently," Brannon gloated.

'The kids!!' Lee cringed.  'I can't send them out in the snow,' he thought to himself. He turned to the other teacher and said, "Hurry, get the kids up in that room above the bleachers.  Stay up there and keep the doors at the top and the bottom of the stairs locked.  It should be secure.  I'm gonna send the other kids up there, go!"

Without missing a beat, the horror-struck teacher swiftly organized the kids, and did as she was directed.  Lee unzipped his sweatshirt and put his hand to his hidden shoulder holster, checking on his gun.  Lee ran to the multi-purpose room.  He hurriedly gave instructions to Mrs. Hagen about where the other kids were hiding and for her to get the rest of them there as soon as possible. After Lee explained that he was the 'Scarecrow,' mentioned on the TV, and showed her his badge, she nodded her understanding.

The teachers corralled the kids into the Gym, and hurried them to the upper level room as fast as they could, with some of the children crying in fear.

As the line moved to safety, Lee grabbed Amanda's youngest and said, "I'm really gonna need your help, Jamie. " The other teacher continued on with the children while Mrs. Hagan waited for Jamie at the door.

"Someone has to go about a block down the street and notify the people in the large white van.  Tell them to call IFF, and say that 'Scarecrow' said there was a 'Zulu Blue Priority One!'" Lee noticed Mrs. Hagen waiting at the door.  He looked sternly at her for permission, and she reluctantly nodded.

"Now can you remember that?"

"Yes, sir, Mr. Stetson, 'Zulu Blue Priority One,'--but my mom!"

"I'm not gonna let anything happen to your mom!  I'm just gonna need a little help. The weather is terrible out there.  It's freezing and there are almost complete 'white-out' conditions. Now, can you do it?"

"It will help my mom?"

"Yes, it will help all of us!"

"OK, I can do it, Mr. Stetson!"

"Lee.  Please call me, Lee, Jamie." Compassionately, Lee put his hand on Jamie's shoulder, "Your mother will be very proud of you," Lee whispered in Jamie's ear as he handed him his sweatshirt. "And Jamie, stay in the van when you get there--it will be a lot safer.  I don't want this Brannon guy after you, too--OK?"

"Yes sir, Mr. Stetson, I mean, Lee," Jamie half smiled.

"Good boy!  Now hurry, as fast as you can! The Gym door is not chained, all the others except the front, are, you need to tell them that, too.  Leave through the Gym door and block it open with something, so the backup can get in."  Jamie took off running towards the Gym.

"Mrs. Hagen, I would have sent him to the car to phone, but I don't want him near here, and he would have to come back inside to keep warm, anyway.  He and Phillip are targets, too!"

"Yes, Phillip?" Where is he? she asked.

"He must be upstairs with the others, but there's no time to go back and find him, now.   Just keep him hidden from Brannon if it comes to that."  He locked his eyes on hers, "Whatever you do, do NOT turn those boys over to this guy, or they are dead.  Do you understand?" Lee asked haltingly.  "Hopefully, Jamie will get us the help we need, then they will get you all out of here and to safety.  Right now, it is safer inside the building, than it is outside in the storm.  Sixty kids won't fit in a van and it's too
far to walk to another building in this snow.  Most of these kids don't have their coats with them, either."  He surveyed the room, "You better get going now-they're gonna need you!"  Mrs. Hagen nodded and quickly left.  Lee ran down to the office to get a good look at the building layout posted on the wall.  He had studied it earlier in the day, just in case, but wanted to refresh his memory.

Upstairs, on the second floor, Wednesday 9:30 PM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

Two more armed men stepped into the AV/TV area.  "Yes, Mrs. King, I am not alone!  These are my associates.  Wick and Cline, meet Mrs. King--partner to the infamous Scarecrow, and our ticket to his funeral!!"

Amanda made a sarcastic smile.

"I need one of you two to get downstairs and cover Stetson from the other side as he heads up the steps, in case he tries anything," Brannon instructed his team,  "Once we have him up here, I need the other one of you to hunt for Mrs. King's boys--they gotta be here, somewhere.  Here's her purse--she must have pictures.  Scarecrow is gonna have the pleasure of
watching his girlfriend here suffer and die first."  He threw his head back, laughing maniacally.  And she is gonna cooperate, willingly."

Meanwhile outside, approaching the White Van, Wednesday, November 11, 1987 ~*~*~*~

A shivering Jamie could barely see two feet in front of him.  He was thankful that Mr. Stetson had shoveled the sidewalk earlier; it wasn't too deep, and he could follow its trail to the bus lane and on down to the road. All he had on for warmth was Lee's sweatshirt and it didn't provide much protection from the wind, which also stung his eyes...  Jamie trudged on through the freezing white powder.

Finally, he came upon the white van.  He swallowed hard and made his way to the door and opened it.  Peering through the door, Jamie stood there paralyzed with fear.  Inside, there was blood everywhere, and there were four dead agents.  He bravely looked around the van and grabbed the phone--only to find the line had been cut.  The radio equipment in the back was all shot up.  Tears rolled down the young boy's face.

"I gotta help mom--I gotta help Lee---I gotta help everyone!!  I need a phone!  Lee said to call IFF." Suddenly Jamie got and idea!  He smiled to himself as he grabbed a coat laying over the driver's seat and put it on, then made his way back out of the van.

Upstairs, on the second floor, Wednesday 9:30 PM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

"Yes!  She will cooperate in the fullest extent possible," Brannon reveled in his glory.  "The boys will be our insurance."

"Oh, my gosh," Amanda closed her eyes tight and whispered softly to herself.  "Do anything you want to me, but please don't involve my boys!"  She tried as hard as she could, but she couldn't prevent one solitary tear from escaping and running down her cheek.

"That's exactly what we're gonna do, Mrs. King, anything we want!"

Amanda winced and quietly started working on the knots.  'Keep it together, Amanda!' she thought.


"Keep it together, Amanda," Lee whispered to himself.  "I'm coming as fast as I can!"  Lee slipped back down the hall, going half way around the school, and climbed to the second floor, using a different staircase.  As he snuck down the second floor hall, he heard footsteps coming toward him. Lee backed up tight into an alcove as Cline approached.  With a quick punch,
Cline was knocked out, flat on the floor, while Lee stood rubbing his sore fingers.  Lee quickly pulled Cline into a nearby closet, tied him up to a pipe, and gagged him.  'There's more than one of them," Lee anxiously thought to himself.  Lee snuck towards the room.  He could hear Amanda pleading with Brannon to leave her sons alone.  Suddenly, he burst through the
door, aiming his gun straight at Brannon.

"Let her go, or you are a DEAD man!!"  Lee coldly announced as his eyes locked with Brannon's.

"Drop it, Scarecrow!" Wick said.  He stepped into the room, behind Lee, and stuck his gun barrel between his shoulder blades.  "And don't try anything, you can't get us both before one of us hits the little lady over there.

Meanwhile Outside, approaching the School, Wednesday, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

The wind was whipping across the field, creating an almost complete white out.  Amanda's youngest trudged head on into the blizzard, towards his mother's Jeep.  Visibility was limited. Jamie used his original footprints for a trail, but they were fast disappearing.   Jamie tried to block out the image of the dead agents from his mind.  "I can't let them hurt mom--I--I
just can't."  He finally reached the family car.  He knew his mom had a 'Hide-a-Key' under the rear bumper.  He sighed when he noticed that the back end of the car faced the field, and was covered in a snowdrift about three feet high.  Slowly, Jamie began to dig the snow away.

Upstairs, on the second floor, Wednesday 9:30 PM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

"I said, drop it!"  Wick repeated.  Lee reluctantly tossed his gun to the side as a smiling Brannon stooped to pick it up.

Lee shrugged helplessly.  He looked over at Amanda, watching as her hopeful heart sank.  He never took his eyes off hers while they tied him to a chair.  God, he wished he could hold her, comfort her.

Finally, Brannon turned away from them, for a moment, to give Wick instructions about the boys.  Lee, seizing the opportunity, quickly kicked the power cord loose from the TV apparatus, and pushed it under a heavy equipment cart in an attempt to hide it.  'Sure don't want any more little 'announcements,' scaring those kids half to death,' Lee thought to himself.  Of course, they'll have to find the kids first, before they can harm them.'

"How many?" Lee mouthed to Amanda without using his voice.

"Three," she mouthed in return.

Lee shook his head, "Two," he returned, with a slight grin.

Amanda stared at him, knowingly, a slight upward curl forming on her lips as she continued to try and undo the knots that held her hands behind her.


Finally, Brannon found the pictures of Phillip and Jamie.  He handed them to Wick.

"Wick, go find the King boys, now!  He barked.  I want to savor my victory completely!  Revenge is so sweet!"

Amanda shuddered at Brannon's words, "I'll do anything you say, please, don't hurt my boys!  Don't let them see you hurt their mother!"

Brannon walked over to Amanda, running his hand along her cheekbone.  "That's it, Mrs. King, beg...beg for me!"

Amanda gulped, "They are innocent children, I- I will beg you, on my knees if necessary, if it will get you to leave them alone," she stammered, turning ghostly pale.

"I like that," said Brannon,  "On your knees, we'll have to keep that in mind, it has interesting possibilities," he cackled, leering at the sight of her body.

"You filthy bastard!!  Leave her alone!!"  Lee turned ten shades of purple,  "Get the hell away from her, you coward!  Why don't you pick on someone your own size!!  Are you afraid of a man--Is that it?  Gotta pick on a woman??"

"Ahh, Mr. Scarecrow, having a little problem, are we?"  Brannon withdrew his hand from Amanda, and turned suddenly to Lee and punched him in the gut.

"Coward!!"  Lee spat out while he recoiled in pain.

Brannon threw another punch into Lee's stomach, and then turned his attention back to Amanda.  He grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her to a standing position, then shoved her against the wall.

"If you hurt her, so help me I'll..." Lee mumbled painfully from his slumped over position.

"You'll what, Stetson?" he turned, gloating at Lee, "I am the one in control here.  I am gonna do what I want--what I know, you don't want, and you're gonna watch.  She is not gonna fight me; are you Mrs. King?  Her boy's lives are on the line here." Brannon crowed.  He turned back to face a shaky Amanda, whose hands were still bound behind her.  He hungrily studied
every curve of her body.  "Yes, interesting possibilities."  Brannon lightly touched Amanda's cheek and ran his hand down along her soft delicate neck.  She jerked her head away from him.

"Don't fight me honey, or I'll put a bullet through Loverboy's head." Brannon said as he turned back to Lee. "Where are the kids, Stetson?" Wick should have been back by now, and where is Cline?" he said as he pointed his gun at Lee,

Lee locked eyes with his terrified wife and shook his head no.

"I - I, won't fight you," her voice cracked, looking first at Lee, and then down at the floor.

"Amanda, don't!" Lee whispered.

"That-a-girl, Mrs. King, give me what I want, and give it to me now.   I must say, you do make a very nice package," he groaned in a deep voice.  Calmly, he ran his fingers up her legs.   "Nice!  Very nice!"

Terror filled Amanda's eyes as she shifted her legs away from Brannon.  She swallowed hard, pushing herself as far into the wall as she could.

Slowly, Brannon started to finger the buttons on her blouse.  Amanda gasped, she could barely breathe.  She stared at the cracks in the ceiling, shivering uncontrollably.

"NO!!  You son of a bitch!  Keep your hands off her!!" Lee bellowed.

"This is for you, cowboy!  You're gonna watch someone you love, 'give it' to someone you hate."

Amanda looked down, locked eyes with Lee, and shook her head slightly.  "Lee, don't, PLEASE," she whispered.

"See, Cowboy--she wants me--don't you honey!  He suddenly yanked her blouse out of her skirt."

Brannon was ecstatic!  "I am so gonna enjoy this," he said to a seething Lee as he slipped his hand up under her blouse and touched her soft skin.

When Brannon touched her, something inside of Amanda snapped and went into automatic. Suddenly, her Agency training took over.  With one quick movement, her knee met his groin.  Searing pain shot through Brannon as he crumpled to the ground.

Lee's jaw dropped as he stared, wide-eyed, in awe, at his wife's newfound talent.  She quickly shook off the last of her bounds and ran over to undo Lee's.  "A M A N D A !" Lee gasped proudly.  Just as Lee became free of his ropes, Wick walked into the doorway, alone.  "OK, Stetson, what have you done with the kids?"

Meanwhile outside, at Amanda's Jeep, Wednesday, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

Finally, Jamie dug out enough snow to reach under the bumper.  "Come on, where are you key?" Jamie muttered to himself.  He stretched his arm as far as he could.  His fingers were becoming numb from the cold, "Please, God," he pleaded," with tears in his eyes.

Upstairs, on the second floor, Wednesday 10:00 PM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

"Brannon?"  Wick questioned, staring at his boss on the floor.

Lee quickly pushed Amanda behind a crate.  He did a jump and roll toward Brannon and grabbed his gun.  Wick fired, and then did a fast retreat, back down the hall.  Lee returned fire, and ran to the doorway.

"Lee, the boys!!" Amanda's voice cracked with emotion.

"Amanda, tie this scum up and stay put--out of the line of fire!  I have all the kids hidden, trust me."  Lee pointed to the other gun on the floor.  "And grab that weapon!" Lee commanded.

Meanwhile outside, at Amanda's Jeep, Wednesday, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

One more stretch, and Jamie finally touched the frozen metal box.  He clutched it tightly, and brought it out from under the car.  "Thank you, thank you!" he whispered to the sky.  Quickly, he slid the little box open, and grabbed the key.  With fingers shivering, he opened the door.

Sliding into the passenger side of the car, Jamie inserted the key into the ignition.  He turned the key to the battery position and grabbed the phone and dialed the number to IFF.

"This is IFF, how may I help you?" a pleasant voice inquired.

"My name is Jamie King.  There is a guy at school with a gun--my mom is in trouble.  The guys in the white van are dead!"

"This is International Federal Films, we deal with films here, may I patch you through to 911?"

"No, Mr. Stetson asked me to call IFF and tell them..."Scarecrow said it's a Zulu Blue Priority One"

"Hold one moment please."

"Hello, Jamie??  This is Mr. Melrose, your mother's boss.  Can I help you?

"The man has a gun!  He's gonna kill her.  The guys in the Van are dead," Jamie stammered, crying into the phone.

"Now, calm down, Jamie.  Where is Mr. Stetson?"

"He is trying to get her back--he-he sent me to call you."

"You are doing fine, Jamie, just fine, just go slow.  Now, we are gonna send some help out to your school as soon as we can." Billy flagged Leatherneck over to the phone.  He covered the mouthpiece for a moment.  "Leatherneck, Brannon's at the middle school.  He's got Amanda.  It's her youngest, Jamie, keep him talking." Leatherneck nodded.

"Why, howdy, Jamie, your mother has told me all about you.  Now where are you calling from?"

"In my mom's car, in the school parking lot--the men in the van are all dead."

"OK, son, you're doin' great!  Whatever you do, just don't go back into that school.  Now, I tell you what we're gonna do..."

Upstairs, on the second floor, Wednesday 10:00 PM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

As Amanda was tying the final knots, Brannon smugly stated, "The agents in the van are all dead, Mrs. King, we took care of 'em and they won't be helping anyone!"

"You complete son of a bitch..." Lee hissed as his fist landed on Brannon's jaw. You're gonna pay for this.  'Oh, My God, Jamie,' Lee worried to himself.  "Watch him, Amanda," Lee shouted as he disappeared out the door to find Wick.

Amanda squeezed her eyes tightly closed for a moment as a sickening feeling came over her.  She grabbed the wall for support and slowly sank down to the floor as she held the gun on Brannon.

"Why don't you just give it up?  You couldn't shoot a fly, Mrs. King," Brannon chuckled, still in pain, "and you know it!"

"You'd be surprised what I can do when my children are threatened," she replied dryly, her eyes steely, narrowing, staring with purpose into his.

"Somehow, I don't think so, Mrs. King," a smile formed on his lips.

Her eyes still stared into his as she cocked her gun.

His smile faded instantly as her aim stayed steady, never faltering.

"Try me!"  She said in slow even words, which showed no emotion.

Meanwhile outside, at Amanda's Jeep, Wednesday, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

"Don't turn the car ignition on Jamie, we don't want to alert the bad guys to your location, or give you carbon monoxide poisoning," Leatherneck instructed.

"I'm wet and I'm cold," Jamie said tearfully.

"Does your mother keep a blanket in the car?" Leatherneck asked.

"Well, she does keep an emergency sleeping bag in the car," Jamie suddenly remembered the Jr. Trailblazer rule on winter preparedness.

"Great, Jamie, can you find it for me?"

"Uh, huh,"

"OK, then get to it, son!"  Jamie got the sleeping bag out of the back of the car and climbed inside of it to keep warm.  Whatever you do, don't go back into that school, Jamie.  You're a brave kid!" Leatherneck thought to himself,  'Thank God, Amanda's a camper and Jr. Trailblazer Leader.' "That's it, Jamie, we're on our way, just keep talking to me son.   Leatherneck
kept up a steady stream of talk, while Billy readied a team.  They had procured a large vehicle with a snowplow on the front of it, from the motorpool and the team headed out for the school.

"I'm scared!"  Jamie said, still trembling, from fear.  "He hurt my mom!  Those guys in the van were dead!  Are you sending the cops?"

"Yes, thanks to you, the cops are on their way.  I know you're scared, Jamie, but Mr. Stetson wouldn't have sent you to do this, if he didn't think you could handle it! --And you're doin' a fine job--a terrific job!  It is just a matter of waiting a little longer for us to get there and help take care of things." Leatherneck reassured him.  "Now, while we wait, let me tell you some stories about your mom." Leatherneck proceeded to tell Jamie the story about the time Amanda wanted to get even with Lee for smearing cake in her face.  Lee had accidentally gotten it all over himself while on assignment, when he rode a motor scooter into a wedding tent.  The very next day, she brought a cake to work and playfully dumped it in Lee's face for revenge.  Jamie giggled, imagining the scene.


Upstairs, on the second floor, Wednesday 10:30 PM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

Lee had been grazed by Wick's bullet and was trailing blood down the hall as he ran.  Wick had gone into a room and come back out behind Lee.  It was easy for Wick to follow Lee's blood droplets down the hall.

Wick came to an intersection of two halls, where he noticed that the blood trail veered a little to the right and stopped.  Without the telltale blood to mark the way, Wick couldn't tell which way Scarecrow had turned.  Suddenly, there was noise to the right.  Wick fired five rounds toward the sound.  He walked closer to investigate and found that a book had been tossed at a trashcan.  Realizing he had been tricked, he quickly turned around and stood face to face with the barrel of Lee's gun.

"Drop it," Lee was adamant.  Wick slowly released his gun by tossing it at Lee's wounded arm.

"AHHH!! Lee shouted as Wick punched him.  The two men struggled on the floor, Wick punching Lee, again and again in his injured arm.  He grabbed the gun and held it to Lee's chest . . . He was just about to squeeze the trigger when he heard a noise behind him.

"Slowly put the gun down or I will plaster your brains all over creation," Billy said, as he stood over Wick.  Wick dropped the gun, which Lee picked up quickly.

"Billy, thank God, what took you so long...and where is Jamie??"

"He's still in the Jeep--Leatherneck has him on the phone, he's been there ever since he called us.  Pretty brave kid, just like his mother," Billy beamed.  "He found all the agents in the van dead, and all the equipment destroyed, and figured out another plan, all by himself."

"Amanda's got Brannon in the AV room down the hall, and Cline is tied up in that closet over there," Lee pointed and grimaced in pain.  "In the Jeep, huh?  Gotta run, Billy!"

"Wait, Lee!! You need medical attention.  You're bleeding!!  Someone else can go get Jamie."

"Don't even try to stop me, Billy," Lee said defiantly as he pushed Billy aside and ran down the steps towards the front door.

Lee tore out of the building and into the parking lot.  He ran to the car, pushed the snow out of the way, and peered in the window.  There he found Jamie, curled up in the sleeping bag, on the floor of the car, still on the phone.  He banged on the window.  Jamie, seeing that is was Lee, reached up and unlocked the door.  Lee quickly flung the car door open.  He was
elated.  He grabbed Jamie, sleeping bag and all, hugged him tightly, and took the phone out of Jamie's hand.

"Leatherneck?  Yeah, it's Lee, I've got him now.  Thanks, Buddy, yeah, he's fine! I owe ya!!  Scarecrow out!" Lee couldn't contain his pride.

"I thought I told you to stay in the van!" Lee grinned as he quickly mussed Jamie's hair.  "Thank God, you didn't listen to me!  You had me worried, you---Do you know that I'm proud of you?!  Do you know just how proud I am of you?"

"Mom?" Jamie managed to sputter as he noticed Lee's arm.

"She's fine, Jamie, you saved her--you saved us all with those 'great instincts' of yours--a true veteran!!  It obviously runs in the family.  How did you ever get into the car?" Lee asked curiously.

"Easy!  Mom's 'Hide-a-Key!'" Jamie beamed.  Lee looked at the car buried in the snow, and shook his head...  "Wow!  That sure must have taken some hard work to dig far enough down into the snow to get at it!"

Jamie just smiled.  "Mr. Stetson, I mean, Lee, you're bleeding!" Jamie said, suddenly concerned.

"Just a minor flesh wound--a bullet grazed me, that's all, it's nothing."  He squeezed his stepson tightly as he carried Jamie back into the school building where Amanda was standing near the Nurse's Office, hugging Phillip

"MOM!" Lee, put the boy down, undid the sleeping bag, and let him run to her while Phillip came bounding over, first to Jamie, then Lee.

In the Nurse's Office, Wednesday 11:15 PM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

Amanda had just finished bandaging Lee's wound, while Billy debriefed several of the children in another room.   Dr. Pfaff was in the Principal's Office talking with Jamie.

"There, much better now," Amanda smiled down at her husband lying on a cot, and gave his arm a gentle pat.  "I've got you all bandaged up now.  You need rest and lots of it my dear husband!  It looked worse than it was."  Just then, Jamie and Phillip burst into the room with Dr. Pfaff following behind.

"That's quite a boy you've got there, Mrs. King," Dr. Pfaff said.

"Yes, I know.  We're very proud of him," she beamed as she looked lovingly at Jamie.

"I'll talk to you more on Monday," Dr. Pfaff told her as he turned and left.

Jamie approached slowly, then stopped and gazed at Lee's bandaged arm.

"You really love my mom, don't you?" he sheepishly asked Lee.

"More than anything in the world, Jamie, and you know what?"

"What? Jamie stared questioningly at Lee.

"I also love you and your brother more than anything."  To Lee's surprise, Jamie suddenly jumped on the cot and grabbed Lee tightly in a bear hug.  Lee was so overwhelmed by Jamie's show of affection; that tears welled up in his eyes.  Jamie just stayed like that, refusing to let go.  Lee rocked him in his arms until Jamie fell sound asleep.  "Seems our little hero had a rough day," Lee grinned at Amanda, his voice cracking with emotion.

"I told you he'd come around," Amanda smiled, putting her hand on Lee's shoulder.  She pulled away long enough to push the other cot up against Lee's and climbed in, sitting close to her husband.  She patted the spot next to her for Phillip, who clambered in right beside her, and she hugged her oldest son tight.

Billy walked in the room and asked, "We can take you all home, if you want, Lee, or you can just wait 'till morning, like everyone else."

"No way am I moving to go home or anywhere else tonight," Lee whispered as he brushed a tear from his eye, lookin down at Jamie.  "Not tonight, Billy!!"

Amanda squeezed Lee's uninjured arm, "We'll just stay here tonight, Mr. Melrose.  You can close the door on your way out, please, if you don't mind."

Billy walked out and closed the door, chuckling to himself.

Amanda and Lee just looked at each other and shrugged.

In the Nurse's Office, Wednesday 11:55 PM, November 11, 1987  ~*~*~*~

"Are you sure you're alright Amanda?" Lee, asked with concern.

"A little shook up, but, I'm fine," as she cuddled closer to her husband.

"You know you really were amazing today, Amanda," Lee marveled at his wife.  "You performed just like a true veteran.  Brannon never knew what hit him," Lee sighed as he squeezed her arm.  "You know, you pack a pretty mean knee!"

"Well, he just made me mad, that's all!"  She explained, licking her lips, a smile radiating from her face.

"Remind me never to make you mad," he chuckled with a grin.

"I'll remember that," she promised.

"Whew!  What a night!"  Lee shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair.  He stared at his wife, intently, while wrapping his good arm tightly around her.  He gave Jamie, who was still cuddled up against him, an extra squeeze.  "You and your family are the best things that have ever happened to me," Lee said with emotion-filled words.

"I love you, Mr. Stetson," Amanda whispered..  "You could have gotten yourself killed by coming to school with me today!"

"But I didn't, Amanda.  You rescued me in time, just like you always do--just like you always have--and always will.  You rescued me that morning at the train station, and you haven't stopped since, not once."

"I'm just afraid that someday, I'm gonna let you down, Lee!" she said, echoing the words he'd said at his apartment the night before.

"That could never happen," he smiled and his dimple deepened. "Simply not possible," he said, turning slightly to face her better, his lips slowly moving towards hers. "And I love you, too!"  Lee's lips lightly brushed against hers and then he settled his head happily into her shoulder.  Amanda hugged a sleeping Phillip a little tighter, and then leaned her head against Lee's and said, "Lee?"


"I think we've finally become a 'normal' family," she whispered as she relaxed against him, placing a kiss in his hair.

'NORMAL?' he mouthed, looking up at her surprised.

"For our 'typical spy family,' its about as 'normal' as we can hope for," she smiled.

"I guess you're right about that," Lee mumbled as he fell asleep.

"Happy Veteran's Day, Lee!"  She managed to get out, before she, too, was lost to her dreams.


Author's notes II: Some factual information on the "November 11, 1987: The Veteran's Day Storm," was researched at:

Other storm related information was from my memory--I 'm a survivor.