** - This is the original version as previously posted on ff.net on 03/27/05
I’ve got an idea on how to expand it for next Christmas, providing RL doesn’t throw me any more wacky loops.
This little fiction was created in response to a FF Challenge posted by ScarecrowLover who wrote: "well with the posts about SMK eps for season 2 and 3, I think we need a good ff. So, your mission, if you chose to except it, is to write a ff about what happened to our favorite spies on their second and third Christmases. And just to make it interesting you must include:
at least one of Lee's girl friends (that was named on show)
a cork screw used for something other than opening a bottle and a car
This is my version, their third Christmas, and, of course, all of the usual Scarecrow legalese and disclaimers apply. Inspiration for this little work stems from the fact that everyone at work is dealing with the current go-round of the crud. Please do not take this work seriously, my only goal is to make you smile.
Christmas with the Crud
4247 Maplewood Drive – Christmas Eve
Amanda King sat wearily on her couch and tried to muster up enough energy to drag her pathetic self up the stairs and off to bed. Before she could do so, she sneezed, yet again, certain that it was about the thousandth time today. Reaching for the box of tissues she pulled another one out and blew her nose.
"Here dear," Dotty’s voice interrupted. "I thought you could use a nice cup of hot tea."
Amanda took the mug from her Mother’s hand gratefully.
"Thank you," she croaked out.
"You know, darling, you should go to bed. The boys are asleep and I can clean up their mess," Dotty said as she indicated the remains of Christmas wrapping on the floor underneath the tree.
"Mother," Amanda began.
"Don’t Mother me, missy. You’ve had a long week, you’re sick and you need to be in bed. I can deal with this."
Amanda smiled with relief and gratitude. What she would have done without her mother stepping in and helping since the divorce, well, that was a thought that Amanda was too achy and sniffly to deal with.
"Thank you," Amanda said as she slowly stood up.
"Besides, if that boss of yours comes over for dinner tomorrow, you want to look your best."
Amanda smiled. She had invited Lee to come over for Christmas dinner since the boys were going to be with Joe the entire day and Aunt Lillian had adamantly refused to come visit for the holiday since Amanda was sick. Aunt Lillian had, however, sent not one but several fruitcakes, stating that they were the next best thing to her homemade dessert to accompany Christmas dinner.
"If my boss feels as bad as I do right now, I don’t think either one of us will be showing up for dinner," Amanda muttered.
Dotty just gave her a motherly smile. "Well, you’ll just have to take him leftovers then."
With that, Dotty gave her daughter a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"Sleep well, dear, and Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas Mother," Amanda said.
After washing her face and brushing her teeth, Amanda changed into a red flannel pair of pajamas and slipped into a comfy pair of old black socks. With a weary sigh, she crawled under the covers and tried to get comfortable. The box of tissues was handy on the nightstand as well as a half-filled bag of cough drops. She turned on her clock radio, thinking that perhaps listening to the Christmas Carols being played would lull her to sleep.
"Some Christmas this is," Amanda sniffled as she closed her watery eyes. "Well, at least the boys aren’t sick, yet."
Lee Stetson’s Apartment
The great Scarecrow did not feel and most certainly did not look like one of the Agency’s finest. He was sprawled out on his couch with a myriad of medicinal aids adorning his coffee table. Throat lozenges, a half-drank cup of tea, several boxes of tissues, a well-used jar of vapor rub, and a nearly empty bottle of Vicks Nyquil had made themselves at home, just as he had made himself at home on the couch for most of the day.
"Damn," he muttered as he sneezed and then coughed.
"I’d like to shoot whomever brought this crud into the building," he grumbled.
The crud, as it had become affectionately termed, had infiltrated IFF nearly two weeks ago, and in quick succession had managed to bring a great number of staff down, one by one.
He blew his nose, then tossed the tissue into the waste bin that now sat beside the couch.
"Should have bought the Robotussin, Amanda told me to buy the Robotussin," he said.
Then he looked at the clock. It was just past midnight and he had found absolutely nothing on the television to take his mind off how awful he really felt. At any rate, his eyes were too watery and his head was banging so much that he just wanted to go and hide.
"Some Christmas this is," he sighed as he forced his aching body up out of the couch and scooped up his arsenal of crud weapons. He stumbled for the bedroom, tossed the crud ammo on the nightstand, and crawled under his covers.
The clock had just struck two when she opened her eyes. She expected to be in her bedroom, after all that was where she had fallen asleep. However, that was not where she was.
Amanda King looked at the room she found herself standing in and blinked once, then twice.
"Where in the world am I?" she questioned.
A giggle sounded down the hallway and she proceeded with caution. When she peered into the doorway, she was more than a little astounded.
There, sitting in front of a blazing fireplace was a woman rocking in a chair and knitting. She was dressed exactly like what one would find in a child's Christmas book, a long red and green dress decorated with lace and a Christmas wreath pin. Her hair was pulled up in a bun complete with a quaint little Christmas hat that matched the dress. Instantly Amanda felt as if she should know the individual but the woman’s face was lowered in deep concentration on the bright purple object she was working on.
"Come in, come in," said another voice and Amanda turned her gaze to the left.
"Don’t just stand there child, come on in," the voice beckoned again.
She entered the brightly-lit room, adorned with festive Christmas decorations. The man who had been standing in front of the fireplace turned to face her. He was short and dressed in a Santa Claus outfit.
"Oh…my…gosh," Amanda mumbled before she sneezed.
"God Bless you, dear," the woman in the chair offered.
The giggles were becoming louder and louder and Lee Stetson feared they would never go away. They only compounded with his already thumping head and he groaned, pulled his pillow up over his head, wishing the entire world would just fade away.
"Lee Stetson," a soft female voice called.
"Lee, Lee," another beckoned. "Oh, come now Lee, do be a good boy and wake up."
"What the?" he began as he sat up and looked around.
There before him stood women, not just one, but many, far too many. They were all dressed in gold and silver sparkling Christmas versions of the famous Playboy bunny outfit and wearing little bells on the derrières instead of the fluffy bunny tail.
"What the?" he repeated again, his scratchy voice raising with each word. "Who are you? What are you? And why are you in my apartment?"
"Lee, you know us," one of the women spoke in a seductive coo. She waved her hand around the room as she indicated the other women. "Gillian, Elisa, Eva, Crystal, Cindi, Leslie, Trudi, Amiee, Georgette, Samantha, really Lee, you’re not that sick, are you?"
Lee Stetson just stared in horror at the bevy of beauties standing before him. Blonde, brunette, and red heads, all of them fairly pretty, smiling back at him and he shook his head.
"I should have bought the Robotussin," he moaned yet again before sneezing.
SMK – SMK - SMK
Amanda had entered the room about half-way and she stood there just taking it all in. If she did not know any better, she would have said she was in the North Pole and standing in Mr. Santa Claus’ house, but being a fairly intelligent and logical adult she knew that just wasn’t possible.
"Come, come," the voice beckoned her again and she brought her eyes back to the man dressed as Santa.
"Sir?" she asked questioningly.
He just gave her a pleasant grin and motioned her to come forward.
"Christmas cookie?" he offered.
Amanda shook her head. "No, thank you."
"She needs to know why she’s at your garden party," another voice intruded.
Amanda turned to find Dr. Smyth or rather a man resembling both Smyth and the Grinch grinning at her.
"We just ignore him," the woman said as she looked up at Amanda from her knitting.
"Francine?" Amanda whispered, then closed her mouth again, too started to utter anything further.
"What’s a matter, King, kitty got your tongue?" Dr. Grinch asked.
"Go away," Santa ordered. "I have business to finish and the night is slipping away."
"Hog wash," Grinch said. "I know you plan on doing nothing but eating those cookies all night and drinking milk."
Santa grinned happily as he surveyed the plate heaped high with a variety of holiday baking and simply nodded.
"You see, his wife’s away," Francine’s voice whispered as she came to stand beside Amanda. "She had to help a sick friend’s Saint Bernard, in the Bahamas. No diet tonight."
Amanda struggled to find some logical explanation to all of this and somewhere in the back of her mind she began to tell herself it wasn’t real, it couldn’t be real. But, sure enough, standing beside her was Francine Desmond, decked out in a Mrs. Claus outfit. And, she had been knitting.
"Why am I here?" Amanda whispered.
"Why the answer is as clear as mud," Grinch said. "You didn’t make your Christmas wish yet."
"Oh," Amanda replied.
SMK – SMK - SMK
Lee Stetson looked at the women standing before him and kept telling himself that it wasn’t real, it wasn’t possible. He was a Federal Agent, a reasonably intelligent man, and as far as he knew, he was not prone to delusions. Therefore, there could be only one explanation.
"This isn’t real, you ladies aren’t real, and I’m going back to bed."
"No you’re not," one of the women said.
"I’m not?" he questioned with a bit of anger. "Look, this is my apartment and around here I set the rules. Just because I’m sick and loaded up on Nyquil does not give you the right to parade around here in my bedroom, and how you got in here, I’ll never know, but it doesn’t matter, because I’ve got the crud, the entire office has the crud, and I want to go to sleep, so if you’ll excuse me, this dream is over. Goodnight ladies."
"But we can’t leave," one of the said.
"Why the hell not?" he nearly screamed and he would have too, if his throat had not been so sore.
"Because you still need to make your Christmas wish," another informed him.
"My Christmas what!"
"Everybody needs to make a Christmas wish," they replied in unison.
He shook his head in annoyance. "I knew I shouldn’t have kissed Amanda under the mistletoe in the bullpen. I knew she had the sniffles, and what did I do? I kissed her. Great, Stetson, just great."
SMK – SMK - SMK
"What’s a Christmas wish?" Amanda asked.
Francine shook her head. "You’re a mother, you should know, dear. It is what everyone wishes for themselves for the holidays. Now I know your two boys each gave you a list about a mile long of what they were wishing for."
Amanda nodded, that was true.
Santa Claus spoke. "And I know you, Amanda. You didn’t take time out to make you own wish."
Amanda was about to open her mouth and say something when the thunder of racing footsteps and flashes of green and red whizzed by her.
"Children!" a sharp woman’s voice suddenly called out beside Amanda and she realized that it had been Francine.
They whizzing stopped and Amanda found herself looking at Philip, Jamie, Leatherneck, and Dotty. They were all dressed as elves, in bright red and green costumes and each carried several toys. Well, except Leatherneck. He carried a corkscrew.
Francine moved to stand in front of them. "Now," she said in a motherly voice that sounded nothing like the Francine Desmond that they all knew, "you know the house rules."
"Yes ma’am," they all replied in unison. In military fashion they marched to their seats, each decorated with their names, and sat down like prim and proper adults.
Amanda simply shook her head. "I knew I should haven’t let Lee kiss me under the mistletoe, I knew he was getting sick."
"Hmm, mmm," the voices from the children’s seats rang out.
"Late night editing, my foot," Dotty said.
"Now we know why Dean disappeared," Jamie said.
"Yeah," Philip said with a knowing chuckle that nearly frightened Amanda. "And why Mom does her famous disappearing act."
"Whose Dean?" Leatherneck asked.
"Oh dear," Amanda sighed wearily.
SMK – SMK - SMK
A different woman spoke this time but Lee had a hard time trying to remember her name.
"Lee Stetson, you have to make a Christmas wish, so let’s get on with it."
"Why do I have to make a Christmas wish? Why can’t I just go to bed and sleep?"
"Do stop sounding so whiny, it’s not becoming on you," another of the women spoke.
"Everybody has to make a Christmas wish and you, Lee Stetson, have not made yours."
"Oh," he replied. "What do I have to wish for?"
The girls all giggled.
Another pranced right up to Lee and tapped him on the forehead. "Think about it. What’s the one thing that you’d like most for Christmas?"
"I don’t know," he answered. "I really don’t get into all of this Christmas malarkey."
She just shook her head sadly.
"I see you haven’t paid attention to her enough," the blonde told him.
"Look Stetson, let’s get straight to the point," an auburn-haired bunny said. "We all know you, you deny what’s good for you and you can be a wee bit of the most obstinate boy, but we don’t have all night to dally around the issue. Now, are you going to make that wish or not? I mean, I could spell it out for you, if I have to. Six letters, relatively simple, considering one letter is used three times."
Lee took a moment to blow his nose, then looked at them with hazel eyes that should have, normally would have, sent most grown men into a corner to cower in fear. Unfortunately, his watery and bleary eyes took away from the effect, as did his coughing fit.
The bunny woman patted him on the cheek affectionately. "Poor dear," she said sympathetically. Then, just as quick, she changed her tone of voice to one of authority and impatience. "Look, if you don’t make your Christmas wish, it will be another year until you get the opportunity. Do you really want another entire year, 365 days to pass by without getting what you want most? You know, she might not wait that long, as it is you’ve been trying her patience for the longest time. Why, I’m surprised she’s put up with you as long as she has, poor girl, but she is a saint, we’ll give her that, and, course, she does care for you. For whatever odd reason fate has thrown you two together and it is high time you get in gear."
"What are you rambling about?" Lee asked her. "You’re almost as bad as Amanda."
"Knew the old bloke still had some brain cells functioning."
SMK – SMK - SMK
"Let me get this straight, I have to make a Christmas wish?"
Everyone in the room nodded simultaneously.
"And it has to be what I want?"
"Can’t be for somebody else."
"Sure Mom. See, this is how it goes," Philip told her. "You spend all year doing for everybody else. Now is the time when you get to ask for the one gift that would mean the most to you, for you. Understand?"
Amanda looked at her oldest child with a bit of a quizzical expression on her face.
"Something just for me?"
"Oh come on, Amanda," Francine said. "We don’t have all day, or should I say night? I have more important things to do than play nanny all night to this group," she said as she indicated to where Philip, Jamie, Dotty, and Leatherneck had all settled on the floor. It was readily apparent that Leatherneck was demonstrating various uses of a corkscrew and how to undo handcuffs.
"But what would I wish for?" Amanda asked. "I already have everything I need."
"Do you?" Santa Claus asked carefully.
Amanda glanced over to where Santa/Billy had now settled down on the couch with another glass of milk and another plate of cookies.
"Seems to me you’ve been waiting quite awhile for the one thing that would mean the most for you, despite my best attempts." Then he winked at her, his dark eyes revealing a sparkling merriment.
Amanda smiled at him.
"Well, there is perhaps one thing that I might wish for," Amanda began.
"No Amanda, it cannot be new clothes," Francine pointed out. "You’ll just have to wait until the after Christmas sales at JCPenney’s."
Francine rolled her eyes. "You can have new clothes any day. I suppose I could spell it out for you but what fun would that be?"
"Amanda, darling," Dotty said. "You might try to deny it to everybody else, but I’m you’re Mother. I think I can speak for the rest of us here, when I say this, and I only do it out of love for you, but would you PLEASE just admit it, you love him."
"Come now, Mrs. King," Grinch spoke up. "Surely you’ve heard the water cooler gossip? Now get a hustle on, good girl, that’s right, admit it. Like Desmond over there, I have other dreams to invade tonight, ones where I get to be less polite and promise to be more exciting."
"Do I have to make this Christmas wish aloud?"
Santa/Billy rose from his comfortable place and walked over to her. He patted her arm affectionately.
"Of course not, you just have to make it. I could suggest you sit on Santa’s lap, just like the children, but then I’d never hear the end of it from Nanny Franny over there."
Amanda chuckled, then sniffled.
"Very well, I’ll make that Christmas wish."
"About friggin’ time."
SMK – SMK - SMK
"Oh, for pity’s sake," Lee grumbled. "Fine, I’ll make this Christmas wish."
"Well, it’s about time."
"Very good Scarecrow. Now we can all get back to our party, thank goodness. We’ve really been gone long enough and Hugh’s an impatient man."
"Yeah," he mumbled.
Just like that the women disappeared, leaving Lee all alone in his apartment. He wearily crawled back under the covers and attempted to settle in a comfortable position.
"I knew I should have listened to Amanda," he said aloud. "Amanda," he said her name and he smiled, thinking of his partner who was home, alone in her bed, doing her own battle with the crud. What he wouldn’t give to be with her at this moment, just snuggled in bed, together.
"Fine, all right," he moaned. "Amanda, that’s what I want for Christmas, I want Amanda."
Lee set back up in bed and spoke to the empty silence. "Everybody happy now? That’s my wish, I want Amanda. Not just as a coworker, not just as a friend, not just as my partner, ok? Happy now?"
He sneezed again. "Wouldn’t let me wish to get rid of this crud, oh no, had to go and mess with my personal life instead."
He whacked his pillow once and then dropped back down on it. He supposed he could have reasoned that it was coming to this anyhow, after all, he and Amanda had been slowly been drifting from being friends to something more. Exactly what that more was had been becoming a clearer picture in his mind for sometime. He had been content to let it slowly play out, develop into whatever it did, never sure that he deserved Amanda anyhow. Maybe there was nothing wrong with wishing for it, for wanting something more.
His last thoughts as he drifted off to sleep had him hoping that he felt well enough when the sun came up to actually take Amanda up on her offer of Christmas dinner.
SMK – SMK - SMK
The morning sun had begun to fill Amanda’s room and she slowly stretched before opening her eyes. Then she set up straight in bed.
"Oh my gosh," she muttered as she remembered her crazy dream of the night before. "Gosh, what do they put in this stuff?" she asked as she lifted the cold medicine bottle up and glanced at the ingredients.
Then she laughed. "What a crazy dream that was. Nanny Franny, indeed."
But, as she got up and began to get ready for the day she began to wonder if it was really all that crazy. If she reasoned it out, then she supposed it was nothing more than her subconscious at work. For the past month or so, they had been extremely busy at work, her over-time clearly showed that. And she and Lee had been getting closer, much closer in the last few weeks than they had in the first two years or so that they had known in each other.
"Hmm," she thought. "Maybe." She smiled pleasantly at the thought as she skipped down the steps and into the kitchen to find her mother sitting there, nursing a cup of tea.
"Oh, Mother, not you too," Amanda said.
Dotty nodded and waved a pink Kleenex in the air. "I love you Amanda, but not that much. Next time, keep your crud to yourself."
Amanda chuckled. "I’m sorry," she said. "That wasn’t one of my Christmas gifts, you know."
"I know dear," Dotty said as she sniffled. "If you don’t mind darling, I’m going back to bed."
"I don’t mind."
Dotty took her cup of tea and started to head out. "Oh, and Amanda?"
"Tell your boss I said Merry Christmas, if he comes over."
"I will. I’m going to call him later, see if he’s feeling any better."
"You do that."
Amanda watched as Dotty exited the room and sighed. The boys would be spending the entire day and night at Joe’s, Dotty probably would not emerge from her room until tomorrow, and that left Amanda on her own.
She had just set down to eat something when the phone rang. Thinking that it might be the boys, she quickly answered it.
"Merry Christmas," a raspy man’s voice greeted her.
"Merry Christmas yourself," she told Lee.
"Feeling better?" he asked. "You sound a bit better."
"Yeah, although I didn’t sleep too well last night."
"You too? Man, I had the strangest dream," he told her.
"Really?" Amanda laughed. "Me too. Can’t remember all of it, but I do know it was strange."
Lee chuckled. "Side effect from the cold medicine?"
"Maybe?" she replied. "About dinner, Mother’s sick now. I was thinking, if you feel up to it, I could bring something over later."
"Yeah," he replied quickly. "I’d like that. No interruptions, just you and me. Are you sure you’re up to it?"
"I think so, besides we can sniffle together," Amanda told him.
Lee laughed a bit, before breaking into a small coughing fit. "Well, you know what they say, partners that cough together, stay together."
"Oh that’s bad Scarecrow, that’s bad," Amanda laughed, glad to see Lee’s sense of humor had returned.
"It’s a date then," Lee said.
He said it was date, oh, how sweet.
"Great," Amanda replied. "Later partner."
She said yes. Fantastic.
And so, that is how our lovable spies spent this Christmas together, snuggled up on Lee’s couch, eating Christmas dinner, and fighting off the last of the crud.
Not exactly the most normal Christmas, but then, with Lee and Amanda nothing is ever quite normal. Nevertheless, it was a start.
They’d both made their Christmas wishes and, having admitted to themselves what they both wanted, it was only going to be a matter of time until they both received their wish. After all, when you are talking about love, sometimes you have to be patient.
Oh, and you have to pay more attention to your wacky dreams.