Memories Are Made of Steele
By Nancy Eddy

Takes place after the Steeles return from Ireland (Yes, in this one, the fifth season DID happen. Sorry, guys.)

Laura Holt-Steele entered the Rossmore apartment a step ahead of her "husband", finding herself looking forward to a quiet evening after the day's heavy schedule. Since their return from Ireland, they had been forced to work almost around the clock to catch up on agency business, not to mention fending off Estelle Becker's questions about their "marriage".

She contemplated another of Remington's gourmet feasts with relish. "What's for dinner?" she was asking, when suddenly her leg hit something hard and immovable in the walkway.

Remington reached out, "Careful," he said, grabbing her arm to steady her as they looked down at the wooden trunk that sat on the carpet. It was old, with inlaid wooden squares forming a soothing pattern in the polished surface. "Good Lord," he said, releasing her to examine the object.

"Where did it come from?" Laura wondered, as Remington knelt to run his long fingered hand over the smooth surface, almost as if welcoming an old friend. "I take it that you've seen this before?" she asked.

He nodded. "It's Daniel's memory chest," he told her.
"Daniel's-?" she repeated as a knock came on the door.
"Would you get that, please, Laura?" he asked, his attention still focused on the chest.

She opened the door to find the doorman, Lenny, standing there uncertainly. "Good evening, Mrs. Steele," he said, tipping his hat toward her. "I'm sorry I missed you and Mr. Steele downstairs- guess I was out walking Mrs. Pomeroy's dachshund when you two came in."

"I suppose so, Lenny. What can I do for you?"

He held out an envelope. "I'm supposed to make sure Mr. Steele gets this- I let the delivery men in to leave the trunk," he said, nodding toward that object with a smile at Remington, who was now standing beside Laura. "I hope you don't mind."

Laura took the envelope. "No. It was just a surprise, that's all. We weren't expecting anything from-" she glanced at the writing on the manila. "Fulbright, Simms and Fiske, London Solicitors," she informed Remington, who took the envelope and tore it open.

"Okay. Have a nice evening," he said, tipping his hat again, his other hand extended in silent expectation.

Seeing that Remington was unaware of the doorman's expectations, Laura opened her purse and pulled out a dollar bill. Lenny glanced at the bill, sighed, then smiled at her. "Thanks, Mrs. Steele."

"Thank you, Lenny," Laura returned, closing the door, fully aware that Remington would have probably tipped the man with a five. "What's all this about?" she asked, sitting in the chair beside the trunk to examine the antique.

He lifted the paper. "Daniel's solicitors. He asked them to send the trunk to me upon his death. Said that everything I needed would be inside."

Laura took the letter and envelope, glancing at the typewritten letter, signed by an "Amos Fulbright, Esq." She shook her head. "I find it hard to believe that a con man like Daniel would take the time and trouble to keep his important papers this way."

"Yes, well, this was the only item that Daniel always made sure was moved whenever we moved," he told her, sitting on the coffee table in front of the trunk.

"And you've never seen what's inside?"

Remington looked at her. "Laura, I'm shocked. The idea of prying into Daniel's background was something that never occurred to me. It never mattered."

Laura placed her hand on his back. "Until now." Now that he knew Daniel was his father, she wanted to say. She opened the envelope, shook it. "There's no key," she told him.

With a sigh, Remington shook his head. "Laura, when are you going to learn, love?" he asked gently, pulling out his lock pick kit and withdrawing two files. "Never done it with pics," he told her. "Hairpins, whatever was at hand always worked just as well-" he smiled as the lock gave with a soft "click". Then, he hesitated.

"What's wrong?" she asked, torn between amusement at the man who always opened every present as quickly as possible and worry at his look of nervousness.
"I"ve never actually OPENED it before," he said. "Daniel used to let me practice picking the lock, but-"
"Your birth certificate could be in there," she reminded him.

Remington nodded, then threw back the lid to reveal a hodgepodge of envelopes, papers, news papers, and photographs. "Oh, Daniel," he sighed.

"It's going to take weeks to go through all of this," Laura sighed. "Obviously organization wasn't HIS strong suit either."

"They do say like father like son, eh?" Remington told her, picking up the white envelope on the top which bore his name in Daniel's crisp hand. He opened it easily and pulled out a piece of paper and a small book.

"What is it?"

Remington opened the book, then laughed. "A bank book. Daniel's life savings." He stopped, his eyes widening. "Why that old-"

Alarmed, Laura came around to peer over his shoulder at the amount. "He was loaded!" she declared.

"Laura, 'loaded' hardly-"

"A half a million POUNDS?" she said. "That's- that's-"

"Given the current rate of exchange, around, say- seven hundred and fifty thousand American. Give or take a few," he admitted. "Quite a bit of change, I'll grant you. No wonder he had been taking it a bit easier these last years- getting out of actual cons and into other endeavors."

"But- he took Marissa's money that she paid to help get her father out of Russia-"

"It's here," he told her, indicating a deposit in the book. "The exact amount she paid him. In fact, it's the last deposit he made."

Laura shook her head, picking up a slip of paper as Remington turned his own attention back to the chest. "Remington-"

He glanced at something, and smiled. "He even kept the one and only grade card I got when he tried to send me to school," he told her, tapping it and laughing softly as he read the instructor's note. "'Has a penchant for organizing games of chance on the schoolyard which cannot be tolerated.' Oh, I remember that old man. Hated kids. Never understood why he became a schoolmaster."

"What's this?" she asked him, holding the paper in her hand out for him to read.

Remington took it, read it, then lifted his eyes heavenward. "Why on earth did he keep this, I wonder?" He handed it back to her.

"It LOOKS like a marriage certificate," Laura commented.

"It IS a marriage license," Remington, his eyes on hers.

"And the names on the license?" Laura pressed.

He didn't have to look at them to answer. "Harry Chalmers and Jane Eggleston," he recalled easily. Too easily, he thought as he watched the incredulity grow in Laura's eyes.

"You've been married before?" Laura asked.

Remington considered it a good sign that she considered that he was married NOW as well, he supposed. But thanks to Daniel, he had yet another hurdle to jump. "Was. Six months. It was a mistake, we went our separate ways-" He glanced at the trunk. "I'm sure there's probably a copy of the annulment in there as well, somewhere."

"Annulment," Laura repeated slowly. "And just WHERE is the FORMER Mrs.- Chalmers now?"

Remington shrugged. "Last I heard, she was married to an Earl or such. Came up in the world."

"I can't believe that you never- not a word! Not one peep. I mean, you could have told me about it- "

"Why? It was over and done with long before I met you," he reminded her. "Look at the date on the license." She did. Remington sighed deeply. "I was eighteen, Laura. Too young to know what the hell I was getting myself into. Janie- we'd known each other for years off and on. First in Brixton, later on, working with Daniel. We just drifted together- Daniel tried to talk me out of marrying her-until he found out WHY we were getting married. Before three months were out, we knew it was a mistake. Took another three to convince each other of the fact that the best thing for all concerned was to end it. I've never lied to you, Laura. I was going to tell you- do you remember that night at the Devil's Playground?"

She winced. "I said I didn't want to hear if you had a wife and kiddies stashed away somewhere-," she recalled. "You don't-?" she asked, suddenly wary.

"No. But I did marry Janie because she THOUGHT that she was going to have a baby," he admitted. "My baby. Once she realized it was a false alarm, well-"

"And you haven't seen her since?"

"No. There was no reason to," he told her, picking up a photograph. "Speak of the devil-" he turned it for her to see. "Janie and myself on our wedding day."

Laura took the picture and studied it, surprised to find the plain faced young woman standing beside a somber faced VERY young Remington. "You look as if you're going to a funeral, not a wedding."

"Well, when you've practically got a shotgun to your back, it's rather difficult to smile. Janie's father was still alive then- when he thought I'd 'ruined' his little girl, he threatened all kinds of bodily harm if I didn't make an honest woman out of her. Course, he had no way of knowing that I was willing to marry her since I thought she WAS going to have my child."

"You didn't want another child to go through what you went through," Laura guessed softly.

"Something like that," he admitted. "Of course, as soon as he found out that she WASN'T pregnant, he couldn't get her away from me fast enough." He picked up one of the newspapers, a copy of the Times, upon which Remington's smiling face was plastered for his success in helping the police foil both the White Chapel murders and the attempted assassination of the Earl of Claridge.

Laura picked up a packet of envelopes, tied in a green satin ribbon and looked at the names on the envelope. She fully expected to find Janie and "Harry's" names on them. But they were all from a Rose Anne Harrigan, Dublin, Ireland, to Daniel at Conemarra Prison. "I think you should look at these," Laura told Remington, holding them out to him. "The postmarks are all the year before you think you were born."

Remington took the letters and carefully untied them. "Rose Anne Harrigan," he read.

"Harry?" Laura suggested softly. "Perhaps that's why he called you by that name when no one else ever had." She turned back to the trunk as he pulled the first letter, the one with the earliest postmark, out. He needed privacy, she realized. When her hand fell on the picture frame, she paused, then looked at the photograph in her hands. The woman was smiling at the camera, her eyes filled with the sheer joy of life, with love. Laura glanced at the man who sat across from her, reading the letter that Rose Anne Harrigan had sent to Daniel. He had her eyes. And her smile. No wonder Daniel had known who Remington was that day in Brixton. He must have been totally shocked to find the pickpocket he'd just stopped from lifting his wallet had Rose's eyes.

Beneath the picture was another envelope, an official looking one, and Laura frowned as she picked it up. Opening it, she read the contents. "Remington-"

"Hmm?" he asked, not really listening, as he was caught up in what Rose had written all those years ago.

"Your troubles with Immigration are over," she informed him.

"Why?" he asked, his attention refocused with some difficulty.

She held out the two papers she'd just found. "Daniel's birth certificate- " she told him. "And yours."

Remington laid Rose's letter aside for the moment and took the two papers. "Daniel was- an American?"

She nodded. "With these, you should be able to satisfy all of Estelle Becker's questions- and do whatever you want to do." She picked up the bank book. "And with Daniel's money, you really can do whatever you want."

He looked up upon hearing the strained tone of her voice. "And if I want to stay here, where I am? Continue to be Remington Steele? Would you object too strenuously?"

"It's your decision," she reminded him. "*I* don't have any hold on you-" she reminded him.

He took her hand in his and pulled her closer. "But you do. You have more of a hold on me than anyone has ever had, Laura. Even Daniel. And I've been a total fool not to have told you so before now. I love you. I think I loved you from the moment I first saw you."

"You did?" she asked.

"Yes. I know it's asking a lot, but- would you be willing to make our marriage completely and totally legal, Miss Holt? To REALLY become Laura Holt- Steele?"

She looked at the certificate in his hand. "You mean Laura Holt-Harrigan, don't you?"

He waved the document in the air. "An easy matter to change the name," he told her. "I already think of myself as Remington Steele. I think it's time that I put the past aside- and BECAME the man you envisioned when you created your fictitious Mr. Steele. Legally. If you still think I'm capable of that feat, that is."

Laura smiled at him. "Mr. Steele, I happen to think that you're capable of ANYTHING," she assured him, meeting his lips with her own. "But we still can't give up the charade of being married," she reminded him. "Even if you're an American citizen, if they decide that we only married to keep you here, we could still be charged with falsifying documents-"

"So we continue as we are for the next two years, eh?" he asked. "And what then?"

"Then, Mr. Steele," Laura said in a business like tone, "We'll extend the contract, if we're both agreeable."

"Hmm. I love it when you talk that way," he sighed, pulling her into his arms before leading her toward the bedroom, the memory chest temporarily forgotten as they became engrossed in making memories of their own.

The End

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Original content ©2000 by Nancy Eddy