Steele Missing a Link
Part 4
by Melanie
The Characters of Remington Steele and Laura Holt don't belong to me, I'm just borrowing them. This is just a bit of fun and tribute from the SteeleWatchers.
So please don't sue us!
Original content Copyright 1999-2000 SteeleWatchers and individual authors.
Permission to reprint required.
All names, sites, and places here are purely fictional.

Hotel Espana

"You want to WHAT?" Murphy demanded. He looked at Laura incredulously, almost knocking down his cup of coffee. He'd been released ten minutes and she blurts out that the Imposter is back in their lives, and she wants to participate in one of his schemes. He searched her face in disgust, hoping he'd been wrong.

She was serious. "I want to help him," she stated evenly.

Inwardly, Laura cringed. She hated the way he was looking at her. She was sorry she hadn't told him; she felt awful. Murphy, on the other hand, had started to laugh like a lunatic. Everyone was a clown today. Laura put her head down.

She brought it up. "MurphyMurphy" she shook him hard. "Murphy!" He finally stopped laughing, standing over her. The look in his eyes was disbelieving.

"Laura, we're talking about the guy who up and left you, remember? Now he shows up, expecting you to welcome him, and you want to HELP him? What's gotten into to you, Laura?"

I know, and I've been through this already, she wanted to yell. "Murphy, I can't explain why I want to do this, but I have to."

"Why?" he demanded harshly. "Why should you care?" She searched his eyes, pleading, trying to find the source of anger. Instead she was startled to find the hurt and betrayal there.

Embarrassed, Laura turned away. She shouldn't have expected anything less from Murphy. He had a right to his feelings, more than she had to hers, she conceded, and she should respect him. Instead, her recklessness had almost cost him his life. He must think her a fool.

"Laura," Murphy pressed gently. Speak to me, he commanded silently. Look at me, Laura, and trust me like you used to.

As if in answer, Laura came back to him, finally meeting his gaze. He'd been there for her innumerable times, and she owed him her trust and her honesty.

"I need to do this," she repeated honestly, this time calmly. "And whether you help me or
not, I'm going to finish this case, if not for you then for me," she continued firmly. She stood her ground, waiting for his reply.

He had to take one more shot. He took her hand gently. "When are you going to understand? It's over, Laura. He's gone, and whether we help him or not, he'll still be
gone," he pointed out firmly.

Laura nodded to herself. She was riding on the wind, taking chances she shouldn't ever have considered, and breaking more rules than she ever thought she would. She smiled, knowing she was making the right choice.

"Then that's a gamble I'm willing to take," she answered finally.

Just then, Mildred showed up with a sparkling water in her hands. "Hey, MurphyMiss Holt," Mildred greeted them cheerfully. She looked at them both, hopefully. "Well? Do we have a deal?"

Laura looked at Murphy, confident in his answer.

"Alright," he conceded. "We have a deal." How else would he be able to protect Laura?
He wished he could wipe that smirk off her face.

"C'mon, I said we'd meet him downstairs. Let's go." Murphy didn't ask her to clarify whom she was referring to.

Instead he let her help him down the stairs. He put his arm around her for support as they made the trek down four flights of stairs.

Watching the two from a distance, Mildred smiled knowingly at Murphy. Question was did Laura know? Was Laura going to do anything about it? Her forehead creased in speculation. This was getting more interesting every minute.

******************************* * ******************************

Hotel Espana
4:15 p.m.

Mildred's phone went off. Her eyebrows raised, as she picked it up: "Yes, just one moment." She handed it over to Laura, who looked puzzled. Mildred put it in her hands, and gestured that she take it asidemuch to Murphy's annoyance. Of course it was their Mr. Steele, calling to make an excuse.

The minute she picked it up, Laura knew something was wrong. "What happened? Are you alright?" she asked anxiously.

His voice shook. "I got another call from Hawkes, Laura. He's getting agitated, nervous. We need to finish this by tomorrow, Laura, she's counting on us." Laura didn't need to ask whom. "But I need to stay here for the moment, in case he calls again. Laura?"

"I understand," she answered honestly. "Isis she alright?"

He listened for sarcasm, but could detect none in her voice. "Yesyes, she's fine. Thank you." He damned himself for not trusting her, not trusting anyone.

"I hope to see you soon, then," she murmured. And then she rang off.

For another moment, Laura held the phone in her hands, looking at it. I need you, I miss you, come to me. All the things she hadn't said echoed in her head. What would she do if the one she loved were in danger? If anything happened to Laura stopped, placing the phone in its holder. Suddenly she hated him for it all: for being married, for showing up again, for making her feel this way. When they both knew they could do nothing about it. I won't be the third wheel, she promised herself. I won't play second fiddle.

Then what are you doing
? Laura asked herself. I'm holding out for happiness, she answered honestly. She pushed the door open, attempting a smile as it creaked. She failed.

She stepped out of the booth, her feet walking automatically to where Mildred and Murphy were.

"Laura?" Mildred asked, assessing her. There was that look, again.

"No dice, huh." Murphy offered sarcastically; Mildred jabbed him in the ribs. Laura grabbed him up.

"Come on, Murph." She gestured to her watch. "We're up at the firing line," referring to their appointment with Rodriguez. Murphy grimaced before grabbing his coat. Laura said, "Alrightwe all meet back at the hotel lobby in three hours."

Laura turned. "Mildred?"

Mildred met Laura's twinkling look. "I'll hold down the fort until then," she assured her.
As Murphy started down the street, Laura stood there for one more moment awkwardly. "Mildred...the way you helped me...despite were...Thank you," she finally said.

Mildred nodded, then hugged her. "Take care, Laura."

******************************* * ******************************

Freddy watched as the young woman rose and stepped away with the other man. What part did she play in this game? Who was she that she was dealing with O'Leary, who had rejected all other women partners to be his with his wife? Was she after what he could give her, or did her interests include something more, closer to home?

Was she double-crossing him for the book?

It wasn't a ludicrous suggestion. He'd watched her, had seen the intelligence in her eyes first hand. Wasn't a bad looker, either. He'd be a fool to underestimate this woman.

He decided she wasn't worth taking her out yet. Whatever game she was playing, until O'Leary's connection extended, she wouldn't matter. And if he did appear?

Then she would be worth taking out.

******************************* * ******************************

Madrid Suburbs
4 p.m.

In the dim light of the room, Felicia sat back on the lush couch. The champagne in her glass sat untouched; it fizzled brilliantly, spraying the oak table on which it sat.

The photos of her husband and Laura fell to the floor.

She wanted to cry, wanted to sob, wanted to rip the pictures into little shreds, so that Laura Holt would no longer existWhat kind of a fool was she? With whom else had she thought he'd be with?

MichaelThe night she'd almost drowned, he'd pulled her out and she'd let him hold her in his arms, rocking her gently. For one moment, she'd wanted to believe she was wrong about his ties in Los Angeles, wanted to think she had a chance.

And he'd let her believe it. The tenderness, affection, and security, all she'd ever wanted in life: he'd poured all over her. Senselessly overwhelmed, she'd fallen in love. Done away with all suspicion for a chance at happiness. Was he to blame for this? She shook her head `no.'

She wiped the unshed tears from her face, building up the anger that would keep the tears at bay. Her throat hurt, and she swallowed, reaching for the champagne Hawkes had left her, then withdrew her hand immediately. Hawkes would be back soon, and she wanted to be sober. Needed to be.

So their sniveling parasite had turned out to be a mad mastermind, and she was here, alone, to deal with him. She hardened, cleansing herself of the tenderness that no longer did her any good.

She closed her eyes, as she started rocking back and forth. The tune of her husband's watch played gratefully in her head the only thing that would help her now as she waited for her chance to prove herself. Prove that she didn't need anyone to survive.

******************************* * ******************************

Hotel Espana
4:30 a.m.

He paced the lobby nervously. She said she'd be here "Ah! Mildred!" he went up to her.

"Laura's not going to like this, you know," Mildred traded.

"Have a seat, won't you?" he offered. He led her to a chair and table set.

"And I don't know if I like it, either," she added seriously.

He sat down, anxiously. "Mildred?" he asked her honestly enough, she knew. But that look he had, he'd always managed to get to her.

She dug into her bag. She held the folder in his eyesight, but out of his reach. "I want you to ensure that these stay in tact. One scratch and I'll have your head for it." She paused for emphasis. "Alright?" She waited for his silent promise, before bringing it forth:
Laura's plans for this case, including no, there were would be no notes on him.
He reached for it, trying not to grab. Like a boy with candy, Mildred noted tenderly.
Whoahhh, Mildred, she stopped herself. She could afford to get carried away later. Not here, not now.

He opened it carefully, flipping through the papers. "Is that all, Mildred?" She nodded. He sighed, relieved, putting it into jacket. "Thank you, Mildred."

She sat back, nodding. She looked him in the eyes. "And this stays between you and me, buster. I won't have you worrying Miss Holt, about you or anything else you have going. You hear?"

Remington smiled, then sat up seriously, nodding. "I hear."

"Good." She smiled back at him, looking up at him the way she used to, when he could almost believe he was Remington Steele. He liked that. He thought about `old times'they seemed ancient now, he noted wistfully. And then he could look at Mildred and could be all right with everything now. Could forget about all the sorrow and frustration seeing her had brought to everyone. All the sorrow he'd brought to everyone.

"Mr. Steele?" Mildred's voice broke into his thoughts.

"Mildred?" He stared at her intensely.


He reflected: "When did you start calling me that, "Mr. Steele?"

Mildred looked at him strangely then touched his shoulder tenderly. "It's never mattered what I called you. It mattered who you are." She lifted his chin. "Are you satisfied with who you are?" He shook his head. "Then I suggest you find out, before anything else." She looked at him honestly, then let her smile break the surface.

He grinned boyishly. She was right, as always. He nodded. "Can I get you a coffee, or something, before I leave?"

"Yeah, that'd be nice."

He felt the burden lift from his shoulders as he got up. He smiled a genuine smile, the first in a long time. He reached into his jacket, feeling the key to all his problems.

******************************* * ******************************

Downtown Madrid
4:30 p.m.

Murphy and Laura stepped out of the cab. Half way up the steps to the Police Station, she blocked his way with his hand.

"What are you doing?" Murphy demanded, startled.

"MurphyI think we're heading for a dead end with Rodriguez," she admonished.

"What? You drag me all the way down here to tell me we're wasting our time?"

"I didn't think so before we can still get information from this guy, but I have this feeling." She gestured absently.

He did trust Laura; her intuition when he'd worked with her had been amazing, and he wanted to listen to her. But he wanted out of this, and seeing this clown was the easiest way.

Laura thought quickly: "Why don't you go in, and I'll meet you later?"

"What? He's gonna want to question you, also I thought we'd work together on this."

"II know, butlet me come back, say in an hour" she pleaded, ready to step away.

"What? Where are you going?" What was happening?

"I we overlooked something." Oh, Laurashe reprimanded herself.

Murphy had had it: with "Steele," with Laura's obsession with him. "This isn't about the case, is it? Or about me or Mildredthis is about youand him!" he accused. Laura backed away.

"What?" she started. "How dare you?!" she exclaimed. She pulled back, stung, searching his eyes. He'd meant that he'd really meant that.

Her tired nerves got the best of her: "Do you think I'd be here, if it wasn't for this case? I'm doing this for youwith you!"

"But that was before he got involved. Huh?" His mouth twisted bitterly. "C'mon, Laura! Admit it: the only reason why you haven't decided to return to LA the ideal decision under any normal circumstances is because of him. The bastard that shows up, just like before; only now he's marriedand everything's `fine'!" He grated. "It doesn't matter what con he's running nowyou'll always be there for him."

"I don't want to talk about him," she said dangerously low.

"Of course you don't! Then you'd have to confront the fact that you're wrongGod
forbid that Laura Holt should ever be wrong!"

The tears surfaced before she could stop them. He looked at her, disgusted in himself. He reached out to her, "Laura" She stepped back, hurt, then away from him, down the street. He looked after her, knowing better than to go after her.

What had he done?

******************************* * ******************************

Madrid Suburbs
5:00 p.m.

Felicia heard the door open long before the steps approached the room that she was in.
They echoed through the large halls, downstairs, then upstairs before they were clearly audible. The door opened. She made a gesture of putting down the champagne glass.

"Freddy," she greeted cordially.

He smiled. "Felicia." O'Leary didn't have bad taste, he realized. He walked around to where she was, slipping his hands over her shoulders. She tried not to shiver against his touch.

"How'd a creep like O'Leary wind up with a bird like you?" his words sounded huskily against her ears. It took all her will not to deck him there and then.

Well?? she demanded from herself. She closed her eyes, allowing herself to submerge into the world she'd long left behind.

She smiled maliciously, answering to Hawkes. "Everyone makes those mistakes, darling." He circled her slowly coming around to sit on top of her, kissed her greedily, moving down her neck, then her waist. She didn't pull back.

"Got tired, hmmm?" He let his hand move down her body. He raised his head, waiting for her reaction, for her to pull back. He watched her face, searching every line for any indication that she was lying. Had he overestimated O'Leary's support system? Or was this part of his plan? Using his wife to bring him down?

His hand went to her neck dangerously tightening. "I don't like games, Felicia," he warned dangerously. "Think about that, won't you?" He turned around, leaving the way he came. She shuddered. Then she closed her eyes, trying to hold back the exhausted sleep that was threatening to engulf her. Then she drifted out.

******************************* * ******************************

Downtown Madrid
5:00 p.m.

Laura ran through the streets of Madrid. Her feet hurt, her lungs hurt, and she didn't know where she was going, until she looked up. She wiped the tears from her eyes, and everything became stark clear.

What was she doing, what had happened? Where had she been going before her spat with Murphy? Nowhere she realized. She'd wanted to find him, wherever he was, hadn't wanted to work with Murphy. Why not? she asked herself. Because then he'd find out, she realized. Find out how much she still loved the man-the man she never knew.

******************************* * ******************************

Downtown Madrid
5:30 p.m.

Steele moved quickly through the streets. He couldn't go back to where he and Felicia had been staying, and he couldn't be seen at the hotel until later. He ducked into one of the motels, stuffing some money into the clerk's hand, taking a key, then going into a room.

Closing the door, Steele withdrew the envelope from his jacket. He sifted through the papers, slowing when he came to a picture of Laura. His breath caught in his throat. It was taken at a Benefit they'd attended two years ago.

She'd looked ravishing. He recognized the balcony that he'd entered from that night. Behind her the stars matched the twinkle in her eyes as she smiled. In her satin dress with her hair pinned up, she looked lovely.

Because she cared for him, he realized. Now what would her expression be towards him?

Why are you wasting time? He scolded himself. He continued through the papers, glancing at each one quickly. Laura hadn't left anything out. He stopped when he came to it. Laura's back-up plan, he was sure. She probably hadn't thought of using it so soon, he mused. Mildred had probably never known, he thought guiltily.

He pulled it out, then laid out the city map before him, on the table. The map was already marked in colors, locating sights from where he could see the whole city, escapes to the city, and other secrets. He had two hours.

******************************* * ******************************

5:30 p.m.

Laura headed into the Police Station. Murphy would probably be here still, and she was glad for it. She needed the stability he offered. She needed him.

"Excuse me," she approached one of the receptionists. "I'm here to see Officer Rodriguez." The young woman continued with her paperwork disinterested. She nodded, finally looking up.

"His office is there, Senora," she pointed. "But I'm afraid he's occupied at the moment."

"I'm Laura Holt; I was involved in the robbery a few days ago...I had an appointment with hima half-an-hour ago."

The young woman looked at her questionably. But her hand proceeded Laura up to the office. Laura knocked. The door opened immediately.

"Senora Holt!" he exclaimed. "What a surprise. I'm so glad you were able to join us. Of course we missed you, but I'm glad to see you're feeling better." His eyes moved questionably about her physical state.

She looked discreetly towards Murphyno, she didn't want to know.

"Pleasesit down," he directed. "Yourcolleague and I were just "rehashing" the event of the robbery. Would you care to add your in-put, Senora?" As in, "Tell me what happened," Laura clearly translated.

Laura put her head down, looking at Murphy from underneath her lashes. What could he have told Rodriguez? How much information had he left open for her to change?

"Murphy and I went out for dinner that night." Rodgriguez nodded, encouraging her to wing it. She sneaked a look at Murphy. Whatever he'd said so far She said, "Then we went walkingin the park." A feasible action, something they could have done.

"Mr. Michael's injury," Rodriguez prompted.

She frowned. "He tripped on the pathonto one of those spikeshe was bleeding pretty badlyI didn't know what to do," she stuttered. Rodriguez nodded, in what she hoped was sympathetic. He turned to Murphy, who in turn looked embarrassed appropriately. She smiled inwardly they still worked great together.

Rodriguez nodded, contemplating the information on his pad. "Where did you say you took her, Mr. Michaels?"

At this, Murphy reddened questionably. But, "It was a small restaurant in the Square, across from the statue," Murphy provided smoothly. She tilted her head at him in question.

"And you just wandered over to the Park? Was it planned, or a spontaneous gesture?"

"Spontaneous," he replied. Laura smiled deceptivelyshe realized exactly where he had been going with this. And while she was going to get him for this later, she needed to make it work now.

He put his arm around her. She wanted to gag.

But Rodriguez was good, she knew. And she'd be damned if she got herself arrested.

"Do you remember anything after yourfall?" Rodriguez asked.

Murphy paused. In actual fact, he didn't remember much about that night. Oh, he knew what had happened between Laura and Steele, but not so that he could rely it reliably. He remembered Laura's voice, drifting in and out, keeping him afloat from the sleep that threatened to engulf him. Nothing else.

He shook his head. Rodriguez nodded.

"And you were with him all this time, Miss Holt?"

"Yes, of course," she answered honestly.

Rodriguez looked at them once more, and Laura waited for the question she knew would come: "How long have you two beenseeing each other?" he asked, after a short pause.

Laura waited for Murphy to answer. "Three months," he said nervously.

Rodriguez smiled easily. "Thank you both for coming. I hope it's understood that I'd like for you to remain in Madrid for the next week or so." He waited for them to nod. "Have a nice evening."

******************************* * ******************************

Murphy and Laura caught the first cab that passed them. Laura got in first, then Murphy. She smiled at him, too brightly.

"Have a nice evening," Laura trilled. "What do you think you were doing?" she demanded.

"Look, what else could I have told him, huh? `Well, sir, we didn't have anything better to do at four o'clock in the morning, so we thought we'd check out the exhibit at the museum!' Yeah, that would have gone down really well."

"Better than pretending we're dating! Now of course it'll enter his mind that we decided to case the museum ourselvesdid you see the look in his eyes?" She gestured. "He knew one person couldn't have pulled it off! The fact that we're friends taking a stroll is coincidentalthe idea that we're lovers is suspiciousnot to mention it's one of the most insane ideas you've ever come up with."

"Why?" he demanded, injured. She saw that and put her hand on his shoulder, affectionately. "Murphy, we've been friends for a long timebut there's a difference between friends and lovers, and I don't think we could put it past him so easily."

"Because I can't be like him," Murphy injected harshly.

"Because I need you with me in a way he isn't," Laura corrected tenderly, "when he can't be."

Murphy smiled, enchanted once more by this little sprite. For as long as he had known her, she would never cease to amaze him. Never stop caring about the people she loved.

"To Corinthia Hill," Murphy directed at the cabby. Laura sat up.


"My plan," he informed a confused Laura. "All the outlets to the citythat's where we'll find Hawkes. It's his way out of Madrid, and eventually out of Spain."

She nodded, grateful for his logical thinking.

And they sat back, calmly, allies once more.

******************************* * ******************************

Madrid Suburbs
5:30 p.m.

The door opened once more, and Hawkes grabbed Felicia up, who shot out of sleep. "C'mon, dear. Time to go."

Go? Felicia was sure he hadn't been planning to leave so quickly. In fact she'd counted on them not going. Why the sudden change of plans? Was Michael closing in on Hawkes?

He twisted her arm. "C'mon!" he yelled. As she stood up, he quickly took out a map. All the black little marks, just as Jose had said.

He looked at the woman he could take her with him. At least until he out of the country.

First he'd tried the easiest outlets, like the Gates of Santa Maria, or the canal. Then he'd try the harder ones: the underground, for example.

"Let's go," he ordered Felicia sternly.

Damn it, Michael, help me out.

******************************* * ******************************

Corinthia Hill
6:00 p.m.

"Remind me why we're here," Laura told Murphy. She gestured around her the temples were a sight, five stories in all, filling the space of a football yard.

She shook her head: "Templesno way out."

Murphy smiled. "That's where you're wrong, Laura. There are at least ten underground exits among the temples."

"You said yourself there are more outlets throughout the city," Laura pointed out.

"So shouldn't we have split up?" he finished for her. I'm not letting you out of my sight, Laura. "There are only two that he can actually access. The other one's on the other side of town," he smiled: "He's got to come back here." He waited to relax, until Laura nodded, satisfied.

Laura tilted her head, walking around the clearing they stood in. The sun set through the rocks, casting a red glow across the site, on one side of her face. He watched her, wanted to hold her, put the other man out of her mind once and for all and take her for himself.
He smiled slightly. But that isn't what she wants, he acknowledged wistfully. She turned to him.

She saw the look in his eyes, didn't want to recognize it for what it was. Why not? Because I don't know, anymore, she answered honestly. Don't know what I want, whom I wantcan't think. She smiled wryly. For once, Laura Holt can't think.

She let herself fall back into Murphy's waiting arms, a comfortable silence passing between them.

"Thank you, Murphy," she whispered, grateful for his understanding.

He nodded silently.

She grinned. "We should have told Mildred," she said.

Finally, he found his voice: "She'll be safer back at the hotel."

******************************* * ******************************

Hotel Espana
6:00 p.m.

"What are you doing here?" Mildred asked him.

"C'mon, Mildred," Mr. Steele said, taking her hand and leading her out.

"Where are we going?"

He held up Murphy's folders. "Corinthia Temples."

******************************* * ******************************

Corinthia Temples
6:15 p.m.

He needed to leave, needed to leave now.

Freddy growled, ripping his map into little shreds. His eyes had skimmed the papers on sale Carreras had been picked upthey'd be looking for him too now, he knew it.
He was almost there.

Felicia gasped as they neared the temples, stopping. He pulled her. "Hurry up, bitch!" he yelled. She jerked back, and he started to threaten her with his hands around her neck, but she relaxed first.

They'd reached the rise of the hill now, so that the entire ground floor was level with where they were. Among the shadows of the temples, she could make out Laura Holt's figure. She was with someone else, another man this time.

She was waiting for him, though. Nothing would change that.

Suddenly her earlier act with Hawkes became a reality. She felt her love evaporate, replaced with the long-standing hatred she'd felt all her life. She didn't want think, didn't want to hurt. She wanted to hunt, take what was hers, then leave, as she'd always done. No cares, no regrets, no mistakes. She wanted to live.

"How badly do you want Michael?" she heard herself ask Hawkes.

Freddy started at the look in her eyes. Then he smiled maliciously. "Why?"

The words echoed in her head. "Because I can help you get him."

End of Part 4

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