Steele Missing a Link
Part 6
by Melanie

Authors note: Thank you to Nancy for creating a Remington Steele community; to Adriana, who started this story and her own spin-off, Alternate Link of Steele; to Betsy who edited Part 5; and to a reader who emailed me about finishing this story, to whom I grateful to be immersed again in Remington Steele.

Adrianas note: This story takes place at the end of Season Three, so for the purposes of this story season 4 or 5 ever happened.

Corinthia Temples

9:30 p.m.

Laura Holt was thinking back:

Two years, three months and five days ago, she finally got a glimpse of the man she’d known as Remington Steele. Daniel Chambers had fallen into a bad place, and he needed to be smuggled out and relocated. Mr. Steele had never told her what had happened – "Nothing to worry about, really" – but he asked her to go with him because, he’d said, he wanted to share part of his old life with her: "If I could put my old and new life together, I could finally be who I’m supposed to be."

Initially she thought he’d meant he could finally be Remington Steele, but to her surprise, instead he’d introduced her to every man he’d ever been – fleeting aliases but also full lives, including "Michael," Daniel Chambers’s adopted son, greatest ally and lifetime best friend. Just like she’d been afraid, Laura hadn’t liked every part of Mr. Steele’s former life, but she’d come to understand that neither had he.

Away from Los Angeles, Laura no longer saw her life as so different from Mr. Steele’s.

As they moved on foot across Europe to retrieve Daniel, covering their tracks and constantly changing their identities to protect the agency, Laura got to watch Mr. Steele as he interacted with a handful of people who’d known him before he’d waltzed in to assume the mantle of her detective agency.

Once he caught her trying to learn from him as he tried on new identities as they went, because she’d said, like him, she wanted to learn how to be herself differently, and he’d said, "But I love that you’re just you."

Since Laura had met Daniel, she’d come to face the reality that Mr. Steele could go back to whatever life he wanted to because even in his transitory way, Daniel would always be Mr. Steele’s home, and for that, Laura had always been watchful of Daniel’s intentions.


But Daniel had given her his blessing.

"He looks happy," Daniel had confided to her during a rare private moment. It had been at the end of their journey, when he’d had a chance to watch them together, Laura remembered, when she had felt it and thought Mr. Steele had felt it, too.

At the end of the journey, they had checked into a hotel for the night before returning to Los Angeles, and she was standing on a balcony in late summer, looking out at the hotel courtyard. The lamps had just gone on for the night, and suddenly she was bathed in dusk.

She’d felt him before she saw him.

She’d grinned: "I’m afraid to go back," she’d said.

"Oh, really? Why is that?"

She’d laughed, gesturing around them. "This," she’d said. "When are we going to tour the country, and see the world?"

"All the time," he’d said. He’d stepped closer to her and gently placed his hand in hers.

She’d wrapped her hand around his and said, "I don’t know what that means."

He’d brushed her hair off her face and said, "Don’t you want to be with me?"


She’d lightly teased, "Which you, Mr. Steele?" and carefully let their fingers intertwine.

"All of them, Laura."

Her breath had caught then, and she’d stopped to look at him: "Do all of them want to be with me?"

"You’ve gotten to know me, Laura: the best and the worst. I’ll keep asking you, but I’m not going to change how I feel about you. You’ve introduced myself to me, and I love you."

"You love me?" When she’d stood there, replaying what he’d said, it was the thing he’d been leading up to – it wasn’t the stuff dreams were made of, it was the stuff her dreams were made of – but she’d felt completely at a loss.

When she hadn’t said anything, he’d said, "Do you love me?"

She’d known she was supposed to say yes, but she’d just stood there and said, "I don’t know."

She’d caught his hand pulling away, and he’d waited for her to say something, but she hadn’t had anything to say to the man who loved her.

In reality, they’d never gotten as far as "Do you love me?" She’d never had the chance to return his declaration of love because that conversation had never happened. After they’d deposited Daniel to the next stage of his journey, they’d decided to stay the night before returning to Los Angeles, but they’d never spent the evening together. They’d checked into the hotel that night separately, and that was the last time she’d seen him.

Until ten days ago.

Two years ago, when he’d disappeared, first she’d told herself not to worry: Maybe he’d gone to run an errand the morning they were meant to return, maybe he’d gone to say goodbye to an old friend, or maybe he’d just wanted to have some time alone. After all, they hadn’t agreed to spend the day together, she’d told herself. They hadn’t been on vacation.

In reality, she’d been terrified. She didn’t know where Daniel was, and she couldn’t call Mildred without compromising Daniel’s location. Nevertheless, she’d waited a week for him to come back to her before accepting the possibility that there was nothing she could do from there, and for a long time she mourned, not only for having been caught completely off guard, but for the fact that she’d needed a dream to realize something that for so long had been hidden even from herself:

She’d loved him.

At the time, there’d been no big case, the office had been under renovation for a couple months, and nobody had been expecting her to check in. When she and Mildred had finally reunited, she’d composed a vague, probably unintelligible, version of the events leading up to Mr. Steele’s disappearance, and whether she believed it or not, Mildred had mercifully accepted it.

Laura had kept the business going for a while (Even when he’d assumed her mysterious Mr. Steele, he hadn’t always been around), while secretly pouring over the obituaries and conducting her own search. Had he returned to Daniel and gotten stuck down a rabbit hole? Had it all been a con on Daniel’s part?

Had it all been a con on Mr. Steele’s part? No, she knew, but it never made her feel any better.

Back in the present, under the rain in Spain, Laura’s heart was pounding through her chest. In the darkness of the tunnel, she thought back onto their trip thus far. Ten days and counting, there he was: as rugged and as beautiful as ever, a face she recognized but didn’t know.

It was so very different from what she had in mind coming to Spain, Laura thought. For your dream holiday, just add your would-be-lover and your would-be-lover’s wife.

What plays did she have left? She wasn’t the head of this operation anymore, but she owed it to Mildred and Murphy to get them back safely.

If she hadn’t happened upon Felicia, where would she and Freddy have gone? What would Mildred and Mr. Steele have come up with that could mean she could protect – and face – her two best friends in the whole world?

If they hadn’t come upon Mr. Steele and Felicia at all, where would they all be?

The answer was: They’d be safe. They wouldn’t be in the ruins of a temple, chasing a book or a man or her would-be-lover’s wife. What would the owner of the pre-Remington Steele "Remington Steele Detective Agency" have done before it became all about him?

If everything weren’t about returning to Los Angeles with Mr. Steele, Laura would turn Freddy and Felicia into the police. That option wasn’t viable, she thought, because then she’d have to admit that she lied about what she was doing at the museum and how she was involved. Could Laura let him go? But then she already had, she thought.

She hadn’t been able to love him when he was right in front of her.

"Murphy, stop." It started to downpour, but she just stood there. "What do you want, Felicia?"

Felicia laughed broadly. "Right now?" she said. "Just to be rid of you!"

In the pale light of a nearby lamp, Laura studied the other woman’s face for the first time. She’d wanted to scapegoat Felicia for everything that had happened in the last two years, but she realized now, among all her prayers was the hope that he’d found happiness.

And he had, she thought.

She said, "I’m tired, and I think you’re tired, too."

Felicia turned on her. "Well, since I can’t have Michael anymore – "

"That isn’t my fault, Felicia."

"But you just said – "

"I know what I just said!" In the pale light of a nearby lamp, Laura studied the other woman’s face for the first time. She’d never tried to imagine Felicia’s motives, but she didn’t know her own anymore.

It doesn’t end, she thought.

"I’m tired, and I think you’re tired, too. Take him out of the equation," she said. "What do you want?"

Felicia looked at Murphy then back at Laura. Both looked at Laura. In her head, Laura begged the other woman to give her an answer so she could go back to Los Angeles and never look at Mr. Steele again.

Felicia said, "I want the book." Thank God, Laura thought.

Murphy stepped in between them. "Laura, what are you doing?"

"This is the only way out, Murphy." She waited for him to play out the scenarios as she had in her head. "You know I’m right," she said.

Murphy looked at Mildred. Mildred looked back, but didn’t say anything.

"Is this really what you want, Laura?" Murphy said tenderly.

When Laura didn’t answer, Felicia said, "I don’t have it, but I know where it is." She looked between them. "Do we have an agreement?"

"If you leave with the book, you’ll leave us alone, Felicia?" Laura said. "Forever?"

Felicia looked between them again, then finally at Laura.


Laura nodded. "We’ll all go together – right now. We’ll get Mildred and your husband" – I have to stop calling him Mr. Steele, she thought – "and then we’ll go pick up the book." When no one said anything, she added, "My condition is we get Mildred first."

She looked around. "Are we all agreed?"

Felicia said, "My condition is we don’t talk."


Laura met Felicia’s eyes. Laura’s tears were hot in the rain, but she didn’t look away. Now that he and Felicia were at odds – thanks in no small part to her – and Daniel was missing in action, she realized Mr. Steele was alone again, and for that, she was truly sorry.


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

Corinthia Temples

9:30 p.m.

Staring into the barrel of Freddy’s gun, Mildred had come to realize: This wasn’t quite what she’d had in mind.

It was exactly what she’d had in mind. She’d promised herself after Murphy got shot that she would see this through to the end. Ten days later, with all this running around and all this injury, what was she really doing here?

Like Laura, she hadn’t come into her own by asking politely. Mildred had joined the IRS for the prospect of the very intrigue she had happened upon during her time at the agency, and she had loved the thrill just as much as Miss Holt and Mr. Steele in her own way.

And like Laura, Mildred wanted closure, but she also wanted to know there was nothing they couldn’t have done, in pursuit of the case and of Mr. Steele. Despite all that had led up to their trip and everything that had transpired since they had arrived, Mildred knew it wasn’t over.

On the other side of the barrel, Freddy said, "I was secretly hoping it would be you I’d run into."

"Oh, really?" Later, Mildred realized so had she.

He said, "You remind me of my mother."

"That’s nice."

"I hated my mother."


Up close, Mildred could see he was still a relatively young man. He looked like he was in his late 40’s, but he could be in his early 30’s.

For the first time he thought to ask, "Where do you fit in with all this?"

Mildred looked back at him, thinking of all the stories she and Laura had concocted. She picked the easiest: "My daughter wanted to come to Spain," she said. "I said I didn’t know, but you know: Kids don’t listen."

Freddy smiled. He looks so proud of himself, Mildred thought, like he’d won and I’ve lost. She felt the ground underneath her as she stood in between his gun and the ledge behind her over a 20-foot drop.

He said, "You must be proud."

Mildred was proud of Laura Holt: When Laura had opened the agency, the younger woman had already tapped into her sense of adventure that had taken Mildred decades to tap into – but Mildred didn’t need to work at a detective agency to watch a love story unfold right before her: As long as Laura Holt and Remington Steele knew each other, they couldn’t help themselves.

She said, "My daughter does what she wants." Mildred looked at him once last time. "Like mother, like daughter."


The gun in her hand went off as easily as Mr. Steele had promised when he’d given it to her. "One day, you’ll need this," he’d said – two years ago, Mildred realized, right before he left.

Freddy had been grinning at her and then he wasn’t. It was just like Mr. Steele had told her it would be, but she didn’t have the words to describe what she felt before his eyes rolled away.


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

Corinthia Temples

9:45 p.m.

Mr. Steele knew what had happened as he came upon Mildred and what remained of Freddy Hawkes. Mildred was standing over Freddy’s body. Her head spun to meet his eyes.

"It’s all right," he said. "We’ll take care of it."

He eased the gun from her fingers. She looked up at him. "Who’ll take care of you?"

His mouth twitched up, and he laughed. "I don’t know, Mildred." He straightened when he saw Laura approach. "I guess we’ll see."

He turned to receive Laura, Murphy – and none other than the woman he’d married.

Laura said, "Felicia’s going to lead us to the book."

Mr. Steele approached Felicia. "Are you all right?"

Laura interrupted. "All of us have agreed that nobody’s going to talk about this," she said. "This is what we’re doing, and we’re all doing it together, right now."

Mr. Steele looked between the two women, neither of whom would look at him. Murphy just stood there.

Mildred said to him, "Shall we go? We have a few hours before the body is discovered and we lose the chance to tell our story."

Mr. Steele nodded as he let Felicia then Laura and Murphy precede him. It was only ten days after he finally saw her for the first time in two years, and he was still getting used to seeing her face again.

He hadn’t been lying when he’d told Laura he didn’t know what had happened to the agency, but he hadn’t tried to find out, either: One day, he’d thought, he would just walk in, and his life in Los Angeles would be right there as if he’d never left.

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

Downtown Madrid

11 p.m.

Felicia led the way out of the temples. She thought, Of course it would end this way.

She had realized very early on how she felt about Michael. Ten years before he was Remington Steele, she’d met him in London one night at a party, and immediately she knew he’d turn out to be something else.

The next few years they ran in the same circles off and on, drinking and thieving – and always dreaming of a better life. She got used to him going in and out of her life, traveling for a few months at a time for work, but always coming back – until one day he was just gone.

Considering how much he’d built with Laura Holt, Felicia could no longer attribute his wavering commitment to just herself.

Two years ago, he’d resurfaced. He’d been working as a detective, she’d heard through the grapevine, and she’d left it, but finally she had run into him and had to see it for herself.

He looked good.

Rumor had it that he’d stashed away a large bounty, but no one could find anything on him following him, and no one had dared to confront him before he’d left, let alone after years as the head of a world-class detective agency – but she gradually began to enlist his help in the field, and she came to believe she could bring him back into the fold.

The night she almost drowned, he’d pulled her out of the river, evading a capture at the hands of Scotland Yard. Their escape route, a pipe, had burst and instead of depositing them easily in a protected pier, she’d found herself caught on a piece of sunken metal from which he’d disentangled her, before surfacing them both.

"You don’t need to take care of me, Michael," she’d told him when she’d finally regained consciousness.

He’d wrapped her up in a blanket and looked at her across from the fireplace in the small house he’d taken as his. She’d removed the blanket and had quickly risen to leave because, despite all the years she’d known him, it didn’t seem appropriate for her to be here now in any state of undress.

He laughed at her modesty. "It’s all right, Felicia. I know you don’t need anyone to take care of you. You never have."

She settled back in, studying him across the living room. She looked him over: "Los Angeles suits you."

"I’ll be returning shortly, Felicia."

Until Los Angeles, there had never been a topic that wasn’t open to her, she’d realized, and she’d left his home shortly afterwards.

But then he was back again two weeks later. Later she realized he had never told her what had happened in the two weeks he’d last been gone, but something fundamental in Michael had shifted since she’d last seen him. Whereas two weeks prior he wouldn’t talk about Los Angeles, now it was as if he’d never even been there, had never been Remington Steele, and had never engaged in whatever nonsense Felicia had imagined that he might have entertained with Laura Holt.

In short, he was the Michael O’Leary she’d come of age with – and he was right there.

In retrospect, she thought, she should have asked how he’d spent those two weeks he’d been gone, but something that had always worked when Felicia had first met him was their ability to comfort each other without asking any questions, and that thought was comforting. If he’d ever wanted to talk, he would tell her bits and pieces until she could put everything together, and in that regard, she’d hoped their relationship hadn’t changed. She felt she didn’t need the whole picture, just the whole Michael, and he gave that to her.

Now she thought maybe he wanted to be Michael O’Leary more than she wanted him to. Maybe Michael was only one piece of whom he’d grown into. Worse, maybe she wanted him to be Remington Steele because then, she wouldn’t feel bad for betraying the man she’d loved for more than a decade.

He’d lied to her, but she’d also lied to herself.

Was it ever real? she thought now. Yes, it was, and like those two weeks, Michael, too, was lost to her.

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


11:30 p.m.

Laura followed Felicia back out of the temples through the streets of Spain. The worst part of this was watching them together: As Laura looked on as Felicia walked ahead of her and Mr. Steele followed behind them, she could feel them look at each other when they thought the other wasn’t looking, and Laura could picture them tangled up in one another’s arms, living out the kind of life she could only imagine.

Even if it didn’t ever work out, she wanted to know what that felt like – not with him, Laura reminded herself, because if she needed a reason why that wasn’t possible, she could just look around.

They slowed, and Laura recognized the street.

Felicia said, "This is it."

Murphy looked at Laura: "Laura, you’ve got to be kidding me!"

Laura looked at where they’d stopped: Hotel Espana, where she’d spent the last ten days finding and losing Mr. Steele again. The main gate stretched up before them into the midnight sky.

Felicia said, "It was the last place I thought you’d look. I would have come back here, later."

It’s exactly what she would have done, Laura thought. She smiled, despite herself: In another life, she and Felicia might have gotten along.

Laura opened the door to her own hotel room: Where else? she thought. She gestured for Felicia to go precede her. Felicia retrieved the book from behind the bed’s frame.

"Nobody ever checks the bed," Felicia said.

Laura nodded. Lord knows she hadn’t slept since she’d arrived in Madrid, she thought. Briefly, her eyes met Felicia’s, and she thought again of all that had been lost.

Across the room, she met Mr. Steele’s eyes, as cool and clandestine as ever, and for years to come, she thought, she would wonder what he was thinking.

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

Police headquarters

Downtown Madrid

It was nearly 11 a.m. before they all emerged from Officer Rodriguez’s interrogation room, after he had been called in and had spoken to each one of them separately. Mildred had finally made good on her promise to get the police involved when she walked in to report her own kidnapping by Freddy against whom she had defended herself, and on whom they had collectively agreed all the blame would be placed.

As Laura had hoped, Rodriguez suspected a third party had acquired the book before Freddy’s death, which, Laura thought, was almost true: Mr. Steele, who was neither a member of her party nor of his own now, had stolen it, and they had given it to Felicia.

When the last one of them had been questioned, Officer Rodriguez examined at them as a group: There were friends and foes here – even they didn’t know what they were, he thought – but he couldn’t hold them anymore. He asked them to be available to him in the event that he had any other questions, but he didn’t ask them to stay in the country, to Laura’s relief and horror:

Then what? she thought.

They all walked together away from the police station, then Felicia left, while Mildred and Murphy waited for Laura and Mr. Steele. For a moment, they stood in the park not looking at each other.

Finally, Laura spoke: "Thank you for helping me today, for helping me protect Mildred and Murphy." When she looked up, their eyes met, and he held her with his gaze.

"That’s all you’ve got to say to me, Laura?"

She looked up into his face into his eyes, and for the first time in a long time, she thought she could see him. He was standing right there, and she could feel the space between them close as he reached out to touch her.

"I’m sorry," she said. "I can’t."

Passing Mildred and Murphy, she said, "Please let’s never talk about this."

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

Madrid–Barajas Airport

9 p.m.

Laura was waiting to board the plane when she felt his hands embrace hers, and she couldn’t pull away because, even when she’d left him, she thought, she’d wanted him to follow her. She turned and let herself lean into him before pulling back and drinking him in with her eyes.

She smiled sadly: "Mr. Steele."

She turned to look for Felicia, when he said, "No, Laura. It’s over."

She nodded, and he slipped his fingers through hers – just like her dream, she thought – and then she couldn’t look at him any longer.

"I’m so sorry, Laura," he said, "for all of it: for leaving, for returning, for everything."

She shook her head. "No," she said, as she felt tears start to surface. She brushed them away to say, "I don’t want you to regret anything." She looked up at him. "We always knew it couldn’t last."

"No, Laura, you know that isn’t true," he said, taking ahold of her shoulders, "not anymore." He re-took her hand, and she lightly closed in on his.

This time the tears spilled over, but she just dug her fingers into his hands to whisper, "But you left me, Mr. Steele, and I’ve spent the last two years realizing I couldn’t hold you."

"Will you let me tell you what happened?"

She looked up into his eyes. "Did you love her?"

"You know I did, Laura."

"Yes," she said. "I do." She smiled sadly. "You wouldn’t be you if you didn’t." She took his hand and carefully returned it to his side.

He looked at her. He’d spent the last ten days reacquainting himself with her – the smell of her hair, the way she walked – but had never actually got what he’d missed the most: her smile, the way she threw her head back when she laughed, was something he’d never gotten used to missing.

"Can you ever forgive me, Laura?"

"Someday, Mr. Steele." She enveloped her hand in his once more, then gently turned and walked away.


End of Part 6.

To Part 7


Author’s note: Thank you for reading! Part 7 is coming soon. Please feel free to share any feedback, thoughts, suggestions or questions that should be addressed. I would love to hear anything I can add, answer or incorporate.

Back Home CaseBook E-Mail Next