The Past Steele Holts Its Danger
Part 3
by Wolfgang Walter

Author's notes etc.
This is a sequel to "Holt with nerves of Steele". I think it can stand on its own, but it probably helps to know what happened in the predecessors.
I can't say that all ideas I used are my own ones, but who can say that anyway? We're all influenced by things we read, hear and see. But I think I can say that the way I linked these ideas are unique. I took many liberties especially on the medical sector, so if anyone thinks the whole thing is terrible wrong I'm glad to listen and willing to avoid the same mistakes if I'm ever going to write about the same thing, but I won't rewrite it now [;-)], perhaps later. I also never have been to California, so I hope my interpretation of the map was right.
Special thanks are for Susannah who patiently answered my questions as long as I was bombarding her, Nancy for her patience (worthy of an angel) and naturally for my beta reader Jacqui who probably still has to recover from this strenuous work, and those who encouraged me to write it. I also have to thank Adriana for her criticism, both positive and negative, both were constructive.
This story was never intended to be written in parts, so maybe I didn't cut them at the most appropriate places.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Remington Steele and Laura Holt. I just borrowed them for entertainment. Any resemblance to any existing person is purely coincidental.

Part 3
Laura and Harry were talking about the new situation they were facing. They had immediately understood what Daniel was offering them: an almost foolproof way to legalize Harry's status within the US. If he ever decided to become a permanent resident he could apply now without fearing that his cover would blow the moment the INS would start to dig seriously, and with the back-up of some of his acquaintances he had made during the years - politicians, members of the police and some other offices - he hoped the INS would not dig too thoroughly. If he ever applied, which wasn't too far fetched as he looked tenderly at Laura, he could only hope that his previous trouble with the IRS wouldn't turn out to be disastrous in the long run.
Suddenly Laura looked up. "You know, we have forgotten to give Daniel our little present. I will fetch it. Perhaps I should look for him. He has been away for some time. Do you know his room number?"
"Ah, no, I totally forgot to ask him about it, but if he doesn't return in say 20 minutes, we call it a day. I'm quite tired now."
Laura nodded agreement and went up to the second story. Walking swiftly to her room she rummaged in her purse and accidentally dropped her lipstick in the process. Silently swearing at her clumsiness she bent down to pick it up when she suddenly froze. Through the not properly closed door in front of her she could overhear a familiar voice hissing, "even though he is your son you have lost any claim for him the day you deserted Ruth. If you ever try something funny to make his life miserable I will make sure you will regret every remaining minute of your life - that could take a short-cut... Oh no, you had your chances. I don't buy your sudden upcoming feeling of responsibility and family sense. You didn't care at all when I found him. You even advised me to send him to hell. You have always been a bloody selfish bastard who would live on the expenses of others... You're right, I'm no angel and no Florence Nightingale, but at least I didn't destroy any lives, but I could make a start - with yours... I hope for your sake I will never have to deal with you again, and for your own sake, leave the boy alone. Even in case of my untimely demise I made sure you won't be able to get away if you should try meddling his life." Then the sound of a receiver placed angrily on its usual resting place followed.
Laura was absolutely stunned. Could this be the same person who could wrap her mother around his little finger? Charming, sometimes arrogant but also full of humor? She had to make sure. She silently opened the door. Yes, it was Daniel all right. He sat on a chair still breathing heavily, looking pale and sad. She gulped.
Daniel looked up and saw her standing there. She looked pale, her make-up couldn't hide it, and her eyes were open with shock and disbelief, but they were also emanating some of the fire that was driving her. Daniel cursed silently at Murphy for ever establishing his first law, he knew he had to explain, something he wasn't looking forward to at all. He had made preparations for Harry to get knowledge of everything he knew about his family just to make sure he could protect himself against his father, but he had hoped he could have left this matter alone until the matters between Laura and Harry really were settled. He was sure they still had some compatibility problems, it was simply impossible to clear away in weeks what they didn't accomplish in years. They were covering it with the usual enthusiasm of people newly in love and very optimistic about their future, but Daniel knew from observation that the time would come when they were confronted with their differences. Both were strong individuals, but Harry was someone who could easily give in just to avoid strong feelings - something Laura has never really learnt. This was okay for the time being, but Harry's patience wasn't infinite, and he didn't like it at all being ignored. It was okay for him to let someone he trusted take the lead - as long as he knew that he was respected. Daniel wasn't sure if Laura had learnt this lesson - if not, both would have a hard time once they found out. He didn't want to burden them with possible threats of Harry's past, a past Harry even didn't know about, but he was very sure he couldn't avoid it, not if he judged Laura right.
"You were talking about someone I know well, weren't you?" she asked quietly. Too quietly.
"Come in and close the door, please. Then make yourself comfortable," he evaded her assault. She obliged, sat down and watched him expectantly. He studied her features for some time and had to smile inwardly when he stated that she certainly wasn't Harry's "usual" type. But then, Harry's usual type had not been very reliable. But it had surprised Daniel that Harry's choice for settling down with somebody was someone like Laura. He did like Laura although he usually pretended to forget her name. He did know that she didn't trust him completely, and he didn't blame her for that, all three encounters had been almost-disasters being accompanied by a fair amount of danger. He hoped that this short visit would make an exception that would turn out to be the rule.
He watched as Laura grew more and more angry, because he didn't start to explain, her eyes almost started to blaze. He was surprised to feel a sudden attraction towards her and he started to understand what was driving Harry towards her. "Has anyone ever told you how beautiful you look when you're angry?" Laura gasped and Daniel had to smile, but before she could recover he continued, "yes, I was talking about Harry with his father, a person I wish you both will never have to deal with, because he's not very pleasant. I hope I can convince him to leave you alone." He hoped against hope that Laura would take the hint and leave it that way, but he could have hoped with the same result of success that Atlantis would start to rise at this instant.
"What does he want?"
"I don't know exactly what he's up to, but I Have known him for a very long time, and I doubt anyone will benefit from his appearance - besides he himself. He had been put out of the picture the past few years - not voluntarily, if you get my drift - but it seems that he wants to reappear on the scene. He said he wanted to *re*-establish his bond with his son," and he whispered acidly, "as if there ever had been one. He never visited the boy, never wanted to know what he was doing." Daniel fell silent, and Laura watched with concern how Daniel gritted his teeth, reliving old memories.
Laura knew that she could get many answers to questions that had troubled her, open questions that had prevented her from coming closer to Harry, or given her the excuse to pull away or keep him away, she admitted gloomily, but she was afraid of asking, afraid of opening a Pandora's box, afraid that she wouldn't like the answers, that she would start doubting Harry again, that she would give in to her own insecurities. She was honest enough to admit that she still was afraid of waking up one day to find out that he had gone because he had become bored with her. She knew it was unfair and she fought this feeling, but it managed now and then to sneak into her mind.
Laura shook her head and made up her mind. She might not like the answers, but she certainly would regret the missed opportunity of knowing the background of her partner. It might even help her to understand him better, so she asked, "Daniel, you know something's bugging me all the years since I've known you. Why did you put up with Harry? For some time I thought you might be his father, but that's ruled out now. You never seemed to be the benefactor who'd take in homeless children just for their benefit. Now I know that you know his father, but I still see no link. And don't tell me you saw his talents and possibilities. There must be dozens of youngsters roaming the streets of London with similar properties. Why him?"
"Would you have liked me to leave him there?"
"Of course not, and you know that. So don't try to distract me, you won't succeed."
"And what if I said that I saw his abilities?"
"I wouldn't buy it."
He looked at her. Harry certainly had his hands full with her. She was a challenge. He reconsidered his options, not that he had this many to choose from, then he decided to tell her the truth, not everything, but enough to make her understand.
"The truth is, he is and was something special to me, but you won't leave it that way, so let me explain some details."
With a voice that hid every emotion he started to explain to her the economic circumstances of the post-war era, his first meeting with Jack, how they became friends and how much he'd admired Jack's ability to make his living on the shady side, and how they went to Ireland when the authorities started to show interest in their illegal activities.
"Don't get me wrong, I never took law and order too seriously, but due to deprivation you had to take what you could get. It wouldn't have been hard to get a job, but wages were so low and you wouldn't get the things that made life worth living. Jack always had some quid in his pockets, and he showed me his ways. I became a con-man. Maybe you find it strange, but I only tried to con people who were worth the effort, while Jack took everything. At first this didn't bother me too much, I was happy to have a partner I could rely on.
Jack wasn't over-cautious, and after two years he asked me to accompany him to Ireland; I didn't know why he had to leave, and I never bothered to ask. One thing was clear, if he had trouble with the police they certainly would like to interview his friends, and I didn't feel too thrilled about this prospect. I had managed to keep a clean police record, and even though it might surprise you, Laura, it still is clean. You can run a check if you like - if you haven't already done one.
Also it became more and more difficult to find suitable victims of my trade, so I had reasons to join him. The Irish were not too keen on British folk coming over to them, but I managed to make some friends, you might have heard of Patrick O'Rourke, helped him on an occasion or two.
Well, while I was busy setting up to con an Irish Lord out of some of his ill-gotten money, Jack made numerous female acquaintances, Harry certainly inherited this streak from him - along with his features. One of those girls was Ruth O'Kenneth, living with her parents, grandparents and siblings under very poor conditions. We met twice, but after Jack boasted with his conquests I thought it would be much better to keep out of her way.
I was about to finish my small scheme when Jack suddenly urged me to go on. I wasn't too pleased, I was about to lose a lot of money and wanted to know why I should leave. He confessed that some of his "pastime activities" had gotten wind of their concurrence, some of them even had conceived and were threatening him with marriage or the wrath of their fathers who were not pleased at all about this circumstances. I realized that my whole coup was endangered and left together with him right away.
Some time later in London when he was terribly drunk he boasted again, mocked about the *inability of Irish girls to keep themselves out of trouble* - that's the way he used to describe becoming pregnant - *especially the poor ones*. I felt like ripping of his head, but instead of doing it I advised him to never mention it again and to keep a low profile for now. Later I avoided his company as much as I could without him noticing it. He kept his low profile and conned his living and drinking habit for a while, and he lost track of me. I made sure I could never be connected with him anymore, if there was some contact, it was initiated by me.
I asked my Irish pals about Ruth, and they confirmed my suspicion that she was pregnant. They promised to keep an eye on her as long as they would get something out of it, so I paid them. At irregular intervals I was informed about her, she had been cast off by her family and she didn't survive the labor. I felt very sorry for her." He had to pause.
Laura stated finally, "you were in love with her," crossed the distance she had kept between them and laid her hand sympathetically on his shoulder.
Daniel sighed, put his hand on hers and didn't bother to deny the obvious. "Harry has her eyes, every time he looks at me I can see her..."
He took a deep breath and continued. "The boy was christened Harold Connor O'Kenneth, but his family refused to take him in. They didn't want anything to do with the *bastard*, so he was sent to Foster homes that didn't take particular care of him. I was able follow his development until one day he ran away. I cursed that day. It was then when I started to get a hold of the boy. I simply refused to accept that the last reminder of Ruth should vanish. I managed to get hold of his papers that would enable me to take him under my responsibility. I informed Jack about the disappearing of his son, he only shrugged his shoulders.
During the years I had managed to make friends who kept their eyes open, but every time they thought they had found him it proved to be wrong. As months went by I lost hope of ever finding him, how can you expect to recognize a child at this age?
Well, one day I had to deal with someone in Brixton who was interested in an object d'art I had miraculously gotten in my hand. Walking to our meeting I stumbled over a boy and felt a hand gliding smoothly in my pocket with my wallet. I looked at the boy and was so surprised to see what seemed to be Jack's handsome features with startling blue eyes that the boy almost managed to escape, but only almost."
Laura listened with amazement to the story. Daniel told her some anecdotes of Harry's earliest escapades, how some private teachers - friends of Daniel, of course - succeeded only partly in giving him an all-round education. Harry would only pay attention when he was interested in something. Laura recognized this trait immediately. She looked at her watch and gasped. She and Daniel had been talking for almost an hour, Harry would be very worried. So they broke this very informative talk, but before they left the room, Daniel asked her, "what will you tell him?"
Laura was at a loss. She hated it, but she replied at the end, "I don't know. I have to think things over. It would be best if you told him the truth, about everything." Then another thought struck her. "Why did you insist on making him Duke of Rutherford?"
"After all he went through I thought he deserved it . Wouldn't you have liked to become duchess of Rutherford?"
"And calling him *Your Grace* and curtsey all the time? Not in your life," she snorted.
"You would have gotten used to it," Daniel replied amiably. "Shall we?" He offered her his arm.
Laura counted slowly to ten in her mind. 'Now I know the source of his arrogance,' she thought sourly. "What was this thing about the Earl of Claridge? I thought Harry had made it quite clear that he didn't want to con anymore."
"You know, my dear, Harry was so desperately trying to show you his commitment to you, and after your insistence of knowing his name, what would have been more appropriate than to present you one he could be proud of? Then there was the bonus of a little family heirloom worth some million pounds. I don't think that this is a reason to despise it. Adding to the fact that even you would have bought it had made it almost perfect. Unfortunately the Earl remembered the color of his son's eyes. That was really a pity. But enough now of the small-talk, let's don't keep Harry waiting any longer."
All Laura could do was comply. They found Harry still engrossed in his fictional life description. "It took you quite some time," he commented dryly.
"Actually, we had a heart-to-heart talk and took the chance to get to know each other better, and we lost track of time. I hope you could spend your time well," Daniel explained. "But it's really late now, and we have to leave tomorrow at half past nine."
After settling their affairs they all went to their rooms.
Laura felt tired and was therefore hardly able to focus her thoughts although she wanted badly to reflect about the news Daniel had given her. Harry was gently stroking her head with one hand while he held her close to him, and this was in no way helping her ability to concentrate which made her rather irritable. It was quite an effort not to yell at him to leave her alone although she knew it would be more than unfair. And usually she enjoyed his caressing, it was frequently the start to a prelude that she, under normal circumstances, was eager to participate in, but not now, not tonight. Mercifully Harry seemed to get her hint by paying no attention when he slowly ceased his ministrations, but suddenly she felt herself rolled on her front and in the next moment Harry was sitting on her lower back. She started slowly counting up to twenty just to avoid yelling at him to ask what he was thinking when she could feel his hands wander under the top of her pajama and making their way up to her shoulders pulling the top with them. She thought that enough was enough when he started to massage her shoulders - and a stinging pain run through her head. A moan escaped her lips, she was so tired that she hadn't even realized her headache. After some uncomfortable minutes the pain started to cease and she felt her shoulders starting to relax. Simultaneously she found it much easier to focus now. After a few more minutes she even started to enjoy the unexpected nursing although it still diverted her attention from the problem running through her head.
After a while he paused. "Thank you," she said, "I think I needed that."
"You're welcome," he replied softly. His hands slid down at her sides and wormed their way around until they covered her breasts.
Harry laid himself down, almost on top of her, then he rolled on his side taking her with him. When he started to knead her breasts he felt her hands moving his' to stop teasing her.
"Don't, please," she begged almost inaudibly. Instantly he let go, his hands rested on her belly. She started to explain herself, "you, see it's been a long day and -"
"Sh, sh, sh, Laura," he interrupted her, "don't start to explain yourself. If you're not in the mood, you're not in the mood. As long as it doesn't become a permanent state..."
After some moments she asked him, "hold me tight, please."
He strengthened his grip, leaned closer and buried his face in her hair, inhaling the scent of her shampoo. "With pleasure," he answered her request.
She held his hands, still unable to focus completely her thoughts on the task she had set herself. She finally decided that all she could do was to ask Mildred check Daniel's information, but this had to wait 'til Monday. What concerned her much more was what she was going to tell Harry about it. She didn't want to ruin his relationship with Daniel by painting him in the wrong light - not after all he had done for Harry - but she had to tell Harry something, she didn't want to start keeping secrets from him, not after she had always accused him being a mystery-monger.
Harry's grip loosened, his breath and his heartbeat slowed down as he dozed of. Laura could feel it while she fought in vain to keep awake to come to a solution about her dilemma. Her exhausted body demanded its right, and finally their heartbeats were beating in synch. Laura had lost the battle.
The next morning she woke up when somebody was planting soft kisses on her neck and a hand circled softly on her belly. "This feels too good, I still must be dreaming," she mumbled sleepily, keeping her eyes closed.
"Too bad," she heard a familiar voice near her ear, and the kissing stopped. "In that case I have to carry you in the shower. We have about 50 minutes until we have breakfast with Daniel. I know you'd hate to appear not properly washed, so let's go."
When she refused to stir he stopped caressing her abdomen and moved his arm under her upper thighs to make his threat come true. The moment he lifted her she realized he was serious and squealed with surprise, and he thought to hear delight in it also.
"If you had any fancy ideas about the shower, forget them!" she ordered him. "You're absolutely right that I don't like it being not being properly washed. And so I won't have any time to spare attending to you."
Don't worry about that, I will personally take care that you will be cleaned from head to toe." Merriment was dancing in his eyes and a sly grin appeared on his face with that reply.
"I bet you do," Laura snorted and hit him playfully on the shoulder. Would you grant me the chance to get out of these pajamas and into a bath-robe - please?" she asked him.
He let her get to her feet and took the opportunity for what he called a good-morning-kiss. "Meet you in the shower," he only commented when he reluctantly let her go.
They barely made it in time to breakfast. During Laura's purification procedure they had some disagreements about spots they had to give extra attention to, so their timetable was delayed. They made it short for breakfast, and soon they were heading for the car Daniel had rented during his stay in San Francisco, a Mercedes. Daniel handed her the keys and said, "would you be so kind and drive? I'm not growing any younger, and the last time I tried to adjust driving on the right side on the motorway between London and Coventry I found it much too strenuous." When he saw their flabbergasted faces he couldn't help and laughed out loud.
To Be continued...

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