The Past Steele Holts Its Danger
Part Five
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 (worth 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 5

They arrived at Harry's hotel about half an hour later and went to Daniel's room. Politely Harry knocked at the door.
Daniel opened it. He was surprised to see both Harry and Abigail but quickly hid his surprise. "Abigail, what a wonderful surprise to see you. How do you do?"
"Oh, I'm fine, just worried about Laura, you know how she is. How are you?
"Well, I'm still a little shocked by the events yesterday, but everything else is all right. Would you like to come in?
"I'd like to come, but Remington has something urgent to talk about with you," she glanced at Harry who waited patiently for them to finish their small talk, "so I'll come up when you both are finished."
"Of course, my dear." Daniel turned towards Harry and watched him with an uneasy feeling. Harry might fool Abigail but certainly not him. He could detect the hidden anger. He sighed inwardly. You didn't need to be a world class detective to know what was causing this feeling, he thought sarcastically. Either it was something about Laura or something Laura said. After the events of the other night it was a sure bet to say the latter. He prepared himself for battle. "Please come in, Harry. Do you want me to order something to drink?"
"No, thank you." Harry entered the room, and Daniel closed the door.
"But you don't mind if I order something myself." He didn't wait for an answer and went for the telephone to give his order. Harry watched him unblinkingly. Daniel pretended to ignore the unusual demeanor and asked him to sit down. "How's Laura?" he asked to bridge the time.
"She has a concussion. She's bruised, and some of her ribs are cracked, but apart from that she's fine. She told me something very interesting. You wouldn't guess what, would you?" Harry tried to keep an even tone.
"I think I can," Daniel replied. "I'll give you my point of view after my drink arrives. I don't want to be interrupted when I tell you everything."
They both waited silently for some minutes until Daniel's drink arrived. He thanked the bellhop, sipped, began to pace and then started to tell. He didn't hold back anything, didn't give just the crucial facts, he tried to explain some of his actions.
Harry remained silent during the whole monologue and observed him with a stony expression.
Daniel finally finished with the explanation about the documents and how he had gotten them. He was exhausted, but he couldn't sit down, he was way too nervous.
After some very uncomfortable moments Harry finally asked not giving away what he was thinking, "why didn't you tell me earlier?"
"I saw no reason," Daniel answered coldly - and honestly.
Harry jumped to his feet. "So! You saw no reason! Am I not reason enough? Am I your puppet?"
Daniel slowly retreated towards the back wall as Harry approached him. He knew that Harry wasn't ready for a reasonable argument. It had been a long time since he had seen Harry this mad, but then Harry had been in his teens. He wasn't sure what Harry would do now. He felt very tired - and frightened. Then he felt two strong hands grabbing his shoulders forcing him to stand still. He heard Harry asking, "Why?" He looked into the eyes of his friend, saw the anger in them, and when he didn't answer he felt himself pushed away - and then a terrible pain in his chest. He didn't notice the sound of glass shattering when he collapsed.
For some what seemed to be endless moments Harry stood still not understanding what had happened, then he saw the growing red stain on Daniel's shirt. He turned his head and saw the hole in the window. Finally he reacted. He ducked and closed the curtains of the windows. Harry went to Daniel, took his arm and searched for a pulse. He was glad when he found it, it was quite strong. He looked at the pale and pain-stricken face of his mentor. "Oh no, Daniel, no," he whispered. "I'm sorry, so sorry." He went to the phone and called the ambulance and the police. He took a blanket and returned to Daniel covering him with it. He gently dried the wet face remembering the good times he had with him. He was interrupted by two officers storming into the room.
Harry shortly explained what had happened. They went to the windows and looked at the bullet-hole. Then the paramedics arrived. They quickly scanned Daniel, and after a short discussion with Harry they decided to take him to the same hospital where Laura was, it was one of the nearest and its surgery was recommended.
Meanwhile more policemen arrived. A detective asked some more questions. Luckily for the specialists the window wasn't shattered completely, it just took them a couple of minutes to determine the most probable building, story and location where the shoot had come from, but it later proved to be a dead end. Nobody had heard or seen anything suspicious. Specialists would examine every square inch of the room, but it was more than obvious that this had been done by a professional, their only clue was the bullet, and it still had to be removed from Daniel.

Harry had been asked to stay in the hotel. He used the time to go through Daniel's belongings hoping to find some clues, but he didn't find much. He wrote down Daniel's contacts and friends he had intended to visit. Most of the names didn't ring a bell, and the ones that did were local celebrities. He later phoned Mildred and asked her to check these people and their possible involvement with Jack Miller. He advised her to be careful, he didn't want his father to become aware that someone was investigating him. Mildred was intrigued, but Harry didn't find the nerve to tell her everything he had learned from Daniel.
Mildred promised to take care of it Monday morning, and then their call was interrupted by Lieutenant Bowen of the SFPD who wanted to speak with Harry. He pointed out that there was somebody after them and he advised Harry to accept police protection, but Harry dismissed it saying the last time he accepted one, the guardian died. Nevertheless he asked for protection for Laura and Daniel. Bowen wasn't satisfied but he agreed. He knew he couldn't force him. He also wanted to know if he had an idea who was behind it. Although Harry had one - his father - he couldn't possibly tell the police about it, so he decided to deny it, saying that he had made countless enemies during his career, even some former members of the SFPD.
The Lieutenant didn't comment on this home-thrust and said that Harry was free to leave. He just wanted to be kept informed where Harry was staying.
Harry immediately went to the hospital to await the result of the surgery. Condemned to inactivity he felt desperation rise and he leaned forward, rested his head in his arms, his hands covering his face, elbows on his upper thighs. The two people he loved most had been hurt because of him. He didn't know how long he had been sitting that way when someone touched his shoulder. He looked up and was astonished to see Abigail. Reflexively he stood up and threw his arms around her and started to cry laying his head on her shoulder.
Abigail was embarrassed - and touched. She didn't feel comfortable holding a crying man in the public, but then again it had been a long time since someone had been looking for comfort in her arms. Laura had never been this way, and Frances had found someone else. Cautiously she wrapped her arms around him and patted his back.
A few minutes later Harry regained his composure. He slowly pulled away, and Abigail let go. "I'm sorry Abigail," he said feeling also embarrassed having lost control of his emotions for the second time within hours.
"It's okay," she said. What else could she say, she wondered, then her curiosity won over her courtesy. "What happened?"
"Someone was shooting at Daniel while we had an argument. We don't know who it was, but it's not too farfetched to assume that it was the same person that pushed our car from the road yesterday. We think it's a hired killer, a professional, but we don't have any clues who had hired him." Harry hated lying to Abigail, but he wasn't sure he could tell her everything. She was overly concerned about Laura, and he didn't know how Abigail would react about the revelation that Mr. Steele was a figment of her daughter's imagination. In some respects she was as unpredictable as Laura.
"How come you know that Daniel was shot and brought in here?"
"Well, I was getting bored down in the hall and went up to Daniel's room. Everything was silent, and I couldn't make up my mind to disturb you when two police officers came running out of the elevator and rushed into the room. Of course I saw Daniel lying there. I overheard everything, even your discussion with the paramedics. So I went to the hospital and waited."
"Oh, thank you. I'm sure Daniel will appreciate it."
They fell into an uncomfortable silence and sat down awaiting news of Daniel. After three more hours Daniel was rolled out of surgery and brought into ICU. They both headed for the exhausted surgeon and asked him about Daniel.
"He was very lucky. One inch or so and the bullet would have hit his heart. So it only hit one lung, and it collapsed. We removed the bullet. As far as I know the police are interested in it. He's stable, but I can't say anymore about it. He lost a lot of blood and being in his age..." He shrugged his shoulders.
"Can we see him?" Remington asked.
"Sure, but he won't wake up from anaesthetic for a couple of hours. He needs rest."
"Thank you, doctor."
They headed to the ICU where Daniel had been brought. They were only allowed for a couple of minutes, and they couldn't see much of Daniel but his very pale face.
Dissatisfied both went to their hotels.
Back there Harry asked if he could book his room for the rest of the week. The clerk wasn't too pleased about it because of the hubbub the police had caused during the afternoon, but he agreed given the promise that something similar wouldn't happen again. He also took care of Daniel's room.
Back in his room he called Mildred again to tell her about Daniel's state. Then he remembered calling Laura's neighbor who had taken care of little Nero. He informed her that she probably had to take care of the cat for some more days and he hoped that this wasn't too inconvenient. What other choice did she have but to give in. So this was also settled. He also succeeded in canceling their flights without a great amount of fuss. Due to a bomb-alarm at the airport of LA some flights going to LA had been cancelled, and now these passengers were waiting impatiently for the next possible flight.
He went down to the restaurant and ordered something to eat. He didn't pay much attention what was going on around him, but after some time he realized what was strange. Previously he didn't have to care about getting company, female company, it came without him looking for it. But now, nobody made the slightest attempt to make his acquaintance. He had to smile about this. Obviously he was well-known enough to be known that he was no longer available - even here in San Francisco.
After dinner he returned to his room and tried to focus on the last happenings. Frustrated he had to realize he couldn't think straight, so he decided to go to bed. After tossing and turning for about an hour the events of the previous days took their toll and he fell into an uncomfortable sleep.
After breakfast Harry went straight to the hospital. First he looked into Laura's room, but Abigail was already there, so he stayed only for some minutes explaining that he would look after her after an errand he had to run. He decided it was best not to tell her that someone had tried to kill Daniel. Little did he know that Abigail in her talkative manner had already delivered that message, so he was surprised when Laura told him to go and look after Daniel. He resisted the urge to ask Abigail about it. He looked at her and shook his head, then he left the room.
Daniel greeted him with a weak smile. They talked for some minutes about nothing important, but Harry made it clear that he wasn't mad at Daniel anymore. That seemed to have taken a large burden off Daniel's shoulders who appeared to relax. Soon enough he closed his eyes and started to doze off.
Harry returned to Laura and immediately felt the tension in the room. He could see the relief in Laura's face of his return, and he was sure that this time it wasn't because of her anxiety of him leaving her. He went to her and cautiously gave her a peck on her cheek.
Abigail stood up and turned to leave only to announce that she would be back in the afternoon. Seeing Laura's face Harry couldn't help but thinking that she certainly regarded this as a threat, and he had a hard time hiding his amusement. He wondered what he could do to improve the relationship between Laura and her mother. He had been grateful for Abigail's support yesterday and he thought that he owed Abigail this. Unfortunately he didn't have the slightest hint how to accomplish this.
Harry stayed for two hours. Laura said that she had to stay until Friday at least, and that her stomach still refused to take solid food, but the physicians were sure this would be over within the next two days. They had X-rayed her head again to make sure that they hadn't missed anything. Harry told her that Daniel was doing fine as far as he could see and then he told her some anecdotes of his former life just to distract her.
Shortly before the doctors' visit she became serious again. "I'm afraid."
He had been holding her hand all the time, but now he covered her with his second hand and squeezed it reassuringly.
"You know, there had been so many times we've been threatened by madmen, two times your or my home had exploded or been set-up, and I suddenly wonder if this all is worthwhile."
"Oh Laura." He sighed. "I know we've been through a lot. I think I understand what's going through your head, there were enough times I'd had similar thoughts, especially when I saw you in the wreck the other day, your face covered with blood. I'd rather not talk about it right now. The events are too fresh. We need some distance to think clearly about it. We also have to think about alternatives. Although I have no difficulty seeing you making our living by winning fortunes in Vegas, I don't think that something like this would keep us really content. And I can hardly picture you giving math lectures at school," he saw her slowly smile about this, "and as for me, I don't know what to do anyway. I certainly won't return to my former profession, and I can't see me becoming an agent of a security-system company telling people that this system is what they needed because the one they have is trash, and I show them if they want me to."
This broadened Laura's smile. She also couldn't picture him as a canvasser.
"I promise we'll talk about it later, but too much's at stake to make hurried decisions. Do you agree, Laura?"
"You're probably right," Laura agreed.
Then they were interrupted by the physicians, and Harry had to leave. But he promised to come in the afternoon.

After his return to the hotel he was told that there was a phone call from a Mildred Krebs. He was highly recommended to return this call. He looked at his watch and saw that he could be lucky and get them before their lunch.
He went to his room and dialed the number of the agency. He was greeted by the unaccustomed voice of their new employee, Irene Fowlar. He immediately asked for Mildred who must have been sitting next to their new secretary working some magic on their computer.
"Mildred, what's up?"
"Boss, I'm so sorry, but the police was here about an hour ago. It's awful, and I don't -"
"Mildred, what is it?" He could hear Mildred taking a deep breath.
"Someone placed a bomb in your condo. When your cleaning lady opened the door she was blown away. They said there wasn't enough left of her to fill a child's casket. Your condo is totally destroyed and burned out. The adjacent apartments are also damaged. Your insurance company won't like the news. It's only a year since they had to pay for renovating the condo."
"Is anyone else hurt?"
"No, not as far as I know. The police didn't mention anything. But they want to talk to you of course."
"Okay, I'll try to get a flight later this afternoon - after I've talked with Laura. She won't be too enthusiastic about it, but perhaps I'll manage to return to San Francisco during the night. I'll let you know when Fred can pick me up at the airport."
"Oh boss, how's Miss Holt?"
"She's doing fine. We hope they'll release her on Friday."
"Oh, that's great. And what about Chalmers?"
"He's stable. All they could say was that surgery was a success. Everything depends on him now. Mildred, I have to go now. I'll call you later, then we talk about your investigations. Bye."
"Bye boss."
After this call Harry tried to get a flight to LA and was lucky to get one late in the afternoon. Then he dialed the number of the precinct of his condo. He hoped to find the officer responsible for the investigation there. While he was right with his assumption that the officer was working there he was unlucky because the officer was not there at that moment. He left note that he'd probably arrive late in the afternoon.
He informed Lieutenant Bowen of the SFPD that he was heading back to LA in the afternoon, and of course he wasn't pleased about it, but he couldn't prevent Steele from going to LA.
Having made all these calls Harry went to the restaurant and ordered something light. He didn't feel hungry, but he knew that he had to eat if he wanted to get through this. He just wanted to finish his lunch when there was another call for him. He answered it immediately. It was Bowen. He informed him that the fingerprints had a match: a well-known killer who was wanted in more than 13 countries. He was known to be flexible in his methods to eliminate persons, and he didn't care if someone else was hurt or killed in his line of duty.
Lieutenant Bowen strongly recommended Steele to accept police protection, but Harry declined again saying he felt safer vanishing in a crowd than being surrounded be a hundred cops. Instead he asked Bowen to make sure that the guards of Laura and Daniel knew about the probable killer.
He returned to Laura to tell her that he had to leave for LA. She was very worried about it, asking him to be careful and he promised her he would be. After a short time Abigail arrived, and they talked - about Laura - much to her chagrin and very much to her embarrassment. Abigail told stories about Laura's escapades in her teens, and Harry listened attentively with silent amusement. Laura tried more than once to distract Abigail, but when Harry asked her if Abigail was supposed to tell him this privately while she didn't have the chance to gave her input, Laura gave in. And somehow she enjoyed the afternoon nonetheless. Finally Harry was holding one of her hands and Abigail the other one.
Harry voluntarily told some of his not so famous escapades as a boy, ones he was sure Laura didn't know about. He knew what he could expose in front of Abigail, Daniel had informed him about it during their drive - was it really only two days ago? He wanted to show Laura that he wasn't taking advantage of her disabled state. And then he asked Abigail about her adventures. Abigail turned crimson and hedged, and both Laura and Harry insisted on her telling them something about it, that it would only be fair. Very tentatively Abigail started to tell about some of her follies but soon she recovered and became bolder.
Harry almost risked his head commenting that Laura and Abigail seemed to have a lot in common, but after a heated discussion Laura had to agree. After that Harry kissed both of them and went to the airport while Abigail stayed with Laura. After a long time they felt connected - again.

To Be continued...

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