The Past Steele Holts Its Danger
Part Six
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 6

Fred drove Harry to the PD. There Harry met officer Parker who was in charge of the arson. The labs were still busy so he didn't have any clues. Harry didn't tell Parker any more than he had told Lieutenant Bowen. Both Harry and Parker later considered their conversation as a waste of time. After almost an hour Harry could finally leave the department.
Afterwards he headed for the agency where only Mildred was still doing her work. She fussed around him in her usual way but later had to admit that she hadn't found any connection between Jack Miller and Daniel's contacts. She added dryly it was only a matter of days, the printer had been busy all day. As if on cue, the printer started to rattle again spilling out several pages of information. They both worked more than three more hours through the sea of papers until they intended to call it a day. So Mildred was very surprised when Harry took his night-work outfit out of the bathroom. "Boss, what's up?"
"I have the feeling that my condo wasn't the only place where someone left an unpleasant - or better deadly - surprise," he replied. "I'm going to check Laura's loft, and this outfit is more suitable to avoid any attention - in case it's still being watched."
"Do you want me to accompany you, boss?" Mildred asked eagerly.
"No, Mildred, just drop me at my condo, will you? Thankfully I've got the keys of Laura's Rabbit. I'm sorry, Mildred," he cut her short when she started to protest, "but I don't think you could be of any help tonight. And someone must be fresh tomorrow morning. If I'm right this will be a long night for me."
So Mildred dropped him at his condo but didn't have any intention of being kept out of the excitement. She drove near the loft and parked her car in the dark where Harry wouldn't notice it. Then she waited.
Harry took a look at both cars. He inspected the Auburn thoroughly and sure enough someone had tampered with the wires of the brakes. This car was unusable. The Rabbit was another case, there was a fine cut in the hose of the brakes, but there were only sparse signs of oil dripping. He mended the hose provisionally with gummed tape. He hoped that this would suffice. Then he searched for other surprises left in the car and was glad he didn't find any more.
He cursed as he looked at his wrist watch, 1am. The inspection had lasted more than one and a half hours. He drove to the loft missing indeed Mildred's car. He stopped the car in the shadows and glided silently to the entrance door. Up on Laura's story he took a careful look at the door with the beam of his torch. He couldn't detect anything, but that didn't mean anything. He went to the roof and cautiously descended the fire-escape until he was in front of Laura's room. A quick inspection of the windows also showed no sign of a forced entry, but something caught his eye: there was a wire where he was sure shouldn't be one. He took out his torch again. The streetlights were too weak for a closer examination. He detected the setup of several mechanisms to exploding devices, all well hidden, but his trained eye still found them. All windows but one were tapped. He knew he had to go in so he sighed and opened this window that was very narrow. He wriggled through silently wishing he had Laura's delicate figure. Finally he could roll into the loft. He went to the door and defused the mechanism there carefully, still wearing gloves. Then he opened the door and went to the nearest phone. He informed the police of his discovery and returned to the loft awaiting the law enforcement officers.
He didn't have to wait long. Luckily they weren't stirring up the whole neighborhood with their sirens. An officer of a special unit took a brief look at the devices and decided to evacuate the building. It seemed to be a piece of a cake, but it was better to be safe than sorry... He was also determined to lecture Mr. Steele about taking chances like this; one wrong move and he would have shared the fate of his cleaning woman. Those dicks! Once they had their license they thought they knew everything and could take the law in their own hands. Although he grudgingly admitted that Steele had disarmed the baby properly, still the thought of it...
A totally over-tired Parker arrived and lectured Steele himself about destroying evidence and meddling into the police's work. Steele only replied that he hadn't touched anything but the mechanism of the door, so there was plenty of evidence to look through. Then they kept an icy silence until everything was defused and tucked into the armored van. The inhabitants could return into the building, addressing Steele with some pleasantries he didn't bother to return. The whole uproar had taken about one hour, and he could understand them.
Together with officer Parker he entered the loft. Now several policemen were dusting for fingerprints. Harry asked Parker to take some private items for Laura and himself, but Parker denied the request. This had to wait until they were finished.
Annoyed Harry left the scene and returned to the agency where he would spend the rest of the night on the sofa. He ignored the reporters who wanted to know everything.

Mildred awoke with a start. Suddenly the street was humming with voices, and many cars arrived. She looked at the watch. 2 o'clock! She had been sleeping for more than two hours. She exited her car and watched curiously at the building where her employer lived. No fire. She looked around and saw Mr. Steele standing next to another man, both out of reach of nosy reporters.
She sighed. So the fun was over.
After the explosive devices had been transported away she finally headed home. The boss had been right, this whole affair hadn't been worth the lack of sleep she was going to face because of it.

Irene Fowlar was very surprised to find her employer sleeping on the sofa. She knew of the events of the night, the TV had been full of it, but she had assumed he would sleep in a hotel. She tried not to disturb him returning to the reception and taking care of the printouts. They soon had to replace the paper, and it was still printing now and then.
She began arranging the printouts to make it easier for Mr. Steele and Ms Krebs to file them. She also made some coffee and tea for herself. Soon enough the telephone began to ring. For about an hour she was busy with clients who cancelled their appointments due to the events of the previous day and night. She felt helpless. She didn't know what to do but accept the cancellations. If only Ms. Krebs were here...
Half an hour later Mildred arrived. She wasn't in her best mood after the short night, and an obviously overtaxed Irene wasn't the least bit suitable to cheer her up. Not that Mildred could blame her. She was glad that the coffee was ready.
After downing two cups she decided it was time for the boss to wake up and to get some work done. They were working for two hours before Harry decided to call Parker and ask if he was able to take some things out of the loft. Parker agreed and told him that he had talked with Lt. Bowen. He also urged Steele to accept police protection personally, he was even thinking of protective custody, but that wouldn't be his concern for much longer, because of the importance of the case, he had to transfer it to someone way up higher. Steele wanted to know about the lab results, but they weren't finished yet. Parker could tell him something interesting though; because of the removed bullet the weapon could be identified - and was linked to their assassin, a Frenchman called Jacques Dupont. Incidentally Harry mentioned that both the Auburn and Volkswagen had been tampered with, and Parker almost went into a fit about the restrained information until he realized that this was no longer of his concern. He promised to tow in both cars and make the experts looking thoroughly through them, then he hung up.
After this Harry booked a flight in the early afternoon, then he went to the loft and packed some things he thought he might need during the week. He ordered some pizza to the agency and returned to it.
He informed Parker that he was flying to San Francisco, open return. Mildred told him that Monroe and an almost hysterical Francis had called. First he called Francis and calmed her down, then he phoned Monroe who wanted to know if he was able to help him in any way. Harry asked him to keep a sharp eye on the loft, he didn't want to see it blow up, too.

The short flight was uneventful. After Harry got his luggage he went to the hospital - with a small detour to a shop he knew to buy some chocolate for Laura. If this was the only way to keep Laura by strength he mused evilly he certainly would exploit her weaknesses.
At the hospital he went to Laura's room and was satisfied to see that the cop who had to guard Laura took his duty seriously. After showing his passport he was allowed to enter. He was greeted by Abigail and Laura who had obviously chatted the time away. Abigail left immediately afterwards granting them some private time.
Laura asked with raised eyebrows, "what are you going to do with the suitcase?"
"I know we haven't talked about it, but I thought it was a good idea to bring something along for you to change. We can't exclude the possibility that our hitman's trying to force you to refurnish your loft the same way he succeeded with my condo, and this time there wouldn't be much left I could lend you."
"Oh, I hadn't thought of that."
"There's nothing to be sorry about, you have other things on your mind. By the way, how's your head?" he asked placing Laura's belongings into the wardrobe.
"Still aching from time to time. They told me that it's going to stay this way for some time. How was LA?"
"Uneventful and fruitless. The money I spend on the flights I could have used to buy you some things to change. And the time at the agency was also lost, we didn't come up with anything new. I will phone Mildred tomorrow. She still had to go through some files when I left her. I intend to fly back to LA tomorrow evening and help her go through these things again on Thursday morning - and to talk to the police there personally. But if you do mind I'll stay of course, trying to arrange everything from here."
"Oh, I think it's okay," she replied. She watched him closing the wardrobe and pick up a box.
"What about your stomach?" he asked taking her by surprise while he went to her.
"Oh, I was able to take down some thin soup and keep it there." She shuddered at the thought of it. The culinary skills of the hospital's kitchen staff certainly were no match for Harry's though they were better than those of other hospitals she had had the misfortune to encounter. "They said if I keep it down we'll try solid food tomorrow," she rolled her eyes, "god only knows what they mean by solid food, certainly no canard au vin rouge."
"Well, Laura, if you want me to I can ask them to cook personally for you."
"You would, wouldn't you?" she stated eyeing the small box he was holding in his hands.
"Anything for my little woman."
Laura totally missed the soft twinkling of his eyes. "I'm nobody's little woman!" she hissed. "Don't call me that ever again!" She winced when her head started to throb painfully.
Harry laid the box beside him and took her hand squeezing it gently but still in teasing mood. "Laura, you know you're supposed to not get excited. I think we should move the discussion about it until you feel better."
She could only dagger-stare him, but even that provoked pain moving through her head like hot needles piercing. She closed her eyes and started to breathe deeply. She felt his free hand moving behind her head and starting to caress it. She heard him apologizing in a low voice, "I'm sorry, Laura. I didn't mean to hurt you, I wasn't serious, but I'm glad you're the old Laura I fell in love with."
OLD??? That certainly deserved a payback. She managed to reestablish her patented in-need-of-a-gun-license stare and asked, "old? That's what you think I am?"
Luckily for her he immediately tried to soothe her afraid of having her annoyed again. She wouldn't have known how to continue anyway. "Laura, of course you're not old. It's just a figure of speech..." He saw the corners of her mouth twitch and realized that she was pulling his leg this time. He heaved a sigh of relief which caused Laura to snicker. He stopped caressing Laura's head and took the box. "You know, darling, I thought you might be starving, so I bought some chocolate for you."
Laura's eyes grew wide and her nose wrinkled when she was able to make out the tantalizing smell of the expensive content of the box. "Cho- cho-" she gulped after her mouth started to water. "You are evil," she complained. "You know very well that I'm not supposed to take any solid food." Her jaw dropped when he took one piece.
"You know, Laura, they're advertising that it's melting in the mouth, and I think it stays fluid all the time, so we can't call it solid, can we? But I'm going to prove it," he announced nonchalantly, then the piece disappeared into his mouth. Laura let out an exasperated gasp when he managed to mumble, "delicioush! Shish tashtsh wonderful."
He let go of her hand, took a small piece and put it into her still open mouth.
Laura closed her eyes, the expression of her face became dreamy. After a minute he cupped her face with both hands, leaned over and kissed. After they parted they looked at each other and grinned.
"You should take a look at yourself: you have a moustache of chocolate," Laura giggled, "not to mention the smears on and around your lips."
"Do you think you look any better?" he retorted." He watched how her tongue tried to erase any evidence of this *sweet* kiss, copying her action meanwhile. The places she couldn't reach he generously offered to clean himself and tried it by kissing her all over - what only impaired the effect. When he finally looked at her he couldn't suppress a grin.
"What is it?" Laura asked, then it dawned to her. Her index-finger touched one of the spots Harry had kissed and scratched it lightly. She looked at it critically - sure enough there were brown spots - then again at Harry.
He was still grinning, then he said, "fortunately for you I don't have a camera. You don't know what a lovely picture you make."
"Fortunately for you you don't have the chance of making one," she replied warlikely. She watched as he went to the bathroom while she still enjoyed the taste in her mouth. She could hear the sound of running water.
When he returned his face was clean. He also carried some wet cloths. After eliminating any signs of chocolate on her face and getting rid of the dirty cloths he very cautiously embraced Laura. She returned the gesture. He whispered softly, "I missed you." She tightened her grip slightly and responded, "me too."
For some time they simply enjoyed the feeling of being close together, then they let go of each other. A look at the watch confirmed that there were only five minutes left of visiting hour.
He sighed and said, "I hate to leave you, but I have to go anyway. I'll take a short look in on Daniel, I don't know how he's doing."
She nodded in understanding and asked him to hide the chocolate in the wardrobe. "It would be a pity if the nurses found it and decided and it was a waste to leave it here," she said. "Hopefully I am allowed to eat some of it tomorrow."
He complied and threw her a kiss which she returned instantly. Then Harry took the suitcase and left the room. He went to Daniel's room and was stopped by the cop who had to safeguard him. Remington identified himself and was allowed to enter.
Daniel was fast asleep, so he left for the hotel to enjoy a meal, an extended bath and a long refreshing sleep.

To Be continued...

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