The Past Steele Holts Its Danger
Part Seven
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.

After a restful night for a change and a short breakfast he phoned Mildred just to learn that she had nothing found yet. He informed her that he would return that evening and that he would be grateful if she left all of what she had about this case on his desk. He promised her to give Laura her regards and told Mildred that Laura was doing fine, she even managed to swallow some chocolate. Mildred only replied that this was a big surprise, then she graced herself asking about Daniel. Harry couldn't tell her much, then he asked about the investigations of the local police department. Now it was her turn to tell that there was no news, and soon they hung up.
After booking the flight Harry went to the hospital. He waited until the doctor finished his visit on Daniel, but there were no news: Daniel was stable, but it would take its time for recovery, but there was hope as long as there wouldn't be any complications like infection... He peeped shortly in just to see that Daniel was fast asleep.
He went over to Laura's room and was allowed to enter after he identified himself to the new cop.
Laura looked bored to death until he walked in. Her expression immediately brightened up.
They chatted for about half an hour until Abigail arrived. Harry was glad to see that Laura didn't become as formal as she used to when her mother was gracing her with her presence. It still took her some time to relax, but it certainly was a great improvement compared with earlier occasions. He asked Laura if she was up to talking about their wedding and their preparation. He had decided to take a more active part in this, relieving Laura most of the pressure. And of course there was the ulterior motive that Abigail might not be this pushy with Laura in her disabled state. To his immense surprise Abigail hardly argued, and when she did she certainly had her points. And if Laura disagreed he pointed that right out.
When Laura didn't know what more to discuss, Abigail started to ask her about many things. It became obvious that Abigail must have planned out every detail of the wedding thoroughly the way she handled the issue. If Harry had been surprised at what things Laura had thought about, it certainly was nothing compared with what Abigail came up with.
After an additional hour Laura grew tired. When she found herself for the third time not paying attention to what her mother told her, she asked them for a break. She reasoned that it probably was the solid food she was allowed to eat this morning that took its toll.
Abigail decided that it was time for her to leave while Harry stayed with Laura holding her hand. After a short time she dozed of. He took the opportunity to study her. The bandage around her head had been removed and revealed the stitches on Laura's forehead. He hoped not for his sake but Laura's that there would be no visible scars left. Laura would rather die than admit she was vain, he mused, but he also thought that there was nothing wrong with a healthy amount of vanity.
His free hand cupped her cheek, his thumb slightly stroking it. She moaned and moved her head, then she stayed put. He went on with his ministrations for some minutes, then he removed his hand, leaned over and kissed her softly on the cold tip of her nose. Not letting go of her hand he managed to pull out the paper and started to read it. Soon he found an article about the bomb-alarm at Laura's loft. It was a great deal larger than he had expected it, and while the news of it were really meager there were also passages concerning the previous mishaps that they had encountered. He wrinkled his forehead; he certainly could renounce this kind of publicity. Mildred had told him yesterday that they were not awaiting any new clients, and that business started to run very slow. While this was not entirely bad news - they could concentrate on bringing down the hit-man and the one who ordered his services - it could mean that they would need time to recover totally.
After some time he felt Laura's hand tightening. He looked up and saw that she was awake.
"So you grew tired of watching me?" she asked only half-seriously.
"Of course not, but I thought If I was constantly staring at you you might find it impossible to rest," he answered with his crooked smile. "I hope you don't mind me using your blanket for the papers."
"If you are always this considerate I surely will feel like an invalid," she returned. "By the way, could you leave this paper here when you leave? You don't know how boring it becomes if you are here left alone."
"Sure, I'll leave the part I'm through with."
Laura raised her eyebrows. It wasn't like him to not grant her something trivial like this. "I asked for the whole paper, or is it sold out? You surely can find another issue of it."
Harry sighed. He had hoped to avoid telling her that there had been a bomb in her loft and that it was him who had started to defuse it, but now there was no way he could sneak out of it without making Laura suspicious and reserved again. "There is some news you might find rather... disturbing," he hedged. "I'd prefer to tell you when I think you are in a better shape to hear it."
"Now you're really making me feel like an invalid. Spill it!" she ordered in a calm voice.
He rolled his eyes. "There was a bomb in your loft. I was able to inform the police to take care of it. And both our cars had been manipulated. They should be in a garage now though."
Laura closed her eyes and breathed heavily. When she opened her eyes again they were blazing. "Did you really think I would have a made a fuss about it?" She winced and her hands - free of any IVs by now - reflexively went to her head.
"See?" Harry immediately tried to distract her. "I just wanted to avoid giving you a headache."
"I've got a headache because I'm angry with you, not because of the news!" She fumed. "You said that the police took care of the bomb. You also said that the cars are in a garage. There is nothing to worry about, see?" When he didn't immediately respond, she became suspicious. "Or is there something else? Did you have an accident? No, not the way you look." She fell silent for a moment watching how he shifted uncomfortably. "I don't have any reason to suddenly think of an insurance scam a year ago, do I?" When Harry found it much more interesting watching his hands fidgeting, Laura closed her eyes and counted silently to ten ignoring her throbbing head. "Don't tell me you entered the loft and defused it on your own."
"I don't have to." He tried to lighten her mood. "You almost figured it out, I didn't defuse it completely, just enough to open the door and make it easier for the police to enter."
"That was crazy! One wrong move and -"
"Laura!" Harry almost yelled, his exasperation obvious, but he moderated the volume of his voice when he saw her wincing again. "Laura, give me some credit for knowing what I am doing. If this bomb would have been beyond my abilities I would have left it alone. Or do you think I want to commit suicide?"
Her shoulders dropped as she tried to relax, her hands clenched to fists, her eyes closed. She felt desperation rise. Why did they always have to fight? Would it be like this all the time? Couldn't he see that she cared about him, that she didn't want him to take risks? She felt him taking her left hand and how he gently tried to open it. With some effort she managed to relax her hands. When he started to plant soft kisses on the palm she opened her eyes and looked at him just to find his compelling blue eyes gazing at her with concern. She didn't know what to say or do. She just wanted to leave everything behind except Harry, wanted to get rid of those damned headaches and this awful bandage around her chest, wanted to eat and drink what she liked - preferably tons of this wonderful chocolate he had bought for her - wanted simply to relax and forget everything that was going on around her. Inwardly she shook her head. There had been a time when Harry had accused her of not being able to relax. They had gone a long way from there. Had it really only been some days ago that she had considered giving up the agency? She wasn't sure she liked this evolution. She felt scared, afraid that she was losing her identity, that now was happening what she always had feared. Did Harry like the way she changed or would he be disappointed and leave her?
Two strong hands were cupping her face after they had let go of her hand, carefully stroking away the tears she was crying. "Laura?" Two syllables, but they expressed so much love and concern. She refocused her eyes on Harry who was leaning over her, his eyes full of anxiety. She threw her arms around him, buried her head on his shoulder and started to sob while his hands reflexively went around her not daring to hold her too tight because of her injuries.
Then he supported her head with one hand, the other one started to stroke her back up and down. Only audible for her he whispered, "it's all right, Laura, everything's gonna be okay." After repeating that for several times Harry started to plant kisses on the top of her head and his hand started to caress the back of her head. All those familiar ministrations helped her to calm down and her sobs subsided.
They both ignored the announcement that visiting hours were over. They also ignored the nurse who was looking at them disapprovingly when she entered the room to make sure that all visitors had left.
Only when someone cleared his throat they finally and reluctantly let go. Harry managed to suppress a moan when his tortured back painfully protested to move. They looked at one of the doctors who was smiling amiably. "I'm sorry, but visiting hours are over for now."
Harry nodded understanding, then turned to Laura. "You're sure you don't mind too much me leaving in the afternoon?"
"Yes, go. Perhaps you will find something that Mildred had missed. The sooner this thing is over, the sooner everything will return to normal."
"It's settled then. Before I leave I will pay you another visit. Behave yourself and have a good appetite. I want to take you home on Friday, so don't mess up, okay?"
"Okay. Bye."
"Bye." Then he left the room to find a nearby restaurant.
After packing his bag Harry returned to the hospital. First he went to see if Daniel was awake. Luckily Daniel could use some company. He was still weak and so Harry just told him the essential facts, that someone had deposited some dangerous surprises in their homes and their cars.
Daniel was glad to hear that nothing had happened to Harry, but he was sorry for his cleaning woman. Naturally he hadn't heard of the hitman so he wasn't any help in this regard. He tired quickly so Harry left him after ten minutes to spend another hour or so with Laura. Abigail wasn't there yet, but was expected soon. When he asked her about lunch Laura only rolled her eyes.
"Even my spaghetti is more edible than the food they brought me," she commented.
Harry wisely withheld any comment and asked her if she wanted some chocolate, but she declined saying it had been difficult enough getting down lunch and that she wasn't sure she could keep down some chocolate.
Harry smiled politely but could see that something was keeping her preoccupied. "Okay, Laura, what is it?"
"I don't know what you mean." She avoided his gaze.
He put his hand under her chin and turned her face in his direction. When Laura gave up avoiding eye-contact he chided softly, "Laura, I think I know you long enough to see when something's working in you. And I think we agreed to be honest with each other."
Laura remained silent for some moments, then she pressed her lips together and took an angry breath. "After your leaving the doctor talked with me. He finally suggested that I should see a psychologist. Naturally I declined."
"Of course you did," was his only response.
"What other choice did I have? Can you imagine what people will think if they learn that the PI they hired needs counseling?" Her eyes rolled at the mere thought of the possible thoughts that might go through their potential clients, then she looked straight at Harry again, somehow looking afraid. "Or do you think I need therapy?" she asked in a small voice.
Harry moaned inwardly. 'That had to come,' he thought. He took her hand and answered, "Laura, what I think in this matter is not important because it's your personal decision. I'm no expert in this matter so I can't say anything about it, even if I wanted to. What I can say is that I will support any decision you make, but if you want my personal opinion, if I were you I wouldn't decline the thought of it just because it's bad for business. If you think it might help you then it wouldn't be sensible to reject it. But as I said, it's you who has to decide. It wouldn't do you any good to go there just because you think I want you to. You have to be convinced that it works, not me. All I can do and want to do is support you, I don't -"
A soft knocking interrupted them, then the door opened and Abigail entered.
Harry swore inwardly. He knew this was very important for Laura and he hoped that he had made it clear to her that he wasn't expecting anything from her, but he also knew that Laura would never forgive him if they continued to talk about this topic in presence of her mother. Their relationship might have improved, but Laura still didn't want her mother to know every little detail of her life, and Harry didn't dare to think about any possible comment of Abigail concerning psychological counseling. She was very conservative and probably of the opinion that nobody needed something like that. Not that he liked the thought either, but he wondered whether it might have been good for both Laura and Abigail if Abigail had sought professional advice after the leaving of Laura's father instead of handling it all by herself. But that was history and he had to deal with the results.
They greeted her and then they chatted until Harry had to leave for the airport.
Harry went straight to the agency and was glad to see that Mildred was still there. She brought him up-to-date telling him that she hadn't found any clues in the files that arrived and that Lt. Gomez was in charge of the arson's investigation by now. Harry decided to call him and he was told that they might be on to something, but it was too soon to tell. "In other words, no comment!" he rambled. Then he asked about the cars but was told that they still were not available. Perhaps Friday, but more probable after the weekend.
He asked Mildred bluntly if it mattered if they closed the agency for the duration of this crisis, but apparently some clients trusted them enough to keep the agency afloat. At least it would help pay the bills, so they luckily wouldn't need too much red ink. God knows where Laura stored it.
Mildred asked him if he needed her, but he sent her home. She should concentrate on the other cases to make sure that the agency would maintain her fame as being dependable. She offered to take him anywhere he wanted to and he accepted a ride to the loft. Lt. Gomez had been kind enough to allow him to use it.
After depositing Daniel's valuable documents in the safe and packing all files in a briefcase they closed the agency.
Back in the loft Harry sighed about the sight. The police had been thorough indeed, unfortunately they had lacked the same efficiency in cleaning afterwards. He looked in the fridge and had to throw away half of its contents. There was barely enough left to make something that earned the name meal.
He was cleaning for about half an hour when the telephone rang. Cautiously he took the receiver and said hello. He was relieved to learn that it was Monroe. He invited himself over and asked if he had to bring something along. Harry gave him a list and Monroe sighed because of its length but promised to take care of it.
About an hour later he arrived and insisted on cooking while Mick was supposed to relax. He went through the files until dinner was ready. During dinner they talked about old times. After they both had taken care of the dishes they said their good-byes with Monroe promising that his men would keep a watchful eye on the loft.
Harry laid on the back in the bed feeling exhausted after searching for a connection between Daniel's acquaintances and the recent events for hours. It was way past midnight and he was convinced by now that it had been a bad idea to go through this files in the loft. The faint smell of Laura's perfume had distracted him several times and had reminded him painfully that nothing could be taken for granted, but it also had strengthened his determination to track down the hitman.
He looked at the pile of papers on his right side, the side he managed to go through. He tiredly rubbed his eyes and decided to go only through one more file. He briefly filed the life-dates, nothing unusual. 'Business relations? Hm, gambling seemed to be the business of... ah, yes, Kevin Hamilton. Some Vegas connections... a Hoskins in London, Grimaldis in... Monte Carlo?' Harry whistled softly, then paused. 'What was this - Hoskins? London? No, Mildred would certainly have stumbled over this right away if this was *their* Hoskins, simply because it was the case when she and Daniel met for the first time.'
He went on when he had the feeling that something was wrong, something about his logic. Then it hit him! There hadn't been a Mildred at that time. She may have known something about Hoskins, but that was no guarantee. Mildred had been interested in previous cases, but this might be one of those Laura had decided to not make too public - because of the unusual methods they had used in that one. Hoskins had assumed that Murphy was Mr. Steele and Harry had played the role of Johnny Todd. Laura had played the treacherous and selfish associate of Mr. Steele. Hoskins had wanted to relieve Daniel of some of his ill-gotten money and had made it no secret that he was quite pleased when he had thought that Daniel was dead. He'd said it had been worth the additional 50,000$ he'd lost during this charade. He was in prison now, a convicted murderer. How much would he pay to take revenge? Was it possible that he knew of the real events? It probably hadn't been too hard for him to figure out that Laura had betrayed him, the gun he had given her had been used as evidence against him. Later there had been pictures of the "real" Remington Steele in international papers, so he probably knew that he had been conned. Then there was the obvious resemblance between Johnny Todd and Remington Steele. It made sense. It was a long shot, but it made sense, much more sense than his father hunting down all of them. 'Why should my father try to kill me if he hadn't cared for me all the previous time? And if he wanted to gain something out of me it also made no sense killing me. So Laura had been wrong.' He smiled at the thought. 'At least this time she has a very good excuse: her concussion.'
At least they had a new angle. Maybe they could start some investigation with Mr. Hamilton. All that could happen was that they came to another dead-end. Relieved he placed the papers beside the bed and switched off the light.
After breakfast Fred drove him to the agency. Irene and Mildred were already there. Mildred realized that Steele had found some of his usual spirit, so she asked him what was up. He told her that he might have a clue, but he first wanted to confirm some things before he would raise her hopes, after all it was possible that he was only imagining things.
His first attempt to contact Hamilton was a complete failure, but he was told to try it again two hours later.
Then he tried to retrieve the case-file concerning Hoskins, but half an hour later he went to Mildred feeling very frustrated. He asked her if she knew anything about the whereabouts of the files of the first half-year of '83.
Mildred took him to Murphy's former office that was supposed to become Mildred's new office when they had decided where to store all those files. They soon found the files, but they were not in order so they had to search for the right one.
Harry used the time to tell Mildred about his suspicions. They soon found the file, but it wasn't very conclusive, and it told Harry nothing new. He asked Mildred to get copies of the court case of Hoskins, after all the trial had been public, so it shouldn't be too hard.
He decided it was time to get to know Irene better, so he chatted with her some time away. They were interrupted by the phone. Lt. Gomez told him that they had traced down Dupont, but the bird had flown. He had left some interesting items though. If Mr. Steele could take a look...
Harry agreed to come over immediately. He looked at the watch and succeeded in getting Mr. Hamilton on the line although the two hours hadn't been over. He confirmed that a British acquaintance had asked him about Daniel and Mr. Steele. Yes, it was possible that his acquaintance was a friend of Mr. Hoskins. He himself had cut every contact to Hoskins after he was tried. He told him the name of his acquaintance - Sam Cutter - and the date when they had talked about Chalmers and Harry. He was very sorry if he was the cause of the inconveniences Harry, Daniel and Laura had to face. Harry thanked him and hung up.
He asked Mildred to check if a Sam Cutter had recently visited Hoskins in prison. Then he went to see Lt. Gomez.
They talked for an hour or so. Harry told him truthfully about his suspicion, and Gomez said he would investigate it. When Remington asked him how they had found the hiding-hole Gomez told him it was because of the devices. They had been able to trace them back. He then complained about the shortages of money which made it difficult to make all lab examinations in short time. That was the reason the cars weren't ready yet. They still hoped to find something in them, but they weren't top priority.
Together they went through the police' findings, but they weren't able to make any use of them. Gomez' only hope was that someone had seen something unusual, but the neighborhood where Dupont had been hiding was top in crime rate so people usually turned to close their eyes and ears to matters that were none of their business.
Harry returned to the agency where Mildred greeted him. She could confirm that Cutter had been visiting Hoskins several times in the required period, but she hadn't yet gotten access to the trial records, obviously there were some bureaucratic hurdles to jump. Harry immediately delivered this information to Gomez via phone. Gomez in return could tell him that the British colleagues were working on Cutter and Hoskins while he had asked the French to give him access of anything they had about Dupont.
Harry hoped that the official channels would work properly. He was tired of commuting between LA and Frisco, and he was also tired of watching his back. Once more he booked a flight and hoped that it would be the last for a longer period of time, preferably until their honeymoon. That reminded him to make some reservations in Europe. He and Laura had finally agreed on the locations where they were going to spend their honeymoon. It was better to make them now before Laura might change her mind about it. He wasn't too comfortable about it because he felt like he was taking advantage of Laura's disabled state, but then it had been their mutual decision, and he wanted to make sure everything was okay. It already was quite late for booking in the Christmas season, and if they waited any longer they might have to change plans.
After two hours he had verbal confirmations of most of their destinations, the two missing ONES he expected to arrive the following day. He told Mildred about it, then he went to the airport.
Back in Frisco he paid a short visit on Lt. Bowen to ask him about news. He couldn't give him anything though, but he told him that both police departments were working together.
Frustrated he returned to the hospital. There was no change in Daniel's condition so he went to Laura's room to spend the remaining time of visiting hours with her. He knocked and was allowed to enter. He was greeted enthusiastically by Abigail and Laura. He immediately observed that Laura's forehead had been bandaged again, probably to protect the stitches. He could also see some books and a small radio, so Abigail had been persuaded to bring something that enabled Laura to fight her boredom. He could only hope that she wouldn't overdo it.
Abigail left them so they had some private time. Laura was sure that she was permitted to leave the following afternoon although the physicians had imposed a long list of conditions - among them that she had to stay another week in bed.
"What's so bad about staying a whole week in bed? I think I can keep you good company in there," he commented with a sly grin.
"Oh, another one is to avoid any physical exercise and any excitement, so keep your hopes down," she retorted.
"I didn't say anything about excitement and exercise," he returned with feigned innocence. "I only want what's best for you."
"And according to the doctors I won't get it for another week at least," she sighed.
"But I will have you by my side, and that's most important to me," and then he kissed her to show his sincerity.
Enjoying their company they chatted until Harry had to leave.
To Be continued...

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