The Past Steele Holts Its Danger
Part Eight
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.

Two hours later there was a knock at Harry's door. He opened it. His late visitor was Lt. Bowen, and Harry asked him to enter. Bowen gave him the latest news. They had been able to trace down Dupont again, but again the bird had flown leaving much more evidence this time than he had in LA. Their suspicion seemed to be correct, there were links leading towards Hoskins and Cutter. They also had found numerous arms that were now in the labs for a thorough examination. A handful of passports made it possible for them to track Dupont's previous moves down. The FBI had shown some interest in the case but agreed to stay in the background. Then the most important one: Daniel was recovering. His physician and Bowen were the only ones who knew about it, now Steele was also informed, and the doctor was sure that Daniel was transportable.
Harry sighed in relief. All in all this was good news, but Harry was unsure why Bowen told him this, especially at this early stage. This surely wasn't no human interest that Bowen was showing, so he asked him about it.
Bowen conceded and told Harry that he had a plan but needed Harry's approval. They wanted to bait Dupont by transferring Daniel to LA. Cut short of any financial support - they had been able to locate probably most of the pecuniary sources and stop them - Dupont probably was desperate to finish his job to keep his reputation and to get out of the country.
Harry was hesitant at first, but finally agreed. The plan had a fifty percent chance of success, and even if it failed, Daniel would be safe in LA and therefore closer to what Harry called his home. It would also mean a great relief for the united Police forces to have the possible victims within one city, not spread between two of them and so having trouble concerning responsibilities.
The plan was simple enough: they would make a show of transporting Daniel to LA with CHP escort, air-surveillance and so on, and they would arrange for a second transport with a dummy, and that was the bait. Daniel would get all possible protection while the second transport would have to cope with everything on its own, but of course it would be equipped as well as possible preparing its passengers for all imaginable events.
Memories of his first encounter with Laura went through Harry's head, she had used a similar pattern to keep the Royal Lavulite save. Now they were extending the ruse, and that was it what made the whole thing difficult to calculate: Dupont had to know that there was a second transport, and he had to assume that this was the real transport, because it was very unlikely that he would consider an attack on a well-protected convoy - not that it would matter if he did, the escorts would be prepared for it. Harry asked if he was allowed accompany the second transport, but Bowen refused to consider it. He would have to talk with his superiors and wasn't sure that they could be convinced to give their okay to it - it was an expensive operation after all. They surely would deny it if Steele insisted on participating in an active role. He also would have to talk with psychologists to create a believable slip, he thought about a faked radiogram on a police-channel because it was not unlikely to assume that Dupont would watch those channels.
Bowen said his farewell and promised to inform Harry about everything the following morning.
Later he called Fred and ordered him to pick them up in front of their hotel at 8pm the next day. Fred agreed.
Harry was worried and found it hard to sleep. If the plan failed probably nothing would have changed but for the fact that Daniel was safe in LA. They would still have to watch their backs, and it certainly would affect the agency for the worse. And for Laura, how was she supposed to relax when she knew that her agency wasn't doing well because of this? And he couldn't keep this from her.
Finally he dozed off and was haunted by nightmares.
True to his word Bowen called the next morning at an ungodly hour, or so thought Harry. Interpol had informed the French authorities, and they hadn't hesitated and raided several residences of Dupont and found more evidence against him. They were able to get their hands on some contacts, but many of them were located in the Near East, so there was a fair chance that not all of his assassinations could be tried. It became obvious that Dupont was much greater a fish than all had expected. For some of the murders Dupont had executed there had been offered private or official rewards for information, and it seemed that the agency would get its fair share of it, the discovery of the bombs in Laura's loft had initiated this whole avalanche. Harry sighed, that meant at least some compensation.
Bowen also told him that some of his officers had had the chance of getting Dupont but failed miserably. They hadn't expected Dupont to return to his flat so they had been taken completely by surprise. The disastrous result: one man dead, another wounded, and his future chances of promotion practically nil.
The authorities had agreed to arrange the transports the way Bowen had suggested. He'd meet Steele at the hospital to make sure everything was okay on their behalf. They said good-byes and ended the call.
Harry took his time for an extended breakfast working out in his mind how to tell Laura everything without her hitting the roof immediately. He had to grin at Laura's probable reaction. Laura simply hated it not being in charge and would voice her opinion in a not too friendly manner telling him that this was crazy, would lead nowhere etc, etc. That reminded him that he had to inform Bowen that he was taking the limousine to bring Laura back to LA, but that would happen in the night. He had thought about several options and thought of it as the best one. He didn't want Laura to take a flight or a train because it would be too strenuous, and of course there was the lack of privacy. A drive during the night would be the right thing, the sun wouldn't heat the car, and Fred was an expert driver.
He went over to Daniel's room and packed his belongings away, later he transferred the suitcases and bags to his room and started to pack his things. Laura would have to spend the afternoon and early evening here, so he tried to store the things in the most unobtrusive manner. His next task was calling Mildred whom he asked to look after the loft to make sure everything was fine. Finally he called the Pipers to inform them that Laura was going to be released this afternoon and that he had every intention to return her to LA, so if they had considered a trip to San Francisco for a visit it would be a very good idea to cancel it. Francis was happy to hear that, although Abigail had told her already that Laura would be able to leave hospital this Friday.
Before he left for the hospital Harry paid for the rooms telling that Daniel's was already free. At the hospital he first went to Daniel - he certainly looked better, the color had returned to his usually suntanned cheeks. He asked him if he knew that he was going to be transferred to LA. Daniel reassured him, Lt. Bowen had explained everything, and he, Daniel, had agreed. They spent some more time together until they were interrupted by Lt. Bowen. Bowen explained to them the timetable he had worked out, and both gave their consent. Then Harry informed Bowen about his plans concerning their return to LA. Naturally Bowen wasn't pleased to learn this at all, he couldn't give them any escort under those circumstances. He only hoped that the afternoon would show the desired results.
Harry went over to Laura and found both her and Abigail there. He explained to them that Daniel would leave the hospital under police protection. Abigail decided that she wanted to talk with Daniel before his departure, so Laura and Harry were left alone. Of course Laura wanted to know everything so he told her almost everything he knew. Laura was quite agitated about it and more than willing to give her input, but somehow Harry managed to calm her down. While they were chatting the time away Harry arranged everything for Laura so they could leave after the physicians' okay right away. Later Abigail returned and they had to limit their topics to less dangerous fields, or more dangerous ones like deadly boring details of a wedding to perform - at least this thought ran through Harry's mind.
Two hours later it was time for the doctor's visit. Harry carried all but one bag to the hall to await Laura. Abigail had surprised him with her amount of tact when she'd decided to leave the hospital and to join them later at their hotel-room.
After half an hour Harry sighed and looked with resignation at his fingernails - or what was left of them. He heard the 'ding' of an elevator and looked up. Yes, there she came slowly out of the elevator, looking around to locate him. He could see that she was fighting to keep her balance while carrying her single bag, and he rose immediately to help her. His movement showed Laura where he was and she headed towards him.
Harry picked up her belongings and met her halfway. "Do you need a lift? And maybe some help?"
"No, thank you, I'll manage."
They both went to the entrance and Harry rolled his eyes. That was his Laura, too stubborn to admit defeat or weakness. Luckily it was only a few yards until they were outside the hospital. Blinded by the sunlight Laura staggered and Harry steadied her. They took the next cab to their hotel always being followed by an police officer in civil clothes. During their drive Laura tried to keep the image of being chipper, but he noticed her nervousness. Hoping for a calming effect he laid an arm around her shoulders in an companionable way, but she didn't relax, so Harry started to talk about their honeymoon and what arrangements he had made already.
Laura wasn't overjoyed hearing this, but decided to stay as calm as possible - they had decided about it - and though it did nag on her not having made the reservations personally she knew she had to trust Harry and to accept the fact that he had the same right to carry out their decisions as she did. During their cohabiting time Laura had to realize that she more than once had made a decision she should have discussed with Harry beforehand because it was affecting him as well. Harry hadn't seemed to mind, but small remarks concerning them had shown her that he had been aware of her indiscretion, and she was willing to learn her lessons, those events had become rarer during the last weeks. But one time she hadn't been able to resist asking him why he hadn't complained. His answer had been simple: "Laura, every time something like this happens and you realize it, I see that you're sorry about it. Why should I complain then? And I see that you're punishing yourself, and that's the last thing I want you to do," and with a twinkle in his eye he added, "although giving you some consolation is a price I'm quite willing to pay." A slow smile crossed her lips when she thought of that. Although Harry had pretended to think of everything about that Sensitive Spa as humbug, the lecture of the snuggle-man seemed to have a permanent effect on him.
She ordered herself mentally, only half-listening to Harry as he raved about Paris and its endless possibilities, 'lesson two: learning to accept Harry carrying out our decision if I don't have the time or opportunity!' Laura felt her eyes drop, she hadn't noticed that her head was already resting on his shoulder. She sighed with relief when their hotel came in sight.
A bellhop carried her bags and her suitcase to their room. Laura and Harry followed him slowly, and when Laura started to sway Harry supported her. Although this gesture refreshed her spirits she fought the urge to pull Harry's arm away. He had helped her keep her balance after all.
She was relieved when they reached their room and she could sit down. The physicians had warned her that she would tire easily. She looked up and saw Harry placing her bags in one corner. He casually asked her, "do you want me to order you something for lunch?"
"No, thank you, I'm not hungry." She had a feeling of déjà vu, but this time she was really not hungry.
Harry accepted her denial and ordered something for himself. Then he looked for the bag that contained the chocolate box, took it out and placed it in reach of Laura - open. He took one piece and smiled at her. "Only an appetizer," he said apologetically, "you know, I do like chocolate, too."
As tempting as the smell usually was, Laura didn't feel any inclination to take the slightest piece, and that surprised her. But she could also see what he was trying to do. "Nice try, but I'm really not hungry at all."
Harry only shrugged his shoulders and left the topic. Instead he asked her, "do you mind if I return to the hospital to see that everything's all right?" You know they will start to move in about an hour."
"I guess it's okay. I'm really tired and I'll take a nap in the meantime. By the way, when will we leave San Francisco?"
A cautious knock interrupted them. It was a bellhop with Harry's lunch.
"We'll leave tonight. Don't worry about it, everything's arranged, you will see. And I think you won't be bored during my absence, Abigail will surely spend some time with you this afternoon." When Laura rolled her eyes, he grinned. "Come on, Laura, Abigail isn't that bad at all. Even you start to enjoy her company - in a way."
"Me? Enjoy my mother's company? Never!" She tried to look sternly at Harry to see if he bought it, but his grin only deepened. "Well, I think I improved my relationship with her, but enjoy it?" When she still saw his silly grin while he continued to eat, she decided to leave this. She wasn't sure if anything had changed between her mother and herself. She had never doubted the love of her mother, and she loved her mother, but it was easier to love her when she was far, far away not trying to interfere in her private and social life. She wasn't sure if they had only called it a truce because of her delicate state of health, she grimaced at that thought, so she wanted to wait and see how things would develop after she'd recovered completely.
Meanwhile Harry finished his meal and suggested, "Laura, why don't you take your nap? You look like you'd be away any moment."
She slowly nodded, stood up and went to the bathroom. After finishing her business there she went to the bed, took off her shoes, laid down and closed her eyes. She felt the bed shudder under the additional weight of Harry's body and felt him gliding on top of her avoiding to exert his full weight on her by leaning on his elbows. She opened her eyes when he cupped her face with his hands and his thumbs started to streak her cheek. She found herself locked in his blue gaze. "Hey, I'm supposed to take a snooze," she smiled tiredly.
He bent down and kissed her softly on the lips. "Yes, you are, and now, close your eyes!" he ordered. After she had obliged he placed a kiss on the tip of her nose that forced another smile on her features, then he placed himself right beside her leaving an arm around her and looked at her now unfamiliar profile, the bandage on her forehead changed her appearance slightly. While Laura's breathing slowed down he could feel the stiff bandage around her chest. When he was sure that she was fast asleep he stood up and tucked her in. He arranged silently everything for his departure and waited for another ten minutes for Abigail.
Then he left the room to run straight into her. He quickly told her that he was on his way to the hospital, that Laura was sleeping and that she wasn't supposed to wake her. He'd tell the reception to hold any calls until Laura was awake. Abigail was supposed to tell them that.
To Be continued...

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