Steele Jumping

Author's Note: this is an answer to a promise for fic once the semester was over. It's not fully over yet, but here it is. This is set during the early part of Season 2, after Mildred's advent into their lives. Thanks to Amber for the beta.

Rating: Everyone

Laura Holt easily tailed the long, dark limo through the familiar streets of Los Angeles. The trick was to stay far enough back to follow without Fred or Mr. Steele realizing that the white VW Rabbit belonged to her. Not for the first time, she wondered why she didn't trade the little car in for something a bit more nondescript.

But there was something special about the white convertible - something that no one else but Laura had been able to see from the first moment she'd found it in the car lot. It looked so small and sensible, an appearance that Laura herself seemed to radiate. But the convertible was the clincher. With the top down, the little car took on a sporty appearance, as if it were looking for something else - some kind of excitement that might be just around the corner.

Seeing the limo take a quick left turn half a block away, Laura's thoughts turned back to the reason why she was here now, following the Agency limo at a distance.

For the last three months, Mr. Steele, the titular head of Remington Steele Investigations, had taken to disappearing every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between the hours of 10 am and noon. When quizzed about it, Fred had denied all knowledge of the fact, and Mr. Steele had constantly evaded her attempts to pin him down - as usual.

So today, a Friday, Laura had called Mildred and told her that she was meeting with a possible new client, and then waited on the street across from the building for Mr. Steele to leave the underground garage area. Once the limo had appeared, she had counted to ten, then swung into traffic behind it, determined to get to the bottom of whatever the charming con man who had dropped into her life a little over a year ago might be up to.

The last thing she needed right now was for him to be playing some kind of con or scam on some unsuspecting person or persons. And while she really didn't *think* he was doing that - she needed to solve the mystery behind his regular disappearances.

It had been easy meeting clients without him there before *he* came into her life. Daniel Chalmers claimed that she had conned them into believing that there really was a "Remington Steele" who would be overseeing their cases. Maybe she had. A few words of reassurance, a little lie that Mr. Steele was 'detained' or 'working on another case' and that she would bring him up to speed when he arrived or returned, and the clients would give her the information she needed.

Now, however, it wasn't as easy. Once Remington Steele had become a flesh and blood person, with a face that was often found in the society and police sections of the local papers, people expected to see *him*, not his 'assistant'. She sighed. At least that was better than being mistaken for his secretary, she supposed.

The limo turned into a parking area, and Laura frowned slightly upon realizing where they were going. What on earth was Mr. Steele doing at Los Angeles Community College, she wondered, still keeping her distance. She parked the rabbit behind a truck and trailer, using it as a blind between her and the limo. Fred stopped the car in front of the building and opened the back door for his passenger to step out.

Laura held her breath as she saw Mr. Steele's head turn, could almost see those blue eyes behind the expensive sunglasses that he favored, and then released it when he spoke to Fred and walked into the building. Fred got back into the car and drove off, leaving Laura free to find a parking space marked "Visitor". Going to the trunk, she retrieved a thick, academic-looking book from inside, along with an old pair of thick rimmed glasses before following her quarry into the halls of academia.

She paused at the first cross hallway, and saw him as he stood talking to a middle aged woman. She had a look that Laura knew all too well. She was smitten and hopelessly lost in the sound of that English/Irish accent and those blue eyes. She wasn't his usual "type", Laura told herself.

His usual conquests were late twenties, lithe, blonde, and without a brain. This woman was plump, with red hair that looked like it came out of a bottle - probably to hide the gray. But Mr. Steele's charm knew no age boundary, Laura knew. Even ex-IRS Fraud Investigator Mildred Krebs had fallen victim to it in Mexico.

She held back, arms wrapped around the book and pretended she was studying a board with various announcements posted on it - but out of the corner of her eye, she saw the two of them disappear into a class room moments before the halls began to clear.

As she slowly approached the classroom, she was almost run down by a young man as he barreled past her, causing her to lose the book she'd been using as a cover. Grabbing her arm to keep her from falling, he apologized. "Sorry. Late for class," he said, stopping to pick up the book she'd dropped, glancing with some surprise at the title. "War and Peace? You're in the wrong wing for Lit," he said. "That's -"

"I know where it is," she said, taking the book. "Thank you." He turned as if to continue on, but this time she was the one who grabbed an arm. "Uh - what class is that?" she asked, nodding toward the closed door that Mr. Steele had gone through.

"Criminology 101," he explained. "Mrs. Davis. And if I don't get in there, she's going to count me late."

"You're in the class, then?"

"Yeah," the young man said, obviously anxious to go.

"I'm curious about a friend of mine who might be in the class - tall, older, dark hair, blue eyes?"

"Holmes," he said, nodding, then glanced toward the door. "Look, I gotta go. Sorry about running into you -"

Laura let him go, considering for a moment the idea of barging into the class and ending whatever game he was playing. But knowing the scandal that might ensue, even if he wasn't there on a con-the idea of the famous detective Remington Steele being in a basic criminology class would create questions that would only lead to *more* questions-she decided to wait until later, in a more private setting.


She returned to the office, barely acknowledging Mildred's greeting.

"Hi, Miss Holt," the woman said in her usual jovial tone. "How did the meeting with the client go?"

The more Laura thought about it, the angrier she became. How dare he go behind her back and do something that might bring any disrepute the agency? The agency that *she* had built with hard work and long hours. Well, not alone--she'd had a lot of help from Murphy and Bernice.
"Miss Holt?" Mildred said, and Laura realized that she had gone into her office without answering the receptionist. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Mildred. Have you heard from Mr. Steele?"

"No, but it's Friday, and he usually shows up before one. He has an appointment with Mr. Graves then, so he'll be here."

"I wish I could share your confidence in Mr. Steele, Mildred," Laura sighed, sinking into her chair.


"Nothing," Laura said, managing a smile. "Let me know when he comes in, okay?"

"I-was about to go to lunch," Mildred explained. "Why don't we go together?" she suggested. "You know, a little 'girl time'?"

"Maybe some other time," Laura said. Mildred seemed to have become determined to play matchmaker for her employers, and probably thought this was simply another bump in the road of their relationship - whatever that was. "But thank you for the invitation. I have-" she indicated the papers on her desk, "--work to take care of."

"You know what they say, Miss Holt-all work and no play. And you have to eat. Tell you what; I'll bring you something back. What do you want?"

"A chicken salad, I suppose," Laura said with a real smile. Most of the time, Mildred was a real gem-having taken over running the office as if she'd been doing it for years. It wasn't her fault that she didn't know that her 'boss' was really a con man whose real name Laura didn't know.

"One chicken salad coming up," Mildred declared. At the door, she said, "I'll leave this open so you can hear in case someone comes in."

"Thank you." Laura picked up her pen and started to read the paper in front of her, but the events of the morning caused her to put it down. Maybe he wasn't working a scam. Maybe he had a legitimate reason for being at LACC and in a Criminology class - under an assumed name.

And not even an *original* assumed name, was her next thought. "Holmes?" she said aloud in disbelief. At least the young man she talked to hadn't told her that Mr. Holmes was teaching the class. That would have been a disaster. Half of the class would be fawning over him, and the other half - the boys - would have been laughing at his lack of any *real* knowledge. Experience wasn't enough. Laura had gone through three years of criminology before going to Havenhurst.

The sound of the outer door opening drew her attention, and Laura went still when the object of her anger appeared in the doorway of her office. "Skipping lunch again, Laura?" he asked.

"Mildred's bringing me a salad," she told him, refusing to let herself be moved by his appearance. Those gorgeous blue eyes - "Did you have a nice morning?"

"Very nice. Informative, actually." He was in the office now, fiddling with the file cabinet. "Well, if I can't convince you to go to lunch, I'll just -"

"I didn't hear you ask," she told him.

"You said that Mildred was bringing you something -"

Laura nodded. "A salad. But you're right. I don't have time for lunch. Paperwork."

He studied her desk for a moment. "I thought you were going to do that this morning?" he recalled.

"I had a meeting with a possible client," she said, knowing that she was doing the same thing that she was angry with him for doing to her. Lying.

"Would that client have been someone at the college by any chance?" he asked.

"The - college?"

"Los Angeles Community College," he clarified. "You should never try to tail someone in that car, Laura. I made you before we made the first turn."


"And Johnny Blake told me that an attractive brunette was asking about me."

"Holmes," she said, narrowing her eyes.

"I'll admit that it's not the most original name, but Mrs. Davis and I decided that it would look a bit - strange for Remington Steele to suddenly appear in her class."

"Why *is* Remington Steele in her class?" Laura asked. "What kind of scam -"

"Laura, you cut me to the quick. Officially, I'm - auditing the class."


He nodded. "Sitting in, observing."

"And - unofficially?"

"I'm a student."


"I told you that I wanted to learn, Laura," he told her, moving closer to the desk. "And while you're an excellent teacher, I think I need to learn more quickly than I can by following you around."

"And what did you tell Mrs. Davis about why you wanted to learn something that you should have known already?"

"I told her that it was a refresher course of sorts," he answered, leaning forward, resting his hands on the desk and the arm of her chair. "Did you really think that I would be running some kind of con, Laura? After everything that's happened this last year or so? I thought we'd settled all of this -"

"We have. I just - I'm sorry. I jumped to a conclusion, and I shouldn't have. I can't promise that it won't happen again, either."

"Then I'll just have to work twice as hard to prove to you that I'm committed to being Remington Steele, won't I, Miss Holt?" he questioned, his voice soft, with a hint of the Irish accent that flared only when he was tired, or scared - or deeply moved.

Laura smiled at him and lifted a hand to his cheek. "Why don't we go have lunch and you can tell me what you've learned so far?" she suggested, standing up.

"An excellent idea, Miss Holt," he agreed. But instead of moving away, he moved closer to capture her lips with his first.

"Next time, just let me know what's going on, okay? That way, I won't be as likely to jump to a false conclusion," she said as the kiss ended.

"I wasn't sure how you would react," he told her. "The last thing I wanted was for you to laugh at me -"

"I wouldn't have -"

"Or be upset that I felt that I needed more than you could teach me."

"Why now?" she asked as they left her office.

He shrugged. "I'm tired of playing catch up, I guess. Of being behind your leap to the obvious conclusion to a case. I'd prefer to get there with you."

"You will, Mr. Steele," she assured him. "You will."

The End

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