Steele Understanding
By Krebbie
I don't own these characters - I'm just having a bit of fun, and will return them unharmed when I've finished.
Post "Steele Searching 2", Pre "Steele Blushing", answer to a fic challenge to 'fill in the gap' between the two episodes.
"You broke your promise, you know."
The man that most people in Los Angeles knew as Remington Steele paused in his unpacking to look at the young woman who was hovering near the doorway, watching him. They hadn't talked much on the flight from Heathrow back to LAX - nor in the limo on the way back to the condo. What little talk there had been had centered on the Agency and how things had gone there after he'd left, and how they were going to explain his extended absence to clients and others who asked.
Remington had been surprised when Laura had told Fred to take her small overnight bag from the trunk and deliver the rest to her loft. After the near-silent treatment, he'd fully expected her to retreat back to her own domain and leave him alone to consider how badly he'd screwed things up.
"My promise?" he questioned, forgetting for the moment the meager contents of his suitcase as he turned to look at her. "Which promise was that?"
"After Major Descoine came after us, and you took off because you thought it was someone from your past who might bring me down along with you - you promised never to leave me for my own good," she reminded him.
"I kept that promise," he told her, carrying some underwear over to his dresser. He wasn't planning on keeping it - it had been bought in a small shop during his circuitous route to London - and wasn't very comfortable. He'd grown used to wearing more expensive - and comfortable - items since he'd taken on the persona of Remington Steele.
"How can you *say* that?" she asked. "You - *left*!"
He slowly closed the dresser drawer before turning to look at her again. "Only because I wanted to find something that I could bring back to you - something that I'd never been able to give to anyone else - never *wanted* to give to anyone else: my name. My bloody *name*! Fat lot of good it did me, though. I almost -" he sat on the edge of the bed, wincing slightly at the movement exacerbated the still-tender area of his abdomen, "- lost the only name that's felt *right* in my entire life."
Laura sat down beside him. "Where are the pain pills that doctor gave you?"
"In my case -" he stopped her when she would have risen from the bed, a hand on her wrist. "I don't need the damn things," he insisted.
She covered his hand with hers. "I know you don't like to take pills, but you're in pain -"
He shook his head. "No. I'm okay. I just - I wish there was some way that I could make you understand that if it's within my power, I'm not going anywhere - and if I do, I'll come back."
Laura didn't look at him for a moment; her eyes were fastened instead on their joined hands. When she finally spoke, her voice was small and uncertain. "Would you have come back *this time* if I hadn't gone to find you?" she asked. "Even without your real name?"
Remington placed his other hand under her chin and lifted it. "Honestly? I don't know. But you *did* come to find me - thank God. As for the future, you have my promise - a brand new, shining one - and it's up to you to decide whether or not to trust me to keep it."

He was relieved when she smiled at him. "I don't really have much choice, do I? I mean, after going halfway around the world to bring you back and all."
Remington slid his arm around her waist, pulling her closer, only to pause as the awkward turning of his body caused his pain to return. He tried to hide it, but knew that it was a losing battle. Laura had learned to read him too well - almost as well as Daniel. Better, perhaps.
She stood up and went to his suitcase, moving things around until she found the bottle of pills. "I have another question," she said, taking two tablets from the bottle and handing them to him before going to retrieve a glass of water from the bathroom.
He was still sitting, the tablets in hand when she returned, having considered making her think he'd already taken them. "What was your question?" he asked in a vague attempt to distract her.
But Laura indicated that he should take the pills first, so he did just that. Once she was satisfied, he pointed toward the suitcase they had purchased for him before their return home. It contained the few items of clothing he'd bought and kept during his trip - and the new ones they'd bought after she'd found him and they had trapped a serial killer.
"What happened to your clothes?" she looked at the closet, where only one shirt and suit hung, both placed there only a few minutes ago. "You didn't take them with you -"
"No. I - asked Fred to keep them somewhere safe for me," he informed her slowly, pulling at his ear as he tended to do when he was embarrassed.
"Fred? He never said a word -"
"I know. I told him that he'd know if it was time to donate them to some charity -. That's what he and I spoke about while he was getting the bags out of the limo," he said. "He'll bring them back tomorrow. Of course, I've lost a bit of weight. They might not fit -"
His attempt at humor worked, because Laura smiled. "We can't have the great detective Remington Steele looking anything but perfectly tailored, now, can we?" she reached out to remove a speck of lint from his shoulder. "I think the Agency can spring for a couple of new suits if necessary."
"I don't deserve you," he murmured, feeling the pain slowly leave his body. He was beginning to float . . .
"I know," she replied. "But you're stuck with me. Just lay back and close your eyes. You've been through a lot -" He let her gently push him backward onto the bed, but when she would have pulled away, he grabbed her hand again.
"Why did you tell Fred to take your cases on to the loft?" he asked, hating the way the tablets were making him fuzzy headed. It was hard to hear what Laura was telling him.
"Because even though I trust that you're not going to leave again - I'll feel better if I know *exactly* where you are -for tonight, anyway." He was floating again, but this time there was an angel with him, keeping him safe . . .
When he woke, it was still dark, and there was a quilt over him - but it was the feel of Laura's arms around him as she slept that made him smile and close his eyes again.
He wasn't sure exactly what had changed between them - but something had - and Remington was going to try to make sure he didn't mess things up again if he could help it. Even fully clothed, it felt right, being here like this, with her in his arms.
Even if he never found out what his name was he'd found something far more important: Laura Holt.
The End

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