The Steele Goes On

Rating: General
Season: First (between first and second, actually)
Classification: Short Story
Archiving: The usual spots: my site: and the KrebsFiles. Anywhere else, please ask first. I like to know where my stories end up.
Author's Notes: None, really. Yeah, I know. It's been a long time. What can I say? The DVDs inspired me. <G> I know there is a plethora of this kind of fic out there. But for some reason, I felt the need to write another. Hope you like it.
Summary: After Bernice's elopement, Murphy talks to Laura about the future.


"We're going to have to find someone to take Bernice's place," Laura Holt told Murphy as she hung up the telephone. "I still can't believe she *eloped* like that."

"You know Bernice," Murphy replied, "Jump first, ask questions later. Did she really say he was a saxophone player?"

Laura laughed. "She did. So much for finding someone with money, huh?" she questioned as the phone rang again. She sighed deeply before answering. "Remington Steele Investigations . . . I'm afraid Mr. Steele isn't in at the moment, I'm his associate, Laura Holt -" She rolled her eyes in Murphy's direction as she listened to the caller. "I'm not exactly sure when Mr. Steele will be in, but if you'd like to make an appointment, I'm sure he'd be delighted to talk to you about your problem . . ." she picked up a pen and wrote a name on the calendar. "And when would be a convenient time for you, Mr. Clark? . . . An *hour*? I'm not sure - . . . Okay. Okay. An hour it is. Mr. Steele we be *delighted* to see you in an hour, Mr. Clark," Laura assured the potential client before hanging up the phone. "He will be if I can track *down* the elusive Mr. Steele," she muttered, picking up the phone again.

"Laura, I need to talk to you," Murphy said, but Laura was distracted by her attempt to locate Steele.

"Fred, is Mr. Steele with you? . . . Okay. If he calls, find out where he is and get him here ASAP. We have a client who wants to meet him." Laura rose from the reception area desk and went toward Steele's office.

"Laura," Murphy said again, following her, "did you hear me? I said I need to talk to you."

"What about?" she asked, examining Steele's desk in an effort to find some clue as to where the man might be. "He is going to *have* to keep in closer contact," she muttered.

"You know my folks live in Denver," Murphy began, following Laura into her office as he spoke.

"Yes. How are they doing?"

"Not very well. My Dad had a mild heart attack last month -"

"Really?" Laura questioned, frowning at him with concern. "You never said a word -"

"You were in the Wine Country investigating a case," he reminded her. "I left a message that I was going to Denver for a couple of days."

"But there was no mention about your father," Laura insisted. "You should have said something. Is he okay?"

"He's better. But the doctors want him to take it easy. I've decided to move back to Denver, Laura," Murphy said quickly, as if doing so would make it easier to get the words out.

Laura, who had returned to her rolodex, looked up in shocked surprise. "What? You're leaving?"

"Look, Laura, you and I both know that there's no future here for me. Not professionally *or* personally. Most of what I've been doing over the last several months has been delivering autopsy reports." He motioned toward Steele's office door. "*He's* doing the things I used to do - working on cases with you. Going on stake outs. It's time to move on. For both of us."

"Murphy," she said, moving around the desk. "You can't go like this. I don't know what I'd do without you. We're a team. You, me -"

"*Him*," Murphy finished. "I can't be a third wheel, Laura. Someone always gets hurt in a triangle, so I'm taking myself out of the equation before that can happen." He gave her a sad smile as he touched her face. "I never really stood a chance, did I? Especially not after he showed up with his accent and smarmy charm."

"Murphy, I'm sorry -" she said, and he shook his head.

"Don't apologize. It just - wasn't meant to be."

"When are you leaving?"

"I figured I'd leave tomorrow," he said. "I know it's sudden, but Mom's still pretty nervous about Dad, and she wants me out there as soon as possible. I'm sorry to leave you in the lurch this way, -"

"No. It's okay. Family's important. I know you're still close to your parents. I think it's sweet."

"And boring," Murphy added with a half-smile.

"You're not boring, Murphy."

"Sure I'm not. Look. I'll stay the rest of the day, if you want. Try to help with Mr. Carter if *he* doesn't show up in time -"

"No, you might as well go," Laura said. "I need to get used to handling things on my own."

"If you ever need anything - you know the number in Denver. And I'll be touch."


"Promise," he repeated, leaning closer to her. "I'm not leaving you, Laura. Just LA. I hope we'll always be friends, at least."


"Good." He put his arms around her and pulled her close for a hug just as another voice broke into the tender moment.

"Morning, morning, morning!" He appeared in the open doorway of Laura's office, and froze upon seeing the two people in an embrace. "Seems we've played this little scene before," he said. "I'll leave you two alone -"

Laura pulled away from Murphy, sighing. "We were just saying goodbye," she informed the tall, dark haired man that she knew only as "Remington Steele". "Where have you *been*? I've been calling everywhere!"

"Goodbye?" Steele questioned, ignoring Laura's question as he looked at Murphy. "You're going somewhere, Murphy?"

"I'm going to Denver."

"Denver? Colorado? Why would *anyone* want to go to the middle of the Wild West?"

"Because my parents live there and need me there to help them out. I'm going to open a PI office of my own there."

"I have no doubt you'll be on first name basis with every coroner in the state in no time at all, Murphy," Steele said, a twinkle of amusement in his eye - as well as something that troubled Murphy more than a little. Putting an arm around Laura's shoulders with an almost proprietary air, or the air of a man who knew he's won the battle against an opponent, Steele continued, "Good luck to you, Murphy. And if you ever need any help, any assistance, no matter how small or infinitesimal, don't hesitate to call. I'm sure that Laura and I will be able to - interrupt whatever we might be doing to offer a helping hand," he finished.

The telephone rang again, and Laura gave a sound of frustration before slipping away from Steele's hold and moving into the reception area. "Excuse me. We *have* to find another receptionist," she said again.

"When are you leaving, Murphy?" Steele asked once they were alone.


"So soon?"

"Family's expecting me," Murphy said. "Look, Steele, I know what you're thinking," he said, moving closer.

"You do?"

"Uh huh. You think that with me gone there's nothing standing between you and Laura."

"I do?"

"Yeah. And you're probably right," Murphy had to admit ruefully. "But I'll be in touch. And if I ever hear so much as a *hint* that you've hurt her - or let her down -"

"Thank you, Murphy. So reassuring to know that you're concerned for Laura's welfare. Believe me, hurting her or letting her down is the last thing on my mind." He glanced through the door to the desk where Laura was talking to someone on the phone while searching for something in the desk. "I'll do my best to live up to your standard as not only her partner, but her friend."

The sincerity certainly *seemed* real, Murphy thought. But he'd spent too long with this man to trust his instincts when it came to "Remington Steele". And there was the fact that Murphy, more than anyone else, knew how vulnerable Laura Holt really was. The break up with Wilson had been devastating to her, and she was just now coming out of that - only to fall into the open, waiting arms of someone that Murphy felt was totally wrong for her in every way possible.

"I'm going to believe you mean that," Murphy said. "Laura's very special."

"She is indeed," Steele agreed. "A rare gem to be cherished and admired."

Laura hung up the phone and rejoined them as Murphy was still pondering Steele's statement. "We have a client due here in less than an hour, Mr. Steele. And *that* was Mrs. Donahue about the museum showing this afternoon."

"I can stay around, Laura," Murphy offered again, but she shook her head.

"No. Thank you, but - like I said, I need to get used to -"

"Understood. Take care, okay?"

"I will. Same to you. Give your parents my best."

He nodded, giving her another hug as Steele watched. Murphy extended his hand. "Steele."

"Murphy," Steele said, taking the offered hand. "It's been an honor to work with you."

"Wish I could say the same," Murphy replied, but grinned as he spoke to take the sting out of his words.

"I'm serious. I've learned almost as much from you about being a private detective as I have from Laura."

The glass doors into the reception area opened, and a short, wiry little man stood there until Laura, Steele, and Murphy appeared. "Mr. Steele?" he said.

"I'm Remington Steele," Steele said, moving forward with a smile. "Can I help you?"

"I'm Philip Carter. I know I'm early, but I need your help. It's a matter of life and death."

"Why don't we go into my office?" Steele suggested as he steered the distraught client across the room toward the door. "Miss Holt?"

"On my way, Mr. Steele," Laura replied, turning back to Murphy again. "Well, I guess this is it."

"Yeah. Keep an eye on that guy, okay? I still don't fully trust him."

"I'm sure he'll be fine, Murphy. He's really turning into a pretty good detective."

"I wasn't talking about his being a detective," Murphy said.

"Miss Holt?!" Steele called again, this time sticking his head out of the door.

"You'd better go," Murphy said. "Bye."

"Bye. Good luck," she said, and blinked back the tears that threatened to fall as he turned away and walked out of the office, pausing to wave once before disappearing down the hallway.

A handkerchief appeared over of Laura's shoulder. "Here," Steele said. "Don't want to alarm the client by letting him see you cry, do we?"

Laura took the handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes. "Thank you."

"Whatever I can do, Laura," Steele said. "It's just you and me, now. And to that end - dinner tonight? Purely a business dinner, I promise -"

"Mr. Steele!" Mr. Carter said, causing them to turn to find him standing in the doorway. "Are you going to help me or not?"

With a final glance toward the doors, Laura took a deep breath, handed the handkerchief back to Steele and turned with a bright, professional but caring smile. "Of course we are, Mr. Carter," she said, taking his arm. "Now, what's wrong and how can the Remington Steele Agency be of help?"

The End

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Original content ©2005 by Nancy Eddy