Tracy Steele

Disclaimer: The characters of Laura Holt and Remington Steele aren't mine, they're just being borrowed, and I promise to return them safe and sound, though I can't promise Steele won't be a little mussed! I started writing this story at 2 am, with some heavy thoughts, and I have deliberately left out who is talking. I wanted to write something that could be from either. So whoever you think it is, and what you thought of the story, let me know! I live for feedback! Thanks to Nancy Eddy for posting this, and thanks to my beta reader, Sue. You were a great help!

Sometimes I wonder. This path we take, this road we're all on; where does it ultimately go? Is it, as the poets say, the path to enlightenment and reason? Is the meaning of life's journey in what we find along the wayside? Or does it just someday end, when we're all tired and can't move anymore, and then there's nothing, or perhaps it just keeps on stretching into infinity? And, if we're all on this road together, and the path begins the same for everyone, why is the road so different for everyone? Why is one path smooth and clear, and another littered with rocks and covered in bracken?
I've thought about my path a lot recently. Where is it going? Four years ago it was very different; the pattern had been set, at times uneventful, at times full of excitement. I knew the players in my little story, and I knew which scenes we would play out. The setting might change, and sometimes the story would throw in last-minute revisions, but ultimately I knew how the scenes would end. It was my life, a good life or a bad life being objective decisions that I'm not equipped to make. Then...Remington Steele.
This person, this fictitious detective (yet the most preeminent PI in the business) who is smart and funny and suave and debonair, has completely changed my life. The glamour of his life is nothing like I'd ever known. This person created from a typewriter and a football team is so real now, inexorably entwined with the man who portrays him. The man who IS Remington Steele. Suddenly the story is different; the director has thrown out all the previous material and has put in an entirely new cast, and even I am assigned a different role. What I played before doesn't matter; the new entity that was brought to life with my association with Remington Steele, both real and fictional, now reads the lines. The scenes are new and constantly changing, and sometimes I find myself running so hard just to keep up that I can forget to look behind and see what went before.
Our relationship. If I can to narrow down the one thing in my life that has utterly changed my life, it would be that. Before Remington Steele, I found relationships a hard thing. I had been hurt before, and became convinced that trusting, and loving even, was too dangerous to seriously contemplate. Oh, not loving in general, there have been people in my life I certainly loved. But being in lovethat was a situation that just seemed to me to be wrought with pitfalls full of sharp wooden stakes just waiting for me to stumble into. However, over the course of time, through our shared and separate experiences, I have found that I am actually in love. It's dizzying to think of loving someone so much that if something were to happen to the other, you couldn't find the will to go on. Scary as that prospect is, I can't deny my heart anymore. Oh, we've danced around the issue; we've been through blown-up houses, Daniel's con jobs, almost losing the agency a couple of times, Santa hold-ups, and a sensitivity spa where we both said things we did and didn't mean. We've hurt each other, and sometimes I wonder if we're both gluttons for punishment, but we always seem to find our way back to each other.
Mildred says that we, her "kids," are made for each other, and she's often wondered when we would get our heads out of the sand and see that. I don't deny that she's right. She'll often come up to one or the other and make us see the good in our relationship, and find a way to overlook the fault in the one doing the hurting. Even in England, where her devotion to her Mr. Steele was rattled, she managed to rally and convince both of us that we needed each other. She still believed in us though we had been deceiving her from the beginning. She made both of us see that the real name of the man behind Mr. Steel isn't relevant. It's what we make of our Mr. Steele that matters. A name, something that seemed so important to me, is not character. It's not experience, growth, and emotions. It's not the cases we've shared, the laughter we've had, the tears we've comforted each other through. It's not the way we come up with movies, it's not the way we smile at each other, it's not the way we feel when we kiss and hold each other and hear the other's steady heartbeat, reassuring that all is well. It's not the love we see for each other in our eyes. It's just a collection of letters, syllables, and sounds. Harry, Remington Steele, Laura-they're only labels. Labels can change, but the content of the person is not only what he or she is called.
We're married now. And no, it wasn't at all how I imagined we would be getting married, but it was a desperate situation. And believe me, I have imagined our wedding. I have known, in some part of me, that from the moment we met this was the person for me. I always imagined that we would be dressed in wedding clothes, standing in front of an altar in a chapel somewhere, pledging ourselves to each other in front of our family and friends. I even imagined Murphy there, in spite of what he always said about our relationship. I imagined that we would have a lovely reception, with champagne, and we would serve each other cake and toss a bouquet and a garter to some other lucky people. I know neither of us is really a traditionalist, but I thought we would both go for that type of wedding.
We have overcome so much, and this marriage has been a roller coaster of emotions and events. Getting married on a fishing boat, evading Norman Keys, dealing with Estelle, going to Mexico, jaunting over to Scotland for an unwanted castle; I never in my wildest dreams imagined that. And Tony Roselli. Oddly enough, his actions finally made us understand our feelings. We had been through four years together, and no one person would come between us. We just had to stop being afraid, of our feelings, of our pasts, of what the future would bring for us. Once we did that, we knew, knew without a shadow of a doubt that we belonged together. Not only that, but we were meant for each other.
So in this large room in an old castle, in front of a small fire, we had a long talk about us. We talked about everything, and laid most of our fears to rest. We kissed, and it was the sweetest thing in the world, not a kiss just of passion, as we've previously had, but a kiss of love, of longing, of commitment. We parted, and simultaneously said, "I love you." We laughed, but took our turns saying it again, and there was no laughter. There were tears in both our eyes as we admitted what had been in our hearts for years, and held each other tightly as we sank down on the bed.
I reach out with trembling fingers and gently touch the beloved face. The shape of the eyebrows, the curve of the jaw, the smoothness of the cheeks, the long fans of lashes, the soft mouth; I trace all of these amazing features and indelibly print them into memory. This face is the most precious thing I have ever seen. We have just made love, finally, for the first time in our long and winding courtship. And it is most definitely not the end, the goal. It is only the beginning. Making love with someone you truly love, the person who owns a little piece of your soul, is really love. It was the most amazing, earth-shattering thing I have ever known. And I realize that I want this for the rest of my life. Not just making love, but the being together, the closeness we have, the security of knowing that I can go to bed each night and fall asleep looking into those eyes, and wake up each morning seeing that beautiful smile. I want the world to know that we belong to each other, now and forever. Maybe this marriage started out as a sham, but the feelings involved have never been more real. In the morning I will ask that, when we go home, we give ourselves a real wedding, in a chapel, with all of our friends and family around us. I want to stand up at an altar and let everyone know how much I love this person who has been with me through so much, who I love more than my life, and how I would rather die than for us to ever be apart.
My partner still sleeps. My partner, in work and in life. Mine. I have never had anything this special that belongs to me. I smile in the darkness, and gently kiss my love, who smiles slightly even in sleep at my action. I press myself close, reveling in the soft warmth and the gentle heartbeat next to my ear. I close my eyes, more at ease with myself and my situation than any point in my past.
I said before that sometimes I wonder about this path of life, about the directions my own path has taken. But now, in this quiet hour, I don't have to wonder. My path has been thorny, and it has taken some strange turns in the past, but it has led up to this moment, to this person who is my heart and soul. And whether or not my further path will enlighten me, whether or not it is smooth and clear or littered with sticks and stones, I know that I can go along bravely. I can face the path of my life because I have love walking next to me, love that will hold my hand and sustain me through the hard times and laugh with me through the happy ones, love that will let me reverse the roles and be strong when I need to be. My path is to be with this person, and I am content with that. I am happy.
I pull the covers up over our warm bodies. Blissfully tired and blessedly content, we sleep.
The End

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