You're Steele Divine
Jan Hedblom
Disclaimer: I make no claims to the characters of Remington Steele. This story is for entertainment purposes only. References & quotes used in this story are the property of their respective authors and are used to further the plot of my story. No infringement is intended. Any resemblance to present or past works by anyone, is purely coincidental.
This story examines the question: "How does Harry, AKA Remy, FEEL about what he used to be?"

Harry was in a blue funk. Blue funk? Depression was more like it. Something he couldn't name and didn't understand had him by the throat. "Get your bloody mind straight!" he'd chided himself for the umpteenth time. He knew he was losing the battle when he couldn’t get enthused about "Casablanca" on the late show. So much of what he loved was just too much trouble these days. Stomach rumbling, he pulled the covers over his head and lost himself in sleep.
The knock on the door went unanswered. Laura, reluctant to use the lock pick she always carried, tried a few more times and then gave up. "What has gotten into you, Mr. Steele?" she muttered under her breath. "You haven't been to the office in a week, won't answer your door, and the phone just rings off the hook. GREAT. Now, I'm talking to myself in people's hallways!" she said, exasperated.
Heading for the elevator, she decided to go straight to the office. Mildred would know how to get through to him. She had always had a calming influence on him. Sometimes she was almost envious of the soft expression that came over that handsome face whenever he got advice from his "mother". Indeed, that's exactly what she'd become to both of them over the years.
Mildred listened to the insistent sound of the phone's busy signal. Had he taken it off the hook? "Oh, Boss, PLEASE don't do this! Don't cut yourself off from the people who love you!" she thought.
Lost in thought, she jumped as Laura breezed in, full of purpose and out of breath. "Ms. Holt, you'll give an old bureaucrat a heart attack coming in like that!" she said, a bit too loudly.
"Sorry, Mildred. Guess I'm just on edge," Laura replied.
"What's the good word from 5A?" As usual, Mildred went right to the heart of the matter.
"NOT so good, Mildred. I still can't raise him. I was hoping you'd have better luck," Laura sighed.
"Sorry, honey. Seems his phone is now off the hook."
"THAT settles it! Invasion of privacy or not, we're both going over there! Better get your things, we may be awhile." Laura started shutting down the office as she spoke. As she worked, she realized just how balanced her life had become since "Harry" had taken it by storm. Four years ago, her first, her ONLY thought would have been keeping the agency open during business hours. Now, she couldn’t get out fast enough. His life might be at stake! Satisfied at last, she said, "OK. We're outta here. We'll talk on the way."
"You got it, Ms. Holt!" Mildred said with her usual enthusiasm. "Just let him TRY to dodge the two of us!" They headed toward the Rabbit, Mildred double-timing to keep up with Ms. Holt's power walk.
As they settled themselves in the car, Laura noticed that Mildred had that gleam in her eye. Thinking that she should err on the side of conservatism, she said, "Remember that time in Ireland?"
"Which time?" said Mildred, puzzled.
"The time Mr. Steele had amnesia?" Laura replied.
"Yeeah . . ." Mildred said cautiously, not liking the direction the conversation was taking.
"Well, I would like to restate an old official agency position," Laura said flippantly.
"WHAT old official agency position?" Mildred wondered, now eyeing Ms. Holt suspiciously. The only one SHE could come up with was, "HE's the boss, but I'M in charge."
"That there will be no head clonking when we get there- however much he might need it!" Both women broke into a flood of laughter, Mildred looking much relieved. Funny how a good laugh helped break tension. Drying their eyes and catching their breath, both women suddenly sobered.
"I'm worried about him, Ms. Holt. He's always been so upbeat, so confident. Nothing gets him down, at least, not for long. Look at what he's been through! He's always been able to pull a rabbit out of a hat when he needed to!" Mildred stated emphatically, hitting the car's dash with her fist.
"That's the point, Mildred. Maybe he's running out of rabbits. I'm worried too. My imaginations' been working overtime, jumping to all sorts of gruesome conclusions."
"You don’t think he'd hurt himself?" Mildred said, shaken at the younger woman's words. This was a possibility that she didn't want to think about.
"I don't know, Mildred. I'm betting he hasn't tapped his reserves, yet. But you know as well as I do that he's let his appearance go. He's always been so fastidious. Lately, if he shows up at all, he's in jeans and a polo shirt. His hair's almost to his collar and he's taken to wearing that scruffy beard. Have you seen how much weight he's lost? I don't think he's been EATING, let alone cooking. I tried to tease him out of it last week. Asked if he'd like to get together for a little B&B."
"Sorry, Mildred. Burgundy and Bogey. Or little in joke. Know what I got?" Mildred shook her head. "A BIG fat sigh and a quick brush off. If this little intervention of ours doesn’t work tonight, I'll have to involved Jimmy Jarvis."
"You don't mean you'll let them put him in a hospital? Against his will? Ms. Holt, you can't do that! He's got more pride than Carter's got pills! He'll never forgive us!"
"I'd rather have him angry than dead, Mildred." Laura gave her assistant a pointed look.
Mildred quickly stifled another comment. "Can't argue with that one," she thought. "Oh, boss, please be OK!" she prayed aloud.
"Amen, Mildred. Amen," Laura whispered.
On final approach. That's what it felt like. Like he was up in the clouds and the tower had him circling. Unable to land, low on fuel. How long could he keep his engines running? "You're getting colourful in your old age, old boy," he thought to himself, as he struggled to full awareness. He looked around the bedroom. Clothes were tossed on chairs, drapes drawn. He wasn't really interested in getting up, but his bladder was kicking his ass. Swinging his long legs over the side of the bed, he tried to stand. "Good think they invented the nightstand," he said wearily, as he leaned on it for support.
Plodding his way to the bathroom, he swayed and had to slow down. He knew he needed to eat but the thought of food almost nauseated him. The sight of week-old towels disgusted him. He chanced a glance at the living room. It looked like World War III. He'd put off his cleaning lady for so long, she'd given him back his key. "Have to get a grip. What's WRONG with me? I'm not sick!" he yelled out loud. His mind's voice began an incessant chant. "You KNOW what's wrong! NO, you're not sick. Just sick at heart!" With that drumming in his brain, he staggered back to bed. Bed was both his home base and his best friend these days.
"Mr. Steele!"
No answer. This was getting serious. Really, REALLY serious. "Mildred, hand me my purse."
"What are you going to do, Ms. Holt?" Mildred said, extending the bag. She watched as Laura fumbled and cursed as she dug.
"What he taught me to do, Mildred." She held up her quarry. "Pick a lock in nothin' flat!"
The door swung open on well- oiled hinges. Expecting the worst, the two women held their breath and crossed their fingers. The apartment smelled musty, as if it hadn't been aired in a while. You take the dining room and kitchen, Mildred, I'll try the bedroom." Laura didn’t even want to THINK about the balcony.
A countertop with open packets of instant noodle soup and a sink full of dirty dishes greeted Mildred as she walked tentatively into the kitchen. His pride and joy. "The origin of so many gourmet feasts, reduced to this," she thought with despair.
"MILDRED!" Laura rushed around the corner, slid on the tile, and almost slammed into the counter.
"WHAT, Ms. Holt? Is he . . .?" She couldn’t go on. Her voice deserted her.
"No, Mildred, NO," Laura said, out of breath, but quick to reassure the older woman. "He's in the bedroom. Seems to be OK, just very lethargic." She took a firm grip on Mildred's shoulders and bent her knees so she was eye-to-eye with her. "It's just that I need your help."
"MY help, Ms Holt?"
"Yes, Mildred. See if you can talk him into getting up. He hears me, but I'm not getting through that armor of his. So far, all he's done is wrap himself in the covers and tell me to go away!"
"What can I do? If YOU can't do anything, NO ONE can!" Mildred said.
"That's where you're wrong, Mildred. Mr. Steele has . . . well, we BOTH have . . . but ESPECIALLY Mr. Steele . . ." Laura hedged, not sure of her own emotions, "always considered you a surrogate mother." She grabbed Mildred's hand. Mildred, teary eyed, stood in shock at Laura's revelation. "Believe me, he loves you. I've seen him respond to you when he wouldn’t listen to anyone else. He needs a little TLC and a LOT of the ex-IRS agent!"
Wiping her eyes with the backs of her hands, Mildred squared her shoulders, took a deep breath and squeezed Laura's hand. "You want Mother Theresa-Does- Corporate -America, you got it, Honey!"
"Thanks, Mildred," Laura said softly. "I'm going to call Claude. Tell him what's happening. I'm a disaster in the kitchen and Mr. Steele needs solid food, not this liquid chicken delight."
"Good idea, Ms. Holt. He'll keep it on the QT. If we have to, we'll go pick it up." That said, she marched off to the most important battle of her life. Her "son" needed her.
She found him curled in the fetal position on his right side, covers over his head. She tried a soft "Boss?"
No response. He tried to burrow like a feral animal but she held her ground, sweeping sweat stained sheets back. Involuntarily, her hand went up to stroke his face. No matter that he was nude. She didn't even see that now. "I've come a long way since the time I hid my face while changed in that Acapulco washroom," she thought.
"It's a pity I taught her so well." Mumbled into the pillow, but audible.
Anxious to keep him talking, she asked, "Taught who so well?"
"Ms. Holt. A man can't get any privacy in his own home, what with associates going about picking locks at all hours!"
She laughed. Something to build on. His sense of humor was still intact. Now, if the rest of him just was. "It's past five. That's PM! Even for you, that's late. And if your social secretary wouldn't neglect her duties, we MIGHT know you were still alive!" Oops. Poor choice of words, Mildred. Then she remembered something she'd read in a magazine. The article said talking frankly in these kinds of situations was good. Mentally crossing her fingers, she plowed on forcefully. "Boss, you need help. You don’t eat, sleep to excess, neglect your personal appearance and your home. What's more, you've pushed aside that which gives you pleasure and you've shut out those that love you. THAT is depression, my friend, with a capital D."
"Branched out into psychiatry while I was away, did we?" he said with a tired edge to his voice. "Just go home, Mildred, you and Laura. I'll be fine."
"Don’t you get cocky with me, buster!" she yelled. "You will NOT be fine! Why do you think I got you out of that jam with the IRS when we first me? Why do you think I stayed around after I found out you weren't YOU?" She stole a glance in his direction. She had to get him to fight. His eyes took on a puzzled look, but there was still nobody home. "I stayed because I came to love you! I STILL love you! You are my SON, and I don't want to lose you!"
That jarred him. He broke down, reaching for her. She cradled him like a newborn, rocking him in her arms. "That's my good boy, get it all out. You're safe. You're loved. It's OK."
"You don't understand, Mildred. I'VE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE!" he sobbed, choking on his tears.
"What's that, kiddo?" she asked softly, pushing his hair off his face.
"FEEL Mildred! Show every bloody damn emotion known to man! I'm ashamed! And I don’t even know why! I've got everything I could have ever wished for and more. Why now?"
"Nobody here but us chickens, honey. And the artwork is deaf. Don't sweat the small shit." That got a chuckle.
She heard the distant chime of the doorbell, heard Laura talking in muffled tones. That would be the food. "Listen, honey, We got you something to eat . . ." He shook his head vigorously. She persisted. "You've got to try. I know it might make you sick to your stomach at first, be we'll take it slow, OK? Got your favorite . . .Please?" She got a weary smile, but a smile nonetheless. She had him, now. "Look, let's get you cleaned up and dressed. Then we'll go out and face the world."
"OK, mum, you soaped me into it," he said, looking at her with that loving expression she'd come to know so well. He kissed her cheek. She found herself tearing up again. One last hug, then, "Help me up, will you, Mildred? I would seem that I'm not up to polo today."
Laura had tried to placate Claude. When she'd called, she'd planned on picking up the food. Tried to tell him it was just a virus. Had to keep it low key for Mr. Steele's sake. He was a private man. Wouldn’t take kindly to having his dirty laundry aired in public, even if it was his favorite maitre de. Just as she was reaching for her car keys, the doorbell rang. Claude stood in the doorway, laden with food. Her mouth dropped open. She'd never known the ultra conservative Claude to get personally involved with a patron. He asked, "You will permit me entry, no?"
She recovered quickly. "Of course. I’m so sorry! Please. The dining room is this way." She took some of the burden, leading the way across the plush gray carpeting. Claude immediately set to work, Laura marveling at his ease and expertise as he laid the table. "He should own that place," she thought. He certainly knew his way around the restaurant business.
She'd heard the sobbing coming from the bedroom. Score one for Mildred. She'd debated going in, hearing him cry tore at her heart. But her head said, "Let them alone." Hearing the sound of the shower, she knew she'd been right. He was in good hands.
Just as Claude finished, Harry and Mildred came out. He looked like the human equivalent of "timid woodland creature". Walking on unsteady legs, blinking at the bright lights, but the beard was gone and he was wearing fresh clothes. He froze momentarily when he saw Claude, gave Mildred a "How could you do this to me?" look. She stood on tiptoe, rubbed his arm, whispered in his ear. He looked intently at her for a moment, as if he wouldn’t take another step. Then, to her utter relief, he took her arm and escorted to the dining table.
"Mr. Steele, you will please excuse this intrusion. But, as you have not been to our establishment of late, I felt I must come personally. When Ms. Holt phoned, it came as a great relief to the staff. We consider you more than a valued customer. You are a good friend. Please allow me to extend our greatest wish for a speedy recovery."
"Thank you, Claude. Please convey to the staff my gratitude for both their concern and this great repast." He shot Laura a look. She shook her head discreetly, letting him know his confidence had not been betrayed. He nodded ever so slightly, just enough to let her know he'd gotten the message. He sat down, his poster stiff. Not quite sure all was forgiven. Mildred reached under the table and patted his thigh. The message was clear. Icy calm.
Claude took the hint. "I'm sure you would like to enjoy your dinner alone, no? And I must get back to the restaurant." Laura, still feeling Harry's eyes on her back, offered to walk him to the door. As they reached the threshold, he asked, "He is very ill, is he not? Ill in spirit?"
Taken aback, she thought, Way to go, Holt! Thought you'd play it cute. The great detective! Maybe I should ask Claude to join the team. He's obviously in the wrong business. Ooooh, well, when all else fails- PUNT!
Claude, watching her grope for words, eased her discomfort. "If you will permit me a quick story?" she nodded. "Growing up in France, I saw many people touched by the ravages of war. My mother died of a particularly severe disease during that time. My father nursed her as best he could. When she died, he had the same look I just saw in Mr. Steele's eyes. But like Mr. Steele, he was too much a gentleman to burden others with his pain. If he had, he might still be alive. He died six months later, leaving us to be raised by relatives." He paused, knowing he must tread carefully. "Do not let him shrink from you. If you do, you will lose him. I once told him that you were by far the best woman he'd ever brought to our humble establishment. I was right. Please consider tonight's dinner as my gift to you both." Bowing low, he kissed her hand. Laura, touched to her toes, could only stare as the elevator doors closed before him. She mouthed a silent "thank you", knowing she need not worry about his being indiscreet.
They ate in almost total silence. Harry picked at his dinner. Laura watched Mildred's tender concern as she danced to his tune. She began to wonder if they weren't RC mannequins in disguise, the way their movements matched. He'd put DOWN his fork, she'd pick UP his fork, put it back in his hand. Rub his shoulder, encourage him to eat. Knowing it wise to move things along, Laura said, "Let's head into the living room. Forget the dishes. I'll do them later. I majored in dishwashing at Stanford."
He said, "Wine, ladies?" That was her Remington, always the gracious host. But she shook her head at Mildred. Booze would only make a bad depression worse. With a conspiratorial wink at one another, the both declined. Taking seats on the opposite sofa, they stared until he felt cornered. He looked anywhere but at them. Just as he was about to bolt to the safety of his bedroom, Laura cut him off at the pass. "Oh, no you don't," she scolded. "You've put us through hell. We at least deserve an explanation!"
Sighing heavily, he conceded defeat. "That I do, luv. That I do. Where do I begin?"
"The beginning's always nice. Makes it so much easier to follow." He smiled. Good old Mildred.
With a "here goes" puff of air from his cheeks, he began. "All my life, I've lived . . .NO . . .existed, on the edge. Never sure which end was up, really. The only thing I WAS sure of was that I was as UNWANTED as a man can get. People used me, then threw me away. Except for Daniel, not a living soul cared if I lived or died. At times, I began to feel as though even HE only wanted me for the next job, so I moved on."
"But surely you knew he cared for you," Laura spoke up.
"Yes, he did. But it was always on HIS terms, never mine. Oh, I owe him an immense debt, one I can never fully repay. But I told you once, Laura, my life changed the day I met you. That's as true today as it was the day I said it!" His voice broke. Mist clouded his eyes, like clouds before a storm. He opened his arms wide, willing her to come to him. She all but leapt off her sofa, taking him up on his invitation. She snuggled so close that he thought their bodies would mesh. "So, where were we?" He cleared his throat.
"You were singing my praises, as I recall," she teased, getting misty eyed herself.
"Ahhh, yes. Well, that brings me to my present predicament, as it were."
"Yes. I mean, how do I reconcile the past with the present? I spent the greater part of my life as a fraud. Now, I feel like the biggest fraud of all!"
"You're NOT a fraud anymore!"
"No?" he asked gently. "We may have put one over on the public, but I know what my heart tells me." She started to respond, but he stopped her with a wave of his hand. "Please, Laura. Just let me try and get this out." She settled back against his side once more. "I've pulled off one successful heist, one successful con, after another. Some while I was assuming the mantle of Remington Steele." He paused, thinking fondly of Murphy's reaction the day he uttered that one behind a theatre during his first year with them. "Whilst shouldering said mantle, I've had occasion to be on the RECEIVING end of said heists and cons. I've had my pocket picked, the agency almost conned out from under us, and been framed for murder. With the help and faith of some very good friends." he reached out his free arm, opening a spot for Mildred by his other side. "It has occurred to me these last few weeks that I never gave a thought, NOT ONE THOUGHT to what my marks were feeling! Who they were and what they were was immaterial. That they could afford to lose or deserved to lose what I took lulled my conscience. Did they feel violated? Angry? Did they lose a precious piece of their family history? And who BLOODY WELL made me God, eh? How DARE I presume to decide who deserves to be punished?!"
Both women, sensing his growing agitation, retreated to opposite ends of the sofa. He sprang to his feet, pacing the length of the carpet. "My beautiful panther," Laura thought fondly. "My own, personal, beautiful panther."

Running his hands through his hair, he blew out a breath and continued. "I've also watched you, change, Laura, and not for the better."
"ME change?"
"Sorry, didn't come out right. What is mean, is, that at one point, you developed a particular fondness for art theft. Not to mention trying to pick my pocket."
"Oh, that. I was all right. I got over it," she laughed.
But he wasn't laughing. "Yes, THAT. THAT is what I wanted to keep you from! I could handle it when you merely wanted to partner me. We did that for the agency and we did it well. But when I saw you crossing over the line- I tell you, Laura, it's just like that gold fever that Murphy once had."
"Somebody wanna fill me in here?" Mildred asked, deadpan.
"Later, Mildred," they said in unison.
"I saw that look in your eye, heard the unconcealed delight in your voice. I tried to be cool, to explain the realities of my world. You bloody well scared the HELL out of me! I wanted to snatch your hand from my lapel, tell you no one in my profession should be allowed within five thousand MILES of an old master! I want to tell you that what I did, I did to survive, and later, because I knew no other way. But- it's NOT for you!" He calmed down, emotion spent. Taking his place on the sofa, he looked deep into Laura's eyes. "You remember Morrie Singer?"
"How could I forget? The four of us had to do an impromptu remake of "The Thomas Crown Affair" to get him out of that jam with Considine."
"The Thomas Crown Affair? Wasn't that a movie with Steve McQueen? What does that have to do with . . .?"
"Yeah, much later, Mildred," she grumbled, sinking back in the cushions. At least they seemed to have lit a fire under Mr. Steele.
"When he first came to me, he knew nothing of my past. As far he knew, I was Remington Steele. He told me of his life as a thief. Of course, I couldn't let on that he was talking to a fellow professional. He said something that day I'll always remember."
"And what was that, Mr. Steele?"
"I'm a thief. Not proud . . .Just IS." His eyes teared and he hung his head. He spoke so softly, she had to get closer to hear him. "THIS thief isn't too proud at the moment, Laura."
His "girls" gathered him into their protective embrace, just as they'd always done when they feared losing their connection to him.
Mildred spoke first. "I'm not real up on religion, boss, but it seems to me that maybe you HAD to experience these things."
"Had to, Mildred? You mean like punishment? I certainly deserve enough of that, don’t I?"
"Hold it right there! You're a good man and don't you EVER forget it! What you've done in the last few years is nothing short of a miracle, given your background."
"Then why don't I feel very miraculous?"
"Because, unlike so many others in your former profession, YOU HAVE A CONSCIENCE! You care! You dwell on the bad aspects of your life, but what bout the good? It didn't escape my notice when you sent that fruit basket to Maxie. When they were unable to reach her for delivery, you went right into action pronto. Saved her life! AND got her that hundred grand! You got Jackie Crawford straightened out, donated the fifty grand you won in that polo game to Wallace's mission . . .should I go on?"
"AND, you have the genuine respect of the straight world. Many of them are proud to call you friend. One of them just left here. He didn’t HAVE to come in person. He could have sent someone with the delivery!" She hugged him then, kissing the tip of his nose. She deliberately dropped her voice to that soothing tone he knew so well. "Boss, I don’t know why you did the things you did, or why you had to go through the things you did. Nobody could. But I think it's safe to say we all have a purpose, a reason for being on this earth. We try and we fail. We laugh and enjoy. And somewhere along the way we do what we were sent here to do." She pointed to the ceiling. "All He asks, is that we do the best can to love one another and do right by one another."
"But I've not DONE that!" he protested.
She put her fingers to his lips, effectively cutting off his tirade. "Honey, so much of what we get ourselves into is man made. We need to understand that he LOVES, not punishes. I remember a passage I read as a little girl. It goes, "God has seen your remorse." Now, let yourself off the hook. HE has."
He gathered her close, planted a big, wet kiss on her surprised mouth. Suddenly full of energy, he jumped up, lit the fireplace, then went over to his big screen. He thumbed though the tapes until he found "Casablanca".
Laura said, "Two guesses which tape that is. I'll go make popcorn. Coming, Mildred?"
Mildred, always quick on the uptake, said, "Oh, yeah. You'll need help with the butter."
"Make mine double," he yelled.
Once out of earshot, they conferred. "Mildred, you were altogether brilliant tonight! You literally saved him!"
"No, honey, I just told him the truth. His Spirit did the rest."
He was grateful for this brief time away from his girls. He sat down heavily, head bowed, hands folded. Hew as reminded of his so-called "religious" experiences during his upbringing. Maybe that was why he felt so unworthy of his current state of grace. The God he'd had pounded into his head was vengeful, lying in wait for an unsuspecting child to run afoul of His wrath. "Why couldn't they have had the grasp Mildred has?" he wondered. But then, she always was a special lady.
He began tentatively, afraid to offend Him. But then, Mildred had said that was impossible. She'd so much as told him to give it a try. That he'd never be pushed away. He suddenly felt a warm peace envelope him, spreading up his arms and around his body. He knew it was not the fireplace. He realized then that no words were necessary. Mildred was right. He was good, he was special, and he was FORGIVEN. In short, he was LOVED! He whispered the only words he felt appropriate at a time like this. "Thank you!" Wiping his eyes, he composed himself quickly, before the girls returned.
They entered the room with a flourish, soft drinks and popcorn spilling over onto the trays they carried. Once they had settled themselves, he hit "play" on the remote, sending them to that make believe world he loved so well. He dimmed the lights to heighten the effects from the speakers.
Munching contentedly, Laura and Harry were engrossed in the movie. Peaceful and dreamy, the last thing they wanted to hear was, "Speaking of movies, what ABOUT the four of you? Who WAS the four of you? WHEN was the four of you?"
"Never gives up, does she?" Laura whispered, sotto voce.
"A veritable bulldog," he agreed from out of the side of his mouth.
"Well, she WAS with the IRS fraud squad."
"It would appear that drastic measures are in order. Don't you agree, Ms Holt?"
"Most definitely, Mr. Steele."
Pointing to the screen, they shouted, "NOT NOW, MILDRED!"
The End.

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