DISCLAIMER: Needless to say I don't own Remington Steele in any way, shape, or form. No infringement is intended. I offer this fan fiction as a tribute to the creative teams involved in the actual production of the show.
A/N: This story takes place immediately after Lofty Steele.This is a one-shot that deals with something that has boggled my mind since Steele Your Heart Away. I've always wondered how the hospital in Ireland knew to call Laura Holt when Remington Steele lost his memory and what the significance was of the I.D. bracelet that he wore. This is my take on how he ended up wearing that piece of jewelry and what it means to both of them.
The fire department had finally given the go ahead to the building's tenants to go back to their homes. The building still needed a major paint job to remove the smoke blackened walls of the corridors and the furniture in the lofts were still either water logged or water damaged. Each loft needed major cleaning and repairs but the tenants did not seem to mind. What mattered, most specially to Laura Holt, was that she still had a place to call home. She was majorly traumatized by the explosion that blew up her house almost one year ago. She tried to shake off the feeling of sadness as she returned home with Mr. Steele and Ms. Krebbs or as they called themselves “Holt's Cleaners”. It was very kind of them to help her out she thought. This time, her home was saved and, although in shambles, she did not feel alone anymore.
They worked late into the night, trying to get all of the superficial cleaning and minor repairs done before the building contractor's concrete repair team arrived to patch up the hole in her wall, what was it about her that seemed to make people want to destroy her home? She wasn't even working a case this time and, at the time of the fire, Mr. Steele wasn't even kissing her! Somebody always tries to kill one of them when they got too romantic and they both could never understand why.
“Ms. Holt, I'll be going now. I've got an early start at the office tomorrow. Mr. Steele wants me to take out our recent case list and see if any of our recent police arrest referrals could have caused this.” Mildred said as she gathered her purse and coat from the extra large width white couch that sometimes doubled as a guest bed in the loft.
Laura looked up from placing loose bricks into the hole in the wall. Her hair was disheveled and her face was sopping with sweat. Why had the centralized air-conditioning not been turned on yet? She would need to talk to the building administrator in the morning. The fire marshal assured everyone that the electricity was fine prior to their return.
“Oh. Alright Mildred.” she shook the dust from her hands and walked towards the woman who was approaching Mr. Steele in the kitchen area. “See you in the morning and thank you for helping out. ”
“Don't mention it Ms. Holt.” The woman smiled as the man standing before her gave her a tight hug. “Mr. Steele, don't leave her tonight if you can help it. She needs a friend.” Mildred whispered into his ear.
“Not to worry Mildred. We all know what Ms. Holt can be like.” he whispered but nodded his head in agreement. It would be a long shot that Laura would let him stay overnight but he was willing to take his chances. He felt a responsibility towards the woman he felt that he was in a relationship with and all he wanted to do at this point, was take her away from all of the pain and fear of the last few days.
Laura slid the door lock into place and turned around. The last time she checked Mr. Steele was in the kitchen grabbing a paper bag from under the counter. He wasn't there now.
“Where did you run off to now?” she silently wondered. Sometimes she felt the urge to ask him if his mysterious past included being the reincarnation of Harry Houdini. What with the way he managed to always disappear from her sight. There was a rustling of paper bags coming from the dining area of the studio.
“Mr. Steele?” she called out. The light had not been turned on and all she could make out was the silhouette of a man moving about the dining table.
“C'mon you bloody piece of carton! Open up! Ouch!” she heard his familiar voice curse.
Laura flicked on the light switch. “Paper cut.” he told her as he sucked on his index finger to stop the shallow but throbbing pain. “Dinner is served my queen. I apologize but Denny's Chinese Take Out was the best I could do under the circumstances.”
He had prepared a take out spread that could have fed a company of soldiers. Mou Shou Pork, Long Life Noodles, Yang Chow Fried Rice, Shrimp dumplings, Pecking Duck slices, he even remembered the fortune cookies. Not that Laura really believed that a piece of paper stuffed into a cookie could give an accurate prediction of anything remotely connected to a certain future, but the child-man in front of her always chided her about not believing in the simple hopes offered by such things as fortune cookies so she humored him when needed.
“What did you do? Order everything on the menu?” she said in amazement.
“I wasn't sure what you would feel like having Laura.” he grinned in that way that made her want to reach out and kiss him each time.
He held her chair for her before taking his seat next to her. Ever the gentleman, he made sure to serve her a little bit of everything and waited before she took her first bite prior to taking his own.
He could not help but reach out and touch her cheek as they ate in relative silence. Somehow Laura did not have the appetite to eat. Her left eyebrow was starting to twitch. He knew that she wanted to tell him something. She just did not know how to get it out there. As always, he would have to coax it out of her. The deal they made in Cannes had effectively set up a road block in their relationship in such a manner that he no longer knew how to treat her or how to touch her without stepping over bounds. He was grateful that she looked up at him with her sad doe eyes, allowing a sweet yet pained smile to cross her lips.
“What's wrong Laura? You haven't eaten a bite but you keep poking at your food.”
“I'm not hungry.”
“I can see that. But something must be preventing you from enjoying this thanksgiving feast. Granted, it isn't the same gourmet meal we could have had at Marty's but...”
She placed the chopsticks on the side of her plate and looked into his Ocean Blue eyes. How she just wanted to get lost in those calming eyes, the loving gaze that he was throwing her way, the hand that had just come to rest atop her right hand. She placed her own left hand over his and leaned over to kiss him on the cheek.
“Thank you for being here with me Xenos.” she used his Greek name to let him know that she appreciated him for everything he had done for her recently, regardless of the past that he desperately tried to hide from her. Having faced her own mortality twice now, not knowing everything she wanted to about The Stranger did not seem important anymore. What mattered to her at the moment, was that he was by her side, alive and well.
She had almost lost him when the fire broke out in the building. As they sat there eating, she could not help but think back to the memory of that day. How he had run down the fire riddled stairs with the building manager to try and start the sprinklers. She would never forgive that man for leaving Mr. Steele in the basement to face what she knew would have been certain death. She wanted so badly to go after him but the firemen prevented her from reentering the building. She considered it an act of God that he managed to stay alive by seeking shelter in the furnace.
“Stay with me tonight?” she asked him. Although she knew how her question must have sounded, the look on his face told her that he understood what she meant.
“I'll take the couch.” he smiled at her while he caressed the side of her face closest to his free hand.
“No! Mr. Steele! Remington! Steele! Get him out! Get him out! Let me go! He needs me!” Laura's shrill voice pierced the silent night air that had lulled them to sleep. “Put out the fire! Put it out!”
“Laura?” Steele sat up with a start. “Laura!” he bounded up the steps to her sleeping area two at a time.
She was thrashing about in bed, the covers kicked off, her arms flailing away, reaching out, searching for him. He clambered onto the right side of the bed and took her into his arms. Trying to wake her in hushed tones. He needed to keep it together for her. She needed him to be strong for both of them. He kissed her forehead and cheeks, letting her feel him, hoping it would calm her down.
“I'm here Laura.”
“Where are you? I can't find you! Steele! You promised not to leave me...” her voice was in such pain. He felt a cut go through his heart. He was causing her all this pain.
“I haven't gone anywhere Laura. I'm right here with you. You are safe in my arms. Wake up my baby, wake up my love.” he whispered as he continued to kiss her.
“Mr. Steele?” she was slowly coming to with hiccuping tears. “I'm sorry. I had a bad dream.”
“No apologies necessary. I understand.” he noticed her hiccups. “Just a minute.”
“Where are you going?” she held his arm as he moved to get up from bed.
“To get you a glass of water.” he patted her hand that held him in place. “I'll be right back.”
He held her close as she gulped down the water. Immovable until her sobs turned into whimpers until finally, Laura could not cry anymore. She had dozed off in the safety of his arms but awoke once he moved to lay her flat on the bed.
Her eyes fluttered open. “I'll be on the couch.” he whispered as he covered her up with the fleece blanket that she had kicked off earlier.
“Stay with me, please?” she was like a child begging for companionship, he could not turn her down.
“I'll sleep on top of the covers.” he crawled over her back to the right side of the bed.
Laura awoke to the smell of a freshly brewed pot of coffee and pancakes the next morning. She made a sound as she stretched out in bed and tried to enjoy a few more minutes of lazing around before getting up. She slowly slunk out of bed and made her way to the kitchen.
“Good morning Laura.” in keeping with his personal motto, Mr. Steele was already washed and in freshly pressed clothes. She did not recall him bringing any clothes with him the night before but she wasn't about to ask him about it. Not after the night that she put him through. Yes, she did remember everything that happened during and after he nightmare.
“Mr. Steele.” she acknowledged as she poured herself a cup of coffee. “Thank you for doing this.” she motioned to the food on the kitchen counter.
“This? I used to cook pancakes in the side streets of Hyde Park. I didn't have a vending license, always on the run. But then, that was always my life before you came along.” he offered her yet another glimpse into his life. A life that from the look on his face, he would rather forget about. “Now, off you go. Get dressed, the food is getting cold.”
Laura was almost done dressing, she just needed to accessorize her outfit for the day and she was all set. But there was still something bothering her. It was the thought that anything could happen to the man without a name that sat on her couch at the moment watching television while he waited for her to get ready. If something were to happen to him while they were apart... If he were to meet an accident... He had no form of identification on him... How was she going to find him? How would anybody know to call her? Then she remembered.
She rummaged through her jewelry in the small box on top of her dresser and fished out a gold ID bracelet. It was a bracelet that she had fashioned for herself after she had set up Remington Steele Investigations. She never wore it as she meant the jewelry to merely be a memento piece for her. It was just about to come to mean a lot more now. She held the bracelet up to her face and examined it. Yes, all the information was there, it was perfect for what she had in mind.
“Finally. Seriously Laura, you always change timezones when I ask you to get ready for anything. Let's go, Fred awaits.” Steele chastised her as she came down from her dressing area.
“Just a minute Mr. Steele.” she motioned for him to sit back down and wait for her. “We have a small matter to discuss.”
“What is it?” he checked his watch, their first client was rescheduled for 10 AM. They barely had 30 minutes to get to the office.
“Hold out your wrist.” she instructed. He held out his left wrist. “The other wrist.”
She slid the bracelet onto his wrist as she gave him instructions. “Promise me you won't ever take this off. It's my gift to you.”
“It isn't my birthday Laura.” he was about to crack a joke when he noticed the inscription on the bracelet.
“Remington Steele” the bracelet read on the front. He turned it over just to see if anything was written on the other side. “Laura Holt (213) 555-3535”
“An ID bracelet Laura?” he wondered aloud. “What in the heavens for?”
The seriousness mixed with apprehension and dread that was written on her face told him that the bracelet had a specific purpose.
“You don't have any form of identification Mr. Steele. You don't even have a next of kin for anyone to call in case of emergency. If something were to happen to you...”
“At least you would know.” he smiled and hugged her. “You are the only woman in my life who ever worried about what might happen to me. Thank you. This bracelet isn't coming off my wrist even for a bath. " He pulled away from her for just a moment. "Funny, I thought the bracelet meant that I would be yours forever.”
“Only if you want it to Mr. Steele. I don't have any problem with that.” she responded.
Then, just for that moment, the road block was removed as she allowed herself to be swept up in the kiss that they had both been longing to have from each other for far too long. She would worry about the road block some other time. For now, she needed to know that he had no problem about being hers forever. She was glad that he guessed what she did not have the guts to tell him.