[Someone of the feline persuasion comes between Laura and Remington- no not Felicia, it's Laura's cat, Nero. ENJOY!]
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Remington Steele, and will be receiving no financial gain etc. etc. so on and so forth.
Humane Steele
Janice Skyers

Part One

"Dance?" He asked, taking her by the hand.

She rose from her chair with elegance. "Why not," she said, smiling graciously.

Slowly he spun her around the dance floor, never taking his eyes off the woman that's responsible for giving him a brand new start in life. "And who are you really now that Ben Pearson is laid to rest," she said after a time.

"I'm whoever you want me to be," he answered vaguely.

"Well perhaps tonight you'll just be Harry,"


"Yesas I recall Harry wasn't associated with the names in those fictitious passports of yours,"

"You have your eyes closedwhy?"

"Oh no reason," she said, opening them.

"Maybe you're afraid-"

"Of what?"

"Of getting in too deep andwell never mind. Let's get back to why you think I look like a Harry."

"I didn't say you look like a HarryI said for tonight you'll be Harry," she corrected him.

"Hmm," he said, taking in the scent of her perfume. "Smells good," he whispered softly in her ear.

"I'm glad that my taste is to your liking. So where were you before-"

"Still asking old questions," he said in a light tone of voice.

She looked up at him, her eyes suddenly filled with deep hurt.

"I'm sorry," he apologized in barely a whisper. "But what difference does it make who I am and where I came fromthe important thing is that I'm here now."

"But how do I know that-"

"I don't have a wife and kiddies somewherewell I don't. I'm as free as a birdno woman has any designs on mewell that could change if you're up for the challenge," He replied honestly.

"Thanks, and since you enjoy impossible challenges perhaps you could give me a few tips"

"Well tips isn't what I had in mindat least not tonight."

"Why did you really come back?"

"I thought you knew," he said, leaned in closely, whispering in her ear.

"I have some inkling but I was never one to assume-"

"I've never met anyone like you before-"

"Someone who didn't immediately tumble into bed with you,"

"Well what I was going to say is that you seem so well put together. So sure of yourself-"

"Such a challenge," she interrupted.

He smiled graciously.

The music stopped. "Well imagine that-"

"What?" She asked, gazing into those friendly blue eyes.

"We actually managed to get through a dance without trading insults or biting each other's head off," he explained, recalling their first dance together.

"Well there's always tomorrow," she joked.

He chuckled softly, his blue warm and friendly blue gaze fixated on her.

"Shall I take you home now?"

"Well I- we have to be at the office bright and early in the morning,"

She has to get use to sharing the spotlight now that her fictitious boss had come to life, she noted mentally.

"I was never much of a morning person. Something I'll have to get use to I suppose," he confessed lightly.

"I understand," she couldn't resist saying, smiling coyly, "After all in your former line of work-"

"Touche!" he said, grinning, knowing exactly what was forthcoming. "Shall we go then?"

She nodded, indicating that she was ready to go.


"I'd invite you in for a nightcap but-"

He suddenly took her off guard, brushing his soft lips against hers, silencing her. Their lips pressed together, they shared a deep passionate kiss.

"Now isn't this better than talking?" He said, after he broke the kiss initiated by him. Being a risk taker was definitely a good way to be, he concluded.

"It is," she admitted. Why lie, she thought. She enjoyed that kiss immensely. "Well I'm not much of a drinker but I do have a bottle of champagne cooling in the refrigerator. If you like-"

"Is that what you want,"

How many times have they been through this little routine? Even before they left the restaurant he already knew the answer to that question. She'd been in a flirtatious mood all night, not that this was anything new, but tonight she had a special gleam in her eye, and that had him wondering if perhaps she'd decided that tonight they'd cross that line- a euphemism for making love he earlier learned from her.

"Yes I've always loved champagne," she was saying, breaking his thoughts.

"No I mean are you sure that you'd like for me to-"

"It's not a magnum I'm afraid but it's still champagne and yes I'm inviting you in."

She stepped out of the way to let him inside the house and he heard the door closed, that's when he turned to face her again. His eyes held captive by that lovely freckled face he'd become smitten with.

"I'll get the champagne," she said, diverting her eyes away from him, taking careful note of the erotic look in those blue eyes. She wondered if her eyes mimicked that look as well. In order to get to the kitchen, she had to pass him on the way, but it was no easy task getting there. Suddenly she lunged forward, landing in his arms, holding onto him for support. That unexpected move was to his advantage he thought, smiling as he wrapped his arms around her waist. "Nero!" She scolded, "What's your problem?" That feline creature let out a soft, pathetic meow but his master, refused to accept his apology and went on about her business.

Remington made use of Laura's absence, scooping down next to the black cat and began stroking his soft, black as shoe polish silken hair. "What's the matter old chap. Not seeing as much of your master as you use to? Well I'm afraid that I might have to take the blame for"

Nero let out a soft meow again. "I shouldn't take the blame is that what you're saying old boy, then I won't." He said, a fond smile on his face. In comparison, he had a better relationship with cats than dogs. Cats he thought were more peaceful by nature and didn't resort to using those deadly claws of theirs until they were provoked, but also he knew that they can be very deceptive creatures. One particular blonde from his past comes to mind that he'd put in the same category as the feline species, a deceptive creature that one was, and "catty" would be the best way to describe her personality.


"How about I take you into the kitchen and see about whipping up a saucer of milk for you. Would you like that?"


"That's a good boy," he said. Scooping him up from the floor, he carried him off into the kitchen, where he found a puzzled Laura, shaking her head.

"Mr. Steele?"

"I think he's hungry Laura,"

Laura rolled her eyes in disbelief. "He eats like a horse," Laura said lightly.

"That's a bit exaggerated, don't you think. Anyway, I think he could do with a saucer of milkhopefully you have milk in that refrigerator of yours," he said, looking half-serious, while carefully returning the cat to the floor. Nero's gray eyes darting back and forth between the young couple as they fussed about him. He rather liked that. At least for the moment he was the center of attention and that's something he hasn't felt like in a long time. Well not since Mr. Steele entered the picture.

"I'm afraid that I don't have any left. I poured the last of it over my cereal this morning," she confessed lightly.

Her revelation caused him to pull his dark head out of the refrigerator. Straightening his back, he closed the door with a look of disappointment on his face.

"Well old boy it seems that a trip to the grocery store is in order," he said, looking down at Nero, who was staring at him with pitiful shiny gray eyes. In a way, those eyes reminded him of Laura's, except hers were brown.

"Now?" Laura shouted, not at all liking that idea.

"Yes now," Remington informed her, looking half-serious.

"But-" She began protesting.

"I'm merely doing this so that we can continue our evening in peace Miss Holt. If we don't feed Nero, he's going to spend the rest of the night whining and-" He paused to open the back door.

He wasn't all that keen on ditching his date to go grocery shopping but since this sort of thing has happened before, it's better to be safe than sorry, he thought, having been through this experience before.

She watched the man she called Remington Steele walk out, closing the door behind him, leaving her with an annoyed expression on her face while holding an unopened bottle of champagne.

"Well," she huffed, looking down at the culprit responsible for ruining her romantic plans for the evening with Mr. Steele. "Thank you very much Nero!"

Nero looked up at his master, a pained and pathetic look in his shiny gray eyes. "Forget it!" she yelled. "That poor innocent me expression, won't work on me tonight."

So much for being the center of attention, because it seems that now Nero was in the doghouse. [that Nero does have a sense of humor after all]

His master's outburst caused Nero to wonder [if in fact a cat is capable of doing such a thing, I believe so], if he was perhaps getting in the way. Had he suddenly become an intruder? Two's company, three's a crowd just might be what the problem is, Nero decided. She had Mr. Steele in her life now so what would she want with the likes of him. But if he was capable of verbalizing what was going on in his mind, he'd tell his master a few things. Of late, she's been shrieking her duties where he's concerned, like forgetting to pour milk in his saucer before going off on one of her dates with Mr. Steele. She was never that way before he walked into her life. At least Mr. Steele had the good sense to figure out that he was dying of starvation and needed to be fed. [Nero's thinking is slightly exaggerated here. Like a child, he tends to overreact when his owner scolds him or gets upset with him for misbehaving, and so now he's thinking of switching owners. Has Mr. Steele given any thought to adopting a pet, he wondered]. For the moment Mr. Steele was his best friend and his ownerwell he didn't quite make up his mind what his relationship would be with Laura if he decides to switch owners. He'd spend the rest of the night curled up in ball under the kitchen table, stewing. A place he'd often resort to after being scolded by his master.


"Where's Nero?" Remington asked, removing the carton of milk from the plastic bag.

Laura shrugged. "Stewing under the kitchen table," she said casually. It seems that Nero wasn't the only one guilty of making himself invisible when he couldn't have his own way, he realized. The only difference is Laura's hiding place was in the laundry hamper he found out from Abigail Holt.

"You guess," Remington said, looking very concerned.

"Is this what we're going to dospend the rest of the evening discussing Nero,"

"Well he is your cat,"

"I know," she said through clenched teeth. "But does that mean that-"

"Don't tell me you're jealous of-"

"Let's just forget it alright," she suggested.

"About us or Nero?"

She didn't respond, just gave him a very annoyed look.


"So how did it go?" Berniece Foxe, the secretary of the establishment asked her employer.

"It didn't," Laura said, still angry.

"What happened?" Berniece said, a curious look on her face.

"Nero happened, that's what-"

"Your cat?"

"That's the culprit alright,"

"What did he do?"

"Just when things were about to get interesting, he popped out of nowhere and started with his antics,"

"Oh I see," Berniece said slowly. "At least it wasn't another female,"

"Might as well be,"

"So are you two going to give it another try tonight?"

"Well that all depends on Nero. It seems that he's the one calling the shots these days,"

"Sounds like you've got competition," Berniece said with a smiling face.

"Yeah it does seem that way doesn't it,"

Berniece found the whole situation laughable. Laura on the other hand didn't crack a smile.


"Morning," she said, stepping into his office, entering through the connecting door. "Let's get to it shall we," she said referring to their current case they were working on.

"Did you find him?"

Her partner on the other hand wasn't up to discussing business it seems.

"Pardon?" She asked, pretending to read the case file.

"Nero I'm talking about- up to the time I left he didn't show up for his supper,"

They'd even checked under the kitchen table, his usual place of hiding, but he wasn't there. And they'd spend most of the night, searching the house from top to bottom trying to find him, but no sign of the black cat.

"Cats stray," she told him. "He'll be back- not that I'm aware that he was missing,"

"Hmm Mmm," he said, studying her face carefully. "How can you be sure that he isn't-"

"That's his habit," was all she said.

"You don't seem concerned," he accused lightly.

"Why should I behe decided to run off to Lord knows where so"

"I think he ran off because he sensed that you were upset with him last night,"

"Look we don't know if he DID run off, and as I mentioned earlier, cats do that sort of thing. And frankly I'm not going to invest any time in searching all over Los Angeles for a stubborn cat,"

"Well we know how he got that way now don't we,"

Laura flashed dark angry eyes at him. "Shall we get to work."

"Yes by all means, let's do that," he said tightly. "But I'd think that you'd be more concerned about Nero not showing up for his supper last night. It's not like him to take off like that inspite of what you say-"

"What did you expect? He'd leave a note telling us of his intentions?"

"That's not what I mean," he said tightly, pausing. "I don't recall a time when Nero wasn't present when I'm over at your house, gnawing at my shoelaces or curled up beside me on the couch, or brushing up against my feet. Maybe he just felt that he was in the way last night and so-"

"And maybe he just loves attention. Or maybe you spoil him too much."

Truthfully, he knew she was right about that.

"Well I may be guilty of thatyes,"

"At least you admit it," she said, looking surprised.

"Well my instincts tell me that's not the case Laura- I think there's more going on with Nero than-"

"What do you suggestthat I take him to a psychiatrist and have him analyzed,"

"This isn't a joking matter Laura. I think Nero did run off and I think we should do something about trying to find him,"

"He ISN'T missing for Christ's sake. Now shall we get to work," she said again, sighing in exasperation.

"That's right, let's do that. After all, business does take precedence over everything else in your life."

"Really," she questioned. "I'm not the one, who suddenly decided to play nursemaid to a cat last night," she reminded him.

From that point on, only the case was discussed.


"You seeing him again tonight?"

"What would be the point?" Laura told Berniece. "We'd only end up fighting about Nero,"

Berniece shook her head in disbelief. "Are you two really going to allow a cat to come between you and romance,"

"It's not me-"

"It's not?" Berniece questioned.

"It's HIM. He's the most stubborn and pig-headed person I've ever met in my life,"

"Nero or Mr. Steele?" Berniece joked.

"Who do you think. Once he gets a hold of something, he never lets go of it until-"

"Sounds familiar," Berniece commented lightly.

"While I was getting dressed for our date last night, I told myselfLaura let the chips fall where they may"

"You mean letting your guard down and"

"Yes. And I sensed that he wanted that too."

"But he spent last night lavishing more attention on your cat than you," Berniece figured.


"Well at least if you two get together tonight Nero won't be there to interrupt seeing as though he might have run off,"

"You think it would work if we got together tonight. I mean right now we're both so angry with each other-"

"Ask him and hear what he says," Berniece cut in.

"I will but as I said, he can be very stubborn when he wants to be,"

"He isn't the only one," Berniece said, smiling innocently. "Goodnight," she told her employer, retrieving her handbag from the desk drawer. "Have fun,"

Laura gritted her teeth. "Grrrrrrrr," as she left the reception area for his office.


"Now," she said softly with a smiling face, handing him a glass of the bubbly, relieved and happy that they were finally alone. Hopefully their evening wouldn't be interrupted by one particular feline individual who had a habit of turning up in the living room no sooner than Mr. Steele walked in the door, whining pathetically, so as to grab the spotlight away from his master. Wasn't it bad enough that she had to suffer through this at the office? Without Nero as the main attraction tonight, maybe, just maybe, the evening would proceed in the direction that she had in mind. Well at least tonight she got a step further and the champagne actually got poured into the glasses. "Shall we try again?"

She waited for him to propose a toast, but he seemed to have sailed off somewhere without her judging from that faraway look in his blue eyes. "Penny for your thoughts," she said.


Oh no, here we go again, she thought mentally. Well Nero you chose a fine time to disappear.

"This isn't going to work is it," she said, looking very disappointed, resting her filled glass on the coffee table.

"I'm sorry Laura. I really want this just as much as you do,"

"Could have fooled me," she remarked, a disappointed look on their face.

Was he really sitting there fretting over her cat?

He rose from the sofa, buttoned up his jacket, turning in the direction of the front door.

"Oh I get it," she said sternly. "I'm being punished because Nero"

Did she really say that? Get a hold of yourself Laura. Stop being so overly dramatic for heaven's sake. But she couldn't help herself.

"Where did that come from?"

"Because that's what it seems like," she told him, her dark eyes filled with anger and resentment. "As I said before, Nero has a way of taking off whenever the mood hits and eventually he does return home. And if he doesn't, then we'll just have to accept it and move on with our lives. I'm not going to go chasing after him,"

"I think I understand now," he said vaguely.

"Understand what?" She was curious to know.

"This isn't really about Nero is it Laura." He stated, not taking his accusing eyes off her. "It's really about your father," he concluded.

"Now you're being ridiculous," she defended in an angry tone of voice.

"Am I?" He said, looking dead serious.

Part 2 Coming soon