- Steele Among Friends
Date: Monday, September 23, 2002
- ajk070371 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Steele Among Friends
By: Angel Koerkel
Disclaimers: Scarecrow and Mrs. King belongs to WB and
Remington Steele belongs to its owner. This story is the property
the author. No copyright infringement is intended.
Written: May - September 2002
Summary: Crossover story between Scarecrow and Mrs. King
Remington Steele. Family ties and intrigue bring our two favorite
Rated: PG-13 at the most
Timeline: Spring 1986. SMK world: just after "Three
RS world: just after "Beg, Borrow, or Steele".
Feedback: I'd love it! The more the better. Please send
to the email listed above. This has not been beta-ed. Please,
Archive: At the SMK fanfic archive, the RS archive, and at
(both pages). Anywhere else, please ask first.
Notes: This is my first attempt at Remington Steele fiction.
to stay true to character and canon for both shows, please let
know your thoughts on my success or failure.
The flight over the heartland was tedious to say the least. To
matters worse, the non-stop trip from Los Angeles to Washington
was packed. Laura Holt reclined back in her first class seat,
luxury she seldom allowed herself but she needed space both literally
and figuratively and so she had declined the more economical
of coach seating. Now she was glad she had. Her head pounded
she squeezed her eyes shut as she fiercely rubbed her temples.
only that damned scene would stop replaying in my head!' she
thought. As she winced even more, it began again.
She was reclining on Mr. Steele's sofa [Even in my mind I can't
him 'Remington'! Ugh!] with her head in his lap. It occurred
her that she was quite content there, her eyes peacefully closed,
breathing shallow, an empty wineglass on the table, as he stroked
hair back from her face and the firelight played across them
It was almost perfect, she thought.
Then, she heard him sigh and take in another breath. He sounded
if he wanted to say something, but she pretended not to
notice. "Laura," he began haltingly; "I've been
thinking. I learned
a lot about myself last weekend."
Eyes still closed, she responded, "Really. Like what?"
she asked in
a mildly curious but sleepy voice.
"When we were wandering the streets, not a penny to our
realized that there's no one I'd rather be homeless with."
a quirky smile and twirled her hair around his finger.
"Uh huh," Laura replied with a hesitant tone. She wasn't
this was headed, but she was suddenly very nervous. Untangling
herself from his hands, she sat up slowly. She turned to face
the sofa, one leg bent up across it. "That's very nice,
But, is that really something you learned about yourself?"
She was teasing him and he knew it. He knew her so well. He knew
that as soon as he tried to turn serious she would resort to
jestering to lighten the mood. For all her talk about his fear
commitment, he knew who in this relationship was afraid, and
certainly wasn't him. "Well, in a way, yes. Because, you
helped me to realize something else."
'Here it comes,' she thought. 'How can I get out of here quick?'
He leaned in toward her slightly, taking her hand in his. Dropping
his voice almost to a whisper and lowering his eyes to stare
fingers interlaced with his, he said, "Laura, I lo..."
Jumping up, she grabbed her purse before he could get the word
out. "Oh my gosh! Would you look at how late it is!"
at her wrist despite the fact that she wasn't wearing a watch.
really have to go now. I'll see you Monday at the office."
The stewardess announced their descent into Dulles just as the
dreaded event started to replay yet again. 'Thank Heaven,' she
"Mother! I'm leaving. I should be home in time for dinner."
King called up the stairs.
Dotty West heard the front door close before she could answer.
looked out an upstairs window and saw Amanda walk down the
street. 'Now where on Earth is she going? I mean, I know I need
car today, but she doesn't have to walk to a bus stop. I could've
given her a ride.'
Slightly down the street, and out of sight, sat a shiny silver
Corvette. Lee Stetson climbed out and hurried over to the passenger
side to open the door for Amanda. "Thanks so much for the
Lee. Mother needed the car today, and I would have asked her
drive me in, but it would've been in the complete opposite direction
of where she was going."
Lee returned to his seat and put the car into gear. As they took
down the road, he answered his partner. "No problem, Amanda.
don't mind. Besides, it gives us some time to talk without being
interrupted." He smiled a boyish grin at her and took her
had never really had a woman that he could talk with before;
he'd ever wanted one. But with Amanda it was different. He found
enjoyed their conversations immensely and always looked forward
spending time just chatting with her. They drove on to work
discussing the little things of life.
The telephone ringing that afternoon was a welcome reprieve from
pile of paperwork on his desk as Lee answered it. "Q-Bureau.
Amanda looked up from her filing in the open vault to see if
would soon be needed for another assignment. Lee's smile greeted
as he held the phone out. "It's for you."
"Oh. Thank you." Taking the phone from him, she spoke
it. "This is Amanda King."
"Amanda. Thank God! Do you know how hard it is to reach
work? I must have been transferred a dozen times, and that was
they admitted that you do actually work there. Jeez, if I didn't
know better, I'd swear your job was a national secret or something."
"Laura? Is that you? Oh my goodness! It's been ages since
talked!" Amanda peeked at Lee from the corner of her eye
tell from his posture that his curiosity was piqued.
"I know. Listen, Amanda, I'm in town for a little while
wondering if you'd like to get together." The background
the airport was deafening as Laura covered her open ear with
"I'd love to! Where are you? It's terribly loud."
"I'm at Dulles right now, but I'm going to go find a hotel
as soon as
I can get a rental car. When is good for you?" Laura knew
sounded desperate to meet with Amanda, but hoped that the noisy
atmosphere covered it up.
"First things first. No hotel. If you're in town, you're
with me. I won't take no for answer, Laura Holt. The boys can
together for a few days. It's no bother at all. Let me see if
get out of here early today and I'll meet you at the house."
glanced hopefully at Lee who quickly nodded his assent. "My
doesn't have a problem with it, so I'll be home in about an hour.
I'll probably beat you there. You remember how to get there?"
"I can find it. I really appreciate this. I can't wait to
We have so much to catch up on." Laura was almost in tears
relief. She couldn't explain it; she just knew that seeing Amanda
would help her deal with the confusion she felt. "I better
get a car
and get going. See you soon. Bye."
"Bye, Laura." Amanda hung up and smiled. Looking up,
she saw Lee
watching her. "That was Laura," she said as if that
"So I gathered," he laughed. "The question is,
who is Laura?"
"I haven't mentioned her? That's odd. We were very close
children, even though we lived so far apart. We saw each other
all the family gatherings and it was if we spent every day together."
"So she's a relative?" Lee asked, still not sure who
she was exactly.
"My cousin on my Mother's side. Her Mother and mine are
Lee pretended to be shocked. Although he knew perfectly well
Dotty was a twin from Amanda's background check, he continued
teasing. "You mean that there are two of your Mother out
"Oh, Lee. She's not that bad." She playfully slapped
him on the arm
before reaching past him to get her purse. "I just remembered,
didn't drive today. A taxi is going to cost a fortune!"
"Let me take you. You can tell me all about this cousin
With a grateful smile from Amanda, he grabbed his jacket and
to the door.
The man commonly known, at least in the area of Southern California,
as Remington Steele breezed through the glass doors of 'his'
agency. "Good morning, Miss Krebbs. Is Miss Holt in yet?"
as he headed toward her office.
Puzzled, Mildred looked up. "You mean you didn't know that
Without missing a beat, he performed a perfect U-turn. "What
do you mean, 'left town', Mildred?" He placed his hands
on her desk.
"I mean: packed a bag, went to the airport, caught a plane,
"Where precisely did Miss Holt 'poof' to? If its not too
"Well, she didn't say I couldn't tell you, but then again
you already knew, so I didn't ask." The older woman looked
the indecision. Not so long ago it would've been a no brainer,
that was before she knew the dirty little secret about who Mr.
really was, or rather wasn't.
"Mildred! Where is she?" His voice was not loud, but
demanding as he leaned further across the desk.
"Oh boss, she caught the first flight this morning to D.C."
"Why in God's name would she go there?" He wondered
aloud as he
turned and strode to his office. Stopping short of his door,
faced the reception area. "Mildred, get me on the next possible
plane to Washington. Then, find out where she's staying. Trace
credit cards. I want to know where she is." Before she could
him, he was in his office with the door closed.
He picked up the phone and dialed the first person he thought
probably the last one Laura would. "Abigail?......Yes, it's
Remington Steele...... Good to hear you too. ........Um, I was
wondering, have you heard from Laura lately?......... You
haven't. ........ Oh, no, no. Nothing to worry about. Seems she
decided to take an impromptu trip to Washington D.C. and I thought
you might have a number for her. ........ Just some agency business
that needs her attention. ......... Right. ......... Well, all
then. If you do hear from her, don't mention I called. No need
make her worry about the office while she's off. ......... Yes,
well, then good day, Abigail." He leaned into the phone
as he said
his good-byes and hung up. 'Damn. Well, old boy, you knew it
long shot. Now what, Sherlock?' He laughed at his unintentional
joke in spite of himself.
A rapping at the door was quickly followed by Mildred's
entrance. "I've got you on the next plane out of here, which
put you in Washington about 9:00 p.m. I haven't found anything
Miss Holt's card except a rental car. No hotel, no food, bupkus!"
"Very well then, Mildred. I'll have to do this the old fashioned
way, eh? I'll be gone a few days, cancel whatever you need to
hold down the fort, will you? Okay, then. I'm off." He walked
purposefully across the room and Mildred heard the outer office
close behind him.
Laura pulled up to the average, but pleasant, white house on
Maplewood about 4:30 in the afternoon. She took a deep breath
pulled herself from the car. As she approached the door, hand
aloft to knock, it opened and the image of her mother confronted
her. "Laura, dear! Come in, come in. I can't believe it!
you!" Dotty turned briefly toward the stairs, "Amanda,
As she turned back to Laura, she pulled the small woman into
"Hello, Aunt Dotty. How are you?" Laura politely inquired.
"I'm fine, but I haven't flown across the country today."
whirlwind that was Dotty West dragged Laura into the living room
Amanda descended the stairs, followed by Phillip and Jamie, who
directly to the front door to retrieve Laura's bags and carry
After the usual pleasantries and a simple dinner, Amanda and
wandered to the backyard to talk. They sat in the gazebo and
silently looked at the stars. "So, Laura, what brings you
way to D.C.? A case?"
"No," a mumbled voice responded. "I just needed
to get away for
awhile." Her eyes glistened with moisture as she held on
to her self-
Shocked by the suddenly emotional Laura, Amanda reached out to
Hugging her tightly, she said, "Laura, what's wrong? Let
you." Her voice was soft and sincere and it broke through
Laura's barricades. She started sobbing and couldn't stop. Finally,
the crying abated and the women leaned back from each other
"Oh, Amanda, I don't even know where to begin. I've made
such a mess
"Now it can't be that bad. Whatever it is, we'll work it
"I really don't want to talk about it tonight. I'm exhausted
confused. Maybe tomorrow we could go out, somewhere private,"
inclined her head toward the house, "and talk some more.
could I just hide out in your attic?" She smiled at the
Laughing, Amanda answered, "All right, I'll let you off
the hook for
tonight, but we are going to have a chat and I'm sure it will
seem better once you get it out in the open. That's what I always
tell the boys, anyway." Arms around each other, the women
to the house.
When Remington Steele opened the door to his hotel room, it was
11:00 p.m. 'It's too late to do anything tonight,' he thought
himself. 'Better to get some rest and start fresh first thing
morning.' As he went through his routine preparing for bed he
his mind wander back to the past weekend. The warm water of the
shower ran over his head while the images came to mind.
He and Laura were relaxing on his sofa. He felt so comfortable,
content. He thought about the past weekend and their penniless
adventure. Despite the situation, he had felt at peace. He knew
why, and now he wanted to share his feelings. For the first time
his life, he knew that he could stay here forever and be happy
it. In fact, he very much wanted to stay forever with the beautiful
woman lying across his lap. He twirled her hair in his fingers
worked up the courage to tell her how he felt.
As soon as he opened his mouth, he knew it was a mistake. He
her tense, almost imperceptibly. He continued anyway. He had
it; he had to acknowledge the feelings before his heart exploded.
Against his logical judgement, his emotions carried him forward,
started to admit it, "Laura, I lo...."
She was gone. He wasn't sure how it happened, one second she
there and the next he was alone. He sat dumbstruck for several
minutes, staring at the closed door, hoping she would return.
Finally, he had to admit to himself that she simply wasn't coming
back that night. He decided that it was okay, that there would
other nights. Eventually, she would know how he felt, if he had
tie her up and gag her, the time would come.
Now, out of the shower, Remington brushed his teeth. He was surprised
to see doubt on the face of the man staring back from the
mirror. "What?" he questioned aloud after rinsing his
began a verbal dispute with himself. "What? You think I
tell her, don't you? Why not? Why the bloody hell should I not
her that I love her?" Remington started pacing back and
front of the vanity. "She says she wants a commitment, well
this? 'Laura, I love you. I have loved you for a very long time.
will always love you.' If that's not a commitment, I don't know
is. Why should I be made to feel guilty for loving her?"
pacing and faced himself again. Remington Steele rested his hands
the cold, uncaring porcelain of the sink as he hung his head
down. "Why can't she ever let us be happy?" he whispered
After visibly calming himself, he looked up again. Sighing deeply,
he said resignedly, "Fine. She wins. Now, if I can just
Amanda and Laura sat at an outdoor caf_. "Thanks so much
spending the day with me, Amanda. Are you sure your boss doesn't
mind you taking time off on such short notice?" Laura asked
taking a sip of her iced tea.
"It's fine, really. We just finished a project, so we're
on paperwork. He can do that without me. Besides, it'll be good
him!" She sat forward in her seat and reached across the
to take Laura's hand in hers. Her face turned serious as she
continued, "Now, Laura, don't you think it's time you talk
What's bothering you?"
Laura looked into the caring face of her cousin. "It's about
she began hesitantly.
"I could've guessed that much!" Amanda smiled.
Laura opened her mouth to respond just as a waiter approached
behind Amanda. The women started to look up at him, but were
startled as he revealed the gun hidden under a towel draped across
his forearm. "Mrs. King," the man began quietly, "come
with me." He
gestured toward Laura with his head. "Your friend, too please."
Amanda's eyes left the weapon and moved to the man's face. Her
darkened, out of fear or anger Laura couldn't tell. "Glen
"I'm so touched that you remember me. Now, ladies..."
again for them to rise. They stood slowly and followed him out
plain sedan. He pushed Laura into the passenger seat and Amanda
the back. As he slid next to Laura he pointed his gun at her,
don't know who your friend here is, Mrs. King, but I know she's
Agency. So, if you don't want her to get hurt, you'll sit quietly
and enjoy the ride."
Lee knocked on Billy's office door even as he walked in. "You
to see me, Billy?"
"Where's Amanda?" the older man barked.
"She took the day off. What's up?" Lee sat down as
Billy stood and
"I just received word that Glen Tucker escaped Federal custody
night. He killed two guards in the process."
Lee was on his feet immediately. "How the hell did that
shouted, running a hand through his hair. He thought back to
earlier when Tucker had killed his boss, Byron Jordan, and framed
Amanda for the crime. Of course, later Amanda had been instrumental
in aiding in his capture.
"He was being transferred to a medical facility after complaining
severe abdominal pain. Apparently, en route he overcame and killed
the guards. He left their bodies along the highway and took the
car. It was found abandoned less than two miles from Amanda's
early this morning." At Lee's look, he held up a hand
placatingly. "Don't worry, I already have teams tailing
and her Mother." Billy returned to his seat while Lee picked
Momentarily relieved about the boys and Dotty, his anxiety quickly
returned. "She could be anywhere, Billy. She was taking
sight-seeing all day." He pulled a hand through his hair.
he's got her already?"
"Lee, we don't know he's planning anything," Billy
offered, but his
voice faltered when he saw Lee's expression of disbelief. "All
right, he's probably planning something, but we don't know that
gotten to her already, so let's try to stay calm."
"I'll be calm when I know Amanda's safe." With that,
Lee threw open
the door and marched out through the bullpen.
In the backseat, Amanda's mind was in over-drive. She had told
Mother not to expect them home for dinner, that they would go
She glanced at her watch; it was just after 1:00 now. It would
hours before anyone would realize they were gone. She decided
play the only card she had right now and hope for the best. "You
know, Mr. Tucker, you're right." He glanced at her in the
mirror, but kept the gun pointed at Laura. "Really, what
"You don't know my friend and she doesn't know you. Why
let her go? Keep this between us." She held her breath waiting
He began to laugh as if this was the best joke he'd heard in
time. "I don't think so, Mrs. King. We wouldn't want her
running back to your partner, now would we?"
Laura's eyes danced back and forth between them during the exchange.
The man, Tucker Amanda had called him, had mentioned an Agency.
did that mean? And Amanda seemed as if being kidnapped at gunpoint
were the most normal thing in the world. 'I don't think she's
broken a sweat!'
Laura looked out the window to see that they had arrived in a
warehouse district. Before long, the car stopped and he ushered
into a dilapidated building.
After securing them to a girder, he surveyed his handy work.
pair was placed on opposite sides of the beam, back to back.
he'd handcuffed Amanda's right hand to Laura's left and vice
"Ladies, it's been fun, but I've got to talk to a man about
So long." He turned and left as they began testing their
Remington Steele let himself into his hotel room and headed straight
for the honor bar. Before reaching it, he noticed the blinking
on the telephone. He quickly dialed the operator's extension
receive his message. He was told to call a Miss Mildred Krebbs
immediately. He asked the operator for an outside line and punched
in the Agency's number.
The phone rang several times and Remington looked at his watch.
lunch time there yet; where could she be?' Just as he was about
hang up, Mildred answered. "Remington Steele Investigations.
"You certainly may. Mildred, where were you?"
"Sorry, chief, but a girl's gotta go sometime, ya know.
I think we
may have a lead on Miss Holt," she continued excitedly.
"It's about bloody time! I've been to every hotel within
mile radius of the airport this morning, showing her picture
everyone I could find. No one has seen her."
"Well, Mrs. Holt called first thing this morning. She said
didn't think of it at the time, but when you said that Miss Holt
to D.C. it struck a cord. Anyway, she realized late last night
Miss Holt might be visiting with her cousin, Amanda King. She
"Ah, Mildred, I could kiss you. You're a doll. Keep running
credit cards, just in case, eh? I'm going to check in with this
King." He was out the door before the phone settled in the
As Amanda began looking for a way out, she mentally berated herself
for not taking Leatherneck's course on basic lock picking yet.
I get out of here, that's the first thing I'm signing up for!"
said out loud.
"What?" Laura asked, trying to see Amanda out of the
corner of her
"Sorry, it's nothing."
"Listen, Amanda," Laura said, "I know I'm new
to D.C. and all, and
I've heard that you guys have a pretty high crime rate around
but I somehow doubt that Arlington housewives get kidnapped
everyday." Again Laura tried in vain to see around the beam.
you have something you want to tell me about?"
"It's a very long story," Amanda sighed.
"I'd say we have plenty of time."
"Tell you what, Laura, I'll tell you my story if you tell
"Deal! Amanda," she hesitated, "can you keep a
Amanda laughed so hard she cried.
Lee Stetson wasn't sure what he hoped to gain by going to Amanda's
house, but he drove there anyway. He was checking in with the
watching Dotty when a flashy convertible pulled in the driveway.
While the team ran a check on the plates, Lee moved to the shadows
closer to the house. He saw the tall, dark man emerge from the
driver's side and walk briskly to the front door. He moved closer
still in the hopes of hearing whatever conversation transpired.
Dotty opened the door with her usual flourish. She smiled up
handsome stranger. "Can I help you?"
"I certainly hope so," the man spoke with a precise
accent. "Is this
Amanda King's residence?"
"Yes, it is, but she's not in now. I'm her Mother, Dotty
there something I can do for you?" Dotty's eyes lit up at
of his voice.
"I'm Laura Holt's business associate, Remington Steele.
that there was a bit of a miscommunication between myself and
Holt. She left rather unexpectedly and I really must speak with
as soon as possible, but she didn't leave a number where she
reached." Here he hesitated, as if afraid the door might
in his face at any moment. "Is she here?"
Lee was surprised by the uncertain tone in Mr. Steele's voice.
certainly did not look like a man with any confidence problems.
"I'm terribly sorry, Mr. Steele, but Laura is out with Amanda
day. I'd be happy to take a message and have her call you tonight."
Looking quite disappointed, he smiled a crooked smile and thanked
Dotty. "That's quite all right. Thank you, Mrs. West. I'll
her again another time. Please don't mention that I was here.
There's really no need for her to be worried about work when
Mr. Steele headed back toward his rented vehicle and reached
door handle. Before he could open it though, Lee called out to
from along the side of the house. "Mr. Steele?"
Remington looked up to see a man hiding in the shadows of the
He tilted his head to the side and then glanced around to see
was being set up. When he saw no one else, he approached the
man. "Maybe. Who might you be?"
"My name is Lee Stetson. I think we need to talk."
"Here? In the shadows?"
"Well, yes, Mrs. West doesn't know me." Lee realized
this must sound, but he continued. "Let's go somewhere else
explain everything." At Mr. Steele's questioning look he
toward the rental car in the driveway. "You can drive. I
seems odd, but you have to trust me, Mr. Steele. Laura's life
depend on it."
Remington nodded once and the two of them climbed into the car
"So, let me get this straight," Amanda said. "You
Steele? He doesn't exist?"
"Well," Laura hesitated, "he does now. See, that's
Amanda was silent, waiting for Laura to continue. When she didn't,
Amanda asked, "So who is he? This fake Remington Steele.
he come from? Who is he really?"
"Oh, Amanda, if I knew the answers to those questions my
be so much easier." She proceeded to tell her cousin about
pretending to be her boss.
After the long explanation of everything she knew about Remington
Steele, Laura paused. The next words out of her shocked them
both. "I think maybe I'm falling in love with him."
"I don't understand the problem. I mean, I know his past
is a little
shady, but you said that he was done with all that. So, what's
"I am so scared." Laura took a deep breath and closed
before continuing. "What if he leaves me?" she asked
in a soft
Amanda knew all about Laura's father's disappearing act, of course,
but she hadn't realized how deeply scarred she had been. "All
tell you Laura is that there are no guarantees, but when it works,
mean really works, it's worth it. It really is worth the risk
"I don't know about that, Amanda. I mean, I tried once before
got burned. I don't know if I could survive that again."
"So, what brought all this about now?"
Laura sighed and then told Amanda about the encounter the previous
weekend at Mr. Steele's apartment. "He was going to tell
me that he
loved me. I wasn't ready to hear it; I'm too confused about whether
or not to trust him. After dashing out like that, I certainly
couldn't face him at work Monday, and I knew that talking to
would help. So, I got on a plane, and here I am."
"I don't know what help I can be, but I'm so glad you think
that way." Amanda was truly touched by Laura's admission.
Amanda tried to decide if she should share her observation with
Laura. She opted to share. "Laura, has it occurred to you,
while you are so worried about whether or not you can trust him,
are the one that ran out when it was about to get intense?"
Laura nodded, then realized that Amanda couldn't see her. "Yes,
know," she whispered. Fighting back tears, she took a deep
breath. "Now," Laura started, sounding energized, "that's
about me for a while. I believe you owe me a story." She
the prospect of hearing Amanda's secret.
"Actually, there's not much to tell."
"Oh, come on. You promised." Laura sounded like a petulant
"Really." Amanda wondered how much she should tell
Obviously, she had to tell her something, considering the situation
they were in, but where should she draw the line? And, how mad
Lee be with her later? "Okay, it goes like this. I had taken
boyfriend to the train station one morning, well at the time
wasn't an old boyfriend. I mean, I was still seeing him then,
now he's an old boyfriend. Anyway, after he got on the train,
man came out of nowhere and asked for my help. He said it was
and death. I turned him down at first, but something in his eyes
when he asked me to trust him. I couldn't stop myself. The next
thing I knew, I was involved in the world of an intelligence
operative. It started out small. I'd run errands, do typing,
sort of thing, but before I knew it, I was being partnered with
more and more often."
Laura was flabbergasted by this news. Whatever she expected,
hadn't been this. "Oh my...now what? Why are we in this
"Now I'm a part-time agent. I work with Lee, and we make
team," she said with pride. As for today, I can't give you
details. National security, you understand. Suffice it to say
Lee and I were heavily involved in getting Mr. Tucker arrested
year. I don't know what he's doing here now. So far as I knew,
was still in federal custody."
"Okay. That clears it all up," Laura replied sarcastically.
for the big question. How do we get out of here?"
As the convertible zipped along the highways of D.C., the two
studied each other in intense silence. Lee directed Mr. Steele
toward Nedlinger's with a few uttered words in between the visual
assessments. Finally, they arrived at the pub.
After settling into a booth and ordering a couple of beers, Lee
leveled his gaze at the ice blue eyes across from him. "All
Mr. Stetson, we're here. Now, what do you need to tell me about?"
"I'll cut to the chase, Mr. Steele. First of all, let me
perfectly clear that what I'm about to tell you is a matter of
national security and you are obligated to keep it absolutely
"National security? What does Laura have to do with anything
concerning national security, eh?" Mr. Steele's anger rose
feared this stranger had lured him here under false pretenses.
"Not Laura, but Amanda. Amanda King is a federal agent and
reason to believe that she may be in danger. If Miss Holt is
her, which I know she was this morning, she could also be in
danger." Lee took a sip of his beer to give Remington a
digest this information.
Mr. Steele tossed his head back and laughed. "Oh, you had
for a minute there. Is there a camera somewhere? Is this a joke?"
His laughter died as he looked again at Lee's face and realized
was not a prank. "You're serious? Mrs. West didn't seem
about Mrs. King's safety."
Before he could continue, Lee interrupted. "Mrs. West doesn't
what Amanda does. For her own safety and that of Amanda's children,
it has been kept secret from them."
"And how is it that you know such details of Mrs. King's
"I'm her partner," Lee replied quietly.
Remington shot him a stony glare across the table. "Well,
her partner, where is she?"
"I'm not sure right now," Lee admitted. "She called
me this morning
and said that they would be sight-seeing. I've already checked
the places she mentioned going and came up with nothing. They
be fine, just out of contact, but I have a bad feeling."
Remington nodded as his eyes seemed to cloud over. He sat silently
for a moment. If anything happened to Laura, he would blame
himself. If he hadn't been about to tell her that he loved her,
never would've run off. "Damn," he swore softly under
breath. "This is my fault, she wouldn't have come to Washington
it weren't for me." He paused before looking back up at
well then, Mr. Stetson, what do we do?"
"First, call me Lee. Second, we go to my office and find
the latest news is." Together, the men headed out the door
bright sunshine of the spring afternoon.
Remington looked down at his 'Visitor's Pass' pinned to his lapel
followed Lee toward what appeared to be a closet door at the
the foyer. "Lee, I'm not interested in hanging up my jacket.
please find out where the devil Laura and your Mrs. King are?"
Marsten smiled at the retreating men and shook her
head. 'Civilians,' she thought.
Lee ignored Remington's comments and continued on to the door.
opened it and gestured for Mr. Steele to enter. Upon the man's
quizzical look, Lee entered first. Remington followed and was
startled when he felt the closet move in a downward motion after
closed the door. "Who do you think you are, eh? James Bond?"
Steele questioned. Lee just shook his head and chuckled.
The pair entered the bullpen together and strode purposefully
Billy's office. "Where have you been, Lee?" Francine
a row of cubicles. "Billy's been looking everywhere for
approached rapidly and intercepted the men, giving Remington
"Why? What's going on? Have they found Amanda?" Lee
questions off so fast that Francine could hardly keep up. 'Good
Lord, they've been working together too long. Now he's starting
ramble.' "No, not yet. But, he does have some information
to get your input on."
"Well, then we'd better get right in there." Lee maneuvered
her slim form on one side while Remington went around the other.
They walked into Billy's office without so much as a knock. "Billy,
this is Remington Steele." Lee introduced him as they took
opposite Billy's desk.
"Mr. Steele." Billy nodded politely but curtly before
to Lee. "Lee, this is not a good time to bring in guests.
offense, Mr. Steele."
"None taken, none taken. But, sir, I'm not really a guest;
Billy looked from this stranger to his agent and back again.
Finally, settling on Lee's eyes he asked, "Okay, and who
the hell is
Exasperated, Lee replied, "She's Amanda's cousin, Billy,
missing too. She's also one of the top private detectives on
West Coast. Did you really think I'd waste time bringing someone
here that wasn't relevant to the situation? Now, what's going
Holding up his hands in apology, Billy moved on. "I see.
then. We got a call from Tucker about an hour ago. He wants to
deal. He walks, a one way trip out of the country, and a million
dollars cash, or he kills Amanda." Looking over at Remington
continued, "and apparently Miss Holt as well."
Sighing heavily, Lee looked down at his hands in his lap. Standing,
pacing, he ran a hand through his hair. "How long do we
"He's due to call back in," Billy paused and looked
down at his
watch, "less than two hours."
Remington stood and looked Lee hard in the eyes. "Well,
What's to think about, eh? We give this Tucker chap whatever
wants to get back our partners."
Before Lee could respond, Billy answered. "It's not that
afraid. The government policy is that we do not bargain. Our
know the risks when they sign up. Period. End of sentence."
Turning on Billy, Remington placed his hands on the man's
desk. "Yeah, well, that's all well and good for you agents,
about Laura, eh? She didn't agree to risk her life for the
government. She probably doesn't even know that's what's happening.
Am I right? She didn't know that Mrs. King was an agent, did
He looked back to Lee, who shook his head. "No," he
didn't know about Amanda."
"All right, then. We bargain for Laura's life, and get Mrs.
in the process." Remington sounded pleased with himself,
as if he'd
come up with some great solution.
"Listen, Mr. Steele, if we go by the book, there is really
around this. When Tucker calls at five, I've got to tell him
"Billy, come on," Lee started. "It may not be
by the book, but it
would hardly be the first time we've had to go under the table
back one of our own. Hell, it wouldn't even be the first time
broken the rules to get Amanda back."
Remington looked at him in astonishment. "You mean, this
thing has happened before?" He and Laura had been through
scrapes, but he couldn't imagine this sort of stress on a regular
Lee almost laughed, as did Billy. "Occupational hazard."
it at that. "Anyway, Billy," he continued, turning
back to his
boss, "let's get started setting up the sting. We need to
Tucker to where ever he's keeping Amanda and Laura. Otherwise,
don't stand a chance of finding them."
"You know my hands are tied, officially." Billy stood
now, too and
faced Lee. "However, I happen to know that we have several
not on current assignments, just sitting out in that bullpen,
for a good training exercise." Walking to the door, the
opened it and bellowed, "Desmond! In my office, now!"
toward the men present already, he smiled. "I just love
Billy's sentence was barely finished when the tall blond from
entered the office. "You called?" She noticed the serious
around the room and prepared herself mentally for whatever was
"We need to organize a training mission." Billy began
filling her in
on the plan, working out the details as he went.
Despite Amanda's and Laura's best efforts, they'd been unable
themselves. "If only I had my lock-pick!" Laura groaned,
not for the
As Laura's frustration grew, Amanda's eyes continued to scan
expanse of the warehouse. "I'm sorry, Laura," she began.
weren't for me, you wouldn't be in this mess."
Sighing heavily, Laura responded, "Amanda, I'm counting
contacts to get us out of this mess."
"Yeah," Amanda replied non-commitally. She knew the
Agency policy on
bargaining for agents. She smiled softly though as she thought
Lee and his determination. "Yeah," she said more strongly
time. Then she heard the massive door creak as it opened. Craning
her head as far as she could, she saw a man's silhouette against
sunlit doorway. Laura could see more clearly and whispered, "It's
He approached the girder where the women were bound. Circling
to Amanda's side, he ignored Laura completely. "Well, Mrs.
about to go make the phone call that could save your life. Is
anything you'd like me to share with your partner, in case I
get the answer I want?" The smile on his face did not reach
"You know they won't make any deals. Why don't you let me
go?" Amanda tried on last time to plead for Laura's life.
chuckled and shook his head as he walked out again.
"All right people," Billy called to the crowded bullpen.
almost time for that phone call. Everybody ready?" General
consent came at him from around the room.
Francine strode purposefully to stand beside the stout man. "Simmons
and McCoy are in place staking out the phone booth the last call
from," she stated.
Lee and Remington shared a glance. "Do you really think
the same phone, Billy?" Lee asked incredulously.
"Probably not," he admitted, "but until he calls
again it's all we've
got. When he does call, we've got units all over the city ready
move in, if we can get a trace." Before anyone could respond,
phone rang. Francine answered and gestured to Billy, who picked
another receiver while Francine placed her's on speaker.
"Mr. Melrose," Tucker's voice rang out from the top
of the desk.
"Yes, Tucker; it's me."
"Good. So, what's it to be? Do I send your agent back to
you in a
box or would you rather cooperate so that Mrs. King will make
in time for dinner with her lovely children?"
Remington saw the fury flash across Lee's face. "How do
I know she's
still alive?" Billy asked before Lee could open his mouth.
"You have to trust me. Now, enough stalling." He began
to yell as
he became frustrated. "Decision time, Billy."
Taking a deep breath, Billy looked at Francine, who had been
monitoring the trace equipment. She looked up at him and nodded.
closed his eyes and exhaled. "No deal." The sound was
than a whisper, but in the unusual silence of the bullpen it
Lee grabbed Remington by the arm and began to head out the double
glass doors. He knew that Francine would radio Tucker's position
him as soon as the line was disconnected. Before they made it
through the doors however, he heard Tucker's angry response.
does it feel to have the blood of an agent on you hands?"
The Corvette peeled out of it's parking spot on the street in
of the Agency's Georgetown foyer. Glancing over to check on
Remington, Lee noticed the absolute terror on the man's face.
wasn't sure if he was scared of his driving, or worried about
Before Lee could say anything, the car phone rang.
"Where is he?" Steele demanded into the receiver. Lee
Francine's voice reciting an address down by the docks. After
hanging, Steele turned to Lee. "You heard?"
"Yeah. I know the area. Hold tight. We'll be there in no
With that, Lee's foot hit the accelerator even harder and the
car dodged in between the late day traffic.
A short time later, they pulled up next to several warehouses.
Remington pointed out the window toward a shoddy phone
booth. "There. Okay, that's where he called from, but where
Inside what had once been a manager's office, Tucker wrung his
together as he paced furiously. "Great! Now how am I going
out of the country?" He paused in his circuitous trek to
through an observation window. An evil grin crossed his face
stared at the women through the glass. "Oh well. For now,
I have a
job to finish here. I'll deal with the details later." He
into his waistband and pulled out a handgun. Checking the clip,
found that it was loaded. "I love my work," he exclaimed
the clip back in place.
Lee and Remington had already searched two of the neighboring
warehouses when an Agency van pulled up. Francine emerged, pistol
hand. "About time," Lee commented as he signaled the
where to go search.
"Sorry," she drew out, "but this thing's not as
maneuverable as a
sports car, you know." She patted the side of the large
for emphasis. With a nod from Lee, the trio continued on to the
Tucker brandished his gun as he approached the women. He stopped
mere inches from Amanda and stared into her eyes. She returned
stare without even a waver. "I'm impressed, Mrs. King. Most
even agents, can't look death in the face and show no fear."
"It was not my intent to impress you, Mr. Tucker."
was calm and relaxed. Internally, she wondered where this strength
was coming from. She had so many regrets. She knew she was about
die and all she wanted was to be able to tell Phillip and Jamie
much she loved them. Then there was Lee. She'd never have the
to figure out her feelings for him. Despite her fears and feelings
of loss, she kept her head high and her eyes locked on Tucker's.
Laura had heard the short exchange, of course, and she could
believe the sound of Amanda's voice. It sounded so...cool, icy
cool. The women had been holding hands where they were cuffed
together around the girder, so Laura knew that Amanda's palms
sweaty, but apparently that would be Amanda's only sign of
Tucker stared at the dark brown eyes before him another moment.
were clear and uncompromising. "Very well, then," he
said at last as
he took several steps back and began to raise his gun.
Francine had pushed at the door with all her might while the
searched for another entrance into the final warehouse. At last,
door gave way with a loud groan. Francine practically fell into
open space, but caught herself just before she hit the ground.
At the sound of the door opening, Tucker shifted his aim and
fired off several shots into the now open doorway. Francine felt
heat of the bullets as they whizzed by overhead. She decided
ground was a much better place to be after all and allowed herself
continue falling. Although she was momentarily blinded while
eyes adjusted to the dark interior from the sunny outdoors, she
pretty good idea who had fired those shots. She aimed her weapon
slightly and called out, "Freeze, Tucker." She didn't
dare fire a
shot for fear of hitting Amanda or Laura.
At the sound of the first shot, Lee and Steele had raced back
entrance. They peered into the open darkness and could just barely
make out shapes. After Francine called to Tucker, Lee crawled
next to her with Remington on her other side. "Francine,"
whispered, "can you see anything yet?"
"Just barely," she responded but was cut-off by the
sound of Amanda's
voice. "Lee!" she called. All three heads turned in
of the sound. "Lee, Laura and I are in the middle of the
slightly to your left."
"Good girl, Amanda," Lee said under his breath, knowing
was giving them a map. Then she continued, "Tucker ran into
office straight ahead of you. He can see you from a window."
By now, Francine's vision was clearing up. "Lee, I can see
office. Tucker must be under cover in there because I can't see
him. Now what?" Just then, the back-up team of half-dozen
arrived and they prepared to storm the office if necessary.
Steele saw the back-up team's arrival and declared, "I'm
going to go
free Laura and Amanda. You guys take care of our friend. Cover
Before Lee could protest, Steele had begun a crouched run across
open expanse. Tucker started firing through the open doorway
office almost immediately. Francine and Lee returned fire. The
plate glass window shattered, followed by Tucker's yells for
Francine and the back-up team cautiously headed toward the office.
"Mr. Steele!" Laura exclaimed as he grew nearer to
the women. "What
the hell are you doing here?"
"I could ask you the same thing, my dear," he smoothly
replied as he
produced his lock-picks and began undoing her handcuffs.
With a huff, Laura turned away. She began massaging her recently
freed hands as Remington released Amanda. "Mr. Steele, I
Amanda said with a pleasant smile and a nod.
He smiled a lopsided smile in return. "And you must be Mrs.
Lee's approach caught Amanda's attention before she could respond.
He enveloped her slim form with his strong arms. They held each
other for a long while as Lee buried his face in her hair and
her scent deeply.
Meanwhile, Remington had taken Laura's hands in his own and was
gently rubbing his thumbs over them. "Really, Laura, are
right?" His tone was soft and full of concern.
For a moment, her heart was light and she wanted nothing more
throw herself into his arms. Then the softness of her expression
melted away as the ever-present anxiety took over again. She
her hands away suddenly before replying, "I'm fine, Mr.
Steele, but I
won't be if my agency has fallen apart while you've been chasing
after me. What did you do, anyway? Just put a, 'Sorry, we're
closed' sign on the door and hop on a plane to D.C.?"
He knew her avoidance patterns all too well, but he decided to
jump at the bait for now. They would have plenty of time for
later. "I missed you, too, Laura." He pulled her into
a soft but
Lee watched the other couple kissing over Amanda's shoulder.
wished he could kiss Amanda that way, too. 'Not yet, but soon,'
thought. "You know, partner," he said as their embrace
had me pretty worried...again!"
"Really?" Amanda teased. "I wasn't worried at
all. I knew you'd
find us!" She smiled radiantly at him.
Together, the couples moved to the office area where Francine
dealing with Tucker. He sat in an old chair clutching his right
with his left hand. There was a large glass shard protruding
the forearm and multiple small nicks and scratches covered his
and hands. Francine joined the quartet. "He got pretty banged
when that window broke. He said that he has no feeling in his
hand. We're just waiting for the paramedic team now." Looking
the small, diverse group she saw the physical and emotional
exhaustion etched in their faces. "Why don't you guys go
on back to
the Agency and I'll meet you there later?" Her offer was
with appreciative nods as she headed back in to Tucker.
It was late when Amanda pulled her station wagon into the driveway.
They had each been through physical exams and independently debriefed
by Agency interrogators. Now, as she put the car in 'park', Amanda
drew a deep, calming breath. She shut off the engine and withdrew
the keys. Then she noticed Laura staring at her. She smiled and
asked, "What is it, Laura?" although she had a pretty
good idea what
was making her favorite cousin speechless.
Laura recovered her senses enough to respond. "Now what?
what are you going to tell you Mother? Won't she wonder why we're
late? Besides, we look a mess!"
"Well, remember I told her this morning that we would be
going out to
dinner, so she expected us to be late. And, we're really not
mess. We both washed up at the Agency and we've been sightseeing
day so we're bound to be a little...disheveled. Perfectly normal,"
Amanda finished with a slight tilt to her head and realized that
was perfectly normal, for her anyway.
Together the ladies entered the cozy home. "Oh, Amanda!"
voice called from the living room. "I was wondering if you
coming home," she continued as the cousins passed her on
the couch as
they headed for the kitchen.
"I'm sorry, Mother. We were having such a wonderful evening,
we lost track of the time." Laura nearly openly gaped at
the casual lie rolled easily off her tongue. It was one thing
her to exaggerate the truth to potential clients concerning Mr.
Steele's validity, but to blatantly lie to her Mother was not
in the character of the Amanda she knew.
"That's nice, dear. Well, I'm off to bed! The boys left
homework on the dining room table if you want to look it over
morning." Dotty started up the stairs as Amanda answered,
you, Mother. I'll look at it before work tomorrow. Goodnight,
"Goodnight, Aunt Dotty," Laura managed.
"Goodnight, Amanda. Laura, dear," Dotty called back
from midway up
Laura was turning back toward Amanda when a light rapping at
backdoor caught her attention. "Now what?" she asked
in a loud
whisper. Amanda just smiled and gestured for her to follow. They
exited the house to the warm spring night. There, in Amanda's
were two very tall, very dark, very handsome men.
Amanda approached Lee quickly and he immediately reached out
her. Upon separating he said, "Sorry it took us so long
to get over
here. Dr. Smyth had a few questions for me after the debriefing."
"That's okay. Mother just went to bed anyway." They
smiled at each
other and moved closer. He watched her eyes focus on his mouth
before they started to close. Their mouths drew closer still
"Wait a minute!" Laura exclaimed, stopping their lips
a fraction of
an inch apart. They turned in unison to hear what she had to
say. "Let me get this straight." She pointed at Amanda.
spy," Lee cringed and Amanda patted his arm placatingly,
knows it. You're her partner," she indicated Lee, "but
knows you exist. So, by day you work to protect national security
and by night you go to the PTA and double-check your kids' homework?
Then, after everyone else is in bed, you, what? Sneak out here
the backyard for some kind of secret rendezvous?"
"Pretty much, yeah. I explained most of this to you at the
warehouse, Laura," Amanda said.
Nodding, Laura continued, "Yeah, I know, but until we walked
house tonight and I heard you lie to your Mother before agreeing
look over the boys' assignments it didn't really hit home. I
need to sit down." Remington, who had been silently observing
this point, guided her to a lawn chair.
Amanda knelt next to her. "I won't pretend it's easy, it's
Some parts are harder than others," she looked pointedly
They both wished he could meet her family and be a part of all
lives. "But, in the end, I love what I do, I'm good at it,
feel like it's the right thing. Maybe, someday, when Phillip
Jamie are older I'll be able to be more honest, but for now it
be this way. So, I do what I have to."
"It's all so...complicated!" Laura uttered.
Remington smiled and held her hand, "Oh, I don't know, I
pretty romantic," he said softly.
The foursome sat up late chatting under the moonlight. As the
were about to leave, Lee and Amanda moved aside to give Laura
Remington some privacy.
After several unsuccessful attempts at starting, Laura finally
managed, "Mr. Steele, about that night in your apartment
and what you
wanted to tell me, I'm not ready to hear it. I'm not sure..."
died off as she looked down at her feet.
Stealing himself against the deception he was about to perpetrate,
Remington took a deep breath, "I don't understand, Laura.
you mean you're not ready to hear that I love being Remington
Steele? You knew that's what I was saying didn't you?" His
collapsed in his chest as he again covered up his feelings. But,
there was one thing he'd learned from his experience in D.C.,
that sometimes deceptions are necessary to protect the ones you
"What?" Laura looked up; shocked by his statements.
Was he lying?
She looked into his blue eyes and saw a love so deep her breath
caught in her throat. She recovered quickly. "Of course,
what else could you have meant to say?" She smiled at him,
that he'd given her this easy out.
As he looked back at her, he saw it. She knew. He knew she knew.
There it was then. They both knew how he felt, and they both
silently agreed to keep it unspoken, at least for now.
Lee and Amanda embraced again. As Remington approached them to
leave, Lee gave Amanda a brief kiss on the cheek. Then the men
"Amanda," Laura inquired. "What's next?"
The day had left her
frazzled beyond belief. 'How does Amanda do it? And I thought
life was confusing!' she wondered.
"Now we go to bed. I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted!"
entered the house and climbed the stairs in silence.