copyright 2004 by Lisa
DISCLAIMER: (but I don't even know her! >:) Well, it's been close to four years since I've had a chance to even write fanfiction, so I apologize in advance if this isn't up to my previous work...I have a feeling it's going to be a long uphill climb. Anyways, this is written cheerfully for a certain group who has helped along the insanity over the years...although these guilty parties shall remain nameless...you know who you are! LOL! Anyways, RS is owned blah blah blah...
Steeling Second-a prequel to REMINGTON STEELE
"Let's go Harry. Quit sulking
because you haven't gotten your way."
The black-haired young man huffed indignantly. "I am NOT sulking Daniel! I just don't see why we need to go to Los Angeles-an AMERICAN city! None of the sophistication of the Riviera, I'm sure."
"Harry my boy," Daniel sighed in parental suffering, "yes, it's not as glamorous as Cannes or Monaco, but it does have several very prestigious universities and museums and a lot of rich sots with too much money, too greedy of ambition, and not enough brains. And," he thwapped the petulant youth on the head, "that means you might be running cons in the States sometimes. You need to know the local culture to do that."
A salacious grin crossed his young partner's face. "Well, if we need to experience American culture, why not the Mardi Gras in New Orleans?"
A frown from his mentor. "Harry, New Orleans is more like Europe than America. Now let's go."
A grin. "And after, we can head off for a few weeks of your beloved Riviera."
His dashing young pupil jumped up and grabbed his jacket. "Then what are we waiting for? Let's be off!"
Two days later...
Harry was wondering if Daniel hadn't
played a dirty trick. Here they were, sitting in a-in a-"Daniel,
remind me again, please, why are we sitting in this factory of
grease, eating this-"
he sneered at the wad of beef and bread in his hand, "delicious gourmet meal of a cheeseburger and fries."
Daniel rolled his eyes. "Harry, for God's sake, learn, love, and accept the culture for what it is-casual." He looked at his protege pointedly. "After all, it's doing you good to remember that all of life is not couture and gourmet-"
"I'm well aware of what poverty is Daniel, remember?" snapped Harry icily.
"I know. What I meant is, it will also do you good to know the middle class as it were. The in-betweens are a lot more subtle and a lot harder to read than the highs and lows."
Harry nodded unwillingly, accepting his mentor's point, "Touche Daniel. But," he grimaced, "must we wear-Levis? Mall clothes?"
Daniel grinned, enjoying Harry's disbelief and uncomfortableness. "Blending in, my dear boy, blending in. Enjoy the atmosphere and-"
His words were cut off by loud whooping and hollering, laughing and shouting. "What the?"
A group of girls in Catholic school uniforms tumbled in, jumping up on diner stools and the counter, crowding into booths. Gino came out from the kitchen, his big booming baritone calming the rowdy group of teenagers. "Alright Lady War Eagles! You gonna take hoe that district championship today?"
"YEAH!!!" The chorus of shouts shook the room. Gino looked around at his favorite group of customers. "Hey, free cheeseburgers and fries for all the girls of St. Joe's!"
The jukebox began to blare Led Zeppelin, a straw fight started in the booth behind Daniel and Harry, and two girls began pitching napkin balls at each other.
Daniel chuckled at Harry's annoyance as a paper ball bounced off his head and onto the table. "Bubbly young girls, my boy. They grow up to be beautiful, fun-loving women."
A brown-eyed girl picked up the paper ball and giggled. "Sorry 'bout that!"
Harry rolled his eyes heavenward. Daniel merely chuckled. "That's quite alright, my dear. Perhaps you can explain the excitement in here?"
"Oh!" She chomped on her gum. "Today's the big game between St. Joseph's-that's us-and Billiot Hall-the bunch of stuck-up snobby little sluts who will lose!" Schoolgirl smirked. "Whoever wins will be district champ. Which will be us, of course!"
Daniel smiled. "A high school baseball game? Now that sounds like a grand idea, doesn't it Harry?"
The girl chattered on. "Yeah, it starts at five! So come see us win and -Hey!" A paper ball bounced off her head.
"Hey Stringbean! Heads up!"
"Man Half-pint! Watch it!" She ran back to her group of girlfriends as they began chowing down.
Daniel smirked. "Oh come now Harry. It could be fun."
"Local culture, eh, Daniel?"
Daniel ignored his pupil's sarcasm. "All of it my boy!"
Harry rolled his eyes. "All of it. Point taken. Still," he turned and caught the dark eyes of a tiny little thing, smiling flirtatiously. She blushed, smiled shyly, and quickly turned back around, her dark ponytail swishing behind her back.
"What is it about Catholic school uniforms?"
A dashing grin and a wink of blue eyes. "Local culture, Daniel. Local culture."
Harry hated to admit it, but the American game of softball was proving to be rather exhilarating. Both teams were playing their hearts out. The girl they had talked to from the diner, the one called Stringbean (what a name!) was taking great pleasure in nabbing-er, tagging-runners while playing first step-er, base.
"Alright Daniel, I concede. This is a wonderful game, though not as exciting as Manchester United soccer matches."
"Well my boy, it see-"
"No way! That was an inside curve! It's out!"
The shouting taking place on the field attracted their attention.
The small pitcher for St. Joseph's threw down her glove and stood toe to toe with the referee. Daniel and Harry (and the rest of the crowd, for that matter) watched with interest.
The referee, looking down, snapped irritably, "Listen kid, it's out and what I say goes!"
"What you say sucks!" There was much cheering from the St. Joe kids in the bleachers, egging her on.
"One more time and you're benched for a time out!"
"That's it! You're benched!"
"Now! One more word and you're out the game completely!"
For a second, it looked like a very unique word was forming on her mouth, but she turned quickly, snatched up her glove, and stomped off the field. Her dark eyes were shooting daggers at the referee as she stomped past.
Daniel smirked at the teenager's temper tantrum. Front row seats could be very amusing indeed. That one would be a handful as she grew up. Harry merely chuckled out loud. Unfortunately, she happened to hear him. She looked up, shooting a look of pure hatred and popping off a very familiar hand gesture. Harry's and Daniel's eyes widened as she stomped off to the dugout.
"And she seemed like such a shy little thing in that diner."
"Okay! C'mon War Eagles! Show
'em how it's done!"
Daniel and Harry found themselves rooting for the girls of St. Joe's. The little pitcher was now relegated to first base, having gotten her temper under control. Daniel was ready to smack the crap out of Harry. He seemed to be fascinated with her. Daniel knew it was probably because she seemed to have an unusual duality in her-the shy little Catholic school girl who turned away with blushes when Harry stared at her in that diner and the little hellion who seemed to be taking an inordinate amount of pleasure in needling and tormenting the batters from the other team. Daniel had to admit, she was fun to watch. This little girl was determined to win, at all costs, and it was showing. All St. Joe's needed was one more out to win.
"Isn't this a wonderful sport Daniel!?"
"Would it be just as wonderful if it wasn't all females out there?"
Harry merely grinned, turning back to watch the game. "I'll bet she's going to be a handful of loveliness in a few years."
Daniel rolled his eyes. "Watch the game Harry."
"Stringbean! Fireball it!
We need it!"
Laura looked over at first base. Angie DeNuccio, or Stringbean, as she was affectionately called, stared at her best friend. "C'mon! Give a fireball!"
Angie took a beep breath and pitched.
The ball went flying through the air.
"Crap!" Angie dove for it, landing face first in the red dust of the field. Two runners were home. "C'mon Angie!" Laura waved from first frantically. Angie managed to force herself up onto her knees and threw a curve.
The crowd, Daniel and Harry included, were on their feet cheering and clapping. The ball sped through the air. The batter was running towards first, going into a slide. Laura Holt dove for the ball. The runner slid in farther. "C'mon Laura!"
Laura dove towards first base, sliding in the dirt. Her hand clamped around the ball reached for the base. The sliding leg of the batter stretched for the base. It would be a close call.
Daniel and Harry were nearly knocked
out the bleachers by hysterical parents, students, and fans rushing
the field. The girls on St. Joe's team jumped on top of each
other, screaming and crying, whooping and hollering, landing in
a big pile of arms and legs. "WE WON!!! WE DID IT!!!!"
Daniel and Harry smiled at each other and shrugged. They, better than anyone, could understand the elation of triumph after hard work and planning; and then pulling it off without a hitch.
"VICTORY PARTY AT Gino's!!!!!" The girls began to run in all directions, meeting their parents and friends.
"Well, I guess we should be off then?"
"Absolutely my boy. I'll get the car."
Harry stood there, waiting for Daniel to bring the car around. He heard voices and turned. The little pitcher was talking with a young man and another young woman, about ten years older than herself. Although he was not trying to eavesdrop, they were talking louder than they thought.
"Where's Mom? Did she see me? Wasn't that one of my best games?"
The older girl shifted slightly, clutching the man's arm. "Well, you know, she tried to get here, um, but you know, today's the day she volunteers at the hospital and-"
"She didn't want to come." This mumbled by the pitcher girl.
The older girl hugged the younger one. "Oh come on baby sis, she did! She just-um..."
The words trailed off. Frances Holt would never tell her little sister that their mother was embarrassed by her filthy, mud-covered, tomboyish younger daughter. She would never tell Laura that Abigail hated to look at her because all she could see was their father. She would never tell her little sister any of those things. Frances looked helplessly at her husband. Donald cleared his throat, punching his young sister-in-law on the arm. "Well, your mom here or not, I think you played a hell of a game. That's some arm you've got."
Laura dug her toe into the dirt. "Thanks." She looked up, her face expressionless. "Look, um...do me a favor? Call Mom and tell her I'm going to the victory party at Gino's and sleeping by Angie DeNuccio's tonight, 'kay?"
Frances nodded and kissed her little sister goodbye. Donald hugged Laura and helped Frances with her coat. Laura watched them walked away, tears welling up.
/Why didn't you just be honest Frances? Mom didn't want to come./
She picked up her sports bag and began walking towards the locker room.
Harry watched as the couple left
the little pitcher. His own lonely heart winced. While he had
never known his parents, he knew it couldn't be any better to
realize your parent had no time for you.
She was walking across the field, dragging her bag. Harry could hear her sniffing slightly. He heard a lot of things crashing down and muffled curses. He looked up and saw her struggling to get everything back into her bag, wiping at her eyes.
Laura stuffed everything back in
her bag and struggled to get up.
"Here. You forgot this." A hand came into view, holding her dad's old pitching glove. Laura mumbled her thanks and grabbed the glove, looking up. A pair of blue eyes were staring at her quizzically. "Thanks. Um, I gotta-I gotta." She was struggling to keep the tears under control.
Harry watched as a liquid crystal slipped from the corner of her eye, traveling down her face, creating a river through the dirt and grime. She wasn't a beautiful girl, but she had the most beautiful eyes, liquid and dark, like dying embers. Even with the dirt, he could see her elfish features. Like a porcelain doll. Cleaned up, he imagined she'd look like Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle.
"You played a stunning game and-this should be a reason for joy, not tears."
Laura jumped as a hand gently brushed away the saline river running down her face. Her mind snapped back into action. "Umm...I gotta go." She quickly walked away, a small, frightened little figure. He watched her leave.
Harry turned around, hearing the disapproval in Daniel's voice. "I wasn't doing anything Daniel."
Daniel watched the little figure get smaller. "I should hope not. She's only a child still, probably barely sixteen."
"I know, but you should have overheard the conversation I did. Apparently, even suburbia has unwanted children."
Daniel wasn't quite sure what that meant, but apparently the little baseball pitcher had touched something in his young protege. Now was as good a time as any to get back to Europe.
"Let's be off, my boy."
Daniel Chalmers grinned. So this
was Harry's lovely little detective. And here he was very much
interested in her rather elegant mother. Like mother, like daughter
he imagined. Even if he was setting up Harry's little Miss Holt
for a con. He opened his arms as Strauss came over the radio.
"Care to dance, my dear?"
Her dark eyes narrowed. "No thanks. I think I've been waltzed around enough lately."
She started to walk off, but Daniel grabbed her and pulled her into the waltz, smiling down at her. Harry had shown him the office of Remington Steele Investigations, and Daniel had treated himself to a tour of Laura's office as well as Harry's. He noticed a picture on the file cabinet. Two girls in baseball uniforms, grinning like Cheshire cats and covered in dirt; one tall and thin like a stringbean, the other small and tiny as a half-pint. He wondered if Harry would ever remember the little pitcher with the horrendous temper.
Daniel smiled down at Laura, taking great pleasure in her professional, sophisticated look. Nothing like the dirt-covered little mongrel of ten years ago. Harry would never guess.
"Now my dear, may I have this dance?"
*taken from Season 1's "Sting
*Author's note-don't ask me where this came from...was just one of those flashes of weird inspiration...hope you enjoyed. As I said, it's going to take me sometime to get back up to what I used to write.