(not a classical crossover)
This Remington Steele/Real
Ghostbusters/Gargoyle fanfic story was written by "Gryph".
The story is presented here with the kind permission of the author.
I have devided the story into two parts:
Part I // Part II
Also check out Gryph's Fanfic Library.
Back to the RS Fan Fiction
It was a great day. No, more than great -- perfect! Remington Steele leaned back in his chair and looked out of the window of his office, enjoying the sunny sky. He should take Laura out for lunch today; and dinner tonight; and have a drink in front of a cozy fireplace and ....
His dreams were interrupted by the sound of a door opening and closing again. He swiveled his chair to face the visitor and his face lit up with a smile. "Laura ..." he started, already forming the words to convince her to come to lunch with him.
"New York," she interrupted him.
"He's in New York," the brunette woman said. "I got the name and the address of the place he rented. Mildred is already getting our tickets and you should start packing."
Steele blinked, feeling overrun. "New York?" he repeated.
Laura Holt looked at him with exasperation. "Yes, Mr. Steele, New York. The McCauly case? The book?"
"I do remember," he said slightly piqued. "I talked with Mrs. Hatmore right in this office only a few days ago, but what is he doing in New York?"
"He's hiding," Laura explained patiently. "I thought you could follow his thoughts?" She raised an eyebrow.
"Is that an implication?" Steele asked.
She leaned forward, hands on the desk, facing him. "I would never implicate anything, Mr. Steele."
He leaned forward as well, bringing his face closer to hers. "No, you never would."
She smiled. "Get packed."
"Ow, Laura, you hurt my sensitive soul."
"I'll hurt more than just your soul if you don't pack your things and be ready in the next hour, Mr. Steele. I have already informed Fred that he can drive us to the airport," she replied.
He leaned back with a sigh. There went the nice lunch and the cozy afternoon. Laura straightened with a satisfied smile, turned and walked briskly out of the office. Businesslike, he mused with a grin. He loved her when she was all business. Come to think of it, he loved her whatever she did.
"New York," Steele muttered. "Why did it have to be New York? Why not Las Vegas or some Paradise holiday resort?"
He stood in a room. He didn't know where the room was or why
he was here, he simply
knew he was standing here, facing the TV. He looked around. There was a couch behind him, some pictures on the wall, a few plants, which looked rather dead, and a desk with a chair. He tried to walk over to the desk, but found he couldn't. Confused he stared at his feet. They felt like they were rooted to the spot. What was going on here? Why was he here?
The door to the room opened and a woman came in. She looked like a cleaning lady and was carrying a mop and a bucket, as well as a large garbage bag.
"Hello," he said.
The woman looked up. Her eyes went wide as she saw him and her mouth opened as if to say something.
"Could you ...." he began, but was interrupted by a shrill scream.
The cleaning lady let go of the broom, bucket and garbage bag and screamed again, her hands flying to her mouth. Then she fled from the room.
He was even more confused. Why ...? How ....? He tried to move again and found somehow he was now allowed to walk. He went over to the door and opened it. He now faced an empty corridor. No-one in sight. As he tried to step outside he was thrown back violently. He got to his feet again, confusion making way for puzzlement. He couldn't get out of the room? Why??
"This isn't what I ordered you to do." The calm voice was filled with menace and the creature in front of the beautiful women cringed in fear.
"Milady Lilith," he began, addressing one of the women, "there was no other way."
The dark-haired and blue-eyed woman looked at him in disdain. "There was another way. You killed because you felt the lust for a death. You wanted blood."
The creature sputtered a protest, but he knew they were right.
"Now the knowledge of where he hid the book is lost," the woman who had spoken first said. She was blonde and grey-eyed.
"No, milady ....."
"Search for the book, creature," the third woman commanded, a raven-haired beauty with emerald eyes. "Don't dare to show your face here again until you have finished that task."
The creature nodded eagerly and departed.
The three women exchanged glances.
"He will not succeed," the blonde said.
"He is merely a decoy for the Other Ones, Lilith," the raven-haired answered.
"We still have the mortals," the dark-haired reminded them.
"The Master won't like it," the raven-haired stated matter-of-factly.
"He will have the book in his power soon, Lamia."
"And then the world belongs to us."
It had been a slow week at Ghostbuster Central. It was warm, it was holiday time and most of the people with ghosts were too lazy to go all screaming and yelling. Janine Melnitz, the Ghostbusters' secretary and a part-time Ghostbuster herself, sat at her desk and did a crossword puzzle. She had filed everything there was to file, written every letter, cleaned out her hard drive with Ray's help and printed all the letters she had typed before. Now she was bored to death.
One floor up the TV was on, but the occupant of the couch seemed completely disinterested in the program. Winston Zeddemore sipped at his soda and sighed. Doing nothing was worse than having an overflowing schedule of busts. Ray and Egon were catching up on some research and experiments. Maybe he could work on Ecto, Winston thought. There was one of the car shows he loved taking Ecto-1 to coming up, and he hadn't cleaned the interior yet. Switching off the TV he trudged down. Janine looked up, curious to see if he meant to do something interesting.
"Hi, Janine. Wanna help me clean Ecto's interior?" the black Ghostbuster called.
She pulled a face. "Are you serious?"
He laughed. "No." Then he went over to get a vacuum cleaner and some rags.
Janine settled back to her crossword puzzle just as the door of the old firehall opened. She looked up again, but was disappointed. No customer. Peter Venkman, the last of the quartet of Ghostbusters, entered Central, a bright and satisfied smile on his lips.
"Hello everybody!" he called and grinned.
"You're in an exceptionally good mood," Winston observed. "Had a date?"
"Yeah. She's a real lady," Venkman told his friend. "Beautiful, intelligent ...."
"Rich," Janine added dryly.
He pulled a face. "That, too. But I never noticed it."
Winston surpressed a chuckle. That would be the day when Peter didn't peek at the bank account of his dates. Not that he was after a rich woman to marry. But women with money -- good-looking women with money -- pulled him to them like a magnet.
"What was her name again? Cassy?"
"Cassandra," Peter corrected Zeddemore. "Cassandra Emmerdale-Worcester. " With that he disappeared up the stairs.
"Pretty steady date," Janine observed after he was gone. "He's never stayed with one of those rich types for such a long time."
Winston nodded. She was right. Normally 'those rich types' dumped Peter after a few weeks when they had shown him around. As a Ghostbuster he was an attraction -- like all the others were, too. Even Winston had once encountered a woman who only wanted to date him because he was 'one of the famous Ghostbusters', as she had told him. Then again, Cassandra didn't look like the typical rich woman. She was beautiful, but appeared shy, and she never boasted with her money by dressing expensively. Maybe she was Peter's type. Winston smiled.
"Nothing wrong with that," was his only comment to Janine and then went on to get all the things he would need for his task.
Janine shrugged and returned to her crossword puzzle at hand. Suddenly the phone rang. She was startled by the unexpected sound and stared at the small device on her desk with fascination. She picked up the receiver.
"Ghostbusters, you got 'em, we bust 'em. .... yes, of course ... no, no problem at all .... naturally ...... They'll be over in no time." She hung up and looked over to Winston, who was looking back expectantly. With a wide grin she hit the alarm button. "We got one!"
The plane touched down as scheduled and Steele and Laura proceeded through the gate, and then took a cab to their hotel. While they drove away from the airport and toward Manhattan Steele once again wondered what had made them take the case. This wasn't the most unusual case they had ever had and it wasn't even a murder. It was simply a retrieval. True, the man who had taken the book had, in effect, stolen it, but Mrs. Hatmore had made it quite clear that she only wanted the book back. She didn't care if they took the thief to the police or not.
Maybe that was the reason Steele thought this case was strange. Combined with their employer it was highly unusual. Mrs. Hatmore had entered their office only a week ago, dressed in highly expensive, but conservative clothes. She was a beautiful woman in her early thirties, as Steele had guessed, with raven hair, bound in a knot, and green eyes. He was sure she would look stunning in an evening dress. And somehow one thought had entered his mind as she had walked into the office: she moved like a cat. It wasn't that she did it deliberately, in the way most stunning women displayed their body. It was as if she moved naturally like that.
Mrs. Hatmore had offered them the case, to search for a book stolen from her by a man named Bernard McCauly. She hadn't said much as to what kind of book it was, only that it was old and very expensive. And she wanted it back. She had offered them an incredible amount of money, something that made Steele immediately suspicious, and told them if they needed more they would get it, no problem.
To his complete surprise Laura had found nothing at all suspicious about either the woman, the case or the amount of payment. For her Mrs. Hatmore was a disgustingly wealthy woman who desperately wanted something back that had been stolen from her. But why didn't she want the thief to be put behind bars? Laura had simply shrugged, saying that maybe she didn't want to make a fuss.
Frowning Steele watched the building pass by. What was it that made him so suspicious? Why only him? Mildred, their right hand and part time helper, didn't think anything of this either. And because Mildred thought everything was dandy it made Steele even more careful. Something was going on, something he saw, but the others didn't. Now he only had to find out what it was.
"Here you are," the cabby said and stopped the car.
Steele peered out of the window. Yes, that was their hotel. He got out of the car, paid the driver and then unloaded their baggage.
"We should first check out his last address," Laura told him as they walked to their rooms after checking in. "If he's still there we'll get him, if he isn't we have to find him."
"What if he sold the book?" Steele asked reasonably.
She cocked an eyebrow. "Old instinct?"
He smiled wryly. "It's not a hot item. Well, at least not as hot as a Picasso. If he wants to get rid of it he could sell it everywhere. Nobody asks about books." Not even us. We don't know what kind of book he stole. We have a picture of it, but don't know if it's a novel, a recipe book or a family album. Why didn't she tell us? What is Mrs. Hatmore hiding?
"Then why don't you check out the second hand book-shops?" Laura teased as she turned the key to her room. "I guess there are only a few hundred on this island."
He grimaced and followed her inside, watching her dump the suitcase on her bed. "We should resort to desperate measures later," Steele said and closed the door. His room was right next to Laura's, connected by a door.
Laura fished a few items out of her suitcase and then looked at him. "Don't you want to get to your room and change?"
He smiled at her, raising both eyebrows. "I like this room."
She sighed and lifted one corner of her mouth in a mocking smile. "I can always switch rooms with you."
He approached her. "I like this room with everything and everybody inside as it is right now."
Laura held up a hand. "Business, Mr. Steele."
He gave her a disappointed look, then shrugged. "Business," he muttered and took his suitcase. "I'll be .." he gestured at the wall behind which his room was.
"You are," she nodded and gestured as well. Then she disappeared into the bathroom.
Steele stayed a second longer, watched the bathroom door, then left. No way he would get anywhere today.
"They killed him in cold blood!"
Indra, a young man dressed in a red and gold tunic, sighed. "Diana, nobody could predict that they would find him here in New York that fast. He had barely the time to call in. And I believe the murder was an accident. They know the Law just like we do."
"What about the book?" a man asked.
"Our friend has it, Ptah, but its possession endangers him gravely. We can't let him risk his mortal life for us again. It was dangerous to just take it out of hiding." Diana looked desperate. "We are not ready yet! We need time! The book has to be hidden for a while longer."
"Did they see him take it?" a younger man asked.
Diana shrugged. "We are not sure, but it's too dangerous to assume anything. He has to deposit it somewhere they won't search for it."
The last being in the room, neither all male or female, and not the least bit human, coughed. "There is one place they won't expect us to hide it, one place they fear to tread."
The others looked at the creature, which looked back at them with iridescent eyes, its wings rustling slightly.
"Where?" Ptah asked.
"A place called Ghostbuster Central."
"There is a faint reading here, gentlemen," Egon reported and described a wide arc with his P.K.E. meter, taking in the complete room. "But the ghost is gone."
Ray looked a bit disappointed. "Then we are too late?"
"Not quite. These readings are quite interesting." The blond physicist frowned at the P.K.E. meter. "It seems there are two readings intermixing here, one a class-4, the other ... stronger." His frown deepened. "I can't say for sure right now. We have to return to the lab to single out both frequencies."
Peter had his thrower cocked jauntily at his shoulder and yawned. "All this fuss just to find nothing? Gee, next time call me when you find something. I'll be back in bed."
Winston grinned. "If you hadn't partied that much, Pete, m'man, then you'd be awake on the job now."
"What job?" Venkman complained. "We were called to take a look at an empty room."
"Not completely, Peter. The readings I have might turn out to be very conclusive. Right now we have to return home."
"Sounds good with me," Peter said readily and left the room.
Winston followed, shaking his head, as did Ray and Egon, both in deep conversation concerning the readings. Outside they were stopped by a stocky woman in a brightly colored tent of a dress.
"Well?" she asked.
"Sorry, Mrs. Smith-Martinez, but the ghost seems to be gone for now," Ray said.
"Then it must have been poor Mr. McCauly," Mrs. Smith-Martinez said gravely.
"It is possible for a deceased to show up at the place he died," Egon confirmed. "But like my colleague said, he wasn't here for some time and most likely won't return."
"I hope he went to heaven," the woman said. "He was such a nice guy."
The four Ghostbusters stepped out of the building and walked toward Ecto-1.
"We're not even getting paid for this," Peter grumbled as they got into the car.
"Next time, buddy." Winston started the engine and they were off to Ghostbuster Central.
"You know, it's strange that the police didn't seal the apartment for further investigation," Ray mused out aloud.
Winston nodded. "Yeah, normally the place of a murder is sealed off by police lines. But Mrs. Smith-Martinez also told us that everything looks like he poisoned himself. No signs of a fight, no wounds, no nothing. I have a friend who was with the police once and he said if the case is blatantly pointing toward suicide they just do the routine investigations."
"Maybe we should ask the police," Ray said.
"Why?" Peter asked. "It's not important for the case, Ray. If there's a ghost in there we'll bust it."
"Yes, but if it is the ghost of a murder victim it might want its killer caught and that's why it came back. Like some unfinished business." Ray shrugged. "It won't hurt."
Peter sighed. "If you want to battle police bureaucracy and answer dumb questions, be my guest. I just want to sleep for a week!"
The apartment building where McCauly had his apartment was a rather small and old. It looked like out of the 19th century and had just lately been redone. Steele and Laura entered the building and looked for McCauly's name on the post boxes.
"Upper floor," Laura read and climbed purposefully up the stairs. Steele followed.
As they arrived on the second floor they nearly bumped into a woman. She was stocky, small and dressed in flowery clothes that didn't really fit her.
"Oh, sorry," she apologized immediately. Then she looked critically at them, a smile on her face. "Here to take a look at the empty apartment?"
"No, not really. We are looking for Mr. McCauly's apartment." Laura gave the woman her most charming smile.
"Well, dear, then you are too late, I'm afraid."
Steele raised an eyebrow. "He moved out?"
"You could say so..... but he did it in a casket." The woman shrugged.
"He died?" Laura asked.
"Yes." The woman leaned closer. "Word around here is he committed suicide because of a woman."
"And what does the police say?"
"Oh, they only searched the room, asked a few questions, and carried away the body." She smiled. "You want to see the apartment now? It's really a nice one if you don't mind the fact that the poor guy died in there."
"How did he die?" Steele asked.
"Poisoned." The woman gestured at the door at the end of the corridor. "That's the apartment. Now, are you interested? You are really in luck because no one else has answered my ads yet. I'm the owner, Patty Smith-Martinez."
"Of course we'd like to see the apartment," Laura decided abruptly. "That's what we came here for, didn't we, darling?" She looked at Steele.
The dark-haired man blinked once, then smiled back. "Of course .... honey."
Laura shot him a murderous look and then they followed Mrs. Smith-Martinez. She unlocked the door and they entered the apartment of the late Mr. McCauly.
While Mrs. Smith-Martinez began to talk about the comfortable rooms, the great view and the low rent, Laura and Steele gave the rooms a much closer look. Mrs. Smith-Martinez mainly aimed her praise for the apartment at Laura, trying to hit her 'housewife' streak, which, Steele mused, Laura didn't really possess.
Remington Steele walked through the living room into the bedroom, which was rather large for the single bed. Following Mrs. Smith-Martinez's explanations McCauly had died here, found beside his bed, poisoned. As he stared at the room he suddenly shivered. It was as if something cold had passed through him, cold and slippery. And then he felt a faint tingle run down his spine. As fast as the feeling had come it was gone again. He turned around to look whether there was an open window, but stopped. Blinking, Steele stared at the nebulous outline of a human figure, standing only a few feet away from him. He didn't know whether it was a man or a woman, but it was human. He carefully walked toward the apparition, the rational part of his mind telling him he was seeing things, that he had an hallucination. But the Irish part of his mind, the part which had been told oh-so many ghost stories, knew it was real. His hand passed through the apparition and he felt cold again.
"Help .... book .... stolen."
The words drifted through the room and he staggered back as the apparition approached, stretching his arms toward him.
"Help .... find .... urgent ....... stolen ... danger."
"What?" he asked. "What are you? Who are you?"
Laura's voiced startled him and he whirled around. She was standing behind him, looking a bit worried and inquisitive. "What's up? Who are you talking to?"
He rubbed his eyes and looked back at the spot where the apparition had been a mere second ago. It was gone now. "Nothing," he muttered. "Just thought ..." he spotted Mrs. Smith-Martinez, "that this isn't my kind of apartment. Sorry, honey." He summoned a smile.
Laura gave him a queer look, then seemed to push her immediate questions back and turned to their host. "Sorry, Mrs. Smith-Martinez. My fiancee seems to be a bit spooked."
The stocky woman nodded in full understanding. "Not everyone is fit to live in such an apartment," she said knowingly. "We even had the Ghostbusters here," she added ominously, as if that made the apartment special.
"The Ghostbusters?" Steele echoed.
"Yes, one of the cleaning staff I hired to get the empty apartments cleaned once a week thought she saw a ghost and ran screaming from the building. I naturally called the Ghostbusters, but they didn't find the ghost." She shrugged. "I guess it already went away."
"You called those scam-artists?" Laura asked in disbelief.
Mrs. Smith-Martinez looked affronted. "They are not scam-artists. They helped rid New York of a great many threats!"
Laura looked unconvinced but didn't say anything. Steele merely stared back at the bedroom, a strange expression on his face.
As they left for their rental car again, Laura looked at him. "What was going on with you?"
Steele, much more in control now again, smiled at her. "Well, your fiancee was a bit spooked," he said and put his arm around her, pulling her closer.
"Spooked," she repeated unconvinced, "you? Give me a break. What was going on?"
He shook his head. "Nothing."
Laura decided to let the matter rest -- for now. "I'd like to talk to the police about Mr. McCauly's death and where his possessions went."
He nodded and opened the car's passenger door. Laura was driving.
"Do you believe in ghosts?" she suddenly asked.
Steele paled for a second, but then got his act together. "Ghosts?" he echoed.
Had this been McCauly's ghost talking to him? He was sure it hadn't had a hallucination, it had been real. And McCauly had talked about the book.
"Hilarious, right? Who would believe in ghosts?" Laura shook her head. "Are you still with me, Mr. Steele?"
"Uh, yes, just thinking."
"About what?" she inquired.
He shook his head. "Just something from old times."
The brunette woman gave him a strange look, then sighed and drove on to the police precinct.
"You want me to do what?"
Thunderbird shook his head and sighed. "I know it's hard to believe, my friend, but it's the only safe place we know of right now."
"Until we can seal the book forever, it will always be in danger of getting into the hands of Evil," Diana added. "We can't let them have it."
He nodded. "I know, I know."
Thunderbird laid one hand on his shoulder. "I know you are dubious about the task we chose you for, but you are the best suited. You are of our heritage, but your human genes disguise those of your mother, and they won't detect you as what you are." A smile appeared on his face. "And since you know one of them, it's all the better."
Michael Cord sighed. "To tell the truth, I never felt safe with this thing anyway."
Cord had kept the book to himself instead of delivering it to the evidence room when he had searched the apartment of the deceased for any clues as to why he had been murdered. The second he had seen the book, had felt the faint tingle of magic emitting from it, he had known.
"Okay, I'll do it," he finally said.
The door to the old fire house opened and Janine Melnitz saw a man enter. He was clad in a sweater, jeans and a dark blue jacket, carrying a knapsack. He was neither overly good looking, nor overly bad, and could be easily missed in a crowd. The dark brown hair looked a bit wild, as if he had not yet been introduced to the usage of a comb, and was cut short. Intelligent, very dark brown eyes looked at the red-haired secretary and there was an open smile on the youthful face.
"Yes?" Janine asked and looked over the green frames of her eccentric glasses.
"I'm Michael Cord," the man said with a pleasant voice. "I'm with the NYPD. I'd like to speak to Dr. Venkman, please."
"NYPD?" Janine echoed, a feeling of ill foreboding spreading in her stomach. "Could I see your badge?"
Cord lifted one eyebrow and then showed her the badge and ID card.
Janine studied it intensely, then looked at him again. "What'd he do this time?"
Cord grinned. "Nothing. I just like to talk to him? Is he in?"
Janine, still suspicious, nodded and stood up, leading him up the stairs to the second floor. There they found Peter and Ray stretched out in front of the TV, watching an old movie. Winston had his head buried in a book and Egon was no-where to be seen. He was likely to be in his lab.
Peter looked up and his eyes widened as he took in the man at Janine's side. "Mike!" he called out in surprise, getting up and walking over. The two men shook hands and judging from the friendly expression in Peter's face, Cord had to be a good friend. "What brings you here? I paid all my tickets. And I haven't played the stereo any louder than usual."
Michael laughed and his eyes sparkled with amusement. "You guys got a problem with us cops, or what? Your secretary went all white, too, when I told her I'm with the NYPD."
"Just being cautious," Janine answered, but grinned, too. Then she went downstairs again.
Ray and Winston came over and Peter introduced them. "Ray you already know," Ray nodded and smiled, "Winston Zeddemore, Michael Cord. Old pal of mine."
"Hi, Ray, nice to see you again, buddy," Cord greeted him.
Winston shook hands, looking at the officer with interest. Then he looked at Peter. "You never told us you know someone with the NYPD, Peter."
The psychologist shrugged. "Wasn't exactly a friendly meeting."
Michael gave a snort of surpressed laughter. "Yeah, and I wouldn't say we exactly 'met'."
Winston looked curiously at the cop. "Where did you 'not exactly meet' Peter?"
"Psychiatric Ward," Cord said with a neutral expression.
"I was an intern in the Psychiatric Ward and Mike here was posing as someone mentally unstable because he was on a case." Peter shrugged. "And he did a hell of a good imitation." A grin crept over his lips. "I've yet to recover from the blow you gave me."
Michael looked indignant. "I was just trying to stay in my role." He turned to Ray and Winston. "But he found out anyway. A student! When all the doctors and professors had been fooled."
Peter grinned smugly. "Some got it, some don't. Anyway, you solved your case, got transferred and left the city."
"And now I'm back."
"Uh-huh. Old memories aside, what brings you here?"
Cord sobered a bit. "Nothing pleasant, Peter."
"Let's sit down then." Peter steered him over to the couch. "Something to do with us as Ghostbusters or me as a friend?" he wanted to know.
"I'd like to say the second, but I fear it's the first."
"Winston, go and peel Egon off his experiment, will you? I think he should sit on with this one, too."
Winston went off to the third floor and minutes later Egon came down the stairs. When he saw Cord, a smile stretched over his lips.
"Hello, Michael," he greeted him. "What an unexpected surprise." The shook hands and Egon sat down on the couch which was already occupied by Ray and Peter.
"Well, I wish it would be a pleasant surprise as well," the cop said. "But it isn't. This has something to do with the latest case I'm working on." He stopped, apparently searching for the right words to start. "There was a murder a few days ago; a man was poisoned and found in his apartment."
"Gee, that's terrible, Mike," Ray said immediately.
Cord nodded. "It was. We haven't found a motif yet, but that's nothing you should be concerned about. I came here because of something we found in his possessions." He reached into his knapsack and pulled out a book. It was rather small, a bit larger than a pocket book, and leather-bound. He gave it to Ray.
The occultist took it and began to inspect it right away, leafing through the pages.
"What is it?" Winston wanted to know.
"I'm not sure," Cord answered, rubbing his nose. "Ray knows I'm a believer where the occult and your business is concerned. We more than once met on such conventions."
Ray looked up from his study of the book and nodded with a smile. "I can tell you," he addressed Winston, "I was really surprised that a police officer believed in the occult so readily."
"Well, comes with the family. Mom was always a believer and it rubs off. And since you guys opened up your business there's no denying ghosts. But," he came back to his reason for visiting, "I didn't come here to talk about me. That book is something special, as far as I can tell. I had it looked at by a friend who sells occult stuff and she says so as well. It was found by the dead man and I'd like to ask a favor of you, Ray."
"Could you have a closer look at it? Find out what it is? I don't know if it is connected to the murder, but I don't like that thing." Cord pointed at the book in Ray's hands. He hoped they'd say yes. He wasn't so wild about the Ghostbusters really scanning the book, but he needed a reason for them to keep it.
"Sure, no problem. We could take readings and look it up in Tobin's Spirit Guide," Ray said readily.
Egon nodded as well. "I believe there are several methods to determine what kind of book it is and where it originated from."
"Thanks, guys, I really appreciate that." Cord rose from the chair. "Listen, I gotta go back to the precinct before they put an APB out on me." He grinned. "Call me if you find anything. If I'm not in, leave a note."
"Will do." Peter escorted Cord down to the door while Ray immediately set to work on the book, aided by Winston, while Egon went back to his work on the readings he had taken at the apartment.
"He is of a mixed heritage."
The statement hung in the air and everyone turned to look at the speaker, an old woman in a baggy dress. On her shoulder sat a raven, which nodded eagerly.
"Mirial," Ptah said calmly, "he can't be of a mixed heritage because we would have felt that. We knew that Michael was a halfling when we first met."
Witch Mirial nodded. "Yes, of course, my ancient friend, but he has never been raised by one of our kind. Michael's mother was a Faerie and she married a human. They both raised their son and she influenced him."
"So he doesn't know?" Athena asked.
"No. And I believe," Mirial clarified, "that he isn't a halfling. Somewhere in his Irish background is a supernatural, but its power never surfaced and never will."
The raven shook his wings.
"What does that make him?" Ptah asked.
"A friend," Athena immediately said.
Witch Mirial nodded and her raven did the same. "A good friend who will need friends in the future," the raven, his name was Chery, added. "And who might be the essential element in our confrontation with Evil over the book."
"You looked into your crystal ball again, right?" Athena chided.
The raven cawed. "No, she had me look into it. Still got a headache," he complained.
Witch Mirial smiled. "Of course you did it for me, dearie. You love the ball."
Chery cawed again, but didn't say anything otherwise.
"I think we shouldn't be concerned with the future," Ptah interjected reasonably. "It is the present that is important.
The griffin, who had been silent for a long time, nodded. "And if I judge our new friend correctly, he will influence the present. If Miriel's crystal tells her that he might be essential in the upcoming battle, then he should be told about us."
The others looked uneasily at him, then nodded slowly in agreement.
The raven-haired woman seethed with anger. "Where is it?!"
"It was brought in by the police and then moved away again," the creature in front of her explained.
Hathor stared at the troll and snorted. "Then everything is in the hands of those two mortals I assigned the case to. Call everyone back from the search and gather them here. We will wait until the mortals report in and then we'll seize the book."
The troll, whose name was Grondrock, nodded. "Yes, milady."
When he had left, Hathor fell back into her cushioned chair. "Imbecile!" she muttered.
A man entered her room and leaned casually against her chair. He was a lean, athletic, dark-skinned man, dressed in what looked like an
American Indian embroided shirt and black jeans. "Well, well, well, has the mighty Hathor lost her prey." A smile flashed over his face, showing gleaming white teeth.
Hathor's green eyes flashed. "Watch your tongue, Raven. You might end as cat-food."
Raven only chuckled. "You don't have the power any longer, my dear."
"Nor do you. If we had we wouldn't need to depend on mortals doing our work."
"Even if we were as powerful as thousands of years ago, we couldn't interfere. That's the Rule, my dear." Raven shrugged.
Hathor drummed her fingers on her chair. "I know," she ground out between her teeth. "If I still had my worshippers ..."
Raven rolled his eyes. "Old song, my dear. If you still had your worshippers, and your husband, and and and and ...."
Hathor shot him another murderous look.
"Let's wait for the mortals," Raven decided. "Then we'll see."
The raven-haired woman, formerly one of the most powerful Egyptian goddesses, slumped back in her chair. "Yes, we'll see. Now we have to return to the undignified method of sending out our mortal servants to settle things for us."
The precinct was quite busy at this time of the evening and Laura and Steele had a hard time just to get to the sergeant's desk without getting involved in some kind of brawl between hoodlums and officers.
"What a mess," Steele remarked as he looked out of the window of the little cubicle they had been shown to.
Laura nodded. They had been told to wait here for the detective handling the McCauly case after they had identified themselves and told their story. Now the door opened, admitting rude curses and shouts for silence, mixed with phones ringing insistingly. A dark-haired man entered, dressed in jeans and a light colored sweat-shirt.
"Mr. Steele, Ms Holt, I'm Detective Cord," he introduced himself. "The Sergeant told me you were on the same case I am?"
Steele was immediately wary of the man. Something wasn't right about him. As with Mrs. Hatmore he couldn't say what it was, it was only a feeling; something that had saved him lots and lots of trouble in his previous jobs and which he tended not to ignore.
He put on his best smile and shook the man's hand. "Remington Steele," he said. "And yes, you might help us with our case."
Cord sat down, cocking an expectant eyebrow. "Okay, shoot."
Laura was the one to talk first. "We were hired to retrieve an object stolen by Mr. McCauly a few days ago. Our client said she wanted back the item and we tracked the man here, but when we arrived at his apartment we were told he had been murdered. Poisoned. Since the police confiscated a lot of things, including the meager possessions of Mr. McCauly, we thought we might pay you a visit and find out if what was stolen from our client is among these possessions."
Cord looked a bit surprised. "You know a lot about what happened to McCauly's stuff."
Steele smiled. "We had a talk with Mrs. Smith-Martinez."
"Ah." The detective grinned.
"What we'd like to know now," Laura went on, "is whether we could have a look at McCauly's possessions."
Cord shrugged. "Nothing much there. Maybe if you told me what you're looking for I could tell you."
"A book," Steele said. "Small, leather-bound. Our client wants it back since McCauly stole it while being employed by her."
For a second Steele thought he saw something flash in those dark eyes of the officer, something akin to a bit of fear. Then Cord shook his head.
"Sorry, no book. He had a few clothes, his personal belongings and such stuff, but no book. Not even a notebook."
Laura looked disappointed. "Thanks," she muttered.
Cord smiled. "No problem."
When they stood outside the precinct, Steele was lost in thought. Laura was talking about something she wanted to do and her sharp call of his name startled him.
"What are you thinking of, Mr. Steele? You are a bit distant with your thoughts."
He gave her an apologetic look. "I was just calculating our chances on whether he sold the book or not," he lied.
"Well, if you want to check the bookstores, be my guest. I'll search the apartment."
He grimaced. "Given the choice between books and Mrs. Smith-Martinez, I'll take the books."
She chuckled and walked to their car. "I'll meet you at the hotel in a few hours. Shops should close soon."
"Then I'll better hurry up," Steele said. "See you!"
He walked down the street toward the next bus stop. After a few feet he turned to look over his shoulder, noting that Laura had driven off. He stopped and walked back to the police station. He entered the building again and searched for Cord. There were still crowds of people here and it wasn't easy, but then he saw him talk to a woman in civilian clothes. The woman nodded and he gave her a good-bye wave, walking toward the exit. Steele dove behind the water dispenser and waited for Cord to pass. The detective didn't see him and Steele slipped out after him.
To his relief Cord didn't seem to possess a car or, if he did, he didn't want to use it. He just walked down the street, turning several corners until he arrived at a small mall. Steele followed him all the way, hiding here and there or falling behind. When Cord disappeared into the mall, Steele didn't hesitate. Inside the building he might loose the detective and he didn't want to risk that.
Cord walked down into the basement, entering an amusement gallery. He walked purposefully down the slightly dark corridor to a theme park featuring fantasy puppets and suddenly was gone. Steele stopped, unsure all of a sudden. He carefully approached the site where Cord had been only seconds before, but he was gone.
"Damn," he muttered and looked around. There was a passageway leading down left of him, possible a service way. He made a step toward it when he was suddenly grabbed and roughly shoved against a wall. Survival instincts, honed by years on the street and always on the run, took over and he fought back. The other man was strong and he seemed a bit surprised that Steele fought back because the private investigator was able to get free for a second. Then the other guy got a hold of him again, his fist connecting with Steele's mid-section.
"Now, Mr. Steele," Cord's voice whispered angrily, "why are you following me?"
Steele coughed, his stomach hurting. He relaxed a bit, then, as the detective relaxed as well, sprung forward, again surprising Cord. He slammed the police detective against the opposite wall, pinning him down.
"Why are you lying about the book?" he asked back, his voice equally tinged with anger.
"What?" Cord was a bit startled. "I didn't ...."
"Oh, yes you did! I saw it in your eyes! And what were you planning to do now? Contact the buyer?" Steele didn't know why but somehow he was convinced that something was behind all this. This wasn't something simple and easily explained.
Cord looked at him, relaxing a bit. "How did you know? I was sure I didn't show any reaction."
Steele let go of him, though he was ready to intercept any of Cord's attempts. "Like I said, it showed. I know this book must be something special. First there's this lady who will pay
anything to get it back, then there's you who will do anything to hide it, as it seems."
The detective shook his head, smiling. "You have an uncanny way of getting into trouble, Mr. Steele," he then said. "Do you know who hired you?"
"A woman named Hatmore. Monica Hatmore. Why?" Steele was growing even more suspicious now.
"Well, that's not her real name, nor does she usually look the way you saw her." Cord hesitated a second. "Mr. Steele, tell me, are you a believer of myths and legends?"
"What's that gotta do with it?"
"A lot," was the answer, "because it explains why you never blindly believed what Hatmore told you, or did you?"
Steele shook his head.
"Then you are a believer. You believe in mythical creatures, don't you? You aren't as rational as other people."
"What does that have to do with McCauly .... or the book?" Steele demanded.
"Quite a few things. Come with me. I want you to meet some people." Cord walked deeper into the service corridor.
Steele hesitated, then followed. After a few more feet they arrived at a door. Cord opened it and entered. Steele found himself in a large service room. There were a bearded man in rather
out-of-date clothes and a woman clad in jeans and T-shirt standing motionlessly around. As Cord closed the door and turned on the light Steele noticed that there was also a large model of a griffin ..... looking at him -- really looking at him. He stared at the creature, which stared back at him. When it moved its eyes he made several steps back. It was alive! The strange feeling came back, overwhelming him. He wanted nothing more than to turn and run.
"Who is your friend, Michael?"
The deep voice rolled around the room, giving Steele nearly a heart attack. He licked his suddenly dry lips, searching for a way out.
"A believer," a female voice answered and the woman turned, smiling at him. "Welcome, my friend of many names, my name is Athena."
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