BY: Peg Daniels
SUMMARY: A companion piece to "Stained Steele."
DISCLAIMER: This "Remington Steele" story is not-for-profit and is purely for entertainment purposes. The author and this site do not own the characters and are in no way affiliated with "Remington Steele," the actors, their agents, the producers, MTM Productions, the NBC Television Network or any station or network carrying the show in syndication, or anyone in the industry.
She made her way back to Ireland. After the attack, all she wanted was to go home. Her parents, from whom she had run away, took her back in. When they discovered she was pregnant, they nearly turned her back out. Instead, they punished her more cruelly.
It was a hard birth, probably due to complications from the beating she had received. She was too weak and ill to prevent them from taking him from her.
"I baptize ye in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Too ashamed to have his existence publicly acknowledged, they didn't have his birth recorded, but being good Catholics, they didn't deny him baptism, which they performed themselves. They didn't name him, saying that whoever took him in could name him what they would. They sent him on to a relative who knew a family willing to take him in, at least temporarily. When the burden of caring for him became too great, he was passed on. And passed on again. And again.
She begged to see him, and, occasionally, on condition that she not make known her relationship to him and stay in the background, she was allowed. Not that there was much of a chance he would remember her: her visits were too infrequent, the child was too young. Each time she saw him, he was with a different family, being called by a different name. What remained the same was the uncaring attitude. He was not wanted.
She was there in Dublin the day he ran away. He was in trouble, again. She watched as he got caught nicking an apple from a display stand while his current "guardians" were haggling with the shopkeeper. He never looked as if he got enough to eat. They were whipping him with a switch when he suddenly broke away, running as if for his life. Perhaps he was.
A half-hearted attempt was made to follow him but soon abandoned. With a mother's determination, however, she kept him in her sights. He made his way to the docks, ran onto a ship, and disappeared. She followed, concealing herself as well. When the ship docked in London, she made her way off, searching for him. But she could not find him. Her nine-year-old son.
In London she resumed her old "profession" and continued to search. A few years passed. The barkeeps in the seedy parts of town became familiar with her as she wandered the city, plying her trade, searching for him, growing older. One in Brixton, in particular, a barkeep named Paddy O'Rourke, became her friend and confidant. She told him of her son. She even showed him the watch she had kept safely with her all these years and told how she had lifted it from the man who was her boy's father.
And then one day, in her twenty-eighth year, as she and Paddy were together unlocking the bar, a lad, thin, and tall for his age, came racing toward them with several older, heftier boys in close pursuit. "Paddy, t'is he!" she cried. The older boys caught up to the lad just in front of the bar and pummeled him mercilessly. Paddy joined the fray, trying to rescue the young one. She looked on, terrified. Her boy, despite his bloodied face, looked more like her than ever. As soon as he could wriggle free, however, he was off, running with the speed only a burst of adrenalin could supply. Unfortunately, Paddy was unable to pursue him: one of the older boys had now pulled a knife on him, and he was on the defensive. Only the bobby's whistle, sounding closer and closer, finally caused the boys to disperse.
Paddy walked back to her, put an arm around her as she stood there trembling, and then drew her back into the bar. She never saw her son again. That winter, feeling herself succumbing to the cold, to the hard life on the streets, she gave the watch to Paddy.
"Promise me, Paddy, if it ever be in your power, you'll give this watch to my gossoon."
Paddy held her in his arms as she took her last breath.