When Death Comes Calling
Part 2


I didn't sleep that night. Instead I remained at his side,
monitoring his condition, in fear he'd take a turn for the worse and die
alone in my guest room.

No one deserved to die alone and for reasons I couldn't explain I
knew being alone was Mr Maxwells worst fear.

So, I sat at his side, reading a particularly sleazy romance about
Scottish highlanders in kilts to myself. At the time, I choose the books
based solely on their covers, strong looking sun tanned men, wearing
green and red plaid kilts and revealing their well muscle toned legs. I
never really took noticed of the women they were entangled with.
I suppose I never noticed the women because I was nothing like
them. I was short, with small but perky breasts (I always wondered what those
broads did to keep their breasts from sagging).  I didnt have many
curves, nor was I extremely attractive (or at least I assumed so because
I sucked in the boy department and was often accused often of being a
lesbian). My hair was an ugly muted black and had a mind of its own. It
stood up in directions. I despised, so I eventually gave up the battle
and ceased fussing with it. 

The thing I hated the most about myself was my voice. It was high,
and  squeaky and made it so, most people failed to take me seriously. It
frustrated me to no end, especially since as a cop or mp, you had to do
lots of shouting to impress people...
Unfortunately, my best piss ass voice sounded like a hyper mouse
on helium.

My mother of course, tells me all the time Im cute and should
continue to play on it. Some day, Romeo will come and sweep me off my feet...
I'm still waiting. The only thing Romeo has done is swept the rug
out from underneath my feet and date the tall lanky blond with the triple
bust and perfect hour glass figure.

Sigh. Life knows how to hit you in the worse of ways.
I looked down at the sleeping boy and wondered what kind of life
he lead. When sleeping he appeared troubled yet innocent of all crime. I
hardly believed he was responsible for terrorist acts that nearly
destroyed Ozs moon base.

In a funny sort of way, I imagined him as my long awaited Romeo.
Bull,  guys like him (reasonably attractive, adventurous, rugged,
polite, and dangerous) would never settle down with a ugly mousy duck like
me.

But it was still fun thinking about it.
He moaned weakly, turning my thoughts to his health. Gingerly I
touched his forehead, noting the fever was down some and he was falling into a
deeper fitful sleep. I sighed in relief, glad he was showing signs of
recovery. God only knows how Id explain the corpse in my guest room to
the authorities. Then again, I suppose I could chop him into little
pieces and flush him down the toilet....

I winced at the thought. Sometimes my sick imagination got the
best of me.

As expected, Mr.. Maxwell awoke roughly eighteen hours after his
arrival. By then I had gone though three paper backs and an entire
bottle of gin. Time flies when your mourning your lack of love life.
I was stone drunk.

Looking at the stirring youth, I felt strangely like one of my
books heroines. After all, those who read bad romance novels, tend to have no
romance in their lives and only can wish....

His face was pale, and he had developed a faint red rash where
his crucifix dangled against bare skin. Weakness gripped everyone of his
movements, but he still managed a bright smile, pleased to see I was at
his side.

"Hey. bet you'r hungry." I said smiling.
Lazy he painfully stretched, then lifted himself into a semi
sitting  position. One hand scratched the red rash around his neck
absently. "Starved."

"Can tell, youre a rail." I said, scanning his thin form. "What
are they feeding you guys?"

"I haven't had much time to eat, mam..." He said after some
consideration. He lifted a hand and ran it though his long tangled hair.
I watched the rivulets of minute waves as they cascaded down his
back and pooled around his muscle toned form. It was hair I always wished to
have. I was envious. I held my tongue though, it wasnt very polite to
ogle at ones guests. Then again, as drunk as I was, I couldn't help but
ogle.

"Then, let me get you something."

"No, no need miss." He waved a hand and painfully swung his legs
over the side of the bed. "Promised you I'd be out of your hair in the
morn, and I intend on keeping my promises." With effort wrinkling his brow
Mr. Maxwell clambered to his feet.

I folded my arms patiently and watched him sway and scramble for
the support of my chair as his legs gave.

Swiftly, I caught him by the arm and eased his arm around my
shoulder.

"Youre not going anywhere, except perhaps to the bathroom, Mr.
Maxwell. And, I'm sorry to say, you're going to faint before you get to
the toilet in time."

Large startled blue violet eyes stared back at me, making my face
warm.

I easily guessed, my choice of words startled him. Ladies in our
society  didn't speak with crudities, but I was sick of being Miss meek .
I didn't care my inhibitions were down.

"Miss, I don't want to get you in trouble."  He said as I shuffled
him  off to the toilet.

"No trouble at all." I said gently. Within moments, we were in my
small box-like bathroom. I positioned him in front of the toilet and
when I sure he was capable of standing long enough to remove his shorts,
left him to his vices. "I don't put strays out in the street, especially
cute ones who got me fired..." Good heaven, what were you saying girl?
My face warmed feverishly in disbelief at my own words. The booze and
lack of discretion must have really gone to my head. Normally I was
never this out spoken. "Now, I'll trust you can take care of yourself."
He side glanced me, his face worried, then fumbled at his boxers
as I closed the door.

"Ahhh Miss." His voice called from behind the door. "My clothes...
this is hardly proper for a lady to see..."

I sighed and shook my head, thinking of his blood caked, mud
ridden garments. "I need to mend them, Mr. Maxwell, but I  might have
something in your size."

There was a long pause and I could hear him shuffling around.  A
second later, the door opened and a face veiled with long dark flaxen brown
strains peered out. He looked me over, gaze intense as he sized me up.

"You're a little small aren't you?"

I shrugged. "Small with a fascination of large men's clothes." I
said embarrassed. "My mom says I dont have very good garment sense."
"Lesbian?" He asked awkwardly. It wasn't a question one would
normally ask in proper society, but unfortunately, I had heard it to many times.
"No. Hopeless romantic, how about you?" I walked over to a near by
closet and rummaged though it. I often frequented second hand stores and
loved over sized men's shirts, especially the warm woolly lumber jack
sort. They often dangled to my knees and he was only a little taller
than me, so I couldn't imagine it not fitting him.
He gratefully took the green and black plaid garment and donned it
on.

"No pants?"

"None that would fit. Sorry, but that shirt should cover up
what's important." I replied. "You didn't answer my question."
He looked down, face paler than before. "I didn't mean to offend
you miss."

I brushed my hand tough my stubbly black bangs. "It's just
something I'm sick of hearing, that's all. They always teased me in school
about it."

Awkward, he nodded, then leaned into the door frame spent. "Humf,
funny. I was always accused of being a homosexual..."  He grabbed a lock
of hair and waved it in my face. "Hair you know. Guys just don't have this
much hair. It was hell on the streets."

"Then why continue to grow it?" I asked. I looped my arm around
him once more and helped him to his bed.

Thankfully, He collapsed back on to the mattress.

"Principle, I guess. My hair is Important to me and I refuse to
change it because of other people. It was the only thing I could control
in my life."

"Hummm." I sat next to him looking down at his features. "I've
always walked to the beet of a different drum myself. But I could never control
my hair. So I cut it to the chagrin of everyone around me."
"Must have been lots of chagrin." He said.

"Indeed, Mr... Maxwell." I stared at him for another long moment,
then eyed the redness around his neck. I forgotten to asked him about it
realizing it might have to do with and infection he had contracted and
shouldn't be dismissed. "Does it itch?"

He tilted his had, then fingered the cross. "I wear it because it
was from a mentor, but I have an allergy to silver. That's why it was
tucked into my clothing and not against bare skin." He dropped his hand
away, not really phased by the rashes discomfort. "No biggie. I'll live."
He tucked the metal over his new shirt. "That is if the wool of this shirt
doesn't drive me insane..."

I looked away, disturbed I caused him any discomfort. "I'm sorry
Mr Maxwell..."

"Duo, please call me Duo."

"All right Duo." He seemed to be dismissing the situation and I
was grateful for it. I stood up once more, sure if I remained sitting at his
side, I'd say something wed both regret. Instead, I played den mother, 
and assisted him into a semi sitting position, tucked in with blankets
and pillows.

He was comfortable and absolutely adorable. I bit my lip,
wondering what he thought of me.

Most likely he thought I was an idiot and sucker.
In general, he was right, but he was still very nice to look at.

The boy just smiled up at me. "Hilde, isn't it?"

"Yes."  I shifted, feeling uncomfortable. For the first time since
I found him bleeding on my doorstep I wondered if I'd regret taking him
in when I was sober. What do you say to a rebel spy who if you got caught
was offense enough to get you shot on sight. "Do you like eggs?"

*************

He liked eggs. So I made my way to the kitchen and made him a
large meal. I wasn't a bad cook, and he seemed to enjoy what I had
prepared. Silently brooding, I watched the boy shovel in four eggs, five
sausage links and three pieces of toast, then down twelve ounces of orange
juice before he finished.

Wiping the corners of his mouth, he thanked me gratefully, then
within seconds, dozed off into a deep sleep.

Wiped myself,  I too took a deep snooze in the chair beside his
bed.

Some time passed before I painfully became aware of myself, but
when I did, my head ached miserably and my eyes stung from the flood of
sunlight peeking though the guest room curtains.

To my surprise, I lay stretched out in the bed, alone and blankets
pulled over my aching form. Still, it took me a while orient myself and
navigate my thoughts though the muddled hangover gripping my brain.
I never drank.

Never ever drank, and from the way I felt now, I'd never ever do
it again.

Everything ached, my eyes, my limbs, my brain, even my skin felt
icky and crawling with lumpy thumpy pulses of alcohol poisoning.
After several moments of laying motionless, I managed the power to
muster enough strength to move.

The pain grew with every inch I made, then faded to a faint thud
by the time I was standing.

I needed a tall glass of water and lots of
aspirin.

Then, I'd face the lost puppy I foolishly took in the other night.
I visited the ladies room, swallowed six pills and doused them
with three glasses of water. Then, showered quickly, and dressed, unable to
face any man looking and smelling like a still. Part of me hoped he'd
be so turned off by my state, that he would leave without a goodbye. The
other part of me, hoped he would stay. In a way, I did want to help him
get well, then send him on his way. I had no interest in the war or whatever
causes he was involved in.

I needed to get my life together before I plunged head long into
trouble.

Besides, my father was a general and a supporter of Romefeller. Id
be an idiot to get involved in a civil war of sorts.
After a great deal of preparation, I set off toward the kitchen
ready for my coffee.

The smell of toast and eggs floated in the air, making my mouth
water before I stepped into the room.

Duo was there, dressed in another flannel shirt, this one covering
well past his thighs, and a long rope like braid dangling over his rump. The
table was set with a fresh cup of coffee, buttered toast, jam, and a side
dish of hash browns.

He motioned me to sit down, then slid two eggs sunny side up on my
plate.

"What are you doing out of bed?" Was all I managed as I seated
myself.

He limped around the table, and sat down at a place setting across
from me, and gave a devilish smile. "Making you breakfast, Miss, what does
it look like?"

Instinctively, I reached over, placing my fingers on his forehead.
It was mildly warm, telling me he had a low grade fever still.
"You should be resting." I said.

He shrugged thoughtfully. "It was the only way I could think of to
thank you."

My face warmed and I looked down unable to meet his stare. I
didn't deserve nor was I used to being pampered. "You didn't have to."
His smile faltered some, but his gaze remained soft and gentle.

"Yes, I did." His fingers closed about a half empty coffee cup and lifted
the milk light liquid to his lips. "After I messed up your life... Hell,
I owe you a hell of lot more. Sorry just ain't gonna cut it, miss."
"Hilde, please." I thought we had gotten past the formalities or
was he attempting to start over since I was so drunk the night he showed
up. I weakly returned his smile and sampled the eggs and Canadian bacon on my
plate. "Very good."

He looked down into his coffee mug. Thanks. I'm not much of a cook
you know. Never had enough food to do it....

I swallowed the savory smoked ham hard and stared up at him. At
first I wondered if he was attempting to win my sympathy, but realized he
had stated it as a simple fact. "Poor?"

He shook his head. "When I was a kid, yeah. Orphan." He placed his
cup down, and folded his arms on the table. Stiffly, he leaned on them and
met my gaze. "Let's not talk about me. You don't need to know a sob
story. It's in the past. I think I've preached to you enough..."

He was referring to his successful attempt into talking me into
supporting his cause when I was interrogating him. I shook my head,
almost fond of the memory. He was charming, yet brutally to the point. I
supposed it was his smile and grim seriousness that won me over to his
side.

Or was it the demonstration at the academy? Both I guess, in the
end he was right. Oz and the federation were repressing good people and making
criminals like he was. He was a victim of hate and war. "That you did,
Duo. Have I thank you for it yet?"

"Thanked?" Puzzled, he blinked. "Miss, I conned you." He waved a
hand as if attempting to clear the air. "You lost your job..."
I sighed and leaned over the table, so our noses nearly touched.

"It's only a con if you lied, and you didn't lie, Mr Duo Maxwell. You gave
me the courage to do something I didn't have the guts to do. I'm thankful
for that."

Sitting back, Duo stared, disbelief lining his brow and
mouth. "You mean..."

I shrugged. "Yes. My job lost its meaning when I realized I was
the bad guy. Now, if you dont mind, it would ease my conscience if you got a
little more rest."

I was going to tell him to leave, but I couldn't. My conscience
and heart couldn't betray him, not after I realized how important his
earlier words were to me. In a way, he gave me freedom. How could I kick
him out after that?

"And after I get well?" He asked, standing. He grabbed a piece of
toast and nibbled on its crust.

I brushed my hand though my hair wondering what exactly I was
going to do. "We'll play it by ear. Sounds good to you?"

"I'm spontaneous." He smirked. He had relaxed a great deal since
he had arrived, and I was pleased he dropped his formalities. I liked this side
of Duo Maxwell. Not only was he polite, and a good cook, he was at ease
with the unpredictability of life.

In a way, we were alike. Too much alike.

Did this mean he was my Romeo?

I scanned the long braid and lopsided smile fondly. He was
trouble, that what he was. Then again, I supposed I could work with him.
I was a cop wasnt I? Wasnt our job to rehabilitate criminals,
especially the cute ones with a cause?