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A General’s Best Friend

Rating: G
Author: Laura
Character: Maximus
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction based on the characters established and defined
in the movie and book titled LA Confidential. It is strictly for entertainment purposes.
Please do not copy, publish or alter this work in any way without the written
permission of the author.
--------------------------------The sea-coast came into view as she reached the top of the hill, and Laura pulled over to
the side of the road, leaving the engine running as she picked up her cell-phone, dialing
the tavern. She kept her fingers crossed as it rang, hoping that Maximus would *not*
answer it.
"... Crowe's Point Tavern," came the voice on the other end, a familiar one, with an
American accent.
"Bud?" she guessed. "This is Laura," she said quickly before he could reply, "If Max is
there, don't let on that its me on the phone -- I want to surprise him."
"Hey, honey," came the warm reply. "Don't worry, he's not in the room. But he is in the
back with Arthur, moving some stuff around."
"Great. Listen, can you do me a favor and keep him busy for a while? I'm bringing him a
surprise, and I want to take it up to his room without him seeing me."
"Surprise, huh?... Okay, I'll keep him busy. When will you get here?"
"About 10 minutes. I'm inside the Point already. I'll be sneaking in the back way."
"No problem."
"Once I get up there, give me about 15 minutes, then tell him I'm there and send him
up."
"Will do."
"Thanks, Bud - you're great," she smiled.
"I try," he said with a chuckle. "So will we get to see this 'surprise' later on...?" he asked.

"Oh, yea," she said, looking back at the large plastic crate that was strapped into the
back seat. "You all will... after I surprise Max." She shifted the car into drive and steered
back onto the road. "Gotta go -- I'll be there shortly, Bud."
There was the sound of footsteps hurrying down the hallway, and she smiled as she
closed the door to Maximus' bedroom. A moment later, the hallway door swung open,
and Maximus came in, a broad smile on his face. "Laura!" He crossed the room towards
her as she hurried towards him.
"Max!" she said as they hugged.
"What are doing here?" he asked, lifting her up off her feet and twirling her around a few
times. "You said you wouldn't be here until tomorrow!"
"Well, I decided to surprise you," she smiled, raising her hands to his face and drawing
him into a kiss.
"Well, you certainly succeeded," he smiled happily.
"And I have a little surprise *for* you," she added, smiling enigmatically.
He drew back slightly, raising an eyebrow. "*For* me...??"
She nodded. "Actually, it's a present. No particular reason; I just decided to do
something special for you."
"A present...?" He smiled again as he looked around. "Where...?" Then they both heard a
noise from the bedroom, and he turned towards it. "What is that? Is it in there...?"
She nodded. "Yea... Max, there's someone I'd like you to meet."
"You are being far too mysterious," he said, letting go of her and moving towards the
bedroom. "Who is in there?"
She hurried in front of him, keeping him from going through. "Patience, General," she
said, then put her finger to her lips. "And don't make too much noise -- I don't want to
startle him."
"Him?" he asked, brow furrowed.
"You'll see in a minute," she smiled as she slowly opened the door. He followed her
inside and saw a large tan carrier, made of plastic, with a locked wire mesh door in front.
A soft whimper came from inside, and a moment later a tiny paw appeared through the
bars, as well as the small wet nose and little grey muzzle of a puppy. He whimpered
again, chewing on the bars, trying to get out. "Surprise," Laura said, smiling as she
leaned in to plant a quick kiss on Maximus' cheek.

Maximus was quiet for a moment, then said with a soft grin, "You brought me a dog...?"
"Yep." She took hold of his arm, pressing closer. "I remembered how you were talking
about Hercules from your movie a while back. I got the idea then that you'd probably
like a pet here. Personally, I like cats, but I just couldn't see you with a pet cat."
Maximus made a face, and she laughed. "That's what I thought... I figured a dog could
keep you company while you're out riding or running or when I'm not here... What do
you think?"
The puppy kept struggling to get out of the carrier, whining more. Maximus moved
towards him, saying, "I think it is a wonderful surprise," as he dropped to one knee in
front of the carrier. Laura joined him as he opened the door, reaching inside to lift the
puppy out. His little tail wagged happily, his small hind legs flailing in the air before
Maximus set him down on his outstretched leg. The puppy moved forward, using his
arm to climb up his shoulder and start licking Maximus' face.
Laura laughed as Maximus smiled at the puppy's enthusiasm. "I think he likes you."
"It would seem so." Maximus chuckled as the small tongue continued to lick his face.
"He seems like a pretty friendly little guy. Brave too -- the car ride didn't seem to bother
him at all."
Maximus petted the dog, scratching him behind the ears. The puppy was light gray in
color, shepherd-like in build. "What breed is he?"
"Well, he's not a pure-bred -- he's a bit of a mutt. The woman I bought him from said he
was mostly German Shepherd, but apparently there's a bit of wolf in his background
also." She petted the dog too. "When I heard that, I knew this little guy belonged here."
The puppy scrambled over onto her lap now, licking her face, and she giggled. "Hey,
puppy, do you like it here? You like your new home?" she said in a sing-song voice. He
kept licking her face and she laughed. "I'll take that as a yes."
"He's a fine looking animal," Maximus said as he continued to scratch the puppy behind
the ears. "You made a good choice."
"So do you really want to keep him? I know we didn't talk about this, so I want you to be
honest with me about whether you *really* want a dog. You'll have to house-break him,
he'll probably chew up some of your stuff here, and you'll have to feed him and take him
out for a walk and stuff."
He chuckled. "Laura, I was a cavalry officer. I think I know a thing or two about what's
involved in training an animal. Hercules didn't live with me, but I knew him from the
time he was a pup too.... And I suspect that more than a few of my brothers would be
willing to help with such things."" The puppy scrambled back into his lap, licking his
face again, and he asked, "What's his name?"

"That's up to you. He doesn't have a name yet."
"Then I will have to give it some thought, to give him a worthy name." He picked up the
dog with one hand and set him down on the floor. He tried to climb back up into Max's
lap, but gave up after a minute, starting to explore his new home, sniffing and checking
out everything. "We'll need to get a few things for him, like dog food."
"Already taken care of," she said. "I have it all in the car -- puppy chow, food and water
bowls, some toys and even a bed. Its too big for him right now, but that'll only be
temporary."
He nodded, smiling, as he reached for her, pulling her to him. "This is a wonderful gift,
and a wonderful surprise. Thank you," he said as he kissed her.
"You're welcome," she said as she kissed him back. "I just wanted to do something to
make your life here a little happier."
"I am very happy here regardless. But thank you again."
The pup was investigating things at the far end of the room, including a small wooden
shield that was propped up against the dresser. The dog put one paw on it, starting to
chew on the edge, but the movement dislodged the shield and it slid to the floor with a
loud noise. Frightened but uninjured, the pup yelped and scrambled back towards the
two humans, climbing up into Laura's lap and whimpering, shaking slightly.
"Aw, sweetie, its okay," she cooed to it, petting it reassuringly. As the pup calmed down,
she looked at Maximus and said, "I think you're going to have to puppy-proof this place,
at least until he gets a little older."
"I think you are right," Max said, looking around the room, noticing all the objects which
could be trouble for the youngster. As he reached over and petted him too, he added,
"Perhaps we should go down and get his things from your car, so he can start to feel at
home here."
"Great idea," she said with a smile. "Actually though, I think we should introduce the
little guy to the boys downstairs. Bud is already curious about why I asked him to keep
you distracted while I snuck in here through the back door."
"I know. He was acting very strange earlier, trying to keep me from leaving the
storeroom, but then after a few minutes he told me you were here." He picked up the
dog in both hands. "Well now, my friend.... Shall we go down and introduce you to the
rest of the 'family'...?" The dog barked, trying to lick his new master's face again, and
Maximus laughed.
When Maximus came down the stairs, Laura at his side, Bud looked up from where he
sat at the bar. Raising an eyebrow, he said, "I didn't expect to see you two so soon. What

was the big..." He paused as he noticed the squirming gray furball nestled in the crook of
Maximus' arm. "... surprise...?" His jaw dropped slightly as he stood up. "Is that a
dog...?"
Jeff and Arthur, restocking bottles behind the bar, looked up. "Dog?" they both said in
unison.
Maximus nodded. "Gentlemen," he announced, "allow me to introduce you to the latest
addition to our little family here at the tavern." He gently moved the little pup out of his
arms and set him down on the bar.
Colin and Terry, who had been sitting in a booth playing cards, came forward to see
what was going on. "Where'd he come from?" Terry asked.
"I'll be damned...." Bud said as the pup looked around at all the strangers who had now
crowded around the bar. "So this was the big surprise?"
Laura nodded. "Yep -- Max was talking about Hercules about a month ago, and I got the
idea that he'd probably like to have another dog around."
"What's his name?" Terry asked.
"I haven't chosen one yet," Max said. The canine moved away from Maximus, going
towards Bud who was standing alongside him. Bud started to pet him, and soon the pup
was happily wagging his tail and licking the cop's face. The others laughed as Bud's face
reddened with embarrassment, and after slobbering all over Bud, the puppy moved onto
Terry, Jeff and Arthur, happily greeting each of them. Then he wandered past Arthur,
walking to the edge of the bar counter, looking like he was ready to jump down onto one
of the barstools. Arthur reached towards him, saying, "Careful now."
Laura, getting worried that the youngster might hurt himself, tapped on the bar, calling,
"Puppy.... Come're, baby, come on..." His little ears perked up and he turned, running
back down the bar towards her. But when he tried to stop, he slid on the smooth wooden
surface. Maximus and Colin moved closer to Laura, and between the three of them they
left no chance that the canine would fall. "Whoa! Easy, boy," Laura said as he slid into
her. The pup was unphased, happily licking Laura's face, wagging his tail
enthusiastically. Then he moved on to Colin, checking him out too and then giving the
Aussie the same wet welcome that he had bestowed on his brothers. "Welcome to The
Point, mate," Colin said with a smile as he petted him.
"What in the hell is that *thing* doing on the bar...!?" came a new voice. Everyone
turned to find Sid coming down the stairs. "Who brought that mangy mutt in here?"
Laura looked at him, resisting the urge to roll her eyes. "I did. It's a present for Max."
"Meet you new neighbor, Sid," Maximus said.

"What!?" He walked up to the bar, standing next to Colin. "He's going to be living here
with us?"
"That's right," Bud said with a grin. Anything that annoyed Sid was okay by him.
The pup moved away from Colin, investigating the new arrival. Sid pulled his hand
away, warning, "If he bites me, you'll all be very sorry." The pup stopped for a moment,
cocking his head, ears perking up, obviously bewildered by the unusual scent. Everyone
paused, expecting him to indeed snap at Sid, but instead, he wagged his tail, jumping up
to start licking Sid's face. "Ugh!" Sid took a step back, and Colin quickly reached out and
caught the dog before he could tumble off the bar. "That's disgusting!" Sid said, hastily
grabbing a napkin from the bar and wiping his face. "You should have that thing on a
leash!"
"A lot of people say the same thing about you, Sid," Bud quipped.
Sid glared as the others laughed. "I can't believe you're letting that thing crawl all over
the bar," he said as the pup sniffed at Colin's mug of VB that sat on the counter. After a
few moments, he stuck his nose in the glass and started lapping at the alcohol inside.
"Whoa, boy," Colin said, pulling the dog away from the glass. "That's no good for you,"
he said as he picked the dog up, holding him up near his face, "But I'll say one thing for
ya, mate... You've got excellent taste!"
Chuckling, Maximus said, "He's probably just thirsty."
"Yea, we should get him some water," Laura said. "But actually, I think we ought to take
him out for a walk first. He isn't housebroken yet, and I don't think he's gone for a
while."
"What...!?" Colin, who had been letting the dog lick his face again, abruptly extended his
arms, holding the pup as far away as possible. The dog yipped softly and whimpered a
bit, its little legs moving, obviously wanting to be held closer.
"How disgusting," Sid scowled, backing away. "Get it out of here - preferably
permanently - before it pees all over the bar."
Maximus stepped over to Colin and took the dog, settling him into the crook of his arm
again. "The dog is staying, Sid -- with *me* -- so I suggest you get used to it." He headed
towards the outside door, the others -- except for Sid -- following him out onto the lawn
in front of the tavern.
When Maximus set him down on the ground, the pup scampered around, playing with
all his new friends as they knelt in a loose circle on the grass. Laura and Maximus went
to her car, opening the trunk, retrieving the dog's things. Maximus looked through the
bag of toys, and pulled out a small multi-colored ball.

Looking back at the group, he called, "Bud...!" The cop looked up, and Maximus tossed
the ball over. Bud caught it easily, and rolled it toward the pup, who went after it
enthusiastically.
The men had been playing with the dog for a few minutes when the tavern doors
opened, and Jeffrey and Wendy came out. "There you all are," Wigand said. "I should've
known not to believe Sid when he said you'd left him in charge of the bar."
"Oh, dear," Arthur said, "I'd better go back in."
"Me too," Jeff said as both stood up, "before Sid starts opening up the good stuff again."
As the two went back inside, Wendy had rushed over to the group when she saw the new
arrival. "A puppy!?" she said, grinning happily. "I was wondering if you were really
going to get one," she said to Laura.
"Yes, I did. And I want to thank you again for your advice in picking one out. I had him
checked out at the vet like you said, and they told me he's a very healthy little guy. And
he's had all his shots too," Laura said as she knelt down on the ground, and the pup ran
over to her. As she petted him, she said, "Isn't he just adorable?"
"He certainly is," Wendy said as she and Jeffrey knelt down to pet the dog too.
"What's going on?" a feminine voice asked, and Colin looked up at the familiar tone,
smiling as he saw Michelle approaching. Not far behind were Aurore, Lisa and Lachlan.
"We've got a new guest, luv," Colin said, getting up and coming over to greet her with a
quick kiss.
"Max likes dogs," Laura said, "so I thought he might like a pet, someone to keep him
company when he goes running or riding." She moved to his side, putting her arm
around his waist. "When I saw the little guy, I knew he was perfect to bring to the Point.
Isn't he just the cutest?"
"He certainly is," Aurore said as she knelt beside Bud and the pup came over to her.
"He's bonzer, mate," Lachlan said to Maximus as he and Lisa joined Aurore. The women
all started to fuss over the little pup, who was definitely enjoying all the attention and
affection.
As Maximus carried the dog's supplies to the tavern stairs, he shook his head, chuckling,
"You are going to spoil him."
"Of course we are." Laura looked up, smiling. "He's just a baby -- that's the whole
point...!"
There was a soft whimper from the next room, and a few moments later, a soft

scratching accompanied it. Laura rolled over in bed, slipping her arm over Maximus'
waist. "I don't think he's ever going to go to sleep..."
Maximus let out a heavy sigh. "No, I don't think so either."
"I'll bet he's lonely... and scared," Laura said, "The poor little guy's been through a lot in
the last few days. I took him away from his litter-mates a few days ago, brought him to
the vet, then kept him at my place for a day. Then there was the long car ride here, and
now he has to get used to the new surroundings and all the strange people... He's
probably scared to be alone in the dark..."
"I doubt if he likes that cage either," Maximus said quietly. "No innocent creature, man
or beast, should ever be locked up..."
There was a subtle undertone of bitterness in his voice that brought a lump to her
throat. Her arm tightened around his waist as she rubbed her cheek against his chest.
"Max," she said gently, "that carrier isn't a prison. We can't let the little guy run loose in
here -- besides the fact that he isn't house-broken, its not safe in here for him yet. We
haven't had a chance to puppy-proof the place. Plus Wendy told me it'll help to train
him, and we'll have some place to keep him when neither of us is here to look after
him.... He'll be okay," she said reassuringly.
"Perhaps..." The whining from the other room continued, and Maximus sat up, pushing
the sheets aside as he got out of bed. After slipping on a pair of boxer shorts, he lit a
small candle on the dresser, bathing the room in a soft golden glow. Then he went out
into the other room, returning a few moments later with the carrier. He set it down near
the bed, then sat on the floor himself.
Laura sat up in bed, watching as he opened the carrier and the pup scampered out
immediately, jumping into Maximus' lap. The Spaniard held the animal for a while,
petting the dog gently, whispering in a soothing voice, "Time to sleep now, little one....
You're not alone; we'll be right here.... Sleep now, Apollo...... Sleep...."
Laura watched with a soft smile, touched by the sight of the big, gentle man with such a
tiny pup. And soon the dog did indeed calm down, exhausted after its long day, and fell
asleep. Then Max moved him back into the carrier without waking him up again, and
shut and locked the carrier's door.
Max quietly returned to bed, slipping back into Laura's arms. "So now who's spoiling
him...?" she teased. He smiled back, kissing her softly, then settled beneath the covers
with her. She glanced over at the still-flickering candle. "Aren't you going to put out the
candle...?"
"No," he said as he enveloped her in his arms, settling her into the curve of his body. "If
he wakes up again, he will be able to see that we are still here with him, and hopefully
keep him quiet for the rest of the night..." He yawned, closing his eyes as one hand
rested possessively over the swell of her breasts.

"Good idea..." After a minute or two, she asked drowsily, "You called him Apollo.... Did
you decide on a name?" He grunted softly, and she added, "Apollo... The sun god.... Any
significance....?"
"Not particularly... I just like the name."
"Apollo...." She paused for a moment, then said, "I like it. I think it's a good choice." She
snuggled close, closing her eyes, whispering, "Now lets get some sleep..."
"Hey, Max -- look at this," Laura called as she sat at her computer in her suite. They had
moved to the hotel earlier in the day, leaving Max's bedroom to air out after Apollo's
early morning 'accident' right after he'd been let out of the carrier. No permanent
damage had been done to the wood floor, but until the odor went away, they decided to
relocate. Now the pup was out on the balcony, playing with chew-toy, as Maximus
relaxed on the sofa, reading.
He got up and walked into her office, leaning down to kiss her on the forehead. "What is
it?"
"Apollo is an interesting choice to name him." She pointed at the screen. "I looked at
some Greek mythology sites on the 'net, and found this: '...Apollo was the son of Zeus
and Leto, a mortal... He was also known as the god of light, the god of truth, who can not
speak a lie. One of Apollo's more important daily tasks was to harness his chariot with
four horses and drive the Sun across the sky." She looked up at him, and he nodded. She
looked back at the screen, switching to another web page. "Then there's this: '... Apollo
bore the epithet 'Lykegenes', meaning 'born from the she-wolf' and it was said that his
mother Leto had been escorted from the Hyperboreans by wolves at the time of her
labour. It was as a wolf that Apollo abducted the maiden Cyrene.... Undoubtedly, the
wolf was Apollo's special animal...'"
He smiled. "I did not know that."
"There's more." She switched webpages again. "Have you heard this:...? '... In one of the
Greek tales, Coronis, the daughter of Phlegyes was pregnant by Apollo. Apollo left a
white crow to watch over her, but, just before the birth, Coronis married Ischys. The
crow informed Apollo of this, and Apollo was not impressed. He killed Coronis and
Ischys, and turned the crow black for being the bearer of bad news. Luckily, Apollo
retrieved the unborn child at the funeral, for the child became Aesclepius, the father of
medicine....'." She looked up at him again. "The wolf and the crow -- Apollo is definitely
a very fitting name for the little guy."
"So it would seem," Maximus said, turning around and going back out into the living
room. Laura followed as he went to the balcony doors, stepping up to the makeshift gate
that keep the pup outside on the balcony. The dog ran over, trying to climb over the
obstacle to get to his master. Maximus reached down and picked him up, holding him in
his arms, scratching him behind the ears. "Well, Apollo -- what do you think of your new

name...?" The dog barked, raising his head to lick the Spaniard's bearded face. Maximus
laughed, saying, "I guess you like it, hmmm?"
"Definitely," Laura said, petting Apollo as well. "I'm so happy that you like my surprise,
Max."
"Very much so," he said, leaning over to share a kiss. "I think he will fit in very well
here."
"I think so too." She turned her full attention to the pup, petting him with both hands.
"Welcome to the Point, Apollo."