Chapter 6:

It was a few months after her son had turned five years old. Sheila was in the kitchen making dinner. It was pasta, of course. Ricky was in his room playing with his blocks, which were kind of starting to get old.

Sheila stirred the pasta until she heard a knock on the door…which surprised her. I mean, who could be there to visit? She sat the spoon down and walked to the door. She was shocked to see who was standing on the other side of it.

"Duff? W-What are you doing here?" she asked.

"Err…long story," he replied.

She let him in and talked to him for a while. He looked a lot different than he did a few years back…almost miserable in some way.

"Well…how have you been?" she asked him.

"Terrible, but that's nothing new…ye?"

She felt bad for him. He was definitely sick. "Well I had to quit my job with Drakken, because…well"

Just then, Ricky walked through the door. "Mommy?" he asked. "Who's this?"

"….oh," Duff thought.

Her face turned a little red. "Umm…just an old friend of mine. Please go back to your room." He listened to his mother and when he left she looked down at the floor.

"Ye married?" Duff asked.

"No…I'm not," she responded quietly.

"Boyfriend?"

She shook her head.

"Err…ex-boyfriend?"

She just looked at him…

"Right…well ye're probably wondering why I'm here," he said.

"Oh…right. Yeah," she responded.

"I'm dying. I have a disease. I wanted to ask if ye had any interest in lookin' over Bess for me, but I can see yer hands are already full," he said standing up.

She was horrified…and sad at the same time. She didn't want him to die. She did, after all actually have feelings for him…as much as she tried to hide them. She took his hands and pulled him back down. "No…wait," she said with tears in her eyes.

"I don't want ye to overbear yerself," he told her.

"No…I…He…He's your son…" She started crying. "I was going to tell you but…" She held her head. "I'm so sorry."

"What?"

"I should have told you…"

"A-Aye, ye should have…" he said standing up again.

"W-Wait…Please don't go!"

He didn't answer her and went right to Ricky's door.

"What are you doing?" she yelled.

"What? I can't say hello to my own son?" he asked.

"Can't we talk first? Please?" she begged. He turned to her and she sighed. "Go ahead. Just don't tell him who you are yet."

"No, let's talk then," he said.

"He asks about you all the time. I never really know what to tell him. I've told him that you are very kind and strong...and smart. He thinks you live far away because of your job and you can't visit because you are too busy... I never had the heart to tell him what really happened...I didn't want to hurt him," she told him.

He looked down at his shoes. "I'll just go…"

"No! Please…I want you to talk to him," she said.

He lingered there for a bit. "Do ye?"

She nodded. "But please don't tell him yet. We will after you talk. I am making dinner…if you want to stay."

"It's up to ye. I would think you wouldn't want me here at all."

She paused for a moment…something was on her mind. She waited a moment then it just came out. "I've really missed you…"

"Oh, lassie…"

She had tears in her eyes, but hid them as best as she could. "Umm…go on in and see him. I'll just be in the kitchen."

Duff knocked on his son's bedroom door. Ricky opened the door. "Hello, lad," he said. "May I come in?"

Ricky looked at his mother, who nods at him. Ricky let him in and Sheila went to the kitchen. Ricky went back to playing with his blocks. "Mommy never has friends over."

"No?" he asked, as he picked up a block to see how old it was.

"Do you wanna play?" he asked.

"Of course I do. Maybe I can buy you some new ones. These look a bit broken."

"Really? But Mommy got me these."

"Would ye like new toys? Can't yer ma get ye new toys?" he asked.

Ricky looked down. "Mommy tells me we need to save money to get food, but we eat the same thing every night."

Duff felt a little horrified that he left the two of them this way. "Well lad, ye don't have to live like that anymore. Da—uh I mean I'm going to make sure that never happens again."

Ricky looked at him. "You are? That will make Mommy happy." He looked sad. I hear her crying a lot at night. I think she's sad."

Duff looked sad hearing that. "Lad…I never got yer name."

"Oh. My name is Richard, but Mommy calls me Ricky. What is your name?"

"Nice to meet ye Ricky. My full name is Duffaile Hondscioh Killigan, but ye can call me Duff."

Ricky smiled. "That's funny. My middle name is Duffaile."

He felt a bit emotional…

"What's wrong?" Ricky asked.

"N-Nothing. So what do ye like to do, Ricky? Ye go to school?"

"No…Mommy said we can't afford it this year. I was supposed to start kindergarten this year. But I guess that is okay. I want to save up for something better." He walked over to a bookshelf and picked up a piggy bank and handed it to Duff. It was pretty full.

"What's that for?" Duff asked.

"I'm saving up for me and Mommy to visit Daddy. He is never around. Mommy misses him. I can tell. I wanna see him too. I never got to before he left for work."

Duff actually had a few tears in his eyes. "…left for work, ye say?"

He nodded. "She told me that he had to leave. She won't tell me why, but I know he will come back some day."

"Well here's some to help ye out." He took out his wallet and handed him a few hundred dollars.

Ricky looked at him with big eyes. "I-I don't want it. That's your money."

He chuckled. "Trust me lad, I have more than I need. Take it."

"Mommy doesn't know I've been saving up. Won't she be excited when I show her?"

Sheila knocked on the door to tell them that dinner was ready. Duff got up to talk to her while Ricky cleaned up his toys.

"Listen…Shego. I notice yer not in the greatest position financially…" he said. "Allow me to send ye a check once in a while…or if you want…ye can come to the castle…live there with Rick."

"Oh Duff…I don't know…" she said. Of course she wanted to.

"At least let me send you money now and then. Yer strugglin'. Ye can't even send the boy to school." He looked at her and noticed she was crying. "The boy is savin' up money so he could see his Pa. He hada piggy bank Shego…nearly full."

"W-What?"

"Aye. He brought me this large piggy bank and said he wanted to see ye smile. He wanted to see his Pa. I didn't think ye were that happy to see me."

"You have no idea how happy I really am…"

"Shego I told ye earlier…I'm not in good health," he started…"But I won't leave until my time is up. I have a son now."

"Thank you so much…"

He reached for her and hugged her.

Ricky came in and told Sheila he had a surprise for her. He told her about the money he saved up and the money Duff gave him. She looked at him surprised.

"Well what if I told you we could go live with your father?" Sheila asked him.

He looked very happy about that. Duff smiled a bit.

She picked her son up. "Now Ricky, why do you think your middle name is the same as this man's name?" Ricky shrugged. "Do you remember who I told you I named you after?"

"Daddy, right?" Ricky asked.

Sheila nodded.

Ricky looked at Duff, who was smiling at him. "D-Daddy?" Ricky smiled big and reached for him.

Duff reached out and picked him up and hugged him. "Aye, I'm yer Pa."

Ricky hugged his father so tight.

Duff's eyes were a bit watery. He held his son. "Oh…and Ricky? Ye have a sister ye know. Her name is Bessie. She's 15 now."

Ricky looked so excited. Sheila told him to pack his toys and he ran off to do so.

Sheila looked at Duff. "I've missed you so much more than you could imagine."

He put a hand on her face. "And I've been so alone without ye." He kissed her forehead.

Just then she felt all of her stress melt away. "Well now you never have to be."

He held her tight and whispered in her ear, "Thank ye."

Ricky came back with his bag full of his favorite things, and the three of them traveled back to Scotland.