(A/N): I love In Plain Sight and I have always wanted to write a fanfiction for it, so here is my first attempt at such a thing. I don't know if anyone will read this, hopefully you will, and hopefully you will all enjoy it. I have no idea when I will update, as posting this is another attempt on my part at procrastination, but I will hope that it is soon.
This is most likely an AU, though it is set after the dreaded balcony scene. Seriously guys? Almost a decade together and then he decides to walk away? For ABIGAIL? I have serious issues about that, but oh well. I love Mary/Marshall, so this fic will be eventual M/M I promise. Please let me know what you think.
I do not own In Plain Sight or its characters, but I do own my version of Norah, Kelly and Tommy.
No Matter What
Thirteen years ago, Albuquerque.
Mary Shannon looked into the crowded church with a heavy heart, tugging at the sweetheart neckline of the baby blue dress she'd donned for the occasion. How she didn't want to be there, watching her best friend, her Marshall, get married to Detective Barbie. Mary grimaced at the thought, but quickly sorted her expression before anyone could see her. Marshall truly loved Abigail, and that had to be enough for her. Had to. There was no other option. Of course, her decision had only been based on Marshall's feelings. She'd let him go, just as he'd asked her to, but she hadn't anticipated just how much it hurt to watch him go through with it. Her cell phone rang, distracting her from thoughts of shoving Abigail's face into the wedding cake.
"Mary." She answered curtly, only for her eyes to widen as crying came through the other end of the line.
"Oh Mary." Jinx. Mary immediately began running through worst-case scenarios. Jinx was supposed to be watching Norah that day (so that Mary could go to the wedding alone), along with Brandi and her eighteen month old daughter, Kelly, at Mary's house. Her heart caught in her throat at the thought of something happening to Norah.
"Mom, what's wrong? Is it Norah?" Mary demanded, gripping the phone tightly to her ear as she stepped out of her ridiculously high heeled sandals and pulled ballet flats from her large baby blue clutch purse, stepping into the flat shoes whilst listening for Jinx on the phone.
"Oh Mary, it's so terrible! She's – She's gone!"
"Who's gone? Mom?" Mary asked tightly as she picked up her heels with one hand, clutch purse shoved under her arm to keep it in place as she had no free hands left. She didn't see Stan McQueen walk up behind her, looking worried as he took in the change of shoes.
"Brandi!" Jinx wailed, causing Mary to wince. "She just up and left, after signing something for you, and left me here with two kids! Mary, what am I gonna do?"
"Mom, just calm down. I'll be there as soon as I can. Are the girls okay?" Mary asked, calming slightly as she realised that her daughter wasn't dead or injured.
"The girls are fine, Mary, but Brandi! Oh, my baby girl!"
"Mom, calm down. Brandi is an adult. I'll know more when I get home. Just sit tight, okay?"
"Thank you, sweatpea."
"No problem." Mary hung up and sighed deeply. Great, just what she needed. Her little sister deciding to up and leave on the worst day of her life, leaving behind her barely-toddler daughter. Mary grimaced. Like it wasn't bad enough she was a single mother to a three year old girl that was every bit as precocious as her mother, just a little more sensitive to others around her than Mary was. Oh no, now she had to go home and see what was going to happen to her eighteen month old niece too.
She turned to leave only to come face to face with Stan, who looked a little pissed.
"Leaving, Inspector?" He asked coldly. Mary's eyes widened, but she set her jaw. If he wanted a fight, then she'd bring it.
"Yeah, I am. Family emergency." Mary told him quickly, trying to get past him. Stan threw out a hand, stopping her short and causing her to start to glare at him.
"Don't you think you owe Marshall to be at least present for his wedding, instead of chickening out?" Stand hissed harshly. Mary recoiled a little at the tone in which Stan spoke to her. She hardened her features immediately.
"Look, I would stand here and watch in agony as he got married, Stan, but I really have to go. I know how much I owe him, but the girls need me right now. I have to go." She reiterated. Stan looked a little calmer, more worried than anything else.
"Marshall will notice if you're gone." Stan warned. To his surprise, tears welled in the blonde's eyes, ones that she quickly wiped away before they could fall.
"He wouldn't care. Not anymore." Mary muttered, leaving Stan a little confused. What the hell was she talking about? Mary continued before he could get any further in his thoughts. "Look, Stan. Brandi's left, like right now, and I have to go find out what's happening with Kelly, Brandi's daughter, and save the two girls from my mother's hysterics. And possibly hunt down and shoot my wayward sister." Mary let out in a rush. Stan sighed a little, but nodded.
"Fine. Mary, I hope everything works out. Marshall cares about you, you know. I'm sure he'll want everything to turn out fine too." Stan offered, but was once again surprised as Mary's hazel eyes flashed with anger, hurt and a little of what Stan swore was heartbreak.
"He doesn't." Mary muttered. "Care, that is. He made damn sure I knew that."
And with those cryptic words, she slipped past Stan and out of the front door to the church, heels dangling limply in her hand, clutch and phone in the other.
As soon as Mary entered the house, she was bombarded by a dark haired blur she knew was Norah, mainly because the little girl greeted her like that every time Mary got home from work or anywhere else. Mary bent a little to pick her daughter up, settling the little girl on her hip as she pressed a kiss to the side of Norah's head.
"Hey, bug, where's Grandma and munchkin?"
"In there." Norah pointed into the living room. "Grandma's sad."
"I know, bug, I know." Mary told her daughter as she walked into the living room with Norah. Mary took a quick stock of the situation. Jinx lay on the couch, sobbing restlessly into a couch pillow as Kelly sat in a play pen, alternating between playing happily and watching Jinx with a confused expression, well, as much of a confused expression as an eighteen month old could manage. Norah leant in to whisper into Mary's ear.
"Grandma cried. Kelly tried to go outside. I put her in there." She whispered, pointing at the play pen. Mary felt oddly proud of her daughter, though it was for something she never wanted Norah to do. There was no way she wanted Norah to take care of Kelly in a similar way she'd had to take care of Brandi, but she was thankful that Norah knew to put Kelly into the play pen rather than let the blonde little girl wander as she pleased.
"Thanks, Norah. What would I do without you?" Mary asked with a smile as she moved closer to Jinx. She caught something from the corner of her eye and turned to the coffee table. Lay all alone on the table was paperwork. Paperwork signing all parental rights and custody and the like away from Brandi and onto Mary. Brandi had signed and initialled in all the right places, and listed Mary as the new mother of her daughter. Crap.
Mary quickly set Norah down, flicking through the paperwork until she found a post-it note stuck to the last page. Mary read it quickly with shaking hands.
I'm sorry, okay? I'm not as strong as you. I can't raise Kelly by myself, and she'll have a good life with you and Norah. Please, don't look for me unless Kelly wants to find me when she's older. Much older. I'm so sorry, Mare, but I've made up my mind. I love you, sis.
Mary sank to the floor as Norah sidled up beside her, sitting down beside her mother and peering over Mary's shoulder at the note, even though Norah couldn't make out most of the words. Mary had just started teaching her incredibly bright child to read, but Brandi's handwriting was bad at the best of times, an unintelligible scribble at worst.
"Aunt Brandi's not coming back, is she?" Norah asked, far too astute for her age. Mary pulled the toddler onto her lap and stroked Norah's brunette locks, a strange trait that neither Mary nor Mark quite knew where it came from, but both knew her hair could change again in time.
"No, Norah, I don't think so." Mary told her daughter softly, before settling Norah back on the floor and letting Kelly from her play pen, pulling the younger girl into her lap. "Looks like you're stuck with me, munchkin."
A week later, Mary realised that she couldn't go back to the Albuquerque WitSec office. Her main point was that she was the single parent of two pre-schoolers, Jinx having disappeared to look for Brandi despite Mary's pleas otherwise, and needed to spend more time with her children. The other was the almost constant nausea and the white stick hidden in her underwear drawer, a plus sign beaming out for all to see. Mary rubbed at her stomach subconsciously. The worst part was, she knew the father didn't care, wouldn't care. He was married for only a week after all, and would spend all his time with his wife, not his ex-best friend that he'd managed to knock up on the night of his bachelor party about a month earlier. Mary sighed. He hadn't remembered that night, but he'd remembered the words she'd spoken beforehand.
Mary swallowed heavily as the emotions tried to overtake her and turned back to the computer screen, accepting the job offer she'd received two days earlier, from the NYPD, the division that Bobby D. now worked for. She'd be working as a liaison between the marshal service and the NYPD, so that the police could still work cases that involved witnesses and fugitives without the marshal service getting too bent out of shape as they'd have someone in on it that would know just how much information they could reveal.
Then, she clicked on another link for a real estate website. Time to look for a bigger house for her, her two daughters, and her unborn baby.
2 days ago, Albuquerque.
Marshall Mann let himself into the Albuquerque WitSec office on the roof of the sunshine building, his heart heavy in his chest, just as it had for the last thirteen years, ever since Mary had left, taking her daughter with her and cutting him out of her life completely. He'd had no idea why she'd left, but Stan had told him that personal issues were what had made her quit that particular job. In true marshal fashion, no-one told Marshall where his partner had gone to, the only thing that they'd let slip was that she hadn't personally requested a transfer, but had taken something that had been offered to her instead. A transfer of opportunity.
Marshall set his coffee down, trying to smile. And failing miserably. He tried to remember little Norah's face, but couldn't, not clearly. He'd last seen her just before the balcony moment between himself and Mary. He'd been a little hurt that she hadn't invited him to Norah's second or third birthday parties, but she'd released him, and that apparently had also constituted cutting him from her personal life completely. What Marshall didn't know was that she had actually invited him, but she'd handed the invites to Abigail, trying to get along with the detective for Marshall's sake. They'd gone in the trash before Marshall had ever seen them.
Marshall racked his brain to come up with any time Mary had shared emotions or something with him, only to grimace as his oh so helpful brain settled on the last time Mary had shared anything with him, the night of his bachelor party.
"Marshall, please, I-" Enter hiccup. "-Love you."
Marshall stared at her in disbelief. They were both drunk, him more so than her. He was fairly certain he'd drank his weight in whiskey at one point, but that might have been an exaggeration. "Mare… No…"
"You don't love me?" Mary questioned, eyes wide. Marshall leaned in.
"No, I don't care, Mare. I'm getting married soon. I don't care if you love me." Marshall lied, his inebriated state making him miss the hurt that crossed his drunk partner's face. "I love Abigail."
The night ended there for Marshall, having not remembered anything else until he awoke in Mary's house, on the couch with a pair of his childish pyjama pants on and nothing else. Mary had looked at him almost hopefully as he'd walked into the kitchen with a pounding head and acute nausea, but he could still see her expression fall as he'd asked the question. "What happened last night?"
Marshall shook himself out of his memories as he settled at his desk and opened up his emails, flicking through them quickly, ignoring the one he'd received from Abigail. He'd divorced her three years ago, after ten years of marriage, because she'd cheated on him with another detective she worked with. It had all started going downhill when after six years, they'd discovered that Abigail couldn't have any children. Abigail had become withdrawn and distant, pulling away from Marshall and lashing out over the littlest of things. All of it, Marshall could forgive, until he'd discovered that she was having an affair with another detective in the ABQ PD. And it wasn't a one time thing, oh no, it'd been going on for three months when Marshall had found out. He'd served the divorce papers three days later. She'd signed them, but told him she wouldn't give up fighting to get him back. Ever. It'd been three years, and she was still trying (and failing) to win him back.
Distracted, Marshall jumped when his cell phone rang. He looked at the caller ID, confused. The screen read Bobby D., which surprised him as he thought the detective was in New York, having had a full time gig up there as a lead detective in homicide for about fourteen, maybe fifteen years. Still, he answered it all the same.
"Hey, man, its Bobby D. here."
"What's up, Bobby?"
"Dude, you need to get to New York. There's a… special assignment for you. I already cleared it with Stan."
"A case?" Marshall checked.
"Uh, kinda, kinda not. You'll see when you get here."
"I'll try to get a flight down."
"You can't, Marshall. The airport's closed here. And I kinda need you here ASAP."
"Fine, I'll drive."
"See you soon, man."
Present Day, New York.
Detective Bobby Dershowitz looked up from his paperwork, only to smile as he saw who was walking towards his desk. There were three teenagers stood in front of him, one sixteen, one fourteen (almost fifteen), and the last one thirteen. The eldest two were girls, the youngest a boy. Bobby smiled widely, inviting the teens to sit opposite the desk.
"Hey kids, how are you doing?" He asked kindly.
The eldest girl, the sixteen year old, flipped her long brunette waves away from her face, brushing her heavy side fringe further to the side, out of the way of her piercing hazel eyes, so familiar to him. "We're doing okay, Bobby. No-one will tell us anything though." Norah Olivia Shannon responded softly, one arm around her little brother, the other hand clutched into her sister's. Bobby stared at them, overcome with their strength, as he had many times in the last thirteen years. Norah was by far the leader of the little pack, the caregiver when needed, and also a fierce warrior when it came to protecting the people she loved, especially her siblings. Her sister, Kelly Mary Shannon, was almost fifteen and had long straight blonde locks and identical hazel eyes to Norah, despite Kelly's mother not being Mary. Norah's brother was thirteen, Thomas David Shannon, more affectionately known as Tommy. He was almost as tall as Norah, making Kelly the shortest of the siblings, and had messy brunette hair that constantly got in his eyes, annoying him no end. His eyes were a piercing blue that Bobby also recognised, not that he'd ever say anything about it to the three kids. His face turned stony as he remembered just how much of a warrior Norah was, and just how much her siblings trusted her.
A year ago.
"Mary!" Bobby yelled as he ducked, gun drawn as the window shattered above his head. Someone slid through the glass to rest next to him. Mary. She too had her gun drawn, and looked worried.
"Bobby, the kids are here!" She told him quickly. The precinct had come under fire as a mentally unstable man hadn't wanted to be arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, so his smart idea was to shoot the people assigned to his case, believing that doing so would make the case go away so he could get the hell out of dodge.
"Crap." Bobby swore, hating the idea of any of Mary's kids getting hurt. Mary looked every bit the worried parent, mixed with a little of the adrenaline rush they were both feeling.
"I left my backup with bug, so hopefully…" Mary trailed off as they heard a noise from the corridor. The man that had been shooting at them had made his way inside the precinct. Her eyes widened. "The kids will be found before he gets to us." She whispered urgently to Bobby, who instantly locked eyes with Mary, both trying to figure out a way to save the three kids.
Both were brought back to reality as a gun was cocked, aimed in their direction as the man found them. The pair on the floor didn't even have time to raise their weapons.
The man fell forward, revealing Norah stood behind him, gun raised, hands shaking. "H-he w-w-was gonna k-kill you." She stammered out, hands still shaking as she managed to lower the weapon, almost sinking to the floor as the adrenaline rush left her body. Mary was the first to recover from the shock, clambering up to help support her daughter before she fell over.
"Are you okay, Norah?" Mary asked softly, prying the gun from her daughter's hand and setting it carefully on the floor. Norah nodded jerkily before suddenly perking up again.
"Kelly, Tommy!" She suddenly called out, spinning round and rushing down the corridor to the room they'd been put in an hour before the shooting started. Bobby and Mary exchanged a look before running down the corridor, following the fifteen year old as she burst into the room.
Mary looked around, panicking slightly. "Norah, no-one's here sweetie." She tried to tell her daughter, who rolled her eyes and moved a chair over to one side of the room, standing on the chair and reaching up. Mary and Bobby could only stare in shock as Norah helped Kelly and Tommy down from a partially hidden beam behind the doorway. No-one would know it was there unless they were specifically looking for it.
Once all three kids stood on the floor, Mary instantly enveloped them in a tight hug. "I love you guys, the sun and the moon." She told them, her voice tight with emotion. The three chorused back, "Love you too, mom."
Mary glanced over at Bobby, who felt a little awkward at the family moment. She rolled her eyes. "Get over here for the sickeningly sweet Hallmark moment, Bobby." She told him, and Bobby found himself pulled into the middle of the Shannon family hug by Norah and Kelly.
Bobby smiled sadly at the three kids. Life hadn't been exactly hunky dory for them. Not one of them had a dad, and they'd already admitted that Bobby probably came as close to one as they were ever going to get. They didn't know who Kelly's or Tommy's dads were, and Norah's dad had died about four years earlier, a heart attack. They dealt pretty well with never knowing what their mother was doing, and were also used to being pulled out of school for one reason or another. Basically, their lives were hectic, and his news would only add to the worries they held.
"I know, Norah, I'm sorry." Bobby told her. "Look, there's no easy way to say this, so I'm just gonna tell you guys straight. Your mom is missing, and we think it could be a kidnapping. You three were brought in for your own safety, and I have a babysitter lined up whose job it is to look after people."
Norah observed him shrewdly before shrugging. "Are they allowed to the break room?" She asked, motioning at her siblings. Bobby nodded.
"Sure. It's a closed room."
Norah sent a quick look to Kelly, who stood immediately and walked off to the break room, Tommy trailing after her, realising his sisters knew something he didn't. Norah waited until they were out of earshot before leaning over the desk towards Bobby.
"He's a WitSec guy?"
"I can't tell you that, Nor, you know that." Bobby reminded her. Norah, sighed, sitting back in her chair.
"Okay. Who is it, how long, and what can you tell me about mom?"
Bobby sighed. "His name is Marshall Mann, he worked with your mom a long time ago. I don't know how long, but I'm assuming it's until we find Mary. As for Mary's situation, all we know is that three days ago, she was supposed to go home to you guys, but she didn't make it that far. You called it in, which was good, by the way, and the last place her typical soccer mom car was located was at the supermarket she usually goes on the way home."
"How long ago?" Norah asked suspiciously, referring to Marshall, but Bobby's answer was interrupted as none other than Marshall Mann walked into the room in his usual suit and cowboy boots, overnight bag slung over his shoulder and his eyes weary and red rimmed from lack of sleep. Bobby sucked in a deep breath, standing up. He just hoped the shit wouldn't hit the fan too soon.
"Marshall." He greeted the other man. Marshall nodded wearily.
"Bobby D." He glanced at Norah, who stared back, her eyes widening as she saw the clearest blue eyes set into his thin face, eyes she'd most definitely seen before, on her little brother. She quickly did the math, piecing together the scant bits of information Mary and Bobby had let slip over the years. Her face hardened as she stood up. Marshall seemed oblivious to the thoughts of dismemberment that was running through the teen's head as he turned back to Bobby. "This the case?"
"I told you, kinda, kinda not a case." Bobby turned to Norah, eyes pleading with her. "Can you go get the other brats you call family?" He teased, trying for a levity he didn't feel. Norah grinned anyway.
"Sure thing, as long as I get a gun for my next birthday."
"Not a chance, kid." He told her, rounding the desk and turning her towards the break room. He leant down a little to whisper in her ear. "Look Nor, I saw you figure it out, but you gotta keep it from the others. For them, okay?"
Norah thought a little before nodding as she walked off towards the break room. Bobby sighed in relief before turning back to Marshall. He had seen Norah's face when she'd seen Marshall's eyes and build, and knew she'd figured it out, especially as both he and Mary had a habit to talk about the old days back in Albuquerque when drunk, which seemed to mostly happen at Mary's four bedroom, two storey house. Norah had probably heard enough in those conversations to put two and two together to get four.
"Hey, man, thanks for getting out here."
"Why am I here, Bobby?" Marshall asked. He'd driven for two days, stopping off in Indianapolis for a few hours of rest before setting off again. He'd left Albuquerque at about eight in the morning, stopped off in Indianapolis at about four in the morning, gotten about two hours of sleep before driving again, arriving in New York at about six at night, eight by local time as New York was two hours in front of Albuquerque. He was exhausted, and all he really wanted to do was find out why Bobby needed him there and grab some sleep before heading home again.
Bobby shifted awkwardly. "My… uh, Partner, went missing about three days ago. Her kids are in danger, and she would want you to protect them. I know it, and so does at least one of her kids."
Marshall frowned, certain there was something the detective wasn't telling him. "How many kids?"
"Three. You saw the eldest." Bobby said shortly, only to smile as he saw Norah emerge from the break room, bringing Tommy by the hand, Kelly bringing up the rear. All three had left their go bags by Bobby's desk, so they were empty handed. They'd been shoved into many protection details when Bobby and Mary had gone on dangerous cases, as was part of Mary's deal with the marshal service and NYPD. She'd wanted her kids protected no matter what. Still, by now the kids knew the drill, and had go bags prepared just in case, usually left at the front desk of the precinct to save them from dragging the heavy bags to school with them.
Marshall glanced in the direction Bobby was looking. Three kids were walking towards them, the eldest he'd seen, followed by a boy about thirteen, with dark hair and blue eyes, followed by a girl about fourteen or fifteen, with blonde hair and hazel eyes that matched the eldest girl's. They were similar in most features, telling Marshall that they were in fact siblings, as Bobby had told him. Why exactly had he been called in to babysit these kids? They didn't look like they'd cause trouble or witness something they shouldn't have. All three were wearing Chucks with jeans, the two girls wearing different coloured plaid shirts and the boy wearing a t-shirt advertising a band Marshall hadn't heard of before.
The trio stood on the other side of the desk from Marshall, Norah glancing at Bobby, seeking reassurance. Her initial idea had been to grab Kelly and Tommy and run, far away from the man that had broken her mother's heart, and still had the power to do so much damage.
Bobby patted Norah's arm gently, trying to convince both the girl and himself that this was the right thing to do. Clearing his throat, he turned back to the confused marshal before them. "Marshall, these are the kids I want you to protect, Norah, Kelly and Tommy." He gestured to the appropriate teenager as he introduced them. "Kids, this is Marshall Mann, he's gonna be your guardian for the next few days, at least." Norah shot him a disbelieving look as the other two seemed to accept his words.
Marshall frowned. Why did he feel like he knew these kids, especially the eldest one? Norah. Light dawned on him as he stared at the sixteen year old girl, who was openly glaring at him. He realised that he recognised the eyes because they were identical to her mother's. "Norah?" He whispered, almost reverently. He couldn't believe that the little girl he'd last seen all those years ago was the young woman stood before him. He'd last seen her when she was still a toddler, after all.
"What?" Norah snapped without meaning to. She had her mother's temper, but kept it further under wraps than Mary had ever done. Kelly was calm unless in a dangerous situation, when she panicked in a tamer version of Brandi, and Tommy seemed to live in a state of perpetual relaxation, unless something riled him up too much and then he snapped, also having the famed Shannon temper, though he rarely showed it.
Bobby shot her a warning look. "Norah."
Norah turned slightly to look at him. "He knows who I am now?" She asked Bobby, who chanced a glance at the marshal before nodding to Norah.
"Oh yeah, kid. He knows."
"Okay." Norah turned to Marshall. "This is my sister, Kelly, and my brother Tommy. We've got bags packed, and I put our cell phones into Bobby's desk. We have burner ones in our bags. Untraceable, of course. And let me just reinforce the fact that this is temporary. As soon as we can, we'll be gone from here, from you." Marshall looked shocked as Norah turned to Kelly and Tommy. "Go. Bathroom break. Only one you're gonna get for now."
Kelly and Tommy walked away as Norah stepped up to Marshall. "You hurt them, in any way, and you'll wish you'd never met me." She hissed menacingly before shooting Bobby a grin. "Hey, Bobby. I'll join munchkin and little man now, but I'll let you know where we land for the night." She rounded the desk and kissed the detective's cheek softly. "Just find my mom, please." She whispered into Bobby's ear before rushing off to find her siblings, knowing they wouldn't have actually gone to the bathroom.
Marshall looked at Bobby in shock. "That… was Norah Shannon?" He checked. Never in his entire life did he think Norah would speak to him like that, or be so protective. Then again, he hadn't expected to see her ever again either. And yet, there she was, with a brother and sister, making Marshall's jaw clench at the thought of Mary having more kids with another man. You denied her the chance of it being you he reminded himself harshly.
Bobby nodded with a grin. "Yep, brilliant, isn't she? Fiercely protective too, so I wouldn't push her. You have no idea what she can do." He told the other man, smiling at the thought of all three kids. He always felt lucky to know Mary and her kids, and even felt he owed her for his wife of eight years, Samantha. Mary had introduced Bobby and Samantha about three years after moving to New York with her kids. Samantha worked as a security detail for judges and district attorneys and such whenever they needed it, and so understood the demands of the job. Samantha loved Mary's kids just as much as Bobby did, though they themselves didn't want children. As they put it, they liked being able to give the kids back at the end of the day. They did babysit from time to time for Mary, and Bobby knew Samantha and he were on the same page when it came to priorities. And both of their top priorities were not each other, but their three pseudo-children.
Marshall glanced at a photo on Bobby's desk. A wedding photo, as far as he could tell. "You're married?" he asked the detective, who also glanced at the picture with a smile.
"Yeah. About eight years now." Bobby told Marshall with a beaming smile. The photo was not the typical wedding photo of just the bride and groom kissing or whatever, but was actually of Bobby, Samantha, Mary, Norah, Kelly, Tommy, and Stan, who'd managed to make the wedding after Bobby had insisted on him showing up. All of them were laughing at the camera, and Bobby had one of his arms wrapped round his wife's waist and the other round Mary's shoulders. Samantha had picked up Kelly, and Mary was holding Tommy. Stan was beside Mary holding Norah. "The kids saved that day. Everything that could have gone wrong, did." He told the other man, who looked a little shocked. "The flowers didn't arrive, the caterers didn't show up, the shoes for the bridesmaids were missing. Hell, even the rings were gone."
"Jesus. What happened then?"
"Norah went round the house and found similar shoes for herself, Kelly and Mary, who were our three bridesmaids, and then the two girls ran round their back garden picking all the flowers they could and turned that into a bouquet. Tommy found some plastic rings in his sisters' jewellery box and used them instead of the rings we'd ordered. Mary cooked up as much as she could in three hours whilst the kids made sandwiches and doled out ice cream in the gap between the wedding and the reception." Bobby smiled at that, remembering the way the three little kids had practically bent over backwards so that the day wasn't ruined for Bobby or Samantha. Bobby reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a fancy ring box, handing it to Marshall.
Marshall popped open the box, only to find a slightly worn and definitely scratched plastic ring with a deep blue paste jewel on it. Marshall looked back at Bobby just as Kelly walked up, holding a candy bar. She handed it to Bobby with a brilliant smile.
"Here you go Bobby." She told him as she handed the candy over. "You've probably eaten less than us today." She glanced over at the box in Marshall's hand before groaning and fixing Bobby with a half glare, not really meaning it. "You still haven't gotten rid of that old thing?"
"I'm keeping it forever, Kel, you know that." Bobby said with a soft smile. Kelly was the one that looked most like Mary, despite only being her niece. Bobby figured it was probably the blonde hair paired with the hazel eyes that made her look so much like her aunt/mother. "Just like Sam still keeps hers in the dresser at home."
Kelly rolled her eyes. "Norah and Tommy are getting some snacks for the drive. I came to ask you something."
"What's then then?"
"Did you find my mom's necklace?" Kelly asked, biting her lower lip a little.
"The medallion?" Marshall asked, causing Kelly to shoot him a confused look.
"No, I meant the one she wears every day. The diamond one we bought her when Norah was five. Bobby helped us pick it out for her." Kelly informed him with a frown. "The medallion is mixed into our jewellery box at home."
Bobby shook his head. "I checked the car myself, Kel. There was no necklace. Why?"
Kelly simply shook her head with a smile. "I'll tell you soon if you don't find her."
"Kelly." Bobby stated warningly, but Kelly shrugged, not bothered by his tone.
"Look, if I don't tell you soon, Norah will. Tommy's a little worried, but he doesn't have a clue what's going on."
"He's not a baby anymore, Kel."
"I know." Kelly shrugged again as she picked up her go bag, throwing it over her shoulder before placing the other two bags onto Bobby's desk. "But he'll always be my baby brother."
Bobby rolled his eyes as the other two walked in, picking up their own go bags and shoving candy and soda into them, Norah handing Kelly some candy to put in her own bag. Tommy looked at Bobby, his piercing blue eyes fierce yet calm. "Bobby."
"Yeah, little man?" Bobby asked, the nickname Mary used for the boy slipping out without thought. She still called Norah bug, Kelly munchkin, and Tommy little man.
"Find her, okay?" Tommy asked, fiddling with the strap of his bag. "I know I argue with her and stuff, but she's still my mom, Bobby."
"She knows you love her Tommy." Bobby told the boy softly. Tommy half shrugged.
"I dunno. I should've told her the morning she…" He trailed off, fighting the fear that he wouldn't get the chance to tell his mom that he loved her ever again. Norah slipped her hand into the pocket of her jeans, pulling out a silver watch Marshall didn't recognise. Clearly, the other occupants of the room did though, as Kelly gasped, Tommy's eyes widened, and even Bobby looked a little shocked.
"Mom was gonna wait until your birthday, but I figured you might need it now." Norah told him, handing him the watch carefully. "Read the back."
Tommy turned the watch over almost reverently in his hands. On the back was an engraving.
All my love, the sun and the moon,
"All my love, the sun and the moon." Kelly whispered, looking at the watch over Tommy's shoulder. That phrase was the one their mother told them every single day of their lives, an unspoken promise that she would love them and come back to them, no matter what. They knew it was a variation on what their mom's dad had said to her, but they loved it all the same.
Bobby glanced at the three kids before running a hand over his face. As much as he hated it, it was time to say goodbye to them for a while. He gestured for them to engage in a Shannon (pus Bobby) family hug, the three circling Bobby and holding onto him tightly as he hugged them all in turn. Eventually he pulled away, forcing them to stand in a line. "Okay rugrats, be good for Marshall, okay? Your mom will be back before you know it."
All three nodded and headed for the door, only for Bobby to grab Norah's hand, yanking her back a little. He quickly pressed a little key into her palm, pressing his finger to his lips to keep her silent on the subject. "Just in case." He murmured so lowly, Norah had to strain to hear him. Norah nodded sharply once before following her siblings from the room.