Counting Marys

I truly adore this story--I hope you do, too. Please review and tell me what you think. For good measure, I don't own Indiana Jones either…but if I did, I could think of better things to do besides write about him…

One other bit of business—a little bit of French translation. I last took French about a year and a half ago, so please cut me a little slack.

1. … mais oui, mais c'est la vie—c'est la volonté de Dieu: but of course, but that is life—that is the will of God

2. mon cher: my dear

3. mon coeur: Lit. my heart

It was very hard to resist using 'mon petit chat,' but I really couldn't call Harrison Ford a kitten…sigh, opportunity missed.


"There were a lot of Marys, kid."

And there were, thought Indiana Jones, tipping his hat down over his eyes to get a little shut eye on the plane to South America. Mary had been a very popular name in his generation—and out of it, come to think of it… He grinned to himself. Margret, Betty, and Gertrude had been pretty popular, too—but could never really see himself in bed with a Gertrude…

Mary…huh. World full of Marys out there and one was this kid's mother and, apparently, his ex-lover. That narrowed the field some, but…

Let's see…Mary Louise. She'd been his first love. Her father'd been an old friend of Henry Jones, Sr. and Indy'd gone to stay with the family over summer holidays when he was about fifteen. Mary Louise was seventeen—an older woman. She was tall and shapely—more distinctive than beautiful, but she had an ass that put the ones he'd seen on Italian sculptures to absolute shame. She didn't give him the time of day, either—until the evening before he was scheduled to head back home, when she'd condoned to give him the time of night and then some.

Yeah—Mary Louise was something else—but whatever else she was now, this kid's mother she was not. She'd been headed for Hollywood, last he heard, and was doing some nice business up there as a big producer's leading lady and mistress.

Marybeth Compson—now there was a possibility. He'd met Marybeth in college. She'd been a waitress at a little café just off campus. She had big, blue eyes and a big, sparkling smiles and big, pink…sweaters. She used to keep the coffee flowing while she helped him study for exams—calling out questions from crumpled cue cards while she moved with grace and competence through the tables and customers. She was loveliness itself in every sense—except for the snoring, which, to be fair, she couldn't control. She was also happily married with twin girls in Connecticut, to an old friend of his actually—Tom Grant—who'd swept her off her feet while Indy had been trying to explain that—while marriage was a great idea—it wasn't a great idea for him.

So she was off the list.

Mary Adams. She was the heir to an oil fortune, when he knew her, and Daddy's little girl to boot. She'd used him as a pawn in family politics just to piss her father off and give the press something to talk about—not that he minded, really. They'd spent one weekend in a dingy hotel suit as Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose Smith before she took off early Monday morning, without waking him, to attend a local charity event with her family and—surprise—fiancé. She'd done a hell of a job for herself once her old man died. She built up the company and acquired her competition one after another until she owned all the companies east of the Mississippi and a few beyond as well, all the while dumping boatloads of money back into charitable organizations. He'd seen her featured in a Life magazine a couple years ago and was pleased to see she'd divorced her fifth husband and was already lined up for her sixth.

So that's a big No.

Then there was Mary—just Mary—who he'd met in a pub in some backwater town half a world away. They'd spent the night giggling like school girls over whiskey and gin, and finally fell into bed as dawn crested the horizon. They'd parted amicably and—it turned out—expensively. That was still a sore spot in his memory, and the fact that he'd told her his name was Taylor Polk-Cleveland made it extremely unlikely that the kid was hers.

Let's mark that off as a lucky miss.

Mary Alice! Now she was a great memory—round and warm and caring. She'd had a thing for animals—that's how he'd met her. His horse had thrown a shoe out in the Midwest, and he'd ended up at her sister's horse farm where she helped tend the horses and was working on her own herd of milking cows. As soon as she'd heard he was named after a dog, she'd fallen for him. Unfortunately, he'd tripped over her sister—Margret, would you believe?—and the whole fiasco—while ultimately pretty amusing—did rather mean that any contact from either of them would be heralded by fire from a sawed of shotgun rather than this kid.

So, no luck there on several counts.

Anna Marie—dark, petite French woman—devout Catholic and fiery as all hell. He'd met her in a pawn shop near the Louvre in Paris where a priceless artifact had been hiding among the rubbish. He'd reached for it only to snatch back his wounded hand after she smacked him and demanded payment. He tried to talk her around, but it was difficult, what with her screaming at him in aggravated French and flailing at him with tiny fists. Finally, he'd had to kiss just to shut her up. They'd ended up in a pile of clothes at the foot of her bedroom stairs, and—after a pleasurable afternoon and successful purchase of the artifact—she'd dragged him off to confession at the Cathedral down the rue—

—And there he'd met Soeur Marie Pierre, who'd been praying on the bench next to him while he said his Hail Marys. Anna Marie had gotten off fairly easily, but, since his last confession had been sometime in the last decade, his count had reached the triple digits by the time he was finished. You can say one thing about the French—they certainly are thorough. When he finally finished the litany, he'd found Marie Pierre's curious gaze fixed upon him. He had the good grace to blush, but her amused questions soon had him telling her some of his more amusing tales—editing out the women who so often frequented them as best he could.

For some reason, he'd introduced himself as Dr. Henry Jones—perhaps to try to reassure her after the perfusion of atonement she'd just witnessed. They'd chatted until the inner sanctum was empty and echoed with their whispers, when she'd told him that she was on vigil duty until two in the morning. It seemed a shame not to keep her company, and by midnight they were so comfortable with each other that she was telling him her own stories, too.

Her family were French peasants in a countryside still marked by German boots from the Great War—the first one, that is. She'd been the middle girl of three sisters, and her parents had sent her off to the convent when it became apparent that the family's resources would not be enough to sustain five mouths much longer. She was lucky, she explained, her older sister had been married off to a rich, but very old man.

"Better the bride of Christ," she spat with vengeance. "He makes no unholy demands in the middle of the night!"

Indy would have pointed out that it was the middle of the night, and she was fulfilling a demand in His name, but he reasoned that this demand was probably holy and that she would not appreciate his input on the matter.

She continued to tell him her tale, which consisted mostly of the doings of her younger sister, who'd run away from home two years after Marie Pierre joined as a novice. The sister'd ended up on the arm of an American (read Protestant) businessman, who'd showered her with diamonds and swept her away to New York. She had ceased all contact with her family ten years ago, and her mother had died of a broken heart soon after. He father had drunk himself into oblivion three years ago, after her older sister had died birthing the child of the wealthy, old man.

"Let that be a lesson, Henri—money can do nothing in the face of God's will."

"It's a terribly sad story."

"Sad, yes—terrible, no. A child free of sin dies without rites—that is terrible—an army destroys the lives of millions of civilians marching to meet another army—that is terrible—a woman dies in childbirth—that is sad, yes? That is sorrowful, mais oui, mais c'est la vie—c'est la volonté de Dieu."

Eventually they fell into comfortable silence, arms just touching in the darkness. Sometime after the bell peeled one, he cleared his throat.

"I don't know where I'm headed next, but you're welcome to join me. A prominent American university offered me a part time position—you could be a professor's wife—throw tea parties the envy of the whole faculty."

She turned to him with a soft smile on her lips and regret in her eyes. She cupped his cheek with her palm and stroked his features with her thumb. "Oh, Henri—you forget—I am already married." Her eyes flickered to the large crucifix above the altar and back to him. "I will be always a bride, mon cher, never a wife."

He took her hand in his and kissed her palm tenderly. "That can get pretty lonely."

"Yes, it can," she agreed solemnly, freeing her hand to smooth his hair back from his forehead. "But He has seen me through many a crisis—a little loneliness is a small price to pay for the peace in here." She pressed her hand to her breast to mark her heart and smiled at him.

The bell began to toll once again, and he sighed in defeat.

"I guess this means goodbye."

"Oh no, Henri—in France, we say au revior."

"But we'll never see each other again."

She laughed at him. "You never know, mon coeur. God works in mysterious ways."

He'd kissed her nose before he left. It seemed improper to kiss her mouth and her forehead was ruled out by her wimple. It seemed strange now to think that he would never know the color of her hair. He turned back once as he left the Cathedral and saw her kneel to cross herself in the glow of the prayer candles. Her face was radiant with outright serenity, and he felt his heart swell at the sight.

He'd meant it—about marriage, that is. He would have married her and hell be damned—and maybe they would have been happy together. And maybe what he loved most about her was her purity—her innocence and inner peace that seemed to wipe his soul clean just by association. He loved her in a robe and veil, but in pearls and white gloves, his affection might pale.

As he meditated on her face in the candle light, he found himself wishing he could see her once more—to feel that clean again. 'You never know, mon coeur…' But he sincerely doubted he would find Soeur Marie Pierre at the end of this journey. Considering the kid, it would take a major lifestyle change on her part, and, frankly, she would have to do some damn good explaining when he rescued her—not to mention the punch he'd give the kid's father if he ever ran into him.

So rule out Marie Pierre for peace of mind.

Which left—huh. He was out of Marys—except for—no. Couldn't be…

Could it?

Marion Ravenwood—known to everyone but him, Abner, and his old roommate Oz as Mary.

Not possible—wishful thinking…

A son!?

He raised his hat and stared at the kid beside him, searching for some resemblance. Maybe—around the eyes—and that chin…a definite maybe. He did some quick calculations—son-of-a—she sure wasted no time moving on…

Not that he could blame her—even though he did.

He'd first seen her at Abner's house—back in the days when he was working on a thesis paper for his doctorate—doing something unspeakable to the flowers in the back garden. He'd been waiting for Abner to arrive, but the Professor's notorious lateness had struck again, so Indy probably had a good two hours to kill.

He went out and took the trowel from her—"You can have this back when you learn how to use it, sweetheart." He went to work sorting out the mess she'd made, caking dirt into the knees of his trousers and the cuffs of his dress shirt.

She stood back and watched him work with her arms crossed. "And here I was thinking you boys only knew about things that've been dead a thousand years."

He glared at her. "Shows how little you know."

She snorted. "Yeah, I bet there's a lot you could teach me." She sounded mildly flirtatious, and he raised his eyebrow in response.


"Mm—well, one thing I know—you're going to be thirsty if you really intend to finish that bed. I'll go find you some lemonade."

His eyes followed her hips as she walked away—she was wearing a knee length peach dress with red vertical stripes that forced his eyes to follow them down to her hem and beyond to long, creamy legs. She turned at the door and smiled when she caught him staring—

"Ice, Mr. Jones?"

More like cold shower. "Yeah."

Later, she'd forced him out of his trousers and dress shirt—"They'll stain—here, given them to me—it's not like you can afford dry cleaning on an assistant's pay, and it's the least I can do, after all you did in the garden."

So he sat on her bed in his boxers and undershirt, feeling like a fool and hoping fervently that Abner would forget to come home for a very long time.

She appeared in the doorway with his spotless clothes and grinned at him—a grin he would fall in love with over and over again.

"Well, aren't you a picture." She handed him the bundle of cloth and kissed his forehead lightly. "I'll see you downstairs."

He hadn't slept with her—that was the only thing that saved him the first time he left her behind—when he'd gone off to have adventures and a life—never imagining they'd bring him right back to her again—never imagining that he might end up almost making a life with her forever.

He'd made love to her that time, because she was so dear and so close, and because they might die the next day. And then he was hooked on her—that grin, those hips, those legs…that snort. He loved the way she felt curled against him in the darkness—loved the way she yawned in the morning as he kissed her neck, like a kitten utterly satisfied in all its desires. He loved her wit and her laugh—loved her sparkling eyes when she called him on something—loved the soft, sweet noise she made when he kissed that little spot just under her ear lobe. He loved her. And that scared him shitless.

So he left. He caught a early flight out of London and set up shop back at the University—spending as much time as possible away from home because it wasn't home—it couldn't be—without Marion.

And now he was going to pay for it, because—the way things were going—it couldn't be anyone but Marion waiting for him in South America.

Whenever things start going to hell—that's when I find Marion.

He sighed and looked over at the kid. You've got one hell of a mama, boy.

Sigh…ok, so it's not exactly cannon—but it's such a good ending, I couldn't resist. Now you know you want to review: tell me what you think!