Disclaimer: Obviously Mary and Marshall and all the other guys at In Plain Sight don't belong to me. However, if Marshall shows up at my door I will not turn him away, I will invite him in to stay for as long as he wants.
A/N: I know everyone has done the post script to Trojan Horst and I know this isn't even one of the better ones but I had to take my turn writing one because I've read them all. So that's what this is.
It was a terrible day. She had been so angry with Marshall, and then she'd been so hot and sweaty and scared. She couldn't remember a time when she'd been so afraid. She knew that he thought he was hiding his pain from her but she saw it in his eyes and in the way he tried not to wince when he coughed.
Her heart had dropped when he tried to send her away to get help. She wanted him safe in a hospital but the thought of leaving him there alone... Marshall could take care of himself. She wouldn't work with a partner she didn't trust but she didn't like the idea of being separated. She had almost been glad when Lola's thugs had shown up and saved her from making that decision.
Her emotions were overwhelming. Now she was exhausted and nauseated and cold, sweat drying on her skin and she was still afraid. Everyone kept assuring her that Marshall would be fine. She had threatened her way into his room and had been sitting at his bedside since he got back from surgery but though he had twitched and occasionally murmured he hadn't really woken up. The water bottle that added humidity to the nasal cannula Marshall was wearing bubbled quietly and she glanced over at the chest tube nervously. Antibiotics dripped into his IV. She knew that they were worried more about infection than his actual wound but none of that reassured her.
"Hey," Marshall was both hoarse and short of breath when his eyes finally flickered and managed to stay open for more than fourteen-seconds. She'd been watching him fight the remains of anesthesia for an hour. She knew it was a good sign, both that he was trying to wake up and that he was getting some sleep but that one word dropped the bottom back in her wold.
"Hey yourself," she tried to put a little edge on her own words, she didn't want him to think that she'd gone soft while he slept but she knew she couldn't hide her ragged appearance or red eyes.
"What time is it? What are you still doing here?" She saw him look at the pink cup filled with ice water beside his bed longingly and she held the straw to his lips.
"Little sips," she said quietly. "I was too tired to go home," she lied in answer to his question. Stan had tried to drive her home after Marshall was out of surgery and moved to a room but she had stubbornly, and then almost violently refused to go. She felt like throwing up but the sensation lessened the closer she sat to Marshall.
"Have you slept at all?" He turned away from the cup after a few small sips and looked carefully into her face.
"You shouldn't worry about me, and you shouldn't talk. It sounds like it hurts," she didn't meet his eyes when she spoke. She wasn't sure who would come out of this situation more scarred. He had the physical wounds but she saw him, lying on that couch not breathing before she shoved that filthy tube into his chest, in her mind every time she closed her eyes.
He must have been able to read some of that anguish because he reached across his body and put his left hand on her forearm. "You did good, you got us out of there. I'm a little hazy on the details but," he paused as he heard her breath catch. He looked up at her and he could see the tears forming. She tried to hide them but he knew they were there. "Hey," he said gently, squeezing her hand. "Why don't you come over here and sit with me for a while." He tugged her toward the other side of the bed. He watched as she started to move the chair and he stopped her gently. "Come on, you can sit on the bed. I'm not going to break."
She sat beside him and he watched as she toed off her shoes and put her feet up next to his. She leaned her head against his shoulder and turned slightly toward him so she could slip her arm under his. He tangled his fingers with hers and turned to look at her. "Do you want to talk about this?" He asked quietly.
"No," he could hear the exhaustion that she tried to hide.
"Okay, just sleep." He was content to have her close. He knew that she'd been up for close to thirty-six hours and she had passed the point of exhaustion long ago. He leaned his head back and fought to hide his grimace. The pain medication was wearing off and his chest was burning but he knew that if he hit the call light nurses would come and the lights would get turned on and Mary would be in the center of it all. He leaned back and closed his eyes, concentrating on taking slow deep breaths until he fell asleep too, listening to the soft sound of Mary breathing.
The next two days were filled with a flurry of activity. Mary stayed close to the hospital only leaving to eat and shower. Stan brought in a stack of paperwork that was two inches tall regarding the incident with Horst and she worked on the forms without complaint. The hospital staff stopped trying to enforce the visitation policy when they realized that not only did Mary object but Marshall was hard to manage when she was unhappy.
The third morning they took the chest tube out and when a repeat chest x-ray that afternoon showed that his lung was still inflated they said he could go home as long as there was someone to stay with him. Marshall hesitated, looking at the doctor. He very carefully didn't look at Mary, she had been such a fixture in the hospital, he didn't want her to think that she had to take him home and take care of him there too.
"I," he started slowly and she stepped over and put her hand on his shoulder.
"I'll be staying with him so tell me what I need to do."
"Mer, you don't have to hover. I'm fine."
"I'm just trying to do what the doctor said." Mary brushed the hair out of her face in frustration.
"I think it would be better if the pod person returned to the mother ship and you sent my partner back," he smirked.
"Hey," she paused while folding a towel. "You think I can't be domestic?"
Marshall held his hands up in surrender. "I didn't say that, but you have to admit that this is not normal behavior."
"Maybe, but it hasn't exactly been a normal week."
"Why don't you go home, get some rest. I know Stan is chomping at the bit to get you back in the office and get,"
"I'm not leaving so stop trying to kick me out."
"Could you sit down here for a minute?" He gestured to the empty space next to him on the couch where Mary had planted him when they got back from the hospital. She perched gingerly next to him and Marshall had the impression that she wanted more than anything to escape. "You didn't want to talk before, can we talk about this now?"
"What is there to talk about?" She wouldn't meet his eyes. "We got through it, we're both still here and neither one of us is going anywhere." She played with her fingers. He reached over and put his hand over hers, stopping her restless fidgeting. He nudged her with his shoulder
"But you're still thinking about it so it's not really over. It's just running circles in your head." He gave her just the barest hint of a smile. "Don't forget, I know how you are."
"That's what I'm afraid of." Marshall's brow wrinkled at the tone of her voice.
"Are you going to tell me what that means or do I have to guess?"
"I'm talking about you leaving." She still wouldn't meet his eyes.
"I thought we settled that."
"If by settled you mean I told you what to do and you said okay then yeah, it's settled but is that what you want?"
"Mer, listen to me. I went on a job interview. I briefly thought about a career change. It had been a bad week and I may have overreacted. You need to know that even if I had taken the job I would have been leaving the Marshal service, not you. I know how you are. You push and push and never let anyone get close because you're afraid that they're going to hurt you. You can push on me all you want and I'm still going to be standing here. You can even walk away and I'm still going to be standing here when you're ready to come back.
"Marshall," she hesitated and closed her eyes for a moment. "I'm sorry that I didn't give you a chance to explain. I'm all rough edges and sharp corners. People think I don't know that but I do. Sometimes when I'm scared I speak first and think later. And I'm just as bad at apologies as everything else."
"But you're apologizing now, and you don't have to. Not with me."
"I'm apologizing because it's important. I was pissed and maybe if I'd been paying more attention,"
"Hey, don't second guess yourself or I'll have to do the same thing."
"I saw you go down and I," her breath hitched and she turned away from him.
He gave her a few seconds before turning her back to him. He wrapped his good arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. "Let it out Mer, just let it out," he whispered through her hair and she cried harder, shoulders shaking.
Finally her sobs died down to the occasional hitch in her breath. Marshall kissed the top of her head. "Come on, I need to lay down and you are going to crash after that episode."
"If you ever tell anyone about that," she threatened but her voice had no heat in it. She scrubbed the last of the wetness out of her eyes. She helped him up off the couch and watched as he carefully lowered himself onto his bed. She walked around to the other side and sat on her knee facing him. "You should get some rest," she started to stand but he reached out to her.
"Stay. Take your shoes off and lie down." He was only mildly surprised when she did as he asked without arguing with him. She liked to argue but she had been wounded too. She was arguably as wounded as he was and she needed a few minutes to find her equilibrium.
He turned so he could look at her. There were shadows beneath her lashes and her face was puffy from crying and lack of sleep but he thought she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. She had let him hold her while she cried but he didn't think she'd let him hold her again. He settled for laying a hand on her forearm. She cracked one eye to look at his hand but closed her eyes again without saying anything. He startled as she reached across and wrapped her fingers around his.
She sighed as she burrowed down a little farther into his pillow top mattress and just when he thought she was asleep she opened one eye to look at him again. "Marshall," she said quietly.
"What?" His response was just as quiet as hers, sensing that she was going to say something important.
"Do you remember out there, when I told you not to be a hero?"
Marshall lifted his head an inch or two and looked over at her. "I remember."
"I should have told you then. You do," she paused for a second to find her voice. "You look like a hero to me. You're the strongest person I know and if I'm only going to have one friend I'm glad that it's you."
"Thanks Mer, I'm glad it's you too." He smiled feeling as warm and content as he had ever felt. He knew that there was a long way to go before the two of them were on the same page with their relationship but for the first time he believed that they were driving down the same road, together.
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