Raph felt like an asshole. He had seen Mary walk onto the broken glass and hadn't done a thing. He could have opened the door and yelled or done something else but. . . he couldn't. He had been too worried about flying bottles and Mary's violent temper. Raph had felt rooted to the spot, unable to stop watching as Mary and Marshall continued their fight. It had been like watching a soap opera with the sound off- especially when Mary had dissolved into hysterics. Raph had even winced when Mary's legs slid along the shard strewn ground and smeared blood. But, even then, he hadn't moved.
It had been Marshall who had done something. Once he had noticed the blood, Marshall had scooped her up and carried her up the back stairs. It was obvious that the man was still pissed, but even in his anger, he had swallowed his rage and helped Mary. And that simple fact cut Raph deep. Marshall could help Mary when Raph couldn't. That was what made Raph feel so horrible.
So when Marshall kicked the door and demanded that someone open it, Raph jumped and threw open the door. Mary's face was hidden by her hair but her shoulders was shaking in such a way that Raph was sure that she was crying even though he couldn't hear anything. Raph was overwhelmed by the urge to brush away her hair and tell her that everything was going to be ok but, even at the sight of Mary in pain, he couldn't get over the irrational fear. 'How fucked up is that,' Raph thought bitterly, 'She's crying and I don't want to touch her. I'm afraid of my own fiancée.'
* * *
Marshall was pissed. He knew that Brandi, Jinx, and Raph had seen Mary run onto the glass and they hadn't done a damn thing but watch. These were the people that Mary bent over backwards for and they couldn't even open their mouths to stop her from hurting herself. There was just something inherently wrong with that.
Storming past them, Marshall carried Mary towards the bathroom and tried to ignore his anger towards her family. He could be infuriated later but, right now, he had to get the glass out of Mary's feet. Luckily, the bathroom door was ajar so it only took a small kick to open it wide enough to admit the two of them so Marshall didn't have to call upon Raph's amazing ability to open a door again. Hitting the lights with his elbow, Marshall slammed the door shut with his boot heel and was surprised to hear a tiny giggle from the blond mess in his arms.
He looked down to see Mary staring up at him with a small smile on her face. Quietly, she said, "The house is already a wreck, Marshall. You don't need to kick down all my doors."
"If your doors don't want to be kicked then they need to get the hell out of my way," Marshall muttered as he set her down carefully on the edge of the sink. Little shards of glass dropped off from her clothes and Marshall assessed the situation as best he could. His partner was bleeding from the cuts on her feet, there was glass all over the floor, both of them still had shards embedded in their clothes and he still didn't know whether he should strangle or hug Mary.
It only took a few seconds for him to come up with a plan but Marshall hesitated for a moment before doing anything. The first thing that needed to happen was… a bit awkward but it had to be done. Mary was watching him expectantly as she swung her legs back and forth from her perch on the sink and Marshall realized he couldn't be looking anywhere near her for the moment. So, with his eyes forcefully turned to the ceiling, he said, "Mare, take off your pants."
* * *
Mary's legs stopped moving. Her whole body stilled and she just stared at the man in front of her as he inspected her ceiling. The whole evening had been a jumbled wreck of booze and confusion but Mary was certain she was hallucinating now. Her soused brain insisted that Marshall had just told her to take off her pants but that wasn't possible.
* * *
Raph, Brandi and Jinx froze in place as they hovered outside the bathroom door. The door wasn't that thick but it was obviously distorting what was being said inside. There was no way that what they had just heard was correct.
* * *
Marshall tried to ignore the silence but it was getting unbearable. He could feel Mary's eyes boring into him and the embarrassment was beginning to overwhelm him. Finally, the need to explain himself outweighed his desire to not speak, "Mare, you've got cuts on your legs and glass stuck to your pants. You need to take them off so I can get you patched up."
There was a tiny reply of "Ok" and Marshall heard Mary shifting around from her spot on the sink. Staring at the ceiling, Marshall prayed that Mary was wearing underwear today. She routinely taunted him with comments about going commando and he sincerely hoped that, if she wasn't joking about it, today wasn't one of those days. Not thrilled with his train of thought combined with his current situation, Marshall was glad to be interrupted by Mary- even if she did say, "I think I need a little help here."
Turning his eyes away from her bland ceiling, Marshall had to suppress a grin when he saw the sad state Mary was in. In her drunken state, she had only been able to get her pants half off one of her hips and she was a bit too wobbly to get them off without some assistance. Tossing him a crooked smile, Mary added, "Come on, Marshall, you know you've always wanted to get me out of my pants."
Her teasing tone took the unintended sting out of the comment and Marshall smirked as he walked over to the sink, "I don't know Mare. I've always thought of your pants as some kind temple from an Indiana Jones movie."
"What the hell does that mean?" Mary scowled as she reached her arms up around Marshall's neck. When she felt his hands snake around her hips, Mary pulled herself off the sink an inch or two and wriggled as Marshall slid her pants down to her knees. Dropping back down to the sink, she let go of her partner and steadied herself to keep from falling over.
Kneeling, Marshall began carefully tugging her bloodied pants down over her injured feet while he answered her, "You know- filled with snake pits, death traps, falling rocks. All sorts of things to kill a man for trying to get to the treasure inside."
Mary snorted derisively. "I can't believe you just said there's a treasure in my pants."
"I also said there was a snake pit."
* * *
Outside the bathroom, Brandi, Jinx, and Raph were trying to understand what the hell could be happening on the other side of the door. For two people who were just fighting a few minutes ago, Mary and Marshall were giggling far too much.
* * *
The laughter subsided once Marshall noticed that there was still blood dripping from Mary's feet. The scratches on her legs were superficial but some of the cuts on her feet looked deep. Worse still, there were a number of glass shards still embedded in her feet. Swiping a washcloth from beside the sink, Marshall ran it under some warm water and crouched back down. Mary stilled as he took a foot in his hands. His thumb rubbed her ankle idly as he began washing the blood gently away and Mary relaxed.
Anticipating pain, Mary had tensed but Marshall's delicate touch wiped away her nervousness. She could feel the shards fall off but there was no pull of tearing skin or sting of biting glass. There was just the soothing swipe of cloth and Marshall's thumb making calming circles on her ankle.
"I'm glad you're not mad at me anymore," Mary blurted out suddenly. Marshall's thumb stilled and he stared up at her. Smiling widely, Mary added, "Anyone else would have taken some kind of perverse glee in yanking the glass out of my feet."
"Tweezers?" Marshall held his hand out to her and Mary twisted around to grab them for him. As she dropped them into his hand, Mary's grin faltered as she realized he wasn't smiling back at her. Wariness fell over her like wet blanket when a look of sadness passed over Marshall's face before he abruptly turned his attention back to her feet.
"What makes you think I'm not mad at you anymore?"
* * *
The loud yelps coming from the bathroom were beginning to worry Jinx. Mary's drunken binges always frightened her but, despite the sheer relief she had felt when Marshall had shown up, Jinx was worried that her daughter's partner was inflicting some kind of torture onto Mary.
It didn't help that they could only catch fragments of conversation. Poor Raphael looked like he wanted to break down the door and save his fiancée from Marshall's 'tender' ministrations. Wringing her hands in concern, Jinx understood how Raphael felt. Knowing Mary, they would just get yelled at for trying to help her. So all they could do was wait. They listened carefully for any sounds of Mary screaming for their help but she and Raph hadn't heard anything of the like. Every once in awhile, something clear could be heard but none of it ever made any sense. Mary had yelled something about 'this is revenge for the tube, isn't it?' before practically shrieking in agony. Just a little bit ago, Marshall had all but shouted 'I am not a windmill.'
At that point, Brandi had huffed out something along the lines of 'they can't even fight like normal people' before stomping back to the couch. Jinx wished she could join her younger daughter but fear kept her rooted to the spot. It had gotten quiet in there- too quiet and Jinx could feel her nerves quaking as she wondered what on earth could be going on in there.
* * *
"This is revenge for the tube, isn't it?" Mary glared down at the man who was currently contemplating a new way to torture her poor, abused feet. While it seemed as though he was trying to be gentle, it was all a ruse. There was a ruthlessness hidden behind the concern and the pain she felt was the only evidence she needed to prove it. Those blasted tweezers moved between two of her toes and, with a quick yank, ripped another piece of glass out. Mary yelped and suppressed the urge to kick Marshall in the face.
Calmly, Marshall inspected the mess of blood and torn flesh in front of him. So far, he had removed six large chunks of glass and numerous shards but it was getting hard to tell if all the glass was gone. As he dabbed the blood away as gently as he could, Marshall answered quietly, "No, Mare, it's not revenge. This is me cleaning up one of your messes and I really don't appreciate you thinking that I'm trying to intentionally hurt you."
The hateful expression on Mary's face faded into something that could resemble shame- had it been on someone else's face- and she muttered a quick 'sorry' before settling into a sulk. Hunched over on the sink, Mary tried to figure out how much more pain she was going to have to go through before Marshall was done. Her feet were throbbing with a dull ache and it felt like all the glass was gone but she knew Marshall would be thorough and scrutinize over every inch of her feet before he was done. There was a sudden flash of gratefulness at his attentive concern but that was over as quick as it came when he pulled another small shard out of her big toe. Trying to bite back yet another yelp of pain, Mary ended up biting her tongue and growled in frustration.
Slamming down the tweezers, Marshall scowled up at Mary. "You do realize I could have just dumped you on the couch at let your family take care of you or dropped you off at a hospital instead of doing this myself, don't you?"
"I know, I know." Mary mumbled. It wasn't fair. She thought Marshall was done being mad at her but here he was- snipping at her again. So, out of snarkiness, she added, "But, in my defense, you know how I am so you really should just expect it."
"Yes, I know you. You expect the worst from people because that's what you're used to and you fight back whether you need to or not. Waiting for a fight isn't good enough for you so you spend your whole life tilting at windmills. But what you forget is," Marshall's voice rose in irritation, "I am not a windmill."
Marshall sighed and turned his attention back to her feet, "What that means is that I'm sick of you treating me like you treat everyone else. I've spent most of the last four years trying to help you, trying to be your friend, and some times you act like I'm some schmuck on the street trying to pull one over on you."
"Actually, I was asking what you were if you're not a windmill." Mary blatantly ignored the guilt that had wound it's way into her brain from Marshall's little speech. "Are you the Sancho to my Don Quixote?"
"Considering how much you ride my ass," Marshall grumbled, "I'm probably Rocinante."
Mary grinned, "So you're my horse?"
"Of course," Marshall paused before adding, "of course."
* * *
Jinx was baffled. She had heard them yelling at each other but now they were laughing again. Brandi was right. They couldn't even fight like normal people.
"Do you think we should see if they need anything?" Raphael asked.
Shaking her head, Jinx patted the poor boy's arm. He was so worried for Mary and Jinx was, once again, grateful that her daughter had found such a nice man to love. Now if only Mary could start treating him better. Of course, it would help if Mary would stop working so much and spend some time with her family.
* * *
"I don't want to go out there yet," Mary whined. She glared at the door like it was the entrance to hell and Marshall could sympathize. They both knew what was going to happen when they left the little confines of the bathroom. Jinx would lecture Mary on sobriety, Mary's attitude and how scared they all been. There would probably be an intervention planned. And Raph would be right behind Jinx. He would be nicer about it but the end result would be a shit ton of guilt heaped upon Mary without anyone trying to understand why she did the things she did.
"You could take a bath." Marshall suggested. That would give her some extra time to prepare for the inevitable and her feet could probably use the soak. Of course, the logistics of getting her into the tub naked without her walking was a problem. Looking around the bathroom, Marshall pondered the situation. The strategic placement of a towel would probably work- provided that Mary behaved and didn't 'accidentally' let the towel drop a little bit just to watch him get flustered.
"Jesus Marshall, you must really want me naked and wet tonight."
Well, there went the hope that she would behave. Maybe he could just dump her in the tub with her clothes on. As he plugged up the tub and started running the water, Marshall replied with, "You know I had a good reason to tell you to take off your pants and pushing you into the pool was an impulse thing."
"Are we going to talk about that?"
"Ok." Mary watched Marshall as he focused on getting her bath ready. He checked and double checked the temperature of the water, added some Epsom salt, and then rechecked the water temperature. There was just one thing missing so Mary asked, "What? No bubbles?"
"You want bubbles with open cuts on your feet?"
"But you put salt in," Mary protested.
Marshall shut off the water and turned to her with an eyebrow raised. "Do you really want me to explain why I put salt in the water and not bubbles?"
Mary grumbled something that sounded like 'smartass' and reached up to grab onto Marshall as he lifted her off the sink again.
* * *
When Jinx heard the someone filling the tub, she was surprised that Marshall hadn't asked someone to come in and help. It was just… improper for him to be in there while Mary was indisposed. Especially with her mother and finance waiting to check on her.
The door opened suddenly and Jinx practically had to jump to the side to avoid Marshall barreling out of the bathroom. Without saying a word he all but stomped outside to the backyard.
* * *
"No wonder Mary didn't want to leave the bathroom," Marshall muttered under his breath as he started gathering up the bottles Mary had emptied. Jinx and Raph had been hovering around outside the bathroom door when he had exited and he had almost run into Jinx. He had stepped around her but Jinx had still leaped aside dramatically as though Marshall were a Mac truck barreling down the road. Shaking his head as he dumped the bottles into the garbage can Mary kept outside, Marshall realized, once again, how difficult it must be for Mary share a house with someone who lived by the phrase 'all the world's a stage'.
It was no surprise Jinx couldn't understand Mary. His partner didn't follow anyone's script but her own.
Pulling the garbage can over the edge of the deck, Marshall grabbed the hose and began spraying the broken glass and blood into the can. Thanks to Mary's love of lazy ingenuity, the can had holes drilled into the bottom and a fine wire mesh caught most of the glass as the water ran out. Marshall had been confused the first time he had seen the can, but after the past few years, he had come to appreciate the modification. He even had one at his place for the same reason. Granted, his was strictly for glass recyclables but it was still useful. Especially since Mary had been using his backyard as her personal sulking pit for the past few years.
Sighing, Marshall walked back across the yard to grab what beer was left. He'd have to take it with or Brandi would dump it out and that would just set Mary off again. It was probably for the best if he just kept it at his place for the next time she needed some time to herself.
* * *
From her perch on the couch, Brandi could keep an eye on everything going on. Marshall had just finished cleaning up the backyard, Jinx was pacing in the kitchen and Chico was still hovering near the bathroom. She had a moment of worry when Marshall brought the beer into the house but, luckily, he just kept on going and it looked like he was taking it out to his truck. Thankfully, Marshall understood, even if Mary didn't, that keeping booze in the house was a bad thing. It had to be so hard for Jinx to stay sober with Mary knocking back a few every time she was home. 'And,' Brandi thought, 'Keeping her sober makes it so much easier to live with her. Now if only Mary would do the same.'
That train of thought got derailed when Marshall came back in and started bustling around the house. Brandi watched as the tall man moved around the house with a purpose. He seemed to know where everything was and he started gathering things up. First was a glass of water and a bottle of aspirin went into the bedroom- presumably on the nightstand. Then it was a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt on the table next to the bathroom door. Finally he walked past the pacing Jinx into the kitchen and started rifling through the cupboard where Mary kept her extensive collection of coffee mugs.
At this point, they were all watching him. Brandi was just happy that someone could deal with Mary when she was like this but Jinx and Raph seemed to be getting agitated by Marshall's continued presence. Finally Jinx spoke up, "Look, Marshall, we all appreciate you coming over here and taking care of Mary but I think we can handle it from here."
But Marshall just ignored her and continued searching through the cupboard. He started pulling cups out and rooting around in the back but he couldn't seem to find what he was looking for. Without turning around he asked, "Where the hell did the superglue go?"
"It's in the junk drawer." Raph took a step towards the kitchen but stopped when Marshall whirled around.
"Mary doesn't have a junk drawer."
Stepping between the two men, Jinx put her hands on her hips and stated, "Raphael reorganized the kitchen when he moved in so now everything is in a place that makes sense."
"But it made the most sense to have the superglue with the coffee cups since she breaks the handles off when she's having a really bad morning. She's always kept her superglue there." For the first time since he had arrive, Marshall looked flustered and that peaked Brandi's curiosity. He could deal with Mary throwing bottles, Mary getting cut up on glass but he couldn't handle the superglue not being in the cupboard? No wonder he and Mary got along so well- both of them were nuts.
Raph finally abandoned his post in front of the bathroom door and crossed over to the junk drawer in the kitchen. He pulled out the superglue and handed it to Marshall without a word. Unfortunately, Jinx decided to speak up again, "I really think we can take care of Mary now that she's calmed down. And, no offense Marshall, but you've never had to deal with her when she's like this."
"What do you mean- like this? Cut up or throwing-bottles drunk? Because I've had to deal with her in both situations before." Marshall finally focused on Jinx and Brandi was certain that her mother hadn't anticipated how disconcerting it seemed to be to have the whole of Marshall's attention. He looked calm but there was something about him that made Brandi think he was pissed.
"But she's only been like this in Albuquerque once," Jinx protested. One of her ever moving hands came up to brush her hair back and show Marshall her scar, "The night she gave me this was the last time she bought a case of beer."
Marshall stared at her blankly for a moment before asking, "Do you even remember how you got that scar?"
Puffing up in indignation, Jinx huffed, "Of course I remember! I came home one night a few weeks after I moved in and Mary threw a bottle at me when I went out to the backyard to ask her how her day had been." One of her hands fluttered up to cover up her quivering lips and Brandi saw her mother's eyes tear up before she continued, "When I woke up, the doctor told me that I had to have four stitches."
"Two." Marshall's blunted tone drew everyone's attention away from Jinx.
"You had to have two stitches," Marshall explained. "And it wasn't from Mary hitting you with a bottle. As far as I know, she's never actually hit anyone. She just throws bottles in front of people's feet to get them to leave her alone."
"How would you know," Jinx demanded. "You weren't even here!"
Marshall stared at her coolly and Brandi was stunned by the transformation of the man's face. Normally, he was the cheerful counterpoint to her sister's grumpiness but there wasn't anything remotely resembling cheerfulness in his expression when he responded.
"Actually, I was here. Mary and I were doing some paperwork out by the pool when you came out, completely drunk, and began shrieking when you saw the case of beer we had picked up. Mary didn't even get a word out before you turned to run and tripped over your own feet. The cut is from when your head hit the ground." Marshall paused to let that sink in before adding, "We took you to the hospital where you got two stitches and Mary spent the rest of the night checking on you to make sure you were all right. She stayed by your side until you woke up. After that, anytime she wanted to get smashed, she came over to my place and drank in my backyard."
A stunned silence descended and no one moved. Jinx looked absolutely horrified and Brandi was sure that her face looked like she had stuck her finger in a light socket. Raph looked a little wobbly and sick but Marshall just stood in the kitchen like a statue until they all heard the sound of the bathtub draining. A few seconds later, Mary called out for Marshall and he walked calmly through the fallout zone his words had created to the bathroom where he slammed the door behind him.
* * *
Mary sat in the tub wrapped up in the towel that Marshall had left within reach for her. When he stormed into the bathroom and slammed the door, she understood completely. "Who was it- Jinx, Raph or Brandi?"
Lifting the bedraggled Mary out of the tub, Marshall growled, "Did you know your mother thinks that the scar on her forehead is from you hitting her with a bottle?"
When Mary was deposited back onto her perch next to the sink, she shrugged. "I kinda figured that one out when she hid all the bottles the next day."
Marshall gaped at her for a second before handing her the sweatpants and t-shirt he had taken from her room. Instead of saying anything, he just turned away and Mary wouldn't be surprised if he had closed his eyes in order to give her the feeling of privacy. As she awkwardly slipped into her clothes, Mary felt compelled to explain, "It just made it easier, you know. She wouldn't believe me if I told her the truth and she left me alone for a few weeks. Now turn around and get me patched up."
Once again, Marshall was inspecting her feet but this time there wasn't nearly as much pain. There were a few pinches as he closed up the larger cuts with superglue and a few pokes in tender places as he double checked for more glass but eventually Mary's feet were encased in gauze and she was in Marshall's arms again.
"Since you don't want me kicking down your doors, could you please open them for me this time?"
"You can open them yourself, Rocinante."
One piggyback ride later, Mary had been dumped onto her bed and Marshall was contemplating climbing out the window so he wouldn't have to face Mary's family again. He was staring at the window intensely when Mary's giggles subsided and she asked, "Are you done being mad at me yet?"
"Mare," Marshall sighed and Mary felt a wretch in her stomach when his shoulders dropped in defeat, "I'm going to be mad at you for awhile but that doesn't mean that I'm going to stop being your friend."
Mary curled up under the covers and gave Marshall the most pitiful look she could produce, "So we're still friends but you're mad at me? How does that work?"
There was a quiet moment as Marshall shuffled his thoughts into something that Mary could understand and she braced herself for the onslaught. As he sat down on the edge of the bed, Mary slid her hand under his and a felt a jolt of hope as he squeezed her hand briefly.
"Sometimes I'm going to get upset with the things you do," he started. When he felt her tense up, he squeezed her hand again before continuing, "You've admitted to me that you know that your behavior drives people away but I need you to understand that I'm not going anywhere. I may need some space for awhile and you might want to think about how some of the things you do can affect my life but I'm not really expecting you to change. I don't foresee an apology out of you any time soon and I know you're not going to change. Hell, I know that tomorrow you're going to pretend you're too drunk to remember this conversation even though we both know you're stone cold sober right now."
Mary opened her mouth to respond but nothing came out. All she could do was clutch onto Marshall's hand and hope.
"I know you're not going to change and I don't want you to. I just want you to understand I'm going to be angry with you from time to time but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop being here for you." A tiny smile appeared on Marshall's face as he turned to look at her, "We're friends, Mare, and that means you're stuck with me. Got it?"
Understanding finally wandered it's way into Mary's brain and she nodded. Toying with Marshall's hand, she wondered what she should say. Everything she could think of was sappy and so unlike her that she couldn't force the words out. Finally, she said the only thing that seemed appropriate.
"If you're going to climb out the window, the air conditioning unit makes a nice step but you have to be careful not to get your feet caught in the pipes."
Marshall chuckled quietly as he stood up and crossed over to the window. He was half out the window when he turned back towards her, "Call me if you need anything?"
"Can I call you for another pony ride later?"
Laughing, Marshall climbed the rest of the way out the window and shut it. Sleep began to tug at Mary's eyes but she made sure to stay awake long enough to hear Marshall's truck drive away. Muttering one last thing, Mary rolled over and let unconsciousness claim her.
"Good night, jackass."
A/N: Ok, so that's not what I wanted Mary to say but my muse wouldn't let me type the words I wanted so I let her win just so I could get this damn thing done. I hope y'all have enjoyed it.