A/N: Here's hoping you're still here after the last bit. This is the final chapter of this little romp. They're still not mine.


The next day was a day off, so no alarm intruded on Mary's sleep. When her eyes opened, she was alone in the bed. She frowned a little and ran her hand over Marshall's side of the bed. Cool to the touch. He'd been gone some time. And I was hoping for round two on this lovely morning. Just as irritation began to creep in, she registered the smell of food coming from the kitchen. Wait. Oh God love that man...do I smell pancakes? Bacon? Coffee?

Marshall stuck his head around the door frame about that time, and smiled at the sight of her sitting up in his bed sniffing the air greedily. "It will be ready in about ten minutes. You've got time to take a shower if you want."

Mary slid out of the bed with apparent utter lack of concern for her nakedness. "Sounds good. Hope you've got syrup to go with those pancakes." She headed for the bathroom aware of Marshall's gaze on her. She noticed that Marshall had, at some point while she was sleeping, brought in her overnight bag, and she bent over it, back to Marshall to take out the clothing she needed when she got out of the shower. She heard Marshall step into the room. See anything you like, Marshall? She looked over her shoulder at him with an innocent, inquisitive expression on her face.

"Did you need... something, Marshall?" She turned to face him, dangling the clean pair of underwear she'd fished out of her bag from one finger.

Marshall crossed the room and looked down into her eyes, his own hot, hungry as she felt. "Damn. I guess the pancakes will hold...."

Later, with one of her appetites satisfied and clean, Mary was sitting at Marshall's kitchen table eating slightly cool, but surprisingly good pancakes. Yet another reason to stay the night at Marshall's house. He was sitting across the table from her with a huge plate of food, and they were eating and talking with the familiarity that came so easy to them.

It should be weird. There should be weirdness that we've slept together, that it was Marshall last night and this morning who made all the little angels sing and the fucking spheres align. Why isn't it strange? Why does it feel so right? I can't think about that right now....

She filched a piece of bacon off his plate and asked him one of the questions she'd had on her mind since he'd first told her about the kendo instead. "So tell me how you got involved in kendo."

Marshall slapped at her hand in mock defense of his food, and actually blushed as he registered her question. "I got interested when I was a kid," he said, his voice trailing off, and he took a big bite of his pancakes.

Oh, I SO want to know what's behind that blush. Marshall never blushes. "And," she prompted, making a play for another slice of bacon.

"There is more bacon in the skillet on the stove, you know," Marshall grumbled. Another bite. No response.

"Come on, Marshall. I've held you while you've bled. I've held you while you've come. I've been forced to endure endless sessions of mind-numbing trivia that other people would have killed you for long ago. Just tell me."

He looked at her with a sheepish expression and muttered "Star Wars" just before he took a sip of his coffee.

"Star Wars? What? What the hell does Star Wars have to do with kendo? I think you lost me somewhere."

Marshall sighed and set down the coffee cup. He's even more adorable when he's ruffled like this, a little uncertain, a little embarrassed. Makes me want to lean over and kiss him.

Marshall looked up and said, "The sword fighting, the light saber battles in Star Wars, are actually modified from kendo. When I saw the films, I was hooked right away." He shrugged. "You know how I am. I started finding out everything I could about them. When I found out there was a way to really learn light saber fighting, well, " He grinned. "What kid didn't want to be a Jedi?"

"You're just too much, Marshall Mann."

"My parents got me enrolled in a dojo, and once I was there, I found out there was so much more to it. The history and the tradition of the samurai was much more intriguing to me ultimately than the imaginary world of Star Wars, believe it or not. It became a refuge for me, a constant, and no matter where I've been, I have always found a dojo or a group to practice with."

"So now I have my very own Jedi samurai U.S. Marshal for a partner," she said, reaching across the table to pull his fingers away from his coffee cup and twine them together with her own.

He looked down at their hands, clearly surprised by the gesture. He looked back up, eyes crinkling at the corners.

"Yeah, pretty much. Strange combination, huh?"

Mary lifted her mug to her lips and took a slow sip, enjoying the beverage, enjoying the morning, enjoying the feeling of his long, strong, fingers gently matching her own. "One I think I can live with."

*****************************************************

Directly from the All Japan Kendo Federation homepage:

The concept of Kendo is to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the Katana (sword).

The Purpose of Practicing Kendo

The purpose of practicing Kendo is:

To mold the mind and body,

To cultivate a vigorous spirit,

And through correct and rigid training,

To strive for improvement in the art of Kendo,

To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor,

To associate with others with sincerity,

And to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

This will make one be able:

To love his/her country and society,

To contribute to the development of culture

And to promote peace and prosperity among all peoples.

(The Concept of Kendo was established by All Japan Kendo Federation in 1975.)


Okay. This one's done now. PULEEEZZZE... tell me what you think. I know it's a little out in left field (this is my home country, so I'm used to it), but it grabbed me and wouldn't let go. Updates to Good Intentions will be forthcoming soon, I promise....