*** Sometimes there is a fine line between right and wrong. Adult situations and angst throughout. Again, I malign Raph's character...but he's never around to defend himself! M/M strong friendship. Spoilers everywhere.***

Three months after Mary was shot

Her first week back at work was exhausting, frustrating, stressful and wonderful. She had begun to go stir crazy at home with all the people in her house. People who continuously demanded things from her even though she should've been the one to demand from them. Raph tried to dote on her at first, which he quickly found was the wrong approach, so then he just sulked instead. She was the one who had to comfort him and assure him she was going to be o.k. "God…they suck the life out of me…" she decided. "Maybe I ought to just get my own apartment and let them have the house." she murmured out loud.

"What?" said Marshall, looking at her from his desk.

"Nothing," she replied, shaking her head and rolling her eyes, "just a little daydream…happiness and light you know."

"I'm glad you're back, by the way." He said, grinning at her in a way that made her wary.

"Thanks…I think." she returned, "what's up?"

His grin got bigger, "I've been working really hard on something and I thought you may appreciate my efforts." He leaned down and when he looked back up, shot a spitball from a straw that hit her smack dab in the middle of her forehead. The expression on her face was priceless and he prepared to die.

"Oh…you didn't" she said incredulously as she reached up to remove the offending object. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Marshall reloading and the game was afoot. She grabbed her straw from her drawer and ducked down behind her desk to avoid his volleys as she frantically tried to make ammunition. Soon, the air between the two Marshals' desks was a death zone of flying saliva. Stan, ever oblivious to the antics of his Inspectors, walked right into it.

They froze as four little wads of wet, sticky paper stuck to Stan's face and head. He stood stock still and had his eyes closed when he spoke, "Are those spitwads?" he questioned in a flat tone.

"Mmmhmmm" replied Mary, staring at Marshall and biting her lips to keep from laughing.

Stan then continued, "And are they stuck to my face?"

"Mmmmhmm" offered Marshall, shoulders shaking in silent laughter as he watched Mary put her head on her arms to hide her shared amusement. Even Eleanor was trying not to laugh across the room.

Stan then commenced to do a little dance of disgust as he brushed the wads off his face and retreated to the bathroom saying, "Oh my God…that's disgusting! Get back to work or I'm grounding you both…God…get them off!" His voice trailing away as he reached the restroom.

Pandemonium erupted in the office. Marshall almost fell out of his chair and was laughing and snorting at the same time, Eleanor laughed and shook her head as tears rolled down her face and Mary held her hands tightly over her abdomen as she laughed and whined at the same time, "Ow ow ow…shit! Stop laughing, it hurts!...ow…I'm blaming you both when I can't sit up tomorrow!" Which, of course, only made everyone laugh more. It was a full twenty minutes before order was loosely restored and they were all gasping for air.

She smiled all the way home after that first week. It only took fifteen minutes for the smile to be replaced by a scowl after walking through her front door.

"Raph, we talked about this so many times! Do not fix the house! The FBI assholes are going to pay for it and fix it. That's what I want, why is that so hard?" Raphael had patched one of the larger holes in the wall while she was gone that day.

"It's hard because I have to live here too, Mary!" Raphael shot back. He always looked like a beaten puppy when they argued. "I get tired of waking up everyday and seeing this damn mess…how can you live like this?" He just wanted to please her, to have her come to him and thank him and he felt as thought he failed miserably at every turn. There was nothing he had control over…nothing.

"It's my house…not your house!" she snapped, waving her arms, "You don't have to live here…you invited yourself!"

"Well, soon it will be our house, and then we will see who fixes the walls!" he announced as he walked to the kitchen. He knew he was going to have to grow a bigger pair to deal with Mary. He had let her walk all over him for so long because he thought he was being understanding…being a good role model for her. He remembered that Brandi had told him he was "whipped" today. He had to ask what that meant and it stung.

She followed him, furious. "What's that supposed to mean? Do you think you get to make the rules when we're married? You have a surprise coming, Raph, if you think you're going to be able to change the way I do things!" Mary's voice was raised to a yell now.

Raphael's shoulders slumped and he turned to regard her with those sad eyes. "No, Mary. I don' think I will make the rules. But I think you need to let me have some say in matters of the house. I only want to help you." He reached out to rub her upper arms and she felt bad for yelling. "I missed you this week. I was used to you being at home when I was here and now you are back at work and I am a little lonely I guess. I need to ask you to let me help…to let me make decisions and trust me. Is that so hard?"

Mary was still pissed, but let Raph off the hook as usual, as he always made it sound like it was her fault…which she agreed it usually was. "Fine, Raph. We'll figure it out. But I'm telling you again…do not fix up the house." She walked to her room. He had a point. She was having a very hard time giving him any autonomy and she figured he was starting to feel suffocated. But the walls were absolutely and completely off limits. Not only did she want the feds to fix them just to stick the cost on them, but they were a reminder of her anger over a number of things. Anger she wasn't ready to forget yet. Every time Raph fixed a hole it felt like he was trying to hide a piece of her. As though her feelings were too ugly for him and he had to cover them up. "Maybe I'm just going crazy." she thought for the thousandth time.

The rest of the evening was uneventful, but tense as usual when everyone had gotten home. Too many people in a small space. When Mary and Raph went to bed, Mary wasn't in the mood for sex and gently refused Raph's advances saying, "Raph, my stomach's really sore tonight. Can we not?" He pouted and shrugged. "O.k I guess…why are you so sore?"

She chuckled as she retold the spitball war and said, "Marshall and I got laughing so hard that I think I strained something." She turned to him only to see him regarding her with a straight face.

"Oh." He said in a flat tone. "I guess I only get what's left of you after work then." His resentment of her partner had started as a seed after her kidnapping. The fact that she didn't even call him to tell him about it had hurt and then knowing it was Marshall who had provided comfort and solace for those first few weeks just twisted the knife. When she woke at the hospital days after coming off the ventilator from the shooting, it was Marshall she had asked for. Not him…not once for two days was it him. And now she was smiling again…but not because of him.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "I hurt his feelings earlier and now he's pouting. I guess we can find a way to have sex that doesn't involve me hurting myself." she thought as she turned to Raphael and showed him she had changed her mind. Raph noticed the hesitation and stored it away to think about later.

Afterwards, scooting to her own side of the bed, she just felt tired. "Sucking the life out of me…" the thought repeated itself in her head.

Saturday morning at 6:45am her phone rang and she was called into work for an emergency relocation coming into Albuquerque. She had to untangle an amorous fiancé from her body in order to get ready and he was not amused. "Sorry, baby," she muttered as she quickly showered and changed and kissed him on the nose, "I'll be back when I can." Unfortunately, the transfer became complicated with her and Marshall having to drive the witness to Las Cruces for the night until they could hand her off to Phoenix WITSEC the next day. Mary didn't get home until Sunday evening.

"Where were you?" asked Raph ten minutes after she got in the door. He hated when she disappeared for days. She always came home tired and irritable and treated him like he should just accept the fact she had gone. Now, knowing what she was doing and the dangers she faced, her absence was even harder.

"Raphael…don't start," she warned. She had had three hours of sleep in a moving vehicle with Mr. Trivia and her mood was black. "I can't tell you where I was. I called you last night to tell you I wouldn't be home and that was stretching regs right there."

"I suppose Marshall was with you?" he sneered. It was time to take a stand.

This was a new tactic for Raph. She noticed it pop up occasionally after her hospital stay, and now she noted every time Marshall's name came up Raphael would make a face.

"Yes, Marshall was with me. The job kinda requires that we travel in pairs, and since he's my partner…and has been for four years…we're a bit used to each other." She shook her head at him as she walked by.

"I don't like it…you spending overnights with him." he suddenly said with a dark look on his face.

She looked at him with her mouth open in amazement, "What?!...who said you had to like it? Where is this coming from…this issue with my partner?" she was really curious.

Raph sighed and ran his hands through his hair. "It seems like, when you are at work, you are Marshall's. When you come home, I guess I expect you to be mine and sometimes I feel like you gave all of yourself to him already and have nothing left for me." again the sad, puppy eyes as his expression softened.

Mary wasn't falling for that shit. She had a suspicion Raphael was thinking things he shouldn't be thinking. She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him, "Cut the fucking crap, Raph. One: I don't belong to anyone…you or Marshall. Two: my work is sometimes hard and tiring and there will be times, many times perhaps, that I will come home and have nothing left for you. That's the way it is. And Three: there will be times I don't come home at all. You can assume I'm with Marshall and you should be thankful…the last time I wasn't with him I ended up in the hospital."

As she stomped back to the bedroom she noticed something low on the wall in the hallway and stopped dead in her tracks. She couldn't believe it. She whirled on Raph and yelled, "I told you not…to...fix…the…house!" There were three freshly patched holes near the baseboards.

"They were just small holes" he said, turning and walking away from her.

She closed herself into the bedroom before she killed him. Defending her relationship with Marshall was not a path Mary was going to take with Raph. She would put her foot down and squash that little noxious topic like a bug. A yawn as big as Texas overwhelmed her and she was in the bed and asleep fifteen minutes later.

Raph joined her late that evening and began his usual ministrations to her body. She had been sleeping soundly, and by the time she awoke, he was on top and nuzzling her ear and consummating the deal. She pushed at him and squirmed to get out from under him. He was surprised and rolled off protesting.

"Jesus, Raph!" she sat up and tried to shake her sleepy state, "What the hell are you doing? You can't have sex with me while I'm asleep! That's just fucking weird."

"I knew you were tired, and you were making noises like you were happy, so I thought it was o.k! It's not like we haven't done that before." he looked genuinely confused. Mary was a very sound sleeper and he had given up trying to wake her for sex quite a while ago. She'd never woken up in the moment before and he was surprised by her reaction.

"What?! You've had sex with me while I was sleeping?" she was disturbed by this for some reason.

"Sometimes…you don't seem to mind. And you're so tired, I don't want to wake you." He still didn't see the issue and was getting angry that she was going to try to control even this.

She stared at him incredulously and said, "I'm not a damn toy, Raph! You can't just get me out to play whenever you want…God! What if I didn't want to?" she was upset, but couldn't quite put her finger on the problem. It's not as though she wasn't sleeping in the bed naked with the man. It wasn't like they didn't already have an established sexual relationship. And he wasn't hurting her…so why did it just make her feel…squirmy?

"Oh, give me a break, Mary. You always want to…when you finally get into the mood. Sometimes it just takes you a little while to warm up when you're tired." He was pissed that she was making a big deal out of this. "You get to run everything around here. Maybe I just like to have you do it my way sometimes…do something for me. It's pretty sad that you have to be asleep for that."

He looked so dejected that her anger faded a bit, but his words still irked her. "I'll give you that our timing is awful sometimes, Raph, but that doesn't mean you can take something like this into your own hands. It really makes me uncomfortable and I'd like you to stop it." Then feeling guilty that she had possibly been enough of a bitch lately to make him feel he had to sneak in sex, she crawled over and ran her hand down his chest with a smile, "Anyway, I'm warmed up now and it's a lot better if I'm awake." He smiled and they entwined. The session was long, and she was tired and didn't enjoy it as much as she would've liked. She just couldn't shake the wrongness she had felt earlier. As Raph snored, she laid awake. Finally giving up on sleep, she got up to go into work.

*** Toil and trouble. Just a start...let me know what you think! You know I love reviews :) ***