This one has been up on the Mary_Marshall comm for awhile but I figured I'd post over here for kicks. As far as timeline goes, it's post-Duplicate Bridge/Pre-Ponzi. Essentially, I wanted to write a piece where Brandi asks a lot of awkward questions and Mary eats. Plus- Brandi still owes Mary breakfast for those ribs from Duplicate Bridge.

I know Mary's a little OOC for this but roll with it anyways.

Blah Blah Blah Disclaimer Yadda Yadda Blah.

Chapter One

Brandi stared in shock as Mary walked back to their booth carefully balancing three heaping plates and a coffee cup. She glanced down at her own single plate with a few strips of bacon, some eggs and fruit. Looking back at her sister strolling through the tables like she owned the place, Brandi wondered how the hell Mary could eat that much food without exploding.

"Jesus Mary, it's a buffet." Brandi blurted out as Mary set down her plates. "You can just go back later and get more."

Mary shrugged as she flopped down into the booth, "I don't want to have to get up again and I only have an hour before I have to get to work. Plus, when do you treat me to breakfast out of the goodness of your own heart, Squish? I have to take advantage of it."

"Well…" Brandi stretched out the word while she bit the corner of her lip and tried to think of a good way to tell Mary she had asked her there for a reason.

Mary glanced up from the spread of food in front of her to see her little sister studying the ceiling tiles. She recognized that expression and sighed, "Oh god, what did you do now Brandi?"

"I've got another paper," Brandi whined, "And I can't get your answers from Marshall this time. They have to come from you." When Mary just looked blankly at her and didn't say anything, Brandi took that as acceptance and filled her in on the assignment, "My professor has this thing about introspective papers or something. This time we had to pick someone we know that we admire and fill out a questionnaire thing with how we'd think they'd answer. Now we have to get the person to actually answer the questions and write about the differences between our answers and their answers and how that changes our perspective on that person."

Toying with her coffee, Mary pursed her lips and stared at her food. Apparently, free food did come with a cost and she debated whether it was worth it. A waft of maple syrup and hickory smoked bacon decided it for her. Sighing heavily, she reached for her fork and said, "Fine. But I can't answer a lot of questions about my job."

Brandi beamed as she reached into her purse to grab the packet of papers. "Thanks Mary. This shouldn't take long and I won't put anything in the paper that you don't want me to."

Mary didn't want anything about her life in the paper but she just whirled her fork impatiently before stabbing a chunk of scrambled eggs, "Whatever. Let's just get this over with."

Sitting up straight and bubbling with eagerness, Brandi pushed her plate aside and started, "Question one: What is your favorite color?"

"Green," Mary shoveled another forkload of eggs into her mouth and asked, "Are you sure Marshall can't do this for me?"

Brandi wrote Mary's answer down in very precise handwriting and smiled widely at her sister, "Nope. The first few questions are easy so we can see how well we know or don't know our subjects."

"I still think Marshall could answer for me."

Ignoring Mary's apathy Brandi continued, "Question two: What is your favorite dessert?"


Brandi laughed, "Well, I knew it wasn't going to be cupcakes but I didn't think you liked pie."

Mary glared at her little sister and ignored any innuendo that Brandi may have intended, "Can we just get to the important questions?"

"Fine," Brandi sighed and grabbed some bacon before continuing, "Question three: What are the three worst moments of your life?"

The fork loaded with a chunk of waffle paused in mid-air for a moment before Mary shoved it into her mouth. She chewed slowly as though she were procrastinating before she answered in a hurried tone, "Dad leaving, getting kidnapped, and Marshall getting shot."

"Um, ok. I know about the first two but how exactly did Marshall get shot?" Brandi set down her pencil and looked inquisitively at her sister. Mary stilled and Brandi wondered if she was going to answer. For a second it seemed like Mary was going to just jump up and leave but finally she spoke.

"We were transporting some jackass across state lines and some friends we didn't know he had caught up to us. They messed with our car when we were at some gas station and when the radiator crapped out a few miles down the road they took a few shots at us. Marshall took one to the chest…" Mary paused and looked around the room as though she were trying to find an escape from the memory. She seemed so sad and lost that Brandi didn't really want to keep going. For the first time in a long time, Brandi just wanted to give her sister a hug.

Surprising both of them, Mary continued, "We holed up in some abandoned gas station- hoping for backup or a miracle- and he was joking around. We had been seriously fighting that morning and he had a sucking chest wound but he was still cracking jokes. I think he was trying to make me feel better or something. At one point, I had to stick a tube in the wound and make a water seal. He passed out in the middle of talking me through it and I… I didn't know what to do. I gave him CPR and he came around and finished explaining. We were stuck in that gas station for hours and I thought he was going to die. I ended up trading that piece of shit Horst for the car so I could get Marshall to the hospital. I almost lost him…"

"Damn Mary, I'm sorry." Brandi murmured. "I didn't realize that your job was so dangerous."

Mary squinted at Brandi as though she were an insane person babbling about hobos on the moon. After a few seconds of blinking furiously she asked, "What the hell do you think I do all day?"

Brandi shrugged, "I don't know. Paperwork? Arresting people? Basic cop stuff?"

Sighing, Mary shook her head and stabbed at her waffle. She glared at her phone when it told her that it had only been ten minutes. Brandi had only three questions and she was already ready to leave.

Realizing that Mary was plotting an escape route, Brandi scanned her questions for one that wasn't so depressing. "Ooh- here's one," she said, "Who would you want to be stranded on a deserted island with?"

"Marshall," Mary said instantly as she reached for some sausage pastry concoction.

Brandi's nose wrinkled up in surprise. "Really? I kinda figured you'd want Chico with you. Hot sun, sandy beaches, sexy man- those three things totally go together."

Mary snorted, "I'd end up sand in uncomfortable places if Raph was with me and there's nothing sexy about scratching sand out of your crack." She paused as she took another bite, "No, I'd want Marshall there so he could find edible food and make a radio out of a coconut so we could get home."

Brandi laughed. Most people would want to escape to a deserted island but Mary would have to escape from it. She probably would go nuts from being stuck somewhere with nothing to do but relax. "Ok- next question: Is there anyone you would kill for?"

Nearly choking on her coffee, Mary coughed. "Kill for or die for?"

"Is there that much of a difference," asked Brandi as she cocked her head to the side in confusion.

"Oh yeah," Mary said as she popped a grape in her mouth. "Deciding to kill someone is hard but you just have to weigh the pros and cons to figure out what to do. Do you shoot a perp if it'll save hostages? Hell yeah. Do you put down some fuckwad if he has a bead on your partner? No doubt. But do you kill someone who just broke into your house?" Mary shrugged, "I personally would just try to wound and disarm. But I've killed in self defense and I've killed because my job required it. I had to shoot someone to save a bunch of strangers and I was willing to shoot it out with four assholes in the desert to save Marshall. It's a hard thing to live with but if the end result is getting to live- then that's what matters."

Pausing, Mary stared into her cup of coffee as though it were some mystical fountain of truth. The next part required some thought and discretion. "Dying for someone means you're willing to give up everything for that person. You have to decide that the other person is more important than yourself. On more than one occasion, my job has demanded that I be willing to sacrifice myself to save someone else- someone I didn't even know- because saving that person was more crucial than saving myself."

"Jesus," Brandi breathed, "How the hell do keep working knowing that it might kill you?"

"It's my job. It's what I do. And it won't just 'might kill' me- it probably will kill me."

Brandi's mouth gaped open at her sister's sheer lack of self preservation. That Mary would be willing to die- die- for strangers was mind blowing. There wasn't anyone that Brandi thought she would die for but here her sister was able to talk about it so casually… it was insane.

"I suppose if I had to pick," Mary continued, "I'd have to say you, Marshall, and Jinx. Raph, too, but I can't see him getting into any trouble like that. And, hell, I'd probably take a bullet or two for Stan."

Brandi twirled a strand of hair as she tried to process what Mary had said. Homework momentarily forgotten, her curiosity got the better of her and she asked, "Have you ever… you know, been ready to die for someone?"

Mary ripped open a muffin and nodded, "Yeah. It's not like I wanted to die but there were a few times when I knew it was a possibility. I can't really talk about most of them though."

"What can you tell me about?"

"Well," Mary chewed on her lower lip for a second as she thought about it, "Since I've already told you parts of it, I'll just use the desert thing again. Those four assholes in the desert that I was willing to kill- I knew I was probably going to die if I opened fire but Marshall was dying and I was willing to take the risk if it meant saving him. Luckily I thought of something else but if I hadn't… I would have tried to shoot our way out even if it meant that I would have died."

Brandi hesitated, torn between wanting to know and blissful ignorance, before asking, "Is there any other time you can tell me about?"

Mary stared at her for a second before dropping her eyes to her half empty plates. In a quiet voice she said, "I never told Spanky I wasn't you."

Tears welled up in Brandi's eyes. Her heart felt like it skipped a beat and, for a second, it was hard to breath. She opened her mouth to say something- anything- but Mary interrupted her before she could say a word, "So, Squish, I've only got time for one more question right now. What's it going to be?"

Brandi stared at her sheet of questions and randomly picked one, "Um, what are five things you have to have with you every day?"

Mary smiled smugly, "That one is easy. My badge, my guns, my phone, my keys and my sunglasses." Tossing back the last of her coffee, Mary grabbed muffin and stood up, "Thanks for breakfast, Squish, and I promise we can try to finish the rest of this up after work."

"Yeah. Thanks for doing this," Brandi said. Since the offer of free food had worked once already today, she added, "I'll cook something for dinner tonight. And you should bring Marshall too so he can answer the easy questions for you."

Mary grinned, turned and strode out of the restaurant. Brandi watched as people just about dived to get out of her sister's way. Smirking to herself, Brandi grabbed her pencil and started jotting down notes for her paper. Ten pages didn't seem like that much anymore. The assignment could have called for a hundred pages and Brandi didn't think she'd have a problem writing it now. Apparently, there was so much more to Mary than Brandi had ever thought possible. If only six questions had revealed this much, what was she going to figure out with the other fourteen?