Here's part two of... I don't know- four maybe? Possibly three. I have no control over it. Fic- it does what it wants.
Thank Pip for making me write something. Unless you don't like it- then blame me. I'm just going to blame Pip and then she'll blame Anna. It's a vicious cycle but it ends in fic so it's all good.
"Remind me again," Marshall drawled as he and Mary walked to her front door, "Why am I here? I thought this assignment was for you and Brandi."
"Because Doofus," Mary replied, punching his arm, "I need you to answer the questions I can't. Plus- free food and beer. Why are you complaining?"
Ignoring the slight sting on his bicep, Marshall smirked, "So you're saying I know you better than you know yourself?"
Mary made a rude noise as she opened the door but any comment she was going to make flew out of her head as she caught a whiff of something delicious. 'Is that chicken,' she wondered as her eyes widened, 'And garlic and cheese and yum?'
She darted into the kitchen to find Brandi standing in front of a table full of food. Mary rubbed her eyes in disbelief as Marshall shut the door behind them. "Holy shit, Brandi, what did you do? Rob the grocery store?"
Brandi grinned as she walked around the table to block Mary from the food, "Nope! I went on-line and looked up some recipes so I could use up some of the stuff you had in the cupboard. I did do some shopping but most of this is just the stuff you had stocked away."
Mary reached for a garlic roll but Brandi blocked her with a whack of a spatula. "Nuh-uh. You have to answer two questions first and then we eat."
Marshall hung back and tried to keep from laughing out loud. Knowing full well that another punch was immanent if Mary caught him laughing at her, he tried to stifle it but Mary whirled around and glared at him. He gave her an innocent smile and braced for impact. Instead of hitting him in her usual affectionate way, she just stomped off towards her room with a quick "Answer two questions so we can eat, Marshall" tossed over her shoulder.
Throwing off her jacket as soon as she closed her bedroom door, Mary hunted through the pile of clothes for something clean. Some syrup had dripped onto her shirt sometime during breakfast and Mary was sick of smelling like pancakes. She changed quickly and got back to the kitchen in time to hear Brandi say, "Ok, so that's her favorite song and least favorite song. What's Mary's favorite way to relax?"
Simultaneously, Marshall and Mary answered, "Pajamas, pizza, and beer."
Brandi blinked at the surround sound answer. Her jaw dropped slightly and she cocked her head to the side like a confused puppy. As Mary started loading up a plate, Marshall took pity on Brandi's confusion and explained.
"Whenever we get back from a long and obnoxious road trip," he began as stole a roll from Mary's plate, "we usually just crash at my place. Mary keeps a pair of pajamas in my guest room and we just crash out on the couch with some pizza and beer. Then we just hang out and mock horrible movies or laugh at episodes of CSI."
Brandi scrunched up her nose in surprise, "I thought Mary would be more of a long bath and a glass of wine kind of person."
Mary almost choked on the chunk of a pasta concoction at the thought of trying to relax in the tub with Jinx and Brandi knocking on the door every five minutes to check on their hair or whatever. With no privacy in her own house, it was no surprise that Marshall's place was her refuge.
"Ok, next question!," Brandi chirped. Scanning through her list, she found a question she had been stumped by when she had filled it out the first time. She didn't think Mary would have an answer either but Brandi was curious to see what Marshall would say. "Who can't you live without?"
Marshall blinked rapidly and looked at Mary stumped, "I don't think there is anyone. Mary can survive anything."
"I know!" Brandi exclaimed. Bouncing in her chair, she blurted out, "I mean, she'd miss us if something happened but, if anyone could get through anything, it's be her, right?"
"Huh?" Mary looked up from her plate to grab some more of the ham and green leaf pastry things. 'Jesus,' Mary thought, 'Brandi went all out on this.' Tossing one of the pastry things in her mouth, she saw Brandi looking at her expectantly. "What?"
"Who can't you live without?"
Mary's head tilted and she stared off as she took a moment from eating to answer, "Marshall. Next question and pass the rolls again."
Before Mary's fork could make a return trip to her mouth, a hand darted out and grabbed her wrist. Wide eyed, Mary looked over to the capricious culprit who dared to interrupt her dinner. The long fingers let go quickly but Mary looked up to see if Marshall had actually gone insane enough to try to stop her from eating- if only for a second.
"I think you need to explain that," Marshall said evenly. Mary set down her fork and stared at him until he added, "Brandi went through all this work and I think the food is good enough to deserve better answers."
"Fine," Mary huffed out in annoyance. The answer was obvious but if Brandi needed it drawn out in crayon… Mary stifled her exasperation and answered as simply as she could. "You guys know I have a hard time keeping my temper in check. Hell- I'd probably get into a shoot-out with the guy in the coffee shop who can't make my cappuccinos right if Marshall weren't there. He deals with the stupid people so I don't have to and that probably keeps a lot of people breathing- including me."
Out of the corner of her eye, Mary saw Marshall staring at her. It wasn't like he didn't know that already so why the hell was he looking at her like she had sprouted a third boob?
"Ok…" Brandi took a second to take a bite of salad before saying, "Umm- next question. Where do you see yourself in five years?"
Swallowing the latest fork-load of pasta goodness, Mary shrugged, "I'll probably be doing the same thing I am now. I love my job despite all the headaches and I've got a few decades of mortgage to deal with so I'll still be living here."
"What if you get a promotion or whatever?"
Mary and Marshall burst out laughing at Brandi's question. She joined in laughing with them despite not understanding exactly how funny her question was to them.
"Ok, so a promotion is a no-go but what about a transfer? I mean, they transferred you here- couldn't they just send you somewhere else?" Brandi eyed her sister curiously when the laughter ended abruptly.
"They wouldn't dare." Mary sat back in the chair and crossed her arms defensively. Just the thought of having to be moved across the country again raised some serious ire in Mary. Stan wouldn't do that to her, right? There's no way he'd survive it and she knew it. Hell, if nothing else, Stan wouldn't want the risk of getting a feel of the ball-punch that had gotten Mary sent to Albuquerque in the first place. Mary was so caught up in her dark thoughts of what she'd do if she got transferred again that it took a shoulder bump from Marshall to bring her back to the here and now.
"There are three reasons why Mary will never get transferred," Marshall said practically. "One- the rest of the marshal service is afraid of her. Two- she's too good at her job for Stan to send her somewhere else. There's no way he'd be able to find someone to do her job half as well as she does so he'll just put up with her…" Marshall paused and glanced over his partner, "attitude."
"What's the third reason?" Brandi had her chin propped up on her fists in a gesture that Marshall found so familiar.
"The, uh, third reason would be that Mary probably wouldn't accept another partner so I'd have to get transferred right along with her. Since I'm a better than Mary, there's no way Stan would let me go so the two of us won't ever be transferred." Marshall grinned widely at Mary. Expecting a punch, he was pleasantly surprised when she just shoulder bumped him back and smirked.
"You're not better than me, jackass," Mary said as she loaded up her plate for round two. Looking up from the pile of food that she knew she was going to pay for later 'But it's too damn tasty to pass up', she turned her attention back to Brandi. "What's next on the list?"
"Well, I know the answer to this question but I'm gonna ask anyways. What's more important- your job or your family?"
"Family," Marshall answered without hesitation. Both the Shannon sisters stared at him and he shrugged. "What? The job is more important most of the time but when it comes down to it, Mary'll risk it all for you, Brandi. She did it before."
Mary bit her lip and thought about it. "Yeah- put down Marshall's answer. It makes me sound nicer."
Brandi giggled. She didn't know if it was funnier that Marshall knew Mary better than she knew herself or that Mary wanted the 'nicer' answer down. Taking a bite of the tetrazinni that she had worked so hard on, Brandi checked her list again to see which questions were left. When she glanced up at the table, she noticed that most of the food was gone and decided to combine two of the questions to speed things up. "What are your best and worst attributes?"
"Oh hell." The words fell from Mary's lips and she whirled in her chair to look at Marshall dead on. With a stern frown, she admonished, "Brief, Marshall. Be brief."
Sighing, Marshall leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. He took a moment to quietly contemplate on how to best answer the question without getting shot. When Mary began drumming her fingers on the table impatiently Marshall took the hint and answered with, "I would have to say that Mary's best and worst quality are one and the same. She is, by far, the most tenacious person I have ever met and that intensity, like the force, can be used for good or evil. When Mary's at her best, it's that persistence that drives her to do great things. And at her worst… well, you know her. She's as stubborn as junkyard dog with a bone. Mary will rip and tear her way through whatever stands in her way and she will not stop until she gets what she wants."
"Wow," Brandi breathed out as she stared unabashedly at the man across the table from her. 'Why does Mary bitch that he talks too much,' Brandi wondered, 'I don't know what the hell he meant but it's, like, hypnotic or something.' Blinking rapidly, she tried to break whatever spell Marshall's speech had on her but it was only when Mary spoke that Brandi could focus again.
"Jesus, Marshall. I said brief."