A/N: Inspired by sfchemist, I couldn't wait to try my hand at this. I put iTunes on shuffle and let it go for the first ten songs the little magic wizard inside selected per the instructions of the drabble. Each entry was written in only the time it took for the titular song to play. The only editing I did afterward was to clean up a little punctuation/grammar/formatting. This was fun. I'm glad for the inspiration.

10 iPod Challenge

1. "Come on in My Kitchen" – Crooked Still – Mary and Marshall

Mary couldn't believe that she had nothing to eat. How the hell had they managed to take all the food that quickly? Even her family shouldn't have been able to eat all the food in the house that fast. She'd bought groceries only Monday. It was Saturday, and she needed breakfast. A solution presented itself instantly. Marshall. She grabbed her keys and headed out the door.

He opened the door in his jeans and an old ratty shirt, no shoes. His hair was in disarray. "Come on in. What's up?"

"No food. They're eating me out of fucking house and home."

"I can help you with that." He led her into the kitchen, and she watched him make an omelet. The sun slanted through the windows, and she watched the light highlight his high cheekbones. The scent of frying bacon soon filled the air mixing with the coffee already brewing. They made small talk as the food was prepared. She watched his capable hands mixing and stirring, and she realized that she was a little stirred herself and that she was hungry for something more than breakfast.

He looked up at her from the stove. "Mare...what?"

"Come here a minute..."

2. Track 6 (all the tracks on this are in kanji, and I can't read that, sorry) – Hiromitsu Agatsuma – Marshall

Precision was required. Again and again, he struck the same exact place over and over again. His mind was in a state of frantic chaos as he began the motions of the exercise, but he knew that the cycle would calm him. Another day with Mary had him whirling and wound up.

He'd watched her with Raph, and he'd watched her try to force herself into the mold of what she thought Raph wanted her to be. It caused him to feel crazy inside, but he hid it well, or at least he hoped that he did. He had this to fall back on, this training, this discipline at the end of the day, the physical exertion of it helping him to channel away the frustration of watching the woman he loved tie herself and him into knots that might never be untangled. Again and again, over and over, the same motion, the same pattern, strike and move, almost a dance, but brutal beneath it. A metaphor for my life, he thought. A metaphor for every day I spend with her, without her knowing, without being able to release this pain.

3. "Lay it Down" – Todd Agnew – Unnamed Person

This life was going to kill him. He'd known it for years. He'd started hustling young, and it had led to an involvement with heavier and worse people. Now he was so far in that he was afraid every single day of his life. Right now, standing here in this cold November drizzle, he just wanted a way out. He shivered and looked up, praying as he hadn't done for years for some kind of salvation, not sure if he even believed that was possible for somebody like him anymore.

Suddenly, a door down the alley was flung open and two of the enforcers for the big guy himself stepped out carrying a body between them, limp, bleeding. They glanced back at him, and one of them said harshly, "You didn't see NOTHING. Get me, kid?"

Yeah. He got it. He understood completely. He muttered something and he turned to go. His steps took him out of the alley and down the street. They took him around the corner. Down that street and down the next. The next thing he saw was the steps of the police station. He had to get out no matter what it meant. There had to be a way to become a new person again, to lay down this burden and become new.

4. "Roadside Art" – David Wilcox – Mary and Marshall

"Where the hell are we?" Mary griped looking at the rusted out cars in the yard.

"Somewhere in Appalachia." Marshall was concentrating on driving, and he only spared a glance at the impressive display of dead machinery in the West Virginia yard.

"What the hell, Marshall, starts people leaving their vehicles out like this?"

"I don't know. Maybe it's an art form?"


"Maybe you could use the Probe."

"Shut up, idiot."

5. "Brazil" – Chick Corea and Bela Fleck – Mary and Marshall

It was raining lightly outside, but the sun was shining. It was a rare springish day when the weather wasn't too hot or too cold, and Mary felt an irresistible silly impulse to run outside in it. She slid open the door to her yard and stepped outside into the sun-gold drizzle, holding her face up to the rain of light. It didn't take long for her to be soaked, but still she turned circles in her yard, holding her arms out.

Haven't done this since I was a child, since...since before Daddy left...she thought, but for once it didn't darken her mood, make her want to go back in the house. There was something about the quality of the light, the softness of the greenness under her feet that defied sadness, and for a minute, she was just a little girl trapped in shimmering radiance and happiness.

She stopped, dizzy, panting just a little, laughing at herself and her indulgence, and looked back at the house. At the gate to the backyard, leaning over the fence watching her with a smile of his own was Marshall. She ran over and grabbed him by the hands, pulling him into the yard with her. He allowed it, and she pulled him into a spin, both arms out, leaning back, laughing like a loon.

It was a moment he would remember for a long, long time, long after their phones went off calling them back to the real world.

6. "All My Love" – Led Zeppelin – Mary and Marshall

Marshall was watching her dancing. She'd been out there on the dance floor with other guys at this departmental party all night. He'd had offers to dance of his own, but he'd mostly turned them down. They weren't who he wanted, after all. Finally, he couldn't take it. He pushed his chair back, and set his drink down.

He walked out on the floor and tapped the guy she was currently clinging to on the shoulder. Her eyes met his, and as far as he was concerned every other damn person in the building disappeared. She slid her hand into his, her other lay on his shoulder, wrapping up around his neck.

He could not have told you what the song was to save his life, but they were dancing, moving, and it was perfect. He was not a good dancer, had never been, but with her, they were in perfect synchronization. He felt her fingers moving against his, and he could not look away from her eyes. He was aware that suddenly they were probably dancing far too close to each other in a place where far too many people were watching them who knew them too well, but he could not drag up enough concern to step away from this woman he loved more than breathing, more than life itself.

And so when she leaned up and whispered in his ear, "Do you want to get out of here?" he had no second thoughts. He simply kept hold of her hand, and they grabbed their coats and headed for the door.

7. "Drinking CV Wine" – Howlin' Wolf – Jinx

Jinx had had a very bad day. Her hands were shaking and she was tired. The audition had NOT gone well. Okay, so her dance moves weren't what they once were. Was that any reason for that snippy little prick of a director to tell her that the nursing home production wasn't casting today? She knew she still had what it took to get a production off the ground. She could still cut it, damn it.

She stopped outside the liquor store and cast a longing glance at the glassed doors, the neon signs. Maybe one little glass of wine wouldn't hurt. After all, wine wasn't hard liquor, right? And she was so stressed out.... She tried to remember why it was a bad idea for her to drink, but right now, she could almost taste it slipping down her throat.....

8. "Mysterious Ways" – U2 – Marshall

Marshall was never going to understand her. Not if he lived to be 100. Not if he lived to be 200. But he was trying. This morning, Mary was biting the heads off everyone in the office. Even Eleanor wasn't snarking back, and that was saying something about the vitriol dripping off his partner.

"Mare, what's going on?"

"Stay the fuck out of it, Marshall."

"You know I'm not going to do that. Talk to me."

"I told you to leave it alone, alright?"

He'd poke and prod until she exploded and told him. He'd have to. She was a puzzle he had to solve. He loved all puzzles by his very nature, but she was the one he loved most of all, even when the sharp edges of her pieces cut him, even when he was frustrated more often than not by the setbacks he encountered in his neverending quest to solve her.

And maybe I never will. Maybe I'm not supposed to solve her. Maybe I'm just supposed to keep working on it for the rest of my life. At least it won't be dull. He sighed and started trying to fit the current set of pieces into a pattern.

9. "Numb" – new mix – U2 – Mary

Mary put her head down on the desk. Everybody else was gone. She didn't know where the rest of them were, and she didn't particularly care. She'd come here because she needed a place of refuge.

Jinx was drinking again. She'd seen the signs, the erratic behavior, the shakes, and the tremors. Now what was she going to do? How was she going to carry this along with everything else? She felt so tired and alone.

Things with Raph were going to hell. The ring she carried in her pocked weighed a goddamn ton. Was she doing the right thing by marrying him? She wondered sometimes...

And she knew Marshall was unhappy with her. What was she going to do about that? How was she going to fix it? She needed him most of all...

Inside her, she felt like she was screaming at the top of her lungs, but nobody could hear her. Her hands flexed once on the desktop beside her. Why couldn't there be one thing in her life that would cut through this hellish painful numbness and provide some relief from all the stress and worry? Why did she have to be the one who carried it all for the whole world?

10. "He" – Jars of Clay – Mary

She'd been pushing people away for so long it had become second nature. She didn't even think about it anymore. There were so many defense mechanisms, the sarcasm, the anger, the hostility.

If she was honest, she knew where it all came from, knew it came from Daddy and Jinx. She scoffed at that in casual conversation, when she could be compelled to talk about it at all. In the dark secret recesses of her heart however, there was a little blond-haired girl who stood confused and sad, arms wrapped around her little sister, trying to make the world make sense. She still wasn't having much luck all these years later.

The Mary Shannon everyone saw was the battle armor that little girl had learned to put on to survive, the fortress she'd walled herself up in to be safe from the monsters in the dark and the daylight. It was going to take someone very strong and determined to ever get her out. And Mary wasn't sure if that was going to happen anymore, to be honest. Hope was hard to come by inside the fortress.

Okay. Here they are. This was really fun. I wanted to keep going, to be honest, and about three song-related fics came to mind. (Won't start 'em til I finish what's on my plate right now. Promise.) What do you think? R&R, please.