*** Mary and Marshall and a series of bad dates. Fun and a touch of romance...whee! Enjoy ***

A day at the Sunshine Building:

"…so then I'm crawling around on the floor to grab my clothes, trying to keep my head below the mattress in case he wakes up so he won't see me. It was ludicrous! I could barely keep from laughing, and I was just praying my phone wouldn't ring."

Mary was rolling her eyes and waving a hand in the air as she regaled Marshall with the story, fixing herself another cup of coffee in the corner of the office.

Marshall was concentrating on his computer screen as he tried to ignore her. Partnered long enough to be used to the stories of debauchery and bad judgment, it still amazed him that a woman going on forty years found herself sneaking out of hotel rooms at the wee hours of the morning.

"I mean, the sex was fun," she unnecessarily elaborated on the way back to her desk, "but it certainly wasn't mind blowing enough for me to want to wake up next to him."

"Coyote love," he drawled, interrupting her before she could add any details.

Mary leaned forward in her chair with a perplexed look as she rifled through her drawers looking for something, "What? If that's your way to suggest I try doggie style, I have to tell you it's not my favorite position. I can never get enough leverage."

Her partner was silent, and Mary peeked over the desk at him. He sat with his eyes squeezed shut; a pained expression on his face as his hands hovered over the keyboard.

"I'm fairly certain I was just damaged on a cellular level by that knowledge," he ground out through clenched teeth.

Mary snorted and went back to her search while Marshall shuddered and flexed his shoulders, finally opening his eyes to send a suffering look her way.

"As I was saying," he continued dryly, "the Urban Dictionary defines coyote love as waking up trapped in bed with a date so ugly that, rather than risk arousing them by removing your arm from under their head you bite it off at the shoulder."

Mary barked a laugh as that image danced around in her head, then cast a sly look at her partner.

"Looked that up after you had a few limbs left on your pillow, stud?" she teased.

"Actually, I'm surprised you even have any limbs left," Marshall drawled, then ducked reflexively as she flung an eraser at his head.


5 weeks later

Mary sat crosslegged on the couch in her pajamas sharing a bowl of popcorn with her sister. The women were engrossed in the horror movie, their intense expressions highlighted by the flickering light of the TV screen.

"Ten bucks the blonde gets it next," Mary whispered, never taking her eyes off the screen.

"Her boobs aren't big enough. They never kill off the ones with itty bitty titties," snorted Brandi, rolling her eyes as if Mary were an idiot.

Lightning flashed on the screen to outline the killer at the same time Mary's phone vibrated against her thigh, and she jumped up with a yelp, causing her sister and the popcorn to land on the floor.

Brandi was laughing at her now and Mary just pushed her over with her foot as she stepped over the scattered kernels to read her text.

"Coyote. Rather get rescued than chew off my arm. Antiquity."

Mary stared at the screen in utter confusion, trying to crack the apparent code her partner was sending her. Mental rolodex flipping at lightspeed, she tried to categorize the message as either danger or stupid. She suddenly grinned as she recalled the conversation so many weeks ago. Coyote love.

"I told you to stop shopping on the internet, pervis."

"Just get over here. And be creative."

Mary thought about just letting him suffer through an apparently torturous evening, then realized she could have a lot of fun with this. The prospect of adding some much needed drama to her partner's love life made watching horror movies dull by comparison.

"Half hour. Don't get comfy."

Apologizing vaguely to her sister for their aborted movie night, Mary changed, grabbed her shield and weapon and headed to the restaurant.

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

Marshall had met Leanne at an open air art show in a park near his house. Wandering through the exhibits, he had stopped to admire a unique abstract piece when a woman's voice intruded on his thoughts.

"Did you know that the artist was formerly an astrophysicist working for NASA, and her art is inspired by the mathematical equations she used to model atmospheric turbulence?"

His intellectual curiosity piqued, Marshall accepted her offer of conversation and they had spent the next hour discussing the artistic derivatives of scientific research. She was attractive and well spoken, and Marshall asked her out to dinner that coming weekend, walking home with a skip in his step when she accepted.

That skip had become a kick in the ass by the time he picked her up for their date Saturday evening. Leanne had texted him several times a day, with the extra electronic interruptions of email when he didn't answer right away. He called her after the first day of overenthusiastic communication, and she apologized for just being excited and really liking him. Softening, Marshall requested she reduce the volume of contacts and she laughed and agreed. The frequency of intrusions continued unchanged for the next three days, however, and Marshall seriously considered canceling the date.

Being a gentleman, he sucked it up and took her out anyway, planning to gently and properly suggest they go their separate ways after dinner. Leanne fawned over him on the way to the restaurant and called him 'sweetheart' and 'darling', and Marshall began to regret his proper upbringing. He was sweating by the time their appetizers came, and even with his obvious lukewarm response to her, Leanne began to wax poetic on trips together and anniversaries.

He tried to put the kibosh on her amorous assumptions before the entree by bluntly telling her he wasn't sure they were right for each other, but she laughed as though he was teasing and referred to him as her dumpling. Marshall figured she would have them engaged by dessert and married on the way home, but he just couldn't find it in himself to be blatantly rude.

But he knew who could. That's when he began to plan. He texted his partner during a faux visit to the john, then returned to the table and tried to enjoy his steak before all hell broke loose.

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

Mary ditched the Probe at Marshall's and climbed into the WITSEC SUV in order to finish the drive to the restaurant. Badge and weapon on display, she put on her game face and strode through the front doors with purpose. Pleased that the attention of most of the diners were drawn to her as she wound her way through the tables, she scanned the series of small rooms for the familiar face, forcing a frown as she spied him.

Marshall felt her presence before he saw her, like a fly feels the presence of a flyswatter. Schooling his face into a question, he looked up and met her glare, and fleetingly wondered if his plan was going to gloriously backfire and he would regret this for a long time.

"Marshall Miller?" she ground out, flashing her badge.

"Yes. May I help you?" he played along.

"Stand up and put your hands on the table please," Mary ordered, resting her hand on her weapon.

"Miller? I thought your last name was Mann." Leanne said quietly, looking unsure.

"Please shut up and sit there quietly," Mary snapped at Leanne, assessing her partner's date. Bimbo, she decided.

Marshall didn't stand up, and he saw the flash of glee in Mary's eyes with his refusal. She reached out and grabbed the lapels of his jacket and forcibly hauled him up with a flurry of motion, then spun him around and pushed his face down onto the table while she pulled her cuffs out of her belt. He protested with a sharp, "Hey!"

"Marshall Miller, you're under arrest for assault, harassment and violation of a restraining order," Mary was making up charges off the top of her head and trying not to smile as she Mirandized her partner and attached the cuffs.

Jerking him up by his arms, she addressed the wide eyed woman at the table, "You're lucky. The last girl who had dinner with him ended up in the hospital. Call a cab and go home." Leanne nodded quickly.

The patrons and staff stared in shocked amazement as Mary marched her partner out to the car, Marshall loudly protesting the treatment the entire way and calling her names. She loaded him roughly into the back seat of the SUV, then climbed in and drove off.

He was lying in the back seat laughing so hard he had tears running down his face, and Mary had to pull over onto a side street within two blocks as she could no longer see the road due to hysterics.

"Oh, shit," she gasped, "that was the most gratifying arrest I've made in years."

Able to finally breathe, Marshall whined teasingly, "You were a little rough, and you put the cuffs on too tight."

"I barely closed them, pansy ass."

"Speaking of cuffs…" he prompted, raising his eyebrows as he sat up and clinked the metal bracelets behind his back.

Still wiping tears from her cheeks, Mary leaned over to regard the man in the back seat with a sly grin.

"What? No tricky Houdini move to get out of those? I'm disappointed," she pouted.

"Well now," Marshall drawled as he shrugged his shoulders and slumped down in the seat slightly, "I'd really hate to think I'd ever disappoint you."

He gave his arms a little jerk and then presented her with the still closed cuffs dangling off his index finger, holding them in front of her face as he enjoyed her incredulous stare.

"You're just full of surprises, aren't you?" Mary studied her partner as he now casually lounged in the back seat after she took the cuffs from him, a picture of self satisfied leisure. He winked at her as he treated her to a full, genuine smile, and Mary laughed again as she buckled back in to drive him home.

Opening the door to her car in Marshall's driveway, Mary turned back to him to ask the question that was dying for an answer, "So, what drove you over the edge?"

He drew in a breath through his teeth as he grimaced, "She called me her 'dumpling'."

Mary made gagging noises as she slid into the driver's seat, and Marshall laughed and pushed her door shut, leaning his hands on the frame.

"Thanks for the rescue, by the way."

"Well, I wouldn't want you to have to nurse a bloody stump," Mary offered as she accepted his thanks and put the car in gear, "throws off your aim."

Marshall stepped back and smiled at her as she drove off, then headed for the house as he wondered about the fact that the last two hours with Mary were one of the best dates he had ever had.

6 months later

Sighing, Marshall checked his watch again as he pulled yet another pile of uncompleted forms onto the desk blotter in front of him. He had spent a week away at his family's house, and obviously it had been deemed too long as his partner had saved up all her forms for him to fill out after he got back. When he had protested, she just reminded him of the fact that she had to chase one of his witnesses all the way to San Diego while he sipped champagne and ate pate at his cousin's wedding.

"We had beer and bar-b-que," he argued.

"Well now it actually sounds like you had a good time," she accused, "I'm sure I can find some more paperwork around here somewhere."

Mary had made a great show of packing up her things and tidying her nearly empty desk when she left around five, commenting on how nice it felt to be done with all her work.

"Not quite a monumental achievement when you didn't actually do any work," Marshall grumbled under his breath.

"That one's going to come back to bite you in the ass, Ass," Mary snarked, and messed up the papers on the corner of his desk as she headed for the door.

Marshall lunged over to place his arms protectively on his papers as he glared at her retreating form.

His watch now read nine p.m., and he was tired. Deciding to just pack it in, he'd let Stan know there would still be a few outstanding forms until he could get back to the task another day. His phone chirped a message.

"Coyote. E. Suites, Cyprus grille. Dressy."

Marshall began to chuckle as he texted back.

"Don't know if I can make it. Too many forms."

"I will shoot you while you sleep."

His eyes became shifty as he formulated his plan. There was never a doubt in his mind as to whether he would respond to her plea, but Marshall was going to make her play his game this time.

"Forty five minutes. I don't have any pants."

"Don't sit in my chair."

Marshall laughed and grabbed his things as he headed out the door. A quick stop at his house and then the fun would begin.

*** *** ***

Mary swirled her third drink in its glass as she stood by the bar and scanned the moderately crowded restaurant for a familiar face. Marshall was now five minutes late and she was going to give him hell. Her feet hurt, the strapless bra cut into her ribs and now that the previous prospect of wild monkey sex had been eliminated she was ready to go home and sink into a hot bath. She growled under her breath as she saw her date round the buffet table and wave as he spotted her.

Thinking back to the previous Friday, Mary never would've guessed that the amazing physical specimen of man striding across the room was on the down low. She had flirted openly with him at the bar the week before, admiring his height and musculature, and he had returned her attention with enthusiasm. She would've continued her efforts at seduction and taken him home, but the job had rudely intruded and it was not a call she could ignore. They exchanged names and numbers, and Mary was pleased when David had called her the next day to set a date. She had, of course, suggested his place, but he wanted to treat her to a party first.

Hoping the physical rewards would be worth the primping, Mary allowed David to pick her up and they chatted amiably on their way to the cocktail party, his sincere compliments flattering and charming. She started to think she might actually like him enough to keep him around for a while.

Her experience with cocktail parties was limited to brief appearances at the Marshal Service's holiday bash each year, and Mary was surprised to find herself in a fairly posh environment with a fully stocked, open bar and a buffet she could eat off of for a week. She had piled her plate full of jumbo shrimp for the third time when her trained gaze caught the furtive glances and evasive body language of the men by the elevator. One of them was her date. Crustaceans forgotten, Mary slipped quietly out of the restaurant and discreetly followed the two men, glad for the glass elevators as she could see which floor they traveled to. It took a little time and some sharp hearing, but she finally tracked them down, and was shocked by her discovery.

Mary was adventurous, but this was definitely not her cup of tea, and she was going to just go downstairs and call a cab when the Southwest décor of the building inspired her. Free food and liquor was free food and liquor, so she texted her partner and headed back downstairs to rejoin the party.

She was pulled out of her reverie by David's voice, "Mary, I was looking for you. Where did you get off to?"

"Right outside the hotel room where you got off," she thought snidely, but smiled sweetly with her reply, "Just decided to take a little tour of the place."

"Well," he purred as he moved closer to whisper in her ear, "why don't we ditch this joint and go somewhere a little quieter?"

"Zer you are!" called a voice in a nasal tone that couldn't be mistaken.

Mary and David both turned to see the man strolling towards them, and Mary hoped her face didn't show her surprise.

"Is he wearing…oh, Jesus…a bowtie," her brain stuttered, and she struggled to retain the mask of confusion as Marshall approached.

He was dressed in a slightly out of style tweed suit with a red bowtie and little round glasses she had never seen before. Somehow, she suspected he had a hat and pipe at home somewhere and she was looking a partial reconstruction of a Halloween costume. Marshall walked up to the couple and took her hand between his, patting it as he gushed thanks.

"I'm so happy I finally found you, my little wiener schnitzel! I was so worried you would go and do something unhealthy again."

His German accent was atrocious even to her ears, and Mary could feel the ache in her cheeks increase as she tried to keep a straight face. Marshall's eyes danced at her, and she knew he was enjoying himself immensely. Pulling her against him with his arm around her shoulders, he turned to her date and spoke in a low tone.

"My Gretl is always getting herself into trouble. She has a rare medical condition and suffers from dissociative fugues. Just wanders off and thinks she is someone else. Sometimes, she can be gone for weeks before I am finally able to track her down."

David's eyes were wide, and he looked between Mary and Marshall in confusion, "So, you know her, but she's not who she says she is?"

Marshall giggled ridiculously before replying, "Oh yes, I know her, she is my wife of ten years. I have been looking out for her for a long time now."

Mary ducked her head with a quiet snort as she bit her lips, and Marshall reached over to tuck her head against his shoulder with a tsk.

"Oh, there, there my little liebchen. I know it is hard for you when you start to remember," Marshall muttered soothingly.

Mary just gave up and turned into him with her face buried in his jacket, her shoulders now shaking with laughter as he patted her back.

David remained rooted to the spot, and Marshall spoke to him in a serious tone, "Sometimes, she carries on inappropriately with the men she meets. She did not assault you, did she?"

He jumped slightly as his partner pinched him under his jacket, her laughter increasing. Marshall was on the verge of not being able to keep a straight face himself as David backed up quickly with his hands out.

"No, no! Um, we just came here and…no, nothing happened. I didn't know she was your wife, man. That's really freaky stuff, so I'm just going to go, okay?"

"Of course, of course," encouraged Marshall with a shooing motion, "I must take my feine blume home before she becomes inconsolable."

David ran off, and Marshall continued to rub Mary's shoulders as he guided her out of the hotel and into the parking lot, both laughing now.

As they walked, he couldn't help but notice the softness of her skin left bare by the halter dress, and the scent of her shampoo sent a shiver down his spine that he hadn't associated with his partner before. Seeing her standing in the restaurant as he approached a few minutes ago, Marshall had been struck by her beauty, and right now he was having a hard time separating his appreciation of her as his partner from his sudden desire for her as a woman.

Suddenly, she shrugged him off and turned to face him with her hands on her hips, face wreathed in a smile and tears of laughter still lingering. He missed her.

"What in the hell was that?! I almost gave myself away," she demanded.

Marshall shrugged as he smiled back, "I don't think he'll call you again, if that's any comfort."

Mary shook her head in disbelief, eyeing his attire and shit eating grin, "I'm never leaving you alone at the office with all the paperwork again. Rots your brain."

"Vhat?" he again affected the accent, "you do not like the wiener schnitzel?"

"I like my wiener schnitzel just fine, just don't like it on the DL," she replied, eyebrows raised.

"Ouch," he commiserated with a grimace, "there's a mood killer."

Marshall stood back and looked her up and down, and Mary was surprised by the appreciation in his eyes. She suddenly felt self conscious and heat suffused her cheeks.

"What?" she snapped defensively.

"We're all dressed up with no place to go. Hungry?" he asked.

Mary thought about her abandoned plate of seafood and her stomach growled audibly. Marshall laughed, and Mary agreed they should just grab something to eat since he was going to have to drive her home anyway. Picking a well known restaurant, Mary leaned over to undo his bowtie after they pulled into the parking lot, mumbling that it was ridiculous. Her fingers brushed against his jaw and he was surprised to find the contact uncomfortably intimate.

"I got it," he said softly as he caught her hands and placed them back in her lap. Their gazes met for a moment in shared uncertainty, then Mary leaned back and huffed at him.

"Fine. Strangle yourself. I'll still buy myself dinner with your credit card."

Marshall threw the tie at her as she exited the car, trying to regroup himself. They headed into the restaurant bickering over who was really going to pay.

He walked a tipsy Mary up to her door hours later, and she shook her finger at him while digging for her keys in her purse.

"Apparently I'm known to assault men I'm not married to, so you better keep an eye on your wiener schnitzel."

Marshall took it as a compliment and smiled as he helped her open the door, prodding her inside. Mary turned to regard him standing on the porch in a too tight tweed suit. Her very own geek.

"Thanks for the rescue, by the way."

"You're just lucky I like you slightly more than I like filling out forms. Plus, you'll need both arms to help me finish all of them on Monday."

"Fat chance," she predicted with a chuckle.

Watching him back out of the driveway a few minutes later, Mary tilted her head as she realized the last four hours with her partner was more enjoyable than any date she had been on in a long time. Smiling, she shut the door and headed to bed.

11 months later

"Son of a bitch," Mary grumbled as her phone chirped yet again, fumbling for the device as she held her house keys in her teeth.

Brandi had texted her three times since she had left the club, trying to woo her sister back to the party. After letting Squish talk her into attending the event, Mary had also let her buy her a shirt, and there was no way on God's green earth that Mary was now going to let her sister influence her decision on anything.

Intending to ignore the message, Mary reflexively glanced at the screen before she hit delete. Marshall. She opened the text.

"Coyote. Wave. Honor threatened."

She had to smile at the last part. "Honor threatened, my ass," she thought. He just didn't like to dance to techno music.

"Bust a move, Cowboy."

"I'll take Gordon!"

Mary's eyebrows rose and she was now more interested. Gordon Danee was a new witness that looked like he was going to be a handful. Stan told them they could flip for it, and Mary had lost the toss, then nearly lost her mind as it took eight hours to go over the MOU. Her partner must really be desperate to offer to take that nightmare off her hands.

"You're on. Thirty minutes."

She dumped her things on the front hall table with intent to change, then looked down at herself with an assessing eye. Nodding and smiling, Mary just turned around and headed back to the car.

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

It had started out with a field trip to the gallery openings. The members of the abstract art appreciation class from the community college had wandered through the various small shops and lofts as they shared their views on some of the exhibits. Gallery openings meant complimentary cocktails, and by the time all the spaces had been visited, the group of students was collaboratively sloshed. Marshall hadn't had as much as most, but he wasn't ready to drive yet, so when some decided to go to the nearest dance club he tagged along for something to do, piling into one of the cars driven by the sober people.

He was ready to leave within an hour of arriving. The music was too loud, the crowd too young and the women in his class seemed to think he was fair game. One, in particular, had glommed onto him and now sat down on his lap as he impatiently waited for Mary.

"Marshall, you're not having any fun," she slurred, fumbling at the buttons on his shirt, "I can help you have some fun, you know."

Catching her hands with a sigh, he tried to gently disengage her, "I appreciate the offer, Emma, but I'm taking a break. Go on and dance now."

Emma was not easily dissuaded, and she began to try and kiss his neck as he rolled his eyes and at held her at bay. Suddenly, she was lifted up and off of him with a squeal.

"I don't believe that belongs to you," his partner growled at the surprised woman.

Marshall focused on Mary and swore he heard sizzling as about half of his brain cells were suddenly deep fried. Momentarily unable to speak, he just stared.

She had on tight, black jeans with boots that went up to her knees and a loose, flowing blouse that plunged to a deep V. Hair down and make-up on, she was an order of magnitude more than just eye catching.

His stunned look was perfect for her plan, she decided, as she didn't want to give him anytime to react. Pushing Emma aside, Mary straddled Marshall's lap and sat with her arms loosely draped around his neck. Surprised blue eyes meeting laughing green ones. His hands reflexively grabbed her hips, and Mary gave a little wiggle just to watch his eyes close half way.

Warning him with a look, Mary tilted her head to look sideways at the woman still standing next to her partner's chair.

"This is all mine."

Mary pressed herself against him and brought her lips to his with purpose, tangling her fingers in his hair. "How's that for threatening your honor, partner?" she crowed in her mind. His hands slid up her sides to rest on her ribs as he shifted slightly to settle her more firmly on his lap, and Mary realized she had made a tactical error. Marshall was really good at this.

"I'll take your first base and up you to second," Marshall thought as his brain caught up to his hormones and he began to truly appreciate the soft wildness of the woman in his lap. Anchoring her to him, he deepened the kiss.

They came up for air some long minutes later and Emma was nowhere to be seen. Breathing heavily, the partners just stared at each other for a moment.

"Thanks for the rescue, by the way," Marshall whispered as his eyes flickered down to her lips.

"You need all your limbs to dance," she promised, leaning forward again without waiting for a reply.

The buzzing was coming from one of the pillows that had been flung to the floor. Opening one eye against the daylight streaming into the bedroom, Mary realized the annoying disturbance was her phone. Sliding carefully towards the edge of the mattress, she was listening for any sounds of movement behind her as she reached down to feel for the device.

Silencing the buzz as she retrieved the cell, Mary squinted at the screen.

"Coyote. My house. Hurry…really bad."

The body beside her shifted slightly, and Mary grabbed the nearest pillow to sit up swiftly and swing it down on his head. Climbing over to straddle her now giggling, blanket covered bed mate, she pulled the covers down to reveal her grinning partner, phone still held in his hands.

"Oh, I'm going to gnaw on something," Mary threatened with an evil smile, "but it's not going to be an arm."

Marshall yelped and tossed the phone to the ground as he tried to catch the hands that were now tickling him. Covers were tossed aside, and giggles and taunts became gasps and moans. Morning stretched well into the afternoon until the participants lay exhausted, tangled in each other's securely attached limbs.

*** Thanks so much to roar526 for her beta skills and idea sharing sessions! Thanks to 's play 'Streetcar' for the German accent idea :) Please REVIEW to share the hilarity!! ***