Disclaimer: Really? Must this be here all the time reminding me that I don't own this and never will? Some of the dialogue I don't own and I don't own the last sentence.
A/N: So, I thought about this the other day, when I was trying to think of something about which to write. Thanks to BuJyo for her FABULOUS betaing job, and telling me all the things I did wrong and giving me lines to use instead of my crappy ones. And now, enjoy!!
Mary tried to hold in her laugh as her perfectly aimed paper ball hit Marshall on the side of the face. He gave her an evil look as she turned back to her desk. She was concentrating on making another perfect wad when she felt one hit her on the top of the head. She looked up at Marshall, but he pointed at Eleanor. When Mary looked at Eleanor, there was no doubt in her mind that she had done it.
"Oh, it is on now!" Mary exclaimed before throwing her wad made for Marshall right in Eleanor's face. She ducked, and the offending piece of paper made a thudding sound hitting the filing cabinet behind her.
Eleanor lifted her head and gave Mary an evil smile. Suddenly a paper wad hit Eleanor's face. She looked over and knew right away Marshall had sent it flying her way. She rolled her eyes and focused on making more paper wads.
Before anyone could comprehend what was happening, a full-fledged paper wad war was raging. They were throwing, hitting, being hit and ducking all at once. Of course, there had to be a moment when all three of them would throw a paper wad at the same time. As luck would have it, that moment happened just when Stan decided to walk out of his office. He, of course, got hit with three paper wads. Eleanor, Marshall and Mary all gasped and tried to keep their laughter contained.
Stan's face was a mixture of confusion and disgust. "Mary!"
"Hey! That was not just me!" Mary defended herself as soon as she stopped laughing long enough to speak. "It was all of us."
Stan turned to look at Eleanor. "You too!"
Eleanor shrugged, "It was too good of an opportunity to resist."
"And to think I thought you were out here to control these children," Stan said, more to himself than her.
"Dad!" Mary teased. "We don't need a babysitter."
Stan narrowed his eyes at her.
Mary's eyes widened. He looked mad, really mad. He never looked this mad for getting hit with a couple of paper wads. "What?"
"We have to talk," Stan told her.
Marshall intervened, "Oh come on, Stan. They were just paper wads. She may have started it and all…"
Mary threw another wad at him. "Thanks a lot, nitwit."
Eleanor laughed, "Yeah, Stan. Give her a break. She has been working hard out here. She hasn't done anything obnoxious for at least a minute. A new record."
"I'm going to kill both of you," Mary threatened with narrowed eyes.
"That is a little scary," Marshall admitted. "I have no doubt you could—"
"Can we please get back on track here?!" Stan interrupted. "As much as I would like to yell at you for this fight Mary, we have other things to discuss."
Mary cocked her head, "Like what? I have no new witnesses, my old ones are doing fine, and I haven't had scared any of them lately."
Marshall and Eleanor laughed at that statement. They couldn't help it. Mary did have a tendency to scare some witnesses now and then.
"We have to talk about this," Stan said, waving the paper in his hand.
"What is that?" Mary asked.
"An e-mail I got a few seconds ago. It was from someone in Oklahoma stating that you had requested a transfer there," Stan informed her, his face getting redder from anger by the second.
Mary winced, "I meant to talk to you about that." She felt Marshall's eyes boring holes into her, but she couldn't look at him, not now.
"You had better start explaining, and I mean fast," Stan ordered her.
"Let's go into your office," Mary suggested. She got up and followed Stan into his office. Before she shut the door, she chanced a glance at Marshall.
Mary felt safe looking at Marshall now as she didn't feel his eyes on her anymore. She winced again as she saw him just staring at her desk; she was sure he wasn't really seeing it. She had to get this cleared up quickly. She shut the door to Stan's office to begin explaining.
Eleanor looked over at Marshall with pity in her eyes. She knew how he felt about Mary and felt bad for him. Eleanor wouldn't be surprised if he requested a transfer to Oklahoma as well. Eleanor knew he wouldn't work here anymore when Mary left.
"Marshall," Eleanor softly called. "Are you okay?"
Marshall looked at her and she could see the pain in his eyes.
"I'm sure this is just a misunderstanding," Eleanor tried, hoping to make Marshall feel better. After all, she couldn't believe that Mary would just up and leave them. It wasn't like her. She also didn't think Stan would let her.
Marshall was shaking his head, "I can't believe she would do this. I thought we had a good thing."
Eleanor knew he hadn't heard anything she just said and he wouldn't hear her if she tried to say anything else.
Marshall picked up a picture and put it face down on his desk, hard. Eleanor knew it was a picture of Mary and him. She didn't know where it was taken, but she knew it was special. She watched Marshall carefully as he stood up, not knowing what he was thinking. Only Mary could tell what he thought.
Marshall picked up a glass paperweight (Eleanor thought Mary gave it to him). He weighed it in his hands for a few seconds, looking like he was on the verge of throwing it on the floor. He debated for a few more seconds, but then just put it back on his desk. Marshall then pushed his chair into his desk, which made a horrible sound. He stormed out of the office and made it to the elevator without breaking anything else…except maybe the elevator buttons.
Eleanor shook her head as she thought about how this office was going to change without Mary and Marshall. No new marshal would be willing to have a paper fight with her. In fact, would she even be needed after the transfer? She knew Stan couldn't leave, but wondered if he would want to work here without Mary and Marshall.
Mary was in Stan's office getting ready to explain the e-mail when she heard the Marshall's chair hit the desk.
She sighed, "Oh, Marshall."
She had turned to make her way out the door when Stan's command stopped her, "Freeze."
Mary begin to protest, "But—"
"Explain to me first," Stan ordered her.
Mary was ready to protest again, but she stopped at the steely look in Stan's eyes. It was important that Marshall knew what had made her request this transfer, but she supposed it was important for Stan to know as well. Since she was already in here, she might as well start with Stan.
"Okay, fine," Mary agreed. "Remember last week when Marshall and I were going to transfer his witness to Oklahoma?"
Stan nodded indicating his recollection of the event. He didn't trust himself to speak just yet.
"Well, Marshall had some stupid family thing and couldn't go with me, to transfer his own witness might I add. Anyway, you stuck me with some rookie agent. That guy, Watson…Walker…Wallace…that was it, Wallace. I still haven't forgiven you for that by the way."
Mary could tell by the look in Stan's eyes that she had better get back to the story. She still hadn't forgotten about Marshall's little outburst, and she knew that needed to be remedied.
"Okay, so, when we got to Oklahoma it was really late. We got two rooms, one for the witness and one for us and then we tried to sleep. As you know, when Marshall and I go to transfer a witness, we always get one room for us and an adjoining room for the witness (I took this idea from you, I hope that's okay). Since Marshall had booked this trip before he knew about his family thing, that was what we had, so that is what we took. Marshall sleeps by the door to protect me, I've tried to talk him out of it and it hasn't worked, and if any offenders come in, I go hide the witness and then help Marshall. Well, this rookie didn't know any of that. I tried to explain it to him, but he couldn't understand it; which I don't understand why, it's not rocket science or anything. That poor guy is really not cut out to be an Inspector. He was nervous the whole night, therefore kept me up with the TV blaring. When he finally fell asleep, his snoring was almost worse than the TV. I got absolutely no sleep that night, it was awful!"
As Mary was getting back to what had happened the next day, she felt herself being transported back to that time one week ago, "So, the next morning…"
"Okay, Wallace, we drop him off here fast, sign the papers and then we leave," Mary told the rookie quickly. "Deal?"
Wallace just nodded his head and began to get out of the car.
They got out of the vehicle and met the two Oklahoma marshal's. Introductions were exchanged and they handed over the witness. Mary went to review the papers with Marshal Phelps while Agent Wallace stayed with Marshal Rogers.
When Mary had thoroughly checked that all the papers were in order, she called to the rookie, "Wallace, come over here and sign these."
Wallace was in training to be an Inspector so Mary gave clear, concise directions with the expectation that he would follow. He stood next to her and she instructed him on where to sign, "Sign here, here and here," Mary said, pointing on places on the paper, "And initial here."
"Why am I signing in these places?" Wallace asked, truly curious.
Mary rolled her eyes, not wanting to slow the process down, but much too tired to argue with anyone today, "This signature verifies that you were with me when we dropped off the witness. This one verifies that you watched me hand over the witness and this one states that you dropped off the witness. The initials just make sure that you are you and keeps the record straight."
Wallace looked at her blankly, like she knew he would. Mary sighed, "Sign here, here and here, then initial here," she repeated. This time Wallace obeyed without questions.
After he was finished, Mary ordered him to go get in the vehicle while she signed the papers so they could leave as soon as she was finished. Wallace had learned quickly last night that this marshal was not one to mess with, so he obeyed her order without a second thought.
As Mary was signing the papers, Marshal Phelps began to talk to her, "So, I hear you are an Inspector?"
"I am," Mary affirmed, quickly signing her name. She wanted to get out of here as soon as possible. She hated this state, she hated transfers without Marshall, and she hadn't slept at all.
"So, do Inspectors get partners, or do they spend all day ushering around rookies and showing them the ropes?"
"We get partners," Mary answered. "I have a very good one back in Albuquerque in fact."
"I see," Marshal Phelps said. "How would you like to transfer? I could get you a really good partner here, me."
"Thanks, but no thanks," Mary told him. "I like my partner just fine. We have a good rhythm going."
"We could have a good rhythm going too," Phelps argued. "How long has he been with you?"
Mary sighed, it seemed she wasn't getting out of here any time soon, "Four years."
"It's time for a change," Marshal Phelps told her. "Everyone needs a change now and then."
"Yeah, well I don't," Mary countered.
"I think you should try it," Phelps insisted.
"Look, even if I wanted to transfer…which I don't, I can't just try a transfer. Transfers are permanent. Besides, my boss would never let me leave," Mary tried one last time. "He always says I am his best marshal." A little bragging never hurt anyone.
"I could get my boss to write a letter to your boss," Phelps promised. "My boss will tell your boss you want to transfer. Then your boss wouldn't really have a choice."
Mary sighed again. She decided to just give him some bait so she could leave, she knew Stan could make her stay, "You know what, that's fine. Just do whatever you want. I have to leave now."
"As I was leaving," Mary finished, "he called out that he would see me soon."
"If you knew this was coming, why didn't you warn me?" Stan asked.
"I had planned on it," Mary said. "But Agent Wallace refused to shut up the whole way back, so when we finally made it back here, I had to yell at you for sticking me with him. I then had to yell at Marshall for having a family thing and then I yelled at Eleanor because that's just fun. Then I had to go home to try and get some sleep. After all that, it slipped my mind. Just to be clear, I do not want a transfer with that idiot."
"Why didn't you just harass him?" Stan questioned. "That's what you do to everyone else when they annoy you."
Mary rolled her eyes, "Stan don't you remember what you told me? You said that if I harassed anyone while I was in the field, with the exception of Marshall, you were going to put me on desk duty for six months. I am not working desk for six months. Why do you think I push all my paperwork off on Marshall? I hate desk!"
"The one time you listen to me," Stan mumbled.
"You can retract that order any time you wish," Mary informed him with an evil smile.
"Okay, I don't mean to be rude here or anything, but I do have other things to attend to," Mary reminded him.
"Oh yes!" Stan cried, as if he had forgotten. "Go ahead. I will send an e-mail to this man saying it was all just a big misunderstanding and you will not be transferring. By the way, I'm sorry I got so mad earlier. I mean, you and Marshall are fabulous together. To think about both of you leaving, it was just too much."
Mary was on her way out the door when she stopped, "Both of us?"
Stan looked at her, "I know Marshall wouldn't stay here if you left."
Mary shook her head and continued on out the door. She didn't want to think about this right now. If she had her way, she was never going to think about it.
"What's broken?" Mary asked Eleanor as soon as she closed Stan's door.
"Let's see," Eleanor said, pretending to think about it. "There is a potential broken picture frame, desk, chair and the elevator buttons got some abuse as well. As for what is definitely broken, we have Marshall's heart."
"I feel guilty enough," Mary admitted as she walked over to pick up the frame and sat it upright on the desk, sighing with relief when she saw no damage had been done. She hoped Marshall treasured the picture enough to not want to break it; he just couldn't look at it when the pain was so fresh. "Please don't start."
Eleanor shrugged, "I still just can't believe you wanted a transfer. You and Marshall are amazing together, you and Stan are like father-daughter, and you and I…well, we were getting somewhere, although I'm not sure I liked where we were going."
Mary almost smiled at Eleanor's statement, and suddenly she knew that was Eleanor's purpose, to make her feel better. Maybe this woman wasn't as awful as Mary made her out to be. She did have a paper fight with them, but she would reserve judgment for later. "Do you know where Marshall went?"
"Up," Eleanor answered, that being the only information she could give Mary.
Mary walked over to the elevator. Before the doors closed on her, she offered Eleanor a piece of information, "I'm not transferring, and you might not be so bad after all."
As the elevator doors closed and it began moving up, Stan came out of his office. "Is everything fixed?"
"Mary went to fix it," Eleanor informed him.
Stan nodded his assent, "Good, things will be back to normal before we know it."
Eleanor couldn't help but disagree, "Stan, I think that no matter what happens when Mary finds Marshall, something is going to change. I don't know how and I don't know if it will be good or bad, but something will change, I'm almost positive."
The two sat in silence, thinking over what Eleanor had just said when Eleanor remembered what Mary had said, "Stan! Mary said she wasn't transferring. What did she mean?"
"It was all just a big misunderstanding," Stan clarified. "I thought it was something along those lines, but I really needed to check."
Eleanor wrinkled her forehead, "So wait, if you thought it was a misunderstanding, why did you get so mad? And why in the world didn't you wait until Mary got in your office to ask her? You had to have known Marshall was going to be hurt."
"I was mad," Stan admitted. "I mean, I knew somewhere deep down it had to be wrong, because I know Mary, but I couldn't help but think it wasn't. I started thinking about what would happen if Mary did leave, which brought me to thinking about Marshall leaving, which brought me to thinking about what I would do without my star marshals, and it all overwhelmed me. Besides, I had just gotten hit with three paper wads; which didn't help the situation."
"And you brought the circumstance up out here because…" Eleanor prompted.
Stan shrugged, "She did start the paper fight."
Eleanor rolled her eyes, "Will you never learn? This is so much bigger than a paper fight!"
"Am I missing something here?" Stan asked, confused.
"Oh Stan!" Eleanor groaned.
Stan knew Mary and Marshall had a special bond, but he didn't realize how deep their feelings actually went. Eleanor blamed that on the fact that he was a guy and guys didn't see that type of thing. Eleanor had seen it, and now this situation with the transfer would be hanging over them for quite some time. She knew no matter what happened something would change. Mary and Marshall could grow apart, because Mary didn't tell Marshall, no matter how justified her reasons may have been. On the other hand, Mary and Marshall could grow closer, but Eleanor didn't think that was possible, without dating. That thought came with excitement from Eleanor. The excitement was quickly diffused, though, when she thought about the problems that could cause with the job. Then again, Mary and Marshall were both very professional, Mary would soundly kick Marshall's butt if he did something suggestive while in the office (besides their usual crude banter), and there couldn't be an openly stated rule that was completely against partners dating.
Eleanor turned to her computer and began looking up things. The WITSEC rule book and other partners in WITSEC offices and Marshal Services all around. She knew Mary felt the same way as Marshall did, but they would both worry about the job. As soon as she found some information, she would text it to Mary. She might as well make this as easy as she possibly could. After all, the office wouldn't be the same without Mary and Marshall's quick banter and crude jokes. Then again, the paper fight today wasn't half bad either.
Mary first checked the parking garage, just to make sure Marshall hadn't left when Eleanor wasn't looking, or tricked her. Marshall's car was still in its spot though, so if he did leave, he couldn't have gone far. Mary hoped he hadn't left though, because that would make this search a lot harder.
As she got back in the elevator she wondered where he would go. Suddenly, she knew. She pushed the button on the elevator that got her to the top floor. She then walked up a few stairs until she saw a door. She reached her hand out to open the door and then she stopped.
Mary was a little worried. What would she see when she opened the door? What would happen when she opened the door? Would Marshall refuse to talk to her? Worse yet, would Marshall refuse to listen to her?
Mary shook her head. She was being stupid. This was Marshall. It was going to be fine; she knew Marshall. Then again, she has never experienced him when he thought she was going to leave him. But maybe he knew she wouldn't leave him. She just hoped Marshall wasn't too angry; they needed to talk.
Mary took a deep breath and pulled open the door. Sure enough, Marshall was standing there looking out over the city. She knew he knew she had arrived, because she saw him stiffen ever so slightly. That was the only movement he made though. By the stance of his body, she knew he wasn't inviting conversation. In fact, she knew he didn't want it. She walked over to stand beside him and waited. She wasn't going to force him to talk until he was ready. Normally she wouldn't do this, but she figured she owed him that much.
She looked at Marshall when she reached his side and was barely able to hold in a gasp. There were tear tracks on his face and some silent tears still rolling. He was crying! He wasn't angry, he was sad! As she looked closer at his face, the look wasn't exactly sadness, it was more like devastation. Lovely, just lovely. She had hurt the one person who meant more than anything to her. It seemed as though she was always doing that.
So much for not forcing him to talk. She couldn't just stand here knowing how bad she hurt him. She reached out her hand to put on his arm, "Marshall."
He jerked his arm away and moved out of her reach. Mary sighed. She knew this was going to be hard, but she never imagined it would be this hard. She had no idea how to start this conversation, especially if he was going to be like this.
Suddenly her phone beeped. She pulled it out to look at the text Just in case you were wondering, there is no written rule that marshal's cannot date and work together as well. –Eleanor. Mary couldn't help but smile at that. She didn't want to think about this, she didn't want what Eleanor was saying to be true, but at least if it was, she wouldn't have to stress about that aspect.
"I suppose that was a text from your new boss in Oklahoma telling you when he wants you there and who your…" Marshall cut off quickly. He had managed to calm the tears, no need to start them again. He was not going to say new partner. He was always going to be her partner, no matter what.
Mary closed her eyes, "Marshall, don't be like this."
"Why not!" Marshall exclaimed, finally having enough of this. He still wasn't going to look at her though. He couldn't handle having her see the tears that were going to come with this. "You made me promise Mary. Remember when I got shot? You made me promise that I would never leave you. I promised and I meant it. I never even thought about leaving again after that. What gives you the right to leave now? Did you not think the same thing went for you as well? I understand I didn't make you promise, but did you not think it would…" Marshall took a deep breath, but then went on, much quieter. "Did you not think it would break my heart to have you leave me?"
Mary closed her eyes tighter and pressed her lips together. Oh yeah, Marshall had deeper feelings for her, much deeper than friends. This was going to have to be addressed, but not right now.
"Oh Marshall," Mary sighed opening her eyes. "I'm not leaving. I'm not going to Oklahoma. I never was."
Marshall wanted to turn around and look in her eyes to make sure she was telling him the truth, but he couldn't. He couldn't turn around because he still had tears in his eyes. He knew Mary saw them before, but there was no need to let her see more of them now. "But Stan said…" He could still ask about it.
"It was a misunderstanding," Mary clarified.
"From what?" Marshall asked.
"Last week when I transferred your witness for you so you could go to that family thing," Mary reminded him. "When Stan stuck me with a rookie who I almost killed."
"What happened?" Marshall asked. "What does that have to do with you…" Marshall still couldn't say it, he couldn't use the word transfer and Mary in the same sentence. He still hadn't turned around yet.
"Can you look at me?" Mary pleaded. She felt safe in asking him this now. She had noticed his voice had gotten stronger and she didn't think it would make her feel like a horrible person anymore. He must have stopped crying by now.
Marshall shook his head, "I can't."
"You won't," Mary contradicted.
Marshall shrugged, "Call it what you want, but I'm not going to look at you. I can't."
Mary sat down on the ground and leaned her back up against the brick ledge that encircled the whole roof, "Well then, looks like you're not getting an answer."
Marshall heard her sit down and couldn't resist the chance, "Getting comfortable are you?"
Mary smiled, happy to hear a little bit of himself back in his voice, "Well, I figure it's going to be a while and I'm not going to stand up the whole time. If you were smart you'd sit as well."
"Ah, but see, that would involve you seeing my face," Marshall teased back, comfortable with this. At least this was buying him some time. He wasn't going to look at her until he was sure his face looked somewhat normal. He had been crying a lot, and he didn't want to make her feel awful. Now that he knew she wasn't transferring, he didn't want to hurt her anymore. He could hear the hurt in her voice before and he didn't want to be the cause of anymore. Yep, she was his Achilles heel…every time.
"Your face is a scary sight I'll admit," Mary quipped. "I think I can handle it. I'm bracing myself."
Marshall couldn't help it he had to laugh at that one. Mary smiled when she heard him laugh. They were making progress here.
"You sound better," Mary hinted.
Marshall finally agreed to sit. He didn't think he looked all the way normal yet, but he decided he might as well give it up now. He sat down and looked at her, "I'm ready for that answer you promised me."
Mary explained it all to him, just as she had explained it to Stan.
When she was finished, she could tell Marshall was mad, "Um, I'm sorry?" Mary questioned, not exactly knowing why he was angry.
Marshall shook his head, "I'm not mad at you. It's just…you are never going to transfer a witness by yourself ever again."
Mary couldn't help but smile, "I wasn't by myself…totally."
"Close enough," Marshall told her. "That rookie was apparently not ready to be in the field yet."
"Exactly!" Mary exclaimed, glad to have someone who agreed with her. "He was completely incompetent."
Marshall wrinkled his nose at the thought of anyone kissing Mary. Anyone that wasn't him that is. He had to do something about these feelings that he had, "So, who texted you earlier?"
"Oh, that was Eleanor," Mary said, trying to brush it off like it was no big deal.
"What did she want?" Marshall wondered.
"Um, nothing?" Mary tried, hoping he would leave it at that.
Usually Marshall wouldn't push these things, but he decided to this time. After all, he didn't see why she couldn't tell him.
Mary shrugged, "Just some facts." She tried to sound nonchalant. As soon as she said that though, she knew she shouldn't have. She was talking to the human trivia machine. He wanted to know every fact that there was in the world. Maybe he would let this go.
"What facts?" Marshall asked, truly interested.
Crap! Maybe he wouldn't let this go. "Marshall, I'm sure you already know these facts. And if you don't, you don't need to know them. You know every other fact in the world."
"Well, tell me. Then we can decide if I needed to know them or not," Marshall reasoned.
Mary sighed. If she was going to tell him, she needed confirmation about how he felt about her, otherwise she would just feel stupid.
"I'll tell you after you answer a question for me," Mary bartered. "Deal?"
Marshall looked at her strangely. He couldn't figure out what Eleanor could have texted her that could make her act like this. He didn't know what could have been this big of a deal, but he couldn't let go now, now he had to find out what it was! So, he nodded in response to her question.
Mary took a deep breath. She was sure she didn't want to know the answer to this question, but she had to ask; on the small chance that he didn't feel anything towards her except friendship.
That thought was met with disappointment. The level of disappointment she felt was so high it surprised even herself. She was sure she had feelings for him that went deeper than friendship, she just would never, ever admit it to another human being.
Mary really hated her father right now. Of course, she hated that he left her every time she thought of that, but she really hated him for making her fearful of commitments. If Marshall did have feelings for her she was going to be disappointed because she didn't think she could give him what he wanted, commitment. If he didn't have feelings for her, she was going to be disappointed because she had feelings for him. This was all so confusing!
"Mary," Marshall called, snapping her out of her daze. "Didn't you want to ask me something?"
"Right," Mary confirmed. She took another deep breath. "How do you feel about me?"
"What?" Marshall croaked. Was she really bringing up these feelings? He knew how scared of these she was. Besides, what could this have had to do with Eleanor's text?
"You heard me," Mary told him.
Marshall suddenly thought of a way to get him out of this. "Did you know the word what has two uses? It can be used as a question and be used as—"
"Do you really think I care, nitwit?" Mary asked. "My question was not how the word 'what' could be used. I asked how you felt about me."
Well, that didn't work, but no worries, he had another way. "You know you are my best friend in this whole world, Mary. In fact, you are very likely my only friend."
"Is that all?" Mary asked.
Marshall wrinkled his forehead. She didn't sound hopeful, if anything a little disappointment seemed to have crept into her voice. Did she want more?
"If that was all," Mary continued. "I'm having a hard time deciding why you were so upset this morning. You could have yelled at me in the office, but you didn't. You came up here and cried! Cried, Marshall! Cried because your best friend was leaving. And it was going to break your heart."
"Mary," Marshall began.
"Stop!" Mary commanded. "I want the honest truth. I don't want any cop outs and I don't want any lies. Do you just think of me as your friend?"
"I can't answer that question, Mary," Marshall told her.
"You won't answer the question," Mary contradicted. "Please, I need to know."
"What does this have to do with Eleanor's text?" Marshall finally asked.
Mary shook her head, "Please?"
Marshall shook his head, "You're not ready to hear it yet."
"And that answers my question," Mary sighed.
Marshall just looked at her. There was nothing left to say. Now that this was out in the open, he didn't know what was going to happen.
Mary stared at him, "You love me. You are in love with me. Why?"
"What?" Marshall asked.
"Where, when and how?" Mary had to joke. "Why are you in love with me? What about me do you possibly find attractive?"
Marshall shrugged his shoulders and could only imagine the response that this answer was going to provoke from her, "Everything."
Mary rolled her eyes, "You're such a girl and an incredibly corny one at that. But you didn't answer my first question. Why are you in love with me?"
"Because of who you are," Marshall answered, staring straight ahead. He didn't think he could answer truthfully if he saw her staring at him. "Most people think you are rude, abrasive, and a million other things, and don't get me wrong, you definitely are, but then there is the woman underneath, the woman that most people don't get to see, the woman who only I see. The woman who takes care of her mom and sister even thought she sometimes, okay most of the time, can't stand them. The woman who will always have my back no matter what. The woman who will do anything for any one of our witnesses. The woman who is brave enough and strong enough to be in the worst situations and still come out the kick-ass marshal that she is. The woman who can beat up any man and have them down on the ground at her mercy in two point two seconds. And the most attractive quality of all, the way she handles a Glock and is able to shoot down anyone using one bullet."
Mary pressed her lips together to keep from laughing. She had turned her head away from him when he started carrying on about her mom and sister. She knew this was going to be something deep and it was. Bless him for ending it with humor.
Still she had to shake her head, "Marshall, you make it sound like I'm some kind of saint. I am nowhere near that. I think that my rudeness, abrasiveness and those million other things need to be explored a bit more before you can truly say you love me."
"Mare, you don't understand," Marshall told her. "I don't have to explore them. I know they will be just as wonderful as the rest."
"But these wonderful qualities that you say I have, none of them are wonderful," Mary argued. "Most people would find them, well, very unattractive."
"You're repeating yourself," Marshall said. "So, why don't we move on to another subject. You think you might have feelings for me and that scares you. Because it scares you, you have to dwell on something else. Why does this scare you? Besides the whole deal with your father, that is."
Mary glared at Marshall. She didn't like getting into personal feelings like this. She didn't like that Marshall knew so much about her and could read her like those damn encyclopedias he must read constantly to remember all that trivia. She definitely didn't like that he hit the nail on the head and that she didn't know how to put what she was feeling into words.
"Marshall, you are the only one I trust completely," Mary began. She knew she had to say something. "You are my only friend and the one person I know will always be there for me, no matter what happens. I just…I don't want to lose that. I can't lose that."
"What makes you think you will?" Marshall asked.
"Because I'll be me. I'll be rude and abrasive. You'll get annoyed and I'll get annoyed and we'll push each other's buttons and we'll get into a fight too big for either of us to fix. The office won't be the same because we won't be able to joke and banter because we'll be mad. Finally it will get to be too much for us and then…" Mary stopped. She whispered the last part, "Then you'll leave me."
Marshall shook his head. He hated that she was so scared. "Okay, first of all, we may get mad at each other, but you forget, I know how to handle you. I'm not saying we won't get into some fights, but in four years none of them have been big enough to come between us, and nothing ever will. And number two, I would never, ever leave you."
"But if something happens, then—"
"I will still be here, Mare," Marshall told her looking into her eyes. "You can't get rid of me. You will never get rid of me."
"What if we do break up at some point? That will be even worse. I couldn't handle that, Marshall," Mary admitted, turning her body toward him. She looked down at her lap. "I have given so much to you. You know more than anyone. I don't tell people anything for this very reason. If they don't know much about me, if I don't get attached to them, when something happens to them, like them leaving, it doesn't hurt as bad. But then you showed up, got me to tell you things and made yourself important, made it impossible for me to live without you. You are the only one who's got enough of me to break my heart."
Marshall put his thumb under her chin and tilted her face up to meet his eyes. He was shocked when he saw her eyes glistening with unshed tears. "I would never break your heart. Never."
She wanted to say something, but with those words her tears started to fall. She brought her hands up to swipe at them angrily, but Marshall caught both her hands in one of his. He put her hands in her lap and removed his hand from under her chin. He then brought his hands to her cheeks and gently wiped her tears with his thumbs. Of course, this just brought on more tears. Mary was frustrated with herself. She never cried, especially in front of people, but here she was now, crying without reservation in front of Marshall no less.
"Marshall," Mary started to speak, but quieted when Marshall put his index finger on her lips.
"Shhh," Marshall hushed her. "Look at me. Do you trust me?"
Mary connected her eyes with his and nodded. She didn't know what he was going to do, but she did trust him with everything in her.
"Then trust us," Marshall told her. Before he had time to think about what he was doing and how Mary might kill him, he replaced his finger with his lips for a gentle but promising kiss.
Mary quickly pulled away, "Okay, just to clarify, you do know what you're getting yourself into, right?"
Marshall just rolled his eyes and brought his face closer to reconnect his lips with hers. Mary began to pull back again, and Marshall rolled his eyes again, "Mary! I promise I know what I'm getting into with this. You said you trusted me!"
"I do," Mary reassured him. "I'm just not totally sure I trust myself. I know you Marshall. You want so much. So much that I would really like to give you, but so much that I'm not sure I'm ready to give, so much that I'm not sure I'll ever be ready to give. I need you to know that. I need you to not start something with me that you can't finish. Don't start something only to leave when I can't give you what you want."
Marshall sighed. He knew this was part of her and part of the way she grew up, but goodness! "We have been through this," he reminded her trying to keep the frustration out of his voice. That would not help this situation. "I told you already, I will never leave you, no matter what."
"But when I can't give you what you want—" Mary tried to argue.
Marshall had again put his finger on her lips effectively silencing her, "I already told you I would never leave. I promise and you know I never break promises. Besides nobody ever said you had to trust yourself. If you can't, just trust me."
"But what about me?" Mary exclaimed.
"I trust you," Marshall told her. When he saw her getting ready to argue again he lightly shook his head. "Just trust me, Mare, just trust me."
Marshall waited for some kind of confirmation. He could see the internal struggle that was going on in her head by looking into her eyes. He brought one of his hands to hold one of hers and laced their fingers together. Mary looked down at their hands and noticed how well their fingers fit together. It was strange; how had Marshall been in front of her all this time and she missed it. She looked up at him, connected their eyes and slowly nodded. She was going to say something, but wasn't given the chance, due to his lips meshing slowly and gently with hers.
Marshall wasn't about to push his luck with Mary. He figured he was lucky enough as it was; he was, after all, holding her hand and kissing her. When he felt her tongue touch his lips he realized she was also participating in this. Did this mean she approved? He decided she must, after all, she had initiated the opening of his mouth.
Mary was lightheaded and was amazed at Marshall. Where did he learn to kiss like this? She at first thought he had lots of practice, but she didn't like thinking that he had kissed lots of girls…she didn't like thinking that he had kissed any girls for that matter…so she decided he had always been this good at this particular activity. This was further proven when their tongues started a dance that was pure bliss. Mary was sure she had never been a part of something so passionate, something so real.
When their kiss began to border on the edge of PG-13, Marshall knew he really needed to stop this if he didn't want it going too far, not to mention they were still on the roof of the WITSEC building. Now that would be a story to tell their grandchildren. He could hear it now, Yep, on the roof of our office. That's where we had our first kiss, that's where we had…then again, maybe that wouldn't be a story to tell the grandchildren.
"Mary," Marshall tried. Well, that was ineffective. Especially considering as how it sounded more like a moan rather than a protest.
"Mary," Marshall tried again. That one was a little better. "We're still on the roof of the office, you know."
Mary broke the kiss, "So, your place or mine?"
Marshall laughed, "Your place is full of…family, whereas mine has nothing. But, we can't go right now, we're still on the clock."
Mary closed her eyes, "You would be thinking of work right now."
Marshall shrugged, "Speaking of work, aren't you worried about how this will affect our jobs?"
Mary matched his shrug, "Not really. I know that there are 3 sets of married couples, 2 engaged ones, and at least 5 that will admit they are dating. Besides, there is no written rule that says partners cannot be romantically involved."
Marshall looked at her searchingly, "How do you know that? I consider myself to know you very well and I know you never pay attention to statistics, much less think they are important enough to remember. I also know for a fact that you have never picked up a WITSEC handbook in your life to read the rules, therefore you cannot know that is true."
"I'm insulted!" Mary exclaimed. "If I had never read the rules how do you think I got in this program, and became the kick-ass Inspector you said I am?"
"You might have read some of the rules," Marshall admitted. "I'm sure the ones whether partners can be involved were skipped over though. You probably only carefully read the ones that talked about who you can shoot without too much troublesome paperwork."
Mary laughed, "Okay, you caught me. The partner rules may not have been too high on my priority list."
Marshall nodded, "I thought so. Since that's the case, how do you know those statistics and know that particular rule is not written."
Mary shrugged as she got up off the ground and pulled him up with her, "I have my ways."
She began to walk back toward the door that would lead them back to their office when he stopped her by grabbing her arm. "Come on, Mare. The least you could do is tell me."
Mary looked at him and agreed. After all, she did promise to tell him about Eleanor's text. "Okay, fine. The statistics I made up off the top of my head. But Eleanor texted me that rule about 30 minutes ago."
Marshall eyed her, "That was the fact?"
Mary nodded, "Yep. And I have to say, I'm glad I made you answer that question before you got the fact. It sure made the delivery…and the acts prior to much more interesting and fun."
Marshall shook his head, "You are a very dangerous woman."
Mary smiled suspiciously, "You ain't seen nothing yet."
"I just can't believe it!" Marshall exclaimed. "I never thought I'd see the day. You're in a dress!"
Mary just rolled her eyes, "Oh come on, Marshall. You've seen me in a dress before now. Remember Treena's wedding? I was in a dress then."
"But you didn't want to be in one," Marshall pointed out truthfully. "And I didn't think you'd want to be in one now. And I never thought I'd see you in a dress when you got married. After all, this is your wedding; don't you want to be comfortable?"
"It's your wedding too," Mary said. "Do you want the truth? I hate this dress and I hate wearing this dress." Mary put her hand on his arm to stop the protests that were about to roll out of his mouth. "But, you love this dress and you love to see me wearing this dress. For you, I would wear this dress, because I love you."
"You…" Marshall started, amazed at what she just said. "You…you love me?"
"Marshall!" Mary exclaimed exasperated. "Of course I love you, didn't you know that? Do you think I would be wearing your wedding ring if I didn't? Don't you love me?"
"Yes, I love you!" Marshall cried. "I just wasn't aware you loved me. You don't do love. The most I thought I'd ever get was fondness."
Mary shook her head, "Oh Marshall. For you, I'd love. For you, I do love. I love you."
Marshall smiled at her, "I love you as well. I said 'as well' instead of 'too' because you aren't supposed to end sentences with prepositions. Apparently it is some kind of rule—"
Mary groaned, "Just because I love you doesn't mean I want to hear your pointless trivia. If you were any kind of man you would kiss me instead of spouting off your trivia!"
"Oh you just wait until tonight in the hotel," Marshall said wiggling his eyebrows. "You will see how much of a man I actually am."
Mary had to laugh at that. While laughing, she pulled his face down to hers and connected their lips. She quickly nibbled on his lower lip requesting entrance into his mouth. When he willingly gave it, she caressed his tongue with hers and made them both moan at the sensation.
Marshall pulled back before he got too lost, "We still have a reception where we must make an appearance."
"You had to remind me!" Mary sighed.
Later that night…
They walked into their hotel and dropped their bags on the floor.
"We have a flight to catch very early tomorrow morning," Marshall reminded Mary.
"Marshall," Mary whined. "I really hate this dress."
Marshall had to smile. He kissed her gently as he brought his hand around her back to touch the zipper on the dress, "I think I can do something about that."
"That's what I was counting on, Cowboy," Mary mumbled into his kiss.
Much, much later as they were drifting off to sleep, Marshall couldn't help but think they would be lucky if they could get up in time to make their flight tomorrow. Then again, if they missed it, he would be content to stay in this hotel room for a week and make sure Mary stayed out of that dress.
Well, that's it. I hope you all liked it. If you didn't, you can let me know what you didn't like and I'll take it into consideration. If you did like it, leave me a review and let me know what you did like and maybe you'll see a variation of it in another story. So, basically, leave me a review!!