Disclaimer: Not mine, although if they were, this is what would happen.
A/N: Mary may be a bit out of character here, and although I love her character, writing her does not come easy for me. I also like Brandi, for some reason. Thanks to BuJyo for her fabulous betaing!!! My stories would be a bit more painful to read if she did not read them first. Oh, and enjoy!!
It had been a long day for everyone. Mary had sat through an engagement party that she never wanted, all the while thinking about what Marshall had said. He loved her? She sat down on the couch and closed her eyes. She couldn't think about this right now.
On the other hand, Raph had been moving in all day. He had gone home to make sure he had left nothing important behind. Brandi was still on the couch, reading one of his magazines. Mary had been so focused in thinking about Marshall that she hadn't even noticed Brandi sitting there.
Brandi looked over at her sister. She looked incredibly stressed. She figured it was from something that happened in that terribly secret job of hers. Brandi's eyes again drifted down to Mary's ring. It was still on her finger. Brandi was so sure it would have been off of there at least a month ago.
"So, you're really doing it?" Brandi asked. "You're really marrying Chico?"
Mary rolled her eyes at her seemingly incompetent sister. "Yes, Brandi. Yes. Do you understand?"
Brandi shrugged, "Not really. You never seemed like the marrying type to me. You always seemed like the type who would never have a life."
"Gee thanks," Mary said sarcastically. "Well, I am getting married."
"When?" Brandi questioned. "Have you set a date yet? Is that man friend of yours from work going to be your maid of honor?"
Mary laughed, "Brandi, it's tradition that the sister of the bride gets that title. Marshall is just going to be a guest."
"Since when have you cared about tradition?" Brandi challenged. "Besides, I didn't think I was going to be lucky enough to even be in the wedding. You never would have let me before now."
Mary looked at her sister. "A lot of things have changed, Squish. No matter what has happened, you have always been my baby sister."
This was too much emotion for Brandi, so she quickly changed the subject. "Speaking of your man friend…Marshall did you call him? Is he even going to come to the wedding?"
"Of course he is," Mary scoffed rolling her eyes. If there was one thing she was sure about Brandi, it was that she definitely knew Marshall's name. Brandi had teased Mary enough about him. "He's my best friend!"
"That doesn't mean he's going to come," Brandi pointed out logically. "I've always thought he's had kind of a thing for you. What if this is too much for him?"
After what Marshall had said today, Mary couldn't take this from her sister as well. Mary quickly got mad, her usual M.O. "Why are you saying that Brandi? Did all this sitting here with Raph today make you realize how much you still like him?"
Brandi knew her sister, therefore, she knew why she was getting mad, and didn't take offense. "Mary, this isn't about me."
Mary blinked in surprise, "Squish…you might be growing up, finally."
Brandi smiled, "I still say that guy has a thing for you. Would that be so bad? You know, he is incredibly hot!"
"You know," Mary mimicked. "What I said about you growing up, yeah, I didn't mean it."
Brandi laughed, but quickly became serious again. "Do you really want to marry Raph? Did you just do it because you felt guilty? What are you going to do if you don't want to marry him? What are you going to do if you do want to marry him?"
Mary sighed, "I wish I knew."
Brandi smiled sympathetically, "I wish I knew what to tell you."
Mary sighed again, trying not to get angry again. "Everything just seems like it's spinning out of control. I just can't take all this stress. I'm getting married, but I'm not really sure if I want to actually go through with it. I didn't tell anyone at my job about it, but they found out anyway. Now I feel guilty that I didn't tell them, and Marshall gave a speech today. He said that he loved me!"
Brandi wanted to say I told you so, but she knew this would not be the right time. "I think you need to find out what you really want."
"I don't know what I want!" Mary exclaimed.
"Well…" Brandi started. "How do you feel about all these boxes? Does it make you excited or crazy? Do you like the idea that he is taking some of your drawers in your room? Does that make you crazy? He is invading your space after all."
"I can't do this," Mary said annoyed. "I'm not sure…no, I'm not ready. Period. I have to tell him."
Mary took a deep breath and got up off the couch. This wasn't something she ever wanted to have to do, but it seemed that she had to now. She knew this was the right thing to do, because she didn't want to marry Raph. In fact, she wasn't if she ever even wanted to marry him.
"Mary," Brandi called out from her position on the couch. "When Raph gets back, be nice."
Mary laughed at her sister, "This is me. Why in the world would you be worried?"
Brandi laughed back, unable to believe her sister was joking with her. Brandi just shrugged while Mary walked into her room. Brandi knew this was coming eventually. Knew Mary would never be able to marry Raph. She hated that she knew this, and what she hated even more was the fact that Raph probably knew it as well.
Mary looked around her room and all the boxes made her feel like she was suffocating. Raph was taking her space. He was invading her house and this was not what she wanted. She was only sorry it took her this long to realize it.
"How was work?" Raph casually asked when he joined Mary in her room.
"You didn't leave anything at home?" Mary asked right back, wanting to keep the subject off of her for a little while.
"No," Raph replied. "How was work?"
Mary suddenly felt awful once more. He had taken all this time to move in today, and now she was going to tell him that he had to move it all back again. She was a horrible, horrible person. Maybe marrying Raph wouldn't be all that bad. After all, he was great in the physical aspects of a relationship. Yeah, she would just forget about reconsidering. Brandi would be her maid of honor; maybe she could even convince Marshall to…Marshall. She had to reconsider. She had to break it off with Raph, because if she didn't, she would never be able to live with herself.
Mary looked at Raph and noticed the look on his face. He was genuinely curious about her day without having any idea that she was agonizing over a decision. No suspicion that her mood was sour and she was irritated. He couldn't tell by looking at her face? Marshall would be able to tell by looking at her face. Marshall could tell all her emotions by looking at her face, even when she didn't know them herself. (should I add more?)
Mary took a deep breath, and decided to get on with it. "Okay, so yeah, I know this is crap timing, and most likely one of the crappiest things I've ever done. I'm just going to go ahead and apologize, because afterwards, well, you probably won't want to hear anything else from me so, I'm sorry, Raph."
Before Mary could go any further, Raph nodded and held out his hand.
Mary blinked as she put the ring in his hand, "How did you know?"
Raph shook his head, "I just, well; I was waiting for this to come. You and I…we were never really right, as much as I wanted us to be. Besides, the words 'Mary Shannon' and 'marriage' in the same sentence, it just doesn't seem to work.
"You felt guilty about everything that was going on when you said yes. My mother had come, under the impression that we were engaged, and then you found out that asking you was not an impulse, and you felt bad."
"And if I hadn't had broken it off…" Mary questioned.
"I would have pretended it was right until you saw that it wasn't," Raph answered truthfully.
Mary shook her head in amazement, "Wow."
"I'm sorry," Raph apologized, not being able to think of anything else to say, but knowing this wasn't over yet.
Mary laughed humorously, "You're sorry!! You did nothing, except love me and try to make me happy. You moved in today, and now you have to move out again. I'm sorry. I'll take the day off tomorrow and help you."
"Now, I know I don't know much about your job, but I think I know enough to know that you can't do that," Raph logically reasoned.
"Okay maybe not," Mary relented. "I can get Brandi to help you, really help you." Mary corrected when she saw the look on Raph's face.
"It's okay," Raph assured her. "If she wants to she can, but I don't want to force her into anything. I'll be finished when you get home from work tomorrow."
"Do you want to stay here tonight?" Mary asked one last feeble attempt to make up for what she felt like she had done to him.
Raph shook his head, "I don't think that would be such a good idea."
Mary nodded, "You're probably right. Listen Raph…I am really sorry you know."
"Me too," Raph agreed. "Goodbye Mary."
"Bye, Raph," Mary echoed.
Raph hesitated for just a moment, but slowly walked over to her. He lifted her chin up with his hand and softly placed his lips against hers. It was a sweet, sensitive, goodbye kiss. One that showed Mary there were no hard feelings, but also that they weren't going to be good friends either.
Mary watched Raph walk out of her bedroom, then lay down on her bed and sighed. That was not easy, but it had to be done. Now, what to do about Marshall? As she thought about that question, she realized that breaking it off with Raph might have been the easy part.
Brandi looked up from the magazine as she heard Mary's bedroom door close. "Hey Raph, I'm sorry."
"What happened to Chico? Not that I mind its mysterious absence," Raph clarified.
Brandi shrugged her shoulders, "I just felt like the moment called for your name. Chico will be back, trust me."
Raph smiled, "You probably won't get many more chances to call me that…thank goodness."
Brandi laughed, knowing he meant thank goodness about her being unable to call him Chico. Not about the whole marriage thing.
Brandi looked at him closely, but decided to ask anyway, "Um, are you okay?"
Raph sat down on the couch and sighed. "Mostly, yes. I mean, as much as I wanted this to happen, I never really expected it would work out in the end. The fact that Mary made it this far is interesting in itself. If she had made it to setting a date and buying a dress, it would have been amazing. Then again, if she had made it to actually walking down that aisle and saying 'I do,' it would have been a miracle."
Brandi nodded, having thought the same thing when her closed off, unreadable sister had said yes. "You know, I can help you move again tomorrow. Really help you."
"You won't really help," Raph pointed out correctly. "You can supervise if you want to, but I don't expect it or anything. I'll be back tomorrow to get all of my things."
Brandi nodded, "You know, I really am sorry about all this."
"I know," Raph said. "And I am also."
The next day at work was hard for Mary. Now that she had broken up with Raph she didn't know how to tell Marshall. She didn't really want Eleanor and Stan to know just yet. Or at least, she didn't want them to know why she did it.
"You know, you can wear it now," Eleanor's voice broke into Mary's thoughts.
"What?" Mary asked irritably. She didn't really want to talk to Eleanor right now, but she had thrown that engagement party yesterday…
"The ring," Eleanor clarified. "We all know that you are engaged now, so you really should wear it. After all, it is very pretty."
Mary saw Marshall stiffen up at the mention of the ring, and knew he was trying to tune out the conversation. She knew he wasn't able to, as much as he might want to do so.
"How does your fiancé feel about you not wearing it at work?" Eleanor inquired.
Mary sighed. She guessed it was time to tell her. "I can't wear it at work. The diamond is huge and gets in the way of everything that I do, especially my gun. But, overall I'm sure he appreciates the fact that I don't wear it anymore. We…um…well, last night we sort of broke off the engagement."
Eleanor gasped and Mary saw Marshall's head snap up from the paperwork on his desk. "Oh my gosh! You poor thing!" Eleanor gushed. "How are you taking this?"
Mary threw a sidelong glance at Marshall and almost laughed at the look on Marshall's face. Although he was still surprised about what Mary had said, he was disgusted by Eleanor's gushing as well. He knew Mary wouldn't like it, and that's what made his face contour into such a look.
"I'm…okay, Eleanor. Honestly, I am," Mary told her truthfully. She really was okay with all of this, and she didn't want anyone to think she wasn't. After all, it was her idea to break it off with Raph.
Mary couldn't figure out why, but suddenly she felt like she was suffocating in this small office. She had to get out of here. "I'll be back shortly," Mary announced and walked out of the office.
Eleanor watched her walk out and then stared at Marshall expectantly.
"What?" Marshall asked, after he couldn't ignore the stare anymore.
"Aren't you going to go after her? You are always the one who comforts her when she has some kind of breakdown," Eleanor said, curious as to why he wasn't going after her.
"She isn't having a breakdown," Marshall told Eleanor, fully sure of that fact. "She just needed some air."
"How do you know?" Eleanor challenged Marshall.
"I just know Mary," Marshall said simply.
Eleanor shook her head in disbelief, "Stan really was right."
"Stan?" Marshall inquired, truly curious as to why she felt the need to bring up their boss now. "What did he say?"
Eleanor shrugged, "He just said that he was surprised Mary hadn't broken off the engagement yet. He said she would probably do it soon, especially after that speech you made yesterday. Oh, and then he said you know Mary better than anybody, you are the only one who knows how to handle her, and he felt sorry for you."
Marshall was very confused. He didn't think Stan knew him, or them for that matter, this well. "Sorry for me, because I can handle her?"
"No," Eleanor corrected him. "Because whoever Mary is engaged to beat you to it."
Marshall just gaped at Eleanor as she walked into Stan's office. In fact, he was still gaping at the door when Mary walked back into the office.
"What are you looking at, Doofus?" Mary asked, quite amused at the look at Marshall's face. "Are they getting lucky?"
Marshall blinked, stunned out of his trance, "What? No! Why?"
"You were staring at the door like there was something going on in there. Something incredibly interesting…or gross," Mary told him.
"Nothing is going on in there," Marshall confirmed and looked back down at the paperwork on his desk.
"No way, buddy, you aren't getting off that easily. Why were you staring at the door?" Mary asked, honestly curious. She knew her partner pretty well, and he wasn't one to daydream. Something must have made him stare at that door.
Marshall knew, unfortunately, that May wouldn't give up until she got an answer, and right now he just decided the truth would be the best option. "It was just something Eleanor said."
"What did she say?" Mary asked again.
Uh-oh. The truth was not the best option, because Marshall knew he couldn't answer that truthfully. Marshall also knew that the only thing that would make him so oblivious to the rest of the world would be if something had happened to one of their witnesses. As much as Marshall wanted to say that, he just couldn't lie about a witness, because he was sure Mary would do anything for any one of their witnesses. She proved that with the bridge incident.
Marshall also found this strange, seeing as how she didn't really seem to be the type to care about people any at all. After all, she—he was quickly interrupted from his thoughts again.
"Marshall!! Are you even listening to me?" Mary asked. "I asked you what Eleanor said. Do you feel like giving me an answer, or am I going to have to be left in the dark?"
"Do I have a choice on that matter?" Marshall quipped, knowing he didn't.
"Not a chance," Mary said, collaborating with his earlier suspicions.
"Well…you will have to wait until I get back," Marshall told her, coming up with a quick excuse to leave. "I have to go…check up on one of my witnesses."
Mary rolled her eyes, "You just checked up on him yesterday. We aren't their babysitters, Marshall."
"I know," Marshall insisted. "He's been having some trouble with the change, and I just don't expect him to get rid of everything from his past as easily as he did. I have to go check up on him and make sure he isn't breaking the rules."
Now that was something Mary could understand, and Marshall knew it. She knew how much trouble the program, but more importantly, the witness could be in if contact with their past still continued, no matter how minor the witness may think it was. They had dealt with these kinds of situations before, and none of them were pretty.
"Fine," Mary agreed. "Go baby-sit your witness. We are by no means done with this conversation."
"Don't I know it," Marshall said under his breath. He knew that leaving would not get him out of the conversation. Although it would give him time to think of something Eleanor could have said and that was really all he needed. He never dreamed that Mary would ask Eleanor. Mary, in fact, didn't think about it herself until Eleanor stepped out of Stan's office…
"Eleanor, did you say something to Marshall while I was gone?" Mary asked Eleanor.
Eleanor shrugged, "I said a few things. Where did he go?"
"Oh, he had to baby-sit a witness," Mary said dismissively. "What did you say to him?"
"Nothing big," Eleanor told Mary. She knew if Marshall didn't tell Mary, he didn't want it known. Eleanor couldn't really blame him; after all, they were pretty personal feelings.
"I know it was big," Mary contradicted. "Can't you just tell me?"
"If he didn't," Eleanor began.
"Oh come on!" Mary interrupted. "You're always looking up things for me, things that witnesses don't tell us. This technically isn't any different."
Eleanor laughed, "This is plenty different! Marshall tells you everything, and you're his best friend. He is not your witness."
"I can't believe I'm about to do this," Mary muttered, not wanting to beg. "Please Eleanor!! He may not be back for a while, and if I have to go home before he gets here…"
"You can wait for him," Eleanor reminded Mary. "You have no fiancé to go home to now."
"Crap!" Mary exclaimed. "Well, how about this—"
"If I don't tell you, are you just going to keep bugging me about it?" Eleanor questioned, having a feeling that she already know the answer.
"Of course," Mary replied.
Eleanor sighed. She really didn't want to do this, but she also didn't want Mary on her tail the entire afternoon. Eleanor just decided she would have to be as evasive as possible.
"Fine, I'll tell you," Eleanor finally decided. "It was just something that Stan said last night. He said Marshall was your only friend, and you are his only friend. Then Stan also said Marshall was the only one who could ever hope to understand how to handle you, and Stan felt sorry for Marshall."
Mary wrinkled her forehead, "Stan feels sorry for Marshall because he is the only one who knows how to handle me? I'll admit that is a tough job but…"
Eleanor shook her head, "You and Marshall even think alike; that's what he said. No, Mary, that isn't why."
"Well, then why?" Mary asked when she noticed Eleanor wasn't going any further with her explanation.
"Mary, you aren't blind," Eleanor said. "You have to see it."
"See what?" Mary asked irritated. She didn't like to play games; she liked answers, and Eleanor wasn't giving her those right now.
Eleanor tilted her head as she looked at Mary's face. She really was confused. She really didn't see it. "You really don't notice."
"Notice what!?" Mary almost shouted.
"The way he looks at you," Eleanor clarified. "The way he would do anything for you. The way Marshall is with you and only you."
Mary shook her head. She refused to believe what Eleanor was telling her. She knew something was going on, but she had managed to ignore it when Marshall told her, and she was going to ignore it for as long as she could. She had become so skilled at ignoring it Eleanor was able to believe that she didn't see it. "That's just Marshall. That's the way he is with anyone."
"Mary," Eleanor said. "He would take a bullet for you. I'm just guessing here, but I imagine he wouldn't do that for me or Stan. Only you."
Mary shut her eyes tightly. She had ignored it for this long. As soon as Eleanor was done talking Mary could pretend like she had never heard this as well. Oh, why did she have to be so nosy?
"I bet the man you were engaged to wouldn't take a bullet for you either. That's what made Stan feel sorry for Marshall. The man you were engaged to, he beat Marshall."
"No! Stop!!" Mary shouted. "Marshall doesn't look at me any special way, or do any of the other things you said! You don't understand! He doesn't do any of that and he can't!! Just stop!!"
After her little outburst, Mary knew she couldn't sit there one more second. She got up again, and ran to the elevator. Once inside, she realized she didn't know where to go. Before she could think logically about any of this, she pushed the button that would get her the closest to the roof and up she went.
Stan had heard the shouting from his office and went out to see Mary rush to the elevator. He didn't know where she had gone, but he didn't really care at the moment. He knew Mary had her head on straight, and although he couldn't understand most of the shouting he had heard, he didn't think she would do anything that she would regret later.
"What an eventful morning," Eleanor commented, when she noticed Stan.
"What happened?" Stan asked. "I heard shouting, Mary's shouting, but I couldn't distinguish the words."
"Well, remember what you said last night?" Eleanor began. When Stan nodded she launched into the whole story. She told him how she had told Marshall first, then Mary asked, and although she had tried to be evasive, Mary caught her drift. "I might have gone too far though. But I just know Marshall would take a bullet for her."
"You said that?" Stan asked just to be clear.
When Eleanor nodded Stan chuckled, "You weren't being too evasive there. Yes, you definitely went too far. But who knows, maybe it will be good for her."
"There's one thing I don't understand," Eleanor said, going over Mary's words again in her head. "I told her Marshall would do anything for her, you know, and he looks at her different and all that stuff. Well, when she was having her outburst, she said he didn't, but she also said he couldn't. Why would she say that? I mean, he is obviously capable of affection, and he has obviously got it for her bad. So why did she say he couldn't?"
Stan stood there thinking for a second, and the realization dawned on him. "Oh! Poor Mary."
"What?" Eleanor demanded. "Why did you say poor Mary?"
"WITSEC has rules and regulations Eleanor," Stan began to explain. "One of the unspoken rules is that two people who are in a relationship can't work together. I mean, it never has actually been documented or anything, but it is frowned upon if it happens. After all, working in this program puts people in incredibly dangerous situations, and the most important thing in those situations is the witness. If someone happens to be in a relationship with the person they are working with and they go into such a dangerous situation with a witness, there is no guarantee that they will remember the witness when their partner is in danger or even gets hurt."
"Oh!" Eleanor repeated, finally understanding as well. "They would split up Mary and Marshall if they were to get into a relationship. Are we breaking the rules?"
Stan shook his head, "We don't go out in the field together or take care of witnesses. You're right about her engagement though. When she heard you tell her all those things, it was just too much. She can't handle change, and changing partners would be a huge thing. Also, she wouldn't work as well with any other partner, and she knows it. Like I said, only Marshall can handle her. She would kill anyone else who tried to work with her."
Eleanor smiled, "There must be something we can do! After all, all that stuff you said about the witness being the most important thing, how that is relevant if they don't admit it, they still work together, one of them gets shot, and the other forgets the witness. It doesn't technically matter whether they admit it or not. It is still going to be there and they are still going to be miserable."
Stan's face took on a grim look, "I know. That is probably another big reason as to why Mary is ignoring this. She thinks that by ignoring it, she can make it disappear. She knows that if anyone finds out, they will be split up, even though they haven't said anything."
"This is just awful!" Eleanor proclaimed decidedly. "And there is nothing we can do?"
Stan shrugged, "Nothing that I can think of at the moment. I'll keep thinking though. Those two are like kids to me, and I hate to see them like this,"
Stan said as he walked back into his office. He was going to think of a way that Mary and Marshall could be together and work together even if he had to lie to do so.
Stan had been in his office for about thirty minutes when Marshall got back from his "baby sitting." He noticed Eleanor pacing around the office and noticed Mary was gone.
Marshall wrinkled his forehead, "Is there some reason as to why you're pacing?"
"Mary's not here," Eleanor said.
"I noticed," Marshall told her. "Where is she? Why is that making you pace?"
"Because I don't know where she went," Eleanor said.
Suddenly, Marshall regretted leaving. He was almost sure Mary and Eleanor had a talk. "What happened while I was gone?"
"Well…" Eleanor stalled. She didn't really want to tell him, because she was almost sure he was going to be angry. Also, she had thought Mary would be back by now and she wouldn't have to tell him.
Marshall fixed her with a look and she quickly caved. "I told Mary..." Eleanor quickly explained everything. "She got into the elevator and I don't know whether it went up or down and I have no idea where she could be."
Marshall thought about this for about half a second and then he knew. "I know where she went!"
He hurried to the elevator and didn't answer any of Eleanor's rushed questions. He pushed the button that would get take him to the roof, just as Mary had forty-five minutes earlier. As soon as he got to the top floor, he climbed the stairs that led to a door. He opened the door at the top of the stairs and was met with a cooling breeze. He looked around quickly and saw Mary sitting on the ground against the brick ledge that encircled the whole roof. She had her knees pulled up to her chest and her chin was resting on her knees. He walked over and sat down beside her without uttering a word.
Marshall had noticed the tear streaks on her face, but he didn't dare say anything. After all, this was his girl and he knew she wouldn't say anything if she wasn't ready. He also knew that trying to talk about it wouldn't turn out well either.
So Mary and Marshall just sat. Neither one knew how long they sat there, but it didn't really matter. Marshall knew he just had to wait for Mary to be ready, and he really had no problem with that. He knew she would talk to him eventually, even if they had to endure small talk until she gathered up enough courage to actually talk about what was important here.
"What are you doing here?" Mary asked, lifting her chin up and looking at Marshall. Come to think of it, she wasn't really surprised when she saw him open the door and she was even less surprised when he sat down beside her.
"Eleanor was worried about you," Marshall replied. He also knew not to say too much now; just answer her questions and wait.
"But she didn't know I went up here," Mary recalled. "I didn't tell her. No one knew I went up here."
"She didn't tell me you were up here," Marshall confirmed.
"Then how did you know?" Mary questioned.
"I know you," Marshall answered simply.
Mary rested her chin back on her knees. She really didn't want to talk about anything, and she knew Marshall would respect that. She knew Raph wouldn't have. She was amazed at how perfect Marshall was. She knew Eleanor was right when she said all that stuff, but Mary had never appreciated how much Marshall really must love her until this moment. One thing that lingered in Mary's mind was the bullet comment that Eleanor made. Was that really true?
"Marshall," Mary began again. "Was what Eleanor said really true?"
"What part?" Marshall inquired. He thought he might know what she was talking about, and even though he was completely positive his truthful answer would scare her, he knew he couldn't lie.
"The part where she said you would take a bullet for me," Mary clarified.
"I have told you before that I would do anything for you," Marshall reminded her. He was trying to be evasive, but from the look on Mary's face, she wasn't buying his answer.
"Marshall! That isn't anything though. Taking a bullet for me is potentially sacrificing your life, just so I can have mine. Do you realize that? Would you really do that? Take a bullet for me without question?" Mary repeated.
"Yes," Marshall answered without hesitation. He knew that he was being completely truthful. He knew most people said that they really wouldn't know what they would do until they were in that situation, but he knew without a doubt that if it was him or Mary, he would try his hardest to make sure it was him every time.
Mary shook her head in disbelief, trying to understand why he would do such a thing. It sounded awful, but she couldn't be sure she would do the same thing. Would she? "Marshall, why? I mean, Brandi and Jinx wouldn't do that for me. I doubt Raph…no, I'm sure Raph wouldn't do that either. Why?"
"You are many things, but stupid is not one of them," Marshall answered. "You know why."
"I know," Mary admitted, for some reason not that scared anymore. "I wasn't really paying attention yesterday though. Do you think you could say it again?"
Marshall smiled, "To Mary, the best friend—"
"Marshall, stop," Mary interrupted. "Just repeat the important part."
Marshall smiled again. He had known what she meant, but wanted to tease her first. "I just hope you know that I love you."
Mary closed her eyes, sighed, straightened her legs out and leaned her head against Marshall's shoulder. Marshall was surprised for a moment, but then adjusted to the light weight on his shoulder. He figured if Mary was going to be daring, he might as well be also. He moved his arm and put it around her shoulders, slowly running his fingers up and down her upper arm. When Mary did nothing but very softly sigh again, Marshall was fairly certain she wasn't planning on shooting him for his daring.
"Marshall, this could cause so many complications," Mary reminded him.
"I'm sure Stan could work something out," Marshall said.
"I don't think he could," Mary argued. "After all, the witness is the most important thing in every situation, and if one of us gets hurt, it is very likely the other would forget that we have a witness that needs protecting."
Marshall chuckled, "Mary, I don't think you could ever forget about a witness."
Mary sighed, "Okay, maybe not, but this still shouldn't be so hard!"
Marshall shook his head, "It's not. All we have to do is talk to Stan."
"But what if he makes us split up?" Mary argued.
"I don't think he will," Marshall predicted.
"He doesn't really get a say though, does he?" Mary said as she moved her head to a more comfortable position.
"He will," Marshall said confidently.
"How do you know?" Mary questioned skeptically.
"When he shares the information that you will kill anyone else that you are put with in as little as an hour, and after they don't listen to Stan and you do kill that person, they will have to leave you with me," Marshall teased.
Mary laughed, "I actually think I might kill anyone else."
"I know you would," Marshall countered. "I don't know how I got so lucky."
Mary lifted her head up and looked at Marshall. As she studied him she wrinkled her nose. "I don't know how you got so lucky either."
Marshall bumped his shoulder against hers lightly. "Hey!"
"I'm joking," Mary informed him.
"I know," Marshall assured her. "We should talk to Stan though. I'm almost sure he would keep us together or pitch a fit if someone tried to tell us we're breaking protocol."
Mary ran her hand through her hair, "Maybe you're right."
Marshall shook his head, "Why are you fighting this?"
Mary winced, "Does it seem like I'm fighting this?"
"Yes," Marshall replied truthfully. "What's going in there?" Marshall asked, tapping her temple with his finger.
During this time, Mary had pulled her legs back up to her chest, and she put her chin back on them, turning her head away from Marshall.
Marshall frowned, "Hey, hey! You have to talk to me here." Suddenly, Marshall remembered something, and he thought he might know what was wrong. "You know I'm not going anywhere, right?"
He heard Mary take in a breath, and he knew he had hit on it. "Well, I'm not. I'm not going anywhere."
Marshall figured she thought that when things got good, she had to push it away, because it was too good to be true. That was why she hadn't pushed Raph away yet. She was comfortable with him because if he left, she could handle it. Marshall was angry at Mary's dad for leaving her at such a young age and instilling in her a fear of relationships. He was so sure that was what spawned it all.
"I just don't understand," Mary said confused. "Why do you love me like you say you do? I have the most screwed up family in the world. My mom is a drunk and my sister is a former drug dealer. She says she is reformed, but with her you never can be too sure. I was engaged to a guy and completely ignored you, even though I knew you loved me. I am rude and bitchy to everyone including you. What is attractive about any of that?"
Marshall smiled at her and ran his fingers through her hair. "You are only rude and bitchy to people if they are the same to you. Under all that though, you would do anything for one of our witnesses. Remember the bridge? I had to drag you off it!"
"About your screwed up family; no matter what has happened, you still took them in and took care of them when they needed you most. You have helped your sister reform and have slowly gotten your mom the help she needed to get better. Besides, you are a kick-ass U.S. Marshal. I would be scared if I was the one to cross you." Marshall concluded with a joke.
Mary smiled and tried not to laugh, but it didn't really work, "I have to agree with you on that point. I am pretty amazing."
"That you are," Marshall agreed seriously. "Come on, let's go talk to Stan." He got up and pulled her hand gently, to help her stand up as well.
She stood up, but then stopped, "Wait, Marshall."
Marshall stopped too, "What?"
Mary took a deep breath, "This is going to sound really stupid but…well, up here is like our own little world, where reality doesn't get in the way. When we go back down there, we will have to face reality. So, before reality kicks in again…" She trailed off and put her arms around his neck and leaned into him, resting her cheek against his chest.
Marshall completed the embrace by putting his arms around her waist and pulling her closer to him. He wasn't planning on complaining, after all, he was enjoying this very much.
Suddenly, Marshall felt daring. He didn't know what was wrong with him, he certainly didn't want to die, and he was sure Mary could shoot him down at any moment, but…
"Since reality hasn't kicked in yet," Marshall began as he pulled away from her. "I might want to do more than just hug you."
Mary's eyes got wide and she knew what he was saying. He put his finger under her chin and lifted her head up so he could look into her eyes and see if he was in any danger of dying. Her gaze wasn't encouraging him, but it wasn't exactly condemning him either. He brought his face closer to hers and lightly brushed his lips against hers. After all, he wasn't going to push his luck with her right now.
As he pulled away, Mary looked angry. Okay, maybe she was planning on shooting him. "You call that a kiss!!" She roughly took his face in her hands, and decided to show him what a real kiss should be like.
Well, Marshall had to admit, this was a kiss! He brought his arms back around her, one hand tangled in her hair while the other held her tight around the waist. He gasped when he felt her tongue on his lips, but who was he to refuse? All rational thought had left him the minute Mary touched his face.
Finally, the need for oxygen couldn't be ignored anymore. They broke apart, but kept their foreheads touching and kept their eyes closed. They were both breathing hard form the intensity of the kiss.
When Marshall caught his breath he smiled, "Well, I have to say, that was a kiss."
Mary opened her eyes at that point, "I told you." Then Mary sighed, "I'm not sure I want to go back to reality."
Marshall laughed, but also knew they couldn't avoid it any longer. "We've already been gone too long. We have to talk to Stan."
Mary gave him another kiss, but when he tried to deepen it she pulled back quickly. She gave a long, dramatic sigh, but then agreed to talk to Stan. "Okay."
Well, if Eleanor was asked how things were going having Mary and Marshall in a relationship and working together, she would say it was an annoyance. On really dangerous cases, Mary and Marshall weren't allowed to be together. One would be with the witness, and the other would be stuck doing paper work all day. The one doing paperwork would ask Eleanor every five seconds if she thought the other was alright. The one with the witness could take no calls or texts from their desk bound partner, a burden for Eleanor who would be asked to check on the location of the active marshal every hour through her own channels. Time consuming and bothersome!
When they did work together, well, that wasn't fun for them or for Eleanor and Stan. They had to have their witnesses screened by outside marshals. This was supposed to assess their working relationship. Then Stan, and sometimes Eleanor, had to look over their records and have them audited much more frequently than before.
Yes, Eleanor thought it was a definite annoyance having them working together. Then again, Eleanor couldn't help but enjoy it when they were in the office. Mary was still rude and still enjoyed making Eleanor's job as difficult as possible, but she didn't seem like she was trying her hardest. Eleanor had a sneaking suspicion Marshall was telling her to lay off, but Eleanor was surprised Mary was actually listening.
The office was a better place to be after Mary and Marshall got approved to work together. Eleanor loved to watch Mary and Marshall now. They always looked so happy, whether they were talking to each other or just sitting there in each other's silent company. She didn't know what made her love to watch them, she just knew she did.
Mary had also started laughing, really laughing. There wasn't much that made Mary really and truly laugh, and Eleanor didn't think she had ever heard it until they were together. Stan had concurred with Eleanor on all her suspicions, and she knew that Mary and Marshall together would eventually be better for everyone concerned.
Eleanor had actually walked in a very personal moment between them once. Well, she hadn't walked in on it per se, she just overheard it before she went in, and stopped to listen for a minute.
"I swear, it's gone!' Mary exclaimed. "I cannot find the paper that the courts will want to see. They won't want the witnesses own copy, they will want mine, and it's not on my desk anywhere!"
"Did you really look through every single thing on your desk?" Marshall questioned. "I wouldn't be able to find anything either. It's a good thing I keep my desk so nice and clean."
"Shut up!" Mary snapped. "Would you just get over here and help me look!"
Marshall smirked at her and then got up to help her look. He couldn't find it on her desk as she claimed, but he knew where there would be a copy. He walked over to the filing cabinet and pulled out a copy. "Would this be what you want?"
Mary sighed in relief, "You are an angel. I love you!"
Marshall's face froze for just a second, but he tried to act like nothing was wrong. The truth was Mary had noticed what she had just said as well. She had never said she loved anyone before, not even Raph. These were words she thought of as very sacred, and they were not words that could be thrown around carelessly.
Mary knew she had not meant to say them, but the fact that she did say them must mean something. Did she really love Marshall? Could she love Marshall? Marshall had never said he loved her, but she knew that was because he knew he wouldn't get the words back, and he didn't want to scare her. He knew she didn't love. Was it possible that he had changed her?
"Marshall, about what I just said—" Mary began.
"What about my being an angel?" Marshall interrupted. He didn't really want to hear that she didn't really love him, because he knew without a doubt that he loved her. With everything in him he loved her, and he didn't want to hear her say she didn't.
Mary rolled her eyes, "Marshall. When I said I loved you. I meant it."
Marshall's eyes became incredibly wide when she said that. He hoped against hope that she really did mean that, but he had to give her an out in case she wanted one. After all, he didn't want the words if she didn't want to give them; he didn't want to be under any false illusions with Mary. "Mary, that's okay. You don't have to love me. I know you have issues with love and that's okay also."
"Would you listen to me!" Mary cried. "If I have issues with love, don't you think I would take it back as quick as I could? This is the first time I've ever said this to another person. I love you, Marshall. I really do."
"Oh Mary," Marshall breathed. "I love you too, so much!"
"Well, don't just stand there, Doofus! Get over here and kiss me!" Mary commanded none too gently.
Marshall obeyed her quickly, because when it came to kissing her, nobody had to tell him twice.
Eleanor smiled when she thought of that moment. She didn't know all of Mary's background and she didn't know what Marshall meant when he said she had issues, but she did know that Mary saying 'I love you' was somewhat of a big deal. If she hadn't walked in when she did—well, she didn't want to think about what might have happened.
Overall though, Eleanor was very happy Mary and Marshall got the chance to work together. She knew they were both very professional people and there was no way they were going to ruin this chance. They wouldn't dare do anything when they were in the privacy of the office. Even with all the annoying things she had to go through, there was nowhere she'd rather be.
Whoa, Eleanor, that's enough! She thought to herself quickly. She was starting to sound like one of those maddening girly novels that she couldn't stand. Before she chased away all those thoughts, she allowed one more quick one. I can't wait until I see another engagement ring in this office. This time, I won't be wrong when I tell Stan that Mary and Marshall are engaged.
So? I thought it might be interesting to do the last part from Eleanor's standpoint and show how things are now that Mary and Marshall are together. Okay, I also had to stick that thing in there about I love you, because I wanted to put the engagement thing in there at the end, and it seemed to me kind of strange that Eleanor and Marshall would talk about marriage if Mary and Marshall had never even said I love you. Okay, this has definitely passed over into rambling mode, so please tell me how I did in a nice little review. There's the button…ready, set, click!