Hey, thank you so much for everyone who reviewed! I'm glad you all liked Shelly, in the last chapter…She might have to make a re-appearance down the line. Lol.

Enjoy!

When the Hero Falls

Mary dropped down to the bed with a loud groan, her eyes closing. It had been a hectic day…hell, a hectic few weeks but things were starting to look up. It had been almost eight weeks since Marshall had been shot, six since he woke up and three weeks since that day he had looked for her when she wasn't there. Since then Marshall had come a long way…He struggles with his speech but does say a few words and Mary's gotten pretty good at understanding what he means when he can't get the right words out. He works every day with a speech doctor, who states that he is improving. Then there is a doctor in charge of getting up and moving but so far, not much progress had been made. There was neurologist who was monitoring his brain activity and so far could not confirm whether his memory lost was permanent or what other lasting damage there will be.

She had even returned to work this week but had hardly left the office, using the pile of hers and Marshall's paperwork mounting up as an excuse; not feeling ready to go and deal with witnesses without her partner. Stan had been incredibly understanding about it all but Mary knew it was only because of how close he was to both her and Marshall.

Now she was exhausted but had promised to go sit with Marshall that evening and she wanted too, she actually missed him when she wasn't at the hospital and worried something would happen without her there.

"Mary?"

She sat up slowly and saw Raphael stood in the door, looking a little surprise to see her.

"Hey…"

"I didn't mean to wake you." He claimed, watching her rubbing her eyes.

"You didn't…I have to get up anyway…" She forced herself to her feet.

"Are you going to the hospital?" Raphael questioned although he knew the answer.

Mary almost replied in annoyance, wondering why he was even asking. Of course she was going to the hospital, that's where she had been since this had happened but stopped herself. Remembering that most people didn't understand how she and Marshall were.

"Yeah." She answered with a sigh. "This way, Marshall's parents can go home and get some sleep."

His brothers had to return home a few weeks back due to work and their families but Seth and Rachel were staying at Marshall's place for the foreseeable future.

"What about you?"

"What about me?"

"When do you sleep?"

"I get sleep at the hospital…"

Raph shook his head a little and mumbled something.

"What?" Mary asked, folding her arms. "Just say whatever you want to say and get it over with?"

He sighed. "What are you doing, Mary?"

She narrowed her eyes. "What do you mean, what am I doing?"

"I love you, Mary…" He started but then stop.

"And what?" She questioned "Just spit it out, Raph."

"And you love someone else…" He finished, sadly and Mary just stared at him. "You're not even denying it."

She sat down on the edge of the bed again. "I can't…"

"You love Marshall?" He asked, wanting her to say it.

She gave a small nodded and shrugged. "If it's any consolation, then I didn't realize until recently."

He moved and sat down beside her. "Did you ever love me?"

She opened her mouth to reply but paused, thinking about her words. "I don't know…"

"If you don't know, then you probably didn't." Raph said bitterly.

"I thought I did…" She stated. "I thought I could…"

"And with him?"

"I don't know, Raph…I don't know what to say to you…It's just easy…Marshall and I….We trust each other, we have fun together, we understand each other…We get each other."

"And it doesn't matter that he might never talk again or walk or lead a normal life?" He asked. "You love him that much that you would live your life like that?"

"God, Raph how can you say that? Of course it matters! You think it's no big deal to watch someone you love go through something like this?" She jumped up. "I think, it just shows how committed I am…how much he means to me that I'm not running for the hills…"

Raph looked up at her from his position on the bed. "I guess it does…"

She pushed her hair back off her face and took a few deep breaths. She hadn't admitted that she loved Marshall out loud before and now she had, she couldn't take it back. She didn't even know how Marshall felt about her…He didn't even remember her…Hell; she still had to remind him of her name most days. The only person he seemed to know was Seth.

"I should go…" She eventually said.

"So should I…" Raph replied. "Move out, I mean…"

"Raph…" She sighed tiredly. "You don't have too..."

"It might take a few days…" He started but trailed off.

"That's fine…Take however long you like." Mary told him. "It's not like we've been seeing much of each other anyway."

Raph let out a small laugh. "No, we haven't…"

"For what it's worth, I am sorry you got hurt." Mary paused at the doorway.

"I hope you find what you're looking for." Raph told her. "I hope he's worth all this."

"He is." Mary insisted. "It's the one thing I am sure of."

XxXxX

Mary felt better after her talk with Raphael; glad that things were finally out in the open. Now she didn't have to worry about what she was going to do about their relationship and could focus on Marshall. Truth was, even if she didn't love Marshall then there still wouldn't be much hope for their relationship, she didn't think she would ever be able forgive for putting Brandi and Marshall in that situation.

When she reached Marshall's hospital room, she found Rachel stood outside.

"Hey…" She greeted. "Is everything okay?"

She smiled. "Everything is fine."

"Good."

"I just wanted to catch you before you went in to see Marshall."

"Why? What's happened?"

"Nothing." Rachel laughed lightly and patted her arm. "Just wanted to talk to you…Haven't had much chance this week."

"Oh." Mary said in surprise. "Okay."

"How's work going?"

For once, Mary thought about her answer before speaking. Normally, she would insist that was fine, that she could handle anything that was thrown her way but she was just way too tired and if she had to open up to one person that wasn't Marshall, then his mother seemed like a good replacement.

"It's not the same…" She sighed. "I'd rather be here."

"Oh, honey you know he would not want you to put your life on hold…"

"I do know and I'm trying not to but somehow your son has managed to warm his way into my life and make it so I hate being apart from him." Mary said, smiling so the older woman would know she was teasing.

"Ah, well that's what happens when you fall in love." Rachel replied then held up her hand when she saw Mary was about to say anything. "No, don't say another word…I know, you haven't admitted yet so we'll just move on."

Mary rolled her eyes. "Actually, I have."

"Have what?"

"Admitted it."

"Out loud?"

"Yep." Mary tried to sound confident but for some reason she felt nervous which was crazy because if there was one person who would be happy about it, then it would be Rachel. "I told Raphael."

Rachel raised an eyebrow. "You told your boyfriend?"

"Ex-boyfriend might be a better name."

"Oh, honey…"

"It was bound to happen." She shrugged. "And I'm glad it's over…One less thing to worry about."

"You know where I am if you ever want to talk." Rachel took her hand and squeezed it gently. "How about one night, you and I go out for some dinner…Have a proper talk."

"Oh, I don't know…"

"It'll be fun." Rachel claimed. "And Seth can sit with Marshall…"

"But…"

"I'm not taking no for an answer." She told her and then turned to push open the door to Marshall's room, ending the conversation. "Come on, he's been waiting for you."

Mary felt a little flutter in her stomach when she said that but she couldn't help but remind herself that he couldn't even remember her name, let alone who she was. She followed Rachel into the room, seeing Marshall sat up in bed, a frown on his face as he stared at the TV on the wall. Glancing up, she saw that they had a basketball game on and Mary wondered if the frown was because he was having trouble keeping up with what was going on.

"Honey, you have a visitor." Rachel announced softly causing both Marshall and Seth to look towards him. Seth automatically muted the TV and stood up, knowing it was time to leave.

"Hi." Mary smiled and gave him a small wave.

"H..h…Hi." Marshall managed to get out and raised a shaky hand to return to gesture then glanced down at a piece of paper on his lap before looking up at her. "M..ma…Mary."

Mary grinned widely and stepped closer to the bed. "How are you feeling?"

"Goo…good." He nodded a little. "How y..you feel…ing?"

Mary shot his parents a bemused look at the conversation but overall was just glad he was talking. "I'm fine."

"His speech doctor recommended he practice by repeating what other people are saying." Seth explained. "He seems to be doing well."

"That's great." Mary agreed but when she looked back to her partner, she found they had lost his attention and he was focused back on the TV. She found it strange that his attention span was so short and prayed that would change soon.

"Well, we should go." Rachel leaned down and kissed Marshall's cheek and his eyes stayed fixed on her. "Sleep well, sweetheart."

"Bye." Was all he said, watching as she stood up straight.

"See you in the morning." Seth put a hand on his shoulder.

"S…s…s..see you morning." He repeated.

He watched them as they left the room then he looked to Mary. She took the seat that Seth vacated, eager to keep his focus on her.

"So, did they tell you I was coming or did you remember my name by yourself?" Mary questioned.

Marshall tapped the paper on his lap. "Da..dad help me, wrote name to hel..help me member…too m..many peoples come…"

"A cheat sheet?" Mary smiled. "Wow, I never thought there would come a day when Marshall Mann needed a cheat sheet. So, come on…tell me what you wrote next to my name to remember me?"

He frowned again, not understanding. "Cheat sh…sheet?"

"Never mind." Mary shook her head.

He blinked a few times and she knew she had confused him. She was about to change the conversation when he sunk back into the pillow and closed his eyes.

"Tired."

"Okay…" Mary automatically reached for the bed sheet and pulled it up further to cover him. "Go to sleep."

He mumbled something incoherent but Mary didn't reply, instead stroked his cheek gently.

His eyes opened again but only slightly. "Beaut…"

"What?" Mary asked, not expecting him to say anymore and wasn't paying attention.

"Bea-it-ful…" He stuttered, sleepily. "On p-paper…kn…knew you cos be..beautiful…"

Mary stared at him for a few seconds in shock and was ashamed to feel herself starting to well up. Fortunately, Marshall didn't seem to notice because he sighed softy and closed his eyes again, quickly falling asleep.

"Well, you're the most beautiful thing, I've ever seen." She whispered, leaning forward to kiss cheek.

TBC

Okay, so things are moving on a little quicker now. Hope you enjoyed it. Please review and let me know what you think!