I cannot believe that it's been over a year since I've updated this story. I've lost my way a little with this plot so I'm hoping this chapter fits in with the rest. Please review if you're still reading.
When The Hero Falls.
When Mary went down to the cafeteria, she saw that Rachel had arrived and was sat with Seth, Stan and Eleanor.
"Mary." Marshall's mom was the first to see her. "How is he?"
"He's okay." She pulled a chair over to their table to sit down. "The nurse came back and they're doing his exercises now."
"I'm impressed you got him to see sense." Seth commented. "I tried all morning."
"I guess he just needed some time to sulk." Mary replied with a shrug.
"Did he talk to you?"
"A little." She nodded. "He doesn't want you to give up your job for him."
"He's my son…" Seth started to protest.
"I understand that." Mary held up a hand to stop him from continuing. "He's got it into his head that he won't ever be able to go back to work himself, which could be true and he just doesn't want you to have to quit too."
Seth sighed. "I never thought I would say this out loud but there are more important things then work."
"This is a good thing…" Mary claimed. "I mean, a few week ago he couldn't remember his own name now he remembers enough of his family history to know it's important."
"I never thought about it like that." Seth said and then looked at Rachel. "How amazing is that? How amazing is our boy?"
Rachel smiled and reached over to take his hand. "He's getting better…slowly, but he's getting there."
"Look, I meant what I said earlier…If you guys want to head home for a few weeks then I'll be here for Marshall."
Seth looked at Rachel, trying to read her feelings on the idea. "We will need to go back at some point but maybe in a week or so…"
"Well, I'll be here so whenever you're ready." Mary shrugged and then stood up. "I better get back up there…why don't you guys go to the house for a bit, take a break and grab some dinner."
"Maybe that's a good idea." Rachel squeezed Seth's hand. "If you don't mind, Mary…"
"Of course not and it might do Marshall some good…If we start giving him some space he might start to think he's getting better."
"You really think that will work?" Seth asked doubtful.
"Either that or he'll think we don't care enough to be here but it's worth a shot, right?" She was only half joking. "It's time he started to try and move forward."
"Isn't it too soon?" Stan asked. "I mean, he didn't look like the Marshall I know…"
"Of course he's not the same." Mary rolled her eyes. "And we don't know if he will ever be the same again but we have to start to try and get some normalcy back in to all our lives…especially his."
Rachel nodded her agreement. "I think it's time we decide what the next step is going to be… Hopefully, he'll be able to leave soon…"
"But surely he's not ready for that." Stan cut in. "I mean he can barely talk…"
"Obviously, he is still going to need some kind of care." Mary stated. "And we need to talk with his doctor…find out what we need to do to move things along…I'll try and set up a meeting with him tomorrow for the three of us?"
"Sounds like a plan." Seth nodded and stood up. "We'll come back later and you bring you some proper food…"
"Oh, there's no need for that…"
"Honey, you need to start eating better." Rachel told her. "Grabbing a snack from the machine isn't healthy…"
Mary sighed. "It's not that bad…"
"We're bringing you dinner and then after we've spoken to Marshall's doctor, we're going to sit down and set out a new schedule." Seth said firmly. "You're going to be no good to Marshall if you end up making yourself ill."
"Huh…" Mary said thoughtfully.
"What?" Seth asked.
"Is this was it feels like to have parents who care and look after you?" She asked, looking up at them both. "Am I too old for you to adopt me?"
Seth rolled his eyes but couldn't help let out a small chuckle.
"Honey, I think we've already adopted you." Rachel patted her shoulder. "We'll see you later."
Mary watched them walking away before turning back to Stan and Eleanor. "So, what's going on with you?"
"What do you mean?" Stan asked.
"You're acting weird."
"It's just strange…seeing him like that…You said he was getting better."
"He is." Mary insisted.
"I just…I thought he would be more like himself." Stan sighed.
"You came on a bad day." Mary told him. "I know he's not spouting useless trivia and he's not back on his feet yet but he is a lot better."
"I guess it's only starting to hit home that there is a good chance that we won't get the Marshall we know back." He rubbed his eyes.
Eleanor patted his arm gently before looking towards Mary. "Do they have any idea how much of his life he will get back?"
Mary shrugged and looked down where her hands gripped tighter on her cup. "They can't be certain how much permanent damage was done to his brain but we're taking it one day at a time."
"What is going to happen if he needs care?" Stan asked. "Will his parents take him home?"
"Why would he go with them? His home is here."
"But what will happen to him? Who will care for him?"
"Who do you think?" Mary stared at him like he had lost his mind. "He's my partner, my best friend..."
"You'll take care of him?!" Stan cut in, in surprise.
"What? Don't you think I can do it?"
"No, I just…" Stan's mouth opened and closed as he tried to find the right words. "I just didn't know this what you had planned, that's all."
Mary just looked at him as if she was trying to find the true meaning behind the words.
"He would do that same for me." She stated simply.
"I know." Stan hung his head a little. "I didn't mean to make you think I don't believe you're up for the job…"
"You just didn't know it was what I had planned…" Mary finished off flatly and Stan could tell that she really did think he doubted her ability. "I should get back up there…"
"I'll see you tomorrow at the office." She stood up and walked away before he could set her straight.
"Damn it." He muttered, watching her leaving.
"Stan?" Eleanor had been watching him closely since they arrived. "What's wrong?"
"I didn't mean to upset her." He claimed. "But I never thought I'd see a day when Mary Shannon willing gave up her job and for someone else…"
"Who says she's giving up?"
"Come on, Eleanor." He shook his head slightly. "You saw Marshall…How does he come back from this?"
"Were you not listening when they all said he was getting better?"
"But what are the chances of him returning to the man he was before?" Stan questioned. "They're still not sure if he'll ever be able to walk or talk properly…"
Eleanor sighed. "These things take time…"
"I just ever thought this would happen…" Stan admitted. "Not to someone like Marshall."
"No matter how good someone is at this job you know it's a risk."
Stan looked ahead, lost in thought and after a few seconds Eleanor grew concerned about his silence.
"Stan?" She reached across and placed a hand on his arm.
"Sorry, just thinking…." He shook his head a little to clear so he could pay attention to Eleanor.
"Thinking about what?" Eleanor prompted.
Stan hesitated a little before answering, unsure how to explain what he was feeling. "I'm just remembering something someone once told me about this job."
"About being a marshal?"
"Yeah, from when I first joined the service… A guy called Eddie Russell, I guess he was a like a mentor and helped to show me the ropes." Stan replied. "We were assigned to a task force and I can't even remember who the target was or what they had done but I remember I wanted to impress the rest of the team."
"I couldn't tell you." He let out a little laugh. "I remember hearing the signal to go and the rest is pretty much a blur."
"I'd imagine that's the same for a lot of people working their first case."
Stan nodded his agreement. "Eddie took me aside afterwards and told me that I wasn't there to impress anyone… Said I was there to follow the orders of whoever was in command and to get the target…anything else could end up getting me and or someone else killed."
Eleanor stayed silent, knowing she didn't need to say anything. There was obviously something connecting his old mention's advisor to what was happening now.
"Every single time I went on a job, even if it was to just to check up on a witness, I always tried to do everything by the book." Stan told her. "But I also prepared….Prepared myself in case something went wrong…."
"It was good advice…"
"Yeah, it was…" Stan agreed. "Until Marshall and Mary become partners and following the rules went out the window."
"Well, they certainly liked to do things their own way…"
"And it worked…they may have bent and sometimes broke the rules but it always for the right reason…they always go the job done but importantly they made sure everyone was kept safe." Stan ran a hand over his head. "I thought they were fireproof…Marshall got shot and stood back up…Mary got adducted and bounced right back…"
"I never prepared for this to happen…" He didn't allow her to cut him off. "All those years, I followed the rules, still knowing someone or myself could get hurt or killed…always preparing in case something happened….but I never thought this would happen to him….to them."
"There was no way you could predict this, Stan." Eleanor tried to comfort him. "He wasn't even at work…"
"I know but Brandi called him because she knew he would protect her no matter...she knew that because that the kind of guy he was…He'd protect anyone."
"It's what makes him so good at his job." Eleanor didn't fail to notice that Stan was referring to Marshall in the past tense.
"I should have known this could have happened….I should have prepared…"
"Stan, come on." Her grip on his hand tightened. "He's over the worst…he's getting better…"
"He's gone, Eleanor." Stan snapped, pulling his hand away and standing up. "Don't you see it?"
"Stan…" Eleanor glanced around and noticed a few of the other customers watching them.
"The Marshall we know is gone…" Stan said a little quieter but firmer. "We all need to stop kidding ourselves."
"You can't just give up on him, Stan." Eleanor got to her feet too. "That's not right and it's not fair."
"I'm just facing the truth…Mary was right earlier, it's time to move on…"
"That's not what she meant…"
"Look, I need to get back to the office..." He cut in. "Are you coming or staying here?"
"We should go and say we're leaving…"
Stan shook his head. "I'm sure Mary can give you a ride back to the office later…"
"Stan, can you please just…"
"I've got to go." He turned and headed for the exit.
Eleanor stared after him, wondering what she should do. She was pretty sure that he didn't truly feel like that and was just having a hard time seeing Marshall in such a bad way but then there was a part of her that was scared Stan was right, that Marshall wasn't going to get any better and after all this time, they were still going to end up losing him.