Hands up who thought I forgot about this fic! So sorry for taken so long to update it! I hope it was worth the wait! Please review!
Two Marshals and a Baby
Marshall looked up from his laptop when he heard a knock on the door; glancing at his watch he guessed it was probably Mark coming to pick up Jessica.
"Jessica, are you ready for your Dad?" He shouted down to her room as he made his way to the front door, pulling it open to reveal Mark. "Hey, come on in…She'll just be a minute."
Mark stepped into the house, following Marshall down to the kitchen. "So, I heard about the engagement…Congratulation."
Marshall smiled. "Thanks."
"Mary not around?"
"She's at work…but should be here when you drop Jessica off, if there was something you needed to talk about…" Marshall told him.
He loved Jessica like she was his daughter and wouldn't change her for the world but whenever Mark was around, he tried to step back a little. He was the lucky one, he got to see Jessica every day and pretty much filled the Dad role…He knew it must be hard for Mark to see.
"No, just wanted to say congratulations to her in person…"
They were saved from the awkward silence by Jessica entering.
Mark smiled widely. "Hey, you ready to go? I thought we could go to the park and grab some lunch at the burger place you like."
"I'll have her back about 4…" Mark looked back to Marshall.
"Yeah, no problem." Marshall replied. "Have fun, Princess."
"Bye." She ran and gave him a hug before skipping to the door.
Mark nodded to him before following his daughter and once they were out of sight, Marshall let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding. Mark was a good guy and since the incident a few years ago where he had pushed for Jessica to spend some time in New Jersey with him, he hadn't caused trouble. Although, he sometimes made comments that made Marshall think he wasn't too pleased with the setup. Whenever Mark was around, Marshall was a little on edge, in case he decided to make it an issue. He knew Mary would not react well if he did and he really wanted avoid all of that.
Mark watched Jessica half heartily swing on the swing set, looking deep in thought.
"Hey, Jessica…We got an hour before you need to be home…You want to get an ice cream?"
"Okay." She jumped off the swing.
He waited until they each had an ice cream cone and was sat on a bench next to the small lake in the park before probing her about her mood.
"Are you feeling okay? You've been quiet today."
"Just thinking…" She shrugged.
"Oh yeah?" He was a little surprised at the statement, making his five your old sound too grown up. "What about?"
"Why don't you live with Mom and me?"
"Um…Well, because I live in New Jersey."
"But all my friends have their Moms and their Dads living with them…" She stated. "If you're my Dad why do you live somewhere else?"
He sighed. "That's just how it is, sweetie…Your mom and I aren't in love…"
"She's loves Uncle Marshall."
"I know." He smiled slightly. "That's why he lives there."
"Does that make him my dad?"
Mark sighed. "In a way, yes it kind of does."
"Uncle Marshall is my dad?" She stared at him.
"Okay, the thing is…You're really lucky because your uncle Marshall is a great guy and he loves you of much..." Mark started, although this conversation was getting harder and harder with each word. "When he and your Mom will get married…He'll be your Step-Dad…"
"My friend Bethany has a step-dad."
"Right, well Uncle Marshall will be yours but nothing much is going to change…"
"Can I start calling him Dad?"
Mark paused and took a deep breath, resisting the urge to tell her no…That he was her father and no one else but deep down he knew that was a lie.
"Do you want to?"
She shrugged. "What would I call you?"
"You would still call me Dad…." He replied. "You'd just have two Dads."
"Huh." She thought about it. "I guess that's pretty cool."
Mark smiled again but this time a little sadly. "Yeah, real cool."
Once they got back to the house, they were greeted by Mary at the door and Jessica immediately started to fill her in on their day. Mark just stood back, his hands in his pockets and watched them.
"I'm glad you had a good time…" Mary smiled down at her.
"Is uncle Marshall here?"
"Of course….he's in the kitchen…" Before she could finish the sentence, Jessica was gone.
Mary smiled awkwardly at Mark. "So, are you heading back home tonight or…?"
"Yeah, my flight is at six…" He answered, looking down at his watch and was glad he had a little time to spare. "Actually, there was something that I wanted to talk to you about…"
"Oh yeah? What's up?"
"Can we sit?" He gestured to the couch.
"Okay…" Mary said slowly, unsure where it was heading but led him to take a seat.
"Hey, Mark…" Marshall greeted, entering the room. "Are you staying in town tonight? You're welcome to join us for dinner…"
"Thanks for the offer but I've got to get back." He replied.
"There was just something he wanted to talk about." Mary added.
"Oh, I'll leave you to it…"
"Actually, you should stay…" He told him. "You should probably hear this too."
Marshall looked to Mary questionably but she just shrugged, silently telling him, she had no idea what was going on.
"Okay." Marshall sat down beside Mary. "Is everything okay?"
"It's fine…It's just….Jessica, she was asking some questions….I don't know if she's spoken to you about it or not…"
"What sort of questions?" Mary cut in.
"About why I don't live here…" He told her and then looked at Marshall. "And if Marshall is her Dad because he does."
"Mark, I swear to you, we haven't said anything to her about Marshall being…"
"I know, I get it." He interrupted quickly. "She's a kid and she was confused…I'm glad she spoke to me about it."
"What did you tell her?"
"Just that she was lucky because she's got two Dads." He replied and then ran a hand across the back of her neck. "I told her it was okay if she wanted to call you Dad."
Marshall stared at him, not sure what to say and he looked to Mary for help.
"Mark….You didn't have to do that." She told him, although a big part of her was extremely grateful that he did.
"I did." He said softly. "Look, it's no big deal…Nothing is going to change, right?"
"Right." Mary confirmed. "You're still her father…"
"See, it'll be fine."
They all fell silent; all knowing that Mark wasn't completely thrilled about this but he was understanding and willing to let it happen for Jessica's sake.
"Uncle Marshall…" Jessica chose that moment to run into the room, snapping all the adults out of their thoughts. "Come and help me."
Marshall didn't have chance to reply before she grabbed his hand and pulled him to his feet.
"How can I compete with that?" Mark nodded his head in the direction they had just gone. "She adores him."
"Yeah…" Mary agreed, looking at the space they disappeared into before forcing herself to turn her attention back to her ex-husband. "You know Marshall never tried to take your place…"
"Mary, I meant what I said…I get it…I really do." He assured her. "And anyway, it's not like it would have been difficult for him to try to take my place…"
"I turn up, what? About five times a year…This year, I missed her birthday and was a week late for Christmas." He looked down at his hands. "Marshall is here for her a lot more than I am…It makes sense that she likes him more."
"If it makes you feel better, she likes him more than she likes me to."
He let out a small laugh and looked up at her again. "Do you remember what I said to you at the hospital, after she was born?"
"That you had been terrified that I was serious when I threatened to shoot you?"
"No, not that…About Marshall….About how I was glad he was there for you both."
"You know I love her, right? That I would do anything for her…But no matter how hard it is for me to admit…Marshall is her Dad…I'm just some guy that turns up and takes her out every now and then."
"You're more than that, Mark…Yes, she has a strong bond with Marshall but she loves you to."
"I know…But I'm still glad that you have him around." He stood up. "I need to get going or I'll miss my flight."
"Okay, right…" Mary got to her feet and called out to the other room. "Jessica, come say goodbye to your Dad."
She come running back into the room with Marshall following. Automatically hugging Mark and kissing his cheek. "Bye Dad."
As soon as he set her back on her feet, she was gone again.
"I'll call you about when I'll next be in town." Mark turned to Mary.
"See you, Marshall…" Mark looked at him and held out his hand.
Marshall took it, locking eyes with the other man; knowing it was gesture of no hard feelings.
After dinner, Marshall had got a phone call from Stan, needing his advice on a tricky witness transfer so he headed to the office for a couple hours. When he returned him, he was just in time to watch Mary finishing putting Jessica to bed.
"Hey…" He whispered, entering the room and they both turned to look at him. "Did I miss story time?"
"Just finished." Mary smiled at him, moving over a little so he could sit on the bed too.
"Did Mom tell you a good story?" Marshall asked.
"Did she tell it better than me?"
"Hey!" Mary complained.
"I do voices." Marshall grinned at her.
"Whatever, nerd boy." She gave him a light push, causing Jessica to giggle and him to poke his tongue out at her. She leaned down and kissed her daughter's forehead. "Sweet dreams…Love you."
"Love you, Mom."
"Goodnight, Princess." Marshall kissed her to. "Love you."
"Goodnight…" Jessica mumbled around a yawn, her eyes slowly closing.
Marshall check her nightlight was on before following Mary to the door, flicking the main light off and they were just about the close door when Jessica spoke again.
"Daddy…" She said with a slight hesitation.
Marshall froze for a second. "Yeah, princess?"
"I love you, Daddy…Goodnight."
Marshall blinked a few times, tears already burning his eyes. "Love you to, Princess…"
Mary grinned at him when they stepped out into the hall but then frowned when she saw the tears.
"Hey, Marshall…" She reached for him, as he closed the door. "They're happy tears, right?"
"Of course…" He told her, quickly wiping a hand over his eyes. "Sorry, I just…"
"It's okay…" She assured him, running a hand up and down his arm.
"Wow…I can't believe how effected I was by that…" He took a deep, shaky breath. "It's been a long day."
"Marshall…" She didn't want him to feel embarrassed for getting emotional.
"I just never thought I'd hear someone call me Daddy…" He admitted, softly looking down. "I was okay with it but…to hear her call me that…"
"I know." She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around him after few second she pulled back and looked at him. "Do you want more kids?"
"What? Mare, I wasn't saying…"
"I know that…but we've never discussed it." She replied. "I never asked you."
"You and Jessica are all I need."
"Marshall, that's not what I asked."
He sighed. "I did always want more than one but honestly, I'm happy…extremely happy with our little family."
"I don't know if I can even have any more children….but this is something we should discuss right?"
"Do you want more kids?" He questioned.
Mary looked from him to her daughter's closed bedroom door. "I think you might be able to convince me."
He couldn't help but smile. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her tightly to him. "Inspector Shannon, you just keep on surprising me…"
"I like to keep you on your toes, Inspector Mann…" She replied, leaning up to kiss him.
Okay, I just added the bit about more kids to get your reactions. Mary was 39-ish when Jessica (Norah) was born…so she'd be 44/45 now. Would it be too unrealistic?
Please review and let me know what you think!