It seems we have come to the end of the road for my very first In Plain Sight full length story. I'm sad that it's done, but I'm proud of myself for actually finishing it (those of you who know me know I have a tendency to start and not finish. LOL). I had a lot of fun writing it, and I thought it was only fitting to use a Billy Joel song for the final chapter. Hope everyone has enjoyed this as much as I have.
A very fond thank you to all who have reviewed: Autumn Rayne, AbbyAndLivSnigglebottom, Jekka, Whyte Board Marker, JMS529, JJ2008, BrittanyLS, moonchild712, Sparky She-Demon, pink callily, Jdragonfire29, and blueberry55. You are all awesome, and your reviews totally kept me going. Thank you all so much.
And now, as they say, on with the show...
Disclaimer: Not mine!
When you look into my eyes
And you see the crazy gypsy in my soul
It always comes as a surprise
When I feel my withered roots begin to grow
Well I never had a place that I could call my very own
That's all right, my love, 'cause you're my home
-Billy Joel, You're My Home
Marshall heard the familiar voice a split-second before a pillow slammed into his head. He groaned.
Mary laughed from the door where she stood. She was dressed in pajama bottoms and a tank top, her feet were bare and her hair was messy. "Get your ass out of the bed, Doofus."
Marshall groaned again and rolled over, burying his face in the pillow she had thrown at him. It smelled like her, and that made him smile.
Nearly two months ago, Marshall's doctor had run another CAT scan shortly after he had felt Mary's leg against his, and to everyone's relief, Reilly had said that Marshall would walk again. But he would need help at first, and when he was finally ready to go home, Reilly had refused to discharge him until he knew that Marshall wouldn't be alone. Marshall's family had been present at the time, and there was an air of discomfort as Mary firmly announced that Marshall would be staying with her until he could live on his own. Reilly could tell that it had been a topic of heated discussion, but all that mattered to him was that his patient would receive adequate help. After the announcement, Marshall's nurses wasted no time in getting him up and about. But they quickly learned not to do so without Mary present. The first (and only) time that mistake was made, Mary had excused herself for a cup of coffee. She had returned in time to see a nurse walking Marshall down the hall. It was only his second time out of bed, and even from a distance, Mary could see that the activity was too much. She had broken into a run toward him, just in time to catch him as his knees buckled and he pitched forward. Once he was safely back in his bed, Mary had grabbed the nurse and none too gently dragged her out of the room, where she proceeded to deliver a verbal lashing that left the nurse's ears smarting. After that, that particular nurse stayed away as much as possible, and all of the nursing staff waited until Mary was present before they encouraged Marshall to get out of his bed.
Shortly after Mary's declaration that Marshall would be going home with her, she had called her mother and sister and gently told them that they had to leave. To her surprise, Brandi told her that she had already found a place and had been packing, and that she would be gone before Mary brought Marshall home. Jinx had put up more of a fight, crying theatrically and blaming Mary for everything that was wrong with her life, as she tended to do. Mary had simply told her to leave, then hung up the phone and cried for a few minutes. Once she was pulled together, she went back to Marshall.
It was almost three additional weeks before Marshall was officially discharged from the hospital. There was concern that a media frenzy would be waiting, because everyone wanted to interview the hero marshal. But Stan, thoughtful and ahead as always, had let it leak that Marshall wouldn't be released for a full three days after his actual release date. Mary was concerned, but when she wheeled Marshall out of the hospital, there wasn't a reporter to be seen. She was relieved as she pushed Marshall to her car and helped him into the passenger's seat. As they drove out of the hospital parking lot, Mary let out a breath she hadn't realized that she was holding.
Marshall was finally going home.
Mary sauntered over to the bed and sat down beside him. "Get your ass up," she repeated, grinning.
Today was his first day back at work. Mary had reluctantly returned to work part-time shortly after she brought him home, at Stan's insistence. At first, she had struggled with it. A lot. To her surprise, it was Brandi who stepped up and saved the day. Since she had picked an apartment close to Mary's home, she was willing and able to drive over to Mary's and check on Marshall while Mary was at work. Mary was hesitant for the first couple of days, even going as far as to returning home without calling first. And every time, she had found Marshall comfortable and relaxed, and Brandi looking after him, just as she had promised. Brandi was finally growing up, making her big sister incredibly proud of her. She even took Marshall to his therapy appointments when Mary just couldn't get away from work in time.
She nudged him. "Come on, lazy. You have a ton of paperwork waiting for you at the office."
He peered out from under the pillow. "I haven't been at work in two months. How do I have any paperwork?"
Her smile widened. "Your paperwork, my paperwork…what's the difference?"
"The difference is that your paperwork is your paperwork!"
Suddenly Mary snatched the pillow off of his head and tossed it aside. "Semantics. Now get out of this bed before I shove you out of it."
He stuck his tongue out at her. "I'd like to see you try."
A split second later, he let out a surprised oof as she shoved him onto his back. She grinned at him predatorily. "You were saying?"
"I'm up, I'm up."
"Good." Mary stood up and sashayed over to the bedroom door, thoroughly amused.
With her back to him, Marshall made a face at her.
"I can see that!"
After arriving at the office almost two hours later, Stan tried to look nonchalant as he watched Delia read through a folder. It was almost nine a.m., and Mary would be arriving with Marshall any minute now. He shifted from foot to foot as he thought about the previous weeks and spells of anxiety that they had produced for him.
Marshall had been cleared a week ago to return to work, even though Stan thought it might still be a bit too soon. Marshall had very nearly lost the ability to walk, but now it seemed that he was making a full recovery. And as much as he hated to admit it, he was really looking forward to having Mary back full-time, as well. The time between Marshall's release from the hospital and his clearance to return to work had put a real strain on Mary, because Stan needed her at the office and she wanted to stay with Marshall. If it had been up to Stan, he would have let her stay at home with Marshall until he was ready to come back to the office. Truth was, Mary was hard enough to be around without Marshall there. Without him, she was a nightmare. And Stan couldn't wait until his best team was back together again.
Delia looked at Stan curiously. "They'll be here, Stan," she said confidently, reassuringly.
"I know. I just…"
His voice trailed off as he watched Mary and Marshall walk slowly but surely toward him. A ridiculous grin appeared on his face as he patiently waited for them. Marshall was walking with a slight limp, the only obvious tell of his traumatic time. Mary walked alongside him, more focused on him than she was actually getting back to their desks. The closer they came, the bigger Stan's smile became.
When Mary finally noticed that Stan was staring at them, she rolled her eyes. "Yes, he's here. I told you I'd get him here safely."
"I'm sure he had reason to doubt, considering the reliability of that pile of rust you call a car," Marshall shot back.
Stan laughed and shook his head. "Both of you, knock it off. We have work to do."
Marshall eased over to his desk and sat down with a muted groan. His body was still healing, but he was finally back at work, and he was thrilled.
Mary squeezed his shoulder lightly before sitting at her own desk, where a pile of paperwork was waiting on her. She made herself comfortable, then looked over at Marshall. He was already lost in an open file in front of him. His eyes were focused, his jaw moved slightly, and Mary had to smile.
She had never seen a more welcome sight.
A/N: Like they say, all good things come to an end. But without giving too much away, I have started a new story (not a sequel for this) that I think everyone will enjoy. It's called Release, and I should be posting the first chapter of it in the next few days. Again, I really hope everyone enjoyed this story as much as I've enjoyed writing it. Thank you for reading! Oh, and feel free to review or pm me with suggestions for a sequel...