A/n: So this is the first In Plain Sight story that I've decided to publish. It starts off at the end of Who's Bugging Mary? After she speaks with her father's friend at the prison. What if her father really was in WITSEC? Would she want to know? Would it change anything at all?
"Ladies and Gentlemen as we begin our final decent into Sunport International Airport we ask that you please return your seat backs and tray tables to their full and upright positions…"
Marshall scrubbed a hand roughly over his tired face as he watched the city of Albuquerque emerge from the nothingness of the surrounding desert. It had been a long day (well, two days now) and he was ready to crash. He had caught the redeye out of Newark and was just now touching down back home in the early morning hours. Eleanor had been kind enough to book him a seat in economy plus to give him more leg room to stretch out but Marshall remained restless throughout the entire flight.
He was worried about Mary—had been since for awhile now. This whole mess with Brandi and O'Conner had taken an unfair toll on his partner. The younger Shannon had made her choices but it was her big sister that always seemed to suffer the consequences.
Marshall knew that Mary was still having a hard time dealing with the events surrounding her kidnapping. She steadfastly refused to let anyone in, including him, even going as far as to beg him not to even ask about it. The lack of information was hard for a guy like him who always wanted to know facts. But even harder than the not knowing was being forced to stand by and do nothing while his partner struggled to keep her head above the water.
Mary was so close to completely breaking and Marshall had to fight every protective instinct in him to keep from reaching out and pulling her into his arms to shield her away from all the things that threatened to tear her apart. He wanted—needed—to save her, if not from her family then from herself. Mary could have a martyr complex at times but Marshall refused to let her take the fall.
'You walk around as if you're somehow responsible for the way she turned out. And I'm scared to death that some part of you thinks you deserve some part of this. That allowing yourself to go down with her will somehow make things right. But it won't. You'll still feel guilty and she won't even appreciate the gesture.'
It wasn't the most subtle approach but the time for caution had passed. He had to get to her before her family could dig their claws in and drag her down with them. If Mary had heard his plea, she never acknowledged it. But she certainly got his message later on the balcony. It physically hurt him to listen to her cry so miserably against his chest. Underneath all of her badass bravado, Mary was still that little girl who missed her daddy.
Grabbing his carry-on from the overhead bin, Marshall shuffled off the plane and out of the airport. Despite his exhaustion, his first stop would be the office to check in with Stan and hopefully catch up with his partner (though he doubted she'd be in this early). He hadn't liked leaving Mary along with everything that was going on but the trip had proved important and Marshall had enough faith in her to keep her cool in the heat of the moment. As a Marshal, 'keep calm and carry on' wasn't just a saying but a way of life. So he knew as long as she had work to do she'd be okay. It was how she would react after everything was over that had him more than a little nervous.
"Marshall! How was your trip?" Stan was already in the office when Marshall slid his badge through the door and had stopped to greet him as he entered.
"Enlightening and exhausting." Marshall sighed and set his bad down on his desk. "Is Mary in yet by any chance?" He added, trying not to sound too anxious. He had clearly failed when Stan gave him a knowing smile.
"Nah. I gave her the day off, you know, let her regroup before getting back into the saddle again." Stan explained.
"Right." Marshall drawled, clearly disappointed.
"You should take the day too, Marshall. You look terrible." Stan suggested.
"Yeah well they don't call it a redeye for nothing." Marshall shrugged, caring more about a certain blonde at the moment than his own appearance. "How is she?" He inquired. It was Stan's turn to shrug.
"Ah you know Mary, she's a tough girl. She'll be alright. Now go home Inspector. Get some sleep before you go hunt down your partner." The older man ordered with a pointed finger.
"Got it boss." Marshall raised his hands in mock surrender. Stan just gave him a look before heading into his office.
Marshall turned and was about to grab his bag and go when he caught sight of Eleanor by the coffee pot. He felt bad about the accusations Mary had made towards the older woman the other day and he thought that maybe he could try and smooth things over before he could get Mary to apologize.
"Good morning." He greeted as he came to stand near her.
"Oh good morning Inspector. How was your flight?" Eleanor responded in her usual pleasant way.
"As good as a six hour redeye can be. Thank you for the leg room though." Marshall replied. He shifted awkwardly on his feet as he tried to figure out how to best approach the subject. "Look, Eleanor, about the other day with Mary—"
"There's no need, Marshall." She stated as she waved him off. "Mary already apologized for her behavior the other day and I accepted it. It's behind us now." Marshall just stood there stunned for a minute before stuttering
"Yes. It was actually very sincere and heartfelt. But I do appreciate your attempt to try to patch things up. You're a good friend to her." She smiled and then as she turned away from him she added under her breath "Maybe better than she deserves."
Marshall resisted the urge to sigh and bit his tongue instead. He wished other people could see the side of Mary that he saw. The warm, funny and even sometimes sweet person that she could be when she trusted someone enough to let her guard down. Maybe then they would find her worthy of their care and kindness. And maybe then they'd understand why he stayed by her side. Instead, Marshall just gave the office administrator a small smile before turning back to grab his bag before heading for the elevator. Pulling out his cell, he sent Mary a text to let her know he was back before he headed out to his truck and started home.