Fandom: In Plain Sight
Characters/Pairing: Mary Shannon/Marshall Mann
Summary: The morning he returns to the office she brings him coffee. The first night he had been in the hospital she had spent the entire night sitting on a rickety wooden chair by his bedside waiting for him to wake up
Notes: Post-"Trojan Horst". Spoilers for that episode, I guess. I mean, I dunno. "Omg Marshall got shot." But even people who've only seen previews know that happens. Oh wait oh wait oh wait "Marshmallow" (you'll see) totally comes from ams87 and not from me! She'd hang me or something if I didn't say that. Besides, it's kind of what inspired me to write this so I really have to give credit where it is due. And I want to thank my two amazing ego-boosting betas (who have said themselves that they don't really know how to beta, but that's okay seeing as I'm not entirely sure what a beta does anyway), fatherleary and matchlightfire. Whew. Okay. Too long. Done. Now read.
Word count: 1284
The morning he returns to the office she brings him coffee.
The last morning that had happened had to have been at least six months ago. And nearly every time it does happen they squabble and then skirmish and then Stan ends up with a newly brown-dyed shirt.
The first night he had been in the hospital she had verbally and then physically assaulted five nurses to the point of tears and had continued to threaten them with more until she had been granted permission to wait in his hospital room. She had spent the entire night sitting on a rickety wooden chair by his bedside waiting for him to wake up, alternately sobbing and restraining—with a Sisyphean degree of struggle—from sobbing. She only left at what must have been five in the morning after what must have been seven hours by his side. He hadn’t woken up all night.
Marshall only knew this because he had woken up. At around 2:00 AM. Mary was sobbing and she sounded like an animal and this only ripped and tore at his heart. He opened his eyes a slit and there she was, quaking and shaking and sniveling and bawling and she was like something that he had never seen before. And after seeing it surely his heart would have been ripped out of his ribcage by some bloody grotesque invisible hand had he not, almost involuntarily, screwed his eyes shut and constricted his chest and taken the deepest sharpest shaky breath possible.
Mary hadn’t heard it. She was howling too hard. This was good. If he could remain “asleep” he wouldn’t have to face her. He didn’t think he could. Not now. Not like this. He was supposed to be recovering but merely Mary’s presence in here was ripping him apart limb from limb and making sure that instead of recovering he would continue dying all over again. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t. He couldn’t. He couldn’t. He couldn’t.
For the next three hours he lay there and Mary sat there and she sobbed and then stopped and then sobbed and then stopped. When she finally left (to go take care of Jinx and Brandi, he figured, who were too damn incompetent to look after themselves goddammit he was broken and she needed to fix him now goddammit, or maybe because she couldn’t bear to continue sitting by him and watching him maybe just maybe about to die because it was breaking her heart, the idea of which broke his heart most of all) he let out the longest, most painful breath he had ever held in his life. He finally opened his eyes.
The hospital wouldn’t even let her past the front doors after that night because of all the nurses that had had to take mental or physical health days after dealing with her. She hadn’t seen him since the first night in the hospital and she hadn’t seen him conscious since the same afternoon of the accident.
But here they are now. They are standing face to face and she is holding a cardboard tray of expensive complicated coffee drinks and her eyes are still massively swollen and red and puffy from crying. But she’s acting tough.
“Hey, champ,” she says, flashing him a tight-lipped grin.
“Hey.” Every time he looks at her it just about breaks his heart.
“You know that with that sling you can’t mambo any more, thank god. If it stopped you from speaking Ukrainian too I’d be thanking the gun.”
“Not the shooter?” he says with a smirk. You dumbass is that all you can say why is my heart hammering so hard I feel like I’m thirteen again but then again I always do around Mary you dumbass is that all you can say!?
“If I ever see that bitch again she’s going to hell and I’m going to have to enter our own damn program in order to keep from getting axed by the state.”
“You know,” he says, “I can still hit you with my good arm.” And when he does, she lurches to the side and the coffee tray heaves violently in the same direction. One of the drinks falls to the floor and explodes upon contact with the linoleum; one of the remaining cups falls in a peculiar direction so that it is almost sitting in the tray normally but upside down, and begins emptying half its contents out through its top; and the final cup is just staggered sideways, partly in its holder and partway just lying on top of the rest of the cardboard, with its top knocked slightly askew but most of its contents intact.
Of course, that last largely unscathed one is going to be Mary’s.
“I can’t believe you’d hit a girl!” she whines. “And you’re a cripple! I can’t believe a fucking cripple would hit a girl!”
“You’re no girl,” he retorts with glee, and a smart-ass smile blooming on his face. This conversation sounds somewhat familiar. Not like he cares.
She picks up the cup from the drink that had completely fallen apart on the floor and thrusts it out to him. “This one’s for you, Marshmallow.” And how could it possibly matter that she sounds like a bitch because she’s using her pet name for him which changes the tone of everything else in its sentence.
And which also of course only makes him want her more.
Nevertheless, although he loves her, he is about to eye the drink-which-is-empty-and-therefore-reall
He grins and his heart leaps because he’s still a giddy thirteen-year-old. Besides: Victory.
He takes the coffee cup from her but she doesn’t let go yet.
“This doesn’t change anything, you know,” she half-whispers in a hoarse voice.
His heart soars and then is devoured in midair by ravenous greedy falcons, for whatever it is to which she might be referring and then for the fact that she has still said something dismaying regardless of her intended allusions.
“You’re still a douchebag,” she says. “For getting shot.”
Never mind the falcons because his heart is ramming against his chest so hard his ribs hurt to the point of breaking. If it weren’t for this he would want to hit her for that, for the injustice of it all.
“But thank you for staying alive,” she says. Her voice, again, is oddly strained and quiet (for Mary). “For me.” She gives him a tight smile and wraps her other arm around his waist. He feels like he’s back in the barn now because he is petrified and because with his sling and his other hand on the coffee he can’t do anything but just stand there like a plank. He feels her lips press against his cheek for the second time in fifteen days and he feels like he’s just been shot again.
She withdraws from the hug-and-kiss and he hopes that the pain isn’t showing on his face. Or at least that she thinks it’s because she brushed against his sling the wrong way.
She gives him another tight-lipped grin and then turns around and heads toward Stan’s office. “Hey Stan,” she shouts, holding out for her boss the cup that was going to be for Marshall. “You owe me three-fifty.”
You know the drill. Comment. Tell me if/how bad it sucks. Or if/how bad it rocks, alternately.