Six days. Six whole days of complete, utter freedom, six days wherein she doesn't have to even look at a plane.
Mary wakes with a sigh, rolls over and stretches from tip to toe, and she grins at the ceiling while she contemplates for a long while what she's going to do with herself. For six whole days.
The house is peaceful; she can hear birds and waves and rustling leaves, but that's about it. It's late afternoon, if she remembers the way the light hits her room correctly -- her sleep is generally pretty whacked, with the flying through timezones and her own tendency to be insomniac.
Mary moves to get out of bed and flops back down with a groan, her entire midsection making its general unhappiness known. Apparently her sleep schedule isn't the only thing that's whacked.
By the time she gets out of bed and manages to find what meager emergency supplies she has in her luggage, her cramps are really on a rampage. She curses her way through the house until she finds the Tylenol -- of course Steve keeps painkillers not in the bathroom like everyone else but in the kitchen cupboard next to, wow, a lot of vitamin bottles.
She manages coffee and an English muffin -- Steve apparently stocks up before she arrives for a visit, which, okay, that's kind of new -- and a hot, hot, lovely hot shower before she realizes her brother took the only road-worthy vehicle to work and she's stuck.
But then, she never did get to do this when they were teenagers. There's a careful balance to be struck between maximum embarrassment and the likelihood that Steve will actually do what she asks.
So she calls Danny.
Danny's voice is warm on the line when he answers. "Mary, Mary, quite contrary."
"Hey, Danny," she greets him, edging on cheerful although she's pretty sure he can hear the mischief in her voice. He has sisters, after all. "Steve with you?"
"Yeah, hang on," Danny says, and then louder, "you're on speaker."
"Hey, Steve," Mary trills.
"Mary?" Steve's voice sounds weirdly muffled, overlaid with road noise. "What's up?"
"Are you on your way home yet?"
"Headed back to HQ now," Danny answers for him.
Steve asks, "You need something?"
Mary's pretty sure her smirk is transmitting along with her voice, and she makes sure to speak loud and clear. "Yeah, I need you to pick up some tampons."
There's a sound like Steve's choking on air, and Mary wishes she could see his face. "Get them yourself," he says, sounding like he can't quite believe he's saying it, and Mary can hear an unbelieving huff from Danny.
"I would, but somebody left me here without a car," Mary grumps.
"What do you mean?" Steve asks, thickheadedness firmly in place. "The Marquis is in the garage."
Mary and Danny both snort at the same time. "That thing is barely road legal, and I am not taking a cab like a tourist when I'm home, on vacation. C'mon, big brother ninja, man up and buy the goddamn tampons."
"She's got a point, you know," Danny adds, fully on board with Mary, she loves him, really. He even keeps going, "Menstruation is a natural phen --"
"Just," Steve hisses, like he can't unlench enough so he's got to talk through his teeth. "Okay, fine, Mary, I will get you tampons. I'll be home in half an hour."
"Thank you," Mary snips. But she can't just leave it there, oh no. "Just don't get the super-size ones, okay, because those will suck your vag dry --"
"Right, okay, thanks for calling," Steve tries to cut her off loudly, and there's a thump and scratching like he's trying to get the phone away from Danny. There's a distant "Fuck!" from someone, and a, "You asshole," and a thunk like somebody got punched before the connection dies.
Mary shakes her head and burrows back down into the couch cushions.
Fifteen minutes later, her phone pings with a picture from Danny: a shot of Steve, looking flabbergasted to be confronted with an entire aisle of feminine products. She's barely processed the hilarity of it when she gets a call from Steve.
"Yeah," she answers breezily.
"Mary," Steve says, trying for calm but really just sounding plaintive, "there are thirty different kinds of tampons here."
She has to work to hold in the snort. "Women need choices, Steve."
"This is --" she can hear him swallow, "this is more than I ever wanted to know about you, Mare, okay, but. What, exactly, do you want?"
"You don't need to go into detail, okay -- the fuck is an applicator? Is that even a word? No, don't answer that, just, tell me a brand, or something."
She doesn't hold in her laughter, this time, but she takes pity on him enough to talk him to the right box. "I'm not sure if this is funnier since you're thirty-five, or if it'd been better when you were seventeen," she surprises herself by admitting.
Steve huffs in amusement into the speaker, letting Mary know he's taking his hazing in stride. "Better then, I think," he answers, and it breaks her heart a little, but he pulls her out quickly by adding, "at least, I wouldn't have had Danny taking pictures."
"Why did you even bring him along?" Mary asks.
"He had shit to get," Steve says, and then he gets louder, "hey, Danno, no, what are you--" like he's trying to chase Danny down -- she can't even begin to imagine what he's carrying and is torn between it being embarrassing for Danny or for Steve -- and in the background she can hear Danny's outraged yelp before the line cuts out.
She wakes up when she hears the front door open and sits up to see Steve coming in with a whole handful of bags. She can feel her hair sticking out to the side as she rubs her eyes. "Hey," she rasps.
"Hey, Mare," Steve greets her, his voice gone quiet. He comes around to sit on the coffee table in front of her. "Howzit?"
Mary glances at the clock on the wall and frowns. "Weren't you going to be home, like, an hour ago?"
Steve looks down sheepishly and puts the bags on the couch across her legs. "Yeah, well. I got a few more things than I expected." He even goes so far as to rub the back of his neck, and Mary gets suspicious.
She starts digging in the bags -- there's the tampons she asked for, along with two microwaveable rice-filled hot packs, orange juice, a bottle of Midol, a bottle of Advil, and three different kinds of chocolate, from fluffy confections to dense and dark bars. "What?" she starts, faintly, one big bar of chocolate in her hand.
"I googled," Steve explains, like he doesn't quite know, himself. "What you might want. There are --" he sort of looks pained, "-- there's apparently a lot of women who are more than happy to share very personal details with the Internet."
It's like the thing with the pictures all over again; Mary's caught between laughing at her brother and the tears in her eyes. "So you stood in the middle of Target with a tampon box under your arm, googling how to comfort your sister when she gets her period?"
Steve looks like an uncertain puppy who hopes he did the right thing. "Yes?"
Mary snorts and stomps on her urge to hug him. "You are the most ridiculous ninja I've ever met."
"Hey, I'm the only ninja you've ever met," Steve answers, rumbly with laughter as he swipes the chocolate from her hold. "Who said this was for you?"
Somehow Steve gets the wrapper open and half the bar in his mouth before Mary can dig her way out from under the blankets and bags. "A-mi' it, tha' wz pretty ninja," he mumbles around his mouthful as he half-leaps, half-falls over the coffee table to get away.
"Yeah, you better run!" Mary yells, finally disentangling herself to give chase. She is going to teach him respect for good chocolate, or so help him.