Spoilers: General Season 4
Word Count: 1,872
Summary: While busting out his magic skills, a drunken Barney has a slight fire incident. Robin comes to the rescue.
Author's Note: I was having a glum, productivity-devoid kinda day, and then I drank an iced tea and this appeared! Oh, caffeine, you are my life partner. Written for nikitembo's prompt "brotp, magic." :D
It’s like three in the morning when Ted and Barney come up from MacLaren’s, Ted drunkish and Barney drunkity-drunk-drunk. Robin’s all dressed and ready for work, sitting at the table and nursing a cup of coffee. She’s still feeling a little glowy, because she went out on a really good second date last night, and she’s thinkin’ tonight’s going to be a really really good third date, nudge nudge wink wink.
“Girls don’t like magic, Barney.”
“Oh. Oh, Theodore, my sorry Muggle chum. Not a drop of magical blood runs in your veins.”
(Harry Potter talk totally confirms Barney’s drunkity-drunk-drunk state. Usually, he just scoffs and goes, “Pfft! Kid’s books.” when Marshall starts getting teary-eyed over the memory of Deathly Hallows or goes off on one of his zealous rants re: the movies’ inaccurate portrayal of Dumbledore or starts trying to figure out which Hogwarts house all of them would be in. Why a life-sized Storm Trooper in the living room is a-okay but an overt passion for Potter isn’t, Robin will never know. Also, for the record - Ted: Ravenclaw; Lily: Hufflepuff; Marshall: Gryffindor – but he will settle for Hufflepuff, since he’s got a cheery demeanor and that way he’d get to spend all his time with his ladylove; Barney and Robin: Slytherin. Robin’s down with that. Green’s a good color for her.)
“Seriously. How is you pulling scarves out of your mouth until you start gagging going to make any girl want to go near you, ever?”
“There is no logic behind it, Ted. That’s why it’s magic.”
“How ‘bout I agree with the no logic part and we—”
“Observe. Hey there, Rrr-obin.”
He actually does that. Makes the ‘R’ its own syllable. Robin looks up at him. His expression is very determined, very ‘watch and learn, Teddy boy,’ but as soon as their eyes meet, his face softens into this goofy smile. Barney’s pretty cute when he’s shitfaced. She’ll give him that.
“How was your date?” he asks, sinking down into the chair next to hers. “Dating? That date you went on, with that guy, that you were all excited about going out with on that date? Was that tonight? I dunno, I mostly don’t listen when you talk about stuff like that, because, uh, Robin and her dating stories? Can you say bo-ring? Boring. Bam. I just did. But whatever. How was that? The date? Good, right? Good times were had? On that date? So you guys are like dating now? Unless you didn’t go. On the date. That you dated. To go dating. With.”
He ends up with his chin in his palm, gazing raptly at her.
She can’t help laughing. “You are drrr-unk.” (See, he’s not the only one who can do the two-syllable thing.) “And it was nice.”
“Nice,” he scoffs, a little of his ‘Suck it, Mosby, magic is awesome’ swagger coming back. “That doesn’t sound so great.”
“Okay, it was awesome,” Robin admits, feeling herself start to beam. She has to let a little of her giddy out or she’ll explode. “He’s smart and funny and he grew up in Alaska, which is like diet Canada—”
“Robin, come on,” Ted interjects from the couch. “Diet Canada? Alaska totally kicks Canada’s ass. Give the ol’ US of A credit where credit’s due.”
“Um, Alaska? State. Canada? Country. Owned.”
Ted starts rambling about how Alaska has Kodiak grizzlies and Jewel, but it’s easy to tune him out. She turns back to Barney and does a little shimmy as she finishes, “Anyway, Nick is awesome, and we’re going out again tomorrow night. Mama’s gonna get herself a little third date somethin’-somethin’, if you know what I mean.”
“Oh,” Barney says, looking exactly zero percent enthused.
He must be too drunk to get that she means sex. Barney minus enthusiasm about sex equals apocalypse.
“You know,” she adds, to help him out, “a little bow-chicka-wow-wowwww.”
His eyebrows scrunch together. “I don’t follow.”
Oh, come on now. “Sex, Barney. I mean sex.”
“Ah.” Still no enthusiasm.
Damn it, she is so not in the mood to fight off zombies and deal with final judgment day.
“Come on,” she urges, nudging him with her elbow, “that’s gotta get me at least a high five, right?”
He doesn’t high five her. Instead, he looks at her in this bizarre way, and then his expression full-on reverts to ‘Suck it, Mosby’ levels of drunken vehemence.
“Hey, Robin,” he near-sneers, “how do you feel about – MAGIC!”
He waves his hands all zany, and – whoosh! Fire! At first, it’s just a normal Barney fireball, which all of them have borne witness to so many times that it’s not even worth noticing. Except then one of the sparks must catch, because all of a sudden, Barney’s arm is on fire.
Ted stops singing the praises of Alaska’s state flag (“Eight stars, strewn across a dignified blue backdrop – it’s poetic in its simplicity, really, in a way that a maple leaf can’t—”) and yells, “OH GOD, OH GOD. BARNEY’S ON FIRE.”
Clearly he’s just drunk enough to be totally useless and lame.
Robin jumps out of her chair. “CHILL, MOSBY. I GOT THIS.”
Meanwhile, Barney: “FIRE. I’M ON FIRE. THERE’S FIRE ON ME.”
She thinks of running to the kitchen for the fire extinguisher, but THERE’S NO TIME (something about this situation demands a whole lotta verbal and mental caps lock), so she grabs a blanket off the couch instead and whacks Barney’s arm with it over and over.
Thankfully, it does the trick.
Barney – who collapsed on the floor somewhere in those seven seconds of chaos – stares dazedly up at her.
She sinks down onto her knees next to him. “Sorry to break it to you, Barney, but as a girl, I’m gonna say ex-nay on the agic-may.”
“You saved my life,” he says wonderingly. He’s still got that goofy look on his face, staring up at her, only now it’s like heightened to the trillionth power.
“Nah,” she replies, smiling. “Your right arm, maybe. So on second thought, maybe I did save your life. Hey-o!”
He doesn’t even spare a laugh for her spur-of-the-moment masturbation quip. Man, he is off his game tonight.
“Oh, Robin,” he sighs, and just keeps looking at her.
It’s getting kind of creepy. She feels like she missed something.
“Let’s get your jacket off and get you over onto the couch, okay?” She grabs his arm and helps him off the floor, then gives him a hand taking off his flame-slain suit jacket. “Ted, get off—”
But Ted’s not on the couch anymore. Ted’s not even in the room anymore.
What the hell is up with this morning?
Robin dumps Barney on the couch and the jacket on the coffeetable. “Hey, Ted’s gone.”
“Maybe he Disapparated,” Barney mumbles. “Oh, wait. He can’t. Because he’s a Muggle. What up.”
It’s the most down-in-the-dumps ‘what up’ ever, but she figures he deserves points for trying, so she high-fives his vaguely waving hand.
She finds Ted in the kitchen. “Way to vanish.”
“Sorry, I just – how’s Barney?”
“Drunk and dazed. Man, is he acting weird or what?”
Instead of agreeing with her, what Ted does is ask, “Robin, how much do you really like Nick?”
Seriously? “Nick’s not going to hate me just because I called Alaska diet Canada, Ted. Newsflash: everyone’s not as sensitive about this as you are—”
“It’s not about that,” he interrupts. He’s all weirdly serious for someone who was trying to remember the lyrics to Who Will Save Your Soul like five minutes ago.
“What’s it about, then?” she asks impatiently.
He’s quiet for a long time. A long time that turns into a long, long time. She is officially surrounded by weirdos.
“Nothing,” he says at last, in a way that definitely doesn’t sound like nothing. “Just – hey, how ‘bout you bring Barney some coffee?”
“How ‘bout you bring Barney some coffee?”
“Beeeecauuuse—” For a second she thinks he’s not going to manage to come up with a reason, but then he busts out, “I’m the reason he just set himself on fire. I’m probably not his favourite person in the world right now.”
She rolls her eyes. “Fine.”
When she goes back out into the living room, Barney’s kind of slumped over on the couch, staring down at nothing in particular. He looks so miserable that her heart does a little skippy thing. She still never quite knows what to do when he stops with the sexing and the awesomeing and turns into just some average, run-of-the-mill, feelings-having person who’s not happy all the way. She can’t really think of anything that Barney could want that he doesn’t have already.
“I brought you some coffee,” she says gently.
He looks up at her. “Thanks.”
She flirts with the idea of just giving him the mug and going back into the kitchen, but in the end, he’s so pathetic that she knows she can’t go there.
“You look sad,” she says instead, sitting down next to him.
He’s quiet. Quiet for a too-long time, just like Ted. Seriously, what is up with these two? She’s starting to sense a conspiracy. She’s not sure she wants in on it.
“He was a good suit,” Barney says at last, all verklempt and small-voiced. “Served me well.”
He casts a forlorn glance at the coffeetable.
It’s gotta be a sign that she’s been hanging out with him too long, that she genuinely feels the vicarious sting of his sartorial tragedy. She probably wouldn’t even know the word ‘sartorial’ existed if it weren’t for Barney. It’s funny, how people change your life in all these little ways.
She puts the mug on the coffeetable so she can wrap an arm around him. “Aw. C’mere.”
He hesitates for a second, then rests his head against her shoulder. She’s a little surprised by the weight of him against her. He just feels so solid and there. She kind of gets the weird sense sometimes that he tries not to touch her very much. Because of the long-long-ago sex, she guesses. Maybe he thinks it’ll be awkward – or, hey, this is Barney she’s dealing with here: maybe he just doesn’t see the point in really committing to physical contact with a girl he’s already nailed.
Whatever the reason, he’s sure contacting now. He exhales and she feels the slight movement of it against her body. His breath tickles her neck. Without really realizing she’s doing it, she lifts her hand from his shoulder and rests it on his head instead. She runs her fingers almost carefully over his hair.
“Oh, Robin,” he murmurs for the second time, and then he falls asleep on her. Ted doesn’t come out of the kitchen. Instead, he starts cooking breakfast – which is crazy, if you think about it, because he hasn’t even gone to bed yet. Still, it smells like bacon and French toast now instead of just burnt suit, and the couch is comfy, and with Barney resting against her, Barney’s breath on her neck and Barney’s hair soft under her fingers … well, it’s all just sort of nice.
She’s late for work, but she doesn’t mind so much.