Spoilers: through 6x08 - "Natural History"
Word Count: 1,424
Summary: In which Barney is sad, Robin is awesome, and being with her makes it kind of easy to stop being sad and be awesome instead.
Author's Note: For The Shiny Happy Ficathon. I LOVE THESE TWO SO MUCH. Season six, thank you for being wonderful.
Barney knows that he was kind of a jerk to Robin. It was a long time ago, but women, like elephants, never forget. Honestly, there was a long time (after he found her at the shooting range crying, and let the record state that Barney Stinson never signed up for making Robin Scherbatsky cry, no sir he did not) where he kind of suspected that she was going to randomly murder him. Think about it: Wendy the Waitress poisoned his drinks for years just because of one hookup. Robin has way more cause to want to shuffle him right off this mortal coil, and way more badassness to wield.
But Robin’s not Wendy the Waitress. Robin’s not really anyone besides Robin. He’s known this for awhile.
But it still surprises him, after the museum, when she’s there for him.
Like when Marshall and Lily decide that the best way to prepare for parenthood is to watch every Disney movie ever made. Barney suffers a minor allergy attack slash seizure during The Lion King. Fathers and uncles and stampedes and and and at least Simba got to know he had a daddy who loved him—
“This movie sucks,” Robin announces loudly and out of nowhere. Barney looks over at her, shocked. She knocks her knee lightly against his. Nobody notices that part.
“What?!?” Marshall, Lily, and Ted gasp.
“It’s stupid,” Robin insists. “They’re lions. Do you really want Baby Aldrin-Erickson to grow up believing that lions have feelings and familial angst? Because gee, I wonder what that’s going to lead to on baby’s first trip to the zoo! Oh, wait. This just in: lions chow down on infant! Reports claim that baby’s last words were, ‘I wuv you, Simba.’ Yeah. That’s happening.”
“Lions aren’t going to eat our baby,” Lily says, offended.
“Yeah, maybe they won’t if you stop this lunacy right now,” Robin says, waving her hand dramatically at the TV. And giving it the finger in the process. The tightness in Barney’s chest loosens a little; it has no choice, in the face of such stone cold awesome. Scherbatsky. Always a pro.
“The Lion King,” Ted says, “borrows its plot from Hamlet. Yeah, that’s right, Robin: the Bard himself. So when you’re disdaining The Lion King, you’re really disdaining the greatest playwright in literary history—”
“PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFTTTTT,” Robin says.
Marshall and Lily laugh at this, and they all decide to switch to Die Hard on the grounds that, hey, one day Baby Aldrin-Erickson will have no choice but to dig this movie.
“Thanks,” Barney murmurs later, helping her into her coat.
She turns to smile confidentially at him. “What are bros for?”
Bros are mostly for helping you get laid, but Barney lets the question stay hypothetical.
Or when they’re all sitting at the bar and Marshall’s saying, “It’s weird, because – because our kid doesn’t even exist yet, and I still love them more than, like, anything.”
I wish Marshall was MY dad, Barney thinks. Then he throws up in his soul a little. What is happening to him??
“More than the Loch Ness Monster?”
“I don’t love Nessie, Ted. I respect her. And yes. More than the Loch Ness Monster.”
Robin glances over at Barney like she can smell the reek of his soul vomit.
“More than baskiceball?”
“Okay, first: that kid is going to dominate at baskiceball. Boy or girl, Marshall gigantic or Lily petite, I don’t care. It’s happening. And yes. More than baskiceball.”
“More than your Dr. Seuss hat?”
“Yes. Baby’s gonna wear that hat, by the way. Or maybe sleep in it.”
“Nope,” Lily says, “not happening.”
“Anything,” Barney interjects without meaning to. It’s like he’s possessed. “Anything in the whole world …”
Marshall, Ted, and Lily stare at him.
“I think the Loch Ness Monster is kind of a wuss,” Robin says.
Marshall’s jaw drops. His hand flies to his heart like he just got stabbed there.
“Robin,” he breathes, aghast.
“Like, please,” she snorts. “The Lake Athabasca Leviathan could totally kick its pansy Scottish ass any day of the week.”
“What, is it going to hear me? From here? Oh wait, it can’t, it’s all the way in Scotland. Whereas ol’ Lally – right on this continent. Bam.”
Marshall challenges her to a (thumb) duel. Robin accepts, and emerges victorious.
They’re in the middle of totally owning five lame-o fourth graders at laser tag. It’s been years since they did this, but they’re kicking ass anyway. It’s kind of what they do. They’re Barnman and Robin. Stuff of legend.
They’re crouched down behind a barrel that’s spray-painted yellow, lying low. Letting the little bastards come to them.
Barney’s glad that at least one of the gang was up for an afternoon of awesomeing. Sometimes it seems like Robin’s the only one who’s truly, lastingly immune to letting the grown-up stuff get her down.
“What do you think?” She sneaks a glimpse over the top of the barrel, breathing heavy. “Divide and conquer, or stick together?”
“Stick together,” Barney decides.
“Let them deal with all of this,” Robin agrees, gesturing between them.
“Exactly. Fear will be struck into tiny hearts. Pants will be peed. O, they will be peed.”
“Hell,” Robin says gravely, “yeah.”
They high five. Then they fist bump, just to really drive the point home.
Then they wait s’more.
“Jeez,” Robin grumbles, “what’s taking them so long? This isn’t hide and seek, losers.”
He chuckles. If there’s one thing he’ll never get sick of, it’s – boobs. But the unrelenting fierceness of Robin Scherbatsky ranks pretty high on the list, too. He can’t remember the last time he felt this much like himself. Barney Awesome Stinson, without any of that ‘oh no, I have feelings! Why doesn’t my daddy love me!’ crap.
“You’re better than a bro,” he marvels, suddenly.
“Huh?” she asks, distracted. She’s still keeping a look out for the enemy.
“You are,” he says. “You’re … you’re like a friend. A really good friend.”
“We’re all your friends, Barney,” she says, turning her attention back to him. “I’m just the one who was there when you found out. Any of them would do the same thing for you.”
But the thing is: no they wouldn’t. Lily would push him to find ol’ Uncle Daddy ASAP. Marshall would want to talk about feelings all the time. Ted would probably recite a poem.
“I’m glad it was you,” Barney says earnestly. “And not just because no one else would have had the cojones to grope that mummy’s cojones.”
Robin laughs. The laugh settles into a smile, and he smiles back. It’s nice to feel like smiling for once. It’s been awhile.
“I get what it’s like,” she finally says, “to have dad problems. I get it a lot. And it’s not the kind of thing that you can just – just sort out. It’s tricky. It takes time. And scotch. Which, speaking of.”
And she pulls a flask out of nowhere.
“Scherbatsky!” he exclaims, gasp-slash-grinning. “Where were you even hiding that??”
She shrugs demurely, twists the top off, and takes a totally un-demure swig. She’s magnificent: all decked out in laser tag gear, hair flying out of her ponytail, face bright with sweat and exhilaration. For a few seconds, all he can think is, I can’t believe I was lucky enough to tap that.
Upon further reflection, he’s not sure whether it’s a thought he’s ever had before. Huh.
His little pondering fest is cut short when the loathsome tones of a pre-adolescent fiend ask, “Are you guys drinking?”
Two of their opponents are standing over the barrel. From down here, they look almost tall.
Barney tenses, horrified. They’ve been caught! Humanity is weakness! Damn it all!
“I dunno,” Robin says, staying cool, “are you getting your butts kicked?”
Without even turning around, she takes them both out with one wave of her fire(or, well, laser)arm.
“Aw, man!” whines one kid.
“You’re mean!” pouts the other.
“Suck it, nerds,” Robin says contentedly. She takes a hearty victory sip, then passes the flask to Barney. The kids shuffle off, grumbling all the while.
“I love you,” Barney declares, gleeful, and takes a sip.
“I’ll drink to that,” Robin grins.
They finish off the scotch and get back to kicking some elementary school ass.