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Fanfic: Catching the Clock, 9.06


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Knight Vision

It’s the day before they leave for Farhampton and there’s a feeling of euphoric – if slightly nervous – excitement in the air.  The pre-wedding flowers Barney sent to Robin already arrived at the apartment earlier in the day and still sit on the counter in a place of honor while after a last abbreviated day at work the two returned home to enjoy lunch together.

Throwing out their empty sushi containers, Barney enlightens Robin on the epiphany he’s had.  “I’ve been thinking; we have to find Ted a girl for our wedding.”  After Ted’s disturbing fixation with their wedding planning and then the MacLaren’s and carousel incidents, it seems like the best idea to focus his interest elsewhere since he always gets like this when he’s alone but not when he has a new girl to dote on.  “Otherwise it’s going to be an entire weekend of lonely tears and dejected ‘self-fives’ – if you know what I’m sayin’ – under the covers at night.  And probably during the day too, cause what else is he gonna have to do?”

“That might not be a bad idea,” Robin muses from her place on the couch.  “It’s been months since Ted’s had a date.  But we can’t leave him up to his own devises or he’ll end up with someone just as crazy as Jeanette.”

Barney’s eyes light up.  “Exactly.”  She took the words right out of his mouth and is already halfway to his brilliant plan.  “Which is why we have to handpick the girl for him so we’re not victims to any more unbalanced girlfriend situations.”

“We’re going to have enough relative drama this weekend,” she agrees.  “Ted relationship drama is the last thing we need.”

Crossing back into the living room, he bends to pick up his iPad from the coffee table.  “I’ve already kicked off the slideshow with – ”

“You started without me?” she asks with a hint of disappointment in her voice.

“I’m telling you now,” he shrugs, sitting back down beside her, distracted with turning on the tablet.

Robin frowns for half a second, then it’s gone and she’s snatching the iPad from his hands.  “Let me see.”

“All I’ve got so far is Cassie,” he tells her, swiping a finger across the screen and pulling up her picture.

“She’s pretty,” Robin remarks.  “I’d say a nine.”

Barney knows enough to refrain from offering his own opinion; besides, they grew up together in the old neighborhood and Cassie feels almost like a cousin.  “A little out of Ted’s league, I know, but we’ll give him a shoot.  Plus I’ve got the inside track.  You know my mom’s friend Rita?”

“From her birthday party?”

“Yeah.  Cassie’s her daughter.  Used to be a gymnast so we know she’s mad flexible.”

“Used to be?” Robin questions, waiting for the catch.

Barney has that cat that ate the canary grin.  “She had to quit when her boobs got too big and threw off her balance.”

“Well there you go,” Robin quips.  Thinking along those same lines, another candidate pops into her head.  “Hey, what about your new secretary?”

“Grace?” he ponders.

“She’s young and blonde and perky, looks like she’s up for anything.  At the GNB Christmas party that girl had desperate written all over her.  She’s perfect for Ted.”  Barney looks over at her, grinning.  “You know what I mean,” she tries to back her way out of calling Ted desperate.  “Because….because they’re both looking and – and – just please don’t tell Ted I said that.”

Barney snickers softly.  “No, desperate is perfect for Ted.  Or maybe just easy.”

Robin quirks her head, acknowledging the truth of that.  “But not psycho.”  She is not about to deal with another white dress at her wedding threat.

“Which is exactly why we have to head him off before he does anything stupid.  Every weekend wedding hook-up is decided at Friday night drinks.  I have a name for it.”

“Of course you do,” she says, making Barney’s grin expand.

“It’s called the Indiana Jones Effect.  You know how in The Last Crusade where there’s that cool knight dude who tells them if they’ve chosen wisely or poorly?  Well picking a girl to get your rocks off with is exactly like that, especially at a confined weekend setup with a finite number of people.”

“Whoever Ted ends up with Friday night he’ll be stuck with until the end of the wedding,” Robin paraphrases, picking out the key and very shrewd point of his speech.  That’s the thing about Barney.  At first glance people think he’s just eccentric and silly with his theories and his scales and his plays, but they’re actually very cleverly crafted, incredibly intelligent, and grounded in irrefutable wisdom.

“Precisely.”  He gives her the on-the-nose gesture.  “The Indiana Jones Effect,” he repeats.  “It’s a thing.  I think I’m gonna add it to my blog!”

“….Remember when Ted first got the job at Columbia,” Robin asks, off on her own tangent, “and he kept going on about how it will be so easy to get laid now because women think professors are sexy?”

“Yeah,” Barney scoffs, “and that’s worked really well for him.”

“That’s because he’s gone about it all wrong.  You guys had it right with your gift to him.  Forget tweed.  Indiana Jones,” she sighs, picturing a young Harrison Ford in full explorer getup.  “Now that’s the hot and sexy professor look.”

Barney smirks because he knows her so well.  “Funny you should say that.  I was saving this to debut in Belize, but why not break it in a few days early?  Just a sec.”

He disappears into their bedroom for a few minutes and Robin doesn’t know what to expect.  They have fairly regular role playing nights that utilize various accessories, toys, and costumes, a few of which they’ve brought along for their honeymoon – or sexcation as Barney prefers to call it.  He’s introduced her to gadgets she never even knew existed but now she appreciates why they do.  They can get pretty wild and kinky so it’s anyone’s guess what he might bring out to show her.

When he comes back into the room, it’s not a new sex toy or Japanese wheel he has for them to try but a new costume – a full Indiana Jones costume.  He’s got it all:  the brown fedora and leather jacket, brown leather belt and boots, and a matching leather satchel strapped over his shoulder.  Underneath, he’s wearing a pale blue shirt with no tie, just left open at the neck – very open – with the first two buttons undone allowing a glimpse of sculpted chest.  Robin is in a word mesmerized.  Combining her two fetishes – that for Indiana Jones and for Barney – is unspeakably hot.  “I can work with this….We’re in the rainforest of Belize,” she gives him the set-up, “and we’ve just fought our way out of a cave surrounded by ruthless rival treasure hunters.”

“But with the priceless gold artifact safely in tact in my satchel,” Barney puts in.

“And to celebrate we’re about to have our way with each other out in the open jungle.”

“With the native palms overhead as our canopy and nothing but the toucans and macaws to watch us go to town on each other….and maybe there’s a waterfall next to us too.”

Looking him lustfully over from head to toe, she asks, “Do you have the – ”

Before she can finish, he brings the brown whip out from behind his back with a grin.

She doesn’t answer, doesn’t say a word, just grabs him by his open shirt and tugs him toward the bedroom.

****

A half an hour later, the two lie there winded – Barney on his stomach with his foot hanging off the bed and his head turned to face her on the pillow, Robin on her back beside him with the covers haphazardly strewn low across their hips, his fedora covering her breasts and her one wrist still bound to the headboard with his whip.

Boneless, relaxed, and completely satisfied, she delightedly gasps, “That was….”

Yeah,” he grins lecherously, his heart rate only just returning to normal.

Still catching her breath, she laughs low and sated.  “We have got to thank your Costume Guy….You are packing this right?”

Barney props up on his elbow.  “Absolutely.  And you’ve got the – ”

“The denim jacket is already in my suitcase.”  Robin smiles as he hums his delight.  Sparkles is still his favorite fetish.

Leaning over, he reaches up to free her wrist and then his hand settles against the soft skin of her waist as his eyes drift down to the fedora.  “Time for Indy to go exploring….”  She’d been so wild and eager for it that there hadn’t been the time or opportunity for leisurely kissing and touching.  Quick and to the point is satisfying and fun; this last time had been mind-blowing.  It used to be his preferred method even – get it in, get it done, get it out and send her home – but with Robin sometimes he likes to draw it out and take his time with her, loving every inch of her body.  Removing the hat, he tosses it aside to bare her breasts to his hungry eyes.  “....Starting in the Scherbatsky Hills.”

“Really?” she teases.  “That’s what you’re going with?”

Barney leers down at her.  “Judging by the sounds you were making, you couldn’t get enough of me exploring your lower cavern.”

“Please don’t call it a cavern.”

He lets out a low, dirty chuckle.  “Cave?  Grotto?  Cavity?”

“No, just – no.  None of that.”

“I was going with the archeologist imagery, but fine; Kitty it is….I wasn’t joking about the sounds you made though.  God, I love the sounds you make.”

Robin smirks at that, at his sheer level of enthusiasm.  “You are so easy.  A little:  Mmmm, oh, ooooh, yes, give it to me, B-nasty.  Give it to me!  YES!  More, harder – ”  Before she can even finish her display meant to mock men, she feels Lil’ Barney twitch against her thigh.  “You are easy,” she laughs.  “I was only getting warmed up.”

“And it’s even hotter when it’s real,” he winks.

He immediately spots the teasing glint in her eyes as she counters with, “How do you know it was – ”

“Please.  It was real.  You’re pretty easy too, you know,” he retorts.  “A few well-placed touches….”  He rubs his hands together to warm them and then moves one toward her breast, the other traveling down her belly when she interrupts him.

“That reminds me!  I’ve got the perfect girl for Ted:  my old college roommate.  Every time she had sex it sounded like a 90s car alarm going off.”

“Hmm,” he contemplates.  “I like your sounds better, but it does show a certain gusto.  Although if it was you making those sounds at least we’d know that’s one alarm that ain’t gonna be stopping all night.”

“Until the early sunlight – hey-oh!” Robin rhymes and the two slap a spontaneous five.  “I’m going to get your tablet and add Sophia to the list.”

She starts to sit up and Barney protests, “Ladies….,” reaching out to caress her breasts just as they move out of reach.  But he gets up after her anyway, slipping back into his boxer briefs while she belts her robe.

“We should be writing our vows right now,” Robin says over her shoulder as they walk back out into the living room.

“Ah, off the cuff is better.  Besides, you’ve already got a great start.”  He snakes an arm around her waist, drawing her back against him.  “Just say what you did earlier.  ‘Give it to me harder’ is the most beautiful wedding vow I’ve ever heard.”



And that’s how they end up executing their plan now, Friday night at nine o’clock in Farhampton.  They’ve both changed for dinner, a white dress for the bride with black piping to match Barney’s suit – and it’s not just any dress but a formfitting second-skin that hugs her every curve.

“We look like the hottest couple,” he says approvingly, his fingers dancing over her bare skin at the back of her dress as he gives them one last appreciative look in the mirror before they leave the suite together.

“We do put other couples to shame.”  She shoots him a cocky grin as they walk out into the hallway.  “But remember, we’re not supposed to look sexy and hot for each other tonight.  We’re trying to convey sweet and loving.”

“Well we are that too,” he replies, pulling her into a kiss.

She returns the kiss but ends it quickly.  “Mm, but emphasis on the sweet, not the sexy.  We have to behave ourselves this time.”  He gives her a look and she capitulates.  “At least while Reverend Lowell’s here.”

Barney laughs, taking her hand.  “We can do sweet and loving, Robin.  It’s easy; I love you and I can’t wait to marry you, even if there was no wedding night.”

“Of course that would make our first dance a lot more awkward when I’m compelled to dry hump you in front of friends and family out of sheer sexual frustration,” she retorts, shooting him a sassy glance.

“See, this is why you’re the only girl for me.”

He’s about to say something further when Robin suddenly remembers, “Oh, I forgot my purse.”  She slips her hand into his inner coat pocket, withdrawing the room key.  “I’ll run back and get it.  You go ahead to the bar and stop Ted before he does anything we’ll all regret.”

When Robin finds her fiancé a few minutes later he’s mid-explanation of The Indiana Jones Effect.  In this particular example Barney is giving, once he as Indy chooses wisely a guitar is thrown at him – just like in his retelling of the Stinson Curse – and bikini-clad 60s beach girls appear out nowhere to go-go in the background while he jams out.  Robin grabs herself a drink and turns around just in time to see him demonstrating a little air guitar in the bar of the Farhampton Inn.  This is why he’s the only guy for her, and she smiles at him adoringly.

But they’re not taking any chances so it’s right into their slideshow as the two of them push Sophia since she’s the first one here, the thought being it’s best to secure Ted a woman as quickly as possible.

Barney explains that Sophia’s a bit of a screamer in the sack and Robin gives a helpful impression.  It’s not as good as the personal one she gave him yesterday, imitating her own sex sounds, but he’s tickled by it nonetheless.  “I recommend Sophia.  I strongly feel that you should strongly feel her,” he proclaims, an inside joke with Robin matching their previous rhyming Sophia-based rejoinder, and without looking he raises his hand for a repeat high-five that Robin easily anticipates and reciprocates, both giving a little laugh.  But as it turns out Ted wants Cassie and Barney figures, whatever.  As long as Ted gets himself one of the girls, it doesn’t really matter to him.

As Ted takes Cassie off for a more private drink at one of the tables, Robin slides into a chair and Barney leans against the bar at her side so they can both eye Ted’s progress and thus the progress of their plan.  “How do you think he’s doing?” Robin asks.

“Knowing Ted, he’s just gotten past the introductions.  You’ve gotta give him a little time.  In two minutes he’ll be quoting Pablo Neruda.  Another five and he’ll be telling her he loves her.  Then maybe by the end of the night he can get around to trying for a kiss.”

“I don’t know, Barney,” Lily puts in her two cents, having joined the pair and now eager to get in on the action.  “My money’s on Ted.  After all, he did end up nailing your sister pretty quickly.”

“That was on the third date!” Barney insists in outrage.

“Actually, Lily might be right, Barney.”  Affronted, he looks down at Robin and she shakes her head, amused.  “Not about Carly.  About Ted scoring quicker than you think.”  She nods over to Cassie.  “She’s giving him all the signals.”

Barney looks to Cassie to study her body language but then Robin grabs his elbow.  “Hey, there’s our minister,” she warns him.  She gets up quickly and they both nervously adjust their clothes, making sure they look straight and tidy and wholesome.

Even Lily agrees he’s a scary, mean ol’ tool.  Still, she claims she can get him to come around.  It’s a fool’s errand but at least Robin knows enough to take the drink from her hands.  Reverend Lowell would definitely not approve of that; she has firsthand knowledge straight from the source.

While Lily’s making what will most surely be a failed effort at charming the Reverend, Robin and Barney sit back and watch Ted again.  And it appears Robin was correct.  Ted seems to be doing quite well.  He and Cassie are already kissing and it looks like after only ten minutes they’re ready to leave together – and in a hotel, kissing like that, there’s only one place left to go:  back to Ted’s room.  But then Cassie’s phone starts ringing and he waves her off, telling her to answer it.

Oh,” Barney groans in disappointment.  “He should know better than that.  Has he learned nothing from my teachings over the years?”

Robin gives him a look of sympathy for his underappreciated wisdom.  “You never answer the phone,” she agrees.  “It always ruins the moment.”  Again, they both have firsthand experience with that topic.  “That’s the nail in the coffin right there.  A guarantee of two more days of ‘self-fives’.”  And she’s right.  Soon Cassie’s weeping hysterically on his shoulder.  “See.  Ted chose poorly.  He’s blown it already.  Which is exactly why there won’t be any blowing it for him tonight,” she finishes with a grin, raising her hand in the air.

Barney laughs.  “Okay, that was pretty solid.”  He gives her hand the respect that it deserves in a high five.  “But he might still have a chance,” he adds for his bro’s sake.  “Even someone as lame as Ted can fairly easily get Crying Drunk Chick from bent over his shoulder to bent over the duvet while he – ”

“No way,” Robin shakes her head.  “Ted is not a closer.  He’ll be up holding her hand all night and nothing more.”

“Maybe not.  He – oh who am I kidding?” Barney gives up.

Robin draws his attention back to the hapless pair, pointing at the unfolding scene.  “Just look at how awkward he – ”

“Hi, hi, hi, um, so a little problem,” Lily interrupts.  Their minister hates her after she told him the story of how she and Marshall met, and for the live of her she can’t understand what she did wrong.

Barney looks to Robin who stares steadfastly at the floor.  They both know exactly why the Reverend has a problem with that story.  But it’s not Lily he hates; it’ll be them, because he must have figured out their deception.

It only takes Lily half a second to decipher their cagey behavior.  “What did you do wrong?”

Barney and Robin exchange a look, silently agreeing to come clean to Lily.  This was all an accident anyway, an unfortunate circumstance that snowballed beyond their control.  How were they supposed to know the guy would be such a stick in the mud?  And they really needed him to marry them so they could use his church; it’s the only way he lets couples utilize the building.  They both fell in love with the quaint little church after Ted recommended it and they took a trip up themselves back in January.  It truly does have cute coming out the wazoo.  Everything was all set until recently when Reverend Lowell asked to meet with them personally before the ceremony.  Neither one had any idea what they were up against….



Barney and Robin set out to Farhampton dressed to impress, wanting to make a good first impression, wanting their minister to think they’re a great couple that he’ll feel proud to marry.  They’re sure he must have requested to meet with them just to get a feel of who they are and discuss the overall tone of the ceremony – what specifics they want included, traditional or modern service, that sort of thing.

But it’s a long ride to Farhampton pressed up tight against each other in the back of a town car, and ‘dressed to impress’ means they both look amazing.  It’s no wonder neither can resist getting a little handsy with each other on the two hour drive over, but they have to stop when they catch Ranjit watching them in the rearview mirror.

Once they arrive at the church, they’re shown to the minister’s private office and then left to wait behind closed doors.

Pausing in looking around the office, Robin turns to Barney the moment they’re alone.  “Just think; this is where we’re going to get married in only a few weeks.”

He nods, grinning devilishly.  “This is where we’ll consummate our marriage.  They even have beds!”  He catches her by the bookshelf behind the desk, stepping closer and bending to bring his lips to her neck.  And it’s only a few seconds before he starts getting handsy again.  She’s killing him in that dress with her bare shoulders, those peekaboo cutouts of the soft tanned skin of her back and cleavage, and the slit high up her thigh.  “Let’s do it,” he suggests eagerly.  “Here.  Right now.”

She can’t deny she wants to.  They’ve just had two hours of foreplay after all.  And there’s something deliciously naughty about the very thought of it….But still, it’s a crazy idea.  “Barney, our minister is coming.”

“They said he was running ten minutes late,” he reminds her.  “That’s enough time if you know what you’re doing – and we know what we’re doing.”

His mouth is busying at her neck again, coaxing her expertly, and when he feels her starting to cave and surrender to it, he brings his lips to hers, kissing her properly as he urges her back against the desk, using the leverage of a solid object to make sure their bodies are in constant, full contact.

All Robin wants is to press up against him while he kisses her senseless, while their magic sweeps them away into toe-curling bliss.  They do have ten minutes; they can work with ten minutes.  Her body decides for her and soon she’s sliding up onto the edge of the desk, her hands gliding beneath Barney’s jacket to grasp the waist of his pants and tug him between her legs, her knees gripping his hips.  “This is insane,” she breathes.  “This is so wrong.”

He moves his hand up her bare thigh, stroking her through the slit that’s been driving him crazy the entire morning.  “You mean it feels so right, when we want each other this way….”  His mouth lands on her throat where he bites her lightly, drawing a soft sound of pleasure.  “….want each other so much we can’t even take the time to undress – only the most necessary parts.”

“Speaking of….”  She unfastens his belt, pulling down his zipper with one hand and reaching up around his neck with the other to bring his mouth to hers.

Then she’s leaning back urgently to rest her spine flat against the desk – upending the phone and paper organizer which go clattering to the ground unheeded – and he’s pushing the fabric of her underwear aside, playing there long enough to make her breath come quick, to leave her gasping and moaning, impatient.  And then he’s inside her….on the desk of the minister who’s supposed to marry them and who could show up in his office at any minute.

Barney is bent down over her with his lips against her neck, hot and hungry.  He has a hand at her hip, his thumb still stroking her intimately, while the other hand fondles her breast, and she’s a little firecracker – pulling at him insistently, writhing beneath him.  He was always so right about her and the danger of being found in flagrante.  “Imagine if he walked in and caught us right now,” he murmurs seductively, his voice low and sleek and sex-heavy, “with me eight inches inside of you.  No, six.  Mm, now eight.  Four.  Uhhh…...eight again.”

Robin arches up, instinctively rolling her hips against him at the image he’s created of being walked in on this way.  It’s so hot.  She pulls his mouth back to hers and then it’s just pleasure and heat and the next thing she knows she’s coming hard, which sends him over too.

Crashing over the edge into bliss and then gradually back into awareness, the only sound in the room is their heavy breathing.  Barney is the first to move, shifting against her.  Robin whimpers softly and her grip on him tightens as tremors still roll through her, increasing at his movement, and she holds him to her, drawing it out.  He presses a soft kiss to her neck in the afterglow, raising his head in inches to gaze down at her affectionately.  “Well that just happened,” he smiles mischievously.

It’s been more like fifteen minutes and before they have time to say anything further they hear footsteps outside that leave them scrambling to make themselves presentable.  Barney zips his pants, picking up the fallen objects and righting the desk.  Robin smoothes her dress back into place, runs a hand through her hair, and is only just sitting down when the Reverend walks into the room.  Barney slides into the chair beside her and they both paste on innocent smiles.

It seems like they’ve pulled this off until they soon discover that their minister doesn’t truly want to know them at all.  He actually just wants to interrogate them, complete with an entire list of things that aren’t allowed in his church – including “casual attire” and even gum.  It goes on and on.

Barney turns to whisper to Robin.  “Reverend?  More like Neverend.”  She smirks and has to hold in laughter which only increases his own mirth.  “Prayer five!”

They cross themselves despite the fact that neither one is Catholic and give a backhanded five.  Robin tries to look innocent afterwards.  Barney just eyes her deadpan, and she struggles to hold back laughter again.  They’re like two naughty kids sitting through a boring lecture, just like two and a half years ago in the Natural History Museum all over again.

They both tune back in just in time to hear, “I’ll warn you that I turn down most wedding requests, particularly from boozy promiscuous Manhattanites.”

The pair exchanges a sober look at his words.  Because they met at a bar, constantly hung out at a bar, and repeatedly had sex with each other when not officially together.

On top of that, Reverend Lowell throws out the accusation of couples only wanting him to marry them because his church is cute.  He has them pegged so entirely they feel like there’s no choice but to lie about everything – how they met and fell in love, who they really are, the fact that they just had an excellent and extremely carnal celebration of that love right here on his desk.

They’re struggling over precisely what that lie will be when it just comes to Barney.  Marshall and Lily’s is the most innocent dating story he’s ever heard and he runs with it.  As soon as he goes into the “We’ve been dating since college” part, Robin has heard the story enough times to instantly know what to seamlessly segue into herself.

And Reverend Lowell loves them.



They’ve been presenting themselves as such ever since.

“You stole our story of how we met?” Lily asks, aghast.

“We had to,” Barney defends.  “Your story is so sweet,” he explains as Robin nods along.  “You didn’t even kiss till the third date.  By our third date I’d hit more bases than Bob Hope on a USO tour.”

Robin looks down at the truth of that.  They were boozy and promiscuous, with each other certainly.  They never could help themselves.  Their chemistry was just too strong.  However the important part of this isn’t their dalliances but that it means they’re caught.  “Now Reverend Lowell knows that we lied to him.  What if he cancels our wedding?”

Sure enough, he asks to speak to them in private immediately and they have no idea what they’re going to do now.  They both agree that telling the truth and throwing themselves on the Reverend’s mercy is their only option, but lucky for them he somehow thinks Lily is the one who lied and together they run with it once more.  Barney blames it on drinking, Robin on drugs, but the couple doesn’t miss a beat, simultaneously amending, “She’s been drinking drugs”.  It makes little sense but they’re so convincing working as a team, and they really are an adorable couple, so they’re able to easily sell it to Reverend Lowell.

But when Lily hears about this new lie she is livid, asserting in what’s meant to be Robin’s voice that she had to lie because she and her husband are so ashamed of their own story.  It’s an allegation that stings them both more than Lily knows.  She launches into a story of how they only met because of Ted, but ends it in Marshall/Barney callously pushing Ted aside so he and Lily/Robin can jump each other’s bones.  She paints their story as something underhanded and sordid, with years of lying and cheating and backsliding, capping it off with the accusation that, “My husband’s a sociopath who’s slept with over a hundred women and I’m a slut who once let my boss feel me up!”

Rather than offended at the allegation, Barney and Robin are simply irate at the lack of proper respect in the details; he’s been with over two hundred and fifty women, and she is the one who felt her boss up.  The truth is they know what people may think of them and their love story; look at how one of their own very best friends just presented it.  But this is who they are and neither of them sees anything wrong with it.  It’s the rest of the world that forces them to modify the details, that tells them they should consider their story somehow ‘less than’ because it won’t fit into a sappy greeting card or a Disney movie.

Naturally Reverend Lowell is firmly on the side of the rest of the world and after hearing Lily’s truth about them he returns to his church in a huff.  Robin and Barney are both dreading it but they know they have to go after him to re-secure their wedding that he’s supposed to perform in just forty-five hours.

Back in the minister’s office once again, Robin has the coat she used as protection against the rain on the short walk outside slung over her arm.  It’s the same coat she had on six months ago on the night that she and Barney were out at the strip club, relatively drunk, and they kissed for the first time in a year.  She chose this coat on purpose to bring along to their wedding weekend just like she packed as her bridal robe the very same robe she wore the morning Lily locked them in her old bedroom until she and Barney had The Talk and defined their feelings.  They’re both sentimental remembrances for her, but right now they stand as reminders of just the sort of thing Reverend Lowell will look down on them for.  “Uh, the – the truth is,” Robin begins, saying whatever she needs to say to make this man change his mind, “we have a complicated, messy history that – that we’re not too proud of.  But we’re sorry that we lied and hope that you can forgive us.”

He won’t, however, and it soon becomes clear they’ll need a new officiant, which they’re fine with – until he says that means he’s pulling his church too.  They understood those were his terms to begin with but with just hours left until their wedding they hadn’t truly imagined he’d be so cruel.  Where are they supposed to find a new place to get married in less than two days?

Robin looks to Barney, nearly beside herself, and she can see that he’s equally upset.  This is ridiculous, a disaster.  It’s too late to make this kind of change and completely back out on them.  Surely, she can at least appeal to his humanity.  “Please, is – is there any way you’d reconsider?”

“No.  No, no.  You two are both terrible people.”

It’s a stunningly unjust rebuke from a man who’s had all of two five-minute conversations with them and in fact doesn’t even know them at all, but that doesn’t matter to her at the moment.  All she wants is to appeal to his pity and make him see that if they’re two ‘terrible’ people at least they’re terrible people who are so right for one another.  “Who found each other in this crazy world,” she says.  Turning to Barney, she starts an “Aww”, trying to drum up the same reaction in Reverend Lowell that they always have to each other, to their history and their sentiments of love.

But he’s not feeling it at all and asks them to leave.  They start to go, crushed, with no idea what they’re going to do next when Barney suddenly decides he’s not going out like this.  This man can hate them and scorn them, stomp all over their relationship and refuse to marry them.  It’s a free country and that’s his prerogative.  But he’s not leaving until Reverend Lowell knows how wrong he is and that there’s at least one person in this room who’s not the least bit ashamed of the way he and Robin fell in love, of their real story, of every chaotic piece of their history.  Because the truth is it’s the greatest love story he’s ever known, far better than even Marshall and Lily’s.  Stopping cold at the door, he turns around to boldly proclaim, “You know what?  You’re right.”

Robin turns now too, wondering what he’s going to say, if he’s thought up some way to get them out of this like he did before.

“We shouldn’t have lied about our story,” Barney continues confidently.  “I love our story.”  He even puts his hand to his chest so deep is his conviction.  He’ll own it all, because there’s not a single bit of their story that he’s regretful of.

Hearing his words, Robin blinks with emotion and her mouth turns up into a gentle smile.

“Sure, it’s messy, but it’s the story that got us here.  About to get married.”  And if this man knew a thing about them he’d realize how huge that is, what a massive change it was to get here from where they started, both individually and as a couple.  To accomplish that took nothing less than a world-shaking, soul-altering, once-in-a-lifetime love – and there’s no shame in that; it’s to be applauded and revered.

Robin looks at him in awe, loving the fact that he feels that way too.  All of her life there’s been this feeling of never being quite good enough, and now that same stigma gets attached to their love too.  She’s so happy to know that just as Barney loves all the things about her that other people find distasteful – and she with him – he loves their love story too in the same way that she appreciates it.  No, their story isn’t a picture-perfect fairytale like Marshall and Lily’s, but it’s pretty damn epic, and beautiful, and so full of feeling – of love – through it all.  Others may not understand the twists and turns on their road to each other but she loves every single dip and curve on the journey because it got them here to their happy ending.  This coat in her hand stands as a reminder that she’s not ashamed of that night – it was a cherished part of “The Robin” – or any other night they’ve shared.  Each memory with Barney has been unforgettable and precious.  To compare themselves to Lily and Marshall is like apples and oranges.  They have their own unique love story that may be less innocent but it’s still fantastic.  Their love isn’t less, and there’s nothing wrong with their story.  Their story is poignant and moving and magnificent.

“I love it too.”  Robin rushes to his side to take hold of his arm, to stand resolute with him, the two of them against the world as it’s always been.  Barney turns to look at her and she smiles, further expressing her love for, “Every messy chapter.”

It’s wonderful for Barney to know that the feeling is mutual, that she’s not ashamed either – of him and his background or of their messy story.  The greatest beauty can come from something that began muddled and unsure, and it means so much to him to that she recognizes and values that too without even a hint of shame or regret.  It means they’re not broken – they never were – and neither is their story.  It isn’t only him who thinks it’s great while the whole world looks down on them.  Robin loves it just as much as he does, just as strongly.

“I love that you slept with over two hundred and fifty women before deciding that I was your favorite,” she tells him.  Because it means he has been around, and of all those other women – literally hundreds of them – no one could touch his heart but her.  How many people can say that?  Their love has been put to the test of time and distance and other outside relationships, but every time it always just comes back down to the two of them because no one and nothing else will even come close to comparing.  That fact alone makes their story beautiful.

Barney reaches out to touch her arm now.  He can feel the love between them as they smile in gentle happiness at each other and he needs to be touching her in some way.  “And I love that we just had to keep having sex with each other even when we were dating other people.”  Barney’s going to put it all out there, every last part of their story that was used against them, because it’s not a weapon; it’s a treasure and he loves it.  He and Robin couldn’t help themselves, couldn’t help but come together.  It’s always been that way, how they simply couldn’t keep their hands off each other until just the one time that “never happened” became two and then three and then countless, immeasurable times together, how even when they were each involved with someone else and they knew it was supposed to be wrong they still had a deep inherent need for each other that wouldn’t be silenced or ignored.  And it will always be that way.  They’ll always be swept away by that magic.  He loves that.  Most people would kill for that; they only wished they had something half as powerful.  He and Robin are lucky to have that never-fade chemistry and magic, and he will never see that as anything other than a gift to be celebrated.

Robin beams at him with pure adoration, loving their story and him and everything that makes them exceptional.  All the aspects that make them unconventional and that traditionalists would say they should be ashamed of – even the cheating scandal that at the time she beat herself up over – she can now see are such special, meaningful moments to them and she’s proud of it all, wouldn’t change a thing.  “And I love that your marriage proposal involved a strip club, lying to me, and pretending to bang the woman I hate for two months.”  As far as she’s concerned it was the best proposal of all time – so very him, so them, so perfect – and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or how anyone else sees it.  They’ve living it from the inside and it’s profoundly beautiful, so much so that the sweet tenderness spills out and they reach for each other, Robin playing with the knot of his tie while Barney grasps her waist with both hands.

“I love that we keep a running tally of all the different rooms we’ve had sex in,” he adds in that tone of his, the low intimate one that always comes before very good things,

Barney is running his thumb over her abdomen and even through the fabric of her dress Robin feels the electric heat of it.  It makes her boldly confess, “I love that two weeks ago we put this room on that list.”  She won’t let Reverend Lowell make their love into something inferior, because it’s not.  She loves their chemistry and their whole entire story, and if anything all of this ought to make him see how much they love each other, how perfect they are for each other.  That should be reason enough to marry them.

But when they turn to see his reaction, finally able to tear themselves away from each other and their unfolding declaration to remember the third party in the room, they’re shocked to discover the man is as dead as a doornail.

Barney looks to Robin worriedly.  “Well that’s not what you want.”

She brings her hand up to her mouth in shock, trying not to think about Universe signs and bad omens – first the empty locket box and now this, their minister literally dropping dead after he hears their story.

Barney is the first to act, ushering Robin out of the office and calling for someone to help.  Ten minutes later, the paramedics confirm what they already know:  Reverend Lowell is gone.  Though it may not be the proper time they have to ask what will become of their wedding now and they’re informed by those left in charge that they can still use the church on Sunday but they’ll have to find their own officiant as the church has no one else in place who can marry them.

Walking back to the hotel, Barney puts his arm around Robin’s as they huddle underneath the one umbrella.  “I can’t believe our minister is dead,” she quietly says, her voice barely audible over the sound of the rain.

“Hey, it’ll be okay, Robin.  I promise we’ll figure this out.  Finding someone else to marry us is easier than finding a new venue.  If we have to, just about anyone can get ordained online pretty quickly.  At least we can still use the church – which is probably more than we could say if the Reverend was still alive,” he points out practically.

“I hadn’t thought of it that way, but you’re right.”  Robin perks up, realizing as morbid as it is maybe this is a good thing for them.  “Even if it killed him, I do love our story, Barney.  I really, really do.”

“Me too.  I wasn’t just saying that so he’d marry us.  I could care less if he married us.  I just wanted you to have the church you wanted,” he discloses.  “But I love our story and I couldn’t let him make it seem like there was anything wrong with it.”

“Now that we’ve agreed we’re not ashamed of it, what do you consider our real ‘How we met’ story?” Robin wonders.  “We’ll need to get the details straight so we can tell it together in the years to come.”

Barney smiles at the idea of the two of them perfecting their story so they can effortlessly glide into retelling it like a two-person play the way they’ve heard Marshall and Lily do so many times.  “Well….Lily’s right; I did tap you on the shoulder to play ‘Have you Met Ted?’.  Technically that was the first time I ever spoke to you, but I don’t feel like that’s when we met.  I didn’t even know your name and you didn’t know mine.”

“I think the first time we really met was the night after Ted threw all those parties to get me to come and then he kissed me on the roof but I told him I wanted us to be just friends and that I’d help find him the One instead – hmm, I guess I still have to make good on that,” she realizes.

“And then he brought you down to MacLaren’s to introduce you to the rest of us.  That was the first time we all sat in the booth together….You sat down next to me,” Barney recalls. 

“I kind of had to,” she smiles.  “Lily and Marshall were sitting together and you were already there on the other side of the booth.  Next to you was the only empty spot.”

“So then you didn’t feel the pull of destiny drawing you to the Barnacle?” he asks mischievously.

“I didn’t believe in destiny back then, remember?  But I was intrigued by you.”

“I remember the first thing you ever said to me was to tease me and put me in my place with just a few quick words and that smart little smile of yours,” Barney reminisces, squeezing her waist affectionately.  “That instantly appealed to me and set you apart.”

She stops on the sidewalk and turns to him, grinning.  “That’s actually a great ‘How we met’ story….Barney and I met through a mutual friend,” she tries it out.

“And the first thing Robin did was playfully insult me,” Barney jumps in.  “She had me right then.”

“It was fate,” they finish together a la Marshall and Lily.

Robin giggles softly, pressing closer to him.  “That’s all the more we ever need to tell anyone else.  The rest is just for the two of us.  But the real story of how we feel in love is nothing like Lily said.”

Barney nods his agreement.  “It wasn’t sneaky or devious.”

“It wasn’t planned at all.  We just – we understood each other.”

“We connected on a level we never had with anyone else,” he concurs.

Robin smiles.  “We really were destined for each other, weren’t we?”

“We were meant to be together,” Barney grins gently.  “If that’s not a beautiful story, I don’t know what is.”

She moves in to press her lips to his and then they’re tenderly kissing out in the rain, ignoring the rest of the world around them.  “Hey,” she says when they start walking again, “you said before that by our third date you’d hit all the bases.”

“Well that part is true, Robin,” he smirks.  “We hit all the bases before we’d even been on a single real date.”

“That was your fault for being so sweet to me that night,” she contends.

“It was your fault for inviting me over and jumping me on your couch,” he counters.

“I may have started it but you jumped me right back.”

“Of course I did,” Barney brazenly acknowledges.  “I’d wanted to get you into bed since I first laid eyes on you – and even more so after that first insult,” he winks.  “I knew we’d be incredible together.”

Robin responds with a laugh that melts into a sigh.  “It was both our faults for being so attracted to each other for so long, that’s all.”

“No one was to blame,” he settles it.  “It was just an amazing night.”

“Yes, it was,” is her soft reply.  “But I’m curious, what exactly do you consider our third date, Barney?”

“I guess you could consider the night we first played Battleship as a date.  That means we had at least one before sex,” he shrugs.

“The night you went bare pickle?  No way,” Robin objects.  “I thought we were just hanging out as friends.”

“Please.  You wanted me.”

“There was pretty much always a part of me that wanted you on some level, but I wasn’t about to sleep with you and I did think it was just a suited-up night of friendship, an inaugural bro thing.”

“Okay, you’re right,” Barney amends.  “That time stands as our first bro’s night, not our first date.”

Robin considers it for a moment and then concludes, “I think maybe our first date was the night you made me promise to apply for that job I didn’t get – but then I got Japan instead.”

He gives her a look.  “The night you got me another girl to go home with?  Very romantic.”

“Well I didn’t realize at the time it was a date.  But,” she begins cataloging her reasons, “we were alone together at an upscale restaurant.  You wouldn’t even look at another woman or tell any off-color jokes.  You were being super nice to me, and charming and attentive.  And I was confused and alarmed by how it made me feel.  That certainly sounds like first date material.”

“I think it’s just a matter of what we consider an ‘official’ date,” Barney emphasizes.  “We went out together alone a lot – and I mean a lot – that winter and spring before we started sleeping together.  For a while you were out of work so you had plenty of time to bro out, and once you got the job at Come On Get Up, New York I used to stay up so I could spend time with you before you went to work, or I would take you there on my way home, or get up early to come have breakfast with you after you got off but before I went in to work.”

Robin smiles at the memory.  “I think you were the only one who legitimately watched that show.”

“I didn’t watch the show.  I watched you.  And often master – ”

“Alright, Barney,” she cuts him off and he smirks.  “That summer, our summer, we had too many dates to count.”  It wasn’t only sneaking back to his place or hers to bang.  There were innumerable dinners out and bars and clubs and laser tag games and movies and visits to the cigar club and Central Park and the theater a few times and even a couple of weekend trips together.  It was never just sex.  Their dates always ended in sex and sometimes even began that way – a quickie in the ladies room, a solid round in the apartment before Ted came home, an all-nighter at his place.  Every single date included sex; it just couldn’t ever not, no matter their intentions going in.  Yet it was never just sex alone.  It was every bit as much an emotional affair.  Focusing on the sexual side of it was simply easier.

“But we never actually called them dates,” Barney points out, “so if you go by that than our ‘official’ third date wasn’t until the fall, after we had The Talk – which means our sex numbers were easily up into the triple digits by then.”

“Hmm, that depends on which sex numbers,” Robin deliberates, “rooms or actual times we had sex…..”

And their bantering debate continues all the way up until they arrive back at the Farhampton Inn.

Once inside the hotel they quickly re-join Friday night drinks where all their wedding guests have been mingling without them.  Robin sits back down and Barney leans against the bar again as if they never left – only this time their discussion revolves around what they can do and who they could potentially find to marry them now that their original minister is dead.  That is, until Barney sees Ted with Grace.

“Maybe our plan worked after all.  Look.”  He nudges Robin, indicating the middle of the room where Ted is now holding Grace’s hand, bringing her over to the bar.

They quickly tell him what happened, explaining that they now have just two days to find a new officiant.  Unless….  “Wedding at Bernie’s!” Barney cries triumphantly, the awe-inspiring idea hitting him like a flash.

“We’re not doing Wedding at Bernie’s,” Robin cuts off that fantasy before it even starts.

After that Ted has all their attention when he decides it’s his place to make a toast in the deceased man’s honor.  Robin shakes her head, whispering to Barney, “And there go his chances with Grace.  Longwinded Smosby speeches are like padlocking a woman’s knees.”

Barney snorts but has to hold in his laughter as they all somberly raise their glasses to Reverend Lowell.  A second later Cassie comes in, openly sobbing again.  Apparently the mean ol’ tool was her uncle.  Figures, Barney thinks.

He and Robin share a discreet look.  With the entrance of weeping Cassie, Ted’s hopes with Grace just went up in smoke and they all know it.  Ted accepts his fate, walking over to hug Cassie, and Robin loops her hand through Barney’s arm, laughing.  “Told you he was going to blow it.”

“But we didn’t,” Barney smiles.

“No, we didn’t.”  She reaches up to curl her fingers around his tie affectionately.  “Our story is one for the ages.”

“Absolutely legendary.”  They click their glasses together in a toast, drinking to that.

The scotch goes down smooth – and after the whole dead minister thing Robin could use the drink.  “Wedding at Bernie’s….”  She shakes her head.  “That wouldn’t even be legal you know.”

Barney won’t let such minor details mar the awesomeness of his vision.  “Well we could make it legal afterwards.  I’ve got a Guy who – ”

“Come here,” she laughs.  This whole debate is so very Barney that it makes her feel warm and contented, makes her really want to kiss him.  And so she does.

After just one lingering kiss, Robin slides out of her chair and sets her glass down on the bar, taking Barney’s out of his hand and doing the same.  Raising her eyebrow, she gives him a look that makes it very clear what’s in store for him tonight.  “Let’s go back to our room.”

There’s no place on earth he’d rather be.

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Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
brandyleigh
Nov. 16th, 2013 05:35 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this, as usual. I always love your flashbacks that you put in your story, and these didn't disappoint.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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