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Fanfic: Catching the Clock, 9.19



Vesuvius

Barney’s appointment with Tim Gunn back at his beachfront studio does not go as planned. 

It begins with the inevitable chit-chat about having just seen each other a few hours earlier that morning when Tim was suiting up the boys Barney met, but all Barney is interested in is his suit.  This will be the first time he’s tried on the finished product and he can’t wait to see how he looks in it. 

He put everything into making this the finest suit imaginable.  Of course he had to have something brand new for their wedding but he also wanted to be sure he looks incredible for Robin, so he took it a step further and ordered a suit that’s completely custom tailored and made especially for him and especially for this occasion. 

“It looks amazing on the hanger, T Gunn.  It can only improve by slipping this hot body into it, am I right?” he jokes as he walks into the fitting room.

It’s somewhere around stepping into one leg and then the other that he realizes the enormity of what he’s doing.  He’s wedding suiting up.  He’s about to get married in this very suit in six and a half hours. 

Barney feels the nerves start to kick in and he has to tamp them down.  But those thoughts are quickly overshadowed when he next shrugs on the suit jacket.  It inexplicably feels ill-fitting, itchy, and uncomfortable, not all what he’d expect of a designer of this caliber. 

“Something’s not right here,” he says, opening the curtain and stepping back into the main room.  “Are you sure this is my suit?  Cause it doesn’t seem to be fitting right at all.”

Tim Gunn turns around to look at him and actually gasps.

“I know, right?” Barney expresses in a panic.

But the famed fashion consultant says the last thing Barney expected:  “It’s perfect!”

What?” Barney questions in surprise, going over to the mirror to see for himself because he hardly believes that can be true. 

And, indeed, when he looks in the mirror what he sees is just what he anticipated.  The suit not only feels off; it looks off too.  In the mirror he sees himself, a grown man, but he looks like a little boy wearing his dad’s jacket.  “Don’t you see something’s not right?”  He lifts his arm and along with it the drooping sleeve of the jacket.  “I mean, Tim.  Really.”

“Barney, what are you talking about?” he asks, admiring the gorgeous suit that makes the man in it look even more gorgeous.  “It’s to die for.”

Barney makes a skeptical sound in the back of his throat.  “Tim.  Bro.  We all have our off days.  It’s okay to admit it.”

“I’ll admit no such thing.  This suit is an exquisite work of art.”

Barney can tell from his tone that he means it and he turns back to the mirror again, thinking he might see something different, see whatever it is Tim Gunn claims to be seeing, but it’s no use.  “I – I can’t wear this.  I’ll look ridiculous.”

Hurrying back into the dressing room, Barney puts his old suit back on and hangs the new one up.  “Here,” he says, handing it back.  “It’s all right; no hard feelings.”

“No, there aren’t,” Tim agrees haughtily.  “You’re obviously going through a…..thing,” he says, waving a hand over him, “that accounts for your reaction.  But take the suit with you, Barney.  It’s everything you wanted and it fits you perfectly.  Try it on again later this afternoon.  You’ll see.”

Sighing, Barney takes the suit just to humor his old friend.  But he’s heading straight back to the hotel and up to Room 9.  It’s a good thing he had his entire supply of Dolce & Gabbana suits shipped in for just such an emergency as this.


****

Back at the hotel, Katie had surprised her with hockey gear and matching ‘Scherbatsky’ jerseys, the perfect gift as far as Robin is concerned.  They quickly changed, moved some furniture aside, and are now in a heated one-on-one match in the honeymoon suite. 

Lily, naturally, doesn’t approve but Robin tries to explain this is just how she relaxes.  It’s how she’s attempting to feel a bit of normalcy, like it’s any other day, which is exactly what she needs right now.

After her parents’ ugly divorce and her mother’s move, there was a brief spell where her father had a Swedish immigrant, Lovisa, employed at the house whose duty was to see to her day-to-day needs until her dad could make sure she was fully self-sufficient by the tender age of eleven.  On the day her father set to begin her first hockey lesson, Robin was excited since she loved the game but she was also worried that she wouldn’t be good enough at it to please him and make him proud.  Her desire to play was quickly overpowered by her fear and she wanted to stay in bed and pretend she was sick, until Lovisa taught her on an old Swedish word:  resfeber.  While it has no direct English equivalent she told her it roughly translates to “the restless race of the heart before a journey begins, when anticipation and anxiety are tangled together”.  That was a lot for a ten year old to understand, even one as sharp and clever as Robin had been, so Lovisa simplified it down to “that nervous feeling you get before undertaking any new journey”, and the kindhearted woman patiently explained to her that a new journey didn’t have to mean physically going somewhere.  A journey could mean attending a new school, or starting a new job, or in her case a new hobby or sport. 

Right now it means entering into the world of married life, becoming a married woman – and ‘resferber’ is exactly how Robin feels about it.  She’s excited and she wants this more than anything; she has no doubt whatsoever of that.  But at the same time such a huge life step is scary, and for a woman who spent much of her adult life running scared from commitment anyway it’s sure to cause a feeling of at least some apprehension.

And it’s all so real now with the wedding just six hours away.  It’s starting to freak her out a little for all the reasons that marriage has always freaked her out.  This is a big leap to take, and even more so for people like her and Barney.

……Then there’s the fact that she never found her locket and the potential bad omen attached to that.  And while she has her dad and Katie here with her, her mom’s not coming to the wedding.  That certainly isn’t how she wanted things.  Maybe that’s a sign too? 

So Robin’s strategy is if she simply acts like it’s any other day and doesn’t let herself think about it then she can control the fear and head off the freak-out.

Lily on the other hand wants to keep reminding her that she’s getting married today and expects her to act accordingly.  In that spirit, Lily shows her the scrapbook she made, hoping that will do the trick. 

Barney & Robin:  Lovers Forever and Ever and Ever, A Love Story

Katie calls it cheesy – and it’s musical and everything, which isn’t exactly doing much to detract from the claim.  The truth is it’s so not Robin’s style, or Barney’s style, or their style as a couple to make a musical scrapbook, and there isn’t anything wrong with that.  Moreover, at this particular moment it’s all a bit overwhelming, so once Katie bails Robin sits down and turns on the TV, pulling up the Pay Per View menu to watch a movie instead.  But Lily will have none of it, forcing her to look through the scrapbook.

As Lily begins to flip through it with the bride looking on under duress, Robin can definitely say this much, it is an amazingly comprehensive scrapbook.  There are dozens of pictures of her and Barney over the years – some when they were just friends, some when they were together, some after they broke up and were back to being the best of friends again, and some since they’ve been engaged. 

There’s a picture of the evening they were all at MacLaren’s and Ted introduced them to his girlfriend of the moment whose name no one can remember.  Like many of the others she was totally crazy and insisted on lying about how they met playing World of Warcraft.  Blah Blah, as they’ve since taken to calling her, eventually stormed out but not before mistaking her and Barney for a couple.  Robin was so freaked at the notion, paranoid that her attraction to Barney was a little too apparent, that she denied it sixteen times.  This picture was snapped later that night, after it was just her and Barney and Marshall and Lily, when Barney kept bringing up her over-the-top denial, vacillating between offense and accusing her of “protesting too much”.

Next there’s a picture of her and Barney with Marshall off to the side on the night when Ted was on the last of his Ten Sessions Challenge, when he ended up taking all of Stella’s friends out to a movie.  It was just the four of them back at the apartment eating popcorn and watching a movie they’d all already seen.  Even though there were two other empty chairs she chose to sit on the floor close beside Barney, leaning against his legs, and Lily grabbed the camera from her purse and took a quick picture of them to remember the night.

Then there’s the photo Robin made Ted take on the way to teepee laser tag of her and Barney in their rave clothes after they’d tried to complete the Murtaugh list.  Barney’s hair was as bright pink as her skirt and she too had a neon green extension braided into her hair.  He was wearing a lime green tank top with a black mesh overlay, she was sporting huge green fake eyelashes, and they each had glow sticks round their necks.  Both of them looked completely ridiculous but that didn’t stop the night from being so much fun – even after Barney re-aggravated his back injury by grinding with her all night. 

Next is a picture Barney took of the two of them high-fiving the brilliance of their deception while out to brunch after Lily finally let them out of Robin’s old bedroom.  Then comes the picture of her and Barney on the carriage ride in Central Park that he once cropped her out of to protect the secret of their relationship. 

There’s a picture of the two of them in bed together that she’d taken and used as her phone’s home screen for weeks on end because they both at least had the sheets pulled up high enough to cover their nudity and they looked so cute and so happy and so in love in that picture that it made her smile every time she checked her phone.

The next page has the picture of all of them in their booth with the 50-year Glen McKenna that Lily and Marshall keep up on the wall of the apartment, the one where she’s snuggled up adorably on Barney’s arm.  Then there’s the selfie Barney took of the two of them at laser tag last summer after he begged her to come because “no one else understands the game….or will go with me”.

There’s a super-hot picture from this past New Year’s Eve at McLarens of the two of them making out and Barney has her pressed back against the jukebox.  Robin had no idea Lily even took a picture but she recognizes it as only minutes before they snuck into the bathroom to have sex just as the others started counting down into 2013.

There’s a shot she remembers them posing for a few weeks later at their apartment of her showing off the newly resized engagement ring and Barney with one arm around her waist and the other holding up the framed page of “The Robin”.

A group shot with Barney’s arm over her shoulders and her hand on his thigh while they all sit in the ruins of Ted’s apartment with the charred remnants of the exploded Playbook still smoking in the background comes next, and then a picture Lily must have rushed to print just now while she and Katie were playing hockey of her and Barney kissing on ice skates at last night’s rehearsal dinner.

And mixed in along with all the photos are a few of their private mementos like the piece of paper that said “Boyfriend & Girlfriend” from after they’d finally ‘defined the relationship’, and one of their text message conversations that Barney hand-transcribed – not even the one on top of his yellow legal pad from their secret summer but a different one, because when she examined it further Robin discovered that legal pad wasn’t just one text conversation he’d transcribed before deleting it off his phone for fear that Quinn would find it.  There were dozens of conversations stretching over years’ worth of time, all the way up until Quinn moved in with him.  They filled nearly the entire pad of paper.

Robin recognizes some of these pictures and mementos as having come from Barney’s box that he brought home from the storage locker before they even got back together – as soon as he and Quinn broke up, actually – just as she knows some of them came from her own private collection.  At some point before this weekend Lily obviously must have used her key to their apartment to raid their stash of keepsakes, probably gloating all the while at how secretly sentimental they both are. 

Robin has to admit it’s touching to see their journey, their love story as Lily puts it, laid out this way, and it’s touching just to remember that Barney kept those things over the years too.  This whole scrapbook, cheesy though it may be, is a vivid reminder of their beautiful messy story and how very much they love each other, how much she loves him like crazy just looking at these pictures.  

But looking at the scrapbook is getting her all emotional too and making their wedding day seem even more real – and frankly that’s the last thing she wants because it’s scaring the daylights out of her, the enormity of what’s happening in only a matter of hours.  Because it has been a long and rocky road, and they love each other like crazy and they both want this but it’s a huge thing they’re doing.  For all her anti-marriage talk she believes in the union tremendously, and she knows Barney does too – that’s why he’s been known to cry at weddings, both Marshall and Lily’s wedding and Ted’s mom’s wedding.  Robin too never wants to end up a divorcé, is determined she never will, and when push comes to shove would never be able to say “I do” unless she knows for certain that isn’t even a remote possibility.  The fact that neither one of them would ever get married lightly makes it even more a big deal, and she still gets scared sometimes wondering if two people like them are truly ready for this.

So when Lily draws her attention to the picture of the restaurant where she and Barney had what they’ve both come to accept was their first real date the night the others “couldn’t make it” and it was just the two of them alone – the next page containing the receipt from that meal – right now Robin just has to get her focus on something else, something completely mindless and relaxing. 

And it’s not helping that Lily keeps driving home the once-in-a-lifetime magnitude of it all and imploring her to “appreciate the importance of it right now”. 

Looking up at the TV screen, Robin instantly knows that the only thing she can ‘appreciate’ right now is watching The Wedding Bride Too!.  It’s just the sort of mindless laugh she needs at the moment – and it genuinely is exciting to get this chance since Ted had banned them all from seeing it in theaters this past fall.  Now she can watch it and he won’t be able to say a thing about it because it’s for the bride.

Lily leaves as soon as she turns the movie on, and that’s fine with Robin; it means at least she’ll stop nagging her.  When Lily returns a few minutes later with Marshall in tow, it’s refreshing to Robin that he’s just as excited as she is to see the movie. 

Watching a film together, drinking scotch, laughing at Ted – this is comfortable, non-frightening, normalcy here, not monumental life altering steps about to be taken.  And even through Marshall’s hypocritical yet amusing tirade when Narshall gets introduced – after just saying the whole film was no big deal and Ted should be flattered – it still feels fairly normal and everyday. 

Until her grandma comes to the door. 

Seeing a picture of her grandparents on their wedding day makes it real again, as does hearing the story one more time of the wildflowers her grandfather personally picked after the florist’s mix-up just to make her feel better and now he’s buried at the same church surrounded by the same wildflowers.  Robin pushes her grandmother out the door as politely as she can, mumbling about hearing that story every holiday and it’s not as touching as she thinks it is. 

In reality, while she’s not going to cry over it like Lily, it is a touching story.  Nevertheless, she can’t think about stuff like that right now.  It’s like being in a Broadway play and it’s opening night and you already have stage fright.  The last thing you want to do is pull back the curtain and take a peek at the full house crowd.  It only makes the nerves even worse.

Which is why all she wants to do is go back to watching the movie.  But Lily won’t let her and it spirals into a fight.  Lily insists if Robin’s wedding day is nothing special then she’s not going to wear the bridesmaid’s dress anymore.  After that it becomes a game of playing chicken.

“Great.  It’s just a wedding.  Who cares what people wear?” Robin replies, still trying to downplay it. 

But she does care very much.  She’d spent hours picking out the perfect dresses with Lily – not to mention all the time and care she and Barney put into selecting the perfect food, flowers, music, all of it.  However, right now she needs it to not seem like the big deal that it is.  So that’s her story and she’s sticking to it.

Yet when Lily leaves again only to return wearing her actual wedding dress, it severely tests Robin’s will.  It turns out Lily had hoped to recreate her and Marshall’s awful wedding pictures by secretly borrowing their wedding photographer after Barney and Robin had gone upstairs for their wedding night and therefore would never know.  But Robin realizes Lily is only ratting out her plan early to send her into a fit and she won’t give her the satisfaction.

Inwardly, of course, she wants to rage against it.  She was going to kill Jeanette over the thought that she might show up to her wedding in a white dress.  There is no way in hell she wants Lily actually wearing a freakin’ wedding dress, and she certainly doesn’t want to share their photographer with another couple either.  But she lies and says it shouldn’t be a problem.  She doesn’t have any other choice.  She has to stick to it not being a big deal at all so that no one suspects what a huge deal she actually knows and feels and appreciates that it is.


****

Over in Room 9, which he’d rented out for all of his suits “just in case”, Barney takes momentary pleasure in Ted slowly figuring out his clever wordplay. 

Miss Susan Tup.  Sue Tup.  Suit up!

Man, he’s a genius.

But after that it’s right back to mental anguish as he urgently tries to pick a suit for the wedding.  He’s been through the whole room of suits – and the adjoining room too – suits that have served him well and that he looks good in, but none of them will do.  Every suit has some kind of inappropriate memory attached to it of sex and debauchery.  He knows it’s not right to wear any of them; that’s why he’d commissioned a brand new suit.  He already left that life behind, and marriage means forever leaving it behind officially.  That’s why none of these are good enough to marry Robin in.  He simply cannot find one that feels right despite Ted’s yelling to choose a suit already.

It occurs to him at that point that marines have to get married in uniform.  If he goes and enlists that will solve the whole problem for him and he says as much, but Ted stops him.

“Enough of this.  Tim made you this amazing suit.  Put it on.”

Sighing, Barney agrees to try it on again, but it’s no use and he knows it. 

Once he’s got on the suit that was supposed to be “Be-freakin-screamed”, the epitome of class, style, and perfection befitting marrying Robin, he turns to show Ted what a disaster it is.  The sleeves are drooping; the jacket obviously doesn’t fit.  Why is this even a question?  The others should be able to see it doesn’t look right.

As soon as Ted views Barney in the suit and clearly sees that his friend looks like a million bucks, he instantly figures out what the real trouble is.  Nerves and jitters have begun to kick in.  It’s only natural that it should happen.  By this point Marshall was only hours away from crazy enough to shave his head.  Certainly Barney is going to have a few hiccups along the way.  Trying on his wedding suit must have made it real for him and he’s understandably scared.

“It just feels weird,” Barney reiterates.  Daunting, if putting on a suit can be described as daunting.  Something about wearing this one certainly is.  That’s how he knows Tim got the suit all wrong.

It’s just because it’s new, Ted reasons.  It’s never been worn before.  It’s a suit he never dreamed he’d wear, and all of this suit’s memories are still ahead of it.

Barney understands what he’s saying.  It’s a metaphor and all that.  And he gets it; it’s true.  But this isn’t wedding jitters.  That’s not the issue here.  There is just literally a problem with the tailoring of this jacket.  He hasn’t gone that crazy.

Ted makes him turn around and look in the mirror anyway.  “Picture it.  The ceremony.”

“When everyone stands up for me?” Barney asks starry-eyed, still thinking of it as the groom’s big day.

“They do that for her.”

Barney nods and then drops the manic-ness for a moment, actually doing what Ted suggested and picturing the moment when he’s standing at the end of the aisle and Robin begins walking to him, walking to the altar where they’ll be joined forever.  Just the thought alone softens and calms him.  “They should.  She’s gonna look amazing.”

Ted tells him to keep imagining Robin walking down the aisle, the two of them saying their vows, then the reception and their first dance.  There’s already a spontaneous smile on Barney’s face picturing all that.  They’d spent hours rehearsing this elaborate number to top all of their other wedding dance numbers and fully blow people’s minds.  Yet Friday night right before falling asleep they decided that after all the pomp and show-off quality of that first routine, later in the night they’ll have a second ‘first dance’, a simple and traditional slow dance that’s just for the two of them. 

He thinks about that now, imagines holding Robin in his arm as his wife.  He thinks about their future together, all the years, all the things they have planned and the way they’ve talked excitedly about it lying in bed late at night.

“Before you know it,” Ted orates, “just like magic, you realize it’s a perfect fit.”

And it is.  He and Robin are a perfect fit, and as daunting of a concept as a successful marriage can be Barney knows that he and Robin will never get a divorce.  That’s why he told Arthur they wouldn’t need a prenup.  He trusts her implicitly, unlike with Quinn, but it’s more than just that.  A prenup is only necessary if you think there’s a chance you won’t go the distance.  But, on the contrary, they’re both unwaveringly, immovably, steadfastly in this forever or they wouldn’t even be doing it to begin with.  Marriage is something they’ve both been afraid of, but they’re making an all-in commitment to each other anyway because they believe in their relationship and their love that much.  There isn’t anything they can’t conquer together – and this weekend has shown them that over and over again.  They can work as a team, make decisions together, always put each other first over everything – career, family, you name it.  And perhaps the hardest of all for them, communication, they’ve even proven they can master that, talking to each other about feelings as they arise and the other one was right there, eager to listen and offer support and comfort.  He was there for Robin through his mom’s antagonism and discovery of her infertility and through the disappointment of her own mother not coming, and when the sting of his mom reuniting with James’s dad and not his opened up old wounds he was able to freely come to Robin, unburden himself and what was bothering him, and they talked it through together. 

They have a perfect give and take, always supporting each other, always able to give the other exactly what they need and inherently put the other’s needs first.  There isn’t anything they wouldn’t work through and sacrifice, no mountain they wouldn’t or couldn’t climb, no distance they wouldn’t cross to be together.  Because being together is the most important thing. 

That’s why they’re getting married, to be together always.  That kind of unbreakable love and connection that no one and nothing else could ever compare to, that absolute need to be together, that love they couldn’t stop any more than they could stop breathing, is undeniably the kind of love and marriage that will stand the test of time.

Barney’s smile widens as he looks down into the mirror and sees that he was being that crazy before.  Because this suit is a perfect fit. 

This suit is amazing

“You’re right, Ted.”  There’s nothing wrong or mismatched or ill-fitting about this marriage suit.  It’s what he’s always been meant to be wearing.  “This is the one.”  This suit.  This marriage.  This woman.  He’s whole life has led up to this.  And that’s not frightening; that’s awe inspiring.

Realizing that, he feels a contented calm settle over him once more and he thanks Ted for helping him through his nerves – but now it’s time to moves on to belts.  Literally.  There honestly is nothing figurative anymore.  He’s just going to make damn sure he’s the hottest groom possible for Robin.



****

Fifteen minutes later and still in his wedding suit, Barney comes to join Robin back in their room and see if she approves.  He has no idea why Lily’s wearing a wedding dress but he doesn’t care.  His only focus is making a beeline to Robin.

Robin reaches for him before he’s even all the way at her side.  Having him there immediately calms her nerves.  When he’s there with her, when they’re together, everything just feels right.  He has a way of making her fears disappear just like that.

She pulls him to her and he leans on the chair, bending down to kiss her as Lily proclaims of their equally blasé attitudes, “You two were made for each other.”  Thoroughly agreeing, Barney goes back in for a second, lingering kiss before rising up to smile down at Robin who smiles contently right back.

“I see you’ve been playing hockey,” he whispers playfully, fingering the sleeve of her jersey.

“Canadian wedding day tradition,” Robin explains, still smiling, feeling like nothing could dim her smile now that he’s beside her again.

“You Scherbatskys are singular women,” he tells her flirtatiously.  “It’s no wonder I thought about you so much while I was at my fitting.”

“Mm, I missed you too,” she murmurs softly.  His mention of the fitting reminds her of just exactly what he’d been doing for the past two hours and she glances down at what she now clearly notices are new clothes.  “Is this it?” she asks excitedly.  He nods and she gives him a quick onceover.  “Oh, I love this suit.  You look super-hot,” she adds suggestively.

“Yeah?” Barney grins.  “Well I – ”

Lily interrupts any further conversation but Barney keeps his arm around Robin’s shoulder as he stands behind her. 

While Lily is now willing to admit that it’s their weekend so it should be their way and preference, she still wants some formal and significant acknowledgement of the weighty circumstances they’re all in because as she puts it, “This is as big moment for all of us.  This may be the last time we’re all hanging out together for who knows how long.”

Barney glances down at Robin and the two exchange a look.

Does Lily know about Ted moving? Barney silently questions.

Robin answers back telepathically, Or does she mean Italy?

But I thought Italy was off, Barney responds.

Maybe it’s back on after their fight last night? is Robin’s wordless reply.

They don’t have to speculate for long because in her next breath Lily spills the beans about Chicago.  Ted’s angry at first until he reasons it out.  Barney already knows, he announces, and Barney nods, looking down to Robin again.

Does Ted know that I know that you know? Barney inaudibly wonders to her. 

He must have realized we’d talk about it, right? Robin reasons.

Ted confirms as much a moment later by revealing to the entire room that Robin knows too.  In fact they all know.

“Lily’s right,” Ted agrees.  “We don’t know the next time that we’ll all be together.” 

Barney’s hand on Robin’s shoulder tightens, but it’s that very solemn statement that makes Lily realize that sometimes distraction is the best thing.  Why dwell on sad things, or anxiety-inducing things, or anything that’s beyond your control?  It’s best to just be happy and enjoy each other’s company in the moment.  So she too sits down to watch The Wedding Bride sequel.

Robin proclaims it movie time once again and Barney moves around from behind her, starting to slip in between her chair and Marshall’s to come sit on the floor in front of her.  But then a thought occurs to him.  “It’s not bad luck for the bride to see the groom in his wedding suit?” he ponders, again getting the wedding traditions and superstitions backwards.

Robin just finds it cute.  “No, I think it’s fine,” she assures him sweetly.  Smiling, she reaches up to run a hand down his tie, complimenting him on that too.  He really does look suave and handsome.

“Thanks,” he beams, feeling a gush of warmth at her flattery.  “There was a cornflower blue one I almost went with.”  But he’s so happy she’s approved of this choice.

“Oh,” Robin says with a hint of regret.  She can just picture how he’d look in that other tie.  “That would have brought out your eyes,” she remarks, nodding at the loss but smiling all the same to let him know this tie is okay too even if with the other one his eyes would have looked so amazingly blue – bluer than they already are, which is nearly impossible.  But now it gives her something to look forward to seeing him in later.

Barney can see she would have preferred the blue one but he was trying to pack light and didn’t even bring the other tie…..He starts to twitch in nerves again. 

Marshall soon saves the day, however, by offering the sufficient distraction of suggesting the groomsmen all go have lunch together so Ted won’t have to watch the movie.

“Oh I appreciate that, Narshall,” Ted ribs, revealing that even though he’d banned the others he himself had already seen it when he was on the plane to Chicago last month to check things out. 

“What?  So this is gonna be like a thing now?” Marshall asks.

“Yeah it’s gonna be a thing now,” Barney retorts, scarcely containing himself.  “Narshall.  Right?” he laughs, repeating Narshall as he points and laughs some more.

“Dude,” Ted admonishes, “settle down.  Swarley.”

Barney’s grin instantly wipes away, but now Marshall is grinning.  “Yeah.  Yeah, Swarlize Theron.  Take it easy.”

Barney wisely recognizes this is just a preview of the afternoon ahead, maybe even the weeks to come if they’re starting this back up again full-scale.  “Man,” he grumbles, heading out the door.  “This was supposed to be my special day.”

Robin listens from her chair and laughs gently to herself.  Barney always hated it but hearing it again makes her miss calling him that.  Originally, she had been a part of egging them on to keep it up.  She enjoyed teasing him that way back then; it was the closest to flirting that was allowed at the time.

With the guys now gone, over the next half hour Lily and Robin watch the rest of the movie and Katie even comes back in and starts watching with them.  At nearly 2 p.m. just as the end credits begin to roll, Robin gets up to refill her drink but discovers they’re out of ice.  Lily offers to make the ice run but Robin opts to go herself and hit up the vending machine on the way back. 

It’s out in the hallway on the way to the ice room that Robin sees a familiar figure heading her way and she stops dead in her tracks.  This is totally unexpected, not even in her wildest dreams at this point, and she blinks, overcome with emotion – and simply wanting to make sure this is real. 

Her mom came. 

Her mother hasn’t exactly been the warmest maternal figure, or a steadfast role model, or a go-to person for guidance, tenderness, and an understanding heart.  Hell, she often hasn’t even been that good of a parent.  But, somehow, she braved it all and came through for her today. 

Robin throws down the ice bucket, already crying, and runs into her mother’s arms, hugging her fiercely.  She’s unspeakably happy her mom is here, that she came after all.  She came for her.  It’s so rare in her life to experience a showing of parental love, and this just makes her wedding day complete.

…..And it also makes the enormity of it hit home once and for all. 

Her mother hasn’t been on a plane in twenty years, but she did it today.  Because this is such a huge moment.

All at once it comes crashing down on Robin, her ‘Holy crap!  This is my wedding!’ moment.  There’s no downplaying it anymore.




8 Hours and 45 Minutes Later


The reception has been going on for a while now – the toasts, dinner, official dances, cake cutting, and all the formalities over and out of the way.  Now it’s just time for some fun. 

Barney’s jacket came off about fifteen minutes ago and Robin likes it that way.  She can run her hands up and down his arms and feel his biceps through only the softness of his dress shirt – and his forearms through nothing at all since he has his sleeves rolled up.  If he lost the tie it would be her second favorite look on him next to completely nude.

While she glides her fingers over him, Barney’s hands settle at her hips as they enjoy this slow song and the nearness it allows.  Their other guests are dancing all around them but Barney and Robin are oblivious to anyone else at the moment.  They only have eyes for each other, off in their own little world.  It’s been that way ever since “Sandcastles” started and she began her walk down the aisle to him.

“So,” Robin says, nudging a little closer as they dance, “I never got a chance to tell you earlier how excited I am that Swarley is back in play.  I always thought that was cute,” she tells him impishly.

“Not you too,” Barney cries in mock offense.  “How would you like it if I start calling you Roland again?”

“But that’s not cute,” she reasons.

He considers that a second, and she finds the little furrow between his eyebrows the most adorable thing.  “Alright then.  Sparkles,” he decides mischievously.  “How would you like it if I start calling you that?”

She giggles at the lack of merit in his argument.  “You have called me that a few times.”

“Yeah, but you don’t hate it.”  He spins her around in the dance, drawing her body even closer to his.  “I think you secretly like it,” he whispers cheekily.

Robin merely smiles because he has her there.  But she’s got his number too.  “You don’t hate Swarley either.”

Barney gasps.  “What?  I – are you kidding?  Yes I do.”

“No.  You don’t.  Not really.  You just don’t like being teased.”

He ponders that and realizes she’s right.  It’s a stupid name but nothing offensive.  He just didn’t like being made to feel the butt of the joke, and Robin was perceptive enough to understand his indignation over it before he even did.  Still, he’s Barney Stinson and now fully awesome.  It’s been a long journey to get that way and he’d like to be called by his given name, thank you very much.

“Unless it’s a certain kind of teasing,” Robin amends, leaning in close to set her mouth against his jawline.  “Swarley….” she breathes hot and drawn out and sexy, licking the shell of his ear.  He shivers and his grip on her hips tightens.  “See, you like it,” she smiles.

“I like your tongue,” he insists.

“Swarley,” she repeats in an even deeper octave, reaching around and allowing the fingers of one hand to cup and then squeeze his butt cheek.

His hips jerk into hers.  “I like your hands too,” he offers by way of explanation, his voice noticeably lower now as well.

Robin grins slyly.  “It just proves you could be into it…..Swarley,” she purrs seductively, sliding her hand down his chest and abs now to play naughtily at his belt, enjoying teasing him this way.

“Minx,” Barney murmurs, smiling softly down at her with that look, the one that’s half love and half lust and always makes her melt.  “We’ve been married for almost four hours and I haven’t got to touch you yet.”

“You will,” she promises amorously, slipping one finger beneath that belt and into his pants to graze his lower abdomen.

He groans at the exquisite torture of it.  “Since we have a reception tent there isn’t even a bathroom stall we can slip into, except inside the hotel….But once I take you inside the hotel we are not coming out until it’s time to catch our plane – and you’ll be naked as soon as the door to our honeymoon suite closes.” 

Barney’s expression darkens and Robin feels her blood heating and her heart beating faster at all the things that look promises are soon to come – most of all her.  “Can I call you Swarley tonight while we’re having sex?” she can’t resist teasing him again.

“You do and I’ll stop.”

“I doubt that,” she laughs.

His eyebrow shots up.  “Are you proposing a challenge?”

They have had challenges like that before, jinx swears and seeing who can make the other cry out first, but not tonight.  “No,” she shakes her head.  “I’ll only be calling out your name tonight.  Again and again,” she enticingly swears. 

“Mmm,” he hums flirtatiously, bending down to kiss her with more passion – and tongue – then they probably should be exhibiting in front of friends and family.

When they break apart a few moments later, Robin smiles.  “But on the honeymoon, all bets are off.”  His features twist into exaggerated pseudo hurt and she laughs delightedly.  “I’m kidding, I’m kidding,” she assures him, wrapping her arms around her husband and pulling him closer until they’re in full body contact. 

And now it’s Barney who reaches down to cup her butt and cop a feel.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AN:  Just a note to let people know I’ve decided to finish this story before starting my next one (or posting it anyway, as most of the first chapter is already finished).  That’s what I’d planned to do all along, since whatever I’m writing at the moment I go all-in with and I didn’t really want to split focus that way.  I was just concerned that after that abomination of a final episode no one would be interested in anything strictly tied to the canon world of 1.01 - 9.22 anymore.  But that has thankfully proven not to be the case (and I’m glad, because one bad AU hour written by one man in 2006 shouldn’t discredit an entire show or change our love for it; the story still stands the way all the others wrote it, acted it, and believed in it all these years).  And since you guys are all willing to wait, I’d rather put all my focus into finishing this story, particularly because I’m very excited about completing the wedding and future chapters.  I’ve worked on those parts a lot and have it all mapped out and several scenes entirely written and I’m anxious to tie it all up neatly before moving on to a new project.

So, please, everyone hang in there.  I know with the wedding jitters it’s going to get a little rough for a spell in the upcoming chapters but I promise you everything will work out wonderfully for B/R with lots of feels by the end of it.

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
foreverinlovebr
Apr. 22nd, 2014 01:52 am (UTC)
I've been reading this but didn't want to reply until the finale and last chapter but I really enjoy this and enjoyed all the other season 9 chapters. Thanks for writing this it's a great read. Can't wait for your next fic.
deeplyshalllow
Apr. 23rd, 2014 10:32 pm (UTC)
This is great. Just so nice seeing Barney and Robin being in love and just being Barney and Robin rather than stupid au finale things.

I'm curious about how you're going to deal with "Daisy" though - because to me all that stuff that Robin's mother said about her father just didn't ring true at all and ended up upsetting me a little when I rewatched post finale just because they were never really dealt with. And yeah, I was just wondering to what extent all the very stupid comparasons (which didn't seem very in character for Robin's father) were going to be dealt with - and also Robin's mommy issues - because that woman we saw was not anything like the mother I (and I know you) pictured.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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