"Yes, bed, finally," Robin lets herself fall on the bed, lazily pulling back the covers and snuggling under them. She exhales in delight as her head finally sinks into the pillow. Barney yawns, his ruffled hair matching his loosen up tie, not even caring to slip out of his suit before joining his wife.
"I'm so tired," he mutters.
"Could be worse," her words are muffled in her pillow. "You could've pushed a baby through your vagina less than 48 hours ago."
"Oh you win, no arguments there. And again, sorry I passed out."
"It's okay," Robin nods, already drifting into sleep. "Let's just... sleep, mh?"
Barney shifts closer to her, sliding his arm around her waist. It's the first peaceful moment after three days of complete and utter chaos, which are to be expected if your first child decides to show up two weeks early while you're surprising your pregnant wife with two front-row tickets to a Canucks game – dragging her out of the stadium as she begged to stay "at least for the second period" was not the easiest thing he had ever done – and then waits twenty full hours before actually coming out. When she did come out, though – as bloody and gross as it was – Barney could swear that was the happiest he had ever been. And he could see it on Robin's face, too, as they put their baby girl on her chest, her crazy crying coming to a halt as soon as she heard her mother's heart beating against her ear. Nine months of worrying and fearing they would not be good parents vanished in that exact moment, and all was okay with the world.
He looks at Robin, notices the dark circles under her eyes that probably match his own. She's breathing heavily next to him, and after everything she went through, he's glad she's finally sound asleep. He checks the baby monitor over her shoulder, the green light indicating it is working, and then, moving his head closer to Robin's, he falls asleep as well.
For what feels like ten minutes.
The sound is piercing and irritating, and before he knows it, he's reaching over Robin's shoulder to viciously tap on the baby monitor as if it had a snooze button. Robin abruptly wakes up, confused as she shots in an upright position, taking in what's happening around her and trying to figure out what Barney is doing.
"I can't reach the alarm!" he frustratedly puts his head under his pillow.
"It's not the alarm, idiot." Robin whines, blindly groping for her robe.
"Oh, right, damn it," Barney sits up and rubs his eyes. "You should go, you've got the boobs."
He's taken aback by Robin's furious expression. "Um, what did you just say? Just because I'm a woman, it doesn't mean-"
Barney looks at her in confusion. "I meant, for nursing?" he says, interrupting her speech.
Robin blinks. "Oh, that, right." She frustratedly keeps exploring the bed. "DAMN IT, I CAN'T FIND MY ROBE!" She yells, exasperated. Her voice mixes with the helpless crying coming from the nursery, and Barney muffles a laugh trying to pick which one of them is the loudest.
"Well, that makes sense." he says under his breath. "Babe, do you want me to go get her for you? You should rest." he offers, grabbing her by the arm to stop the frantic searching. Robin sits back on her heels, sighing. She can feel her lower half ache, the soreness from the stitches worsening with every movement. "Yes, please?" she finally utters in defeat.
Barney's cooing resounds from the baby monitor, and she hears Alice slowly calming down in her father's arms. Watching them come back into the room, she promises to herself she will forever cherish the strange happiness of this moment, two in the morning, the relief of a noise being quieted down, tiredness in every fiber of her being, the faint, rhythmic sound of her baby nursing.
Barney falls asleep on her shoulder.
Barney stumbles a little as he enters the apartment, surprised to find Robin wearing sexy, revealing lingerie. "Baby, you look super hot," is all he can muster before grinning like an idiot.
"I know, right?" she smiles proudly and ever so modestly, looking down at her tightly fitting corset. "Man, I wish I could keep these boobs."
Barney giggles lightly, shaking his head as he starts walking towards her. In a moment, his hands are on her hips and she's pulling his tie to get him even closer.
"Hi." She kisses him.
"Hi." he smiles at her, and then looks down at her chest. "Hi, ladies."
Six weeks have passed since she gave birth to Alice, six weeks of getting used to having a baby in the house and always putting her first, six weeks of sleepless nights, dirty diapers and toothless smiles, six weeks of learning you can't really learn to be a parent – you just are. The apartment is a mess: towels, blankets and tissues are everywhere, the baby swing triumphs in the middle of the room and toys are all over the place – which, Robin thinks, is ridiculous, since Alice doesn't even play with them yet. Six weeks, and that's absolutely the longest time in more than three years they have gone without having sex.
"So," Robin's smile vibrates with excitement. "Six weeks."
"Six. Weeks." Barney moans as he starts kissing her neck, and in a moment they're rushing to the couch, Robin climbing on top of him and hungrily unbuttoning his shirt. Barney puts a hand on the back of her neck and pulls her closer to his face, kissing her and kissing her hard. "Is the baby sleeping?" he quickly asks, just to be sure, and Robin's nod is all it takes for him to start devouring her mouth and slide his hand under her panties.
He's just about to roll her over and get on top of her when they both freeze, Alice's desperate cries filling the room.
"Fuck," Robin's head collapses on Barney's chest. "I got her off to sleep like twenty minutes ago."
"The kid's got perfect timing though, you gotta give her that," he kisses her head and starts to straighten himself up as Robin climbs off of him, grabbing his suit jacket to cover herself up before heading for the nursery. Barney finishes buttoning up his shirt and follows her steps, entering the room just in time to see her picking up the baby from the crib.
"Shh, it's okay, Mommy's here, Mommy's here, shh," she whispers, and the crying slowly stops. Alice's big blue eyes are fixed on her, the expression on her face one of pure and utter adoration.
"Is she okay?" Barney asks as he moves closer to them. Alice recognizes his voice and gives him a big smile. Barney lets her grab onto his finger.
"She's fine," Robin says softly.
"She just wanted some company, didn't you Alice?" he moves her hand with his finger, and they both laugh as the baby coos in response. "Aw, Daddy missed you so much, yes he did!" he talks in his baby voice, and for the first time in her short life, Alice laughs.
They wait six weeks, and one worthy day.
May 26th, 2016.
"That was amazing," Robin is panting as she falls back onto her pillow.
"I think we just redefined the meaning of sex," Barney's tone is incredulous, startled by the revelation. "I mean I thought post-pregnancy sex was as awesome as we were ever gonna get, but now-"
"Three-year-anniversary sex just kicked post-pregnancy sex in the ass!" Robin holds up her hand for a high five, and Barney gleefully smacks it.
"Legendary-anniversary-sex five. Awesome." He rolls on his side to kiss her. "I love you so much."
"I love you, too," she strokes his cheek with her thumb, and he leans in to kiss her again.
"So," he starts asking, "what do you want to do today?"
"Um, stay here forever? I mean, aren't you exhausted?"
"Nope, the Barnacle never gets tired after sex." Robin throws him a disapproving, I-know-better look. "Okay," he concedes. "A couple of hours of sleep would be great, but you know that's not happening anytime soon."
"Wait why, what time is it?"
"It's time." He glances at his watch. "Just a matter of seconds, to be exact. Three, two, one, wait for it..."
They both smile as they hear Alice waking up and starting to cry in the next room.
"See? Right on schedule. I'll get her," Barney climbs off of bed, putting on a white t-shirt and a pair of boxers before trotting to his daughter's room. Robin picks up her underwear from the floor, slipping into her Canucks shirt before Barney comes back with the baby.
Happily babbling in Barney's arms, Alice is carrying her favorite beaver plush and sporting her cute ewok pajama onesie. Barney sits her on the bed next to Robin, who earns a "mama" and a one-toothed smile before Alice gives her her toy, silently asking her to play.
"Do not make the "how's your beaver" act again," Barney warns her.
"Oh my god, it's just a toy, Barney!"
"It conveys the wrong message!"
"She's 8 months old, I think we're fine."
After the first two lines of dialogue, Barney snatches the toy away from Robin's hands, protesting for the dirty undertones and claiming to have a more age-appropriate story, a story of awesome beavers wearing suits and playing laser-tag in their ponds.
"That doesn't make any sense," Robin complains. "If anything, hockey would be their game of choice."
"Robin, just... okay? I'm trying to teach her something here. Ali, say "suit"."
"Dada," she crawls over to Barney and reaches for her toy.
"Yes! Dada wears suits! Robin, our daughter's a genius!" Robin wonders if those are tears in his eyes.
They decide to make a little trip to Farhampton later in the day to show Alice the place where they got married, but they still spend most of their morning in bed, bringing more toys to the party and even some baby food – which of course gets spilled all over the duvet. In the end, they do manage to get their two hours of sleep before going out, with Alice napping between them.
"You, me, Buenos Aires, 72 hours. What do you say?"
When Barney laid the two tickets before her after Alice's first birthday party a few weeks earlier, Robin thought it was the perfect way for them to celebrate having survived that first year of being parents. Besides, Barney had promised to get her drunk when she was done breastfeeding a couple of months earlier, and she was holding him to that promise, though it had proven to be particularly difficult with a baby to take care for.
So they took Alice to Marshall and Lily's, painfully endured her crying as they left from the door, started up early with the drinking to ease the thought of leaving her, and boarded a plane to Argentina not without second thoughts.
Now, as she wakes up with one of the worst hangovers of her life, Robin can't say this holiday wasn't much needed. They had managed to stay true to themselves even in the adventures of parenting, but the feeling of not having anything or anyone to worry about was refreshing, and probably a year ago she would have believed that didn't make her a good mother, but now she knew it was simply human.
Barney wakes up as well, and they're both blinded by the light coming from the window, their heads pounding.
"Did last night really happen?" She asks him, not completely positive she didn't dream most of it.
"I think so," she looks at the window as he starts talking, wondering why the sun in Argentina is apparently one million times brighter than normal, American sun. "Look, let's just agree," Barney continues, "absolute silence for the rest of the day."
And right on cue, as it has happened countless times over the last year, the baby starts crying, and Barney's expression turns from completely pained from the hangover to a soft, knowing smile.
"Every time," he laughs, before scratching his forehead and entering in parent mode. "Do you want me to get her?"
"No, I got her," she's not sure how Alice turned out to be in their room, she was confident she wasn't there for their crazy night. "I know, I know," she whispers as she takes the baby from the crib and holds her tight, trying to calm her down.
It only takes a moment, and she realizes that this baby feels different. She smells good, but not Alice good. She feels slightly heavier, and her pajamas don't look quite right. Most importantly though, her hair doesn't match Barney's.
"Hey, Barney?" She asks in horror as her confusion grows.
"Whose baby is this?"
They run out of there as fast as they can, finally getting into their room and closing the door behind them. They both sit on the bed, staring into space.
"What exactly just happened?" Barney laughs.
"I don't know," Robin rests her head on his shoulder. "Do you want to call her?"
"Way ahead of you," he says as he enters the last digits of Marshall's number for a video chat.
As soon as he picks up, they overhear the well-known noise of Alice crying in the background.
"That's our girl," Barney says proudly.
They smile as her red little puffy face appears on the screen, and as soon as she sees them, the crying stops.