Characters: Barney, Marshall, hints of Barney/Robin
Word Count: 575
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Post 1x14, "Zip, Zip, Zip"
Challenge: Barney, Ted, and Marshall in Las Vegas, no spoilers
Summary: 'You fight for freedom from devotion, a battle that will always begin with somebody giving you a piece of advice.'

Author's Notes: I don't know how to write Marshall's dialogue style, so I apologize for this in advance. And I don't know where Ted went! This is set sometime recently after the lazer tag episode in season 1. On a separate note, I've been to the Bellagio before (love the Chihuli ceiling) but I don't remember where the bars are located specifically. The summary is a line from a Scissor Sisters song.


No Dice

"So now that things with you and Victoria are going pretty well, I assume you're probably over all the girls you were into before, right? I take your silence as a yes. So, ergo, therefore, say I were to hook up with someone, say, I dunno, Robin, you'd be cool with that, right?"

"Hh, sure. Good luck with that."


"Hah!"

Lights and flash are integral to the purpose of casinos: distract your eyes and your mind so that you don't notice you're being burgled in a completely fair and legal manner. Barnaby F. Stinson, worldly man of an awesome world, looked at the multicolored, shifting sparkles reflected in the mirror behind the Bellagio ground-floor bar and strategized the best way to rob the robbers before the robbers robbed him. This was feeling like a Blackjack night.

At least, it was until Wingman #2 arrived. The U.S.S. Marshall descended on Barney, gorilla arms open like gun ports.

"I need a beer! I can't believe you flew us to Vegas for free. This is awesome, man. What do you do at that place you call an office?"

This was their third casino, and he was a little bit more drunk than Barney.

"Boring stuff. All you need to know is that we probably saved the world from Y2K. Where did Ted scamper off to? He ran like a little girl as soon as we got past the lobby doors."

"You didn't even work there in 1999. Lawyered!" Pleased with himself, Marshall chugged a huge gurgle of the beer Barney had just placed in front of him. He tried to remember the question. "Ted's losing at blackjack."

"Losing?"

Maybe it wasn't a Blackjack night, after all, Barney pondered. Maybe it was a good night for craps. Who knew if Ted's bad luck was contagious? Marshall was probably a carrier. Like that monkey in Outbreak. Marshall would be the guy who accidentally destroys the human race... after all, someone's got to be around to sob about it afterward.

"Of course he was losing!" Marshall continued. "He didn't want me there. He got it into his head that I cheat with my brain."

"Reeeeeeally?" Barney sat up a little straighter. "How does your brain feel about dice?"

Marshall said, "It thinks they're cube-shaped," and put one hand on Barney's shoulder. He leaned on him, swayed just enough for Barney to imagine how much Marshall probably weighed and realize how gigantic his hands were, then sat down in the adjacent stool. "So man, I gotta know."

"Know what?"

"What Ted mentioned about you hitting on Robin. Because," Marshall hunched his shoulders and let out a burbling, sickly sort of giggle, "if it's true, that's too precious for words."

Barney, usually immune to all things Marshallish, discovered an unwelcome bubble of annoyance had floated up his stomach and into his chest cavity.

"Precious?"

"As in Precious Moments. She shot you down, didn't she? Ha! I can tell by your face. No dice, buddy; Robin's out of your league, even you've gotta know that."

The bubble of annoyance began morphing into a balloon of mild disdain, and it wasn't a stretch for Barney to look indignant. Marshall clearly had no idea what he was talking about, and was falsely comparing his own lackluster masculine appeal to Barney Stinson's far more awesome and sophisticated self.

"Ha. There's no woman alive who is out of the Barnacle's league."

"Robin is. By about four more leagues."

With a dismissive snort, Barney said, "I'll have you know, we played Hard Core Battleship."

"She kicked your ass at that too, didn't she?" The lawyer grinned, and with an abrupt decision and an abbreviated sigh, Barney gave up.

"That woman cheats like a man," he grumbled.

Marshall slapped him on the shoulder and shouted to the bartender. "We're going to need another beer over here!"