Characters: Barney, Captain Hammer, Robin, a bit of B/R
Spoilers: Early Season 4 only
Author's Notes: This was one of my entries to the LJ comm's BroTP drabblethon, that grew beyond its ken. Challenge: "Captain Hammer mistakes Barney for Doctor Horrible."
Some Kind of Hero
Barney was having the fourteenth greatest night of his life. That's what he'd decided to rank it as before a man walked into the bar and made it plummet to the eleventh worst night of his life instead.
The man stood out from the crowd, with his Marshall-esque height and his ridiculously huge arm muscles. He wore black gloves and monstrous boots, with the logo of a hammer was emblazoned across his chest.
"Oh my god," Barney said. He recognized the symbol for Captain Hammer, professional superhero.
Captain Hammer heard his voice, and his gaze zeroed in on Barney Stinson. He squinted like someone who was a bit nearsighted, then glared. "You! Doctor Horrible!"
"Oh my god!" Barney said, when the same superhero charged right at him like big, black and yellow and army green rhinoceros.
Many thoughts tripped over themselves trying to escape Barney's head the moment before Captain Hammer prepared to bash it. Because Barney was the sort of person who made lists and flow-charts, they were as follows:
1. I'm going to die!
2. I want my mommy!
3. Do I really look that much like Doctor Horrible?
4. I'm going to die!
5. I can totally use that to pick up girls!
6. But not if I die!
"Wait a minute, hey, I'm not—" all the air escaped Barney's lungs in a brutal rush as Captain Hammer's fist impacted his chest. He panted, drooping forward and sliding off the bar stool. "Not him," he managed to finish.
The superhero crossed his arms in front of his impressive pectoral muscles and frowned. "And I suppose next you'll tell me that you didn't rob that bank on Saturday, right? That I've somehow mistaken a complete and total innocent stranger for Doctor Horrible, and that you've never worn a lab coat in your pathetic little life."
"Hole in one, buddy," Barney choked out. "Except that my life is awesome."
"Really?" Captain Hammer's voice was justifiably skeptical, seeing as Barney was still working to pull himself up on the barstool, and presented a deceivingly less-than-awesome image at the moment. Desperate, the smaller man switched strategies.
"Okay, I lied. I am Doctor Horrible. You found me, damn you."
"Horrible! I knew it was you. You thought you could trick me—me, Captain Hammer! Ha!"
"But!" Barney threw up his hands. "But look where we are, man! We're at this cool bar, full of hot chicks. Just look around you and admire the scenery." Captain Hammer obliged him, and had to agree that there were a lot of hot chicks here. And they were all staring at him. He smiled.
Some of them smiled back.
He smiled some more, and without looking, grabbed Barney by the tie and hauled him close. "What's your game, Horrible? Going to take these women hostage for your evil plans?"
The affronted expression Barney gave him was one hundred percent genuine. "No, man! I'm going to bang one of them. Or two."
"Oh." Captain Hammer dropped his hold on the other man's shirt, and in a moment of male solidarity said, "That's fair."
Trying to reclaim his dignity, Barney stood a little straighter and adjusted his suit. He was still breathing shallowly, but his ribs didn't feel broken, and now that Hammer had lost some of his initial interest in rearranging his face, exciting new possibilities were beginning to loom in Barney's brain.
"I know we have a history of conflict and, and, and epic confrontation," Barney began, struggling to remember anything he could about the superhero stories in the recent news. "But let's put all that aside and take a night off. We all deserve a night off, right? Have a beer." Captain Hammer looked dubious, so Barney added, "I'm buying."
FORTY-FIVE MINUTES LATER
"And then Snow tripped on the puddle of piss-ice he'd just frozen, and slammed face first into Damsel's rack!" Captain Hammer roared at his own joke, slapping his knee.
Barney laughed too, wondering what the hell the superhero was talking about. Johnny Snow? Rainbow Triumph? Fatale? Who were these people? Apparently Doctor Horrible knew them, anyway. Barney pulled out his phone to text Marshall and ask, but then had a better idea. Marshall would freak out if he knew one of his crime-fighting idols was within 5 miles of his person, and Barney didn't want to deal with his simpering fangirl reactions. He texted Robin instead.
You wont blv who i met
Capn Hammr! were red mill pub. gt dwn her.
How do you always meet these people?
Have a PhD in awsomness, obvsly!
"Doctor Horrible," Captain Hammer declared, twisting back and forth on his bar stool, "I never knew you were such...such a cool dude. I thought you'd be lamer. But turns out you're..." He faltered, and made emphatic circles with his right hand to pull the word out of thin air. Luckily, Barney was there to help.
"YES!" Hammer snapped his gloved fingers and pointed. "Exactly. You're pretty awesome, and I'm pretty awesome. Well, I'm the most awesome. But we're both awesome, is what I'm trying to say. I don't even want to beat your head in right now."
"That's good," Barney said, pushing another beer into Captain Hammer's larger-than-Marshall-sized appendages. "Hold onto that feeling like you hold onto this mug."
FIFTY-SEVEN MINUTES LATER
Barney was having the time of his awesome life. Not only was hanging out with Captain Hammer cool, it was turning into a highly successful ladies venture. Not that Barney needed the help, of course. It was evident to everyone that he Barney was, in fact, bringing the ladies to Captain Hammer, not the other way around. And why not? The dude deserved some appreciation for all his hard work defending the weak and rescuing school buses of children and stealing from the rich and …honestly, Barney wasn't sure exactly what Captain Hammer did except beat up Doctor Horrible. But that was probably enough.
Secure in the knowledge that the night would be legendary, Barney stepped away from his gregarious drinking partner—"And I said, 'These are not the hammer.' Oh yeah!"—and into the hallway leading to digestive emancipation. Secure in the knowledge that everything would still be cool, Barney stepped out again a short time later.
Everything was not, however, cool. Things were suddenly very very not cool anymore.
In the six minutes since Barney had departed, Captain Hammer had struck up conversation with a gorgeous brunette. She had long hair, a nice rack, and legs to put Pretty Woman to shame. She was drinking something dark, flicking her hair back girlishly, and smiling like Helen of Troy.
Barney stared. He blinked, and stared some more. Through a haze of scotch (and, unfortunately, also some tequila) he remembered fumbling with his cell phone and telling one R. Scherbatsky, via text message, to come to this pub and meet a real live superhero. Based on the come-hither angle of her head and the way she smiled, Miss R. Scherbatsky had, indeed, met a real live superhero.
And she liked him. Mr. B. Stinson wanted to be ill.
Robin was laughing. With her mouth open, and her shoulders back, like whatever Hammer had said was really truly swear-by-your-maple-leaf funny. Barney'd just spent two hours with the man; his jokes were not that funny. How could this be happening? He'd only invited Robin because she was the least likely of their circle to freak out on Captain Hammer like a socially starved otaku. Maybe he should have invited Ted? Then it would be Ted that Captain Hammer was hitting on right now. It would be Ted who was smiling, and flirting, and looking at the human behemoth with gleaming, sparkly, moonstruck, diamondy-something eyes.
Barney felt dizzy as he watched the unreal scene unfold. Robin was a child pop star and a New York television reporter, not the sort to be impressed by a celebrity face. So this, clearly, was not Robin. This was some kind of Robin clone. Or, maybe, this was thrall-Robin. Captain Hammer had done something to put her under his thrall. And what the—was someone singing? Stupid kareoke machine.
Barney, enmeshed in green-tinted thoughts and self-punishing speculation, was not actually paying as close attention to the scene before him as two minutes of internal monologuing deserved. What he saw was Robin, the woman he might or might not be in love with depending on the inflammation of his Feelings infection from one day to the next, flirting shamelessly with the guy Barney had been making friends with all night, who had also punched him in the gut, and who happened to be handsome and popular and have super strength. Or super jumping. Or super something hard to compete with, anyway.
What Robin herself was experiencing was somewhat different.
"Do you know, there are lunch boxes with my face on them?"
"Is that right?" Robin smiled, because it seemed the thing to do.
"I have sold more lunch boxes than even Michael Jordon. My publicist just told me that statistic yesterday. Pretty intimidating, right? And they were family-friendly lunch boxes, not the kind of thing I'd send to you for dinner."
She laughed, because it filled the air, and wondered why Barney wasn't here as promised. Robin had wanted to meet Captain Hammer…until she met Captain Hammer. He was handsome, sure, and he did have this charming twinkle in his eye, but if he wasn't talking about his promotional product line, then he was talking about pummeling people with names like Conflict Diamond and The Pharaoh. Robin was just thinking about scaring the superhero away with something ultra female-y like talking about her period when over Hammer's shoulder she saw Barney, at last.
He was walking toward them, so she tilted her head and tried to gesture with her eyes that he hold off until she talked her way free of Captain Hammer. Barney had one of his weird facial expressions. She tried again to urge him away silently. He walked up, instead.
"Hammer, bro, what have you got here?"
Although seven minutes ago they had been the best drinking pals this side of the Mason-Dixon Line, a sliver of primal territorialism slipped into Barney's voice, and Captain Hammer sensed a challenge coming on.
"Horrible," he said, and turned just barely enough to glance at Barney. "I was just telling this lovely lady about the time I smashed up your friend, Moist. She was very impressed."
"Really?" Barney, forgetting his animosity for a moment, was honestly curious. Doctor Horrible had the strangest social circle. Then Barney remembered he was Doctor Horrible. "Wait. I mean, why would you do that? I thought we weren't going to talk about work!"
"Some of us can't turn it off. The need to be heroic—it's like a sickness."
Even Robin was skeptical at this. "Heroism is a disease?"
"It's a torment on one's soul. With great power comes great responsibility." Captain Hammer wasn't even looking at his 'nemesis' anymore; he was focused entirely on Robin. "It's a heavy burden. It weighs…a lot."
"Okay, whatever, look," said Barney, getting impatient. "It's nice that you're so burdened by your coolness, I know where you're coming from, but Robin's probably not the girl you want to tell about it. She's Canadian. There's a redhead by the pool table over there, however, that I think would love to hear about you. She told me herself."
"Why, Doctor Horrible," Hammer said, rising from the bar stool. "What do you care if I tell Robin everything about me? Do you like her? Oh, you do! Well, we're busy now, so scram. It was fun having you pay for my alcohol, but we're done playing BFFs."
Barney took a deep breath. Captain Hammer looked ready to hurt someone, and no one in the bar had any illusions about who that someone would be. The jackass still thought he was talking to Doctor Horrible, after all, and would have no qualms about picking a fight. Time to think fast. He couldn't stop Hammer from beating him to a pulp. And in front of Robin! That would cost him significant machismo points. So, he had to solve this the Barney Stinson way.
Barney Stinson opened his mouth to talk, and the lights went out.
The world was dark, and it was quiet, and then it wasn't anymore.
Now she walks through her sunken dream
To the seats with the clearest view
The first thing Barney heard when the world came back to him was music. His forehead ached, and his thoughts were frazzled. There was a wet towel over his eyes. Fuzzy, high thread count. Why were people still singing?
Take a look at the law man
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man, wonder if he'll ever know
"The superhero way was not the Barney Stinson way," he murmured through the towel.
"Hey, he's awake."
"What'd he say?"
He's in the freakiest shooooooow
"Someone turn the music off!"
"I couldn't hear him, what'd he say?"
"Something something away. He probably wants you to talk the wash cloth away before he suffocates."
"Don't use that tone on me, Ted Mosby. It was cooling his bruises!"
"I have bruises?" Barney managed to ask. He was thirsty, and his mouth tasted like blood and scotch mixed together. "Are they bad?"
"Horrible," Marshall's smug, distant voice replied. The damp wash cloth was pulled out of Barney's vision, and four familiar faces loomed in his view.
"Marshall, Lily, is this your couch I'm lying on? It smells like you fornicated here."
"Totally did," Lily said. "You don't want to know how many times today, believe me." Barney limply raised one hand in appreciation, and Lily high-fived it.
"What happened to the pub?" he asked.
"We came to get you. You got beat up by Captain Hammer," said Ted.
"Defending my 'honor'," Robin added, complete with dismissive air-quotes. "Mistakenly."
Above him, Lily gave Barney a smile that was too wide by half.
"You were telling me telepathically to help you," Barney protested, resolutely ignoring Lily's smirk.
"No," Robin retorted, "I was telling you WITH MY EYES to back off so that when I made an excuse and bailed we could escape together."
"It was nice of you to try, though," said Lily, and she elbowed Marshall. "Wasn't it nice of him?"
"Oh, yeah, of course. Very nice."
"Marshall you are so whipped," Barney said, dragging himself upright on the couch.
"I just don't understand how he thought you were Doctor Horrible." Ted crossed his arms and pondered this very serious question. "You don't look threatening."
Robin muttered, "Or why he'd go drinking with you if you were."
"Who cares?" said Marshall. "Barney, man, you got beaten up by Captain Hammer! That's, like, the coolest thing to ever happen to you."
"Maybe to you. To me it just makes my head hurt. But I do see where you're going with this. Chicks dig villains."
Robin took the towel and wrapped it around a bag of frozen peas, which she handed back to her misguided defender. "You're not a villain, Barney."
Then she smiled, with the tiniest upturn of her mouth. "You're too awesome for that, remember?"
Barney let her secret little smile wash over him, and for one head-swimming moment, he really believed he was.