Today he wears Armani, simple black single-breasted, a charcoal Prada shirt and matching silk tie. Silver cufflinks and Tag watch show he's dressing down. A little funereal perhaps, but she likes it and that's the important thing.
He's feeling relaxed, confident. They did their thing so recently that the buzzing has subsided into a satisfied hum, just for a little while.
This is why he makes his fatal mistake.
He slides into the booth beside Robin, throwing his arm casually across the back, his fingers brushing her bare shoulder. At the contact with warm flesh, his hand caresses her upper arm and she leans in, so automatically, so naturally that he doesn't question it. Last night, they lay in each other's arms, covered in sticky crimson wetness and they made love, real love, although the word never once left either of their lips.
He wants her now. He wants her so urgently that it's hard to keep control. He wants to drag her out of the booth by her hair, all the way to the restrooms and push her against the cold tiles and ram himself into her, over and over slamming her skull into the wall until she-
"Hey!" Lily says, because she notices, because she should be a goddamn law enforcement officer not a kindergarten teacher. "Hey, when did you two get together?"
They jerk away from each other, too quickly, too obviously, and the game is up.
"Awwwww!" Lily went all mushy on them, grabbing Barney's cheek and pinching it. "This is the cutest thing! You guys!" He batted Lily away and she covered her chest with both hands instead, giving them a big, soppy grin and an over-the-top sigh. "I knew you two would get together eventually."
He raised an eyebrow and Robin just looked non-plussed. "Lily, Please…" Robin was cool with it all. She simply rolled her eyes and looked away.
He felt a little nervy and he pulled at the knot in his tie. "It 'aint a thing!" He said as Marshall gave him an outraged glare. Barney knew what that was all about. Marshall was upset that he didn't confide in him, that Robin hadn't become the latest subject of locker-room gossip with Billson and Blauman - why Barney hadn't become a figure of fun at the workplace.
As if he'd ever give them the ammunition!
Now, of course, it will be hard to deflect. But he'd got a couple of tricks up his sleeve for just such an occasion.
It had been a while since he pointed the finger at Blauman, or at Sheila Bessle, Marshall's boss.
He sneered at Marshall as Robin settled back against him. She was his and he didn't care who knew it.
That is, not until Ted walked into the bar.
She's so inventive, that's what he loves about her.
Robin's got this thing she does with the girls, now. She started it a few weeks ago and now she does it every time. It gets him hard just thinking about it.
Robin gives them hope.
After he's tortured them for a while, after he's cut them up a bit, Robin will walk in and offer to set them free. Seeing the pathetic look in their eyes, the need to escape, the desperation, he often jerks himself off, remembering that look.
Of course, when a girl tied to his bed is offered even a shred of hope, even an impossible one, she'll do anything he wants.
The other day, one had sucked him off then let him fuck her up the ass, willingly, gratefully, even though she'd screamed in pain.
Robin had cut her throat just to shut her up, and the blood had gushed over her hands like a waterfall.
God he loved her then.
"Why do you do it?" Ted asked him, as Barney watched the blonde stagger over to the bar, one ankle twisting beneath her as she tried to balance on those ridiculous heels.
"Do what?" He said, the last word mumbled into his tumbler of scotch.
"Piss her off?"
Barney looked up, confused. "Muh?"
"Robin. Why do you piss her off?" Ted sighed. "Look, dude. I can see the attraction… the ample attractions of that chick by the bar. But what is she? Nineteen? You're sitting there blatantly ogling her while your girlfriend watches and it's pissing her off."
Barney looked around guiltily. He wasn't used to this. He wasn't used to modifying his behaviour, second guessing other people. This was the mask he wore at MacLaren's, one he'd spent years perfecting. He couldn't swap it for another one that easily.
His predatory grin, the mask, it crumbled. Was Robin really upset? The bimbo at the bar forgotten, he followed Ted back to their table and sat down opposite Robin. He didn't feel comfortable, all of a sudden. Something was digging itself deep into his gut, something swelling and growing and making his heart race. He felt… like he was going to spin out of control any moment, like he was going to tilt and fall, spiralling, all his armour shattering as he hit the floor.
He didn't meet Robin's eye, instead reaching for his phone and faking a text message; inventing an excuse to leave them. He stalked over to the door and pulling it open, and the freezing air hit him. His hands began to shake.
At the edge of his sense he was dimly aware of being followed, of someone pushing through the press of bodies in the crowded bar but he ducked into a cab and it pulled quickly away.
He ran four flights of stairs up to his apartment, locked himself in, threw the deadbolt and collapsed on to his bed, cold sweat sticking his shirt uncomfortably to his skin. He lay perfectly still, even when he heard the intercom buzz, heard the hammering on the door, heard his cell phone beep and beep and ring.
He closed his eyes and didn't get to sleep for hours.
Instead, he fantasised.
He wants Robin, strapped to a chair. He wants to take a straight razor to her soft, chestnut hair, leaving tiny scratches in her neck and forehead where his strokes become clumsy, frenzied.
He has to be nude for this.
She has to have her arms tied behind her back, wrists bound with plastic ties, ankles taped to the chair.
He cuts away at her clothes, piece by piece, letting the knife nick the swell of her breast, her belly, her inner thigh. He lets his tongue trace where the knife scores her flesh, revelling as each bead of blood bursts, iron rich, against his lips.
He moans, gripping the shaft of his erection to prevent himself coming, letting the tip brush the corner of her mouth as she tries to turn away in disgust.
(No, not disgust… she'd be enjoying this… wouldn't she? Would she? Was it better if there was fear in her eyes?)
The thrill that goes through him at the thought, the way his dick leaps in his hand, should be enough to answer that question.
(Would she beg him? "Please, don't kill me." So many bimbos have begged so, no, Scherbatsky wouldn't beg.)
"Let me go, you bastard!"
That's better - there's fire in her eyes, a sneer on her lips. But she's trembling and when he drags the battery across the floor she makes an odd, yelping noise in the back of her throat.
A single tear lodges dislodges from the corner of her eye, falling down her cheek, tracking mascara across her flawless skin.
His lip curls as he fixes the metal clamps to her nipples, to the lips of her vagina, the sharp teeth drawing blood where they bite into her flesh.
She's screaming before he even turns the dial and her body convulses, her mouth snapping shut as the electricity spikes through her. She screams hysterically, wordlessly, even after he cuts the current.
Then he comes at her with the knife.
She flinches but all the fight in her is gone. So he cuts the bonds around her wrists, slices through the tape around her ankles and she tries to lunge off the chair, falling to the ground (she's still weak from the electric shock). She crawls across the floor, sobbing, and he makes no move to stop her.
"There's no way out…" He said, not raising his voice. He doesn't need to. "There's no way out except through me."
And when she turns to look at him, she knows that it's true.
The feeling of absolutely power flows through him, so strongly, so suddenly, that it makes him come.
The next day, he divided his time between the cigar club (Edición Limitada Montecristo) and the Lusty Leopard (five lapdances, three scotch and sodas). Robin finally tracked him down at work and he kicked himself for not telling security to keep her out.
"I could tell the cops, you know…" She said.
He starts. She couldn't be threatening him? After all, she was in this just as deep as he was. Even more so! She was far less careful than him and who knew what she got up to in her own time. He swallowed and looked up at her.
"You," she said with a wintry smile. "Going all missing persons on us. Where were you last night?"
He shrugged. "With a barely legal college chick called Nancy. She had a mouth like an industrial suction pump." He held her gaze, daring her to challenge him. He'd lied to better interrogators than her and held his nerve.
"You wanna do something tonight?" She asked, her tone a little too casual.
"Do something or…" He waggled his eyebrows. "Do something?"
She rolled her eyes. "Whatever, Barney."
"Babe, I'm all yours…"
She narrowed her eyes. "You'd better be."
He spread his hands in front of him. "I guess you'd like to teach me a lesson?"
She snorted. "You…" she leaned in and whispered in his ear. "won't be able to sit down for a month…"
He shifted in his seat, his pants suddenly a little too restrictive across his groin. "Should I set dinner for three?"
She winked at him and laughed and he wondered what she'd say if he tied her to the chair, if he…
But no, she was far too much fun walking around being Robin Scherbatsky.
Certainly for now…