A/N: Hey everyone! I'm getting in the mood for NaNo by writing a short fanfiction for my newest favorite sitcom! (and I only say "newest" because Friends is still my top favorite. :P ) Anyway, I'm not sure how the characterization is on this one--I took a shot. Hopefully it works well enough. Let me know through reviews whether or not I should write more in this fandom? :)
Not Quite A Miracle
Everyone else had gone home for the night. When eleven rolled around, and visiting hours ended, the nurse entered the room and kindly told the group that they could come back at eight the following morning. Barney faked a smirk and waved with his free fingers, trying to ensure that none of his friends (it felt good to think that again, especially about Ted) felt guilty for leaving him to get some sleep.
But while Lily, Marshall, and Ted collected at the door with a chorus of "goodnight," and "feel better," and "we'll see you tomorrow," respectively, Robin met his gaze, and Barney liked to think they had one of their telepathic conversations.
But it might have been the morphine.
Still, when the nurse regained Robin's attention with a quiet, "Ma'am?" Robin straightened and cast a glance between her friends at the doorway and Barney on the bed.
"I'd like to stay the night," she said quickly. Barney raised his eyebrows in surprise, but stayed silent. The nurse glanced at his charts and back up at Robin.
"I'm sorry, but you can't stay unless you're a family member of Mr. Stinson."
"She's my fiancée," Barney explained hastily, sending Ted a go-along-with-it look over the nurse's shoulder. The nurse glanced at Robin, who quickly regained her composure and moved to stand beside Barney's bed, carefully lacing her fingers through his.
"That's… right," she slowly bobbed her head. "Fiancée. Yes. That's me. The future Mrs. Stinson."
The nurse blinked and glanced at the three by the door for confirmation. Ted nodded in agreement, and Marshall and Lily caught on just as easily.
"Oh yeah, they're engaged all right."
"The wedding's in March!"
The nurse looked confused, but she eventually shrugged and said, "Okay, then, but don't keep Mr. Stinson awake. He needs rest after today." She herded the others out of the room, and they left with loud goodbyes. Barney watched Ted's face for any sign that their friendship was over again after this stunt, suddenly terrified that he'd have to endure another week without his best friend. But Ted simply gave him a knowing smile and followed Marshall and Lily down the hall.
"You two are okay now," Robin remarked quietly, seeing the relief on Barney's face.
He scoffed, "I know that."
They fell silent for a bit, Barney staring at the ceiling and Robin staring at everything else. Finally, Barney cleared his throat a little, "Thanks for staying."
"I couldn't help it," she smirked slightly. "You just got that kicked-puppy look when everyone stood to leave."
"I did not," Barney scoffed again, rolling his eyes in exaggeration. "Geez, Robin, you should get your eyes examined, because the only look I had was…" he trailed off, frowning, "was…"
Robin laughed, "Can't think of anything to say?"
"It's this damn morphine," he countered. "It's messing up my game."
"What game?" she snorted. "You can't move anything but your mouth. How can you possibly have game?"
"Oh, I have game," he assured her.
She laughed again, taking a seat in the chair beside his bed and leaning forward so he could see her without trying to turn his head (which hurt, as he'd established earlier when Marshall had tried feeding him by throwing raisons from the end of the bed). They sat in contented silence for a few moments, and Robin glanced at the casts covering Barney.
"Did it hurt?" she asked.
He closed his eyes, "A bit. But then it got sort of numb… I think I blacked out."
She reached up to run her thumb over his knuckles, because the only other option was his face, and she thought that was pushing their friendship limits. He glanced at her and smiled slightly, but the pained look on her face made him hasten to reassure her that he was fine.
"But come on, how awesome was that whole 'engaged' bit? The nurse totally bought it. Up top!" he wiggled his fingers, and she leveled a stern glare at him, a silent reminder of how much it had hurt when Marshall had done it earlier that day. He sighed and dropped his fingers, looking back at the ceiling.
"It didn't go numb fast enough," he admitted quietly after a lengthy silence. Robin looked at him in surprise, but he continued, still staring at the ceiling tiles. "It was the worst pain I'd ever experienced, and I prayed for God to kill me just to make it go away."
"That's when my life flashed before my eyes. Not before the accident. After."
Robin breathed a shaky sigh, wishing she could embrace him and kiss the pain away. But she had to remind herself that even if Barney wasn't wrapped from neck to toe in casts and bandages, they were still just friends, and friends certainly didn't "kiss the pain away." So she covered his left hand instead, the one lying on his stomach, careful not to jostle his broken arm.
"I saw you, Robin," he said, his voice a mere whisper. "You flashed before my eyes."
It had to be the morphine making him talk crazy. In the morning, he wouldn't even remember this night, and life would go on like it always had. They'd be the casual friends who had sex once without lingering feelings. Ted and Barney would finally be "bros" again. Lily still wouldn't be able to keep a secret.
But at that moment Barney glanced sideways at her, and her breath hitched at the depth of his gaze. Maybe he would deny this in the morning. But right now, she knew he was telling the truth. And it was suddenly urgent that he knew exactly how she felt about him.
"I was terrified when Ted got the phone call," she swallowed, pulling her hand back to play with her watch anxiously, "Everyone else jumped into action, even Ted, and he wasn't technically allowed to get out of bed yet. But I just stood there." She laughed brokenly.
Barney was silent, watching her intently, wishing he could move more than his fingers to offer her some comfort and support.
"I was the first to look through the window and see you lying here. I froze again; Lily had to push me through the door. And the entire time you were making up with Ted, I just couldn't stop thinking about what I'd have done if you'd actually… you'd actually…" she broke off, tears welling in her eyes, which she tried to wipe off with the casual swipe of her hand. "Sorry. That's awful to think about."
"Don't cry," he offered her a wry smile, unsure of how else to handle the situation. "It takes more than a bus to kill Barney Stinson."
Robin started crying harder at the blatant reminder, while Barney flustered for something else to say. Usually, when girls cried, he simply voiced some meaningless crap and beat a fast retreat. But, since he was tethered to the bed, and it was Robin crying, he hurried to come up with something decent to reassure her with.
"So, Scherbatsky, remember the time Marshall and Lily bought an apartment with a slanted floor? Talk about stupid," he laughed loudly, and Robin, still fighting tears, resisted the urge to punch him in the arm.
"You're horrible at this," she choked, laughing a little at the flustered expression on his face. She took a few breaths and sniffed. "But thanks."
He smiled crookedly, "Happy to be of service."
"Of course you are," she mumbled, still smirking. He gasped in offense, but she wasn't ready to move onto a new topic of conversation quite so quickly. "And listen, Barney. If you ever cross the street again without looking both ways, I will hunt you down and shoot you like I would a buck in the forest, got it?"
She had that slightly-crazed Canadian look about her, so Barney nodded meekly and said, "Yes, ma'am."
Robin smiled, pleased, and wiped away the last of her tears, "Good. Now, you should probably get some sleep. You look horrible."
"Still better than Marshall on a good day," he supplied, grinning. "Oh, what up? High five!"
"Right, sorry," he took a breath, winced a little, and closed his eyes. "Night, Robin."
She smiled, grateful to be able to scold him another day, "Night, Barney. Don't go jumping out in front of buses in your dream, even if it is for a hot girl on the other side of the street. Remember, she's not worth it."
"Pssh. Says you," he mumbled, already half asleep from the stress of the day and the morphine pumping through his system.
Robin watched him for another few minutes, and when she was sure he was asleep, she leaned over and carefully kissed his forehead, "Thanks for staying with us, Barney."
Life would go back to normal eventually. But for one night, Robin had seen Barney with his defenses down. And if his confession meant anything later, when he was completely lucid, maybe there was hope for the future yet.
Robin smiled and settled back into her chair, getting comfortable for the long night ahead.
A/N: And now I should probably get to bed, being as I'm sick and all. :P Anyway, for all of you writers doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNo, for those uneducated few), good luck! Happy writing! And to all the people out there simply reading, thanks for your time. Hope you enjoyed this!