Co-written with idioticonion and jerseystrife.
Between the three of us and the two shows we still own nothing.
"You haven't come to the bar in ages."
"Come on, Ted! I was there like, two weeks ago dude. Look, I told you I'm busy and you're just going to have to deal."
"Whatever. Are you okay Barney? Seriously? It's not like you to miss Friday nights."
Time was very precious in his life and Barney didn't want to waste what little he had left. A few weeks after the bus incident, a routine blood test had revealed that Barney's old leukemia had been taken out of remission status. In a different time and life, separate from who he was now, he had been a scared six year old in a big hospital, dying of leukemia. With the help of the best doctors his parents could afford, little Douglas "Doogie" Howser had lived and his leukemia had retreated. He had thought that chapter in his life was over, and all the problems were finished or tucked away. He certainly did his best to forget about his life before New York and Barney Stinson.
His past had come back to bite him in the ass because the cancer couldn't have come at a worse time. Now that he was in the prime of his life it felt like he was being robbed of what he felt he truly deserved—being able to live it up with no worries.
Creative scheduling helped him balance his doctor appointments and beginning chemotherapy treatments while maintaining his time hanging out with everyone and work. But the lack of time to relax and adjust to all the drastic changes in his life kept him constantly stressed out. His friends were already beginning to notice his lack of conquest stories. It didn't help that he had to cancel on whatever his friends had planned more and more frequently when they happened to fall on days where he had to go in for tests or needed extra rest. He didn't know what he was going to do when everything goes to pieces because Barney was under no illusion that he could keep this going forever. Something this big was too hard to keep a secret.
He knew all about keeping secrets.
"Ted. Ted. Ted--you aren't listening. I have something so awesome planned that it will top all the other Friday nights before it that it because it will be better than whatever lame thing is going on tonight at MacLarens. Picture this; late night club dancing in a tightly packed crowd with tons of hot drunk chicks looking for some New York flavor for their after dinner special. Yeah," Barney chuckled into the phone.
"It's not like you never see me. Besides, you hate clubs. Later." Barney hung up, leaving the end call message to blink at him before wearily returning to staring at the wallpaper.
He was lying to everyone about something and it was getting harder and harder to keep up the general lie that everything was okay.
Sometimes he would think about when he had a friend who he could tell everything to, but Vinnie was no longer someone he could talk to and Barney no longer put that kind of trust in anyone after what had happened. He still followed what Vinnie was up to through google alerts despite the fact that they were no longer close. Vinnie's Hollywood career of being as a big time filmmaker was impressive and his loyal fans were truly inspiring with the amount of time they spent trying to find everything "Delpino". But Barney no longer wanted to connect on a personal level with his once best bro.
Barney sighed, tucking his phone into his jacket pocket. He reached up to loosen his tie and wiped the sweat build-up on his forehead. It was getting harder to be constantly on the move, he was beginning to get worn down. Between work, his friends and his problems he hardly had time for himself. He hadn't slept with a girl since the bus incident and the lack of release wasn't helping his stress levels. He noticed he was getting overly emotional about things to the point that it was distracting him from his day to day life. He needed rest and relaxation. Canceling on everyone meant he could avoid everything and just zone out in his room. Maybe he would even watch porn tonight just to release some tension that had begun to build up.
His pocket suddenly vibrated against his chest, startling him. Curious, Barney checked and the ID showed it was Lily.
"Go for Barney," he answered.
"Barney what the hell is wrong with you? Are you sick or avoiding us or something?"
He didn't know what made him decide to answer but now he regretted his decision. Lily sounded pretty angry at him. Maybe canceling tonight was a bad idea? He was just feeling so tired he figured one more cancellation wouldn't hurt.
"No!" He paused. He was sick but a man never admits that to a women. What could he-? "--Yes! Yes, I am sick. I'm so sick at how lame the bar is. We do the bar every Friday, and it's just dragging me down."
"Well I'm sick of you acting like you have better things to do. I know you Stinson, and you pick up more chicks at this bar than anywhere else. Get your ass here."
"I'll buy you a drink," Lily sighed. He could hear her voice getting a little softer. She no longer sounded like she was reprimanding one of her kindergartners. "Come to the bar. We haven't seen you in forever. Even Ted is missing you hark on him and you know he hates it."
"Alright. Fine. You better own up for that drink, Aldrin."
It was such a bad idea to come to the bar.
The offer for the free drink did not make up for the amount of bitching he was getting from everyone. No one was letting go of the fact he had not bothered to show up for every little thing in the last few weeks. The only one who wasn't at the bar to rag on him was Robin. Thanks to an unhelpful Lily, he received an angry voice mail from Robin about his behavior lately to make up for the fact she was not there to do it in person. He knew he couldn't leave despite the amount of bitching he was getting. Barney was still feeling rather drained and tired but he needed to at least keep up appearances and had a few more drinks than he should have.
He originally started out slow with just gin and tonic and then he switched to scotch. A few rounds of scotch helped him loosen up and let go of some stress. At some point he got a hold of some of the harder liquor to help compensate the fact he wasn't really participating in the conversation. It must have taken him a good hour and a half or so before he was quite drunk and stumbling on what he was thinking about and what others were talking about. Lily was the first one to really notice how bad he was when he tried to get up to use the bathroom and swayed dangerously close to the pillar next to the bathroom, using it as a momentary support before he continued on his way.
"Guys, I think it's time to call it. Barney is having enough trouble finding the bathroom and I think if he drank any more he might forget which way to piss." Lily poked Marshall. "You and Ted find him and take him upstairs."
Ted shared a look with Marshall. "Lily I think he's fine. He's upset with something but it's Barney. He'll eventually snap out of it. Besides, he's gotten a taxi on his own when he was this drunk before."
"No, something is really bothering him. I don't want to see him go home alone."
Marshall stood, shrugging at Ted. "Not a big deal dude, he could have your couch for the night. I know Lily left some extra blankets there."
When Ted and Marshall entered the bathroom, they immediately noticed that something was seriously wrong with Barney. He had stumbled into a stall, on the floor, and was puking his guts into the toilet, hugging it for dear life. He didn't even look up at them after he stopped. He just stared vacantly at the toilet.
"God Barney-" Marshall went over to the sink, pulling out a couple of paper towels and ran them under cold water before going to him. "Not cool man, I promised myself I would never do this again after college."
Worried, Ted moved to stand next to Marshall, unsure about what to do. "Great. Well this should be fun getting him into the apartment like this."
Barney jerked at the sudden cold on his face. He blinked a few times before his vision was clear enough to see Marshall crouching over him with a serious expression and a wet paper towel in his hand. "When did you get here?"
"Around the same time you made love to the toilet. How are you feeling?"
"Less than awesome." He leaned back, using the wall of the stall to support him as he tried to gather his wits about what was going on.
Marshall grabbed Barney by the arm and heaved, pulling his friend up pretty easily considering how heavy Barney usually was. Ted moved to the other side of Barney to help support him. Barney made a motion like he was going to be sick but held it back as he was steadied on his feet. "We're taking you upstairs. There's no way once Lily's letting you out of her sight once she sees you."
"M'fine, really. Just drop me in a cab."
Ted snorted. "Oh, yeah, sure. Not after seeing that display. I've never seen you get that sick. Come on."
"No Barney, you're sleeping on the couch. End of story."
Marshall held the bathroom door open for Barney and Ted who had a tight hold on him.
"Oh god," Lily exclaimed when she saw them. "Is he all right?"
"I think so, let's just concentrate on getting him—" he was cut off as he felt Barney's legs go out from under him. "Come on man you're going to have to help me out a little."
Ted loosened his grip on him just for a second to reposition his weight and Barney immediately crumpled to the floor in a dead faint.
Lily shrieked "Shit," Ted said as he squatted down next to him. "I've never even seen him get drunk enough to puke like that, let alone black out."
"Barney," Marshall pleaded as he gave his cheeks a few slaps. "Come on man you've got to get up," No response, Barney just lay there in a crumpled heap with all three of them crowded around him.
"Move him to the booth," Carl shouted from across the room. "I'll bring over some water."
Marshall bent down and lifted his friend with ease; Ted moved to help him but he didn't seem to need any. Once he was laid on the booth of their regular table he leaned in to whisper to Ted so Lily wouldn't hear. "He's lost a lot of weight. I swear he couldn't have been much heavier than Lily."
Carl brought over the water and the three of them than proceeded to try to wake him by splashing the water in his face, shouting, shaking and whispering dirty things in his ear.
"What do we do now," Lily asked after they had gone several minutes without making any progress. "Will you be able to carry him up to Ted's apartment, baby?"
"It won't be a problem."
"Guys I think we should take him to the hospital," Ted said dead seriously after he'd bent down to feel his friends pulse . "Alcohol is supposed to slow down your heart rate, his is racing like he just ran a marathon. Besides I was watching him and he can't have had more than I did during the pineapple incident. Something is seriously wrong."
"Carl would you call an ambulance for us please," said Marshall in a mock calm voice as the barman came over to see how they were doing.
As they waited for its arrival all they could do was wonder what on earth Barney could have done to himself.