Warnings none Spoilers Nada
Disclaimer All publicly recognizable characters, settings, plot, etc. are the property of the creators of the TV show How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM). Any original characters, settings and plots are the property of devylish. devylish is in no way associated with the TV show HIMYM and no copyright infringement is intended. This work is an amateur fan effort and no profit is being made.
AN unbeta'd AN2 Can be read as a standalone, or as part eight of my marshallsdeadverse. The other fics in the verse are Not Breathing, and Barely Afloat, Breathing You, Unspoken, Change, Explosions, and Oblivion.
She hears him come in and she quietly releases the breath she has unconsciously been holding.
-Hears him hang his suit coat on the door knob. And she imagines…? the faint scent of scotch
-hanging from his skin and clothes.
-Listens to the bathroom door open and close.
She breathes again – and again – and - … waits for him to reappear.
Three hundred breaths later and the bed shifts; the sheets are lifted and he pulls her closer with a sigh. He encircles her waist with his arm, and
the scent of mint and alcohol – clinical yet sweet – is exhaled as a soft sweet perfume – heady and almost engulfing.
His presence makes her ache.
-And it's bad.
-It overwhelms her.
She climbs out of the bed.
-Feels the cold grasp at her feet and her legs and she quickens her steps to the bathroom.
She turns on the hot water, letting it run over her hands.
-Staring at the mirror she tries to explain to the woman who looks back at her that she was going to tell him, at some point.
-She would tell him that she.. . . . . loved him.
-I'm just a little scared.
-A lot scared.
Her twin stares at her from the mirror, pitying her. Pitying her for her fear.
Five counts and she gives in to her desire to be in his arms again.
She opens the bathroom door, momentarily flooding the outer room with light.
-The white sheets are draped over his form, his face hidden in the angles and curves of the shadows.
-Then the world is enveloped in darkness again.
'Lost and frightened' fade, once again, at the sound of his voice.
She slides back into bed, slipping under the sheet he holds aloft for her.
As the cool cloth drapes back across her shoulder, his arm finds its home at her waist, and
Her form melds against his.
Four walls disappear –
And there remains:
-The quiet hum of breathing
He murmurs something in her ear, unintelligible, but it's sweet and tender.
And she falls asleep; a promise on her lips to tell him tomorrow.
Barney thanked the barista as she placed his coffee in front of him and grabbing a sugar packet out of the holder, he looked at Ted, "… and?" Ted had been regaling him with the tale of his latest 'she's the one'.
Ted sat back and tilted his chin inquisitively. "Wait, no. What is up with you? Are you sick?"
Barney rolled his eyes and furrowed a brow. "Uh… no."
"No. something is up with you. That waitress was smoking hot and you didn't even leer. You didn't leer, you didn't salivate, and you didn't slip her your number on a condom packet. What the hell is up with you?"
Barney glanced over his shoulder at the barista. She was cute, in an Amazon, kind of way. But she wasn't a petite red head with big green eyes. That being said, he should have at least attempted to work his charm on her... for appearances sake.
He was slipping. Slipping into being a one woman man.
And it wasn't as painful as he'd thought it would be.
Not as painful, but a thousand times scarier.
Being a one woman man - being Lily's man, meant he couldn't fuck up. Because if he fucked up, he would hurt her.
And the chances of him not fucking up? Slim to none. His life was made of fuck up. Shiny fuck up, but fuck up none the less.
Why she even let him touch her, he didn't know. All he knew was that every once and a while he saw something in her eyes, a flash of… heat… fire… electricity… and it was in response to him. in response to his touch, his words. He hadn't figured out the trick yet. He hadn't figured out what exact words, what exact touch brought about those flashes.
Sometimes it was her neck, his fingers along her neck. Sometimes it was her thigh, his hand settling on her thigh. Or soccer, he'd mentioned soccer a few times and he'd turn to her and see her glowing at him… for him. Coffee had worked a couple of times too. He'd spoken about his favorite coffees once or twice and she had slipped her arms around him, holding him close.
So he'd found a few words, a few spots that seemed, somehow to work on her. That he could use as keys to open up the doors that led to her fire. And he felt like a damn king when it worked. But, it was still hit or miss, it was still…...
… He didn't know why she spent time with him. But apparently they'd hit some sort of balance, and she saw something in him. Something sort of worthwhile.
Though, for the life of him, he didn't know what the hell it could be.
Turning back to Ted, Barney responded, his usual bravado tempered by weariness, "Been there, done that; she wasn't that good. Dude! Did I tell you about my new project at work? There will be models. And nakedness."
Ted peered at him, not quite believing him, but allowing him to steer the conversation away from his odd behavior of the past few weeks.
"Don't answer it." Her voice was low; satiated and loose.
"It could be the landlord, for the faucet."
Lily hugged closer to Barney's frame, her head on his chest. "They can come back. It's Sunday; it's 8am on a Sunday morning. Don't they know people are sleeping?" She curved a foot up a long his calf, slowly, "and doing other things?"
His cock responded to her suggestion.
And then the idiot at his front door knocked again.
Lily offered a halfhearted, mumbled, "Fuck em!" but released Barney so that he could go to the door.
Grabbing his robe he pulled the sash tight around his frame as he padded to the apartment door so that he could give his landlord a piece of his mind... after he fixed the kitchen faucet.
Swinging the door open he huffed an unforgiving, "What!"
"I told you he was here. Pay up." Robin turned to Ted and held out her hand.
"I'll pay you when you pay me back for the lesbian waitress thing."
Robin stopped wiggling her fingers sheepishly.
Clearing his throat and realizing he was in a bad situation here, Barney prompted Ted and Robin with a nervous question. "Hey guys! What – what're you two doing here? Bright and early on a Sunday morning." He shifted so that he was blocking more of their view of his living room with his frame.
The move did not go unnoticed by either Scherbatsky or Mosby who were at his place following up on a hunch, a hunch based on Barney's odd behavior over the past few weeks.
Both of them peered curiously over Barney's shoulders from different sides.
Barney hung his head and turned around to find Lily standing frozen in the living room wearing another one of his robes.
She was beautiful.
And he was going to lose her now.
He stepped aside and let their friends into his home.
"Is this what I think this is?" Robin waved her hand between Lily and Barney, while Ted stood with his mouth hanging open.
"Are you thinking that the two of us are wearing the latest in matching fashion statements?" Lily offered hopefully.
Ted spurted, "Uh, no, we're thinking the two of you just climbed out of bed… together… with one another. In a non-sleeping kind of way!"
Lily couldn't look at Barney. She knew he wanted to keep everything about them a secret, at least from their friends. He never wanted to settle down, to be with one woman. Especially not a petite red head who called him on his shit, and was slightly broken.
Barney couldn't look at Lily. He knew she wanted to keep everything about them a secret, at least from their friends. She was using him as a salve. A bridge between Marshall and the rest of her life. Her future. She didn't want a fuck up, she wanted… she deserved someone who wasn't broken.
"Lily, can I talk to you?" Robin walked towards her friend and without waiting for an answer, grabbed her wrist and pulled her into the bedroom.
Closing the bedroom door behind them, she glanced at the disheveled bed, at the clothes scattered on the floor. "What're you doing?" She leaned against the door, staring at Lily.
Lily shrugged, not knowing how to respond.
"Lily, you slept with Barney…. Barney!" She paused. "This… is this the first time?"
"No." it was a soft word, filled with want and sadness.
"Did, did he? Is this because of Marshall?" Robin said his name gingerly.
"No. yes. No."
"That's clear as Canadian mud…. You know the two of you… I mean… he's using you… and you're…you're… I thought you were getting over Marshall?"
Lily's head shot up. "I'll never be 'over' Marshall. We didn't break up. We didn't have a huge fight and decide to call it quits. He died! He was taken from me! I'll never be over him!" She lowered her voice, "But… just because I love him. Because I love Marshall forever, it doesn't mean I don't… I can't…"
"Jesus Aldrin, are you trying to say that you, you think you love him? Barney?"
She hadn't said the words to Barney. But they slid out of her mouth like an exhalation of breath. She smiled, "He makes me happy. He understands me. I'll love him for as long as he lets me."
"Barney, what the hell are you doing with Lily? With Lily of all people?"
"None of your business Ted."
"I thought all of your business was my business. I thought we were best friends?"
'I have a new best friend?' A bit harsh. "Do you tell me everything about your life?"
"Really? Dude! Your life is spectacularly boring!"
Ted flipped him the bird and flopped down on the couch. "Barney, Lily isn't like all of the other women you've messed with. She's special. She's… man… she's Lily!"
Barney was silent – an aberration of nature that rarely occurred – he knew Lily was special. He loved every inch of her specialness. And damnit, he knew he didn't deserve her, but…
"Barney, I swear to God, if you hurt Lily, I'll let Scherbatsky beat the crap out of you."
"If I hurt her, I'll let Scherbatsky beat the crap out of me."
Ted stared at Barney. "I hope you've thought about this Barney. I mean, I've never seen you stay with a woman for more than a couple of weeks, and Lily isn't that kind of woman."
He knew what kind of woman Lily was. He knew better than anyone. Hell, he knew better than Marshall ever had. "I'll stay with her as long as she'll let me stay with her."
Ted nodded his head, and Barney settled on the couch next to him, as they waited for the women to finish their discussion.
"So you'll go to the game with me tomorrow night?" Robin asked Lily as they headed into the living room.
"I will be painted, and sporting colors!"
"Wait, waitttt! Are you talking about the Yankee's game? I thought you were taking me!" Ted stood up, a pout in his voice and on his face.
"I decided Lily would be a better wingman. Wingwoman."
"I can be a wing… person!"
"Move it Mosby," Robin pushed him towards the door. "And give it up; I've made up my mind. You're not going."
Robin shoved Ted out the door and without looking back, yelled to Lily, "I'll pick you up at your place… 6pm."
Since entering the room she hadn't taken her eyes off of him. She couldn't; if she looked away she would be giving up. And even though she knew she probably should, she wasn't ready to give him up. So she watched him. Eyes intent on his.
And there he was staring right back at her.
Not letting her go.
Not giving up on her either.