a.n. Hello! This is my first HIMYM ff and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Inspired by Lily's line in 'the leap' about how Barney wanted to be a violinist.
Disclaimer: It doesn't belong to me. How very very sad.
"Barney?" Called Robin through her ex-boyfriends door. She was getting a little worried; they'd gone to MacLarens to meet up for drinks as they did almost every night, but Barney hadn't shown up. They'd called him but there was no response, then Robin drew the short straw.
She knocked again but there was no answer. Then Robin noticed a strange sound emanating from Barney's apartment. It was weird. Beautiful, but a little strained and somehow conveying infinite frustration and sadness. It also sounded a little familiar. She should know what that sound was, but for some reason it was escaping her.
Robin gently opened the door. Barney probably just hadn't heard her, and to be honest she knew which one was the short straw when she picked it. Entering the room there was no one in sight but the music continued. She suppressed the impulse to call out to him and moved quietly in the direction of the music.
When Robin found the source she was beyond shocked. She didn't know what she'd been expecting but this wasn't it.
Barney was seated in a kitchen chair facing the window, looking over the New York night away from her. With a violin. Initially Robin was almost amused; it was so unexpected. But after the initial shock she realised how good he was. She had thought the music beautiful but she was wrong, it was breathtaking. He even looked the part, like someone who'd just stepped off stage from the NYSO to do a solo performance in Barney's apartment.
After what could only have been a couple of minutes but seemed like an eternity, Barney stopped playing, sighed and turned around. It was then that he caught sight of Robin.
Standing right behind him, staring, her lips parted in awe.
Barney sighed and his shoulders slumped. "Great." He said sarcastically.
Robin let go of a breath she didn't even know she'd been holding, "Barney-"
"Yeah yeah," He rolled his eyes, "What's your price Scherbatsky?"
She frowned, shaking the surprise of finding him playing the violin, "What do you mean?"
He shrugged, violin in one hand, bow in the other, "What do you want not to tell anyone about this?"
Robin frowned, "Why don't you want anyone to know?"
Barney slowed his speech, like Robin was completely thick, "Cos it's not me."
"Yeah, but you play well." She replied with the same tone. "How long have you been playing? Where'd you learn? Why were you playing now?"
He sighed, "Oh, so that's your price. The story."
"No! I-" She paused, "Yeah, I guess it is."
For the first time Barney gave a lopsided smile, "Okay, just don't tell anyone. Sit down young Robin, for this tale is long."
She sat on the sofa and half a second later Barney sat beside her, placing the violin on his lap. The cool soft leather felt soothing on her skin. Robin tried to touch the violin but as soon as her hand got near the instrument Barney jumped and yanked it away, "No! No touchy!" He cried like an eight year old with his prize toy, "Just story." He drew a deep breath to calm himself down and said, "Sorry... Where do you want me to start?"
Robin's face was clear of laughter or scorn; all that remained was child-like curiosity. "When did you start playing violin?"
Barney had to think for a moment, "I must have been about seven."
"Whoa, that's a long time."
He laughed, "The sad thing is it really isn't. Most professionals start when they're about three."
Barney laughed again. "Tell me about it. Anyway," He stretched, "You know how I, brace yourself... wasn't good at sport? The schooling system alternative to sport is music. Cos I couldn't get in to the basketball team or the football team or the soccer team or, well, any other team, they made me join the band. I hated it so much." His smile turned nostalgic, "At first anyway."
He grinned, "Nothing really happened, I just... Look, everyone's got something that just, clicks, you know? Like you reporting and Ted being an architect. Marshall being a lawyer and Lily with those kids." This was a completely different side of Barney to the one he usually displayed. "Everyone's got something they love doing and are really good at. For me it was music. Once I stopped hating it, I realised, I was really awesome at this, and I loved it!"
Robin frowned, "So then what?"
Barney shrugged, "Nothing. I kept playing all through school but when I graduated we didn't have enough money to buy a violin so I had to stop. I bought this one a while ago now, before I met you. Hell, before I met Ted." He smiled at the carved wood, "I got it from my old school, fixed it up, and now it's mine. My first violin."
Robin smiled. "That's sweet."
Barney pointed at her, "And that's why I don't tell anyone."
She shook her head but took his point. "So what, do you still practice?"
He shrugged, "Not really, just for fun."
"One last thing."
Barney rolled his eyes dramatically. "Whaaaaaat?" He said in a sing-song voice.
Robin laughed, "Why were you playing before?"
He opened his mouth to talk but paused. "You know when you get really... angry or scared or... sad, and you don't know what to do, you just need to get it out?" He leaned forwards curiously, "What do you do when that happens?"
Robin smiled dangerously, "I shoot stuff."
Barney laughed, "Oh yeah, you do." He grinned. He'd almost forgotten. "But it does make you feel better right? It's like you're getting rid of it?"
"Yeah." She was surprised that Barney knew that.
"Playing the violin's like a soothing... less violent way of shooting stuff."
"Huh." Said Robin. Then a cold dread crept over her as she realised the implications of this. "Oh God, what happened?"
"Hm?" Said Barney. He hadn't been paying attention; he was fiddling with one of the pegs on his violin.
Robin drew a deep breath, "I only shoot stuff when I'm really upset, when something's gone wrong. What happened?"
"Oh," He shook his head, "It was nothing."
He sighed and his shoulders slumped, "Okay, it was Nora."
Robin paused for a second, "A-are you guys... okay?" Guiltily she hoped they weren't.
Barney shook his head. "No. We broke up, not that we were back together yet. It was a little messy."
"Oh, Barney..." She put a hand on his shoulder, "I'm sorry." She actually was. No matter how much she hated Barney being with Nora, she hated seeing him hurt more. "Do you wanna talk about it?"
He shrugged non-committally, "Not much to talk about. She thought I was cheating on her or something, and broke up with me."
Robin pursed her lips and shifted uncomfortably, "Uh, not to seem... insensitive, but... were you?"
"No." He plucked one of the strings, "Kinda hurts that you had to ask Robin."
"Barney, I-I'm sorry, I didn't-"
He nodded in acceptance, "It's okay, I've just always thought it was weird that people assume that. I mean," He sighed, "I've never cheated in a relationship."
Robin frowned in thought.
Barney smiled a little at her confusion, "I've only been in, what? Three serious relationships? But I never cheated."
"Yeah," She said, only half to Barney, "You never did." Robin smirked internally, "Unless you count with Ted."
He rolled his eyes but smiled, "Robin I do not think talking to Ted counts as cheating on you."
"Oh no, it wasn't the Ted part so much as the discussing the deep facets of my personality part."
Barney smirked, "Not just the depths of your personality." He chuckled causing Robin to punch him on the arm, but she was smiling too. He sighed, suddenly feeling very tired. "Look, can you tell the others I can't come out tonight? Tell them I'm sick or something, please? I'll owe you one."
Robin pursed her lips. "I could do that." She said. "Or I could text them that," She pulled out her phone, quickly typing a message, "And keep you company."
Barney's smile was small but genuine and surprised, "Really?"
She pressed the send button and returned the smile. "Really. You're my friend Barney," If friend is the right word, "And I know you've been through a lot tonight. This is no time to be alone. Besides, I feel kinda guilty about you and Nora."
He cocked his head, "Why?"
"Well, it's cos of me you met her, and it's cos of me you asked her to coffee." She couldn't look him in the eye. "I'm sorry."
"You know, Robin," Barney said, trying to inject some humour into the situation. "Not everything's about you."
Robin smiled, noticing the unspoken sentiment. It's not your fault. After that though, she couldn't think of anything to say.
Neither, apparently, could Barney, because they ended up sitting in awkward silence for a few minutes before her ex said, "You know, Robin, I'm all for the whole 'keeping me company' thing, but usually it involves talking too."
She laughed a little, "It's a two way thing you know, what do you wanna talk about?"
"I dunno... Ooh! I know!" He suddenly exclaimed. He leaned towards Robin and said, with a grin to rival the Cheshire cats, "Why'd you go out with me?"
The Canadian raised one eyebrow, "Fishing for compliments much?"
Barney shrugged, not the least bit put off, "What can I say? I need an ego boost."
"No." Said Robin.
He chuckled, "I'll go one for one if you want."
She shook her head, looking down, "Nu uh, no way."
"Why not?" Barney noticed something and laughed, "Oh my God, you're blushing!"
"I am not!" Robin exclaimed and looked up. As soon as their eyes met Barney doubled over with laughter. If Robin wasn't blushing then she had some serious heart problems; her face was bright red.
Slowly but surely Barney regained control. Sitting up, still chuckling, he said, "You're as stubborn as me."
"One of the reasons I went out with you. You're as stubborn as I am." He looked at her expectantly.
Robin groaned, "Barney! I-" She stopped as a thought occurred to her. "You never give up." She said.
Barney grinned; she'd joined his game. "Uuh, you can hold your scotch."
"I saved some bimbo's some heartbreak."
"Ouch. I could cross pop-star off my list."
Robin scowled, "Um," She thought for a moment, "You're the master of the possimpible." She finally said, with a genuine smile.
"You're awesome." Said Barney, his smile also taking a more affectionate look.
She shook her head and rolled her eyes, "That's cheating."
"Is not; we never set any ground rules."
Two could play at that game, "You're awesome." She said.
To Robin's surprise, Barney wasn't the least bit put off. "I am aren't I?" He said in a pretentious voice, straightening his tie.
Robin laughed so hard that she had to lean forwards, holding her sides. When it had subsided she realised something. "You can make me laugh." She said and it seemed impossible to stop smiling.
Barney smiled in that genuine way that made his eyes wrinkle and small dimples to appear on his cheeks. "You just did two in a row."
She shrugged, "Meh, you can do two to make up for it."
Barney had to think for a moment. It wasn't that he was out, far from it; he could go on all night. But he didn't want to say anything too personal and ruin it. Suddenly a memory stirred and he grinned. "Battleship."
Robin laughed again. "You're not still sad that you lost are you?" She said in a baby voice.
"Hey!" He cried, trying to look offended, "It was a tie!"
The Canadian rolled her eyes, "Oh come on, you knew you were losing and made up some lame excuse so we'd have to end it early."
"Yeah, well - you cheated!"
"So did you!" Robin exclaimed, "That was the whole point!"
Barney's face screwed up into a look of childish frustration before he resorted to sticking out his tongue.
Robin grinned. "One more." She said teasingly.
Barney shook his head, "Uuh... You've got your own gun. Your turn."
She thought for half a second, "You don't mind that I've got my own gun."
"Ted's a girl huh?"
They both laughed. Making fun of Ted was a guilty pastime of theirs. Well, a little guilty.
Robin gestured to Barney, "Your turn." So help her, she was actually enjoying this.
"Hmmm..." He thought. "You're independent." He said causing Robin to look up in surprise. To her knowledge that was a bad thing in a relationship. "I never had to worry about you, almost never had to look after you." Barney grinned, "Hell, you looked after me." The smile turned a little embarrassed. "You still do."
The reporter smiled affectionately and continued to save him embarrassment. "You don't talk when people have problems."
Barney raised one eyebrow, "I'm having trouble seeing the positive there Scherbatsky."
Robin toyed with her hands, "Like when Marshall and Lily broke up. You didn't try to comfort Marshall or tell him to get over Lily like Ted did. You made sure he was ready for when she got back and when she took too long you went and got her." She shook her head and smiled again, "You don't talk to people about their problems, you solve them."
It could have been the lighting or Barney could have actually been blushing. "It was a one time thing." He mumbled, trying to escape.
"Uh huh." Replied Robin, her lips twitching. This was going to be something she never mentioned, but he was literally asking for it. "Remember when we had that race?"
"What, what race?" Asked Barney, a little lost.
Robin was trying her hardest not to smile, "A few months ago, when we all raced across the city, Marshall ran, Lily caught the subway, remember?"
"Oh yeah, they went to Coney island." A hint of dread was creeping through his heart, but there was no way she knew about that, was there?
"I was having a really bad day."
Barney nodded, "Yeah, I know. I'm sorry I messed it up more." He said sincerely.
But Robin was poorly hiding a smile. "Barney, I'm a Canadian hockey player."
"Yeah. You are." As well as reporter, pop star and gun slinger.
She drew a deep breath, "And as such... I know a tackle when I see one." She said quickly, all in the one breath.
Barney froze and his eyes grew wide. "I- uh, what are you talking about?"
Now she did smile. "It took me a few days to figure it out. It was a really nice thing to do." Robin met his gaze. "I'm sorry."
"What for?" He asked, looking very puzzled.
"Assuming you don't care. I do that a lot."
Barney smiled, "Not as much as other people." He said. "You're forgiven if I am."
Robin nodded and wrapped her arms around him. "I don't know why you always pretend to be such a jerk." She mumbled, her head fitting into the crook of his neck.
He returned the hug, "Cos it's awesome!" He said.
Robin smiled into his shirt. "You're an idiot." She said. Then froze when she remembered that Barney knew what that was code for. To her surprise, Barney didn't respond with the shock she expected though.
Barney felt her tense in his embrace and realised that Robin had finally worked out what she'd been saying to him for months. He smiled strangely and loosened his grip. "Am I?"
Robin pulled back a little, not enough to completely escape the hug but enough to look at him. When their eyes met Robin knew the answer. "Yeah." She half whispered.
Barney's smile widened, "Good." He said, "Cos so are you."
They stared at each other for a few seconds, waiting for the other to make a move, until Robin couldn't take it any more and grabbed Barney's tie, pulling him towards her into a passionate kiss.
It was like flying, like nothing else existed, but also familiar and they both wondered why they had ever given this up because how could anything else compare? Robin started to slowly unbutton Barney's shirt but to her surprise he pulled away. "No." He breathed, his mouth only centimetres from hers.
"Why not?" Whispered Robin, her hands still on his shirt.
Barney gulped in air, "I don't want this to seem like a mistake, I don't want you to leave here hating yourself and me for what happens now."
Robin smiled and kissed him again, this time gently, "I'll still love you in the morning." She whispered, almost impossible to hear.
He smiled and though he gave no verbal reply, this time when she started unbuttoning his shirt Barney gave no protest.
The next morning they lay in Barney's bed, holding each other in a way that was never done after a meaningless one night stand.
"So," Said Barney, "Should we have the talk?"
Robin smiled a little sleepily, "I don't think we need to." She said, "I just wanna pick up from where we left off, minus the fighting."
He chuckled, "Yeah, that'd be nice." There was a pause, "What'd we fight about anyway?"
"Uuh..." Robin thought, "There was the time I accidentally wrecked one of your ties."
"Oh yeah," Barney nodded, "And the bag of uh... left overs."
They both laughed and Barney said affectionately, "Robin, I have a lot of ties. A lot." His smile widened, "I've never met anyone like you."
The Canadian blushed a little at the compliment. "I think I overreacted with the panties thing too. I mean, you weren't exactly subtle about how many girls you slept with."
"Yeah." Chuckled Barney. He sobered a second later. "Can we do this again?"
"I dunno." Replied Robin honestly, "But I'd like to find out."
Barney kissed her. "Me too." He mumbled.
"Only one question left." Robin said, a smile growing on her face.
"What's that?" He asked.
"Do we tell the others?"
He grinned evilly, "Well, we made it three months before."
"Do you wanna set a new record?"
The new old couple's eyes met and they both felt their hearts flutter. "I do."
a.n. The end! Please let me know what you think in your reviews (hint hint)