Title - Fragments
Author - Devylish
Fandom - HIMYM
pairing - barney/lily
Rating – R (language and mature topic)
words - 2958
Disclaimer – on my profile
Warning – I've been told this is dark... so 'Beware all the who enter, dark fic, dark topics.' Trigger: Abortion – please don't read this fic if the idea of abortion isn't something you want to read about.
AN - part nine of my Marshallsdeadverse. Can be read as a standalone or after reading the other fics in the verse. They are (in order): Not Breathing, and Barely Afloat, Breathing You, Unspoken, Change, Explosions, Oblivion, and Walls.
AN2 – thank you soooooooooo much Idioticonion for reading this over and helping me find the confidence to get it posted.
For a week she simply studied the odds. Calculated and recalculated. Weighed and reweighed.
And at the end of that week, she went to the pharmacy and bought three boxes. Each of the boxes was more or less the same size, but they came in varying shades and combinations of pink and blue and white.
She only bought three of the little boxes because, she reasoned, one, would be too few – they weren't foolproof. And five, she further reasoned, would make her look like an insane woman when she went through the checkout counter.
So three..., three was the magic number.
She went home - to her house – for once and stood frozen just inside of the doorway. She hadn't been in her apartment for more than twenty minutes total during the past month. Her house had become little more than a three room safe.
It held her winter clothes.
It held her CDs (her mp3 player traveled with her).
And it held her – their – pictures. Pictures of her and Marshall.
The rooms were all clean, but a layer of dust covered all the furniture and nicknacks.
She touched the edge of a picture frame and shook off the grey particles that clung to her fingers; it was one of her favorite pictures of her and Marshall. They were standing outside of Ted's brownstone, Marshall was behind her, his arms wrapped around her, his hands on her stomach; a big cheesy grin on both of their faces.
She gently ran her finger along the image of his face.
They had been so happy in this picture. So... aware of the future. Aware of the fact that they had … all the time in the world.
Dropping her hand from the picture with a sigh, she glanced at the open door that led to the bathroom.
She didn't want to be here; but this was the only place that she could do what she had to do.
Heading into the kitchen, she jerked the refrigerator door open, grabbed a bottle of water and twisted the cap off. Chugging down the full contents of the 16 oz bottle, she cracked her head first to one shoulder and then to the other. Lily Aldrin-Eriksen - big girl panties – pull em up, or rather, down, and... just do it! Taking a deep breath she made the short, but ohhhh so long trek to the bathroom.
Thirty minutes later (twenty four minutes for the water to make its way to her bladder, one minute for her to pee on three six inch plastic sticks, and five minutes for the pH balance in her system to be calculated and measured) and Lily was staring at a: +, a blue bar, and the word positive .
And she was laughing.
And she was crying.
She was sitting, puffy eyed, in front of the television when he called. Picking up her cell she contemplated, for a minute, not answering. But she knew if she didn't answer, he'd call again. And again. And then, if she still wasn't answering, he'd start looking for her.
And she couldn't see him right now.
If she saw him she'd break down.
Even just hearing his voice... she clicked the phone on.
"Babe, are you coming home soon?"
She grinned into the phone at Barney's use of the word 'Babe'. He knew she hated the term, but he still used it, teasingly, laughingly..., and sometimes, seductively.
Her grin faded almost immediately as she recalled the three little plastic sticks sitting on the bathroom counter.
And then she recalled Marshall.
...And she remembered the two of them talking about having a baby.
A baby they never got a chance to make.
And now, here she was, pregnant.
With Marshall gone.
"I -," She couldn't see him. "I'm going to stay at my place tonight." Why? Why am I staying at my place? What reason would convince him? What reason do I have to stay at my place when I haven't slept anywhere but Barney's apartment in the past five months? "I have to go in to work early tomorrow so I thought I'd stay here tonight, uh... since it's closer to the school... and, closer... and yeah."
Barney was silent for a beat.
And then for another beat.
And then he asked, "Are you okay?" His voice was low; it was his Lily voice. The voice he used just for her... for when it was just the two of them.
"I'm fine... I... look, Barney, it's late." It was 7 pm. "I just need to get some paperwork done, and I have to go into classes early so, I... it's better that I stay here tonight." She could feel the tears lining the edges of her eyes and she blinked rapidly, hoping Barney would let it go.
He did. "Fine. I'll see you tomorrow...?" It was half statement and half question.
She offered a quiet, "Sleep well Barney" before pressing the disconnect button.
Lily wasn't a crying kind of girl. She didn't break in to tears when she stubbed her toe, or every time she watched chick flicks.
She had cried when Marshall died.
She'd cried a lot when Marshall died.
Death of a husband? Yeah she was allowed that one.
All and all though, she wasn't a cry baby.
But tonight, for the second time in less than two hours, Lily found herself crying.
Barney looked down at the phone still sitting in his hand.
He'd known it would happen. Eventually.
He'd known Lily would come to her senses and want to leave him.
He just hadn't expected it to be now.
For the past few months the two of them had been... a small dark grin crept across his visage...
… they'd been awesome.
Lily managed to limit her interactions with Barney for the next week; using work and Robin and Ted as buffers.
The buffering, of course was most successful during daytime hours, and less successful at night. Hiding out at her apartment was an option for a couple of nights, but unless she absolutely positively wanted to cut Barney out of her life, she couldn't stay at her place every night.
So she stayed with him, per usual.
Except she didn't sleep with him.
Instead, she sat up late in the living room, laptop settled in front of her, her fuzziest slippers and her least appealing Pjs covering her. She click clacked at the keyboard, shuffling student papers and artwork around until Barney silently disappeared into their – his – bedroom.
A couple of nights that week she feigned falling asleep on the couch – an excuse not to go to the bedroom. But again, that ruse only worked for a couple of days... The other nights found her creeping into Barney's bed in the wee hours of the morning, pressing her frame into a tight little ball at the far edge of the bed.
Her side of the bed.
His silence regarding her withdrawal freaked her out. It freaked her out a lot.
She kept expecting him to poke at her. The loud, boisterous, in your face 'poking' that Barney Stinson was so well known for.
But he didn't.
He didn't poke.
He didn't peep.
He was simply silent. And watchful.
She could swear, on the nights that she crept – silently - into his bed, she could feel his eyes on her – reading her - in the dark.
She knew things were – broken – between them.
And she knew it was her fault.
But she was going to fix it.
She'd do what she had to do and then... then she'd pull her pieces back together, and pretend, for however long Barney would let her, that they could be a couple. A real, flesh and blood, forever and ever couple.
Instead of the twisted mess that colored and painted their reality.
So, yeah, Lily managed to limit her interactions with Barney for a week; but a week was all she really needed.
At the beginning of that week, she made an appointment for Friday afternoon at Planned Parenthood. They would officially verify the pregnancy, and then... then they would officially terminate the pregnancy.
She didn't let herself think about the consequences of the pregnancy.
She didn't allow herself to think about the consequences of the abortion.
She simply focused on the fact that she wouldn't – couldn't – have a baby that wasn't half Marshall's. She couldn't commit the ultimate betrayal of Marshall's memory.
She didn't let herself think about Barney. Why would she? Barney didn't want her... not really. There was no way he'd ever want a baby... a child... especially not with her.
The procedure only took two hours, from start to finish. Pregnancy to Un-pregnancy.
And she was fine afterward.
He wished she'd leave him.
Take the knife out – in one quick movement – and... let him bleed.
But she didn't, instead she just... lay there. Cool and slender; deep in his gut. In his heart.
He laughed hollowly. It was funny; Lily was the only woman in the past thirteen years who had EVER faked anything with him. In just the past week she'd: faked working at her computer, faked falling asleep on the couch, and she'd faked wanting to come to their bed at night.
And worst thing about it? He didn't have fucking clue about what to do. How to fix it. Fucking a woman, he could tease her g-spot, he could taste and tickle her clit. There were things he could do to make her 'stop faking it' and start 'feeling' it. But getting Lily to cum wasn't his problem. It never had been.
His problem was that she was faking wanting to be near him. His problem was that he was losing her.
And honestly, how the fuck could he convince her to stay when even he didn't believe she should be with him.
So now, after a week of silence - after she'd, obviously, come to the conclusion that what they had was... done - he'd decided he simply needed to cut his losses and let her fucking go.
He straightened his tie and tugged at the lapels of his suit jacket. It was Friday night and Lily would probably be home in a few minutes, and when she got home, he was going out.
He was going to go to the nearest bar and he was going to find the biggest pair of boobs attached to the tallest, amazonian woman he could find, and he was going to bury himself in that woman and make her cum as many times as he possibly could.
After all, he had some value and worth.
He heard the key scratch at the apartment door lock and, giving his reflection one more glance, he plastered on his Barney don't-give-a-damn smile.
The smile disappeared as soon as Lily entered the apartment.
She didn't look at him, she was staring at the floor, but he could still see her eyes were too big, too wide. Her lips pressed together too tightly. Her frame too fragile looking.
She'd only taken a few steps into the apartment but he could tell something – tonight – was different. And his plans, his 'cut before you're cut' plans, faded into nothing.
She didn't say anything, but those too big eyes lifted up to meet his and all he could think to do was open his arms.
She melted into him.
He curved his fingers through her hair, soothing her even though he didn't know exactly why he was doing so.
All he knew was she was trembling, and she was clinging to him, wrinkling the silk-cotton blend of his favorite grey JIL Sander's suit.
He didn't care about the wrinkles because Lily was crying… and he didn't care about the wrinkles because he was holding her.
And he honestly didn't know which emotion was stronger, concern that she was crying, or happiness that she was in his arms.
There are two more days of silence.
But it's a different kind of silence.
This silence is full of wishes never thought, fears never conquered, whispers never made.
And in this silence – this silence – Lily clings to Barney.
She sits on the couch, her hand tangled around his arm, her body curled up next to his. She lies in their bed and sleeps deeply with her head curved against his chest.
She thinks, and doesn't think, about all that has been and all that never will be.
And after the two days of 'never' filled silence, she tells him.
In her head, prior to telling him, she futzes with the words, ordering and reordering them in search of the right pattern.
So... sometimes, women and men, have a little... accident and there's this way of fixing and undoing this little accident. No that sounds like I'm talking to one of my students about bladder control.
So, I was suppose to have a kid with Marshall, and God made a mistake... timing a little off; there's no Marshall, so of course, I made sure there's not going to be a kid... but anyway, just thought you should know. 'I just thought you should know?'! Jesus!
Know how I've been a bitch for the past week and a half? And how I've been crying on your should for the last couple of days? Yeah: pregnant and now un-pregnant. Hormones are a bitch! She dropped her head in to her hands. She had to find the right way to tell him.
And after all of her planning and attempts to find the perfect way to tell Barney about the un-pregnancy, she ends up telling him in the most unspectacular, unplanned, dissatisfying manner in the world. The words simply escape her lips.
Sunday night Barney made them dinner. He poured her a glass of wine and served her her plate, and then he settled into his own chair and picked up his fork.
The words chose this moment. This very moment to fly out of her mouth: "I had an abortion... on Friday."
His fork was poised and frozen mid-air as his brain processed her words.
His eyes flitted up from his plate and locked with hers. Blue trying to decode and decipher what they were reading in Green.
He blinked once, twice. And then he lowered the fork to his plate.
She watched his nostrils flare.
"You... what?" His mind was spinning.
She pushed away from the table and tore her eyes from his; watching him, being so close to him was..., painful.
He spoke again. "Why?"
Small word, huge question.
"You know Marshall and I... we were trying -"
Ever since Marshall had died, Barney had been hyper aware of Marshall's presence in Lily's life. He'd been aware that she was always comparing him to Marshall. And he'd been aware that in most of those comparisons he would always be 'second best'. He knew she had loved – did love – Marshall deeply. And he was prepared for Marshall to always be a part of her life.
Honestly, he was fine with that. He was jealous, but he could live with that degree of jealousy.
He wouldn't – didn't - want Lily to forget Marshall. He'd never expect that of her.
But for once. On this one topic? Barney really didn't give a damn about Marshall. "Fuck Marshall."
Lily's mouth dropped open then she shut it before quickly opening it again.
"No. I get you and Marshall had a whole life. A life you were living. A life you planned to live. But he's not fucking here Lily! And he had nothing to do with... with..." he couldn't say the word baby. If he said the word, it would be too real. And if it became real, he didn't know if he could forgive her.
And it would suck not being able to forgive the person you were in love with.
He looked back down at his plate. "Why didn't you tell me... before you...?"
"Marshall -" she started.
Barney looked up and tilted his head to the side, eyebrow up; daring her to continue down the path she'd started on.
Lily paused and girding her confidence around her ,she tried again. "Look Barney, you and I both know that this," she waved her hand between the two of them. "This is fun. And pleasurable, but... I – we – we both know this isn't real. A baby... a child... a child is..."
Each of them, from their own vantage point ached. Longed. For something real.
And each of them, from their own vantage point, knew, absolutely knew, that the other one didn't want what they had to offer. Didn't want the reality they were so preciously, unwittingly, tangled in.
Pushing away from the table, Barney headed to the door, stopping only long enough to pick up his money clip, his cell, and his keys.
Twisting in her chair so that she could follow his movement, Lily – more desperately than she'd planned – called out to him. "Wh-where are you going?"
He smirked as he pulled the door open – it wasn't a happy, teasing smirk though, it was dark and just a bit twisted - "Gee Lil, I didn't think we were in the kind of relationship where we told the other person what our plans were."
And then he was gone.