Soundtrack of Our Failures

Summary: They can pretend they're okay, sure, but it doesn't stop the fact that every damn song reminds them of each other. Barney/Robin. Two-shot.

A/N: Written as an excuse to throw in music that reminds me of Barney and Robin (I'm obsessed that much) without actually doing a songfic. All the music lyrics involved are diegetic, meaning the characters are hearing them inside the story.


She's not new to the break-up game, not by a long shot. She's hurt others and been hurt herself; she knows the stages of a break-up are essentially the same as that of grief. There's overindulging, overcompensating, and a lack of sleep. There's regret and longing and a sense of loss. She's been there, done that. She's survived this all in the past, and there's no reason why this should feel different than all the times that came before it.

But it does.

This break-up is different. Her relationship with Barney had been different.

This one stings. This mood she's settled in feels dangerously close to permanent.

The funny thing is, Barney didn't even dump her. They just sort of...fell apart. They were fighting too much and they weren't happy and they didn't talk and their friends noticed how much they'd let themselves go and...

Breaking up was the only thing that made sense.

But God, this hurts.

Now Barney's being Barney again, and she's trying to put on a brave face and leaving when it gets too hard. She's crying when she should be sleeping and drinking when she should be eating and feigning laughs when she's with her friends, because at least she can spare them all this self-pity/self-loathing/despair.

Worst of all, Barney's ruined music for her.

It used to be such a comfort when she could just listen to her iPod and zone out, or sing something in the shower and not have it stir up memories, or hear a song on the radio and not get a lump in her throat.

The first time she notices the pain of the music is the first day after their break-up. She's on her way to work and the radio's on, and the first song she hears that day hits her like a punch. It's by Missy Higgins and it's a devastating song, and she knows she'll have to hit the bathroom when she gets to work, because the tears are almost certainly making her mascara run.

Because I don't know, who I am, who I am, without you.

All I know is that I should.

And I don't know if I could stand another hand upon you,

All I know is that I should.

And it just sucks that she knows the whole damn song by heart, because even though she'd immediately turned it off, the song plays in her head for the rest of the day.

The next few weeks are hell, because everywhere she goes, the music follows. She swears that no one is ever more aware of the prevalence of love songs in modern music than when they're going through this amount of heartache.

Modern music. This gives her an idea, what seems like a stroke of brilliance after a week of trying to avoid music altogether. The next time she's in the car, she finds a Classical Music radio station in the hopes that the lack of lyrics will destroy the possibility of being reminded of him.

But the first classical song she listens to has the unmistakable sound of violins, and she sees his face in her mind, and she's left with a nauseous feeling and a bad taste in her mouth. She checks classical music off the list of possible non-Barney reminders.

It's hard enough to see him when they hang out in a group. She finds herself wanting to touch him, kiss him, hold his hand, but she lets him hit on other women instead. He's perfectly fine without her, so she does nothing to stop him.

Life goes on.

She dates other men, even opens her heart up a little bit, starts taking chances.

Days and weeks and months pass. Years.

People like Don come and go, and it both hurts and doesn't hurt. With the help of her friends, she manages to recover enough to keep faking smiles, and later, some of the smiles even seem real to her.

Time makes it easier to forget.

Music stops feeling so painful, though there are certain songs she still avoids like the plague. Sandcastles in the Sand is one of them. It's not like she listens to it regularly, but even a mention of Robin Sparkles by any of the gang puts it in her head for days, along with thoughts of him and their relationship and how it all began.

When Kevin first comes into her life, she grabs at him and tries to hold on, because he's a nice guy and he is cute and he's seen her at her most vulnerable and still likes her enough to date. It's with Kevin that she thinks she can have a new start, because their relationship is slow and sensible and is what someone like Ted dreams of having, what people like Lily and Marshall are lucky enough to have...

But her attempts at self-delusion turn out to be fragile.

She's just starting out with Kevin and hoping it can last when the song comes out of nowhere, just when she thought she was safe from music and the way it could make her think of him. It's a sneak attack and she's cornered in the supermarket and it's playing over the intercom and she's got nowhere to run. And it's quite sickening, really, that the song that tears down all her hopes that she can ever get over Barney would come from Taylor Swift, of all people.

He can't see the smile I'm faking

And my heart's not breaking

Cause I'm not feeling anything at all

The lyrics wash over her. She's rooted to the spot and her cart's taking up the whole aisle. An annoyed fellow shopper makes a soft tutting noise of disapproval as she maneuvers her way around Robin.

And you were wild and crazy

Just so frustrating, intoxicating

Complicated, got away by some mistake and now

She squeezes the orange in her hand, digs her nails into its skin.

I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain

It's 2am and I'm cursing your name

So in love that I acted insane

And that's the way I loved you...

Breaking down and coming undone

It's a roller coaster kinda rush

And I never knew I could feel that much

And that's the way I loved you...

And that's when she knows she can pretend all she wants. It makes no difference. Kevin is safe and easy, comfortable. Chances are, he hasn't slept with two hundred women and he'll probably never break her heart. In fact, he can't break her heart because it still rests in the hands of someone else.

Shit, she thinks. She is so hopeless, in love, screwed up, and worst of all, she finds herself relating to the likes of Taylor Swift. And all because of that wild, crazy, frustrating, intoxicating, gonna-be-the-death-of-her, Barney Stinson.

A/N: Reviews are much appreciated. And even if you must hate on Taylor Swift, at least concede that the song fits, haha.