My muse just didn't want to shut up. Hearing Barney say that he doesn't care broke my shipper heart. I needed to pick up the pieces and put it back together. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own anything!

Chapter 1

10 PM

. . .

I need to see you. I'm at the Marriott. Room 307. R

Barney looked at his cell with utter bewilderment. What was she doing in a hotel? Even though he was curious, he didn't want to go. Not when he still needed time to stomach the news that she broke up with Kevin. He needed to readjust the mask behind which he had hidden his broken heart. He wasn't ready to see her. The beep of his phone yanked him out of his musing.


He couldn't avoid her forever and he knew that she was quite stubborn. So it seemed better to get it over with, he convinced himself, typing a quick answer.

Give me ten.

. . .

"Barney Stinson, at your service! How can I help you?" Barney said cheerfully when Robin opened the door.

"Come on in!" Robin replied softly.

Barney could see that she had been crying and seeing her eyes all puffy and red made his heart skip a beat. He didn't want to feel anything. Feeling meant that she would be able to hurt him again. He definitely didn't want to give her such power over him again.

When Robin saw Barney standing in front of her the tears threatened to fall again. She gulped hard and bit her tongue, mustering all her strength to hold herself together. The last thing she should do right now was throwing herself into his arms though she had to admit that she was more scared that he would reject to comfort her than breaking down in front of him. It would hurt too much when he would pull away from her and would hide behind humor. He clearly didn't want to show her the Barney Stinson she knew was behind all of his fooling around.

"So what's up? Do you wanna get drunk? Hey, do they have a VCR here? I can go fetch Marshall and Lily's sex tape. Should be fun to watch."

Robin knew that this behavior was typical Barney but she'd still hoped that they could have a serious talk. Ted's assumption about Barney being the reason why she couldn't be with him got her thinking. Maybe there was more truth in it than she was willing to admit. That's why she texted Barney. She wanted to find out if there wasn't a small grain of truth behind Ted's assumption.

"Barney?" Robin tried to get his attention but he just swirled around and walked into the direction of the bathroom.

"Do you have a jacuzzi? We can open a bottle of champagne and take a bath."

"Barney!" Robin almost shouted and Barney turned around to her with raised eye brows, smiling broadly.

"Do you wanna skinny-dip?"

"Barney!" Robin could swear that she saw a brief flash of anger crossing his eyes before he saluted in front of her.

"Yes, ma'am!"

"We need to talk."

"About what?" Barney asked nonchalantly. Of course he knew that she wanted to talk about the break-up but he would take every opportunity to delay the talk.

Robin took in a deep breath while she watched him strolling through the room. He refused to look at her, clearly not willing to accommodate her.

"Did you talk to Ted this week?" Robin asked quietly.

"Sure. We are friends, remember?" Barney replied without looking at her, showing more interest in the content of the mini-bar than in her.

"So you know." Robin assumed.

"Know what?" Robin sighed inwardly. She should have known that he wouldn't make it easy.

"He told you." Robin worded it as a statement not a question. Ted's comment about Barney indicated that Ted talked to him about her.

"You have to be a little bit more specific, Robin. You should know that Ted and I talk about a lot in one week."

"I ..."

"Hey, I bet they have porn here. Should we check it out?"

"Barney Stinson, stop!" Barney's head jerked around and for the first time since he arrived he looked her directly in the eyes for more than a few seconds. "Just stop it. I told you I needed to talk to you, and you came. So you will sit down and listen!"

"Whoooww, hold your horses! No need to go all crazy woman on me."

"Can you stop fooling around for one second, Barney? Please?"

With a heavy sigh Barney flopped down on a chair and crossed his hands behind his head, staring at her expectantly. His whole posture screamed that he didn't really care what she wanted to tell him and Robin almost backed out. But she'd already backed out once. Months ago. She intended to find out if it had been the biggest mistake of her life to walk away from him.

"I know that you know. There is no way that Ted didn't tell you about Kevin and me. You know that we broke up." Robin clarified, determined to get through to him.

"Like I already said to Ted. Bummer!" Barney replied without any emotion in his voice.

"Seriously? That's all you have to say?" Robin should have expected him to react that way. After all she was the one who had broken their promise that they would meet at the bar after they spoke to Nora and Kevin.

"What do you want me to say?" Barney asked her matter-of-factly.

"A little more than only 'bummer' would be nice!" Robin told him, hurt by his non-reaction to their break-up.

But before she could say anything else, Barney shot out of the chair, his face distorted with hardly suppressed rage and Robin involuntarily took a step back.

"Do you really expect me to comment on the fact that Kevin and you broke up? Are you out of your damn mind?" Stepping closer, he continued in a dangerously low voice. "I might not wear my heart on the sleeve but that doesn't mean that I have no feelings."

"I never thought that you have no feelings." Robin replied, completely taken aback by the anger in his voice.

"Then why do you act like I'm a soulless monster?" Barney asked harshly.

"I ..."

"You know what, Robin? It doesn't matter." Barney stopped her from speaking, his voice suddenly calm. She would have preferred the anger instead of this cool demeanor he was showing her now. "I'm over it. I don't care if you are single again. I won't go down that road again."

Robin was glad that he'd averted his gaze for a few seconds so that he couldn't see her flinch. His words felt like a slap in the face and she realized that telling Ted that it had nothing to do with Barney had been a lie. Because it was true. She couldn't be with him because of Barney.

"We used to be friends, Barney." Robin stated softly, balling her hands into fists so that he couldn't see that they were trembling. "What happened?"

"We happened. You were right, you know?"

"Right about what?"

"Friends should never hook up. It ruins everything." The anger was completely gone now. The only thing she could hear in his voice was defeat and she felt a sharp pain where her heart was as if someone had stabbed her with a knife when she realized that she was responsible for it.

"So we can't even be friends anymore?" Robin asked, her voice slightly trembling.

"The moment we've kissed for the very first time we stopped being friends, Robin. We only fooled ourselves." Barney could see the hurt in her eyes but they needed a clean cut. He had to stop falling for her over and over again. Better to make her mad at him. "There is just too much between us. Being friends doesn't work for us and you know it. Do I need to remind you of a certain cab ride?"

"No. But ..."

"Apparently I can't be around you without wanting you." Barney had to clear his throat when his voice almost collapsed over his last words. He didn't want to feel anything for her. Not even wanting. He wanted it to stop. "So it's better when we go separate ways for a while. You chose Kevin, Robin. It doesn't matter that you two broke up. It's too late. It doesn't change anything. I think it's better this way. We wouldn't have worked."

Robin gulped hard when she saw the sincerity in his eyes. Barney almost never showed anyone this side of him.

"I'm gonna go. Take care of yourself, Robin. Will you?"

Robin couldn't even nod but Barney didn't wait for any reaction. He just turned around and walked out of the room, closing the door silently behind him.

Robin stood dumbfounded in the middle of the room, staring at the closed door. Somehow she managed to screw up two friendships in one night. She'd hurt two of the people she loved most in her life. One because she couldn't love him like he wanted her to and the other because she denied herself to love him. But Barney didn't know that she didn't choose Kevin because she loved him more. She chose Kevin because the intensity of her love for Barney scared the crap out of her. But maybe it was time to face the truth. Maybe it was time to tell him.

It looks like this is going to be a three-shot. But my muse is unpredictable. I never know where she will take me next.

My shipper heart is still bleeding especially since I'm a masochist and like to torture myself with watching the Barney/Ted scene over and over again. I hate it that Barney didn't want to love her anymore. I know that he is still in love with her and that he is hurt. I get that. But I don't like it. I'm still afraid that we have to suffer a lot more and that Robin isn't going to be the bride. Well, apparently I always ship couples that break my heart over and over again.

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