Cross The Distance

Summary: Barney can't sleep and Marshall's just laughing. Barney/Robin, established relationship a little ways in the future.

A/N: Just a little future fluff. :)

It's a slow Saturday night and there's nowhere to be. Ted's on a date with another potential "One," and Lily's out shopping with the baby. Meanwhile, Barney and Marshall are making use of their temporary freedom to be as loud as possible by playing video games. It's been awhile since the last Smash Bros Brawl, and they're ready to let out some of that pent-up male aggression.

They're right in the middle of it, Marshall fighting hard for the win, when Barney asks, "Hey, Marshall, do you guys have any sleeping pills I could borrow?"

Marshall taps a few buttons on the controller in quick succession. "Yeah, I think so. Why, what's up?"

"I don't know what it is, I just haven't been able to catch any sleep for the past few nights," replies Barney, also tapping buttons furiously.

But suddenly Marshall pauses the game and looks over at Barney with a huge smile, eyes alight with amusement.

"What's up, why'd you pause it?"

Marshall is smiling in a way that Barney doesn't like. "Robin's been gone on that work trip to Arizona for the past few days."

"Uh, duh. So?"

Marshall's grin gets impossibly wider. "So, you can't sleep without her, and I just have to say it," he says, holding up a finger as if to make a dramatic declaration. "Aaaaaw."

Marshall looks gleeful. Barney, on the other hand, looks as if he just swallowed a bug. "What?" he demands. "No, no, no. Not aaw, not at all. I can so sleep without her, I jus-"

"Barney, don't worry man, it's sweet," Marshall interrupts, still grinning. "Bet you wish she'd made you a night-night tape now, huh?"

Barney makes an exaggerated gagging noise. "Look, Robin and I may be a couple, but we are most certainly not sweet, Marshall. Just because you and Lily like all that mushy co-dependent crap does not mean we've given up on being awesome. And also, if I was gonna watch a tape of Robin, it would not be of her saying goodnight, if you know what I mean."

"Mhm, sure."

"I find your disbelieving tone offensive. If I wasn't about to beat you in two seconds," says Barney, nodding at the frozen screen of the video game, "I would storm out of here right now."

Marshall smirks and unpauses the game. "You're on."

A few hours later, Barney is alone in his apartment, getting ready for bed. He's already popped two of the sleeping pills that Marshall had smugly given him, and is expecting to get a good night's sleep because of it.

But as he slips between silk sheets, he feels just as awake as ever. He stares up at the ceiling, waiting for the drug effects to take him under. And it's not like it matters, or anything, but the bed does feel a little colder and emptier without Robin next to him.

They've been texting a little bit throughout the afternoon and evening, but she's been super busy with the news story she's covering, and he hasn't heard her voice all day.

Damnit, Marshall, he thinks.

He'd been doing fine until he'd been forced to consider just how much he was missing her.

New York's ahead by three hours, and there's a chance she's still awake too...

He grabs his phone from off the bedside table and says a small prayer of thanks that Marshall isn't around to see this. He hits the first number on his speed dial and waits with the phone pressed firmly against his ear.

She answers on the third ring. "Hey," she says. "I thought you'd be asleep by now. Isn't it like three in the morning over there?"

"Oh, you know me, Scherbatsky, I love the night life."

"You're not twenty years old anymore, Barney. You're not even thirty anymore. Hell, it's only midnight here and I'm getting ready for bed," she yawns pointedly into the phone. He smiles at the sound, but feigns a scoff.

"Are you really going to waste all our time harassing me about not sleeping when you could be telling me about your day?"

He can almost hear her roll her eyes, but she starts talking nonetheless. She tells him about Arizona, about the story she's covering, about the Mexican food and the dry heat. He listens quietly and feels his body sink further into the comforts of the mattress. His eyelids feel heavier with her voice in his ear. On a whim, he presses the speaker phone button and places the cell phone on the pillow next to his. He lets his eyes close and just listens.

"What did you do today?" she asks, after she's finally brought him up to speed on all her work gossip.

He recognizes the question through a haze of half-sleep. "Went to work..." he mumbles, eyes closed and face still pressed against the pillow. "Had dinner with the gang...played video games with Marshall. He was being an idiot though..."

"How's that?"

"Said I couldn't fall asleep without you. Made us sound sappy and lame like him and Lily."

"Psh, as if. We're way too awesome for that."

"Mhm. Awesome. You're so -" he sighs, and before he can finish that thought, he fades into sleep.

Over two thousand miles away, Robin Scherbatsky lies in a hotel bed, holds tightly to her blankets, and falls asleep with her phone still turned on and resting in the center of the pillow next to hers.