Author's Note: Hello everyone! I don't usually write for HIMYM, but after Monday's episode, I felt like I had to delurk and post my own interpretation of what happened on that rooftop that fateful night! This is inspired by the ending of 8x12 "The Final Page, part 2" and "Let Your Heart Hold Fast" by Fort Atlantic, the song playing during that scene. I own neither HIMYM or the song, and this is meant for entertainment purposes only. If it is not sufficiently clear, italics are Robin's thoughts, except for the parts taken from the playbook. I hope that I did that beautifully heartbreaking scene justice, and that at least a few of you reading will like this. Please review!
Fandom: How I Met Your Mother
Spoilers: Through 8x12, this is key!
Rating: T for language, and some mentions of thematic elements.
To believe I walk alone
Is a lie that I've been told
"From the heart, I say to you, get the hell out of this car" Ted said to her with a gentle squeeze of her hand. Robin smiled through the tears and tried to protest, but Ted would have none of it. He gave her one last long, lingering look, his dark eyes practically begging her to follow her heart for once and let romance win out. His speech in defense of making an ass of yourself still ringing out in her head, she opened the door and got out of the limousine.
She made her way through the front doors of the World Wide News building and then turned around. Through the glass, she could see that the limousine had already left. Ted knew her far too well. He knew that she was prone to self-doubt and would second guess this decision, and that is why he gave her no other option. Shaking her head with a small chuckle and an "Oh, Teddy boy", she walked slowly but purposefully toward the elevator. She knew this path by heart, having traced it hundreds if not thousands of times already. Granted, those were all happier occasions, but it was still her favorite spot in New York City. Entering the elevator, she pressed the button for the 17th floor. It was the highest floor the elevator reached, even though the building had 25 floors, not counting the roof. You think with all the money they pull in every year, they could spring for an elevator that goes all the way up, Robin thought, but no, we have to trek up 8 flights of stairs just to get to the top floor, and then yet another long staircase to reach the roof. A soft "ding" let Robin know that the elevator had begun moving. She watched the little numbers above the door light up in succession, first the 1, then 2, zigzagging across the panel until they reached the 17, and the elevator stopped with a loud "ding", jarring her from her thoughts. She had been so busy contemplating the enormity of her decision that she didn't even realize the elevator had stopped moving until the doors slid open and she jumped. Recovering her breath, she left the elevator and headed towards the stairs.
Why was she even doing this? Her entire life, she had been strong, she hadn't let her feelings control her, and now she was blubbering like a baby, over Barney Stinson, of all people. She was in love with him, and finally she was willing to admit this to herself, even though it killed her inside. But love isn't always enough, she argued, think of all the times you and Barney tried to make it work only to watch it crash and burn, each time worse than before. Sure, it was nice at first, having him around all the time, but that was just the honeymoon period. Remember the epic fights we had? Remember throwing dishes at each other across the kitchen? The screaming, followed by guilty makeup sex? Although that was pretty good- no, stay on track, Robin! You're just here to make Ted happy, you know how much this means to him. She sighed, as she finally started up the stairs, and a small voice in her head whispered And how much it means to me too.
After one flight, she realized that stilettos and stairs are not a good combination. She twisted them off and took a short break. Was this even worth it? Wasn't she just doing what she'd always done, chasing after what she couldn't have? How could it be possible that her feelings for Barney could lay dormant until the very moment he found happiness with someone else? Nora, Quinn, and now Patrice…Robin ticked off the names in her head, as she began listing even more reasons they wouldn't work out. Their breakup. His stunt with the playbook. Her whole relationship with Don, and then Kevin, and then Nick, all desperate attempts to get over him that had failed. Her inability to leave Kevin last year after her night with Barney. The whole pregnancy scare debacle that had followed. As much as they could have loved each other, all they did was hurt each other, time and time again, and Robin simply couldn't go through with it anymore. It would be better to spend her entire life alone than put herself through that torture again. But, she couldn't give up now. Not halfway up the stairs to the roof, to her favorite spot in the city. DAMMIT PATRICE, THAT'S MY FAVORITE SPOT IN THE CITY! she thought angrily. She was the one that showed it to her in the first place! And now Barney, with full knowledge of this fact, chose that very spot to do what? Spite Robin? No, he wasn't even thinking of her, and that stung a little. He closed the door, remember? He said he was done trying to get you…Oh no, she had ruined everything! One last try, she thought desperately, one last-ditch attempt to convince him that we can still do this, that we were made for each other, and then I'll give up. I'll go back to hiding my true feelings, closing them deep inside me where they can't hurt anyone. I'll make peace with the fact that Barney chose Patrice, of all people, DAMMIT PATRICE, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO RUIN EVERYTHING? and that I will be alone. Maybe the shooting range is still open…a few rounds to take the edge off my impending failure. Atta girl, Scherbatsky, chin up, wipe off those tears, and let's do this!
She steeled herself, taking a deep breath before pushing open the door leading to the roof. She had no idea what to expect, honestly. Most likely Barney on bended knee before Patrice, with the former wearing an earnest gaze, and the latter an expression of absolute rapture. Oh well, no turning back now. She pushed open the door quickly and gasped at the sight.
It was not at all what she'd expected. The little trees were decorated with Christmas lights, and delicate red rose petals were strewn over a makeshift path created by two parallel rows of lanterns on the ground. Robin couldn't help but think how well the rose petals matched her own red sparkly gown, but she quickly pushed that thought aside. This wasn't for her, it was for Patrice. Where the hell was Patrice, anyway? Did she get there too early? Ted had been so sure when he told Robin of Barney's intention, but could he have been mistaken? Confused, she noticed a single piece of yellowed paper about three-quarters of the way down the path. What's that doing there? Her curiosity piqued, she went tosee what it said. Picking it up, she saw "The Robin" written across the top in beautiful flowing script. What the hell? Is this one of Barney's playbook pages? No, it can't be, he burned the playbook the night I…broke into his apartment, she thought with a pang of still, it looked so much like one of his plays. Wait a minute, why was her name in the title? Mind still reeling, she looked to see a series of elaborate steps detailed in the same script below.
Step 1: Admit to yourself that you still have feelings for this girl. Wait, he was being serious?! She'd thought he was just trying to get rid of Nick for her.
Step 2: Choose the completely wrong moment to make a drunken move on her after hanging out at a strip club-and get shot down, on purpose. He did that on purpose? Confusion growing and a headache settling into her temples, she continued.
Step 3: Agree that you two don't work, locking the door on any future you can have together,which will drive Robin nuts. Oh, Robin remembered that moment all too well. It had lodged in her throat, and stuck there, like that awful lobster she insisted on choking down after being told she was allergic.
Step 4: Robin goes nuts. And of course, her humiliation had to play a part in his master plan. Dammit Barney, you can't just play with people like they're some kind of toy! That had been the low point in her life. The fawning, that ridiculous Lara Croft getup, what was she thinking? She was embarrassed for herself, let alone her friends' embarrassment for her.
Step 5: Find the person who annoys Robin most in the world, and ask for her help. Explain everything to Patrice and hope she agrees to help. Ugh. Robin cringed. DAMMIT! NOBODY ASKED FOR YOUR HELP,PATRICE! Except, apparently, Barney had. She was quickly growing more and more irritated at him.
Step 6: Check with your doctor about possible broken ribs. Robin had no idea what that was about, but she let out a bitter chuckle. Good. Served the smug bastard right.
Step 7: Pretend to be dating Patrice: So it was all a lie. He was just toying around with her heart, using some kind of twisted reverse psychology on her. He knew that she'd go after him when he was with someone else. He knew her better than she knew herself. And still, he'd let her go through with it. That awful night when she'd shown up at his apartment in that ridiculous lingerie…Robin cringed at the memory. This stupid play better be over soon, she thought, but continued reading. She had to know where this was going.
Step 8: Wait until Robin inevitably breaks into your place to find the playbook and show it to Patrice, which you'll monitor via the hidden cameras you have in your apartment. Was there any part of the past few months he didn't orchestrate? Wait, he had hidden cameras in his apartment?! Oh God…she didn't even want to think about what else could be found on those tapes. All of his escapades, his many conquests traipsing in and out of his apartment, each more drunk than the one before. Not to mention the few months they spent together. They'd done some pretty crazy things together. Was that all on tape? She massaged her temples, attempting to assuage the now throbbing headache.
Step 9: After Patrice "finds" the playbook, have your first "big fight". Robin remembered that one too. She was watching through the crack in Barney's kitchen closet, hopes up about her chances with him. So that was fake too. Was there any part of her life that wasn't fake?
Step 10: Prove your loyalty to Patrice by burning the playbook, and actually burn it. You don't need it anymore. Oh yes, the burning of the playbook. Robin had figured it was just a magic trick or a stunt to win Patrice back over, but it had been real, and it had been for her. Her eyes started to mist over with tears again. What the hell was going on here…?
Step 11: Because your friends have no boundaries, they'll inevitably have an intervention for Robin, which you'll monitor via the hidden cameras you have in Marshall and Lily's apartment. Well that was true enough. They seriously needed boundaries. They were so codependent even other people noticed. Heck, even they'd noticed! Oh my…did that mean Barney had cameras in her apartment too? A shiver of disgust ran down her body as she tried to push away that mental image and continue reading this increasingly more baffling play.
Step 12: Tell only Ted about your plan to propose to Patrice. And of course, Ted couldn't keep it a secret from her because he knew she still loved Barney. Since when was her life so out of her control?
Step 13: Wait and see if Ted tells Robin, and if he does, it means your best bro in the world has let go of Robin, and has given you his blessing. So Barney planned that too. Wait, his blessing? Was Barney planning to make a move on her? She didn't even know what to think anymore.
Step 14: Robin arrives at her favorite spot in the city, and finds the secret, final page of the playbook, the last play you'll ever run. She suddenly felt very self-conscious, standing there and reading this. Everything was just part of his plan. She wasn't allowed to make her own decisions at all. She had been played like a finely tuned guitar.
Step 15: Robin realizes she's standing underneath mistletoe. She looked up to see a sprig hung directly above her head. She laughed. He had to be kidding. There was no way in hell she'd be willing to kiss him after this. As the implications of everything she had read struck her all at once, she noticed Barney standing in the corner. Had he been there observing her the entire time?
She exhaled. "Seriously, Barney?" she questioned in disbelief. "Even you — even someone as certifiably insane as you-" she paused here to drive the point home "must realize this is too far! You lied to me, manipulated me for weeks!" She felt so hurt, so utterly and deeply betrayed. She had been nothing but honest with him, and he had been scheming and deceitful the entire time. Was there nothing she could trust him with anymore? "Do you really think I could kiss you after that? Do you really think I could trust you after that?" He just stood there, smirking at her. Her rage growing, she continued, gesturing toward the page still held in her hands, "This, this is proof of why we don't work, why we'll never work." Her heart broke slowly into a thousand pieces as she said these words, realizing how true they were. "So thank you. You set me free. How could I be with a man who thinks that this trick, this enormous lie could ever make me want to date him again?" She finally finished her speech, taking a deep breath to calm herself down. She had really worked herself up over this, and had every right to. How dare he toy around with her heart, manipulate her life until it suited him, and then in the midst of her vulnerability, strike her with this? There was no way, never, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO, NO! Sixteen no's just like before, she thought. He was still smirking-how was he still smirking? Did he find her pain funny?
"Turn it over" he said simply and calmly. Fuming, she obliged this one last request, and was stunned at what she saw written on the page.
Step 16: Hope she says yes. Wait, what? Yes to what? She looked up to see Barney bent on one knee before her, holding out an engagement ring. The expression on his face was dead serious as he asked her the most important question of all, the final question.
"Robin Scherbatsky, will you marry me?"
She stared in shock for a few seconds, thoughts whirring through her head at a million miles per hour. How could she be with him? After everything he'd done, the lies, the plays, the manipulation, how could he expect her to love him and say yes? And yet, she did love him, more than anything else in the world, and she sighed out in relief as she gave her response.
Obviously relieved, he leaped up to kiss her, then pulled away to place the ring on her finger, marking her as his forever. They kissed under the mistletoe for what seemed like forever, and it was only when their lips began chapping in the cold December air that they broke apart. He wrapped his arms around her, and she settled into his chest, a position so familiar to her, yet made foreign by the time that has passed. She nuzzled him, as she closed her eyes in absolute bliss. Snowflakes had begun to cascade down from the heavens, settling gently on their hair and coats. She wanted to savor this moment and live it forever. Finally, Barney was hers, and nothing could take him away from her. They were going to be with each other for the rest of their lives, make vows in front of so many other people to prove their commitment, and usually this prospect would have scared Robin witless, but not now. She would never be alone again.