"Barney your baby won't stop crying."
"Get your baby."
He rolled over, unhooking his arm from the warmth of her waist.
"Why is she my baby when she's crying but your baby when she's being adorable?"
At 4.30 AM, Robin was not in the mood to answer that question. She'd been up twice last night, and was sure it was high time Barney did his bit. She cocooned herself tighter in the warm duvet and shoved her head into the pillow, trying to ignore the crying. Dregs of fatigue clung to her eyes, dragging them down.
"Get. Your. Baby."
"But sleep." He complained, nestling back into to his wife. She felt wonderfully soft, and he was desperate to curl back up to sleep with her. But the crying persisted.
He swallowed, and crawled out of bed, shivering slightly as his bare chest felt the air outside of their bed. He blundered through the dark room and out onto the corridor to Verity's nursery, switching the light on to find her bawling away in her crib. He sighed.
He scooped her up.
"Hi God. It's me, Barney. I know I've been gone for a while, too busy bringing more doses of awesome into the world. But please, please bro. Please can she just want… I don't know. A hug. Even food. Burping. Whatever. Just don't let her need her diaper changing. I will do anything."
She persisted to wail, and he held her out at arms length, cautiously sniffing her.
"What are you doing?" Robin appeared at the door, looking severely unimpressed. She had tried to get back to sleep, but the crying hadn't ceased when Barney left, and she decided that if she wanted this doing, she'd probably have to do it herself.
"I'm seeing if I need to change her."
"But why are you holding her like she's a bag of vomit?"
"Cause." He whined, bringing her closer. "She smells a lot sometimes."
"Well maybe if you changed her, she wouldn't." Robin justified, walking over to him. She was wearing long navy blue pajama bottoms with a baggy white shirt. She scooped Verity up and began rocking her, softly trying to comfort her.
After a few minutes, she stopped crying and reduced the noise to a displeased whimper. Robin sighed.
"Ok. You done now, baby girl? Let's put you back." She quickly kissed the baby before carefully placing her back in the crib. The moment her mother stopped touching her, she started crying again.
"DAMNIT BABY." Robin growled, only causing the crying to get louder.
Verity Olivia Stinson was almost two weeks old now. Barney massaged his ear as the sound got louder. He turned to face Robin, who looked insanely overtired. Bags practically drooped from her eyes, her shoulders were slightly sagged and she looked like she was about to start crying herself. For most of the two weeks, she'd been the one getting up to handle this.
"Go back to bed." He placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Why not?" He spoke more gently now.
"Because!" Her hand rubbed the side of her head, tone growing more flustered. "Because we're parents and she's crying and we have to calm her down and I'm trying to be a good mother here so I can't just go to bed whilst she's crying!"
Robin's lip trembled, and she stroked Verity's cheek. Barney kissed Robin lightly on the top of his head, deciding that he needed to be the one to keep his cool here.
"You're a great Mom. But no offence, Scherbatsky. You look like Gollum. The sexiest possible carnation of Gollum. But still. Gollum. Get to bed."
"I can handle it."
On one hand, she hated leaving Very when she was crying. She was already up, so she thought she might as well deal with this. However, she felt like she was about to keel over from sleep deprivation. She glanced around the soft lilac nursery at the fluffy toys and blankets. All reminding her that she could be sleeping.
"C'mon, Robin. Please."
He got Verity back out of the crib and cradled her properly, shooting a smug look to Robin, as if proving that he was completely capable this, thank you.
"Fine." She peeped over to see Very, who had balled her face up. She planted a quick kiss on her cheek, and then staggered out of the room, almost falling onto their bed.
Barney walked over to the chair and sat down in it, closing his eyes and rhythmically rocking Verity, hoping it would calm her. Eventually, he changed to patting her on the back. Following twenty minutes of patting, singing lullabies and praying that she'd become temporarily mute, it worked, and she let out a small burp.
"Jeez. All that fuss over one burp."
She was currently wearing a little pink onsie, adorned with teddies. It had a hood with ears, and he couldn't resist pulling it up.
"Hey Very bear." He grinned. She blinked up at him, blue eyes shimmering and alert. When she was quieter, he could fully appreciate how gorgeous she was. Not that he stopped thinking that when she was crying. After all, she was the product of an ex pop star and a fine vocalist like himself; it would only be fitting that she'd have a good set of lungs.
"Y'know, you're pretty darn cute. As far as babies go. I think I'll keep you." He cackled at his own bad joke. "Nah. Definitely keeping you."
He watched as she did that awesome thing where she held his finger with her entire hand. It was freakishly amazing that she could do that. That she was so small that one hand could hold his little finger. He admired her tiny nails, all perfect and pink.
"God my sperm and Robin's eggs make an attractive omelet." He mumbled aloud, using the finger she had now dropped to trace her nose.
"C'mon. Let's get you fed." He cuddled her close to him and walked through to the kitchen, still slightly terrified of dropping her. He opened the fridge to retrieve one of the bottles of pumped milk. She sucked contentedly on it. Once she was halfway done, he tried to lay her down in her crib again, but she was having none of it. He watched her face start to crumple, and picked her right back up before she could wake Robin.
"You sure know how to get what you want, don't you. Just like your Mommy. Little minx. You can be junior minx."
She gurgled appreciatively.
"You're gonna cry again if I put you back, aren't you."
His eyes darted across the room and fell upon the pale pink and white Moses basket. It was movable, and he could just put it by their bed. That way he could hold her until she fell asleep then just put her back there and be available if she woke up again. Pleased with his plan, he hooked the basket around one arm and padded softly through to the bedroom, sliding into his side of the bed with the basket on the other side. It took him a fair while to get it standing up whilst not letting go of Verity, but he managed in the end. Before he put her in, he leant back against the headboard, lying her down on his chest.
He stroked the top of her head. Since she was born, her hair had grown a lot more, and had become a slightly darker blonde, but was still much closer to white than yellow. He managed to get a look at Robin, whose limbs were sticking out at all angles in he awkward position she was in. She hadn't bothered to get under the covers properly, so he tried to get her warmer with one of the blanket throws on the end of the bed.
Very's eyes fluttered shut, and he decided that it was safe to pop her back. Once she looked relatively comfortable, he rolled back over to Robin, hoping he could finally get some rest. But he heard a low whimpering, and realized it was no use.
"You are extremely needy, y'know that." He grumbled. She immediately settled in his arms, sighing softly in the dip of his chest.
"Yeah, yeah. I love you." He said it in a sing song way to the rhythm of her breaths. "Yeah. Fine, you win. You can stay here."
At last she fell asleep, and he was very tempted to let himself drift off too, but he refrained. He knew that if he fell asleep, there was the risk of him moving around and hurting her, which he was not willing to risk.
"Looks like no sleep for the barnacle then."
He repositioned himself so that Very's weight was acting as a blanket for his upper half from the cold. From there he could perfectly see both his girls sleeping. Both beautiful. Both legendary.
The next afternoon, Barney returned from his trip to the store half out of breath. He'd been to collect some diapers, and drop in on the gang briefly at Maclarens. He retold the dramatic tale of his sleep deprived night, much to the amusement of Marshall and Lily, who promised that there would be many more of those to come. Ted and Tabby were in the throes of wedding planning, but were still excited to look at the new photos Barney had of Robin and Very. Tabby had also jokingly revisited the nickname 'diaper-man'.
They all promised they'd drop in tomorrow.
When he heard the door click shut, he noticed that she wasn't on the couch as he'd expected. He could hear a faint noise coming from the hallway, and followed it, dropping the bag of diapers onto the coffee table.
As he got nearer, he was able to identify the faint tune of 'sandcastles in the sand' coming from the nursery. A huge grin spread across his face, and he delved into his pocket to retrieve his phone. Pushing the door gently ajar, he peered in and pressed record.
Robin was sat on the chair, using her foot to rock the chair back and forth, dreamily singing to Very. She was bundled up in a white blanket. Robin herself was wearing a maroon chunky knit sweater that faded into brighter red further down, with navy jeans. She also wore a soft smile, reaching one hand out to tickle Verity.
Briefly, he simply admired the scene, taking in the beauty of his daughter and wife. Then he shook himself, deciding it was high time he kicked some comedy value into the room.
"Ha, ha." He chuckled as he entered. "Afternoon, sparkles."
Instantly, she whipped her head around, a stony expression of determination falling across her face.
"Delete that now."
"Ha ha ha… oh Scherbatsky, you amateur. No, I absolutely will not."
She groaned. She had spent far too long trying to quiet her daughter down and cease her crying. Apparently she did not need feeding, changing, or burping, so Robin had been forced to resort to desperate measures.
"Don't judge me! She wouldn't shut up and it's not like I know many lullabies."
He flicked the red record button to off and pocketed the phone so she couldn't delete it. Then he walked up to her, crouching so he got a good view of Very.
"Marshall and Lily got us that book full of lullabies." He challenged.
"Oh yeah, because I was about to interrupt your dramatic performance of 'humpty dumpty' in which you attempted a four party harmony with your self."
"For the last time, you did not nail it, because people cannot do four part harmonies with themselves."
"You said it yourself. I'm the master of the possimpible."
"Yup, and you've filled your quota for this year." She nodded to Verity. "Now gimme the phone."
"I'm breastfeeding in a minute. And I'll make you leave."
Horror flashed across Barney's eyes. He stood up in front of Robin, pointing at her.
She raised an eyebrow. "Wanna risk it?"
"No." he sulkily offered her the phone. She took it and tapped in his password, then grimaced at his lock screen.
"Seriously? That picture?"
"I love that picture."
It was of Robin in the hospital, holding Very; the first picture of the two of them. Robin was smiling at the camera, pink hat nearly falling off Verity's head, who was pressed to Robin's face so she could be seen in the photo, and actually decided to momentarily open her eyes. It was a tiny bit out of focus, and probably not the best of angles. But despite the vast array of professional photos they had taken later on, that was Barney's favourite.
"Please change it."
"But I look like a troll." He opened his mouth to tell her she didn't, but she cut him off. "You said last night that I look like Gollum."
"Oh shit, you remember."
"A Scherbatsky never forgets. Anyway, I need to feed her soon."
"Excellent. Ah, breast-feeding makes you so much hotter. If that's even possible."
She snorted. "Aren't I just hottie of the year right now."
"Barney, I need to loose like twelve pounds before work starts again. I might not fit on the camera."
"So? You're still super sexy."
It was true. She looked amazing. Especially for a woman who'd given birth just two weeks ago. Robin was absolutely smoking, even when she was slumping out of bed with a posture that was maybe a little bit Gollum esque.
"Thanks." She smiled genuinely.
"Don't ever think otherwise. My wife: Robin Scherbatsky, queen of the milfs."
"Oh, please put that on my tombstone."
"Such a milf… Mother I'd like to, and repeatedly will later on tonight, what up, fu-"
"Baby right here." She warned. They were still having to adjust to making their vocabulary more family friendly. Even though she wouldn't be talking for a while, Robin was determined that her first word would not be 'bang' or any derivative of the word.
"Fine. Hot mama then." A smirk traced her lips as he said that. She could definitely adapt to that title.
"Hmm. Mama likey."
He lifted up the other chair in the room and carried it over to the space next to Robin's, haphazardly kicking away a large stuffed penguin as he did so. He rested his head on Robin's shoulder, watching Verity blow bubbles in her sleep.
"How did we even make her?" Robin mumbled.
"Oh, I could tell you. It always starts when I kiss you, then you probably slid your tongue into my mouth and said 'give me more of that' so we'd go to the bed, and then I bet you groped my ass since we both know how you like it dirty, and-"
"No soft porn please."
"Ugh. Fine. Subject change. You know, I've been placing some calls about bro bibs for babies."
She rolled her eyes. The latest of his ridiculous schemes had been discovered when Very spit up all over a Dolce and Gabbana dress. Barney decided then that the best way to fix such problems was by adapting a baby range of bro bibs for babies. He had been delighted by his stroke of genius.
"I don't even know how many times we've had this discussion but bro bibs for babies are not a thing."
"Yeah. Obviously. Because I haven't made those calls yet."
"It's just a bib."
"A bro bib."
"A bib! All babies have bibs! There are like six freaking bibs on that dresser. Not a new enterprise."
"Somebody just lost their shares in the profits."
"There will be no profits. You are marketing a bib. For a baby. Bib." She bored her eyes intently into his. "Just a bib."
"Right. That's it. No boobs for you, mister."
"I take it back. It's just a bib. 100% bib. 0% bro. Please. Get your boobs out. Um, oh, did I mention that Canada's great and I'd love to watch hockey with you all evening. Heh… boobs. Is that a new hairstyle? New jeans?"
She shook her head. "You are ridiculous. And I think I'll wait anyhow."
"Can I hold her then?"
Robin frowned. "No."
"Because." She began very matter of factly, having nailed the disapproving mother stare. "I'm holding her."
"That's so unfair! You always get to hold her!"
"Well grow some milk ducts then. And no, that is not a challenge."
"Please? Please can it be my turn?"
Robin sighed. It was only fair that she shared Verity. It was just such a new feeling for her, this maternal thing. Her whole life, all she'd ever felt was indifference, and yes, occasionally hatred towards babies. But her new favourite pastime was holding Very, trying desperately to get her to smile. She'd never expected in a million years that she'd have a family. Especially not one as perfect as this. But she did. She had a marriage, and a family.
Her face softened, and she slowly rose from the seat and passed her over to Barney. She squirmed a little bit in the process, but eventually sat still and continued to sleep. She had rearranged her blankets and was sleeping with her left arm out of the blankets, revealing her Canadian flag onsie. Barney grinned at that.
"You trying to Canada my daughter up?"
"Oh so now she's allowed to be your daughter. When she's all perfect and cute and sleeping?"
"Whilst I admit I'm not her number one fan when she's hollering her head off at all hours of the night, she's always allowed to be my daughter. Despite Canadian heritage."
"Five eighths." Robin reminded him gleefully, coming up behind him and wrapping her arm around his waist under the suit jacket. He had on a blue shirt, which she gripped, feeling the material creasing under her fingers. She watched Barney's face, comparing every part of his smile and eyes and wrinkles to that of Very.
"She looks so like you." She grinned.
"Yeah. Don't sell yourself short in the gene contribution department though. She's got your nose. And your lips. And your ears."
"My ears?" Robin wrinkled her nose.
"You have very distinctive ears. The sexiest ears."
"Yep, choose now to alert me of your ear fetish. Does she have sexy ears too then?"
"She will. Y'know, she's going to be inhumanly attractive when she grows up. I'm extremely worried about this. No greasy adolescent is getting his xbox accustomed paws near her. We might have to pull a Rapunzel on her and keep her in a tower forever more."
"God we're such responsible parents." She joked, resting her chin onto his shoulder, beaming as Very rolled over in her sleep. Every time she looked at her, she noticed something new that was awesome. The way she would blink, or try to suck her thumb but not quite be old enough to know how.
"Jokes aside, don't remind me that she has to grow up." She snaked her hand under his shirt and started to dance her nails over his abdominal muscles. He groaned at this. Of course she was ready for some of that action when it was finally his turn to hold the baby.
"So, do you think she'll sleep another half hour or so? Because on my way to get diapers I may or may not have dipped into Victoria's secret and got you a present."
Robin's lips twitched. "The satin kind of present?"
"The satin and velvet kind of present. In red."
She felt her breath getting hotter. Much to Lily and Marshall's envy, being new parents had not managed to tone down their raging libidos. Marshall was bitterly disappointed to find out that his 'how long before they bang again' bet would have to be cut short. After losing another precious 5 dollars to Lily, he swore he'd never bet on Barney and Robin again.
It didn't prevent him from taking Lily up on a 'will Marvin and Verity ever get married' bet. Disturbingly, the redhead had already had a photo album entitled 'Marvery'.
Barney carefully set Very down in her crib again, and pulled one of many blankets over her. This time it was a flowery patchwork one. He turned to face Robin, who was leaning against the dresser, holding the baby monitor and fiddling with the settings.
"You're awesome." He said, watching her look up.
She set the monitor down and took its twin with her, wrapping her arms around Barney's neck and leaning into him. He didn't smell of scotch and cigars quite as strongly, but there was still his cologne and that scent that would always just be Barney.
"I guess you're not so bad yourself."
They left the room and shut the door as gently as they could, creeping through to the bedroom. Barney's hands instantly flew to her chest. He was just about to motorboat her when they heard a wailing coming from the other room, loud, high pitched and summoning them. Then it stopped. They hesitantly froze, but then decided to resume.
As soon as Barney had Robin down on the bed, however, the crying began again.
"Crap." Robin sighed.
Fourteen years later
Robin awoke to Barney holding her beneath the silk sheets of their duvet set and a harsh banging against the door.
"It's open." She shouted groggily, nudging her sleeping husband awake. He jolted immediately, eyes blinking and adjusting to the light. Then she remembered. Today was Verity's fourteenth birthday.
Panic rushed through her, and she was horrified that she'd forgotten to lay out presents or prepare her daughter the usual birthday breakfast that the family enjoyed every time anybody had a birthday. Pancakes, syrup, scrambled eggs and hot chocolate. The drink came as a given, and the eggs had taken her a while to get the hang of, but after some hilarious anecdotes, she finally learned that the basic egg cuisine wasn't too hard. Very still complained that her 'Nana's were better', but Robin recognized that you couldn't win every battle.
She looked across to the alarm clock and breathed a sigh of relief when she saw that it was just 6.00. Normally, celebrations didn't start until nine, so it was perfectly okay that things weren't prepared yet.
Only the banging hadn't stopped.
"Very, is that you?"
The door burst open theatrically. Robin heard the voice of her teenager echoing through the room.
"Greetings, ma bitches."
She rolled her eyes. "Honey, for the millionth time, we are not your bitches. We are your parents."
She peeped her head around the door, a cloud of messy blonde and a highly irritated expression. "Look, Mom, just. Okay?"
Robin sighed. Of course that had to be one of the traits she picked up.
"Okay, Mom? Okay."
"Okay. Since it's your birthday. I'll overlook it."
An impish grin returned to her face. "Wonderful." Then she darted back behind the door.
"Presenting, in person, your now fully accomplished fourteen year old progeny: Verity Stinson. No, no. Please save your applause until the end."
She stepped into the room with extreme gusto, balancing three mugs of steaming hot chocolate on a tray. She trotted over to her parents' bedside table and plunked them down, not bothering to clear up the foamy brown liquid that spilled from under the messy blobs of whipped cream she had adorned them with.
"Happy Birthday to me!" She declared, shifting back to produce sparks from her hands.
"NO FIRE IN THE BEDROOM." Robin immediately yelled, thinking back to the disastrous event with the fluffy bed throw. At the exact same time, Barney giggled, "Awesome!"
"Fine." She drooped her head, writing the word sorry in the air with a seemingly invisible sparkler.
"Oh my god, Verity, seriously can you plea- okay Barn, stop clapping." She elbowed Barney in the rib.
As soon as she was old enough, Barney had taken his little girl on as his magical apprentice. To Robin's chagrin, she had been a natural, specializing in the pyrotechnics department. Now most events were spent anticipating when Verity was going to unveil her next trick. Awesome as she thought her daughter's skills were, they were also explosive and highly dangerous. Thus, they had received a house ban.
Verity flopped on the end of the bed, grabbing several of the cushions situated there to form a squashy pile, and flopped back onto it. She rested her hands on her chest, slightly obscuring her 'Vancouver Canucks' shirt. She had paired them with bright pink shorts and an oversized hoodie, which she was now playing with the zip of.
"So, what brings you to our room at 6.00am, Very Bear?" Barney questioned. She perked up at the nickname. Over the years, it occasionally transitioned to Very Berry, but had always fallen back to Very Bear.
"Oh. I wanted to see you guys before dinner this evening." She explained. They had arranged for her to have a posh dinner out with the gang. Being the overly popular person she was, several of her classmates were throwing her parties over the week to come. But her Uncle Marshall, Aunt Lily, Uncle Ted and Aunt Tabby were her family, and her cousins were some of her best friends. Marvin was undoubtedly her best friend, in fact, so she had no troubles with spending her special day with them.
"Why wouldn't you see us?" Robin beckoned to Verity to come and join them in the gap between them. Barney had moved up a tad, leaving a Verity sized gap in the middle. She selected a few choice cushions and scampered down the king sized bed to the end, resting in the middle and snuggling into her parents.
"Well, I'm insanely busy today. I want to do our breakfast thing, but stupid bloody Kiley Long thought it would be fun to arrange a cheer practice for 9.30. That will last hours, so I'll barely make it to dance rehearsal. Then I promised some of the girls that I'd go shopping with them, then I texted Max to say I'll pick him up from the Mosby's at quarter to 5, then I'll have time to get changed and meet you at the restaurant for our reservations."
At the end, she exhaled slowly. Barney wrapped his arm around his daughter. "Wow, you really are crazy busy."
"I know, right! I hate doing things, I just want to sleep and watch Juno all day with a bucket of oreo ice cream, but alas, the public craves my presence." Both parents chuckled at this.
"I feel you, girl. It's tough for us celebrities. But ya gotta do it for the fans." Barney nodded knowingly, at which Very laughed. Robin rolled her eyes.
"Yeah, such a celebrity you are, baby. Remind me who has a primetime television slot?"
"Pfft, yeah. For the news."
"Fine. I guess I'll have to find some other date for the awards show coming up in a few months."
Barney looked scandalized at this. "You devious minx. You wouldn't."
"I might." She teased, smiling. "And I'm gonna wear that blue dress. You know. The sparkly one."
"Oh! You look so pretty in that one Mom!"
"Thanks, honey. Hey, do you want to be my date. There'll be cameras. And free food."
"Free food? I'm there." She nodded her blonde head, causing her wavy bob to displace slightly.
Barney heaved a sigh as tragically as he could muster. "Betrayed by my own wife."
They sipped on their drinks for a while, conversation fluctuating between whether or not the 3-piece tux was in and whether Barney, Robin or Verity was currently atop the laser tag scoreboard. It had become something of a family activity.
"Actually, I think I might get dressed now."
"Wait, sweetie, open your presents."
"Awesome! I totally forgot about presents." Her eyes were gleaming as Barney passed her a huge present bag. She clasped her hands together in excitement.
"We got you quite a few, but most of them you can open at dinner. This one's for now though. From your Mom." He tilted his head in Robin's direction. She smiled.
Verity delved into the bag and yanked out a parcel, wrapped in white and gold paper. On it was written.
A Legen- wait for it- Very Birthday.
She tore into the paper. Her fingernails caught on the sellotape and she had to resort to using her teeth to tear through the paper. She was an avid present opener, just like her Dad. She continued to remove bits of tape from her hand as she got into the box, and carefully opened it.
Inside was a dress. Pale pink with tiny gold and silver diamanté pieces adorning the top and fading down to the waistline. It was so pale that it was almost cream, floaty, and the material seemed almost like wings. Very ran the sheer pink stuff between her thumbs, admiring the gorgeous dress.
Robin watched her face lighting up as she saw what it was. It was exactly the one she sketched in art class. It had taken them a lot, but Barney knew a guy, and they'd had one made in her size.
"Is that?" Very blinked, connecting it to her own design, turning it round to admire how absolutely flawless it was. Robin nodded.
"Mmhm. Do you like it Ve- woah." Verity plummeted towards her, crashing into her mother and hugging her, tightly squeezing Robin's chest to the point where she was sure her vital organs must be crushed.
"Mommy, it's so beautiful," she whispered into Robin's hair. And damnit, Robin felt herself tearing up a little bit at the first word, because it always took her back to the first time Very ever said it.
Plus, she was determined that her daughter was going to get what she never got on her fourteenth birthday. Her child would most certainly not be thrown from a helicopter to fend for herself in the woods.
"You're welcome. You'll look amazing in it. It was such a beautiful design; it was nicer than anything we could've bought. We're so proud of you." She promised, staring right into Barney's eyes reflected on Verity's face.
"Thankyou." She mumbled, and then hurtled towards Barney to give him a similar choking hug. He grinned, patting her back.
"Any time, Bear."
"Can I try it on?"
Robin nodded, and she tore off out of the room, thin legs completely uncoordinated in her dash. Sometimes, Robin was surprised that she was such a brilliant dancer.
"Good one." Barney nodded, moving back across to his spot next to Robin and taking her in his arms. He wrapped an arm around her waist and kissed her. Yeah, the spark was still there. Fourteen years down the line. He still loved and wanted her just as much.
A whole lot could happen in fourteen years.
After Verity, Robin and Barney spent most of their time trying to balance parenting and get back into normal life. Tabby and Ted got married, and almost immediately after had a baby girl named Leia. A few more years down the line came the arrival of Luke.
Marshall and Lily decided that it would be nice for Marvin to have a sibling. Quickly, Lily became pregnant with Jessica Aubrey Eriksen. After that, they made up their minds that their family was perfect. One boy, one girl.
However, they didn't end up sticking to their choice, and had their second daughter and third child, Emily, just a year after that. But then, Lily professed, she was absolutely done with being pregnant. Never again, she swore, the day she threw up at one of Marshall's most important cases.
They failed, again, to stick to it. Kathleen arrived out of the blue and completely a shock… with quite a gap between her siblings. Despite being the tiniest of what Verity took to referring to as the 'Eriksen Army', Kathleen was feisty. She was also affectionately referred to as 'Kipper' following her inability to pronounce her own name, and extreme love for fish.
Lily thought it was karmic justice that Marshall should have three daughters, considering his growing up in a house full of boys. Marvin wasn't quite so thrilled with this set up, and despite his love for his sisters, spent most of his time trying to escape.
As for Barney and Robin, they made up their minds to try for another baby. It was a very back and forth process of decision making. One day, as Very presented her with an adorable drawing, Robin would be adamant that she wanted another. The next, when she was scrubbing felt tip pen off the walls and Barney was mourning the loss of his wax crayon-ed suit, they both vowed that one was more than enough.
Eventually, though, their friends having babies finally got to them, and they didn't see much harm in trying IVF. It took them a few cycles and Robin very nearly gave up hope. But in the end, she got pregnant with a baby boy called Max. Barney was enthralled to have a son, and they loved him unconditionally. Verity loved him possibly even more than they did.
When he was a toddler, he was diagnosed with epilepsy. It was a tough journey, and Robin still remembered the day she saw her son have his first seizure. She remembered all the blood draining from her body and her heart literally stopping when she saw him fall to the floor. He had a support group and medication, and refused to let being an epileptic act as any sort of definition of him. Whilst Verity bared more resemblance to her father, Max was like Robin through and through.
He was a fighter. And he fought to live a perfectly normal life. Luke was his best friend, and he spent half his life at the Mosby's, so it was a regular occurrence to see him there, or to see Luke at Barney and Robin's. It had been much harder to loosen the reigns on Max, with her maternal instincts in absolute overdrive, but he was determined to handle himself.
Barney constantly reminded her where Max's independence came from.
Another thing that Lily thought was karmic justice was how incredibly beautiful Verity turned out to be.
Not beautiful in the 'girl-next-door' kind of way. Or in the 'hot babe' kind of way. She was mind numbingly, jaw dropping and outrageously attractive, despite just barely being into her teens. She retained her blonde hair, which was cut in a long-ish bob around her shoulders. She inherited her mother's cheekbones, and her father's laugh. Most of the Eriksen girls saw her as a princess.
She was just zipping up the back of her dress when she saw her iphone vibrating on her dresser. She reached across and tapped her passcode, seeing the caller ID was Marvin.
"Go for Very,"
"The happiest of returns."
"Don't." Came the voice on the other end.
"C'mon. You know you love it. Who was it screaming like a girl when the robot you were sponsoring won Online Robots Vs Wrestlers."
"We do not speak of this, Stinson." He paused. "How's being fourteen, anyways, young grasshopper."
"Good. How do you feel about being beaten at laser tag by a girl who's now slightly less younger than you?"
"I thought you had cheer?"
"Kiley freakin' Long can wait until ten. I'll tell her there was an emergency."
He rolled his eyes. "I can't believe your name means truth, you're a pathological liar."
"Yeah, well." She laughed, shook her head and gave a small smile before continuing to speak down the phone. "You're an idiot."
She was unlikely to ever confess that she had the biggest crush in the universe on him.
"Anyway, you are going to adore your birthday present. I spent both time AND money on it. Like a good week putting this together, so you'd better appreciate it, little blonde."
"Aw, did you figure out how to make an eggbox caterpillar at last?" She asked sarcastically.
"No." He sulked. When they were 5, and learning crafts from Lily, she had been remarkably competitive. "Laser tag in twenty?"
"Thirty. And bring donuts."
"You better share."
"Of course I'll share." She lied. "Well. Stinson out."
She hung up and tossed the phone back onto the bed, a huge grin dancing across her lips.
She ran through to say goodbye to her parents, twirling in her dress, which they complimented profusely. It fitted her slim frame perfectly, the pale material going well with her light hair, skin and eyes.
"Well. Time to squeeze some laser tag in and completely obliterate you two from the scoreboard. And no, Dad, you cannot come."
"It's because I'm old, isn't it." He mumbled, grumpy all of a sudden. Robin rubbed his back.
"Aw Barn, we aren't old."
"I'm not old." He repeated.
"I mean, you aren't the young and chipper gentleman you used to be." Robin teased, seeing how far she could go. Indignation rose, his cheeks flushing and eyes flickering with outrage and frustration.
"Really, Scherbatsky? Because I have a whip and some shackles that would beg to differ."
Verity shuddered and blocked her ears. "I don't want to know, I really don't want to know." She clamped her eyes together and backed out of the room. Robin laughed softly as she exited, and reached across to grab her mug of hot chocolate.
She held onto her Canada mug with a smile, licking around the rim of the cup to remove the chocolate that was threatening to spill over onto the bed. She drank it and closed her eyes as the familiarity warmed her up from the inside. There had been a lot of different variations of that drink. Cinnamon, caramel, peppermint. Barney once tried chili, which was, foreseeably disastrous. Every birthday of either of her kids, they would all drink hot chocolate. And nothing made her happier than seeing Verity and Max curled up on the sofa in their pajamas, arguing over which star wars film they were going to watch.
She used to drink the stuff when she was alone. A scared kid with no friends and a pitiful family. As she grew older, the drink became something of a comfort blanket, the one thing that allowed her to be uncharacteristically mushy and slip away from her hard exterior. Despite the sweetness of the beverage, it used to remind her that she was cold.
Now she wasn't so cold. Barney was warm next to her, and had moved his hands to attempt to grope her ass whilst she was still seated, completely ruining her moment of being pensive. She took one final gulp and swirled it in her mouth, letting the cocoa taste settle onto her tongue before setting the cup down on the dresser.
She turned to face Barney. He was staring at her lips. Well, and her chest. His eyes seemed to flicker between the two spots.
"We did good, didn't we?" Robin mused, nestling closer to him. Closer up, he was slightly more wrinkled, not that she'd ever tell him that- and lord knows what he'd do if she alerted him that he was greying a little. Besides, she was aware that she too wasn't quite so young as she used to be. She didn't care though. She was quite satisfied with being the 'queen of the milfs', as he had once so tactfully put it.
"With the kids?" he asked, moving to kiss her neck. She nodded.
"Very and Max." She smiled. Two names that meant the most to her. "Yeah, we did a good job with them."
"They're pretty awesome. So young for such a good backwards fireball trick, y'know, I hadn't mastered magic like that 'til I was about 18, Robin."
"Mmm." Barney ran his foot over hers, the bare skin of her ankles feeling his toes teasing their way upwards. She moved her hands to his chest, already itching to get to the good stuff.
"They're so awesome."
"Legendary. Legenvery, in her case." He agreed.
They heard the door slam, and a muffled 'bye, love you' being yelled. Barney heard his phone buzz against the oak bedside locker, and he reached to check it.
"She says later, losers."
"Yep, she is definitely ours." She made a grabbing motion for the phone so she could see it for herself, but stopped in her tracks when she saw what was behind the message alert.
"Still?" He shrugged in response to her exasperated cry. "Still that picture of me and her. Please god change it, you have like a zillion photos were we look like a family from the 'happy homes' catalogue. We look like models, Barn. Must we revisit post labor ogre Robin whenever we check texts? Don't remind me that I ever looked like that."
"Yeah. I told you. I love that photo. We're eternally the most attractive family of all time, but none of those other pictures look as real. Max is my lock screen. You and Very are my home screen."
"There's nothing I can do to sway your mind? Even stormtrooper sex?"
"Ugh. Well, get your whip out, then."
Barney looked confused.
"Whip and shackles, you said. I need a confidence boost after that horrific image. I can feel lil Barney hasn't lost his boost."
Barney displayed his most porny grin, leaning across to kiss his wife. She tasted of chocolate, and he tasted of home. For a while, they just let their tongues do the work, and then she was straddling him, pinning him to the bed and running her hands up and down his abs. Her left hand trailed down to his boxers, but just before she could do what they both knew was coming, he stopped her.
"Y'know, Robin Scherbatsky." He stared at the tiny smear of hot chocolate accessorizing the bottom corner of her lip. "I love you so. Damn. Much."
(It still made her heart do something weird. Fourteen years, and it still did it.)
"I love you too, Barney Scherbatsky." She closed her eyes. "I love you so much."
I can't actually believe I'm writing this but…
I finally finished a fic! And yes, this is the first full length fic I've ever published, so it honestly feels like this is my baby as well as Very. Normally, I never get past 3 chapters, so this is a crazy big deal!
Time to conform to the cliché and thank a load of awesome people! First off, BeLegendary for being my first reviewer. And Filleencore for reviewing I think every chapter in great detail; your reviews always keep my spirits up. Same goes for thehopefulone. I totally remember when hot chocolate and more than anything were going at the same time! I'm a pretty slow writer, oops. But thankyou also for reviewing (I think) every chapter.
Then thankyou to Imperiumwife for not only reviewing but discussing my *sarcastic cough* excellent plans for this fic with me and generally being very conversational and lovely. Also thankyou for suggesting Verity's middle name. Two people asked for Olivia, so I went with that.
Finally, ETERNAL THANKYOU to my a++ bestie 4 lyfe Emily who I have constantly bothered with my (occasional hatred) woes about writing. She's amazing and always encouraging me to keep going, sometimes through means of brutal force. Please all bow down to the mighty Emily, without whom I'd probably still be flailing around chapter five. I love you much, skankface. Much friend. So support.
So 10/10 if you've ploughed through and read all of this, but I do have one final thingy majiggy. I really wasn't planning to continue this, however I saw a few responses saying that you'd like a sequel? I'm really on the fence with this, so if you could review if you want a sequel, then it would be greatly appreciated. I think if I get a god response then I'll do it… I'd just love to know if people would read it? I'm up for trying, but it would probably flash between different ages of baby Verity, and child Verity, with Max where I can be bothered to slot him in :)
And lastly, THANK YOU TO YOU. YES, YOU. HUMAN WHO IS READING THIS RIGHT NOW ok this fic is a really big deal to me even though hc and I have a very love hate relationship, the fact that people actually read it means so much to me. I love every single person who clicks read, review, and favorites. It has been my absolute pleasure to write stuff for you, and I seriously wish I could thank every single reviewer, and I'm sorry if I missed anybody who's reviewed every chapter. Every review counts and they make me so happy when I get them. You are all legend-wait for it- dary. And I hope you'll read some of my new stuff when I get round to uploading it.
(Squishes you all into a giant snuggle of hot chocolate and happiness)