Well, I thought it was curious that Ted mentions that Robin's cigarette is in June 2013, the month after the series ends. I wanted to find out how her last smoke transpired, so I wrote this.
There are some intentional factual inaccuracies when they're trying to remember stuff that happened in the past, because I figured that without re-runs, they would struggle to remember exactly what happened a few years ago.
PS- In no way do I encourage smoking backwards. Don't even go there, kids.
"You want a cigarette?"
He takes one then throws the packet carelessly at Robin. She catches it in one hand and drops it onto the couch.
"I'm fine, thanks,"
Barney shrugs, and she finds herself adding, "Actually, I've given up,"
"Have you?" he looks surprised. She noticed years ago then when he raises his eyebrows, the left always jumps higher than the right.
"I think so. I had one or two when I was stressing out before the wedding, and when we got back from honeymoon, I just- I thought I should give up.
"You quit just like that? How come you haven't been snapping at me for the last two weeks, then?"
"I don't know. It was easier this time around. I don't know why. I didn't want to have a last one ever like we did before- that didn't work, did it? I…I realised a couple of weeks ago that I hadn't had one for a while, so I'm quitting,"
"You're not…pregnant, are you?" he smirks.
"Shut up, of course not. I gave up; it's not a big deal,"
"Okay, then," Barney looks away from her.
"What is it?"
"Come on, tell me. I'll still do cigars, probably,"
"It's not that. I only…"
Robin laughs, "What?"
He looks at the floor, "I liked to kiss you when you smoke,"
When he doesn't respond, he adds, "You tasted kind of nice," quietly.
"That's cute," she giggles, tunnelling her hand from the back of his head to the fringe,
"No it's not. It's cool and suave, like gangsters. Like Bonnie and Clyde,"
"It's cute, Barney. I guess…if you really want, I'll smoke another one, just so you can kiss me,"
"You said you weren't gonna have a last one ever,"
She shrugs, "I'll change my mind. But if I die of lung cancer, it's on your head,"
They lean on the balcony wall- together, but not touching; prolonged physical contact outside of kissing or sex isn't something either of them are keen on. They'll never be the couple who kiss each other awake in the morning or hold hands in the day, or who cuddle on the couch in the evening or spoon in bed at night.
"Check-in," she says, "We're a month-ish into marriage- how're you coping?"
Barney takes a thoughtful drag on his cigarette.
"I'm coping. I like it. I like sitting in a cab going down 42nd on the way home from work, and knowing that I'm going to be banging you tonight. Hard," he adds lecherously.
They'll also never be the couple who whisper sweet nothings to each other- but she wouldn't love him if he was any other way.
"What about you? How have the last, um, like thirty-three or whatever days been for you?
"Thirty six, is it? How do people even remember this stuff?"
"Are there thirty days in May or no?"
"When did we get back from honeymoon?"
"Did we get married?" he jokes in faux-alarm.
"I'm sorry, who are you again?"
He laughs, and she continues- "No, I'm great. I love this. This is good,"
"Good," he repeats.
"I think we need to have words about you using my words, Robin. Legendary is my thing, you know,"
"There should be. You want a cool catchphrase, think of your own. Connectitude or something,"
She shrugs and they lapse into silence. Barney blows a few smoke rings into the night and she copies him, watching as the rings gradually disintegrate into each other (there's a metaphor for Ted to use). This, she thinks, is what's nice about smoking- it's doing something with someone, connecting, but not in an intense way. Smoking outside together is small and subtle, and that works for them because they're never going to be the couple who gaze into each other's eyes repeating "I love you," over a shared Gouda.
Robin turns around and leans her back on the balcony wall, looking through the French windows into the apartment. Barney removed the green screen shortly after she officially moved in, but he's kept the BMI calculator on the door and the Ho-Be-Gone bed thing (though she tells him that she'll shred his suits if he ever uses it on her again). She really does need to talk to him about making changes round this apartment- it's theirs now, not his lone-wolf bang pad. The apartment full of right-angles and chrome is unfriendly and un-homely, and too Barney- Robin accepts and appreciates the grossest, creepiest, most sociopathic parts of him but she shouldn't have to live in his man-cave permanently.
"Hey, about the Fortress,"
"What?" he turns around, blinking, "What?"
"Were you zoning out again?" she narrows her eyes.
"No, I was…recalibrating," he defends evasively.
She fondly fondles the knot of his tie (she knows that it
irritates him when his tie isn't straight, but also that it turns him on a little), "Hmm, so you are a robot. We always suspected,"
Barney huffs, "Please- I'm a droid at least,"
"I say saying, droid, that we need to make the Fortress more of a home than a…well, at the moment it's like a literal exhibition of fifty shades of grey,"
She regrets the words as soon as they're out of her mouth, because it can't be a good idea to mention that book to Barney Stinson.
"Pfft, you think it's only literal? The things this apartment has seen make that Grey dude look like…Ted. The sex that me, you, and maybe two or three…hundred other girls have had within these walls is so outrageous, so depraved and-
"You want some advice?"
"Not really but-"
"Stop talking," She looks him in the eye, "I was saying that everything's s grey and metal, and, well, we live here now and we don't feel particularly at home here,"
He cocks his head, "I guess…" Barney pretends to consider, but he knows his answer already. Robin is nowhere near as obsessively tidy as he is, and over the last few months the view of the bedroom carpet has been slowly disappearing under Robin's clothes, shoes and possessions- and her habit of not throwing away the milk carton or taking out the trash is gradually sending him insane.
He wouldn't change it for the world.
"If I was ready to give up this place for you, I could probably stretch to you doing some redecorating. But no pink," he warns firmly.
"Please. Do you know who you're talking to?"
"Well nothing Canada, then. No maple syrup or hockey sticks or lame Canadian crap is entering the Fortress,"
"You think I haven't smuggled enough in already?" Robin teases, "I'm only saying perhaps we could have another colour apart from grey… something to make it look like a human being lives here. Because there is a human living here now, as well as the droid,"
Barney leaves a dramatic pause, before saying-
"I think you're implying that we should have another go at Stormtrooper sex,"
"No. No, that's really not what I'm implying,"
"Except, in real life I'm the one with the metal where his heart should be, and in Star Wars that's the Stormtroopers, and I guess you'd be being the Stormtrooper, so it would be other way around, unless-"
"Barney. Do you promise we can redecorate the apartment?"
He makes a show of taking an exaggerated toke on his cigarette. Exhaling heavily, he relents- "Fine. As long as the Stormtrooper stays- fine,"
She sighs, "Deal,"
They shake on it.
"Well then, nearly finished," announces Robin, "My last cigarette. You ready for your lost smoke-snog?"
"Get ready to be kissed like you've never been kissed before," he replies.
"Ooh, talk dirty to me," she mocks, "Anyway, shouldn't I be saying that to you? You asked for this,"
"Hmm, yeah I did," he mumbles, closing in, "Take a drag,"
They both do so, and he leans his forehead against hers as they leave the burning cigarettes on the wall. They exhale at the same time, smoke clouding one another's faces. Then, Barney catches her lips in his. His mouth doesn't move for the first few seconds, as they merely enjoy the taste of each other's' smoke. Then his hands go to her shoulders, and hers wrap around his waist. She moves away for a split-second, exhaling more smoke before pressing her lips to his once more, sliding her tongue towards his. One of them- he isn't sure which- murmurs happily into the warmth and the heat.
Barney always screws his eyes up tight when he's kissing. This time, he does so especially to concentrate on how she's licking taste of tobacco onto the backs of his teeth, and how her lips are hot from the burning end of the cigarette, and the smell of smoke between their necks. He's always loved that smell- perhaps it's because it reminds him of a James Dean kind of coolness, or perhaps it's to do with his penchant for fire. They're holding onto one another but not desperately- the kind of holding where you know that you don't have to hold on for the other person to stay. Robin reflects briefly on how they've got to the place where they're together, happy, married, and looking to stay that way.
After everything they've been through- every guy she's liked and dated and hooked up with; and more importantly every moment of watching and staring and laughing and teasing and flirting and pretending and having and losing and lusting and wanting and missing and hurting and fighting and breaking and finding and loving Barney Stinson- they're at this point right now; kissing on a balcony with their cigarettes still lit on the wall beside them. Robin might contemplate this for longer- but then his arms find each other around her back as his tongue strokes hers just right, and she clutches him tighter, letting out a whine into his mouth. Actually, she likes that they're both able to separate the emotional from the physical. She likes that, during sex, she doesn't gaze deeply into Barney's eyes and experience some kind of soul-merging moment of fulfillness. She simply enjoys how damn good the guy is in bed. So she stops thinking about them and their past and their future, and she kisses him- because kissing him is great.
After five or so minutes the kiss heads towards its conclusion, and they gently, simultaneously pull apart.
"Good enough?" she smiles.
She disentangles herself from him and picks up her cigarette again as Barney asks, "Wanna do something cool?"
"What is it?"
"Promise you'll do it with me?"
"Uh, no. It's something stupid, isn't it?"
He takes the cigarette from her fingers and turns it around, then does the same with his own.
"On three, we take a drag,"
"Of the lit end- are you crazy?"
He smiles and raises his eyebrows.
"Dumb question," she corrects herself.
"This is ridiculous,"
"This is insane,"
"….Two and a half,"
He stops with the cigarette millimetres from his mouth, eyes wide and serious, "Please. Promise you'll do it?"
Barney gets this look when he's doing one of his madcap schemes, a look Robin can only think to describe as how you'd think electricity would look if it had a face. It's the look he's worn for every ploy of his since she met him, probably since he was a kid.
"I promise,"- though she has no idea why. Perhaps Barney Stinson does aaaalways get the yes.
"Two and…wait for it….three!"
It is an insane idea. The first thing she tastes is heat, scorching and scalding her tongue and mouth. The second is the bitter smoke, and the third is the large particles of unfiltered ash, like limp string between her teeth. She spits it out immediately, gagging.
"Ugh! That's the most- ergh- why would you even do that?!"
Barney exhales from the lit end coolly, then and beams ecstatically at her, bouncing on his toes, "Next time we go to the cigar bar, we do it with Cubans. It's even better,"
"You're nuts," she coughs.
"That was…bleurgh," Robin shudders and spits greyed saliva off the side of the balcony.
"Oh, and you're so delightful too," he mocks.
"I am never doing any idiotic thing you talk me into again,"
"Heh, you said that like ten years ago after I paid you to say stupid stuff on TV,"
"Did you? When was that?"
"You said, like, boobs, or something about being a naughty, naughty girl. I paid you,"
"Oh my God,"
He looks thrilled. Sometimes it unnerves her how manipulative he can be.
"Hey, well, I'm nearly out. Last cigarette ever- done. Goodbye, Mr Cigarette,"
She glances at it thoughtfully, then stubs it out.
"Wait, hang on," interrupts Barney- "Race,"
"What do you mean, race?"
He stamps his cigarette out as well, "We flick them off together, whoever's reaches the ground first wins,"
"You are so weird,"
"It's just a game,"
"Do you have some list of games and creepy things to do when you're smoking?"
"No," he will never, ever tell her that these are things he used to do when smoking alone, "I just want to give you the best last cigarette experience possible,"
"By racing to see whose cigarette butt reaches the ground first? I can't help feeling we're back at you're so weird,"
"One two three go!"
He flicks the cigarette butt from the balcony, and Robin follows quickly- but both cigarettes burn out before reaching the ground.
"I won," Barney announces proudly.
"One- how the hell can you tell, we couldn't see. Two- you cheated. You threw yours before I was ready,"
"Shoulda been paying attention then, shouldn't you?"
"You did not win, Barney,"
"I win at everything,"
"Well, I win at being awesome," she retorts, nudging him in the ribs. Awesomeness is a very precious concept to him- especially awesomeness rankings, so she likes to joke with him about it (and she is pretty awesome, if she says so herself).
"Didn't we have that argument one time?" Barney asks.
"I don't remember. But I'd've won it, of course,"
"Nah, I think we called it a tie,"
"Doesn't sound like us,"
"Yeah, but we found an alternative," he nods happily, "A much better alternative,"
She can't be bothered to reply and quietness settles again, disturbed by only noise of cars, trees and breeze. It's cold for June, especially since they're both still acclimatising to New York weather after two weeks in Belize.
"I'm going back inside," Robin says finally, "You coming?"
As soon as the words are out of her mouth, she expects Barney to make a lecherous remark- but he doesn't, simply replying, "No, I'll have another smoke," as he takes the packet and lighter from his inside pocket, pops the cigarette into his mouth and lights up, using his hand to shelter the flame from the wind. He sucks in the hot air and swallows it down into his lungs, where it balloons outward inside him.
Perhaps another sort of wife would kiss his cheek before heading back into the apartment- but theirs has never been that sort of relationship. They wouldn't want it to be, any more than they'd want it to be a hand-holding, spooning, pouring-heart-out relationship.
So Robin goes back into the apartment, closes the French window- and leaves her husband outside smoking alone.
Thanks for your time, hope you liked this story. Whatever your opinion, please drop a review as feedback is much appreciated.
If inspiration strikes, I might continue this with other random one-shots of post-wedding.