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10 March 2010 @ 09:20 pm
FIC: Water (1/1) HIMYM  
Title: Water
Summary: Why Barney jumped into the Hudson River, and what happened thereafter.
Rating/Warnings: PG-13
Written for: A fanfic100 challenge #52 Water, and bananacosmic who wrote the darker, better version.
Word Count: 1,568
Fandom/Pairing: HIMYM: Barney/Robin, Barney/Ted.
Spoilers: 5.17 Of Course.



Water

Barney made two mistakes when he somersaulted into the Hudson River, one chilly March evening in 2010. Firstly, he totally underestimated the ability of the tiny Merino fibres in his suit to absorb water. And secondly, he didn't realize quite how cold that water would actually be.

*--*--*

Okay, so the thing was that Barney didn't trust himself, not at all. Every time he'd ever even attempted to exercise any self control in the past, even for Robin's sake, he'd melted quicker than butter on a hot knife. It wasn't exactly pathetic (he'd always stress that his prowess with women was one of his most awesome traits) but it was something that made him feel uncomfortable, for reasons that he didn't understand.

He wanted to resist Anita, for Robin's sake.

Oh, he knew what the others would think. They saw what they wanted to see - their friend, an amiable clown, the go-to guy for a pep talk and a joke. A guy who drifted through life without anything touching him. 

The truth, the cruel irony was that Barney felt everything, and too deeply. He felt so raw, all the time; so on edge. He tried to drown those feelings in booze and women, and lately it had gotten worse that ever until he was trying to over-compensate in every facet of his life. Until he'd almost been fired.

Ted had once said that Barney's whole life was a cry for help. Trouble is, Barney always felt that he was alone, like he was stuck down at the bottom of a deep well, and even if he did cry out, no one would hear him. When he'd broken up with Robin, it had shocked him how upset and confused he'd been and how disgusted he was that he couldn't control that reaction.

There weren't enough televisions in the world to give him back that control. Smashing a million wouldn't help.

And so, it was vital to do this one thing. It was important be strong just one time, for her. For Robin's sake, he could say no to Anita, he was sure. He could say no, right up until she whispered the depraved and unspeakable delights, pouring them into his ear.

He had to physically get away from Anita, marching swiftly and determinedly in the opposite direction from his apartment. He needed space and fresh air, needed to work his legs and his lungs and just about any damn body part that would take his mind off his groin and the seductive words that had curled and settled like a venomous snake around his lizard brain.

          He had to be strong, for Robin.

          There was this sudden flash, something Lily said to him a few days before. "Why don't you just go take a cold shower or-" ...something. The words "cold shower" got stuck and lodged in his memory and kept repeating on him over and over like a stuttering rap song.

          "Why don't you just go take a cold shower?"

          He quickened his pace when he saw the lights ahead, reflected on inky black water and without even thinking twice, he took the steps down to the edge of the river, squared his shoulders, took a run up and launched himself right into the drink.

          He'd just never taken account of the weight of his sodden suit and temperature of the water.

 

*--*--*

 

          The cops wouldn't let Barney go until somebody came by to pick him up. He'd tried to explain that no, he wasn't drunk and no, he wasn't trying to kill himself. They gave him a look that made him feel like an idiot.

          He knew exactly how it sounded. He'd been in the goddamn water! He knew exactly how stupid and dangerous and imbecilic it was. They didn't have to keep telling him!

          It was harder when Ted got there because Ted slipped quickly into full-on Dad-mode, sucking the air in between his teeth and shaking his head sadly. "Is this some kind of stunt?" Ted asked him, expecting a punch line. "Are you trying out some new play? The I've just fallen in the water? Because I gotta tell you, pal, that's pret-ty lame."

          Barney just shook his head and sighed. How could he unravel the real story for his best friend, in a way that would sound even the faintest bit sane? How could he convey the weird confluence of emotion that had caused him to launch himself fearlessly into the black water?

          And how could he explain the gut-wrenching, clawing panic that gripped him as his suit turned against him, becoming so much ballast, and his muscles cramped in the cold, and he sucked in a mouth full of brackish, icy water that reduced his lungs to aching, deathly sponge?

          They say that your life flashes before you when you die, but it doesn't. All Barney saw was darkness. That metaphorical well he'd been stuck down in all these years had become real. And it was terrifying. 

*--*--* 

          The cop dropped them back at Ted's place, even though Barney objected because he really didn't want to go back there. What if Robin and Don turned up and saw him? How lame would it be, having given away the Super Date to Robin, if they found him broken and frozen and shivering, dressed in Ted's sweatpants and sipping fitfully at a hot cup of cocoa? Just way, way lame. 

          Ted scolded him, then apologized, then scolded him some more. Ted clucked around him like a mother hen, dried his hair for him with a towel that smelled like Robin, then balled Barney out for being an idiot. It was all Barney could do to sit and take it. For a man who was a consummate professional with words, who used and bent language to his own ends on a daily basis, Barney suddenly found himself mute and dumb. He couldn't justify the leap into the water, just as they'd never been able to justify the jump they'd all taken almost a year before, from the roof of Ted's apartment over to his neighbour's. Sometimes you did things that weren't logical. Sometimes you were just caught up on a runaway train and you ended up in the wreckage. Or as a mirculous survivor, sitting beside the mangled track wrapped in a blanket and drinking hot cocoa.

          Barney pulled the blanket tight around his shoulders and shivered. Ted stat down next to him, threw an arm around Barney's shoulder and patted his thigh.

          Barney stiffened, frowning, because, you know, weird. Ted laughed and patted his thigh again, saying "Dude, if you get hypothermia and die, I'm not gonna be held responsible. Besides, I'm pretty sure that Bros don't let Bros freeze to death?" Then Ted just yanked him towards his chest and held him until Barney's hands turned from blue to pink, his cheeks flushed, and he felt something approaching human.

          "Are you still in love with her?" Ted asked him, after a while.

          "Who?" Barney asked, befuddled and confused.

          "Robin, you idiot!"

          Barney's mouth formed an "O" of comprehension and he stopped himself from blurting out an obvious joke. Then he thought about it. "No," he said carefully, a little defensively.

          "Then why did you throw yourself in the Hudson?"

          Barney shrugged, but in doing so he felt like a petulant teenager. "Because I wanted to do one thing right." He replied, truthfully.

          "What, kill yourself?" Ted pushed him away and held him at arm's length, searching his expression.

          "No. No!" Barney insisted. "Anita was all over my junk, and I'd promised Robin that I wasn't gonna go there."

          Ted blinked. "So you jumped in the river?"

          Barney gave him a weak smile. "It wasn't a perfect plan…"

          An entire war of emotion took place across Ted's features. There was a good, strong offensive of anger, followed by a return volley of disapproval, countered by a skirmish of sadness. "It was stupid, irresponsible and could have gotten you killed if that guy walking his dog hadn't seen you and if those cops hadn't been nearby."

          "I know," Barney said irritably. Deprived of the warmth of Ted's body, his teeth began to chatter again.

          Ted let out a long-suffering sigh and pulled him in for a hug again. "You know I hate you a little bit right now," he said.

          "What?" Barney replied, his stomach sinking.

          "Do you care about any of us at all? Do you care about leaving us behind? Don't you think we'd…"

          Barney couldn't see his face, but he could hear the emotion catch up with Ted; hear it in the break in Ted's voice.

          "I'm sorry," Barney said contritely.

          "Dude, don't be sorry," Ted admonished him. "Don't be sorry. Just don't do anything crazy like that, not ever again. Okay?"

          Barney nodded, burying his face in the blanket.

          "Okay, buddy?" Ted persisted.

          "Okay," Barney mumbled, which seemed to satisfy Ted.

          "You can have my bed," Ted offered. "I'll take the couch." But when Barney stayed silent, Ted laughed. "Jesus, you are such a closet cuddler," Ted said with a pained laugh. "We can stay here if you wanna?"

          Barney smiled into the blanket as Ted held him a little more tightly. After a while Barney asked, "Hey, Ted? You got any scotch?"

          "You're an idiot," Ted replied, with an easy, teasing chuckle.

          Barney knew enough about his friend to know that, for the time being at least, he was forgiven. "Love you too, man," he said, and eventually they both fell asleep in front of the TV.

          Robin never came home that night.


 
 
Current Location: Pinchbeck
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
 
 
( 55 comments — Leave a comment )
Otemps: HIMYM - Alyson jailbaitotempora42 on March 10th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
Barney/Ted = the real love story of the show. True story.

Anyway, this was lovely.
idioticonion: HIMYM Barney angry Tedidioticonion on March 10th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
Very much so. BED is my new ship.

I'm not sure the story QUITE works, but there needs to be more Barney/Ted love in this fandom!
(no subject) - otempora42 on March 10th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idioticonion on March 10th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - otempora42 on March 10th, 2010 09:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idioticonion on March 10th, 2010 10:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Sarahsazz_k on March 10th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC)
This was lovely :)
Poor Barney... and no, don't do anything stupid like that again :(
idioticonionidioticonion on March 10th, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks honey! :-)
vimtastic: {himym} huzzah!vimtastic on March 10th, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC)
How about an OT3, Barney/Ted/Robin?

y/y?

Oh, and maybe a very slight nitpick: Robin says "I love you" by saying "You're an idiot," but I don't think Ted ever would, even to Barney. We all know T-Mose wouldn't ever be vague like that, because he is an ILY slut.
idioticonionidioticonion on March 10th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)
You know, I USED to ship Barney/Ted/Robin, and have written quote a few three-ways with them, but now? I don't know. I'm just more into Barney/Ted/Lily for some reason. :-)

And as for the nitpick, I accept your point. BUT, the show does tend to have the characters using each other's phrases a lot, because they are kind of "in jokes", so that's what I was going for. Maybe I'll alter it. I'll give it a look.
(no subject) - idioticonion on March 10th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vimtastic on March 10th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idioticonion on March 10th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[a][m][b][e][r]loquaciousambie on March 10th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
The world needs so much more Barney/Ted. I was so sad when I was first in the LJ HIMYM fandom and searched through a fic com and there was, like, one story. People were all ~oh Ted's gonna meet the mother and Barney and Robin will fall in looove!

No. Ted/Barney or Barney/Lily. The end. :)

oh and ps love this, it so bothered me that the weird caricature Barney we have now can't freaking not sleep with someone. So stupid. But, yeah, this makes it a little easier to take.
idioticonionidioticonion on March 10th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
Indeed, how far we've come! I love it. More BED, I say!

And yes, I did want to point out the similarity to Shelter Island here, where Barney couldn't keep his hands off Stella's sister.
(no subject) - otempora42 on March 10th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idioticonion on March 10th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - otempora42 on March 10th, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idioticonion on March 11th, 2010 11:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - magpieinthesky on March 11th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idioticonion on March 11th, 2010 11:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - loquaciousambie on March 11th, 2010 12:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idioticonion on March 11th, 2010 11:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - otempora42 on March 11th, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idioticonion on March 11th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - veritty on March 11th, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idioticonion on March 11th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - otempora42 on March 11th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - loquaciousambie on March 11th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Verit: Barney&Tedveritty on March 10th, 2010 11:10 pm (UTC)
Oh! Love it. <3

I was just about to go to bed - literally, was trying to fall asleep, - but something made me get up and check the Internet.
And here - THIS! I've just watched the episode this evening, and this was so perfect and lovely. <3

Love this insight into Barney - I think I like (and agree with) the idea that he feels too much and too deep, and tries to hide it away, push it deep inside himself.
And Ted the mother hen! Barney the closet cuddler!

There weren't enough televisions in the world to give him back that control. Smashing a million wouldn't help.
I don't really know why I love the smashing-TV-sets references so much.

Because I gotta tell you, pal, that's pret-ty lame.
LOL, so Ted! I could hear him saying this.

Then Ted just yanked him towards his chest and held him until Barney's hands turned from blue to pink, his cheeks flushed, and he felt something approaching human.
TOO ADORABLE FOR WORDS. *incoherent*

This made, like, my night.
idioticonionidioticonion on March 11th, 2010 11:15 am (UTC)
Wow, thank you so much! That's a very generous review. And yes, I love Ted/Barney's Bromance, it's one of the sweetest stories of friendship in the whole show. I'm loving the image of Barney and Ted cuddling.
(no subject) - veritty on March 11th, 2010 11:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idioticonion on March 11th, 2010 11:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
girlthethird: Bad Day Anaesthesiagirlthethird on March 11th, 2010 12:45 am (UTC)
Aw! Love it. This show is so good at putting Barney through unbelievably dangerous/traumatic experiences and then just disregarding it completely like GETTING HIT BY A BUS still not over it yet so it's really great to get some closure-through-fic.

Also this line killed me: Ted clucked around him like a mother hen, dried his hair for him with a towel that smelled like Robin, then balled Barney out for being an idiot.
idioticonionidioticonion on March 11th, 2010 11:16 am (UTC)
Well exactly! The bus crash still makes me mad. And I think fic will reference Barney jumping in the Hudson for many months to come.
Magpie: Happy - HIMYMmagpieinthesky on March 11th, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
I really really liked this! I feel like this could be a real extension of the show, and I love Ted and Barney's friendship. They're such good bros!

And Barney's SUCH a closet cuddler! I mean, look at him cuddling that pillow in "Front Porch" :)
idioticonionidioticonion on March 11th, 2010 11:28 am (UTC)
Totally! I think the show encourages us to think Barney's got a huge soft side, by only revealing it in tantalising glimpses. Bastards. ;-)
Butterfly: [HIMYM] Tux Nightsnogged on March 11th, 2010 03:20 am (UTC)
This was truly and deeply lovely.
I love your descriptions and I love the way you show off the best love story every written on HIMYM.
idioticonionidioticonion on March 11th, 2010 11:28 am (UTC)
Thank you. And I totally agree. BED for the win.
Brandy: HIMYM.Professor Tedbrandyleigh on March 11th, 2010 05:04 am (UTC)
I love this so much. I loved Ted going all mother hen on Barney - it was just really nice and shows how much he cares about Barney, even if Barney sometimes doubts that anyone cares. And them falling asleep together was so sweet.
idioticonionidioticonion on March 11th, 2010 11:29 am (UTC)
Thank you! And yes, I wuv them. *hugs Ted*
Ashes1343ashes1343 on March 11th, 2010 05:47 am (UTC)
I love this so much!! I really liked Barney's serious response to Ted's question about loving Robin. I will always support Barney/Robin, but its nice to see a fic kind of stray away from that angle, even if only for a moment. Also, your line "It wasn't a perfect plan..." soooo reminded me of Billy's "Its not a perfect metaphor..." :D in a good way
idioticonionidioticonion on March 11th, 2010 11:29 am (UTC)
Thank you, and yes, that was absolutely a nod to Dr Horrible. :-)
Phoenix: himym ted barneyda_phoenix13 on March 11th, 2010 07:51 am (UTC)
Awwwww!!! This was so sweet. I love Ted going all mother hen on Barney, and balling him out for almost killing himself and not thinking of the rest of them (um, total RP flashbacks, btw) and then they fell asleep cuddling on the couch and awwwwwwww. I'm just an incoherent puddle of goo.

Loved this. :D Need more Bed! Moar!! ;)
idioticonionidioticonion on March 11th, 2010 11:30 am (UTC)
Indeed! Moar Bed! Moar!

(I will reply to your FB message - just struggling with laptop issues)
Xiaohu: hello sexygirl_blunder on March 11th, 2010 12:31 pm (UTC)
I've read through a lot of your fics recently but I was too shy to comment on them since it's been a while since they've been posted.

But now that you're putting up even more, I can no longer remain quiet while stalking your fic! ;)

Can I say I thought this was really adorable? It provided a lot of insight into Barney's thoughts (which is always a challenge) and I pretty much love how you make him think. Protective!Ted also rocks -- 'nuff said -- and add me to the list of people who loved the 'closet cuddler' line. It's hilarious because I bet it's so true!

Can't wait to read more!
idioticonionidioticonion on March 11th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
Aw, really? Don't be shy! I won't bite.

And thank you, that's very lovely of you to say that. I'm certainly not as prolific as I used to be but the show did poke my muse awake this week.

I'm getting very into Ted/Barney right now, so expect more stories of a similar kind. :-)
cosmic: HIMYM: Barney&Lilybananacosmic on March 11th, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC)
Well, I gotta comment here too, because yay, fic written for me! :D (This whole "I tell you an idea, you tell me to write it, I blame you, you write a fic for me"-thing works very well, methinks. It ends up in lots of fic, anyway *g*)

Like I said before, love it ♥
idioticonion: HIMYM Barney angelic sort ofidioticonion on March 11th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
Quite seriously, I just work much better when I'm riffing on other people.

Did I ever tell you about this super-dark and disturbing take on Changed!Verse that I wanted to write? But I'm not sure how you feel about it. It would be a bit AU but I just love the imagery...
(no subject) - bananacosmic on March 11th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idioticonion on March 13th, 2010 03:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
smthwallflowersmthwallflower on March 12th, 2010 07:42 am (UTC)
*kudos-five*

I love it. The BED (best acronym ever!), the lecturing, the 'Barney, didn't you think about us?' the everything! Such a fantastic idea and so what the show was missing. Even if Ted just showed up at the tail end and gave Barney a 'you freaking moron' look...
idioticonionidioticonion on March 12th, 2010 10:34 am (UTC)
Thanks honey! I just love Ted's long suffering looks at Barney!
Nev: himym: ted/barneynevcolleil on June 8th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
This is a great fic :) Such nice h/c - I love seeing Ted be at once all dad-like for Barney *and* cuddling him on the couch. I love that you adressed the potentially suicidal nature of Barney's jump and showed us Ted emoting about it :)

You said bananacosmic wrote another version of this? Where? I haven't read that :p
idioticonionidioticonion on June 9th, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you. And of course! I'm always happy to rec another writer's awesome fic.

http://bananacosmic.livejournal.com/127337.html

Personally I think this kicks the ass of my story!
( 55 comments — Leave a comment )