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10 March 2010 @ 12:10 pm
Fic: Spin (PG-13, 1/1, gen, HIMYM)  
Title: Spin
Author: bananacosmic

Author's Email: bananacosmicgirl@hotmail.com
Author's Home Page: CosmicUniverse.net

Fandom: How I met your mother
Word count: 1 600
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Angst
Characters: Barney, Lily
Pairings: None

Warnings: None
Spoilers: 5x17 "Of course"

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations from the TV-series "How I met your mother", created and owned by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Summary: Everything is spinning, faster and faster out of control. He can’t remember the last time he was in control.

Author's notes: Blame idioticonion, she made me ;)

by cosmic

Everything is spinning, faster and faster out of control.

He can’t remember the last time he was in control.

He can’t breathe, can’t seem to get any air into his lungs.

When he sees Robin crying, though she tries her best to hide it, it is a stab straight through his heart. He put those tears there. He never meant to hurt her, never meant to make her cry, but he did anyway because he’s a cold, heartless bastard. They went separate ways and he just returned to living his life the only way he knows how – and he hurt her, hurt her enough to make her cry.

Lily’s voice rings in his ears about all the things he hasn’t seen in the last months. Robin alone, Robin crying, Robin crushed, and every time, Barney has rubbed it in her face. Told her about conquest after conquest – he doesn’t even know why it’s been so important to tell them, to tell her, everything. He doesn’t know why it’s been important to get every girl he’s seen into bed. Did he really think that it would help?

When Anita leans over and whispers her “final offer” in his ear, he feels bile rising in his throat.

Is this what he is now? A whore, sold to the best offer? Is he a slave to his own image, so much so that there is no person left in him to make an active decision?

The night air is cool around him. It’s spring but not yet warm, winter lingering.

Below him the Hudson River flows black and glittering. Inviting, he thinks suddenly, and he’s not as frightened by the thought as he should be.

After all, if there’s no person left in him to make an active decision, then there’s probably no one left to think at all.

He looks at the sky, wondering if Robin is enjoying her date.

There is no jealousy and he’s almost a little surprised by that, because Robin was such a big part of everything for so long that it seems almost odd now, to not be jealous.

But he hasn’t felt anything in months.

It’s like he’s turning into stone. Every day, he grows a little colder, a little harder, a little more disconnected. Every day, he feels a little less.

He stood here once before, not long ago, just staring out across the river. He remembers the fear he felt then, the fear that he didn’t dare mention to his friends, because the less they know, the better. He can make jokes to them about his job, but he’ll never tell them what it is he does.

And they don’t need to know that his fear wasn’t just about getting fired, but about ending up a faceless body in the river, found weeks later, body swollen beyond recognition and picked apart by birds and fish.

Now he wonders if it would be such a bad thing. To become no one, to lose himself. To disappear off the face of the earth.

To feel freedom again, unbound by life.

He is slowly killing himself, he already knows that. Girls, Redbull, alcohol, girls, work, girls. The world spins so fast and it’s all he can do to try to keep up. To try not to fall off, to try to be the man they all think he is.

The river flows at a steady pace beyond him. He longs for the freedom of the water – the freedom to go wherever it wants, to roar and trickle, to be gentle and deadly all at once. It beckons at him, pulls at him.

He’s only barely aware of climbing over the fence.

He stands, his hands wrapped around the railing and his feet almost slipping off the pavement.

His heart doesn’t race with fear of what he’s doing.

He wonders if he’ll sink, or if he’ll be pulled along for miles. He wonders how cold the water will be, wonders how long it will take before it steals all the air away from him. He wonders if he’ll try automatically to swim, or if he’ll sink as stone, willing himself to go under.

He thinks of Robin. He looks at the sky, at the bright stars overhead. Is she having a good time? Has he finally done something right?

He hopes so.

And he lets go.

Hours later, he’s wrapped up in blankets and sitting on the couch in Lily and Marshall’s apartment. He’s still shivering, but he barely feels the cold. He’s still not there.

Lily sits on the other couch, legs drawn up and her face drawn with lines that make her look much older than she is. Guilt churns in Barney’s stomach, because he’s the one who put those lines there.

There’s the burning question between them – why? – which she hasn’t yet verbalized and he won’t ever have any idea of how to answer.

Because it seemed like a good idea at the time?

Because the water smelled like freedom?

Because he wants to die?

He doesn’t know. He’s not sure he wants to die. He just doesn’t want to live.

They sit in silence. Barney doesn’t know if she’s waiting for him to start, or if she’s trying to organize her own thoughts to some sort of coherence, or if it’s something else entirely.

He’s not sure why he gave the police and the ambulance people Lily’s number instead of any of the others’, but he did. Marshall was there with her when she came to pick him up, looking stricken and pale, but he’s disappeared now. Now it’s just them, Barney and Lily, and the silence stretching out.

They wanted to take him to the hospital but he refused. Fed the police some lie about what had happened and why he’d jumped into the river and he’s so good at lying that they bought all of it.

Lily isn’t buying it.

“I’m getting you an appointment with a psychologist.”

She breaks the silence, her words quiet.

He looks at her, thinks about protesting. He’s been to shrinks before – if they’re female, he usually ends up in them before the first appointment is over – but not since him and Robin.


She’s probably in bed with Don by now, his hands all over her, all over the body that was Barney’s for months.

He wants to feel jealous, but he feels nothing.

He wants to feel something.


He’s not sure that talking to a psychologist will get him anywhere, but when he looks at Lily, all tired and in pain, he wants to try. He wants to do something right, wants to not hurt them.

When he closes his eyes, he sees Robin crying again. He sees her trying to hide her tears from him, sees her try to pretend that she’s fine.

Barney feels the couch dip and then warm arms wrap themselves around him. Lily holds him close. He sits stiffly at first, a stone statue that can’t bend to anyone’s warmth, but when she rubs circles on his back and strokes his hair, he can’t help but slowly start to unravel. He relaxes a fraction against her and more minutes pass and her motions are like soft summer breezes, gently tugging him along.

She whispers things in his ear, things he can hear but doesn’t process because his world consists of her touch. He wonders if this is what a mother’s touch feels like, if this is the way children should be comforted when they’re sad. He doesn’t know. He’s never known.

Meaningless sex, handshakes with important people, manly bro-hugs that last no more than three seconds.

Never does anyone touch him just for his sake.

Well, Robin did, for a little while, before angry sex and make-up sex took over and everything was hard and cold again.

Lily’s hand is small and warm, her arms thin but strong. When she touches him, he feels safe.


And suddenly, pain rushes through him, making him feel like his heart is breaking over and over into a thousand tiny pieces. He feels wetness that he only later realizes is because he’s crying, tears staining Lily’s shirt, and there is mewling and sobbing and sounds that he can’t believe he’s making, but it has to be him because it doesn’t sound at all like Lily.

Her arms don’t leave him, her hands never stop. He curls into a ball, tight, tighter, trying to keep things inside but it doesn’t work. Things spin so fast, dragging him along, pulling him in every direction at once. He is in pieces and the shards are flying like sharp glass. He wraps his arms around his knees, hands balling into fists and nails digging into palms.

Waves of pain keep crashing over him. It feels like being in the water again, dragged under by currents he didn’t know existed. There is no air, no sky, no moon, just darkness. He doesn’t know up from down, doesn’t know life from death.

He gasps for air.

“Look at me.”

She’s probably been trying to talk to him for a while but only now does he hear her. Her voice demands him to listen.

He sees her eyes wide with fear.

“I need you to breathe.”

Barney stares at her and he realizes he’s been hyperventilating. He still is, air coming in at short bursts.

She breathes with him, calmly, deliberately.

He gulps down air and as his breathing slows, he unconsciously uncurls, no longer needing to hold on so tightly. His palms hurt and he realizes that he’s dug his nails in so hard he’s broken the skin. It throbs dully. Barney revels in the ache.

Lily still runs her fingers through his hair, breathing with him. He leans into the touch. He feels like a child; a safe and loved child.

And the world slows down.

Author's notes: Ted tells it to his kids as though Barney just jumped into the Hudson River for no real reason (other than to cool down?). I thought there was more behind it and this was my attempt at writing how I saw it. Hope you enjoyed it.

Mood: nervousnervous
raynewser: Barney and Lilyraynewser on March 10th, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC)
This was amazing!
I thought there was more to the story too but that was so much more than I expected!
Awesome job!
cosmic: HIMYM: NPH sharpbananacosmic on March 10th, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much *hugs* I wasn't sure whether this worked or not, so I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it.
the bearer of Megs' babiessiggen1 on March 10th, 2010 12:58 pm (UTC)
OH MY GOD! I totally thought about this too!

This was fantastic! Just... Wow. Just fantastic. If you want to share blame or credit with idioticonion, that's fine. But this is great. Just.. Wow.

You write so well, your language is evocative and the story believeable. It's fantastic!

...and suddenly my vocabulary has shrunk to "fantastic" and "great". Sorry I can't be more eloquent about my adoration for this.
cosmic: HIMYM: Ted&Barney brothersbananacosmic on March 10th, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
Well, she told me to write it yesterday, when I said I thought there was more to it than him just jumping into the river for no real reason ^^ I wasn't sure it was gonna work (this sort of angst isn't what I usually write), but I figured I could post it anyway.

I'm very happy to hear you enjoyed it, and I really don't mind the shrunken vocabulary ;) Thank you.

idioticonion: I blame Idioticonionidioticonion on March 10th, 2010 02:46 pm (UTC)
I am Idioticonion and I approve of this story. :-)
Otemps: HIMYM - Barney/Lily heartsotempora42 on March 10th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow. I have to say that this didn't even occur to me, but it does make sense! (And I'm a sucker for Barney and Lily, so that helps.)

Anyway, I really enjoyed this!
cosmic: HIMYM: NPH sharpbananacosmic on March 10th, 2010 02:50 pm (UTC)
I thought it as soon as I saw the episode. When I first saw him sitting all wrapped up in the blanket and then again at the end when we see him jump.

Obviously, I like the whole idea of Ted telling these stories to his kids so we're free to interpret the stuff in a darker way :)

Glad you enjoyed it. I'm a sucker for Barney and Lily as well ^^
idioticonionidioticonion on March 10th, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC)
Yes. Exactly. Yes.

There are two explanations for him jumping in the river. Firstly, it /was/ a darker, cry-for-help/suicide thing. And what I never thought of, but you bring out SO beautifully, is that it's all about him closing himself off emotiionally, and already feeling dead. Why not just end it all.

There's another explanation. Well, sort of. I would write it, if my computer would work for five seconds flat...
cosmic: HIMYM: Ted&Barney brothersbananacosmic on March 10th, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks :) (And I'm glad you approve *g*)

I was thinking about this version of things even as I was watching the episode, which usually doesn't happen (I usually just enjoy the ep and then go back to think about it later). I guess Barney all wrapped up in the blanket at the start of the episode really spoke to me. And then the rest of the episode happened, and he just didn't seem to have any reaction to anything. He has just been going from girl to girl to girl (to girl to girl...) since breaking it off with Robin. It's like Barney 1.0, but a caricature.

Wasn't sure this was gonna work, but it seems to have landed in good graces :)

I'm looking forward to the other explanation ^^ Does it involve Robin? (Or maybe Ted, because there really needs to be some Barney/Ted fic written for this episode. I mean, really.)
idioticonionidioticonion on March 10th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)
Honestly, it worked SO well. And the bit with the blanket worked so well because NPH looked MEGA adorable and vulnerable and sad. And his hair was all wet.

*hugs Neil*

Anyway, I don't think my version's very good, but here it is:

cosmic: HIMYM: Barney&Lilybananacosmic on March 11th, 2010 11:52 am (UTC)
Neil was so cute and sad *hugs*

Yay, fic! And BED fic, too. Adored the "Jesus, you are such a closet cuddler," because oh so true. Barney needs hugs. Loved the fic, but you already know it's good because you've got lots of comments ^^

I wonder what the canon reason - the writers' reason - for Barney jumping into the river was. That he needed to cool down after Anita's raunchy offer? Even if that's the case, it can't really be written without some deeper issues to support it, whether your version or mine. But I guess it'll be like the buss accident and it'll never be mentioned again.
idioticonionidioticonion on March 11th, 2010 11:55 am (UTC)
Oh, I absolutely think that in canon, Barney did it because he had to find a way to STOP himself giving in to Anita.

But yes, they'll never mention it again. Because Barney is a cartoon character and it doesn't matter if they drop and anvil on his head. ;-)
bishojo_kitsune: Good Omensbishojo_kitsune on March 10th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
Whoaaa! :D
I just knew there was more to jumping into the river than Ted let on. I mean really?
You beat me to writing this lol Granted your version is like 10x better than what I could have come up with.
And yay for Lily coming back as his source of comfort, no one seems to be on Barney's side lately.
cosmic: HIMYM: Barney&Lilybananacosmic on March 10th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
I think you should write your version. The more the merrier ;)

And yeah. I didn't really get why he jumped into the river in the episode, other than that it was a cool opening to the ep. So I felt I had to re-write it.

I think the show needs more friendship. It seems to be lacking lately. They're all just sitting in the bar and talking, but I don't really see the friendships anymore, now that I think about it :(

Glad you enjoyed it, anyhow :) *hugs*
bishojo_kitsune: steampunk h/wbishojo_kitsune on March 10th, 2010 10:55 pm (UTC)
You pretty much hit the needle on the head of what could stem from this situation. The only other idea I got from him jumping in the river is a crack idea of Barney's version of 'It's a Wonderful Life'. XD
(Deleted comment)
cosmic: HIMYM: Ted&Barney brothersbananacosmic on March 10th, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you, thank you, thank you :)
Magpie: Cold - PatFmagpieinthesky on March 11th, 2010 01:32 am (UTC)
Wow, you addressed the implications of Barney having jumped in the river really beautifully, and this was just so heartwrenching. It's really nice to see great fanfic coming not from explaining away writers' inaccuracies or weirdness, but from a part of the episode that was inspiring and made us want to see more. Wonderful writing!
cosmic: HIMYM: NPH sharpbananacosmic on March 11th, 2010 11:53 am (UTC)
Thank you very much *hugs*

I enjoyed the episode for the exact reason you write: it inspired me, rather than made me want to fix things.
Butterfly: [HIMYM] Barney/Lilysnogged on March 11th, 2010 04:10 am (UTC)
You really handled this quite well. I like the idea that there was something far deeper in his intention besides just taking the heat off the Barnana.

And I love Barney and Lily's friendship so I'm glad she was there for him!
cosmic: HIMYM: Fuck yeah NPHbananacosmic on March 11th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)
Thank you :)

I love Barney&Lily :) Barney&Lily and Barney/Ted, those are the things I love the most right now on HIMYM ^^
Brandy: how i met your motherbrandyleigh on March 11th, 2010 05:09 am (UTC)
This is lovely, with Barney feeling like he's made of stone and can't feel anything anymore, and I absolutely adored Lily holding him and taking care of him. So sweet.
cosmic: HIMYM: Barney&Lilybananacosmic on March 11th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)
Thank you very much *hugs* I'm glad you enjoyed it!
smthwallflowersmthwallflower on March 12th, 2010 07:47 am (UTC)
THIS is why I love Lily and Barney. They've got the greatest dynamic in the world and you totes just hit the nail right on the freakin head.

You're such a beautiful writer and I just wanna chew off a piece of this and savour all the delicious bits of brilliance slow and steady.

Fantastic. If a bit depressing. But still. Mind if I friend- I love your stories SO much :)
cosmic: HIMYM: Barney&Lilybananacosmic on March 12th, 2010 12:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much *hugs* I'm so stressed out over finals right now that it's absolutely lovely to find such a nice comment :)

I don't mind at all :)
ThyCrownlessPrincessisarn on November 27th, 2011 01:05 am (UTC)
Love it!!