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26 March 2010 @ 09:30 am
Fic: Becoming (PG-13, 2/9, gen, HIMYM)  
Title: Becoming
Author: bananacosmic

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

Fandom: How I met your mother
Word count: 22 700
Chapters: 8 + epilogue
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Family, friendship, angst
Characters: Barney, cast
Pairings: None (previous Barney/OFC, Barney/Robin)

Warnings: None
Spoilers: Up to 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: “Apparently,” Barney said, stopping because his voice squeaked. He cleared his throat. “Apparently, I’m gonna be a dad.”


Chapter one







B E C O M I N G
by cosmic



Chapter two




Marie lived in a tiny apartment. The only other apartment Barney had ever seen that was as small, was the hole in the wall that Lily had lived in for a while when she’d been broken up with Marshall. Marie’s apartment was along the same lines.

He wrinkled his nose. “You live here?”

Maybe he should check the girls he took home, just in case he’d ever have to see them again. Like in this case.

Marie gave him a tired look. “What are you doing here, Barney?”

Barney closed the door behind him. Marie stood with her hands on her hips – not that he could see much of her hips, what with the big huge belly she was sporting. It kind of drew his attention, even more so than her boobs, though the latter were bigger than he could remember.

“Figured I should, eh, come by,” Barney said.

“Why?”

Barney motioned at her belly. “You know. That.”

She sighed. “Look, I didn’t call to tell you because I want anything from you.” She leaned against a tiny desk which was squeezed in next to her bed. “Really. I mean, child support would be nice, but—I didn’t do this to tie you down or anything. I decided to have this baby on my own and never gave you a say, and I’m not going to demand that you be involved.”

He stared at her. “Then why did you call me?”

He wondered what would have happened if she hadn’t. If he’d found out in a few years, then what? If the kid had found out first and looked him up? Would that have been better? At least he wouldn’t have had to handle it right now. Ted and Marshall had the right idea with the whole ‘future Ted and Marshall can handle it’. This would totally be something future Barney could handle.

Marie shrugged. “I just thought you should know.”

Barney gave a mirthless snort. “You thought I should know. After six months, you thought I should know?”

He didn’t like the slightly crazy tint to his voice, but he couldn’t keep it out.

“I meant to tell you,” she said.

“Oh, well then, that just makes everything magically better. Oh wait, no it doesn’t.”

She flinched.

“How could you just decide this and not even think to tell me?” Barney asked.

“I wanted to tell you,” she said.

“Obviously.”

“Shut up,” Marie snapped. “It’s not like I had your phone number, or even your real name. And I wasn’t exactly sober when we got to your place, or when I left.” She glared at him. “But the bartender knew you and gave me your name.”

“And then it took you six months to call?” Barney asked.

“It’s not like I realized I was pregnant the day after we hooked up.”

“And when you started looking like a beached whale, that wasn’t a clue?”

They glared at each other, both angry enough that if looks could kill, they’d both be dead.

“It took me two months to realize,” Marie said finally. “And then another few weeks to figure out a way to get your name and phone number.” She sighed. “And then I had to work up the courage.”

Barney deflated a little at the sound of her voice, which was softer now.

Marie looked at the floor. “Barney, I’m sorry about this. But I decided to keep the kid and raise it on my own. I’m not expecting anything from you. You don’t have to be involved at all. I just thought you should know.”

He thought about getting up and leaving. He could send her a check every month to cover the expenses of raising a kid in New York and then never talk to her or the kid again.

Ted’s voice about taking responsibility rang in his head.

Marie had cocked her head to the side while his thoughts were running wild. “You don’t want to be involved, right? I mean, you don’t really seem like a guy who’s interested in anything long-term.”

Barney made a face. “I’m not.”

The only one he’d managed to be a little long-term with was Robin and even that hadn’t lasted more than a few months. Going steady with Marie, who’d fallen for one of his many techniques of seduction – he didn’t remember which one – was—unthinkable. He’d been there, hit that, wasn’t looking to do it again.

His eyes were drawn back to her belly.

“You’re sure it’s mine?” he asked.

Her face grew darker again. “I don’t sleep around. I got drunk that night because I’d just failed an exam for the first time in my life, nothing else. I usually don’t drink at all. And I’m pretty sure I never will again. My judgment that night was obviously poor.”

That was an insult, but they were both trading off enough anger already, so he didn’t take offense.

He knew he didn’t have to believe her, but he did anyway. It was something about karma and stuff. He’d had this coming all along, ever since he’d transformed into suit-wearing, awesome Barney and had started lying and seducing girls as though his life depended on it.

“Just had to ask,” Barney said.

She walked to the door – all five feet’s worth, brushing past him on the way – and opened it. “Look, I told you. I don’t want anything from you. I just figured I’d tell you, because I will tell the kid who its father is.”

Barney’s headache – the one that hadn’t loosened its grip since he woke up with the hangover of doom that morning – turned up a few degrees.

“Great,” he mumbled.

If she didn’t want him in her life, didn’t want him in the kid’s life, and he didn’t want to be in either of their lives, then everything was much easier, wasn’t it? Then it would just be a matter of signing a check – and he did that often enough anyway that one more wouldn’t even be noticeable, right?

He left without looking back.





It was two-something-something in the morning when Ted’s phone started ringing insistently. Groggily, Ted reached out to grab the annoying thing.

“’lo.”

“Hey, Ted.” Barney managed to put so many emotions in those two words and Ted couldn’t even begin to decipher it, only barely awake as he was.

“Barney? What—why’re you calling at—” He squinted at the clock, trying to get his brain working to understand the numbers, “—two thirty-six in the morning?”

Barney was silent for a moment. “I need you to come and get me.”

“What? Why? And no, I really don’t,” Ted said.

Barney was silent again, then he mumbled, “Ted, please.”

Ted frowned. There was something off about Barney’s tone and even if Barney could be extremely annoying at times, he usually didn’t call at this time of night. Had something happened?

“Where are you?”

Barney sighed, softly, on the other end. “Atlantic City.” Another pause, then, “They have a really nice jail here.”

Ted was waking up more and more and at that, he sat up abruptly. “What did you do?”

“Ted, please, I’ll tell you, just—come get me first?” He sounded so quiet and soft and sad.

Ted was already out of bed, thoughts running wild. In seconds, his mind had come up with two dozen explanations for Barney being in jail in Atlantic City. Obviously, because no one went to jail for being a good person, all the explanations he ran through were varying degrees of bad.

Barney gave him an address and Ted scribbled it on a note.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

He barely heard Barney’s quiet reply. “Thanks.”

At least there was little to no traffic out at this hour. Sane people were sleeping right now.

Obviously, Barney had done something insane instead. If he’d gone to Atlantic City, Ted had to conclude that he’d gone there to gamble and considering the Barney’s current emotional state, he’d probably combined that gambling with a whole lot of alcohol. With worsening judgment, any one of a hundred things could have happened.

As he drove, Ted wondered what Barney’s current emotional state actually was. He hadn’t seen Barney in four days. On Sunday, he’d dropped Barney off at his place after Barney had crashed at Ted’s for the night. Crashed had been the exact right word, too. Barney had disappeared off their radars since; no one in the gang had heard so much as a peep from him. According to Marshall, he hadn’t been at work.

Atlantic City was wrapped in light morning fog as he drove in. It didn’t take him long to find his way to the police station where Barney was being held.

It turned out that it wasn’t quite as bad as he’d thought. There was no bail to pay – they just wouldn’t let Barney, drunk as he still was, go without someone going with him.

“He got a little rowdy and the casino wanted him calmed down,” the police officer told him, a little tiredly. “We’ll need his contact info, though, if the DA decides to press charges at the guy who hit him.”

“Barney got into a fight?”

“Was on the receiving end, mostly, according to witnesses.”

“Oh.”

Ted was taken through the station to a cell with a mattress and a stench of urine and vomit that made his stomach churn.

Barney was sitting in a dark corner, legs splayed out, staring at his hands. His hair was unkempt and pointing in every direction.

“Mr. Stinson.”

Barney looked up at the sound of the police man’s voice.

“Ted!” Relief crossed Barney’s face and he scrambled unsteadily to his feet as soon as he saw Ted.

The police officer unlocked the door and suddenly Ted had an armful of Barney. The police man grunted something about paper work and left them.

“Barney, what happened to you?” Ted pulled away from him.

Barney swayed a little on his feet, but he stayed standing. Only now could Ted get a good look at him – and he was horrified by what he saw. This was a shadow of the Barney he knew. This one wore a crinkled and dirty suit and had dark shadows all across his face, the circles around his eyes nearly purple. There was a fat, colorful bruise across his cheek, spreading up to his eyebrow and across his eye. Someone had done a number on him.

“I just needed to forget stuff,” Barney muttered.

“Forget and get beaten up?” Ted asked, disbelief coloring his voice.

Barney gave him a half-hearted glare. “I didn’t plan that.”

Ted reached out to get a better look at the bruise on Barney’s face; Barney flinched away from his touch.

“Can we just go home?” Barney said. “I’ve already puked, but I’m pretty sure I can find more to come up if we stay in this place.”

He sounded young and yet terribly tired, shoulders slumped under a heavy weight. A part of Ted wanted to yell at Barney for doing this, while another just wanted to take care of the idiot.

All this because of a baby?

Ted could see how a baby with a stranger would be a bad thing, especially in Barney’s world, but this? Really?

He hovered around Barney as they made their way out. Ted signed a bunch of papers and Barney collected his things, and then Ted loaded Barney into the front seat of his car. There was a moment when Ted wondered if he’d have to buckle Barney up, because it all felt like taking care of an unruly kid, but then Barney did it on his own.

He leaned back and closed his eyes as Ted started the car.

They were out on the highway by the time Ted spoke again. He was pretty sure that Barney was half-asleep, but he still had to ask.

“So what happened?”

Barney opened his eyes, squinting at Ted and the light of the rising sun. It was way, way too early in the morning.

“I played some games, was awesome and won some money, and then someone got angry because they wanted to be awesome too but they weren’t,” Barney said.

It wasn’t exactly a detailed explanation, but it still gave Ted enough to get some semblance of a grip on the events that had led to Barney calling him from a police station in the middle of the night.

“When did you go to Atlantic City?” he asked instead of trying to force more details out of Barney.

Barney stared out the window. “Sunday.”

“You’ve just been gambling for four days? Don’t you have a job?” Ted frowned at him.

“Took some time off,” Barney said. “I’ve a lot of vacation time saved up.”

Ted already knew that, or he’d figured as much at least. Except for an odd day here or there, Barney hadn’t ever taken a vacation. Well, except for the three months he’d spent hospitalized and in rehab after the bus accident. And that hadn’t exactly been a vacation.

Ted glanced at Barney, at the weariness that seemed to emanate from him in waves. “Is this how you’re gonna handle it?”

Barney scoffed softly. “Something wrong with what I’m doing?”

“I’m guessing you’ve been drunk since she called you,” Ted said. “Not sure that can be classified as healthy, or handling things. And then all the gambling—”

“Hey, I won more than I lost.” He didn’t sound proud. “Because I’m awesome.”

“I had to pick you up in the middle of the night from a police station,” Ted said. “That’s not ‘awesome’. That’s sad and stupid.”

Barney looked at his hands. “Not everyone can be Mr. Right and Mr. Dad like you. Besides, she doesn’t want me around, so it doesn’t matter.”

Ted frowned. “You talked to Marie?”

Barney sighed. “I went to see her.”

Ted had to be impressed. He hadn’t expected Barney to have the courage to face the girl, at least not so soon and certainly not alone. Apparently he had more of a backbone than Ted had thought.

He felt a little bad for thinking that. Barney wasn’t a bad person. He did bad stuff on occasion – mostly involving lies and deceit to get girls into bed – but he didn’t deliberately hurt anyone, and he did take responsibility for his actions.

“What did she say?”

Barney’s gaze returned to the landscapes passing by outside the car window. “Doesn’t matter.”

“Of course it matters,” Ted said.

“No, it doesn’t,” Barney said, almost a snap. “She doesn’t want me around, I don’t want to be around, so it all works out perfectly and it doesn’t matter.”

The fact that he’d just told Ted what she’d said didn’t seem to register much with Barney. He stared resolutely out the window, ignoring Ted angrily.

Ted had to wonder at the anger. He knew well enough, even though Barney probably didn’t, that it wasn’t Ted Barney was angry with. And Ted was pretty sure that it wasn’t Marie Barney was angry with either. No, the clues – and Ted was a little impressed with himself that he could tell the clues when it came to Barney, who’d pretty much always been a mystery to him – all pointed in one direction. It was a surprising direction, but a specific one nonetheless.

He didn’t have the heart to point it out to Barney. It was something Barney would have to work out for himself. Ted could only hope that it wouldn’t take too long for Barney to realize that he wanted to be in his kid’s life.





Chapter three




Author's notes: Comments are very, very lovely ;)

 
 
Mood: awakeawake
 
 
 
idioticonionidioticonion on March 26th, 2010 03:00 pm (UTC)
First, brilliant.

Second, IT'S ALL BECAUSE OF BARNEY'S MOM!!! She probably told Barney's Dad that she didn't want him in Barney's Life! And Barney has MASSIVE DADDY ISSUES! Wow, there's so much scope for exploring Barney's psyche in this story. You genius, I'd never even have thought of going there. That was masterful to have Marie reject him.

Lastly, the whole "Barney gets drunk in atlantic city" plotline reminds me of another himym fanfic, but one written back in the classic era, I'm talking season 3! I can't for the life of me remember which one but I really want to recommend it to you to read now. It's nothing to do with babies though.
Otemps: HIMYM - BrOTPotempora42 on March 26th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
I think Barney got drunk in AC in "Best Imitation of Myself", didn't he? But it was still totally awesome here.
idioticonionidioticonion on March 26th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
Link? (Can you believe, that one's not on my rec list)
cosmic: HIMYM: NPH sharpbananacosmic on March 26th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)

And I think she probably did scar him. Normal people don't react with a complete personality when dumped (even if Barney thought she was his soul mate). Living with a mom who according to canon seems to never have been home must have done a number on him... Neglect seems like the word of the day (at which point I feel it's necessary to point out the stupidity of the "kid photo" of Barney in the latest ep... although I'm writing it off as Barney re-writing history, or something).

It's funny how much a baby!fic opened up the possibilities to explore his character :) I didn't know where it'd take me when I started, but yay for you liking!

Like otempora42 said, it's "Best Imitation of Myself". Excellent fic :) I hope it wasn't copying though - it was one of the first HIMYM fics I read, but that was a while ago now. I know he went to AC in that too, but I hope this wasn't the same. It just seemed like a Barney thing to do, with his gambling history.
idioticonionidioticonion on March 26th, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm absolutely sure that the kid photo is bogus. Plus, we know barney takes a bad photo (in the CREDITS TO THE SHOW f'christ sake...)

And yeah, I wasn't saying that your fic is the same as Best Imitation (if that's the one - I don't have a link) but something of the tone reminded me of it. Maybe it was just because Barney burned himself out SO badly in your fic and he was so pathetic.
cosmic: HIMYM: Ted&Barney brothersbananacosmic on March 26th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
*g* I thought exactly that today (the show was on at the gym where I work out ^^).

Best imitation of myself. 's on my rec list. *sigh* I wish it was completed :(
Otemps: HIMYM - Bed hugotempora42 on March 26th, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)
I totally meant to comment on the first part of this, because I'm lame, but I'm really enjoying this so far. Babyfic is a total guilty pleasure of mine, but I don't often get to read it in HIMYM fandom, because it's always Robin that gets pregnant and you have to work super hard for me to buy Robin babyfic. I'm rambling. Anyway, I love Barney's reactions, and how he wants to be there for his kid but doesn't quite realize that he does. And I love Ted. So, yeah, I'm really enjoying this story so far, and I can't wait for more!

(Oh, and I love the changed!verse as well. God, I suck at commenting.)
cosmic: HIMYM: Barney&Lilybananacosmic on March 26th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC)
*g* Then I'm glad you're commenting now :) I love comments ^^

Babyfic is a guilty pleasure of mine too. Turns out I've done one for pretty much every fandom I've been into, at least lately, one way or another. (Maybe I should expand my horizons in fic-writing).

Anyway. Yes, I agree, it takes a lot for me to buy Robin babyfic. Don't know that I've seen many such fics about, though. There was one Ted/Robin quite recently I enjoyed.

I hope you'll continue to enjoy and here, cookies! to make you comment again ;) *hugs*
ileliberte: Barney/Robin <3ileliberte on March 27th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, good chapter! I love the friendship between Barney and Ted and I think you got Ted's voice down pat here, his concern for as well his exasperation with Barney. I think you did a good job with Marie and Barney's conversation too. I'm looking forward to the rest :)
cosmic: HIMYM: Ted&Barney brothersbananacosmic on March 27th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much *hugs* I seem to find Ted the easiest to write, despite him not being my fave at all ^^ I'm glad it comes off well.
smthwallflowersmthwallflower on March 28th, 2010 01:14 am (UTC)
Definitely loved this chapter. Like IO said, Marie rejecting Barney is genius and I'm so so interested to see where it goes. And I love Ted/Barney bonding, and you write it so well! :)

Although I do want to give Barney a hug, the poor guy. Looking forward to the next chapter!!! :D
cosmic: HIMYM: Barney smilebananacosmic on March 28th, 2010 08:01 am (UTC)
Thank you very much *hugs* And yeah, Barney needs a hug. He'll get a little comfort in the next chapter at least :)