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rise_your_dead in himym_fic

(FIC) (HIMYM) "Impaitence" (1/1) (G) (Gen)

Title: Impatience
Author: rise_your_dead
Fandom: How I Met Your Mother
Pairing/characters:Penny Mosby; Ted Mosby; Robin Scherbatsky; Barney Stinson; and yes, John Cusack.
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Doesn’t belong to me, belongs to Carter/Bays
Word Count: 1,822
Spoiler: General series spoilers; spoilers the finale in specific.
Warnings: (if any or choose not to warn) : nothing too explicit
Notes: Thank you to Red Fiona for beta!
Summary: Penny knows something’s wrong as soon as her father bursts through the back door; or: more finale fix-it fic.



Penny Mosby has a mouthful of peanut butter fluff sandwich stuck to the roof of her mouth when the kitchen door swings open. In the moment it takes for her to choke down her first bite and the one it takes for the door to slam shut, her father enters the room with squelching, rain-soaked shoes. She tries to mop up the sticky mess she’s made but he seems not to notice

“How did it go?” she asks her dad. Then she sees unshed tears glimmering in his eyes and reaches for the kitchen chair, pulling it out. “Oh my God, tell me everything.”

Ted doesn’t say anything for a minute, staring as he is at his empty right hand. The blue French horn taps forlornly against his wet shoe and the chilly stone floor, and Penny suddenly realizes that something terrible must have happened. And Penny – who has never been in love before, who has listened to her father’s tales with endless patience, and who is utterly starving – is only so patient as she tries to poke him into action. “Dad…you do want to talk about it, right?” she cringes at her own unstoppable and insatiable curiosity.

Ted finally looks up from the fruit bowl, capturing his daughter’s eyes. “Do you mean that?” he asks.

“Uh…sure?” She brings her mini-mountain of sandwiches to the table and settles down.

Ted gives her a crooked smile. “I promise this one will be shorter.” He peers toward the back stairs. “Where’s Luke?”

As if in answer the faint strains of Springsteen pouring down from his son’s second floor bedroom grow louder.

Penny, however, is almost frantic for his news. Having lost her biological mother at the tender age of nine, she’d always seen Robin as her support figure, had always had particularly strong feelings about how Ted and Robin secretly belonged together. Ted has said that the innocent romantic nature she’d inherited from Tracy, from himself, shows up too often in her eyes. It’s probably there now as she reaches across the table for his free hand.

“What happened, Dad?”

The words flow forth. “It went like this…”

***

He had run all the way from the restaurant, blue horn in hand, eyes overflowing with tears. After years of being alone, it was finally going to happen – he and Robin, together, with nobody and nothing between them. He rang her door, ran outside, held up the blue French horn, and looked up…

…but the window was empty. The apartment was dark.

Only the sound of a dog’s faint bark could be heard in the background.

The doorman told him Robin had moved back to Tokyo last week without a forwarding address. He’d have to wait…


***

“….Dad, I just talked to Aunt Robin.”

Ted’s eyes widened. “Really? Wow? Hah….”

“Yeah, and she told me I should have a sandwich ready for you when you get home.”

“YOU ARE TOO YOUNG TO BUY A SANDWICH YOUNG LADY…” he trails off as Penny points to the sandwiches she made again. “Oh.”

“What really happened?” she asks.

Ted pauses dramatically before continuing, “It went more like this…”

***

He stood under Robin’s window, holding up the French horn. She sat on the windowsill, her dogs clustered about her, and when her eyes locked upon him they filled with tears. This was it, this was the moment, and he…

“Hey!” Ted glanced over his shoulder, his jaw dropping. “President Cusack!”

“YOU’RE STEALING MY BIT!” shouted President John Cusack, his fist racing to collide with Ted’s nose…


***

“Dad.”

Ted pauses mid-jab, his fluff sandwich mashed in his grip. “Don’t you want to hear how I taught his bodyguards about the beauty of Romanesque columns?”

“That didn’t happen,” she says. “Can you just please tell me the truth before this sandwich gets moldy?” Ted shrinks under her harsh question, and so she reaches gently for his hand. “Please?”

**

Ted. French horn. Smiling, crying Robin. Windowsill. Dogs.

And who was that standing behind her? A figure emerging from the shadow in a blue bathrobe?

Ted’s smile lost a few watts as the shadow took shape in the bright light of Robin’s apartment. “Hey Ted,” Barney said, as Robin wiped away her tears and leaned back into his chest. He nudged Robin playfully. “Hey babe – why’s he holding a Smurf’s wang in his hand!” He held up a palm. “80’s five!”


***

“Ouch,” says Penny.

“Yeah, ouch,” echoes Ted, taking a bite out of one of her sandwiches. “She and Barney were there with Ellie.” He swallows. “We played Dance Dance Revolution Together.”

Ted chews his fluffernutter very slowly as he lets his words take root in her mind. “Dad? That…sounds a little closer to the truth,” says Penny. “But I have a feeling you’re still not telling me everything.”

Ten squeezes his eye closed and takes a quick, deep breath. This is his little girl, his and Tracy’s, but she’s also always had a BS detector that her romantic parents never furnished her with.

****

The truth is, Robin wasn’t crying.

She was squinting down at him and mouthing “what the fuck are you doing?”

Ted’s smile died away, but Robin buzzed him up. Her dogs greeted him by jumping on his legs, and he gave them the customary baby talk while she shepherded them out of the room. He took a look around at her apartment and suddenly realized how clean it was. Clean and empty.

Maybe those boxes in the corner were part of why that was.

He grinned, handing her the horn with an expectant “Well?” when she returned. And Robin? She turned the horn over between her hands and raised an eyebrow. “Nice. Gesture,” she said awkwardly.

“Uh…it’s MORE than a gesture,” he said. “It’s an overture! It’s an orchestra!!” He spread out his arms. She raised an eyebrow, curled her upper lip at him. Slowly, Ted’s arms descended. He stuffed his hands into his pockets. “I talked to the kids.”

“Oh,” Robin said.

“And I started telling them about how I met Tracy,” he continued. “But Penny made me realize that I was really telling them about how much I love you….”

****

“Thanks for dragging me into this, Dad.”

“Do you want to hear the story or not?”

***

He went silent.

What did Robin say to that? What COULD Robin say to that?

“Oh, honey.” Well. Those were words. “I know you’re weirded out because Barney and I are moving back in together…”


“No, I’m completely cool with…wait, what?”

She shook her head. “We told you twelve times, “she replied. “At Penny’s play and at brunch last Sunday. The last TWELVE brunches, actually….Ted, you don’t look good, do you want to sit…”

“Noooo! I’m fine!” But he listed against the mantle and rubbed his temples. “I just thought….”

“Annd this is your major malfunction…” they paused to salute one another. “This is your problem, Ted. You don’t actually listen when I talk to you.”

“Uh – hello, I’m the only guy who’s listened to you non-stop from day one.”

Robin flopped down onto her plastic-covered sofa and reached for her Molson’s. Her dalmatian took that as a cue to flop his head down upon her knee, and she scratched the top of his head with her other hand. “And that’s the other problem,” Robin said. “You’re great with the big gestures, Ted, but when it comes to the little everyday things, we just don’t fit together. It’s the idea of me you like.”

Ted cringed as he flashed back to their shared youth, her inability to admit she loved him. The words came to him unbidden. “I climbed mountains for you…”

“And I didn’t ask you to!” she sighed, bouncing to her feet. “I didn’t ask you to dig up that locket that, now that I think about it, I haven’t warn for years and reminds me of the way my dad’s weird issues with women colored my thoughts, and I didn’t ask you to make it rain, and I DEFINITELY didn’t ask you to put yourself in danger at your age…”

“…I’m only fifty-three…”

“…To get a stupid French horn that my dogs will probably tear apart in two minutes. Barney’s spent a long time teaching them how not to chew hems, on French suits, but it looks like a dog toy.”

“Okay. So you don’t want to be with me. What about the kids?” he wondered.

She squinted at him. “I love your kids, but they’re teenagers,” she widened her eyes. “TEENAGERS.”

“But…”

“TEENAGERS.” She finished her beer and junked the bottle into her trash. “Ellie is ten and I’m already sweating thinking of how Barney’s going to deal with it. You’re the one who’s already got this handled, Ted.” He flopped down onto the cushion beside her, exhaling his disappointment. “You don’t need me. He does.” Ted said absolutely nothing in response, staring in blank numbness at the horn. “How do you feel?” she asked.

“Really stupid,” he said.

“Aww, Ted.” She reached over and slapped him on the back. “Suck it up.”



***

“Then we had a couple of beers, she left to call the movers and I walked home. Alone. In the rain.”

“Did you cry?” Penny asks.

“Don’t you have homework to do?” he replies.

“That I do,” she replies lightly, plating her sandwich and grabbing it and the half-finished glass of milk she’d poured. “I’m sorry it didn’t work out, dad.”

“Penny?” Ted calls as she mounts the stairs.

“Yeah?”

“Why did you and Luke think it might?”

Penny bounces back down the staircase. “Uh…because you look at each other like Shrelock-bot stares at Watson-droid!” She leans dreamily back against the banister. “OTP, daddy, OTP.”

Ted rubs a palm over his burning eyes and chokes out a laugh. “You and your brother are so grown-up. Sometimes I forget….” He finishes his sandwich and gets to work stowing away the dishes. Penny stands in expectance upon the staircase, confusion in her eyes.

“Are you going to be all right?” she worries.

Ted turns heavily beside the sink, looks up at her. “Yep. I just need some time by myself.”

“Good,” she says, climbing the staircase again. “If your story taught me anything about you, you should just keep trying. Someday, you’ll find somebody as good as mom. I believe in you.”

And there, Ted decides - getting to work on the domestic business he had hunted with such single-mindedness in his twenties – it lies. He has to find somebody to make him forget about Tracy.

The problem haunts him. The problem that had driven him back toward the comfort of Robin. The problem of Tracy and the fact that there’s no woman in the world like her. There never will be again. But that isn’t license for him to stop trying. And neither is Robin’s final declaration of release.

He whistles a Replacements song through his nose as he turns off the kitchen light.

Comments

This was really wonderful and a little angst-y, but also charming. :)
Thank you! Glad you liked it!
what about the pineapple?

April 2014

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