A/N: Okay, let's get this out in the open: I loved the finale. Maybe it could have been handled a bit more effectively (that goes for the entire ninth season), but I still thought it was completely brilliant and tragically beautiful. That being said, I was disappointed by both the lack of Ted/Robin stories and the abundance of anti-Ted/Robin stories (not to be mistaken for Barney/Robin stories, because believe it or not they should be able to exist independently of each other). So I decided to write one for myself. So this story is for any Ted/Robin shippers out there who want to celebrate their beautiful story, or any Barney/Robin shippers open-minded enough to appreciate their relationship even if they would have preferred things to turn out differently. Because it was Ted who opened Robin up to the idea of marriage. It was Ted who Robin said "I love you" to for the first time. It was Ted who showed her what love is. Instead of hating on Ted, Barney/Robin shippers should thank him for opening her up to love. Like whatever ship you like, just don't use it as an excuse to attack another character. To be extra true to HIMYM, I drew inspiration from Pablo Neruda poetry and Love In the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in addition to ee cummings, and even a line or two inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion. I apologize if the format isn't quite right, but enjoy and please review!
"I Carry Your Heart"
I loved her and that was the beginning of everything.
The memory of her emerges from the night around me, and she is with me as I walk through the darkened streets of New York. For a guy who was always so hell-bent on searching for signs from the universe, a part of me still can't really grasp the entire extent the universe went through for me to meet her.
Fate is the only way to possibly describe it, but the word itself could never have had its full meaning until I tapped her on the shoulder and stepped out of the rain…out of the rain and underneath that yellow umbrella.
And it can all be traced to that, yes, fateful night in 2005.
That night where I was drawn to a complete stranger from across the room in a bar I'd been to dozens of times before. A complete stranger that I would love and lose, who would become one of my best friends, and who would marry one of my best friends.
If it hadn't been for that wedding, for Robin's insistence on having a band, for that band canceling, for my lucky meeting with Cindy on the subway…well, who knows how things would have been different. Chances are, if a single one of those events hadn't happened, Tracy and I would have continued on through life, vaguely aware of the other's existence and entirely oblivious to what we were missing out on.
But they did happen, and we found each other.
We were both lost, hungry, and we found each other.
There were grief and ruins, and she was the miracle.
She sent me tumbling, stood me on my head, tossed me up and threw me down, made me as good as new, shattered all my virtuous theories, and taught me the only thing I had to learn about love: that nobody teaches life anything.
God knows how angry I was when we found out she was sick—who wouldn't be? Those last few weeks were a blur of hospital beds, foreign windows, and white uniforms, but there was some clarity, too. The clarity of her head on the pillow, her dark hair splayed across the snowy sheets, her dark eyes peering at me as I read to her, her hand resting in mine.
But, Tracy, how can I hold on to anger? It was fate that led me to you, and it was fated that I couldn't keep you. But I got you for eleven years. I loved you as much as a person can love for eleven years. Of course I wanted more, decades more, but at least I got that many. That many and so much more.
A son who still remembers the way you would voice the characters in the stories you read him, a daughter who reminds me more of you everyday.
Eleven years…but I would have taken a week, even if it meant a lifetime of missing you.
To know and love you was the greatest pleasure of my life, and it was beautiful to live when you lived.
The night is vaster without you, but you still light the world through which I walk.
You are mine, my lovely one, always.
i carry your heart with me (i carry it
in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
A man doesn't recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman, and he shouldn't. My soul is not content to have lost—will never be content—but, just like you once did in letting yourself love me, I have to let you go and go on living. It's what you would want—you told me as much. And I know you, more than anyone, can understand. You knew what it was to love, to lose, and to love again. You knew what is was to love someone with every fiber of your being, and to hold on to that love even when its object was beyond reach, even when you've opened your heart to another.
Because you knew—you know—that loving someone else doesn't mean forgetting the first. You know it doesn't minimize your memory or love of the one who came before. You know, just like I do now, that there isn't always "one true love," because we are the proof, because we were both lucky enough to have two.
So now I love her, and that is the beginning of everything.
For a while I wondered, if and when I ever fell in love again, how I'd come across a woman who could possibly compare to you. Unconsciously, I found myself hunting for signs of you in others—the shape of your eyes, the shade of your hair, someone humming your favorite song or choosing your favorite flavor of ice cream—and I couldn't help but feel ashamed when I realized it. Everything you were can't be chopped up and superimposed over someone else, someone who will never—could never—be you. But then I realized that maybe—just maybe—I could find someone who compares to you in the only ways that count.
It's a short checklist, really.
One: she must love Luke and Penny without reserve.
And Two: she must make me feel the way you made me feel.
Granted, the second requirement is nuanced. No one could make me feel the exact way you made me feel. Robin never sang showtunes with an accompanying dance performed by an English muffin, never lulled Penny or Luke to sleep with a ukulele, never willfully attended a Renaissance fair. The right place, the right time was not a rainy evening in May beneath the shelter of a yellow umbrella.
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
But she does make a bad day instantly better. I can laugh with her—the embarrassing, earnest, healing kind of laughs—but there's also no one else I'd rather have with me when laughing is the last thing I want to do. She may not sing showtunes, but she was a Canadian pop star, and on one occasion even deigned to perform at Penny's request. She may not put on a musical with an English muffin, but to this day I can't eat a falafel without thinking of her. She may not play the bass or the ukulele, but she has competed in numerous laser tag tournaments with Luke (against Barney and Ellie, of course). She may have never willfully attended a Renaissance fair, but she has begrudgingly attended, all in the spirit of our family tradition. The right place, right time may not have been the moment she raised her eyes to mine in MacLaren's, but that casual glance was the beginning of a cataclysm of love that still hadn't ended a quarter of a century later.
To him, in that moment, she had seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one else was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the wooden floor, why no one else's heart was wild with the color of her eyes, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her hair, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, and had been almost afraid to approach her for fear of destroying the spell.
And something about this new moment, right now, standing beneath her apartment window, feels like the right place, right time. And not in the rash, passion-swept mind of a guy twenty years younger, but in the mind of a guy who has the patience and clarity of mind to know that all these little parts of the machine made me end up exactly where I'm supposed to be, exactly when I'm supposed to be there.
I'm not the same guy who once stopped at her window, and she's not the same girl. We're both a bit older, a bit wiser, and we've done everything we set out to do. I loved and married a woman who was more beautiful inside and out than I could ever have dreamed up or can put into words, we had two beautiful children together, and it was as close to perfection as a guy can hope to achieve. Robin achieved her dream job and a level of success even she never truly anticipated, and she traveled the world and saw things and did things that are nothing short of awe-inspiring.
But here we are.
An apartment window, a guy in a suit, a blue French horn.
But this time it's without any hurry or excess, both of us conscious and grateful for the incredible lives we've led, the people we've loved and lost, the victories over adversity. There will be other trials, other obstacles (there always are), but they're trivial now. We're on the other side.
So here I am, not because I want her to be my wife and the mother of my children, but because I want to love her as much as I can for as long as I can. Because I want to pour her a glass of wine after a long day, because I want to calm her down when the Canucks lose, because I want to hold her when she's sick, and because I want to walk her five un-hypothetical dogs. Because those are the things I'd be good at.
So I take three deep breaths, press the buzzer to her apartment, and step back.
And as she appears in the window, as she stares down at me in wonder, she pierces my soul. I am half agony, half hope. But then I lift that blue French horn, knowing I would even now steal a whole orchestra, and offer myself to her again with a heart even more hers than it was twenty-five years ago.
And God, when she smiles.
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
I have loved another, loved her with all my being, but I love her too. Perhaps never stopped in a way, just as I will never stop loving you. I love all of you and all of her, from eyes to feet, inside, all the brightness, which you kept.
"Three deep breaths can change everything."
Truer words, Tracy, truer words.
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)