POV Barney

It was Friday and Barney was done for the day and ready for the weekend when he got the call. Ellie was 10 now, and acting like it; having to drop her off down the block to see a movie earlier tonight before her sleepover. It was only 10:30 pm and all he wanted to do was lay down and go to sleep.

Then he saw it was Lily calling, she seemed a little off and like she wanted to tell him something but didn't know how to. All she said was to find a babysitter and come down to MacLaren's. The Gang hadn't hung out in a while, let alone at MacLaren's, so he knew something big was going down. He told himself that even if he didn't know what was happening, it would be okay.

He arrived at MacLaren's and his heart stopped. He saw Robin and all his convincing that he would be okay, went out the window. Here he was 14 years after they got divorced and still convinced that Robin Scherbatsky was the most beautiful woman to ever grace planet Earth. Well second most beautiful; Ellie always came first.

But while seeing her might have stopped his heart, seeing her wasn't what stopped him in his path.

No. What stopped him was that sitting right next to his ex-wife, was his best friend, with his arm around her shoulder. And fate happened to be cruel enough that it seemed like right as he walked in was when Ted decided to kiss her.

Suddenly he felt sick.

And because fate decided to kick him again, before he could turn around to walk out the door, Marshall saw him and ushered him over. He hadn't even noticed that Marshall and Lily were already there.

He braced himself, not even realizing that he had started to put up his defenses and his fake smile before he walked over to his friends. His friends, right. Because that's what they were. They were his friends. And suddenly his real smile came back and they all stood up so he could give them a big hug, before taking a chair from the table behind them and taking his seat at the end of their booth.

"So, Ted and Robin together at last," he said with a smile on his face. He was hoping to sound as genuine as possible, but he couldn't look at them any longer so he turned to Marshall instead. And suddenly, all he could think about was Marshall and Lily's bet for a measly $5 about whether or not Ted and Robin would end up together.

"Marshall! You finally get your $5 back! How long ago did you give it to Lily?" He asked, chuckling with a smirk on his face. "Because Ted met Tracy at mine and Robin's wedding," he continued, "so even if you were to have asked to get it back after we got divorced, it wouldn't have made sense since Ted and Tracy already had Penny at that point."

He paused, realizing that their faces looked stunned. Yet, Barney couldn't stop talking and suddenly it felt like he was running out of air, because Lily and Marshall kept looking guiltily at each other and he could not figure out why, so his mouth kept running.

"And Marshall, you're not insensitive enough to ask for it back after Tracy died because then there was 'a chance' for them. So what, Lily's had your $5 for 17 years now? Damn you should be happy to get that back."

He joked but also praying to God that he was somehow was able to stop soon. But Marshall and Lily still had that guilty look on their faces.

"What? What is it, guys?"

Even Ted and Robin were staring at Marshall and Lily now, realizing that something was going on. Something they weren't sharing.

"What, Lily, were you stubborn enough to want the $5 after Robin and I got divorced, wanting to wait until Ted and Tracy actually got married?"

They were silent.

"Guys, what is going on? I was joking, this is a joke, come on!" He gave one big laugh trying to lighten up the mood because he was too scared to think about where this might be going.

He turned towards Ted and Robin and noticed that Robin had that look on her face like she was piecing some news story together, and she was so close to a breakthrough, and then a lightbulb went off.

She looked at Barney with a sadness in her eyes before facing Marshall and Lily.

"Marshall, you did give Lily $5 when Barney and I got married right?"


Barney's head spun towards Marshall's in shock because he hadn't even considered that. He looked back at Robin as she continued, "I mean, I understand not giving it when we were engaged because of our commitment issues, so honestly who knew at that point, but you did give it to her when we said 'I Do', right?"

Marshall and Lily looked down unable to meet neither his nor Robin's eyes and suddenly Barney's entire body deflated as he understood.

"Marshall, look at me." Barney had that voice that he used to intimidate clients from overseas and Marshall may be a Supreme Court Judge but even he was not able to refuse to listen to it.

"You did give Lily the $5 right? Because I know Robin and I didn't work out, but if you didn't give it to her, then that means you didn't think we ever would work out in the first place." He paused, feeling like a frog was caught in his throat, but he couldn't let this go. "It would mean that you were betting against us the whole time."

Another pause before he spoke up again.

"It would also mean that you were only doing this bet based on Ted's status, not Robin's." Robin locked eyes with Barney, it seemed she had not thought of this point.

"And that whether or not Robin was married, even to me, one of your best friends…" He emphasized that point because this wasn't Robin married to some random guy, this was him, and this was Robin. "That as long as Ted was available you thought they were an option."

And while Marshall was staring right at him, Lily had yet to meet his eyes which is when another thought occurred to him. And as he slowly turned his head towards her, she deliberately looked away and he knew he was right.

"Lily, you did ask for the $5 right?"


Robin spoke up again, "Lily?" She looked away from Barney, now staring at her supposed best friend.

Barney asked again, "Lily you did ask for the $5 right?" He kept having to stop whether out of shock or betrayal or hurt or all of the above. But he pulled himself together enough to continue, he needed to know. "Because if you didn't then that also means you didn't think we were going to last."

His voice raised a little, scoffing, anger finally taking over the disbelief. She was the one who rooted for them, who helped him from the first time he told her that he loved Robin. She might have broken them up the first time, but they talked after he proposed. He had realized that they needed that breakup to get back together to have a healthier relationship. How could she also be the one to bet against them?

"No even more than that, it would mean you didn't think that we were even serious enough to consider asking Marshall for the $5."

He sneered, and looked at Marshall again, "Marshall did you ever consider giving her the $5 even without her asking?" He lost count of how many times he had given them a chance to speak up, and yet still nothing. He pushed his chair back standing up quickly, his voice getting louder.

"And there's no way you 'forgot' about the bet or suddenly decided it was childish. I've known you two for too long to believe that crap if you try and pull it on me. You take these bets seriously, so you know we're not just talking about $5 here."

Nobody else was talking.

Barney lost his anger in a flash, now just feeling the pain of what it all meant. "Lily, you were the first person I told that I loved Robin. Please. Tell me, that you felt Robin and I were serious enough, or important enough, to ask for the $5?"

Lily looked at him with tears in her eyes, but she looked away. So, Barney looked to Marshall once again, but really his eyes were moving back and forth between the two of them too quickly, trying to get one of them to answer him.

"Marshall, I know Ted is your best friend, but I thought I was one of them too. And Lily," he glanced at her quickly, but turned back to Marshall, his eyes now tearing up too. "Though I doubt it by the way you guys are looking at me." He paused having to remember to breathe before he continued. "Lily could have had pregnancy brain and forgot. But Marshall you don't have that excuse. Please. Tell me, you weren't betting against me Robin the whole time we were married?"

Barney was begging now, standing over his best friends all of them looking at him with something different in their eyes. Marshall and Lily with guilt. Ted with a little bit of sympathy; remembering what it was like finding out how Lily had meddled in his love life. And Robin. He used to be able to read her so well, but now too much time had passed. Was there more sadness for him? Anger at Marshall and Lily? Guilt for having ended up with Ted after all?

Well, he couldn't blame her for that. As much as he wished that it wasn't true, there was a reason Marshall and Lily made that bet in the first place.

He thought he could be happy for Ted and Robin. He was so ready to push his feelings aside and be a better person. He and Robin had been divorced for more than a decade, he had Ellie, and she was happy. So he could be happy for her.

But now, now he couldn't even stand to be in the same room as any of them anymore. With his ex-wife who also happens to be the love of his life. With his best friend, who didn't even tell him beforehand, let alone asked him for permission, to go after his ex-wife (because no matter how many years passed, she was still his ex-wife.)

And his two other best friends. The couple he had looked up to all these years. Who made him still believe in love even after all this time. Who were, apparently, also the couple that had bet against him and the love of his life.

He could feel his heartbreak. More than that awful moment almost two decades ago, where Robin decided to stay with Kevin. And he had thought that that was a moment that would never end.

But this. Not only was his heartbreaking because Robin had ended up with Ted just like he always feared. But his friends had anticipated, no, they had bet on the fact that she would.

He spoke up, "some friends you guys are," he sneered. He felt that frog coming back to his throat, "I can't even look at you guys anymore." But he did. He looked at them all one last time because he didn't know when he would be able to look any of them in the eyes again without breaking. His eyes lingered on Robin's as they always did, "I can't," he almost continued but he didn't know what to say. All he could do was turn around and walk out of the bar.