Ted doesn't like to admit it (and he certainly will never admit it to his kids, Jesus Christ. He may be the king of the inter-generational over share, but some things cross the line from inherently dorky dad trying to prove he once approached cool right into someone should probably call the cops on that dude territory), but it perhaps, might have, maybe, been his idea first.
In his defense, he was really drunk. And in his further defense, that was Barney's fault.
- - -
The evening was fuzzy all around, but Ted distinctly remembered the five of them being huddled into their booth, everyone's bodies pressed too close together. It might have been the alcohol, but he remembered feeling warm and sort of cuddled, although he would probably have to start watching the View if he ever admitted that out loud.
Robin was laughing too loudly and Barney hadn't (yet) abandoned them for the hot chick near the bar, the one he had been referring to as the hispanic Gwenyth Paltrow all night. Ted didn't see the resemblance, but that wasn't really the point. The point was, Lily was smiling at them all and Marshall looked so happy, and everything was a little perfect.
As for Ted was feeling a little delicate and alone, so he drained the last of his beer and declared, "You know, fuck it."
"See, Ted agrees," Barney said. "Wait, fuck what?"
"Fuck other people," Ted said, feeling more unfortunately sure of himself with every word. "They just dump us, or fire us, or other -- other bad things. Fuck them."
Robin laughed, and leaned her glass of scotch against her forehead. "All of them? That would get a little tiring."
Ted waved his hands vaguely. "Why do we need to date and, and, and, go out and stuff? We can just do this! All the time! Remember those like, hippie pamphlets from that yoga place? We can be a commune."
Barney flinched. "I'd ask you to not use such language at the table, sir."
Ted pointed at him. "And you, sir. Sir. What do you get out of anyone else? Do you have any other friends? Your one-night stands barely count as human contact."
"He's got a point," Lily said. "Although I don't think either of us know exactly what it is."
"We should just not do it anymore!" Ted said grandly, gaining a little momentum on this idea. "We should just -- I don't know. No more couples. More fivesomes."
Barney looked a little confused. "I don't need human contact -- I use them for sex. I thought that was pretty clear, am I right?"
Ted wanted to say that they could do that, too, but he wasn't quite drunk enough. And after the next microbrew, when he was probably drunk enough, the conversation had shifted to whether or not cockapoos were crimes against nature and Barney had already started in on Senorita Paltrow.
And it probably would have ended there if Marshall, Lily, and Ted hadn't seen Barney in that gay bar. And that was Marshall's fault.
Marshall had been looking at a pair of lesbians who were intermittently making out in a booth in the corner. Looking with interest Lily said, and that led to a speech about ganders and gooses and watching gay boys in their natural habitat. Only what she had said was "twinks mackin' it" and that prompted a whole long conversation with Marshall about what a "twink" was, which Ted didn't really remember. Said lapse in memory was due to long effort and he wasn't intending to backslide. Ted had no idea how this scenario involved him. Surely he was an innocent duck bystander in this metaphor?
Still, it wasn't actually going all that poorly. The geese might in fact say it was going swimmingly, or at least the goose would have.
"Oooh," Lily nudged Marshall. "You should go dance with him-- I think he likes big guys," Lily said. She pointed to a put-together looking fellow wearing a shirt that looked soft.
"How could you possibly know that?" Ted asked, trying not to wonder about why he was hit on more here than he usually ever was.
"He was dancing with that guy a second ago," Lily said, nodding significantly. The guy so indicated could only be described as burly (or perhaps as a bear, but that was part of the conversation that didn't happen).
"You know, Ted," she said, eyeing him in a way that made him nervous. "If you really just want to marry and settle down, you should look around here. Apparently marriage is very big in the gay community these days."
Marshall was still looking at the burly guy. "I'm not quite that hairy, am I?"
Lily continued to look deeply intrigued. "I now understand the lesbian thing! I mean, yeah, I understood it before, but like. One guy good, two guys better." Marshall turned to look at her. "--Um, as long as they are two of you, dear." She patted his arm. "--Are you sure you don't want to dance?"
And that's when Ted saw him. Saw Barney, in a gay bar. At first Ted thought Barney might have been confused, possibly lured in by something shiny. Barney was easily distracted, and there were certainly plenty of things that sparkled. Or maybe he was just confused about the gender of -- but no. That wasn't possible, even for Barney, because that guy, the guy he was dancing with? Wasn't wearing a shirt.
Barney's suit was looking a little rumpled, which for a long (okay, probably alcohol induced) moment was more surprising to Ted than the man's hand on Barney's ass. The guy was good looking, too -- muscular, wearing only blue jeans, blond ruffled hair like he should be on the Disney Channel. With their coloring, the two of them almost looked like a matched set. And Ted had never thought this before, watching Barney, but this was -- this was almost hot.
In fact, as he watched Barney lean into the guy's neck and lick it, he upgraded to definitely hot and sent horrified noises toward his libido.
"Guys," he said slowly. "Correct me if I'm wrong -- and please, please do-- but is that Barney?"
He heard a feminine sounding gasp, which was probably from Marshall.
"Oh my God,' Lily said, her hand over her mouth. "It is!"
"Really?" Marshall said. "Where?"
They pointed and Lily started fretting.
"Why wouldn't he feel comfortable enough to come to us with this? We're his friends! We deal with him being the lamest person alive, did he really think he had to hide a love for the cock--" Marshall shifted from his look from gaping to scandalized and she patted his arm "-- from us? Are we not creating a supportive environment -- oh my. That's."
Ted didn't really think it was possible, but Barney was now dancing even closer to the other man. And even though Barney wasn't particularly near their little table, Ted could see quite enough. And Ted knew that Barney was good looking -- you couldn't get that many chicks on gumption alone, you needed gumption and a pleasant facade -- but he had always thought his face was a little goofy looking. And yeah, there were hints of Barney's usual elastic facial expressions there, now, but mostly, he just looked focused. And intense.
Marshall was also watching quite closely. He and Ted exchanged a look, and then looked quickly down at the table again.
Lily squeaked. Barney had drawn his dance partner farther away from the floor and now they were walking out of the club. Like, together.
The three of them sat there, a long moment, with the bass pounding away around them. Marshall cleared his throat, drained the rest of his drink, and stood up. He dragged Lily with him.
"We need to go. Rhinoceros -- shit, that's not the -- igloo. Igloo, igloo, igloo. Time to go remind myself of, er, how much I like igloos."
They hurried out. Ted didn't blame them, but he made sure to finish Lily's drink before he left.
- - -
"Seriously?" Robin sounded oddly delighted the next day, when they told her. Ted was sitting on the couch, with his head in his hands, Marshall was next to him in a similar pose, and Lily whispered something to Robin that made them both snicker.
"Yes, seriously!" Marshall said. "And it was very uncomfortable!"
"Marshall! You are not being homophobic, are you?" Lily said.
"Not uncomfortable like that."
"Uncomfortable like what?" And there was Barney, walking into Ted and Robin's apartment. He was holding what looked like some sort of headpiece made out of peacock feathers. Ted thought he recognized it from some of the Rockettes ads around the city. Barney looked normal, in a gray suit, and not at all like he had gone home (or into the alley, oh god) with some guy last night.
"Uncomfortable like... like... watching you dance with a dude who you then left with!" Lily said in a rush and then looked awkward. "I'm not counting that as a secret I spilled, we hadn't discussed it."
Ted saw Barney's face freeze for a moment and his fists jammed into his pockets, something he didn't usually do. It ruined the line of his trousers. But apparently his discomfort passed, and he shrugged.
"Yeah, and?" He waved the feathered headpiece around. "Hey, I figured this would be a nice trophy for the bachelor pad, bros -- and I'm counting you among them Robin. Kicking above her head. Just think of that flexibility. It was legen -- wait for it--"
"Was the Rockette before or after the gay bar?" Robin interrupted.
"--dary," Barney finished.
"Is this new?" Lily, looking concerned. "Why didn't you tell us?"
Barney dropped the headdress on Ted's head. "Not that new and hey, can a guy win? You are all like, 'Barney, gross! Barney, we don't want to know the details! Barney, can you even do that because I think you would throw your back out' and now you want to know details? Please, I knew your prudishness was all faked."
"We're all okay with it," Lily said and Barney looked a little less frenetic. Ted thought it was a little weird how Lily always spoke Barney better than any of them.
"Hey, what can I say?" Barney leered. "Why remove half your pool? Also, gay dudes are the kings -- or should I say queens -- of daddy issues. Anyway, gotta go, things to see, people to do, you know the deal."
And then Barney left as quickly as he'd entered.
"I actually thought that went well," Robin said.
- - -
For a few days, it was a little weird. Barney wasn't around much, and when he was, he spoke too quickly and didn't look at them. But then, it got better. Barney started leering at men as well as women, buying them all drinks, and lying about his name. He didn't seem to pull the more elaborate tricks on his dudes, though -- guys were all basically sluts, he said.
And Barney kept talking about it. Apparently, now that he was comfortable, there was no shutting him up.
"Look at them," Barney said, sounding worshipful. A couple was cuddling near the bar, the girl a cute little blonde and the guy looking almost Italian. "What I wouldn't give to be in the middle of that."
He took a sip of his drink, sounding like he was considering it with fervor. "Oh, she's looking at me. Hope I don't get beat up. Can't talk now, gotta go."
He stood up, straightened his tie, and was off.
"Does it make me a bad friend if I think this is weird?" Marshall said, sounding plaintive.
"Does it make me a bad friend if I think this is hot?" Robin asked.
Lily snorted, " I sure hope not."
"Guys! Nothing has changed, right? We're still us, and Barney's just being gross about both genders now. Totally cool. Completely normal. New Yorkers in the twenty-first century, and also Barney. Would we be surprised if he was into pigeons, if they put out?" Ted was proud of that little speech, although his gulp of beer was probably excessive.
Only some stuff kinda did change. Ted started watching Barney as he was going about his thing, and he noticed Robin and Lily doing the same thing. Marshall watched Lily watch Barney, and the look in his face was probably not irritated.
It shouldn't have been a big deal, and it wasn't, but for some reason it made things seem a bit more charged, a bit more sexual when Barney was around. Which you wouldn't think was possible, but it was true. Ted thought it was because it was a change. They had developed a pattern, a way of dealing with sex and love and each other, and all of a sudden the possibilities had shifted. Ted started dwelling on those, er, possibilities.
It wasn't like Ted was falling in love with Barney or anything ridiculous like that. He did love Barney, but it's not like he thought he was The One. Barney wouldn't be caught dead wearing maternity clothes, after all.
Still, his morning showers had started getting stranger. Ted was in the middle of his usual routine, half asleep and with water pounding on his back, his hand curled around his dick.
And then the Angelina Jolie in his head suddenly turned into Robin. So, OK, that wasn't all that unusual, but the fact that she was then joined by Barney definitely was. Barney pressed her into the wall of the vaguely boudoir-ish room that Ted's mental friends were chilling in. As Barney slipped his hands into the front of Robin's pants she flushed and made a low noise in her throat. Ted pressed his forehead against the shower tiles and shifted his grip. Barney leaned forward and licked Robin's neck, just he like had with that guy, and oh my god. Oh my god, the water was getting cold, and Barney was falling to his knees, pulling Robin's pants down and not giving her time to think before just -- and then holy shit! Marshall showed up in his fantasy and Ted actually fell down.
There was a knock on the door. "Ted, are you okay?"
"Uh, yeah!" He cleared his throat and tried to force his voice an octave lower. "I'm fine!"
The water was cold, and Robin was kissing Marshall while Barney went down on her, with Lily touching herself and watching, and Ted was still hard, and then he wasn't. Because he came like he was going to die from it.
Ted banged his head on the shower wall. Oh my god, his brain was insane, and he wanted to have sex with his friends. All of them.
- - -
And then, because this whole debacle had the slow inevitable feel of authorial intent, Maclaren's plumbing went out, and everyone needed a new place to drink. But they were all tired (and not in their early 20s anymore), so not even Barney objected to going up to Robin and Ted's apartment and getting their, quote, drink on in the poor man's bachelor pad.
Robin was still looking obscurely pleased at being considered a bachelor when they all settled around the room. Lily sat on Marshall, Barney looked speculatively at Robin's perch on the couch as if considering the same thing before stealing the chair, and Ted went and got the beer.
And then he stood in the kitchen a long moment, got a six-pack, and shed his pants and his boxers with the tiny hearts on them.
Ted was young, footloose and fancy free, and he wanted to do this. He knew this would be easier with alcohol, but a part of him really wanted it to happen while they were at least a little sober. It felt important that they talk about it at least a little bit. The pants were just, um. You know, conversation starter.
He walked back in, set the beer down on the table, and put his hands on his hips. "I think we should have sex. All of us."
Okay, so maybe it was mostly Ted's fault.
If Ted wasn't so terrified, everyone's expressions would have been fucking hilarious. Marshall covered his eyes, changed his mind and then covered Lily's eyes. Robin choked a little bit. Barney zoomed in on Ted's penis and then looked considering.
"I will say this, you're bigger than I expected," Barney said. " I was thinking Vienna Sausage."
"Hey," said ted, then he shook his head. "Not the point. The point is, you--" he pointed at Barney "are emotionally dysfunctional and sexually overactive. You-- " (Robin) " are afraid of linking sex and love. He's afraid of that too, actually. And Jesus, you two-- " (Marshall and Lily) "you've been talking about a threesome for ages."
"Not in public!"
"I was on the couch, eating Doritos. Not the point. Anyway, we should do this."
Barney shrugged, stood up, and undid his tie. "Done and done. I'm in."
Robin looked at them both. Ted had put down the beer and taken off his shirt and Barney was well on his way to totally nude. She smiled. It was a rather softer and more affectionate smile than what Ted was really expecting right before massively kinky sex, but it made Barney smile back.
"You know me," Robin said, walking up to Barney. "Nakedness in my apartment is pretty much my bar. Two naked men is well above that."
She punched him the shoulder and he made an elaborate face. "But if you ever call me a slu--"
He didn't even let her finish. "Is that even the slightest bit of a possibility? Really? From me? I think that would be the straw that broke the safety lock on God's smiting."
Barney ran his hand up Robin's neck and cupped her cheek. He grinned over her shoulder at Ted.
Lily couldn't help herself. "Awww," she said. "Oh, Marshall, can we? It's them. It barely even counts as cheating."
And Marshall. Marshall was really the only one that Ted had been unsure about. The others, he was pretty positive they would be into it and it looked like he'd been right about that. But Marshall.
Ted tried to look as nonthreatening as possible as he sat down next to him on the couch. Lily beamed from Marshall's other side and made what was probably supposed to be an encouraging gesture.
""Your call, man," Ted said.
, your call."
Marshall looked up and looked around at Barney and Robin watching the three of them on the couch.
"OK," Marshall said. "OK. Fine. But we never speak of this outside the five of us. "
"Can I brag if I change the names?" Barney immediately asked.
"As long as you change them farther than Ned and Tobin," Lily replied.
"Done, let's fuck."
And then Ted wasn't entirely sure what to do. The living room seemed too small suddenly, and there were a lot of them, and then there was a lot of naked, only Marshall was still wearing his socks.
But then Robin settled herself on Marshall's lap on the couch, going slow and allowing either him or Lily time to object. She leaned into kiss him as Lily watched, rapt. Ted understood the feeling, as he followed the line of Robin's back, a subtle curve that shifted as Marshall's hand snaked back to pull her closer to him.
"It's not a proper fivesome unless you actually participate," Barney said, suddenly very very close to Ted. "Don't ruin my bragging rights.
Barney was smiling like he got the building deed to an entire cream factory, and, Ted couldn't help noticing, he looked just as, er, interested in the proceedings as Ted felt.
"Done this before?" Barney asked, stepping forward and running his hand up Ted's chest. Fire followed Barney's touch and spread underneath the rest of Ted's skin, making him feel hot and shivery. He felt like a teenager, like nakedness was new. "Not the five people thing," Barney said. "The dick thing."
"Dick thing's new," Ted said, feeling way less suave than he had been only a few minutes before.
"Don't worry, baby," Barney said, crowding completely into Ted's personal space, walking him back toward the couch. "Daddy's here."
Robin broke off what was looking like an awesome kiss to laugh, leaning her forehead into Marshall's neck. "Oh my god, still not sexy."
Marshall took the opportunity to turn his head to the side and kiss Lily, and Barney took advantage of Ted's distraction to push him down onto the couch and climb on top of him.
Their backs were all going to kill them tomorrow, Ted though. They should probably move to a bed, though they wouldn't all fit on Ted's bed, and why was he even thinking about this when Barney was shifting and trying to make himself comfortable, his ass a heavy pressure against Ted's quite interested cock.
Barney kissed him and the room felt loud all of a sudden, slick sounds and heart beats and breaths. He heard Robin's faint exclamation of appreciation and he wasn't sure if she was just enjoying the view. Ted's eyes were closed and all the many details of contact seemed too much, like he couldn't prioritize or even differentiate, between the tug of Barney's hands in his hair or the slick feel of his tongue, or the hard heat of a cock pressed against his belly. And then there was another hand in play, Lily's hand -- he recognized her ring as she pulled on Barney's hair and yanked him away. That was not fair, and not nice and, okay, wow.
Lily kissed Barney hard as Marshall ran his hand down her back. She was on all fours on the couch and then Marshall's hand slipped down between her legs and she bit Barney's lip. Ted was close enough to see the slight darkness of the flesh as she released him.
"I think we would all like it if you blew Ted," Lily said, her lips close to his ear, panting a little bit. "What do you think, Ted?"
Marshall kissed her back and said, devoutly. "I love you."
Ted couldn't actually say anything. Barney just said, "Ted will think I'm awesome," and then slipped off Ted's lap, to his knees. Ted was already thinking Barney was awesome and that was before he looked up, smirked (the motherfucker), and fucking swallowed him whole.
Ted's hips jerked up and it was only Barney's hands pressing him back that allowed him to keep breathing. Barney didn't stop, though, just kept going and it was ridiculous -- one of Ted's hands fell into his lap and he just started kneading Barney's shoulder, unable to get enough coordination to do anything else.
And then Robin got up and left, leaving Marshall without someone on his lap. "Where you going?" he asked, as Lily rested her cheek on Ted's chest and moved slightly against Marshall's hand.
"Condoms and lube," she said and Barney made a noise around Ted's cock, his hand dropping to his own erection. Barney was just holding himself, not rubbing, not frantic. His face was red, and his lips were shiny with spit and pre-come, and it was easily the hottest thing Ted had ever seen. And then Robin was back.
"I think I speak for Lily when I say I want Marshall to fuck Barney," Robin said, her voice low but sounding almost on the edge of laughter. She was beautiful, with her hair messed up and what looked like a bite mark on her left breast.
Lily grinned, wiggling away from the two men and crawling over toward Robin to kiss her, her hand touching her breast almost shyly and exploring. "I'm definitely pro that, but I think that Marshall should have to get him ready."
"I don't actually know how to do that," Marshall said, his hand curled around his dick and stroking with what looked like very careful caution, his eyes shifting between Robin making out with his wife and Barney blowing his best friend as if he couldn't believe his luck.
"Oh for heaven's sake," Barney said, pulling off of Ted's dick. Ted made a noise that could only be described as forlorn. "Give me that."
Robin handed him the lube and condoms and Barney tossed one to Marshall, before settling back down on his heels. He twisted, his fingers wet with lube, and oh god -- slipped a pair of them into his own ass. Ted couldn't really see everything, but he could see the face Barney was making and that was almost enough. His face was oddly relaxed in a way it rarely was. Not to mention that Robin and Lily's fingers were both doing some disappearing of their own and then Robin slipped down between Lily's legs, pushing her up to sit on the couch.
"Things happened in college," Robin said nuzzling into Lily's thigh, "It's like riding a bike."
Marshall whimpered and Ted sympathized. And Marshall and Ted hadn't touched each other much, but Ted leaned over and ruffled Marshall's hair. "Good idea?"
"Fuck. Get over here, Marshall," Barney said. "Come fuck me."
Marshall didn't bother answering either of them, rolling on the condom and scrambling over. And then Robin grinned over her shoulder at Ted, and said, "Same request."
And then he was getting off the couch, rolling on a condom and sinking into Robin. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Marshall, next to him, with his big hands against Barney's body as he did the same thing. Lily was in front of them, flushed all the way down to her navel and then she cried out, her eyes closing and her curled toes nearly kicking him in the face. But it was worth it, because Robin leaned back from Lily and gasped, grinning. And it wasn't like Ted had never fucked Robin before, but this was awesome.
And then he came, his ears ringing and his breath catching, and it was the best damn orgasm of his life. He leaned into Robin, catching his breath.
The moment he pulled out. Lily yanked Robin up and kissed her again, her fingers going into Robin's pussy. Ted watched her shudder, as he watched Barney close his eyes and lean back into Marshall, Marshall who's hand was curled around Barney's cock. Barney came first, his entire body tensing and biting into his lower lip. It might have been the post-coital endorphins, but Ted thought it was a little unfair that Barney had such a sexy orgasm face.
Barney slumped a little bit, but he was smiling and rolling his hips into Marshall's thrusts. Robin was staring at them, then just as her eyes slipped closed from her orgasm, Marshall cried out, and came himself.
Marshall pulled out, Barney wincing a bit, and the room was silent again save all the painting. Barney, sprawled against the couch, his knees out and his entire body loose.
"That was awesome," he said. "Legen-fucking-dairy."
No one disagreed.
- - -
And then McLaren's fixed its plumbing and they were all at their booth again. They hadn't exactly been avoiding each other the past few days, but no one had seemed to know what you do the day after you sleep with your four best friends
But then they found themselves at McLaren's, and then again, and then again. And maybe it was just habit, but eventually they realized nothing much had changed. So they had had fantastic, five person, orgy-like sex. They were still them, and they still loved each other, and Barney was trying to convince the tie-dye-wearing girl in the corner that he was from Doctors Without Borders.
And Ted wasn't sure if they were going to do it again, but he wanted to. As long as they did it together, the five of them, and if they weren't with anyone who would mind -- who would it hurt?
After all, kids. Friendship is important. You should always be able to rely on your friends.
- - -
"Dad, that does not count as a story."
"What are you talking about! That's a very important moral."
"You said, 'One time we saw Uncle Barney in a bar and then we went for pizza and friendship is important.' How is that a lesson?"
"Have I told you about how I met your mother? 'Cause it actually has a lot to do with bars and friends, and, uh. pizza."