new scene

the changed verse

new scene


When they sleep, Barney spreads out his wings. He sleeps on his stomach these days – she’s pretty sure he didn’t before – because there’s no way he can be comfortable on his back. Being on his back means being on his wings these days. It limits the sex a little, but flying sex totally makes up for it.

She does her best to not let the envy get the best of her. It works, most of the time, but the occasional too-sharp comment slips through. It’s usually not the big stuff that gets her. No, it’s when Lily calmly moves out of the way a second before someone spills a beer all over her. Or when Marshall turns into his dog form just to be able to really appreciate the delicious smell of freshly baked cookies.

Or when Barney with a beat of his wings is a couple of feet up in the air, just because she asked how far away the next coffee shop was and it’s too crowded to see anywhere.

He gives her that knowing look, the one that tells her he knows exactly what she’s thinking. He never offers to take her with him when she’s like that, because he knows she’d probably bite his head off, but he lands and tries not to flaunt his ability. Then, a couple of days later, he literally sweeps her off her feet.

When he sleeps, he looks serene. His face is more lined now than it was when they were younger, but he’s still handsome. The angles of his face soften as he dreams. He spreads his wings out and there isn’t a bed in the world that is big enough for him to do that without some of them covering Robin. The first time she’d woken up beneath his wings, she’d dreamt of being surrounded by birds. The downy feathers, so soft that she couldn’t compare it to anything else she’d ever touched, had tickled her slightly. She’d frowned and pushed the wing away, towards him. He could tuck them in if he wanted, but it seemed to require more conscious effort than leaving them spread out. She’d had half a mind to wake him up and tell him to keep his body parts to himself.

But then she hadn’t. If she’d woken up with his arm around her, she wouldn’t wake him up to make him remove it. She’d like his arm around her. Why was a wing any different? It was a part of him.

She had realized, later, during some for her unusual introspective time, that she didn’t want to recognize the wings as a part of him. She didn’t want to recognize them at all. And though she accepted them more and more, there was still a part of her that rebelled against the very idea of the wings.

Because the world had gone insane and she wasn’t a part of it. She still isn’t.

Barney has wings, Lily can see the future, and Marshall can turn himself into a dog. Ted can walk through walls.

And she sits there, all human and all normal. Well, the old kind of normal, anyway. These days, she’s the outcast – unable to light a fire with her mind or become invisible at the blink of an eye. She reports the news about Changed people doing amazing feats and she smiles politely when interviewing the latest super-enhanced Mother Teresa-figure who’s done something-or-other great for the world. But she’s not a part of it.

She hates her own humanity sometimes. Sometimes more than sometimes. She wants her own ability, her own special thing. As it is, she’s just ordinary. His flaunts his wings – not on purpose, but they’re huge and white and stuck to his shoulders in a way that makes it impossible for him to wear regular suit jackets anymore, so it’s really hard for him not to.

And yet she’s not sure when she started loving those wings. Because she does. Not because of their beauty, or their softness, or even what they can do; it’s not because Barney can lift her into the air with them and show her the world from a whole new perspective.

No, it’s because they’re Barney. They’re a part of him, just like his hands with the gentle fingers. Just like those blue eyes that can twinkle with joy or crackle with fury. Just like every other inch of him, every inch that she knows so well. It’s all Barney.

And she loves Barney, even though she tried really hard not to. He’s not always easy to love, because he’s played his role for so many years that it’s hard for him to break the pattern, but she does. She loves him a little more every day. And she loves him in spite of the Change, in spite of feeling like an outsider.

These days when they sleep side by side, him on his stomach with his wings spread out, covering her, she secretly enjoys it. After being such a pain, after wishing his wings away so many times –often enough to his face – she can’t tell him that she likes it. But she does. She feels safe, cocooned in the white fluffy feathers. He curls the wing around her sometimes and she feels protected. Loved. He’ll keep her safe. She belongs to him.

For some reason, that doesn’t frighten her the way it did a few years ago.

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