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Written for halfamoon: 14 Days of Celebrating Women.

Title: Notes Stuck into the Door
Author: voleuse
Fandom: How I Met Your Mother
Characters: Lily & Robin
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Driving in the rain, wondering where the good luck went.
Notes: Spoilers through 2.02



Lily had dreamed a thousand directions her life could have taken, ten thousand paths leading away from knocking on Marshall's door during her first week in college. Not one of those dreams had ever involved failure. That wasn't what dreams were about.

Someone should have warned her.

*


At first the internship was a dream come true. She had a stipend and a studio apartment, and she didn't have to mumble when she told people what she really did for a living, because teaching was just to pay the bills.

During orientation they walked her through a warehouse filled with blank canvases, and she waited until they had turned away from her before she started hopping down the aisle. She used to have dreams like this, before they were infiltrated by Marshall and giant furniture and time-outs and drowning.

The institute's recruiter rubbed her shoulder when they exited. "Your locker is over there. Did you bring your smock?"

"Was I supposed to?" Lily asked.

And they walked into a bright, broad room filled with nineteen-year-olds splattering paint.

*


Robin picked up her phone on the third ring, and Lily started talking before Robin finished griping, Do you have any idea what time it is?

"I know, I know, I'm sorry," Lily said, "but I have been out all night looking for affordable pillowcases, I've had three overpriced but awesome espressos, and it's probably not a good idea to start the week chewing the ear off of my program coordinator. I mean, Tasha is great, really great, but I get the feeling she's more of a morning person, you know?"

She paused to breathe.

Robin cleared her throat. "Lily?"

"Yeah?" Lily responded. "Oh, hey Robin, it's really late over there, isn't it?"

"It's four in the morning," Robin said. "What the hell happened with Marshall?"

Lily shook her left arm, snapping her new pillowcase against her knee. "He didn't tell you?"

"He didn't want to talk about it." Robin's voice had dropped to a whisper, and Ted murmured in the background.

"Hi, Ted!" Lily said automatically, and then she frowned. "Why is Ted with you at four in the morning?"

"Long story," Robin said, and she chuckled in a way that Lily hadn't for a week and a half. "Lily, can I call you in a few hours?"

"Sure," Lily said. "Sounds like you've got lots to tell."

The connection broke off, and Lily snapped the pillowcase a couple more times before she hit end call.

She realized she had forgotten to buy a pillow four minutes later, so she stuffed the pillowcase with three fuzzy sweaters and a knock-off of a Betsey Johnson skirt.

*


Seven hours later, Robin called. "I'm glad you're alive," she said as greeting.

"Me, too." Lily grimaced as she took a sip of yet another overpriced but awesome espresso. "I had a whole-wheat bagel with alfafa sprouts and goat cheese for breakfast."

"Lily, that's disgusting," Robin responded. "My garlic parmesan wings just gave your breakfast the finger."

"A free range chicken would never do that," Lily said.

"You know you sound like a crazy person, right?"

"Shut up."

Robin laughed. "Fine. Are you okay?"

"I'm okay," Lily replied. "I have my own apartment again, which is cool."

"Do you have to share a bathroom?

Lily paused. "I'd rather not say."

"Life in a new city," Robin mused. "Thank goodness for my sublet."

"You know," Lily said, "you never did explain how you found such an awesome apartment."

"Connections," Robin replied.

Lily snorted. "What, you're secretly a real estate heiress?"

"I'd rather not say," Robin said. "It's a long story."

"I've got time," Lily replied. "Or would you rather explain the Ted thing?"

"Or I have to film some bumpers for tonight's broadcast," Robin said. "Sorry, Lily. I'll talk to you later?"

"Sure," Lily said. "Absolutely. Totally."

"I'm glad you're okay," Robin said, and then she hung up.

"Me, too," Lily said. She braced herself, then tossed back the dregs of her espresso.

*


As she walked through the warehouse, Lily tied her brand-new smock around her neck. Tasha led her to the far right corner of the room. "This is your area."

"Great light," Lily observed. She ran a superstitious hand over the three paintbrushes sticking out of her back pocket. "I love the space."

"The emergency exit is that way," Tasha said. "Your paints are all in that box, and call Doug if you need another canvas. Got it?"

"Got it," Lily echoed. "So what do I do now?"

"Now?" Tasha grinned, twisted her wrist to flourish. "You paint. And try to ignore Miranda," she said as she disappeared.

"Ignore Miranda?" Lily repeated, then turned to look at the girl on her left. "Are you Miranda?"

The girl looked at Lily's sandals, then her dove necklace, then finally at her face. "Not even a month," she said before turning back to her canvas.

"What?" Lily asked.

Miranda made a jagged gesture at her canvas, and a blob of vermilion smeared over the sleeve of Lily's favorite gauzy blouse.

"Huh," Lily remarked, and she edged her easel a foot and a half in the opposite direction.

*


Robin called her three days later, and Lily collapsed onto a park bench before answering.

"Is this a bad time?" Robin asked.

"Nah." Lily rotated her feet, then tucked them around her bag of groceries. "Just doing some shopping."

"I didn't mean to blow you off," Robin said.

"See, you set yourself up for a joke about Ted there," Lily laughed, "but I'm too classy to go for it."

"What?" Robin exclaimed. "How'd you guess?"

"It's about time," Lily said. "Also, my apartment doesn't have cable."

"That sucks," Robin said. "Are you having fun anyway?"

"Fun?" Lily breathed a moment, then directed her smile away from any bystanders that might misconstrue her intentions. "Best idea I ever had."

"Uh-huh," Robin said. "You totally miss me, don't you?"

"I totally, totally do," Lily replied. "Is that lame?"

"Sweetie," Robin said, "it's normal. Besides, I'm awesome."

"That you are," Lily said. "Quick, tell me about work."

"Are you sure this is a good time?" Robin asked.

Lily looked up at the sun, and she clutched her purse, and closed her eyes.

"It's a great time, Robin," she replied. "Talk away."

###



A/N: Title and summary adapted from Charles Bukowski's I Made A Mistake. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Linked on halfamoon.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
starfishchick
Feb. 13th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)
"My garlic parmesan wings just gave your breakfast the finger."

Perfect HIMYM line.

I like this a lot. (Especially Miranda - Serenity shout-out?)
mcmuffins_js
Mar. 6th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
I LOVE this! Duelling breakfasts! Hilarious. I love girl friendships that start out as being friends because your boys are and then you're just friends independently... this is great, did I mention?
(Anonymous)
Feb. 27th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, lovely! These two are so in-character here. ♥
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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