Characters: Robin, Lily/Marshall
Summary: It was December, which meant two things. The first was the Marshall was becoming so excited for the holidays that he was starting to be unbearable, and the second was that Lily was stressing out.
Word Count: 1,562
For spuff_girl. Merry Christmas! I hope you like it :)
It was December, which meant two things. The first was the Marshall was becoming so excited for the holidays that he was starting to be unbearable, and the second was that Lily was stressing out.
Robin was sitting in the living room of Marshall and Lily’s new apartment listening to Marshall sing ‘Silent Night’ at the top of his lungs from the bedroom. Every now and then a she would hear a curse coming from the kitchen.
“Lily?” Robin called.
“Yes?” Lily answered poking her head out of the kitchen.
“Do you need any help in there?” Robin asked.
“Nope!” Lily exclaimed, falsely cheerful. “Everything is just—” she was interrupted by a loud crash, “Perfect,” she finished, ducking back out of sight.
Robin sighed, and got to her feet. When Lily had invited her over for a night of wine drinking and bonding, this isn’t exactly what Robin had in mind.
“What’s going on, Lily?” Robin asked.
Somewhere in the background, Marshall had switched to ‘O Christmas Tree.’
Lily chuckled nervously. “Everything’s fine! Fine! Why do you ask?”
Robin looked at her. “You’re kind of having a mental breakdown in here, Lily. When you invited me over I thought we’d be drinking wine and maybe watching a movie.”
Lily cringed. “I know! I’m sorry! Marshall’s mom called this morning and invited us down to Minnesota for Christmas.”
Robin recoiled from Lily’s smile. “Lily, you look like a maniac.”
“No, I don’t!” Lily exclaimed. “I’m just excited to see Marshall’s family again.”
Marshall started singing ‘Silent Night’ at the top of his lungs in a high falsetto. Lily visibly flinched.
“Lily that’s crazy. You look like you’re about ready to murder Marshall, or at least rip out his voice box.”
Lily looked into the other room, the same maniacal smile on her face. “No, it’s great.”
“Come to think of it,” Robin said conversationally, “I wouldn’t mind ripping out Marshall’s voice box, right about now.”
“Robin!” Lily scolded.
“What?” Robin asked.
“That’s my husband you’re talking about,” Lily reminded her.
“Yeah, your husband who is now singing ‘Frosty the Snowman,’ in an extremely high pitched voice.”
“You make a good point,” Lily conceded.
“Thank you,” Robin said satisfied. “Now are you going to tell me what’s going on? I thought you and Marshall wanted to celebrate your first Christmas in your apartment here in New York.”
A dark look came over Lily’s face. “So did I,” she said. “Then Marshall’s mother called this morning and ‘invited’ us down to Minnesota.” She made the air quotes around the word invited.
“That’s insane!” Robin protested. “There’s only three days until Christmas.”
“I know!” Lily said, her voice raising an octave. “I don’t know how we’re ever going to be ready in time!”
“Lily, you sound like you’re panicking.”
“I am panicking, Robin! Does this look like the face of a calm person?” she asked.
Robin knew netter than to reply.
Marshall ran into the kitchen wearing a Santa hat that had antlers and the ugliest Christmas sweater Robin had ever seen.
“Baby, how are the cookies coming?” Marshall asked.
Lily made a nose somewhere between a moan and an ‘uh-huh’ and turned back to the oven.
“Why does that Santa hat have antlers?” Robin asked.
“Don’t you start,” Marshall said warningly.
“What?” Robin asked.
“Everyone knows you’re a scrooge, Robin.”
“I am not!” she exclaimed.
“Then why are you questioning the hat?”
“It just doesn’t make sense! Santa doesn’t have antlers.”
“Robin, you’re not going to turn this into another Loch Ness debacle are you?” he asked completely straight faced.
Robin looked over to wear Lily was frantically mixing cookie dough and knew better than to start with Marshall.
“Lily, is there anything I can do to help?” she asked instead.
Lily chuckled nervously. “No, no. I’m fine. Just fine. Why don’t you go sit down?” She mixed the dough even more ferociously.
“Lily, don’t be ridiculous,” Robin said. “You’re not fine, you need help.”
“No, I don’t!” She said with the same nervous laugh. “I just have to bake eight dozen cookies and buy presents for Marshall’s parents, his brothers, their wives and all my nieces and nephews.” She trailed off into a moan, but quickly put a smile back on her face when she saw Marshall looking at her.
“It’s going to be great, baby,” Marshall said, kissing the top of her head. “I’m going to go finish packing up.”
“Great!” Lily said with fake enthusiasm.
Marshall ran off, singing ‘Jingle Bells.’ Robin stared at Lily.
“Lily,” Robin scolded. “This is too much for you! Why didn’t you tell Marshall you didn’t want to go?”
Lily slouched against the counter. “I don’t know! He just got so excited about seeing his family. We haven’t been back there in a while, and I know he misses it. I just wanted to do something nice.”
“But you shouldn’t be killing yourself,” Robin said.
Lily smiled, and for the first time the panic diminished from her face. “I know, Robin, but look how happy he gets.”
From the bedroom Robin could hear Marshall still singing. He had resorted to the ‘Batman smells’ version of ‘Jingle Bells.’
Lily smiled fondly. “Marshall works so hard. He deserves to see his family at the holidays, look how happy he gets.”
“What about you?” Robin asked.
“I don’t want to see my family, especially around the holidays,” she paused. “You think I’m stressed out now? If we were going to visit my parents it would be me circa our wedding—only worse.”
“It’s only a few days,” Lily continued. “It’s worth it to see Marshall so happy.”
Robin watched Lily turn back to her baking, and wondered how she did it. Robin had never been able to put another person before herself. Her relationship with Ted was about as close as she had ever got, and the whole reason their relationship hadn’t worked out was because neither of them had been willing to sacrifice what they wanted.
“So what can I do to help?” Robin asked stepping forward.
Lily spun on her heal, a wooden spoon in her hand. “Bitch, step away from the cookies. I know you can’t bake, and if you ruin these I will have to kill you.”
Robin put her hands up. “I can too bake,” she said somewhat offended.
“Step away,” Lily warned. “Go see what Marshall’s up to.”
“All right, all right,” Robin conceded, walking out of the kitchen.
She followed the sound of ‘We Three Kings’ into the bedroom where Marshall was throwing clothes into a suitcase. “How’s it going?” she asked.
“Great!” he said dumping his entire sock drawer into his suitcase.
“Aren’t you only going for a few days?” Robin asked, confused.
“Yeah,” he told her. “Obviously you haven’t seen how my brothers and I play bask-ice-ball.”
Robin had no idea what he was talking about, but figured it was safer not to ask.
“How’s Lily doing?” Marshall asked packing what looked like six pairs of pants into his bag.
Robin hesitated. “She’s doing okay,” she said eventually. “A little overwhelmed.”
Marshall paused. “I know it’s hard for Lily. She’s too hard on herself when it comes to my family,” he paused. “They all love her.” He smiled proudly.
“Obviously,” Robin agreed. “Who wouldn’t?”
“Exactly,” Marshall said. They were both quiet for a moment. “Underwear!” He screamed.
Robin jumped. “What?”
“I forgot to pack my underwear!”
“O-oh,” Robin said a little hesitantly.
Marshall ran to his dresser and dumped all his underwear into his suitcase. “Okay,” he said after a moment. “I think that’s everything.” He shut the suitcase and zipped it up.
“Where’s Lily’s stuff?” Robin asked.
“What?” Marshall asked distracted. “Over there,” he said gesturing to a single backpack. Robin laughed.
“I think it’s nice, how excited you get over seeing your family,” she told him.
He grinned back at her. “Yeah. I miss them a lot sometimes.”
“I miss my family too,” she told him.
He put his arm around her shoulders and squeezed. “Come on, let’s go see how Lily’s doing.”
In the kitchen Lily seemed calmer. “I put all the cookies in the oven. We just have to wait till their finished, and then we can go get gifts,” she told him.
“Great!” Marshall said grinning. “And I finished all the packing.”
“Good job, baby,” Lily said, going on her tiptoes to give him a kiss.
He smiled at her. “Why don’t you and Robin go sit down, have some wine, watch a movie,” he told her. “I can take the cookies out of the oven and handle the gifts.”
“Really?” Lily asked.
“Of course,” Marshall said. “I bet Barney’s dying to do more shopping.” He chuckled.
“Thanks, baby,” Lily said.
“You earned it,” Marshall said, hugging her. “Thanks for being so understanding about these last minute plans.”
Lily smiled. “Any time.”
Lily and Robin walked out into the living room. “I know!” Lily exclaimed. “Let’s watch Love Actually. I’m in a Christmassy mood.”
Robin stared at her. “Five minutes ago you were freaking out,” she pointed out.
Lily shrugged. “That was five minutes ago. Marshall’s got everything under control now.”
Lily put in the disk, and the two of them settled into the couch. As the movie started Robin could hear Marshall singing along to ‘Christmas is All Around.’
Lily smiled fondly.