A retelling of the legendary story, with more than a little twist. Ted finds his purpose, and his family, sooner than expected, and it only grows from there.
Set in the year 2030, a suburban house in Westchester County, New York.
“Kids, I’m going to tell you an incredible story; the story of how I met your mother.
“It was August of 1995. I was a Freshman in college. In fact, it was the first day of college at Wesleyan. I had just broken up with Karen for the fourth time, and I was an emotional wreck. At the time, I was just waiting for her to ask for me back. She hadn’t moved in to her dorms yet, and I was eagerly awaiting her visit. I even had the mix tape in my pocket for her. There may have been tears involved. As I said, I was a wreck. There I was, roaming the hallways on the first day, listening to the tape on my Walkman.
“And then I met her.
“She was beautiful. You know when we watch one of those old movies together, it felt like one of those times, when a sailor turns to his buddy and nods at the girl across the dance floor and says ‘See that girl? I’m gonna marry her someday.’ I was transfixed. I was mesmerized. I was in love.
“Not very romantic, I know. I was looking at a girl, dreaming about a life together, while wishing for another chance to the girl that left me. Like I said, a mess.
“But the first time I saw Lily Aldrin, I felt like the world made sense. I felt like the Universe was telling me to move on. I was right, in a way. But I was wrong in a better way.”
Lily’s eye twitched in anger, wishing she had thrown out the several board games her father had insisted she packed. She knew she was close to her dorms, she just knew it. But it might as well have been back in Brooklyn, for how far away it was. She awkwardly tried to sling her box of belongings to her hip, but that wasn’t going to work. She could barely see in front of her, and she didn’t really know how she made it this far, but Lily was feeling cautiously optimistic about her new life here. A new beginning.
And then she stumbled.
It wasn’t too serious – she quickly caught herself, and her box was mostly intact, but her radio, which had been sitting precariously on top, was the first, and only, thing to go. She winced as it fell off the smooth surface of the ‘hit’ board game Tijuana Slumlord, and she could do nothing but watch it fall. She closed her eyes before the impact, wincing before she even heard it.
Yet another reason to not even think about her father for the next four years.
“I think you dropped this.”
Lily blinked at the man in the passingly acceptable afro, holding up and inspecting her undamaged – well, not more damaged – stereo in his hands. “Though I’m not sure if you meant to drop it on purpose…”
She smiled at his joking manner. “Thanks. If you could just set that on top of my head, I’d really appreciate it.”
He gave a brief chuckle and, wordlessly, did exactly as she had requested. Ignoring her look of disbelief and dread, he gently took the box from her hands. “You have a wondrously flat head,” he mused.
“Is that your idea of a pickup line?” she asked astonishingly, taking the stereo back into her hands.
He shrugged, handling the box with ease. “I said it was wonderful.”
She laughed. She really liked this guy. “I’m Lily.”
“Ted,” he shifted the box in his grip. He could see why she had trouble with it. “I take it you’re going to your dorm?”
“I normally don’t tell men I don’t know where I live, but I think I’ll make an exception.”
“I wouldn’t,” he immediately told her, shaking his head. “But I’ve been told that I lean more towards – ” he nodded at the radio in her grasp, ” – Dobbler, than Dahmer.”
She was really starting to like this guy. “Oh, really? How much do you lean towards Dahmer? There’s gotta be a ratio.”
He shot her a goofy grin. “I might or might not want to steal your radio for a future romantic gesture. Also, I’m talking to a girl, so that’s a good start. Listen; this stuff is, like, really heavy, so can we walk and talk?”
The grin never left her face as she stepped in the direction of the building. “What are you listening to?” she questioned, seeing the headphones wrapped around his neck.
He sighed. “The bitter, lonely wailing of a depressed virgin and his poor attempt at a mating call.” Being terribly honest around pretty girls had both helped and hurt him before, but he felt that she wouldn’t judge him… too harshly.
“I’ve never heard someone singing in the shower before,” she commented, and Ted laughed. “Who’s it for?”
“My ex,” he admitted with a grimace. Completely missing the fact that he had never once called her an ex, despite their numerous breakups, he continued. “You know, making a mix tape isn’t as easy as everyone says it is. A lot of work goes into it. And then you have to record your voice over it, because the music is never enough, trust me.” He was rambling. She didn’t mind.
Until his words caught up with her. “Oh.” She looked downtrodden. “Well, um, good luck with your ex.”
‘Oh.‘ “Why would you wish that torment on me?” He gave her the most accusatory look, and the feelings of uneasiness melted away in her, he could tell. He smiled gently. “Yeah, in full disclosure, I did come out of a bad relationship, and I normally don’t say this to a girl, but try to ignore my desperate pickup lines. Just pay attention to the good ones.”
“Actually…” she hesitated. She wasn’t too keen on scaring this one off, but if he was going to be this open…”Well, I just got out of a bad relationship too. It was pretty serious, but not ‘mixtape’ serious.”
Ted sighed in relief. “I guess not everyone can be ‘mix tape’ special.” He eyed the tape in his hands. “Even if you want to believe they are.”
“Kids, don’t bring up serial killers the first time you meet. Or mix tapes. Or exes. Or thievery. Or compare their skull to a plateau. That is the first group of many rules your father violated.” She leaned over the office chair to kiss her husband on the cheek, wrapping her hands around his head as she looked at her children. “Luckily, someone didn’t give me that memo. Because that entire little moment was the exact moment I fell in love with your dad.”
Ted held up the album, Otis Redding’s The Dock of the Bay in his hands with reverence. “Wow,” he muttered to himself.
“Hm?” she muttered, half-listening. She was trying to find the plugs to her wall for her stereo, which, admittedly, won’t be played much, especially if her roommate assumes that it was the community stereo, and then she’d have to hide it if their tastes clash.
Ted put the CD back, biting the insides of his cheeks to contain his smile. One more check off the ‘Ted’s Perfect Woman’ checklist. And sure, she didn’t have a bass guitar, but he was starting to see an acoustic theme in the music she had. “So, my roommate thinks I’m the dean.”
She gave him a once-over. “I didn’t consider that. But I totally see it now!”
He eyed her over his spectacles, and she thought it was kinda hot, in a geeky way. “He threw his – ” Sandwich, kids. It was a sandwich. ” – right out the window. It was a hefty bag. I don’t even think he knew he did it. I mean, who does that? Where’s the first place you would hide it if the dean walked in your dorm?”
“Why would you hide a sandwich from a dean?” she asked, before –
– Older Lily stepped in. “It was a doobie, kids. God knows your room doesn’t exactly smell like peppered tomato slices and Philly cheese steak last time I checked. I think they can handle the evil things we did as kids, Ted. It’s harmless. Carrie can’t even understand what we’re talking about.”
“Fine, fine. It was weed. But in order for me to tell this, I’m going to have to censor myself every now and then. Gotta add some mystery to the illusion.”
Lily mumbled some affirmative, already heading towards the kitchen for actual sandwiches.
She knew it was going to be a long story. That’s just what she loved about her man.
“He’s already started?”
She looked over to her beautiful co-wife leaning against the oven, three massive paper bags filled with delicacies already in tow, and smiled in thanks. “You knew he couldn’t wait. He’s been building this conversation up in his head for years. He made pamphlets.”
“Why? He could’ve just written a book.”
Her eyes were suddenly in a panic. “Don’t let him hear you say that!” she whispered, grabbing her wife by the chin. “Do you realize how much I’ve tried to talk him down from that!”
Even between her delicate fingers, Robin’s smile was as radiant as ever, and contagious. Lily shook her head and turned away from her, her eyes settling on the other brunette in the room. “Do we have any champagne from the New Year’s Party?”
“I think Claudia drank the last of it,” She muttered. “Oh… wait, I think we have one more fresh bottle.”
“Three,” Robin’s eyes twinkled in the darkness of the kitchen area. “I might’ve hidden some away for a rainy day.”
“I guess a snow day counts,” Victoria agreed, straightening up and closing the fridge, leaving the only light source to the windows and the sitting area.
They all loved Ted dearly, but they knew they would need a few stronger drinks to wait until their own starring part in the story. Ted tended to… over-explain. It was kind of amazing, really.
Honestly, they all were truly looking forward to it. Ted also liked to romanticize and exaggerate certain precious moments in their lives, and they had a bet going to see who would let their emotions get the better of them first. All in good fun, of course. There wouldn’t be a dry eye by the end of it.
“You’re a life-saver,” Lily beamed, leaning in to kiss the sneaky brunette. “That’s everything?”
“For the first few hours,” Robin admitted, leaning back from the faux redhead to hand her a sack of sandwiches. “But once we hit day two, we might have to order some takeout.”
Victoria eyed the bottle in her hand warily. “Think all of us is gonna fit in here?”
Lily rolled her eyes. “He’s not that bad.”
Robin crossed her arms. “You’re pretty bad yourself, Lily. Sometimes you have to remember that you’re not teaching kindergarten anymore.”
The redhead’s eyes shifted. “Coming from the reporter.”
“Anchor,” she clarified with a grin. “And I’m told what to say. I can’t exactly say ‘This is Robin. Shit happened. Back to you!‘”
Victoria snorted. “You just said what a reporter would’ve said.”
“You get my point! Fine. Ted’s not that bad. But someone needs to make the calls for intermissions. Once Ted starts, he doesn’t stop.”
“This time, I made an exception.” It was a whisper, but they turned as one to the source. “Hi.” He let out a little wave. “Could you pack some water? A lot of it? Gonna be here a while, and I don’t want my throat to get parched.” He looked over to Robin at first, but slowly turned to Lily. “I want to keep my throat nice and moist.”
Lily winced, and shivered.
“There’s a cooler next to the sofa,” Ted continued, pushing open the door a little bit more. “Apparently, Robin had the same idea I had.”
“You took some champagne from the New Year’s Party, too?” Victoria asked her husband, perplexed. Why take all the drinks away from your own party? She’d have noticed if more than two bottles were missing.
“Oh, no. I just took one from Robin’s stash. You know, snow day and all.” He winked, and ducked out back to the living room.
Robin pinched the bridge of her nose. Victoria giggled. Lily took shaky legs forward.
“So, um…” Lily muttered, breathless. “Let’s… let’s go hear this incredible tale Teddy’s spinning.”
Her wives murmured in agreement, before following each other in the room, where Luke, Rose, Rey, Ben, Ted, and little Carrie sleeping in her father’s cradled arms, were all waiting for them.
It was a big couch, but they all managed to fit.
Ted swallowed nervously. He didn’t have a glass, but if he did, he’d give a toast.
The longest un-ironic toast ever. To Tracy.
He leaned forward in his swivel, re-positioning his little daughter’s head as she slumbered. “Kids, I think you need to know something about your old man. I wouldn’t be here without the help of four very important people in my life, and the life that we gave each other in the form of you guys: Lily, Robin, Victoria, and Tracy. They helped me even when I didn’t think I needed them. They molded me out of – whatever the hell I was, back then. It was something good, or so they told me. They made me a great man. Or – so they told me.”
His wives smiled fondly, and he cleared his throat with his free hand. “I’m telling you this because I will be skipping ahead. I don’t want to bore you too much with the details, but to say that Lily and I discovered ourselves as we traveled North America, is putting it lightly. Backpacking in the Alps, rock concerts in Asia, and of course, a certain mall tour in Canada. So, there might be some jumping around. Every moment had its significance, and every location had a memory. You don’t need to know about most of those but I’ll try to keep it all together. Feel free to ask questions.”
Lily stopped herself from squirming on the crowded four-seated sofa, sandwiched between her son, Ben, and Victoria. Ted wouldn’t in a million years talk about most of the fun they had in front of the children, but that didn’t stop her from remembering.
She caught Ted’s eyes, and they were never so hard in their intensity, before his irises flitted across the rest of his family with a smile.
“So, where was I? Oh, right. Ben and Rose, this is how I met your birth mother. And without her, I would have never met the incredible women I met, starting with Robin.” He met her eyes, and they shared a mischievous grin. “But we’ll get to that later. Back to the weed.”
Author’s Notes: This is the start of a new, drabble-ish adventure. Don’t expect it to be as long. Ironic, considering how long the show went.
I have Author’s notes on my blog, blog . rihaansfics . com, but you should know that I’m not sure whether I want this to be a shameless smut fic, or just a story that Ted will be happy in the end. Expect some smut, though, with a ton of story, because there are kids here, for God’s sake.
Either way, the smut version will be on rihaansfics dot com when those chapters come up. Just wanted to have some fun with the HIMYM cast. Logic may come and go, as well as the women that Ted and Lily meet.
Ted/Lily is very rare in this category, and I am very curious about that. In this world, Lily is Ted’s ‘Barney’, who embraces her curiosity, because she’s a closet freak in the show.
Yeah, okay, this may turn out to be a crackfic, but hey, that’s fanfiction. To me, anyways. This is probably my favorite sitcom of all time, so here’s my contribution.
A special thank you to my patrons – Alexander S, Matthew Morrison, Sisyphus, JSLIN, and AtomicStryker. $5 Pledge Commissions!