The next morning, Barney woke up to the sound of a nurse coming in his room to change the bedding on the bed beside him. She apologized to him when she saw that she had disturbed him. As she was about to leave once she had finished, Barney slowly sat up and pulled his legs out from under the covers in order to move them to the side of his bed as he asked her to send the doctor to his room so that he could check out.
His doctor came to his room a few minutes later and asked, "Good morning, Mr. Stinson. The nurse has informed me that you want to check out. I don't think that is very smart as I can see that you're still in pain.
Barney winced as he stiffly stood up on the ground and replied, "The pain isn't bad. All I need is this sling for my arm."
"The pain in your arm isn't what I was necessarily referring to," the man responded. "How's your head?"
"The headache is still there," Barney answered. "I would suspect that's normal after getting shot there though. I can handle it. Can you please bring my release papers so that I can go?"
The doctor nodded as he pulled something out from his coat pocket and replied, "I have them here. You're probably going to needing your wallet though. Unfortunately, your ID, credit cards, and any cash you had are all missing. This was all the police gave to me to give back to you. Do you have somewhere to go? Did your friends explain where you live to you?"
Barney looked through his wallet as he responded, "I'll be all right. Thank you for everything."
"You're welcome," the doctor said. "Good luck to you."
The doctor left his room as Barney made a call to a number he found tucked inside his wallet for a ride, slowly got dressed, and then filled out the proper medical forms. Once he was finished, he left the hospital and waited outside for what he expected was a taxi. However, a few minutes later, a black car pulled up and an Indian man stepped out, who swiftly strode over to Barney.
"Hello Barney!" the man spoke up. "It is so good to see you again. I am glad you are well."
Barney stared at the man as he replied, "I'm afraid I don't remember who you are. Are we friends?"
The man smiled as he answered, "Oh yes! Our friends said that you lost your memories. I came to visit you once before you awoke. I am so sorry. My name is Ranjit and I drive for this car service, but if you ever need me to take you somewhere, day or night, I am yours."
"Thank you," Barney responded as he pulled out a key card from his wallet and showed it to Ranjit. "Can you take me here?"
"Of course," Ranjit replied. "Let us go."
I was sitting on my couch, while putting on my shoes, when a knock came at my door. A second later, Robin, Marshall, and Lily walked in, but I quickly stood as I finished and the four of us walked out of my apartment together and hailed a taxi to head for the hospital to see Barney. However, as we pulled up in the parking lot about twenty-five minutes later, we saw Barney speaking with Ranjit and watched as he got inside the car.
I turned to look at my friends as I asked, "Where on earth is Barney going? He should still be recovering."
Marshall answered, "Apparently he didn't think so, but you're right to ask about where he's going. He doesn't know where he or any of the rest of us lives."
"We need you to follow that car and do not lose it, please," I said to our driver as we watched Ranjit drive off. "We need to know where Barney's going."
"What could we have possibly said that upset him this much?" Lily asked to no one in particular. "Why would he leave without speaking to us first?"
I responded, "We'll ask him what's going on when we confront him."
When Ranjit's car finally stopped fifteen minutes later, we watched as Barney got out, thanked Ranjit, and then walk inside a hotel. I paid our driver and then each of us followed after Barney. He entered into a hotel room, but before he could close the door behind him, we ran over and shoved our way inside.
Barney quickly asked, "How… what are you doing here?"
"The question is, what are you doing here?" Lily retorted as the rest of us looked around the room. "You should be recovering in the hospital and if you didn't want to do that, you should have waited until we came to visit you today so that we could take you home. Why did you come here?"
"I found a key card in my wallet that the police returned to the hospital for me," Barney answered. "There was no ID, no other addresses, and it appears that a lot of, what I am assuming are my things, are here. Do you know why that is?"
I looked at the others and then back at Barney as I replied, "Because you were in the process of moving before everything happened. Listen Barney, did we say something that hurt you last night? Whatever it was, we didn't mean to."
Barney looked away and then took a seat on the bed as he responded, "You guys didn't say or do anything to offend me last night. It was just a lot to take in."
"Barney, you can tell us if we did do something wrong and you can ask us anything you want to know," Robin said as she sat down on the bed beside him and placed her hand over his free one.
"We can only imagine how hard this must be for you," Lily added.
Barney looked away as he pulled his hand out from under Robin's and placed it up against the side of his head and closed his eyes. Robin quickly put her hands into Barney's coat pocket and pulled out a medicine bottle that the doctor had given him for his pain. Marshall went into the bathroom to get him a glass of water to help him to wash it down, as Robin handed him two of the pills to take.
Once he finished doing so, he looked up at Marshall and then over at Robin, who was still sitting beside him, and said, "Thank you, both of you."
I moved closer as I asked softly, "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine," Barney answered. "The doctor said that the pain wouldn't completely disappear for awhile, but I'll be all right. I must have a thick head."
"Barney, please tell us what's bothering you," I pleaded as Robin once again took his hand in her own. "We know something's wrong."
Barney finally looked back at us, stood up, and replied, "I promise you it has nothing to do with anything you've said. Not about yourselves. You guys are great. It's just what you said about me. Why are we even friends? I sound like a terrible person; from the way I treat you and the way I treat women? I can't believe I'm like that and you guys are still here."
As I realized what he was saying and thought about the things we told him last night, each of us finally understood and I responded, "Barney, we're friends because you're a great friend to us. We didn't realize last night that the stories we shared with you made you come off like an egotistical, unfeeling jerk. Believe, that's not who you really are."
"That's right," Marshall continued. "You're an awesome guy. You make us laugh, you live life colorfully, and you've taught us how to live life too. You've taught us so much. I mean…"
"What these guys are trying to say, is that on the outside, you act like the class clown and though you sometimes appear to be a bit full of yourself and unfeeling, the truth is deep down you're the opposite and you hide behind this mask because you're so afraid of being hurt," Lily said as she cut Marshall off. "From time to time, you allow the good side of you to show and that is why we care about you. You are a good man. We can't begin to thank you for some of the things you've done for us."
Barney scoffed as he asked, "What kinds of things could I possibly have done that means so much to you?"
Robin stood up in front of him and as she looked into his eyes, she answered, "Four years ago, I was about to be deported back to Canada unless I could find a job in my chosen field and when I and everyone else were about to say goodbye after failing over and over to do so, you had fought to get me the job I needed. You made it possible for me to stay."
"Last year, I was in a rut and feeling miserable because I had not accomplished anything that I was proud of," I cut in. "I was teaching about architecture, but what I really wanted was to be one and thanks to you fighting me to take a job, I am now designing the new building for Goliath National Bank. I'm the youngest architect to ever build a skyscraper here in New York City."
"And years ago when Marshall and I were engaged, I got scared and I ran off to San Francisco to try to live a dream that wasn't meant to be," Lily continued. "I was miserable there, but I didn't come back because I was ashamed of what I had done. Then, you suddenly showed up one day and convinced me to come home and that Marshall and I were meant to be together. You made me realize what I really wanted and you even bought me my plane ticket home.
Marshall finally spoke as he replied, "If it weren't for you, Lily and I would not be married now, we wouldn't be having this baby, and we wouldn't be so happy."
Robin looked at Barney again as tears formed in her eyes and said, "Your Peter Pan complex is only a part of you, but so is the side we've all just described and we love you for all of it."
"I just wish I could remember," Barney responded sadly. "Can you guys take me home?"