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Fic - Meme Fill (de-aged!Neal, Halloween)
Matt TNH 1
I rather foolishly posted a meme while I was still mired in end of semester grading, in hopes that I would take a few breaks to do some writing. That was a few weeks ago? Well, my first fill is finally done, but it's ~1000 words and rather than break it up into several comments, I'm posting it here. The prompt was a fic about Halloween, in my de-aged!Neal 'verse.

It was quiet, Elizabeth noticed as she made her way back downstairs after her shower. Looking into the living room she saw Neal and Peter still on the sofa, but Neal was now slumped against Peter, having apparently fallen asleep despite the somewhat less then healthy amount of sugar he’d consumed. His hat and plastic pumpkin were on the table, which was also strewn with an assortment of candy. Peter – still wearing his own hat, along with the rest of his costume – had one arm around Neal’s shoulder. Elizabeth couldn’t help but smile at the picture they presented, especially after everything it had taken to get there…

One week ago
No matter how many times Neal managed to find some sort of de-aging object – and it was, really, a rather alarming number if she stopped to think about it – it was always just a little bit shocking to Elizabeth to see the child-sized version of her husband’s partner and CI. This time had been just that much harder when she and Peter had found out that it would be weeks (at the least), and not days, before they could expect to have adult Neal back. And while they could get away with a story about a visit from a home-schooled nephew whose parents had been in an unfortunate accident, they couldn’t rearrange their schedules enough that one of them was always home, and were ultimately faced with having to send the currently seven-year-old Neal to the local elementary school. Although she and Peter had been concerned – while Neal as a child was generally pretty easy going, there were landmines lurking under the surface – and Neal himself had been wary at first, things had gone surprisingly well. Neal at seven was still remarkably adept at fitting in, and was such a bright child that the schoolwork wasn’t a problem.  Things went so well, in fact, that Elizabeth had just about stopped waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop by the time she picked Neal up from school one day to find herself dealing with an unusually quiet little boy. She had enough experience with Neal at this age (and who ever thought she’d be thinking that) to be concerned. There was something underneath the quiet, the one-word answers to questions that would usually elicit a bout of excited storytelling. She also had enough experience with Neal at this age to be angry, once she’d coaxed it out of him what was the matter, at whoever and whatever had happened in Neal’s past that made him so reluctant to ask Peter and Elizabeth to get him a costume and take him trick or treating for Halloween.

Three days ago
Elizabeth had been relieved when she figured out that Neal’s unhappiness stemmed from hearing about his new friends’ plans for Halloween, even as it had made her feel a bone deep sadness that she carefully kept off her face as she assured Neal that of course he could go trick or treating. Her relief was shorter lived than expected, however, lasting until about twenty minutes into the costume shopping trip she took Neal on a few days later. She’d heard about how Patrick was going to be Iron Man, and Justin was going to be Spider Man, and so on, so she was surprised at Neal’s lack of enthusiasm as they made their way down the aisles of superhero costumes. Neal had been buzzing with energy when they’d left the house, talking excitedly about his day at school and peppering her with questions – Where were they going to shop for his costume? Could he maybe have one of those plastic pumpkins for his candy? Did she think grumpy Mr. Perkins down the street would answer the door if he went to his house? But while Neal’s eyes had gone wide at the sight of so many costumes, and he’d hadn’t even argued about holding her hand as they made their way through the store, Elizabeth had found him as uninterested in Captain America as he was in any of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A bit more fruitless searching later, she was about to suggest that they take a break, maybe get a snack, when she noticed Neal stealing a look at another rack, this one featuring fireman, policeman and doctor outfits. Elizabeth found herself wondering if Neal thought he was supposed to want to be a superhero – he certainly hadn’t given Elizabeth any idea that he had another choice in mind. After a bit of gentle coaxing, he admitted that he wanted to be, “an FBI agent, like Peter,” which was both heartwarming for Elizabeth (and she could picture the look on Peter’s face when he found out) and disappointing for Neal, who was dejected to discover that the store didn’t have an FBI costume. Elizabeth went into damage control mode then, first explaining to Neal that he could get a suit and tie to wear and they could make him an FBI badge (he wasn’t convinced that he would “look right”) and then hitting on the idea of Neal and Peter going together as something “kind of like an FBI agent.” Under other circumstances, that would maybe have been policemen, but with Neal’s history Elizabeth was reluctant to go down that road, even if they didn’t always know how much of his original childhood Neal consciously remembered when he turned into a child now. Then a costume on the next rack over had caught her eye…and to her great relief, Neal’s face lit up at the suggestion.

Elizabeth was still smiling as she recalled Neal’s animated retelling of his trick or treating adventures. Mr. Perkins, it turned out, not only answered the door, but was giving out both Reese’s peanut butter cups and Twizzlers.  Making her way quietly into the living room, Elizabeth leaned down to drop a kiss on Peter’s forehead and gently ruffle Neal’s hair, and she was still smiling as she pulled back and just watched them for a moment, her steadfast sheriff and his deputy.

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Drat you for distracting me from writing! But this was a lovely, heart-warming distraction and just what I needed. Elizabeth comes up with the perfect solution to Neal's costume dilemma, and Peter is there to help make it happen. (Maybe Neal keeps finding these de-aging items on purpose, just for a chance to relive his childhood in a better situation . . . .)

Great job!

Bwahahaha. Distracting meme fill is distracting. :)

Seriously, though, thank you for the lovely feedback.

And the kid!Neal fic I have been thinking about writing? I keep thinking that Neal might actually be intending to de-age in that one. We shall see.

Thank you, thank you and thank you again - this is my reward for plowing through all of the RBB entries and making the Round One master list.

Like all of the stories in this 'verse, it's sweet without being treacly, it warms my heart but makes me a little sad at the same time, too.

Thank you again, it was very well worth the wait.

Thank *you*, and apologies for the delayed reply.

This is really great feedback, and I'm glad that this 'verse works for you and strikes a balance with the hurt & the warmth. That's really what I'm going for, so it's good to hear.

And you are very welcome.


Glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Aw, this sweet and lovely and just that little bit sad. ♥

Thanks for the feedback. And yes, I think it *is* sweet and a bit sad. I feel like my de-aged Neal's adventures usually have a bit of the bittersweet to them - glad to hear it works. Thanks again for commenting.

Awww – So cute, Peter and Neal as sheriff and deputy – makes me smile.

Thanks for sharing!

You're welcome!

Thanks for reading & commenting.

Oh that was so SWEET. Love the reveal of their costumes - The Steadfast Sheriff and his Deputy. : ) : )

Thanks! So glad you enjoyed it.

Aww, I have such weakness for de-aged!Neal ♥ This is both so lovely and a bit heartbreaking, all those little clues about Neal's childhood not being the greatest. But it warms my heart that at least now, whenever he's a kid again, he has the perfect life with Peter and El :D

I share your weakness for de-aged!Neal. I was sort of surprised the first time I wrote kid!Neal fic, but it's a 'verse I keep coming back to. And I'm so glad that you found this a bit heartbreaking but also heartwarming in the end - that's a dynamic that I think runs through my de-aged!Neal fic, and I'm glad it works for you.

Jigged my memory of Neal holding up his cereal Sheriff badge in Vital Signs. (and Matt's picture dressed as Woody from Toy Story for Halloween). Loved your solution to FBI/policeman as Sheriff and deputy..Blackmail pictures for sure!

Absolutely love de-aged!Neal fics! This one was delightful. Neal and Peter, partners as always.

Aww Peter and Neal as the steadfast Shriff and Deputy it made me feel warm all over

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