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Boundaries crossed and beards contemplated

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Title: Boundaries crossed and beards contemplated
Author: ballroom_pink
Word count: I can't find the word count button in TextEdit
Rating: PG.
Disclaimer: If I owned this show, I'd be the happiest lady in the world! But I don't, thus my sadness.
Timeline: Post 4x14

Ben’s mom sends photos of him as a kid. He is dressed as Abe Lincoln.

Author’s Note: I can't remember if I requested the prompt that “Ben’s mom sends photos of him as a kid. He is dressed as Abe Lincoln." for our Galentines Day lovefest or for Presidents Day, but I did ask americnxidiot and the next day I was equally overcome with my own plot and the thought that she was overwhelmed with other requests that she might not use it anyway. Well, she did and I just love it so much. And so between the time I prompted this ficlet and the time it was posted, I had written something and had been bugging the patient and ever helpful saucydiva with the first draft of my own attempt at the prompt. I've only written three other stories, so I was in desperate need of editing and direction and I want to thank saucydiva so much.

Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012
2:30 p.m.

Ben Wyatt receives a care package from his mother, Evelyn. In it are the following: a metal container of her famous chocolate chocolate cookies [note to self: have at least one before sharing with Leslie, April and Andy]; two jars of rhubarb freezer jam; some ties from Penneys; a maroon cardigan; and several photographs of himself throughout the years (photos he assumes she has duplicates of). The photographs are of him at his junior high graduation; his first day of school — kindergarten, junior high, high school and, yes, even college; the Halloween he dressed up as E.T.; a Thanksgiving at a grandmother's house; his brother John's wedding; his prom photo — the one that was used in People magazine; and one of him at age 8 dressed up as Abraham Lincoln.

This last photo displays a shrimpy Benji Wyatt wearing a stovepipe hat made of black construction paper, a beard made of felt (as much as he could remember) and a black sports jacket with a green and blue plaid shirt poking through. He both cringes and smiles at the image, the way one does when they are reminded of a time when they were truly happy and innocent and not at all aware that they were a major nerd. All the students in his second grade — or was it third? — class dressed up as Lincoln for some Presidents Day school pageant and he remembers making the hat and beard in class and taking extra care to get it right since this was a pageant honoring Honest Abe. He took American history and government seriously even then.

He puts the jam jars in the freezer and takes the cookies — one makes it to his mouth — and photographs back to his room naively assuming that his roommates wouldn't snoop and find them.

Friday, Feb. 17, 2012
11:18 a.m.

Ben returns home from a run to the printers with a handful of Knope 2012 yard signs and places them in his room. Though his room is still the only place in the house that could be deemed "tidy," he can sense someone has been in there.

In the time he has known and lived with April and Andy he has learned a few things: Andy knew no boundaries when food was involved, April knew no boundaries. If April was stealthy, leaving no fingerprints or signs of entrance, then Andy was the exact opposite. He leaves behind dollops of food — chips, Nutella, pepperonis, one time he left a half-empty beer can on Ben's desk in exchange for package of Triscuits. So sometimes there are clear signs that something in his room has been "borrowed" (Andy will use this word even if it describes food) or "stolen" (Ben will use this word), and other times there are not.

He scans the room and spies a red fingerprint on his otherwise spotless white closet doors. Despite the jam being in the freezer, and it being rhubarb and completely distasteful to anyone not born in Minnesota, this arouses his suspicions and he checks his mother's care package that looks undisturbed on his desk. The cardboard box is folded exactly how he left it but still he opens it. Ben is far from shocked to find that the tin of cookies is missing but he is actually surprised to see the Abe photograph gone as well.

Checking the closet first, Ben scans to see if April placed the photo in any the pockets of his blazers. Or worse, if she crushed the cookies in the pockets. Luckily, Ben knows that Andy would not let her waste a cookie in such a way.

Ben runs to the living room, scouring it for the photograph. He looks underneath the XBox set-up and all the Frisbees in the room — a total of 9 — and does not find it. He even checks Champion's mouth. He ponders entering April and Andy's room but then a cold chill travels down his spine and he decides against it.

He decides to take a more active approach to this situation and gets in his Saturn and makes a beeline for Pawnee City Hall. He walks as calmly as possible to the Parks Dept. where he sees two things — Andy leaning back in a chair at the table and eating the cookies in a most delicate fashion and April showing off the photograph to Leslie.

"Dude, these cookies are amazing!" Andy declares, grinning at Ben, taking absolutely no notice of Ben's patented look of irritation.

Jerry walks by to retrieve one for himself and Ben lightly slaps his hand and takes the metal container away from Andy.

"Damn it, Jerry," he snaps but then feeling bad adds, "you shouldn't ... with your diabetes."

"Thanks, Ben for ... caring, that means a lot ..."

If Jerry says anything else, Ben doesn't hear it because he's already in Leslie's office giving a stare-down to April until she begrudgingly returns the photo. She gives him a look that maybe a four-year-old would use to get out of trouble. It isn't working on Ben.

"Ah, Ben. This photo is so adorable," Leslie says with those brilliantly blue eyes looking up at him.

"Yeah, Ben, it's adorable," April says mockingly.

"Well, I was going to show it to you. The thing is," Ben says still glaring at April who refuses to acknowledge him now. "I live with two very inconsiderate people, you may have met them." At that moment, April is finding something on her sleeve extremely fascinating.

"Oh, don't get too mad," Leslie replies as she makes her way from behind her desk to give him a hug and kiss. And since it's Ben, one kiss does not suffice. She runs her fingers through his hair while he pulls on the lapels of her blazer after dropping the photo on her desk.

"Gross," April declares as she sulks back to her desk.

"Don't mind April, she's just jealous that her man doesn't honor our nation's presidents like mine."

"Thanks," Ben blushes a bit knowing very well that this is a turn-on for his girlfriend.

And then they make out some more before Tom comes in and calls them both nerds.

Friday, Feb. 17, 2012
9:37 p.m.

Ben spends the night at Leslie's and shares the remainder of the cookies (two) and shows her the other photos.

After a considerable amount of time spent looking at a young Benji Wyatt, Leslie produces photo encased in a protective cardboard cover from a box underneath her coffee table. She hands it to Ben while she smiles eagerly awaiting his reaction.

Ben returns her smile with his own, the photograph is just about the most adorable thing he's ever seen, and he dates Leslie Knope so he's had a lot of experience with that adjective. It's a photograph of Leslie dressed up as Abraham Lincoln.

They then make out for some time, only taking a break when Leslie whispers into his ear, "Ben, you'd look really cute with a beard. ... But I don't know about how I'd feel about having to kiss you with one. ... I wonder how Mary Todd Lincoln felt about Abe's?"

Years later, those two photos were framed side-by-side above the fireplace. And one year, a photo of the Pawnee Rangers and Goddesses dressed as Honest Abe was added. One of those Goddesses was their daughter, Ellie.
Current Location:
Current Mood:
nerdy nerdy
Current Music:
Stay With Me - No
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On March 13th, 2012 02:52 am (UTC), sullen_aquarian commented:
Thanks to this story, I want a Halloween episode next season and I want Ben and Leslie dressed as Abe Lincoln in it.

And awww, the end!
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On March 13th, 2012 05:37 am (UTC), ballroom_pink replied:
I demand it!
If they had a kid, that kid would either be dressed as a Harry Potter character, someone from Star Wars or a president.
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On March 13th, 2012 02:42 pm (UTC), stillscape replied:
Or Batman.

Either way, it would be adorable, and have great hair.
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On March 13th, 2012 03:38 pm (UTC), ballroom_pink replied:
The greatest hair. I know Ben's hair is amazing. But Leslie's hair is spectacular.
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On March 13th, 2012 03:30 am (UTC), beetsbearsbsg commented:
"Damn it, Jerry," he snaps but then feeling bad adds, "you shouldn't ... with your diabetes."

"Thanks, Ben for ... caring, that means a lot ..."

That made me laugh out loud. Aww Jerry.

This was a really cute story. There is something about looking at baby photos of a SO that seems really intimate and personal.

I like how you described Ben looking over his photo as Abe Lincoln with half a smile, half a cringe. That description is accurate. That is exactly what I do when looking at photos of myself as a kid ( because you know, stuffing pillows in your pants to make your butt look huge was just comedy gold as a 6 yr old).
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On March 13th, 2012 05:37 am (UTC), ballroom_pink replied:
Really? That's awfully nice of you to say.

There's a certain period in my elementary school photos where I have the worst hairdo in the world. I simply didn't care back then. It's equally admirable and embarrassing.
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On March 13th, 2012 03:43 am (UTC), stillscape commented:
Aww, two Abe Lincolns making out. This was really cute.
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On March 13th, 2012 05:35 am (UTC), ballroom_pink replied:
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On March 13th, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC), saucydiva commented:
I'm so glad you published this! I have been looking forward to it for a while now. I think you have an excellent handle on the characters, especially your descriptions of April and Andy. The line you quoted in your lj-cut (Andy knew no boundaries when food was involved, April knew no boundaries.) is amazing and fits them both to a t. Also, love the title you went with; it's just fantastic.
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On March 15th, 2012 03:54 pm (UTC), ballroom_pink replied:
The title sounds like it could be the title of a kink though. That line didn't make an impression on me until you said something. Thanks.
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On March 15th, 2012 02:56 pm (UTC), rikyl commented:
Aw, this is really cute! I'm glad you shared it.
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On March 15th, 2012 03:54 pm (UTC), ballroom_pink replied:
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On March 16th, 2012 02:41 am (UTC), craponaspatula replied:
This is SO CUTE. I love that their daughter is the exact same kind of nerd as her parents.
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On March 19th, 2012 10:06 pm (UTC), americnxidiot commented:
"Damn it, Jerry," he snaps but then feeling bad adds, "you shouldn't ... with your diabetes."

Excellent. And Jerry's "Thank you for caring" lmao. And I love your Andy and your April and the way this is split out over a day and a half, and that last paragraph is so precious, and yes. You should write more fic.
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