Neverland Complex

By Pepper's Ghost

Beta'd by koipoi45

Summary: Inspiration can come from the weirdest situations and people. Who knew getting barred from a carousel would prove to be so fruitful? Childhood will never be the same again. Historical!one shot.

A man on a bench is a lonely thing. He sits and watches his children go 'round and 'round on the park carousel without a care on the world. The bench is lonely. Painfully lonely. The man checks his watch and lights up a smoke. His girls still have four more cycles on the carousel to go before he had to end their bonding time and return home to the missus. The park is a nice one - sun shining, shady trees are picnicked under and an impromptu ball game had started up in the grassy area. Many benches surround the carousel but he is at one of the farther ones – close enough to see his kids' smile but far enough away that the mothers won't pry into him as they all cast their eyes at the carousel.

His survey of the surroundings was interrupted by a commotion as the carousel stopped to let on more children. A young man with golden blond hair was trying to board the carousel. He appeared to be wearing a leather jacket – looks like air force of some sort – a bomber jacket maybe? Soldier on leave in California perhaps? Who knows but it clashes awful with his suit making him look rather out of place. Doesn't matter anyway. The whole situation is ridiculous really. Doesn't he know carousels were for children only – unseemly for any adult to go on. If it weren't, he'd have been there with his kids…enjoying their company up close instead of watching from afar. The bench is too far away to hear the full of the commotion but the wind catches some of it – something about "children only" and a " weight limit" countered with a highly impassioned speech, by the looks of things, full of dramatic gestures punctuated by many a "free country" and " rode it before." It would be rather humorous if it weren't so pathetic. The other park-goers look on with an air of disgust and ridicule – they can hear the whole confrontation while only fragments get to the man on the bench. Many of the kids, including his own on the carousel are beginning to get antsy.

Eventually the disturbance is quelled and the young man slinks away dejectedly – right in the direction of the only semi-open bench in the park. He looked rather like a pathetic, kicked puppy, practically folding in on himself as he collapses to the bench next to the lonely man. He tries not to stare but the blond catches him. When it is clear that the original bench patron is not going to say anything the blond heaves a sigh and - much to the other's annoyance – began to speak.

"Is it wrong to want to have some fun? I mean anyone used to be able to ride the carousel on Coney Island. (Great, an East Coaster.) I don't understand what's so wrong with that?"

His queries were met with silence as the other opted to start a new cigarette.

"I don't understand why people are so against doing things together. I mean, look at you."

The other quirked an eyebrow at this; there was contempt in the gaze but only just. The man had just been kicked off a carousel after all and as such probably had a few screws loose or something.

"I bet you've got kids on there having so much fun and you're sitting here all by yourself, missing it all. Missing everything – all their laughs and smiles and memories. Some day out together – you're not even together. That's no good."

Ah, the truth hurts. How many outings has he spent on a bench similar to this one? Always watching, never to be together despite the intent of the outing. How there were no true places where all ages could have fun together. Wouldn't that be something. Sounds like the happiest place on earth to him. Oh, he'd better tune back in lest he appear anymore rode then he already is - fortunately the blond didn't notice his mental spinoff.

"Yanno, I really wanted to ride that carousel – not just for me but for you lot too." (Huh, that was a new one.) "I hoped that if they let me on the parents would be more willing to ride with their kids and have fun together." (That was surprisingly thoughtful for such a young man. Doubtful that it would have made a difference in anything but a good thought nonetheless.) After a pause of comfortable silence and watching the caracoled spin 'round and 'round some more the blond spoke again.

"Hey, I never asked you your name." (Earnest to bashful in 2 seconds.) The man on the bench had not realized this – despite the one-sided quality of the conversation he had become engaged in the exchange. It still didn't hurt to be careful but couldn't hurt that much. It wouldn't do to give the full name in case he really was a looney and because of who he was but it was the least he could do to the person who had so perfectly verbalized exactly what he had bee thinking about the whole outing. So, for the fist time he spoke.


"Well, I gotta go but it was great talking to you Walt. I hope that you'll find a place where you and your kids can have fun together. Heck if you can't find it don't let that stop you! If that happens, just go and build it yourself! Take the initiative and don't let these times of family and childhood pass you by."

And just as easy as he came the blond was off with a new spring in his step leaving Walter along to muse and watch his kids on the bench.

Many years later…

"To all who come to this happy place – Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives the fond memories of the past and here youth can savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the dreams, ideals, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world."

Walter E. Disney, July 17th, 1955

A/N: Disney lore states that Walt came up with the idea for all-inclusive place where the entire family could have fun together while sitting on a park bench watching his two girls ride a carousel. Naturally when I got a Hetalia plot bunny I had to weave the two together.

Disclaimer: What is this ownership that you speak of – America owns me if anything (in the most literal but non-creepy way possible of course).