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Small Changes


"It's Carter, going for the layup. He shoots, he scores! Carter saves the game and the Bulls win!" Nick announced his moves as he shot hoops in the back lot of the hotel.

Besides singing, Nick's other goal in life was to be an NBA player on the Chicago Bulls basketball team. He spent what little free time he had shooting baskets with the portable backboard they took along on tour or when he was home during downtime you would be able to find him shooting in his driveway.

"Yo, Nick-kay," AJ called out from the hotel window. Nick winced when he heard the name 'Nick-kay', he hated that more than anything and AJ knew it. "Hey, they're ready for you, hurry up!"

Nick aimed the ball for one last shot and was startled by AJ yelling at him again. Nick watched the ball sweep over the backboard. He slowly walked over and retrieved the ball and dribbled it as he walked back into the hotel.

Brian could hear a reapeated "thud" sound in the hallway, so he knew that Nick would be coming through the door at any moment.

When Nick entered the room, he found all the guys were already positioned in front of the camera. The photographer took one look at Nick and shook his head in disgust.

"What! Hey, what did I do wrong now?" Nick asked defensively.

"You're sweating and you look like shit." AJ replied flatly.

Nick's eyes narrowed at AJ. As he opened his mouth to reply to AJ's remark, Kevin clipped him off.

"Nick, just sit where the open spot it so this shoot can be finished, please?" Kevin begged as he gestured to the open stool that was situated between Howie and Brian.

As Nick went past AJ on his way to his assigned seat, he intentionally bumped up against him, knocking his glasses off.

An angry AJ grabbed one of Nick's legs, causing Nick to fall against Brian which in turn caused a chain reaction of Brian falling backwards into the canvas backdrop and taking it down with him.

"Oh, and thank you very much!" The photographer hissed. He started packing his camera and equipment up. "No fee is worth this type of crap."

Nick looked at the photographer and shrugged his shoulders. He personally didn't care if he had his picture taken, he figured there were already plenty going around.

As soon as the photographer left the hotel room, Nick scooped up the basketball and headed towards the door.

"Nick, is this all you're planning on doing with your downtime today, shoot baskets?" Kevin asked.

Nick spun the ball in his index finger. "Yup." He opened the door and walked out into the hallway, starting to dribble the ball once again on the carpet.

As Nick stepped outside, the sunlight caught a shiny object that was resting along the fence. He stopped and picked it up. Examining it, Nick determined it was a shiny medallion, it looked to him like a petrified shark's tooth. He stuck the medallion in his front pocket and temporarily forgot about it.

After an hour of shooting baskets, Nick was joined by Brian. Their intense playing was interrupted by the chiming of an ice cream truk rounding the corner. Nick threw the basketball down and called out to Brian over his shoulder. "Race ya."

Brian took off and the two of them ran towards the street, only to be beaten by the neighbor area kids ranging in ages of six to twelve. Pretty soon, Brian and Nick were surrounded by kids and they literally stood above them, waiting for ice cream.

Nick was shocked when Brian told the group of kids that he would treat all of them to ice cream. Brian was always such a tight wad with cash.

Seeing the shocked look on Nick's face, Brian responded. "Hey, what can I say? I have a soft heart when it comes to kids, and I'll buy your ice cream too, Nick."

Licking his lips, Nick was deciding what he was going to ask for. Brian could see the wheels turing so he quickly added, "One item, Nick."

nick squinted his eyes in a reply and then asked for a drumstick.

As they walked back towards the lot, Brian kept commenting on how cute those kids were.

"Yeah, they really have the world at their hands, don't they Bri? No cares or concerns. God, to just be a ten year old or even a six year old again would be cool. Everything is done for you, you never have to worry about anything." Nick commented. "Yeah, I wish I were 12 again, that was a fun age!"

*~*~*~*~*


After dinner, the guys returned to the hotel. Nick was happy this time around as the room assignments gave him a room to himself.

"I'd really love to hang aound, people, but I want to go to bed and enjoy the peace and quiet of my own room tonight," Nick announced while they were standing in the lobby signing a few autographs from some of the hotel guests. "See ya in the morning."

Nick quickly left and and hurried up to the 6th floor. Sliding his card into the slot, he opened the door and took in the peacefulness of a hotel room to himself. He threw himself across the bed, picked up the remote and started channel surfing.

Bored with that after ten minutes, Nick picked up his laptop computer and plugged it into the phone jack. He decided to check out some chat rooms and see what was going on in there. He felt reasonably comfortable in doing that tonight since Brian wasn't around to watch him. Brian had a total dislike for chatrooms and online conversations. He told Nick time after time that it would only lead to him getting upset and needing Brian to pick up the pieces.

Nick entered a room with an online name "thechosenone". He was immediately hit with the a/s/l question.

"20/m/fl." Nick typed in the answer and hit enter. After that, he mentally reprimanded himself. 'God, Nick, talk about being a little obvious.'

Next came "where in florida?"

Again, without thinking, Nick typed out "Tampa" and hit enter.

Pretty soon, several IM's were being sent to him. One person questioned him. "Are you Nick Carter?"

'Okay, now I'm gonna be smart,' Nick told himself. "No, my name is Norman," Nick typed out.

After a few minutes of arguing with the online chatters, Nick finally agreed, "Yeah, okay, I'm Nick Carter," he typed.

"No you're not!" princess69 typed back.

"Yes, I am!" Nick typed in reply.

"call me then at 941-864-2343 and prove it," princess69 demanded.

"Ok, fine, I will." Nick typed out and grabbed his cell phone. He carefully followed the number on the screen and dialed.

"Hello?" A quiet, female voice answered the phone.

"Princess69?" Nick asked hesitantly.

"Yeah and who's this?" the girl's voice countered.

"It's me, Nick Carter." Nick replied.

"Oh, boy, yeah, sure!" Princess69 laughed into her phone. "You're nothing but a poser. Get a life you loser!"

Before Nick could respond, he heard the distinct click of a phone being hung up followed by a dial tone.

Disgusted with the whole experience, Nick disconnected the laptop and slammed the cover down.

"I guess I'll just go to bed then."

Nick got his pajamas on and slid into bed.

*~*~*~*


The alarm sounded off precisely at 6:30 am, the time that Nick had set it for. He quickly reached out from under the blankets and slapped the button down to silence the alarm.

Nick laid in bed for a moment, running the days upcoming events through his head. He stretched and then climbed out of bed. When he stood up, his boxers fell down onto the floor.

"What the f---" Nick stopped in midsentance. the voice coming out of his mouth sounded wierd. He bent over quickly and grabbed the boxers and was preparing to pull them up when he noticed something wrong, dead wrong.

He rushed to the mirror in the bathroom. Looking back at him was himself, but only himself when he was around thirteen years old.

Nick's mouth dropped open. "Holy shit! God, what do I do now?" Grabbing onto the boxers, Nick walked back into the room and picked up the phone and dialed Brian's room number.

"...yeah." AJ answered, obviously annoyed at the fact that someone distrubed him from a sound sleep.

"AJ, it's me, Nick, get Brian." Nick begged into the receiver.

"Nick? Yeah, right." AJ replied and hung the phone up.

Nick dialed the number again.

"Don't hang up AJ, it's me I need----" Nick wasn't able to finish the sentenance. AJ slammed the phone down. The next time Nick tried the number, he was met with a busy signal.

"That asshole took the phone off the hook." Nick mumbled to himself.

Nick walked over to his suitcase. He grabbed a t-shirt and put it on. The shirt hung loosely and part way to the floor.

"Oh, god, this is just great!" Nick exclaimed when he realized that this would be the best he could do for himself at the present time. "Where's AC when I need him?" Nick thought out loud thinking he could have used his little brother's clothes right about now.

He walked out of his hotel room and into the hall, setting off towards Brian and AJ's room, three doors down. Nick walked up to the door and started banging his fists against the door.

After a few minutes of pounding, the door suddenly swung open, Nick nearly hitting AJ in the stomach.

"Kid, get the fuck out of here before I call hotel security." AJ yelled at Nick.

"No, AJ, wait, it's me, Nick! You gotta believe me!" Nick pleaded with a sleepy AJ.

AJ laughed in response. "yeah, you do look twenty to me. Do yourself a favor kid, go home before you get into trouble, okay and you'd better dress before you roam the halls, indecent exposure, ya know. And with that, the door was slammed in Nick's face.

'What can I do now?' Nick thought to himself. He walked back towards his room. When he got to the door, a sick feeling went through his body as Nick realized he forgot to brig his key with him. "Kevin, I'll go to Kevin."

Nick pounded on Kevin and Howie's door for several minutes. No one answered. He reluctantly slid down the wall next to Brian and AJ' room, to sit and wait. Nick folded his arms across his knees and put his head down.

Suddenly, Nick felt a gentle touch on his head. He looked up into Leighanne Wallace's eyes.

"What's wrong, sweetheart?" Leighanne asked Nick.

'Oh, thank god, Lee, she can help me.' "I got locked out of my room." Nick started out.

"Aww, you poor thing." Leighanne held out her hand Nick. "Come with me and we'll call your parents from Brian's room, okay?"

'Yes!' Nick thought to himself. He could finally get in to Brian and convince him of the problem.

When Leighanne knocked on the door to Brian and AJ's room, Nick stood beside her, his hand in hers. Nick was momentarily set back when AJ answered the door. He rushed past him into the room and jumped on Brian's bed.

"Hey! Kid, I thought I told you to beat it!" AJ yelled after Nick.

Leighanne looked at AJ, puzzled. "What's going on?"

"This kid called our room about three times this morning and said he was Nick and then he comes down here and knocks on the door." AJ sputtered.

"It's true, I'm Nick," Nick protested as he sat back and watched Brian sit up in bed.

"No you're not, you're some 12 year old brat with some type of mental disorder," AJ countered.

"I wish," Nick cried out. Thoughts ran through his mind as to how he could prove it was him.

After several long minutes of trying to convince everyone in the room of who he was, Nick reluctantly decided it wasn't going to happen. Trying to buy time until he could figure out what happened to him and how to convince them that it was him, Nick had an idea.

"My parents went out site seeing for the day today, that's how come I got locked out of my room. They won't be back until tomorrow," Nick lied.

"What kind of parent leaves their---" AJ was stopped short of finishing the sentence by Brian's stern look.

"We'll make the best of it for you. You can stay with us until your parents return tomorrow." Brian suggested.

"Oh, that's just great, a kid to hand around in our room," AJ sputtered.

"Go bunk with Nick then." Brian shot back.

"Oh, like that's any better?" AJ asked.

As Brian was opening his mouth to reply, Leighanne interrupted. "Guys, he can stay with me."

Nick's mouth was still hanging open in shock as he was still trying to figure out why AJ wouldn't want to bunk in his room.

"It's settled then. He'll stay with Lee," Brian stated. He looked over at Nick sitting on the bed. "By the way, what is your name, we can't keep calling you kid."

"It's Nick."

Nick searched the faces of everyone in the room. The only offbeat look he got was from AJ's face which consisted of a smirk.

Leighanne sat down next to Nick on the bed. "Let's see, I think you're about a size 16 slim, and a medium shirt. I'll go to that one store up the road and pick you up something so you'll at least have something to wear."

Brian handed Leighanne some money and kissed her before she left the hotel room. AJ mumbled something about getting coffee and followed Leighanne out the door.

After they left, Brian walked over to the table and sat down. "So, Nick, do you like to play video games?"

Nick shrugged his shoulders and then nodded. He was thinking of what he could do to prove to Brian who he was.

"My friend Nick does too."

"I got it!" Nick thought to himself. "Hey, Brian, could you pull out your comp, I want to show you something."

Brian looked puzzled at the blonde haired boy. How did he know he had a computer? He complied with Nick's wishes and produced his laptop computer and set it in front of the child.

Nick wasted no time in hooking the computer up and signing in online under his own name and password. Brian didn't tie it in at all.

Nick surfed to a Nick Carter website that would be bound to have pictures of him at the age he was currently stuck at. He came to a page where there were several photos of himself at ages eleven through 13.

"Hey Brian, I want to show you something to prove to you who I am," Nick said as he turned the laptop towards Brian.

Brian looked at the computer screen with the images of Nick at the young ages.

"Boy you sure do have a stiking resemblence to my friend Nick," was all that Brian said.

Feeling defeated, Nick could feel the tears forming in his eyes. He blinked repeatidly to try to prevent them from spilling over.

Brian saw the boy getting upset and put his hand on Nick's back. "Are you getting homesick for your folks?"

Nick shook his head quickly. His eyes fell onto the icon on the screen of the yellow AOL messenger. He quickly clicked onto it, making sure Brian was watching. Nick knew Brian's screen name and he also knew the password. When the screen flashed up as him being logged onto the messenger, Brian realized that something was definately wrong.

"How'd you do that?"

"I've been telling you over and over, it's me Nick!"

"I know, a boy named Nick..."

"Nick Carter, it's me Brian! Please you gotta believe me!"

Shocked, Brian sank back into the chair. "But how? How did this happen?"

"I dunno, all I know is I'm 13 and it sucks," Nick sputtered.

"Think Nick, was it something that you ate or did?" Brian was grasping for clues that put Nick into this predicament.

Nick stared at the computer screen for a minute, trying to figure out what went wrong. "Hey, I remember when we got that ice cream, we were talking about how cool it would be to be a kid their age because of no worries and stuff."

Brian shook his head. "No, that wouldn't do it, I mean, I'm still normal."

Nick had a smile play across his lips.

"I mean I haven't changed!" Brian jumped in quickly to prevent Nick from making a comment about him being normal. "Think Nick. It's gotta be something you ate or touched."

"Oh my god, it couldn't be that!"

"Be what? Tell me!" Brian urged.

"I found this cool looking petrified shark tooth along the fence. I picked it up and put it in my pocket when I went back out with the ball after the photo deal," Nick recalled.

"It has to be! Where is it?" Brian asked excitedly.

Nick sighed. "In my pants pocket, on the floor, in my hotel room that I can't get into."

"I can get into the room. I'll just go down to the front desk," Brian replied.

*~*~*~*


"Nick! Brian! Where's little Nick at?" Leighanne asked as she returned to the hotel room with bags in hand.

Brian laughed. "Little Nick? Oh, his parents returned and took him home."

"Darn, I had some adorable outfits for Nick. He would have looked so cute!"

Brian smirked at Nick. "I bet he would have, honey."

A shrill scream echoed out in the hallway followed by sobs from a man. Brian and Nick jumped up and ran to the door.

Looking out into the hall, they found AJ, down on his knees, backed up against a wall.

"AJ? What's wrong?" Brian asked.

Nick was started to bust out in laughter. Brian whipped around and glared at Nick. "Nick, what did you do?"

"Just a little, teeny wish," Nick snickered.

"What kind of a wish? What did you do to AJ?"

"Hey, he was nasty to me when I was a little kid, I figured AJ needed an experience to humble himself," Nick pointed out.

Brian turned his attention back to AJ. His mouth dropped open when AJ removed his cowboy hat to reveal a shiney head.

"How the hell did this happen?" AJ demaned.

"Too many dye jobs?" Nick replied and doubled over laughing.

The End

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