|Trope · Genre|
|See Also:||crack fic|
|Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom|
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De-Aging is a story trope where adult characters are turned back into children or younger adults. The transformation can be fully physical and mental. It can also be a physical transformation that leaves the adult mind in a younger body; or the opposite, where the mind is reverted to a child-like state, but the body remains as is.
It is a popular genre in fandoms that allow for magic such as Harry Potter or have wacky science fiction technology that writers can use in lieu of a magic wand. De-aging can be written as humor, even crackfic, or as h/c, forcing characters to take care of each other. The story can also be a serious examination of changed power dynamics in the character's relationships.
In some fandoms, de-aging of certain characters to a younger adult or teenager is used to explore the sexual dynamics of a pairing where a perceived age gap now exists. It can also be used as a way to write underage stories that aren't "really" underage. In SGA fandom, photos and film clips from David Hewlett's days as an attractive younger actor contributed to the popularity of de-aged Rodney McKay stories.
In stories where only the character's mind is affected, the trope can come perilously close to AU stories that depict real mental disability with all the risks of ableism that comes with that territory. (See Disability fic for more details.)
De-aging is the opposite of aging characters up.
De-aging in Canon
- In the fifth season Supernatural episode "Meat Swap," Sam Winchester was bodyswapped with a young teenage boy. Sam had to interact with the boy's family as a teenager in a teenage body, and the boy pretended to be Sam in an example of aging up.
- In the seventh season Stargate SG-1 episode "Fragile Balance," the Asgard clone Jack O'Neill and create a teenage Jack with all the adult Jack's knowledge and memories. The character has gone on to star in many, many fanworks.
- In the fifth season SGA episode "The Shrine," Rodney McKay experiences a Pegasus disease called Second Childhood. The resulting mental deterioration to a child-like state seemed intended to resemble real conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
- In several episodes of Quantum Leap, Dr. Sam Beckett "leaps" into the body of a child, and must discover and fix whatever the problem is while facing a child's lack of attention and respect from the people around him.
- In the Young Justice comic series #51, Anita Fite's parents are de-aged to infancy and she takes custody of them.
- In the sixth season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Rascals," Captain Picard, Ensign Ro, Guinan, and Keiko O'Brien are turned into 12-year-olds by a transporter accident.
- The Child Within Us - from Star Trek:TOS, one of the earliest examples of the genre in any fandom (1981) (also listed below under Fanzines)
- Snips 'n' Snails series (Dong Bang Shin Ki)
- Morning Shows The Day (or, Iruka and Kakashi's Excellent Adventure) by AvocadoLove (Naruto, KakaIru)
- Responsibilities (the “You’ve Got to be Kidding Me” remix) by tucuxi (Naruto, Kakairu). A fic remix of fanart by jofelly, written for the KakaIru Fest.
- Return to Innocence by Mona Pulsipher: In it, Starsky's mind reverts to that of a five-year old. (Starsky & Hutch)
- Morning finds you still warm and breathing by sirona (Hawaii 5-0)
- Something Wicked by Mary K. (Magnificent 7 ATF universe)
- Dvel A'ri by TeaOli (Star Trek (2009))
- A Nick In Time by Tira Nog -- perhaps the best known of the huge number of Harry Potter examples
- there's a lot in Supernatural -- we need an example
- there's a lot in Sentinel, mostly Jim Ellison de-aged -- we need an example
Thematic lists for de-aging fic
- De-aged Harry (Harry Potter)
- De-aged Severus (Harry Potter)
- HP De-Aging stories (Harry Potter)
- SGA De-aging stories (Stargate Atlantis)
- De-aged Jack O'Neill (Stargate SG-1)
- De-aged Starsky and Hutch (Starsky & Hutch)
- Age Regression tag on Archive of Our Own.
Zines focused on De-Aging
- Little Daniel (SG-1)
- Little Stargate (SG-1)
- Wayward Son (SG-1)
- The Child Within Us (Star Trek: TOS) (1981)
- Healing (Sentinel)