from Ethan's perspective than Norm's, this time, almost a partner fic to the last - This is kind of picking up after the events of my last fanfic, although i dont think its a big deal if you didnt read it. Rofl

there is bondage here-, but it's corny XD. and completely consensual, i might add.

if it helps, there is more porn in this than the last one :| i am so bad at writing porn aasldslfsdds.

hehe, i'm sorry if the writing in norm's accent is distracting. _; but it's too cute to resist.



Things always turned out differently than he expected.

Course, you could take that many different ways. If Ethan was asked if things turned out differently than he'd expected back when he'd first started thinking serious thoughts about his high-school sweetheart, Grace - yeah, of course. Differently than he'd thought when Jason Mars had been born? Very different. The course had pretty much deviated drastically from anything he could have expected, the day he'd woken up from a six-month coma to find he hadn't been able to save his son when he'd jumped for him; the day he'd learned that, instead of a loving family of three to go back home to, what he had woken up to was a shell-shocked son, a distant wife, and a small headstone in the children's plot of the cemetery.

A far cry from anything he could have expected, at age eighteen, age twenty, age twenty-five.

There had been plenty of other unexpected turns in his life, too. Not so many really worth mention, although his involvement with the Origami Killer case had been one of the bigger ones, right there next to Jason's death - but the circumstance now which had come as a slow surprise to him was regarding his relationship with that certain FBI agent he'd slept with not long after that case had been closed.

True, he hadn't really been expecting anything in particular when that happened, to begin with. Even when Jayden had told him he should expect to see him again - tentatively, to develop some sort of relationship with him, if not any sort of normal one, considering his gender, his occupation, and so on - Ethan hadn't really expected one way or another to see or not see him this point in his life, after everything, he had kind of grown not to expect too many good things to happen to him.

What ended up being the case was that their relationship was not quite a steady thing - about what he had expected - but at that, had been much less sexual than their first encounters had set as precedent, which it turned out...a little odd, for Ethan.

Ethan wasn't, had never been, the sort for one-night stands - he still wouldn't be able to guess what had led him to sleep with Agent Jayden that rainy afternoon that he first had. Loneliness could drive a man to plenty of things, but that just wasn't how Ethan operated; he took his relationships very seriously, and because of that had avoided making any since the first real loss in his life - Jason, followed by Grace. All he could try to do from those was make sure the one relationship he really had left - with Shaun - didn't fail, didn't suffer any more than it already had.

He would have said that the relationship with Norman had come at him accidentally - but he'd let it happen, he'd hoped on it, even though he knew better than to expect good things. It was good because it was so abnormal, and that was different for Ethan, who'd his whole life been the guy who did everything in such an absurdly expected way. The career, the relationship, the family, the perfect guy with a perfect mix of maturity and youthfulness -

Well, normalcy had fucked him over, twice, thrice, four times, five times, and more - once bitten, twice shy, as they say.

He had allowed - not necessarily liked - the situation with Norman to happen. It was so odd, so out of the blue - he couldn't have expected anything out of it if he'd tried, and he liked that. It didn't fill him with excitement, or anything, but there was a sort of peace to being in a relationship where all he really felt was a wish to see the other man again, and talk to him, possibly. Not being plagued by expecting him home, or worrying about how work is going, or figuring out what the plans are for dinner...

Not being plagued by is he going to die too? Is he going to die because of me?

No, not at all. As far as Ethan was concerned, Norman was his friend, and someone he could fall into bed with, at both their benefit. Mutually beneficial. Mutually non-detrimental. And non-binding.

He told himself there was nothing empty about it.

It was mid-March, now, about half a year since Scott Sheppard's death; about the same since Ethan had first started seeing Norman, if you could call it that. Ethan never contacted him; it was Norman who came to him, usually finding him once every two or three weeks, without prompting. Ethan would have thought it was completely unplanned if not for the fact it always happened while Shaun was in Grace's custody. Norman always seemed to know. He'd never contacted him while Shaun was under his watch.

March 20th, he got that familiar phone-call. Day before spring. It was snowing hard, out.

"Mars speaking."

"...Ethan, it's me."

"Oh, Norman?" Ethan greeted, "Hi. How have you been?" It had been a long time since last time...Norman had mentioned something about a new involved case, something he'd have to be focusing completely on. Maybe it had ended, maybe not. He had mentioned it, after all, but Ethan wasn't making a point of being aware of Norman's would be ridiculous to start expecting him at certain times, wouldn't you know.

Norman seemed to be smiling on the other end of the line. "You didn't know it was me?"

"There's no Caller ID on my home phone," Ethan explained, squinting down at it. Sure enough. "Most people just call my cell." He didn't have many people in his life to call him, though. Grace had been the one with aunts, uncles, brothers, a sister. Ethan was an only child, with only-child parents. For a man who loved family so much, he had very little of his own...

"I did call your cell. Didn't ansah."

Ethan looked down at his pocket, smacked it on reflex, then smacked the opposite; his phone was there. He pulled it out. "Ah, hey. Looks like I left it off."

"There ya go," Norman chuckled. Ethan didn't think about it too hard; he smiled. He did give him that warm feeling. Only so many casual flings who'd try two phones to reach you.

"It's cold as hell," Norman griped, rubbing his hands together. He was sitting in on one of the couches set up in Ethan's apartment, in that partially hunched I'm-cold way of his. Ethan hadn't yet interacted with him during warm months, so this was the only way he was used to seeing him.

"Warming up a bit, though, isn't it?" Ethan said, from the kitchen area across the apartment. (It was all technically one big room, here.) He'd just turned on the coffee machine; not at Norman's request, but out of knowing that was what he liked to drink. They'd done this enough times for him to know that much.

"Not enough for me," Norman muttered, glancing at his jacket folded over the back of the couch - longingly, almost. His eyes drifted across the room to Ethan; he was barely aware of the news on in the background, on the television. "Hey..."

Ethan came back to the sitting area, sat on the couch next to Norman. He looked at him, thought about kissing him, but decided not to. There was a time for everything, with this odd relationship of theirs - but generally, they talked. Just talked, just like friends - had actually become friends after all this time, in a way. More friends than lovers, in Ethan's mind. But it wasn't friends with benefits either - that was a pretty nasty idea, in his opinion...too callous for what he and Norman had.

"How's that case been?" he questioned, finally, a hint of curiosity there, a hint of concern. "Finished up?" Norman usually came to see him after he'd finished working through a case or two or three, depending on the involvement.

Norman smiled a little, that way he did when he was being open, but careful. A twitch of one side of his mouth; a defocusing of his eyes. The slightest cautious squint, there. Norman might have the eye for detail in a situation, but ARI had made him lazy to visual subtleties. Ethan, however, was an artist. Without knowing it, he had committed Norman's micro-expressions to memory.


"Ah," Ethan interrupted, shifting; not toward Norman, nor away. "Forget I asked. Didn't mean to stress you out - I just thought, since you usually..."

Norman reclined back. "Usually seeya after a case is closed out? Yeah," he said, understanding. "Yeah, I guess you'd wonder."

Ethan rubbed his hands anxiously over his thighs, looking away for a second.

"Ehneway," Norman continued, with an appealing smile. "I could give you an explanation for that, if you're innarested," he offered. He seemed to be having an easy time being open about this, Ethan noted, but there was something else there he wasn't so sure about.

"Interested in your case?" Ethan questioned, dubious. "Errr...yeah, of course." But he'd never really talked about cases with him before, except in In-Retrospect kinds of ways.

That anxious squint in Norman's eyes was back, but his smile lingered.

Ethan understood, now, a little.

Why this visit felt different than the others. Why it hadn't lived up to his expectations, exactly.

Rather than coming to him out of just a desire to see Ethan and relax with him - like he had every other time - it seemed Norman had come to him more out of a need for something, something he seemed to think Ethan could give him.

"Evrehthin'," Norman breathed out, laid out on Ethan's bed, just relaxing there. Like some client in a psych office, something Ethan was too familiar with. "It's just become too much. I haven't been able ta focus, Ethan. Ah...I'm gettin' nowhere. Am I losin' it...? Maybe I've just forgotten stuff I used to know?"

He was stressed out about a case, Ethan thought to himself, sitting in an armchair near his bed. It was his bed, and by all means, that was his bedpartner - but he didn't feel like he had the freedom to join him on the bed, right now. He wasn't sure what to do about this. He wanted to help. He really did. But he hadn't expected - expected - to have been called upon for this kind of support.


"There's just a lotta details around me," Norman muttered, folding his arms up, covering his face with his hands and focusing, stiffing his jaw, like he was looking into ARI through his palms. He was silent for a long moment, and Ethan said nothing. "Christ. And a clues file as thick as five encyclahpedias."

"Sounds like you need to step back," Ethan offered.

"Mmm, I'm tryin'," Norman murmured thoughtfully, pulling his hands down from his face and squinting at Ethan's ceiling, smacking his lips soundlessly; force of habit. Ethan had turned the heat up in the apartment just a bit earlier, knowing how Norman liked his environment to be...Norman had just noticed that. "But the furtha away I try ta get, well...just seems like every clue is even more in my face. And I don't understand any of it. Ahhh, Christ..."

Norman yawned, into his fist, and relaxed a little, crossing his ankles, jiggling a socked foot (he wouldn't get on Ethan's bed with his shoes on, of course). He looked comfortable enough, there, but Ethan could see the tension in his jaw, in his brow. And the sunken look about his eyes. He was great at playing it casual, but Ethan had too little else to focus on in his life, unlike Norman. When Shaun wasn't around, his eyes zeroed in on the detail of mundane things or anything more interesting he could find...and he could see Norman was seeking - and unable to find - some sort of mental rest.

"You care a lot about your cases, huh?" Ethan noted, resting his cheek against his fist, eyeing Norman with a vague smile.

"Pff," Norman said.

"You're still innarested in doin' this?" Norman murmured, into Ethan's lips, shifting into the hand the older man slid over his side. He brought a hand up to Ethan's neck, grasping the back of it, firmly, cautiously, and closed his eyes.

"You profile for a living," Ethan breathed, distractedly, tugging Norman's belt free of its loop, free of his pants. He laid open-mouthed kisses over Norman's throat as the skin was offered; Norman had tipped his head back. "You should have figured me out by now."

"I try not to take the fun outta things," Norman said, and Ethan couldn't help but wonder - wonder hard - at all that he wasn't telling him, there. At everything he knew about Ethan, when Ethan himself would rather not look into himself and see that, a non-salvageable shell of a man that Mr. twenty-something Ethan somewhere inside him would be driven to insanity over.

He bit hard at the skin before Norman's shoulder, sucked at his skin.

"Fuck, Ethan."

Oh, god, he was a mess. Such a fucking mess inside.

Ethan drove his helplessness away, drove his energy outward. He had a willing subject in bed with him, and he took that rage, replaced it with that care for another human being that he always seemed able to come up with, even with as lonely as he'd lived for so long.

Ethan may have needed something to place in his empty life, but Norman...

He needed to experience that. Not emptiness; solace. Focus. Escape. Ethan had learned a little bit about this man in their half-year of semi-knowing each other. He didn't know too much about it, but he was aware of that fake-reality glasses thing or whatever, that kept Norman's mind nearly always loaded to its capacity. And he could understand that. It was a tool of the utmost efficiency, but it seemed to have a price, seemed to take a toll on him, emotionally, mentally.

Mr. Details, he saw it between the lines. In Norman's voice. His face, in what he'd been saying. Ethan could mourn his own state in life and all he'd been through as long as he liked, but at heart he was a man focused on the people around him.

"Tell me if this is uncomfortable," Ethan said, softly, tugging on Norman's belt.

Which was, by the way, tied tightly around Norman's wrists, holding them together behind his back. Norman was bent awkwardly on the bed, but his expression was calm...almost sleepy. Ethan smiled a little at the look.

"Mm...s'fine..." Norman said. "Dunno what's got into you, though." Just for a second, his lips spread over his teeth, a youthful grin. He let out a quiet laugh, shifted his arms uncomfortably. That was bound to be uncomfortable. He was holding his weight on his head and shoulders against the bed.

Ethan leaned over him, kissed his sharply-jutting shoulderblade. "Here's a clue," he told him, aware of the irony in that one: "Don't think about anything. Anything," he stressed.

"Ahh..." Norman said.

"Just feel, Norman."

"Ha, ha." Norman took in a sharp breath, tugged at the wrists tied by his belt. "Actually, I'm havin' a hard time breathin' at this angle..."

Ethan mumbled an apology. He's never done this before.

Norman got turned over onto his back, and even though his hands were now trapped under him at just as odd of an angle, he seemed to have less complaint about that. "I deal with this shit on the job more than anyone should," he noted, stretching his upper body. "Trust me, this is about as comf'table as it gets."

"Stop thinking about your job," Ethan grinned. The things this guy said...

Norman grinned back.

"C'mon, Ethan. Do this propahly. Just bein' tied up is old hat to me, y'know?"

Give a guy a break. When you have someone you're that attracted to tied up on your bed, telling you to do more, you do more.

Ethan kept his focus; he didn't want to overdo it, but he did want to make this good for him.

Norman had opted for a more comfortable position for his arms, and Ethan had complied - gotten Norman's wrists tied to the headboard above him instead of under him, for his trouble (some bondage master, Ethan). And his tie - tied around his eyes. Clothes? Long gone.

Ethan wasn't much for stuff that was too weird, but he could admit this looked good.

Norman smacked his lips silently, again, and then wet them a little. "Umm..."

Ethan would have laughed, before, but right now he was a little more in the mood, and he just hummed deeply before leaning over him, kissing his lips lightly.

"Don't think," he reminded.

"Fedral Bureau of Investahgation," Norman quipped, breathless. "You really think that's possible for me? Jus' don't think? Not at all?" He laughed, but it was cut short by a firm kiss that he couldn't see coming. He couldn't help that, it seemed; he moaned lowly into Ethan's lips.

"Think about me, if you have to," Ethan told him, quietly.

"I will be," Norman said, and Ethan could see the fabric of his tie shift over his eyes; he was smiling for real, there.

Ethan didn't let him keep his attitude long; it didn't bother him, but the disbelief there, the not-taking-it-serious - well, that was Norm's personality, but Ethan thought at least he could prove to Norman that there was something to be said for coming to Ethan for help. (God, he hoped so.) He distracted him by pressing kisses over his chest, descending; not very fast at all.

"Ooh..." Norman licked his lips, again. His stomach stayed tense; his body was lifted just an inch off the bed, raised to Ethan's touch. "Ah, shit," he panted, head falling back a little. All Ethan was doing was kissing him, but -

He was kissing way too lightly, softly, right over the tense muscle of his abdomen, making him shift in frustration. He was doing a good job of distracting Norman from casework, Jesus...


"Mmm." Down to the skin just above his navel, and Norman felt the barest scrape of Ethan's teeth against the skin. Norman jerked, barely.

"Christ, are you gonna torture me?" he muttered. This was five times worse when he couldn't see.

"No." Another scrape of teeth, this time over his hipbone.

"You are," Norman panted. Fuck, he definitely was. Norman was - uh, well, hard as a fuckin' rock; right there, no underwear, no clothes. Ethan was avoiding him where he needed to be touched. "I won't be able to stop thinkin' until you - ah," he hissed.

Ethan kissed up the underside of him, tugged on that sensitive skin with his teeth without warning.


"Mm," Ethan replied the same way, doing it again, relishing the way Norman's hips jerked up into him, the way he tried to press himself into his face. Must feel weird; at this time of night, Ethan had rough stubble around his jaw.

Norman let out a sigh of pleasure, feeling Ethan go down on him. His wrists twisted, tied above him; his head jerked, a little, down. He wanted to touch and look at him.

I wonder, Ethan thought, gagging a little when Norman bucked up into his mouth; he brought his hands to Norman's hips, braced him down hard, and then really worked at it, a shiver running down his spine at the half-choked groan that escaped Norman's throat. He can't think I'd do this for just anyone. Christ.

Finding himself in gray area now, not sure what he felt about this guy, after all. Plenty of clues there, probably, but Ethan - this guy just didn't look inward.

Norman, being the one tied up and blindfolded, with Ethan's two fingers inside him, was not in the position of power here.

And yet he'd still managed to turn that on Ethan, in the middle of the act. He managed to make this about Ethan, somehow.

"Y'know what?" he panted, shifting his hips into Ethan's fingers. "I mean, uh, y'wanna know somethin'?"

"Go ahead," Ethan said, eyes fixed on Norman's face, even though that was the least of his concerns right now, physically. He wished he could see his eyes, though.

"Y'can't really - ah...ahhhh..."

Ethan had sensed a smart remark coming, and he knew Norman was probably going to be right about whatever he said. Got him back before he could do it; fingertips crooking just a bit over the right place inside him, the spot he knew broke Norman down. And yeah, he knew how to tease.

"Ethan, come on - shit. Oh, shit. That's good."

"You were saying?" Ethan murmured, easing off, not giving him more, and smiling a little at the way Norman tried to move back into that. But in one more second...

"Oh, I ah ah," Norman panted. "Was gonnah ah ahshitEthanfuckstop," he growled.

Ethan smiled again. He'd let him talk this time.

"I was just gonna tell you," Norman said, frustrated, skin flushed. "That I'm not thinkin' about my job, right now."

"Hmmm..." Ethan said, smile lingering.

"I'm, profilin' you, Mista Mars," Norman said smartly, even cocking his head a bit. "And I know what you're tryina do."

"Help you not think about your case?" Ethan murmured, rocking his fingers into him at a steadier, gentler pace, enjoying how Norman's hips met the movement.

"That part was abvious," Norman replied.

"Mm." Smart-aleck. Ethan's fingers brushed hard into that sweet spot. Norman bent up sharply, moaned, like a fuckin' pro.

"No," Norman panted.

"No more?" Ethan paused the movement.

"Yes more."

"Then, why 'no'?" Continued again, getting Norman to bend his head back, neck going at this really perfect angle.

"No, as in, no, that's not what I was talkin' about."

Ethan eyed him curiously, feeling just a bit uncomfortable.

"Fill me in, Norm."

"Tryin' to pretend you don't really care about me, Mars, is what I meant."

Ethan could deal with that later. He sped up the movement of his fingers, didn't let Norman pause to speak one more time, not one more time, not between jerking into him and choking on his breath and letting out sounds of pleasure or frustration.

That shit you don't want to think about can really be undermined by something intensely nice. Oh, and yeah - intensely nice was the wording for it. The way Norman had stayed tense and fought the sensations right through it; his wrists jerking constantly against the belt restraining them, the way his head tossed so hard at Ethan fucking him that the tie came loose from around his eyes and just sort of drooped down over his nose. The yell he let out of Ethan's name, and his body twisting under Ethan's as he came.

"You invited me inta your home anytime I called," Norman said, into the back of Ethan's neck. Norman was now untied and unblindfolded, hugging an uncharacteristically quiet Ethan from behind. "You like talkin' to me, don't you? And always givin' me that look like you're worried about me, or somethin'. And this..."

"I' that," Ethan muttered, lamely.

"You got a lotta love in you to give, is all," Norman told him, sleepily. "I'm not as dense as I seem, Ethan."

"Plenty dense enough," Ethan said, but he wasn't talking about Norman.

Is he really okay with this? Ethan thought miserably, somehow unable to feel happy about Norman knowing him on that level, knowing his uncomfortable tendency to be Too Serious about any relationships he made.

Morning, now, Ethan was in the kitchen, cleaning the counter for lack of something else to do. Norman was still here. Asleep, in his bed, in the other room. Not a new situation, itself, but...

An hour later, after the sound of the shower going on and off had passed, after Ethan had been sitting quietly on his couch watching television for some time and listened unwillingly to the sound of Norman moving around in his room - Norman came out, fresh and clean, dressed in his suit, his belt now kinked permanently in certain places but otherwise looped in his pants properly. (Tie wasn't on, though. It had gotten sweaty, Norman was going to wash it.)

"There you are," Norman said wryly, unresponsive to the grave look on Ethan's face. "Hey, listen, I have to go."

"Yeah," Ethan sighed.


Ethan looked over at him, doubt and uncertainty in his expression, and Norman seemed to falter just a bit, concerned. He walked over and sat on the couch next to Ethan, put a hand on his shoulder.

"Are you all right?"

"Ahh...yes," Ethan offered.

Norman kissed him, lightly. "Don't worry so much, if you can help it. Nothin's really changed, y'know? This, all this - it means more t'me than you think, same as you."

Ethan lowered his head into his hands, rubbing his face tensely. " did this happen? I mean, this just doesn't make sense - this, between us, it can't work. It, er, there's no way it can...two men, and I don't even know - and I have a son," he rambled.

Norman was silent for a long time, lips twitching a few times, as he thought.

He got up, let out a breath. It took Ethan a second to look up at him, but he met his eyes.

"Ethan, you've got my number. You oughta phone me sometime, you know."

Ethan shook his head. It was true that he never had. Always Norman who called him.

"Ethan, it's okay to have needs of your own," Norman reminded gently. "I'll see you around..."

Ethan shook his head again, the same dumb gesture. But Norman was already gone by the time he made it, and he got to his feet, feeling unsteady; he grasped his head, took a deep breath. Some of the tension in his chest was gone, at least...

What was he dealing with? He didn't know.

He definitely had never expected this to happen, that was for fucking sure.

One step at a time, he told himself. Do I really want this?

Whatever this was. He didn't know, because he was no longer in the habit of having expectations. He didn't expect this not to turn out to be a disaster. He didn't expect he would really ever care about Norman all that much. He didn't expect to feel good, someday, about himself, about his capacity to be with someone and not ruin them the way he'd always done in the past. And he didn't expect he could really be happy again, someday, the way Mr. twenty-something Ethan inside had always expected, not really.

Except, he did.