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Norman was exhausted. Between his schoolwork and the upkeep of the motel, he had depleted all of his energy reserves. Not that the motel was sold out, but there was a decent amount of guests and, since he had gotten into yet another argument with his mother at the beginning of the day and they hadn't made up yet, every task seemed just a tad heavier than it should be. He hated it.

He decided it was better to get some sleep right away and hope the world didn't come to an end during the night, before he could get the chance to talk to Norma and make things better. Norman entered his bedroom and closed the door. He took out his jacket ready to give himself up to Morpheus, but what he saw made his sleepiness disappear.

"Hi Norman" She said.

"Mother"

His breathing became shallow. Mother looked heavenly in her white and blue dress, sitting on the edge of his bed. Her lips were softer than usual, and there was a hint of something different in her eyes - Fear? Concern? Anger? - but that only made her more beautiful to him. Norman kneeled in front of his sweet vision, cupped her face between his hands and kissed her.

"Honey, what are you doing?" Mother asked, pushing him away, and he noticed her eyes were open like plates.

"It's ok," he replied, taking her chin in his hand, "I don’t care that you're not real. You have the dress on, after all." He kissed her again, "but this is the only way I can have you like this," and again, "tell you how much I love you," and again, "that you're the most beautiful woman in the world," and again.

He gently pushed Mother down and turned his attention to her neck, while his hand caressed her inner thigh. She drew shallow breaths and whispered his name, but as his fingers wandered upwards and his lips downwards, she sat down abruptly and wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Baby," she said, her voice and expression softer than before, "check under the mattress."

"What?"

"Under the mattress. Take a look, Norman"

Being the dutiful boy he was, he did as she wished. He took a look on both sides of his bed and, after an increasingly frantic search, realization hit him.

"Fuck."

-----------------

“S’up, Norma?” Dylan said, “ I got here and I heard some fuss, just needed to see you guys are ok."

Norman watched horrified as his brother and mother interacted. She quickly pressed him against herself, sensing his discomfort. "Hi Dylan, we're just talking here. We would like to-"

"Yeah sure," Dylan said. "Got it" and he cast one last wary glance at them as he closed the door.

For a moment, Norma and Norman held each other in silence: neither of them dared to look at the other or be the first to talk. Norma was in shock. She was going to scold her son for stealing her dress, and why? To be in drag? To keep some sort of dark, twisted memento? She was prepared for everything, from yet another fight to yelling and crying, to even a civilized conversation and a hug.

This, however, was the one thing she had no words for. She was not ready for this avalanche of emotion, for his touch and affection. Norma was not prepared for the truth. She wanted him to stop, yet she wanted him to go on at the same time, and it rendered her paralyzed. Where did that come from?

Norman was the one who broke the silence.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Mother"

She backed away just a little, just enough to look at him in the eye.

"Is that why you took the dress?" She asked him, "to tell the difference between me and... that other... thing, in your head?"

"Yes, mother"

"Do you see her often?"

"...Yes. All the time."

"Is she the one who… who tells you to..."

"She's the one who does it. Or you? I don’t know, I really don’t"

She didn't know how to respond to that. She thought his hallucinations were random, and he was as likely to see her as he was to see Dylan, or Emma, or the guy from the laundr-o-matic. But a whole fake version of herself? That talked to him, and made him do things? And he... let... her? He couldn't even tell the difference? Something dark rose within her.

"I'm so sorry, Mother" Norman repeated, "I never meant to hurt you"

Norma took her son’s hand and put it on her cheek. “I’m your mother, honey. The real one” she kissed his palm and guided it along her face, “can you feel the difference?” A tear slided down her cheek. Against his better judgement, Norman kissed it away.

"Touch me, Norman" she said, “Feel me. I love you. Don’t be scared honey, it's Ok. It’s Ok."

Comforted by his Norma, he picked up where he left off. Norman resumed his journey down her cleavage and up her skirt, and sucked on her breasts, while his hand gave her pleasure. It reminded her of a long time ago, when he was a baby and she would look for somewhere private to feed him so people wouldn’t see that she enjoyed it just a little too much.

He finally slid into her, and they looked at each other. They were thinking the same: So this is what making love feels like. They had to be as quiet as possible: they couldn’t wake Dylan up; otherwise he might have seen them and misread the situation. So every promise, every sweet nothing had to be whispered, or simply understood between them. Not that it was a problem.

Not an inch of skin was left unkissed, no void unfilled. When it was over, they had learned each other by heart with every single one of their senses and then some. Norma made sure of that. No one would EVER take her baby away from her, let alone some imaginary impostor.

They were exhausted.

"I love you, Mother," Norman said, as he drifted into sleep.

"I love you too, Norman"

He closed his eyes and pulled his mother closer, who was already fast asleep, still with a hint of a smile on her face.