They had spent the whole day filming, Mark’s new ideas and plans for his channel to incorporate more silly videos once again in full swing. They ended up filming two games of CAH, a new Markiplier Makes, and even a versus video with Mark and Tyler pitted against Ethan and Amy. Needless to say, Ethan and Amy won, and the two were perfectly happy to gloat about it.
“Alright, alright, yeah, yeah, yeah,” Mark waved them off, getting to his feet. “You’d lose too if you had Tyler on your team.”
“Oh, you know it’s true!” Mark ruffled his hair, ignoring the glare sent his way. “How about us losers buy pizza?”
“Pizza!” came the chorus from Ethan, Amy, and Kathryn.
Ethan was the last one Mark needed to drop off after dinner, the youngest sitting in the front seat chatting animatedly as they approached his apartment. As they pulled up, Ethan grabbed his back pack and slung it over his shoulder, grabbed the box of extra pizza he needed to take with him, and struggled to get the door open and climb out of the car. Mark watched him try to pile his mail on top of the box as he opened the box, and he just sighed and took his keys from his car, hopping out to help.
“Here, give me that,” Mark said exasperatedly, reaching for the mail.
“What? No, no, I’ve got it,” Ethan said, readjusting everything.
“Come on, just give it. What, you got a subscription to a fun magazine in this pile or something?” Mark teased, taking the pile that was nothing more than a few bills, a church ad, and a small bubble mailer.
Ethan blushed and shook his head, grabbing his keys from his pocket. “No, shut up!” he said as the pair headed for his house. He hadn’t anticipated Mark coming in with him, which just made his excitement for what was in the bubble mailer die instantly, the happy feeling replaced with fear. As they got to Ethan’s door, he whipped around to face Mark. “Alright, thanks! I’ve got it, just put my mail on top!”
“Dude, what’s your problem this evening?” Mark asked, and Ethan could only shake his head and try to suppress his blush. “C’mon, I gotta piss now, anyway, I’ll be outta your hair in five minutes.”
Ethan groaned, knowing there was no way out of this. “Fine, OK, alright,” he mumbled, fumbling with the key and opening his door. “You know where the bathroom is…” Mark quickly deposited the mail on the kitchen counter and bolted toward the bathroom, and Ethan could only snicker and shake his head. But, as the door slammed shut, he glanced down at the bubble mailer on the top of the pile. He was lucky the package was turned so Mark couldn’t read the return address, read the name of the paci shop he’d ordered from…
Yes, paci. Pacifier. Ethan’s ears burned as he picked up the package and scanned it over. It was his first custom paci, and he’d been waiting for four weeks to get it. In fact, he’d planned to spend the whole evening regressed when it came in, but it seemed that plan would be soiled, now. Mark had taken to overly protecting him, coming over to his apartment to check on him far more often than normal and helping Ethan with things when he noticed him struggling. Granted, Ethan normally started to struggle with things when he felt small suddenly, so he appreciated the help then. With the way Mark was treating him, more than once Ethan had thought that perhaps he would make a good caregiver…
That thought was quickly dispelled, and Ethan instead focused his attention on the package in his hand. He had a minute before Mark came out, so it wouldn’t hurt to take a peak, right? Before he could talk himself out of it, Ethan found himself cutting the package open and pulling out his paci, a wide smile spreading across his face. It was perfect. The pacifier itself was solid black but the shield was covered in blue gems and had a red-and-black game controller charm right in the middle. The handle had the same blue gems between letter beads that spelled out his name, and it was just too incredible and so worth the wait. Just holding the paci made him feel small, and Ethan desperately wanted to regress, pop the paci in, and just relax for the evening, but that was quickly thwarted.
“Hey, Eth, is there a reason you’ve got baby shampoo and junk in your bathroom?” Mark asked, and Ethan quickly whipped around and hid the pacifier behind his back, face going red.
“What? Baby shampoo? Oh, uh…it’s, y’know, not got all that bad stuff in it like…uhh…sulfur? And it’s, y’know, just better for your hair and stuff…” Ethan tried, hoping Mark would buy the lie.
Unfortunately for him, Mark was smarter than that. “Mhm…what’s behind your back?”
“It’s nothing!” Ethan quickly said as Mark took a step closer.
“Then show me.”
“N-no!” Ethan backed against the counter, silently praying that Mark wouldn’t pry.
“Ethan, c’mon, just show me, or I’ll tickle!” Mark threatened, receiving a shrill ‘no!’ in reply before he attacked Ethan’s ribs. Ethan doubled over in laughter, so Mark was able to snatch the object from Ethan’s hands and hold it out in front of himself. It certainly wasn’t what he expected. “What’s-“
“It’sapacifier!” Ethan blurted out.
“Yeah, I got that far…what’s it for?” Mark asked, and Ethan whined, snatching it back from Mark. His ears burned just as badly as his face, and his head reeled as Ethan tried to keep himself from slipping in front of Mark. “Why did you order a pacifier, Eth?” Mark tried in a gentler voice, and that seemed to make something burst in Ethan.
“Because when I get stressed or anxious or whatever, my brain decides to go ‘Hey pal, instead of being 21, you’re 3 now! Have fun!’ and yeah it can be kind of nice and relaxing and stuff like the paci helps me feel small and comfy, but not right now!” Ethan explained hurriedly, dropping his head and squeezing his eyes shut.
Mark stood a bit taken aback, not quite sure what to say. “A-Are you 3 right now?” he ended up asking.
“Close…” Ethan said, sniffling and rubbing at his face. “It’s, uh…it’s called age regression. I’m an ‘age regressor’ or little or whatever you wanna call it…I was gonna be little tonight ‘cause I knew the paci would be here ‘nd I wanted to just have a fun little-night…”
“You still want to do that, bud?” Mark asked.
Ethan jerked his head up, eyes going wide. “Uhhh…maybe…”
“And you’re gonna be a three-year-old?”
Ethan shrugged, “Kinda. About. Sometimes littler sometimes bigger…”
“Then how about I stay here for a while and make sure you don’t get into any trouble?” Mark offered, knowing this could be good or bad. He knew next to nothing about all of this, and he didn’t know if offering to stay was an offense or not.
“Ummm…” Ethan considered the offer. On the one hand…he still believed Mark would make a great caregiver, and this would give him an opportunity to see what that would be like…but on the other hand, he’d never been little in front of someone else before. “Stay here,” he said, running off to his room. Mark leaned against the counter, waiting for the little blue boy to come back. He didn’t know quite what Ethan was doing, but when he came back, Ethan stood in front of him in fleece Spiderman pajama bottoms and a plain white tshirt, a teddy bear’s paw dangling from his hand.
He was positively adorable.
“You can stay…if you wanna…” Ethan mumbled, holding his teddy close and twisting at the hips.
Mark nodded, giving him a smile. “What do you usually do?”
Ethan considered his options, then decided on a movie night, just to give them both an opportunity to get used to this. Mark agreed, and it didn’t take long for them to set up The Good Dinosaur. “You wanna lay down with me, Eth?” Mark asked. Ethan nodded, giggling as he flopped down on Mark’s lap. He asked if it was okay to use his paci, and of course Mark couldn’t say no.
And that’s how they stayed, Ethan cuddled up on Mark’s lap, movies playing, until the next morning.