Zach had had three dates in a row that week go terribly wrong; one girl ghosted him, another saw him and walked away laughing before he could even speak to her, and the other girl was just looking for a Sugar Daddy. He seemed, understandably, bummed out. He'd been unusually quiet as well. Ned decided to go visit him one day after work, to check in on how he was doing.
He knocked on the door, waiting for a response. He didn't receive one.
"Zach?" he called.
Ned glanced at Zach's driveway. His car was there. Letting his worry get the better of him, Ned used the spare key Zach had given him to open the door.
"Zach?" Ned called again, nearly tripping over something as he walked inside.
Ned looked around Zach's living room. It was utterly littered with toys. Zach soon appeared from the bathroom, his mouth falling open wide.
Ned gazed at Zach, finding the shorter man blushing dark red and looking nervous.
"Why do--These are too big for Bowie, weren't on our registry for Wes, and you don't have company coming over for 3 months. Why do you have so many toys?" Ned asked.
"Look...Ned...this--I mean, yes, they're mine but--I--FUCK!" Zach stuttered, then cursed loudly.
Zach was normally soft-spoken, and his explosive reaction caught Ned off-guard.
"Zach..." he started softly.
"It's nothing okay? It's just some stupid fucked up shit because I'm...I-I'm fucked up and--" Zach dropped to his knees, breaking down into uncontrollable sobs. This reaction worried Ned.
He immediately knelt down and wrapped his arms around Zach, rubbing over his back. "These are 90s toys," Ned said, having a closer look around him. "I had some of this stuff when I was a kid."
Zach slowly bean to ease against Ned, until Ned spotted the thing Zach was dreading most. "Is that--Those are the diapers from our calendar shoot, aren't they?" Ned asked.
Zach tried to pull away but Ned only pulled him closer.
"Just tell me what's going on," Ned said. Zach gripped tightly at Ned's shirt, torn between pulling away and clinging closer. "Does...does AS cause incontinence?"
"Sometimes but it's--I don't have that," Zach said quietly. Ned looked thoughtfully around the room. "Yeah, I guess it wouldn't explain the toys either."
Zach trembled a little. "Zach, talk to me," Ned said softly.
Zach sighed heavily. "I just...I want someone to take care of me okay?"
"I still don't, wait what does that have to do with diapers and toys?" Ned asked.
"Remember at the photo shoot, we all wore them, and I asked if it was someone's kink?" Zach replied.
"Yeah..." Ned said, still totally lost.
"I-I want someone to take care of me, like I would need those kinds of things," Zach said shakily.
"So, like you were a baby?" Ned asked, immediately pulling Zach closer as he felt him try to pull away.
"I'm not leaving til you tell me everything," Ned stated.
"Yes," Zach mumbled. "Like a...baby. Cuddling, feeding, playing, ch-changes...."
"So you'd...use the diapers?" Ned ventured.
"Just for wetting," Zach quickly clarified.
"And it's sexual--how?" Ned pressed on.
Zach swallowed thickly. "It's like...I'm helpless. Someone else is making decisions for me, telling me what to do."
"And then you don't have to be as anxious because someone else is in charge, right?" Ned asked gently.
Zach nodded against Ned's chest.
Ned chuckled. "Actually...that's pretty cute."
Zach looked up at him, appearing almost shocked.
"No, really," Ned went on. "You're already the cute one anyway and you do act like a kid a lot of the time. It makes perfect sense."
Zach was silent, clinging tightly to Ned. Usually Zach tried to conceal his emotions with humor until they bubbled over and hurt Zach even more. It was quite endearing to see him this way.
"So who else knows?" Ned asked.
Zach shook his head. "No one."
"So you haven't told any of the girls you've dated?"
"Why do you think I've been single for so long?" Zach muttered, defeated.
Ned blinked. This made sense as well but he cared deeply for Zach and hated seeing him suffer like this.
"So...you're just a little baby boy, all alone with no one to take care of you?" Ned asked. Zach let out a sob, crying softly as he nodded his head.
"You poor thing," Ned whispered, cradling Zach in his arms.
For a long time the room was quiet. Ned inhaled sharply, making a soft "hm" sound.
"And you haven't sought...um...services from anyone?" Ned asked.
"No. It's not really my thing," Zach mumbled.
"Well what if--what if you had a friend who um wanted to help you out?" Ned inquired. The words sort of tumbled out and Zach looked up at Ned as though this was something he had never expected.
"So you mean you would..." Zach trailed off.
"I mean, yeah, if you wanted," Ned said, blushing a bit.
"I don't think it's a good idea," Zach said quietly.
"Why not?" Ned asked.
Zach merely shrugged in response.
"Okay. Let's...try it over the weekend. If we're both okay with it, we'll continue and if not, we'll stop. Okay?" Ned offered.
"Okay..." Zach finally said.
Ned slowly pulled back and both men rose to their feet.
"You gonna be okay tonight?" Ned asked him.
"Think so," Zach said. Ned smile, reaching up to ruffle Zach's hair. Zach melted into the touch. It made him feel smaller than he wanted to admit.