Warning: Sensitive material ahead. If you are uncomfortable with reading about bulimic activities, please don't go any further.
Her steps are clumsy and desperate as she stumbles along the hard and tiled floor.
She falls to her knees, grasping the cold, porcelain sides with trembling fingers.
She stares down into the watery depths, hot pricks of saltwater threatening to drip down her cheeks. A whimper and sob, caged deep in her chest, refuse to be let loose. It is a sign of weakness. She can’t be weak--not now. Not when she’s come this far.
Make everything go away.
All the voices swirl around in her mind. Taunting, cruel, ruthless, inhuman. All the comments, all the words that were said, rising up in a wave of turmoil. She had lasted this long, just taking the rebuttal with a blank slate for a face. She couldn’t do it anymore. She just couldn’t.
Everything has to go away.
Before she knows it, she’s prying her lips open with a determined gaze, shoving her finger down as far as she can, and leans over the porcelain bowl as an earthquake erupts deep inside her. Hot tears prick at the corner of her eyes and spill down at last with the force of her heaving sides as acid rising up in her throat. Bile coats her tongue, spewing forth and into the toilet bowl beneath her as pathetic gasps accompany the sounds of retching. There is nothing else in the world in those moments, save for the satisfaction of purging the worthless pieces straight from her body and into the outside world.
The bitter taste and burning pain just meant that it was working.
Finally she is finished, and she stares down at her handiwork before a shaking hand feebly fumbles along, slapping weakly on the handle and watching as her ugliness swirls in a whirlpool of water before finally disappearing into the pipes for good. Her cheeks are stained with water, eyesight slightly blurred, and mouth bursting with a rancid taste. Slowly, she forces herself on her feet, reaching for a toothbrush and going through the motions of ridding her tastebuds of the flavor of the monsters deep inside her.
She makes no other sounds, instead merely slumping back to the floor once finished and wrapping her arms around herself, body numb with the realization of what she has just done.
“(Name)! Hey, (name), you in here? You’re not answering my texts!”
Her eyes widen at the sound of the familiar voice, so cheerful and animated. Shame instantly spikes through her body, and all she wants to do is run away so no one can see what she’s done. Yet all she can do is remain on the linoleum floor, cheek pressed to the cold and unyielding tile as she listens to the door closing and footsteps coming closer and closer and closer.
“(N-Name)? (Name), are you all right? W-what’re you doing on the bathroom floor?”
The moment she has been dreading arrives.
When she makes no sound and just continues to lay there in silence, arms gently slide around her and heave her into a lap, fingers softly angling her face to stare upwards. Empty (e/c) eyes meet anxious baby blue ones framed by glasses. Those same (e/c) eyes scan the familiar face, over every handsome contour of his tanned skin and up to the sandy blonde hair with the little cowlick. His hand carefully brushes away a strand of (h/c) hair that is sticking to her forehead, and he stares down at her in absolute distress.
Finally, (name) finds her voice at last, and it’s a small and barely audible one. “Al...Alfred...” she whispers shakily, trying to swallow but finding she can’t. It’s too much of an effort. She wants to say more, but no more words come to mind.
No more except “I’m sorry,” which stays tucked away in the back of her head.
Alfred suddenly switches his gaze to the toilet, then to the sink, where the damp toothbrush lay on the side. His eyes widen, and with a lurch (name) follows his gaze. Her stomach threatens to repeat the act of defiance she had forced it to do earlier when she realizes she hadn’t yet had time to clean the rim of the porcelain bowl, ridding it of all evidence of what had just occurred.
All (name) can do is tremble in her best friend’s arms, too ashamed and too frightened to say anything.
Finally, Alfred is the one to break the silence. In a voice thick with unidentifiable emotions, he whispers, “(Name)...why didn’t you just come to me? Instead of...” He trails off, uncertain what to say, though (name) knows what the next words were going to be.
Instead of making yourself throw up.
“...b-because,” she whispers brokenly, limp in his arms as they tighten and bring her closer. “I...didn’t know what else to d-do, Alfred. I-I was sick of...s-seeing nothing but...f-fat in the mirror...and ugliness...a-and I felt s-so worthless that I...”
Her voice cracks, and the dams break behind her (e/c) eyes once more as yet another wave of tears cascade down her cheeks.
“I had to make it all go away...”
The next thing that happens is not what (name) expects. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.
Instead of the yelling that she had expected, the pushing away and being dumped from Alfred’s warm arms, what she gets is his face leaning down towards hers. There is nothing but the sound of their breaths exhaling from their noses, and then his mouth meets hers in a soft touch, just a brushing by of two pairs of lips. (Name)’s eyes widen as Alfred’s close, and the pressure becomes harder against her mouth, just gradually, until it is a true and meaningful kiss.
And just as soon as the kiss begins, it ends, and Alfred pulls away while simultaneously using a thumb to gently caress a tear from her cheek. There is nothing but remorse and sorrow in those beautiful pools of sky of his, not even a hint of anger or rage. (Name) just stares at him, dumbstruck, until she croaks out, “W-why did y-you...?”
“You are not fat, (name),” Alfred answers calmly, adjusting her still slightly limp body in his arms so her face is pressing close to his neck. She instantly hides it against his skin, too distraught to meet his gaze once more. “You are not fat. You are not useless or worthless. And most of all, (name), you are NOT ugly.” A hand slides under her chin, forcing her tear-stained face back into the world and to look at him. There is now simply kindness and truth in his bespectacled gaze as a small, somewhat guilty smile stretches across his perfect mouth.
“You’re beautiful to me, darling. In every single way. I don’t give a damn what anyone else says. You’re beautiful to me, and you always will be, (name). Never let anyone tell you otherwise. And if they do? You come talk to me, and I’ll tell you a hundred times that you’re fucking beautiful. Hurting yourself won’t do you any good. Because you’re beautiful, (name)...and I love you.”
She just gapes at him in disbelief, unable to speak out of sheer astonishment. But then his words sink into her mind, and she shakes almost violently, before her arms are throwing themselves around him and she’s burying her face against his firm chest, sobbing and crying out. “A-Alfred...! O-Oh, Alfred, I-I love you t-too...! I-I’m s-so sorry...! I-I didn’t w-want to t-tell you, I-I didn’t know HOW...I-I just th-thought this...w-would help...I-I...I-I...!”
Alfred merely rocks her in his arms, stroking her hair and whispering sweetly in her ear. (Name) continues to sob against him for what seems to be an eternity, until there is nothing left but a few sniffles and hiccups here and there. Alfred rests his forehead against hers, closing his eyes and embracing her as tightly and protectively as he can.
“Please, (name), always remember...you’re beautiful. Don’t believe the shit you hear others tell you. They don’t matter. Nothing matters but you. And you’re so goddamn beautiful it hurts when I look at you. So don’t hurt yourself anymore, because I do plenty of it. Please, (name). Please.”
She nods shakily, taking a deep breath and gripping a fistful of his shirt tightly. “I...I-I promise, Alfred...I promise...I promise...”
“Good.” There’s a smile in that simple, one-worded answer, and (name) can’t help but form a tiny smile of her own.
Alfred would always make her feel beautiful. No matter what.
It was why he was her reason to keep living.