Title: Heart of Heaviness
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: This is for every time I'm not fast enough on the field, Arthur says to himself as he pushes two fingers down his throat
Warnings: Detailed descriptions of bulemia
Word Count: 607
Author's Notes: Not sure where this came from, but I'm really quite proud
This is for every time I’m not fast enough out on the field, Arthur says to himself as he pushes two fingers down his throat. He knows it’s not true, though; knows it’s more vain than that. More like this is for every time I look down and don’t see muscle tone. Arthur knows it’s there, he trains too hard and too often for it not to be. But he has this problem wherein he likes food far too much. Food, in its warmth and its richness, like a comfort blanket in the way it holds him and caresses him. Deceitful, in that it makes the world feel so much better, but later it makes him feel so much worse. He pinches the layer of fat around his stomach and groans, forces his fingers down further and watches his stomach heave.
Today was hot, and from his window he could see the knights wrestling shirtless by the river. He watched the way their abs flexed, and didn’t even have to look down to know that his would not do the same. He felt old, undesirable, unlovable. Later at the feast there had been so much food, and it lulled him into a feeling of contentment. Now, though, he feels like a monster, like he’s gorged himself and now the food is festering. Turning him into something he doesn’t want to be. So he shoves his fingers into his throat again, tears coming to his eyes, and he shakes and he heaves it out.
He doesn’t stop at the sound of footsteps on the flagstones, running towards him, not until Merlin wraps his arms around his chest and drags him away from the garderobe. He feels Merlin pull him into his lap, feels the strain it puts on his muscles and sobs at it, cries a little that he is too heavy for the man he loves. He feels Merlin’s fingers work through his hair, but it does nothing to calm him.
Merlin knows, of course. Merlin knows what he really is. Years of dressing him and bathing him has acquainted Merlin with Arthur’s body. He must know every bulge of fat by heart.
Arthur has always laughed when Merlin teased him about his weight. When Merlin attempted the odd diet for a few days. Only to give up because, of course, Arthur has always been beyond help. Arthur has always hidden how much it hurts because if he can’t laugh about it himself, what is left? Only ridicule, and that cannot even be contemplated by a King.
“Hush,” Merlin tells him now, brushing his lips over Arthur’s cheek, “There’s no need for this. You’re perfect.”
Arthur brushes it off. Merlin is only telling him what he thinks Arthur wants to hear. But Arthur knows. With all the teasing, Merlin has made it perfectly clear. Arthur is repulsive, ugly, and Merlin wouldn’t touch him if he had anything of a choice. Arthur knows that were he not Merlin’s King he would have lost him by now. To someone taller, slimmer, more toned.
But still, even though Merlin is there under duress and out of pity, it’s nice to be touched by those slim fingers, and it’s nice to be kissed by those full lips. Arthur knows it won’t last, but it’s nice to pretend that Merlin wants to be there, close his eyes and forget his bulk and imagine the sun, and grass under them, and a place where Arthur can be as lithe and as fae as Merlin is now; where Merlin can really love him and will choose to be with him, and will stay forever.