Little fill for this prompt at the glee_angst_meme: http: / /community .livejournal. com/ glee_angst_meme/4263. html?thread=5942695#t5942695
Finn stared in the mirror, his chest heaving with exertion from the exhausting football practice they'd just endured. He'd been working out like crazy lately, and had cut his diet down to even less than Sam had suggested— just to be sure it would work— but there seemed to be no payoff. He poked at his doughy stomach almost bruisingly hard, feeling an unhealthy amount of guilt at how much give it had. He wanted rock-hard abs like Mike, like Puck, like Sam; why wasn't this working? Was that too much to ask for?
"Hey, man, ya coming?" Puck asked with a hint of annoyance tainting his naturally charming voice. "Stop staring at yourself and get your ass into the shower, or you'll be late for Glee!" He smirked and shot finger guns at Finn as he left the locker room.
With a sigh, Finn grabbed his jersey from the bench and tossed it into his open locker, picking up a towel on the way by and meekly scurrying to the showers, where the other guys were already finishing and getting out. A lump formed in his throat when Mike got out of his cubicle with a towel wrapped loosely around his slim hips; Finn tried not to stare at the abs his teammate was placing on display, but it was hard not to. But he totally wasn't jealous, except for the fact that he totally was.
He scrubbed himself down as quickly as he could, but by the time he got out of the shower the other guys had already left the locker room. He dressed silently, but paused before putting on his shirt, catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror on the wall again. Fat. Doughy. Loser.
He must have stared for longer than he thought, because when he walked into Glee he was fifteen minutes late and Rachel began to rant at him about promptness. He nodded along like he cared, but who could care about being on time for Glee when he looked so awful? He needed to fix his image, or he'd never be cool again.
The days wore on like weeks, and Finn's self esteem plummeted with his stamina— football was a chore now, hard to get through and utterly exhausting. His stomach ached constantly, but he kept to his diet; it helped if he ate at the Hummels for dinner, which was more and more often every week, because then the food was always healthy and he could have a small portion and his mom wouldn't notice.
She was so focussed on Burt and his eating habits that Finn's were slipping through the cracks; did he really need that protein bar? He'd give it to Puck after practice. Forgetting breakfast? Doesn't matter, he'd eat a big lunch to make up for it. Skipping lunch? Not a big deal. Everyone does it once and a while.
Fatigue weighed heavily on him, but no one seemed to notice as long as he didn't slouch too much and he smiled when people were talking to him. Sometimes the sounds his stomach made were loud enough to distract someone, but he'd blame it on digestion. He wasn't hungry, honest.
Working out was getting harder to do because he was so tired all the time, but he could deal. Sam always spotted for him, and just the other day Sam had given him a compliment on his improving muscle tone. Sam was right, wasn't he? He knew about this stuff.
Finn stared, almost blankly, into the mirror in his little bedroom. Head ducked so that it didn't hit the low ceiling, he looked positively ridiculous, but he didn't notice that in the slightest. He was busy wondering how the hell he could still look fat even though his ribs were starting to show at his sides. He poked at his stomach. It still had too much give, not enough resistance.
It wasn't until he had reached his third day without eating anything at all that he realised something was wrong. People thought he was stupid, but even he knew something was wrong about what he was doing. He suddenly felt like all those models on television his mother laughed at because they were dumb enough to starve themselves to be pretty— but he wasn't doing that, was he? Surely someone would have said something if they thought he had one of those eating disorder thingies.
He ate a granola bar that day, but all it did was make him feel nauseous and worried. Drinking lots of water helped, and at least he felt better. But he still looked into the mirror and saw each and every flaw, each and every little mistake God had left him to deal with. Too tall. Too fat. Not enough muscle. Loser.
He felt irrationally jealous when he sat at the lunch table with the guys from the football team. They were all stuffing their faces with crappy cafeteria food, completely unaware of Finn's struggle. Sam looked up from his grilled chicken salad (the only one at the table) and looked at his empty tray.
"Aren't you going to get something? Did you forget your lunch money?"
Finn shook his head. He had lunch money. Every day he stashed it in his underwear drawer after school so his mom wouldn't know he wasn't using it to buy lunch with. It had turned into a little savings account under the box of condoms Puck had given him once as a gag gift, since he thought they'd never get used.
"Nah, I'm okay. I had a big breakfast."
Sam nodded his understanding. "Trying out the fewer meals, bigger portions thing? I get it. You look great, by the way. It's really working."
Finn tried to smile, but it felt fake even to him. Sam didn't notice. He turned to Jeffery and said something that must have been funny, because Jeff began to laugh. Finn didn't hear it, even as the others joined in. He stared downward at his barely-protruding stomach, worried that it still wasn't enough. Sam said it was working; but how much work was left?
His grades dropped as he was too preoccupied with exorcise and avoiding eating to study, and he thought that was it. His mom was going to know something was up. He guiltily gave her his midterm report card, but she only glanced at it and sighed.
"Finn, you really need to start trying harder," she grumbled, dropping the paper displaying his failing grades onto the kitchen counter beside the cutting board. "If you don't start improving, you'll have to get one of your friends to tutor you. This isn't acceptable anymore. You need good grades for college, Finn. Go do your homework."
Finn nodded numbly and went to his room. He imagined his mom watching him trudge up the stairs with a concerned frown as she put the pieces together. He imagined her seeing, all of a sudden, what this was doing to him, what he was doing to himself. He imagined her dropping the knife she was using, abandoning her carrots as she raced up the stairs to have a heart-to-heart about how handsome he really was, about how he didn't need to do this.
He sat down on his bed and stared at the door. An hour later, she called him down for dinner. He yelled back that he wasn't feeling well. She didn't ask why, or come to investigate. He fell asleep, his homework untouched.
The days began to blurr together, but it couldn't have been more than a few days after that incident that Finn saw Kurt being dragged down the school hallway by Burt and his mom. Kurt looked fairly scared, and the other two looked almost excited. His heart leapt into his throat as they sped down the hallway and stopped in front of him.
They knew. They were going to help him. This nightmare was going to end.
"What's going on?" he said calmly, as though he had no idea what his hopes and prayers were finally going to be answered. "Is this some kind of intervention, 'cause..." I need one. Help me. Please.
And then there was just excitement and flailing and happiness, and his mother was squealing about being engaged and all Finn could think was, Oh. Because suddenly his mother was getting married and while he was cool with that, he still kind of wished that this had been about him, and did that make him selfish? He didn't know.
Maybe he didn't smile as much as he should have as his mother asked him to be happy for her, but he was, he is happy for her. He tried to get excited with them, to be a part of the family he can see growing and bonding before his eye but he just... can't. Because for a second, he had gotten his hopes up that his pseudo-family had noticed that he was tearing himself apart, trying to be something he can never be, but then that hope had been dashed and then he was just sort of... sad.
Resignedly, Finn tried to eat something at dinner while Kurt gushed about wedding dresses and musical numbers. Mashed potatoes tasted like ashes in his mouth and he delicately spat his mouthful into a napkin and pushed his food around on his plate to make it look like he'd eaten more than he had.
Everyone was too overwhelmed by wedding plans to notice anything. But he was okay, or at least that's what he told himself— because if there was really something wrong, someone would say something, right?