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Starving for Perfection

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“Totty!”

 

Sacchi called my name and I lifted my gaze quickly from the phone to meet her eyes. “Sorry. What did you say?” I asked as I pocketed my phone. I had been quickly checking the new likes that my earlier picture posted had got.

 

Aida smirked at me teasingly. “Can’t you let your social media addiction wait for a moment since we’re all here?” she asked but meant no harm with it.

 

I smirked back. “I don’t know. It’s kinda hard, you know.” I played along and chuckled together with them. “So did I miss something you said?” I asked again.

 

Aida smiled at me as she answered. “I just asked if you’re going to any mixers in the near future?” She was sitting next to Sacchi on a sofa. A coffee table separated them from me as I was sitting in an armchair across them. We had gone together to try out this new, trendy cafe and hang out.

 

I sighed disappointedly. “No… Nothing has come up for me lately,” I said and sipped my not-so-hot-anymore latte. I wish I could go to more mixers. Maybe if I asked Atsushi if he could arrange something?

 

Also Aida sighed disappointedly and leaned her head heavily against the sofa, her posture going slack. “I was hoping you could get me and Sacchi into one. I need some action in my life,” she whined before she collected herself and sat up straight again.

 

“Me too,” I agreed and smiled understandingly. It had been really uneventful and frankly boring lately.

 

“Oh, by the way,” Sacchi started on a different topic. “I decided I’ll start a diet,” she stated happily, clearly proud of her decision.

 

“Oh really?” Aida asked.

 

“Really?” I asked as well, raising my eyebrows surprised. “You really don’t have any need for that, you know?” I said, meaning it. She had a wonderful body.

 

Sacchi grinned at me, appreciating my comment even if she wanted to disagree. “No, really I could lose some weight. I’m happy if you can’t see the shape my stomach is in through these clothes, though.”

 

Aida raised her eyebrow at her. “We’ve been in onsens together so I know your stomach is just fine,” she said.

 

“What kind of diet are you thinking of?” I asked little curious but mostly just wanting to keep the conversation going and please her by showing interest.

 

“Oh, nothing that much actually,” Sacchi answered as she turned to look at me again. “Just eating healthier, I guess. Probably won’t even lose any weight by that.”

 

“But I think striving for a healthier way of living is always worth it,” I said. “Even if the attempt wouldn’t last long or if it was only a really small change. It’s still always something.”

 

“Right?” Sacchi agreed excitedly. “I was thinking I would avoid fast food and unhealthy snacks and things like that.”

 

“Must be hard,” Aida commented in a thought and played with her tea spoon. “I don’t know if I could ever do that.”

 

“Sure you could! It just takes a lot of self-control,” Sacchi encouraged her.

 

Aida smiled unsure, pondering about it. “Maybe…” Then her eyes seemed to lit up. “Oh, I know! I won’t eat chocolate or candy. At least not in a month.” She smiled excitedly which to me looked really cute.

 

“That would be a great start!” I encouraged her. “Then you can see if you want to continue or not.”

 

“Great!” Sacchi said excited. “We can cheer each other on then!” she said, happy that her friend would join her on the challenge.

 

“Yeah, we can!” Aida said now getting more and more excited about the idea.

 

Sacchi continued to tell us about her plans, what she would and wouldn’t eat, and we commented, asked questions and encouraged her on. That was until her shift was about to start and we had to leave the cafe. We waved our goodbyes and decided that we would see again soon while of course chatting all the time online. Our ways separated and I was soon walking alone towards home.

 

I was in a good mood. It had been really nice to see them again. And the weather was good. Well, it was still hot as it pretty much always was in August but the temperature had dropped a little, making it more comfortable.

 

As I walked back home, I found myself thinking of our earlier conversation. Should I also think more about what I eat? Perhaps I should. I knew that my and all of my brothers’ eating habits were bad but it was really hard to change them when living with the hyena pack of my brothers. Every time I saw something I wanted to eat at home, I could not wait or hesitate. Otherwise it would be gone faster than I knew. We really were like hyenas.

 

But I was still happy that my life seemed at least a little healthier than the rest of theirs. Except for maybe Jyushimatsu’s who exercised like crazy at times. But I still went to the gym and sometimes jogging. And I spent time outside with my friends. It was better than what the others were doing.

 

Even so… Should I start a diet? Could I do it? Maybe if I just put my mind into it. Or maybe I’d just try to go to the gym little more often.

 

I frowned and shook my head a little to get the negative thoughts away. “ I’m fine, ” I ensured to myself. I’m cute, right? I took out my phone and scrolled through my gallery of selfies while walking. “ Yes, I’m cute, ” I thought and a small smile tugged my lips upwards.

 

I had nothing to worry about.

 

---

 

I was sitting at the dinner table with my brothers. It had been a couple of weeks since I had seen with Aida and Sacchi. I was devouring down the okonomiyaki mom had made the same way my brothers were.

 

“Todomatsu give me the sauce,” Choromatsu told me and I gave him the plastic bottle he had wanted while chewing my food. He didn’t say anything as he took the bottle but I didn’t expect him to thank me. We were too occupied by the food in front of us.

 

“It’s been a while since we have been at Chibita’s,” Karamatsu said between the bites perhaps trying to start a conversation or maybe just stating a fact.

 

Osomatsu had already finished his plate. “Then we really should pay him a visit,” he chuckled. “I wanna get drunk.”

 

“Me too!” Jyushimatsu boomed, wiggling his arms. Next to him Ichimatsu nodded in agreement.

 

“I want oden,” I said dreamily as I stood up from the table. “Thanks for the food,” I said and went upstairs to our shared room. I could enjoy the moment of peace while my brothers were still downstairs.

 

I curled up on the sofa, took a comfortable position and then took out my phone like I so often did. I turned the device on and felt the pleasure spread through my body as I saw the notifications. I had new comments.

 

In anticipation I opened the app and tapped the phone a few times to read the comments. They were for my newest selfie that I had took this morning. In the picture I was sitting on the floor, leaning to the living room table and smiling cutely with a peace sign. I looked adorable.

 

I really believed that so when I got to the comments, I was even more shocked to read them.

 

Omg look at those fats around his belly!” was the first anonymous comment. There were replies to that first comment as well as other mean comments which seemed to have drown the two nice comments I had gotten from my friends before this.

 

“Gross!”

 

“What a fat-ass!! I would be too embarrassed to leave my house”

 

“Lol and he’s trying to look good with that body!”

 

“Fucking fatty”

 

“Why would you post a picture like this?! Can’t you see those fat folds?!”

 

“No one will ever want you”

 

“Barf!”

 

I read the comments in panic, eyes wide open. What? What was this? I looked at my picture again and my eyes widened even more if possible. I was wearing a tighter t-shirt in the picture and true enough, my stomach was folded embarrassingly as I was sitting in that position. I knew that it was perfectly normal but I didn’t want to see it. I had had no idea my stomach had looked like that when I had posted the picture. I had been too focused on my face and make sure it looked cute.

 

How could I have been so blind? Now I could only see what these commenters had seen. I looked horrible in that picture. I frowned deeply, feeling uneasy as I deleted the picture.

 

I reasoned to myself that it most likely was just one person commenting these things to people because they were an asshole or otherwise bothered. Or it was a group of friends who found fun in bullying others. Now they must have been laughing as they got their victory and I had deleted the selfie. I know all that but still it felt bad. I felt embarrassed by looking like that in the picture I had shared to the world. I should be more careful with the pictures I post.

 

I cursed in my mind and my face must have looked so sour and uneasy that if my brothers had been there, they would have noticed. With my phone I went to Youtube and started watching random funny videos to distract my thoughts. I didn’t succeed.

 

---

 

Later that day we were in the bath house with my brothers. They were talking about one thing or another but I couldn’t focus on what they were saying. I had been dwelling with my own thoughts the whole day. You could say I was pouting because of the stupid, childish comments.

 

However, I was observing my brothers more than usually as we started undressing, comparing myself to them. We were all normal weight. However, our bodies had slight differences but nothing that could be noticed if we were all wearing the same, comfy hoodies.

 

I looked at Osomatsu and Ichimatsu. They were the ones in the worts shape physically. I was pleased to notice that their waists were bigger than mine. Karamatsu had very balanced body that I secretly envied. He had nice amount of muscles without being muscular. Then there was Jyushimatsu, my thoughts went on as I shifted my focus to him. Even in this he was a unique case like he always was. Normally he looked just like the rest of us, similar to Karamatsu, but sometimes the muscularity and strength of his body was very, very evident.

 

Finally I turned to take a discreet glance at Choromatsu who I thought of my biggest challenger as our bodies were the most similar, the slimmests. He looked good, I observed. If I was being honest with myself, it annoyed me a bit.

 

As I had stripped until I was only wearing my underwear, I looked at my body from the mirror at the other side of the locker room. I frowned slightly and looked again at Choromatsu.

 

Had he lost weight? No, it must have been the other way around. Had I gathered more weight? I almost unseenly pinched the fat around my stomach, narrowing my eyes. The uneasy feeling that had been surrounding me the whole day only seemed to deepen then. For a long time I had held the pride of being the one with the slenderest body among us but now I was fairly sure that that pride had been taken from me. I looked after Choromatsu annoyed and envious.

 

As my brothers started to move to the showers, I excused myself and went to the toilet. I waited there until my brothers were gone and then I sneaked back to the dressing room. There in one corner was the scale as I knew it would be. Cautiously I stepped on it and waited anxiously for it to judge me.

 

59 kg. My nostrils widened in upset. It was 1,5 kg more than last time I had weighed myself.

 

How could I have let that happen?!

 

I stepped off the scale and went to the showers where my brothers already were cleaning each others’ backs. I took my place and started cleaning Jyushimatsu’s.

 

The rest of the evening I was occupied by my thoughts. I knew that I looked okay, even good, but who wouldn’t wish their stomach to be a little slimmer? Maybe I should follow after Aida and Sacchi and start a diet. It wouldn’t have to be anything too hard. Even if I decided not to eat unhealthy snacks and started to exercise more, it would already be better. Right?

 

I liked my body, for the most parts. It was cute and I was comfortable with it. But still I had to do something. I couldn’t let it go out of shape as it dangerously was going to. I wanted to be popular. I wanted attention. If I wanted those things, I had to do better than this. I’d need to become perfect. Then everybody would look up to me.

 

Yeah. As if that would ever happen to a scum of society like me. Still I liked the image in my head. If I could look like a slender male model that would be awesome. And I could. Maybe. I was a NEET after all. Time was all I had so I could easily start taking care of myself. It could only benefit me.

 

And I never wanted to be called fat again.