A/N: Almost two years later I've decided to step back into this story. I'm so happy that the first chapter was revived so positively, thank you to everyone who read and reviewed it. It really meant the world to me and I hope to find that same support here too. Thanks to that support I've decided to press forward with this story and plan to extended in to a 4-6 chapter long story. I haven't written very much in my absence so I feel like this is choppy and could use improvement. But it needs to escape me, otherwise I'd never update. Thank you all again and I hope you guys are still excited to read this story.

Golden Boy

To Alfred it was strange the first time he hears someone say something regarding his weight. He'd grown up the golden boy, Hollywood smile and all.

They'd say to him Alfred your future is so bright. You're destined for perfection my boy, and he give them that smile that guaranteed perfection. So that comment didn't make any sense.

"The kid got fat"

Never before had anyone called him anything but perfect. It was his thing to be perfect. He was to be athletic, charming, handsome, and smart. Perfect. It was his role in life and being fat was not in that picture of perfection.

He'd looked at the aunt that made the comment. She'd said he was the stars a year ago. She' d said he was a strapping young man, so sweet and handsome. S-So she must have misspoke.

She was wrong he couldn't be fat. He's Alfred and Alfred has to be perfect!

The first time Alfred hears a comment, he shuns it as a false. Looks in the mirror and smiles because he looks fine, he looks fine, he looks fine right?

His brother begins to shine one day. Matthew the kid grandpa forgot to get a gift for every year. He's three years younger and he's riled up his parents in the way Alfred can only do now.

"He's won the championship!" They shout, Matthew burning bright red

"Our little boy"

They throw Matthew a party because his parents have always been fond of parties. Inviting everyone who's anyone.

Alfred is standing in the corner by the punch bowl and snacks watching as his aunts' coo at Matthew.

"So handsome already" they say

"And so sweet and strong"

Matthew squirms in the limelight. It's humorous to Alfred who knows how to work the attention and suck in the energy. His brother is certainly endearing.

Alfred straightens then moving to be the lifeboat for his brother like always; when his aunts break and linger over to the food table. Alfred beams at them and they chuckle.

"Finally moving from the table," one says

Alfred laughs at the joke; it's just a quip, a little poke.

"Yea-" he begins but is interrupted by another aunt

"Do you exercise like your brother?" She asks, and Alfred opens his mouth but she's quick, slick and smiling

"Because it would be best if you did " and Alfred is baffled, smiling tightly as that comment comes back

"The kid got fat"

And it's like adding two and two. It hurts. But he can't lose his grip. No not here. Not with everyone so close, not with the air painted in laughter and smiles. Not with all the eyes, with her still so close only a breath away really, looking so close at him, so he smiles wider and then she opens her mouth again.

" It's just a suggestion oh and Al you got something stuck in your teeth sweetie"

Alfred's smile collapses as she pinches his cheek. She fades away then into her group as his plate falls on to the table. It topples over in the same way his hands do over his mouth. He turns, moves to the rest room. Pushing past those who stand in his way and make the room hot.

His breath is loud, echoing as he looks in the mirror, he's displeased by the reflection. Greasy and drenched in sweat he stares at himself. Did his checks really puff up like that? Was his chin always so fat? His did clothes feel tight. Was…was that really his face? Was that him?

Alfred cuts the lights off, no that can't be him.

He runs to his bedroom hiding beneath his sheets till Matthew comes looking for him.

"They're crazy" Matthew says a smile light on his lips,

"The whole lot of them"

And Alfred laughs enveloping his brother in a tight embrace.

Matthew says what he wants to hear. Agrees that their aunts can't possibly hold enough sanity to judge properly. That what they told Alfred meant nothing

"Mattie" Alfred says, "you're the best"

Matthew just shakes his head, unable to proper receive his brother's compliment. His cheeks are red and his eyes look off at the celling.

Matthew is shy, so very shy. Sometimes Alfred thinks he should have been given the mercy to have been born a turtle, that way he could shy away into his shell whenever the world became too much. But really Matthew is sweet and absolutely dazzling in his own way. That smile that hangs at his lips proves it.

It hits Alfred then as he looks at his brother, really looks at him. Alfred realizes that his brother truly is an actual gem, undetected only since he refused to sparkle. His aunts' words come back to mind

"So sweet and strong"

And they were true. Matthew was amazing. There was no lie in their words.

There is a dresser in Alfred's bedroom directly across his bed where Matthew and he sit. It has a mirror and Alfred finds his eyes wandering to it.

He sees himself beside Matthew and he's having trouble believing that his aunts are crazy. He doesn't look so great.

Really hasn't looked great in a long time.

Alfred begins to look in the mirror longer. It's some sort of reassurance that he isn't as horrible as everyone says he is. He looks in it smiling and turning murmur to himself that it isn't bad, that he can live with this, fix it maybe even.

Arthur takes to laughing at his new habit. Leaning against the counter Arthur tosses his head back into that sneering smile.

"Are you really that vain?" He asks, and Alfred looks to his friend. Arthur means well he reminds himself. Arthur means well. He just tends to word harshly. But he's honest and it's then Alfred wonders if perhaps he is full of himself.

"No" Alfred says aloud "I-I'm not it's just I" he pauses, and asks, why is he looking in the mirror? What he's afraid that he might be ugly? Is trying to assure himself that he's handsome and that he's… he's what perfect? It's ridiculous, doesn't change anything-just makes him vain and ugly. Alfred rips away from the mirror. Can't stand his reflection anymore

"I'm done" he says, lips ripping into a curling smile that works as a dam for tears.

"Lets go come on" Arthur straightens

"Come now can't you take a joke"

"What it's fine no big deal"

Arthur rolls his eyes and Alfred is burning red. Alfred zips his jacket up hiding his hands in the deep pockets. He feels vulnerable in the school halls. Too many eyes

"Look you've made yourself late for lunch, and I heard they had burgers" Arthur tells Alfred, brushing his hand through his unruly hair, and eyes watching Alfred's rigid back. He sighs catching up to Alfred

"You really like burgers huh? Well don't get upset you can have mine. " Arthur laughs awkwardly and Alfred spares him a smile.

"Thanks Artie" he says but he keeps his eyes on the ground.

Gilbert doesn't slow down for Alfred. It isn't in Gilbert's nature to slow for anyone.

"Hurry up Alfred!" Gilbert shouts standing at the top of the staircase.

"I gotta tell Luddy I'm going home early" Alfred's out of breath and wondering when he began to have a hard time keeping up with Gilbert. He remembers that they use to race. That sometimes he even won but now he can't even keep up at a flight of stairs. When did this all happen, how did he not notice?

He's embarrassed not only by his lack of speed but also by the way his body feels. The way his belly seems to ripple and arms jiggle. The way his legs quiver. He gasps remembering to breath as he lung constrict in on him. Alfred shuts his eyes for a moment, pausing as he reaches Gilbert and then he opens his eyes seeing what is most definitely one of the finer beings on this earth. The boy is strong and tall and toned and everything Alfred dreamed of being. Alfred feels so self-conscious suddenly, like he's never felt before.

They're in the photography class where the teacher finds it fit to decorate the walls with mirrors. Everywhere Alfred looks he catches his reflection next to this guy's. He can't escape it. The comparison between them is so horrible. Night and day, they are fit and fat right besides one another. Alfred's face burns because here he'd been holding onto some sort of hope that he wasn't past saving. But now now he knows he hideously disfigured, a person in need of a miracle. His eyes find the ground.

"Luddy," Gilbert says catching the perfect boy's attention

"I will not be waiting for you to finish this little debate club photo shoot in the car. I will be going to get ice cream with Alfred" Alfred panics as Gilbert mentions him before realizing that this being is Gilbert's younger brother. The same one Gilbert always made fun of, called boring and stuck up, Ludwig who is younger than them. Yet here Ludwig is living life as perfection.

"So you want me to walk home?"


"Fine whatever, I'll see you at home" Ludwig sighs at Gilbert's hug. He turns to Alfred then.

"Goodbye Alfred it was nice meeting you" Ludwig offers his hand and Alfred can't catch his breath. When did Ludwig get so close? Alfred freezes laughing awkwardly, he can't manage eye contact suddenly, can't move, can barley breath.

"Whoa, Luddy got to go poor Alfred is melting up here. " Gilbert shouts distressed, high fiving Ludwig's outstretched hand and linking his arm with Alfred's all in one go.

"See you," Gilbert shouts as he tugs Alfred out the room. Alfred doesn't look back. Gilbert doesn't say anything. Ludwig doesn't either.

They go to the ice cream shop and Alfred has a hard time finding the stomach to eat the bowl before him. He feels uncomfortable, stifled. The ice cream is half melted before Gilbert says anything.

"Aren't you going to eat that?" He asks, curious for the first time of the American's behavior. Alfred is ashamed then. Gilbert came all this way, ditched his brother, and now Alfred isn't even eating. Is being awkward and rude.

Alfred exhales, knows ice cream is bad for him, and knows it will only add on more of that fat. But he doesn't want to be rude to Gilbert so he laughs cupping the bowl in his hand and the spoon in the other.

"Sorry " he says, "was just thinking about how your baby brother is taller than you" Gilbert smiles then.

"Shut your mouth Jones!" He says laughing forgetting about Alfred's strange behavior and losing himself in the moment. And Alfred let's him forget wants him to in fact because no one needs to know about this.

About Alfred's need to change, about his desire to leave behind this rotting shell he finds himself in, about how much he's beginning to hate himself. No that's for him to know and him alone. Alfred just wants everyone to just close their eyes and open them to find a new Alfred that's strong and handsome and everything they ever imagined in a boy like him.

But that change it can't start now with Gilbert and the patrons of the ice cream shop staring at him. No not with the chocolate ice cream that is already in stomach. No not now. But it okay for now he'll laugh and quip with Gilbert. Be Alfred as he is.

It'll start tomorrow.

Yes tomorrow will be better.

A/N: I'd really appreciate any comments and feedback. Thank you all again for your support