His throat burns.
Every cough feels like he's swallowing daggers and every gag makes him feel like he's going to faint, but he doesn't stop. Zen shoves his hand down his throat and waits until he can't keep it there any longer, shuddering as he empties his stomach for the third time that day.
He hasn't even eaten, so there's nothing to get rid of, but he needs to feel that buzz that comes from purging. That pride, that relief. The feeling that he's doing something right. And it's horrible, because he's killing his voice and his teeth and it hurts so much to sing now and he's tired of cherry cough drops, but Zen spills his guts until his knuckles are bleeding and there's nothing but sour acid pouring from his throat, and he's crying into the fucking toilet because no matter how hard he tries, it just isn't enough.
It's never enough. Even when his body's shaking and he can't stand, it's never enough. He thinks maybe if he just hadn't eaten in the first place, things would be better, but he's weak and he gives into the hunger too easily. His castmates raise eyebrows when he turns down lunch, so Zen skips breakfast and throws up whatever he eats into the sink in the dressing room, but it's still never enough. He still feels filthy.
It's not even that he's insecure about his body. Zen's gorgeous, and he knows it- people stop to stare at him in the street for God's sake. He's more muscle than fat, so it's not like losing weight would even do him any good, he's just so terrified of gaining it. Zen has to be so careful about looking beautiful all the time and keeping his body in perfect shape so he can dance properly, and it's becoming exhausting. Working out until he can't feel his body and passing out on the floor as soon as he gets home is becoming exhausting. “I already ate” is becoming exhausting, and so is “I can have a little bit if I just purge later”.
Zen finally stands up and shoves his hand under the faucet to rinse away the blood and spit, then rinses his mouth out. He stares at himself in the mirror, tired eyes and runny nose and dry lips, and he knows he looks sick but he can't bring himself to care. Zen opens his mouth to look at his throat, cherry red and swollen, and when he groans in frustration and the feeling is like swallowing hot sand. But he shouldn't complain; he did this to himself.
Zen wonders if he could have gone longer. There's nothing in his stomach, he knows that, but he feels like he copped out too early. He always does. Needing a distraction, Zen reaches for his phone and turns off the music he'd been blaring (he lives alone, but he's still so paranoid about the neighbors above him hearing him coughing up his lungs that he plays music and runs the shower and the bathroom fans all at once), and logs into the messenger.
ZEN has entered the chatroom.
ZEN: Guysss T-T
ZEN: My throat hurts so bad and I have practice tonight
MC: Aww, Zenny
MC: Give your voice a break! You're probably just hurting yourself from singing too much.
MC: If you come to the cafe, I'll make you tea.
ZEN: Thank you, princess <3
Zen has to smile at that. God, MC's so sweet to him. He wonders if she still would be if she knew what he'd just done, or how disgusting he is.
Jumin Han: I don't know much about singing, but I feel as if the cigarettes are doing worse to your voice than practicing is.
Jumin Han: They aren't good for your health. Plus, if your habit is preventing you from working, I would recommend trying to quit.
ZEN: It's not the cigarettes, trust fund
707: Oooooooh Zenny is angryyyyy!
Zen scoffs, then finds himself wincing again.
ZEN: Really, it's not
ZEN: For sure
Jumin Han: While I trust that you know yourself best, I'm just trying to express my concern.
ZEN: Yeah, well
ZEN: I don't need your concern and I don't care for it either
ZEN: So maybe fuck off just this once because you're right, you don't know what's good for me
Yoosung ★: ZEN OMG ;;;;
Yoosung ★: I know you and Jumin bicker a lot, but that was so mean!!
Jaehee Kang: Are you alright, Zen…?
ZEN: I'm fine
ZEN: I shouldn't have said anything never mind
Jumin Han: You seem as if something else is bothering you.
ZEN has left the chatroom.
Zen sets his phone on the sink and drops to his knees, curling in on himself. He's such an idiot. God he's such an idiot. There are tears in Zen's eyes, but he doesn't care enough to try to stop them from falling. He already knows he's weak. To weak to resist temptations and to do anything but spill his stomach into the toilet bowl when he's in pain. He skips meals and cries to the mirror like a middle school girl, all because he's weak. Guys don't get eating disorders, what the fuck is wrong with him? Is he ever going to feel good enough?
Maybe he's not talented. Maybe he can't act or sing, and he's only come as far as he has because he won some genetic lottery. Because he's fucking pretty. And what happens when he's not even that anymore? When he's too fat to walk or too frail to breathe? Bruises litter his knuckles and his knees from hunching over and shoving his hand down his throat, and it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say he looks dead. He opens his mouth to sing and he sounds dead, his voice breaking on every note. And yet here Zen is, lying on the cold hard ground with his heart ready to beat out of his chest. Not good enough, and not dead enough, either.
He's not enough.