Martin Chatwin was tired of crying. It seemed like the entirety of his nights were spent trying to hold back tears, arms wrapped around his waist, desperately trying to hold himself together.
Trying to ignore the urge to puke, the sick feeling in the pit of his gut that made him want to throw himself out of the highest window. To ignore the invisible filth covering his skin, that stubbornly stayed no matter how hard he washed himself. No matter how much he scrubbed his skin raw, red, pinpoint pricks of blood appearing, he couldn’t rid himself of the shame, disgust, and filth that was now his own body.
The first few weeks, he’d used Fillory as an escape. In Fillory, he was a King - no, a High King -and no one could touch him there, under threat of death. Because in Fillory, he was powerful. He was strong .
On Earth, in England, in that house… He was simply weak, pathetic, disgusting Martin Chatwin. A boy alone, despite his sister living in the room down the hall.
So those first few weeks, he spent as much time as he could in Fillory. He lived there, going back only by accident. He’d open the door to his closet, and suddenly find himself back in his room at the house.
In retrospect, that should’ve been his first clue that Ember and Umber knew. That they were trying to tell him, without telling him, that he was no longer welcome. That somebody as disgusting, as filthy , as Martin was no longer welcome in their realm. That Fillory no longer wanted the boy who cried himself to sleep every night as its King.
Then came the day when he and Jane opened the clock, and went to Fillory.
At least… Jane did. Martin watched her disappear through the mechanisms of the clock, but when he tried to follow, he found himself tangled in the chains of the old clock.
It was the first time Ember and Umber denied him entry. It wasn’t the last.
After three months, he’d begged Jane to take him with her. Begged her to petition Ember and Umber on his behalf. Begged her to try and sneak him in.
But Jane… Sweet, innocent, naive Jane only asked why they would be keeping him out. What reason would the Twin Gods have for keeping him out. Besides, she pointed out, unless he told her why he thought they were keeping him out, she couldn’t petition them on his behalf.
He’d almost told her in that moment. But then… Then he’d appeared at the end of the hallway. Looked at him in that way, the way that Martin had grown to dread. The way that let Martin know he’d spend another night huddled in his bed, trying to keep his cries silent.
He’d smiled at Jane, setting his hand -oh so possessively -on Martin’s shoulder. Did she have a good trip? Was she hungry? He was sure the housekeeper had kept her a plate warm.
And naive, innocent Jane had nodded happily, scurrying along giddily to the kitchen.
Then he’d used the hand to forcefully guide Martin down the halls, to his writing room.
“Let’s do some work then, shall we?”
Those words. He always started with those exact words. Let’s do some work then, shall we?
“Now your shirt, darling. Come now, don’t be shy.”
Shy. As if shyness was what made his fingers tremble, made his heart pound like a frightened rabbit. Shyness was what made tears leak down his cheeks.
“Now your trousers. There’s a good lad.”
He hesitated. Part of him wanted to fight back. To yell for Jane, or the housekeeper. For Ember and Umber.
“I take good care of you and your sister, don’t I, Martin? Make sure you’re well provided for? Took you in, gave you food, clothing, shelter…”
He never explicitly said that these things could be taken away. Never explicitly said that the two middle Chatwin children had nowhere else to go. Never pointed out that Rupert was dead, Helen wanted nothing to do with her siblings, or that their Aunt could only afford to take care of Fiona.
He never had to, of course. Martin was well aware of why he paid the price he did. It didn’t make it any easier to bear.
“You are such… a beautiful boy, Martin. Now turn around. That’s it.”
Martin obliged. At least, turned away from him , he couldn’t see Martin’s tears. He was always rougher when he could see Martin crying. Said it ruined his good looks. Turned away from him , Martin could cry as he pleased. Could pretend he was elsewhere, go away in his own head.
The noise of the camera stopped. The sound of the protective covering being snapped back in place over the lens. The soft, quiet rustling of his belt being undone.
“To the desk now, darling. That’s a good lad.”
As he approached the desk, Martin felt that firm hand press down on the back of his neck. Like a disease, he could feel the filth from that hand washing over him. Coating his entire body.
The cold feeling of the leather writing mat pressed against his cheek. The sound of him spitting in his palm. The feeling of his hair covered chest pressed against Martin’s smaller back.
Then the pain.
Eventually, as always, the pain gave away to something worse. Betrayed by his own body, the tide of pleasure slowly building, no matter how Martin fought it. A feeling made worse when his large hand reached around Martin’s hips to grab him there . Pulling Martin away from the safety and comfort of his own mind, forcing him back to reality.
It always seemed to last hours. Sometimes it did; other times Martin would find himself staring at the clock to realize it’d only been a quarter hour.
He always stayed where he was until he told him they were done for the day. Told him to run along then, go ask the housekeeper for a biscuit.
It was always a struggle to clothe himself. His legs felt like they were made of jelly, his fingers of the thickest lead. Trying to hold his tears in, just a little bit longer.
He was always at his desk by the time Martin was fully dressed again. Didn’t acknowledge his presence as Martin stumblingly made his way to the door, fumblingly tried to make his lead fingers see through his blurry, tear-filled vision to find the door handle.
Martin never asked the housekeeper for a biscuit.
It would’ve made it worse, somehow.