Category Linkin Park

Cigarette by Yassim

Nobody's Really Fooled

Disclaimer: Don't own the boys...just the story.


Chester leaned heavily against the arena’s outer wall. The band had just finished their 4th show of the tour and he was already drained; tired of the screaming, tired of the same songs. Most of all, he had become weary of interacting with his own band mates. He imagined it was because he no longer clicked musically with them. That 4 year break between Meteora and Minutes to Midnight had rubbed him raw and by the time they had started writing again, he had begun to feel out of place in his own band. Really, he had always been the odd one out, being the last member to join the band. He was different than them, had a different upbringing and felt weak and traumatized by his past.

Chester stuffed his hands deep in his pockets forlornly, feeling disjointed. He didn’t know where they were, but looking at the words on signs and billboards around him, he guessed somewhere in Germany. The air had a coldness to it that was almost tangible, soft puffs of air escaping the singers parted lips with every exhale.

There was loud creek of the metal door to his left and he pinched his lips together in a straight line. He refused to look over and acknowledge he had heard the door swing open.

“Chester,” A familiar voice sighed.

“Mike.” Chester acknowledged, his voice flat.

Mike stepped through the threshold of the arena and moved to lean against the buildings wall with the vocalist. He patted down his pockets for a moment before triumphantly pulling out a small red and white package.

“Want one?” Mike asked, indicating the box in his hand.

Chester shrugged vacantly.

Mike’s lips twisted in a frown but he flicked the carton’s lid open and pulled out a cigarette anyway. He slipped the filter between his lips and cupped one hand around the tip as he switched a lighter on with the other. The cancerous stick lit and Mike passed it over to Chester, who took the proffered cigarette without a word.

Chester was very much aware that Mike didn’t smoke and it made him all the more uncomfortable to realize that the emcee probably only carried the pack around for the singer. Chester pushed the thoughts away with a frown. He brought his hand up to his face and pressed two fingers to his lips, the filter held loosely between them, and inhaled, filling his lungs with the nicotine. He moved the cigarette away from his mouth and with a soft exhale, he released a puff of white smoke into the still air.

“Ches,” Mike started softly.

“Don’t,” Chester interrupted, fisting his free hand as the cigarette slowly burned in the other. “I don’t want to hear it, Mike."

“I can’t just ignore this, Chester,” Mike sighed, already feeling defeated. “I’m not going to pretend that everything is okay.”

Chester pushed off from the wall angrily. He hated this. Hated that Mike was always the caring one, always the reliable one. The emcee was continuously in everyone’s business, taking care of them or being all fucking consoling. The good Samaritan, Chester mused. It drove him crazy and made him feel claustrophobic.

“Stay out of my business,” The singer snapped as he turned his back on his band mate, intending to walk away and end the conversation.

He stopped short as Mike grabbed his arm and yanked him back.

“This is not just your business!” Mike pulled the vocalist closer to himself, his voice softening. “This is my business too, Ches. It’s affecting the band.”

Chester pressed his lips together as his heart clenched at the emcee’s words. That wasn’t fair. Mike knew exactly how to manipulate him into feeling guilty and it wasn’t fucking fair.

“That’s all you fucking care about, right? ‘The band’.” The singer scoffed, reversing the accusation. “Please, Mike,” Chester continued, his voice softening. He tried to tug his arm out of the emcee’s grasp but to no avail. “Just give me this one time... That’s all I’m asking.”

Mike released the singers arm at the tone of his voice.

“You can’t just…run away from all your problems,” Mike reprimanded, crossing his arms over his chest.

“I don’t,” Chester mimicked Mike’s pose, feeling defensive. “You know I don’t.”

“Except for this.” The emcee griped.

“Stop fucking guilting me, Mike. It’s not fucking working!” Chester snipped, although the twisting and clenching of his stomach was screaming otherwise.

“Ches, I’m not trying to guilt you,” Mike sighed and ran a frustrated hand through his long hair. “I’m trying to help you. Why are you so adamant on keeping me out of the loop?”

Chester took an annoyed inhale of his cigarette; it was half burned away and for some reason it pissed him off. It was slowly smouldering away, just like everything else in his life. He slouched suddenly, feeling old and defeated.

“What the fuck are we doing?” He finally said, white plumes of smoke forming around the words. “I’m too old for this. Too old for touring and partying and being on the road,” Chester paused and sucked on the cigarette again before continuing. “I’m fuckin’ tired, Mike.”

Mike made a strangled noise in response.

“Are you…? Are you quitting the band or something?” He nearly shouted, overwhelmed.

Chester would have laughed normally but he just didn’t have it in him anymore. He was too hollow.

“Don’t freak out, Mike. I’m not quitting.”

“Fuck,” Mike put a hand on his chest. “Don’t fucking scare me like that!”

Chester gave Mike a fierce look. Again, all the emcee was thinking about was the band. It was always the wellbeing of the band. Feeling the burn of jealousy, the singer took another long drag of the cigarette to calm his anger. The tip burned a bright red and as he flicked the ash off the tip, the hot embers flaked off and disintegrated in the air. He looked vaguely at the shortening white stick. He should probably quit smoking, he mused.

“Mike,” Chester started softly. “I’m not a part of this band anymore. I don’t fit and you know it,” He looked the emcee in the eyes bravely. “The only reason I’m still here is because of you.”

Mike brows furrowed and it looked like he was struggling to find words at the vocalists statement.

“What?” Mike was shouting now. “You can’t just fucking…say something like that!” He threw is hands in the air, flabbergasted. “What the hell, Chester? What are you trying to tell me?”

Chester rubbed his free hand over his shaven head nervously.

“I’m saying that I don’t have the energy to…” He bit his lip. “I don’t…have it in me…”He sighed, frustrated. For a lyric writer, he really had trouble articulating sometimes. “Just tell me what you want from me; tell me how to be, how to sing, and I’ll do it for you…For the band.” He corrected softly.

Mike leaned back against the arena wall, looking like he had just been punched in the gut.

Chester’s expression on the other hand, was that of a man defeated by life; his face sallow and thin, eyes tired. The pair looked warily at one another for several moments, awkward in the silence.

“Well, fuck.” Mike finally said, almost guiltily. How had he not noticed Chester’s heart was no longer in their music?

“Yeah.” Chester said, just fill the empty space.

The cigarette in Chester’s hand had stopped smoking and only the filter was left. The vocalist stared sadly at for a moment before throwing it to the ground and crushing it with a twist of his foot. He felt defeated.

“Want another?” Mike asked, his voice soft.

‘Probably thinking of ways to save me again,’ Chester thought silently. He found he wasn’t as resentful towards that idea as he was previously. Maybe he did need someone to save him.

“No,” The singer responded with a small, forced smile. “I think I’m gonna quit.”

The vocalist shuffled forward and brushed past Mike, making his way into the building. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the emcee lighting up another cigarette, for himself this time, and inhaling the cancerous smoke.

Chester pretended that he wasn’t the one at fault.


A/N: I've always wanted to write a fic based around FM's song Cigarette, so I did. It doesn't really follow the song, I suppose, but thats what inspired me to write this :)


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