Category Linkin Park

A Reversal of Roles by Remy

A Reversal of Roles

To Fanny: There, I respected your 24-hour rule. Happy now? xD

To everyone else: It's for Fanny, who for some reason enjoys hurting Mike in every way imaginable. But I hope you enjoy too :)


"Hey, Chaz?" Mike's voice sounded weak and hoarse over the phone.

"Mike, you okay?" asked Chester worriedly. "You don't sound too good."

"I'm fine," replied Mike, still sounding the same. "Listen, I can't make it to the studio today, okay?"

"Why not?" asked Chester, anxiety spiking.

Mike seemed to hesitate. Finally, he said, "I got some work to do."

Chester didn't believe him, but didn't say so. "Okay. I'll tell the others to cancel today's session."

"Thanks," said Mike. "Bye."



Chester felt a queasy feeling of apprehension as his car silently pulled into Mike's driveway. He killed the engine, grabbed a pair of keys from the glove compartment, and got out.

He made sure to enter as quietly as possible, so as not to alert Mike to his presence. Mike never canceled sessions. Something had to be up.

A cough nearly made the singer jump out of his skin; calming himself, he walked in its direction.

He entered the living-room to find Mike sprawled on the couch, looking pale and exhausted. Walking faster, he reached the couch and looked closely at Mike.

The emcee had his eyes closed, and sweat shone on his face and neck. He was dressed in a black t-shirt and gray shorts. He didn't seem to be asleep, but he clearly hadn't noticed Chester's presence yet, which worried Chester because Mike could always somehow tell if he was nearby.

Chester crouched down and gently put his hand on Mike face. His skin was much too warm. "Chester?" Mike mumbled, his eyes fluttering open.

"You idiot," chastised Chester gently, smoothing Mike's damp hair away from his forehead. "Why didn't you tell me you were sick?"

"You'd worry," murmured Mike, sitting up with some difficulty. "How long have you been here?"

"Just a few minutes," Chester told him, hand on his shoulder. "But never mind that. Let's get you cleaned up." He took Mike's hand and pulled him to his feet, before putting an arm around him for support.

Mike tried to protest and pull away, saying, "I'm fine, it's just the 'flu, I don't need help -"

"Bullshit," declared Chester, narrowing his eyes at Mike.

Mike sighed. "Come on, Chester."

"No. You need help, and you know it." Realizing something, he added, "Where's Anna?"

"Not home," replied Mike, finally giving in and leaning into Chester's side.

Chester rolled his eyes. "I can see that, genius. I meant her location."

"Her parents' 50th wedding anniversary," Mike mumbled into Chester's hair, his eyes half-closed. "Otis with her."

"Okay," Chester said. Mike's short sentences were feeding his concern. Without further conversation they began the laborious climb up the stairs, Mike clinging to Chester to avoid falling. Once or twice he had to suddenly throw his arms around Chester's neck to regain his balance.

Once in his room, Chester sat him on the bed and went over to his large walk-in closet. He selected a pair of black shorts and a pale blue sleeveless shirt, and walked out to find Mike staring off into space.

"Hey," he said. "You all right?"

Mike blinked, then attempted to focus on him. "Yeah," he answered, but did not sound like it. With a slight shake of his head Chester laid the clothes out on Mike's bed, and then said, "Okay, so why don't you take a cool shower, and in the meantime -"

He broke off; Mike was shaking his head. "Hot shower. It's cold."

Chester frowned - it was the middle of May. He put a hand to Mike's forehead, and after a minute or so declared, "I thought so. You've got a fever."

"No I don't," denied Mike. "I'm fine."

"Far from it," Chester contradicted. "Anyway, you stink. Just shower, okay?"

Mike look surprised. "I stink?"

Chester nodded. "Yeah."

"Why?" asked Mike.

"Well," said Chester after a moment of bewildered silence. "Because you've been sweating."

"Why?" asked Mike again.

"Because you have a fever."

"I do not!" declared Mike.

"Okay, whatever you say," Chester gave in. "But you're sweating. Go and shower."

"What if I don't?" challenged Mike, crossing his arms tightly.

Chester sighed, and then remembered he acted much more childishly when he was sick. Mike took care of him at those times; it was his turn to return the favor. So he said, "Please?"

Mike seemed to consider. Then he said, "Okay," and with surprising energy, jogged into the bathroom.

Chester stared at the door for a full minute after it closed. Then, with a slight smile to himself, he walked down to the kitchen and got a couple of ice-packs. He managed to find some Aspirin and amoxicillin, which he set down on Mike's bedstand. After that he went down to the kitchen again and made some chicken corn soup.

He returned to Mike's bedroom to find him showered and changed. With a smile he said, "How are you feeling?"

"Better," said Mike, seeming more lucid. "But I'm still not sick," he added.

"Yeah, and I'm an angel with fluffy wings and a halo," retorted Chester, grinning. Then he got down to business. "Okay, Mr. Healthy-as-Hell, how about you get in bed?"

"Why?" asked Mike.

"You need rest," Chester informed him. "It'll help you get better sooner."

"But I'm not sick," protested Mike even as Chester gently sat him down on the bed before proceeding to lay him down.

"If you say so, Superman," Chester said, sitting next to him. "But you're probably sleepy."

Mike looked thoughtful. "Come to think of it, I am," he finally said. "How'd you know?"

Chester chuckled. "Mother Hen intuition," he answered, reminding Mike of the phrase he'd used so many times on a sick Chester. "Now sit up."

"Why?" asked Mike. It was beginning to get on Chester's nerves.

"Because I made you soup, and I want you to have as much of it as you can." Chester settled the tray with the soup on Mike's lap. "Go ahead and start."

"I'm not sick -" began Mike, but before he could finish Chester shoved a spoonful of soup in his mouth. Swallowing automatically in his surprise, he turned wide eyes on Chester.

"I'll do it again, if you won't do it yourself," Chester threatened, waving the spoon at Mike. Mike stared at Chester some more and then said, "Okay."

"What 'okay'?" It was Chester's turn to be surprised.

"Do it."

Chester was confused for only a second before he understood what Mike wanted. With a smile, he ladled some more soup into the spoon before putting it into Mike's awaiting mouth.

Half a bowl later, Mike announced, "I'm full."

"Okay," agreed Chester, putting the soup aside. He put the pills in Mike's palm, handed him a glass of water and said, "Here you go."

Mike looked at the pills in his hand, and then at Chester. "I don't like pills," he confessed. "They're hard to swallow."

Chester grinned. "Looks like you weren't wrong, then," he said.

Mike looked confused. "What?"

"When They Come for Me," Chester reminded him. "You said, 'The pill that I'm on is a tough one to swallow'."

"Ah, right," said Mike with a little smile of his own. Then he said, seriously, "But I really don't like the pills."

"I'd get you the syrup, but there isn't any in the house and I don't wanna leave you," Chester said sympathetically.

"There's Otis's Panadol syrup," suggested Mike.

Chester frowned. "Will it work?"

"Works on you every time," Mike reminded him with a smile.

"Okay," Chester said, convinced. "But you're going to have to take the antibiotic pill."

Mike looked at it again. To reassure him, Chester said, "If you drink a lot of water with it you probably won't even feel it. Trust me."

"I do," Mike replied, and before Chester could react he had the pill down.

"Awesome," praised Chester. "Now wait here while I go get the Panadol, okay?"

Mike nodded, and said, "It's in the kitchen."


Chester returned with the Panadol to find Mike half-asleep, head resting back against the headboard and mouth slightly open. Sitting down on the edge of the bed, he shook Mike gently and said, "Mike. Panadol."

Mike obediently drank the medicine, and then asked, voice clouded with sleep, "Are you going somewhere?"

Chester set the medicine down on the bedstand and said, "No. I'm right here."

Mike relaxed and laid back down. "Good." When he was settled, he looked up at Chester imploringly. "Stay with me?"

"You can count on it," promised Chester. Understanding what Mike wanted, he went around to the other side of the bed and got in, kicking his red loafers off. Mike watched him with the satisfied expression he usually had only after finishing a song.

"Happy?" asked Chester, sitting with his back against the headboard and his legs stretched out in front of him, crossed at the ankles.

"Yeah," Mike said, burrowing into the comforter Chester was placing over him. "'Night."

Chester grinned. "'Night," he replied, even though it was only 9 AM.

A minute passed, before Mike said, voice sleepy and words slurring, "You are, you know."

Chester shifted so that he was closer to Mike, and could hear him better. "What?" he asked, perplexed and not sure he had heard right.

Mike looked at him, something like impatience crossing his tired face. "What you said."

"What did I say?" asked Chester, mentally going over any conversation he'd had with Mike in the last 24 hours.

"That you're an angel," Mike said, and Chester couldn't help the smile that formed on his lips. "Only without the fluffy wings and halo. And you were sarcastic. But you're right."

"Go to sleep, Mike," Chester said, but he was still smiling widely.


Mike woke up at around noon, sweating profusely and confused beyond rationality. A hand to his forehead and then neck told Chester the fever had gone up. The thermometer said it was well over ninety. "Wait here," he said to Mike, and got out of bed.

"Where are you going?" asked Mike at once.

"Getting the ice-pack," Chester told him.

Mike seemed not to have heard him. "You're leaving me?"

Something broke in Chester's heart, and he changed direction, sitting down next to Mike instead. "Never," he vowed. "Why don't you close your eyes and count to twenty? I'll be back before you're done."

"Promise?" Mike was evidently delirious, but it tugged at Chester's heartstrings all the same.

"Promise," confirmed Chester. "Okay, close your eyes and count - and no cheating, okay?" he added for good measure.

It was a tactic that had often worked on him, reflected Chester as he sprinted out of the room. He'd be sick and unwilling to let Mike out of his sight, and Mike would tell him to close his eyes and count. He'd always be back before Chester got to sixteen.

Mike had a sheepish confession ready when Chester burst back into the room. "I cheated," he admitted, rubbing the back of his neck. "I wanted you to be back quick."

"What number did I get back at?" asked Chester, activating the ice-pack.

"Nine," Mike told him. "I cheated, but you still made it back fast."

"How'd you cheat?" asked Chester, putting the pack on Mike's forehead and putting the covers up to his chin.

"I counted slowly," Mike answered, following Chester with his eyes as he went around the bed and got in at the other side, feet still pounding. "I figured you'd come back sooner this way."

"I'd have come back soon anyway," Chester told him, resuming his previous position. He hadn't slept, instead preferring to watch over Mike and play Fruit Ninja on his iPhone. He glanced at the clock; it wasn't time for Mike's medicine yet.

"Hey, Chester?" said Mike softly.


"Can I have a duck?"

"Sure, why not." Mike was delirious, Chester told himself. He was probably not even going to remember this.

"Can I name it Sarah?"

Okay, random. "What if it's male?"

"Then I'll name it Chester," declared Mike.

Chester felt warm inside, all of a sudden. "You'll name your duck after me?"

"Yeah," Mike said. "It's 'cause I like you."

Chester grinned. A delirious Mike was adorable. "Thank you. I'm honored."

Mike hadn't heard him, and was still talking. "And then I'll buy another duck, only it'd be female. A duck-ess. And I'll name her Talinda. And two more ducks. And they'll be called Mike and Anna. And I'll dig a hole in my backyard, and fill it with water. The ducks and duck-esses will live there, and have lots of ducklets." (Chester didn't have the heart to tell him it was 'ducklings'.) "And there'll be mini-Shinodas and mini-Benningtons in my backyard."

"That sounds great," Chester told him. "Why don't you go to sleep? So when we go to buy the ducks, you'll be feeling fresh."

"Good idea," agreed Mike. He looked up at Chester, as if seeing him in a new light. "You're smart," he observed. "Sorta like Einstein, only less hairy. And you're not Jewish." An idea struck him. "Hey, Brad's hairy. And Jewish. Do you think he's secretly Einstein?"

"Maybe," conceded Chester with a chuckle. "Now sleep."

"Not yet."

"Why not?"

"I haven't decided what color the ducks will be."

"You decide when we're buying them, okay?"

"Okay. Good night, Chester."

"Good night, Mike."

"You know, if Brad's really Einstein, he's older than all of us. Even my dad."

"Mike. Sleep."

"You're bossy."

"You're worse. Now sleep."

"Okay, Mom."


Chester didn’t realize it when he fell asleep, but he sure as hell felt it when Mike poked him awake. “What is it?” he mumbled, opening his eyes and squinting at Mike.

“I want turtles too,” Mike informed Chester. “I forgot to tell you before.”

“Why turtles?” asked Chester, rubbing his eyes and sitting up.

“They’re pretty,” Mike told him with a grin. “And maybe frogs too, you know.”

“Sure, why not,” Chester answered, before checking his watch. “It’s time for your medicine again,” he told Mike.

Mike’s face fell. “Keep it up and I won’t name the duck after you.”

“Yes you will,” contradicted Chester, “because you love me.”

Mike tried to come up with an argument to that, and failed. “You win this time,” he grumbled. When he was done with the medicine he asked Chester, “If you had a cat, what would you name it?”

Chester frowned, thinking. “I don’t know,” he finally said. “How about Mike?”

Mike grinned. “Awesome,” he declared. “Why don’t you buy a cat, when we go to buy the ducks and turtles and frogs?”

“Because I already have a dog,” Chester reminded him. “It’d probably kill the cat.”

“Your dog is evil,” Mike told Chester seriously. “It tried to eat me.”

“Yeah, it tried to eat the twins too,” Chester said. “Jaime tried to kill it.”

“And what happened?” asked Mike, looking curious.

Chester sighed deeply. “Jaime ended up looking like he lost a fight with a tree.”

Mike winced. “Ouch.”

“I know,” agreed Chester. “That dog is evil.”

“So why do you still have it?” asked Mike.

Chester shrugged. “I don’t know. It was cute when it was a puppy. Now it’s Satan personified.”

Mike laughed. Then he said, “Hey, how about we go ice skating?”

“You’re still sick,” Chester reminded him.

“I’m not!” Mike shouted. He grabbed his pillow and whacked Chester. “I’m not sick!”

Chester, whose glasses had gotten knocked off, spluttered, “Mike, you little idiot … YES, YOU’RE SICK!”

“I’m not!” yelled Mike, hitting Chester again. This time Chester didn’t even bother putting his glasses back on – he simply grabbed another pillow and hit Mike back.

Mike looked surprised. Then he screamed “PILLOW FIGHT!” and pounced on Chester.

“Wha –” Chester could only say this much before Mike began whacking him repeatedly. Finally tiring – and damn, those pillows hurt – Chester grabbed Mike around the middle and held him down, tickling his side. Mike squawked in surprise before beginning to laugh and then retaliating, because never let it be said that Mike Shinoda will be tickled and do nothing about it.

Ten minutes later, they were both exhausted but content. Chester placed a hand on Mike’s neck and said, surprised, “Hey, you’re not sick anymore.”

“Told you,” answered Mike smugly. “Told you I wasn’t sick.”

Chester stuck his tongue out at him.

Mike glanced at the clock and then looked at Chester in horror. “Oh my God,” he said, eyes wide. “Do you know what time it is? We’ve got to be at the studio!”

Chester couldn’t help but laugh. “You canceled today’s session, remember? Besides, it won’t kill you to have a day off.”

Mike looked frantic. “Chester, we still have three songs to finish –”

“And we can finish them later,” Chester interrupted. “Today we’re going to a pet store.”

Mike frowned. “Pet store – why?” Then he remembered, and blushed.

Chester smiled. “You wanted ducks, remember?”

Mike nodded. “Can we still have them?” he asked hopefully.

“Sure,” Chester replied with a laugh. “Come on, let’s go.”

And every time Mike saw the little yellow ducks swimming around in the pond in his backyard, along with the turtles and frogs, he smiled. They never failed to cheer him up.


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