LPfiction

Category Linkin Park

Torment by BSkyeSoldier

Torment

Chester bounced the rubber ball against the wall. It collided with the floor before returning back to his hand. He repeated the process, barely focusing on the basic task. He felt so cramped in his tiny, patted room. The only thing inside was a single bed, nothing more to insure he didn't attempt to hurt himself.


He was desperate for one thing only, to be released. Not just from this room, but from life. He wanted out, he couldn't take the torment anymore. Memories flashed before his eyes, making sure they left a large gash in his brain that left a big, black hole full of nothing - just empty emotions that reminded him that he was all alone through this. He couldn't take the thoughts any longer or the voices he was hearing in his head. They pressed him to die and that's exactly what he wanted and tried to do. He couldn't count how many times he attempted suicide on both his hands. He was just so desperate for an escape. He was baffled how he has survived this long with all his effort going into trying to die.


The band knew something was wrong the moment Chester began wearing long sleeves again and stopped taking off his shirt when performing. They'd tilt their head in curiosity, but were frightened to ask such a harsh question.


'Are you hurting yourself?'


That was the question his friends wanted to ask for so long, but they kept quiet. They didn't wish to intervene with the singer, believing he'd come to them if help was needed. Little did they know Chester was in a heap of trouble and it wasn't over, he wasn't sure it would ever be over. This one question, so blunt at first spoken, could have possibly saved Chester. Maybe he would've gotten the courage to speak up about what had happened to him. Perhaps it would've snapped him back into his hellish reality.


He let out a shiver, realizing how chilled his room had become. He was more soft spoken since his experience weeks ago. He was now shy and afraid to ask for even the smallest of things. He craved warmth from an extra blanket, knowing the one on his bed just wouldn't do, but he kept quiet.


His ball came to a stop when he caught it once more and rolled it into a separate corner, interest in it lost. He crawled up into his small bed and tried to keep warm beneath the single, thin blanket. His eyes wouldn't shut as much as he begged them to. Another sleepless night was up ahead.


~


Mike stared up at the ceiling, the other half of his king sized bed left empty. He felt terribly lonely and trembled in paranoid pain. He wanted to cry out, alert the others that he was not well, but remained silent. He could never disrupt their sleep simply for his own benefit.


The absence of his vocalist had left Mike in a terrible state of depression. He wasn't taking this well, he was scared for Chester. He knew he was safe in the suicide watch but he couldn't help the nagging feeling at the pit of his stomach that begged him to check up on Chester. Although he couldn't even do that, not for at least a few more days. He had to wait for them to call him, until Chester showed signs of improvement. All his attempts to know more about him would just fail.


It was especially difficult on Mike than the others, not simply because he and Chester were together. He was the one who had discovered Chester. He wouldn't dare think about the moment he found his body barely alive, but his nightmares dragged him back down into the memory and he couldn't forget. He wasn't sure if he'd ever forget every last detail of that day, but was determined to make sure Chester never tried again.


He had received a call today from the watch, getting his usual daily call to get updates on how Chester is doing. The watch alerted Mike that something terrible must've happened to Chester to cause him so much pain. Mike was filled with paranoid thoughts on what could've happened to the love of his life. He spent the entire day dreaming up scenarios on what happened to Chester. He simply couldn't wrap his mind around his own thoughts.


Accepting the fact he wasn't about to sleep anytime soon - not that he wanted to, due to the nightmares - he slowly crawled out of bed. He stood and instantly felt light headed, nearly falling back down. He's been so worried about Chester, he hadn't been sleeping or eating much. He let out a small sigh to himself and left his room to head downstairs. He stopped when he saw his friends, who were surprisingly still awake. He decided to himself he didn't wish to speak, but would rather listen. He took a seat on the floor on the upper level, still having a clear view of all of his friends.


"What do you think happened to him to make him want to hurt himself?" Brad voiced his concerns, settled in the couch next to Joe who seemed completely lost in thought but snapped out of it when Brad spoke. All the guys seemed to have changed ever since Chester had. They tended to keep to themselves and rarely voiced their own thoughts anymore.


"He was raped," Phoenix said confidently, causing Brad's brown eyes to widen and shine in shock. Rob, who was resting in a chair nearby with his chin on the arm rest, rose his head to Phoenix's voice. Joe seemed to have a slight tremble to his body at the thought now pushed into his head and Phoenix simply stared into the floor as he sat on it.


"Why would you think that?" Brad asked quietly, with a bit of darkness in his voice. He sounded scared, but looked to Phoenix directly to hear his voice of reasoning.


"Not to be gay, but Chester's an attractive guy. He's alone a lot and that's the perfect opportunity to get attacked. Also he started to flinch easily before this happened, it just seems logical to me," Phoenix answered and it seemed to be enough for the guys. They all seemed to fade away from talking and went back to their thoughtful gazes into the ground.


Mike, who was still listening to them, quietly slipped away back to his room, another theory added to his list of possible events to have happened to Chester. Everything Phoenix had said was so true to Mike, it made absolute sense. Chester was always alone, whether in the studio or just walking home. Chester had to write some meaningful lyrics that would usually upset him, making him extremely vulnerable to anyone around him. He easily could've been taken aside and violated, not having any strength to fight back.


Guilt instantly flooded Mike's brain. He felt he should've done more with Chester, make him feel like he could tell Mike anything. If only Mike hadn't let him be alone so often, maybe Chester wouldn't have become so independent. Maybe he would've talked to Mike instead of hurting himself.


Mike couldn't lie about their relationship. It wasn't the best and they were constantly starting to fight. Mike had barely spent any time around him and he was beginning to realize that he didn't know what Chester's been up to recently. They would still sleep in the same bed and talk in the studio while working, but rarely chatted anymore or kissed. They just yelled at each other - mostly from Mike's end.


"I just don't want to argue anymore, Mike. I scream enough onstage, I don't want to take work home with me," Chester sighed after a heated argument. Mike had snapped at Chester for not yelling back at him. The fight didn't seem justified when Chester didn't let down his walls and protected them.


Even though Chester hadn't wanted to fight anymore, it didn't stop Mike. He regretted everything and sometimes wondered if it was his fault Chester tried to kill himself.


Mike rolled back into bed, silent tears running down his face. All he wanted to do was hold Chester and run his hands through his hair again. He missed having his warmth next to his and just his entire presence. He never should have pushed him away. It was starting to hurt him as much as it was hurting Chester.



"Chester, do you remember Mike?" A nurse who was supposed to help him speak asked. Chester simply stared into the ground. He didn't mind this nurse, Talinda was nicer than the other one, who was a man. If he was going to talk, it'd be for her, but he didn't have the spirit to even mumble his boyfriend's name. "Do you remember him?"


'I'm surprised I do, considering how brainwashed I feel,' Chester thought to himself but just remained silent.


"I'm sure you do and you just don't want to talk. I understand that."


'Bingo... I hope you weren't expecting a reward for that, like me talking.'


"He's so worried about you, he won't stop calling us. It doesn't matter how many times we tell him he has to wait until you're ready, he just won't give up. I'd hate to bribe you, but if you speak, he can visit," She waited a moment and Chester had tears in his eyes. He missed Mike so much, but in all honesty, he felt so much safer in the watch. She stroked his hand softly. "It's okay, sweetie. Talk when you're ready."


She left and Chester let the tears flow. He was in the corner of his little bed, he knew they were still watching him but he didn't care. He cried a ton, but always waited until nobody was in the room with him, he would hate to have someone feel pressured into comforting him. His door opened again and he stopped crying as if his emotions had a switch. It was his other nurse, who was not as pleasant as Talinda.


"Hi, Bennington," He said and Chester looked down. If he was going to speak, it'd probably be about the way this nurse treated him. He hated him and was almost as afraid of him as he was as someone who had hurt him outside of the facility. Mark sat on Chester's bed. "Speak."


Chester just looked down. He wasn't going to react at all when Mark was around. They had history together but Chester didn't know that. He had only heard of Mark Wakefield, not seen him. He was the singer before Chester in Linkin Park and had left to get a degree in care but regretted it the minute they got a taste of success and held a grudge against Chester ever since. Chester didn't know that this was that Mark.


"You know, it's rich that you're in here. I think it's fantastic. It's a kick in your band's faces for welcoming you in," He said and Chester soaked in every word, he wouldn't forget a single word this man said. "Speak, Bennington! You're worthless, you're scum, you're-"


"Mark!" Someone snapped, coming into the room. She looked like an angel to Chester.


"Talinda!" Mark mimicked, flirtatiously.


"Stop being so arrogant and leave him alone. What the hell is your problem?"


"I'm trying to make him speak. It's like good cop, bad cop. I have to be mean to him 'cause you're too nice," He smiled and she calmed down. She looked to Chester, who looked like all he needed was someone to cuddle him. She had a bit of a crush on Mark until Chester came, who stole her heart. She knew it'd never happen because he was gay, but she couldn't help the way she felt.


"Just... Be nice to him, Mark," Talinda mumbled and left. Mark looked back to Chester, who couldn't believe Talinda could so easily walk away from what she just saw.


"So, Bennington, let's talk."


'I'm never talking to you,' Chester thought.


"I know Mike, that guy whose band you're in."


'I know who he is, he's my fucking boyfriend,' Chester desperately wanted to shove back in his face, but knew he wouldn't.


"I know you're best friends and all but he's a piece of shit," Mark cursed and Chester was in awe at how little Mark knew. All the nurse had to do was read Chester's file to know he was in a relationship with Mike. Clearly he knew nothing and Chester hoped he never did. "We used to be buds too but trust me, he'll toss you out like he did me."


Mark smirked and left. Chester thought about that for a while and wondered how Mark knew Mike. It didn't make sense at all to him. Surely, Mike would have mentioned him if the two were as close as Mark claimed they were. Chester wondered if he had replaced him and thought back. He knew he only replaced...


"Mark," Chester said under his breath. It felt odd to speak but he clicked the pieces together. He immediately knew this was definitely not going to end well. Mark must have some sort of grudge against him and was willing to make his life a living hell. Mark had left Chester's door open, which was against the facilities rules, and he noticed Talinda walking by. "Talinda!"


"Chester?!" She gasped and rushed into the room, gawking at him. "You spoke? You called for me?"


"Y-yeah," Chester admitted, starting to regret bothering her. He hoped she wasn't doing something important for another patient.


"Do you need something?" She asked quickly and a blush was creeping across her face as she thought about how honored she felt that Chester's first word upon entering the facility was her name.


"I-is Mark's last name Wakefield?" He stuttered and she hesitated before nodding.


"Why do you ask?"


"He was the singer before me, who I replaced in my band," He informed her softly. His voice was so gentle, it made Talinda melt.


"How'd you figure that out? Did he say something about it?"


"Kind of. He said he knew Mike, but didn't seem to know he was my boyfriend."


"He didn't read your file?" She asked and he shook his head silently. "That's outrageous! I'll speak to someone about it, hopefully they'll do something."


Chester just nodded again. She immediately knew he wasn't going to speak again anytime soon.


"I'll also tell someone to call Mike and tell him you talked so he can visit you," She said softly before leaving. Chester felt his heart rise in his throat. He was so happy he'd be able to see Mike but that means there's a possibility he'll see him as well.



"We get to visit him! We get to see him! Chester gets visitors! He spoke!" Mike yelled throughout the house until he reached his friends who began bursting into questions.


"What did he say?!" Brad asked quickly, much before anyone could respond.


"How is he?" Phoenix asked in turn.


"When are we going?" Rob questioned and Joe said something along the same lines.


"I don't know what he said and I think that means he's good and we're going immediately!" Mike cheered as he answered everyone's questions. The guys all smiled, except Brad, who frowned. "What's wrong, Brad?"


"I had a thing to go to today, but I think I can take a raincheck. I'd rather see Chaz anyway," Brad flipped his features into a bright grin and Mike smiled. "I'll be right back, I've gotta make a couple calls."


"Where were you going to go?" Phoenix asked him and Brad smiled softly.


"I was going to interview a couple people to hire someone to clean my house for me. I didn't want to do it myself because I don't think I'd feel up for it with everything going on," Brad sighed, but was still smiling slightly.


"Okay," Phoenix said and turned back to Joe to talk about how excited he was to see Chester again. It hadn't been too long since they'd seen him last, but being so used to seeing him everyday, it felt like forever.


"Hey, Rob, do you want to come with me to pick up a couple things for Chaz?" Mike asked, turning to Rob, who nodded silently. Mike announced to the others, "We'll be back."


"Alright!" Phoenix cheered, still ecstatic over the fact that they get to reunite with their friend.


Mike and Rob went to grab a light jacket before heading out the door. It was a cloudy day, quite gloomy compared to their happiness in that moment. Everything had a grey feel to it and Mike found it matching his mood. He was excited to see Chester again, but he couldn't shake the nagging feeling that something wasn't right.


Mike decided they'd take his car and he went to the driver's side, starting it up as Rob ducked his head to get into the passenger's side. He immediately began adjusting his seat down to make himself more comfortable. He was too tall to take on Chester's preferred seat adjustments.


"Chester's going to flip when he gets back in this car and sees his seat isn't the way he left it," Mike chuckled playfully, making Rob laugh.


"He'll think you're cheating on him," Rob joked and Mike grinned before the two began to grow more seriously, as they both began thinking about what must've happened to Chester that caused him to be absent. "What do you think happened to him?"


"I don't know, Rob, and that's what scares me. It could literally be anything. I've ran through many scenarios and I just can't pinpoint one," He sighed and took a hand off the wheel to run a nervous hand through his hair. "What do you think?"


"The other guys think he... They think he was raped," Rob said softly, afraid it would scare Mike to a point where he couldn't handle him. Mike simply nodded. "You think so too?"


"I don't know, maybe. I was listening in on your conversation last night and the more I think about it, the more sense it makes," Mike frowned profoundly and Rob shook his head.


"That's so terrifying. I don't even want to think about it, but it's hard not to," The drummer said and Mike bit his lip before looking at Rob questionably, who was smiling softly. "You must've picked up biting your lip from him, he does that all the time when he's thinking."


"You've noticed that too?" Mike smiled as Rob nodded. "You're probably right about that."


They pulled into their local store's parking lot and found a nice spot close to the front. Mike parked the car and stopped the engine. He stared down into his lap, seemingly more depressed than he was a moment ago. Rob picked up on it before he could get out of the car and looked to him with worried eyes.


"What's wrong?"


"I miss him, Rob, and I'm freaked out. How could someone do that to him? He didn't do anything wrong, he didn't deserve this. At first, I thought maybe he was just going through something internally that was making him depressed, but he did so much shit to himself that I doubt it's just a spurt of random depression. I know something happened to him and I feel so awfully sure that it was rape, I can just feel it in the pit of my stomach and I don't know what to do," Mike said all in one breath. He inhaled deeply and sighed when he exhaled. "I don't know what to do."


"You're right, Mike. He didn't deserve this and I don't think it's just a phase either. Something must've happened," Rob replied, unsure what else to say. "We'll get through this, Mike."


"I sure hope so."


~


The band entered the facility, immediately taken aback by all the people who seemed to be dead - as most were simply expressionless. A woman came up to them, who had black hair and brown eyes. She was wearing a name tag that Mike made out to say, 'Talinda.'


"Oh, hello! You boys are here to see Chester, right? Well, I'm Talinda and I'm one of the nurses that cares for him. Which one of you is Mike?" She asked sweetly and Mike smiled, hoping all of Chester's caretakers were as kind as she was. He needed to know he was in good hands.


"I'm Mike," He spoke up and her eyes fell onto him. He thought for a brief moment that her smile faltered slightly, but he shook it off and thought nothing of it.


"Alright, it's good to meet you, Mike! Chester hasn't spoken much, but you were one of the prime things he talks about. It's not visiting hours yet, but this is a special case, so please remember this is not the usual time you can visit him. It's currently recess - meaning that the patients can roam wherever they please, making it difficult for me to exactly pinpoint where Chester is right now. I'll have someone search for him. I'll be right back," Talinda flashed another smile, before going to find Mark. She ratted him out for not obeying the facility's policies, but nothing was done. She decided to get some use out of him and thought it best if he went to find Chester, while she took care of the visitors.


"Excuse me, but it's not visiting hours yet. You'll have to come back in a couple of hours," A lady behind a large desk asked.


"The nurse, Talinda, said it was for a special case," Phoenix spoke up, not wanting to be pushed out of the hospital and prevented from seeing his friend because of a misunderstanding.


"Ah, Miss Bentley, yes. Is that bag meant for one of the patients?" She asked, noticing the bag in Mike's hands. He nodded and she gestured for the group to go to her. "Which patient is this for?"


"Chester Bennington," Mike said and she typed the name into her computer.


"Oh, now I see! Mr. Bennington has not been responding to any type of personal until just this morning. May I verify the items you've brought for him? I have to place it within a special bag and place this sticker on it, as well as stapling it shut to be sure nothing else gets placed in there. I apologize for that, this facility is just a little more weary. Only one of the nurses can open the bag, so Miss Bentley will have to remove the staples once you've reached his room," She explained and Mike set the bag on the counter, just as Talinda approached the group once again.


"Alright, guys, I've sent one of Chester's other nurses to find him and bring him back to his room. I see you're already checking the bag out, one step ahead of me!" She chuckled playfully and smiled at the group. Once the lady checking out the bag was finished, she handed Talinda the new bag full of the supplies Mike bought for Chester.


"Here you go, Miss Bentley, everything checks out. Have a nice day, everyone," She smiled and returned to some paperwork. Talinda pulled a pager out of her pocket before sliding it back in.


"I haven't been notified yet that Chester's been located and brought back to his room, so would you boys like a quick tour to kill some time?" She asked kindly and they all shrugged and nodded. Their first stop was the main hall, which was full of patients who were staring into walls or looking at scarred wrists. "So, this is the main corridors, where most of the patients spend their time, but Chester is one of the rare few who refuse to step foot in here. We specialize in cases of those who are thinking of doing something terrible, but we don't just watch over them - we encourage them to talk to other patients and a therapist. We allow some patients to stay long-term, making us not just a watch, but also a mental facility."


"Where does Chester spend his time if not in here?" Mike asked, curious as to what Chester's been up to since admitted.


"He never does the same thing twice, something quite uncommon amongst our patients considering most fall into a routine. He tends to explore places he isn't meant to be in, but never says a word once he's caught. He roams the halls usually and avoids the other patients. Otherwise, he's just quite bored and sits in his room," She explained and Mike nodded with a small smile. Even depressed, Chester would still cause at least a little trouble.


After they left that area, they passed some rooms and other areas as Talinda explained Chester's usual opinions or actions towards such. The guys realized more and more how interested they actually were about what their friend did with his time and how he reacted towards any little thing. After a while, Talinda's pager pinged.


"Alright, guys, that will conclude our tour," She smiled, though they had only explored just a fraction of the place. "Chester is ready to see you now."


"Really?!" Mike gasped excitedly and she chuckled and nodded with a bright smile.


"Yes! Now, before we go in, there are a few things you should know. Chester hasn't showed any sign of hostility and is relatively calm, but he is prone to anxiety attacks. Because of this, I encourage you to watch what you say and be careful. He doesn't talk much - if at all usually - so please don't pressure him to speak. I hope you enjoy your visit and please tell me if he says or does anything alarming. If there happens to be an emergency, yell and someone will come immediately, probably myself. I'll be on stand-by your entire visit."


"Thank you, you've been a ton of help," Mike smiled and he emotionally prepared himself to reunite with Chester. He wasn't sure what Chester would even look like, if he'd gotten any skinnier or added more scars to his body, but he was more overjoyed by the fact that he'd get to see him than anything.


The other guys were preparing themselves as well and were excited. They weren't sure what to expect, but didn't care. They were ready to see Chester again and weren't going to let anything get in their way. It had been too long since the last time they've seen each other and they hoped Chester would talk to them - unlike his nurses.


As they approached Chester's room, they felt themselves growing nervous. Talinda seemed to be feeling the same way, as she started to lose the hop in her step. Mike was trying to rush to the room, but eventually, they made it and faced his door.



Chester was hiding in a hall not many patients or even workers knew about. After rummaging through some drawers in one of the rooms within the hall, he learned that a special therapist worked those corridors and the patients that needed him most, were straight across from his office. The therapist was fired after taking advantage of a patient - or at least, that's what the patient claimed. The journal the therapist kept, explained that earlier sessions didn't go well and after those encounters, the patient wanted him gone.


It seemed to have worked or else Chester wouldn't have been able to dig around the office. He was tired of exploring the space and decided to just wander the hallway, but he realized he shouldn't have when he heard a familiar voice calling to him.


"Here, Chazzy Chazzy Chazzy... Come out, come out wherever you are," The voice sang playfully, echoing towards Chester. He stiffened and looked around, wondering how Mark could've found him. Surprisingly, he must've been one of the rare few who knew about the corridor. "Chazzy, come out and play..."


'Fuck, there's no where to go,' Chester thought, realizing he had gone too far down the hallway and there was only an emergency exit to escape out of, but it had been boarded up after the hall was abandoned. 'Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit...'


"Chazzy, I just wanna talk," Mark cooed, his voice sounding closer. Chester was frantically looking to every corner of the hall before his eyes landed up on the paneled ceiling. "Don't you wanna be my friend?"


'Some friend you'd be,' Chester scowled silently and placed his foot on a case that protected the fire extinguisher. He managed to hoist himself up completely and pushed a panel up and over. He grabbed the edge of the empty square and pulled his body, being grateful he was skinnier than anything in that moment. He wiggled through the space and managed to get quite comfortable. He figured this would be a nice place to hide other days, not expecting to be let out soon - or at least hoping he wouldn't. He'd rather be in here with Mark than out there with 'him.'


"Chester..." Mark's voice purred, sounding as though it was coming from right underneath him. He had just managed to put the square back, but kept it pushed open a little so he could see Mark. "Chazzy, I know you're in here."


'Like hell you do. You just want to scare me in case I actually do happen to be in here,' Chester thought - hoped - still remaining silent, figuring he must've been saying this type of stuff down other hallways.


"I'm surprised at you, Chester. I thought you wanted to see the band. I suppose not. Maybe I'll just..." Mark's voice trailed off and Chester pulled his eyes off of him and looked around for a silent escape.


Suddenly, a panel to his right popped up and Chester saw a wooden stick that looked to be from a boarder on one of the walls. The panel pushed towards him, trying to rest on the ledge, but it was too close to Chester, who realized he couldn't wiggle away from it in time. He was silently cursing loudly in his head, knowing only Mark would think much of it. He managed to look out the hole next to him and saw Mark looking up at him, with an eerie smile pressed against his lips.


"Found you," He sang.


~


Chester refused to walk with Mark, who had a tight grip on his arm and was pulling him towards one of the abandoned rooms in the hallway he was hiding in. He pushed back with his feet, but it didn't help to any avail. Eventually, Mark managed to shove him into the room and closed the door. He turned back to Chester, who was cowering in the corner of the room with a slight tremble. Mark tapped his chin and smiled.


"What are you so afraid of, Chester?" Mark hummed and Chester remained silent, not planning on talking at all whatsoever. "What does the famous Chester Bennington of the international band, Linkin Park, have to be so worried about? Tell me, what happened to you that landed you in this joint?"


'As if I'd tell you,' Chester thought sourly, but his thoughts of anger was crippled with fear that wracked through his body when Mark took a large step closer to him.


"You don't seem too excited to see your friends... The whole band is here," Mark guessed, not actually knowing if every one of them were here. He noticed Chester cringe at the mention of it and smirked. "So, you don't want to see them? Is it just one of them? Is it Mike? Brad? Rob? Joe? What about... ah, what's his name? Dave?"


'Stop, stop, stop, stop,' Chester repeatedly thought, but Mark seemed to pick up on his uneasiness.


"Hmm. What could one of them do to make you so afraid?" Mark thought aloud with a smile and went closer to Chester. He had an idea and put a hand on his hip, making him whine quietly. "I think I see now. Good news for you though; I don't swing that way."


Mark sent a fist into his stomach, which made him wince and double over in pain. Mark chuckled and pushed him to the ground, sending a kick, which hit his shoulder. He cried out, producing the most noise Mark had ever heard from the vocalist. He bent and grabbed Chester's neck, squeezing it as he hoisted him up. Chester choked and gasped when he was on his feet and Mark released him.


"That will teach you not to mess with me. Be careful of who you replace," He sneered and pulled Chester to the door. "Time to face your fears, Chazzy Chaz."


~


Chester waited impatiently in his room. Mark had just left and locked his door on the way out, sending a few more crude remarks towards him as he left. Chester tried some breathing exercises as he waited, not wanting to go through a panic attack when 'he' comes into the room.


He flinched when the door to his room open and he backed to a corner. He watched as it opened completely and he saw Mike - ignoring the others. He rushed to his boyfriend and hugged him as tightly as he could, burying his face into Mike's chest. He wasn't listening to whatever the guys were saying, just hearing muffled voices beside him. Someone touched his shoulder from behind and he shoved himself closer to Mike, showing a clear sign he didn't want anyone else to touch him.


Mike looked to the others uncertainly. He was overjoyed that Chester had run straight to him, but was concerned when he wouldn't even look at the guys. His eyebrows scrunched together in worry and he made eye contact with Brad.


"Could you guys let Chaz and I have some alone time?" He asked softly and Brad nodded, gesturing to the others to give them some time together. "Chazzy, are you alright?"


He pulled away from Chester and tried to give him a soft smile. Chester gave a small, half one in return, but didn't reply straightaway. Mike realized he wasn't any better than the first day he was admitted and felt extremely depressed about that. He wondered if he should get himself admitted to the facility so he wouldn't have to be away from Chester.


"I-I'm okay," Chester finally spoke to him and he couldn't help but grin.


"Why aren't you talking to anyone?" Mike asked softly and Chester bit his lip.


"I'm talking to you."


"Chester..." He said in a warning tone and waited for Chester to reply. When he didn't, he decided he'd need to keep a conversation going - even if that meant changing the subject. "I got you a couple of things."


That seemed to perk Chester's interest and the two sat on his bed. Talinda had opened the bag just before leaving and set it down for him. Mike took the bag and set it on his lap. He pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter first.


"I don't like you smoking, but I figured you'd want them," He sighed and handed it to Chester, who immediately took the plastic wrap off the case and slipped one into his mouth, lighting it. The facility didn't mind smoking, but some patients weren't allowed lighters.


"Thank you. I really appreciate it," Chester smiled, taking in a deep drag and blowing out the light grey smoke. He sighed contently and looked to Mike with loving eyes as he went to take out more things from the bag.


"I brought you a couple books. I wasn't sure what you'd like, so I got you some murder/mystery, horror, and some about the history of music. I also brought some pictures of us and the guys, just to remind you that we're waiting for you out there. I hate leaving you here," Mike frowned, but turned back to the bag - not noticing Chester's brief reaction of fear at the mention of the guys. Mike rose and dug out a pair of headphones and a spare phone out of his back pocket. "I'm sick of never knowing if you're alright and not knowing what you're up to, so I snuck in a phone for you. My number and the others' are already in there and they have this one. Be careful, I don't want it to get taken away. I also put some music on it for you."


"Mike... Thank you so much," Chester took the items and immediately stuffed the phone and headphones under his pillow. His actual phone had been taken away when he was admitted. "I promise I'll text you everyday."


"You better," Mike grinned and noticed Chester's cigarette was about to break ashes over the floor and quickly pulled out an ashtray. Chester grinned and took it, flicking the ashes off. He set his cigarette and tray off to the side and hugged Mike tightly.


"I don't want you to go," He gripped onto him tighter and Mike felt his heart breaking and a fire fueling inside of him to figure out what happened to him and who hurt him.


"I don't know when I have to leave, but I can come back if you actually talk to these people," Mike encouraged and Chester sighed.


"Okay," He pulled away and Mike noticed he was looking at the ground.


"What happened, Ches? You have to tell me," He said quietly, in case someone was listening in on them. He knew Chester was paranoid about such as well, and hoped that talking in a low voice, will convince him that Mike is there to help and keep whatever is said between just them two.


"I can't Mike," Chester immediately replied, matching Mike's volume.


"Chaz... I don't want to jump to conclusions or scare you, but the other guys and I were talking and... We think..." Mike trailed off, unsure how to put it without scaring Chester away or startling him.


"Rape?" Chester whispered, shocking Mike. He nodded slowly, not bothering to hide his concerned expression. Chester didn't say anything, but he kissed back when Mike placed his lips upon his. He hugged Chester tightly and squeezed him gently.


"I'll find whoever did this, Chester. I will find them and they will regret ever laying a hand on you. Do you understand?" Mike asked more sternly and Chester nodded.


"Don't do anything stupid," Chester begged him silently, but was glad Mike was going to take care of things. He wanted him to find out himself so 'he' wouldn't hurt him again for telling Mike.


"Everything will be fine, okay? Chester, I love you," Mike reminded him and Chester put his ear against Mike's chest, huddling closer to him. Mike was warm and comfortable, something Chester hasn't experienced since he was admitted to the facility.


"I love you too, Mike."



Chester was shaking madly while Talinda tried to sooth him by running a hand down his back and attempting to have him try breathing exercises, but Chester wasn't listening. He was too busy thinking about 'his' visit before all the guys left. They all took turns talking to Chester one-on-one, and 'he' decided it was a great opportunity to use Chester again.


"Why did he do it again? Why? Couldn't he just kill me?..." Chester murmured, Talinda only being able to pick up on a little bits of what Chester was saying, she was glad he was talking in general, but she didn't miss the main piece of what he was repeating.


"Who hurt you, Chester? What did they do?" She asked softly, then noticing long scratches going down his arms. She grabbed one of them with her free hand and looked Chester in the eyes. "Did you scratch yourself?"


He shook his head and Talinda frowned profoundly. She didn't know who could've hurt him, knowing the scratches were fresh. Her first suspect was Mark, but he hadn't been in the room since dropping Chester off. The only other people who had seen him up until that moment was the band. She tugged Chester's shirt up, wanting to investigate more of the damage. He had a large bruise covering his ribcage and more scratches running down his body, especially his sides.


"What happened, Chester?" She asked and he took in long, shaky breaths.


"M-Mark did this," He stuttered, gesturing to the bruise. Talinda immediately wanted to report her co-worker, but Mark's a tricky guy and manages to squeeze out of trouble. She figured that if such abuse continued, she'd contact as high up in the chain as she could and report him to them.


"Who caused the scratches?" She pressed, but Chester didn't reply. She knew it was impossible, but she had to ask in case Chester was suffering an abusive relationship. "Was it Mike?"


"N-No! Of course not," Chester instantly defended him and Talinda nodded, narrowing down the suspects.


"It was one of your friends though, right, Chester? These are too fresh to have been from someone else if it wasn't you," She told him softly and ran her soothing hands down both his arms, wrapping him in a warm embrace. She wasn't supposed to be as close to the patients as she was, but when it came to Chester, she couldn't help it.


"It was me," Chester changed his mind and Talinda knew she wouldn't get anything else out of him at the time being.


"It's okay, Chester. Everything will be oka-"


"Well, what do we have here?" Mark hummed, coming into the room. He smiled at Chester as brightly and as innocently as he possibly could. "I heard a bit of a commotion from in here and decided to check it out. Now, Tal, are you supposed to be touching the patients like this?"


"Better than what you were doing, Mark. You hurt him," Talinda sneered at him, all memories of her old crush on him banished.


"Hurt him? No. Read his files? Yes. I finally got around to it. Looks like you're dating ol' Mikey, huh?" Mark smirked and Chester trembled in response. "Didn't think Mike swung that way - or your way, for that matter. Talinda, why don't you give up on him? He's not into... you're not his 'type'."


"That doesn't matter. He's been through enough, so stop harassing him," Talinda snapped and squeezed Chester a little to reassure him.


"Harassing? Eh, I suppose that is what I'm doing," Mark tutted, scratching his chin in thought.


"You're abusing the patients-"


"You're flirting with them," Mark countered before she was even finished with her sentence. She didn't have anything to comeback with and just frowned, pulling Chester in for a hug.


"Just leave him alone," Talinda decided to finish the argument. Mark tried to trigger their anger again, but both ignored him until he left - frustrated they didn't react to his final jabs.


~


It was another late night without Chester. Mike was spending it wide awake in bed, feeling incredibly deceived. One of his friends are hurting the love of his life, he couldn't wrap his mind around it. He trusted everyone in the band as though they were family, it was terrifying to think one of them couldn't be trusted. He thought individually about each of them, but still couldn't figure out who would hurt Chester.


Mike immediately wrote off Joe from being a suspect. He could never hurt Chester, he was always messing around and joking, there wasn't a bad bone in his body. If he wasn't cracking jokes, he would be working or simply remaining quiet. The only fact that could make him a genuine suspect was the way he was acting about the situation, he seemed overly weary.


Phoenix was too concerned to have hurt Chester, he seemed clueless and worried. He was a little too eager to see Chester, but Mike figured he would be. He was close to Chester, probably even more than the others to him, but that also gives him the opportunity to betray him and hurt him.


Rob was the silent giant. Mike would find him intimidating if he didn't personally know him. None of the guys know what he's even capable of, making him Mike's top suspect. It frustrated Mike because he took advice from him before even knowing he could've possibly been the one to hurt Chester.


Then there was Brad, Mike's best friend since high school. He knew him almost as well as he knew Chester, there's not a chance he could've hurt him. He could lose his temper sometimes, sure, but he was also a funny guy, like the others. It's hard to think that out of a group of goofballs, one of them are capable of committing a horrific crime against one of their friends, but all thoughts of the issue left his mind when his phone vibrated.


Chester: Hi


Mike: Hey, you. How are you? What are you up to?


Chester: I'm okay. Lights went out about an hour ago, I couldn't sleep.


Mike: Was everything okay after I left?


Mike hit send and sighed deeply, worried. Each of the guys took turns visiting Chester. He tried his hardest to keep all of them away from him, but it wasn't to any avail. He didn't want to push them all away - especially the culprit. It took Chester a few minutes to respond.


Chester: No


Mike: Please tell me who did it. Let me help you.


Chester: Mike, I can't. I'm sorry. I don't know what you'll do and it'll be on my conscious if I tell you and you hurt him.


Mike: What do you mean? What do you think I'll do?


Mike knew exactly what he wanted to do to whoever hurt Chester. It was not friendly in the least, even though it was one of his friends. He thought a lot about it and he knew he could never forgive any of them if they were to hurt Chester. He honestly thought about each of his friends and what he'd do if it were them. He realized he wouldn't hold back on any of them for what they've done.


Chester: You know, Mike.


Mike: Can you at least narrow down the list? Who didn't do it? Just one of them, please?


Chester: Joe didn't do it. You can trust him.


Mike figured as much, but sighed in relief. At least he could confide in Joe now and try to get his help to find out who hurt Chester. He was about to text back, when Chester messaged him again.


Chester: Nurse checking rooms now. Can't talk anymore. I'll message you tomorrow. I love you. Don't message back. Turning phone off.


Mike frowned, but stuck his phone on his nightstand and laid on his side. He'd talk to Joe tomorrow and try to figure out what to do about the situation and hopefully come up with a plan. For now, he needed to sleep. There's a possibility he could catch the suspect tomorrow and he needed his energy, especially strength. After a few more minutes of over-thinking, he finally passed out.



Chester sighed, rolling out of bed. He was annoyed at the events that were to be held later that day. It was group therapy, Chester's least favorite event in the mental facility - though he genuinely hated all the activities. He knew he'd be forced to talk, considering he never ever says anything and he just started talking again. It'd be different this time though, at least he hoped, because Talinda would be hosting it.


After getting ready, he went down to the lounge, seeing everyone had already taken their place and started their chatting. He wasn't surprised Talinda didn't push him to be on time, knowing he was her favorite patient. He took the open seat next to her and gave her a soft smile.


"I've been... alright. It's been better, honestly. I haven't even thought about... ending it... since I came here," A patient Chester didn't know finished talking, smiling at Talinda. Chester guessed they were due to get out soon, but would probably just end up back here - like most.


"Thank you for sharing with us. Chester, why don't you share something. How have you been feeling lately? Don't worry, this is a safe place and we'll understand how you feel," Talinda said softly. Normally, Chester would lash out and claim nobody knew how it felt to be betrayed by a close friend in such a way, but it was Talinda and he couldn't yell at her.


"Um... I've been... not that great," Chester said shortly, looking down to his hands, which were shuffling nervously. He glanced up quickly, seeing people seemed shocked by the fact that he spoke. He knew the facility was hoping that his change of speech would rub off on the others and encourage them to think that it was alright to speak.


"Why do you think that is? It's good to share intimate details with us, we're here to listen," Talinda lightly pushed.


"I... My friend... He... I..." Chester tried, but found it too hard to share. He sighed deeply, pushing his hands through his hair and shook his head, knowing he should share. "I'm in a band, as some of you might actually know... I'd really appreciate it if you didn't pass this along in case it gets out of hand and is shared with the media... but a friend in the band hurt me in ways I never thought he would."


"Can you share more?" Talinda asked softly. Chester looked up, glancing at everyone to see if he could continue. He saw interested eyes and decided it was healthy for himself and encouraging to the others to share their own issues.


"It started during our last tour, after the first concert actually. He cornered me and asked me questions about my boyfriend, Mike... Again, I'd appreciate it if you didn't share this stuff with anyone... But he just wanted to know about our sexual relationship... I thought he was just curious so I asked him if he was interested in guys or why he was asking. He said he wasn't really interested in guys, but he was interested in me. I reminded him that I was happy with Mike and that I wasn't willing to hurt him in anyway... That's when he said that I wouldn't hurt Mike. He would hurt me.


"I was already cornered, so I tried to slip away, but he had my arm. I struggled as hard as I could, but he wouldn't give in. He pushed me into this closet that was backstage and started touching me. He ripped off my shirt and used it to gag me before I could scream. I tell myself that I did... I do... everything that I can to get away, but I still feel like I could've done more. He went further with it all and he did the same thing every day of the tour and it continued afterwards," Chester finished, taking in a deep breath. He had said everything as if he had no emotion towards it and was trying to mentally deny the fact that anything at all happened.


"What resulted of this? No one ever found out? What did you do? What are you doing?" Talinda pushed and Chester knew he should continue, no matter how hard it got. He was actually feeling more relieved, knowing all these people were aware of his situation. It helped him feel safer. If 'he' came into this room, he had a group of people here to defend him.


"I started cutting and thinking about killing myself, until I actually tried and the rest of the band found out. It was the hardest on Mike. We never got intimate after it started happening. I told him it was because of my past - not the present or because of the fact that I was self harming. They never found out who and most of them still don't know what made me do any of it," Chester replied and bit his lip before adding, "I wish more than anything that I could speak out against it, but I'm afraid of hurting the band. We've come so far and if it means I have to shed a bit of blood to keep it going, I will."


~


Mike: I seriously need to talk to you. It's about Chester.


Joe: I'll be right over.


Mike was glad Joe was so willing to drive by in the middle of the night. He wanted to talk to him sooner, but couldn't work up the courage nor get away from the other guys. He was expecting Chester to text him as well, but he hadn't yet and Mike was getting worried. He waited for Joe to arrive at his and Chester's house after convincing the others to leave, when he got a text. He immediately bolted back into his phone.


Chester: Hey, Mikey.


Mike figured the nickname meant Chester was feeling better than he had been the night before and he smiled.


Mike: Hey, you! How was your day?


Chester: It was alright, actually. I opened up in group therapy and I actually feel a bit better.


Mike: Am I allowed to know what they know?


He hoped he wasn't pushing Chester by asking this, but his curiosity was getting the best of him.


Chester: I just told them that it started at the beginning of the tour and that it continued afterwards and that if I had to suffer a bit to keep the band rolling, I would.


Mike: Chester, the band is your dream. You aren't supposed to suffer in your dream or else it becomes a nightmare.


Chester: Eh


Mike: Don't be stubborn.


Chester: :P


Mike: Wow.


Chester: Nurse is checking the rooms again, I'll text you either later or in the morning. I love you, don't forget that!


Mike: I love you too, kitty.


Mike turned his phone off and sighed, seeing headlights pulling into his driveway. He was glad Joe had gotten here just as he said goodnight to Chester. Mike went up to welcome Joe, all while wondering if there was anyway he could wiggle Chester out of the mental facility and get him back home so he could protect him.



Chester woke up to a knock at his door in the middle of the night. He groggily opened his eyes, seeing the door begin to open. He froze in his spot and pretended to fall back asleep. He heard footsteps approach his bed, his mind flooding with images of his friend coming towards him. He started shaking in fear, eyes tearing up.


"Don't hurt me, please don't hurt me, I won't tell, just don't hurt me, please..." Chester muttered repeatedly, causing the person in his room to pause. He heard the footsteps fade away and the door close again. He cried himself to sleep, trembling.


~


Mike let Joe into his house, the two taking a seat in the den, on the couch. Joe seemed confused, unsure why he was here and not the other guys. He looked at Mike uneasily.


"What's up? You said something about Chester?" Joe asks, kicking their conversation into gear. Mike visibly stiffened and sighed deeply.


"Yeah. He confirmed that he was being... you know," Mike tried, not needing to say more, as Joe nodded his head. "He said it was someone in the band and that it started the beginning of tour and... whoever it was did it again when we went to visit."


"Seriously? One of us? Are you... are you sure that's what he said? That's impossible," Joe's eyebrows furrowed together, his breath getting caught in his throat as he tried to talk. He buried his head into his hands. "It's impossible."


"He said it was and I believe him."


"Who did it? Which one of us hurt him? I swear to god... If it's true, I don't care which one of us it was, I will fucking disown them for laying a hand on someone who trusted them," Joe cursed, before pausing.


"He didn't tell me who, I've been trying to get it out of him, but he refuses to let the band fall apart," Mike inhaled slowly, trying not to tear up. "It scares me, Joe. I love him more than I love our band, I'm okay with letting it fall apart if it means justice for him, but he just won't let that happen."


"How come you trust me? As for the band... I'm on board with you, I'm just afraid of what will happen. Some fans love the band more than we do, we'd break a ton of hearts. I care about those people, I know Chester wouldn't want anyone to know what happened, so they wouldn't understand, but I'm afraid for them too."


"Chester said you didn't do it and that I could trust you. I know the fans would be devastated, this is something we'd have to talk about all together. I don't want to replace anyone... We're a family... but family doesn't fucking rape each other," Mike slammed his hands down on the table in front of him, groaning, letting a tear fall from his eye. "It's scary, Joe. Who do you think did it?"


"I don't know... I can't even narrow any of us down, we're brothers. Phoenix wouldn't do it, but neither would Rob or Brad. I just don't know," Joe confessed and Mike nodded.


"I feel the same way, but one of us did it. We can at least try and decipher one of us, can't we? Like, at least try?"


"Phoenix. He couldn't have done it, he loves Chester, he's protective over him."


"Protective or possessive..." Mike thought aloud. "I'll call Phoenix over and we'll just interrogate him. We'll get what we can out of him and then determine whether or not we can trust him."


"Are we going to do that to everyone?" Joe asked softly and Mike shrugged.


"We'll see what happens after Phoenix," Mike sighed and picked up his phone. He rang Phoenix's cell.


~


"Hey, thanks for coming," Mike welcomed Phoenix inside. He wanted to be harsh to everyone, but knew not everyone was guilty. He didn't want to lose all of his friendships with the guys, knowing he already has to lose one.


"Yeah, you said this was about Chester? What's going on? Is he alright?" Phoenix asked, taking a seat in the chair across from the couch and table, which Joe and Mike still sat on.


"Um... Not exactly and honestly, neither are we. But... we do have some questions for you," Mike decided to go the route of seeing how Phoenix would react to different questions and whether or not his reactions were genuine, would be the judge.


"Well... Fire away," Phoenix said in uncertainty.


"Have you ever thought about Chester in a 'romantic' way?" Mike asked, waiting for Phoenix's reaction, which was immediately confusion.


"Uh... No, Mike. Not at all. He's my best friend," Phoenix frowned, wondering what this was all about.


"So you haven't thought or have had any sexual 'tension' with Chester?"


"No! Gross, Mike. I'm straight as a dry noodle. What? Do you think he's cheating on you with me and that the guilt got to him?" Phoenix tried to fill in the blanks, but he noticed the relief covering Mike's face. "What?"


"It wasn't you. It couldn't have been," Mike smiled warmly at him a little, getting up and giving him a small hug. "Now you can help us."


"Help you guys with what? What's going on?"


"Chester confessed that someone in the band was consistently raping him since the beginning of tour. He said Mike could trust me and we decided we'd face you first to see if you were innocent," Joe filled in the gaps for Phoenix, who's face turned white - all the color dropping out of his features.


"Someone in the band has been hurting Chester?" He said in a low tone, that sounded as though he was ready to go to war. He looked to Mike for confirmation, who slowly nodded. "I am going to slaughter whoever did it and I don't care who!"


"Dave, calm down, we can't do anything Chester doesn't want us to. He's in a bad state," Mike used Phoenix's real name to show how serious this was and that he absolutely couldn't murder someone in the band. At least... Not without Chester's consent.


"I just... I can't believe any of us would do that... So what? That leaves Brad and Rob? I..." Phoenix stopped, as if he just realized it was his friends; his brothers. "They wouldn't..."


"You trust Chester, don't you?" Mike asked softly and Phoenix nodded.


"Let's catch the son of a bitch."



Chester packed up a bag and couldn't help but smile a little. He was allowed to leave and he didn't even need to sign himself out. He was truly feeling better, though he knew it wasn't safe at home. He figured that because Mike knew what was going on, he'd never be left alone with the guys. He said his final farewell to Talinda and went to stop by Mark's office before he left.


"I'm leaving," Chester told him, watching him sit at his desk, already facing him. "I hope you know that even though you tried to push me off the deep end, I still managed to pick myself back up. I didn't need help from anyone, I can withstand everything you have to throw at me and still become strong enough to pull through. I hope you sort out whatever problems you have and work to be a better person."


Chester was pleased with what he had said and turned to leave.


"Good luck, Chester."


He smiled softly and walked out the door.


~


"Who should we question next? Brad?" Mike asked and the others nodded, not knowing where to start. They all passed out in Mike's living room after deciding Phoenix was innocent and woke up, not knowing what step to take next.


"Maybe we should just invite them both over, then at least we know it's someone in this room," Phoenix suggested and Mike nodded, agreeing that the idea was good. He sent out a quick text to the remaining members, asking them to come by as quick as they could.


Within minutes, both the drummer and guitarist said they were on their way and Mike sighed contently. He was ready to discover who hurt Chester, yet stressed about losing one of his friends. He was nervous when it came down to the last two band members, thinking about each of them individually and what they brought to his life.


Brad had been his best friend for as long as he could truly remember, he would always make Mike feel like the smartest person on earth and could make him laugh with just one funny face. Brad was like a brother to him - much like the rest of the guys - besides Chester, of course, who he felt overly romantic for. Brad brought a sense of sincerity and warmth that was uniquely his own, the aura constantly being around him. If it happened to be him, Mike didn't know what to do.


On the other hand, there was Rob, the shy drummer who was a surprisingly gentle giant. Mike couldn't remember a time where Rob had hurt anyone, just brought comfort and advice that couldn't be mimicked by anyone else in the band. Rob had always been someone Mike could count on, whether it be for a simple favor or dropping Chester off at home - the thing he considered most precious in his life.


Mike felt torn between his friends and wanted to just snap and break down as Chester had. He didn't want to face the fact that he'd have to disown one of his friends for what they did, they could never be forgiven. He wished he could go back in time and stop this all from happening. He blamed himself once again, believing that if he had spent more time with Chester, the vocalist would've opened up to him or would've been with him more instead of being open to such pain.


A knock at the door tore Mike away from his thoughts and he went to answer it, seeing that both the drummer and guitarist had arrived at the same time. He stepped aside, silently welcoming them in, and watched them both fall onto the couch straight across from three chairs, which were ready for interrogation.


"What's going on?" Brad asked as Mike took a seat in one of the chairs, being directly in the middle.


"Would either of you like a soda or something else to drink?" Mike questioned them softly and Brad gave him a strange look.


"What's going on?" He asked again. "Are you... interrogating us? Good cop, bad cop?"


"Yeah."


"What's this about?" Rob finally spoke up and Mike tried hard not to scowl, seeing both of them appeared confused, though he knew one of them already knew.


"Chester," Mike simply said, looking at both of their faces, immediately seeing concern beyond their eyes.


"Is he okay?" Brad asked, frowning. Mike sighed, wanting to just get this over with.


"One of you two hurt him and you've been hurting him since the beginning of the last tour. Cut the crap," Mike snapped and both of their faces fell, turning to look at each other. Mike heard a car door shut and soon after, footsteps and the door opening. His eyes widened as he saw Chester, who was smiling until he saw the rest of the guys.


Chester's face fell and he wanted to run to Mike, hide behind him, but instead, he quickly rushed passed his friends and went upstairs. He heard them calling after him, asking questions, but he ignored them, hearing someone coming up after him. He wanted to lock himself in the bathroom and go back to who he was when he was admitted to the mental institution, but his thoughts softened when he saw it was Mike who came after him, allowing his boyfriend to wrap him in his arms.


"Chazzy, you're home," Mike breathed out and kissed his head. "I'm sorry you had to see the guys, I didn't know you were coming back."


"I wanted to surprise you, I took a cab home," Chester said softly and sighed, pulling away to run a hand nervously through his hair. "Why are you doing this, Mike? You don't have to, it's okay."


"It's not okay! One of them hurt you! I need to know who. I'm not going to let them go, knowing they won't stop," Mike said firmly, hoping Chester could see the logic behind it.


"Please, Mike, without this band, I might as well drop dead," Chester begged, wanting more than anything for Mike to let it go.


"Chester, we can replace whoever it was."


"It won't be the same. Please, Mike, he's our friend. I hate him, but I still love him at the same time. We can't just push him away, please. Please let it go," Chester pleaded desperately, but Mike didn't want to let it go.


"Chester, just tell me who did it," Mike pushed again, looking him deep in the eyes. Chester hesitated, a slight tremble to him.


"Mike, it's complicated."


"How is it complicated?"


"Just drop it."


"No! I don't want you getting hurt again and if it happens, you'll hurt yourself! Save me the heartache, please, Chester, I'm fucking begging you," Mike exclaimed, almost in tears. "Just tell me, let me protect you."


"Mike..." Chester sighed, allowing some tears to flow down his cheeks.


"Tell me," Mike pleaded once more, watching as Chester seemed to start caving.


"It was Brad, Mike. Brad hurt me."



"Brad, you son of a bitch!" Mike practically screamed, storming downstairs, not bothering with Chester, who had fallen to his knees, grieving as the secret was revealed. Mike ran down the stairs as Brad tried to rush out the front door.


Mike managed to snag his shirt and yank him back before Brad could get anywhere. The guitarist screamed out, frightened over what Mike would do to him. He struggled as Mike clambered on top of him, his hands snaking around his friend's throat. He squeezed, ignoring the shouts from the other guys. He watched as Brad tried gasping for air, without any success, wriggling underneath Mike's form.


"Mike! Mike, stop!" One voice got through to the rapper while he was in his rage. He slowly stopped strangling Brad, letting him go. He stood up, tears in his eyes as he looked at Chester. His lover's beautiful - yet, haunting - big, brown eyes were bloodshot and desperate. He went over to the vocalist, engulfing him into his arms as he realized he had left Chester to hurt Brad.


"Chester, are you okay?" Mike asked quickly, to which Chester shrugged off by nodding.


"Yeah. Just... Don't hurt him. You don't understand," He frowned and pulled away from Mike, going up to Brad. He pulled the guitarist in for a hug, bursting into tears. Mike wanted to rush forward and pull him away, but was frozen where he stood.


"What... What's going on? Chester, why are you hugging him? He's been hurting you!" Mike exclaimed in confusion, unsure what to do or how to feel. Apart of him suddenly thought that Brad and he had been having an affair behind Mike's back, but he tried shoving the jealous thoughts away.


"You don't get it, Mike. It's not his fault he's doing this to me. It's not his fault..." Chester repeated, trailing off. "Brad, please, tell them why you've been doing this. Please. You have to. If you don't... I'm afraid... I'm afraid Mike might do something awful to you."


"I'd listen to Chester, Delson," Mike confirmed the threat and Brad let out a shaky sigh, running a hand through his hair. He gestured for his friends to sit down, to which they obeyed and took a seat on the couch and chairs. Brad remained standing, being able to look all his friends in the eyes while he told the story he had been hiding from them for so long.


"Okay, okay, guys. Um... There's no easy way to get through what happened. Only Rob knows a bit about it and Chester knows the whole thing... Chaz, I-I'm sorry-"


"Cut the shit, Brad, and explain," Mike snapped and smirked as Brad flinched at the sudden tone.


"Before the last tour started... the last day of the tour previous, I was feeling restless and you all went out drinking, except Rob, who was sleeping when I left. I walked around the city and came across an alley and this guy shouted at me, telling me he was hurt. I went to help him, when he jumped me... and raped me... I was sobbing like a fucking baby the entire way back to the bus and Rob found me. I told him what happened and begged him not to tell you guys what happened.


"He tried to talk to me about it, but I insisted on pushing him away. I was feeling so empty inside and when we were getting ready to leave for the last tour, I saw how happy Mike and Chester were. I wanted to feel like that and Chester had been so nice to me, comforting me when he saw I was upset and giving me advice nobody else could give... I cornered him and hurt him to try and feel less hurt. I... I actually thought he wanted it after the first couple of times. I heard all of Mike and Chester's kinky conversations and it sounded like he was a masochist...


"I knew it was wrong when he was admitted to the mental facility. I knew I really fucked up and I was destroying myself while he was in there. But then I realized I never felt empty when I was hurting Chester. I could feel something, even if it was remorse. I hurt him again while he was in the facility and not a day goes by where I don't want to kill myself for doing what I did to him."


"Why... Why didn't you just tell us, Brad? When you realized what you did, why the fuck didn't you just tell us?" Mike's features softened, realizing that not only was his lover raped, but so was his best friend. All of his anger had diminished into a small flame, to which he still held onto with determination. He wanted to be angry with Brad, he wanted revenge for hurting the person he loved.


"I'm so sorry, Mike. I don't know what's wrong with me. I started... I started hurting myself after I found out Chester had. I wanted to copy what he did to make himself feel better. I wanted to be better too," Brad chocked out and broke into sobs. Chester rose and went to hug Brad again, though Mike could still notice the fear wrecking through his boyfriend's body.


"It's okay, Brad," Chester murmured, just loud enough so the whole band could hear his forgiveness. They all knew the vocalist was always quick to forgive, but wasn't sure what to think.


The majority of them were aware of Chester's desire to not let the band fall and wondered if that was the force driving his forgiveness. Mike was sure this was the case, but he wasn't sure what step to take next. He decided they would figure out what to do about the situation, perhaps admitting Brad to the mental facility Chester was in would help. Either way, he knew he had to obey Chester's wishes to forgive their friend.


"I don't agree with your actions. If Chester wasn't so forgiving, you'd be lying dead in our front lawn. Consider yourself lucky," Mike sighed deeply and noticed the gratitude in Brad's eyes when he pulled away and brushed away some tears. The others silently nodded, unsure what to do other than follow Mike's lead and hope for a solution. Perhaps everything will be fine.



Brad bounced the rubber ball against the wall, watching it collide with the floor before returning back to his hand. He repeated the process, trying to focus on the basic task. He felt secure in the tiny, patted room. Only a bed rested in the corner of the room, nothing more to ensure he didn't hurt himself.


He was desperate for one thing only - to get better. Not only for his sake, but for Chester and the band's as well. He wanted to push past this chapter in his life, not being able to take the torment anymore as memories flashed through his head. He remembered all the times he hurt Chester and himself, it was too much to bare. Only hope surfaced his thoughts and brought light amongst the angst and pain he had put everyone and himself through. He saw a light at the end of a tunnel for the first time since he felt that immense pain that never left until now.


The band knew things were getting better the moment Brad began showing more innocent affection and care towards his friends and himself. The scars began to fade and the band wanted to ask how he was able to progress so fast, but didn't want to disrupt.


'How are you overcoming this so quickly?'


The unasked question had the most obvious answer of all - the support of his friends. If the band hadn't forgiven him, he was sure that he would've hanged himself in the room the first night. Knowing that he had something to fall back on once he got out of the mental facility was something worth living for. The thought that he still had people who loved him was the only force driving him to push forward.


Brad sighed contently as he snuggled onto the bed. He didn't care if the room was cold, the warmth in his heart was all he needed to help him sleep. The thought of his friends acted like a thick, comforter, which brought enough heat to drag him into a restful sleep.


~


Mike felt Chester cuddle closer to him as they laid together in their king-sized bed. He felt a sense of fullness with the vocalist by his side, safe in his arms. He wanted to squeeze him tightly and beg him to never leave him like that again, but remained still. He was too focused on the fact that Chester was there, with him, to surprise the singer with a sudden burst of happiness.


The presence of the vocalist left Mike in a state of awe. He still wasn't sure if this was all real, not knowing if Chester was actually still in the mental facility and he was just having vivid hallucinations. He knew Chester was safe in the facility, but he didn't belong anywhere other than in Mike's arms. His stomach felt settled and at peace as he glanced over at the man next to him. Mike thought back to when he found Chester, barely breathing, which had been the reason for him being put in the watch in the first place.


~


"Chaz? You here?" Mike called out in the house, not receiving a response. He frowned, that familiar ping in his stomach that alarmed him whenever he felt Chester was hurt went off. He suddenly grew nervous and broke into a stiff tremble.


He wondered up the stairs and to the bedroom, still not seeing anything proving Chester was even home. He was certain, although, and pushed forward. He went towards the bathroom, hearing staggering breathes struggling to get through to whoever was gasping for air. Mike quickly rushed towards the figure passed out on the floor.


"Chester!" Mike practically screamed at the unconscious figure. He quickly dialed for an ambulance, noticing the nearly empty bag of cocaine on the counter, a few rows of the drug being left out on the counter. Chester must've bashed his head on the corner when he went down, as blood coated the corner and Chester's forehead. Mike tried not to sob, but couldn't help himself and held his dying boyfriend close to him as he waited for the ambulance to arrive.


~


Mike suddenly decided he couldn't sleep amongst the thought of finding Chester overdosing. He noticed the singer was already asleep and decided not to disturb him. He left the room, stopping before heading downstairs as he noticed his friends hadn't left from their visit from earlier that day, as they knew neither Mike or Chester would mind - as long as they didn't care if they happened to hear suggestive sounds erupting from the Bennoda couple's bedroom. Mike took a seat on the floor on the upper level, still having a clear view of his friends.


"Brad's doing so well," Phoenix said confidently, gaining the attention of the others. Joe was resting on the couch, next to him, and nodded softly, looking over to Rob, who silently agreed as he sat on the oversized chair. "I'm actually proud of him. I thought that after everything that happened, I'd hate him, but... I don't. I'm not sure what that says about me as a person."


Mike, who was still silently listening on, quietly slipped away, thoughts buzzing through his head. He had to agree with what Phoenix had said. He didn't hate Brad like he thought he would, he still remembered him as the friend he used to know. He wasn't a huge villain, he just made a huge mistake. Though Mike still didn't necessarily forgive him, he knew that one day, everything would be alright. Brad would have a lot of making up to do, but for now, everything was the way it was meant to be.


Mike returned next to Chester and laced his arm over his lover's thin body. He pulled him closer to himself and snuggled his nose into his hair. He couldn't help but smile as the familiar scent of Chester surrounded him. It was the first time he genuinely felt like everything would be okay. Perhaps it was meant to be this way.

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