LPfiction

Category Linkin Park

A Happy End by Umi

There are pictures with text that make up important parts of this story, but because of the formatting restrictions here I can't use alt-texts.


If you have disabled pictures or need alt-texts for any other reason, I recommend reading this story on AO3 instead: http://archiveofourown.org/works/11905095



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The first thing Mike sees when he opens his eyes is Brad's scowling face.


"... oh"


Brad just squints his eyes a little, but says nothing.


"Did it get out? I mean. To the public?"


He nods.


"Give me my phone."


Brad gulps and does what Mike asks him to, and only when he places the phone in his hand does Mike notice how badly his friend's fingers shake. But so do his own.

His head feels stuffed, his throat burns, his stomach is a tight knot and his thoughts run viscous, way too slow.

It takes him several minutes to tweet - "just a heads-up that I'm ok" - and when he lets his hand and phone sink back into his lap, he's exhausted, ready to doze off again.


Wait.


Fuck.



Brad.



He looks at him, forces a weak smile and tries to come up with something comforting.


But Brad still scowls, still squints his eyes, and his hands, fists, are still shaking, and Mike doesn't know what else to do, so he just averts his gaze and pretends he wouldn't hear his suppressed sobs.



*



Rob and Dave cry, too, when they come back and find him awake, while Joe avoids looking at him at all and Anna... she just stares at him, like she can't quite make the connection between that person in front of her and the man she married and thought she knew.


It takes Mike a bit by surprise that no one asks the obvious - "Why?" - even though the question is written all over their faces.

He's not exactly eager to answer it, but the silence hanging above them soon gets heavy, almost suffocating. Unbearable. He briefly considers going back to sleep but instead just tiredly rubs his eyes and asks Brad, who successfully swallowed his tears by now, what they told the fans.


"Nothing, of course. Except that you're under good care."


"Good... Good."


"It's all over the internet, though. When you google your name that's all that shows up, at least on the first page."


"Shit." He grabs his phone again.


Brad just snorts. "... Shit? R e a l l y ? Like, what did you expect?"


Mike doesn't really have an answer - at least none that Brad would want to hear.

It's true, though. Except for his Wikipedia page his... "situation" is all that comes up in the search results.



Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda in hospital after alleged suicide attempt


According to police records, the call for an ambulance was received Saturday night at 2:34 am, after fellow Linkin Park member Brad Delson found Shinoda unconscious in the band's studio at Warner Music. The incident has been listed as "attempted suicide" by the authorities.

A spokesperson of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills, California, issued an official statement on Sunday morning, according to which Shinoda is in stable condition. The band confirmed Shinoda's hospitalization on their official twitter account:



Just five weeks after the death of close friend and fellow bandmember Chester Bennington (†41), rumors...



He closes the tab and puts his phone on the bedside table, careful to avoid Brad's gaze and to bite back the accusing "What were you doing in the studio in the middle of the night anyway?" that lies on his tongue, heavy and bitter.


"How do you feel?" - Dave.


Mike shrugs, finally letting his eyes fall shut again. Tired, would be an honest answer. Sick. Somewhat angry, too. And embarrassed, very embarassed...

He hears a chair getting dragged closer to his bed, hears someone sit down on it, feels his hand softly getting squeezed.


He knows it's Anna but for a brief moment he allows himself to pretend it was Chester.



*



A young doctor wakes him up and, after introducing himself, asks if he would be more comfortable to have one of his friends or his wife by his side or if he would rather talk to him privately.

"Privately."

Anna squeezes his hand once more before letting it go and the guys are probably itching to have him acknowledge their supportive gestures - sad smiles, awkward waving, tired "see you later"s - but he keeps his eyes trained on the button in his hand with which he raises the upper half of the bed to sit.


The conversation takes about an hour.


He knows there will be more.


They decide to monitor him for three days.

A woman in her late 50s called Elise keeps an eye on him during the day, and a guy around his own age called Sebastian at night.

As soon as his throat doesn't feel like sandpaper anymore he makes friends with them.

Elise tells great stories, having had a shitload of different jobs throughout her life.

Sebastian likes to travel and they easily bond over how much of the world they've already seen.


They limit his number of visitors to one or two at a time and make sure to enforce the visiting hours.


His mom tries her best not to cry and is mostly successful at that. So is his dad, only he has trouble looking him in the eyes.

They don't ask why he did it either, just why he didn't talk to them, and he shrugs and tells them what he told his doctor, too: It wasn't planned. It just kind of. Happened.


He swallows the urge to point out that, had he planned it, he would've succeeded.


But he didn't and so there wasn't anything to tell anyone in the first place. And he doesn't plan on trying again or anything.


His mom smiles at him with teary eyes, desperate to believe her son, her baby, to be safe now.

And his dad cries.



*



It's been 4 days since he almost died and they let him go home.


He's supposed to see a therapist, though. At least once, maybe even twice a week for the first month, and they assist him in scheduling a first appointment. He's relieved they consider him stable enough to not put him on meds.


It feels good to be home again and when the kids run towards him and bury him in an excited group hug that has him stumble onto his ass, he can't help but laugh - especially when the dogs join in, too.


The twins try their best to one-up each other in who missed him the most and there are stories of scraped knees and a huge beetle Jojo found in the garden and how Abby put her head underwater in the pool with her eyes open and didn't even wear her arm floats (although their mom was there to help her stay afloat), and it's so much, it takes Mike a while to realize that Otis still hasn't let go of him, that his small fists still clutch his shirt so tightly their knuckles are almost white, and that his face is still buried in his shirt.


He sighs and places a soft kiss on his son's head, gently wrapping him in his arms, and they stay like that for several minutes.


And it pains Mike that even though he's sorry for having put his family through this, he still can't find it in himself to regret.



*





*



Stryker calls.

He doesn't really have anything to say, just wants to hear his voice and tell him he's there for him.


Mike would love to hang out and have pizza and a drink with him, but he doesn't feel like getting trailed by paparazzi yet. Or like company in general. At least the kind of company who just looks at him wide-eyed, close to tears, afraid to talk about what he did but also afraid to ignore it.


He wonders what he would've done had Chester failed.


The answer makes him smile, even though he's not so sure their friendship would've survived that.



*



Dave picks him up from his first therapy session and gets them some Starbucks. They make fun of the radio program, talk about their kids, their wives, their dogs, the weather and also about that show they plan in memory of Chester.


"The date's not out yet. We could easily postpone, you know?


"Why should we?"


When he doesn't get an answer, Mike suggests driving to the studio to jam a little, but Dave doesn't want to.

Turns out he and the others feel uncomfortable there now.


"Why? Did no one clean up my vomit yet?"

Mike grins.


Dave doesn't.


They don't talk much for the remainder of the drive and two days later it's Joe who picks him up from his therapist.



*





*



He decides to just get over with it and meets up with Stryker in one of their favorite restaurants.


No one aside from the staff seems to recognize them and only a single paparazzo photo of it finds its way online.

He smiles in it. Looks healthy. Normal.

As if nothing ever happened.



*



It's been a week since he was released from the hospital and Anna finally lets him leave the house by himself again.


"We can't keep an eye on you 24/7 anyway, can we?"


She's seems so tired these days...

He hugs her and tells her not to worry so much but she just murmurs a soft "Fuck you" and hugs him, too.



He's in Palos Verdes - just a few streets away from where Chester decided to give up - sitting in his car, going through his twitter mentions, procrastinating something that shouldn't be all too hard but makes him uneasy anyway.


A knock on the window.


He opens it and shoots a nervous smile at the frowning teenager outside.


"What are you doing here?"


"Is your mom home?"


Draven shakes his head.


He's gotten tall, Mike muses as he gets out if his car and finds himself almost eye to eye with him. "I have something for you." He opens his trunk and uncovers a painting that was carefully wrapped in a blanket. "Your dad made it when you were still a baby. I found it among some old stuff in my garage."


Draven's frown deepens, but he steps closer nonetheless and lets his fingers glide over the canvas, the uneven waves of bright red, deep black, firey yellow, the spots where they mix and turn muddy and, finally, the clean light blue circle at the center. His face only softens when he spots his father's signature in a corner.


"I don't know what it's supposed to be. Or mean. He was always pretty shy about his art..."


"Just towards you. He probably compared his stuff to yours."


"... Yeah, that sounds like something he would do... would've done, I mean." Mike clears his throat and watches Draven taking the painting out of the trunk, careful to not have it bump into anything or let it slip out of his fingers.

His skinny frame and the slight teenage-typical awkwardness of his movements remind Mike of the Chester he met almost 20 years ago and he decides to let his gaze wander elsewhere instead. In the end it settles on the horizon, where the blue of the sky and its reflection in the ocean meet and the world seems to end.

He clears his throat again. "You know... ... I might not really understand you and your mom's... ... your... spirituality... But if you ever need someone to talk to like, someone who's a bit more, uh, away from...", he gestures towards the house they stand in front of, "... well, this. But not too far away from everything... I'm there."


"Are you, though?"


Their eyes meet and Mike is surprised by the lack of bitterness in Draven's. There's resignation, yes, but none of the anger he himself got to know all too well within the last couple of weeks.


This time it's Draven who averts his gaze first. "Last time I checked you didn't seem to plan to stay around. You... you tried to follow him."


"... I guess I did. Yeah."


"Then you shouldn't make promises you might not be able to keep." Draven's grip on the painting tightens as he turns away and makes his way towards his home. "You should go now. Mom will be back soon." He pauses. "... but thanks. For the painting, I mean."


And with that he's gone.



*



On his way back home Mike takes a detour to Warner Music.

Everyone he meets there greets him with a hug and asks him how he is and he smiles and thanks them for their concern and when he tells them he's in therapy they seem relieved.


They won't let him into the studio by himself, though.

He's a bit annoyed but complies.



His skin starts to crawl as soon as he steps through the door.

He ignores it.



The air is getting thinner the closer they get to the recording room, but no one else seems to notice.

So he ignores it.



He sees the piano and his stomach turns.

He tries to ignore that, too.


But even though his memory of that night is blurry he remembers sitting down at it, an almost empty bottle of rum in the left hand, the fingers of his right clumsily fumbling with the keys, playing the tunes to a sad song he heard on the radio earlier that day. Trying to talk to Chester as if he was still there, as if he could hear him, because someone said that would help.

Crying when it doesn't.


Wondering about the whole point of trying in the first place.


Remembering those sleeping pills he picked up for Anna at the drugstore earlier.


And the calmness that washed over him once he realized that, in fact, he didn't have to try to heal.

He could just... not.


He didn't think about his family or his friends or anyone, anything. His drunken brain didn't even make the connection between what he was considering and the consequences it would have: That he wouldn't get to see his children grow up, that he could never make music again, paint, go snowboarding or hiking, enjoy a glass of wine with Anna, kiss her, sleep with her, make her laugh.

That he was about to hurt people the way Chester hurt him - and that maybe not all of them would be able to cope.


No, there was just peace and maybe a little giddiness over having found a loophole out of his grief when he got up, stumbling over the piano stool, almost falling flat on his face but regaining his balance just in time, and making his way towards his backpack...



The memory alone is enough to make his heart flutter again like it did that night, longing for that easy end to the mess his life had become and being so close to getting it, and suddenly he finds himself covered in cold sweat, nauseous, shaking, mumbling excuses.


Fleeing.



*



'Mike?'


"Yeah, uhm... sorry for calling so late."


'It's okay. ... Are you alright? Do you want me to come over?'


"I'm also sorry for... I don't know... not saying sorry earlier for... for how you had to... for how you found me. Because you had to see this, I mean. And worry. And all that."


'Mike-'


"I promise I'll also say Thank You one day. For, well, being there. Saving me... I guess." He gulps, tears blurring his vision. He frowns and tries to wipe them away. He doesn't know why he still cares so much if Brad can hear him cry after everything that already happened, but he does. "And when I say it I'll mean it. I promise! I just... I. I..." His voice wavers. Breaks.


There's rustling on the other end of the line, a whisper directed at somebody else, movement. 'I'm coming over.'


"You don't", he sniffles, "you don't have to, really, I'm not... I won't do anything. A-and Anna might wake up and-"


'I don't care.'


"Brad..."


Stairs. Keys. Door. 'I'm on my way now. And you better be home and let me in and let me fucking hug you or I swear to god...'


And Mike just nods, stutters, promising everything he's asked to, and sobs.



*


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