LPfiction

Category Linkin Park

Everything's fine. by squashie

Chapter 1

[After I basically ran out of youtube videos to watch, I started reading fanfics again because they make me forget that Chester's gone. Then I wrote this, and it made me feel better for about an hour, even though it's rushed and crap and probably inappropriate, given the awful reality of the situation. Anyway. Here it is. My first ever fic. The awful reality reimagined. Hope it can make someone else feel better for a minute or two.]


*****


It was a spontaneous decision. Mike was on his way home, thoroughly looking forward to putting the kids to bed and then crashing in front of the TV with Anna, and watching a silly movie, maybe with a glass of wine and some popcorn — but he found himself turning off towards Chester’s house.


He hadn’t heard from Chester all day and thought he’d drop in to say hello. Surprise him. Make him smile. Chester had been on edge lately, often volatile and upset or downright morose, especially since the tragedy in May. He could always use a bit of cheering up. Mike pulled his car into the driveway of Chester’s new house and made his way over to the door, brushing away the irrational, creeping sense that something wasn’t quite right.


He knocked on the door, and there was no answer. A shiver ran down his spine, but again, he ignored the uneasy feeling and knocked a second time, louder. After a few moments, he heard footsteps on the other side of the door, and then the scraping of a key in the lock. The door opened and there stood Chester, looking tired and pale.


“Hey,” Mike said and stepped inside, not waiting for an invitation. Chester closed the door behind them, but didn’t say anything. He was avoiding Mike’s eyes and moving strangely, fiddling with a thread on his shirt.


“I thought I’d swing by and say hi,” said Mike. “Is everything OK?”


“Yeah, yeah,” Chester nodded, and made his way into the kitchen, Mike following close at his heels. “Uh, you want a drink or…?”


He turned and Mike caught his eyes for a moment and saw that they were red and slightly unfocussed. Then he registered the faint smell of whisky.


“Chester, have you been drinking?”


Chester swallowed heavily and his chest began to heave up and down as though he was fighting to keep something inside himself, something that was trying to tear its way out.


“Chester…?”


“Mike, I…” Chester lurched slightly and stumbled, grabbing onto a sideboard to keep his balance. Mike rushed to his side and caught his arm.


“Come, sit down,” he said, gently, guiding Chester towards the living room. “Sit down. It’s OK. Talk to me. What’s going on?”


Chester crumpled backwards into the couch and immediately brought both of his hands to his face as his eyes began to fill with tears.


“Chester, what’s wrong?”


It was then that Mike caught sight of the half-empty whisky bottle on the carpet beside the bedroom door, and the belt fixed to the door itself, knotted into a loop on one end.


“Ches…”


“I went into a dark place,” said Chester. “I couldn’t find… couldn’t see… I was going to do something… Mike, I made a decision and it made sense, but then you arrived and… I’m scared of myself.”


Mike realised he himself was crying only when Chester’s face dropped at the sight of it.


“Oh, Mike, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.”


“But Ches, think how much more upset I’d have been if I’d showed up twenty minutes later and found you…”


“I know, but… I didn’t think…”


“You’d be gone, so you wouldn’t have to think. It would be me. It would just be the rest of us. We’d be the ones who’d have to think about it. Forever. For the rest of our lives. Please Ches, we need you. I need you. Please don’t ever think about that again. I’m begging you.”


Chester had crumpled forward into his own lap, sobbing. Mike eased himself down onto the couch beside him and rubbed his back slowly. “What can I do to help?”


Chester shook his head. “There’s nothing you can do, Mike. I’m sick in my head. I can’t switch it off. As soon as I’m alone, I start convincing myself of things and… It’s making me so tired. I just don’t want to deal with it anymore. I don’t want to feel like this. I just want to sleep forever.”


“If you can’t be alone, then I’ll stay with you. I’ll stay as long as you need me to. Forever, if that’s what it takes.”


“You have a wife and kids…”


“So do you, Chester. But I’m here now and I’m staying. And I’m going to get you help.”


“I don’t want help—”


“No, but you need it, and I’m not giving you a choice. Tomorrow, we’re going to start making some changes. OK? Tomorrow. We’re going to sort this out. But for now, maybe you should get some sleep.”


Chester made to stand up, but Mike took his hand and guided him back onto the couch.


“Stay here,” said Mike. “It’s comfortable enough and I’ll be on one of those arm chairs, in case you need me.”


He stood and walked across the room, dimming the lights as Chester slowly and awkwardly lay himself down on the couch. While Chester was distracted, rearranging the cushions and pulling a throw blanket over himself, Mike took the belt from the back of the bedroom door and stuffed it hastily into a wastebin before retrieving the bottle of whisky, setting inside a nearby cabinet and locking the cabinet door.


He fetched two glasses of water from the kitchen and brought them back, setting them on the low table and then settling himself into a big armchair facing Chester on the couch. Chester lay there, his head on a cushion, staring at Mike with glistening eyes full of horror and shame and sadness.


“Mike, I’m so sorry,” he said.


“You don’t need to be sorry,” said Mike. “You just need to be alive. That’s all I need for now, OK? And if you want to tell me anything, get anything off your chest, I’m here.”


“OK,” said Chester, pressing his eyes shut, tears leaking out onto the cushion.


“I love you, Chester,” said Mike. “Please remember that.”


Chester didn’t say anything for several long minutes, keeping his eyes pressed shut, and Mike was just growing accustomed to the stillness and silence when Chester shifted slightly and spoke, his voice cracking.

“I love you too, Mike,” he said. “Probably not in the way you think I do.”


“What do you mean?”


“I mean I love you as a friend and a brother and a bandmate, but also in a bunch of other ways that I’ve never told you about because it’s not appropriate.”


Mike was silent for a few moments, considering what to say to this. “You can tell me now, if it would make you feel better. I said you could tell me anything.”


“And you promise you won’t leave, even if you don’t like it?”


“Of course I won’t leave.”


Now it was Chester’s turn to be silent. Mike waited, curling his legs up into the armchair and relaxing himself against one of the armrests, head resting on his arm. He could sleep in this position, it was comfortable enough, but his mind was wide awake, waiting for Chester to speak.


“I’ve loved you in lots of different ways since the very beginning,” said Chester, his voice small but distinct in the silence. “I love you as a… a saviour, I guess. The guy who bailed me out of my shitty life. And as a mentor, a teacher, a guide. Bringing out the best in me, even when I’m really difficult. And I love you emotionally and physically and mentally and every other way you can possibly love someone. That’s the truth, really, and it hurts like hell because it can’t be reciprocated and I’ve barely even admitted it to myself before, but there it is. I’m an alcoholic who just fucked up six months of sobriety and now I can’t tell a lie.”


Mike sat in silence, processing Chester’s words.


“Look, Mike, I’m sorry, I—”


“Shh,” Mike interrupted him, and rose from his seat, coming over to crouch on the carpet alongside him. “Don’t say anything. Stop being so hard on yourself. Stop saying sorry for things that you don’t need to be sorry for.”


He lifted his hand and cupped it over Chester’s cheek, wiping the tears away with the pad of his thumb. Chester trembled slightly at the contact and screwed his eyes shut tightly, pressing his lips together, trying hard not to break down. But the silent sobs wracked his body and Mike felt his heart breaking for his friend. He moved onto his knees and put his arms out, gathering Chester into them and folding the smaller man against his chest, stroking one hand over the back of his head the very same way he did when he was trying to soothe one of his crying children.


Chester sobbed hard into Mike’s shoulder, and Mike said nothing, not trying to stop him, just allowing him to cry it out until the tears finally stopped and Chester felt weak, limp and feverishly warm in Mike’s arms. He stayed in that position for some time before tentatively peeling himself away from his friend and sitting back on the couch, looking down into Mike’s face. Mike lifted himself from the floor and took a seat beside Chester, putting an arm around his shoulders and drawing him close.


Chester allowed his head to sink onto Mike’s shoulder and, after some time, his breathing slowed and Mike realised he had fallen asleep. He realised something else too. Although he hadn’t known the extent of Chester’s feelings towards him, he wasn’t surprised by them. They were familiar. The signs had been there, of course, memories that were suddenly cast in a different light after this confession, but it was more than just that. They were familiar because they were feelings he’d had himself; feelings he had suppressed or ignored or explained away by context, proximity, familiarity, friendship and respect. But he knew now, and the thought of how close he’d come to losing Chester, what might’ve happened if he hadn’t decided to drop by, shook him to his core.


Would Chester have gone through with it? He must’ve been feeling bad — very bad — if he’d gone so far as to drink neat spirits after such a long run of sobriety, and then find a belt, and tie it… Mike couldn’t stop himself from shuddering at the thought, and Chester stirred against him.


“Mike,” he mumbled.


Mike couldn’t tell if he was awake or not, so he said nothing and simply pulled Chester closer, enclosing him tightly within his arms. He was safe. It would be OK.


“Mike, you don’t need to do this,” Chester whispered.


So he was awake.


“Do what?”


“Hold me like a baby,” said Chester, the faintest trace of amusement in his soft voice.


“What if I want to?” said Mike.


Chester was silent. “Why do you want to?” he said, after several moments. “Are you worried I might kill myself?”


“Of course I’m worried about that,” said Mike. “You’ve given me enough reason to be worried. But that’s not the only reason I want to do this. I have plenty of reasons.”


“Like what?” said Chester.


“Like… I want you to feel safe. I want you to stop hurting so much. I want to show you that I love you too.”


“You love me too?”


“I always have loved you, Chester,” he said. “I just wasn’t able to admit how much, even to myself, until you…”


“Until I said it to you first?”


“Until I realised I could lose you.”


Chester was silent for a moment.


“Who knows, I might’ve failed at that too, just like I fail at everything…”


“What are you talking about? Why are you being so hard on yourself?”


Chester sniffed and curled himself tightly against Mike. “I don’t know, Mike. It’s like there’s another Chester in my head, telling me these things… and when there’s nobody else around to contradict him, I start believing him and then I…”


Mike shifted, placed a hand at Chester’s jaw and gently lifted his face.


“Look at me, Ches,” he said, and Chester obliged. “You need to stop listening to these bad ideas and start listening to the rest of the world OK? You’re amazing and you always have been and you always will be. And it doesn’t matter what happens in your career or your relationships or anything… That’s not the centre of your identity and your worth. You’re amazing because of who you are as a person, and you need to understand that and remember it and use that knowledge to pull through the dark times. Because if you’re not around, the dark times are going to close in on all of us. We need you here, and we can help you find a way to be here that makes you feel whatever you need to feel. Happiness, peace, contentment… whatever.”


Chester nodded slightly and dropped his gaze, his cheeks flushing such a deep colour that it was visible even in the dim light.


“I had been doing so well, Mike… I don’t know what came over me. I suddenly stopped caring about anything and I had a drink, and then it just spiralled…”


“The alcohol mixes everything up,” said Mike. “It pushes away the good things, hides them away from you, and shines a spotlight on everything else and then tells you that that’s all there is. It tells you lies and tries to trick you into making terrible choices. It’s not you, Chester. It’s a sickness. You are not the sickness. And you can beat it. You need to promise me that you’ll try — that you’ll stick around and give yourself a chance. And give me a chance to help you. Will you do that? Will you promise me?”


His words were breathless and rapid, his voice shaking slightly. He was on the edge of tears. Chester nodded feverishly and placed his hands on either side of Mike’s head, his fingers gliding into his thick, black hair. Mike could feel Chester’s breath on his face, see the tears twinkling like jewels in his eyes.


And then, without warning, Chester bumped his lips against Mike’s, and again, their noses colliding awkwardly before Chester shifted his body and tilted his head and pressed forward again, his lips making proper contact this time, slightly parted, his hands still holding Mike’s head, his fingers curling through Mike’s hair, pulling it slightly.


Mike felt a giddying mixture of utter shock and relief. The kiss was both unexpected and somehow completely inevitable. In any other circumstances, he would’ve avoided it, pulled away, stopped it from happening, but whatever consequences the action might have were utterly irrelevant in the face of Chester’s mortality. Nothing bad that might come of this was anywhere near as bad as the alternative. He was painfully aware of how close he’d come to losing a person he loved more than he’d ever admitted, even to himself, and he cared about nothing at that moment other than the fact that Chester was still alive; that a possible disaster had been narrowly averted. He would let Chester have whatever he wanted, whatever would make him feel better… whatever would keep him in the world.


And after these thoughts had finished tumbling through his head, Mike realised that his own hands had moved their way up Chester’s back, unbidden, pulling him closer, and the kiss was still in progress, Chester moving his lips gently and slowly and then deeply and desperately, pressing his tongue forward to meet Mike’s.


Mike felt as though his mind was in a frozen state and his body had taken over, making decisions completely independently of him. There was nothing rational about the way he seized hold of Chester’s trousers and hauled the smaller man’s body squarely onto his lap.


He spent no time analysing his urge to run his hands down the singer’s chest and up his sides, lifting his shirt so that his hands met skin — he simply obeyed the urge. He slid his hands across the creamy expanse of Chester’s back and felt Chester shiver and move the kiss from his lips to his jaw to his neck.


Mike didn’t think about how tight his pants felt all of a sudden, he simply moved his hands down onto Chester’s hips and pressed Chester harder against himself in response to the mounting pressure. Chester whimpered slightly and pulled away from Mike’s neck to make sudden, intense eye contact. It was like an electric bolt bringing Mike out of his reverie of dreamy disconnection. He was in control of himself once again, mind and body realigned. He stared into Chester’s eyes with hunger and love unlike anything he’d felt before.


The tears were gone, burnt away in the heat of whatever intense emotion was taking hold of this small, beautiful man, driving him to press himself harder against Mike, to fumble with the buttons on his shirt. His hands were trembling and so Mike helped him, carefully working the buttons open until he could push the shirt from Chester’s shoulders, down his arms and away, away, away.


As Chester began to work on the buttons on Mike’s shirt, Mike found himself speaking, thoughts he’d kept to himself for almost two decades tumbling out of his mouth.


“You were always so insecure about being little… You always wanted to be bigger, taller, stronger, but… but I always thought… I always loved it, how small you are. This small guy with this massive voice. It’s so endearing, it’s so cute, honestly, fuck, I know, I’m running my mouth here, but… I’ve just never been able to say it… You’re the little spoon, you know? Even when you’re fit and strong and bulked up a bit, you’re still little. That’s why everyone loves you. It’s just one of the reasons. Everyone wants to big spoon you, keep you warm and safe. Everyone wants to hold you, I swear to god. You’re so… you’re just so fucking precious, I can’t even…”


Chester was laughing then, his eyes glistening. “You know I’m a 41-year-old man, right?”


“Yes! You’re an adorable 41-year-old man, and you’ll be an adorable 91-year-old man one day.”


“You reckon?”


“Yeah, if you look after yourself.”


“I think I’ve done way too much damage already. I’d be lucky to reach seventy-one.”


“Seventy-one is not too bad. Lower average, I think. Aim for seventy-one if you think that’s a reasonable goal, and then every year after that will be like a bonus. Seventy-one is a better result than forty-one, Ches. Forty-one is just… it’s such a waste. You’ve got so much left to do. And so much left to give. You’re fit and mobile. You’re not even ugly yet.”


Mike grinned, the tip of his tongue poking out of the corner of his mouth, and Chester smiled back at him — a small, sad smile, but a smile nonetheless. The passion had ebbed for the moment, but it hadn’t left any awkwardness in its wake. Chester sat, straddled across Mike’s lap, fiddling with Mike’s now unbuttoned shirt.


“I’m not going to age well,” he said. “I did too many drugs and I smoked and drank too much.”


“Who the fuck cares? You’re so cute. You’ll rock the wrinkles and grey hair.”


Mike lifted his hand and ran his thumb down Chester’s cheek and along his jaw.


“I want you to get old, Chester. I want to hang out with you when we’re a pair of grouchy old fuckers with walking sticks and reminisce about the old days, when we fucking rocked the world.”


Chester nodded and flicked his eyes up to look at Mike.


“That sounds pretty good.”


“It does.”


“Pretty… good,” Chester said again under his breath, his eyes slipping out of focus for a second as his mind wandered somewhere that Mike couldn’t follow. Then his eyes locked back onto Mike’s and he pressed forward again, lips parted, eyelids sliding closed, and Mike met the kiss slowly and gently, sliding his warm, strong hands around Chester’s naked back to draw him close and hug him tight against his chest.


He realised Chester was crying when he felt the tears dropping onto his face, and tasted them on his lips, but Chester didn’t want to stop kissing him, and so he reciprocated until Chester moved his lips away and buried his face in Mike’s shoulder, his breath hot and ragged. His entire body was trembling violently in Mike’s arms and Mike held him tightly and strongly, as though a hurricane were threatening to tear him away and cast him into the abyss.


He cupped one large hand over the back of Chester’s head, moving his fingers over the dark, close-shaved hair. Chester smelled of soap and clean sweat and only the faintest trace of the evil whisky and also something else Mike couldn’t quite place, but that was definitely contributing to the way his heart was hammering high in his chest.


Without warning, Chester pressed his hips roughly against Mike’s, causing a strangled groan to erupt from between Mike’s parted lips — a sound Mike hadn’t realised he was capable of making. He drew in a shuddering gasp and his cheeks flushed at his loss of control. He felt the smooth hardness of Chester’s teeth against his neck and had just registered that it meant he was smiling deviously, his face still pressed into Mike’s skin, when he pushed his hips forwards again, obliterating any coherent thoughts Mike had in his head.


“Fuuuck…” Mike whispered.


“You’re the precious one,” said Chester, his voice soft and silky, his words escaping between tender kisses along Mike’s neck and jaw. “I might be the little spoon, but you’re the tub of chocolate ice cream.”


His hips found a slow rhythm, rolling against Mike’s as Mike panted and laughed.


“That’s so fucking cheesy,” he gasped, as Chester began to run his tongue along the shell of Mike’s ear. “That’s… fuuuuck…”


“Have you ever done this before?”


“With a… with a man? No.” He slid one of his hands down onto Chester’s backside and pressed him in closer, harder. “Have… you?”


Chester drew in a sharp breath at the feeling of Mike’s hand pushing against him. “Maybe,” he said. “You don’t need to know everything.”


“You’re right, I don’t. I just need… I just…”


He could feel everything; the hardness of Chester’s dick lined up against his own, the seams of the fabric of their jeans pressing painfully against them, the heat of it, the pressure, the exquisite pleasure sending shockwaves through his body. Chester was kissing him again, tongue gliding across his lips, hands reaching desperately beneath his undershirt to rub against his chest, his stomach, the trail of dark, soft hair leading down…


“Ches, I… ahhh…”


It was too much. Mike came suddenly with a shuddering gasp, pressing himself up against Chester with a force he could barely control, Chester holding onto him tightly to avoid being thrown from his lap entirely. Mike was barely done riding out the wave of his ecstasy when he lifted his friend and lay him down on the couch, grappling urgently with the button and zip of Chester’s jeans and dragging them from the singer’s body as though both of their lives depended on it.


Kneeling on the floor beside the couch, he slipped his fingers through the open front of Chester’s silky underwear and took him in hand, pressing their mouths together before Chester could make a sound. With his free hand, Mike stroked Chester’s shaved head with a deft gentleness.


Chester whimpered and trembled, turning towards Mike, pressing himself harder into Mike’s hand, his chest rising and falling heavily, his eyelids fluttering as they tried to stay open, but couldn’t manage under the influence of the pleasure consuming him in hot, desperate waves.


“Mike…” he mumbled against Mike’s lips. “Mike…” And then he was shuddering and twitching and gasping and Mike felt the hot, slick wetness cover his fingers before Chester slumped into the cushions, spent, his eyes dark and intense, fixed onto Mike’s eyes, saying everything while neither of them spoke.


Mike slid his hand out of Chester’s underwear, wiping it on his own jeans before nudging Chester until he wriggled closer to the backrest of the couch, opening up a space alongside himself. Mike lay down beside him, rolling Chester carefully onto his side so that he could wrap himself around the smaller man, his front flush with Chester’s sweaty back, his lips resting against Chester’s neck.


“Little spoon,” he whispered into Chester’s ear, wrapping his arm around him, finding his hand and entwining their fingers. Chester squeezed his fingers and slid one of his legs in between Mike’s so that another part of them was entwined too.


Their breathing slowed, but sleep didn’t come. Not yet.


“Are you OK?” Mike whispered.


“I’m OK,” Chester replied. “I uh… I never thought that would happen. I mean, I’ve imagined it plenty of times, obviously, but…”


He trailed off and Mike stroked his arm. “Was it like you imagined?” Mike asked, unsure of what else he should say.


“No,” said Chester.


“Oh—”


“Not in a bad way. It was real, so it was better.” He paused. “Did you ever think about it? Before?”


“No,” Mike admitted. “Not really. I thought about this bit, but I think everyone in the world has imagined spooning you, so…”


Chester laughed. “So you jumped from spooning me in your imagination one day to literally jacking me off on my own couch the next day. That’s quite an escalation.”


“I suppose. I don’t feel weird about it, though. Which is more surprising to me than the fact that I just touched your dick.”


“You were good at it.”


“Yeah, I have one too, so I know how it works.”


Chester snorted with laugher. “This is fucking crazy.”


“Is it though?”


“I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know what’s crazy and what isn’t, anymore. Everything’s all over the place in my head, in my life. But whether it’s crazy or not, this doesn’t feel wrong. It’s probably the most right anything has felt in… a while. And I don’t mind what happens next. I’m not going to be weird about it. I promise. Like even if it never happens again, even if I can never… even if…”


“Shhh.” Mike hugged Chester tighter against him. “It’s fine. We’ll work it out. As long you’re OK, it’s fine. Everything’s fine.”


Chester turned around in Mike’s arms, their knees banging awkwardly together until they found an acceptable position face-to-face, foreheads touching. Chester smiled and rubbed the tip of his nose back and forth against Mike’s.


“Everything’s fine,” he said.


*****

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