LPfiction

Category Linkin Park

Confession by lpfan503

I Can't Sleep

The last thing Mike did before laying down was unlock the door that connected to Chester’s room.


It was already as cold as he could make it inside the room, the digital thermostat reading 69.5. He knew it wasn’t 69.5 degrees in the room, but the setting would ensure that the air ran all night. It was impossible for him to sleep without moving air. It was impossible for him to sleep without Chester.


Tossing his robe on a chair next to the bed, Mike sat on the edge and looked around. I wonder if he will come to me tonight. He knows I can’t sleep anymore without him next to me. God, we are so fucked up.


Falling back, Mike crossed a arm miserably over his eyes and wondered how they had gotten to this place. It had all started innocently enough, falling asleep together in his room one night during the first Minutes to Midnight European tour, waking up with Chester snuggled tightly next to his side, his face utterly peaceful when Mike looked down at him, surprised. He remembered tracing a fingertip over Chester’s nose and feeling the corners of his lips tip up in a smile, feeling the shock of discovering Chester next to him fading away. He looked so much younger then. We’ve gotten old. Kids. Responsibilities. Wives.


Mike scrunched his eyes underneath the weight of his arm, wishing he could go back to that first morning. Chester’s body next to him had tensed for a moment as he awoke, stretching lightly before his breath caught and he opened his eyes.


“Hey,” Chester had breathed softly as he looked up into Mike’s eyes. The subtle sparkle on Chester’s face confused Mike, he didn’t know what to say. As it turned out, it didn’t matter.


Just before the silence stretched into awkwardness, Chester untangled his leg from Mike’s and playfully slapped Mike’s stomach. “Let’s go eat! I’m starving!”


With that he’d jumped up and headed back to his room, his t-shirt wrinkled from sleep and jeans hanging low on his hips without his belt. Mike stared after him, with the strangest feeling in the pit of his stomach. What was that low ache? It didn’t feel like hunger. Not the kind eating would fix, anyway.


If only he could go back, he would have laughed the whole thing off like Chester, and maybe things would be different now. Maybe he wouldn’t be so dependent on the predictability of sleeping next to someone he loved every night. Maybe he would have only ever cared for Chester as a friend, a brother. Never anything more.


Turning his tired body to the side, Mike reach for a pillow and pulled it close. It was a poor substitute for Chester’s warmth, but they were trying… trying to break what had become a comforting habit, and Mike’s favorite part of being on tour, before it ended and they went back to their families. It’s so much easier for him, Mike thought bitterly. He doesn’t feel the way I do. He will never feel the way I do. It’s been almost ten years. Ten years waking up next to him and pretending all I’ve gotten out of having him close is a good night’s sleep.


After all, it had been Chester who carefully suggested that maybe it was time that their nighttime cuddles came to an end. It was a mid-life sense of responsibility that had suddenly crept up in Chester’s consciousness, Mike supposed. How else to explain the sudden change of heart, the hesitantly presented conversation over this morning’s coffee, a piece of bacon halfway to Mike’s mouth. He’d let the hand drop to the table before he realized it, Chester’s eyes skipping guiltily away from his and looking out the window. Mike had swallowed hard before forcing a smile, and touching the back of Chester’s hand with his fingertip, agreed they should start getting ready to return home. Return to reality. Never before had they thought to prepare for the loss early, and to Mike it seemed like a forever ending instead of a temporary one.


The rest of the day passed in a haze for Mike, and after the performance Chester was strangely subdued, leaning back in the seat of the van with his eyes closed, blocking out everyone around him, especially Mike. They had shared a moment on stage, voices interlocking in perfect harmony during Papercut, arms slung across each other and staring out into the crowd. As the outro ended and Chester stepped back, his hand had slipped down Mikes back and squeezed his ass so lightly and quickly that Mike thought he’d imagined it. He turned and caught Chester’s eyes for a moment, a smirk across his face. What was that for? Just Chester being Chester? Yeah, that’s it, and that’s all. Turning away, Mike made his way to the keyboard and set his mic in the stand. Now, what song is next?


And then they were at the hotel, and Mike dreaded the rest of the evening. Chester had ended their… what was it? Was there a name for what they had? Mike had shaken his head and slipped the keycard into the slot, Chester doing the same at the next room over.


“Mike?”


Startled, Mike turned his face to find Chester’s gaze, reading the sorrow in his features immediately. “Yeah, Ches?”


A long silence passed between them before Chester said, “good night.”


Turning back to the door, Mike closed his eyes against the wave of pain that crashed over him. Chester’s words dripped finality. Nodding his head, Mike stepped into the room and shut the door, leaning heavily against it and trying to catch his breath.


When he opened his eyes, the first thing he saw was another door. They still had connecting rooms.


Mike’s heart had skipped a beat when he saw the door across from the bed earlier that evening. Now he lay miserably in the bed, alone, missing his friend. Missing the clean smell of his soap in the evening and his laughter as they watched cartoons in bed. Missing the way his breathing eventually slowed and he fell asleep on his back, snoring lightly. Missing how he would always scoot closer to Mike in the bed in his sleep, throwing an arm or a leg over him and snuggling in for the night, his warmth lulling Mike to sleep. He chanced a look at his phone. It was almost two am.


Rolling to the other side, Mike adjusted the pillow he was holding and sighed. He just wanted to sleep, and it was feeling impossible at the moment. Just as he was about to give up and flip on the television, Mike heard something: barely audible, the unmistakable sound of the turn of the lock on the door opposite of his. He held his breath and waited for his door to open for what felt like an eternity and then he heard Chester’s soft footsteps creeping toward him. He felt, rather than heard, the hesitation in Chester’s movements before he slowly pulled the sheets back and slid next to Mike, instantly heating the shared space. It was so dark Mike couldn’t see his face, but he knew Chester’s eyes were closed as he spoke quietly, his voice low and tight, “I can’t sleep.”


The sharp turn in Mike’s stomach left him breathless for a moment before he reached toward Chester blindly, barely touching his side with an outstretched hand. Chester was on the far edge of the bed, on his back, breathing slowly, carefully and controlled.


His next words shocked Mike and left his mind spinning in all directions.


“Mike… I have a confession.”

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