Category Linkin Park

L'appel du Vide by Stefuh

A/N : This is my second fic ever in English, I wrote it a couple of months ago and I'm pretty sure I didn't used the right verb tense? Please, review and tell me if something is off. Sorry for any mistakes.

Completely AU, the guys aren't in a band and I don't mean to disrespect anyone with this story.

Also, just to be clear, I'm in no way saying that love can cure depression.

Trigger warning : depression thoughts, suicide mentions, depersonalization/dissociation...


Chester could clearly remember the first time he had felt empty. He was sitting in a coffee shop, waiting after Joe, they were supposed to meet after class but Chester's teacher had never showed up. He had decided to go study at the café since he had a test in a couple of days. He had an essay to write tonight and even if he already knew what it would be about, he could already tell that it would take him hours to get it done.

He had only read a couple of sentences from the chapter, sipping on his frappuccino, when it had hit him. This strange feeling like something wasn't right. He hadn't been able to tell what he was feeling at that moment, only thinking that he must have been tired because of all the workload. He had decided to take a nap this afternoon and had felt better after it and had brushed it off as being caused by the stress.

But it had came back stronger than before and this time, it lasted longer. He was sitting in the bus, having decided to get back to his parents house for the weekend – it was his brother's birthday and he knew everyone would be glad that he could make it. Chester remembered clearly to have been staring through the window for a while before looking down at his watch – he had frowned. Had he zoned out for that long? He then surprised himself by staring at the window again and had than realized that he had felt the same way than when he had been sitting at the coffee shop.

He felt so ... bored, so out of it. So numb. He had shook his head and had taken his glasses off before rubbing a hand on his face, trying to wake up, but it didn't changed a thing. He just didn't feel like he was mentally present. He had sighted and had replaced his glasses before closing his eyes. The ride home must have taken a toll in him and he was feeling sleepy.

Unfortunately for him, it didn't stop. He felt off the whole weekend and only his brother noticed.

“What's up, Chaz? You look tired.”

“It's these stupid classes, dude. I just ... I guess it's harder than what I thought.”

“Aw, don't worry, man, it'll be worse next semester.”

Chester rolled his eyes at his brother's comment. “Thanks, jerk. Oh and, hey, happy birthday.”

It had gotten to the point where he couldn't even tell when he was feeling okay. He had started ditching classes and Mike had reprimanded him. “Maybe you could pull this off in high school but if you skip too many classes in college, you're gonna fail.”

“Right, whatever.”


“I know, I know, I'll go next time, I promise, mom.”

“I'm serious, Chester.”

“I know, Mike, I just ... needed a break, that's all.”

“I'm there if you need help with anything, you know that right?”

Chester had smiled, faintly. “Thanks.”

He wished he was living alone so Mike couldn't see that he had actually gotten worse. Not that someone noticed that he seemed to always be sleeping (while still never feeling less tired) or that he was dissociating most of the time. He had search a little on the internet and he had came on that term.


He didn't feel as bad as what the description had said. Okay, it was true that sometimes he took way too long in the bathroom and he had to get along with Mike's jokes about him always taking his time to jerk off in the shower, being too embarrassed to admit that he had only been staring at nothing for a while, lost in his thoughts, trying to understand why he always felt this down.

And then one of the worse sensation he could ever feel had happened. He had laid in his bed around 9, deciding that maybe if he fell asleep early, he could get up around 6 and actually study before going to class... but he hadn't been able to go fall asleep. He had waited for the sadness to settle, like it always did when he was alone, but something else had happened instead.

He couldn't feel his body anymore.

He had frowned and had put a hand on his face and on his chest. A part of him could feel his touch but most of his body seemed … absent. He had gotten up and had walked to the bathroom, feeling like he was in a dream, like his surroundings weren't real. He had closed the door behind him and had look at himself in the mirror.

He was there.

But seeing his reflection didn't connect with his brain. It was like he wasn't really looking at himself, he felt as if he was floating right next to his body – like his body wasn't his anymore. He had gotten to the living room where Mike was, watching tv.


His friend looked up, worried. Something in Chester's voice was off.

“Mike?” he repeated, while standing there, shaking.

“Ches? What's wrong?”

Mike got up as fear suddenly course through Chester's veins. No, no, no, Mike couldn't know. He would laughed at him, Chester couldn't make him understand that he didn't feel real. This was stupid.

He backed up a little but Mike still put a hand on his arm. Chester looked down at his friend's hand – he could actually feel the contact of their skin.


“I... I had a nightmare. I'm alright, I'm sorry I freaked out.”

Mike still looked at him as thought something was wrong and Chester had the worse time ever to actually put a smile on his face to reassured his friend. He most have looked weird because Mike frowned again.

“I'm fine, really. It was just a stupid nightmare.”

“If you say so...”


He had gone back to bed as lost as before, staring at his hands, repeating to himself that everything was alright.

Every time he had went to bed at night, he had realized how empty his days had been. He spent his days wallowing in his sadness and his emptiness, he couldn't find joy in anything anymore. He remembered when he used to enjoy having fun with his friends, reading, going to shows when Mike discovered a new band … all that was gone now. He couldn't even sit through a movie without getting bored after 20 minutes and deciding that going back to bed would be far better.

He was only a shadow of himself now. An empty shell.

And than he had started cutting more and more classes but he was careful not to let Mike know. He had wandered around town, stopping at bookstores and coffee shops, trying to find a meaning to what was happening to him.

He had found a book on depression and he couldn't escape that word anymore. He had try to avoid it, telling himself that he wasn't in that much pain... but he couldn't tell the last time when he hadn't broke down crying before going to sleep. Or when he hadn't felt like yelling at Mike over stupid things. He had swallowed his feelings, trying his best not to show his friend that he was distraught over things that he had never minded before – like the fact that Mike always put his music way too loud when he was working on his art, or that he always invited the guys over on friday nights – when Chester would have liked much better to retreat to his room to think in silence... but he had to socialized instead, make them see that he was alright, that he was normal.

Once, after hearing is friend asked Brad if he would like to come to their apartment later tonight to work on something – Chester hadn't heard about what exactly and hadn't been interested enough to care – he had casually said that he was going out that night.

“Oh, with who?”


“My brother.”

Mike frowned. “Didn't you say your brother was gone for two weeks to Canada for a school thing?”

Shit, shit, shit.

“Right, I-I meant, a friend- » He struggled to come up with a name at that moment but Mike only grinned.

“Wow, Chester, you don't have to hide it from me if you have a girlfriend. That's why you're never around!”

God, how could he get out of this one now?

“Y-yeah, sorry... I...”

“Hey, it's alright. Whenever you'll be ready, I'd like to meet her.”

Sure. Hey, Mike, meet my girlfriend : depression, she's a real bitch, I wish I could get rid of her.

“Right. Maybe another time.”

He had gone out and gotten drunk by himself at the first bar he had seen. Anything to not feel this incredible sadness that was weighting him down. He didn't care if people were staring at him funny because he was drinking alone – he didn't know any of them and didn't want to know about them either. He pushed away every person who came to talk to him that night.

And he used to be such a friendly guy.

He had gotten home around two in the morning and had done his best not to wake his friend up. He didn't trust drunk him, he could easily gets mixed up in his lies and it wasn't a conversation he wanted to have with Mike while being intoxicated.

Fortunately for him, his friend didn't wake up. Chester actually fell asleep happy, something he couldn't remember existed.

Moments like that didn't last though.

He had wandered a lot in the streets near his apartment, while intrusive thoughts were filling his head. If he only stepped in the street while a car was coming his way, he could end all this pain right then and there. Or he could find the tallest building and jump from it. Anything to make him feel alive again, to make him feel like he existed.

The worse was when he wasn't feeling anything. He had cut himself once when Mike wasn't there. He was in the kitchen making breakfast and he had found himself dissociating for what seems the hundred time. He had been staring at his hands for the longest time, trying to regain some sense of awareness and his eyes had finally settle on the knife next to him.

Without further thoughts he had brought it to his wrist and had cut himself – not deep enough to do much damage, but enough to make him bleed and make him feel something.

He had winced when he had felt the pain and had smile when he realized that he could feel his heart beating. He hadn't felt half-dead at that moment. He had taken his wrist under the water to stop the bleeding and had got to the bathroom to get bandages.

“What happened?” Mike asked after he had gotten home, noticing the bandage after only a couple of minutes.

“You know how clumsy I am, I cut myself cooking this morning.”

“How did you managed to cut your wrist?”

“I wonder.” He answered simply, hoping his friend would drop it.

Mike had stayed silent and Chester hadn't noticed that he had stared at him long enough, worried written all over his face.

It was only a couple of days later that Mike had asked him to sat down with him. Chester had thought he wanted to talk about his fake girlfriend, he had gotten so caught up in the lie that he wasn't even nervous talking about her anymore.

Her name was Layla, she was studying to become a teacher, had long brown hair and was the funniest girl ever. Her birthday was on April 4th.

“Ches... we need to talk.”

“About?” he asked, staring at his nails. When was the last time he had actually put nail polish on? He used to loved doing that.

“About you. Something's wrong with you.”

Chester froze right then, his heartbeat increasing. No. He didn't want to have this conversation.

“Nothing's wrong with me.”

“Don't you think I haven't noticed that you're not even going to class anymore?”

Fuck. Had he been so obvious?

“I... I'm taking a break. I was thinking about maybe going into something else than literature-”

“And you didn't think about telling me? I thought I was your best friend.”

He only shrugged. “Sorry, I didn't think it was important.”

“And what about that cut on your wrist.”

Chester rolled his eyes, not again. “Please, Mike.”

“Don't, Ches. Stop lying.”

“I'm not lying-”

“Yes, you are. You never hang out with me anymore, you're always sleeping or gone, I mean we don't even talk anymore. If something's up, you can tell me.”

Chester was beginning to get angry, he didn't want anyone to know. He was a freak, he couldn't be feeling this way, he-

“Brad thinks that-” Mike began but Chester caught him off.

“Brad? You've been talking about me behind my back? What is this, 'Let's all talk behind Chester's back' club?” He had gotten up and Mike had tugged at his sleeve to keep him from leaving but the older man had stumble back.

“Chester, we're worried about you.”

He was still tugging at his sleeve and Chester pushed him. “Let me go!” He turned back and ran out of the apartment, unable to stop the tears from sliding on his cheeks.

He could hear Mike calling after him but he was too afraid to turn around, afraid of what his friend would think of him.

He was a coward. He had ruined his friendship with Mike – hell, with all of his friends – and he surely thought that he was a loser for dropping out of college and doing nothing with his life.

He even had a fake girlfriend, for heaven's sake. Mike had surely also seen through this lie.

Chester had finally collapse on a park bench where he had broke down in tears.

He was all alone and he had no one to blame but himself.

Once he had pulled himself together, he had head towards the nearest club, wanting only to forget everything. That he was a failure and that Mike would never want to speak to him again. Luckily, he had taken his keys and his wallet before storming off from his place so he had drank until late in the night. He had gotten so drunk he couldn't even remember how he got home …

Chester had walked quietly to his bedroom, giggling to himself when he had ran into a wall. That was when he had noticed that Mike was sitting on his bed, waiting for him.

Chester frowned, then smiled.

“Miiike, what are you doing in my rooom? Maybe I got the wrong room, oops.” More giggling.

“You're drunk.”

“Duh! Way to state the obvious, dude.”

Mike only sighed and got up. “Get some sleep, we'll talk tomorrow, okay?”

At that moment, it felt like a part of Chester had sobered up and he hugged Mike closely before he could get out of his room.

“Are we still friend?” he asked, afraid of hearing the answer.

“Of course, Chester, why are you even asking that?”

“Because I've been a jerk to you.”

Mike shook his head. “Don't worry, I forgive you.”

Tears began falling freely from Chester's eyes and he couldn't help but sobbed while still holding his friend.

“A-and I'm a m-mess and a f-failure, I'm s-s-so fucking w-worthless.”

“Chester, don't say that.”

“I've b-been l-lying t-to you, I mean, Layla isn't even real!”

Mike pushed Chester gently before sitting him on his bed. “I already know that, come on, that was obvious. And I don't care that you lied to me, you were hurt, you still are... We'll talk tomorrow, okay?”

“I have depression.” he stated, coldly, deciding to just get everything out.

Hearing himself said it out loud had actually shocked him and he started crying again. Mike sat down next to him and hugged him again.

“Thanks for telling me... I know it must have been hard, I'm sorry I didn't see that you were hurt before but... I'm here for you now, okay? Get some sleep, everything will be better tomorrow, I promise.” He had kissed Chester on the head and was about to get up when he felt something tugged on his shirt.

He looked back and saw that Chester was staring at the floor.

“Stay with me...p-please? I just, I can't … I can't be alone right now.”


Chester fell asleep a little after hearing Mike lay down next to him, feeling happy that he hadn't need to sleep alone tonight.


When he opened his eyes the morning after he noticed three things. First of all, the room was way too bright, and his head hurt – he had forgotten to closed the blinds before going to sleep and it didn't helped his headache that had formed because he had mixed way too many alcohol the night before. The third thing was … he was really cozy right now. He finally opened his eyes to noticed that he had snuggled against Mike, his arm was wrapped around the younger man's middle and he was squeezing him tightly, their finger were intertwined and his nose was buried in his friend's neck. He froze at that moment, trying to decide if he should move or not. After all, Mike hadn't stopped him from cuddling him during the night... or maybe he hadn't noticed and he was still asleep... Chester lifted his eyes and almost yelped in surprise when he looked directly in his friend's eyes, who was staring at him closely.


He snatched his fingers from Mike's hand and got up quickly, pretty sure his heart would leaped out of his chest.

“W-wow, I must have been really tired yesterday, s-sorry.” He laughed.


“Sorry, Mike, won't happen again.” He almost ran out of his bedroom and closed the bathroom door behind him before leaning into it and sighing.

He didn't know if it was because he had gotten most of his lies out last night or because he had slept in Mike's arms but … he actually felt better this morning.

When he joined Mike in the kitchen, he directly went to pour himself a cup of coffee. It was the best thing that could cured his hangover right now. His friend had stayed silent for a while, reading the newspaper but after five minutes he had closed it and had looked directly at Chester. The older man had felt electricity course through his body only with this stare but he had decided to ignore it and took another sip of his coffee.

“So... do you want to talk about it right now or?”

Talk about what? The fact that I'm worthless or that we spent the night cuddling?

Chester sighed and stared at his hands for a moment. This was now or never. He could get everything off his chest and … Mike would still be there for him.


“Did something happened?” Mike asked and Chester frowned before shrugging.

“Nothing happened, I just woke up one day and felt like shit.”

“Something must have-”

“No! Nothing. It just … happened. For no fucking reason, okay?”

He hadn't meant to raised his voice but he just couldn't help it. He still didn't want to have this conversation, he wanted to run away again but … he just couldn't seem to move.

Maybe a part of him wanted Mike to know everything but it was so hard for him to talk about it. He was so scared of what the young artist would think.

“Sorry.” He mumbled.

“It's okay, don't worry about it.” Mike said. “How... how do you feel … most of the time?”

Chester sighed. “I... I don't know how to explain it... I mostly feel like I'm not even real.” Mike frowned a little but was still staring at Chester, listening. “It's like I can't even motivate myself to do anything, and I walk on autopilot. I do everything like I'm just a machine, I feel so empty … except when I'm sad. Or angry.”

“Is that why you cut yourself?”

Chester looked at his wrist, it was mostly healed now and he nodded. “I just wanted to feel... alive, you know?”

“Fuck, I'm sorry, Ches.” Mike took Chester's hand in his and squeezed it, to let him know that he wasn't alone. “I should have noticed.”

Chester shook his head. “No, no. I didn't want you to know...”


“I thought you would laughed at me.”

“Never, Chaz, you understand? I'm here for you, okay?”

Ches bit his lower lip and nodded quietly. He still didn't trust Mike but he could at least try... After all, the younger man seemed genuinely worried about him.

“And have you... thought about doing it again?”

“What?” Chester asked, lost.

“Cutting yourself.”

“Oh.” He frowned. “No but I've thought about jumping in front a car or a train. The ocean seems really peaceful, too...”

“Jesus, Ches.”


Chester had just noticed that Mike's hand was still in his and he had to admit it felt kind of nice.

“And have you thought about seeing someone?”

Chester pulled his hand from Mike at that statement, shaking his head. “No. It won't help.”

“Maybe if you took some meds-”

“No!” He got up from his chair and Mike tensed.

“Ches, please, I'm sorry, it was only a suggestion.”

“They're going to locked me up.”

Mike frowned. “What? Why are you saying that?”

“I-if I t-talk to someone, they're... they're gonna think I'm crazy and-”

“No one will think that, Chester.”

He looked coldly at his friend right that moment. “You don't know how it is inside my head. I'm really fucked up, you know? It's really dark in there, you don't even want to know.”

“Yes, I wanna know-”

“No, you don't.”

Mike got up from his chair and Chester ran out to his bedroom, locking the door behind him before sliding against it and hugging his knees against himself, crying. He could never be good enough to stay friend with someone like Mike. He was popular at school, had good grades, was good at everything he attempted, he had many friends, his parents were proud of him, and he surely had a girlfriend that Chester didn't know about because he had been too wrapped up in his own world. Compared to him who had … absolutely nothing going on for himself.

“Fuck.” he whimpered.

A knock came at the door and Chester closed his eyes. “Go away, Mike.”



“No, Chester, I'm not going anywhere. I don't care what you think, you're not going to scared me away, okay?”


“Please, let me in.”

Chestr knew he wasn't only talking about the door. He stayed still, thinking that maybe if he didn't say anything, Mike would go away. Unfortunately, he only heard his friend sighed and sat on the floor, leaning against the other side of the door. “I'm staying here until you talk to me.”

“Fuck!” He should have gotten out of the apartment, now he was trapped in his room.

“I know you're confused and hurt right now and you think you're fucked up but you're not.”

“You don't get it, Mike, I'm like a fucking bomb, anything could set me off. I'm so angry sometimes...”

“Come on, Ches, you've always been this way...”

“Yeah, well, it's worse now. You can't understand.”

“Make me.”

“You won't give up, won't you?” He sighed and got up before looking at the door, wondering if he should let his friend in or not.

“Not when it comes to you, no, I won't.”

“I'm not worth it, Mike … I'm just a waste of your time. You should just give up before you realize how unimportant I am. You'll be disappoint, I promise you that.”

“Open the door.”


“Chester, open the door. Now.”

Chester had never seen his friend mad and he had known him for a while now and his voice scared him. Gulping, he unlocked the door and opened it before stepping aside to let his friend in. He hadn't realized he was shaking before Mike took his hands in his, staring at his friend. Chester felt like Mike could see through him, like he was staring at his soul, and he hated that, he felt so naked, he couldn't help but felt tears formed in his eyes.

“I could never, ever, hate you, you understand?”

“I've... I've hated you... I've actually been so angry I wanted to … to beat the shit out of some p-people.”

“But you've never done anything, right?”

Chester shook his head.

“What is the worst you've done?”

Chester bit on his lip. “L-lied to everyone a-and y-yelled at y-you and...”

“So? That's all?”

“I've been jealous of you...”

“What? Why?”

“Because you've got everything... good friends, good grades, talent-and I've got nothing.”

“That's not true.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No, Ches, you've got me. You've got the guys, you've got your family.”

“Please, don't... don't pity me, I just … have nothing going on for me, alright? I mean, school-”

“Forget about school, it's not that important right now, okay? What's important is that you take care of yourself. You've got time, you can always continue later.”

“No, it'll be too late.”

“It's never to late to start something, okay? Never. So what if it takes you a couple of years more, life isn't a race. And I don't pity you, I just want you to be okay. I care about you, Ches, even if you refused to see that.”

Chester nodded slowly, not sure if he believed Mike or not. “And the guys will hate me once they know what I've thought about them-”

“They don't have to know.”

“And that I've been wasting my time-”

“Ches. What I meant to say earlier about Brad? He already knows that you're down. He noticed before me... And he wants to help you, I'm sure the other feel the same way.”

Chester frowned, he had never been closed to Brad, he wondered how the young man had noticed. “Oh.” was all he could think to say.

“And it's not true that you've got no talents, you've got the voice of an angel.”

Chester blushed at his words. “God, I haven't sang in so long...”

“And didn't you say you liked to write too?”

“Yes, but I suck.”

“I'm pretty sure you don't. You're smarter than me when it comes to that.”

“My mind has been so fogged lately, I can't do anything right.”

Mike squeezed his hand at that moment. “That's why I suggested the meds, it could help cleared up your mind a bit.”

Chester whimpered again and Mike sighed. “What you said about beating people up... everyone, once in a while, gets mad to the point where you wish you could just kill someone... but what is really important is the fact that you can control that anger. I know it can be hard, trust me, I've been pretty mad sometimes- “

“You're never mad.”

“Maybe it's because I don't show it.” He smiled and Chester couldn't helped but smile through his tears. “You see, you have more than you think.”

“Thanks, Mike. I'm … I'm still insecure, though. I'm so fucked up, I can't remember the last time I didn't have to fake my feelings. It's so draining having to fake a smile everyday.”

“You don't have to do that when you're with me. Whatever you're feelings, you can just be true, alright?”

Chester nodded but continued anyway. “I still don't feel real.”

“Ches, look at me.”

His eyes met Mike's while the younger one put a hand on his cheek. It was still stained with tears and his friend brushed a finger against it. Chester leaned into the touch without thinking about it and closed his eyes. “Can you feel that?”


“You're here. We're both here. Whenever you feel detached, just tell me, okay”

“I'll try … I'm really scared to talk to someone... a therapist I-I know it could help b-but... I don't want to talk to anyone. Well, except you. God, I feel so alone.”

“You've got me.” Mike still hadn't taken his hand from Chester's face but the older one wasn't complaining. “As for the therapist … I won't forced you to do anything but still, think about it a little more, Chester. A professionnal would be more helpful than me... Even if I wouldn't mind helping you every minute of the day.”

Chester raised an eyebrow. “Won't your girlfriend get mad if you spend so much time with me?”

Mike blinked. “What girlfriend?”

“What, you mean that you, the greatest man ever, isn't in love?”

Mike blinked again. “God, Ches, I thought you would have noticed...”

“Noticed what?”

“That I'm in love with you.”

Chester hadn't been able to say anything to Mike after that. He didn't think he could be even more confused than he had been before but boy, was he wrong. He had never considered having feelings for his friend before…

It's true that he had liked how Mike's attention had been solely on him recently and he remembered how he had felt safe when he had woken up in his arms. It had felt right, real. More real than anything that had happened to him these past month. He was scared that he was confusing his feelings for wanting attention. After all, that's all he had hoped for – not to feel alone anymore, to have someone who could understand … it couldn't be this easy, right?

He kept thinking about the fact that if he let himself feel anything for Mike beyond friendship, that he would only disappoint his friend later on. Surely he'll finally see Chester has he saw himself and he would be disgusted to even have considered loving him. But most of the times, when he went to bed alone at night … all he could think about was Mike. He had spent many night tossing and turning, trying to think about anything else – he hadn't even noticed how he didn't feel that empty anymore, his thoughts were sorely focused on his friend. His bed had felt so big and cold without someone beside him, the pillow he was hugging wasn't a great substitute.

After a week, he had gotten up in the middle of the night to go to his friend's room. The door was ajar and he had tiptoed up to Mike's bed, the only light reflecting on the younger man's face was from the moonlight that was making his way through the blinds.

“Mike, are you asleep?” he whispered.

Only soft snoring answered him and he sighed. He couldn't wake him up every damn time he had a problem... He had gotten back to his room and had gotten up grumpy the next day – he had only fell asleep at 5 in the morning. He and Mike hadn't talked about his confession since it had happened and surprisingly, Mike didn't look like he was hurt by it. He kept asking Chester, each day, how he was feeling, if there was anything he need or if he wanted to do anything in particular. Chester couldn't helped but feel touched that he cared so much. And than one afternoon, Chester had decided that enough was enough.

He couldn't help but think about Mike every fucking hour he was awake and even if all this would end up being a huge mistake, he couldn't wait any longer. It was exhausting wondering each minutes of the day if he had the same feelings for his friend or not, and being worried about all the consequences of dating Mike was slowly draining him.


The younger man looked up from his drawing before looking at his best friend. “Yes, Chaz?”

“Get up.”


Chester sighed and went to his friend before taking his hand and pulling him up. “Ches, what are you-”

But Mike was hushed by his friend's mouth being pushed against his. Chester's kiss was hesitant at first but when Mike opened his mouth enough to let his friend slide his tongue in it soon become more passionate. They both pulled apart, breathless.

Chester smiled. “That was interesting.”


He just shrugged. “I'm not sure exactly how I feel about you, but hmm... Right now, I'm happy.”

Mike hugged Chester tightly against him. “I'm happy too.”

Chester pulled away and looked at the ground. “Brad … Brad called me yesterday and we … talked. He convinced me to go see a therapist. I have an appointment next week.”

Mike couldn't help the smile that formed on his lips. “That's great, Chester. I'm so proud of you.” The older man looked at Mike for a moment and started shaking as tears began to form in his eyes. “Hey-” He put a hand on Chester's cheek, collecting the tear that had spilled with the pad of his thumb.

“I might never get better...”

“I know.”

“And it'll get me some time for me to trust you, I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to do that...”

Mike nodded. “I know that too.”

“You have to understand that even if I'm feeling happy right now... It won't always be like that. I just … dating you won't stop my mind from being fucked up.”

“We're dating?” He asked, his eyes sparkling before he got serious again since Chester was staring at him. “But yes, I do understand that, Chester. I know your brain is sick, I don't expect you to wake up one day and suddenly feel better, I won't leave you because of that, just like I wouldn't leave you if you had cancer, were paralyzed or had lost your sight. That's just wrong. I'm going to be right here for you.”

“Geez, it sounds like we're getting married.”

“Hey, don't get ahead of yourself. We'll take it slow... One day at a time.”

“Can we still sleep in the same bed? I miss you at night...”

Chester pouted and Mike's heart started beating faster at these words and he hugged Chester a little bit tighter. “Of course.”

And with that, Chester smiled – the first real smiled he had shown since he couldn't remember when – and he kissed Mike's lips again.

This was real.

The End

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