Category Linkin Park

Simple Beauty by Stefuh

Part I

A/N : This is going to be cheesy and unrealistic but whatever.

Chester doesn't "exist" in this fic.

Also I have no idea if Jason is older or younger than Mike in real life.


Mike looked at the cottage before sighing. It looked really warm and comfy and it was exactly what he needed to relax for the two weeks to come while everyone was busy with their last minute Christmas shopping and cooking. He just wanted to put all his thoughts aside and enjoy these next couple of days with his brother. He looked around, there was a thin layer of snow covering the trees and the house, nothing that would really stick but at least, it was enough for Mike to feel like Christmas was coming. He knocked at the door and about one minute later he heard small feet running on the floor and a little girl opened the door before smiling at him.

“Uncle Mike!!”

“Hey, monkey.”

He took her in his arms clumsily since he had already two bags on his shoulder but he managed to hold her in his arms and closed the door behind him before walking in the living room.

“Now, where's your dad?”

“He's taking a shower, he said he had to get ready before you came here but he's late.” She laughed. “Like always. That's what mommy always says.”

He smiled at her before putting her back on the floor and dropping his bags in the spare bedroom. He had some presents for her in there but he would wait until she was asleep to put them under the tree. As he looked up, he saw Jason quickly making his way down the stairs, using a towel to dry his hair.

“Hey, bro.” he said before hugging him quickly. “Sorry, I was-”

“Late like always.” Mike smirks. “Hey don't hit me, it came from Abi's mouth.”

“Pfft. Dinner's almost ready.”

Mike grimaced. “I'm not really hungry.”

“Come on, I told her we would have a nice dinner together since her mom's away.”

“Where is she? I thought she was supposed to spend the holidays with us.”

“Work emergency. She'll be there in a couple of days.”

He looked back at Abigail who was playing with something that looked like a really disfigured doll and Mike snorted before looking at Jason.

“Hey, do you think she's going to like my presents?” he whispered. “I didn't know if-”

But Mike had to shut himself up as Abigail jumped on her feet and ran to him. “Come play with me, pleaseee?” She took his hand and pulled him towards her toys.

“Slow down, monkey, I'm coming.”


While Jason put Abigail to sleep, Mike decided to look around the cottage. He had came once, approximately two years ago, but it was only for a couple of hours so he didn't really remember the place clearly. There was a fireplace in the living room which warmed the place up, the kitchen was small but it was enough for the three of them for now. There was two bathrooms, one upstairs and one that was linked with the spare bedroom. Overall, it was homey and everything Mike had hoped for. He had had a hell of a semester at college and all he wanted was to be able to put it behind him. It had left a bad taste in his mouth and when he had told his brother that maybe he should study in something else or just drop out for the time being, Jason had shook his head.

“Nonsense, Mike, you're so talented and you're only saying that because it's your first semester. Come take some time off with me and you'll see, after that, you'll be ready to face the rest.”

Mike had sighed. After all, it was true that he had always love anything that was related to art and that he wasn't sure that there was something else that he wanted to do. He had first started to study in business to pleased his dad, but he felt as if he had wasted three years of his life. He had completed the courses but didn't feel like it would ever be useful to him, so he had decided to join an Art School instead... Maybe, it was all just a big mistake after all. Mike had also been stressed out from the fact that he had break up with his girlfriend which he had been with for five years. He had been so sure that he would spend the rest of his life with Anna, but now, he was certain of absolutely nothing at all.

He shook his head and went in the spare bedroom before sitting on the bed and taking some things from his bag when his eyes finally caught on what was in front of him. There was a couple of canvases and a handful of tubes of paint and brushes on the counter, and two easels near the window. He frowned.

“Jason?” he yelled and he heard him coming down the stairs before he appeared in Mike's bedroom, frowning.

“Mike, shush, Abi's just fallen asleep.”

“Sorry. I... what is all this?”

Jason looked at the art supplies and smiled. “Since you looked so gloomy about painting, I decided that you would fall in love again with it while you would stay here.”

Mike bit his lower lip before shaking his head. “I really don't feel like it, Jason-”

“Trust me, you'll thank me later.”

The younger man sighed before laying down on the bed. It'd be better for him if he forgot everything that had to do with art for the next few weeks. He rolled on his side and closed his eyes, he had all intention of taking a shower but if he could only sleep for a couple of minutes first …


When Mike woke up, it was morning. He quickly ran a hand on his face before going in the bathroom, shit, he had slept with his contact lenses on and his eyes were burning. He took them off and ran hot water in the shower before taking yesterday's clothes off and closing the door stall behind him. He sighed in relief when he fell the hot water fall on him, waking him up a bit better. He washed himself quickly and went back to his bedroom and when he started dressing himself up, he noticed two things : first of all, it was freezing, and second of all, it was only five in the morning. He put his glasses on before quietly walking to the living room to put some wood in the fireplace. He looked around and frowned when he noticed that there wasn't any Christmas tree, only a pile of gifts. He made a mental note to later put the ones he had in his bags with them. Jason and Abigail were still sound asleep and Mike found himself enjoying the tranquility of the house. He felt like his soul was at peace for the first time in a while. When he was sure that the fire was well started, he walked to the kitchen and made some coffee before going back to his bedroom and sitting on his bed, sighing when he looked back at the blank canvas that was closer to him.

The truth was, he had dreamed that he was painting one and … it had felt so good, so right to do something he loved again, without the stress of deadlines, other projects and most of all, without the fact that he would be judged by what he was doing. He also hated that most of these projects had strict rules to them, sometimes it could give him some ideas but most of the time, it only clouded his mind while it wondered around other ideas that he couldn't used for the moment and didn't have time to do either. All that had only left him drained and exhausted after the couple of months he had spent there.

Mike stared at the empty canvas while he drank his coffee before finally getting up and taking the paint palette and some colors. He had a clear vision of what he wanted to draw, a remain from his dream. He took one brush and sighed.

“Here goes nothing.”


When Abigail had finally gotten up, Mike had watched his painting with mixed emotions. It didn't came out like he had wanted at all, but at the same time, he couldn't say that it wasn't proud of it. Abigail ran into his room, clutching her disfigured doll before smiling at his uncle.

“Mikee, you're already up? Woah, what is that!”

Her eyes widened at the sight of the painting and she got closer to observed it.

“I- ahem...”

“Is that someone you know?” She looked at Mike, curious.


“Well, he's really pretty.”

Mike smiled at her. “Thanks, monkey.”

“Let's have breakfast!” she said before running to the kitchen and Mike quickly cleaned the supplies before washing his hands in the bathroom, they would be stained from the paint for a while but he was used to it.

As he got in the kitchen, he put his used mug in the sink (he had washed it and used it for painting after he had drank all his coffee) and watched as Abigail got the milk from the fridge and got on a small stool to reach the counter and poured some in two bowls that contained sugary cereals.

“Breakfast is ready!” she said and Mike got both bowls before placing them on the table while Abigail got some spoons out of the drawer.

She sat beside him and they silently began to eat before Mike's eyes got on the pile of gifts ahead.

“Why is there no Christmas tree?”

“Dad wants you to help him take one from the forest.”

“Oh, he's really motivated this year.”

“He wants it to be perfect.”

Mike smiled. “Me too, Abi.”

“What's the name of the man in your painting?”

“I have no idea.”

“It's okay, I'm sure you'll find one. It always take me some time to give names to my dolls.” She nodded and Mike couldn't helped but laugh.

“What's the name of the one you got there?”


“It suits here really well.” he said, not believing a word of what he was saying as he looked at the disfigured doll.

Jason came down the stairs at this exact moment and he looked so devastated that Mike couldn't help but sense like something horrible had happened.

“Jason, what's wrong?”

“Man! Work just called and … I have to go.”

Mike frowned. “But it's the holidays, come on, you can't just-”

“I know, I tried telling them that but-”

Abigail looked up at him with sadness in her eyes and Jason's heart broke at the thought of leaving her daughter. “I'm so sorry, Abi.” He crouched down beside her. “I'm going to make it up to you, I promise. And I won't be gone long, alright? Uncle Mike is going to take good care of you.”

“Alright, daddy.”

Mike was still frowning as he watched his brother hugged his daughter and he shook his head before getting up and going to his room. Jason watched him before kissing Abi's forehead. “I'll be right back, sweetie.” He followed his brother in the spare room and couldn't helped but grimaced at Mike's angry face.

“Seriously, Jason?” Mike whispered. “First Maddie and now you? I mean, it's almost Christmas for god's sake.”

“I know, I know, I wish I didn't have to leave her behind, but I'm so closed to getting a promotion.”

“Right, because money is more important then your own fucking daughter.”

“Don't talk to me like that, Mike, I worked really hard to get there and I would love to do more at the company. And I'd only be gone for a couple of days, it's not like I won't get back for Christmas.”

“Whatever, man, just go.”


The younger man only shook his head before getting out of the bedroom and going back to the kitchen to sit with Abigail.

“Looks like it's only going to be only the two of us for the next couple of days, monkey. Don't worry, we'll have fun.”

She got up from her chair and hugged him before he sat her on his laps. “You should go look at the Christmas gifts, I think I heard Santa last-”

“Come on, Mike, you still believe in Santa Claus? Pfft, you're so childish.”

The artist was taken aback by his niece's words, as he stared at her with wide eyes. “I- … you mean, he's not real?” He tried to cover his surprise but wasn't quick enough and she just rolled her eyes at him and got up from his laps before going to where the Christmas tree should be.

“After we've find the perfect tree, you'll help me put the Angel on top, right?”

Mike smiled. “Of course, Abi.”


It had been twenty four hours since his brother had been gone and the young man was wondering if he was enough company for his niece. He had done everything Jason had told him to do but he wasn't used to hang around kids that much, so he always doubted himself every time he tried to do something for Abigail. She didn't looked bored nor mad at him, so he was guessing he was doing something right, but he still couldn't shake the feeling that it would be better if his brother was still here.

“Will you brush my hair, uncle Mike?”

She handed him a brush and he smiled before sitting on the couch where she sat on her knees in front of him and watched whatever kid's Christmas' special movie was playing on tv. He began to brush her hair softly, wincing every time the brush caught in a knot. He was about to ask her if she had some hairbands when he heard a crashing sound in his bedroom. He froze and looked behind him but he couldn't see anything in the room from where he was sitting.

“Mike, what was that?” Abigail whispered.

“I don't know, monkey... stay there, I'll be right back.”

He put the brush down and quickly but quietly made his way toward the spare room, wondering if Jason still had that baseball bat he had when he was a kid. He quickly looked in the wardrobe next to the front door and smiled when he saw it. He remembered the last time he had came here, he, Jason and Abi had thrown a couple of balls around and he was really glad right now that his brother had kept it here instead of bringing it back to his home.

Mike could feel his palms getting sweaty and his pulse racing as he slowly pushed the door opened, his eyes scanning the room, but the only thing he saw was that the easel containing his current painting had dropped on the floor. He frowned and made his way to the bathroom, hoping with every ounce of his being that he wouldn't get murdered right there. He got in the small room and that's when a screaming escaped his throat as he dropped the bat, not believing what was in front of him.

“MIKE, WHAT'S WRONG!” screamed Abigail. Mike stood there, his eyes wide as he felt panic rushed in his vein while he tried to grasp what he was seeing in front of his eyes. His breathing was coming in short breath as he tried to calm himself but he felt more like he was closer to an heart attack then anything else.

“It's okay, monkey, I'm alright, just … stay in the living room!”

Standing in front of him was his painting. He had the same dark brown eyes that he had painted, the same fauxhawk and shaved sides, the same white tank top with some crazy logo on it … But it was real.

He was real.

His painting had come to life and he was staring right at him with a smile on his face. As the stranger reached a hand toward Mike, the latter only froze. The hand slowly caressed his cheek and the half Asian gulped.

“Hi, I'm Chester, and you are?”


Mike woke up with a start upon sensing cold water being splashed in his face. He sat up on the floor and looked around, not understanding what had happened.

“Uncle Mike?”

Abigail had a glass of water in her hand and Mike understood that she was the one who had woke him up.

“What happened?” he asked.

“You fainted.” said an unknown voice and Mike froze before looking slightly to his right and stifling a scream as his eyes came into contact with the stranger one again.

He quickly got up and put Abigail in his embrace. “I don't know who you are or what you want-”

“I told you, my name is Chester.”

“If this is some kind of prank, this isn't funny at all! Is my brother behind this?”

Abigail looked up at Mike who looked mortified. “He's not going to hurt us.”

“Abi, trust me-”

“No, we talked when you were sleeping and he said that he came to life because you wanted him to.”

Mike frowned and shook his head. He wished for his painting to be real? That was insane.

He was dreaming, or worse, he had been in a car accident on his way to the cottage and he was in a coma, this was only in his imagination.

“H-how to you even have a name?” he asked. “I didn't give you one.”

“You were hungry when you painted and for some reason, you were thinking about Cheetos.”

Mike laughed, a nervous laugh. “Sure. Right. Whatever.”

Still holding Abi against him, he made his way to the canvases that had scattered on the floor and took the one where he had painted Chester, but it was now empty. He didn't know if he wanted to break it in two or burned it in case something else crawled out from there.

“So...” asked Mike, turning to his real-life painting. “You're human? Just like that?”


He looked at Abigail. “Maybe we're having a... shared illusion or something. You know like... folie à deux or something like that. When Jason will get here, he'll clear this up.” Mike nodded, that seemed like the right explanation.

At that moment, Chester's stomach growled and he laughed. “Sorry, I guess I'm hungry. Do you have anything to eat by any chance?”

“How can you be hungry? How can you even have a stomach, I didn't paint one! And how do you know what hungry means anyway?”

Asking twenty questions was distracting him from panicking more than he already had.

“When I touch someone, I get their knowledge.” he stated.

“What?” Mike squeaked.

“When I touched your cheek, I knew everything you knew.”

“You read my mind?”

“No, it's nothing like that, Mike, right, that's your name?” Abi nodded while Mike stayed still. “I'm talking about common knowledge. I know how to ride a bicycle, how to drive a car, since you're an artist, I know how to paint. I know what a horse is, I know what snow is, and Christmas, and-”

“Alright, I understand, you can stop.” He sighed. This was way too fucked up.

“So, please, I'd like to make myself a sandwich if it's no trouble.”

“Whatever, the kitchen is on the right.”

Chester smiled at him before smiling even wider at Abigail and made his way to the kitchen. Mike watched the flame tattoos riding up his arms and he shivered, he had painted these and now there were real, they were real tattoos on a real person. They were exactly how he had made them, red and blue. He remembered he had imagined the young man in his dream, but the vision wasn't clear enough, he had only painted what he remembered and worked around that – the flames were the only vivid part.

He knew exactly why he had dreamed about that, just before going to sleep, he had looked outside at the window when he had been near the fireplace and the fire had reflected on the window, more precisely on Mike's skin. He shuddered at the thought.

“Let's go to the kitchen too, I think I need to sit down .” he said while Abigail grabbed his hand to lead him to the other room.

Mike sat next to Abigail while Chester was fixing himself a ham sandwich.

“Do any of you want one?”


“No!” interrupted Mike.

Abigail pouted while looking at his uncle, but he couldn't let her eat something from a stranger.

“I can make you one if you want.” he whispered but she shook her head.

“I want one from Chester.”

“No, monkey, you can't have one from him.”

She crossed her arms on her chest and looked away, clearly upset with him and he sighed. Could this day get any worse? He felt an headache coming and he was wondering if Jason had any aspirins.

“It's weird, because when I touched Abigail-” began the stranger as he sat down next to Mike.

“Excuse me, you did what?” Mike said, loud enough to startle both Chester and his niece.

“He shook my hand when he told me his name.” said Abigail, rolling her eyes at how her uncle was overreacting.


“I didn't learn anything.” Chester frowned.

“It's because I'm a child and I don't know anything.” she added.

“Of course you know things,” Mike added. “You're very wise for you age.”

“I think she meant that she doesn't know anything that you don't already.” explained the other man.

“Oh, yeah, that could make sense.”

Sense? How could anything made sense right now? As Chester ate quietly, Mike pinched himself a couple of times on his arm, wondering when he would wake up – but it wasn't working. He was surely in a harder coma thant he had previously thought.

“So, Chester,” Mike said. “Are you going to leave after your lunch?”

“He can't go.” said Abigail, frowning. She looked so disappointed in him that his heart squeezed a bit.

“Well, he can't exactly stay here.”

“No! I mean, it's snowing too hard outside, you won't send him in the storm, will you?”

“Storm? What are you talking about? What storm?”

Abigail got up and ran to the front door before opening it and the door almost blew out of their hinges since the wind was so hard. As snowflakes began to filled the hallway, Mike got up and helped her closed it back, startled. “Jesus, when did this started?”

“When you were asleep.”

Of course.

“Daddy called, he said he wouldn't be here as soon as he thought.”

“You talked to Jason?” Mike frowned, what would his brother think if he learned that he had faint a couple of hours after he had gone out.

“Yes, I told him you were in the shower.”

“Monkey, you shouldn't have lied.”

Even Mike couldn't helped the relief from his voice and Chester smiled at him. He suddenly wondered if he had ever painted anything else that had came to life without him realizing it. After all, if it had happened when he was young, he wouldn't really remembered it if he hadn't noticed. Was the last project he had done at school dancing in his teacher's office – or even in his house?

He had painted a sort of unknown creature and if that had come to life, than his teacher had mostly being attacked. Mike couldn't helped but smile at the thought – he had really hated him and just to know that he could have got some vengeance...

Mike shook his head and ran a hand in his hair, what the hell was he thinking about, it didn't made any sense!

Maybe it was the canvases, maybe they were magic. Maybe if he painted something else, it would also come to life. He could try with something small, a squirrel or a cat, maybe –

“What will happen once the snow will be gone?” asked Mike, looking at Chester. “Where will you go? How will you live?”

“Well, I can go anywhere really.”

“I'm talking about an I.D card, your passport, your identity – you don't have any, you-”

“Oh, you're talking about this?” Chester got up from his chair as he put a hand on the back pocket of his pants and got a wallet out.

Mike frowned and took the wallet before opening it and his eyes got wide.

There was a driver license, a hospital card, hell, there was even a library card.

Chester Charles Bennington

March 20th 1976

“And that's my passport.”

“What the fuck!” he said out loud and Abigail gasped. “I mean, fu-” he stopped himself this time. “I'm sorry, monkey.”

This was way too fucked up. He needed a drink. He shook his head, he couldn't drink at this hour of the day, it was way too early, and he still had to look after Abigail...

When she would be asleep, he'd be sure to pour himself at least one shot. He didn't want to get drunk and leave Abigail alone with Chester but he needed something to keep him grounded.

“Let's watch a movie!” she said suddenly and got out from her chair at the same time as Chester went to put his dirty plate in the sink.

“Okay.” A movie could be harmless and maybe it would helped him to make some sense of the situation.

It couldn't get any worse from now on, right?


Abigail had fallen asleep halfway through the movie and Mike had put her into bed, smiling at her. Maybe everything was weird right now, but at least he was happy to spend some time with his family. As he got up to leave, Abi's hand caught in his shirt and he sat back down.

“What's wrong, Abi?”

“I don't think Chester is bad.”

He sighed. “I don't know about that, I mean we don't even know him...”

“Daddy said you had to come here for Christmas because something bad had happened to you, that you weren't okay. Maybe Chester is here to make everything okay?”

He bit his lower lip. “I'd like that very much, but I don't think he's here to help me, monkey.”

“Well, I think he's a Christmas miracle.”

And at that, she fell asleep, leaving Mike alone with his confused thoughts.


He sat down next to Chester who had stayed on the couch, looking at the roaring fire in front of him.

“You're going to stay here until my brother comes back but I expect you to not get close to Abigail at all and help around the house when needed. There's a second spare bedroom next to mine, you can have it. I don't trust you and I swear to god, if anything happens, especially to Abigail, you're out without a second thoughts.”

“I'm not here to hurt any of you, Mike.”

“Yeah, whatever. I'm going to bed.”

He had found a bottle of rum in the kitchen and he took it to his bedroom, taking one sip and closing his eyes at the burning sensation down his throat, welcoming the comforting warmth coursing through his body.

When he'd wake up, Chester would be back in the painting and Mike would realized what a fucked up dream he'd had.

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