LPfiction

Category Linkin Park

Imposter by malaiyas

Replaced

This originally started as an idea for a chapter fic, but as it developed, I liked the idea of it as a standalone. Maybe that’s just laziness. I am still working on the next chapter of Tell Brad for anyone reading that – it’s just starting to get difficult. This idea came to me and I simply had to execute it. I hope you’ll enjoy and share your thoughts! x


Slowly, my consciousness returned to me, easing my eyes open. The room was especially bright, illuminated by the morning rays spilling in through the window.


After a long, involuntary stretch, I rolled over, my hands seeking the warmth of the body I woke up to every day. My hands found only the sheets instead, and I sighed. Where had he gone off to?


From where I lay in the bed in our one-bedroom apartment, I could hear movement in the kitchen. A smile graced my lips as I realized that my own question had been answered by the sound of his busyness in the kitchen.


Not long after, the bedroom door opened, followed by the words, “Wakey wakey!”


I groaned, “But I’m so comfy.”


“I made you breakfast. Get up,” he demanded, and so I did.


I joined him at the kitchen table, where he’d set up a lovely display. Lovely, it was too lovely. Hesitantly, I sat across from him, and as I took the first mouthful of the eggs he served me, I became unsettled. Something just wasn’t right.


I set down my fork. His eyes settled upon me in a heartbeat.


“Who are you?” I demanded, my gaze set squarely upon his face.


“What?”


“Who are you?” I repeated, my voice louder, seemingly out of my own control as I stood up.


“Chester, please. You’re scaring me.”


I’m scaring you?!” I scoffed, my eyes narrowing. “You’re not Mike. You’re not Mike, and I want to know what you’ve done with him.”


“I am Mike,” he whimpered, his brows knitting together. “Chester, it’s me. I am Mike.”


“Don’t fucking lie to me!” I barked, my index finger pointed at him in stiff accusatory fashion.


“Where is this coming from?” he asked, confusion written plainly on his face.


“The eggs,” I replied sharply, knowingly. My hand straightened out flat as I gestured to the mostly untouched plate of food before me. I watched as the stranger before me grew that much more confused. “You’re a better cook than Mike.”


I watched as he scoffed; it was a mix of laughter and of slight. He briefly looked like he might laugh, but he didn’t.


“Chester,” he said, and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. “You’re fucking with me, aren’t you?”


“You think this is a fucking joke? This isn’t funny. You’re not fucking funny.”


The color drained from his face. Suddenly, he knew I wasn’t joking.


“Will you please… will you just sit and eat with me? I made this for us… I, I made it for you.”


“No, I won’t. You’re out of your fucking mind! Where is Mike?! What have you done to him?!”


“Mike” stood, his hands up in surrender. “Chester, please, I am Mike. I’m here and I’m fine.”


“Stop saying you’re Mike!” I cried, covering my ears with my hands.


“Chester, please,” he begged, approaching me cautiously. “Please, I love you.”


“Don’t say that!”


“I don’t know what else to say, I don’t… Chester, it’s me. It’s me.”


“No, this isn’t right. You’re… I don’t know who you are, but you’re not Mike. I don’t know what you’ve done with him… what have you done with him?” I began hyperventilating, feeling the fear building up inside of me. Each arduous exhale seemed to remove more of the weight from my head, leaving me feeling faint. I had to sit down.


“Head between your knees, head between your knees, Chester… see? We’ve been through this before, see? It’s me.”


I felt his hands on my knees, but I smacked them away, abruptly yelling, “Don’t touch me!”


Suddenly, the world around me fell dark, and I succumbed to the blackness in a slump.



When I awoke, the world seemed dull, bleak. Voices carried softly into my ears, but it took me a moment to distinguish what they were saying.


“…this is crazy, I don’t know what to do…”


“…should be coming around soon…”


“…thinks I’m not me…”


I opened my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose between my fingers. The motion was enough to call the attention of one of the people around me over to me, and suddenly there was a blinding light in my eyes.


“You’re awake,” the man said, and I turned my gaze to find his face.


“Where am I?” I asked immediately. A muscle in my left leg spasmed momentarily.


“You’re in the hospital. I’m Doctor Tariq. Can you tell me what happened before you lost consciousness?”


I pressed my lips together in thought, brow furrowed before I said, “the last thing I can remember… seems like a dream.”


“Why don’t you go ahead and tell me about it anyway?”


“I woke up… and my… uh, roommate,” I paused, meeting the doctor’s eyes for a moment before I continued, “was making breakfast. He does that, sometimes. It’s nice.”


“That is nice. Then what happened?”


“I noticed that this person was a better cook than my real roommate. Something is off about him,” I said, the alert returning to me. “You’ve got to believe me. He’s not my… roommate. He looks just like him, but I know it’s a disguise. Mike couldn’t cook like that.”


The doctor leaned back, silent for longer than was comfortable for me.


“He’s an exact copy, I’m telling you. Mike is in danger – the real Mike Shinoda is out there somewhere. I… the police… we have to find him. I have to find him.”


“Mike is here. He’s okay and he’s very worried about you,” the doctor informed me.


I sat up suddenly, ignoring the feeling of weight spreading through my being from the crown of my head. When I laid eyes on him, I balled my hands into fists.


“That’s not Mike. I can’t believe you let him in here.”


The doctor sighed and stood. The imposter wore a pained expression, and I watched as the two left the room, leaving me alone.


I forced myself to a stand and walked over to the door, pressing my ear upon it. It was my hope that the two were standing just outside the door, talking. I needed to know what they were saying. Maybe the doctor was part of the scheme, too.


I couldn’t hear anything. Defeated, I sat down on the bed and just waited. I was still in my pajamas. I traced my index finger along the vertical stripes of the plaid pattern to keep myself occupied. I hoped with all my being that Mike was okay. I prayed for patience.


Slowly, I brought my attention back to the door again. Part of me thought about making a break for it. How long would they keep me here? I knew I’d only buy myself more time here if I tried to run. That would look suspicious, and I certainly wasn’t the suspicious one in this situation.


After what felt like an eternity, the doctor and the imposter both re-entered the room. I drew in a breath to object, but the doctor held up his hand.


“Chester, I know this is all very confusing for you,” he began, and I already knew I hated what was about to come out of his mouth next. “Mike here—”


“He’s not Mike! Stop playing into the delusion, you’ll only encourage him!”


“Okay. I’ve been informed that you were in a bad car accident not too long ago, is this correct?”


I closed my eyes tightly and re-opened them. “Yes.”


“I understand that you suffered some trauma to the head in this accident. I know that you must be feeling confused and scared and wondering what’s happening.”


“Yeah, and I can’t understand why I’m the only one who seems to think this is a problem. Listen, listen—" I shifted, as if trying to adopt a more trustworthy, commanding position. “Mike’s… there is a man out there, somewhere, who’s in danger. That man—” I pointed over to the stranger, “has done something with the real Mike and taken his place. He’s not… he’s posing as him. I don’t know why or how, but I see right through his disguise. We have to find Mike.”


“Here’s the thing, Chester, and I hope you’ll understand. You’ve recently suffered trauma to your head. I hear you, I hear what you’re saying and that must be so scary for you. But it isn’t real. I think you’ve developed Capgras Syndrome – it’s rare. We don’t always know why it happens, but it does frequently occur in those who’ve sustained an injury to the head.”


“I don’t believe this,” I muttered, shaking my head. “I don’t believe this.” I choked back tears, my bottom lip tight against the emotion. “So you think I’m crazy?”


“No, I don’t. I think you’ve taken quite the hit on your head and you’re feeling some effects from it.”


“Doctor,” the imposter dared to speak, and I regarded him with an icy glare. “How long is he going to be like this for? What can be done for him?”


I watched Doctor Tariq’s expression darken, and then he said, “we don’t know. Sometimes Capgras resolves itself, and the patients go back to normal on their own, like it never happened. Other times…”


“Mike” nodded slowly, his eyes closed as if it hurt to keep them open after what he’d just heard.


“Try to stay patient. Keep an eye on him, see if the symptoms stay the same or get worse. Sometimes Capgras patients can be violent towards their targets, mostly they’re just scared and confused.”


“So I can take him home?”


“You may. Just be mindful of what I’ve told you, and by all means, do your own research. It’s… a bit like dementia.”


I watched as the two spoke in front of me like I wasn’t even there. I hated them, I hated them both. I couldn’t believe I was really being treated this way because of the accident I’d been in. I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t out of my mind. Something was amiss, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.


“C’mon, Chester,” Fake Mike chided, and I grit my teeth together.


“You’re really going to let me go home with him? I don’t know this person,” I said, though I found myself standing anyway. It was clear to me that this wasn’t a battle I was going to win. They all thought I was crazy.



We rode together in the car in silence. I watched street lights, houses and businesses pass me by, and I wondered where Mike was. I worried for his safety, unsettled by the presence of the man masquerading as him beside me.


When we made it back to the apartment, I sat on the couch and stared at the ceiling. I couldn’t believe the doctor took his side. He believed I’d materialized this from a bump on the head. It wasn’t fucking fair.


Even through my closed eyes, the tears welled up and slipped through, little bubbles of the liquid lingering in my eyelashes. They started out warm, but the longer they stayed there, the cooler they became.


I felt the weight of another person settle on to the couch beside me. When I opened my eyes, I was pained to see the imposter sitting next to me.


“It hurts to look at you,” I said, turning my head away from him. “You look just like him… just like my Mike. But I know you’re not him and I just want him back. I just want him back.”


“Chester, it is me,” he whispered, though the sound felt harsh against my ears. I felt his hand on my arm, so I jerked my arm away.


Suddenly, he’d lifted himself off from the couch and lowered himself before me, placing himself between my knees on the floor.


“Look at me. Please, look at me,” he begged, his voice just above a whisper. When I looked at him, he had his bottom lip gripped by his top teeth in desperation. Something inside of me softened – as much as I knew this man was a stranger, the familiarity in his face still made me fall for the sadness I saw there.


“Do you remember the accident we were in, Chester?”


We weren’t in an accident. You weren’t even there. But yes, I remember the accident,” I said bitterly.


“Tell me… tell me everything you can remember about the accident.”


I closed my eyes, exhaling deeply as images of that day came rushing back. Yes, I could remember it vividly…


Mike was driving, I was in the passenger’s seat – that’s how it often was. He was bouncing along to the beat of some hip-hop track that I’d heard before, but wasn’t nearly familiar enough with to sing along to. I looked over at him, watching as he lost himself in the enjoyment of the song, and I smiled involuntarily. I adored him so. It was so beautiful to see someone caught up in the very thing that brought the most joy to their heart.


As we neared the light ahead, Mike prepared to turn left on to the highway. Just before he did, I noticed that we didn’t have a green arrow – but it was too late. He was halfway through the turn when an oncoming car plowed into us; I looked just in time to see the front of a maroon car slam into the tire, just in time to see the door closest to me cave in.


I braced myself as the impact caused the car to spin, and even more tightly as I was rocked sideways. A second impact that I didn’t see coming sent me back towards the door, where I hit my head, hard…


“…and that’s the last thing I remember. I was unconscious.”


“I felt so guilty,” he whispered, shaking his head and closing his eyes. I opened mine to look at him. He appeared to be on the verge of tears. “If I’d just slowed down, paid more attention to the light… that wouldn’t have happened. You wouldn’t have gotten hurt.”


“You weren’t even there,” I said, though there was no edge in my voice. “If you just… if you just tell me what you did with Mike, and bring him back here, I won’t… I won’t even tell the police. I’ll let you go. I just want him back.”


He grabbed my hand. I hoped it was a good sign.


“I’m here. It’s me, Chester. It’s me.”


“Please,” I whispered, the tears forming in my eyes. “I just want him back. I just… I just want him back. I love him.”


Tears were slipping down his cheeks when I opened my eyes to look at him. I just couldn’t understand.


“You have to believe me, Chester, it’s me,” he begged, his forehead creased with worry. “It’s me. I love you. I love you so much.”


“Stop,” I said weakly, and pried my hand from his. “I’m not feeling so well. I’m going to go to bed.”


I stood up and maneuvered around him. When I looked back over my shoulder, he was still on the floor, his spine curved in defeat. I felt sorry, but I continued into the bedroom, knowing he wasn’t who he claimed to be.



I awoke in the middle of the night to the distinct feeling of weight settling into the bed beside me. I turned over in time to see him creeping in. He really had some nerve.


“Oh, no way,” I muttered, then got up with a grunt. “I’ll sleep on the couch then.”


“Chester, no. Please come back to bed. Please… god, this is killing me,” he said to my back. I was certain I could feel his eyes boring into me from behind. “Chester, baby, please… what do I have to do to prove to you that it’s me?”


“You’ve already proven that it isn’t you.”


“The eggs?”


“The eggs.”


I heard the rustling of the sheets as he removed himself from them. Suddenly, he was in front of me. My breath caught in my throat as he stood so close.


“Let me kiss you,” he said, a husk in his voice that caught me off guard.


“I… what? N-no,” I stammered, shaking my head. I felt the breath shake in my lungs. There was a certain undeniable chemistry flowing between us – I was ambivalent. My mind was screaming at me to turn away, but the sensation of his breath on my skin…


“Chester,” he whispered, and a tingle started at the nape of my neck and spread quickly through my extremities.


“No, I can’t do this to him. I can’t do this to Mike,” I said, trying to sound firm, but I was beginning to lose my resolve.


“It’s me, and you can do anything you want to me,” he said, stepping forward. His hesitant gaze checked my facial expression before he neared his lips to my neck. “If I were an imposter… would I know to kiss you…” he trailed off and pressed a kiss against my skin, in precisely the right spot. “Here?”


“No,” I whispered automatically, fighting to keep my eyes open. I was caving in, yearning for the feel of his touch, for the taste of his lips. My mind begged me to put an end to this, but my body betrayed me, and despite my best intentions, I wanted this closeness. I wanted him.


His lips forged a trail up to my jawline; I longed for where their journey might end, but more than that, I nearly sensed it. He pressed a timid kiss against the corner of my mouth, and then pulled back ever so slightly. For a moment, the only thing that passed between us was our breath, warm and unsteady.


His lips, as if pulled by a magnetic force, hovered just before mine. There, we lingered, both sets of lips parted ever so slightly; in that moment, it was as if each of us were surviving off of the very same breath, passed back and forth time and time again.


The breath we shared became energy when our lips connected, and though he was right before me, it was as if he became a part of me. The sensation surged from my lips and resonated throughout my nerve endings, filling my body with a warmth that started inside and worked its way out.


When he drew back, we stared at one another, each taken aback by the other. The silence between us filled my ears, yet I couldn’t hear it over the sound of my own pulse. One of our stomachs gurgled faintly, but neither of us acknowledged it.


He took me by the hand and guided me to the bed, where he wrapped me in my arms. We didn’t make love, because we didn’t need to. What was happening between us was far more intimate and precious than alleviating arousal. I thought he must have felt that way, too.


“You may feel that you don’t know me anymore,” he began, his voice soft, “but I still know you.” I felt his arms tighten around me, I felt him exhale against the top of my head. He cradled the back of my head as he pressed a kiss against my temple.


There had been a shift, the sort that takes your breath away, never mind words. Still, he seemed to know the right thing to say. Maybe the eggs were different, but his kiss… his kiss was just as I remembered it. Maybe he’d just looked up a new recipe.


“Maybe, in a way, this is a good thing,” he said, his fingers tracing lightly upon my back. “I won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do… but will you at least give me a chance to make you fall in love with me all over again?”


But I knew I already had.


“I can’t think of anything more beautiful.”


Fin.

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