Category Linkin Park

I Wish It Wasn't So by Penelope_Ink

Stealth Panther Mode

Hi everyone. Without going into a lot of detail, it was a rough weekend for my family, and somewhere along the way this story popped into my head. Probably as some sort of internal coping mechanism. I debated back and forth if I should share this or not, or if I should just write it for myself to get it out of my head. I knew it was too heavy to be a one shot, and so it will be a chapter story, though it will probably be shorter. Not sure what that means yet. I have it mapped in my head, but not on paper.

Unlike most of my other stories, this one is dark. Trigger warnings galore, so if you’re struggling right now, you might not want to read it. Much love to Mike, Chester, Dave, Rob, Joe, Brad, and their families. This is all totally fiction.


“Okay, Babe, I’m here. Finally,” Chester stated with a roll of his eyes just as he pulled into The Shinoda’s circular driveway. He put his car in park, before he picked up his cell phone, pulling his BlueTooth piece from his ear. “I’m telling you, we need to move closer. This drive is killing me!”

“You always say that,” Talinda laughed from the other end, her higher pitched voice giving away her amusement. “And yet every time I bring up looking for a new house, you poo-poo the idea.”

“I do NOT poo-poo,” he argued as he smiled, his cell phone properly to his ear as he looked out the front windshield. “Or maybe I do. Okay, I promise I won’t bitch about the drive anymore, and if I do, we’ll go really look at houses.”

“So should I call the realtor to line up showings for when? Next week?”

Chester could hear his wife laughing on the other end. His instinct was to deny that would be the case, but as he stared at Mike’s two story brick home and the lavish plants and flowers that decorated the front, he knew she was right. With the new album in process, his trips to Mike’s home studio had doubled what they were during off times, and this album seemed to be taking extra long. “Fine,” he said, turning his key in the ignition to kill the car. “Set it up for next week. We’ll look. . .and who knows, maybe we’ll find something totally kick ass.”

“Do you mean it this time? You know I’d love to be closer to Anna, especially now that they have Otis. We can do real play dates without it being a big ordeal of planning and who is going where and when and for how long, and don’t fuck with me, Chester Bennington,” she stated sternly. “Don’t you dare play with my heart over this.”

Chester grinned. “Babe, I couldn’t be more serious if I was signing a statement in my own blood. But, look, I gotta go. Mike’s waiting on me and he’s been kinda playing dictator lately. Emphasis on dick,” he said playfully with a chuckle before he added, “Kisses!” He smooched his lips to make a puckering sound. The moment he heard his wife laugh and make the silly noise back, Chester’s eyes lit up, even from behind his sunglasses. “Love you, see you in time for dinner,” he promised before he ended the call.

Chester wrapped both hands around the steering wheel for a moment. I hope he’s in a good mood today. He’s been working so hard, and with a new baby. He’s tired. He’s always tired. Infants will do that to anyone. T’s right. We need to live closer to them. Maybe we could help. . .babysit the little poop machine so they could go out or just stay home and pass out.

He let the air out between his lips, making a bit of a motor boat sound before he grabbed his keys, phone, his silver coffee travel mug and his green and gray messenger bag with the alien head sewn on it, off the front seat. He stepped out, shutting the car door with his hip. He sat his coffee on the hood of the car, before he shoved his phone and keys in the pockets of his dark gray jeans and slung the strap of the messenger bag over his head and across his chest. He tugged on his checkered black and white shirt to situate everything before he straightened out the sleeves of his faded gray jean jacket.

The hour and a half drive from the other side of L.A. always put a strain on Chester’s back, and he was quick to move around a little, stretching his neck and bending forward and then backward, groaning a little as he did. He pulled his sunglasses off to stash them away, and the morning sun struck his eyes immediately. “Fucking sunlight,” he muttered before he picked up his coffee and headed for the front door.

He made his way up the paved walk, barely glancing at the expert landscaping the Shinodas were so fastidious about. Twisted looking bushes and hanging vines, and a patch of colorful lilies were all things Chester appreciated, but had no interest in. I kill every plant we get. I can’t even keep our yard alive. . .I have to pay someone to do that for me. It was so much easier in Arizona, your yard was just rocks and cactus. Fuck. I even killed my last cactus. I still feel bad about that one. . .the little guy didn’t stand a chance with me. No way we’re having anything fancy like all this at our new house. And we’re never moving to this fucking neighborhood. We need something lower key. Closer, but lower key. He nodded at himself for making that decision, and even he had to admit that the idea of actually starting an honest house hunt was a good idea. Tyler is getting older. He needs a bigger room, and I’d like to have a separate room for Draven to stay in when he stays over on the weekends, and another one for the older boys when they come in from Arizona. And I could use a bigger closet and T wants a double vanity in our bathroom. . .and the mutts are all cramped in our place now. We need something with a bigger yard for them to run and play in. For me and the boys to play in.

He scrubbed his hand over his short, flat dark brown mohawk as he got to the front door and rang the bell. He glanced around the porch, but the matching wicker furniture and decorative table wasn’t really on his mind. She’s right. We need to be closer to Mike. I’m over here way too much and now that Anna had the baby, I know T wants them to be closer, too. I’m not going to mention it though, don’t want to jinx it. I just want to get through this album and get back out on tour. Fuck, that might be another year with the way we’re going.

He let out a sigh just as one of the double front doors opened. He smiled the moment he saw Anna, even though he could tell she was exhausted. Her short hair was pulled back in something that Chester would never describe as being a proper ponytail. Her usual bright smile was faint, and her pale purple nail polish was chipped as she held the door.

“Hi, Chester,” she said, stepping back and opening the door the rest of the way. She shoved a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “How are things today?”

“Things are great,” Chester said easily as he stepped into the foyer. I spent the morning cleaning up dog puke out of the hallway carpet and T burnt the eggs and Tyler had us up at the crack of dawn, and Sam’s already bitched me out today for something that wasn’t my fault, but we’re going to buy a new house, so life is good. “How are you guys holding up?” he asked, pointing at the spit up stain on Anna’s dark t-shirt, which was untucked and half hanging off her shoulder, like it wasn’t even hers.

“We’re hanging in there,” she said through a yawn. “It’s been a rough couple of days, to be honest.” Her eyes drifted up the nearby staircase as she lowered her voice. “Otis has been extra hard. . .we’re hoping it’s not colic,” she mumbled. “Mike’s been struggling.”

“You guys should be easier on yourselves,” Chester asserted, grabbing Anna’s attention. “Babies are hard. I’ll go cheer the guy up,” he offered with an ornery smile. “Is he up in the studio already?”

Anna nodded as she pressed her hand over her mouth, covering her yawn. “I just got Otis to sleep a few minutes ago. . .so. . .”

“Don’t worry,” Chester told her quickly, his hand in the air like he was swearing an oath, “I can be quiet.”

Anna smiled at him softly. If there was one thing she knew, it was that Chester Bennington had a hard time being any sort of quiet. “I’ll bring you guys up some sandwiches when it gets closer to lunchtime,” she offered, but she knew her husband’s bandmate had barely heard her. He was already trotting up the stairs, like an excited two-year-old on his way to open Christmas presents.

Chester cruised through the upstairs hallway, his footsteps light as he went straight to Mike’s studio door. He glanced away, catching sight of a stuffed bullfrog sitting in the middle of the hallway. He smiled at the goofy looking amphibian before he turned back toward the closed door. For a second he thought about knocking; this wasn’t his house, after all. He had no right to walk right into a room with a closed door. But I’m supposed to be quiet.

He waited a moment before he leaned in close, trying to pick up the sound of Mike - of tracks being played, or keyboard or guitar notes echoing around the space he and the rest of Linkin Park called a second home. But as Chester closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on all sounds Mike Shinoda, he was coming up with nothing.

He opened his eyes and glanced back down the hallway. The bullfrog was right in front of Otis’ room. Chester leaned back to see the door wasn’t quite shut all the way, and a quick grumble and a few swears came out under his breath before he took one finger and tapped it on the studio door. “Miiiiiikkkkkkee,” he whispered. “Caaaan I come innnn?” He paused, rolling his lips together before he finger tapped the door again. “It’s Cheeeester. . .”

He looked away and down the hallway and back again before he decided, Fuck it. He knows I’m supposed to be here. He nodded, agreeing with his decision before he twisted the silver doorknob and cracked the door open. He peered into the room, and his eyes went straight to Mike’s desk. The emcee’s head was down, resting on his folded arms. Chester stepped into the room, purposely trying to be quiet as he closed the door behind him. He stood, looking down at Mike’s dark hair, which was covering every bit of his face.

Poor guy. That’s the picture of a new parent. I’ve so been there. He pulled his messenger bag off his shoulders and carefully sat it on the couch across from Mike’s desk, along with his coffee. He took a moment, studying the situation and all his options of what to do next. He briefly thought about letting his bandmate sleep. But he also knew that Mike would be upset if he woke up three hours from now to find out he’d slept through the morning - hours that should have been used working, not passed out on the desk.

Chester ran his fingers down the side of his clean shaven face. It was a short leap to the decision that he had to wake Mike up, and since Anna had said he’d had a rough fews days, Chester decided he needed to keep his promise to cheer his bandmate up. “Stealth Panther Mode,” he whispered to himself as he put both his hands up like claws and tiptoed dramatically to get around and behind the emcee.

Somewhere between the edge of the desk, and the second couch, which stretched out under the windows on the far wall, Chester’s Stealth Panther Mode failed him. One foot got in the way of the other, and in less than a second’s breath, he was on the floor. He swore as he tumbled, but he was quick to slap a hand over his own mouth as he jerked back to make sure he hadn’t just ruined his plan. He sat perfectly still on the floor, half crumbled and half in Fallen Stealth Panther Mode as he waited and watched to see if Mike was going to pick his head up to see who was being so loud.

Score. Okay. . .not going to fuck this up. Again. Chester eased himself up, making sure not to make a sound before he slipped behind Mike’s chair. He had both hands out to either side as he counted to three in his head before he grabbed Mike by the shoulders. “Wake up, Mikey!!” he called in his best surprise party voice. He shook his bandmate jovial, but the emcee didn’t move.

“Mike! Wake up, buddy, it’s time to work!” Chester laughed as he let the emcee out of his dramatic grasp, and nudged him on just one shoulder instead. “Mike?” he called again, his eyes narrowing a little. Mike’s shoulders were stiff, and his head rolled like it wasn’t attached by muscles. “Mike?” Chester called a little softer as he bent down, swiping the emcee’s dark hair from his face.

The reflex was instant. The moment he saw his bandmate’s pallid face, glazed over dull eyes, and the drool that had pooled onto the desk - and crusted around Mike’s lips - Chester started screaming.

“No, no! Mike! Mike, no!” He pulled the emcee back, feeling his heavy body give him no help. “Fuck! Mike!” Chester slapped the emcee’s face as he called his name. “Fuck, no. Fuck, no!” He ripped his cell phone from his pocket, and had 9-1-1 dialed before he bolted toward the door. He flung it open and stepped out into the hallway. “Anna!! Anna, get the fuck up here!” he screamed, tears streaming down his face.

“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?”

“My friend’s not moving!” Chester cried as he stepped back toward the desk. His hand was shaking as he tried to hold his phone to his ear while he stared at Mike’s slumped over body. “He’s not waking up, I think he took something!”

“Sir, stay calm,” the operator encouraged. “What’s your name?

“My name’s Chester Bennington.”

“Okay, Chester, can you tell me where you are?”

Chester nodded as he rambled off the address, his free hand scraping over his scalp as he moved closer to the desk. Mike still hadn’t moved. Not a twitch or a mumble or any sign that he was there at all.

“Okay, an ambulance is on its way,” the operator said, her voice steady and sure. “Can you tell me if your friend is still breathing? Chester? Are you still with me?”

“I’m here,” he croaked softly. “I don’t know. He’s so pale and he’s drooling and. . .and he won’t wake up.”

“Do you know if he took anything? Any pills or alcohol or any other type of drug?”

Chester shook his head. “I, I don’t know. . .”

“Are you still with him? Chester, what’s his name?”

“Mike,” Chester answered in just over a whisper.

“Okay, is Mike still breathing? Can you tell?”

Chester shook his head again just as he heard Otis launch into a wailing cry down the hallway. “Oh no. . .”

“Oh no? Oh no what? Chester?”

“Oh my god,” Chester cried just as Anna appeared in the doorway. Her fist was balled, like she was about to give the two men a piece of her mind for waking the baby up and screaming her name through the house, but she stopped the moment she saw Chester’s tear streaked face.

“What’s. . .Mike? Mike?” she rushed around the desk, and immediately started to shake him.

“I’m on the phone with 9-1-1,” Chester told her in a gasp.“I found him like that. He won’t wake up! He won’t wake up!”

“Chester, Chester, stay with me,” the operator begged, pulling his attention back to the phone.

“Mike’s wife is here,” he said, his voice in shambles. “And the baby’s crying. I woke the baby up! And Mike’s not moving!”

Anna had her arms around her husband as she cried in anguish, as she begged him to wake up. She brushed the hair from his face before she felt around on his neck. “He’s still breathing. . .he’s still breathing!” she cried in hysterics before she hugged Mike’s lifeless body close, letting his weight fall completely against her.

“Chester,” the 9-1-1 operator said, “the ambulance is almost there, just another minute or so. Go meet them, if you can.”

“Okay, okay,” he said. He pulled the phone from his ear as he rushed for the hallway. “The ambulance is here!” he managed to get over his shoulder to Anna before he was out the door. Otis was still screaming, but Chester darted the opposite way down the hall and then the front steps just as there was a knock on the door. “They’re here,” he told the operator in a rush. “I’ll have to call you back!” He ended the call and flung the front doors open. “He’s upstairs!” he said, stepping out of the way as he pointed.

Two paramedics rushed in, medical bags and equipment slung over their bodies as they headed right up the staircase. “His wife is up there!” Chester called after them, before he remembered - Otis! Chester was right behind the EMTs. He forced himself not to look as they entered the studio, as Anna begged them to help her husband, as they started tossing around big words Chester didn’t understand. Words he knew meant that whatever had happened was serious.

Instead he headed to Otis’ room. He pushed the door open, and the baby’s cries stung his ears like daggers. The decorated blue walls looked sad - distraught - as Chester rushed over to the bassinet. Otis’ little fists were clenched as he screamed, his face flushed from his efforts. “It’s okay,” Chester called, his voice shaky but gentle. He reached in and plucked the infant up, being carful to support his head and his bottom while grabbing his soft froggy patterned blanket. “It’s okay,” he told the baby again as he wrapped him up and kissed his face. “Your daddy’s going to be okay. They’re helping him right now.”

Chester held Otis close to his chest, his own tears slowly stopping, right along with the tiny cries from Mike’s only son. “We have to stay here,” he whispered as he patted the baby’s back and took a few steps toward the hallway. He peered around the doorway, just in time to hear one of the paramedics announce that they needed the stretcher. Chester spun back into the room, kissing Otis on his soft, wet cheek. He held his lips close to the baby’s small head full of black hair as he shut his eyes. “We have to stay here while they help your daddy,” he said with a sniff, trying to hold himself together. His body was finally starting to calm down, and he knew he needed to stay that way if he was going to be any help to Mike. To Anna. To the paramedics. To Otis. “We’ll stay right here,” he repeated. “He’s going to be okay. Your daddy’s going to be okay. . .he has to be fucking okay.”


To Be Continued. . .

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