LPfiction

Category Linkin Park

I just end up getting hurt again by halvlang

Hello family,


I’m still writing on “Let is all disappear” but having a hard time to find an end. Not only because I suck at writing endings, but also because life is just difficult at the moment.


Which resulted in this sad standalone. It’s a Braz story. And when I say sad, I mean it. Just so that you are warned. I hope it’s not too confusing because it jumps forth and back in time a lot.


Anyway, let me know what you think!


//halvlang


TRIGGER-Warning: mentioning of self-harm and depression


___________________________________________________________________



“Are you going to be ok?” Brad only nods because he is not trusting his voice. His mind is racing and the pressuring tears nearly escape his eyes. He tries to turn around but Chester is getting hold of his wrist.


“Hey… I wasn’t sure if I should tell you. But you deserve to know. And I wanted to tell you from face to face.”


Another nod and this time Brad is able to get out a few words.


“I’m happy for you, Ches.” He drags the singer in a hug, even places a kiss on his temple, before he finally manages to move away. He might even have a smile on his lips when he says goodbye. It’s fake but it creates enough distraction that the other man isn’t seeing the sadness in his eyes.


As soon as Brad is outside, he empties his stomach content right next to a trash bin at the door. Finally, in his car, Brad can’t keep the emotions inside anymore. Now the tears are spilling out and a sob is echoing in the enclosed space, making him sound like a wounded animal. He presses his hand to his mouth, trying to hold it together, well aware that he has to drive home when he doesn’t want the singer to see him crying in his car as soon as he leaves the studio as well.


He had parked next to Chester when he had arrived this morning, actually looking forward spending the whole day in the studio with the guys. Especially one of them. It hadn’t been easy the last weeks but he felt more and more comfortable around the singer again. As if they were growing back together, building up what had been torn down.


Brad decides to turn on the radio and get out of here. The others had left a while ago, leaving him and Chester as the last ones. Brad was desperate for some alone time together. No, there wasn’t anything happening between them that could be classified as something more than a deep friendship, but maybe, Brad thought, there was still a chance. A chance to fix what had started a few months ago, what had been ended and resumed again.




“Brad, can you come over here?” The guitarist places his guitar on the stand before he moves over to the other side of the room where Chester is sitting, surrounded by a bunch of papers with lyrics. He looks distressed, matching the lingering panic in his voice, and Brad makes a quick detour to the fridge to grab a bottle of water for his bandmate.


“What’s up, Ches? Here, take a little break.” Thankful, Chester gets the bottle and takes a few long gulps while his eyes stay fixed on the words in front of him.


“It’s just… I came up with some lines and I showed them to Mike. I don’t want you to take sides or anything but… I think he doesn’t get it. He wants to change most of this but it’s… you know, it’s personal. I think I found the right words and I want them to be in the song but he doesn’t seem to listen. He thinks he knows better but he doesn’t. You know I love and respect him but this time… he is just wrong, you know? This fits perfectly and I want… no, I need it to be in there.”


Brad shoves away a few of the papers to make enough space so that he can settle next to Chester.


“Sing it to me, Ches. What do you have in mind?”


Immediately, he searches for one specific sheet, sits up a bit more upright after he got hold of it and starts to sing. Once he is done, he turns away from Brad, embarrassed and struggling with his emotions, and the guitarist grabs his hand.


“Hey, that was beautiful. Dark and sad but also beautiful. What does Mike want to change about it?”


“Everything. He doesn’t like it.”


Brad gets a bit closer and his free hand is lifting Chester’s chin.


“Did he say that?”


It takes a moment but Chester shakes his head no, swallowing heavily.


“No. But I know that he doesn’t like it. See, all those red words on top of mine? All the crossed-out things? All the suggestions?”


“It’s not more than that Ches. It’s how you guys work together. It’s suggestions, not rejections. When you sing this to him, when you explain it, he will understand. He will make it work. You will make it work together.”


Brad knows that it isn’t easy to stop Chester, once the downwards spiral kicked in. But he has to try and so he stays with the singer. He repeats everything once again. He reinsures him that he will be there when talking about the lyrics the next day and that he really believes they are beautiful, especially when being sung by the singer with all his heart. Still, he doesn’t get around to ask a question that occupied his mind since he listened to the words.


“Ches, it’s fine if you don’t want to talk about it. I know that you have Mike and your therapist for that. But… I’m here as well. And I want to help. This is all really dark-“ Brad points to the various pieces of paper next to them and on the ground “-and I just wanted to say that I’m willing to listen.”


And this is the beginning of Chester pouring his heart out. That everything felt off lately. His mind had circled around a lot of dark holes that absorbed him more and more often. The voices inside of him, telling him that he wasn’t good enough, that everyone would be better off without him, were loud.


It frightens Brad. And at some point, his own emotions take over and he drags Chester closer, first into an awkward hug because they are sitting next to each other. But then, the guitarist scoots over, now basically sitting on Chester’s lap, so that the singer has to look up to keep the eye contact. And he does. What he sees is a lot of confusion but also love and affection. They both can’t recall who starts it but their lips find each other and Brad ensures that Chester understands that he is nothing of what his brain is telling him.


No, he is loved. So deeply loved. He is important, even crucial. All of this is communicated through Brad’s kisses and hands, touching his skin and setting it on fire. In a brief moment of clarity, they move apart. Everyone could just walk in on them and it isn’t a situation they want to be seen in. And so, they end up at Chester’s place, entangled legs and curious fingers everywhere they can reach. The shirts and jeans carelessly removed from each other’s bodies, left somewhere between the entrance door and the bedroom.


It is only the next morning when they both wake up, still sticky but with smiles on their faces, that an important question is asked.


“Brad, what the fuck are we doing here?” There is no answer. Just another kiss and more body contact, more exploring. More warmth and shared smiles when slow fingers are tracing invisible patterns on each other’s backs, arms, legs.


Later, at the studio, there are glares, but no touches. They keep it to themselves; they don’t talk. Just to end up in the same situation not even two days later, a shared night behind them and a shared day in bed ahead. It’s weekend and no duties are lined up. The question from their first morning remains still unanswered.


After a week full of sneaking to one or the other house after long days in the studio with all the guys, they finally pick up the topic again. Not that it matters because they really don’t know what they are doing, what they were feeling. How they even ended up in this situation. But it doesn’t matter. Chester is feeling better and it means a lot to him that Brad provides him with the necessary company to keep his mind of the darker trails. And Brad doesn’t mind at all.


Soon Chester realizes that he isn’t the only one in need of someone to lean on. He asks Brad about the thin white and red lines on his body after the second night but just gets a headshake and the promise he would explain it one day. Not that night, not after they both finally feel safe for the first time in a while.




Brad makes his way home. He isn’t sure how he manages but when he pulls into his driveway and sees the dark house ahead of him, the floodgates open. The crying from earlier evolves into a hysteric breakdown. Barely, he makes it up the stairs and into the safeness of his bedroom. But it reminds him of all the shared moments and he dashes out again, falling to the bathroom floor, still sobbing.


It’s not the first time. He had laid here a lot lately, miserable because things ended as quickly as they had begun and Brad wasn’t sure why, but it hurt like hell. Maybe because of how open he had been, how vulnerable he had made himself. Indeed, it wasn’t only Chester who needed support. Brad was clinging to the connection as much as the singer did in the first weeks. They were open and honest about their demons and none of them ran.




Another evening at Chester’s house. Another evening where they had both hastily stumbled up the stairs to the bedroom, not able to keep their fingers away from each other. Brad even missed a step on the staircase and had crashed his knee. Chester’s grip had prevented any further injury.


They are experimenting. One time, Chester is on top. Then, Brad is. They move around the house, they are going down on each other. Nothing seems off limits and the physical attraction is undeniable. But it is not only about that. It is also about the talks they have, the thoughts they share after the most intimate moments.


After Chester askes again and again, subtle and never bold, Brad manages to actually say out loud what the singer had known for a few weeks now.


“I’m self-harming.” As soon as the words leave his mouth, he tries to struggle free from the bedsheets that Chester had lazily spread over them to prevent their bodies from cooling down too much, from all the sweat covering the skin after their mind-blowing orgasms.


But Chester is faster, pulling Brad close and into a hug. He can feel the tensed muscles and laboured breathing. The anxiety radiating from the guitarist tugs at his heartstrings and he digs his nose into the other man’s neck.


“Breath. Calm down. You are safe. I’m here. Just breath. Slowly. I know you want to run. But there is no need to. I’m here, I’m with you. I understand you.”


The calm words help Brad to focus again and a few minutes later he lays limp in Chester’s arms, a few tears spilling down on the singer’s chest who doesn’t mind at all to be the one his friend holds onto. He just hopes he can give back a small part of what he has received.


They stay in silence before Brad speaks up, barely audible.


“You must think I’m weird.” Chester objects immediately.


“I don’t think you are weird. I think you are a human being with emotions and sometimes they get too much.”


Brad nods, glad that Chester seems to understands and at the same time anxious that he doesn’t. So he builds up all his courage and tries to explain.


“I know it’s fucked up. But it helps me to coop. The stress of the new album. Feeling like not being enough, not doing enough. All this shit. It keeps me awake at night and sometimes I can’t find another way out of it.”


“You could talk to me.” Chester knows it’s not that easy but he wants to make sure that Brad understands that this is not a one-way road. The guitarist has listened a million times and now it’s his turn.


“I know. But sometimes it’s easier not to.”


Chester nods and his fingers start to brush through the dark locks.


“I understand. Just know that I don’t judge you, I think my coping mechanisms are not healthy either. I’m going to therapy to work on them. Not saying you should. But if you want to stop, I’m here to help you. I know it’s hard and not that easy, so don’t feel pressured. Either way. I’m here.”


Brad is thankful that he can cling to Chester at this moment. He can feel his whole body shaking. He had built up a lot of resistance talking about this topic. Of course, he knows that Chester has seen the scars and cuts. No way to be naked like 90% of their alone time and assuming that the other would be blind to what he was doing to his own body. Still, there was never pressure to say it out loud.




But he did and it felt good. Not that it never happened again but at least sometimes he manages to put the razor away. Either because he didn't want Chester to see the new cuts or because he actually figured that he didn’t need to do it. He had found another thing to hold on to. Another person. Some days he felt stronger, some days he felt weaker. No matter what it was, Chester listened and proved that he meant what he had said: he was there and he was trying to help, not going anywhere.




The cold tiles of the bathroom floor on his cheek are the only connection Brad has to his environment right now and it keeps him somewhat sane. He is still not sure that his panic attack is over and he doesn’t trust his knees to keep him upright. Everything hurts and whenever he thinks that he might be able to get up and move over to something more comfortable than the floor, the memories are coming back at him and he decides that the setting, him on the cold and hard ground, is appropriate to his feelings of utter defeat inside.


Brad can feel the phone vibrating in his back pocket but he is not willing or even able to pick up. Therefore, he stays where he is, pressed to the tiles, trying to focus on the movement of his body with every breath. He can feel his chest going up and down and slowly everything comes back into focus.


After a while, he reaches into his pocket and gets hold of his phone. One missed call from Chester. And a message.


>>It’s ok that you don’t want to talk to me right now. But remember that I’m still here for you.<<


The message is a trigger for anger and Brad throws his phone to the wall before he falls back down, more hot tears running down his cheeks. How is he supposed to believe the singer, when he had proven that he wasn’t?




Brad can feel that something is wrong as soon as he enters the studio. He hasn’t seen Chester in a few days, interviews and travelling had interrupted their intimate togetherness of the last weeks. They hadn’t even spoken on the phone, but that is ok. It isn’t a relationship. It’s just something for both to hold onto when the rest of the world is moving too fast, when things are too confusing, when no one else is there to give any kind of stability. At least that’s what they tell themselves.


They had wanted to grab dinner together after work but Brad suggests to head to Chester’s place instead. The singer was distracted and restless the whole day and all Brad wants is to enclose him in a tight hug, in the privacy of his home. Going out in public together, needing to hide the affection they have for each other, isn’t something Brad feels like doing. They still haven’t figured out what the hell they were doing but as long as they enjoy it, both agreed, they would just see where it goes.


Chester only nods when Brad asks him to head home together instead of a restaurant. He stays distant but that’s normal when they are with the others. They drive in separate cars and, in hindsight, it is a good decision. Because the night does not go as Brad has planned. He isn’t even sure what he had in mind but seeing Chester isolating himself, not only from him but also the other guys, makes him worried and intimacy, used to show how much he cared, always seems to help.


Not tonight, though. Tonight, Chester pulls back when Brad tries to kiss him as soon as he enters the house. He moves to the kitchen, sits down at the table, his head hanging low. He sights, when Brad moves closer, standing between his legs and letting his fingers tangle over his scalp and the neck.


“What’s wrong, Ches?”


The singer leans his head against Brad’s stomach and the words come only out mumbled.


“I can’t do this anymore.”


Brad needs a moment to process what Chester means. Confused, he tries to make him look up, finding the answer in his eyes, but Chester is only burying himself deeper into the other man.


“I’m so sorry. But… it would be unfair. I’m such a mess and we… this whole thing, it stresses me out.”


Brad isn’t sure how to react. This is not a relationship; he isn’t supposed to be hurt. Still, something in him breaks and he has to swallow back the tears. He keeps stroking through Chester’s hair, trying to hold himself together.


“Ches… it’s ok. We said we will see where it goes. It was supposed to be easy and fun. If it isn’t anymore, we should stop.”


In doubt where these words come from, Brad is sitting down next to Chester. His hand stays on the singer, but he pulls away when he can feel the tension. He is aware of the agreement and tries to not be mad. However, a few questions remain.


“What changed, Ches? Why is this stressing you out all of a sudden?”


It takes a few minutes before he gets an answer but he listens, trying to make sense of the words.


“I don’t know. It just feels like a lot of pressure. Another pressure, on top of work and all the other shit. I like you. I really do. But I struggle with myself so much. It seems wrong to let you in my life when I don’t even know where I want to head myself. My emotions are all over the place, changing all the time. Sometimes, when I wake up next to you, I want to just disappear. And that’s not fair.”


It’s a lot of information and Brad isn’t sure what to answer. Also, he is still fighting down his own feelings. He really didn’t see this coming. He gets up to grab a glass of water for him and Chester, settling down again.


“I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry that it’s stressing you out. I thought it would help and that you are happy with… whatever we have.”


Chester shrugs with his shoulders, still not able to look up.


“I’m happy when you are here. Most of the time. You are also one of my best friends. I don’t want to lose you, just because I screw things up. I would rather go back to where we were before, you know? Please, don’t let this change us. Don’t let anything that happened change us.” His voice is pleading and now Brad can’t stop himself anymore and he gets up to drag Chester into a hug, down to the floor where they both kneel, wrapped in each other’s arms.


“You are not screwing things up. Ches, stop being so hard on yourself. All I want is that you are ok. If I make things worse, if I make things more difficult, we will stop. I know that I’m not an easy person.”


With tired eyes, the singer is focusing on Brad.


“You don’t make things worse. It’s not because of anything you have told me, it’s not. I’m just not ready for anything real, anything serious. And I don’t want you to get more involved in me when I don’t even know what I will feel tomorrow.”


Brad can’t shake off the feeling that he actually is part of the problem here and drags Chester back into a hug, so that the singer isn’t seeing the tears that are coming now.


He feels lost. Even more when he, after they had talked for a bit – not about them but just about things in general – tries to kiss Chester again, who takes a step back. They were about to say goodbye, both eager to get some space and sort their minds out.


“Brad… Friends, ok? Are we on the same page?” The vulnerability from earlier makes a place for a hard, protective shell that Chester had built up so fast that Brad is caught off guard. All he can do is agreeing.


“Yes, sure, sorry. It was… old habits I guess.”


With these words, he closes the door behind and gets into his car. The tears only come the next morning, when he realizes that he has to face Chester in the studio. He shoots Mike a text, asking if he is really needed. Luckily, he is not.




With a heavy sigh, Brad is pulling himself up from the bathroom floor. It takes a few minutes until he sits upright, his back resting against the bathtub. The memories keep rushing over him and he is choking on them. The memories of the days after Chester had ended things, when Brad had not left his house. He didn’t know how to handle the emotions. No matter what Chester had said – Brad couldn’t get rid of the feeling that his openness was too much for the other man.


Absently, he traces the scars on his arm, scars that no one ever got to see besides the singer. They are carefully hidden away under the sleeves of his shirts. No one knows that Brad is struggling that much. Chester was the first person he had opened up to and where did it get him? He was alone and heartbroken.


He doesn’t want to think about it but he cannot stop to blame himself. It was stupid to assume that someone would stay in his life, that someone would be able to provide a bit of stability and a safe space where he could just be himself. With all his flaws. It’s not that Brad doesn’t have friends and family that care. There are plenty of people that would stop whatever they are doing to come and lift him up. But everything that had happened with Chester, was so much more. Yes, they had agreed on just seeing where it would go but it had felt like more to Brad. He would never admit it but knowing that things were definitely over, that he wouldn’t even get the intimacy from the singer anymore. The physical affection that he lingers for, the warmth and body contact that had made him feel worthwhile again.


Brad really thought he had turned the tide in his favour. The last chat they had, two weeks ago, had felt so good after the radio silence.




“We need to talk.”


Brad is coming straight to the point as soon as he enters the studio. He doesn’t even care that the band is around. They all know that something is up anyway. The guitarist had stayed away from the studio for a few days, without any good excuse. He had also cut all contact to the guys and not spoken up about anything the day he returned. The distance between Chester and Brad was obvious, especially after they seemed to have been so close for a few months now. But no one pressured them into talking, things would calm down naturally. They always did.


And so, another week had passed. Brad had not been able to stop himself from staring at the singer again, and again, questioning his motives to end things and seeing that he wasn’t doing as great as he pretended. He was smiling and laughing but it never reached his eyes.


When Brad had woken up this morning, after a weird nightmare and with his heart beating too fast in his chest, he had decided to not just give up. That’s how he and Chester end in a separate room, the door closed and the others informed to give them space and privacy. It might not be the smartest to have this discussion right now and right here, but Brad feels like exploding and the words need to get out.


“Ches, I know I said it’s ok and that we are on the same page. But… I think I might not be. Because I really don’t understand why you changed your mind.”


Chester sighs and settles down on the floor, his legs stretched out, while Brad starts to run in circles through the room.


“I told you… I don’t know what I feel. My therapist says it has to do with trust issues.” Brad stops in the middle of his movement and looks down at the singer.


“That’s a stupid excuse and you know it. And I won’t let you get away with it. Tell me the real reason.”


Chester is raising his eyebrows. He didn’t expect Brad to take such a hard stand.


“I’m… I’m just not sure about what I want and I don’t want you to get hurt. It feels like we were heading into something serious and I can’t do that right now. And I think it would be unfair to keep you close when we are not going in the same direction.”


Brad lets out a huff and starts walking again.


“I’m a big boy, you know? I can take care of myself. I hate that you just decided that you can’t do this anymore and I don’t get a saying in this. Who says that I want more? Who says that it’s not just sex for me?”


Chester shakes his head in disbelieve. He thought this talk would look like the last one they had. That Brad would understand. But no, they were actually discussing.


“The fact that you are that hurt shows that there is more already. Let’s not make this even harder. I’m not ready and I feel like I shouldn’t force anything non-committal on you just because I’m screwed up.”


“You haven’t been forcing anything on me. Everything we did, was because I wanted it as much as you did. You just assume that I want more, that I want something serious. I never said that!”


Brad knows that he is bullshitting but it doesn’t matter right now. Right now, he wants to stand up for himself and not just accept what Chester thinks is best for both of them. When he doesn’t get an answer, he is squatting down in front of Chester.


“Tell me that you are not attracted to me anymore. Tell me that you are not just afraid of letting me stay close. Tell me that it has nothing to do with everything I told you about me.”


The singer’s head is shooting up.


“Brad, I told you that this is not about you or anything you told me! And of course, I’m attracted to you. I would take you home with me right now. But again… I’m afraid of hurting you.”


“Stop saying this stupid sentence, Bennington! I know where we stand. It’s not serious, we are just doing whatever feels good. And you taking me home sounds like something that would feel damn good. So… stop assuming to know what’s best for me and let me make my own decisions.”


Chester only nods and allows Brad to crawl a bit closer before their hungry lips meet.





The guitarist was pretty sure that this was the moment he had changed Chester’s mind. Right there, two weeks ago, on the floor of an empty studio room, he had put everything into this kiss that he had to give and when they were finally able to leave after work, the night had been spectacular. All the frustration and sadness from the last week had evolved into pure passion and after Chester had fallen asleep, spent and with a smile on his face, Brad had just watched him, believing that they were rebuilding from where Chester had left them with his decision.


The following weeks had been busy and there was no time for togetherness. However, Brad was holding up his hope. Maybe, he thought, it was even good that they didn’t see each other. Anticipation could be good, figuring out that you miss someone as well. And he did miss Chester. Today had been the first day that he knew for sure that nothing was scheduled for the evening for both of them and that’s why he couldn’t wait to get to the studio. His house prepared for Chester to stay overnight, his favourite breakfast in store and new bedsheets on.


Instead of being cuddled up underneath them, next to Chester, pressed to his naked and warm body, Brad is still sitting on the cold floor.


The tears are back and he feels so damn lost and alone. He really doesn’t see when things have gone so wrong in his life and he pulls his knees close to his body to rest his hurting head on them.


All Brad wants is someone to share his life with. The good and the bad days. Someone who was there, giving him the feeling of being home and being safe. What he got, was another heartbreak.




“Brad?”


The guitarist can hear that Chester sounds careful and wonders what might be up. They are just packing things up, making sure that everyone has left before heading to the cars and driving to his place together. Maybe, Brad thinks, he wants me to hurry. Or go to his place. Maybe he forgot to turn on the alarm or get the clothes out of the washing machine.


“Yep, I’m nearly done. We can-“ He gets interrupted.


“I need to tell you something.”


Brad turns around and he can see that this is important, so he drops his keys and comes closer.


“I’m listening. What’s going on? Are you ok?”


Chester nods.


“Yes, actually I am. I… I decided to stop with therapy. Not like forever maybe, but for now. I’m doing way better. I’m in a way better mind space.”


Brad smiles and wants to hug Chester and tell him that he is glad to hear that he is doing so good. Not that he agrees to just stop therapy, but that can be discussed later.


But something in Chester’s body language is holding him back from getting closer and claiming the kiss he wants to have right now, after two weeks of waiting.


“Brad... there is more. Remember this party, Mike dragged me to? I didn’t want to go but he was not giving up. So, I joined him. And… I met someone.”


The words cutting into Brad’s heart like a sharp knife and for a few seconds, he stops breathing. He blinks a few times, trying to see anything in Chester’s mimic that exposes this as a bad joke. What he is faced with, are concerned eyes.


“Brad, we said it’s just… whatever it was between us. We are still friends, right? I don’t want to lie to you and I want to stay close.”


Brad swallows the big lump that is in his throat and nods. He isn’t sure what is happening right now, but he feels dizzy. And he wants to throw up. He can barely hear Chester’s voice, it’s somewhere in the background and he only understand the question when it gets asked a second time.





“Are you going to be ok?” Brad only nods again because he is not trusting his voice. His mind is racing and the pressuring tears nearly escape his eyes. He tries to turn around but Chester is getting hold of his wrist.


“Hey… I wasn’t sure if I should tell you. But you deserve to know. And I wanted to tell you from face to face.”


Another nod and this time Brad is able to get out a few words.


“I’m happy for you, Ches.” He drags the singer in a hug, even places a kiss on his temple, before he finally manages to move away. He might even have a smile on his lips when he says goodbye. It’s fake but it creates enough distraction that the other man isn’t seeing the sadness in his eyes.

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