Category Linkin Park

Going Down by pandora


Going down

This story was beta'd by Talitha (thanks hun!) but all remaining mistakes are mine and mine alone. This is my first LP story, so please let me know what you think. Constructive criticism is most welcome.

Disclaimer: This is taking a concept and creating a slash story out of it. It is in no way based on reality.


Prologue - July 2005 (the day after Live-8)

"So, do you know what the hell is going on with Chester?"

"What do you mean, Mike?"

"Come on Joe, you must have noticed. Chaz has been on another planet these past few days. He must have spoken to us maybe half a dozen times, max."

Joe stirred the top of his mocha, frowned in thought, and then shrugged, carelessly. "Not a clue."

Mike and Joe were sitting in a coffee shop at Philly airport, shades on, baseball caps down, trying hard not to be recognised as they waited for their flights. The rest of the band had already scattered to the four winds, leaving just the two of them still waiting. And nothing Mike did could take his mind off the deep sense of unease he felt inside. Unease that centred on Chester, who disappeared yesterday without a word, immediately after the Live-8 gig.

Joe peered at his old friend from over the top of his sunglasses, knowing him far too well. "Mike, give it a rest. You're not his mother. Chill out! He's a drama queen, and you know it!"

"Yeah, maybe, but this is extreme even for him. There has to be a reason."

Joe shrugged again. "Who the fuck cares?" he said callously. "Besides, you're making no sense Kenji-man." Mike winced at the casual use of his middle name. "A few days ago you were bitching to me about Chester, 'the annoying dork', now you're pissed off because he goes all quiet on you! Make up your mind!"

Mike stared at his friend in silence, startled by Joe's dismissive attitude toward Chester. This was something he hadn't noticed before, he realised slowly. Joe was increasingly annoyed at Chester these days. They'd never been close, but at least they had been civil. Yet now, Joe was barely on speaking terms with him, and to Mike at least, was making no secret of his distain.

Mike replayed the events of the last few days over in his mind. So much had changed without him realising. He'd been so caught up in his own life and with his own projects, that he hadn't given much thought to the other members of the band, and it had been even longer since he'd seen everyone.

Everyone that is but Joe, Mike reflected, with fondness and exasperation. Joe always seemed to turn up on him when he least expected it.

The band had finally met up two days before Live-8, just long enough for them to run through the set list. They didn't need much time. Every song was burned indelibly into their minds, as they'd played them so many times before.

They spent a little longer practising the numbers with Jay-Z, but that was more because Mike wanted to, rather than out of any real necessity.

And the afternoon of the concert had been a blast. It was great to be on stage with Jay-Z, watching the master at work, rapping over music the band had written in front of millions of people. The experience was indescribable. There was no greater buzz on the planet for Mike.

It was only afterwards, when the adrenaline had worn off, and he was pretending to enjoy the rowdy evening out with Jay-Z and crowd, that he finally realised something was wrong.

Something, or rather someone, had been off that afternoon.

Oh, Chester had been pitch perfect, as usual. That haunting voice hit every note with power and precision. But Mike suddenly realised that somewhere down the line, both on and off stage, Chester 'the dork', Chester 'the exhibitionist', had turned into Chester 'the introvert'. He didn't ignore his other band members, but there was a world of change in his attitude.

He didn't play with them anymore. Didn't party with them - last night being a case in point. Within moments of walking off the stage, he was gone. And even before the gig, when he wasn't on stage or rehearsing, he walked around with his mobile phone glued to his ear, talking to who-knows-who. His entire manner was distracted and serious. There was clearly a lot of shit going on in his life right then, but he shared none of it with Mike. Was it still the custody battle, or was it something else? Mike didn't know. And he realised that somehow over time, Chester had become a stranger to him.

He was stunned. He couldn't believe it had taken him this long to notice! What had gone wrong? They used to be so close. He really hoped it wasn't the drugs again. Even the thought of Chester taking drugs scared him.

"Mars to planet Mike. Calling planet Mike!" Joe prodded him in the arm with his coffee stirrer. "You alive in there?"

"Yeah. Just thinking."

"Worrying about Chester you mean. Lighten up!" Joe smiled at him suddenly, but an instant later the toothy grin turned evil. "Hey, I bet he's just sex deprived. Maybe the new girl is holding out on him."

Dragging himself up from the pit of his thoughts, Mike quirked an eyebrow at Joe, as the DJ's imagination and twisted sense of humour began to run away with him.

"Yeah. I bet some of that porn I found on your laptop will cheer him up no end!"

"What the hell?!" Mike stared at Joe incredulously, shocked and outraged at the invasion.

"Yeah, Miss November was pretty hot. But I'm not sure Chester would appreciate Mr July." Ignoring Mike's glare, Joe gave him a wink and a knowing look, and in an instant, Mike's outrage turned to cornered horror.

'Oh, fuck!' He'd thought those pictures were pretty well hidden, but nothing seemed to escape the inquisitive eyes and prying mind of Mr Hahn.

"I have to admit, I always figured you as the gender flexible type," Joe continued, oblivious to Mike's embarrassment and dismay.

"But I'm not!" he exclaimed plaintively. "I was just...I don't know...curious!"

God, he so did not want to be having this conversation with Joe in the middle of an airport. Or indeed anywhere else!

"Yeah," Joe noted sceptically. "Curious enough to take practical lessons. I remember that surfer dude you were so into at College. What did he like to call himself? Laird? You telling me that was entirely platonic?"

Chester forgotten for the moment, Mike found himself going seven shades of red in absolute mortification. God. Only Joe could do this to him.

"If you tell anyone, anyone at all, particularly Anna, they'll find you in tiny pieces - if they find you at all," he growled, dangerously, and in deadly earnest. He couldn't believe his private life was being dragged out into the open by a so-called 'friend' with such careless disregard for his feelings. But then again, he reflected, this was Joe. He always told it like it was, with no consideration or restraint, but he never judged you for it.

Oblivious to Mike's dangerous glare and change of mood, Joe just shrugged again. "Whatever. Anyway, I sent some of the het stuff to Chester - you never know, it might give him and Talinda some ideas. With any luck, he'll be Mr Dork-of-the-Year again by the next charity gig. Or the next album - assuming we ever do one."

If you listened closely, there was always a serious undertone to every flippant remark Joe made, and this last one was no exception. Trying hard not to think about Joe having used his laptop to send porn to Chester, and definitely blocking out the careless comments about his sexuality, Mike found himself lingering on the clear implication in Joe's last words. That Linkin Park was dead.

"We will do another album," he protested with passion. "We will! I'm not ready to give up on Linkin Park rock, no matter what you guys may think!"

Joe's response was a lopsided smile. "That's good to hear. Hey, maybe if you tell Chester, we'll have the dork back again, livening our conversations with his inanity!"

"That's harsh, man. Besides, surely you mean insanity?"

"Nope. Inanity. I'm insane, he's inane."

There was just no response to that.


Joe's misguided sense of humour eventually led to a response from Chester. Some two weeks later, while on tour with Fort Minor, Mike received an email.

To: Mike Shinoda <kenji287@hotmail.com>

From: Chester <chazzychaz101@hotmail.com>

Subject: Thanks

Hey Mike, thanks for the porn!

Never pegged you for the type to be sending that kind of shit! Shame really, you got good taste, man.

Anyway, let me guess, Joe got access to your laptop again?

By the way, are we ever going to start work on another album? If not, I'd like to know. The side projects are good, but I want to be in a band. If you don't want to continue this shit, I want to know now, not in 6 month's time.


Acerbic and to the point, that was his Chester. He began a reply immediately:

To: Chester <chazzychaz101@hotmail.com>

From: Mike Shinoda <kenji287@hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: Thanks

Yep, that was Joe, the interfering little bastard! Anyway, glad you liked it.

Regarding your question, no I haven't given up on Linkin Park, and I don't think anyone else in the band has either. I've got Fort Minor right now, and a tour coming up, but I still want to get back into the studio and work on the third album, regardless of all this shit with the record company. So start thinking about music and lyrics right now!

By the way, you didn't seem yourself at Live-8. Is there anything wrong? I hope Talinda is treating you right!



He sent the email without much thought, and before he could change his mind and edit it.


The reply was a long time coming. Almost three weeks to the day, Chester finally responded. It was short, and answered none of Mike's questions. Instead, Mike stared at the reply and found that his original questions had brought along friends.

To: Mike Shinoda <kenji287@hotmail.com>

From: Chester <chazzychaz101@hotmail.com>

Subject: lyrics - Linkin Park

What do you think of this?

Oh, and before you start worrying, no, I'm not on drugs, unless you count beer and cigarettes and this has nothing to do with the family "friend".

<File attachment - back again>

Mike double clicked the attachment, and as he read, the furrow in his brow became a deepening frown.

back again

my past has come to life

it cuts me like a knife

your touch is a disease

infecting what I feel

changing what is real

(but these scars they never show

and my tears refuse to flow)

I try to run away but

when I try to run away I

run towards you and

I'm back again,

right back at the start again

bruised, confused, afraid to be

exactly what you want of me

I want this past to die,

And an end to this damned lie

But you see the truth denied

You look so deep inside

I've nowhere left to hide

(as you push me to the floor

and tell me I'm your whore)

I try to run away but

when I try to run away I

run towards you and

you're back again

right back at the start again

(and I'm)

caged, enraged, afraid to see

the power you have over me.

For a long time, Mike read and re-read the attachment, unable to escape the feeling Chester was trying to tell him something with those lyrics. But if there was a message there, he couldn't decipher it. Chester's pointed reply seemed to close off the most obvious interpretations.

Eventually, he read the lyrics again, as just that. Lyrics. And realised that they were worth working on. Within seconds, he booted up his email and began typing.

To: Chester <chazzychaz101@hotmail.com>

From: Mike Shinoda <kenji287@hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: lyrics - Linkin Park

Good lyrics. Despite your comments, I can't shake the feeling there's some sort of meaning in them. Chester, is everything okay? You'd tell me if it wasn't - yeah?

By the way, have you got any music to go with these words?


He pressed 'send' before he had second thoughts.


Once again, it was several weeks before he received a reply, and when he did, it was with the brief statement "Here." and a simple ".wav" file.

It was Chester, singing the lyrics. No screaming, no accompaniment, no anything, just that incredible voice.

It was beautiful.

It was haunting.

It was downright disturbing.


The lyrics in this chapter are copyright pandora 2005

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