Category Linkin Park

The Knowlege of Now by Elisa

Title: The Knowledge of Now

Author: Elisa

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: The following story contains vague references to child molestation and grown men kissing. Don't like it, don't read it.

Author's Notes: Written on the fly and not beta'd. Any mistakes are my own. Standalone Bennoda.


“This is a nightmare,” Mike groans, leaning his elbows on the desk by his laptop and burying his face in his hands.

Phoenix secretly agrees, eying Mike’s laptop, which displays his blog’s comments, with trepidation. “Well, I think you’re going to have to be the one to make a statement. It’ll look suspicious if you don’t, since the rumors are about you.”

“I know,” Mike moans into his hands. “It already looks bad and nothing I say now is going to convince people.”

Phoenix pats him on the back absently and says, “Well, either way, you’ve got to post something.”

“I know,” Mike says miserably, raising his head and beginning to type.

“Just, you know,” Phoenix continues blithely, “Anything but the truth.”

Mike glares. “Obviously.”


“Here, how does this sound?” Mike turns his laptop towards Phi, who bends over to read it and then snorts.

“Nice way of saying nothing.”

“I know,” Mike gives a small grin. “It’s the best I could do, though.” He closes his laptop and stands. “I’ve got better things to do than damage control with the fans.”

“Things like damage control with Chester?”

Mike’s mouth hardens and his eyes lose their humor. “Yes. Things exactly like that.”


It takes a half an hour, but Mike finally finds him in the small, private garden on the roof of the hotel they’re staying at. It’s deserted in the heat of the day except for one man, sitting hunched over on a mostly hidden bench, a pack of half empty cigarettes and a lighter beside him, and half a dozen smoked down filters discarded on the stones in front of him. Mike sits on the bench next to him, grabbing the pack and lighter out of his way. Chester makes a small noise of protest before relaxing, realizing that this isn’t one of Mike’s frequent attempts to steal and hide his cigarettes.

He takes one long, last drag off the cigarette he has before snubbing the stub out and dropping it to the ground. Mike holds the pack for him as he reaches blindly for another, lighting it up quickly.

Chester has a certain way of smoking when he’s upset, filled with a quiet agitation that seems to vibrate and permeate his every movement. Mike recognizes it instantly and knows to keep his mouth shut until the other man speaks.

Three cigarettes later, and a month off his life due to secondhand smoke, Mike is sure, and Chester finally speaks.

“I’m not gay,” he says, without turning to Mike. “I’ve been married twice, for chrissakes. And I’ve got kids.”

Mike nods, even though Chester still isn’t looking at him. “I know that.”

They sit in silence for a few long moments before Chester bursts out, “Jesus fuck, you know what happened to me when I was a kid. How could I ever…” He shakes his head, lights up another cigarette.

“Just because you were abused by a man doesn’t mean you can’t be attracted to one,” Mike says quietly. Chester shakes his head.

“You don’t know,” he says. “You can’t know. The thought of it…” he shakes his head again. “I couldn’t. I couldn’t ever.”

Mike eyes him. “That’s not what you’ve told me before.”

Chester springs to his feet, waving his cigarette around wildly. “Mother fuck, Mike! I was drunk! I didn’t know what I was doing!”

Mike responds to Chester’s agitation with more stillness, more calmly spoken words. “They say that being drunk only lowers your inhibitions. So the things you end up doing are things that you actually want when you’re sober.”

Chester kicks angrily at a birdbath, which luckily for it turns out to be attached to the ground. Not so luckily for Chester, however, who winces and sits back down. “That’s shit. That’s absolute fucking shit, Mike.”

Mike waits a few minutes, until Chester’s temper has cooled, to say carefully, “That’s what the experts say. I’m just repeating what I’ve heard.”

Chester gives a bitter laugh. “I hate psychology,” he mutters. “So you’re saying because I kissed a man once, once, while drunk, you think I’m gay.”

Mike frowns at him. “Don’t put words in my mouth, Chester, that’s not what I said.”

“Then what are you trying to say?”

Mike swallows. “Having – having an attraction to men doesn’t necessarily make you gay.”

“Who said I’m attracted to men?” Chester bristles. Mike looks at him, long and hard, his eyes disbelieving. Chester breaks the eye contact first, dropping his head. “Yes, well,” he mutters, and takes another drag off what Mike believes to be his sixteenth straight cigarette.

“What I’m trying to say,” Mike begins. “Is that being abused doesn’t prevent you from being attracted to men. It shouldn’t prevent you from doing anything you want. And that your sexual orientation is your own goddamned business. And I swear to you that nobody like him will ever tour with us again. I’ve had it with all the fucking homophobia of this business,” he says, voice turning bitter. “Just once I’d like to-” But he stops himself, abruptly cutting himself off and nearly choking on his words.

It takes a few moments, but Chester raises his head and peers curiously at Mike. “Like to what?”

Mike shrugs, trying to be casual. “I don’t know. It’s just – it’s never been an option, you know? I’ve loved rap since I was a kid, and even if I didn’t agree with parts of the industry, I still loved it. And I love what we do, you know that. I wouldn’t give it up for anything. But it’d just be nice to…I don’t know, try it once or something, I guess. Or just have the option. Without the fear of repercussion.”

Chester stares at him for a long moment before turning back to his cigarette. He doesn’t say anything in return for a long time and Mike is starting to get just the small bit anxious when he starts to laugh.

“Chester?” Mike says disbelievingly.

The other man just shakes his head, laughing hysterically. Mike smiles at him, amused at the tears of mirth leaking from Chester’s eyes. “Going to let me in on the joke?” Mike asks, and it just sets him off more, peals of laughter disturbing the peaceful quiet of the garden.

Finally he quiets, holding his belly with his left hand, gesturing with the cigarette in his right. “Think about it,” Chester gasps, still giggling. “We kicked him off for calling us a bunch of fags, right?”

“…uh, I fail to see the humor here.”

Chester giggles again, a high, nearly insane sounding giggle. “Turns out he was right!”

Mike smiles quizzically at the other man, who has once again dissolved into laughter. Hands shaking, he puts out his cigarette and covers his face with both hands, laughter racking his small body.

At least he thinks it’s laughter. Mike puts a hand on his back to steady him and Chester bends back up, his face turning in an instant from amusement to anguish. He chokes out Mike’s name before suddenly leaning into Mike and burying his face in his shirt. Mike’s arms go around him automatically, his face surprised and anxious.

Chester is gasping something into his shirt, something about not wanting to be like this, and even though Mike can’t understand the whole thing, he gets the drift and tightens his arms around the other man, trying to reassure him.

“It’s all right,” he says quietly into Chester’s ear. “It’s all right. It’ll be okay.”

“It’s not alright,” Chester says clearly, turning his face to lean his cheek against Mike’s shoulder so that he can be heard. “It’s not going to be alright. I’m married, for god’s sake. I can’t suddenly up and decide…” He shakes his head minutely and falls silent. He doesn’t move away from Mike and Mike doesn’t let his arms fall away from him.

“You have a right to be happy,” Mike says slowly, measuring his words. “Tali’s got an open mind.”

Chester snorts. “Yeah, I’m sure that’ll go over well. ‘Gee, honey, would you mind terribly if I were to fuck another man?’”

Mike gives a small, huffing laugh. “Okay, so that might not work. I’m just saying…keep your options open, maybe? I don’t know. It’ll work itself out, Ches.”

“I don’t think so,” Chester says slowly. “I don’t think that I could ever trust somebody enough to…it’s so fucked up.” He shifts, not away from Mike but closer to him, so nearly their whole bodies are resting against each other, and as Mike tightens his arms, he tries not to think of how good that simple act feels. They sit in comfortable silence for a long time before Mike speaks.

“Maybe it’s not about doing it,” Mike says. “Maybe it’s about being okay with the fact that you want to.”

Chester’s quiet for a minute before he pulls away to look at Mike in the eye. “Did anybody ever tell you you’re a very wise man?”

Mike laughs, his relief at seeing Chester joking again nearly palpable. “Yes. All the time. They call me Michael the Wise. It’s a whole thing.”

Chester smiles at him again, softly, and Mike realizes how close he still is.

“Then again,” Chester says musingly, “Maybe it’s not so much about knowing what I want, but having something I’ve always wanted.”

And before Mike can wrap his head around that, Chester is kissing him. Kissing him with his head tilted up, his lips brushing Mike’s softly, his hand resting on Mike’s stomach, and Mike groans, the feel of Chester’s lips on his all at once intoxicating and thrilling and terrifying. Chester shifts again, folding a leg underneath himself, and presses his body up against Mike’s, who breaks away for a moment, his eyes darting back and forth in order to stare anxiously into both of Chester’s eyes.

Oh,” he breathes, and is pulling Chester back into another kiss before he realizes it, his hands moving everywhere on the singer, desperate suddenly to learn all of him, desperate to make up for years lost when they could have had this.

“Mike,” Chester begins, his lips still mostly pressed against the other man’s. He pulls away and starts again, his voice suddenly anxious and desperate. “Mike, I…where is this going? Where can this go?”

“I don’t know,” Mike says slowly, thoughtfully. “Does it matter?”

And Chester, he stares at Mike for a full minute before he smiles, a slow smile that builds gradually until it reaches his eyes, and the warmth of it makes Mike want to catch his breath.

“No,” Chester says, as if realizing something profound. “No, it doesn’t.” And he grabs Mike’s shirt and hauls him forward into another intense kiss, both of them more than content with the knowledge of now.

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