Category Linkin Park

Because Of You by Penelope_Ink


So I've been debating with myself for awhile now over if I should post this story or not. I've been writing it for myself, trying to come to terms with the reality we all find ourselves in. I have two other unfinished stories on this site, and I'm still not sure if I'll ever be able to complete them. Maybe one day. But for now, this one has been helping me. Writing therapy. I know I'm not the only one. Be kind. I haven't written Bennoda in a long time, so I'm a little rusty. This is a multi-chapter story with some upsetting content, and for that I apologize, but it's the story that's been in my head and won't leave me alone.

Much love to Chester, always, and his family. This is all fictional drama, and has nothing against the beautiful people of Linkin Park.


The hotel bed was hard, like the ache currently running through Chester Bennington’s head. He let out a soft sigh as he leaned back and looked up at the ceiling - boring. No light fixtures or cool swirly designs to keep his mind occupied, just dull white plaster. “What a crock,” he muttered before sitting up and looking around the $400 a night room. The shades were open, but from his 25th story roost, all he could see was nighttime sky. If he wanted, he could walk over and look down on the lighted city below, but who has that kind of energy?

Chester looked at the alarm clock sitting on the nightstand; it was almost 11pm. The day had been long with interviews and crowds and way too many people pushing and pulling him and his bandmates around, and tomorrow there would be even more. But now all the noise was gone, even though somehow that seemed worse.

I probably screwed up every single question. The thought tumbled through Chester’s mind, even as he tried to force it away. No one’s going to like the new album. At least Mike comes off sounding authentic on the songs. . .I’m just a poser trying to sound deep. That’s me. Mr. Poser. Chester “Poser” fuckin’ Bennington. People are calling us sell outs. Like we did the whole album for the money.

People forget that we did all the albums for money; that’s our job.

Man, I really am a sell out.

He looked away from the clock toward the door of his hotel room; a mirror hung on the wall beside the bathroom. He could only see half of himself from where he was sitting - a dangling tattooed leg and a matching arm as he braced it on the bed. His eyes drifted up until he was staring right back at himself. A dead stare. You sexy beast, he tried to lie to himself, but it didn’t work. It didn’t even seem funny this time.

He kicked both sneakers off before he stood up. The carpet was cushiony under his feet, which was nice. He swung around to find the television remote on the nightstand. He flipped on the TV, not caring what channel it was on. News, sports, cartoons - it was all noise. It was someone else in the room with him, and that’s all that mattered.

A smile twitched his face as an old Tom and Jerry cartoon flashed onto the screen. “I miss them,” he said out loud as he stood and watched for a second. A yawn followed. Sleep would be good, and the idea of falling into slumber with the cartoon cat and mouse running across the screen seemed even sweeter.

A shower first. He turned back toward the king sized bed. His suitcase was there; it had wheels on one side and a handle on the other. He hadn’t had time to even open it that morning before he and his bandmates were whisked away for a day of promotional work for their newest album One More Light.

Chester undid his suitcase. Zip! He laid back the open flap to see his tightly packed, yet expertly folded, belongings. Everything had a space - shorts, pants, shirts, socks, underwear, pajama pants, extra belts, and toiletries. Sets of nicer outfits hung in dry clean-only bags a few feet away in the room’s closet, but none of those were for right now.

He quickly picked out a pair of blue flannel pajama pants, some red briefs, a plain white t-shirt and a fresh pair of socks, which had gold stitching over the toes. They were soft, but not as soft as his pajama pants. He rubbed them over his face for a second before he headed for the bathroom.

Twenty minutes later and he was sitting cross-legged on the bed. Tom and Jerry played in front of him as he sorted through his suitcase. His skin was still damp, but he smelled good - like lavender - and that was more important. Hotel soaps and shampoos had nothing on his stash from his favorite spa. His wife had already sent him a goodnight text, and now his phone was silent as it sat off to the side.

“Where is it?” Chester asked himself as he unzipped and unbuttoned every compartment in his suitcase. Surely he hadn’t forgotten to pack his beaded bracelet. Draven made that for me. Dammit. I must have forgotten it. Or lost it. . .I’m so stupid. Where is it? I promised him I was going to wear it tomorrow. It’s got to be here.

Chester’s mouth dropped open as he gulped the air. His chest heaved as his heart started to pick up speed. He unzipped one last compartment and, “Pills?” He looked at the orange bottle with the white cap, his mind fighting to remember where they had come from and what they were for. He hadn’t packed any pills, had he?

He turned the bottle over in his hand; his name was printed on the label of narcotics along with a date. My ankle. These are from when I busted my ankle last time. He looked back down at his suitcase, and his overly-organized belongings. He traced the beaten zipper with his finger - this wasn’t his new suitcase he had recently bought from Saks Fifth Avenue. This was his old one from the last tour. The Hunting Party tour. He had grabbed it out of habit, and since he had managed to pack everything so neatly in it, he didn’t even miss his new one.

“Because I’m a kick-ass packer,” he said, but a second later the voice in his head shamed him for it. This is just great. Now I’m stuck with this old bottle of pills. Way to be careless. T almost drove herself mad lookin’ for them back then, and here they were in my suitcase this whole time. Great husband I am.

He flipped the bottle around again, listening to the dozen or so pills tumble inside. I should probably throw them out. I don’t need them anymore.

He turned the bottle upside down, and then right again, listening. I wonder how many are left. He twisted the childproof cap before popping it off with ease. He dumped the pills out onto his open hand. His eyes bounced around, mentally counting fifteen little white gems of morphine-laced capsules.

I wonder how many of these it would take to knock me out? Just one? Maybe two. They were strong.

Chester looked at the clock - it was fifteen minutes to midnight.

He picked at the pills, pushing them around on his hand. Maybe I’ll take more. More would feel good. More would be good. I’ll just lay down and -

His phone jingled beside him. He shook his head, casting out the persuasive thoughts for a moment. He clicked the home button on his iPhone to see Mike Shinoda’s name in a pink bubble light up.

Shinoda: Hey, feel like doing something wild?

Chester read the text three times, before he sat his phone down. He held his hand up, examining the white beauties in his palm. Five or six? That would probably do it.

His phone rang again. “What?” he asked out loud before picking up his phone to see:

Shinoda: Seriously, let’s be bad. I’m up for being bad. Aren’t you? It’s just that kind of night. The wives are at home, no kids around. Lets be some crazy motherfuckers. Yeah?

Chester felt his whole body shake as he chuckled. What’s he up to? He slid his finger over the touch screen, making his on-going text life with his bandmate pop up. He re-read Mike’s last two texts, trying to make sense of them. Bad? Since when has Mike Shinoda aka most-sexy-beast-in-the-world, ever been bad? Never. He’s never been bad. Even his bad is PG. Unless. . .

Chester looked up and toward the door. Mike’s hotel room was only two away from his. In the old days - or as the members of Linkin Park liked to call it the Lean Years - he and Mike always shared hotel rooms. They would stay up till three in the morning talking, laughing, and playing pranks on the other guys. Enjoying life.

Chester’s mind suddenly felt a little lighter. Even though the Lean Years had been just that - financially challenging and physically hard - they were good. Simple. More straight forward. We used to have good times. Fun times. It’s so much business now.

Chester sat up a little straighter as he poured the pills back into the bottle and replaced the cap. Now he wants to be bad. Not even sure what his definition of bad is. Surely he doesn’t mean. . .no. You’re stupid, Chester.

His phone buzzed again. Chester quickly slid his finger across the screen, the pills dropped onto the bed, forgotten.

Shinoda: I’m coming to your room.

Chester looked up just in time to hear a knock. He looked around quickly, grabbed the bottle of pills and shoved them under the pillows. He got up and stumbled his way to the door, tripping over his own feet in his haste.

“Hey,” he said with a half-smile as he met Mike’s dark eyes. “So what’s all this being bad talk?”

He backed up, inviting Mike in without words.

His bandmate stepped in without hesitation. He was fully dressed - jeans, and his favorite jacket as of late: a gray hoodie with white drawstrings. There was a red, rusty looking star on the back. No one knew what it stood for, though Brad often joked that Mike’s favorite jacket was from Texas, making him an unofficial Texan.

“You ready for this?” Mike asked, his eyes sparkling, like he was about to share the most wonderful idea ever with Chester.

“I guess,” Chester answered, holding back a laugh. I love it when he’s excited. I like to be excited.

“Joe found a 24-hour hotdog stand. It’s like ten minutes from here. Come on,” Mike said, lightly smacking Chester on the stomach, playfully. “Get dressed. Dave’s already called them - it’s a real thing. I mean, who eats hotdogs at midnight?” He smiled, his whole face lighting up as he did. “And to top it off, we’re pretty sure they have a nacho bar, too.”

Chester shook his head as his eyes squinted in confusion. “Hotdogs?” he asked, trying to figure out if there was a double meaning hidden in there somewhere. “Are you serious?”

“Yeah. Come on. Get dressed.”

“So, this is your idea of being bad? While our wives and kids are away we’re going to be tough and. . .eat hotdogs?”

It didn’t come out as nice as Chester had wanted it to. Instead of something jovial in his timbre, it was coated in something frustrated. Disappointed.

Mike’s happy face vanished. His eyes coasted up and down Chester’s staunch posture, which seemed to be casting a million shadows among all the dim lamps in the room. “You okay?”

Chester inhaled the still shower-scented air before he let it back out. “Yeah,” he played off, even as his eyes drifted back toward the bed. Back toward the secret under the pillow. How many would it take? Ten? Twelve? I don’t want fuckin’ hotdogs.

“Chaz?” Mike asked, his own voice taking a sharper edge. “Seriously, man, what’s wrong?” He’d been with his singing partner all day. They had sat for reporters. They had answered questions. They had eaten at a five star restaurant that usually takes months to get into, for lunch. They had laughed and joked. They had won the day together as friends and as a band. Promotions and hype for the new album were going well. Heavy, the first single, was already getting massive airplay. The video was a hit. There was no reason to be distraught, but Chester was, and in typical Chester fashion, he didn’t seem to want to talk about it.

Mike looked around the room, but his focus landed back on Chester as Chester stared at the pillows on the bed. “What are you looking at?”

Chester’s attention whirled around. His heart hit the ceiling. He knows about the pills. No, stupid, he doesn’t know. . .but he’s going to find out if I don’t do something. Chester did a quick pivot, swinging around on his heels before doing a swan dive onto the bed, right in front of the line of pillows. He rolled onto his side, propped his head up on his arm, looked up and smiled. “That’s better,” he announced, coyly. “Love these soft hotel beds. Besides, isn’t this a much sexier position?” He raised his eyebrows from behind his glasses for extra goofy emphasis, even as his whole body ached in that moment from the stiff mattress he had just landed on.

Mike smiled right back. “Sexy, indeed. And you’re lucky then,” he said as he avoided a playful kick from Chester. “My bed is hard as a rock. Really not worth what we’re paying for that room.”

Chester pressed his back up against the pillows a little more before he attempted contact with Mike’s leg again, only this time he got it. His socked-foot nudged his bandmate’s leg, his toes doing a little massage-like dance, making Mike smirk and eventually laugh before he pushed Chester’s foot away.

“So, hotdogs?” Mike asked as he looked down at his singer. “Come on, we’re going.”

Chester felt the air stick in his lungs. He didn’t want to leave his room. . .leave his pills, which he still needed to deal with.

An offering of food wasn’t usually something anyone in their band would pass up, but Chester was hesitating for some reason. Mike hurriedly took in the scope of the room again to try and find the answer as to why. “Where are your pictures?”

Chester’s eyes followed Mike’s. “What pictures?” he asked, scanning the cheesy hotel paintings of fruit and little kids riding 1950s bikes.

“Your pictures that you always set out,” Mike answered as he crossed the room to stand in front of the oak dresser with nickel-plated nobs. “You know, you’re photos of Talinda and the kids. You always put them out.”

Chester’s mind zipped back to his old suitcase. He knew they were in there, he never went anywhere without them these days. They were stuffed in between all his well-organized clothes. “Yeah, I have ‘em,” he said, pointing to his suitcase, “but I haven’t unpacked them yet.”

“That’s what this room needs,” Mike decided as he walked over and looked down at Chester’s neatly rolled socks and folded Calvin Klein briefs. Mike’s suitcase never looked anywhere near as put together. “You just need to Chester-fy this room and you’ll feel better.”


“I don’t feel bad,” Chester denied. I need to get rid of those pills. He cleared his throat as he looked up at Mike and his black hair that was styled to perfection still, even though it was almost midnight. “I’m just tired,” Chester decided, adding in a yawn. “But maybe some chili dogs will fix that.”

“Yes,” Mike seconded, adding a double fist-pump. “Dressed, Chester, go get dressed. I mean, I like this look on you,” he said with a chuckle as he motioned toward Chester’s pajama bottoms, “but it’s kinda cold out.”

“Well if we’re going out, I can’t wear this. That’s ridiculous.” Chester sat up, hiding the pang that shot through his back. “I’ll meet you guys downstairs.”

In that moment, something inside of Mike told him not to leave. His feet turned into anchors, his stomach uneasy. He wet his lips as he scanned the room again - but nothing popped out at him as being wrong. “You sure you’re okay?” he asked one last time. “I can stay,” he offered, gesturing toward the armchair in the corner with the footstool that was almost as big as the chair itself. “I mean, I can wait while you get dressed and we can walk down together.”

“No,” Chester told him before he added with a shrug, “not sure what I’m going to wear yet and it might take me a few minutes to decide. I’ll meet you down there.”

“Well, okay. . .but don’t take an hour to pick out an outfit to go get hotdogs in.”

“I won’t,” Chester assured him with a goofy flip in his voice as he stood from the bed. “You’re so overstating that.”

“Whatever. I know you,” Mike shot back, but Chester was already leading him toward the door. “I’m serious,” he said, even as he stepped out into the hallway and turned back around to see his friend looking a little off. “We’re waiting and we don’t want to be the fools eating hotdogs at one in the morning. Midnight is bad enough.”

“I promise. Go,” Chester told him, waiving his hand down the hall. And that was it. Mike turned and left, and Chester closed the door. He darted back to the bed. He stared down at the pillows. I should throw them out. I should. . .no, I should throw them out. What if Mike would have found them? He’d ask why I was hiding pills. Drugs.

He shoved his hand under the pillow and fished them out. He marched into the bathroom, lifted the toilet seat, undid the bottle cap and stared down at the white capsules he knew could make him feel. . .nothing. Sweet Nothing. How many would it take? All fifteen?

He jiggled the bottle, listening as the pills shook from side-to-side. They were so pretty. So pure. So easy. And then his phone rang again, from out on the bed.

Chester looked toward the bathroom doorway. That will be Mike. He’s waiting on me.

He looked at the pills one last time before he dumped them in and flushed them away.

He walked back out to his suitcase. For hotdogs, a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt would do. He had his old-school Stone Temple Pilots one in there somewhere, and that’s exactly what he wanted. He pulled out a few pairs of socks and two pairs of jeans before he ran into his framed picture of his kids - all of them together in the backyard of their family home, sitting around a picnic table.

Chester picked up the silver frame and ran his thumb over their smiling faces. Mike was right. I need to Chester-fy this room. It’s depressing me.

He rummaged through his suitcase, finding the jeans and t-shirt he was after, along with two more framed pictures - the ones he always brought with him. He placed the one of his kids on the dresser, along with one of his wife. Her hair was done up and she was holding three sunflowers, smelling them. She was beautiful, and it was Chester’s favorite picture of her. He smiled at the likeness, before he walked over to the desk stuffed away in the corner, and there he set his third framed picture - a black and white photo of him and Mike sitting side-by-side on a swing set.

Chester looked down at the two of them, his mind springing back to normal thought as he remembered the moment that picture was taken. Mike’s grandfather had just passed away, and Chester had taken a walk with his brokenhearted bandmate. They had ended up at a park, and consequently sitting on the swings to talk. Someone had snapped a picture of them, and had later given it to Chester at a meet and greet. I helped him then. I was worth something.

He traced his finger over the image, over Mike’s face, over the space between them and he smiled. It was okay. Things were okay, at least for now.

Next Chapter: Drowning

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