Category Linkin Park

Show me. by squashie


[I felt rather awkward about this slashy standalone while writing it and I’m going to feel even more awkward after I’ve posted it, but fuck it. Here it is, in case you want it. As you can probably guess, I’m still thinking a lot about Brad...

I am halfway through a new chapter of Everything’s Fine, and it’s fluffy as fuck. I purged all the dark shit and semi-mindless smut into this standalone so that it wouldn’t taint my fluffy Bennoda story. (My idea of dark isn’t really all that dark, but anyway.)

Note: This is not intended as a follow-on from Low, even though it starts with the same two people in the same setting I ended that story with. This is a totally separate thing.]




Mike, Joe and Dave have returned to social media and featured in a few post-Chester interviews.

Brad and Rob have not.

Rob was never keen on interviews to begin with, and never even dabbled in social media, so his absence from the spotlight is unsurprising, but Brad’s absence is beginning to grow conspicuous, and Mike is worried about it.

“Just one tweet,” he says. “It can be something trivial. Tweet a picture of a sunset. Just so they know you’re alive.”

“They know I’m alive, Mike.”

“You know what I mean.”

Brad leans his guitar up against the side of Mike’s couch and crosses his arms.

“No,” he says. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“It would make the fans feel better, to know that you’re doing okay.”

“I don’t give a fuck what the fans feel.”

Mike spins his chair around a few times and stares at the ceiling. He’s growing exasperated with Brad’s stubbornness, his guardedness, his refusal to make any attempt to go back to the way things were in any aspect of his life before Chester died. Of course things can never be the way they were, but surely if Brad would just suck it up and put himself out there, it would be good for him, good for everyone…

“This is not about the fans, really, is it?” says Brad, and Mike stops spinning his chair.

“It’s about you, mostly,” says Mike. “If you tweet, or update your instagram, you’ll get a flood of love from all these random people who care about you, and it will make you feel better.”

“I feel fine.”

“You don’t seem fine.”

Brad pulls his legs up onto the couch and crosses them, rests his hands in his lap and stares at Mike with a dark, stormy expression on his face.

“Whatever the case may be,” he says, “getting tweeted at by a bunch of strangers is not going to change anything.”

He picks up his guitar and starts plucking out a little tune, humming along and pretending that Mike isn’t frowning at him. The glare of the computer monitor frames Mike in a harsh white light and makes the tips of his hair glow.

“Brad,” he says. “There’s another angle to this that you haven’t considered.”

“And what’s that, Mike?” says Brad, his voice light and dismissive. He continues to play his guitar.

“Well,” says Mike. “If you’re wallowing in despair while the rest of us seem to be getting our shit back together, then it’s going to make people ask questions.”


“Yes, questions. Like ‘Why is Brad the only one still sad about Chester?’ and ‘Did the other guys not care about Chester as much as Brad did?’ and ’Is Brad suicidal?’”

“Okay, hold the fuck up,” says Brad, and finally stops picking at the guitar. “You’re worried that if I don’t put on a little act for social media that it’s going to make the rest of you look bad?”

“I didn’t say that—”

“You pretty much did, Mike. You think that me being withdrawn makes it seem like I’m mourning better than you are, and you can’t handle that.”

“I didn’t—”

“You want to have a fucking monopoly on sadness.”

“What the hell, Brad—”

“And I’m not fucking suicidal!”

Mike raises his hands and screws his eyes shut as though Brad is physically attacking him. Brad falls silent and breathes heavily through his nose. The sudden rush of his anger crackles in the air between them.

“You need to calm down, dude,” says Mike.

“You need to stop telling me how to grieve!”

“I’m not telling you how to grieve! I just suggested posting one fucking tweet—”

“And I don’t want to, Mike!” Brad tosses his guitar aside and it bounces off the couch and tumbles onto the floor. He’s on his feet now, his hands shaking. “I don’t want to post a fucking tweet for your Bennoda fangirls. I don’t want to pretend I’m okay.”

“But you said you were fine—”

“I know what I fucking said!”

Brad is advancing on Mike now, and Mike rolls his chair away until it touches the edge of his desk. His eyes are wide and he raises his hands again, shielding himself, as though expecting Brad to hit him.

Brad freezes. He wasn’t going to hit Mike. Why the hell would he do that? He’s never hit him before. Mike could probably kick his ass in five seconds anyway; snap him in half like a twig. But he’s also not sure what he actually had intended to do. His hands are balled into fists, and Mike’s reaction is not surprising, under the circumstances. Brad opens his hands and lets them fall to his sides.

“Mike,” he says. “I’m sorry.”

He’s shaking hard now, scared of himself, stumbling back, away from his oldest friend, sinking onto the couch with his arms wrapped around his own body. His eyes are dry but he’s breathing as though he’s in tears. Perhaps tears would help. Perhaps not.

“You’re not fine, Brad,” says Mike. “You need to talk to someone.”

Brad just stares back at Mike with those wide, dry eyes full of horror and says nothing. He doesn’t blink.

“You can talk to me,” says Mike. “If that would help.”

Still Brad says nothing, and Mike rolls a question back and forth in his head, weighing it up, wondering if he should say it out loud or keep his suspicions to himself. They sit in silence for a few minutes, and when Mike is certain that Brad has calmed down a bit, he decides to risk it.

“Brad…. Did it bother you that Bennoda was real?”

“Yes,” says Brad, without hesitating. His voice is dull and lifeless. He sounds defeated, as though there’s just no point in him pretending anymore. The truth is easier and he doesn’t have the energy to worry about the fallout.

“Did it bother you because you found it inappropriate or because you were jealous?”

“Both,” says Brad. “And it bothers me now because everyone who knew about it, or suspected it, or just ‘shipped it’—” he wiggles his fingers in half-hearted air quotes “—all of them assume that you’re hurting more than the rest of us. Oh you’ve lost your best friend, your soulmate, your brother, but I just lost a bandmate, you know? It’s bullshit.”

“Who were you jealous of?”

Brad stares at Mike with unfocussed, unseeing eyes. “I was jealous of both of you,” he says. He shakes his head, puts his face in his hands. “I can’t believe he’s gone.”

“I’m still here,” says Mike.

“Yeah,” says Brad, his eyes finally coming back into focus. “You’ve always been here. Except when you were with him.”

“What do you mean?” Mike rolls his chair away from the desk, closer to Brad.

“I mean… when you were with him, nothing else mattered to you. You might as well have not existed for the rest of us. We certainly didn’t exist for you when you were wrapped up in him.”

“That’s not true. Maybe it felt that way to you, but it’s not true. And I’m sorry… I didn’t know— I didn’t realise you felt— You never said—”

“How could I have said anything? And when?”

“I’ve known you since junior high, Brad. I had no idea about any of this. You never told me, even when I told you about Chester. You never said anything. How was I supposed to know?”

“You weren’t supposed to know,” says Brad. “But now you do, and everything’s fucked up, and that’s that.”

Mike is out of his chair now, standing in front of the couch, looking down at Brad.

“Everything is not fucked up,” says Mike, putting a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “A lot of things are, but not everything. You’re still here. I’m still here. We have friends and family and peers and people all over the world who care about us. They care about you, even if you don’t care about them.”

Brad looks up at him. “Would it be bad to have a drink right now?” he says. “I really want a drink.”

“I’ll get us something,” says Mike. “Something old and expensive. Give me five minutes.”


// 2009

“It means ‘lift me up, let me go’,” says Mike.

“Oh, that’s dope,” says Chester. “I love it. It’s beautiful.”

“Try it again.”

Chester clears his throat, closes his eyes, pulls in a deep, slow breath and sings.

“Mochiagete… tokihanashite… mochiagete… tokihanashite…”

“Fuck,” says Mike, and Chester falls silent, cocking his head slightly, frowning, apparently wondering what he did wrong.

“Sorry,” says Mike, registering his expression. “That was perfect. Just… hearing you sing in Japanese is just… fuck.”

“You like it?”

“I fucking love it.”

Mike comes over to him, snakes his hand around the back of Chester’s neck and pulls him in for a slow, deep kiss. He pushes Chester up against the sound-proofed studio wall and kisses him harder, taking his bottom lip between his teeth and pulling on it until the singer emits a little moan that sends a rush of heat through Mike’s body.

“Mochiagete,” Chester whispers against Mike’s lips, and Mike smiles.

“Lift you up? Sure…” Mike cups his hands under Chester’s ass as Chester jumps up and wraps his legs tightly around Mike’s waist, pressing them together.

“Don’t tokihanashite though, please,” says Chester, grinning, and Mike laughs.

“I won’t,” he says. “I won’t ever let you go.”

He presses his body up flush against Chester’s, and the tattooed arms fold around his neck, pale legs tightening around his hips, warmth pulsing between them. Mike slides his tongue between Chester’s lips, tasting minty sweetness.

“I’m thinking of starting Japanese lessons,” Chester says when the kiss finally breaks.

“Oh yeah?” says Mike, breathless, his arms starting to shake from holding Chester up against the wall. He drags his lips along Chester’s throat, feeling his softness, breathing him in.

“Yeah, I just thought of it right now,” says Chester. “If I get this reaction from singing a few mispronounced words, imagine what I could do with whole paragraphs.”

“You pronounced them fine. And you don’t need to speak Japanese to make me kiss you.”

“Okay, but what do I need to do to get you naked right now?” says Chester, biting his lip.

Mike lowers Chester down onto the floor, disentangling himself from his arms and legs. He starts removing the singer’s clothes, slowly, sensuously, stroking each expanse of creamy skin as he reveals it, repeatedly stalling the process to kiss him. When the job is eventually done, and Chester is sitting up against the wall wearing nothing but a mischievous smile, Mike removes his own clothes, enjoying the tingle of Chester’s gaze, his eyes dark with desire.

“How are your arms?” Chester asks. “Can you lift me up again?”

“For how long?” says Mike.

“As long as it takes?” says Chester, the grin spreading across his face.

“I can try,” says Mike. “Just give me five minutes, okay? I’ll use them well.”

And he does use them well. He retrieves the conveniently stashed condoms and lube, and while he sucks and bites on Chester’s neck, one of his hands roams freely over his tattooed chest, rubbing and tweaking his nipples, and he guides a lubed hand down to Chester’s ass, sliding his fingers between the warm cheeks. Chester shifts onto his knees to accommodate this, pressing himself against Mike’s body and kissing his forehead. With practiced confidence, Mike pushes two slippery fingers inside of the smaller man’s body, appreciating the familiar shuddering intake of breath, the clenched heat, the little moan of urgency.

“Unnngh, Mike,” Chester breathes, as the fingers move slowly and in and out of him. “Let’s do this. Mmm… mochiagete.”

And so Mike hurriedly puts on a condom with trembling hands and they stand, sharing a frantic kiss before Mike lifts Chester up once again, pressing him against the wall, feeling his legs wrap around him, his heels digging into his lower back. Without any further foreplay, he lines himself up and pushes himself into Chester, thrusting forward in one strong, continuous movement until he’s fully and deeply inside this beautiful man, and the heat and pulsing pleasure of it makes him forget the ache in his arms.

Chester’s head is rolled back against the wall, his breath coming in short gasps, his eyes closed but fluttering slightly.

“Mike,” he mumbles. “Mike, just fuck me, please.”

And Mike is only too happy to oblige. Hands cupping Chester’s smooth, firm ass, he pulls himself almost all the way out and pushes back in hard and deep, eliciting groans of euphoria from them both. He draws his head back as he moves smoothly in and out, eager to see the look on Chester’s face, and he’s not disappointed.

Chester’s eyes are closed, his lips parted in a silent cry, his cheeks flushed bright prink, his forehead glistening with sweat. His eyes flutter open and and his lips slide into the most sexual smile Mike has ever seen in his life. There’s a devious glint in Chester’s eyes, and with a desperate groan, Mike doubles his pace, fucking Chester hard against the wall — faster, faster, faster, faster — until it’s so wild and so crazy and so ridiculously out of control that Chester starts to howl with laughter and tears stream down his cheeks and then the sounds that are being forced out of him every time his back slams against the wall are transformed into a breathless chant —

“Mochia — gete — tokihana — shhhhite — mm — mochi — aaaaaahhh…!”

Both of Mike’s hands are occupied with the increasingly difficult task of holding Chester up, and Chester’s dick is completely neglected, but he comes all over himself anyway, and his ecstatic scream and the sudden increase in tightness cause Mike’s knees to give way and he sinks down, taking Chester with him, crashing on top of him, pressing him down hard, grazing his back against the rough carpet. Mike digs his nails into Chester’s hips and his ass and continues to push deeply into him over and over and over—

And over—

And over—

And ooohhhhhhh…


Fifty minutes and half a bottle of whisky later, Brad is spilling his heart and the tears have finally started to flow. Mike stumbles off to fetch a box of tissues, but when he returns, Brad seems intent on using Mike’s shirt for the purpose instead. He presses his face against Mike’s sleeve and sobs.

“Brad, bro, it’s gonna… it’s gonna be okay…”

“It’s not!” Brad cries. “How is going to be okay, Mike? How?”

Mike squeezes his shoulder helplessly. “Just let it all out.”

“I am,” Brad chokes. “That’s… that’s what I’m doing. I’m letting it all out.”

Without warning, he crashes his lips against Mike’s and Mike is frozen, not reciprocating, but not moving away either.

“Brad, what—”

Brad blinks at him, apparently confused. “Uhhh… shit. I don’t know. I—”

And then they’re kissing again, and neither of them are sure who started it this time, or why it’s happening. Mike takes Brad’s head in both of his hands, thumbs pressed into his temples, tilting Brad’s face close and tight against his own, crushing their lips and tongues together.

“Is this how you kissed him?” says Brad, pulling away.

“Do you really want to know?” says Mike.

Brad shakes his head. Then he nods. “Yeah, I want to know.”

Instead of answering him, Mike pushes Brad onto his back and smothers his lips with his own, his mind inexplicably blank and serene as he does it. There’s the taste of whisky with a hint of salt from all the tears. Brad’s hands are grappling weakly with his shirt, fumbling the buttons open. Mike lets him push the shirt off his shoulders, feels his calloused, guitar-player fingers on his skin, tracing lines along his ribs.

“Brad…” Mike gasps, as Brad starts to unbuckle his belt.

“Show me…” says Brad. “Show me.”

“Show you what?” asks Mike, but forgets the question when he feels Brad’s hands between his legs. For a moment, he is back in junior high, play fighting with his best friend, making childish dick jokes, feeling things that he never understood, never admitted to, never thought would ever be reciprocated. And yet they were. There was Chester. And now he’s gone full circle and, once again, there’s Brad. Only this time, things are actually happening. This time, Brad wants him back.

“Mike,” Brad gasps, pulling Mike’s hips down against his own. “Mike, show me…”

Show me what you did. Show me what you had. Show me what I missed.

The alcohol is pumping hotly through their bodies and everything is fast, electric, chaotic, the room spinning around them.

“This is a fucked up way to mourn a friend,” says Mike, his words muffled against Brad’s shoulder.

“No…” says Brad, his breath still hitching in his throat, his voice shredded by the threat of another breakdown, “I think Chester would approve.”

Mike smiles against his skin and says. “Actually, yeah… you’re right. He would approve. He was sex. He was sex in human form.”

“He was the personification of sex,” says Brad, stumbling a bit over his words as he tugs on Mike’s pants, forcing them under his ass, but failing to get them over the obstruction at the front.

“Fuck this,” says Mike, standing up and swiftly removing his pants, socks and boxers and then dragging Brad’s clothes unceremoniously from his body, Brad passive as a ragdoll throughout.

“Show me,” says Brad.

“You won’t like it,” says Mike, blinking against the fog of the whisky in his head. “You won’t like what he liked.”

“I don’t care,” says Brad. “Just fucking show me.”


Mike opens his eyes. His head is pounding and he doesn’t know where he is.

He’s on a couch. He’s naked. He feels nauseous and sticky.

And then it all comes rushing back.

He’s in the studio. It’s dawn. And he definitely fucked his best friend last night.

The side door onto the balcony is open and Brad is standing out there, looking at the sky. It’s still dark enough for there to be stars and the sliver of a moon, but peachy colours and a gentle glow are starting to soak up into the darkness, starting at the horizon.

Mike pulls on his boxers and joins Brad outside. Brad’s holding his phone.

“What are you doing?” asks Mike.

“Tweeting,” says Brad, holding out his phone for his friend to see.

And there it is. A tweet. A single word — Grateful — and a simple photo.

It’s a sunrise.


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