LPfiction

Category Linkin Park

Green Lights by Penelope_Ink

Green Lights

Happy Friday, LP Family :) I know I just updated Nervous Wreck yesterday, but this little one shot kinda came out of the same inspiration, so I figured I'd post it for you guys. There are some hella good one shots on this site, so I hope mine doesn't suck.


Shout out to jelly beans, therapy homework, and Mike Shinoda's silly Instagram pic.


Happy Reading :D


****


Rob is sitting by the window in Mike’s home studio, tapping his legs. Drummers, they’re all the same. Phoenix is next to him and then Joe. Brad is across the room, and Mike is sitting at his desk. He lets out a sigh and checks the time.


Brad starts to whistle, low and dramatic. Something from Beethoven.


“You did tell him two o’clock, right?” Phoenix asks as he looks at his phone to see the time before looking up at Mike.


“Yeah, but you know how he is.” Mike leans his head back and stares at the ceiling, his eyes squinting a little from the lights. His brain picks at him as he thinks and mulls. The tour is going to start soon. They’ll finally be sharing their newest album with the world the way it’s meant to be - live. They’ll be traveling the country and then the world. Shows are already sold out. Bags are already being packed - that’s how close they are to this new adventure starting. And what it really boils down to now, is that they’re not going to have time for very many more of these meetings, and Chester is late again.


“He’s forty-one now,” Brad states like no one else in the room knows how old Chester is. “He should be able to get here on time. Not that I’m nagging,” he makes sure to add, throwing up his hands. More than one session with their group therapist has taught them all a little something about themselves. Brad nags. He nags a lot. He’s working on it.


Mike taps his fingers on the desk, irritation creeping up his back and legs. When they were younger, he used to find Chester’s tardiness endearing, but lately it’s been a little more annoying. A little more like pins pricking at his spine. According to the therapist, Mike’s biggest issue is control. Of course, he’s pretty sure she’s wrong, even though he pretends to work on it. They’re all working on something to help their group dynamic.


Chester’s working on being more punctual. Mike smirks. If nothing else, he’s at least doing better than Chester in therapy as far as their homework goes. He swivels around and picks up his black leather bound day planner. He flips to today - Thursday - and writes in, To-do: Kick Chaz’s ass at therapy homework.


And then he draws a huge checkmark beside it, a wide grin following. “Done,” he announces quietly but triumphantly to himself just as the singer bursts through the door. The whole room turns to look, most of them ready to say something about Chester’s lateness, but they don’t get the chance. Chester jumps to the middle of the room, his smile so wide that suddenly him being late is no longer on anyone’s minds.


“Oh yeah!” Chester shouts as he twirls and moves his arms. He shakes his hips, his tight jeans showing off his slender build. “Uh-huh,” he says in a sing-song voice as he snaps his fingers and then starts to do his go-to dance moves. Moves that no one should EVER do in public, but dance moves Chester Bennington has been doing in front of friends and family for years. And occasionally even in front of strangers.


“What are you so happy about?” Brad is the first one to ask, but he doesn’t get an answer. Chester has already moved on. He grabs Mike by the arms and pulls him to his feet. The emcee doesn’t resist, even as he drops his eyes and smiles, his face flushing slightly. He knows what’s coming. It’s time to do the happy dance with Chester.


Around the room they go; Chester leads as he holds Mike’s hand, and his other is secured around his bandmate’s waist. Mike’s arms are around Chester’s neck as they try to move in unison to Chester’s lame dance steps, but it’s not really working. It never really works. But they do it anyway.


“I think Mike is finally getting better,” Joe says as he crosses his arms. They’ve seen this a million times. There’s no use in interrupting or complaining. When Chester gets excited to the point of breaking out into dance, it’s best to just ride it out.


“He should be,” Phoenix states. “It’s only been nineteen years of lessons with Chester.” He laughs, and so does everyone else - soft chuckles as they see the awkward dancing is coming to an end.


The singer’s bouncy energy is slowing, his forehead is now pressed against Mike’s. Their faces are close. Chester’s lips are parted just slightly as he breathes. To any other onlooker, they would think it was a romantic moment, but the band knows better. It’s just how every dance ends.


Their steps are slowing; the craziness is dying down as their awkward, overdramatic steps turn into a slow dance. Small circles, slightly swaying hips, bodies pressed together now - front to front - until they let go of one another. Chester looks around the room; his face is still beaming, but now there’s an element of satisfaction to it.


Mike plops back into his chair, his heart beating a bit faster. He hates dancing. He’s always hated it. Even on his wedding day, he only danced for as long as Anna made him. But dancing with Chester is something he’s accepted. Something he’s actually come to like because for that brief moment, he gets to share in the bubble of joy living inside his best friend. When they dance, he can almost feel Chester’s joy passing between them like it’s something visceral, and that’s intoxicating.


“I caught all the green lights,” Chester tells the room. He still hasn’t sat down. His cheeks are flushed - not with embarrassment, but with life. His brown eyes are shining, his smile is a alight with jubilation. “On the way here,” he elaborates when everyone stares at him like he’s speaking french. “The traffic lights. I hit all green.”


“That’s what you’re so excited about?” Brad asks, but he stops himself from saying anything more. He doesn’t want to nag.


Mike takes a deep breath, clearing his thoughts so he can run the meeting just as Chester points to the candy jar on his desk. “Mike,” the singer says, a look of disappointment suddenly taking over his face, “there’s only green ones left.”


The emcee looks at the jar; it’s half full of jelly beans - green jelly beans. Chester’s the only one who likes jelly beans, but for whatever reason, Mike keeps buying them. He refills the jar and Chester eats all of them, except for the green ones. They taste funny, he always says, and so when there’s nothing but green ones left, Mike replenishes the stock.


“I got you,” Mike assures him, opening the side drawer to his desk. He pulls out a fresh bag of jelly beans. He opens the candy jar, dumps the green ones in the trash and then fills it to the brim with all the colors of the rainbow. He hands it to Chester, who takes four or five out and then he picks a seat close to Brad so the meeting can start.


Mike smiles at him and then -


GASP!


Mike bolts right up in bed, his face and chest covered in sweat as he struggles to breathe for a moment. He swallows, and it hurts. The room is dark, and it takes him a minute to find his glasses. He gets them on and looks at the red numbers on the alarm clock by the bed. It’s two in the morning.


He drops his head, his eyes staring at the shadows of his covered legs. It’s two in the morning. He’s not in the studio with the guys - with Chester.


Chester isn’t here anymore, and he hasn’t been for months now.


“Damn,” Mike whispers, forcing back a tear as he feels Anna’s comforting hand on his back.



****


The kids are already gone to school. Anna is downstairs slicing up some more fresh fruit and lightly buttering some wheat toast. The idea of food isn’t appealing as Mike walks down their upstairs hall. His hair is freshly styled and still smells like his shower gel - bay rum and spice. His beard is trimmed to perfection, and so are his fingernails. He has a meeting with the guys today - the meeting. This the meeting where the biggest decision of their careers will be made - should they go forward as Linkin Park without Chester?


Mike’s chest hurts as he stops in the middle of the hallway, right by the little table that has a vase of flowers and an ugly doily that he’s always hated. There’s a mirror hanging above it - a cheesy art deco mirror that he used to think was cool, but now he wishes he could smash it.


He stares at his face - at the age lines and the way his dark eyes look a little less like his and a little more like a doll’s eyes. Lifeless. Sad. Hollow.


He adjusts the watch on his wrist and straightens his button down plaid shirt, and that’s when his eyes fall on the framed picture sitting by the flowers: him and Chester from last year at a birthday party. They’re sitting at a table, close together as they smile for the camera. Mike’s arm is slung around Chester’s neck, and the singer’s smile is wider and brighter than a rainbow on a stormy day.


Mike sniffs as the image of his dream floods his memory. They’ve already had meetings without Chester, but this one will be different. This one will decide if they go on or not. “Today’s the day,” he whispers to the picture. “We’ve already talked about it some, but there’s been no real decision.”


He goes quiet as he looks up and down the hall, but he’s totally alone. There’s a faint sound coming from downstairs, which he writes off as being the radio Anna plays in the kitchen when she’s cooking. He looks back at Chester.


“I just wish. . .I wish you were still here, but since that can’t happen, I wish you could give us a sign. Me a sign. Not that that could happen either.”


He lets out a frustrated deep breath. “I hate it that you’re not here to talk to me anymore.”


He purses his lips and rubs his face for a second, holding back what really wants to come out. “I had a dream about you last night. The first one in awhile. It’s been almost a month. . .we were dancing.”


Mike’s lips pull into a smile as he wipes a damp feeling from the corner of his eye. “And Brad was still being a nag,” he laughs. “You missed it. I mean, you were there, but you’re not here for me to tell you about it so we can laugh about it together. I miss that,” he adds, looking away from the photograph. “I miss laughing with you.”


Mike drops his head and decides the hardwood floors up here need to be repolished. Just one more thing for his to-do list. He straitens up and checks the time. “I got to go, Chaz,” he tells the photograph. “I have a slew of things to go do before the guys get here. They miss you,” he makes sure to tell the picture of Chester. “I miss you too. We all do.”


Mike looks down the hallway one last time before he whispers, “Give me a sign, Chaz. Let me know if this is okay to do without you or not. Every time I think I know what’s right, it feels wrong. I don’t want to make a mistake.”


He turns from the photo, ready to be on his way. There’s things to mail and things to pick up. Things to do on a list on his iPhone that he’ll check off as he goes. Mike gets three steps down the hall and then he turns back. He picks up the picture of his lost bandmate. “I’ll see you when I sleep,” he tells Chester. “But don’t wait so long next time to come and see me. Guess you’re still working on being punctual, even now.”


Something inside of Mike Shinoda brightens as he gives the picture a quick smirk before setting it down.


****


Brad looks at his watch. “Is it just me, or is it completely lame that he’s late for a meeting at his own house?” He looks around at his bandmates, but he gets no response. Joe is looking at his phone. Dave is picking at his shoe and Rob is staring out the patio door, looking like a kid who’s trying to figure out why the sky is blue.


Brad holds his breath for a minute before letting out an exaggerated sigh. “I’m not trying to nag,” he tells the group. “But today is kind of important. I mean. . .”


“We all know what today is,” Phoenix offers with no attitude in his voice. His eyes are soft as he acknowledges their guitarist. “He’ll be here. Anna said he got stuck in line at the post office.”


“I hate the post office,” Joe mumbles, not looking up from his phone.


A chorus of agreement goes around the room, just as the studio door opens and Mike walks in. But his walk quickly turns to a dance as he twirls around and pumps his fists in the air. “Oh yeah!” he shouts happily as he spins circles and shakes his hips. And then he breaks out the lame dance moves - Chester’s lame dance moves that he knows by heart.


He bounces around the room, claiming victory before he crashes into his chair behind his desk. He’s breathing hard, but he feels good. He feels alive. Even as his bandmates stare at him.


“What was that?” Brad asks, his face cracking a smile.


“I caught all the green lights,” Mike answers, not holding back his giddy grin. “All the way here - bam! Green every fuckin’ time.”


The guys all smirk as they hold in their laughs.


That’s when Mike sees the candy jar sitting on his desk. It’s full of green jelly beans. A new bag is sitting next to it, waiting to replace the icky ones Chester wouldn’t touch.


Mike picks up the fresh bag. He looks at the shiny, colorful package and remembers that he bought them over four months ago. They’ve actually been sitting on his desk for four long months. He squeezes the package for a moment, feeling the little beans inside and then he tosses them into the trashcan. He picks up the jar of green jelly beans and walks over to the bookcase by the window. He scoots a few records over and the little statue of a twisted music note to set the jar in the cleared space.


“Thanks, Chaz,” he whispers as his fingers linger over the jar. “Green lights mean go. I got it.”




*The End*

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