Category Linkin Park

Drown in ashes by vei

Stillborn. Into this state of being numb.


"It's perfect." Mike commented on the photos of a big house surrounded by snowy scenery that him and Joe were watching on the huge widescreen LCD monitor. "It's just what I wanted. You're good, Hahn."

"I've always been." Joe remarked with a small smile. "Lately, you just haven't been paying enough attention to notice anymore."

"Well..." Mike shrugged. "Maybe." He agreed reluctantly. The fingers of his right hand started to drum a fast beat on the desktop, his eyes still focused on the screen, even as he started humming some melody softly to himself. "Fuck, I need to note that down." He muttered, his consciousness registering what he was doing only with a slight delay.

"You've only started to notice us again now, that he's gone." Joe pointed out, turning the small video camera around in his hands. He had just gotten it right from Japan a week earlier. He still couldn't seem to be able to let it go even for a minute, enjoying the feel of the smooth plastic and its smell of electronics right out of the box. "Smile." He commanded, turning it on and pointing the lens at Mike's face experimentally.

"Idiot." Mike produced a brilliant smile to the camera before putting his hand over the lens, scribbling something which wasn't quite regular notes on a crumpled piece of paper with his other hand.

"I don't want him to come back." Joe stated selfishly, placing the camera on the desktop, the lens turned in Mike's direction, leaving it on which Mike didn't seem to be quite aware of with how he didn't care to keep on smiling. Good.

Joe was smelling some really good video material here. It was essential for the actors not to act as if it was all staged though. Well, not too much at least.

"We have no choice." Mike stated almost solemnly, not stopping to write even for a single while, his eyes on the piece of paper in front of him even while he was talking to Joe. He scribbled a neat little picture of Beretta Cougar under the notes and put it right in front of the Korean's eyes. "This, now."


Joe eyed the house on the photos briefly. The thought of snow and cold Norwegian weather was making him shiver with disgust. The mere thought of Chester was sickening him too, the bastard that he was. A gun sounded like an unsettling piece to add to that particular puzzle.

"I guess it'd be more convenient to buy it in a real life gun shop. Come on." Joe decided, standing up from his chair and taking the camera with himself. He walked to the door of the studio, waiting for Mike to follow.

Mike bent down to turn off the monitor before going, apparently still living out that false impression that he was a green activist and his stupid efforts were really making a difference. He'd always been a tad bit too idealistic for Joe's taste. Overall, he was always reluctant to settle with anything less than what he deemed to be perfect. There were times when it was grating on Joe's nerves and others when he saw it just as a cute quirk of his best friend.

Was he even still that at all, anyway ? Mike was best friends with many people and Joe was well aware of that. From Mike's side though, it was all Chester. Chester, Chester, Chester. Until a month ago, that's it.

"I guess I owe you an explanation." Joe spoke to the camera later that day, when they were back already from shopping for a gun, two Asians in big hoods casting shadows that were covering half their faces, the video camera in Joe's hands thrust right into the story clerks' faces. He thought they were looking really badass and he had the kind of fun he hadn't remembered having since college days really.

Shinoda did that to people, even just by shifting on his feet uneasily in front of the first gun shop they'd decided to pay a visit at, suddenly unsure if he even wanted to go through with this at all and damn intent on not admitting that. It made Joe laugh so hard.

Once they got the gun they were both excited like teenage boys. That they did to each other. They even raced to the Machine Shop Recordings building's front door. Mike won. Honestly, Joe wasn't surprised at all.

"I guess I owe you one indeed, dear spectators." Joe started again, clearing his throat, patting the camera on its side as if it was a small animal that needed to be assured that good ole' Joe was still around and going to feed it when the time came. "I'm Joe Hahn from Linkin Park. That chubby Korean guy who's sticking around in the background at times. Yeah, that's me. And that..." He unwrapped the gun from its paper wrapping with hands trembling with excitement. "...is one Beretta Cougar. Apparently, Mikey has been doing some research. This was drawn from memory." He thrust the earlier picture towards the camera lens, positioning it so it would be visible nicely. "He's good too, isn't he ?" He remarked enthusiastically. "You probably wonder why we're getting a gun and renting a villa in Norway at all. Well... You see, we have that plan. Mike has. The most crazy plans he has work out without a hitch, he's just talented like that. Honestly when I first met him and he said he wanted to have a rock band and make it real big, I thought he was not quite right in the head, but look at us now. Forty something fucking millions records sold. And we won't go down the drain now because Chester decided it's time for us to do so. It's not his decision to make." He pointed the gun at the camera lens experimentally. It lay well in one's hand, being on the very much compact side. "Hey, isn't it what Lara Croft uses too ?" He asked the thin air, looking at the gun in his hand curiously. "See. Chester left." He continued after a while. "But we're going to make him come back." He said, realizing his tone was turning sinister. "No matter what it takes."

Insert evil laughter here.


Scene 1

Cut 1/1

It's a room at Machine Shop Recordings, dubbed as Mike Shinoda's office for some unfathomable reason even though he's been inside it less than ten times in all his life. Even while the building's redecoration has taken place a few years ago, it still smells of novelty in here and the thick layer of dust at the desktop proves how rarely this room has been used indeed.

Mike's not an office type guy. If there's a recording studio nearby, he's infallibly drawn towards it and ends up spending all his time at the place there. It's all too visible he's feeling awkward in here. Or maybe it's Chester's doing that he's so uneasy, his arms crossed over his chest protectively and his lips pursed together.

There's something about his eyes that wasn't there before too. A trace of desperate melancholy over some things lost in the past that appeared with Chester announcing that he's quitting Linkin Park.

The former best friends and a pair of vocalists that maintained such a perfect sync on stage are pacing around each other like hurt predators now, defensively and aggressively all at the same time. It's grating on the nerves of the rest of the band, Phoenix is running a trembling hand through his unkempt mohawk, Rob's staring at them uneasily, his eyes travelling from one to the other and back, from one to the other.

The camera is trembling in Joe's hands. It's such a perfect moment.

"So ? Why was it so important for me to come here ?" Chester asks in a clearly passive-aggressive voice. He's looking stunning, as most of the time these days. There's something about him that's changed ever since his own solo project kicked off with such a great success. The vintage style of the renewed Linkin Park of Minutes to Midnight era didn't suit him much, it's apparent by now. He hasn't gone all goth, but there's definitely a prominent trace of that, something Mike wouldn't have allowed in Linkin Park, an all too apparent make-up, his hair dyed black, the lip piercing back. He's dressed all in black and there are chains clinking at his side again. "I don't have all time in the world for you guys." He's actually sounding annoyed.

It's as if they were back at the point when he's first joined the band. They don't know him and that whispered news of his late drug addiction and illegitimate children and a really shitty childhood make them almost not want to know him at all. Not to mention the all too obvious lack of a college diploma.

Now that they're on one side and he's on the other, they start to think their band has been merely wondrously stitched together and not that solid entity that they would've liked to see it as. And that makes them infallibly think of Mike, who's put himself as a buffer between each and every one of them.

They've been all thinking Mike was their best friend. Well, maybe Chester didn't. He's always had other friends and other things on his mind. A past, a present, a future. All of those without them. Once his solo album outsold Minutes to Midnight he announced there was no point anymore. And all hell broke loose.

"I want you to do something for us." Mike stops his pacing around the room to say that. His eyes are boring into Chester's and the other man actually looks away. There are times when he feels bad about having ruined his and Mike's friendship. There are others when he's thankful that he did, only now realizing how much it was smothering him for years now.

There are things Mike Shinoda doesn't accept and doesn't forgive. It's actually so unimaginable for him to get angry you just don't want him to and you watch out not to ever give him a reason to. It's a dire task, that's eating away at your very identity, one Chester has been fulfilling for years, molding himself into a person Mike could accept as his friend and only now realizing how much of him was being ripped off in that process of forming something Mike wanted off him.

"What kind of something ?" Chester asks uneasily, unwilling to have too much to do with them again. Now, that he's broken free. Now that he could decide himself about what he presented to the world.

"A recording session. Two weeks. In Norway. It'll be enough for us to get the material for the next Linkin Park album."

Chester starts laughing and doesn't stop, he's laughing so hard he has tears in his eyes.

"You're really funny there, Mike..." He utters finally. "We've spent two months laying down a few additional lines for the remix album you've fucking trashed. Two months I could have spent doing so much more important things. I don't have two weeks for you. What's about the phrase 'I quit' that the four of you don't get ?"

"There's the key man clause, Chester. Warner Bros. is going to sue us all out of all our money." Mike points out. "There's Brad. You can't just leave us like this."

"I will." Chester spits angrily, thinking about how much Mike's calm voice is grating on his nerves. "We will pay up if that's what it takes. I, for one, have enough money to afford quitting this band. And enough means to make more."

"The general public has only ever heard about you thanks to us."

"Well." Chester smirks. "It's been an equal opportunity for you at the very least. How is it my fault Fort Minor didn't turn out as big as you might have wanted ?"

"Fort Minor wasn't there to outshine Linkin Park."

"And guess why ?! That's because Linkin Park is your fucking band. I was just singing in it." Chester states carelessly and it's obviously hurting all of them. "I've realized it once I was out of it. It was all about you, your rules, your ideas, your striving for perfection. I'm fucking enjoying my freedom now and I won't give it up again."

"It's just two weeks. It's not your freedom." Mike spits out in a voice that sounds dangerously like rapping and not plain talking anymore.

"Fuck, no. How do you imagine that ? The promotion of that album ? The tours ? It won't fucking work."

"Actually, I've thought you may come to your senses once it will be done."

"You think I'm stupid, Shinoda ?! You think I'm up for convincing ? I've decided, you understand ?! And I'm happy with my decision. I will pay Warner Bros. once they sue us. But I don't owe you personally anything. I've sacrificed quite enough for you already."

They've been through that argument before. It's almost perfected by now. The points they make, the reactions they cause, the trajectory of Rob's eyes travelling over their faces and from one to the other. Everyone was shocked in the first moment when Chester announced he was quitting, but then it wore out. It seemed abrupt at first. A Minutes to Midnight remix album was in the works. Nobody really liked it. Mike tried to force something out of Chester to spice up the meager mess that it was, but that didn't work either.

They've had an argument. Or something of the kind. Which was big news in and out of itself because they've never, ever, had arguments before. And then Chester announced he was quitting, as if breaking out from under Mike's spell for once was all it took for him to realize how much he wanted to be permanently free from it. The astounding success of his solo record helped him to make the decision.

Brad crashing into a tree with his car didn't manage to convince him to come back. Warner's proposal of changed division of incomes didn't either.

All of them but Joe have been thinking how it was simply impossible for something like a demand of a two weeks long recording session to convince him to put up with them again. At least they have at first. Before the full extent of Mike's and Joe's plans became apparent to them through weeks of subtle hinting.

"Could you leave, guys ?" Mike turns to them and asks. It's the first time he's facing the camera dead on. He's still keeping his beard, but his hair is longer nowadays, spiked up half-heartedly, mostly sticking up of its own accord. He's dressed plainly, loose blue jeans and a black t-shirt.

They do leave, one by one. Joe's left the camera behind on the desk though, going unnoticed in the frenzy.

"What do you want ?" Chester asks once they're out, leaning back against the door that has closed behind them. He has so many better places to be at than here. So many better people to talk to right now, people who admire him for what he is and won't ever think about changing him or even attempting to rival his attitude and his charisma.

He's gotten rid of Sam because she treated him as if she knew some things better. Maybe he is getting rid of Mike for exactly the same reason.

"I told you what I want." Mike answers, taking slow steps in his direction. Chester takes a step in his direction as well, if only to show him he's ready to face anything he could possibly pull off. "It's just two weeks."

"Well, you're not getting even that." Chester shrugs. "Not everything is always going to be the way you'd like it to be, Mikey." He says in a tone one would speak in to a little child. "Life can't be all fair to anyone."

"What have we done wrong to make you quit ?"

"Well... Brad's grown a scary hair ?" Chester cracks a stupid joke. "We were turning shitty. I could do better on my own. Aren't those enough of reasons ?"

"I know how to make our next album truly worthwhile."

"You do ? Then make it. Off without me." Chester's voice is actually sounding daring. Well, he hasn't exactly thought of that before, but he's still pretty much sure that Linkin Park isn't going to record anything without him. If so, not so soon.

They've been indeed in a relatively deep shit. A band of that level suddenly unable to play ninety five percent of its songs live.

"I can only make it with you."

"Too bad."

By this time, Mike's breath is grazing his lips from a short distance. It's a card he hasn't played so far and suddenly it dawns on Chester why he's asked the others to leave the room.

It's been but a meaningless fling years ago, two nights during the Meteora world tour, nothing that'd be particularly on Chester's mind. Thinking back to it, he remembers faintly how he hasn't even enjoyed it all that much. As much as he's hoped for something meaningful, uniting with what he's presumed at the time to be his soul mate, all he's gotten was good old sex between friends with benefits. Mike wasn't particularly gentle at that, which startled him quite a bit. All in all, he's freaked out enough not to let it happen ever again.

"What are you trying to do ? Seduce me into coming back ?" He asks in a clearly amused voice. "Your charms are average at best. I could do much better if I wanted a man."

"Attempting to leave us is a really stupid thing to do, Chester." Mike's soft voice is trembling slightly.

There's something that's unsettling Chester about the possessiveness with which he traces his jaw with his calloused thumb. It makes him think back to the really old times and he doesn't like it one bit. Mike has that anger burning in his eyes all too visible from that short a distance, a petty anger of a kid who has his favorite toy taken away. Chester hates it. He hates Mike for not smiling like he's been all this time and displaying all these fucking different emotions he's not really meant to show.

It's distorting his image in Chester's head and he starts to think he doesn't even know him all that well and after all these years he doesn't recognize him anymore at the moment when he draws the gun out and puts it to the side of Chester's head, the barrel ice cold where it's touching his skin.

Holy shit.

From that moment on it doesn't go the way Chester has planned it at all.

"We're going to Norway." Mike announces calmly, a small smile appearing on his lips when Chester nods tentatively when he pushes the barrel harder against the side of his head. For some reason, Chester's damn sure the gun is loaded and he doesn't feel like attempting to check that at all. "Don't worry. I'll return you to your life without us in two weeks. We will be done with you by that time."

"You're fucking insane." Chester whispers, his throat constricted with fear. There's something about Mike's thoroughness with certain things that makes him feel he would've really shot him if he tried to protest. Mike's clearly on a roll. He has a great idea again.

And there's not much that's going to stop him from making it reality.

"You are insane yourself. Attempting to leave your band..."

The dull thud of the gun's barrel colliding with Chester's skull resounds inside the room.

Mike moves his unconscious body out of the way with his foot before opening the door.

"Come on, guys."

Joe and Rob hurry back inside, one to retrieve his precious camera he can't stand being apart from, the other helping out with pulling Chester back up to his feet, the uncertain expression on his face the only sign of anguish he's being through. Mike's certainty about this helps him to go through with that though. Phoenix stays behind, the passive observer being the only role he's feeling ready to assume in that.

The camera in Joe's hands moves over Chester's unconscious face, his teeth gritted in pain and a small trickle of blood flowing down the side of his face.

Mike fishes Chester's cell phone out of his pocket and gets down to writing a text message to Talinda, attempting to imitate Chester's babbling style of writing text messages while letting her know he's going to Norway with them. Back with Linkin Park, one last final fucking time.

"So far, dear spectators, everything's going according to the plan." Joe says to the camera, having stayed behind when they moved on, hauling Chester along down the corridor. "That's it for now though. See you in Norway." He says before turning the camera off, the all too obvious excitement making his tanned cheeks blush slightly.

He fucking loves Mike a lot for coming up with that in the first place. He's not aware yet that there are portions of Mike's plan even he wouldn't have liked all that much though.

The betrayal hurts Mike a lot, maybe more so than anything else has ever before. The pain's making him restless and he's fucking missing Chester so much it's like a constant itch. His band crumbling around him doesn't help anything one bit.

And he realizes with a start he doesn't have it in himself to do anything else than bite right back.



The title and chapters' titles courtesy of Celtic Frost's `Monotheist`.

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