Lynn opened the garage door and grabbed her skateboard, wanting to dedicate this Saturday to practicing her tricks. A few others had also come out front, one of them being Lincoln who grabbed his scooter. Lynn skated up and down the side walk, performing Ollies and other such tricks while Lincoln was content to just race up and down it.
"Hey bro check this out!"
After making sure her brother was looking she performed a series of tricks that eventually landed her in the middle of the street without her even noticing.
"How was that? Pretty awesome huh?"
Lincoln's eyes turned wide as he shouted,
Lincoln rushed and pushed Lynn down, her head hitting the street. She closed her eyes and held her head, not hearing the loud thump that had occurred.
"Hey Lincoln what was that for-"
She opened her eyes and and saw a car stopped in front of her.
"What? Lincoln?" Said Lynn as she got up.
She slowly walked over to the other side of the car and saw her only brother face down on the street. The woman standing above him was on her cell phone.
"Hello 911? I need to report an emergency!"
"B-Bro?" Lynn was starting to tear up as she put her hand on his shoulder.
He didn't move.
Meanwhile the rest of the family rushed out of the house and huddled around Lincoln. Their Mom was hysterical, crying and shaking her son. Not too long after, an ambulance had driven up. During all of this, Lynn just stood there; there were too many thoughts running through her head; one stood out though.
"Did I just kill my brother?"
As soon as that one crossed her mind, she shattered. She clung to her Dad, sobbing and apologizing.
"I'm sorry! It was my fault!"
Her Dad just gently shushed her, trying to get her to calm down. All of the girls were crying, but Lynn looked positively destroyed.
"C'mon let's get in the car, we're going to follow the ambulance to the hospital. Your Mother is already riding in it so we'll meet her there."
All of them hurried into the car, all of them crying. Lynn had stopped bawling loudly though. She just sat in the car, rocking back and forth and quietly crying. All she wanted was for her brother to be alright. She couldn't stand the thought of losing him. If it wasn't for her, this wouldn't have happened. She kept blaming herself over and over again, all the way to the hospital.
At the hospital...
By the time Lynn and the others had arrived at the hospital Lincoln had already been admitted into a room. The first one out the car door was Lynn as she rushed to the front desk. She could think of nothing else but the desire to see her little brother, she needed to see him and make sure that he was alive. She approached the desk clerk and said in a pleading tone,
"I need to see my little brother, Lincoln Loud. What room is he in?"
By the time she had asked her Dad had caught up and took hold of the conversation.
"It's okay sweetie, Dad will take care of this."
"Hi I'm Lincoln Loud's father, can you tell me what room he is in?"
The nurse looked at her computer, checking the database. She looked up and said with a somewhat apologetic tone,
"I'm sorry he's still in the ER at the moment. Once he's received emergency treatment he'll be admitted into a room. For now you'll need to sit in the waiting room until he's released."
"Alright, thanks. C'mon Lynn, let's find a seat." Said the Dad as he took Lynn by the hand. As he looked into her teary eyes, he knew that she needed some support. "You can sit next to me."
Lynn just sniffled and wiped her eyes, though there were still tears lingering.
They managed to find the Mom who was sitting in a relatively open row and sat next to her, with the remaining girls in tow. The Dad held onto Lynn, stroking her hair to comfort her. He looked at her and asked her the question that she was trying to avoid for fear of breaking down again.
"Now Lynn, I need you to calmly tell me, what happened?"
Lynn really didn't want to remember what happened. She just wanted to forget everything. As she remembered, she could just see Lincoln face as he pushed her down. She remembered closing her eyes and hitting the street, but she could not remember the car at all. But she remembered finding Lincoln flat on the ground, oh how she didn't want to remember that. The moment that it flashed in her mind, it was like her heart shattered all over again. She began to tear up and as she tried to speak, she kept choking on her words.
"L-Lincoln and I... We were playing in the front yard... I-I was practicing tricks... But I stayed on the sidewalk! I promise! But... I-I I ended up in the middle of the street after one. I didn't even notice, but Lincoln did..."
As she finished that last sentence, she was quivering; it was taking all of her strength just to finish this story.
"I remember... I remember... He pushed me down... I-I didn't know why, B-but h-he saved me... I closed my eyes and hit my head. When I opened my eyes I just saw a c-car. I didn't see Lincoln until I... I... I looked on the o-other side and I saw him!"
Her strength had run out. She couldn't keep her composure anymore. Breaking down again, she clung onto her Dad again. She tried to finish her story while sobbing.
"I tried to wake him up! He didn't move! He didn't move at all! I wanted him to move! I wanted him to be okay!"
By this time the Dad was also crying as he hugged Lynn, trying to tell her that it was okay; that Lincoln was going to be okay. The Mom was busy trying to console the others but waiting to be called to the desk. It had been what felt like hours until the Mom was called, the clerk telling her what room he was in. She made her way back to the rest of the family,
"Okay it looks like Lincoln's going to be okay, but he's pretty hurt. They are going to keep him here for a while. They told me what room he's in, so we can go visit him. Lynn? Do you want to go first?"
Lynn just looked up at her Mom and nodded tearfully as she stood up and took her mother's hand. The two walked through the halls and took the elevator to the second floor. The Mom assumed that Lynn had already told the story to the Dad and didn't want to make go through the pain of telling it again; she would just hear it from him. After walking for a bit, they finally made it to Lincoln's room. As they approached him, Lynn felt such conflicted emotions. On the one hand, seeing her brother alive lifted so much sadness from her heart; the worry that she could have killed him had been alleviated. But on the other hand, Lincoln was in pretty bad shape. Just from looking at him, she could tell that he had some severe bruising and some broken bones; seeing him in such a painful state because of her broke her heart. She still couldn't help but cry, blaming herself over and over again.
Lincoln was currently asleep, unaware that Lynn was watching over him even as she gently grabbed his hand. As she watched him, she felt guilt that seemed to choke the life out of her. Everything else in her life became irrelevant; the only thing that mattered was seeing her brother wake up. The longer she looked at him, the harder it became to hold the tears back.
"I'm sorry Lincoln... I'm so sorry... Please wake up..."
Even though the other sisters had come and gone through the room to see him, she always stayed by his side. By the time that all the sisters had their turns it had gotten late; she couldn't afford to stay out anymore. Lynn didn't care about any of that though; all that mattered was her brother. Unfortunately for her, her Mom had gently grabbed her shoulder.
"Come on Lynn, it's time to go. I know you want to stay with your brother but we have to go."
"B-But I need to stay with him. I have to stay with him! Lincoln! Lincoln please wake up..." Lynn could barely choke out her words as the crying began again. She couldn't stand the thought of being separated from him. Crying, she ran up to Lincoln and hugged him before her mother, who was also crying, had to pull her away from him. Lynn continued to protest until they were out in the hallway. There was nothing she could do; she had to go home. The two of them met up with the rest of the family and huddled into the car in silence. All of them wore faces that looked completely disconnected, lost in worry about their brother. Lynn most of all was completely oblivious to anything around her; her mind was empty save for thoughts of Lincoln.
They arrived back home, picking up some fast food along the way. The Mom didn't really have it in her to cook and it was late, eating out was just the simplest of options. They brought the bags in and divided up the meals, both tables eating in a depressing silence. Even Lily, just 15 months old, seemed out of energy. Lynn barely had it in her to eat at all, she had maybe a third of her meal and pushed the food away.
"I-I'm just not hungry. Can I be excused?"
The parents looked at each other and non-verbally debated on whether or not she had to finish her meal. Taking the day's events into account, they excused her. She slumped out of her seat and made her way upstairs to brush her teeth and get ready for bed. By the time the rest of the family had finished their food, Lynn was already in bed, though not sleeping. How could she possibly sleep after today?
Meanwhile the rest of the family gathered around in the living room.
"Now kids, we have to be really careful about what we say around Lynn. She already feels bad enough as it is, saying anymore will just make it worse. And under NO circumstances will you tell her that it is her fault. If I hear you telling her that it is, I will ground you for three months."
All of the kids had a very serious look on their faces, almost scared at their Dad. They knew that their Dad could put his foot down when it was needed, but this was a new level of seriousness. Lori and Luna were probably the only ones who really knew why telling Lynn that it was her fault would have such a grave consequence. Lynn was at a very fragile state and a statement like that could easily push her over the edge.
"I'll make sure that none of them say anything like that. You hear that? NO blaming. Understand?" said Lori.
All of them gave an understanding nod.
Now that that was over with, the Dad skooshed them upstairs.
"Alright girls, get ready for bed. Either your Mom or I will go visit Lincoln if anyone wants to go tomorrow."
As they all walked up stairs and got ready for bed, the Loud house was very quiet. The tomfoolery that was ever present normally was now non-existent. All of the sisters were too busy worrying about Lincoln and to a lesser extent, Lynn. All of them turned out their lights and fell to sleep, except for Lynn. No matter how hard she tried to sleep, she couldn't help but see Lincoln push her out of the way; it was like she was reliving it over and over again. She finally did manage to rest after a few restless hours...
A sunny day...
Lynn found herself in a strange city; it was definitely not any city she'd been to. She was standing on the sidewalk near an intersection, unaware of what was going on.
"Come on Lynn, let's roll!"
Lynn gasped, she knew that voice; she'd know it anywhere. She looked back and saw Lincoln who was riding on a skateboard, looking perfectly healthy. Upon seeing him she immediately began to cry tears of joy. She rushed over and hugged him as hard as she could.
He felt so real. She was so sure.
"Whoa, whoa what's up Lynn? Why are you crying?"
"Hmm? Oh no, it's just, I'm really happy to see you Lincoln." said Lynn as she wiped the tears from her eyes and smiled.
"What are you talking about? I've been right next to you the entire time! Now come on, I'll race you to the next intersection!"
Lincoln hopped onto his board and began skating down the sidewalk. Not about to be beat, Lynn had stepped on to her board and- Wait, when did she get this skateboard? Well no matter, she raced him down a sidewalk that seemed to stretch for miles. The speed, the exhilaration, and most of all seeing her brother; she couldn't be happier. Both of them jump over obstacles, doing tricks and grinding on rails. She felt completely free from any doubts and worries. It was just Lincoln and her, skating down an endless sidewalk happily.
The finally reach the end though, coming up to a crosswalk. She was determined to win, she was neck and neck with Lincoln; but Lincoln had proved the victor. She managed to stop before crossing into the sidewalk, but Lincoln didn't stop until he was in the middle of it.
She thought nothing of it though; she was having a blast spending time with her brother.
"Woohoo! I win!"
"Ha-ha Okay you got me bro, now come on I'll beat you in the next race!"
"Alright I'm comin-" Lincoln didn't even get a chance to finish his sentence before a large truck had swept right in front of him. Lynn watched in horror as time began to move to a crawl. She jumped off her board, trying to run to him, but her feet felt like they weighed several hundred pounds. She screamed for him as the truck crept closer and closer to him. She couldn't make it in time, she was too slow. WHY WAS EVERYTHING SO SLOW!? She struggled and wished that she could move and time would be normal. But instead she watched as the truck slowly tapped Lincoln's shoulder and when it did, time seemed to snap back to normal. She watched as the truck changed from going to what she saw as 1/2 MPH to 80 as soon as it hit Lincoln. Lincoln flew up into the sky like a rag doll, Lynn watching and running to catch him. She still wasn't fast enough though, and Lincoln hit the street with a loud crack. She rushed over to him, finally able to hold his bloody, dying body. She sobbed as she held on to him.
"D-Don't worry Lincoln! The ambulance is coming! You just gotta' hold on! Please hold on!" said Lynn hysterically.
Lincoln managed to lift his arm up weakly, placing it on Lynn's face, saying,
"It's okay Lynn... I protected you... You're my sister..."
Lynn was baffled by what he said. Protected her? From what? She wasn't anywhere near the street! She could see the lights in Lincoln's eyes start to flicker. She start to shake him, he can't die. He can't!
"Lincoln? Lincoln stay with me! Lincoln! Wake up Lincoln! WAKE UP! Please... Just... Wake up... Please..." Lynn just squeezed him as she sobbed onto him.
Then a car horn was heard. She looked behind her and a car, the same one from that day, suddenly appeared in front of her. Just as it was about to hit her, she awoke. She woke up, covered in sweat, looking around her room. Even though it was just a dream it felt so real. She put her head against her knees and just cried.
"Please be alright Lincoln... Please..."
The next day...
Lynn, Leni, Luna, and their Mom decided that they would go visit Lincoln and see how he was doing. Lynn tried her best to keep her eyes open as they drove to the hospital; she had barely gotten any sleep. Seeing Lynn in such a state broke her Mother's heart, there was nothing that she could do for her little girl. She wished that there was something that she could say, something that she could do to help her, but there wasn't anything that she could do to absolve the guilt that Lynn felt; she just wanted her kids to be alright. All of them save for Lynn, who kept nodding off, stared out the window, looking distant. Even Leni, who was always happy, showed a look that was extremely rare for her, a look of depressive contemplation and reflection. All of them played their memories of Lincoln in their head, pondering what life would be like if he was gone. As they thought about that reality, their hearts sank deeper and deeper; a future without Lincoln felt so empty and cold. While Lynn did have the guilt that crushed her, she wasn't alone in her desire to see her brother alive and well; they all loved him dearly.
They finally pulled into the hospital parking lot and found a spot, parking in it and stepping out of the car. It was a cold and cloudy day; the sun was barely shining through the thick clouds and the sky was stained gray, the breeze feeling sharp. Lynn shuddered a bit at the wind, leaning against her Mother as they walked into the hospital. As they walked in, the Mom told the girls to find a place to sit while she talked to the desk clerk. They looked for a bit and found four free chairs and sat down, not a smile to be seen on their faces. It wasn't long before the Mom came back and mentioned that they could go see him. She also mentioned that it was okay for all of them to see him at once as opposed to last night; 12 people were just too many.
They all got up and made their way to the elevator, Lynn leaning up against her Mother's side. As she did this, the Mom put her hand on Lynn's shoulder and held her. Even though there wasn't anything that she could say to help Lynn's guilt, she could at least be next to her and comfort her. The elevator opened and they walked down the halls for a little bit before coming to Lincoln's room. Lynn's state of exhaustion allowed her to be calmer, since she didn't have the energy to be hysterical like the night before. That being said, it didn't stop her or any of the others from crying as he came into view. Luna and Leni sat down, letting Lynn be the first to be next to him.
Seeing him was painful. She wanted to say so many things, but since he was sleeping it would fall on deaf ears. She took her brother's hand and held it up against her forehead, closing her eyes and crying. The Mom had to do all she can from breaking down as she watched this happen between her two kids; seeing both Lynn and Lincoln like this tore at her heart like nothing else ever had. Through Lynn's tears were soft apologies, her wishing that she could go back and change things. Knowing though that she had to let go sometime, she put her brother's hand down and let Leni see him next.
Now it was Leni's turn to watch her little brother, still bruised and broken from the accident, sleep quietly. She walked over to him, wishing that she could give him a hug for being so brave. As she stared at him, she began to think about what life would be like if she could never see him again. Her little brother, the one that was always so dependable, the one that was always there for her or any of their sisters. She began to think of all the Christmases, all the Halloweens, all the Thanksgivings, all of those holidays, what would they be like if he wasn't there? She couldn't bear the thought and couldn't hold the tears any longer, loudly sobbing. She didn't want a life without Lincoln; none of them wanted a life without him. She couldn't look at him any longer; she covered her eyes and sat back down, crying her eyes out.
Finally it was Luna's turn. She walked up to him and softly ran the back of her hand down the side of Lincoln's face. She always felt like she had a special connection to him, more than any of the other sisters. She began to flashback to her at the age of seven, practicing with her guitar in front of Lincoln, who was always so happy when she played. She loved to play for him and he loved to listen to her. Tears ran down her face as she remembered all those times that she had played for him; all those happy memories. She wanted to play for him; at least one more time. She kissed the top of his head and sat back down.
The Mom stroked his hair, tears falling onto his bed; she couldn't be strong in front of the girls any longer. There was no way that she could after what she had just seen. The feeling of seeing her little boy lay there in a coma, according to the doctor and unbeknownst to the kids and seeing her girls cry like that was a feeling that she wished on no one. She sat at his bedside, watching him sleep, hoping that he would wake up. She wanted to see him open his eyes and tell her that he loved her. She wanted to hear her son say that.
But he couldn't. Not right now.
They spent some more time watching him before the Mom decided that it was time to go home. As much as she wanted to sit by Lincoln's side until he woke up, she still had to be a mother to her 10 other children.
"Well I think it's time we head home; we can see Lincoln again tomorrow." Said the Mother, wiping the tears from her eyes as she stood up from her chair.
"Shouldn't we at least wait until Lincoln wakes up?" said Luna.
Well it was about time that she told them about the exact nature of Lincoln's condition. She decided it would be best to do it after they had left the hospital in order to avoid making a big scene; she wasn't sure how they would take the news. She had to throw something out to get them to agree to leave.
"I still have to make dinner, plus you girls still have school tomorrow so we can't be out here too late."
All three of the girls begrudgingly agreed and followed their Mom out of the hospital and into the car. Now that they were strapped in and ready to leave, she thought that now would be the time to tell them. She worried though; they were so relieved to see Lincoln alive, how would they take the news that he can't wake up? Of course the one she feared the most for was Lynn, who was already so traumatized by what had happened. Still, she felt like they deserved an answer. She started the car and began to pull out of the lot. Ready to tell them, she opened her mouth but held her tongue as she saw Lynn, her head turned toward the hospital. The Mom bit her lip, unable to say the words she wanted. All of them wanted to say something to break the stagnant atmosphere that had permeated the car; the girls wanting to ask if Lincoln was really alright and the Mom wanting to tell them that he was comatose. Those words were never spoken though, and another silent car ride was to be had. They finally arrived home, walking through the door and meeting the other girls, all looking at them expectantly.
"So is Lincoln gonna' be okay?" Said the twins in unison, looking worried.
"Yeah, he was sleeping just fine when we saw him." Said Luna, trying to assure them.
"So how is Lincoln doing?" Said the Dad in a hushed tone as he walked over to the Mom.
"The doctor said he's stable, but they don't know when he'll wake up... Plus I think it's time we told them..."
"Are you sure?"
The Mom offered a simple nod as they turned to face the kids.
"Kids, it's time for a family meeting. We have something to tell you."
All of the kids sat on the couch, watching their Mom and Dad.
"There's something you don't know about how Lincoln is doing." Said the Dad, looking as if he was trying to force the words out.
"Luna, when you asked if we could stay until Lincoln woke up, I wanted to tell you this, but I wanted to wait until we were home to tell you all."
"Tell us what?" Said Luna.
"We don't know when Lincoln is going to wake up." Said the Dad.
"Wait, what?" Said Lynn, her eyes going wide at the news.
"The doctor said that his life isn't in danger, but they can't get him to wake up. He's in a coma."
As soon as the Mom said those words, all of the girls' faces changed to one of shock and sorrow. All of them, save for Lana, Lola, and Leni knew exactly what being in a coma was; and the other three understood the concept of 'unable to wake up' well enough.
"You mean we don't know when Lincoln is coming home?" said Lori, who had shut her phone off before they sat down.
"No, we don't. He could wake up tomorrow, or it could be months or even years until he wakes up; we don't know."
"But who's going to listen to my songs?" Exclaimed Luna, starting to tear up again.
"Yeah and who's going to come to my tea parties?" said Lola, on the verge of tears.
"Who's going to read my poems..." said Lucy, a few tears running down from her obscured eyes.
"Who's going to listen to my jokes?" said Luan, who was starting to panic internally.
"Who elthe ith going to be able to comprehend all the different theoriths and formulaths that I write?" Said Lisa, her normally apathetic demeanor shattered.
Soon Lily, who wasn't even able to properly understand what was going on, started to cry. The Mom picked her up, shushing her softly and gently bouncing her.
The news that because of her, her brother might never wake up; set Lynn on a path of guilt and tears yet again. As she began to sob hysterically, the Dad ran over and hugged her tightly, wishing that there was something that he could do to help her.
"I just want Lincoln to come home Dad..." Said Lynn, choking the words out between the sobs.
"Shhh, Shhh... I know... I want him to come home too..." Said the Dad, stroking his daughter's hair as tears ran down his face. This was hard on all of them, the Dad definitely included.
Lynn's words pierced all of them; she had said what all of them were thinking. They wanted Lincoln home and the thought that he might never come home shattered their hearts. All of the girls started to cry, the little ones holding on to their Mom while Luan, Leni and Lori had huddled against their Dad; it was a day that none of the Loud children would ever forget.
The night soon came; and what a cold, hopeless night it was. While Lola and Lana had already passed out after crying to the point of exhaustion, the others lay on their beds and stared at their ceiling. All of them wondered the same thing: "When is Lincoln going to come home?" They wondered how many birthdays he would miss, how many graduations, how many milestones that were to be had in this family. All of them tossed and turned, trying to put their mind to rest but to no avail. They all cried softly at times during the night, but one sister seemed to cry more often than any of the others; Lori. Leni, while she had definitely cried, noticed that Lori's cries were not soft, just muddled. Lori was doing all she could to not sob and wake the house up; she covered her mouth and cried into her pillow. How long will it be before she can apologize to Lincoln? If she had known that something like this was going to happen to him, she would have thought differently before having that conversation. But now, there was no telling how long it was going to be; she didn't know when she would get to say those words,
The morning came as the Loud kids shambled out of their rooms lethargically; it was obvious that none of them had rested well. There were no hijinks, no familial chaos, it all had disappeared. They all got ready for school and as they assembled at the doorway, Lori looked up the stairs, wishing that she could see Lincoln walk down them and say that he's ready for school. Her eyes watered as she looked away from the stairs, the noticing the rest of the girls staring at her, also with sad looks upon their faces.
"I just miss Lincoln alright? Now let's just get in the stupid car..."
As they walked out the door, Lori couldn't help but look back one more time at the stairs. She closed the door and hopped in the car along with the rest of the children and drove all of them to school. All of them arrived at their respective schools and we all met with what felt like half-hearted condolences from their peers. From Lola and Lana, who were in elementary, to Lori, who was in high school, none of the kids were really in the classroom. All of them sat there, their teachers' words sounding like white noise. There was now a huge void in all of the Louds' lives, and it was something that they had to get used to, at least until Lincoln wakes up. The adjustment would not be easy, and none of the children wanted to accept a life without Lincoln.
Lori in particular, had her mind full of Lincoln. She had always heard or watched stories where someone would say something that they didn't mean to a loved one, only to have that loved one die. Then that person has to live with the fact that the last thing they said to one they loved was something that they would regret forever. For some reason, she never took stock in those stories, maybe because she thought that such a thing would never happen to her. But it did happen; and now she had to live with the knowledge that the last exchange between her and Lincoln was,
"It seems like everything I do makes you mad Lori!"
"Well MAYBE everything you do DOES make me mad!"
"Really? That's what you're gonna' say? Well then maybe I shouldn't be your brother anymore!"
How could she say such a thing over something so petty? How could she say such words, knowing that she'd never be able to them back? Now she might never be able to apologize and say that she was sorry, she might never be able to say that he would always be her brother, no matter what. It kept tearing at her throughout the school day, her unable to focus on anything at all. She barely heard enough of her lecture to know what she'd have to read in order to catch up on what she had missed. But before that, she needed to see Lincoln; she had to see him. The class dismissed as Lori put away her things and zipped up her backpack. As she walked out of the school, Bobby had found her ran towards her.
"Hey sweetie, I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to Lincoln. I'm right here for you." Said Bobby as he hugged her, to which she did not reciprocate. She just averted her eyes and meekly spoke,
"I know you are babe, but, I just need some time alone. I...I Gotta' go pick up the kids from school..."
Bobby was not content with her words though, lifting her chin up gently.
"I know you're trying to be strong for the other kids Lori, but you don't have to be that strong around me. I can be strong for you."
Lori smiled, this is why she loved Bobby; whenever she would feel overwhelmed or crushed, he was always there to hold her up and stand next to her. But not this time; this time she had to face it on her own.
"Thanks Hun, I know you can." Said Lori as she hugged onto Bobby tightly.
She said goodbye before hopping into the car and picking up the other kids. Their expressions were no different from when they were dropped off; Lori figured that they spent their day in a similar manner to her's. The car ride was yet again silent until finally it was broken by Lola,
"I want Lincoln home..."
Those words seemed to twist a knife that was in all of their hearts. All of their expressions became pained as they tried to abate the whirlwind of emotions that were welling up inside all of them. Then Lana spoke,
"When do you think Lincoln is going to wake up?"
This simple question didn't simply twist the knife, it gouged their hearts.
"Didn't you hear Mom and Dad? They don't know when he's going to wake up..." said Lynn, her voice trembling as emotions were boiling over.
"Yeah... I know... But when do YOU-"
"I DON'T KNOW ALRIGHT? I DON'T KNOW WHEN HE'S GOING TO WAKE UP FROM AN ACCIDENT I PUT HIM IN, SO DON'T ASK ME!" Yelled Lynn as she turned around to face the twins.
"LYNN, KNOCK IT OFF! WE'RE ALL MISSING HIM OKAY!?" Now Lori's emotions were boiling over.
Lynn looked around the car and noticed everyone one else looked as if they were trying to contain themselves. It sobered Lynn a bit; she was so engrossed with her own guilt that she didn't really notice just how devastated they all were. As Lynn calmed down, she looked at the twins, who seemed like they were ready to wail if she spoke another word. She slumped down in her seat and weakly apologized as she hung her head in shame. They arrived home, all of them emotionally exhausted. When they entered the door they found their Mom and Dad sitting in the living room, who seemed to have been waiting for them. They looked at each other before looking back to the kids,
"We'll let you take your stuff upstairs, but after that I'm going to go see Lincoln. Does anyone want to come with me?" said the Dad.
Lori didn't even wait until she took her things upstairs;
"I want to go. I want to see Lincoln."
"Well alright then, go upstairs and put away your backpack, does anyone else want to come with me and Lori?"
"We wanna see Lincoln!" Exclaimed the twins.
"Okay then. Lori, Lola, and Lana are going with me. Your Mom's already cooking dinner so don't snack on anything. I'll be in the car while you put your backpacks away."
At the hospital...
The three girls and their Dad walked into the hospital, the girls finding seats to wait in while the Dad went up to the desk. As she sat in the waiting room, Lori's mind raced. Soon she'd be able to see Lincoln and tell him the things that she wished she had said before. She grew nervous and distraught with herself as she dwelt on her thoughts of what to say. Lola and Lana were sitting to next to her, both too concerned with Lincoln to even fight like they usually do. Lola leaned up against Lori, hanging onto her for support. Lori placed her hand on Lola's head and stroked her hair, similar to what their mother would do. Shortly after, the Dad appeared and motioned for them to follow.
They reached Lincoln's room and found him just as the other sisters had; asleep and connected to vital monitors. Lori covered her mouth and looked away; it was hard enough to see him the first time when he was bruised and battered, but the fact that he was comatose made this time just as difficult, if not more. Lori decided to let the twins see him first as they walked up towards him; both of them had tears in their eyes. Being only six years old, Lola and Lana didn't have the same will as someone like Luna or Leni, so it was hard for them to contain their feelings. Lana was doing all she could not to just jump on the bed and hug him, while Lola just held onto his arm and cried.
"We miss you Lincoln, please wake up and come home..." said Lana.
"When you come home, we can have the biggest tea party ever... I'll invite everyone... It'll be the best one ever... C-Cause you'll be there..." Said Lola, her voice cracking.
"C'mon Lincoln, wake up. Please wake up..." Said Lana, who had grabbed onto Lincoln's side and started to gently shake him. She knew full well that it wasn't going to work, but she felt like she had to try.
"Wake up Lincoln! Wake up! C'mon we gotta' go to Lola's tea party!" She began to shake him furiously, losing control of her emotions. The Dad had to get up and grab her, picking her up and holding her tightly as she cried.
"I'm going to take to Lola and and Lana outside for a bit to let them calm down okay?"
"Okay Dad, I'll just stay here with Lincoln..."
The Dad left the room and now it was just her and Lincoln. The time was finally here for her to express her feelings. She walked up next to him and clutched his hand. She just watched him for a little bit and stroked his hair, tears welling up. It took a while, but she finally found her voice,
"I-I'm sorry Lincoln. I said some really mean things to you..."
She paused, almost hoping to see some kind of response.
"B-But I want you to know... I didn't mean them! I just... I just say things sometimes..."
Her voice was starting to fade as she struggled to speak.
"B-But you're my brother. You'll always be my brother and I'll always be your sister... So please... Just, wake up... I miss you Lincoln... Please don't leave your big sister like this... I-I'll never ask you to do my l-laundry, o-or make me snacks or b-be my footstool... I-I'll even go easy on you when we play games..."
But the silence she had received broke her. She fell to her knees and held her head to Lincoln's chest, sobbing.
"J-Just come home Lincoln! Please! D-Don't leave me... Don't leave your big sister..."
She lifted her head and stood up, wiping her tears away. As she went to sit back down, the Dad along with Lola and Lana had come back in. The twins had calmed down, but they still looked somber.
"We're gonna' get going here in a second; it's getting late."
Lola and Lana walked over to Lincoln, both of them placing a hand on him. They weren't tall enough to hug him, so just touching him would have to suffice.
"Bye Lincoln... We miss you..." Said Lola.
"Come home soon..." Said Lana.
As the twins walked away, it was Lori's turn to say goodbye. She had finally said what she wanted to say, but it still felt somewhat empty; she knew that she'd have to carry that feeling until he awoke.
"Bye Lincoln..." said Lori as she walked up next to him, tearing up.
The kids walked over to the door and waited for their Dad to follow. He still had to say goodbye though, and it was harder than they thought for him. Yes Lincoln was their sister, but he was also his Dad's only boy. That didn't mean that he didn't love his daughters any less, but there was always a special bond between him and Lincoln that just couldn't be had with them. He watched him for a bit, holding in his tears to stay strong for his daughters. On the inside though, he could feel his heart being torn apart. He had to leave his little guy all alone in a hospital for who knows how long. He inhaled sharply and he gently ruffled his son's hair.
"I'm gonna' come back soon champ okay? Your Dad isn't going to leave you by yourself..."
He turned around to face the girls and they saw it clear as day. They saw their Dad trying his hardest to keep a straight face. They knew that he was barely holding on. Seeing their Dad so broken yet trying so hard to keep it together for his family only deepened their sadness. As he was walking, the twins met him halfway as they hugged onto his legs, trying to give him support. Lori as well walked over and squeezed him, hoping that she could do something to alleviate the pain that he was enduring. The Dad hugged Lori for a bit as well as placing his hands on top of the twins' heads. He regained some of his composure and the four left the hospital.
As they were driving, Lori looked over to her Dad. Though he wasn't as bad as he was when he saw Lincoln, she knew that this was taking a toll on him. It was hard for Lori to watch; her Dad was always so strong. That strength had always been there for Lori when she was having a tough time and to see that strength start to crumble away was heartbreaking. The Dad knew that he had to be strong for the family, but it was hard. It was hard to look at his boy, who might never wake up, and not cry. But he had to be the rock; he had to be the one that the girls could hold onto while they cried.
They arrived home late at night; the other girls were already getting ready for bed. The Dad put his key into the door and opened it, seeing only the Mom sitting in the living room.
"Alright it's late; Lola, Lana, Lori, go on upstairs and get ready for bed, you still have school tomorrow."
They nodded, but before they walked up the stairs they ran over to their Mom and held onto her, wanting comfort. The Mom quietly shushed the soft sobs that were coming from the girls. After they broke away they walked up the stairs and got ready for sleep.
Once they made sure the kids were upstairs and out of earshot, the Mom said,
"It's over for today, you can stop being strong."
The Dad looked up the stairs one more time just to check, and when he made sure that they were in bed, he latched onto his wife. He was shaking as he cried into her shoulder, finally able to release the pain that he had to hold in through the entire hospital visit. She held onto him as tight as he held onto her and sobbed in turn.
"He's gonna be okay isn't he? He's gonna wake up right?" Said the Dad.
"Yeah... Yeah, he's gonna be just fine. He's gonna' wake up and you guys can go fish, or go to a baseball game, or do whatever you guys want to do..." Said the Mom tearfully.
They stood there in the middle of the living room, in each other's arms, holding the other up as they cried...
The next day...
The next day proceeded almost exactly how the previous one did. The girls woke up without any energy and half-heartedly participated in school. The entire school day felt like a blur; it felt meaningless and every event felt like it had no identity. There were only four other sisters who hadn't seen him, and they knew that they were going to have their turn today. For them, the rest of the day felt grayed out and the prospect of seeing Lincoln was the only thing that had meaning. The school day passed by and the girls walked out of their schools, waiting for Lori to pick them up.
The girls arrived home and put away their backpacks and such before heading down to the living room to meet with their Mom and Dad.
"Alright, well I'm going to go see Lincoln. Lucy, Lisa, Luan, I know you all haven't seen him yet; do you want to come with me?"
All of them gave an affirming nod.
"Alright, well I'm also taking Lily with me; she deserves to see her brother too." Said the Mom as held Lily.
The girls walked outside and got into the car, all of the nervous and worried about seeing Lincoln. Even Lucy, whose visage was mostly concealed, seemed nervous. On the inside, Luan was a wreck; ever since Lincoln went in; she's found herself unable to joke around. The energy that fueled all of her jokes and pranks were absent; filled with worry and sadness. Lisa however was writing on her clipboard like usual, which bothered Luan. It felt like Lisa was just disregarding everything that happened and continued on as if Lincoln was alright. The anger swelled and swelled until Luan snatched it out of Lisa's hands.
"How can you write on your stupid clipboard at a time like... this?" Said Luan, whose expression changed as she saw what Lisa was writing down.
What Luan saw was a list of ailments, symptoms, and treatments for said ailments. She was trying to figure out a way to wake Lincoln up. As she looked away from the clipboard she saw something that was very rare for Lisa; she saw her with watery eyes as she sniffled.
"I'm a scthientist, not a doctor... But I thought that maybe sthomehow I could create sthomething to wake him up..."
"I've been working non-schtop ever sthince we found out. Contrary to what you might think of me..."
Luan just watched as tears ran down her face.
"I do love Lincoln too..."
Luan was now filled with regret; despite all of her brilliance, Lisa was still only a 4-year old girl. She felt ashamed for getting so angry at someone 10 years younger than her. Luan slipped out of her seat belt and hugged Lisa.
"I'm sorry Lisa, I know you do. Me too..."
At the hospital...
They all walked in, the girls sitting down as the Mom went up to the desk. They all sat down, preparing their hearts to see Lincoln. Luan was holding Lily in her lap, playing with her and trying to keep her entertained. They sat only for a few minutes however as the Mom came back, picking Lily up and guiding the girls toward the Lincoln's room.
They eventually came to Lincoln's room, opening the door and walking in. There he lay; still asleep. Just looking at him was enough to cause all of them to choke up. They looked at each other, wondering who wanted to go up to him first. After some silent deliberation, Lisa stepped forward.
She grabbed one of the chairs that was in the room and stood on one, looking at her comatose brother. After looking at him for a little bit, she pulled on her hair out of anguish and frustration. She thought that even with all of her brilliance, she still didn't know how to save him.
"I can solve equations and create chemical compounds. I have a PhD and an I.Q. over 150. So why..."
Lisa lost her ability to stand, falling down and covering her eyes.
"...Why can't I save you?"
Luan and Lucy watched something that they had never seen before. They watched as Lisa fell into a crying fit, having to be picked up and consoled by their Mother. The Mom had removed Lisa's glasses and coddled her as she cried into her Mother's arms. Luan and Lucy looked at each other nervously, almost waiting for the other to go up next. Eventually Lucy went up next as the Mom calmed Lucy down.
She walked next to Lincoln and pulled out a piece of paper.
"Hey Lincoln, I wrote a poem for you... It's called 'Brother'."
You are our rock, your sisters' support
You bind us; with you we all have a loving rapport
You are our protector; our familial ward
You protect out of love; you seek no reward
Your place in our hearts is special; for us there can be no other
W-We all miss you...
S-So p-please wake up...
By the time Lucy had finished her poem, she was shaking with grief. The paper on which the poem was written on was nearly torn from the shaking and now stained by the tears falling from Lucy.
"W-What did you think? Did you like it?"
Lincoln answered with silence.
"I-I'm sorry, I'll work on it more... I-I bet you could come up with a better one... You always do..."
Lucy covered her eyes with her arm and choked as she cried. She walked back to her chair as she covered her face, wishing not to show her crying faces to anyone. Luan was already choking up from that poem as she got up, holding her notebook. She walked over and sat at his bedside, watching him sleep for a moment. She wiped the tears from her eyes and tried to perk up.
"Hey Lincoln, I came up with some new jokes. Wanna hear them?"
She looked at her notepad for a second, then back to Lincoln, trying to smile.
"What does a clock do when it's hungry?"
She waited and like Lucy, expected an answer for some reason.
"It goes back four seconds! Hahaha! Hah ha... ha..."
The smile that Luan put on was now starting to fade. She flipped her notebook to another page.
"O-Okay, how about this one? What do you call a tree with a briefcase?"
Lynn was starting to struggle at this point, but she kept the smile for the joke.
"A branch manager! Get it? Get it?"
She watched Lincoln just lay there. She wanted some reaction; a laugh, a groan, something...
"Y-You didn't laugh... O-Okay! Well what about this one?"
She flipped yet another page, her smile gone and replaced with an expression of desperation.
"What do you call a can opener that doesn't work?"
The silence that she was receiving was starting to damage Luan now. She wanted Lincoln to say something, anything.
"...A can't opener... Get it?"
She grabbed onto Lincoln's shoulders.
"Do you get it Lincoln? If you get it then laugh! Even if you don't get it, laugh! For me! Please! Laugh, Lincoln LAUGH!"
She could no longer keep up the smile that she was forcing herself to wear while telling her joke; tears were now falling onto Lincoln's bed as she shook him.
"I want to hear your laugh... J-Just one more time..."
Luan let go of Lincoln and walked back to her seat, leaning against Lucy as both of them cried. The Mom was barely containing herself as she watched the events that had unfolded. Now she walked over to his bedside and held Lily next to her. Lily broke from her Mother's arms and walked across Lincoln's bed. She had a smile on her face, oblivious to what was really going on. For all she knew, Lincoln was just sleeping.
"Say hi to Lincoln sweetie." Urged the Mom.
Lily spoke her usual babble but managed to say "Hi" in the midst of it. She crawled on to Lincoln's stomach and patted it, looking up to him and smiling, seeing if he woke up. Seeing that Lincoln didn't move at all, she patted his stomach again and looked again. With no response she tried it again, sounding more impatient as she hit him again. Lincoln's lack of reaction frustrated Lily as she began hitting him harder and crying, wanting him to wake up and play with her. Soon after, Lily began wailing and the Mom had to pick her up and shush her. Lily was only 15 months old; depending on how long Lincoln would be asleep, Lily could go through her entire formative years without ever remembering a time when her brother was awake.
As the Mom realized this fact tears had broken free from her eyes. She knew that Lily might grow up without ever knowing her brother. The thought of the possibility destroyed her as she wondered how she would explain Lincoln's circumstances to Lily as she got older. After Lily calmed down a bit, the Mom handed her to Luan so that she could spend some time with Lincoln. She sat next to him, holding his hand and rubbing her thumb across the back of his hand. There was nothing she wanted to say; she just wanted to sit next to her son and hold his hand. She just wanted to be there for him, to let him know that she and the rest of the family would be right next to him when he woke up.
"Luan, do you remember when you were about nine and Lincoln was six?"
"...Huh?" Said Luan, broken from her sorrowful stupor.
"You kids were all roller skating in front of the house. ...I remember that day. You were all skating around while Lynn and Luna showed off being able to jump from the street to the curb."
The Mom clutched Lincoln's hand.
"Lincoln wanted to try it, but he didn't know exactly how to do it. I don't remember if he took off his helmet or never wore it to begin with, but he jumped the curb and slipped. I remember hearing his head thump and my heart stopping; I had never been so scared before..."
The Mom struggled to maintain herself as she continued her story.
"I remember running over to him, hoping that he was alright; hoping that he didn't crack his head open. Heh... I gave him such a lecture about wearing a helmet. He promised that he'd never skate without a helmet ever again..."
"I was so scared at the time, but I was so relieved when he opened his eyes, even as he was crying. But now..."
"N-Now he can't open them..."
The Mom had now lost herself; she had broken down in front of the girls. She closed her eyes as she cried and opened them as she felt a warmth around her. She saw that both Lucy and Luan were holding on to her, with Lily in her lap and Lisa against her leg. She smiled a bit, surrounded by her family.
"We want him back too Mom..." Said Luan.
The three girls then sat back down after seeing that their Mother was sufficiently comforted while the Mom wiped the tears from her eyes as she looked back to Lincoln. They spent some more time watching him before calling it a night and heading back to the house. All of the sisters had now visited Lincoln and saw their brother sleep, with each of them expressing their grief in different ways. The girls arrived home and walked in the door, the children heading up the stairs. As Lucy, Luan, Lisa, and Lily, who was being carried by Luan, walked upstairs they were quietly called over by Lori to her room.
"We're having a family meeting right now, come in."
Seeing no reason to object, they walked into Lori's room and saw the rest of the kids sitting or lying down in the room. They all found places to sit and looked toward Lori.
"Well girls, this meeting is kinda' different since we're not passing any motions and such. This meeting is more about Lincoln. Luan, how is he doing?"
"Well he's still sleeping..."
Lori frowned, hoping to hear something positive.
"Okay, but the big thing I wanted to discuss was that we've all seen him now right?"
Affirming, yet sad nods came from everyone.
"Well I wanted to hold this meeting because if anyone wanted to say what they were feeling, they could do it. Does anyone want to say anything?"
Lynn slowly raised her hand. The rest of the Loud kids were worried, Lynn had become very quiet over the last few days.
"Well... I just want to say... I'm sorry..."
Even though it had been days since that accident had occurred, she still felt guilt over what happened to Lincoln.
"If I hadn't been so stupid... Lincoln would be here... I-I'm sorry for being s-so stupid!"
Lynn was finally releasing the guilt that had been bottled up inside as she began to sob, as Luna held onto her.
"Lynn... Please don't blame yourself... You didn't push him in front of the car. He chose to protect you, so don't keep blaming yourself for something that he did." said Lori.
"But it was because I ended up in the street! He pushed me out of the way! I should have been the one who was hit!"
"Lynn! Would Lincoln want to hear you say that? If I know Lincoln, and I think I do, he wouldn't hesitate to jump in front of a car for you again. Yes you ended up in the streets, but there's no reason to keep blaming yourself for something that already happened; you're just hurting yourself and I don't think Lincoln would want you to do that..."
"...I know but it's still so hard!" Said Lynn as continuously wiped the tears from her eyes.
"I'm not saying it's easy, you need to let go, even if it's just a little at a time. We don't hate you, we still love you; we'll always love you."
Lori's words of support deepened Lynn's sobs, her trying to let go of her guilt.
Time passed as Lynn cried her heart out. By the time she was finished, she was gasping for breath and clinging onto Luna. An awkward silence was now hanging in the air, no one was sure if they wanted to say what they felt. Lori finally broke the silence though, clearing her throat to get the rest of the girls' attention.
"I have something to say..."
Though Lori felt slightly better after her visit with Lincoln, she still held a deep guilt for her previous argument with him.
"Before Lincoln got hurt, we got into an argument. I ended up saying some stupid stuff and I said something that I never should have said..."
All of the girls' attention was now on Lori, curious as to what she had said.
"...I said that maybe he shouldn't be my brother anymore."
Her confession elicited gasps from the entire room.
"Lori, how could you say that?" Said Leni.
"I-I don't know! I just got so caught up arguing that I didn't really know what I was saying..."
The guilt that she had been hiding was now becoming evident as she started to lose her composure.
"I want to tell him that I'm sorry... I want to tell him that he'll always be my brother, b-but now I can't tell him. W-what if something else happened to Lincoln and he... he died?"
As soon as she said the word "died" all of the girls immediately became irate. To even suggest such a possibility at a time like this was a grave offense.
"Don't say that! Lincoln's not gonna' die!" Said Lola.
"I'm not saying he's going to! I'm saying that if that something like that happened, where he didn't fall into a coma... His last memory of me would be me telling him that I wasn't his brother..."
Lori couldn't stand anymore; her legs gave out as she was overcome grief.
"I-I just want to say s-sorry..." said Lori, barely able to speak through her sobs.
Luan walked over and sat next to Lori, providing a support for her as she cried, proving to Lynn that she wasn't the only one feeling guilt.
"Don't worry Lori. Lincoln's gonna' wake up and you can tell him sorry then..." Said Luan.
"W-What if he doesn't forgive me?"
"He'll forgive you. It doesn't matter what you said; to him, you're always going to be his family."
Lori held onto Luan and cried into her shoulder, looking for someone to hold her.
"C-Can I say something?" said Leni who raised her hand.
"I also wanted to say sorry to Lincoln... I-I'm not the smartest person a-and I know that. But whenever I had trouble, Lincoln was there to help me, even when I kept messing up..."
Leni's eyes began to water as she tried to finish her thought.
"S-So I just wish that I could tell him that I'm sorry for causing him so much trouble..."
Leni, who was sitting on her bed, covered her eyes as she began to sob. Both Lisa and Lucy sat on opposite sides of her and leaned up against her to offer her comfort.
"I'm sorry I keep messing everything up... I can never do anything right... But Lincoln helped me... He always helped me..."
"He always helped all of us when we had problems, that's just who Lincoln was..." Said Lynn, finally calm from her previous outburst.
"I hope he comes home soon..." said Leni.
"Heads up!" yelled Lynn, hoping that Leni would avoid the soccer ball that was speeding towards her head.
"Wha-?" said Leni turning her head towards Lynn.
Leni's head flew back as the ball collided with her face, Lynn cringing as she watched.
While this was going on, Lisa's experiments were exploding, Luna's music was playing, and the twins were arguing. It had been five months since the incident happened and life returned to normal. The Loud house was once again loud now that the usual hijinks had resumed. The girls as well had rediscovered their energy, now full of life and acting how they did before everything happened. They laughed; they played, and went to school just as they had done before.
But even after recovering from what happened that day, the house still felt empty. Even after five months, Lincoln had not woken up. They girls remained in deep grief for well over two months, and even then it had taken up to this time for them to think about something other than Lincoln's condition.
"Lynn! Luan! Luna! Get your shoes on, we're gonna' be leaving in a little bit!" Yelled the Dad, trying to catch the girls' attention amidst the noise upstairs.
"Be right there!" Yelled Lynn, who went to her room and put her shoes on.
After she put them on, she ran downstairs alongside Luan and Luna, meeting up with their Dad.
"You girls ready to go?"
All of them gave affirming nods.
"Okay then. We'll be back Dear, love you!" said the Dad as he turned to the Mom.
"Bye Hun, say hi for me." Said the Mom.
The four of them then left the house and got into the car, and with it came a change in mood. All of them were now wearing a rather morose look; it was time for them to visit Lincoln. A couple of months ago they decided to make regular visits to Lincoln every Sunday, with the girls rotating every week. Lynn looked out the window as the car started and drove off toward the hospital; she always fell into deep thought when it was her turn. She had let go of the guilt that bogged her down for so long, but she still couldn't help but feel the slightest tinge of it every time she saw him. It still hurt; that day was forever burned into her memory and it was something that she could never forget.
They arrived at the hospital and went through the usual routine; the nurses now knew who they were and made the entire visiting process far more streamlined. It wasn't long before they made their way to Lincoln's room; the same room that he had been in for five months.
"Hey buddy, how you doin'?" Said the Dad who sat next to him.
The Dad then proceeded to tell him all the things that had happened with the family that week; he wanted to make sure that Lincoln was kept up to date every week. In the back of his mind he knew that the chances of Lincoln actually hearing his father's words was very low, but he'd be damned if he didn't try.
The Dad finished his update and got up, letting Luna take her turn to be with Lincoln. She got up from her chair and grabbed her acoustic guitar that she had brought with her. She sat next to him and kissed his head, just like usual.
"Hey bro, I wrote another song for ya'. I hope you like it."
Luna tuned her guitar a bit, just to make sure everything was alright, and began to play a soft melody. She did this for him every time she visited him; since she was on a rotation, it gave her enough time to always come up with a song for him every time she saw him. As she played, she also sang the lyrics that she had written for him. Luna knew that Lincoln had always loved to listen to her play, and she would not deny him that. She played not only for him, but for herself as well; she had also loved to play for him. The song continued for a couple of minutes before she finished.
"I'll have another one to play for you next time." Said Luna as she got up and kissed Lincoln's head again. "Love you bro..."
Luan got up next, holding her notepad filled with jokes. She walked over and sat down next to Lincoln.
"Hey Lincoln, I got a whole bunch of jokes for you today!" said Luan, holding Lincoln's hand.
She looked at her notepad and began to recite the jokes that she had written down.
"Why do birds fly south for the winter?"
She waited a bit before saying the punch line. Unlike her first visit, she knew that Lincoln wasn't going to answer, but she wanted to wait anyways.
"Because it's too far to walk! Get it?"
She continued to make jokes in the same fashion while the other three watched. All of them wanted to groan at her jokes, but they knew that the jokes were Luan's way of coping. They figured a few bad jokes every few weeks was worth Luan's happiness. Comedy was Luan's lifeblood; it was what made her happy. When Lincoln first fell, she had lost that comedy, and with it her happiness. Now that she had regained it, she wanted to share it with Lincoln, even if he might not be listening. She hoped that maybe, just maybe those jokes were reaching him; it made her smile to imagine his reactions. After several jokes she closed her notepad, clutching her brother's hand.
"That's all for today Lincoln! I'll be back with some more comedy gold in two weeks!"
She got up and stood next to her Dad, who had turned to Lynn and asked her,
"Do you want some time alone with Lincoln?"
Lynn just shook her head.
"No, it's okay."
She got up from her seat and sat in the chair next to Lincoln.
Lynn paused; she was trying to figure out the right words to say.
"You know, I miss you. We all miss you. When you got hurt I blamed myself for a while, and I still kinda do. But I know that you'll wake up one day and we can all be together again... I'll keep waiting, no matter how long it takes."
Lynn sat for a while, thinking back to what happened and where she and the rest of the family were at now.
"I don't really know what else to say; Dad already told you what had happened this week, and I can't play music or tell jokes. So all I can say is, I miss you. I miss you a lot Lincoln..."
Lynn was starting to fall apart; the memories were becoming too much for her to bear. Seeing this, the Dad and the girls got up to huddle around her as she held onto her Dad.
"I'm sorry Lincoln..."
The sound of applause roared through the auditorium. Lynn felt a mix between nervousness and embarrassment. She was nervous because the moment she stepped onto that stage, an entire chapter of her life will have been completed. The embarrassment came from what her family might say or be doing while waiting for her.
"And now we present the class of '21! Come on up here seniors!" Said the principal.
Lynn walked in line with her fellow classmates, clad in blue graduation robes. She stepped onto the stage and looked out into the crowd, seeing her family.
Lori was there with Bobby, holding hands with rings on them. They looked towards Lynn and gave a soft wave.
Leni had just finished a phone call which Lynn figured was one of her clients. As she hung up the phone, she looked around for Lynn and after spotting her, waved wildly. Lynn couldn't help but let out a chuckle; despite being something of a fashion prodigy, she was still the same ditzy Leni.
Luna was there as well, sitting back against her chair and giving Lynn a thumbs up. In the last year Luna managed to get discovered and struck a record deal, releasing her first EP.
Luan sat there, talking with Lucy and laughing. Luan never stopped with her jokes and managed become a partner on YouTube, earning over 1 million subscribers. She turned towards Lynn and waved hello and gave a perfect smile, free of braces.
Lucy was there, still her same gloomy self. However, she couldn't help but smile as she saw Lynn looking at her. Her poetry was now receiving recognition from others as she won more awards for them.
The twins were arguing just like the always had. Lola was still winning pageants after all this time and still managed to hold good grades. Lana on the other hand, discovered her love for cars and helped her Dad every time she could. Lana was looking to be a promising mechanic.
Lisa was sitting next to the twins, watching the people around her and writing notes on her clipboard. She noticed Lynn watching her and gave a cool smile and a wave.
Finally Lily was next to her Mom and Dad, sitting in her own chair but still latching onto her Mom. Lynn couldn't hear, but Lily was talking to them about something. The Mom and Dad noticed Lynn and leaned over Lily, pointing to where Lynn was. Lily looked around a little bit before seeing Lynn, but as soon as she saw her she gave a big smile and wave.
As the principal called her name, she turned to face him and walked up to him. She took the diploma from him and shook his hand, smiling as pictures were taken.
"Congratulations Lynn. You've done well and I hope you do great things in the future." Said the Principal.
"Thank you sir, I definitely will."
She stepped down on the other side and sat down, waiting for the rest of her classmates to take their diplomas. Lynn looked at the paper in her hand; she had finally graduated. It was a surreal feeling; she felt like it was now time to leave her childhood behind and look towards the future. Fortunately for her she managed to score a sports scholarship at USC next year though, she felt a bit sad at the thought of leaving her family behind, but it was the best road for her.
"And now class of 21', you have all graduated! Congratulations and we wish for your success!" Announced the principal.
Lynn threw her hat in the air like she was always told to do and caught it, putting it back on her head. She hugged her classmates and wished them the best before going to her family and hugging them all.
"Congratulations sweetie! You're all grown up now!" Said the Mom, who was crying tears of joy.
"Thanks Mom. I love all of you guys..."
"It's been five years huh?" Said Lynn, still dressed in blue as she sat next to a sleeping Lincoln. She looked out the hospital window; the sun was setting and the sky was painted orange.
"It's a beautiful sunset... I just wish you could see it bro..."
Lynn reflected on her thoughts and memories; it had been five years since Lincoln threw himself in front of that car and protected her. She thought to herself what might have happened had she been the one that was hit; all the friends, the irreplaceable moments, all of that gone.
"I guess you never got that chance, did you Lincoln?"
Lynn felt somber at the realization that the five years of experiences was something that Lincoln didn't get, nor will he ever get. Even with all of the laughing and the celebrating that happened within those years, Lynn always kept Lincoln in mind. Lori and the others stopped making regular visits, though the still visited often. Of the older siblings, Lynn was the only one who kept seeing Lincoln every Sunday. She held his hand tightly, still looking out the window.
"I still miss you. I've missed you every day for the last five years. There were so many things that happened that you weren't there for."
It was true; a great number of things passed while Lincoln slept in a hospital bed. Lincoln wasn't there when Luan graduated high school, when Luna landed a record deal, when Lori got married; he couldn't even be there to watch Lily go to her first day of school. Lynn thought she had let go of blaming herself a long time ago, but reflecting on five years' worth of memories that Lincoln wasn't there for because of her caused it come back. As she was playing all of those experiences in her head, tears began to slowly stream down her face.
"It was my fault that you weren't there for everybody else..." Lynn clutched Lincoln's hand even tighter, tears staining her blue gown.
"I'm sorry you couldn't see Lori get married, I'm sorry you couldn't see Lily go to school, I'm sorry that you couldn't even go to high school."
Lynn turned, finally looking at Lincoln. Her face was a teary mess; her cheeks and nosed were flushed, her eyes watery.
"C-Can you forgive me Lincoln? Can you forgive me for completely ruining your life? Every time I look at you I want to say sorry! I'm sorry Lincoln! I can't forgive myself so please..."
"Please forgive me..."
Lynn collapsed onto Lincoln's bed in a fit of sobbing, holding his hand to her chest tightly. The sun had set, the clouds had rolled in, and now the dark came.
"I've gone five years, five whole years, without my little brother! I want him back! I want my little brother back! I want you back Lincoln! Please come back... I know how many times I've said this but, I'll say it again... Please... Please wake up..."
She rested her head against Lincoln's chest as the tears rolled from her face to his hospital gown. If she couldn't have him back, then at least she wanted to stay like this with him forever...
But then something happened.
The hand that Lynn was holding twitched and clutched her hand in return. Lynn's eyes opened wide and she jumped up, looking at their hands together.
Lynn watched as Lincoln slowly moved around for the first time in half a decade and her eyes sparkled. Lincoln adjusted himself and slowly opened his eyes.
"Lincoln? Lincoln can you hear me? Lincoln!" Lynn began to sob again, but this time she cried tears of happiness.
"...W-What? Where am I?" Said Lincoln groggily, trying to come to.
As she heard him speak, Lynn practically jumped onto Lincoln, hugging him tightly.
"Lincoln! You're back! You're awake! I knew you'd wake up, I knew you would! Oh thank you, thank you so much!"
"What's going on?"
"You're in a hospital little bro, you've been in one for five years. But now you're finally awake..."
"Five years? Really?"
"Yeah! But you're here and awake now... I've waited so long for you to wake up..."
"Oh uh, thanks?"
Lynn looked at him with a confused look on her face.
"Is there something wrong?" Said Lynn.
"No uh, just... Who are you?"
The door to the Loud House opened with a creek as Lincoln walked in for the first time in five years, yet the house was completely alien to him. He looked back and saw what he was told were his mother and father standing behind him, looking both happy and distressed at the same time.
"This is your home son." Said his father.
"Yes, this is where you grew up, until the accident…" Said his mother, her words trailing off.
Lincoln stepped further into the house and looked around, eyeing the trophy cabinet and the various awards inside it. On one of the shelves was a small trophy that read "Most Improved Brother."
"Your sisters made that for you after you made up with them one time." Said Rita, becoming misty-eyed as she watched her only son try to remember who he was.
"Where are they?" Asked Lincoln, curious as to why his 'sisters' hadn't swarmed him as soon as he came home.
"They're in their rooms, we figured it'd be best to let you try to remember on your own and not be overwhelmed by them at first." Said Lynn, who was truly at a loss of what to do. "Do you… Remember anything at all?"
Lincoln took one last glance at his trophy before looking back to his parents and shaking his head.
"No, I'm sorry…"
Hearing those words caused a lump in both Rita and Lynn's throats; they watched as their son wandered around his childhood home, without any knowledge of who they or his sisters were.
"I'm, I'm sure you'll remember…" Said Lynn, giving a very weak smile.
Lincoln walked over to the mantle above the fire place, looking at the various pictures upon it as well as the picture of him and his sisters that he had given to his parents for their anniversary.
"This is me?" Said Lincoln as he pointed to himself in the photo, eliciting a nod from both of his parents.
As he looked back at his Mom and Dad, he caught something in the corner of his eye; a figure on the stairs. He fixated his gaze and saw a little girl wearing overalls and a red hat, looking at Lincoln with a mixture of sadness and curiosity.
"Hey there." Said Lincoln, waving at Lana.
Lana was scared; she nervously walked down the steps and over to Lincoln and stood in front of him, her eyes cast downwards.
"You're, Lana aren't you?" Said Lincoln as he squatted down to meet his little sister at eye level.
"Am I your big brother?"
Lana finally made eye contact with Lincoln, her eyes holding tears, and gave a quick nod.
"D-Do you remember me?" Said Lana, hoping that he would say yes.
Lincoln didn't know how to respond; he didn't remember her but how could he tell her that? This girl, no more than eleven years old that only wants to see her big brother again. How could he tell her that her big brother couldn't even recognize her? He stuttered with a painful expression on his face, which was all Lana needed to know that he didn't.
"Y-you use to hug me and Lola when we got scared by lightning, o-or when it was dark…" Lana had taken off her hat and began to wring it, sniffling as she tried to make her Lincoln remember who she was. "Don't you remember? Lincoln?"
"I… I'm sorry Lana…" Said Lincoln, who began to choke up, knowing that he was breaking her heart.
Lana began to cry, prompting Rita to pick her up and hold her while Lincoln stood back up.
"C'mon Lana honey, let's go back upstairs." Said Rita as she walked away, holding back tears of her own.
Lincoln couldn't help but look like he had committed a grave sin, as if he had just stabbed his little sister in the heart. His memory had vanished, but in the depths of his heart, he knew that Lana was his little sister, and to see her so broken like that tore at him. He sniffled, wiping away a few tears before his Dad wrapped an arm around his shoulder and hugged him with one arm.
"It's okay son, it wasn't your fault." Said Lynn, trying to keep a straight face in the wake of seeing his daughter cry like that.
"…Then why does it hurt so much?" Said Lincoln tears welling in his eyes as took a deep, yet somehow shallow breath.
"C'mere." Lynn had turned Lincoln around to face him before giving him a tight hug.
"I want to remember… But I can't…" Lincoln couldn't help but break down, he wanted to be the Lincoln that Lana had known all her life, but he couldn't; he felt like a failure of a brother.
"Hey, hey it's okay." Urged Lynn, softly shushing Lincoln. "You'll remember; I know you will, just like I knew you'd wake up."
Lincoln sniffled once more and buried his head into his Dad's shoulder, clinging onto him in a way he knew a son would hold onto his father. There was no doubt in his mind that this was his Dad, and that Lana was his sister.
After a bit, Lincoln finally let go of his Dad, rubbing his eyes dry. He had no idea how he was going to make it through the days until he got his memory back; just that one encounter was emotionally draining.
The day was nearly over so Lincoln walked up to his old room, which was even more cramped due to five years' worth of growth. Stepping inside, he kicked off his shoes and sat on the bed, staring forward in deep thought.
Meanwhile, many eyes were peeking through the crack in the door; it was all of his sisters. The feelings that roiled inside each of them were complicated; curiosity, relief, sadness, and fear. They wanted to speak with Lincoln so fiercely, but all of them were terrified at reality that he didn't know who any of them were. Lana was the first to give in, and was also the first to be devastated.
Lincoln had finally noticed the multitude of eyes staring at him, the sisters scattering as soon as he made eye contact with them. Their fleeing only served to make Lincoln feel worse; he couldn't even be near them without hurting them. He hung his head low, his spirit being drained with every passing moment.
Lori could hear it, the soft, stifled cries of her brother. It was then that she began to understand just how heavy a burden Lincoln carried. She began to cautiously return back to Lincoln's door to see him crying once again, she herself tearing up as she watched. Mustering up her courage, she knocked on Lincoln's door before opening it and confronting him.
(Yes. This is the end. It's a cliffhanger.)