"Linkyyyyyy!" Lori slurred happily as she tightened her grip around her brother's waist, making the nonexistent space between the pair even moreso. The incredible force of the superheroine's hug caused the young man's bones to cry out in agony, and Lincoln was very much inclined to join them. However, a second, much larger pair of arms snaked around his chest from the other direction, and suddenly the pale-haired man's lungs were otherwise occupied.
"Lincoooooln!" Lynn murmured, nuzzling her face against her brothers'. "I gotta new wrasslin hold ta show ya. Just gotta climb on top of ya. And also, dun tell mom..."
Thus began Lincoln's new preoccupation for the night. Avoiding being crushed, torn apart, or rendered incapacitated due to severe blood loss. So concerned was he with the antics of his overly affectionate sister, that he completely failed to notice when his closet door silently slid open, seemingly of its own volition. And occupied as they all were, whether it be from sleep-induced amorosity, or fear for one's life from the same, it went completely beneath the notice of the room's inhabitants when a single, pale orb appeared within the darkness of the closet. And widened, as if in surprise.
The Dark Dimension was not creatively named. It was a dimension adjacent to reality, as most humans knew it, and yet removed from it. A dimension so characterized by the black void that sprawled in all directions, seemingly without end, save for the pale, eldritch light that vaguely illuminated the horizon, and clumps of a dark, obsidian like material that dotted the landscape, creating small, fairly isolated landmasses floating amidst the void. It was a realm that required the appreciation of a very specific type of aesthetic to avoid being driven mad by the endless nothing, and very particular sets of skills to even reach in the first place. For this reason, the Dark Dimension was typically frequented by those with abilities that were mystical, otherworldly, or supernaturally adjacent in nature.
At this particular point in time, as night and day had little meaning in a realm where the skyline remained forever unchanged, one of the dimensions' many islands was currently occupied by a large, swirling, ebon-colored portal. This was not unusual in and of itself, as travel via portal was among the more popular methods employed to bridge the gaps between realities and cross between dimensions, be they produced by science, magic, or something in between. What was distinct about this particular portal, however, was the half a human that was currently sticking out of it.
Protruding from the portal was a shapely female rear with two equally shapely legs attached to it, all clad in the lower half of a black, evening gown. Missing upper body aside, the gown appeared to be quite elegant at first glance, but that was only until circumstances contrived for the folds of the dress to fall in just the right manner to reveal the artfully hidden slit that ran down the side of the dress. A feature which enticed viewers to pay rapt attention, lest they be gifted with a glimpse of the delicate, pale flesh that resided within. As with most superhero wear, it wasn't the most practical design, but it did a fantastic job of drawing a crowd.
The flow of time was strange in the Dark Dimension, and because of that, it was difficult to say just how long this particular sight remained in place. However, there came a time when the extremities in question finally jerked to life. Suddenly, without warning, the legs began kicking in place. Once, twice, thrice, and only then had they finally built up enough momentum to push themselves away from the portal. And only then, did the rest of its body finally appear.
The woman that emerged from the portal landed lightly on her feet, a rather severe expression on the portion of her face that wasn't perpetually shrouded by her long, raven-colored hair. She glanced around, desperate for something to vent her frustration on, but no suitable targets presented themselves.
"Stupid, featureless expanse of nothing." Lucy Loud grumbled to herself. She turned to the portal and hesitated. There was a part of her that desperately wanted to go back through. Lincoln had always been resourceful, it was one of the things she'd always admired most about her brother. If anyone would free themselves from that predicament, it'd be Lincoln Loud. Surely she just needed to wait things out only a little longer. Just long enough for Lincoln to get himself some privacy. And then, Lucy could—
"Liiiiincooooln!" Lynn's voice wafted through the rift. "You're supposed ta fight baaaaaack!"
"Dejected sigh," Lucy muttered, her shoulders sagging in defeat. Giving the portal one last look of longing, Lucy raised one arm and beckoned, as if summoning an attentive puppy. At her unspoken command, the rip in space and time folded inward upon itself, condensing into a floating, shapeless mass of blackness. It trembled briefly, hanging suspended in mid-air, then launched itself towards Lucy.
Lucy remained in place, maintaining her usual degree of stoicism even as the shadowy mass slammed into her slender frame. Instead of bowling her over, however, the construct passed through her, until Lucy was directly in its center. Then, it began to settle upon her, the darkness conforming to the shapely contours of her body. In a matter of moments, Lucy was wearing what appeared to be a long, flowing, hooded cloak. Only the most diligent of observers would notice that the "cloth" adorning her body reflected no light, and occasionally fluttered even in the absence of wind. Taking one last look around her refuge, and finding it sufficiently free of any signs to indicate her presence, Lucy walked to the edge of her little island. Another silent command and her cloak curled into itself before stretching upward and outward. An instant later, she now had a large pair of jet-black avian wings protruding from the back of her dress. A mightly flap of her new appendages and Lucy was airborne, soaring away from the site of her latest failure.
She'd had a long, frustrating night. It was time to find what little respite she could avail herself of.
A dimension utterly devoid of natural landmarks was frustratingly difficult to navigate if you were trying to find any specific place. It was an issue that had frequently plagued Lucy during her early excursions into the Dark Dimension. Fortunately, Louds were nothing if not innovative, and she had eventually settled upon a fairly simple solution to the problem. As she flew, peering around at the myriad of nearly identical islands that littered the void, she caught a flash of violet, a color which was positively garish in these drab surroundings, and allowed herself a satisfied smirk.
"Bingo," Lucy thought to herself, correcting her course and reducing her speed in preparation for landing. She closed in on her target, an island exactly like its endless brethren, save for a few distinct features that set it apart. A small circular table, the tea set that adorned its surface, and the island's sole occupant; her ad hoc beacon. Lucy lightly touched down upon the rocky surface, allowing her wings to revert to their cloak-state as she nodded to her companion. Another woman with porcelain skin and long dark hair, very much like Lucy in both respects. However, her partner wore a violet, victorian styled dress, and with a book in one hand and a color-coordinated parasol resting daintily against her shoulder, she looked every bit like the type of elegant, refined noblewoman she was likely reading about.
"Welcome back, dear Lucy." The woman looked up from her book and greeted Lucy in a velvety voice, every syllable charged with sensuality. Weaker-willed people, meta-human and normal alike, had been reduced to stammering, incoherent messes just from the sound of that voice. Which was an impressive feat, given that there was nothing superhuman about it. The heroine publicly known as Midnight Bliss had spent a great deal of time cultivating an image as a legendary seductress, one who could incapacitate her foes with a coy smile, a few choice words, and the occasional wiggle of her shapely hips, and it was far more effective than it had any right to be. Those who were unphased by the routine, perhaps lured into a false sense of security by her manner of dress or her inviting curves quickly found out that while pale, her skin was surprisingly resilient to all but the sharpest of blades and the highest caliber of bullets. And her hands, small and delicate as they were, could tear through solid steel, or shatter a limb with little effort. As a dual-pronged operating strategy, it was surprisingly effective.
It was also something that Lucy was in no mood to deal with.
"Can it, Haiku," Lucy grumbled, seating herself across from her friend. "I'm not in the mood." She snatched a teacup with one hand, and the teapot in the other, fully intent on drowning her frustrations. Unfortunately, the instant her fingers clasped around the handle, she knew she was going to be disappointed. Lucy hefted the entirely too light teapot into the air and give it an experimental shake. Much to her displeasure, she was not met with the sloshing of delicious, stress-relieving tea, but rather the telltale tinkling of unboiled tea leaves. Very likely the same ones Lucy herself had deposited in the pot before her departure. She placed the teapot upon the table once more and shot a dirty look at her companion.
"You could even make the tea while I was gone?" Lucy seethed, not bothering to hide her frustration. Haiku merely sniffed disdainfully and took a sip of the thick, crimson liquid that filled her own teacup.
"Lucy, please." Haiku scoffed. "You know I never drink...tea."
"Yes...you...do!" Lucy growled, throwing up her hands in frustration. "It's why we bring the tea set! And knock off the vampire act! I'm not in the mood!"
At once, Haiku's entire demeanor changed. Eyes that were alluringly lidded narrowed in annoyance, her coquettish, "Come hither" smile flattened into a frown, and her languid posture was abandoned as she hunched over her cup and took an angry slurp.
"You're no fun when you're...restless, Lucy." Haiku intoned in her normal monotone voice. "And you've been restless for a long time."
"Look at me, I'm Midnight Bliss." Lucy deadpanned. "I pretend to be a vampire because I'm embarrassed that I got superpowers by drinking an experimental flavor of cherry soda. That had wolf DNA mixed in."
Haiku sprung to her feet and snarled at Lucy, her pupils now an angry reddish hue, and her fangs on full display. Which were actually canines, to the girl's eternal disappointment. Unnaturally elongated by the science gone wrong, but still designed for tearing flesh rather than the drinking of blood. Lucy wasted no time leaping from her own chair, knocking it over in the process, and squaring off against her partner. At her silent command, her cloak spread wide, like a bird of prey preparing to take flight, and an incomparable number of tiny, shadowy feathers sprung forth from the folds of the facsimile cloth, trembling in anticipation, ready to fill the air with razor-sharp constructs.
For a time, the girls stood there, sizing each other up, each waiting for the other to make the first move. Then, Lucy spoke.
"I touched a nerve." She said, willing her cloak to return to its resting state. "I shouldn't have said that. I know how frustrated you are by your condition." Several tense heartbeats passed with Haiku seeming to be unmoved, and Lucy prepared to defend herself if need be. Finally, however, the red faded from Haiku's eyes, and the other girl flopped back down into her chair.
"You shouldn't have." She replied, taking another drink from her cup. "But I know you're...frustrated. I take it things didn't go well."
"They did not," Lucy affirmed. Her cloak rippled as the lower portion reached towards her chair and reconfigured itself into a shadowy hand, deftly returning the chair to its upright position before reverting back into her trademark garment. Lucy returned to her seat, plopping her elbows upon the table and resting her head in her hands. "It's been ages since I've had a proper night's sleep. But Lynn won't leave!"
Haiku frowned thoughtfully at her drink. "Have you considered simply explaining the problem to Lincoln himself?"
"Hello, my estranged big brother." Lucy deadpanned. "I've been using my powers to sneak into your room at night for the better part of the last decade because sleeping beside you is the only thing that can sufficiently soothe my tortured soul to allow me to properly rest, and Lynn being there makes it impossible for me to come and go unseen. Something like that, I suppose?"
"A little melodramatic, but yes, something like that." Haiku nodded. "I remember Lincoln being very kind and understanding for a mortal. Did you know we used to date?"
"You had one date. That I set up. And there were three other girls on that date."
"Blissful sigh." Said Haiku, in lieu of actually performing the stated action. "Yes. Our romance was brief but so very memorable."
"Naturally I have had many suitors courting me since then, but..." Haiku trailed off, shooting Lucy a sidelong glance. "Does Lincoln ever...mention...me? At all?"
"I'm going to go back to talking about my problems now," Lucy replied, shaking her head in annoyance. "It's bad enough that Lynn's taken my rightful spot at Lincoln's side, but now Lori's there too!"
"I told you that bed would fit three people."
"I—" Lucy paused, blinking in surprise. "Wait, what?"
"Err, I mean, Lori? How scandalous! Tell me more!"
Lucy looked warily at her friend, who was now visibly sweating. She was going to need to address...whatever this was at some point. But right now she was frustrated, and desperately needed to vent. Thus decided, she grabbed her empty teacup and slid it towards Haiku.
"Give me some of that tomato juice you're hiding underneath the table, and I'll fill you in. The good stuff from your thermos, not the store-bought crud you bring as a backup."
"You can be so cruel." Haiku pouted. Nevertheless, she reached under the table and produced a violet thermos, unscrewing the top and pouring out a teacup's worth of the sanguine beverage with practiced ease.
"Now spill." She said, sliding the cup back towards Lucy. "But not literally, of course."
"Of course." Lucy took a careful sip, and let out a quiet moan of pleasure as the flavors danced over her tongue. "So Lori showed up and broke down Lincoln's wall..."