The Loud House and all associated characters are owned by Nickelodeon. I make neither profit from this work of fiction nor claims of ownership over the show.
A/N: Regarding the context of this fanfic, I highly recommend watching 'The Loud House' Season Three's (Episode Two-A.) "White Hare." Before reading this submission. It's not necessary, but it will provide you with some basic idea as to what this fanfic is aiming for.
Lincoln Loud sighed as he looked out Vanzilla's window. He watched the rays from the afternoon sun highlight the rolling landscape in a picturesque fashion as they drove by. A lazy smile graced his face as he closed his eyes. After a few days of non-stop fighting from all his sisters, any kind of respite from the sheer insanity that happened- that was happening - was a welcome one. He slouched in his seat and felt the stress and tension seep out of his body.
He glanced at his father in the driver's seat and saw a state of peace that only a driver and a road with no traffic can ever hope to experience. Yes, sir. No shouting out here on the open road, And no suffocating tension either. It was only him, his father and the open road. Lincoln had even forgotten what event had started the sister fight in the first place, but he was darn sure that he didn't want to remember either way.
Not after last time.
But he did remember a question. One he'd been meaning to ask since they left in a rush earlier that morning.
"Hey, Dad?" He started, "How come you've never mentioned this sister of yours?" He knew Aunt Shirley, sure (No one can forget his aunt's face). But this was the first time he ever heard about his father's other siblings. It had only occurred to him that his father had somehow managed to avoid the question of his other siblings for all these years, and him and his sisters barely noticed.
Lincoln immediately regretted asking as he saw his father's form tense. His father took a deep breath, keeping his eyes on the road. "Well, son. Let's just say that some of my siblings and I had a falling out of sorts."
"Woah, woah, woah. You're telling me that you had a falling out with your family?!" Lincoln could hardly believe it. His father. The very definition of a family man. One that lived and breathed for his family. A man that loved his wife wholeheartedly. A father that loved him and his sisters in equal capacity, and never once played favorites...
Had a falling out with his siblings?
"B-But you're like the greatest dad ever! You raised us to treat each other like the greatest people anyone could ever hope to meet and love!"
His father, ever the sensitive man that he was, started to get teary eyed at the statement. But Lynn Loud Sr. kept his cool and had only let out a quiet sniffle. "You don't know how much that means to me, son."
Lincoln gave his father a second to gather his bearings, as his father cleared his throat to answer him.
"Well, son, sometimes in life we make different choices. And more often than not, it leads to a lot of disagreement, a lot of stubbornness, a lot of shouting and sometimes it may even come to blows..."
"Like my sisters and I, when we fight?"
"What? Oh – Son, no, no, no. - I mean, over opinions. You know? Beliefs that are actually worth fighting for." His father grimaced. "Sometimes… people just make very big, and very wrong choices in life, and refuse to take responsibility for themselves and for the ones they end up affecting, kiddo."
Lincoln desperately attempted to grasp the gravity of what he just heard. "…And those choices are enough to cut them away from family?"
"Sometimes, they themselves cut their selves away from family, Lincoln," his father sighed.
Lincoln tried his best to digest the heavy lecture, it was rare for his father to open up about his siblings. And now he just found out something bad happened to them all. An event that his father could barely even talk about. Lincoln could only respond with a quiet "Oh…" at the revelation.
"That's why I raised you all to be different, Lincoln. That's why I raised you all to be better than me or my siblings. I don't want you guys drifting apart from each other. Ever. I want all of you to be the best darn people you can be, and to make the right choices when they come, even if they're difficult ones… You understand, Son?"
His father glanced at him and smiled, before turning back to the road a second after.
"Yeah, I think I do." If there was one thing, he learned from his experience in a large family after all these years… "Family above all else, right dad?"
"That's my boy." His dad forced a smile on his face. Never taking his eyes of the road, he placed one hand away from the steering wheel to pat his son's head for a second before going back to position. "Family above all else, Lincoln. Never forget that."
A long profound silence filled the air as his dad focused on the road as he reminisced. Lincoln, on the other hand reflected on the vague hints his father gave him. Before long Lincoln found himself drifting off to sleep, his head filled with curiosity and wonder as to who he'll be meeting and staying with for the beginning of summer.
"Lincoln? Son? We're here. Time to wake up."
Lincoln sat up his seat as he yawned and rubbed the sleep away from his eyes. Only to find himself shocked when he opened them. Lincoln did a double take, squinted his eyes, and pinched himself all at once to see if he was still dreaming. He couldn't believe the sight before him as he turned to his father incredulously.
"Dad! I thought we were going to go out of town?!" his rude awakening turned into panic, which promptly turned into dread as he took stock of the situation. This place was a no man's land. Where men died from the crossfire. Chances of survival. Zero. Lincoln flailed in his seat in panic "We need to get out of here right now, they might still be fighting! The danger level might still be on erupting volcano! Back up the van, Dad! BACK UP THE VAN!"
"Woah, woah, woah, easy there, champ." His father looked at him in disbelief. Feebly attempting to soothe him "This is the place I was taking you."
"Back at the Loud House! Have you gone insane, man!" Lincoln continued to panic in his seat as his shaky hands failed again and again trying to pry off the unescapable leash to death that was his uncooperative seat belt.
"I don't wanna die, dad!"
"Game over, man. Game over!"
"LINCOLN!" his father grabbed his shoulders as he shook him. Lincoln gathered his bearings and stopped panicking as he focused on his father. His father chuckled as he shook his head. "Are you done?"
Lincoln nodded weakly in response.
"We're not at the Loud House. Take a closer look."
Lincoln took his father's advice as he scanned the area. Nope. Nothing changed. Still the same two-story building with... a different color scheme? Instead of the familiar white paint and blue roof. The house he was looking at was painted a light gray with a darker shade of charcoal for the roof.
"So… they repainted the house while we were gone?"
"Good one, Lincoln." His father chuckled, patting him on the back. "Now come on, I need to introduce you to my sister." His father opened the door on his side, before sliding out of his seat. Leaving him to look at his father back as if he went insane.
None of this was weird to him?!
Lincoln followed his father out shortly after he played a silent game of spot the difference with his surroundings. Nearly identical house, nearly identical tree in the front yard. Lincoln even peeked at the side of the garage, only to find it nearly identical from their own house as well. The only difference was the color, and that everything looked much cleaner. No scattered toys in the front yard, No strewn about toys in the sloping roof, and no loud noises? At least so far…
"Lincoln~" his father called him from the front porch. Lincoln tried to spot more irregularities as he sidled up to his father. "Done snooping around?"
Lincoln gaped at his dad. "None of this looks weird to you?"
His dad raised an eyebrow at the question. "No… Not really? I mean it's not as good looking as our house but-"
"Dad! Its almost entirely identical! I wouldn't be surprised if everything inside is identical as well!"
"Lincoln. Stop being ridiculous," Chastised his dad. "It's good that you're feeling at home here already, but let's try to meet your aunt first before you make yourself comfortable. Okay, kiddo?"
Whatever Lincoln was going to say was cut off as his father knocked on the front door.
"In a minute!" answered a voice, that Lincoln could only describe as a voice of a generic mom, from a generic family sitcom. The front door flung open. And a brown-haired woman that looked weirdly like Aunt Shirley appeared. She squealed before following it with a bone-crushing hug to his father. "Lynn Loud, we have a LOT of catching up to do!"
"Good… to see you too…Shelly," wheezed his father, desperately trying to pry himself off her. "This is… My son… by… the way."
The woman squealed once again when she turned to her side, releasing his purple-faced father. Lincoln instinct kicked in. He sensed another bone-crushing hug ready to be dispensed. He tried to dodge… only to fail miserably. His aunt apparently had the reflexes of a cat. "You must be Lincoln Loud! The only boy of the batch! Your gonna love it here, trust me! Oh, I'm so happy to finally meet you. I'll need to introduce you to the others soon."
Lincoln tried to conserve oxygen as his body was completely enveloped by his aunt. The hug felt just as uncomfortable as it looked and –
"Wait… others?" Lincoln managed to squeeze out.
"Others, Shelly?" echoed his father? "I thought you lived alone."
Aunt Shelly paled, and immediately released him from his fleshy prison. The atmosphere quickly changed from surprising reunion to uncomfortable awkwardness. Redundant. But Lincoln found strangely fitting.
"Oh… I forgot to mention…" Aunt Shelly wrung her hands together. "We really do need to catch up after all these years."
"Shelly..." said his father in a stern tone. "Is there something important you're not telling me?"
"Maybe its best if we take a walk." Aunt Shelly winced as she forced a smile. She then glanced at Lincoln with a worried look, then back at his father. "Alone."
"This better be good, Shelly," said his father, before looking at him. "Stay in the house, Lincoln. We'll be back soon."
Lincoln only nodded in response. Another important grown-up conversation, Lincoln was familiar with those and he already knew the protocol. Stay silent and stay out of the way. In short, be bored for the next thirty to undetermined minutes/hours. Great.
His face must've been easy to read as his aunt quickly picked up on his feelings. "Oh, don't you worry your pretty little head, Lincoln Loud. You're gonna be meeting the best-darn people you're ever gonna meet."
"Oh, really?" asked Lincoln. "Who-"
"WE'VE GOT COMAPANY! YOU GIRLS KNOW THE DRILL!" Aunt Shirley shouted loudly, as she suddenly thrusted Lincoln inside the house with one hand, and thrusted his father down the porch with the other. Lincoln swiveled around only to find the door suddenly shut in his face.
"Wait, Shelly! Who's – " said his father through the door.
"Oh, don't you worry, Lynn. The girls are gonna love him, just you wait and see…" Said Aunt Shelly, her voice becoming harder and harder to hear. They were starting to get some distance from the house.
Suddenly he heard the sound of loud march-like footsteps up the stairs. Lincoln twisted his head in fear at the direction of it. He recognized that sound. Combat boots making contact with the wooden floor. His body reacted instinctively. He stood there helplessly, paralyzed. So, He closed his eyes tight. It was amazing how much he felt like a cornered animal at that moment.
*Thump. Thump. Thump.*
Hot realization washed over his body.
His father lied to him. He did know this place. And last time he was here, he was caught right in the eye of the storm.
In a split-second. Lincoln managed to go through the five stages of grief. From denial to acceptance. He knew what he was going to see when he opened his eyes.
With a last-ditch effort of strength he salvaged from somewhere deep inside him. Lincoln Loud endeavored to meet his fate. No fear and no regrets. That's how his hero Ace Savvy would've wanted to go out. By his own terms. And so, shall he.
Lincoln Loud opened his eyelids wide and locked eyes with the person in front of him, and allowed himself some level of satisfaction.
Because, to his credit, He knew exactly who he was dealing with here.
He knew that face his whole life.
The face of one Lori Loud.
A/N: Fun Fact. The Loud House was originally going to be a show about a family of rabbits. More specifically, one boy living with his twenty-five sisters.