Six months prior

The Louds were always a family kept in a state of wacky pandemonium. Whenever they did something, the whole neighborhood would know its fine details as it happened. As far as Lori knew, it was never done out of malice or hatred. The kids loved each other, didn't they? She loved Lincoln— she knew she did. She would've given his life for him.

So what happened? Why was she sitting in the back of a police van, wrists bound together, soul stained with the blood of her brother? She didn't even know if that poor boy was even alive and her mind could not help but assume the worst.

This was the trait common amongst all the girls. Lisa, the youngest of the bunch, sat with half-glazed eyes staring at her feet. She was fully aware that what she had just done to Lincoln was bad. In fact, worse than bad— outright grisly! Yet she found it difficult to self-reflect on just what it meant for her. She had never dealt with anything like this before. Words in textbooks weren't enough to prepare her for the reality she had wrought.

Lucy had a better grip on things compared to her younger siblings. In fact she had a uniquely solid grip on just what had happened, as of perhaps all the girls sitting in the van, she was the closest to Lincoln and acted as something of his conduit to the others. Both were always something of outcasts to the family, the children set apart and seen as different in some way, so the two always had to stick together. But because she was a girl, she was inevitably kept on the side of the sisters, and always thought to use that unique relationship to keep Lincoln 'in the know' on how to stay one step ahead of them. In one foul swoop, she had severed that bond forever. Worse than that, she realized: she had likely just killed her only brother. As bad as she felt, a pulse of horror shook her body when she saw the hyperventilating Luan curled up and rocking back and forth, grabbing desperately at her hair.

"Luan..." the goth said. "Luan, calm..." She couldn't bring herself to finish. She herself wasn't calm, and just saying more than one word made her choke as the gravity of the situation returned to her again and she felt a spontaneous desire to join her sister.

Lynn had taken to looking more like Lucy in this moment, her hair untied and head drooped so that long shocks and bangs of hair obscured her eyes to hide the tears falling down her cheeks. She heard Luan breaking down beside her and couldn't bring herself to do anything for her.

Spooky thought she was closest to Lincoln. Obviously. Lynn couldn't know if that was the truth or not, but as far as she knew, she and Lincoln were the closest things to actual friends in the house. It's one thing to be siblings, those you're forced to live with in your childhood. To be actual friends as well took a special bond. Except now that she had left Lincoln in a gurney— and possibly in a grave— she looked back through her memories and saw only a history of laying the boy to waste. Bullying him, giving him wedgies and melvins, spitting at him, mocking his Ace Savvy costume, threatening to shove him into lockers once he started middle school, and even convincing his parents to all but disown him over a fear he was a bad luck charm... culminating in beating him so badly that he was probably dead. With a friend like her, Lincoln never needed enemies. And for what? She lifted her head slightly to peer at Lucy through the corner of her eye.

She so wanted to say, This is your fault. The urge to put those words to her lips soon exploded in intensity. Go on, Lynn. Say it. This is your fault. It was Lucy who caused all this, after all. If she hadn't been such a spoil-sport loner and beckoned to Lynn's calls to come and play rather than shove her face in some lame Victorian-era novel, none of this would've happened. This is your fault. Or maybe it was Leni. She shifted her head slightly towards the blonde fashionista— the former fashionista, as she had reached the understanding that her entire future and reputation had been irreparably ruined. She was supposed to be the purest maiden in the world, a soul too good for this sinful Earth. The sick and sadistic dog who wrecks their own blood brother the way she did didn't deserve to walk on a world as good as Earth!

And to Lynn, she was actually the cause. All the dumbhead had to do was see things her way and tell Lucy that she was being a lame-o emo by sitting under a tree and reading instead of playing in the snow. Instead, she blamed Luna— Luna of all people!— for the single dumbest reason Lynn had ever heard. That airheadedness was a shtick that had grown old years ago, but if the day hadn't progressed the way it did, Lynn would've probably socked Leni herself in private. This is your fault.

Or maybe Lori was the true instigator of the tragedy. After all, the Queen of No could make Joseph Stalin blush with her Loud-controlling measures. The young woman was eager to put the kids in their place any normal day if, as Lisa once muttered, "our quarks were a foamy resonant vibration out of place." Why did she pick that day to be lazy and pawn off authority to Leni? This is your fault.

Maybe it was Lana. She shifted her head over to the young tomboy, who sat opposite of Lola. Both the twins were faced and curled themselves, arms around their knees. She heard then sniffling, perhaps trying to outsniffle the other. The van was pretty loud too.

Lana snapped at Luan. All Luan tried to do was tell a stupid rock joke to diffuse the situation. That's it! She meant no harm. It wasn't her fault that the girls were angry at Leni for her pisspoor attempt at enacting familial justice. So why did Lana have to go and say what she did?

This is your fault.

And then there was Lisa.

Oh wait.

She was trying to stay out of it. And she would have.

She would have been innocent. They all would have been innocent. Lincoln would still be that happy little kid right now if she didn't wrap up a hefty rock in a snowball and chuck it at Lucy. The first time, Lynn beaned her right in the face. The second time, the goth's ghostly movement skills worked at the worst possible time and she dodged the projectile— and Lisa took the rock instead.

That's what happened, wasn't it? Lynn was the one who couldn't tolerate Lucy having fun in her own way. Lynn was the one who snapped at Leni for blaming Luna for throwing the rock ("Because Luna likes rock, right?" Oh Leni...) Lynn was the one who tossed the second rock and hit Lisa, dragging her into the nascent sister fight that soon exploded past the level of an Erupting Volcano and into the Apocalypse.

If she just stopped being an arrogant loser, she'd realize the truth:

"This is my fault."

"What?" Luna whispered. "What's wrong?" She tugged at Lynn's shoulders, only for the girl to beat her hand back with a swift motion of her arm.

"It's my fault!" she cried. "I shouldn't have chucked those stupid rocks at people!"

"Picked a good time to admit it," Lucy mumbled, face squooshed against the wall.

Lynn beat at her lap with her fists. "Why... Why, why, why?! Why didn't I..." Her voice broke and Luna pulled her closer.

The process of events still seemed surreal. The whole build-up lasted maybe three minutes at most. But there was still one missing piece to the puzzle.

A missing piece that the investigators quizzed them all when each of the girls was set in a dark room, opposite of two burly men whose whole job was to pry confessions from the emotionally compromised and recently guilty:

"Why your brother?"

Lori answered most concisely: "Because he got in the way." Saying that sent chills down her own spine, as if the reality of the situation finally became clear. She spoke like a supervillain, the kinds in those cheesy comics and movies— so willing were they to destroy their own brother because he did something as simple as try to help...

Officers Matthias Crockett and Jamie Tubbs both exchanged glances as Lori shifted her body over the table, running her face into her forearm and grabbing at her hair.

Crockett had sat on the table, while Tubbs stood next to the door— a single prism of light splashed onto the floor, the only evidence the outside world existed. As far as Lori was concerned, the entire world could've imploded.

The same proved true for Leni, for whom the interrogators found difficult to calm.

When Tubbs asked, "Was there any tension in the house? Or maybe something he had done in recent days that caused you to resent him?" Leni pressed at her chin and replied:

"I don't know... I always tried giving him resents! And he usually appreciated them." She rubbed the back of her head, her eyes puffy and red. "Is he okay?"

Tubbs whispered into Crockett's ear, who relayed the news, "So your brother's been moved to Royal Oak."

Crockett rubbed the bridge of his nose and sharply exhaled. "That's right, Ms. Loud. Your brother's—"

"A little squiggly mark?" She wept and threw her head against the desk. "What have I done?! I'm a monster!"

Tubbs and Crockett's jaws dropped. As they exchanged another glance, Crockett shrugged and Tubbs scratched his head.

"She must not be mentally all there," Crockett whispered to Tubbs. "If she's lucky, she can plead insanity."

Tubbs shook his head. "She's not a nutcase like that last guy. We talked to the parents— it's just some neurological damage from an accident at infancy."

Leni saw that the two burly men were whispered and, out of respect, quieted her wailing down to a delicate gasping volume while still making the same motions.

Luna slouched. She barely gave the two men the time of day, let alone her perspective of events.

Crockett quizzed her with questions ranging from, "Did you hate your brother?" to "Was this premeditated?" to "What did you think was going to happen?"

For all of them, she barely found the energy to turn her eyes, let alone speak.

Until Tubbs spoke up with, "Missus, if you just want to be carted off to jail now, just say so. You're looking at 18 months easy."

She then shouted, "Months?" without looking up. She threw her hands over her head. "Months?! Is that the best you could do for me?"

Crockett raised an eyebrow. "Is that a problem, Luna?"

Her elbows pressed against the table with such force that they began to ache— with any more force, they'd break. "Months. Months. Months! Why months? It should be years. I can't..." She shook her head and kept a hand over her eye. "That's unfair to Lincoln. He shouldn't have to worry about us being out in 18 months." Lifting her arms over her head again, she continued, "I killed him, didn't I?"

"Calm down, Ms. Loud."

She threw herself back so hard that the chair screeched against the floor, her body slouched again. "I'm bad to the bone."

The two men were lucky to even get Luan to say any fully-formed words. Whenever she wasn't gasping for air through wet sobs, she simply asked in staccato breaths, "Is... he... okay?" Being told that he was in the hospital did little to calm her.

Luan knew that she was far from the closest to Lincoln in the house— the two shared virtually no interests and he seemed to be annoyed by her jokester habits more than amused— but she had always obsessed herself over his wellbeing. Not to the same level as Luna, the boy's "Guardian", but certainly protective enough to earn his trust. Learning just how damaging her pranking had been to him had sent her into a mild depressive shock over the past few months, though the boy's sheer cheerfulness always managed to pull her back from the sort of funk that had once afflicted Lynn Jr.

All she wanted to do in life was make others laugh. To think she could inflict such misery on another didn't just shock her but in fact ran counter to everything she stood for as Luan Loud.

Sitting there, in that brightly lit secure-interview room, was like an exclamation mark on the last page of her life except she didn't know the words that preceded it.

Tubbs and Crockett asked her bluntly, "What happened?" They had asked the same thing to the previous three girls, so even if she was composed enough to answer, she'd yield nothing new to them.

After handing her a glass of water and a handkerchief, Tubbs sat opposite her and asked again much more gently, "What happened? Come on, it's clear you care about what happened. You don't have to be afraid."

Crockett also took care to add, "You don't have to worry— you're not being charged as an adult."

This didn't calm Luan at all. That she wasn't going to prison was no consolation. If anything it felt as if she was going to get off lightly. It was that she had done something so heinous to Lincoln in the first place that crushed her spirit.

The glass of water trembled in her hands as she looked upon it with blurry eyes.

Tubbs set his hand on her arm and said, "I need you to tell me what happened. What did you girls do to him?"

She took one sip and set the glass down. "I-is there any chance the judge could lock me up for life?"

"No," Tubbs replied, brow lifted and scratching his neck. "That only happens for first-degree murder and a few other crimes. The worst you're looking at right now, at this exact moment, is attempted murder, and that's only if the jury finds that there was clear intent to commit murder. If this was a massive accident— say, a case of heightened emotions and blind anger— then the worst you're looking at is felony assault and battery, even if he never wakes up."

Hearing those words sent a shockwave of cold horror through Luan. "S-so... He won't wake up?"

"I never said that. We don't know his current status, but if he does expire, then yes, we'll be looking at..." His breath hissed through his teeth. "Higher charges. What we're trying to determine is context and intent. Depending on this, it could range from first-degree— that is, premeditated with full awareness of homicidal intent— to third-degree— which is manslaughter, or accidental homicide."

Luan's eyes were so bagged from shock that the only word she heard was 'homicide.' That it was even remotely feasible she was guilty of homicide, and against Lincoln of all people, pulsed throughout her face and mind. Nothing felt real.

In a separate room, officers Themla Foley and Louise Taggart tended to the half-catatonic Lynn Jr. She had resumed the eye-obscurification from before, which initially caused them to confuse her for another girl in the house before she corrected them.

Foley tried to be comforting, while Taggart played the role of Bad Cop and slammed her fist on table, shaking it against the tiled floor.

"You beat your brother senseless!" she shouted. "And for what? What was so important to you that his life became worthless in your eyes?"

Lynn had no answer. The thought that she even would wrought a flash of anger behind her cheeks.

Foley took Taggart's place and said, "Lynn, sweety... Was this all a big mistake?"

Silently and sadly she nodded.

"So you didn't mean to do it?"

She shook her head delicately.

Taggart, wrists on her hips, said with a caustic bite, "How can we be so sure?" She leaned in and said, "It's awfully convenient that your victim can't offer his own viewpoint."

Looking through a gap in her hair with anger in her eyes, Lynn bit her lip to stop herself from exploding at the officer. She was a mightily sporty girl, said by some to be approaching an Olympian tier. Yet there was little chance she'd be able to take the hefty 30-something cop in an actual fight. Indeed she had never seriously faced any well-built opponent that much older than her before who didn't cower or surrender immediately. However she still wanted to defend herself.

I didn't want to kill him. He just... got in my way.

She curled her fingers into a fist.

If there's anyone I want to kill, it's that gothic rat. She did this...

Immediately as the thought ran through her head, the counter-thought returned and she bowed her head again.

No... I did this. WE did this. We're all guilty of this...

"Well? Got anything more to say, Miss Loud?"

"You don't have to say anything more if you don't want to. But you should know that we can't bring you home or anything."


"It's straight to the slammer for you kids." Taggart seemed to take pleasure in saying this, though she did add, "Say hello to your new home: Woodland County's Hazetucky Juvenile Correctional!" as she passed her a pamphlet of the facility. It looked like a generic government building rather than the max-security prison island she feared. Somehow, that made her feel worse.

The slammer. That's what Lucy had been threatened with. From the Loud House to the Big House. What a fall from grace. She never thought herself to be an incredibly virtuous person— when you deal with the profane and macabre, some level of darkness in your soul is necessary— but to be incarcerated felt surreal.

Foley barely wanted to touch her, instead clutching and kissing her crucifix necklace whenever she forced herself to approach. Taggart, however, was more forthcoming.

"So what was it?" Her fist hit the table with enough force to knock over Lucy's glass of water. "Satanic ritual? Offering to some dark lord? Or did you just want to feel the dark rush of putting your hands on another person's soul?"

Forthcoming didn't mean nice.

Lucy's lips quivered as she was questioned. The last thing she wanted to be remembered for was as a ritualistic murderer. As strange as her hobbies were, she wasn't like so many others whose hands passed over occult tomes and weird tales. Her family never seemed to ostracize her for it, and she never felt the angst that always seemed to come to so many others who adopted this lifestyle— even though she knew she had good reason to. The Louds were one big goofy bowl of candy, and she was black licorice, not a drop of rat poison or coal.

"Well? What? Sell your soul to the Devil and now he won't letcha speak?"

Foley kissed her cross once more and scooched closer, placing her hand atop Lucy's and setting her glass upright. "Lucy, do you feel bad about what you've done?"

She nodded, her chin already dripping and lap running with tears. "Yeah."

"Did you do it for some evil purpose or ritual?"

Hearing these questions hurt even more as if just by their inquisition they were damning her. "No."

Taggart scoffed through her lips. "Betcha twenty bucks she was listenin' to some black metal, don'cha know."

Foley looked to her colleague and then back to Lucy. "Are you sure you weren't... you know..." Lucy brushed away her bangs so that Foley could see her eyes, giving the interrogator a reason to smile in relief. "Your eyes are beautiful. Why do you hide them?"


Foley and Taggart winced as if this was a confession.

"Were you going to ask if I was possessed?" For someone who never let herself grow emotional, tears were starting to fall easy.

Foley rubbed the back of her neck and tried to focus on a dappled light panel. "Um... Well when you put it that way?"

Lucy drooped her head, letting her bangs fall over her eyes again. "I don't even know." This is what scared the little gothling the most: what had just transpired fit exactly with tales of demonic possession. Yet she could not bring herself to believe that this was possession. Indeed the more she thought back to it, the clearer the process of events. She hadn't been forced to act by some infernal force. Rather, it was the tensions built up within that exploded at once, yet these explosions were only like the combustion inside an engine. If only she had controlled herself better, she could have stopped. And now her brother was in the hospital, possibly soon to be in the grave. Taggart's eyes twitched as she noticed a sudden flash of deathliness take Lucy's very vibe, though it passed as she pulled her legs back to curl herself up.

The same angst flashed between the mouths of Lola and Lana through constant wails as both begged for Lincoln to come back. An officer elected to separate them and bring in Lana first, leaving Lola to curl herself into a ball in a blue plastic chair. She had removed her tiara at some point and didn't know where it was anymore. It could've been on the precinct floor. It could've been at home in the yard. She didn't really care anymore.

Lana was hyperventilating, asking without breath, "Is-is my brother okay?" over and over. She was so frantic in her questioning that Taggart could not intimidate her, no matter what strongwoman tactics she used.

Foley tried to hold Lana, only to immediately set her down upon realizing the girl had soiled herself in her high emotion. As she stepped out to wash her arms and hands, Taggart pulled up the seat and brought her hands together on the table. Looking at the little blonde tomboy freaking out hurt. She had tried to be the Bad Cop all night as a means of forcing a Loud girl to slip up and admit their malevolence.

That spooky kid's going to need to be watched, she thought as she kept her eyes on Lana. Not that this one's looking any better composed. Though she still had two more after this, it had become clear to her that she wasn't going to find malicious intent behind their actions. As horrible as it was, it seemed these girls were in this room by some bloodlusted accident.

Lana was so disheveled that she soon began to chow on the table itself, taking bites out of a corner and swallowing the wood whole. Taggart's eyes boggled at the child's ability to force it down without ill effect, though mostly because this was police property that was going to cost public money to replace.

Though it took several minutes and multiple doggy treats, Lana calmed herself.

"You, uh, you mind telling us why you eat dog food, kid?"

Lana washed down the last bone with a gulp of water. "I dunno really. You gotta ask my Mom or Lisa."

Foley came back in with a bag of diapers and said, "Sweetie, if you need these—"

Taggart snatched the bag and shook her hand, then stepped back over to the table. "Alright, Lana. Was this some sort of rabid attack?"

She shook her head, her breathing quickening again. "I swear! I didn't mean to do it! I didn't think he was going to die!"

Foley quickly spoke, but not quickly enough. Lana quickly got out of the chair, letting it scrape against the floor. Both Foley and Taggart stood and started asking, "Where are you going, young lady?" as she tried walking past them.

She raised a finger and stooped over a trash can to vomit larger chunks than they thought a child ever could. Every time they thought she was finished, another pulse came.

"I told you it's not healthy to eat dog food."

"Dog food?!" Foley shouted. "Well why is she eating that?"

Lana pulled herself back and wiped away copious amounts of spittle and green puke from her lips and cheeks. "It's not that, guys..." She fell onto her bottom and then fully flat, staring defeatedly at the ceiling. "That was all Fear 'n Anxiety Puke. You can tell from the swirly hue. Go look for yourself if you want."

Both recoiled. "No thanks, kid, we'll take your word for it."

Lola followed, barely moving save for following the two officers' gazes and motions.

"So tell me, ya little brat. Did he take something you wanted?" Lola shook her head. Taggart scratched her chin. "Thought he was making you look unglamorous or whatever? Maybe trying to steal your thunder?" Lola shook her head.

Foley noted with bated breath that Lola looked exceptionally defeated. Out of all the girls they had interviewed thus far, she spoke the least— even Lucy had been more vocal, the one that all the girls said barely spoke if she didn't need to.

The sad-eyed pageant princess kept her eyes forward as if she was expecting an executioner's sword to behead her at any moment. This was palace revolution, and she was the loser.

No matter what they asked, she didn't have much of an answer beyond either a shake or a nod of the head.

And the only words she said was the same ones repeated by Lisa and, by extension, all of the other Loud girls:

"Yes. I beat him up." Lisa then added, "The damage I inflicted was not intended to be fatal but rather induce an amygdala response in order to deter Lincoln from further incursions into our typical sororal matters."

Taggart scratched her head. "I didn't catch much of that. But I think I get what'chur saying."

Foley leaned forward, offering Lisa another glass of water. She was the calmest Loud yet.

She was stoic and unflinching to a degree that disturbed the two interrogators, giving them a sense they may be dealing with the One: the psychopath they had been looking for, a smoking gun of unapologetic guilt.

However, with each blink and each twitch and each convulsion of emotion pulling at her face, Lisa found great difficulty in holding her blank demeanor. The most embarrassing thing she could think of was an emotional breakdown. Throughout all her studies she had noted frequently that girls were supposed to be emotional and flighty, so it gave her great pleasure to be as cold and unemotional as possible as well as hyper-capable. It wasn't that she didn't understand emotions or social cues. She just didn't care.

This was not the moment, she realized, to remain uncaring.

He's probably dead. Her brother may have expired. And this got her to remove her glasses, bang her head on the table, and weep. "I don't normally show emotion like this but... i-is he dead?" she asked, voice breaking and squeaking. She took a big breath and attempted to regain her composure. Foley handed her a glass of water.

"And what if he is?"

This brought out big arcs of tears that would soon fill up the room like a pool if not for Foley's quick thinking to open the door and open an umbrella to ward off the bulk of the girl's crying.

An aide swam in and handed Foley a manila folder, tipping his hat as the force of Lisa's tears swept him away. She pulled out the document and gasped. "Lisa!"

The broken polymath struggled to stop her emotional breakdown, prompting Taggart to break procedure and pick her up herself.

"Agh... you little brat, it's okay." Feeling the weight of Lisa on her shoulder made Taggart a tad emotional herself. The girl was just four years old— barely old enough to understand consequence— and yet she had already found herself in a mess like this. Men and women twenty times her age sometimes found their way into this room and let loose fewer emotions over worse crimes.

Foley desperately beamed to Lisa as she said, "Look! Look! Read this! Can you read?"

"She's four, you ditz!"

Lips quivering and eyes glossy, Lisa struggled to focus in on the details of the document. It brought her the greatest comfort in her life to read:

"He's alive!" Lori exclaimed as she clutched the paper. She held it close to her chest and thanked her lucky stars. "He literally pulled through!"

"Oh no!" Leni cried. "Lincoln's turned into a piece of paper?!" She sat back and wailed. "What have I done? I'm totes a monster!" And cry she did as the two men shared a shrug.

Luna sat up and sighed. "Bro's doin' fine...? Wow... I thought that was it for him."

Luan struggled to breathe, but did so with a smile.

Lynn barely looked at the paper, instead slouching off into a corner.

Lucy dropped her head into her hands and said, "I'm happy and thankful he's alive and well, but that doesn't change what I've done to him. There'll be a reckoning..."

Lola's eyes lifted completely and she smiled into a tearful cry. "Linky's not dead! Does this mean I'm not going to jail?" She frowned at the answer. "Oh..."

Lana said, "I knew that dude would pull through. He's one tough cookie. He can even take nine versus one without croaking! He's the best!" before calming down and sitting back in her chair, eyes lowering and body relaxed. Despite her age, she knew what was coming next.

And back to Lisa, she adjusted her glasses and sniffled. Like a cat, she played off her emotional breakdown by pretending it hadn't happened at all: "As expected. Lincoln's durability has been tested on multiple prior occasions, and in all circumstances he's performed exceptionally."

"Yeah, well, you can marvel at your brother's fortitude some other time."

Foley leaned in and pinched Lisa's cheeks. "Aww, you're so cute. It's real sad what you did to your brother, I hope you know that. It's very, very, very lucky he's alive!"

Try as she might, Lisa could not spew a well-crafted response. Every word that approached her mouth failed her as she thought again to the sight of Lincoln's seemingly lifeless body. I was wrong, she thought. Sometimes even she is wrong, and she's happy to be wrong.

All the Loud girls struggled to come to terms with the new reality they found themselves in. As Lucy predicted, a reckoning was surely brewing, and it would begin as soon as Lincoln Loud opened his eyes in Room 412, Royal Oak Hospital of Royal Woods, Michigan.

A/N: I considered starting with the Incident itself, but I wanted to save that for a later chapter. Here's another big note!

For those who want to know, this is set between seasons 4 and 5 (with the caveat that several season 5 episodes have already taken place). At least that's what I intended, but the show's sense of time is screwy. I'll be playing fast and loose with "canon." Likewise, the inciting, ahem, Incident is also completely novel and not based on any pre-existing episode. Rotten Apple was born out of an earlier story so a lot of details ultimately come from there, including the inciting incident. When I reveal the process of events for the Incident, I'll explain in an author's note what the "original" story was like.

Feel free to rage against the sisters; Lord knows that's not getting old anytime soon. /s

I basically am Lucy IRL (I was even a baby bat once) so naturally I already sympathize with her... but that might also be why I'm not going easy on her or anyone else. You abuse, you lose!

I briefly considered skipping the first two acts of the story because we've all seen this before - the sisters screw up and face the consequences and make amends with Lincoln. That itch has been scratched down to the bone, and I'm personally really interested in the stuff that's going to start after the prologue's time because that's stuff that I genuinely HAVEN'T seen tackled before all that often. However, every cake needs its time to bake and the story wouldn't work without these acts to set it up. So sit tight! We'll be here for a while.

Finally, if this chapter seems like it's mostly realistic only to have some lapses into pure cartooniness, that's intentional. I'm not intending on being as realistic as possible, only enough to keep things making sense (and funny in a few cases). Just a heads up for y'all who might not buy a certain few situations realistically. Yeah I do want to say that if there's one thing that got me about Syngenesophobia, it was the sheer crushing drama of it all (which to be fair was the point!). I at least want to have some levity in this story too!

Finally-finally (I mean it this time), there's a very good reason I mentioned repeatedly that it's a platonic Lucy/Lincoln story. I knew from the outset that people were going to say "I want to crush the Loud sisters' skulls for what they did to Lincoln" and speculate that Lincoln no longer loves them and will disown them and all that fun stuff. And you still can do that because why can't you? But at the same time, as I mentioned, the endless hate these girls receive over the Nickelodeon writing staffs' inadequacies is tiresome and I wanted to mess with people who came into this story for the sole purpose of hating the Louds. I'm not saying Lincoln's forgiven his sisters, but the story definitely isn't going down the "Lincoln despises his sisters forever" route. No, it's going down some very different and wackier routes. And I repeat that the platonic Lucy/Lincoln parts aren't going to really become prominent for a good while because I felt I needed to focus on the other sisters.

Stay tuned...