'Sup guys, as promised, here's the edited/censored version of 'My Angel, My Demon'. I still recommend reading the M-Rated version instead, but for those unable or unwilling to read explicit content, this one's for you. Still, I wouldn't quite call this one "worksafe", but in any case I tried my best to capture the original intent while keeping things PG-13. Relatively speaking, of course.
As usual, this one sprung out of a simple idea for a one-shot and quickly grew into something much, much longer and than expected. I considered splitting it into two chapters, but eh. Hope y'all like text!
So, this is a Lucy/Lincoln fic, as you're probably aware already. This one proved to be a bit of a challenge as I actually had to write some poetry for it, but it came surprisingly naturally to me, I think. In any case, I'm really happy with how this one turned out!
Note that while the worst of the content has been excised, this story still contains dark themes, angst, themes of depression and obsession, mentions of suicide and self-harm, and relatively mild sexual references.
As always, comments and critique are highly appreciated!
Lincoln bolted up the stairs and into his room, clutching a parcel close to his chest. It had finally arrived; and just in time, at that. When he'd asked Leni to make him a costume for the comic convention, he almost thought she wouldn't be able to get it to him… he'd given her such short notice, after all. But lo and behold, she'd pulled through. She'd even sent it via express shipping at her own expense… Lincoln knew he'd have to come up with a really good way to repay her for that one.
Despite his excitement, Lincoln managed to carefully unwrap the package; the last thing he wanted was to damage it, after all. His breath hitched in his throat as he revealed the costume inch by inch. In the past, he'd always cobbled together his costumes himself, or even bought them outright… he'd always considered asking Leni for help, but he'd never wanted to be a bother to the fashionista. But boy, was he glad he did. It was absolutely perfect. Leni had sent him photos of it in-progress of course, but that was nothing compared to seeing it in person.
Lincoln began stripping down to his briefs. He had to try it on.
The black robe slipped on easily, fitting his frame perfectly with just the right amount of roominess to not feel constricting. The fabric felt surprisingly comfortable as well, far from the scratchiness he was used to from store-bought costumes. Next, he fastened the sash around his waist. It looked like a myriad of overlapped leather and cloth belts, but Leni had fashioned them all into a single piece, to Lincoln's relief. He was surprised to find a pair of pants in the ensemble as well; he'd told Leni not to worry about it as he could just use a pair of his own slacks, but clearly she'd found it necessary to replicate everything down to the smallest detail.
He slipped on the golden bracers, finding them comfortably snug. And lastly, the pièce de résistance; the blood red cloak, with the golden Eye of Amaretto affixed to it to hold it in place. It slid over his shoulders with ease, the high red collar framing his face. Looking in the mirror, for a brief moment he could have sworn that Bandersnatch Cumblebee himself was standing before him. After quickly slicking back his hair, he was Doctor Unusual… or at least a younger version of him, but that couldn't be helped. He still needed a mustache, but that would be easy enough to figure out. He still had three days, after all.
Lincoln grabbed his phone and called Leni immediately. It rang for a bit before a groggy voice answered him. 'Hello…?' Leni mumbled, and Lincoln mentally cursed himself for forgetting about the time difference.
"H-hey, Leni… sorry, I didn't mean to wake you."
'Oh… Linky!' His big sister happily greeted him, some of the pep returning to her voice in an instant. 'Don't worry, it's not that late… so, did you get it?'
"Yeah, I did," Lincoln replied with a smirk on his face. "Thanks a lot, Leni. Really. It's incredible."
'W-well, I tried…' Leni stammered, sounding a bit flustered; she'd always been modest when it came to her work.
"It really is. I owe you, big time."
'Like, don't worry about that, Linky. It's the least I can do for my baby brother~' Leni giggled. 'Besides, I was able to add it to my portfolio.'
"Still, I want to do something for you too." Lincoln insisted. "Tell you what… next time I see you, I'm taking you shopping. My treat."
For a few moments, Leni didn't respond. '…You sure you can afford that?' Her tone was dead serious, and Lincoln felt a slight shudder run up his spine.
"Y-yeah," Lincoln gulped, making a mental note to start saving up right after the convention. "No problem."
'It's totes a deal, then,' Leni sounded happy, so whatever reservations Lincoln may have had about the arrangement were quickly thrown to the side. 'I can't wait.'
"Me either," Lincoln chuckled softly. "I miss you. We all do."
'I… I miss you too, Lincoln.' Leni said quietly. Ever since graduating with a major in fashion design, Leni had been working freelance… several fashion houses had reached out to her as of late, however, interested to see what she had to offer. Lincoln knew it was only a matter of time before she secured herself a proper job, and that meant soon enough she'd be very, very busy.
Such was the price of adulthood, Lincoln figured. Over the years, the Loud house had become a lot less loud as one by one, his sisters moved on. On the plus side, this had lead to a reshuffling of living situations… Lynn and Lucy's old room was now his, while they had moved into Luna and Luan's room. At least, until Lynn left as well, leaving Lucy with a bedroom all to herself. Lori and Leni's room was now used for guests, while Lincoln's old room was once again just a linen closet. While Lincoln was happy to have a proper bedroom for once, he had to admit things were a lot lonelier now.
Lori had not only managed to land a well-paying position at a consulting firm, but she and Bobby were expecting their first child in a matter of months. Lincoln hadn't expected to feel so giddy at the prospect of being an uncle, but when he heard the news he had squealed almost as loud as Leni had. His father had simply fainted, but that hardly came as a shock to anyone.
Meanwhile, Luna had dropped out midway through her first year of college, choosing instead to travel the country with Sam and Chunk. They would stay in a city for maybe weeks at a time, taking gigs wherever they could find them, and then move on. At first, their parents had been disappointed in her… but she was talented enough that she was never starving for work, and living out of a van meant that she had few bills to eat into her funds. She may not have found her big break yet, but quite frankly Lincoln was sure she'd never been happier.
As for Luan and Lynn, they were both still in college… Luan was majoring in performance arts, while Lynn had gotten into the University of Texas on a sports scholarship; it had been extremely difficult to narrow things down, but she'd ultimately opted to join the women's basketball team. Lynn had become something of an activist as of late, attempting to rally support to be allowed to play alongside the men. Lincoln knew she was fully capable of doing so, and wished her the best, but he knew how folks could be set in their ways. Quite frankly, he doubted her protests would amount to much.
And then there was Lincoln. Soon, he too would be leaving to start a new chapter in life. He'd had many aspirations throughout his life, but ultimately only one had remained with him through the years: comic book illustrator. He'd actually managed to get into the same school of art and design that Leni had attended, though it was more likely than not that she'd be well on her way to brighter pastures by then.
"Anyway…" Lincoln cleared his throat. "I'll let you get back to sleep. Thanks again, Leni. Love you."
'You too, Linky~' Leni replied sweetly, stifling a yawn. 'Have fun at your Halloween party!'
"Leni, it's January…" Lincoln began, but it was too late: she'd already hung up. Lincoln let out a small laugh. "Oh, Leni… never change." He snapped a quick selfie of himself in costume and texted it to her, receiving a croissant emoji for some reason, followed by a thumbs up.
-sowwy finger slipped :P
Lincoln chuckled and set his phone aside. He looked at himself in the mirror again, extending his thumb, index and pinky fingers on both hands and posed as though he were casting a spell. Yeah, he thought, I look awesome.
"Lincoln!" A bratty voice rang out as Lola unceremoniously kicked open his door. "Can you please tell Lana to keep her stupid snakes away from my-" Lola froze as she laid eyes upon her brother. Her eyes narrowed into slits as she tried to process exactly what the hell she was looking at. Finally, she doubled over and began to howl with laughter.
"Wh-what?!" Lincoln sputtered, barely audible over the twelve-year-old's mockery. "What's so funny?"
"Geeze, Lincoln…" Lola snickered, wiping a tear of amusement from her eye. "A-aren't you a bit too old to play dress-up?"
"This isn't dress-up," Lincoln said in an indignant tone. "It's cosplay."
"Ugh, that's the worst kind." Lola scoffed, putting her hands on her hips. The little girl may not have been a pageant princess anymore, but her snarky demeanor hadn't changed in the least. Even dressed in a simple white blouse and lacey pink skirt, she still exuded pompousness and condescension. "See, Lincoln, this is why you're never gonna find a woman."
Okay, that one stung a bit. While he'd had a few casual flings over the years, he'd never managed to get himself a proper girlfriend; even Clyde had been in a relationship for the past several months. It wasn't like he hadn't been looking, but the girls he'd dated just hadn't felt right to him. "Look, it's just not a priority right now…"
"Yeah, yeah…" Lola huffed dismissively. "That's what all virgins say." Lincoln's face went bright red. He had no idea where she learned this stuff, but he had to admit… the fact that a child could get under his skin so easily humiliated him to no end.
"I… am not… a virgin…" Lincoln hissed through clenched teeth.
"Am not!" Lincoln snapped. "I've totally… done stuff!"
"Your hand doesn't count, brother dear." Lola said smugly, making an obscene gesture with her hand. "Speaking of which, you make too much noise. These walls are thin, you know~"
Lincoln could only sputter in indignant rage. And then, he noticed it; her phone was hidden in her other hand, camera lens discreetly pointed in his direction.
"Are you recording this?!" Lincoln shouted. Lola shrieked with laughter as she ran back into the hallway, Lincoln hot on her trail. The troublesome girl darted back into her room and closed the door with a click as she locked it. Lincoln groaned as he heard the video play back, Lana joining in with her twin's laughter; as much as he loved his sisters, sometimes he just wanted to wring their necks.
"Lola doesn't know what she's talking about," Lincoln huffed. "Cosplay is awesome." He glanced down the hallway, noticing that Lucy's door was cracked open slightly. Still, he figured, I could use a second opinion. A small smirk crossed his face. Guess I'll bother Lucy for a bit.
"Hey Luce," Lincoln said as he walked into the room. "What's up?"
"Nothing." Lucy replied in her quiet, monotone voice. Lucy sat at her desk, hunched over her diary as usual; she didn't look up at him, seemingly focused on her writing. Lincoln waited a few moments for her to turn around, and when she didn't he just cleared his throat awkwardly.
"So… what do you think?" Lincoln asked, presenting his outfit to her. Lucy finally glanced over her shoulder.
"…Huh. Nice." Lucy muttered. "It was about time."
"Eh?" Lincoln cocked an eyebrow. "About time for what?"
"For you to embrace your inner goth," She said. "Though if you really want to pull off the Victorian-era vampire look, you should-"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Lincoln interrupted. "I'm not supposed to be a vampire… I'm Doctor Unusual!" Lincoln flourished his cape dramatically, but Lucy's flat expression didn't change in the slightest.
"…Oh. My mistake" Lucy sighed, turning back to her diary. "I thought he wore blue."
"Um, yeah," Lincoln huffed, crossing his arms. "But I'm not cosplaying his normal outfit. This is his alternate color palette from Key Comics vs.-"
"Lincoln," Lucy cut him off. "How much do I need to pay you to stop this conversation?"
"Fine, fine…" Lincoln grumbled dejectedly. Sometimes, he really wished at least one of his sisters shared his nerdy interests. "So… what're you doing?"
"I… I see that." Lincoln coughed. "What are you writing?"
"Can I see?"
"…No." Lucy said quickly. "It's private."
Lincoln sighed. He wondered why he'd even bothered… Lucy hadn't let him read one of her poems for nearly two years now. "Should I go…?" He asked quietly.
Lucy paused. "…Do what you want." She muttered, and resumed her writing. Lincoln frowned. He considered for a moment whether or not he should stick around… but quite frankly he didn't get to speak to his sister too often these days. So he simply sat down at the edge of her bed, and watched the young girl work.
To the casual observer, Lucy may not have changed all that much from her childhood. She had grown, of course… she'd developed a long, slender build, still shorter than Lincoln but already at eye level with Luna. Her raven hair had grown almost as much, now hanging well past her shoulders; it was accompanied by a long black dress that touched the floor. When she walked, it often looked as though she were simply gliding across the ground, which Lincoln figured was fitting enough.
Though she didn't have much in the way of curves, she was still a very pretty girl… Lincoln thought so, at least. He could only imagine that she'd be very popular among the boys if she were a bit more approachable. And of course, she was still a goth, further cementing the fact that it wasn't just a phase… nor was it even a lifestyle. It was simply how she was, and likely how she would always be. That said, Lincoln knew her well, perhaps better than anyone.
Lucy had always been something of a loner, but over the past year she'd become downright standoffish. She was rarely seen out and about anymore, except for school and meals. In fact, some days he wouldn't see her at all. When he did see her, she rarely gave him the time of day; he might find her watching television, and join her only for her to leave a few minutes later. It was as though she made a conscious effort to be wherever Lincoln was not.
It goes without saying that this troubled Lincoln to no end. He loved all of his sisters, but he'd always had a special bond with Lucy; she trusted him above the others, even Lynn. She'd once opened up to him about her deepest feelings and insecurities, but now? Now, it felt like she was a stranger to him. She never sought his opinion on her poems, she never asked for help with her homework… heck, he couldn't even recall the last time she'd unwittingly startled him.
Lincoln took a moment to glance around Lucy's room. Now that Lynn was gone, she'd turned it into a goth's wet dream. Her room was dark, lit primarily by various candles placed around; the windows were blocked out by heavy black curtains that didn't let in so much as a sliver of light. Between the dim light and the hair covering her eyes, he had no idea how she read and wrote without straining herself.
The room had been repainted a dark purple, which he was pretty sure she had done herself. It complimented the black furniture well. The room was cold too, but not uncomfortably so… and the candles gave off a pleasant, earthy scent that he couldn't quite place. All in all, despite its gloomy atmosphere, he found Lucy's room to be quite soothing, doubly so when she played ambient music.
As Lincoln looked back towards Lucy, he noticed that she had stopped for a moment. Her head was turned very slightly in his direction; she quickly turned back to her diary and resumed writing. Had she been staring at him…? With her hair covering her eyes, it was hard to tell.
"So…" He began, in a desperate attempt to initiate some kind of conversation. "How's school?"
"Any, uh… anything interesting going on?"
Lucy noticeably bristled at that. "…No." Her voice seemed to have more of an edge to it than before. "If you're going to interrogate me about my life, you may as well leave."
"S-sorry…" Lincoln mumbled. Lisa gave a small sigh, apparently realizing she'd hurt his feelings.
"…It's fine." His sister muttered softly. "Just… everything's fine. That's all."
Lincoln simply nodded, finding it best to not force the issue. Probably just puberty, he thought. Still, at least she was talking to him. Kind of.
Lincoln absent-mindedly rubbed at the bracer around his forearm. He'd nearly forgotten he was wearing the costume still… he wondered how it might look if someone were to barge in. Lincoln Loud, dressed like a warlock, in the middle of a candle-lit sanctum. He chuckled slightly at the thought.
Glancing over at the mirror, he couldn't help but notice that, to those not in the know, he did look quite a bit like a vampire. With his high-collared cape, black robe, and slicked-back white hair, he looked as though he'd stepped right out of one of Lucy's vampire shows.
Then, a mischievous smirk crossed his face. He stood up, taking a moment to straighten out his costume before grabbing the hem of his cloak and bringing it in front of his face. "Lucyyy~" He crooned in his best Hungarian accent as he strode towards her, "I vant to suck your blood."
Lucy rolled her eyes. "Really, Lincoln? The Dracula bit is so played out."
"Your vill is strong, Lucy Loud," Lincoln said, fanning out his cape wide like a pair of bat wings. "But I know you cannot resist me." Lucy simply groaned and huddled down further, doing her best to ignore her brother's teasing. Then, she felt it; a puff of warm air on the nape of her neck, followed by another. Lincoln's breath. She froze, the hairs on the back of her neck standing up, her breaths growing shallow. "I simply desire… a bite to drink." Lincoln spoke in a slow, deliberate voice.
"L-Lincoln… knock it off…" Lucy gasped between breaths. Her face was flushed and she could feel her heart pounding in her chest. Lincoln simply smirked, knowing he'd finally gotten a rise out of the moody girl. He leaned further forward, his mouth right beside her ear as he gripped her shoulders.
"The blood is the life…" Lincoln whispered, making his little sister shudder. "…And it shall be mine." And with that he gave her a soft, playful bite on the neck.
"HIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Lucy suddenly shrieked, bolting upright and sending her brother stumbling back a few paces. She stood straight as a nail, trembling and red-faced with her hands squeezed into tight fists. "I-I need to go!" She blurted out before bolting out of the room. A second later, Lincoln heard the bathroom door slam.
Lincoln stood stunned at her reaction. Whatever he'd expected, it certainly hadn't been that. Hell, he'd never even heard her scream before, let alone screech like a banshee. His brow furrowed in concern; had he bitten too hard and hurt her? Or…
"Oh my God," Lincoln groaned, smacking his palm against his forehead. He'd just nipped his fourteen-year-old sister on the neck… of course she'd freak out. Looking back at it, it was a very, very weird thing to do. With a sigh, Lincoln left and returned to his own room, hoping against all hope he hadn't just made things worse.
Lucy leaned her back against the bathroom door, panting heavily. She'd never been so flustered in her life; her legs were trembling so hard she couldn't even stand. Lucy let out a low, pathetic whine, sliding down to the floor with her face buried in her hands. Why did he have to be so clueless? Could he really not see just what he does to her?
No… no, of course he wouldn't. Lucy had gone to great lengths to distance herself from him, after all. Just being around him sent chills up her spine; the fact that he'd been acting like a vampire of all things was something the young girl couldn't possibly handle.
She wanted him. She wanted him so bad. She wasn't sure exactly when or how these feelings had started… but now they consumed her every waking moment.
Lucy gingerly touched the spot where Lincoln had bit her. It had been incredibly gentle, not even enough to leave a mark… and yet, he may as well have sunk his teeth in as far as they would go. Even that morbid thought sent a tingle through her entire body. She wanted that... she wanted him to be rough with her. Her favorite fantasy was of her brother bursting through her door, throwing her on the bed and just taking her; in fact, that was why she left her door unlocked, in some vain hope that it would become a reality. But beyond that, there was something she desired more.
More than anything, she wanted to taste his lips against hers. She wanted to feel his touch, she wanted him to hold her close and never let go… she wanted him to love her. She wanted him to love her as more than family, as more than his sister. She could settle for nothing less.
She hated feeling this way. It went beyond mere attraction… it was an obsession. She'd had crushes before, of course. Rocky, Silas… hell, she'd spent much of her childhood longing for a fictional character, of all things. But she'd never felt anything like this. She was hopelessly, desperately in love with Lincoln. Lucy knew she must have felt this way since the beginning, but it was only her blossoming sexuality that could have made her realize it.
It wasn't the fact that he was her brother that disturbed her; at least, not directly. Personally, she saw no reason that two siblings shouldn't be allowed to love one another, regardless of the inherent risks of inbreeding. No, what troubled her was the knowledge that no matter what her opinions were on the matter, society had decided that such relationships were wrong; sick, even. She had no doubt Lincoln would feel the same. Lucy had never been one to care about what people thought of her, but the mere thought of Lincoln being disgusted with her made her heart sink to her stomach.
"What's wrong with me…?" Lucy whimpered, drawing her legs to her chest and sinking her face into her knees.
"I just don't know what to do, Clyde," Lincoln said as he wandered the convention hall in full costume, a pencil-thin fake mustache adorning his upper lip. "It's like every time I try to get closer to her, she pushes me away. It's like I don't even… Clyde?" Lincoln looked over to see his friend walking a distance away from him. "Will you get over here?"
"No way, Lincoln," Clyde huffed. "Your costume's too good… makes me look bad, y'know?" Clyde was, for lack of a better word, cosplaying as Doctor Unusual's sidekick, Fong. He had opted to make it himself, convinced he could manage well enough on his own, and despite following an online tutorial he had failed miserably. It was tight where it should be loose, loose where it should be tight, the completely wrong shade of green, and the robe was terribly uneven at the bottom, leading to Clyde stepping on it and falling over more than once. Even the bald cap he'd spent over an hour applying sat slightly askew, a single lock of hair sticking out on one side.
"Oh, stop being a baby," Lincoln replied with a roll of his eyes. "You look fine." It was a blatant lie, of course, but Clyde nonetheless joined his friend by his side, albeit reluctantly. "Anyway, I don't know what to-"
"'Scuse me!" A convention photographer approached, camera in hand. "Mind if I get a pic?"
"Yeah, sure!" Lincoln and Clyde struck a pose, only for the photographer to wave Clyde aside. Clyde groaned, but nonetheless complied.
"Thanks!" The photographer said after snapping Lincoln's picture. "Great costume, dude." As the man walked off, Clyde shot his friend an 'I told you so' look, earning him a nervous, apologetic laugh. Lincoln made a mental note to ask Leni to make a costume for Clyde too next time.
"Ah, whatever," Clyde said with a sigh of resignation before pulling off the bald cap. "Stupid thing itches like hell anyway." He gave a quick flick of his head to shake his hair back into position; ever since Jordan B. Michael had become a worldwide sex symbol, Clyde had been styling his hair to match the actor's look in 'Dark Jaguar'. That, combined with the contact lenses that replaced his bulky glasses, had done well to improve the boy's image… no doubt his new look was at least partly responsible for him finding a girlfriend. Clyde was more confident too, but deep down he was the same dork Lincoln had always known.
"Anyway," Clyde cleared his throat. "You think I have the answer? I'm an only child, remember?"
"Yeah, no shit, but you're smart. And honestly, these days you're better with girls than I am, so…" Lincoln sighed. "I dunno. It just sucks. I haven't even left for college yet and it feels like we're miles apart."
"Things change, man. I mean, look at us… we used to be losers, now we're hot." Clyde boasted, before stumbling over his robe again. Lincoln couldn't help but chuckle at that.
"Maybe so, but-"
"Oh shiiiit! Hold that thought, Linc." Clyde said before rushing off towards one of the vendor booths, 'RetroLution Games'. Lincoln groaned. Not again, he thought as he hurried after his friend. Every year, it was the same thing: Clyde would buy a bunch of old, outdated video games, blowing at least half of his convention money in one go.
"Oh man, oh man… they got a great selection this year…" Clyde mumbled as he browsed the storage bins filled with rows upon rows of used game cartridges. Lincoln did have to admit that the variety of offerings were impressive; though there were no shortage of game vendors at the RoyalCon, this one had always been the most popular and just seemed to get bigger each year. Heck, some of the consoles on display he hadn't even heard of. What the fuck is a Magnavox?
"I don't know why you waste your money on this junk, Clyde." Lincoln muttered.
"Dude, it's gaming history. All the new triple-A crap can't compete with the classics."
"Point taken, but that's what emulators are for. You can improve the graphics and everything." Lincoln huffed, earning him an unimpressed glare from the vendor. "What? You know I'm right." The man just rolled his eyes and went back to re-sorting the disheveled games.
"It ain't the same, man," Clyde explained as he crouched down to look at one of the glass cases, reserved for only the most popular offerings. "Nothing beats the feel of playing on an actual console, on a good ol' CRT television."
"Clyde, last week it took you ten minutes to get Fabio Bros. working." Lincoln reminded him. "You blew in it like eighty times."
"Look, you gotta take the bad with the good," Clyde shrugged. "Oh man, check it! Minora's Mask!" He gasped, practically pressing his face to the glass in excitement.
"You own Minora's Mask on four different consoles!"
"Five," Clyde corrected him. "But this one's got the gold cartridge!" Clyde was practically salivating, his eyes wide and shimmering with desire. Hell, he looked as though he were about to pitch a tent.
"Clyde," Lincoln began, clearly exasperated with his friend. "You have the gold cartridge."
"Not with the holographic label."
Lincoln buried his face in his palm. There was no use trying to reason with Clyde… the guy loved his retro games. He had built up a respectable collection over the past few years, and was already starting to run out of room for them. Lincoln could only give his friend a judgmental look as he paid nearly $50 for a game that could probably run on his cell phone.
"What? Don't look at me like that." Clyde scoffed as he walked away with his friend, bag in hand. "You collect coins, I collect games. Which is more lame?" Lincoln opened his mouth to retort, but it quickly died on his lips; Clyde did make a good point. "Anyway… you hungry?"
"Yeah… I could eat."
Convention halls always seemed to have pretty good food, or at least passable. Lincoln supposed they should, considering how absurdly overpriced it was… but this one in particular seemed to go a few steps beyond. This was how Lincoln found himself enjoying a cheeseburger topped with pulled pork, of all things. Granted, he felt like he was going to have a heart attack after just a few bites, but it was delicious nonetheless.
"So," Clyde began, munching on some fries. "Lucy."
"Right…" Lincoln sighed. "I guess I just miss her."
"Well, she's fourteen." Said Clyde. "You know how puberty is… one day they're your best friend, the next they just want to be alone."
Lincoln frowned. Clyde did have a point… when he and Lynn were children, they'd been practically inseparable. But once puberty kicked in, she spent a lot less time with him. It was something that upset him at the time, and that he really wouldn't understand until he went through it himself. "Still," He mumbled through a mouthful of pure fattening indulgence, "We used to be really close, y'know? But now, she treats me like I don't even exist, and when she does talk to me it feels like she's annoyed that I'm bothering her." Lincoln didn't find it necessary to mention what had happened three days prior… that one was definitely on him.
"You sound like a jilted lover."
"…W-what?" Lincoln stammered, his cheeks tinged red. "Don't be gross, man…"
"Just saying," Clyde chuckled before taking a bite out of… something. Lincoln had no idea what it was, but it looked even worse than the basket of carbs he was eating himself. "But this is Lucy we're talking about. Hasn't she always been this way?"
"You don't know her like I do, Clyde." Said Lincoln, waving his hand dismissively. "She liked her privacy, sure, but she never cut herself off like this. She used to open up to me about things, stuff she wouldn't tell anyone else. She used to ask for help with her poems, but now she won't even let me see them. It's- whoa!" Lincoln narrowly managed to catch a glob of barbecue sauce before it landed on his outfit.
"Nice parry!" Clyde exclaimed, clearly impressed. "Anyway, I had no idea you were so close with her. I always kinda figured she just crept around doing her own thing." Lincoln couldn't really blame his friend for thinking that. While it was readily apparent that he and his other sisters were thick as thieves, his relationship with Lucy had always been more… private.
"There's a lot more to her than most people think," Lincoln explained. "She doesn't come out of her shell much, but she did with me. Any time she was feeling down about something, she came to me. Any time she needed advice, she came to me. Any time she had a bad nightmare-"
"Wait," Clyde cocked an eyebrow in disbelief. "Lucy has nightmares? I'd hate to see that shit."
"Anyway," Lincoln continued, "It's not just that I miss her. I'm… worried about her. She's always by herself. She rarely goes out, she never seems to talk to anyone… I don't even think she hangs out with Haiku anymore. It's like she's completely withdrawn from the outside world. Like she's just… I dunno. Depressed."
"Miss Doom and Gloom is depressed? Color me surprised." Clyde responded sarcastically. Lincoln just rolled his eyes.
"Look, she's always been pretty glum, but deep down she was happier than she let on. This is different. I think there's something going on with her, but she just won't let me in." Lincoln sighed softly. "I'm not going to be around much longer, y'know? I want to help her, but I can't. I just… can't get through to her." Lincoln muttered quietly.
Clyde frowned. If there's one thing that defined Lincoln, it was his devotion to his family… he cared about each and every one of his sisters in a way that Clyde couldn't relate to. Of course, Clyde didn't really need to; it mattered to Lincoln, and that was enough for him.
"I'll admit, it does sound pretty bad." Said Clyde. If there's one thing he understood, it was depression; he hadn't seen Dr. Lopez for so many years for no reason, after all. And knowing Lucy's penchant for the dark, morbid, and tragic… there's no telling what could happen if things were left unchecked. "Okay." He began, his tone growing serious. "What you need to do is sit down and talk to her."
"Clyde, I've tried-"
"Then you haven't tried hard enough," Clyde continued. "You need to sit down and explain to her how you feel. You need to tell her that you're worried about her. You have to remind her that she can talk to you the way she used to."
"You, uh…" Lincoln chewed his lip in thought. "You think that would work…?"
"Lincoln, puberty may have changed some things, but she's still Lucy. If you were as close as you say, I guarantee you that those feelings are still in there somewhere. You just need to coax them out." Clyde said, taking another bite of the monstrosity that lay before him. "And if that doesn't work… she may need to talk to someone else, y'know what I mean?
Lincoln mulled over things a bit. He doubted Lucy would be open to therapy, but that was a last resort anyway… besides, Clyde was right. As much as he'd tried to get Lucy to open up to him, he'd been trying not to force the issue out of fear he'd only push her away. But quite frankly, there was more to this than just him, and he owed it to Lucy to try his hardest. "…Thanks, Clyde." He said, smirking at his friend. "You're right. I'll talk to her tonight."
"Glad to hear it, man." Clyde smirked back. "And hey, if worse comes to worse I can put in a word with Dr. Lopez. If anyone could help Lucy deal with her issues, it's her."
"Yeah… we'll see." Lincoln muttered, hoping that it wouldn't come to that. "By the way…" He began, glancing at the horrifying sandwich Clyde was eating. "What the hell is that thing?"
"Cakeburger," Clyde mumbled as he took another bite. "You wanna go half-and-half?"
Lincoln frowned, looking down at the dripping mess of a burger in his hands. This was bad enough as it was, but adding another layer of garbage to the mix? Then again… he was already going to regret this later, so he might as well enjoy it while he could. "Yeah, fuck it." He shrugged. "Let's do it." They cut their respective burgers down the middle and exchanged them, touching them together in a final toast before their inevitable fate. "We're probably gonna die, you know."
"Eh," Clyde shrugged. "At least we'll go out as comrades in arms."
Lucy lay on her bed, idly browsing Pictagram on her phone. It was more to distract her than out of genuine interest… though she had to admit, she liked Haiku's photos. While the goth subculture wasn't just a phase for Lucy, it certainly had been for her best friend… long gone were the dark dresses, long hair and love for the dead. Now she kept her hair short and always seemed to be wearing the same beret and black turtleneck; she'd become a beatnik, and a highly stereotypical one at that. Still, it suited her well, and in many ways she was the same Haiku Lucy had always known. She still wrote poetry, she still retained her deep and melancholy demeanor, and she was still one of the few people Lucy could trust.
Or, she was… like most people in her life, Lucy had made little effort to connect with her as of late. Though she'd considered asking for her advice on her current situation, she just couldn't bring herself to do so. Lucy sighed and moved on, scrolling past pictures from the various horror and gothic Pictagrams she followed, before coming to a post from Lori. She'd posted yet another picture of her baby bump, her hand gently resting on her belly, and Bobby's hand resting over hers. In black and white, of course. With a vignette. Lucy rolled her eyes; tender moments like these became infinitely less so when they were clearly staged for a good picture.
Still, it was sweet… if not for the picture itself, then for what it represented. Lori, for all her bluster, had always been a motherly girl deep down inside. In fact, Lucy had always expected that, more so than a businesswoman, what she really wanted to be was a mom. Even if the constant photos were overdone to a point, she always looked happy. It was funny, in a way… at first she had been extremely self-conscious about her growing belly, but now she seemed proud of it. It made sense to Lucy, though. The baby that grew in her stomach was a symbol of the love she shared with Bobby. Lucy had always had a fascination with death, but creating life?
It sounded… strangely appealing.
Lucy quickly shook her head, trying to dispel the thought. With a sigh, she almost reflexively gave Lori's picture a 'like' and moved on.
After scrolling through a few more pics, she came across a recent photo from Lincoln. It was reposted from the RoyalCon Pictagram… the photo of him in costume, striking a dramatic pose. Immediately, a familiar tingle spread through her body as she remembered the bite he'd given her. Lucy let out a small whine, closing Pictagram instantly; damn it, she'd been trying to distract herself from this!
Just then, a knock at her door snapped her back to reality; Lucy let out a small sigh of relief from the distraction and quickly did her best to act natural. "…Come in," She said softly.
Her relieved expression faded away in an instant as none other than Lincoln walked in. He was dressed in normal clothes again, a two-tone orange and navy blue polo and black jeans. "…Hey, Luce." He said. Lucy couldn't help but notice that there was a strange tone to his voice. He sounded… anxious.
"…Hey." She returned the half-hearted greeting, conflicting emotions surging through her mind. This was not the distraction she needed. "How, um… how was the convention?"
"Great," He replied with a gentle smile. "I had a lot of fun." Lincoln closed the door behind him…
…And then locked it.
Lucy's heart skipped a beat. Then, it started pounding as he began walking towards her bed. Oh… oh my God… Lucy thought, its happening. It's finally happening. Lucy felt her breaths grow more and more ragged with each step he took; it was as if he were moving in slow motion. She'd been waiting for so long, and it was finally happening. She felt equally nervous and excited as she waited for her brother to ravish her…
…And then he simply took a seat at the edge of her bed.
Lucy blinked, though there was no way he could have seen it. "U-um…" She stammered under her breath, though Lincoln didn't seem to hear it. He was sitting along the side of her bed, not facing her directly; he looked a bit tense. His brow was furrowed slightly and he seemed to be chewing his lower lip. Was he just trying to work up the nerve…? Of course not, you idiot, Lucy told herself. Did you really think he was here for that?!
Well… yes. Yes, she did.
"…Lucy…" Lincoln began quietly. "Is… is everything okay?"
Lincoln sighed. "Lately you've been so… I dunno. You haven't been yourself. You're always holed up in your room, you never want to talk… I'm worried about you, Lucy." Lincoln turned his head towards his sister, the concern evident in his baby blue eyes.
"I, um…" Lucy swallowed the lump in her throat, taking a moment to calm her nerves. "…I'm fine." She droned in her usual, practiced monotone.
"I don't think you are," Lincoln muttered. "I think… there's something going on with you. I want to know what."
Lucy frowned. "...Well, you thought wrong. Like I said, I'm fine." She drew her knees a little closer to herself, something Lincoln couldn't help but notice. She was thankful that her bangs hid her eyes from view… she couldn't bear to look at him right now. It was taking everything she had in her just to keep it together.
"I know you, Lucy. This… this isn't you. I mean… are you being bullied? You're not messing around with drugs, are you?" Lucy simply shook her head. Her brother's voice was gentle, yet firm… caring. He cared about her.
Why did he have to care so much?
"I feel like you're pushing everyone away," The boy continued, fidgeting with his hands as he spoke. "Pushing me away. And it… it hurts, Lucy. Not just because you're slipping away from me, but because I feel like I'm failing you."
Lucy bit her lip, trying to find the strength to rebuke him… but she couldn't. She wanted to confess everything to him right now, to tell him plainly how much she loved him, but she couldn't. The words simply died on her lips. Seeing that she wasn't about to respond, Lincoln kept talking.
"I miss you, Lucy. I want to be there for you, like I used to be. Remember? You always came to me when you needed a shoulder to cry on."
"I… I don't cry, Lincoln." Well, she wasn't wrong… Lincoln had seen his sister cry maybe three times in his life, and even then it could only be charitably referred to as such.
"You know what I mean," Lincoln huffed. "Look, I know you prefer to keep things bottled up inside… but that's not healthy. I… I can't stand it, Lucy. Please, let me help you."
Lucy's lip trembled slightly. "Lincoln, please… why can't you just drop this…?"
"Because I love you."
That did it. Lucy's entire body tensed up and for a moment it looked like she were fighting back tears, before she hid her face in her knees. "Don't… please don't say that…" She hissed through clenched teeth. Lincoln felt his heart clench at his little sister's reaction; for some reason, his words had hurt her.
"I'm… sorry…" Lincoln stuttered, not exactly sure what to say. "Is it… me?" Lucy didn't say anything, merely withdrawing even further into her shell. "…That's it, isn't it," Lincoln muttered. "I did something to hurt you, didn't I?"
"…No…" Lucy muttered under her breath. But Lincoln wasn't convinced; he scooted a little bit closer to her, gently placing a hand on the girl's knee. It was like a shock of electricity through her body… it excited her, and yet it calmed her. She wanted to pull away, but she wanted it to stay. It was maddening.
"Lucy, please," Lincoln pressed on. "If I did something wrong, tell me. I'll do anything to-"
"NO!" Lucy snapped, slapping his hand aside. Lincoln couldn't help but recoil slightly at her sudden outburst. She slid off her bed, shoulders trembling. "Why…" Lucy's voice noticeably cracked as she spoke. "Why can't you just leave me alone…?"
"It's not you, okay?!" Lincoln couldn't tell if she were angry or sad, but she was clearly upset... more so than he'd ever seen. "It's not! It's… it's me…" Lucy voice lowered to a hoarse whisper, and she looked down at the ground as she spoke. "Why can't you just be gone already…?" And with that, she turned and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her and leaving a stunned Lincoln in her wake.
"Lucy…" Lincoln sighed and hung his head. Well, that had been a disaster… not only was his sister furious with him, but he'd failed to get to the bottom of things. If nothing else, he'd at least managed to confirm that yes, something was very, very wrong.
Seeing Lucy suffering like that hurt Lincoln more than any blow ever could. The fact that he'd done nothing about it for so long made him feel sick to his stomach… he had failed her. But Lincoln wasn't about to give up. If Lucy didn't want to talk about it now, he'd just have to keep trying.
Lincoln got to his feet and headed for the door, only to stop and glance at Lucy's desk. Her diary was sitting atop it, and Lincoln's conscience immediately told him to keep moving. Normally, he would have listened… he knew better than to snoop on someone's private thoughts.
But he had to know. For her sake, more than anything.
Lincoln bit his lip, weighing his options for a moment before giving in and snatching up the diary. He flipped through it briefly, finding that, as expected, it was almost entirely poetry… even the most mundane of musings. But Lincoln wasn't here for that. He skimmed through towards the last few completed pages; if there were anything to be gained from this, it would be there. Plus, he didn't want to intrude more than was necessary.
Luckily for him, each page was dated. He skipped to January 14th: three days prior. He figured that was as good a starting point as any. Sure enough, Lucy had written a poem there as well… after a quick glance at the door, Lincoln began to read.
O, my love, my muse
You are my angel, my curse
You are my demon, my verse
My pain, each bruise
You haunt me
You taunt me
Your presence inspiring
My mouth lies
My soul cries
Each touch like fire
My heart's desire
Your touch, I crave
Your love, I need
My heart, your slave
This love, it's greed
It cannot be
You cannot see
I cannot leave
I cannot breathe
I cannot cry
I cannot lie
I cannot stay
There is no way
The way I feel
Can be revealed
I must conceal
Until I heal
Until I cry
Until I die
Lincoln breath caught in his throat at the last line. Lucy had written no shortage of morbid poetry in the past, but this was… different. It scared him. In the past, there had been more of a disconnect between her and her poetry; she tended to write about concepts, or things. But this was her. These were her thoughts, her emotions, put down into words.
Still… Lincoln felt he was beginning to understand.
Without really intending to, Lucy found herself in the garage. It wasn't one of her usual hideaways, but it was exactly what she needed… something close, yet distant. Part of a whole, yet disconnected.
Just like her.
Lucy sniffed and sat down on the floor. She regretted snapping at Lincoln the way she did… he was only trying to help. Trying to be a good older brother, like he always was. Kind, understanding, patient.
Lucy sighed. Even now, part of her wanted to run back upstairs and into his arms. Put on an act, pretend that she was dealing with something, anything other than the truth… just to feel his embrace. But she knew that if she did that… there would be no way to stop herself from telling him the truth.
As Lucy set her hand on the ground, she heard the clack of her phone against the concrete. She hadn't even noticed, but the entire time Lincoln had been talking to her she had been clutching her phone tightly. Lucy looked at it for a moment, considering what she should do; she needed advice. She had to talk to someone about this.
Lucy flicked through her contact list. Her thumb hovered over Haiku briefly, but no… it had been too long since they'd last spoken. To call her about this of all things would be… awkward, to say the least. Then again, it's not like she had any other friends…
…But she did have sisters.
Lucy chewed her lip. Could she really do this…? Who could she even talk to about this? She considered Lynn for a moment, but no… Lynn was, well, Lynn. There was no way she'd keep her mouth shut about this. Luan? Lucy was already on edge, the last thing she needed was her sister joking about it. Leni? Definitely not. Lori? Hell no, she'd freak out.
The gears began turning in Lucy's head. Luna was perfect. She was completely chill, surprisingly wise at times, and, if she worded things right… Lucy might not have to admit to anything at all. With some apprehension, she pressed the call button and waited; it barely took two rings before there was an answer.
'Holy shit, Luce! What's up, dudette?' Luna's voice was bright and cheerful, though she sounded a bit out of breath.
"Hello, Luna…" Lucy replied. "How are you?"
'Can't complain, can't complain! Livin' the dream an' whatnot.' Luna's words were dripping with playful sarcasm. 'Yo, guess where I am right now?'
"Um…" Well, that was vague. Luna travelled constantly… she could be literally anywhere in the United States. "Pittsburgh…?" Lucy guessed.
"Salem… Massachusetts?" Lucy perked up a bit; that was one of the few places in the world she actually wanted to visit.
'You know it! Got you a lil' somethin' too. I'll give it to ya the next time I'm in town!'
"O-oh… thank you." Lucy couldn't help but smirk slightly. She had to admit, Luna sounded good… she imagined that traveling around the country must be a liberating lifestyle.
'Anyway… I doubt you're just callin' to ask how I'm doin'.' Luna said seriously.
"E-er…" Lucy stammered. "That's not-"
'Chill, dude,' Luna reassured her. 'No worries. You march to the beat of your own drum, I can jive with that.' Lucy breathed a small sigh of relief; leave it to Luna to be understanding. 'So, what's up?'
"W-well…" Lucy began a bit hesitantly. "Are you, um… are you alone?"
'One sec. Hey, dudes! Gonna take five real quick!' Lucy could hear a faint acknowledgement in the background, the gruff voice of Chunk unmistakable even at a distance. 'Sorry, we're gettin' set up for our gig tonight. Gonna be a full house, they say.' Luna sounded downright chipper about it. 'Alright, so… what's wrong, Luce?'
Lucy hesitated a moment, considering the best way to go about this. "Well, I, uh… I need your advice."
"Well, I um… I have this friend," Lucy began. "And she likes someone. A-another girl, I mean."
"Yeah…" Lucy coughed. "But she doesn't think that the girl she likes is… like that."
Luna chuckled. 'You can just say 'gay', you know.'
"Right… sorry." Lucy sighed. "She doesn't think the girl she likes is gay. So she's scared to confess how she feels, because she doesn't want the girl to be disgusted with her, but-"
'…You comin' out, dude?'
"W-wha… no!" Lucy sputtered, growing a bit flustered.
'C'mon, Luce. You think I don't know the whole 'I have this friend' bit?' Luna gently chided her sister. 'Done it meself, I 'ave.'
"I'm not gay," Lucy insisted. "I-it's a friend. Honest."
'Whatever you say, luv.'
"Anyway, I was wondering about how you handled that with Sam."
Luna gave a small laugh. 'I think you got the wrong idea… I knew Sam liked chicks from the start.'
Lucy paused, her brow furrowing slightly. "Wait… what?"
'That wasn't what it was about,' Luna explained. 'I knew she was gay, she knew I was bi. I was just nervous 'cause I thought she was too good for me. Plus, she was a close friend, and I didn't want to lose her.'
"O-oh…" Lucy grumbled. Of course it wouldn't be so easy, Lucy thought.
'Hey, chin up. There was someone before Sam, you know.'
Luna gave a wistful sigh. 'Her name was Gem,' The rocker said, 'Or that's what she preferred to be called, anyway. She was this punk rock chick a grade above me… I was thirteen at the time, mind you, and I'd never really felt that way about girls before. But something about her just… I dunno. It set something off in me that I didn't know was there before.'
"Y-yeah…?" Lucy's eyes widened slightly; this all sounded very familiar.
'At first, I was kinda scared. First because I felt that way… I thought that there was something wrong with me.' Luna chuckled softly. 'But even after I came to terms with that, I worried if she would feel the same way, or if she'd hate me for it. Still, I figured I needed to buck up and go for it.'
"So what happened?" The young goth could barely hide the anticipation in her voice.
'Oh, she rejected me hard.' Luna stated plainly, without any hint of regret in her tone. 'Never spoke to me again.'
"…Oh." Lucy felt her heart sink into her stomach. That had not been the answer she'd hoped for.
'Yeah, it screwed me up pretty bad.' Luna grumbled. 'I really started to hate myself for a while. I even started… doing some things I'm not proud of.' Though Lucy couldn't see it, on Luna's end she rubbed her forearm gently; thankfully, the thin scars had faded away years ago. 'But eventually, I figured out things were better that way. Someone who would judge me like that, abandon me just because of who I am… that's not someone I needed in my life. And looking back at it, I'm glad I did it… because regardless of how badly it hurt at the time, it helped shape me into who I am now.'
Lucy lightly rapped her fingers against her knee as she took in Luna's words. It was a good life lesson to be sure, and one she'd take to heart…
"I… don't think that's something that can be done in this case."
Lucy frowned deeply. "I… can't say."
'…Luce.' The metalhead spoke in a gentle, soothing voice. 'You can tell me anything. You know that, right?'
Lucy frowned deeply. She knew she could trust Luna, but with something like this? "I… I know. But I can't. Not this."
Lucy could hear her big sister huff. 'Listen, whoever she is-'
"I'm not gay!" Lucy repeated, a note of annoyance in her voice.
'Alright, alright, chill… I believe you.' Luna assured her sister. 'But it's something you think is wrong, right?'
"Not… not really." Lucy grumbled. "But other people think so."
'Is he a kid…?' Luna asked. ''Cause I mean, you're still pretty young yourself, so it's not that weird…'
Luna sighed. "No… it's not a kid."
'Oh, geeze… it's not a dog or something, is it?'
"W-wha… no!" Lucy sputtered, red-faced. "Don't be gross!"
'I mean, you watch all those fruity vampire and werewolf movies…'
"It's not a dog!"
'Relax!' Luna laughed. 'I'm just teasin' ya. God, you're adorable when you're embarrassed.' Lucy just groaned, running a hand through her hair in frustration. 'Well, is he older, then?'
"Well… yes." Lucy admitted.
'Cause I mean, if this guy's an adult… you'd better put a stop to it. Don't need that in your life.'
"No, it's not like that. He's seventeen-" Lucy gasped, clasping a hand over her mouth. She'd said too much.
'Well, shit, I dunno then… c'mon, Luce, you gotta tell me.' Lucy insisted. 'Like… it ain't Lincoln, is it?' Luna let out a small chuckle at her own joke.
There was a deafening silence on both ends as Luna waited for her sister to offer some kind of retort… but none came. Lucy simply sat there in horror, her phone trembling in her hand; she could hear a sharp inhale through the telephone. 'O-oh. Oh my God, Lucy…'
"See? I told you." She whimpered pathetically, hanging her head in shame. "I shouldn't have called…"
'Oh, Lucy… no. It's okay…' Luna cooed softly. 'It's okay. It's not weird that you feel that way. I mean, he's your only brother… it makes sense that he'd set the standard for boys in your life. Honestly, I think we've all had a little bit of a crush on him at one point or another."
"T-that's just it, Luna…" Lucy said quietly. "It's not a crush. I… I'm in love with him."
There were a few seconds of silence before her sister responded. '…Weren't you in love with a statue once?'
"This is different!" Lucy snapped. "I love him… I love him so much it hurts! E-every second, every day, he's all I can think about! He's… he's the one shining light in the darkness of my heart! I don't just want him… I-I…" The girl's voice cracked into a high whisper. "I need him. I need him to be there, even if he doesn't feel the same. Even if it's just as a brother. B-but if he were to hate me… if he were disgusted with me… I don't think I could go on…"
As Luna heard her baby sister sniffle, she felt a pang of sympathy pierce her heart; there was no denying that Lucy felt strongly for her brother. She was in pain, just as she had been… likely even worse. 'Wow…' Luna muttered. 'No wonder you've been avoiding him.'
'Me and Linc talk,' The rocker explained. 'But never mind that. Look, Lucy… when you're livin' the rock-and-roll lifestyle, you see some crazy shit. Hell, just last week I saw two dudes going at it, right in the front row. Couldn't have been older than sixteen.' Lucy cringed slightly; just what kind of places was Luna playing at? 'So… I won't judge you for who you are. I guarantee I've seen worse, and besides… it seems like your feelings are genuine, at least.'
The turmoil in Lucy's heart settled down just a bit. "T-then… what do you think I should do?"
Lucy heard her sister exhale deeply before continuing. 'Well, I gotta admit… this is a lot, Luce. It's a bit… beyond me, you know?' Luna muttered. 'But I guess... my advice is the same. The longer you bottle this up, the worse you're going to hurt. You should tell him how you feel… regardless of whether or not he returns those feelings. You need to get this off your chest, and I think you owe it to him to tell him the truth… and yourself.'
"But what if he hates me?"
'Lucy, it's Lincoln.' Luna scoffed. 'Do you really think he would hate you for something you can't control?'
Lucy furrowed her brow, her lips pulled into a thin line; of course he wouldn't. Lincoln accepted everyone, regardless of their flaws. "I… I guess. Maybe you're right, Luna. I should… I should try, at least." A smirk crossed the goth's face. "…Thank you. I mean it."
'Don't mention it, dude,' Luna replied. 'We're family. We help each other out.'
''Ey, Luna!' Chunk called out in the distance. 'C'mon luv, we need ya!'
'Damn… looks like I gotta get going,' Luna sighed. 'You gonna be okay, Luce?'
"Yes… I think so." In truth, she really wasn't sure… but she wouldn't say that out loud.
'Great. And hey… don't be a stranger, okay? I miss ya… I'm sure the others do, too. You should give 'em a ring from time to time.'
"I'll try," Lucy promised. She had to admit, it was kind of nice to catch up… and she found herself wondering how the others were doing.
'And Lucy... if you ever need to talk, I'm here for you. I mean that.' Luna's tone was low and serious. 'I don't want you… doing anything crazy, you know? I love you.'
"I… I love you too."
'In what way?' Luna joked, earning a small chuckle from her gloomy sister… the first one she'd managed in a long time. 'Anyway, catch ya on the flipside.'
"Bye, Luna." Lucy said with a small smile. "Have a good show."
'Always do, luv.' With that, Luna ended the call, leaving Lucy alone once more. Lucy chewed her lip, mulling things over; as much as her sister's words of wisdom had set her at ease, she was still afraid.
But she had to try.
Lincoln wore a sympathetic frown as he flipped through the diary. Page after page, the content was similar… pining for a forbidden love, one that she felt could never be. The details were sparse, but Lincoln was pretty sure he knew what was going on… yet still, he continued to read. As much as they upset him, the poems captivated him somehow. They were an honest, unfiltered summation of Lucy's feelings, the torment that she kept locked away in her heart. It pained him to know she was suffering so much. Lincoln sighed and looked up from the book…
…Only to see Lucy standing before him, her mouth agape.
"Gah!" Lincoln yelped, tossing the book in the air as he jumped; it landed with a thump, splaying open to one of the poems he had intruded upon. Even after fourteen years of knowing her, the quiet girl still managed to startle him. "L-Lucy…!" Lincoln stammered. "I-it's not… I wasn't…!"
"You read my diary." Lucy mumbled softly. To Lincoln's surprise, his little sister didn't look mad, or even hurt… a bit upset, perhaps, but far less so than he would have expected. Lincoln shifted awkwardly, an ashamed expression on his face.
"S-sorry…" Lincoln muttered. "I know I shouldn't have invaded your privacy, but I was-"
"It's okay," Lucy assured him. "It's… fine." For a moment, neither said a word, an awkward silence hanging over the air; Lucy stood a bit sheepishly, her gaze firmly locked on the floor. "S-so… what did you think…?"
"They… they were beautiful." Lincoln said quietly. "Sad, and scary… but beautiful."
"Th-that's not what I meant…" Lucy clarified, though her pale cheeks reddened slightly at the compliment. "I mean… are you okay with it…?"
Lincoln looked at the morose girl in front of him with pity in his eyes. He slowly got to his feet and approached her, before wrapping her in a gentle hug. "Of course I am, Lucy." Lucy gasped, her heart fluttering in her chest.
"Why would it bother me that you're gay?"
It took everything Lucy had in her not to bash her head against the wall. He didn't get it. Of course he didn't get it. The poems had been so vague, never referring to the object of her infatuation by name or even gender. Lucy simply hung her head, gritting her teeth in frustration. "…No…"
"Huh…?" Lincoln suddenly found himself being shoved back. He looked at his sister in confusion; she was standing with slumped shoulders, visibly trembling. "L-Lucy…"
"You…" Lucy muttered under her breath, "You don't get it…"
Lincoln grimaced slightly. Good job, Lincoln, he scolded himself. You've gone and upset her again. Lincoln sighed, scratching the back of his head. "I guess I don't…" He looked at his sister sadly, his eyes silently pleading with her to explain.
Lucy's face scrunched up in apprehension. I have to, she thought. I can't keep this up anymore. She opened her mouth to speak, but the words literally died in her throat; all that came out was a quiet, rasping wheeze. But Lincoln continued to stand there, waiting patiently for her to speak. He needed to know.
He deserved to know.
Lucy swallowed and steeled herself for what she had to do. But simple words wouldn't be enough… they never had been for her.
So she'd just have to do what she did best.
"My soul… aches," She began. "My heart breaks. Every time I see your face, I simply long for your embrace…" Lincoln's eyes widened slightly as he realized what she was doing: Lucy was reciting a poem.
No… not reciting. This was not one of her writings; this was her. This was how she felt, at this very moment.
"I know… I know we should not be." Lucy continued, her voice noticeably cracking. "I only wish that you could see, that you could know the seeds you've sown. Each day a struggle, each day I juggle my fear, my desire, my love, I tire of pretending to be what I'm not, these feelings you've wrought, they consume me, they doom me, they wound me, they entomb me…"
Lincoln raised a shuddering hand to his mouth as the meaning of her words became clear. Hearing them from her, directly, he finally understood.
The poems were about him.
"You are my kin; you are my brother. Th-though it's a sin, I long for no other but you, for who else could I love, who else should I love? I beg you to tell me, I beg you to quell my yearning, my thirst, this burning, this curse!"
Lucy's tone became more and more frantic with each word, her delivery rapid as though she were spitting out everything she'd been holding in for so long. "You are the white to my black, the courage I lack, the love that I need, the pain that I bleed! I want you to know me, I want you to show me who I am, what I can be, more than I am, please can't you see, please can't you hear, these words that I speak, my torture, my fear?! I beg you to heed, I beg you to be my brother, my lover, my one, my only, my sun, to own me, my light, my beacon, my angel, my demon!"
Lucy stood slouched over, her chest heaving with rapid breaths. She finally mustered the courage to look up at her brother, stunned into silence by her words. Though he could not see her eyes, he understood her pain, her desperation. She was silently pleading him to say something, to reciprocate her feelings.
To love her the way she loved him.
"I, uh…" Lincoln looked away, his face twisted in a mess of conflicting feelings. "I'm your brother."
Lucy gave a small, nearly unnoticeable nod. "I know," She whispered, her voice hoarse and weak.
Lincoln couldn't look at his sister. He felt all at once confused, shocked, sad, and sick to his stomach. He ran his tongue across his lips and tried to say something, anything to reassure the girl, but no words would come out. Instead, he just clenched his teeth and shook his head sadly. "I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry," He repeated, his voice unsteady and strained. "I… I just can't. I can't… deal with this." Without another word, he hurried past Lucy and through her door, closing it behind him. Lucy simply watched him go, remaining frozen in place even after he was gone; she wasn't sure how long she stood there, perhaps ten minutes, perhaps less, perhaps more. She stood until her legs finally gave out and she fell to her knees.
In any other situation, she knew that Luna's advice would have been sound; but instead, her worst fears had come to pass. Lincoln didn't feel the same… he was horrified with her. Now, she was well and truly alone.
Even though he had broken her heart, she did not resent him. She couldn't blame him. She had just confessed everything: her love, her obsession, her desire. But he was her brother, not her lover. He never could be. And now… he was neither.
Lucy struggled to her feet, staggering to her bed and collapsing onto it. She felt nothing but anguish, deeper than any pain imaginable. She was empty. The one good thing that Lucy had in her life had been taken from her… or rather, she had chased it away. Lucy turned onto her side and then, she saw it: the bust of Edwin, standing before her like a monument to her failure. A reminder that, no matter what, she was forever doomed to love those that could never love her back.
Lucy's face contorted in rage. She sprung to her feet, snatching the bust off her nightstand and hurled it at the wall with all her might; it left a massive dent before crashing to the ground and shattering to pieces, just like her heart. And yet, Lucy didn't care… there was nothing left to care about.
There was nothing left to live for.
Lincoln lay in his bed, unable to sleep. How could he? His mind was racing a mile a minute, every verse that Lucy had spoken permanently etched into his mind.
Lucy hadn't come down for dinner, of course. He simply told everyone that she wasn't feeling well, which he supposed was true enough… granted, he wasn't feeling well either, and barely managed to get a few bites down at all.
Lincoln groaned, rubbing his tired eyes. It would be a small miracle if he got even a couple of hours of rest tonight. He'd gotten what he wanted… Lucy had finally opened up to him. Hell, she bared the entirety of her soul to him. And what did he do?
But what could he have done? His own sister had confessed her love for him, a longing so deep that it literally tormented her every waking moment. Her words had been so honest, so full of pain and heartache that it rocked him to his very core. For Lucy, who always kept her emotions in check, something like this was unheard of. He'd known the girl nearly his entire life, and he thought he knew the true Lucy, the one that she hid away from the world… little did he know that he'd barely scratched the surface.
His little sister had reached out to him, and he had snubbed her. He had rejected her. He couldn't even look at her face when he left; he simply walked away, leaving her to her sorrow. He'd panicked.
He'd failed her again.
Lincoln didn't hold anything against his sister; he still loved her, even now. As a brother, and nothing more. And yet, when she had told him the depth of her love… he had felt something. A faint fluttering in his heart, a strange feeling of… what? Sadness? Pity?
It was that fact that troubled Lincoln most of all. For someone to feel that way about him, to love him to such an extent… it felt good, even coming from Lucy. But why shouldn't he? Who wouldn't feel something after such an outburst of emotion, even if it did come from their sister? It didn't mean he felt the same way… even if a part of him wished he could, if for no other reason than to spare the girl her pain. He couldn't feel the same way. She was his sister… his fourteen-year-old sister, at that.
But… what if she weren't?
Lincoln took a deep breath through his nose. It was something he'd never really considered before… he loved all his sisters deeply, but to him they were just that: sisters. He'd never seen them as anything else. But now, in light of Lucy's confession, he could only ask himself one thing.
If she weren't my sister, would I have said yes?
He'd been fretting over it for the last hour, and ultimately decided that, yes… he would. Lincoln had already known that there was more going on with her than she let on, but to truly see the depth of her affection, the extent to which she desired him… he couldn't have said no. And yet, the only reason he knew that side of her was because she was his sister. It was because of their kinship that he had gotten close to her, that he cared for her, that he had been there for her when she needed him most.
It was because she was his sister that a big part of him regretted his decision.
Lincoln pulled his pillow against his face, muffling a scream of frustration. He hated this. He knew these feelings were wrong… it was an undisputable fact, right? Incest was a worldwide taboo… one of the worst things one could commit. Well, Lincoln could think of several things that were worse, but still: incest was a sin. A crime, depending on where you lived. It was depraved, unethical, unsafe… disgusting, even.
But why? After all, homosexuality was once considered equally repulsive, and now such relationships are widely respected and even celebrated. And hell, sodomy used to be taboo as well, but these days teens were buttfucking like crazy… at least, according to the internet. Of course, those activities didn't actively pollute the gene pool, but even so… if two people really, truly loved each other, what did it matter if they shared blood?
The more he dwelled on it, the less certain he was. He loved Lucy, to be sure… but how? As a brother, or as more than that? He thought back to all the times he'd spent with her. Why had he sought out her companionship so often? None of the others had, at least not to the same extent. Was it just because she seemed lonely? Was it because he wanted to make her smile?
Was it because he had feelings for her from the start?
Despite his doubts, he had to admit one thing… he felt disgusted. But not with Lucy.
Lincoln sighed, sliding his pillow back under his head. He'd dwell on this tomorrow… he needed to get some sleep. He shut his eyes, turned onto his side, and forced his conflicted thoughts out of his mind as best as he could.
Lucy slipped on her shoes. She was still wearing her dress; she figured there was no point in changing into her sleepwear, all things considered.
Lucy made sure to blow out each candle before leaving… wouldn't want to start a fire, after all. She took one last look around the room, her personal sanctum. She'd enjoyed the time here, but now… this place held nothing for her. Lucy hesitated only briefly, her thumb tracing along the cool object clutched tightly in her left hand, before sighing and turning away. There was no time for second thoughts.
Even in the dark, she had no trouble climbing her way up to the air vent. Though she'd grown over the years, she was thankfully still thin enough to crawl through the dusty passage, though sharp angles were now a bit trickier to navigate. She would have used the door, but Lincoln always kept his locked at night… moving slowly as to create no noise, she made her way to her big brother's room. It was a simple task for her; stealth, after all, was her specialty.
Lucy carefully opened the grate and dropped down into Lincoln's bedroom, landing without a sound as usual. Quite frankly, even she wasn't quite sure how she managed it. She slowly approached her brother's bed. He was lying on his side, gentle breaths escaping his mouth. Lucy frowned as she looked at his face… he looked terrible, with heavy creases under his eyes. Admittedly, she'd watched him sleeping more times than she'd care to say… he usually slept so peacefully. But tonight, that was clearly not the case, and it only made Lucy feel worse.
"…Lincoln…" Lucy whispered, kneeling beside his bed. "I, um… I came to say goodbye." Of course, Lincoln said nothing, his blanket gently rising and falling with each breath. "I… want you to know, I don't hold it against you," She continued. "I still love you. Noth-" Lucy's voice hitched in her throat, and she took a moment to calm herself. "…Nothing could ever change that." She took in every detail of the sleeping boy's face; every mark, every freckle, the way his chipped front teeth poked out just slightly from underneath his lip. He was a bit dorky looking, sure, but to Lucy, he was beautiful… his outer appearance second only to what lie within.
"I… don't want you to blame yourself. This is…" Lucy paused, taking a deep breath. "This is me. I know there's something wrong with me… to feel this way, to feel this strongly for you, it's not normal. It's not right, and it's not fair to you." Lucy carefully brushed a stray hair from her brother's face. "I know that someday, you'll meet someone as wonderful as you. Someone that deserves you. A-and I know…" She choked back a sob. "…I know you'll make her happy."
Lucy sat quietly for a moment, listening to her brother's breathing. Even now, just being near him was so soothing that she almost changed her mind about what she had to do. But she couldn't… there was no other choice for her. "…Goodnight, big brother," She said, leaning in and planting a soft kiss on his lips, holding it for a few seconds before pulling away. "A-and goodbye." The young girl bit her lip, forcing back her tears as she got to her feet. She wasn't quite sure where she was going to go just yet; it had to be somewhere quiet, somewhere remote, and, preferably, somewhere peaceful. All that really mattered was that it wasn't here, where one of her sisters might stumble upon her… or, God forbid, Lincoln. She couldn't put him through that.
Lucy took one last look at her one true love before turning to leave. However, a hand shot out and immediately grabbed onto her left wrist, making her yelp in surprise. "…Where are you going?" Lucy's blood ran cold; it was Lincoln. She turned her head, seeing his blue eyes staring at her intensely.
"I-I…" Lucy stammered, weakly attempting to pull away her arm, but Lincoln held on tight. His gaze flicked down to her clenched hand, then back up to her face, his brow furrowing in anger. He held out his other hand, palm facing up.
"Open your hand."
"Open. Your. Hand."
Lucy hesitated before swallowing and giving a small nod. Reluctantly, she uncurled her fingers and let a small, shiny object fall into her brother's palm.
Lincoln stared at the horrible thing in silence for a long time, his expression intense and hard to read; he looked all at once furious, disappointed, and, above all… heartbroken. "Why…?" He asked, his voice coming out as a hoarse croak.
"I…" Lucy whimpered, doing her best to look anywhere but at her brother. "…I couldn't bear it. I couldn't… live without you."
Lincoln's hand trembled as it held the blade, the mere thought of its purpose chilling him to the bone. He clenched his teeth and chucked it away, sending it skidding to the far corner on the room. "You idiot," He choked, looking up at his sister with angry, wet eyes. "You goddamn, stupid idiot…!"
"I-I'm sor-" Suddenly, Lucy found herself pulled into a tight hug. She froze up as her brother clutched her against his chest, his shoulders quivering in fear and sorrow. His breaths came out in sharp gasps that rattled his entire body, and it seemed at though it was taking all of his willpower not to break down right then and there.
"D-don't… don't you ever do that…!" Lincoln cried, threading a hand through the distraught girl's hair, pulling her even tighter against him; it was as though he were afraid to let go for fear he might lose her forever. "Don't you ever even think about that, you hear me?!"
Lucy trembled in his arms, biting her lip in an attempt to stave off the tears. "I… thought you hated me…"
"No… God no, Lucy… I could never hate you…" Lincoln muttered unsteadily. "I love you, you idiot… don't you dare leave me…!" Hugging her close like this, Lincoln became aware of just how small his sister really was… she was so thin that he could feel her ribs through her skin, and he was almost scared that he might break her like a twig. Still, he held on tight.
Lucy felt the first tear run down her cheek. What had she been thinking…? Killing herself wouldn't solve anything; all she'd be doing was giving up like a coward, and break her family's hearts in the process… especially Lincoln's. Even now, just fact that she had planned to commit suicide had reduced her beloved to an emotional wreck. Finally, Lucy gave up and let the first sob escape her throat, wrapping her arms around her big brother.
"I-I'm sorry…" Lucy choked out between sobs. "I-I'm sorry, Lincoln, I…I…I… don't… I just..." Lucy began bawling in Lincoln's arms, and she could feel his warm tears dripping onto her shoulder as he let everything go as well. It was the closest she'd been to him in years, perhaps the closest she'd been to him ever, and instead of feeling flustered… she just never wanted to let him go. She never wanted to hurt him again.
Even if he never returned her feelings, this was enough.
They stayed there like that for a while, holding one another until their tears subsided. Lincoln's hand ran through her hair, gently stroking the girl's head, and she just settled into her brother's arms; he'd hugged her many times in the past, but no one had ever held her like this. It made her feel safe, secure, and above all… loved.
"I'm sorry." Lincoln was the first to break the silence, his voice low and gentle.
"…You have nothing to apologize for." Lucy muttered in return.
"I do," Said her brother, breaking off the hug so he could see her face. "I shouldn't have run. I… should have… been there for you. You poured out your heart to me, and I just… abandoned you."
"I don't blame you." Lucy said softly. "It was a lot to take in. I… I think anyone would have freaked out a bit."
"Gotta admit, though… that was a pretty sick freestyle you dropped." Lincoln smirked playfully. "Never though you could spit bars like that… we should ask Luna to lay some beats down over it." Lucy couldn't help but giggle at that; not her usual flat chuckle, but an honest, feminine giggle. She let it subside, then her expression turned serious once more.
"Lincoln, listen…" Lucy sighed. "I'm in love with you... that's not something I can change. But I don't want to let that come between us… I don't want to push you away anymore. I understand you don't feel the same-"
"Actually, about that…" Lincoln straightened up, scratching the back of his head as he tried to find the right words. "Lucy… why do you love me?"
It was the easiest question she'd ever had to answer.
"Because you're wonderful," She replied instantly. "You're kind, you're gentle, you're honest… you're everything a man should be." Lincoln's cheeks reddened at her compliments, but she wasn't done yet. "You're the only person that understands me… or at least, the only person that really tries to. You've always been there for me when no one else would, even… even after I was so horrible to you."
"Lucy, you weren't-"
"Whenever I was sad, you were the first to notice. Even when I tried to hide it, you knew, and you always pushed your way through… even when I fought it. You always accepted me as I was, even when others thought I was weird." Lucy sniffled. "You… you're the only person that makes my world feel a little less bleak."
Lincoln ran his tongue along his teeth as he thought things over. Hearing her speak calmly like this helped settle the turmoil within him somewhat… while her outburst from earlier had been a flurry of emotions, now her words were clear and focused. "I, um…" He began, clenching his hands in his lap. "When I ran earlier, it wasn't because I was upset with you, Lucy. I was just… confused. I didn't understand… hell, I still don't fully understand…" Lincoln sighed. "But… after that, I did a lot of thinking."
"Yeah…?" Lucy seemed apprehensive, yet genuinely curious. Lincoln gave a small nod.
"I thought about… you. Us, I mean." Lincoln furrowed his brow in annoyance at his fumbling speech, but pressed on. "I thought about what you said… I remembered every word. I still do. And I thought about how I felt…" Lucy's mouth hung open slightly, and she waited with bated breath for him to continue; Lincoln's cheeks were tinged red, and he nervously tapped his finger against his knee. Finally, he took a deep breath. "L-look, Lucy… like I said, I don't really understand this. I don't know if it's right, or wrong, or sick, or what… all I know is how I feel." Lincoln exhaled, his baby blue eyes settling on his sister's pale face. "I'm no poet like you, but… I'll show you."
"Wha-" Lucy shuddered as Lincoln gently cupped her chin. For a second or two, he just looked at her… and then he leaned forward, claiming her lips with his own. Beneath her bangs, Lucy's eyes were wide as saucers, and Lincoln could feel her gasp in shock even as he kissed her; he couldn't help but smirk slightly. Slowly, Lucy's eyes closed and she leaned into the kiss, but all too soon it was over. Lucy's breaths were ragged and she held a clenched hand over her chest, her face red as a cherry. "L-Lincoln." She gasped out, barely more than a whisper.
"I… feel the same, Lucy." Lincoln cleared his throat, before giving his sister a loving smile. "I love you too. As more than a sister."
Lucy stood unmoving, stunned into silence. As her brother's words sank in, a small, quivering smile spread across her face, before turning into the biggest grin he had ever seen from her. Her shoulders lurched as a sob of joy escaped her throat, fresh tears beginning to flow from her eyes.
"L-Lucy…?" Lincoln stammered, only for his sister to lunge forward, throwing her arms around her brother's neck and pulling him into another passionate kiss. Lincoln quickly reciprocated, wrapping her arms around her waist and pulling her close to him. He was amazed at how cool she felt… it was almost as though the spooky girl was a vampire. And yet, her tears felt warm on his cheeks. She pulled back so they could catch their breaths, before plunging right back in; this time her tongue pushed past his lips, and he gratefully accepted it. It, too, was warm, and as it hungrily lolled against his he found himself lost in the taste and sensations of his lover's mouth. He'd French kissed before, but not like this… he never thought it could feel so good.
The two lovers broke apart with a gasp, their skin flushed and dripping with sweat, a thin web of saliva connecting their mouths. They gazed at each other with palpable lust. Both knew where this was going; both knew what they wanted. Deep down, Lincoln knew that he shouldn't, but the hungry expression on her face stifled any objections he had.
Still… something was off. Her cheeks were still wet, her tears making damp streaks down her face from her bangs. He needed to see her. Slowly, he raised his hands towards her face. Lucy let out a quiet yelp and recoiled slightly, but soon calmed down as he cupped her cheeks and used his thumbs to wipe away her tears. Even this simple touch turned the young goth to putty in his hands, and he took the opportunity to part her bangs, revealing her eyes.
They were a pale, ghostly blue, almost gray in tone; Lucy seemed nervous about being seen like this, as though Lincoln may change his mind about her. He supposed he had their parents to thank for that… they'd been so creeped out by her staring as an infant that they'd grown out her bangs to cover it up. Their mom and dad were great people, but they tended to be somewhat thoughtless from time to time.
"You're beautiful, Lucy." He said quietly as he looked into his sister's eyes. She looked surprised by that, but nonetheless smiled and pulled him into a kiss once again, only to throw herself onto him, pinning him to the bed. As his fingers fumbled against the buttons of his pajamas, the thought that he should put a stop to this briefly crossed his mind… but he wouldn't.
Instead, he simply let his passion ignite.
The two lovers lay snuggled together, basking in the afterglow of their lovemaking; the cool night air chilled their sweaty bodies, feeling like ice against their skin.
"Lincoln…?" Lucy asked, her voice quiet.
"What do we do now?"
Lincoln frowned slightly. "…I don't know," He sighed. As much as he'd thought things over, he hadn't really stopped to consider the deeper realities of their situation. He and his sister were engaged in a forbidden relationship, under their parents' own roof at that… and they would surely never approve, nor would society. Beyond that, he'd be gone in a matter of months… and quite frankly, given the depth of her feelings for him he wasn't sure how the poor girl would handle it. "We'll think about it in the morning." Lincoln muttered; he was just too exhausted to dwell on it right now.
Lucy gave a small nod of approval. "…I'll consult with the spirits tomorrow," She said, some of her usual monotone returning to her voice. "Perhaps the cards hold the answers." Lincoln simply chuckled, drawing the girl tighter into his embrace.
"Whatever happens…" Lincoln began, planting a tender kiss on his sister's forehead. "We're in it together. For better or for worse… I'm yours, and you're mine. I love you."
"I love you too." Lucy giggled, a light blush creeping along her cheeks. "…My light."
Lincoln chuckled softly. "Your beacon."
"My angel." Lucy whispered as she nuzzled into his neck.
"Your demon." Lincoln finished. As his newfound love drifted off to sleep in his arms, he couldn't help but feel like there was an important detail he was forgetting.
Ah, well. He'd deal with it in the morning.
Next door, two twins lay in their respective beds with wide, restless eyes, their lips pulled tightly into unnerved grimaces.
Lola was the first to break the tense, awkward silence. "I-I, um…" She stammered, "I think it's over."
"Thank God," Lana groaned, turning onto her side. "I blame you for this, by the way."
"How is this my fault?!"
"Shouldn't have called him a virgin," Lana said with a shrug. Lola merely huffed, feeling a bit indignant. Still, at least there was one good thing about all this… Lincoln and Lucy had just given her the perfect ammunition to use should they step out of line.
Although, Lola thought, a small sigh escaping her lips as she too turned onto her side. I should probably keep this one to myself.