Thank You, Leni

BY : AberrantScript
Category: +G through L > The Loud House
Dragon prints: 630
Disclaimer: I do not own The Loud House and make no money off this work of fiction.

Author's Notes:

This story, and this pairing, and even the very scene this was based off of (from Selfie Improvement) mean a lot to me. I hope you enjoy it.

Disclaimer: The Loud House Copyright Nickelodeon (2018)


Bobby had to go home early because someone spiked the punch. The poor guy couldn't stand straight, was looking cross-eyed, and mistook the men's restroom for his girlfriend during a heated makeout session.

Everyone thought it was hilarious; laughing and mocking him, and the others that got smashed.

I didn't think it was so funny. Especially not when he tripped over air and caught his fall with his right elbow. The sound of his pained cry tore through me, but even that couldn't drown out the teasing laughter of people I thought were my friends.

And maybe they just thought it was all in good fun.

Maybe I was just too sensitive because of what happened tonight…

How Carol once again proved how perfect she is.

How she beat me in a landslide, not only winning the title of Homecoming Queen, but doing so with little effort… while I had worked tirelessly for it.

Sometimes I think to myself, "Lori, why do you even bother?"

Sometimes I lay on my bed and stare at the ceiling, wondering and wondering…

"Girl, you're not going to reach the stars. You're not going to be like your siblings and live your dreams."

And what am I? About what do I even dream?

Roberto Santiago. My family. My small group of vain girlfriends.

Without them… I'm nothing.

I know that as I watch Mrs. Santiago help her son through the gym's grand entrance, which was decorated in some over the top prom design that suddenly mattered as much as dirt and grass.

She looks over her shoulder at me with a frown, shaking her head from side to side.

She trusted me to watch over him. She relied on me to be a good girlfriend to her one and only son. Her precious baby boy. And I failed her.

Maybe I am being overly dramatic. But I can't make the voice go away…

The very same that speaks to me now, that says I'm worthless.

I shouldn't try.

I should just give up.

What is the point…

I don't let the thought finish as I hang my head, as Carol prances around the stage in her golden crown and beautiful silk sash.

Symbols of things that once mattered so much to me… that still matter to me. Things I worked so hard for. I strive for… only to fail. Again and again. Like always.

My shoulders weigh my body down and it feels like I'm going to tip forward, fall into the pit of despair in my mind…

But a hand slipping around my waist stops my plummeting descent into darkness.

My body stills as a warm presence surrounds me with her arms, as her calming voice fills my ear with a sound stronger than any mocking laughter, than any self-defeating hate.

"Oh, don't feel bad, Lori. You got almost as many votes as Carol."

I turn toward her. My eyes focus on hers for only a few seconds before I look down again, letting out a sigh.

"Thanks, Leni…" I turn away from her, suddenly feeling like the warmth of her hands on my shoulders is alien and unforgiving. "B-but I'm just not good enough… I'll never be better than her. I'm just Lori… second best at everything…"

I crouch down and hide my face in my arms, but I feel her following after me… pressing into my side, wrapping her arms around my neck.

"I know something you're not second best in, Lori," she whispers to me as she strokes my back with slow, gentle caresses.

I tremble with the clash of emotions battling to death inside my chest; between the desire to fall into an endless cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies and to look at my sister's loving eyes and open myself up to the warmth she's offering me.

In the end, I surrender to the need for comfort in a frigid glacier of despair… and I turn to her, with few tears slipping down my cheeks.

She's smiling at me, showing her pearly teeth; her eyes are crinkled with the genuineness of her emotion… and all of it cascades over me like a waterfall, washing me in love and support.

She touches my cheek with a hand and I lean into it, bound and helpless to the swirl of feelings raging inside me.

She leans toward me only a little, just enough… and she whispers so only I can hear her.

"Being a good sister."

She says it so simply, so firm.

I can't help but feel the strength of her voice lift me up like a pair of loving arms. My tears threaten to fall harder and heavier, and I try to fend them off. But her shroud of comfort surrounding me is too great. I cannot resist it.

She wipes a tear away with her thumb, her smile grows fonder, and she whispers once more to me.

"You'll always be the best to me, Lori."

And that does it. The carefully crafted dome of misery which years of failures have made inside me collapses in on itself, allowing sunlight to spill forth from above.

I feel so vulnerable, so weak, and I don't like it. I should be the strong one… but sometimes I'm not.

But she isn't judging me. There's no guile behind her words, her smile.

I look into her eyes and I see sincerity and truth.

And I turn toward her and let her draw me into a hug.

Her silken hair hides my face from my demons. Her scent dulls the pain in my mind. Her arms tug me to her breast, where I know I am safe; and I am free to release my frustration in a wave of tears. Her humming soothes me, her breathing relaxes me, and the beat of her heart fills me with life.

After a few minutes, she pulls away and stands up.

She holds out a hand to me, and my hand touches it… unsure and timid.

I'm looking up at her as she gives me a tug… and I follow after her. My feet trail behind hers as she leads me through a set of doors and into a deserted hallway.

She drops my hand and throws her arms in the air, turns on her toes, and giggles without a care in the world.

In a moment of resentment, I wish desperately that I could be like that… like Leni… that I could have just one moment without responsibility or anxiety.

And then, she stops and turns toward me. She slips her left arm, bent at the elbow, behind the small of her back. She stands at attention, ramrod straight, and proud. She puts out her right hand, palm up, and stares straight into my eyes.

I feel my cheeks pink in confusion. What is she doing?

She smiles, warm and inviting, as she tilts her head forward… a sign of deferment to a lady.

"May I have this dance?"

A shock of air fills my lungs in a gasp as the pieces snap together in my mind. I want to laugh at how ridiculous the gesture is. I want to tease her for lowering the pitch of her voice to be more masculine.

In this moment, my mind wants to do many things…

But I end up only reaching my hand out, palm down, and I lay it in her grasp. The warmth of her fingers as she clasps them around my hand grounds me to this earth. I feel my breath catch as she brings our joined hands out to the side, as she lays her left hand on my waist. I don't even know my own hand is on her shoulder until after we are already moving in a slow, steady circle.

The longer we dance, the less the storm inside my mind rages. The more I listen to the sound of our steps moving across the tile floor, the stronger that warmth grows deep inside my chest. The melody of her humming is a like a balm upon the sores gnawing away at my insides, healing them with the steady comfort of a sister that's always been there for me.

Whenever I lost out to Carol the first time, she was there… holding me, lifting me up, and loving me when I wouldn't love myself.

I can't stop myself from looking into her eyes once again, from pausing our steps.

She blinks as I lean closer toward her.

"Is something wrong?" she asks in an innocent tone.

I shake my head.

"You're wrong."

My hand suddenly pressing against her cheek keeps her from voicing her confusion.

I lean further toward her, my eyes never leaving hers.

"You've always been the best to me, Leni."

The emotion in my voice is thick and heavy, and I nearly choke as warm tears form behind my eyelids.

My arms slip around her neck and I crash into her, hugging her as tight as I can.

Her arms are hesitant to move around me, but they do anyway… just like always, without fail.

"Thank you for being the best sister I could have ever asked for."

She gasps in the quiet and still hall, and I give her no moment's peace before I lean back to look in her eyes again.

And I follow the urge in my heart to give back to the one whom always gave to me.

In a brief motion, my lips press into the corner of her mouth. And for one second I pour out my love for my sister and return the affection she has always given to me.

When I pull back, there is a smile on both of our faces. She slips her arm around mine and lets me lead her back toward the gymnasium.

Each step I take leads me closer to the place where only minutes ago I was sitting in shame and misery…

But now…

Now, I don't feel it as sharp as before.

Now, the support of my sister pushes me on.

I see Carol still on the stage, posing for pictures, and taking in all the attention and praise her victory allows… and I feel peace.

I may have failed this time, but there will always be something I'm good at…

And all it took was a selfless sister to show me.

As the night draws to a close, I find myself still with my hand in hers, and a single thought repeating through my mind.

Thank you, Leni.

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