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The Unknown

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Josie stands with her back against the wall of a barn with Penelope Park covering her front kissing her as if there’s no tomorrow and Josie never wants it to end. She wants to be kissing Penelope until the end of time but she knows she’s going to have to because however easy it can be to pretend otherwise they’re still each other’s ex. They haven’t rekindled their relationship. For all Josie knows Penelope is just looking for a way to release some tension after the argument they had and Josie can’t do that. She can’t be kissing Penelope without it meaning more. She can barely admit it to herself sometimes but Penelope will always mean more to her and so now Josie has to stop kissing Penelope.

“Pen. Stop,” Josie says softly pushing Penelope away so that they’re not kissing anymore. “I can’t,” Josie says stopping herself from leaning back in because they may have stopped kissing but Penelope is still close enough to breathe the same air as her.

“I… Okay… Why,” Penelope responds still breathing heavily from the kiss.

“I can’t be kissing you without it meaning more. I’m sorry,” Josie replies. “It’s just… I mean…” Josie continues struggling to find the right words to explain. “When we broke up it nearly broke me and that means I can’t just be kissing you now. I can’t be casual with you because it hasn’t ever been casual between us and I mean I’m not really ready now. Nor am I sure that you would even want that.”

“I want it,” Penelope responds immediately taking Josie’s hand and squeezing it reassuringly. “Don’t doubt that. I want it and if you’re not ready and you want to wait we’ll wait,” Penelope continues knowing that after all that has happened she can’t be without Josie in her life and when Josie smiles at her she knows it was the right response.

“Okay,” Josie says still smiling like crazy and squeezing Penelope’s hand in response. “I do need to wait a little. I mean not indefinitely and not too long either but just until I have more answers regarding this Unknown-thing.”

“That’s probably a good idea,” Penelope agrees feeling lighthearted after hearing Josie reassure her that she doesn’t want to wait too long.

“It is?” Josie asks confused.

“Yes of course. We wouldn’t want you to accidently set me on fire while we’re kissing or doing other stuff now do we?”

Josie’s mind short-circuited. “Other stuff?” she stutters out.

“Mhmm,” Penelope murmurs. “If I remember correctly we were quite good at that other stuff,” Penelope continues teasingly leaning closer into Josie’s body figuring that it’s not because she promised to give the other girl some time that she shouldn’t be allowed to tease a little.

“I…” Josie starts but is interrupted by Penelope.

“Jo Jo I need you to promise me one thing though,” Penelope says urgently looking at Josie with a severe look on her face. “If your new powers don’t cancel out this Merge-thing I need you to promise me that you’ll fight with everything you’ve got to avoid it. I will be right there next to you helping you with that but I need to know you’ll be there too. That you won’t just accept your destiny without a fight. I don’t expect you to fight your sister but I do want you to fight.”

Josie nods and replies: “I promise.”

“Good. Now how about we get out of here before Hope and MG think I killed you,” Penelope suggests jokingly knowing if they stay in the barn alone together for much longer she’ll try to kiss Josie again.

“Sure,” Josie agrees walking towards the door before stopping and turning back to Penelope with a mischievous look on her face. “Oh and about that other stuff? I agree we were quite good at that. I can’t wait to see if we’ll get better in the future,” she says smirking before walking out of the barn leaving a slightly shocked and a lot turned on Penelope behind.

“You’re so on Jo Jo,” Penelope mutters to herself with a grin before following Josie out of the barn and back into the school.

 

The next week is hard on Josie. Her father comes to her and explains that he hasn’t really found anything yet but that they should test her strength and speed. Josie agrees and spends all of her free time running, working out and fighting her father.

When she manages to kick her father’s feet out from under him again he decides to recruit Hope to help him train Josie. So Josie spends her nights fighting Hope while her father continues his search for more information on the Unknown.

Josie thinks she might prefer this arrangement. Her father has more time to spend searching for information and Hope’s a lot more fun to fight. To Josie’s  surprise they discover they’re almost evenly matched. Hope’s not as fast as Josie is now but it’s obvious she’s better trained which means Josie gets her ass handed to her a little more than she would like.

When Friday night rolls around Josie flops down onto her bed exhausted.

“No playing around with Hope tonight?” Lizzie asks distastefully. She had made it quite clear that she wasn’t pleased that her twin was spending so much time with Hope. Josie just groans in response not having the energy to fight with her disgruntled twin. She hasn’t really forgiven Lizzie for knowing about the Merge and not telling her either which has made the communication between the two sisters stilted and uncomfortable.

“Not making googly eyes at Penelope either?”Lizzie continues trying to get a rise out of her sister. The silent treatment she’s been receiving from Josie working on her nerves. Okay so she hadn’t shared the details of the Merge right away but she wasn’t going to keep it from Josie forever. She would have told her eventually. Besides it’s not like she’s happy with Josie either. Josie just had to get herself strange new abilities resulting in their father spending all of his free time either training Josie or burying himself in old books. Not that Lizzie is not used to her father not being around but now Josie spends her free nights away from her as well. This week her sister has spend all of her time either training with their dad or Hope and Lizzie is sick of it!

Josie rolls her eyes at her sister. Sure she was getting closer to Penelope again but they hadn’t really had that much time together since that day in the barn. Just a few stolen moments here or there where Penelope had been relentless in teasing her. The other girl was way too good at flustering her and it was getting harder to resist her. She was lucky Penelope hadn’t teased her when they were alone because she wasn’t sure she would have been able to resist her if they had been. Other than those small moments of contact Penelope had kept her distance giving Josie time to come to terms with her new reality of  not really knowing what being an Unknown entailed. Other than the physical training sessions with her dad and Hope Josie hasn’t really tried summoning those blue flames nor had she tested if she was able to do anything else. She didn’t expect it since Nora mentioned she would have one power specific to her and Josie figured the blue flames were that power.

“Well?” Lizzie asks impatiently interrupting Josie’s train of thought.

“No training tonight and not this weekend either,” Josie replies. “And I don’t make googly eyes at Penelope,” she adds annoyed.

“So you’ll join me at the party tonight?” Lizzie asks hopefully.

“Party?” Josie huffs out. “No way! I’m not getting out of this bed!”

“But Jo there’s this cute guy that’s going to be there and after everything that happened with Raf I need the distraction,” Lizzie whines.

“Lizzie I’m exhausted. I ache in places I didn’t even know existed. I don’t feel like going to a party.”

“Fine!” Lizzie hisses before stomping out of their room. Lizzie isn’t sure what happened to her sister in those woods but she’s sure she doesn’t like it. She’s starting to think that maybe Josie is possessed or something. Her sister would never refuse her otherwise. She decides then and there that she’s going to get to the bottom of this. She’s sure there’s something wrong with her sister and she’s going to find out what.

 

The next day Josie walks through the hallway intending on hanging out with Hope, MG and Penelope looking forward to a somewhat normal day.

“Josie,” Alaric calls out. “Do you have a minute?”

“Sure dad,” Josie replies forcing herself to smile but just knowing that her plans for that day were going to get messed up.

“I found something,” Alaric exclaims excitedly.

“You did?” Josie asks surprised.

“Yes! I mean it’s not much but it’s something. Here read this,” Alaric replied turning the computer towards his daughter.

‘The Unknown are an ancient species of which the origins are unclear. The species lived in a tribe with a king or queen as ruler and had one sole purpose: to keep the peace between the existing supernatural species. When a group of vampires, werewolves or witches got too powerful or had a conflict that threatened the balance of the world the Unknown interfered. An Unknown is born and cannot be created. The Unknown have been known to have increased speed, strength and endurance. They aren’t immortal nor are they indestructible but they do age differently than a human. The Unknown have been known to have powers. No Unknown has ever had the same power and the power they have is always linked to their personality. The most powerful of the Unknown was their late queen Nora. She was known for her fiery red hair and for her ability to create blue fire which depending on her purpose could be used to warm, hurt or kill. The Unknown have been extinct for nearly three decades. They were attacked by the Ravage, a group of vampires who dedicated their lives to wiping the Unknown from existence. The Ravage found a way to steal the energy from an Unknown becoming more powerful themselves. Three decades ago they found the living area of the Unknown and planned an attack. They tripled their numbers and caught the Unknown by surprise. It was a complete massacre and all of the Unknown died that night.’

 

Josie stops reading and looked at her father.

“It says here that their queen Nora could create blue fire,” Josie says in a whisper confused. She’s pretty sure that the Unknown she met in the woods was Nora. The fiery red hair and the fact that Josie herself had created blue flames too obvious to ignore.

“It does,” Alaric responds nodding and knowing that what he had found brought up more questions than answers.

“ It also says that no Unknown has the same power, that they can’t be created and that they all died in that massacre.”

“I know Jo. My best guess is that their queen Nora escaped and that when she got hurt she was somehow still able to transfer her powers to you including the blue fire.”

“But does that make me an Unknown? Should I be afraid that I’m going to be hunted? If Unknown are born does that mean that if I have kids someday they would have these powers as well?” Josie asks panicking slightly. It sounded like being an Unknown was something incredibly dangerous.

“I don’t know Jo,” Alaric responds and seeing his daughter’s disappointment he added: “I’ll keep looking until I do know though. Right now nobody knows of Nora’s death and the transfer of her powers onto you so I don’t think you’ll be hunted. Plus you’re in a school full of supernatural creatures so I promise we’ll keep you safe.”

Josie nods still feeling anxious.

“I’ll keep looking and I’ll try and find more about Nora’s history as well. Until then maybe it’s best if we keep training like we are now. We don’t know enough about the blue fire to try and train with it okay?”   Alaric says hoping his daughter would agree and not try to experiment on her own.

“Yeah okay,” Josie says feeling somewhat disappointed. Lately she had been feeling somewhat anxious. Like there was something burning within her screaming to get out so she had been hoping to try experimenting with the blue fire soon but she understood what her dad meant. Nora had been able to hurt and kill with it so if Josie couldn’t control it she could hurt someone.

“Are you going to go hang out with your friends?” Alaric asks changing the subject to something more cheerful.

Josie sighs. She had planned to spend the day with her friends but after learning a little more about the Unknown she felt like she needed some time to process.

“No,” she replies. “I’m going to go rest up a little. I’ll probably find them later.”

Alaric nods and worriedly watches her leave.