Josie runs. She runs towards the woods not stopping for anything and knowing she’s going at a speed much faster than she has ever ran at before. Her hands are still on fire and Josie instinctively realizes she needs an open space in the forest to release the energy she has been keeping inside of her.
Once she reaches an open space she goes to stand right in the middle of it so that not a living thing is anywhere near her but then she hesitates. What if she can’t keep it under control? What if she hurts something or someone? What if she sets fire to the entire forest?
“Let go,” Hope says quietly coming to stand behind Josie having followed her after she jumped out of the window.
“I…” Josie starts looking at Hope with wide eyes.
“Let it go Josie. You need to.”
“What if I hurt you?” Josie asks panicked. She had been hesitant when she was alone in the forest but now that Hope was standing so close to her she couldn’t risk it.
“I trust you Jo. Just aim at the sky and let go okay?” Hope says reassuringly.
“No I can’t,” Josie says shaking her head. “Get out of here Hope. I can’t risk hurting anyone.”
“Josie,” Hope sighs. “You’re not going to hurt me. You need to let go because you’re hurting yourself,” Hope replies frustrated at the other girl’s lack of trust in herself.
“My dad said the blue fire could kill and I proved him right a few minutes ago when I killed someone so would you just go!” Josie yells.
“I’m not going and you’re not going to hurt me! Let it out Josie,” Hope replies looking at Josie with a stubborn look in her eyes.
“Fine,” Josie grits out feeling like she can’t stand to wait any longer. “It’s your own damned fault if I kill you,” she mutters taking a few steps away from Hope hoping that will be enough.
Josie aims her still burning hands towards the sky and lets go releasing a giant beam of blue fire into the night. The fire lights up the entire sky and becomes a bigger and bigger the more Josie releases her energy into it.
“Hope are you okay?” Josie yells our worried.
“I’m fine,” Hope calls out looking at the fire in wonder feeling its heat but strangely sensing no danger from it. “This is amazing,” she breathes out tempted to take a step closer and get an ever better look.
“Stay back you idiot!” Josie yells seeing Hope come closer. “Stubborn mule,” Josie mutters to herself making Hope grin and stay where she is knowing Josie would freak out if she continued to come closer.
When Josie feels like she’s released everything she has been holding within her she stops and drops to her knees from the exertion.
“That was amazing,” Hope breathes out repeating her assessment and helping Josie up hugging her.
“How are you not afraid of me right now,” Josie asks disbelief coloring her words. “I just killed a man and released a bunch of fire into the sky. I could have killed you. You shouldn’t have stayed Hope.”
“You haven’t even come close to hurting me Jo and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a man. Besides if some dude shows up in the room of two sleeping teenage girls he deserves to burn,” Hope replies shrugging not doubting that Josie had been defending herself and her sister. “Come on. Let’s go back. Your dad, your sister and your girlfr… Your Penelope are going to beside themselves with worry,” Hope continues taking Josie’s hand and pulling her along.
“Penelope is not my girlfriend,” Josie denies out of habit trying to regain some sense of normality.
“Yet,” Hope replies rolling her eyes starting the walk back to the school.
“Yet,” Josie agrees following Hope and making her grin at the admission.
When Josie and Hope get back to the castle Lizzie, Alaric and Penelope are waiting for them looking worried.
“Josie! Sweetheart! Are you okay?” Alaric asks frantically running towards her and pulling her towards him.
“I’m fine dad,” Josie says quietly unsure if she really is fine but at least she hasn’t hurt Hope or herself. “I’m sorry I couldn’t keep it in,” she mumbles into his shoulder.
“Oh Jo… No I’m the one who should be sorry. I made a mistake. I shouldn’t have forbidden you to try out your new skills. It’s obvious they have become a part of you and that you needed to let them out.”
“I killed someone dad,” Josie mumbles.
“You defended yourself Josie. You defended yourself and your sister. You did good. Don’t doubt that,” Alaric reassures her rubbing her back and then releasing her from his hug.
When Alaric takes a step back from Josie Penelope slams into her hugging her fiercely.
“You okay?” Penelope asks in a whisper feeling Josie nod in reply. “Don’t run off like that again. You scared me.”
“I’ll try,” Josie replies quietly enjoying the comfort of Penelope’s arms around her hoping their talk tomorrow or rather later today will lead to something more between them.
“Okay girls how about you try and get some more sleep. I’ll double the night watch and join them myself so don’t worry. There won’t be any more intruders.”
“How did he get in here in the first place?” Hope asks curiously knowing the school had quite a few safety measures in place.
“Trust me I’ll be looking into that,” Alaric replies the look on his face darkening. He couldn’t believe there had been an intruder in his school. In his daughters’ rooms! “Just try and get some more sleep alright?” he says looking at all four girls reassuringly. They nod and turn back to the school walking towards their rooms.
“Josie?” Penelope asks hesitantly when they reach her room.
“Go ahead,” Josie says to Lizzie. “I’ll be there in a minute.”
Lizzie looks like she wants to argue but chooses not to and just nods before walking on.
“Are you going to be okay?”
“I am,” Josie says nodding. “I mean it’s a lot and I’m not okay now. Not really but I’m not hurt and I feel a lot better releasing all of that energy.”
Penelope nods and says: “Look it’s okay if you want to reschedule our talk tomorrow. With everything that has happened lately I would get it if it’s not the right time for you.”
“Penelope no,” Josie interrupts her grabbing her hand. “I mean a lot has happened but I really don’t want to reschedule. I think we should keep our talk tomorrow. Unless you want to reschedule?” Josie asks suddenly thinking that Penelope wants an out.
“I don’t,” Penelope replies immediately shaking her head. “Okay,” Penelope breathes out. “So we’ll talk tomorrow,” she says with a small smile.
“Until tomorrow Pen,” Josie replies smiling sweetly at her ex before turning and walking towards her room.
“Hey,” Josie says quietly to Lizzie when she enters their room and sees her sibling sitting up in her bed looking like she’s waiting on her.
“Hey,” Lizzie replies back. “Look we need to talk,” Lizzie says softly hoping her sister won’t refuse to talk to her knowing Josie hasn’t been her biggest fan lately.
“Okay,” Josie agrees quietly tired of being angry at her sister and wanting to make amends.
“I’m sorry,” Lizzie says quietly.
“What for?” Josie asks hoping her sister is apologizing for what Josie feels she needs to apologize.
“For not telling you about the Merge. I really wasn’t going to keep it from you but I just didn’t know how to tell you and to be honest it really scared me. I mean I thought my biggest fear was losing someone I care about but after hearing about the Merge I realized that having to hurt someone I care about is way worse. So I guess I was still dealing with it myself,” Lizzie explains hesitantly not used to feeling vulnerable. Not even with her sister. “I do love you Jo. You’re my twin. You give me strength, balance and love. You always help me and you’re always there for me. I don’t want to be without you!”
“You won’t be Lizzie,” Josie replies softly joining her sister on the bed and hugging her.
“But I almost was!” Lizzie yells out. “I woke up and there was this dude sucking energy out of you and you didn’t do anything. You only reacted when he attacked me! That’s not okay Jo. You need to react to protect yourself too!”
“Lizzie!” Josie interrupts her sister a little exasperated. “I didn’t react at first because I was still asleep and I reacted when he attacked you because you woke me up! I wasn’t about to just let him drain me I just didn’t feel it I guess? It’s not like it hurt so I think I slept through it.”
“Well we need to find a solution to that because I don’t ever want to see that again. It looked like he was sucking the life out of you!”
“I’m okay now,” Josie replies hugging her sister and comforting her.
“I’m glad you’re not mad at me anymore,” Lizzie mumbles once Josie releases her from the hug.
“Me too,” Josie agrees.
“I was starting to think you were possessed,” Lizzie teases.
“What?” Josie asks in confusion.
“Well I’m not used to you being mad at me for so long so I was starting to think that you had become possessed when you got those powers,” Lizzie admits before adding hastily: “Not that you didn’t have the right to be angry with me. I’m just not used to it taking so long before you forgive me.”
“It was kind of a big thing,” Josie mumbles.
“I know and I’m sorry.”
“You’re forgiven,” Josie replies smiling at her sister and frowning when her smile turns into a yawn.
“We should try and go to sleep,” Lizzie suggests not really feeling ready to let go of her sister.
“Is it okay if I sleep here?” Josie asks already lying down on Lizzie’s bed.
“Yeah that’s perfect,” Lizzie agrees glad her sister had known what she needed without needing to ask for it.
The next morning starts a lot better than Josie expected. She agrees to meet up with Penelope after breakfast and when they’re finally alone Penelope had tenderly cupped her face and asked her if she was really alright with that worried caring look on her face and Josie lost all self-restraint and kissed Penelope without holding back.
‘How does this keep happening?’ Josie wonders to herself when her hands are buried in Penelope’s hair and her mouth is covering Penelope’s, kissing ardently. They were supposed to be talking. This was not talking. Josie moans when Penelope bit her lip before continuing the kiss. ‘This was a lot better than talking,’ Josie decides before losing herself in the kiss once again.
“Wait. Wait. Wait,” Penelope mutters pushing Josie gently away from her. “This isn’t talking,” she says and she sounds slightly out of breathe which makes Josie feel strangely proud of herself.
“No, it’s not,” she agrees grinning. “That was a lot more enjoyable than talking.”
“Jo I’m serious,” Penelope complains. “We were supposed to be talking because this thing between us can’t be casual and so we have to talk about it. You suggested it and now you’re making jokes. You’ve been behaving kind of strange lately,” Penelope continues hesitant unsure if she should voice the worries she’s had since her talk with Lizzie
“Oh my God. You talked to Lizzie. No worse. You talked to Lizzie and you listened to her,” Josie exclaims exasperated
“What do you mean?” Penelope asks trying to play dumb
“Lizzie told me yesterday that she had a moment where she thought I might be possessed or something but Pen she was just annoyed because I stayed angry at her for a lot longer than I ever did before. I’m not possessed. I’m in full control of what I’m doing and saying! I might be a little less hesitant than before but other than that these powers haven’t changed me or what I want”
“You didn’t quite kiss me like that before,” Penelope mumbles starting to feel self-conscious for having listened to Lizzie.
“We kissed before Penelope. We were in a relationship,” Josie says rolling her eyes.
“Yeah but after that you didn’t want anything to do with me and now since you got those powers you seem to be a lot more interested than before.”
“We kissed after our breakup too Pen. Don’t tell me you forgot. These feelings that I have for you are not new. Wanting to kiss you is not new. The only thing that might be a little different is that I feel like I can trust you more and that might have something to do with me getting powers. Nora told me that I might have a slight telepathic ability and I guess I don’t really know if this is it but I feel like I can trust you not to hurt me.”
“You can,” Penelope agrees quickly looking at Josie in wonder starting to believe that maybe the other girl getting new powers have nothing to do with these new developments in their relationship. “So about these feelings you have for me?” She asks regaining her confidence and smirking at Josie.
“Oh I have a lot of feelings for you,” Josie repeats grinning at Penelope teasingly. “But well I can’t believe you of all people listened to my sister and thought I was possessed. That’s going to require some serious making-up,” she continues struggling to remain serious.
“And what kind of making-up do you require Jo Jo,” Penelope asks seductively as she leans towards Josie.
“I require you to come out on a date with me,” Josie says trying to remain confident and hoping Penelope can’t sense that she nervous being the one doing the asking.
“A date?” Penelope repeats surprised drawing back a little. “You want to take me on a date?”
“I do,” Josie says glad that she seems to have taken the other girl by surprise.
“So you’re saying yes?” Josie asks smirking and making Penelope roll her eyes.
“I’m saying yes,” Penelope agrees smiling when Josie beams at her.
“Tonight,” Josie answers Penelope’s earlier question.
“Tonight?” Penelope repeats once again taken aback by Josie’s replies.
“Tonight,” Josie confirms nodding. “I planned this in advance hoping you would say yes,” she admits blushing slightly.
“For some reason I have a hard time saying no to you Jo,” Penelope admits smiling at Josie softly and stealing a quick kiss.
“None of that now. Save it for tonight. I’ll pick you up at eight?” Josie says giggling and taking a step away from Penelope who is smiling and nodding in agreement.
“Good. I’m going now,” Josie says before walking towards the door.
“Jo wait! Where are we going?”
“You’ll see,” Josie says grinning widely. “Just dress warmly,” she continues while walking out of the room leaving Penelope staring after her.