Actions

Work Header

The Unknown

Chapter Text

Josie runs. Tears running down her face she runs. She doesn’t stop when her dad calls out her name, she doesn’t stop when she hears Lizzie call out to her while she’s running after her and she definitely doesn’t stop when she almost collides with Penelope Park because she really can’t deal with her right now. So Josie runs. She runs through the school, outside and into the woods. She runs until she can’t anymore and then she’s alone in the middle of the woods. She collapses onto her knees and cries. She feels panicked, hurt and so incredibly hopeless. It feels like she’s never going to be able to stop. She cries for hours. She cries herself to sleep.

 

Penelope is having a normal if somewhat boring day at the Salvatore School and is walking down the hallway when a clearly upset Josie almost runs into her. Before Penelope can even think to say something or to go after Josie something runs into her and knocks her down onto the floor. Penelope opens her eyes and sees the unwelcome face of an upset Lizzie on top of her.

“Get off,” Penelope growls giving Lizzie a hard shove. It figures that when Josie looks that upset Lizzie is involved. Alaric comes towards them and helps Lizzie up. Lizzie looks ready to go after Josie again but is stopped by Alaric’s hand on her shoulder.

“Dad,” she hisses slightly panicked.

“She’s going to need some time,” Alaric tells her softly looking worried and panicked himself. Lizzie stops struggling and turns to her dad for a hug.

“Can someone tell me what’s going on?” Penelope questions irritated after she picks herself up from the floor.

“Nothing you need to concern yourself with,” Lizzie hisses.

“Look,” Penelope starts intending to give Lizzie a piece of her mind.

“Girls!” Alaric interrupts. “Enough! This isn’t helping anyone. Josie’s upset and is going to need some time so I suggest we give that to her.”

“Fine,” Lizzie huffs exasperated and secretly worried. “I’ll be in my room,” She says to her dad and leaves but not before shooting Penelope a look of utter distaste. Alaric nods and gives Penelope a look.

“I’ll go be elsewhere,” Penelope mutters while walking away already planning on finding MG and maybe Hope to go after Josie. She’s not sure if she’s ever seen Josie look that upset before and she’s not planning on leaving the other girl alone to deal with whatever’s going on.

 

Josie awakes with a start from lying on the ground in the middle of the woods. She’s disoriented for a moment. Not understanding were she is or why she has such a headache and then it all comes back to her. Overhearing Lizzie and her dad arguing about something called the Merge, finding out what the Merge is, being incredibly overwhelmed, feeling betrayed and ultimately running away. Josie sits up and sighs. It’s beginning to get dark and she knows she’s going to have to go back before it actually gets dark. She’s just not ready. She’s not ready to deal with her dad and sister who kept something this big from her. Big and terrible. She never expected something like that. Then again who expects to hear that you’re either going to have to kill your twin or get killed by her during something called the Merge. It sounds like a sick plotline in a horror movie. Josie sighs again already knowing how it’s going to go. It’s already clear what her destiny is. Her whole life has been preparing her for it. She’s so used to putting Lizzie’s needs before hers she already knows that she’s going to give up her life when the time comes. There’s no way she’s able to kill her twin sister. There’s just no way. Lizzie might be self absorbed and difficult but she’s her sister and she can’t help but love her. She’s not going to kill her but that means that Josie won’t live beyond her 23th birthday is just heartbreaking. That’s not enough time. It’s too soon.

Penelope would kill her for having such thoughts Josie knows. Penelope would say that she should fight and that she should stop putting her own needs before Lizzie’s for once in her life. What Penelope never seemed to have understood is that Josie did that already. She started dating Penelope knowing full well Lizzie would never approve and would definitely be upset but she went ahead and did it anyway. She couldn’t imagine not being with Penelope actually. She loved her and being with Penelope was something Josie did for herself. It had been wonderful and then it wasn’t. Penelope had dumped her and the pain had almost been unbearable. Putting herself first had not turned out well for Josie and killing Lizzie just to save herself wouldn’t turn out well for Josie either. She knew she couldn’t do it. She would rather die. Josie feels the tears overwhelm her once again knowing that dying was the alternative.

 

Josie’s crying is interrupted by a blinding light appearing to the right of her. A blinding light that stands out very clearly in the dark forest. Josie feels her heart beginning to race. What was she thinking being out in the forest alone without any form of protection whatsoever. It would be so typical for her to get herself killed while being upset over dying prematurely. She sucks in a breath preparing to run away from the light.

“Don’t run,” A voice speaks up softly before Josie can even move. “I mean no harm,” it continues sounding strained. “I’m going to need help,” it finishes.

Josie hesitates. On the one hand this too sounds like a bad plotline from a horror movie and she doesn’t want her tombstone to say naïve girl gets killed while trying to be helpful. On the other hand the voice doesn’t sound threatening and if this person does need help and dies because Josie’s  a coward and runs she wouldn’t be able to live with herself. Her mind made up Josie stands and walks toward the voice.

What she finds isn’t what she expected. The voice belonged to a woman with fiery red hair and bright green eyes. The woman looks pale which is probably the direct result from the gaping wound in her stomach bleeding profusely.

“Oh my God,” Josie gasps kneeling next to the woman. “You need a doctor,” She says planning on getting up and running back to the school for help.

“No,” the woman stops her by taking her wrist. “It’s too late for that I’m afraid,” she murmurs self depreciatingly.

“You have to let me try,” Josie insists aghast that this woman has given up.

“It’s too late sweetheart and that’s not what I need your help with,” the woman insists gently.

“What could be more important than your life?”

“My powers,” the woman replies looking determined.

“What powers?” Josie questions feeling suspicious.

“I don’t know if you ever heard of the Unknown?” The woman asks and Josie shakes her head. “Well I am an Unknown. The last of the Unknown to be precise and given that the end of my existence is rapidly approaching I need to preserve my powers so that I wasn’t the last Unknown.”

“Are you sure we can’t just try to save you?” Josie questions not feeling quite as ready to give up on the woman’s life.

“I’m sure sweetheart. The survival of the Unknown is more important than my life. I need to transfer my powers into someone worthy. My powers will become their own and they will be able to pass these powers onto their offspring,” the woman explains in a whisper feeling her injuries taking their toll.

“So you need me to go and find someone worthy?” Josie questions ready to jump up and find someone before deflating. “Wait. How will I know if they’re worthy?”

The woman smiles and replies: “I already tracked someone down who is worthy. I have an amulet that can transport me to someone worthy.”

“So use it,” Josie insists not understanding why the woman is wasting her time talking to her.

“I did,” the woman replies smiling slightly and then seeing that Josie still doesn’t understand she continues: “It led me here. To you.”

Josie’s mouth falls open and she splutters: “Are you sure? Cause I think your amulet might be broken.”

“The amulet is never wrong about such things. It’s in your destiny to receive and be able to wield these powers.

 “No really you’re wrong. I just found out it’s my destiny to die before I turn twenty-three so this has to be a mistake. Well it’s either die or kill my sister but since I could never kill my sister I’m definitely destined to die,” Josie insists shaking her head. “I doubt that I’m worthy too,” she adds mumbling.

“I don’t know your entire destiny but the amulet has sent me here to you so I doubt that it’s your destiny to die in a few years. I also doubt that it is your destiny to kill your sister unless she’s a danger to the world which I doubt since you’re so averse to killing her. The amulet has chosen you which means you will be the reason the Unknown live on and which means you’re worthy so please accept that.”

“I…” Josie breathes out hesitating. The woman seems so sure that she should give her powers to Josie but Josie was just told that she was destined to die.

“Please… I don’t have much time left. I need to perform the ritual.”

“What does the ritual entail?” Josie asks hesitating.

“We need to hold onto the amulet and I need to chant the spell so the ritual can be completed.”

“And then what?” Josie asks.

“Then the powers of an Unknown will be transferred to you and I can leave this life behind at peace with myself.”

“What are the powers of an Unknown exactly?” Josie asks still unsure that she should be accepting these powers knowing what her dad told her about the Merge.

“You’ll be stronger, faster and harder to kill. You’ll have very slight telepathic powers as well. You’ll also have another power specific to you. I cannot tell you what this will be. It depends on the wielder and is different for everyone. I feel I have to warn you though being an Unknown will come with responsibilities and will mean you’ll become hunted. There is a reason I’m the only one left. I’m afraid I don’t have time left to explain everything to you but I know we’re in the neighborhood of the Salvatore School and that given your age you’re probably a student there. The headmaster Alaric should be able to help you,” the woman whispers coughing up blood near the end of her sentence.

“God you’re really dying,” Josie said panicking.

“I really am,” the woman agreed. “So please just accept these powers and trust me. You were meant to receive them. You’re perfect,” the woman whispered.

“Okay, okay, I’ll accept it,” Josie agreed unable to refuse the woman her dying wish. “Could you just tell me your name?” She asks while taking a hold of the amulet that the woman is also still holding.

“My name’s Nora,” The woman replies smiling.

“I’m Josie,” Josie says figuring Nora should at least know the name of the one she’s giving her powers to.”

“It’s nice to meet you Josie and I want to thank you for making sure the Unknown can live on,” Nora replies before beginning to chant in a language Josie can’t understand. The amulet begins to glow and Josie can feel the amulet getting warmer. She looks at Nora who is still chanting and then suddenly she stops and the glow from the amulet becomes so bright Josie can’t see anything anymore and then everything becomes dark as she loses consciousness.

At the end of the ritual Nora smiles at the still form of Josie before closing her eyes and dying, her body disappearing into thin air.

Chapter Text

 

Penelope was losing it. A witch, a vampire and a tribrid shouldn’t be having this much difficulty finding one single girl in a goddamned forest. But here they were an hour into searching the forest and not a step closer to finding Josie. They found Josie’s tracks in the beginning of the forest but lost every single trace of her since.

“Anything?” She demands when MG and Hope come running towards her in the middle of the forest.

“Nothing,” Hope replies looking worried herself. MG shakes his head indicating he hadn’t found anything either.

“How is it that we can’t find her. All that power between the three of us and we can’t even find one girl in a stupid forest!” Penelope yells beside herself with worry.

“It’s a big forest,” MG says hesitantly. “I don’t think we’ve covered half of it.

“So we keep looking,” Hope replies looking at Penelope steadily. “We’re not giving up.”

“Off course not,” MG responds. “We’ll keep going until we find her.”

Penelope nods unable to speak. They needed to find Josie soon. It was getting dark and the forest could hold some unpleasant surprises at night. They divide the forest in sectors and split up again to continue their search.

About a half an hour later Penelope is startled by a bright light.

“Josie,” she murmurs breaking out into a run towards the light hoping her ex hadn’t found trouble for herself but knowing instinctively she had. “Please be okay. Please be okay.”

She arrives at the place where she thought she saw the light not seeing anything at first. Penelope begins to look around frantically when suddenly she notices a still form lying a few feet from where she is standing.

“Josie,” she whispers running to get to the unconscious form and once she gets closer noticing that it is indeed Josie. “Josie!” She yells out turning the other girl onto her back and looking her over for injuries. She’s still breathing but not moving. “Josie!” she yells again shaking the brunette slightly hoping to wake her.

“You found her,” Hope exclaims relieved.

“Is she okay?” MG asks hesitantly.

“I don’t know,” Penelope exclaims. “I can’t  see any injuries but she’s not waking up.”

“We need to get her back to the school,” Hope says.

“Let me carry her,” MG suggest knowing he’s the fastest.

“I… Yeah okay,” Penelope replies not wanting to let Josie out of her sight again but knowing MG can get her to school and to help much faster than she ever could.

“Maybe MG could carry her and you could get on his back,” Hope suggest softly realizing Penelope is still extremely worried and knowing that she herself isn’t as fast as MG.

“Of course,” MG responds immediately picking Josie up with ease and turning so that Penelope can get on his back.

“Run fast,” Penelope whispers into MG’s ear.

“Your wish is my command. I’ll get your lady to the help she needs in no time” MG responds and starts running as if his life depends on it.

 

If you would ask Penelope anything about being on MG’s back while he runs at full speed she wouldn’t be able to answer at all. All she’s aware of in the minutes it takes MG to get them to the front of the school is Josie. Beautiful Josie lying so incredibly still in MG’s arms while they leave the forest behind.

They’re met with Alaric, Lizzie and some of the school’s staff near the border of the forest.

“Josie!” Alaric calls out relieved. Lizzie had come to him about a half an hour ago telling him she hadn’t seen Josie since she ran off. They had put together a search party and had just started looking through the forest when they saw MG, Josie and Penelope.

“What happened?” Lizzie growls looking at Penelope suspiciously.

“I went looking for her,” Penelope replies hopping off MG’s back and looking at Lizzie with hard eyes. The implication that she did while Lizzie didn’t loud and clear.

“Where did you find her?” Alaric asks looking over his daughter in MG’s arms not seeing any injuries.

“In the middle of the woods. I don’t know what happened. She was unconscious when I found her. I tried to wake her up but she’s not responding,” Penelope replies her anger at Lizzie leaving her being replaced with worry for Josie easily.

“We need to get her to the infirmary,” Alaric says decisively. “Go,” he tells MG who runs ahead to the school building.

“Tell me everything,” Alaric asks Penelope while they run back to the school themselves.

 

“There’s nothing medically wrong with her,” the doctor says to Alaric, Lizzie, Penelope, Hope and MG.

Penelope lifts an eyebrow at this and says: “There’s nothing medically wrong with her? She’s not waking up and you say there’s nothing medically wrong with her? You think it’s normal for a teenage girl to be asleep at seven PM? You think it’s normal we can’t wake her up?”

“Penelope,” Alaric sighs in a  warning tone.

“Normal? No but from what I understand the young lady has had a difficult day. All the emotions from today could have exhausted her to the point that we’re not able to wake her. Her mind probably needed the rest so she sleeps until her mind is rested. I would like to keep her overnight just to be sure. I’m certain she’ll be awake by tomorrow morning,” the doctor says looking at Alaric.

“Okay,” Alaric nods looking at his daughter’s sleeping form in the bed at the infirmary of the school.

“I’m not leaving,” Lizzie states in a huff and drops down in a chair next to Josie’s bed.

“I’m not leaving either,” Penelope replies looking at Lizzie and Alaric as if she’s expecting them to argue.

“No! You’re not staying! This isn’t any of your business. You’re nothing to Josie anymore either so there really is nothing for you here,” Lizzie protests.

“Any of my business? I’m the one that found her! I’m the one that went looking for her. If it wasn’t for me and making it my business she would still be lying unconscious in the middle of the forest! If anything it’s not your business. You’re the one that upset her and you’re the one that she was running from!” Penelope hisses unknowingly hitting a sore spot and making Lizzie’s eyes widen.

As Lizzie opens her mouth to respond and to continue arguing the doctor speaks up: “If the two of you are planning on staying with my patient you’re going to have to be quiet. The girl’s asleep because she needs rest. What she doesn’t need is her loved ones fighting over her unconscious body. I doubt that’s the sort of peaceful environment she’s going to want to wake up in.”

“You can both stay but there will be no more arguing. If you can’t promise me that you’ll have to leave,” Alaric agrees looking at Penelope and Lizzie until the fight goes out of both of them and they give him a nod of agreement.

“Alright doctor since Josie’s in good hands,” Alaric says shooting a look at Penelope and Lizzie again making sure they’re not going to start another argument. “I’m going to be leaving. I’ll be in my office. Keep me posted if anything changes.”

The doctor nods and Alaric leaves the room. MG and Hope stay in the infirmary a while longer before also leaving to their rooms.

“Let us know when she wakes up,” MG murmurs giving Penelope a quick hug before going over to Lizzie and squeezing her shoulder not daring to hug her as well.

“Take care of your girl,” Hope whispers into Penelope’s ear as she hugs her as well feeling the other girl’s body go stiff at her words. Hope releases Penelope and looks her in the eye. Penelope gives her a quick nod and then both MG and Hope leave Penelope and Lizzie alone with Josie’s unconscious body.

Penelope takes a seat on Josie’s other side and is determined to ignore Lizzie’s presence so that she doesn’t get kicked out of the infirmary for arguing. She’s not leaving Josie for anyone. She can’t. She’s definitely not leaving Josie because of her psychotic twin sister. She takes Josie’s hand into her own needing the contact. She sees Lizzie roll her eyes at the movement but Lizzie doesn’t say anything and Penelope doesn’t want to respond to the eye roll knowing that it would just lead to another argument.

 

Hours later Josie awakens with a jolt. She hastily takes in her environment as if she is supposed to be on the lookout for trouble but she realizes quickly she’s inside the school building. She isn’t in her room though and apparently she isn’t alone. It’s still dark in the room but there is some light shining through the semi-closed curtains. Penelope is sitting on her right side lying with her head against Josie’s hip. Josie’s eyes widen. What was Penelope doing here and why is she so close to her. Josie takes a minute to study the sleeping features of her ex. Penelope had always been beautiful but never more so than in sleep. When asleep Penelope looked soft, innocent. Something the other brunette wouldn’t allow herself to be when she was awake.

Josie has the incredible urge to run her fingers through Penelope’s hair when she’s startled by the sound of someone shifting. That’s when she notices Lizzie sitting next to her on her left side. Lizzie is fast asleep as well sitting up in a chair and looking ridiculously uncomfortable. Jose felt like she was in the Twilight Zone. Lizzie and Penelope were sleeping in the same room without being forced to? How did that happen?

Then the sight of Lizzie brings back the memories of what happened the day before. Finding out about the Merge, running, ending up alone and crying in the middle of the forest. Josie feels herself becoming upset again. The Merge was a real thing she and Lizzie were going to have to deal with and Josie really really didn’t want to deal with it. Then the rest of the memories from the day before filter through. Seeing a blinding light, finding an injured woman. Finding Nora. Hearing about the Unknown and taking part in a ritual that was supposed to transfer the powers of an Unknown to her. That’s the last thing she remembers. The ritual. What happened after? What happened to Nora’s body? How did she get back to the school?

Josie frowned. All these questions were giving her a headache. She wants to go and talk to her dad to get some answers. Josie hesitates unsure if she’s going to be able to leave the bed without disturbing Penelope. She isn’t as worried about her sister knowing the blonde slept like a log but Penelope is lying so close to her and she knows it will be difficult to leave the bed without disturbing her. If Josie’s honest with herself she doesn’t really want to leave. She wants to stay and enjoy the closeness. It’s been too long since she’s had Penelope sleeping so close to her and a big part of her just wants to stay and enjoy it. But the more responsible and worried side of her wants to get out of the bed and go to her dad. To be reassured. Josie sighs. Her decision made as she shifts and slowly gets out of the bed without disturbing Penelope.

Chapter Text

Once Josie’s out of the bed she looks back at the two other occupants of the room. Lizzie is still fast asleep as Josie expected and Penelope is also still asleep lying with her head on the now empty bed. Josie turns and goes out to look for her father.

It’s still quiet as Josie walks through the hallway of the school. Not that it’s a strange thing for it to be quiet on a Saturday morning in a boarding school full of teenagers. Josie is thankful for the quiet especially when she looks down on herself and sees she’s still in the same somewhat dirty outfit from yesterday. She goes to her dads rooms first but she finds them empty. She tries for his office next and begins to wonder if the school’s under some kind of spell because her dad is sitting at his desk fast asleep. Josie rolls her eyes at the man. This is about the first time Josie can remember waking up before him and she doesn’t want to disturb his sleep but she’s in serious need of answers here. Josie huffs and decides to wake him. She doesn’t really want to but the questions in her head are too loud to ignore. Knowing her dad he won’t mind being awakened by his daughter.

“Dad,” Josie calls out softly trying to wake him gently without much effect. “Dad,” she calls again louder this time but Alaric doesn’t budge. Josie rolls her eyes and nudges his shoulder. “Dad!”

Alaric shoots up.

“What?” He mumbles and when he sees Josie standing next to him his eyes widen. “Josie,” he whispers pulling her toward him and hugging her tight.

“Dad. Dad, I need to breathe,” Josie mumbles but returning the hug anyway.

“Sorry sweetheart but you had me worried. Are you feeling okay?”

“I’m fine,” Josie waves away his concern. “Well, as fine as one can be after finding out you either have to die or kill your sister and apparently your father and sister have been keeping this little detail from you,” Josie continues looking at her dad sharply. She hasn’t forgotten the events that had lead to her being out on her own in the forest.

“I’m sorry Jo. I promise it wasn’t like that. Your sister found out about it not too long ago and I was planning on telling you but I just didn’t know how,” Alaric explains.

“Okay. I mean not okay but something else happened yesterday and I need to talk to you about it.”

“What happened? Are you sure you’re alright? You didn’t get hurt did you?”

“Dad! I’m fine. At least I think I’m fine,” Josie replies running a hand through her hair in a nervous gesture. She wasn’t sure if the ritual had worked or not but she knew she had to tell her dad about it. “Yesterday when I was in the forest I saw some kind of bright light and well I was going to run away from it but then I heard a voice calling out for help. So I went towards it.”

“Josie,” Alaric sighs knowing his daughter’s kind nature wouldn’t have allowed her to do anything else but wishing she had a little more consideration towards her own wellbeing.

“I know dad but I’m fine okay. So the voice belonged to a woman and she was hurt pretty badly. She told me she was dying and needed my help so I offered to run back here to get her help. She declined saying that there wasn’t enough time and that it was too late to save her life but that she needed my help to transfer her powers to someone worthy. Apparently she was the last of her race.”

Alaric’s eyes widen.

“Anyway I offered to go search for someone worthy but she told me her amulet had pointed her in my direction because it had decided that I was worthy,” Josie continues shrugging self-deprecatingly. “I argued with her about it not really believing I was worthy and telling her about my destiny and the Merge. Insisting that I couldn’t take her powers and help her race survive because I wasn’t going to live that long either.

“Josie,” Alaric sighs sadly.

“No dad. Don’t interrupt. Anyway this woman insisted that I was worthy and that she should transfer her powers to me so that the Unknown could live on. So… Erm… I guess you could say that the last thing I remember before waking up is that I took part in a ritual to receive powers from an Unknown and I was hoping maybe you would know a little more about the Unknown as a race?” Josie finishes unsure of herself and looking at her father hopefully.

Alaric is looking at her with wide eyes and his mouth was hanging open.

“I… I…” He tries a few times only to fall silent again. “Josie that’s impossible,” he manages to get out eventually. “The Unknown is a species within the supernatural world that has been extinct for years. It’s impossible for you to have come across one.”

“But dad I did. How else would I know of their existence?”

“Maybe you read about them in a book or something and the stress of yesterday caused you to black out and dream about them.”

“Dad I was awake! I saw this woman. I agreed to do the ritual. She was bleeding all over the forest. I haven’t made that up!”

“Josie, when Penelope found you, you were alone. There wasn’t anyone near you or she would have told me,” Alaric sighs walking over to the door of his office. Maybe the doctor needed to take another look at Josie while she was awake.

“The woman had red hair and green eyes. I didn’t make her up!”Josie insists beginning to get angry.

“Sweetheart yesterday was a trying day for you and maybe you got hurt in the forest and hit your head or something. We should have the doctor examine you again,” Alaric said taking Josie by the wrist and guiding her out of his office towards the infirmary.

“Dad. No enough!” Josie yells out losing her temper and not noticing that they have gained an audience consisting of Penelope and Lizzie. What Josie also doesn’t notice at first is that a bright blue color invade her eyes just before blue flames erupt starting at her hands and making their way up her arms towards her elbows. “I swear I saw her. I didn’t imagine anything. It was real!”

“Whoa,” Penelope breathes out despite herself but remaining unnoticed by Josie and Alaric. Lizzie is staring at her sister with wide eyes and an open mouth.

Alaric whose eyes have gone as wide as Josie has ever seen them says gently as if afraid to spook her: “Okay Josie. I believe you.”

Josie frowns wondering at this sudden turnabout.

“Not that I’m complaining or anything but why is it you suddenly believe me?”

Alaric doesn’t say anything in response he just points at her arms where blue flames are still flickering around both of her lower arms.

“What the… I’m on freaking fire! Put it out!” Josie calls out panicking and flailing with her arms when she finally notices the blue flames. The blue flames grow in intensity before dying out. Josie’s breathing heavily staring at her own arms in suspicion as if expecting them to burst out into flames again.

“What the hell was that Jo?” Lizzie demands once she’s gotten over her shock making Josie notice her and Penelope for the first time.

“Ehh…” Josie hesitates unsure where to even begin explaining this to her twin and hesitant to start explaining it in the hallway. Before Josie can open her mouth again to answer or deflect the question she isn’t sure she loses her train of thought when something or rather someone slams into her giving her a fierce hug. “Pen,” Josie whispers in wonder and confusion at the unusual behavior of the brunette hugging her tight.

Penelope lets go of Josie blushing slightly. “Sorry,” she murmurs. “You just had me worried,” she says with a shrug trying to regain some of her innate confidence and giving Lizzie who is glaring at the pair of them an evil glare back.

‘Back to normal,’ Josie thinks with a sigh wishing the hugging could have lasted a little longer.

“Jo would you mind explaining how the hell you were able to conjure fire like that?” Lizzie asks again looking impatient and still glaring at Penelope.

“That’s not a conversation for the hallway,” Alaric interrupts. “How about we return to my office?” He suggest leading Josie back to his office. Lizzie doesn’t even hesitate to follow wanting to know what’s going on. Penelope however hesitates. She’s not sure if Josie wants her there but she desperately doesn’t want to lose sight of Josie. The other girl had given her a serious fright yesterday and again this morning when she woke up to an empty bed.

“Come along Pen,” Josie calls out when she notices the other brunette’s not moving to follow. Penelope grins and her grin broadens when she sees Lizzie roll her eyes. ‘Well that answers that question,’ Penelope thinks and follows the other three happily.

 

“Well? Start explaining,” Lizzie says shooting a small glare at her sister for having the audacity to ask that bitch to follow.

“I’m not the only one that has to explain,” Josie admonishes her twin. She hasn’t forgotten the fact that Lizzie and her father kept the Merge a secret from her.

“Fine,” Lizzie whines rolling her eyes and giving in not wanting to see her sister get as upset as she was yesterday. Penelope smiles loving that Josie is standing up for herself for once.

“How did I get to the school?” Josie asks knowing it’s not the question anyone expects from her but needing to know. Her father had mentioned something about Penelope finding her which had made her extremely curious.

“Well…” Penelope hesitates not wanting her ex to know just how heavily involved she had been. “MG carried you here,” she continued hoping Josie would leave it at that.

“Okay… So how did that come about?” Josie asks and then when Penelope seemed hesitant to reply she added: “Dad told me you were the one that found me?”

Penelope shoots an annoyed glare to Alaric whose only response is to grin back at her making her roll her eyes.

“Yes I found you. I saw a bright light and went in the direction of the light and found you there unconscious.”

“Was I alone?” Josie questions not understanding where Nora’s body could have gone.

“Yes?” Penelope replies frowning in confusion.

“What were you doing in the middle of the woods?” Josie questions feeling like there was more to the story than Penelope was letting on.

“Looking for you,” Penelope mumbles knowing there’s no way Josie is going to let it be.

“Oh,” Josie whispers looking at Penelope in wonder.

“Hope and MG were looking for you too but I was the one that found you,” Penelope added hoping to draw attention away from the fact that she voluntarily spend hours walking around in a forest looking for her ex.

“Right. Remind me to thank them,” Josie replies with a grin knowing Penelope had specifically asked for a thank you the last time she was involved in saving her. As Josie expected Penelope’s gaze shot towards her the question why she wasn’t being thanked ready already formed in her mind when she saw Josie’s teasing grin and rolled her eyes.

“Great! Now that that’s all cleared up could you please tell us what happened to you Josie and how you were creating blue fire?” Lizzie interrupted the moment annoyed that Penelope was getting so much attention.

“Right. Well…” Josie started not looking forward to repeating the story again knowing both her sister and Penelope weren’t going to keep quiet during the story.

Chapter Text

 

“Let me get this straight. You saw a light you didn’t know and heard a voice telling you not to run and that they needed help and you just went towards it?” Penelope questions incredulously. Of course Josie would run towards someone asking for help not thinking that it could be a trap. “You didn’t think it could be someone with less than honorable intentions?”

“Of course I thought of that,” Josie replies rolling her eyes. Penelope was treating her like an idiot again. “I just thought it was a risk worth taking. If it had been someone in need of help and instead of helping I ran away I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.”

“God Jo…” Penelope exclaims running a hand through her hair not knowing how to reply to such disregard of her own safety.

“That was just stupid,” Lizzie spits out.

“Well stupid or not it’s what I did and what followed was a transfer of powers apparently. One of which seems to be creating blue flames,” Josie says shrugging helplessly.

“Did the woman tell you what other powers you would be getting?” Alaric asks curiously.

“She spoke of being stronger, faster and harder to kill. She said I might get a slightly telepathic ability as well as a power that would be specific to me so she couldn’t say what that was going to be,” Josie replies missing the way Penelope’s eyes widen when she mentions she might get slightly telepathic abilities.

“That’s not very specific,” Lizzie says rolling her eyes.

“Well she was dying so it wasn’t like there was a whole lot of time,” Josie shoots back.

“What was the woman’s name?” Alaric asks.

“Nora.”

“So you didn’t have time to question the specifics of powers you may or may not be getting but you had time for her name,” Lizzie mumbles annoyed getting a warning look from her father.

“Nora?” Alaric repeats vaguely remembering something. “What did she look like?”

“She had fiery red hair and bright green eyes. She was kind of beautiful,” Josie replies shrugging making Penelope narrow her eyes at her.

“I think I may have read something about her in an old diary somewhere. Give me some time sweetheart and I’ll look it up. We’ll figure this out I promise,” Alaric says while hugging Josie to him fully intending to start researching immediately.

“Dad? There’s something else. The woman, Nora, she hinted that if I was chosen to be an Unknown that it wasn’t my destiny to die in the near future or to kill my sister unless she was a danger to the world at large,” Josie says softly.

“So she hinted that the Merge might not be happening?” Alaric exclaims excited given that this was the closest they had ever gotten to maybe preventing the Merge.

“The Merge?” Penelope questions narrowing her eyes at all three of them.

“None of your business,” Lizzie snaps.

“I’ll talk to Caroline about it,” Alaric says ignoring Lizzie and Penelope and choosing to talk to Josie. “I’ll let you know as soon as I find out something more I promise. Now maybe you should get some rest? I know it was a trying day yesterday in more than one way apparently. Also, for now, try not to experiment with your new powers? I know it’s tempting to see what you can do but I would like to know a little more about it before you try it out.”

“Okay dad. I’ll take it easy today. I’ll just go look for Hope and MG to thank them,” Josie replies making Alaric nod and Penelope roll her eyes.

“I’m going to go rest. Sleeping in a chair all night was not ideal,” Lizzie exclaims feeling like her sister should be thanking her as well.

 

Penelope hangs back as Josie is giving her thanks to MG and Hope trying not to roll her eyes again. Josie is not as subtle as she thinks and Penelope is definitely not going to ask to get thanked again. Penelope gives into the urge to roll her eyes when MG and Hope start laying it on thick that she was the one that insisted they go after Josie making Josie look at her curiously. Hope smirks at her while MG grins and she feels the urge to strangle them both. With friends like these…

“Now that you got that out of your system. Would you mind telling me what the hell the Merge is?” Penelope asks annoyance clear in her voice making Josie stifle a groan not ever wanting to have this conversation with Penelope.

“Merge?” MG asks confused while Hope frowns. The term sounding vaguely familiar but unable to place it.

“Let it go Penelope,” Josie huffs trying to walk away but not getting far before Penelope stops her.

“It’s like you don’t know me at all,” Penelope smirks. “I’m not going to let this go so you either give me what I want or I’ll go look for it myself.”

“I don’t want to talk about this here besides with everything else going on it might not be a problem anymore,” Josie replies uncomfortably hoping against hope that that was the case.

“Fine if not here then where?” Penelope asks unwilling and unable to let it go sensing its importance.

“I…” Josie hesitates unsure of which place would be the perfect place to discuss such a thing.

“Come on. Follow me,” Penelope says dragging Josie away from MG and Hope who are both looking at them curiously as they leave.

“Tell me,” Penelope insists when they arrived in a small barn in between the school building and the forest.

“Penelope,” Josie sighs feeling a little uncomfortable being in the barn with her ex. The barn had been where they came when they wanted to be alone together when they were still together like that. Standing here now after everything that had happened between them felt strange.

“Just tell me Jo,” Penelope practically begs happy no one else was around to hear it. She could feel that this Merge thing was something important. Something she needed to be aware of.

“Fine but keep in mind that it’s probably not relevant anymore. Me getting those powers might prevent the Merge.”

“Okay,” Penelope agrees. “I still want to know though.”

“Really? But you’ve been so subtle about it,” Josie mutters sarcastically making Penelope grin. “The Merge is this thing within the Gemini coven apparently where they pick their leaders from a set of twins within the coven.”

“That doesn’t sound too bad so what’s the catch?” Penelope asks knowing it would have to be bad for Josie to get that upset.

“The catch is that they pick their leader by making the twins face off against each other. The stronger twin survives and becomes the leader of the coven while the weaker twin dies,” Jolie finishes.

“What? That’s fucked up! Tell me Alaric knows how to get you out of that?”

“My dad and my mom have been searching for years for a way to get Lizzie and me out of it but so far they haven’t found anything. I found out by accident yesterday and ran off. But this Unknown-thing might be the way to get us out of it.”

“And what are you going to do if there’s no way out of it?” Penelope asks feeling sick to her stomach knowing Josie is too self-sacrificing for her own good.

“You know me Penelope. You know I couldn’t kill Lizzie.”

“Not even when your own life depends on it?”

“What kind of a life do you think I would have after killing my sister? I wouldn’t be able to live with myself after that!”

“If you get killed you wouldn’t be living at all.”

“I know!” Josie shouts getting upset again hoping Alaric will be able to confirm that these Unknown powers will be the thing that gets Lizzie and her out of merging. “Do you think I want to die Pen? Cause I don’t! But I can’t kill my sister. I can’t kill someone I love and I know you dislike Lizzie and you feel like I should stand up for myself more but this wouldn’t be standing up for myself this would be ending her life. I couldn’t do that!”

“This is exactly why we broke up in the first place! You never think of yourself first! In a life or death situation you should at least be able to think of yourself first!” Penelope shouts back frightened by the prospect of losing Josie because she would choose not to fight.

“I would give my life for those I love, Penelope. I’m not going to apologize for that! And despite what you think I have put myself first before. I’ve gone after what I wanted knowing that Lizzie despised it before. I went after you didn’t I? Lizzie hated you but I didn’t. I never did and when I got to know you I loved you and no matter how many times Lizzie objected I would have never let you go,” Josie argues passionately her eyes never wavering from Penelope’s and then she seemed to lose her conviction remembering that Penelope was the one to let her go. “But look how well that turned out,” she mumbles breaking eye-contact.

Penelope loses it then and shoves Josie back against the wall before swallowing the sound of surprise Josie makes with her mouth. Josie had broken eye-contact and hadn’t seen the kiss coming but once she realizes Penelope is kissing her she kisses back immediately.

Penelope moans when Josie starts kissing her back. It had been too long since she had the other girl in her arms like this. Sure there had been the kiss in hallway but that had been pretty short and it had been way too long since then. This kiss. This is the way Penelope wanted to kiss Josie all the time but would never allow herself to since they broke up. Josie surprises her then by biting her lower lip during the kiss and she moans again quickly losing whatever self-control she had.

 

Chapter Text

 

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.

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter six

Another week filled with school and training later Josie felt like jumping out of her skin. The anxious feeling burning underneath her skin had been growing steadily every day but Josie was getting used to ignoring that. She had promised her dad that she wouldn’t try and use the blue fire and she was going to keep that promise.

Making things worse Penelope had upped her game and was teasing Josie masterfully and Josie was just about ready to melt in a puddle at her feet. It wasn’t that Penelope was putting pressure on her or anything but when Josie was near Penelope always found a way to brush up against her or whisper a teasing comment in her ear which was driving Josie crazy in the best of ways but was also really distracting.

Something that was proven just a few moment ago when Hope landed her on her ass easily because Josie was too busy thinking about how good Penelope smelled earlier when she brushed against her while leaving the classroom.

“What is with you today Josie?” Hope asks amused as she helps Josie up.

“Nothing,” Josie grumbles.

“Don’t say it’s nothing. It’s obvious you’re distracted.”

“Have a lot on my mind I guess,” Josie sighs.

“Unknown things or Penelope Park things?” Hope asks with a teasing smirk.

“Hope,” Josie groans.

“What you don’t think I noticed you guys are getting closer again?”

“Let’s not talk about that,” Josie pleads making Hope roll her eyes.

“Okay let’s talk about the Unknown thing then. Have you tried testing out any new powers you may have besides testing your physical limits by getting your ass kicked by me?”

“Ugh you’re so annoying!” Josie exclaims throwing a twig in Hope’s direction.

“No I’m not,” Hope says still smirking at Josie before turning serious and adding: “I just know you can do a lot more than this. I can feel it somehow and I can’t deny that I’m really curious.”

“What do you mean you can feel it?” Josie asks confused.

“I don’t know. When I’m near you now I can feel you’re different. I can feel you’re a lot more powerful than before. You also seem more confident in a way,” Hope replies shrugging.

Josie’s eyes widen as she realizes Hope seems to notice a lot.

“My dad asked me not to test any of my new powers yet,” Josie mumbles a little embarrassed and blushing slightly.

“I think that’s a mistake. These powers are a part of you now and it would be good for you to know exactly what you can and can’t do. Besides you’re one of the most capable witches around here I’m pretty sure you can handle it.”

“I am?” Josie asks surprised at the compliment.

“Of course the rest of them are losers so don’t let it get to your head,” Hope adds smirking and winking at Josie making the other girl roll her eyes.

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Josie says. “Thanks for the vote of confidence though.”

“Don’t mention it. You’ll figure it out Josie. No worries. Come on let’s go again. I’ll go easy on you this time.”

“Oh I’m getting you for that,” Josie grumbles.

 

“No training today Jo Jo?” Penelope asks brushing against Josie as she passes her to go sit on the edge of a couch. Josie was standing in a quiet corner of the school’s library looking for something to read and quietly minding her own business.

“Nope,” Josie replies not meaning to be short with Penelope but knowing the other girl was just going to drive her crazy again.

“What are you looking for?” Penelope asks changing the subject while hoping off the sofa and walking towards Josie. “Maybe I can help,” she adds leaning into Josie and whispering the offer to help in her ear.

Josie momentarily closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. She tries to ignore Penelope’s closeness. She tries to form a reply but the other girl has been teasing her for way too long now and all those teasing remarks and moments are now at the forefront of Josie’s mind making her lose it.

She abruptly turns around facing a clearly surprised Penelope who opens her mouth to say something but Josie doesn’t give her a chance. She can’t hear one more teasing remark so she takes advantage of Penelope’s half open mouth and kisses her without hesitation.

Penelope lets out a surprised sound that turns into a moan just seconds later. Josie is enjoying having the upper hand for once and pushes it a little further by gripping Penelope by the waist and turning them both around so she can push Penelope back into the bookcase making Penelope groan.

Meanwhile Penelope is lost into the kiss. She isn’t quite sure when she lost control of the situation but to her surprise she doesn’t care in the least. She’s surprised to discover she quite likes this side of Josie and she’s even more surprised to find that she likes being shoved against this bookcase and being kissed senseless.

They don’t know how long they stand there just kissing each other but their moment comes to an end when a group of students comes closer making a lot of noise. They stand there both breathing heavily staring at the other.

“So…” Penelope starts hesitantly. “Should I apologize?”

“Why?” Josie asks smirking finding Penelope’s uncharacteristic hesitation humorous. “I’m pretty sure I’m the one who started that.”

“Right,” Penelope replies nodding in agreement.

“And I’m not sorry,” Josie says smirking and blushing slightly.. She isn’t the least bit sorry. After all the stress of the last days and the teasing nothing had felt better or more right than kissing Penelope.

“Look Pen… I know I said I needed time and that we should wait but I’m getting the feeling that if we wait until I figure this whole Unknown thing out that we’ll be waiting for forever,” Josie starts making Penelope frown at her in confusion.

“So I guess I’m saying that maybe we should talk instead of waiting?” Josie half says half asks.

“Talk?” Penelope asks hopefully. “Sure we could do that,” she continues smiling softly at Josie.

“But maybe not tonight?” Josie says hesitantly not wanting to disappoint Penelope but feeling as though she really wants some rest before they really talk.

“Okay,” Penelope replies hesitantly feeling as though she’s going to be asked to wait again.

“I’m sorry. It’s just that I feel completely drained right now,” Josie says genuinely feeling sorry. “Tomorrow maybe? I don’t have any training this weekend so we could get together around lunchtime?” Josie suggests knowing Penelope likes to sleep in on the weekend.

“Tomorrow?” Penelope repeats surprised that Josie wants to talk so soon. “I can do tomorrow,” she says smiling brightly at Josie.

“Tomorrow it is then,” Josie responds smiling back at Penelope before realizing it’s getting late and she’s feeling really tired.

“Until tomorrow,” Josie says softly leaning into Penelope and kissing her cheek making the other girl inhale sharply and blush a little.

“Sleep well Jo Jo,” Penelope replies softly as Josie walks away from her towards her room.

 

“Where’s Josie?” Lizzie asks shooting an annoyed look at Penelope who’s still sitting on the sofa near the bookcase where Josie left her.

“Not here,” Penelope replies smirking arrogantly at the blonde knowing that riles her up.

“If I were you I wouldn’t look so smug. You don’t find it a little suspicious that Josie’s newfound interest in you just happens to coincide with her getting new powers. She’s not really acting like herself lately wouldn’t you say?” Lizzie says making Penelope think about Josie’s behavior as of late. It wasn’t really in Josie’s character to be so assertive. She hadn’t been like that with her in the past.

Lizzie smirks knowing she had hit a nerve with the other girl.

“Yeah I’m pretty sure that whatever’s going on with Josie is caused by her getting those powers and it’s probably temporary. So if I were you I wouldn’t get used to the version of her that actually wants you.”

Penelope’s thoughts race. She wants to say something hurtful and mean but can’t seem to form the words.

“I’ll leave you to ponder that,” Lizzie says cheerfully before walking off in the direction of the room she shared with Josie. Penelope watches her leave frowning. Did the blonde have a point? Was Josie’s closeness to her a symptom of getting new powers and being possessed or something?

Penelope sighs not knowing what to think but realizing that the talk Josie suggested might be more crucial than she realized.

 

Hours later in the middle of the night Lizzie awakens from a bright light coming from Josie’s side of the room.

“Jo. Turn the damned light off,” she grumbles opening her eyes and releasing a loud terrified scream at what she sees.

At the foot of the bed where her twin sister is still asleep there’s a man dressed entirely in black. There’s some sort of light that’s surrounding Josie and it looks like bright strings coming from Josie and floating towards the man. Lizzie notices the man has a pale face and dark eyes which are currently trained on her. Lizzie opens her mouth to scream again when the man lifts his arm towards her making Lizzie fly back against the wall with an oomf. Lizzie lands on the floor having had the breath knocked out of her and bracing herself for another attack when she sees Josie sitting up looking barely awake but her hands are on fire. Blue flames surround Josie’s hands and that’s when Lizzie notices the man standing at the foot of Josie’s bed is on fire! The blue flames are surrounding his torso and he’s screaming as he drops to his knees.

Alaric, Hope and Penelope storm into the room just as the man seems to turn into ash and the room descends into silence except for Josie’s loud and heavy breathing. The only light in the room is coming from Josie’s hands which are still engulfed in blue flames.

“I…” Josie starts wanting to say something to her dad who is looking at her with wide eyes. The flames grow brighter. “I can’t I’m sorry,” Josie says knowing she can’t suppress the uneasy feeling within her anymore and needing to let it out. Josie hops of her bed and walks towards the window. She looks down hesitating only briefly before jumping out the window hearing Alaric and Penelope call out her name but unable to stop.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter seven

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.

“When?”

“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.

Chapter Text

 

Josie is standing before her closet with looking frustrated and nervous. On top of her bed there are different clothes piled on top of each other having been considered and rejected. Josie sighs she had planned this date for God’s sakes. Shouldn’t it be easier to find something to wear?

“Josie just pick something already. It’s not like Penelope’s really going to care anyway. You can say a lot about Satan but she’s never been able to keep her eyes of you. It’s one of her most annoying qualities to be honest,” Lizzie says rolling her eyes at her nervous sister.

Josie stops her fidgeting with her clothes and narrows her eyes at her sister as she says: “One: don’t call her that, two: I care what I’m wearing I want this to go perfect and three:  as my sister you should be helping me!”

“Fine,” Lizzie huffs giving in much sooner than she would have in the past. Something she blames on still being happy that Josie is talking to her again. “You should wear that dark red sweater and combine it with those jeans,” Lizzie adds pointing at the dark blue jeans that Josie had thrown on her bed earlier.

“Why?” Josie asks not trusting that her sister isn’t just telling her something to shut her up and get her out of their room quicker.

“Urgh! I hate you a little for this you know. I hate that I’ve noticed this in the first place. It’s disgusting! The sweater because it makes your eyes pop and the jeans because the last time you wore those Penelope stared at your ass for at least five minutes straight.”

“What?” Josie breathes out a little shocked at Lizzie’s answer.

“Please don’t make me repeat that. Just wear the sweater and the jeans and don’t stress yourself out. It’s not like you don’t know who you’re going on a date with. She’s probably beside herself to finally be dating you again. Now I’m going to go downstairs and pretend this conversation never happened.”

“Lizzie?” Josie says when Lizzie nears the door making her sister turn around. “Thanks,” Josie continues. Lizzie nods once and walks out of the room leaving Josie to change into her red sweater and her jeans.

 

Josie stands before Penelope’s door taking in a deep breath hoping her nerves will settle soon. When she finally raises her hand to knock she jumps back in surprise as the door opens before she’s able to knock.

“I was wondering when you were going to get around to knocking,” Penelope says sounding amused making Josie frown at her.

“I didn’t hesitate for that long,” Josie argues blushing when she realizes she just admitted that she had been hesitating.

“Sure,” Penelope agrees smiling lazily at the other girl before turning a little more serious and saying: “You look beautiful Jo Jo.”

“You do too,” Josie says softly looking Penelope up and down appreciatively making the other girl blush slightly. Penelope was wearing a dark jeans with a white blouse and a leather jacket.

“Yes well. It wasn’t easy finding something to wear not knowing where we’re going. So are you going to tell me where we’re going?” Penelope asks impatiently taking Josie’s hand and following her down the stairs.

“No… I’m going to show you,” Josie replies smiling teasingly at Penelope holding the door of the school open for her and following her outside.

“Josie! You know I don’t like surprises,” Penelope whines hoping Josie will give in and tell her where they are going.

“I know but you’ll just have to suffer through it I suppose,” Josie replies grinning at Penelope making the other girl sigh dramatically.

“I hate you,” Penelope grumbles following Josie into the forest.

“No you don’t,” Josie replies.

“No I don’t,” Penelope agrees catching herself staring at Josie’s ass. She looks up quickly and notices she’s been caught staring by Josie as well when she sees the smug little smile on the other girl’s face making Penelope blush.

“Come on. We’re almost there,” Josie says taking Penelope’s hand again and dragging her along.

“Almost where?” Penelope grumbles still a little embarrassed at having been caught staring.

“Here,” Josie replies and Penelope almost walks into her before noticing where they are. They’re at a part of the forest Penelope’s never been to before. They stand at the edge of the forest at the start of a field of wild flowers. Josie tugs at Penelope’s hand and walks a little further along the edge of the forest and the field until they reach a large blanket that’s lying underneath a tall tree with a basket on top of it.

“A picnic? You organized a picnic for me?” Penelope asks surprised.

“I did,” Josie says starting to doubt her idea of a date. “Is that okay?” She asks hesitantly knowing it might be a bit too old fashioned of a date for Penelope.

“It’s perfect,” Penelope breathes out giving Josie’s hand a squeeze. Penelope still can’t believe her luck at getting a second chance with this beautiful girl that asks her on a date and is able to organize a picnic at such a beautiful location all in the same day.

“When did you do this?” Penelope asks.

“I’ve had a busy afternoon,” Josie replies shrugging. “Plus the being faster than I used to be really came in handy today.”

“It’s wonderful Jo Jo,” Penelope breathes out kissing Josie’s cheek softly. “Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me yet,” Josie replies her face reddening. “You haven’t tried the food yet. I may have screwed that part up.”

“I don’t care. It’s still perfect,” Penelope replies taking a seat on the blanket next to Josie and taking in the last rays of sunshine as the sun sets on the horizon.

 

“I should have thought of bringing a second lighter,” Josie huffs out a half an hour later. The sun has set and the temperature has dropped. When Penelope had started to shiver a little Josie had suggested that she make a fire. Penelope had enthusiastically agreed glad that the date didn’t have to end because of the cold. But now it seemed Josie’s lighter refused to work. Penelope had already offered to light the fire with her powers or to let Josie siphon her powers to light the fire but Josie had stubbornly refused.

“Light the fire with your powers,” Penelope suggests hoping to get to see more of Josie’s new powers feeling curious. Ever since Josie had released a giant beam of fire into the sky Penelope had been disappointed at not having been at her side when she had done so. Penelope was extremely interested to see Josie use her powers.

“No way. That’s way too dangerous. You saw what happened yesterday. It’s not like I have such great control of these powers. I could hurt you.”

“You’re not going to hurt me Jo Jo. I trust you. Besides yes I saw some of what happened yesterday and after denying yourself the use of your new powers for so long I was impressed with how much control you still managed to have. You should have a little more faith in yourself. You haven’t hurt anyone yet. Anyone that didn’t deserve it anyway. You’ve got this,” Penelope says with confidence looking Josie in the eye not looking away until Josie sighs and gives in.

“Fine. I’ll try,” Josie says aiming her right hand towards the wood she had gathered earlier and trying to focus on creating just a small warm fireball.

Penelope saw it coming before Josie created the fireball. Josie’s eyes turned a bright blue and then there was a small fireball leaving her right palm and leaping almost gracefully into the pile of wood creating a small blue fire warming up the atmosphere around them almost immediately.

“It’s pretty,” Penelope says staring into the fire fascinated. “I told you so,” she adds grinning at Josie teasingly.

“I missed you,” Josie responds surprising Penelope. “I missed this.”

“I was never really gone Jo Jo,” Penelope replies softly knowing that she hadn’t been able to leave the other girl alone for long.

“I know and while I’m happy for that now when we were apart it was torture. I didn’t have you anymore but you were still everywhere I looked. There was no getting over you.”

“Are you sure? I thought maybe with Raf,” Penelope asks hesitantly unsure if she really wants an answer to that question.

“I liked Raf,” Josie confirms. “But not like that. Not really. Do you think that if I really liked him that I would have backed off so quickly when Lizzie went after him? I liked him but Lizzie obviously liked him more so I backed off. It made sense.”

“I’m not sure…” Penelope starts only to be interrupted by Josie saying: “I am. I just have to think about what would have happened if Lizzie had shown any interest in you and I know for sure. There’s no way I would have ever backed away from you. Not for anything. That’s how I know for sure I wasn’t really into Raf. I couldn’t really be into anyone because you were always there and there really wasn’t any getting over you.”

“First of all Lizzie going after me is the most disturbing thing ever,” Penelope says her eyes shining with emotion from Josie’s admission. “Second I would have never gotten over you either. I didn’t want to honestly. I was so happy when we started getting close again. When you asked me out on a date this morning and I was so so very nervous.”

“You didn’t need to be nervous Penelope,” Josie replies. “It’s just me,” she says with a smile bumping her shoulder into Penelope’s.

“There’s nothing ‘just’ about you Josie,” Penelope responds seriously looking into Josie’s eyes and leaning in. “You’re everything,” she breathes out against Josie’s lips before kissing her.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

They kiss tenderly at first softly not wanting to escalate things to quickly but then Penelope bites Josie’s lip and Josie lets out a moan making Penelope lose control and push Josie back onto the blanket leaning over her never breaking their kiss.

After a few moment lying in this position still kissing Penelope Josie becomes frustrated. She wants to feel more. She want to be able to touch more of Penelope and can’t because she’s lying underneath her. She groans into their kiss and turns them both around in one smooth motion surprising both herself and Penelope.

“I’ve got to say I really like this side of you,” Penelope mumbles in between kisses enjoying being the one underneath Josie while Josie runs her hands all over her body. Josie doesn’t respond. She just kisses Penelope deeper making the other girl groan.

A few minutes into the heavy make-out session Penelope notices the fire has grown exponentially.

“Uhh Jo Jo?” She asks confused in-between the kisses she’s bestowing on Penelope’s neck.

“Mmm?” Josie hums into their kiss.

“Are you still manipulating the fire?” Penelope asks breaking Josie out of her trance and making her stop kissing Penelope’s neck. Josie sits up abruptly and looks at the fire which is now double the size it had been when they started kissing.

“God! I must be,” Josie says panicking a little trying to regain control of herself and her heavy breathing to get the fire back down.

“It really is beautiful,” Penelope says watching the fire slowly shrink as Josie regains control of herself. Penelope regrets that they lost the moment they were having but at the same time she’s glad that they had to slow down. She wants to get things right with Josie this time and doesn’t want to go too fast. As the fire shrinks down to the size it had been before the kissing Penelope gets the urge to touch it.

Josie stops her with a hand on her wrist and says: “What do you think you’re doing? It’s fire Penelope. It’s dangerous.”

“I know it can be,” Penelope agrees. “But I’m getting the strange feeling that it’s not right now,” she adds still looking at the fire.

“It’s hot! You’ll get burned.”

“If I’m right I don’t think it will. Please let me try Josie. Trust me to try,” Penelope pleads unsure of why she’s feeling this way but she can somehow sense that she could touch the fire and not get hurt by it and if that’s the case then maybe Josie can feel a little better about her powers. Josie releases Penelope’s wrist with a reluctant sigh knowing the other girl is going to get burned by her fire but also knowing that the other girl is too stubborn to not try it.

She watches Penelope reach out to the fire and gently touch the ends of it with the tips of her fingers but instead of the pained hiss she’s expecting Penelope’s smile grows as she suddenly reaches into the fire completely without any signs of pain.

“How are you doing that?” Josie asks confused.

“I’m not,” Penelope says shaking her head with a little laugh. “You are. You’re still in control of the fire and you don’t want to hurt me so it doesn’t. To me it just feels warm.”

“It does?” Josie asks looking at the fire in wonder. She had been so sure that she was going to hurt someone with this new power but now it seemed that she could control it. That she could choose not to hurt someone but just warm someone.

“It does,” Penelope confirms taking her hand out of the fire again. “Now you don’t have to worry so much Jo Jo. Your fire does what you want it to do.”

Josie smiles at Penelope and leans in to give her a quick kiss.

“Thank you,” she says as they break apart again.

“I should be saying that to you for this date,” Penelope remarks smiling at the other girl.

“You liked it?”Josie asks needing the confirmation.

“I loved it Josie. Thank you,” Penelope says hugging Josie and placing a small kiss on the other girls neck smiling when Josie shivers in response.

“We should be getting back though,” Josie says the regret obvious in her voice.

“We should,” Penelope agrees folding the blanket while Josie puts out the fire.

“You know I’m going to have a hard time topping this for our next date,” Penelope remarks as they walk back towards the school.

“Our next date huh?” Josie asks unable to keep the grin off of her face. “You haven’t asked me if I wanted another date,” she adds teasingly.

“You’re right,” Penelope says and she puts the blanket down on the stairs of the school building watching Josie put down the basket and then taking her hands and leaning in closely.

“Josie would you do me the honor of going out on another date with me?” She asks softly smiling teasingly stealing a quick kiss from Josie’s lips.

“I would love to,” Josie confirms with a beautiful smile before surprising Penelope by leaning in and kissing her soundly.

They lose track of time again and stand there kissing for a few minutes before they’re interrupted by a soft cough.

They break apart quickly and are both in shock when they see who has caught them.

“Sorry to interrupt,” Caroline says sounding amused looking at her daughter and Penelope. “This is a surprise,” she adds raising her eyebrow at her daughter making Josie blush.

“First date,” Josie mumbles before breaking out of her shock and launching herself into her mother’s arms.

“I see,” Caroline says hugging Josie closely to her glad to be back. “Like I said it’s a surprise,” she repeats as she releases Josie and looks at Penelope who can’t seem to take her eyes of her daughter. Caroline softens at this and adds: “It’s not a bad surprise however.”

Penelope seems to start at that and looks at Caroline with surprise.

“You still look at my daughter like she hung the moon and the stars. I can’t object to that,” Caroline says with a shrug looking at a reddening Penelope with a grin.

“Mom!” Josie groans embarrassed. “You’re not allowed to come back and embarrass me in front of my girlfriend,” she says making Penelope shoot her a surprised but pleased look.

Penelope hadn’t expected Josie to call her ‘her girlfriend’ but she can’t deny that she likes the sound of it and would like nothing more but to be Josie’s girlfriend again.

“I am if I catch you making out in front of the school,” Caroline counters with a grin. “Now how about we go inside and I’ll go find your father while you and Penelope can end your date in peace.”

Josie nods taking Penelope’s hand and follows her mother into the building.

“So that was unexpected,” Josie says once they’re inside and her mother has walked off towards her father’s office. Josie can feel the nerves running through her. She can’t believe she just called Penelope her girlfriend in a conversation with her mother without having a conversation with Penelope first.

“Your girlfriend huh?” Penelope asks with a teasing grin having been unable to think of anything else since Josie uttered those words.

“I…” Josie hesitates not wanting to take the words back even though they hadn’t talked about it. “Yes. My girlfriend. If you want to be,” she adds hesitantly.

“I would love to be,” Penelope confirms squeezing Josie’s hand in reassurance. “I would love to kiss you again too but I think I’ll lose track of time again and your mother is just going to catch us for a second time and I have a feeling that would make her insufferable,” Penelope adds.

Josie nods but steps closer to Penelope anyway. She kisses Penelope softly just once before taking a step back and saying: “Goodnight Pen. Thank you for coming with me tonight I loved it.”

“Goodnight Jo Jo,” Penelope says smiling softly at the other girl. “Sweet dreams,” she adds teasingly as she walks away towards her room.

 

“Caroline!” Alaric exclaims surprised as the blonde walks confidently into his office.

“Alaric,” Caroline replies with a grin accepting the hug Alaric bestows upon her.

“I wasn’t expecting you. I mean I was expecting you. But sooner actually. I thought you would have come back the moment we had confirmation that Josie gaining new powers would cancel out the Merge.”

“I wanted to come back sooner but Josie getting those powers and becoming an Unknown sounded ominous. It raised a lot of questions and I wanted to gain some more information before returning.”

“Did you?” Alaric asks hopeful given that his search had been less than satisfactory.

“I did but it wasn’t easy. I met an immortal that may be of some help to us. He apparently met this queen of the Unknown a few decades ago. He was willing to tell me more about her and her powers.”

“Did you tell him about Josie?” Alaric asks hesitantly unsure if they should trust an outsider with that kind of secret.

“Of course not,” Caroline replies rolling her eyes. “I did invite him to stop by the school though. I wanted him to meet you as well. We can hear him out and then decide if he can be trusted with Josie’s secret.”

“Do you know what kind of gift he has?” Alaric asks.

“No, that’s also why I wanted you to meet him first.”

“I don’t like knowing so little about someone before inviting them into our school,” Alaric sighs. “But I don’t think we have a choice. My research has yielded little in terms of usable information and given that we had an intruder last night this is urgent.”

“An intruder?” Caroline asks her eyes narrowing.

Alaric sighs not looking forward to telling the blonde that there had been an unknown man inside the room of their daughters.

“Mom!” Lizzie calls out interrupting the conversation and running towards her mother to give her a hug. Josie walks into her father’s office as well opting to hang back to give Lizzie a moment with her mother. “Are you back?” Lizzie asks excited.

“I am sweetheart,” Caroline murmurs into Lizzie’s hair before motioning towards Josie to join their hug. Josie doesn’t hesitate and joins her mother and sister in a group hug.

“And you’re going to stay?” Lizzie asks hesitantly as if expecting Caroline to disappear in front of her eyes.

“I am,” Caroline says nodding. “I kind of have to. Your sister seems to have gotten herself into some trouble,” she adds looking at Josie with a grin letting her daughter know she’s teasing her.

Josie rolls her eyes and says: “It’s not like I went looking for it. Besides I figured something out tonight. Well actually Penelope figured it out.”

“Are you sure we’re going to want to hear this?” Lizzie asks as if expecting Josie to share intimate details about her relationship with Penelope and not looking forward to it.

“Lizzie!” Josie groans embarrassed at the implication. “It’s about my powers.”

“What about your powers?” Alaric asks.

“Apparently I can control this fire thing a little better than I expected. Penelope had a feeling that she could touch the fire I created and well you know how she is. Once she’s convinced about something there’s no stopping her so she tested her theory. She touched the fire and it didn’t burn her. She said it just felt warm,” Josie replies.

“Warm? How is that possible when you killed that guy with it?” Lizzie asks bluntly making Josie wince at the memory of it.

“Penelope seems to think it was because I didn’t want to hurt her. She thinks I have control over what the fire does,” Josie replies.

“Fascinating,” Alaric breathes out. “She might be right. We’ll have to test it in our next practicing session,” he adds excitedly making Caroline roll her eyes again.

“Right girls. It’s getting kind of late so maybe you two should be going to your room. Tomorrow we’ll probably have a visitor and I want him to meet the two of you. Besides your dad and I have some catching up to do,” Caroline says narrowing her eyes at Alaric making him remember that she hadn’t forgotten that he still needed to tell her about the intruder.

“Alright mom,” Lizzie sighs a little disappointed that they weren’t allowed to stay a little longer.

“Don’t worry sweethearts. I’ll still be here tomorrow,” Caroline says reassuringly kissing both Josie and Lizzie on the top of their head.

“Goodnight girls,” Alaric murmurs as he hugs both of his daughters before they walk out of his office.

“Tell me about this intruder that Josie apparently needed to kill,” Caroline demands looking pissed off and making Alaric gulp before launching into the story.