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Hope & Josie: 14/12

 

Josie had really messed up. 

 

Not the I dropped an egg on the counter, or I forgot to do my homework kind of messed up. 

 

Josie had burned Hope's room into an absolute crisp. 

 

She could still smell the remnants of ash and smoke, even with her door closed, just because of the sheer proximity of their rooms. 

 

She doesn't quite know what she was thinking when she had slipped that note under Hope's door, well, of course she had known, but her thoughts are all muddled now, scattered. 

 

Josie was sitting helplessly on her bed while she watched her sister pace back and forth, her neck beginning to strain from following Lizzie's movements. 

 

"Hope ruins everything!" Lizzie seethes, her hands balled up into fists as her stomping becomes more and more heavy. 

 

The dresser against the side of the wall begins to tremble, shaking the souvenirs and photo frames on top. 

 

Josie immediately bolts off her mattress and gathers Lizzie's clenched hands in hers. "It's not worth getting upset over." She soothes. "It wasn't Hope's fault." She mumbles guiltily, although Lizzie is too riled up to notice. 

 

"Not her fault?" Lizzie restates exasperated as she angrily questions her sister. "As far as I know, that witch bitch set her own room on fire to cancel our trip."

 

Josie chews on her bottom lip. "Lizzie-" She tries to placate her sister but is promptly interrupted. 

 

"Why are you defending her?" Lizzie interrogates her sister, pulling her hands away from Josie's grasp to stare her down. 

 

Josie fiddles with her fingers, looking down. "I'm not." She says unconvincingly, which isn't lost on Lizzie. 

 

"Jeez, it's like you're obsessed with her or something." Lizzie scoffs before continuing to pace around the small room. 

 

"I'm not!" This time Josie says it more surely as she raises her gaze to once again stare at her sister's strides. 

 

Lizzie just quirks an eyebrow at her, silently saying yeah right. 

 

Josie's mouth thins into a determined line, her brows furrowing as she clenches her fists. She's going to regret saying this. 

 

"How could I be obsessed with someone who says such mean things about my twin?" Josie blurts it all out in one breath, the words mashing together, but it effectively makes Lizzie stop in her tracks. 

 

The blonde slowly turns around, narrowing her eyes at her sister. "What did you just say?" Lizzie asks, her voice borderline threatening. 

 

Josie gulps, her gaze faltering for a moment before it falls back onto Lizzie. "She was telling every about your 'episode.'" Josie air quotes, the guilt immediately seeping into her bones. 

 

She has to do this, Josie reminds herself.

 

Lizzie always wins.  

 

Lizzie's face falls, her entire posture slumping for a moment before she tenses back up, her features contorted into a focused rage as she begins to swing her arms, effectively making their dresser crash onto the floor. 

 

Josie flinches, but doesn't try to comfort her sister again. She steps back, and watches Lizzie wreck their room (mostly Josie's side,) as she finds it mildly ironic that both hers, and Hope's rooms got trashed today. 

 

She finds it even more ironic that in both instances, it was her fault. 

 

Lizzie storms out after that, probably to go scream in the woods. 

 

Josie follows a couple minutes after, but the second she opens her door, she immediately regrets it. 

 

The first thing her eyes land on is Hope, which isn't surprising (at least she's consistent,) but it's the absolute look of devastation on her face that makes Josie recoil. 

 

Hope is sitting against the wall next to her door, which was singed with soot and smoke. In her hands, she's holding a picture frame, which she immediately tucks away when she sees Josie emerge. 

 

Hope subtly sniffles and discreetly wipes under her eyes, making the guilt Josie had felt before increase ten fold. 

 

Hope shoots her a wary look. "Your sister just came storming out and called me the Wicked Witch of the West." She muses. There's a dry smile on her face but not a hint of humor in her voice. 

 

Josie opens and closes her mouth a few times, unsure of how to respond. Eventually, she decides to deflect. "I'm going to go find her." She finally says, moving from her frozen stance in the doorframe and taking a few large steps down the hallway. 

 

But before she can get very far, she abruptly turns around, making Hope look up inquisitively from her seat. 

 

Josie picks at her nails, a nervous habit as she stares at Hope for a second, her lips purse together like she's trying to refrain from speaking at all. 

 

"I'm sorry!" Josie blurts out, her eyes darting around nervously. "About your room." She clarifies, her gaze diverting from the girl to the door again for a second, her demeanor deflating as she sees the rusted 28 mounted on the wood, a number that she has stared at every time she left her own room. 

 

"It's okay." Hope says slowly. "It wasn't your fault." She says in an attempt to ease Josie's visceral anxiety, but if anything it makes it even worse as Josie's stomach churns with guilt. 

 

"Y-Yeah." Josie stutters in a small voice, taking a few steps back. "See you later." She says awkwardly over her shoulder, already walking away from a confused Hope. 

 

The older girl stares as her retreating figure, her fingers still tracing the picture frame she was clutching to her chest. 

 

Hope can't help but think that Josie's quite odd, but a good kind of odd. She wonders why her open hostility hasn't quite gotten to the younger girl yet, besides, the Saltzman's have been trying to befriend her for years. 

 

Josie Saltzman, Hope hums to herself. What a weirdo. 

 

Hope & Josie: 15/13

 

The next time Josie finds herself outside of Hope's door is when her mom dies.

 

Josie doesn't need to be a vampire or a werewolf to hear the somber wails that resounded from within Hope's room as she cries over her mother's loss. 

 

She wasn't supposed to know, but her childish curiosity had gotten the best of her earlier when she eavesdropped on a conversation between her dad and Dorian. 

 

Josie had found out that Hope Marshall, was actually Hope Mikaelson, a secret that she would undoubtedly keep to herself, knowing that Lizzie was notoriously known for having a big mouth. 

 

It was early in the morning, maybe around seven, as Josie sat on the cold floor beside Hope's door, silently listening to the older girl's sobs. 

 

She had seen Freya Mikaelson sneak into the school earlier, a sight that she would ponder over in awe later, but right now, all she really wanted to do was see Hope. 

 

Josie had tried of course. Her knuckles must've hovered over the wooden door at least five times, the number 28 staring back mockingly each time she tried, but she couldn't bring herself to knock. 

 

Hope had made it painfully evident that she wanted nothing to do with either of the Saltzman twins, especially after the whole fire fiasco had made Lizzie especially hostile. 

 

So in turn, Josie opted to sit, and wait, or something of the sort. 

 

Josie waits until ten when her sister emerges from their room, giving Josie a weird look for sitting outside Hope's room like a lapdog, Lizzie's words, not her's. 

 

"You're being a creep, Jo." Lizzie chastises as she goes to pull Josie up from the ground. "Dad told me her cat in New Orleans died or something, she's just being dramatic." Lizzie tries her best to sound nonchalant, but there's an undertone or remorse in her voice that isn't lost on either girl. 

 

Josie doesn't comment when she sees her sister glance back at Hope's door, just for a second, as her lips twinge down in a regretful frown. 

 

Josie doesn't see Hope for three more days, all of which she had spent sitting outside her door. 

 

She had eaten her meals there, finished her class work, Josie had even brought a deck of cards with her one day to play some solitaire. 

 

Freya had emerged from the room one day while Josie was outside, much to the younger girl's wonderment. 

 

Josie pulls herself out of her admiration, staring up at the centuries old witch with a worried regard. "How is she doing?" She asks, short and simple, but it's almost a loaded question. 

 

Freya stares back down at her, the blonde's arms crossed and a bit of a skeptical glint in her eyes. "Are you a friend of Hope's?" She answers with another question. Josie figures that all Mikaelson's are good at being intimidating. 

 

Josie worries her bottom lip with her teeth, her mouth twisting a bit in an attempt to think of a proper answer. "I'm just worried." She confesses, her voice almost a whisper as her eyes divert back to the book she was holding, fiddling with the fraying spine. 

 

Freya's eyes squint down at her, almost in scrutiny before she relents with a small sigh. "She's. . ." The older woman trails off, thinking of a way to phrase her next words. "grieving." She finishes. "Hope's not okay right now, but she will be." 

 

Josie slowly nods at that, not sure how to respond. The older witch gives Josie a curt nod back before walking away, giving her a curious look as she turns a corner. The other witch's absence makes Josie release a deep sigh. 

 

Josie fishes into her jacket pocket, pulling out a chocolate chip granola bar. She had been saving it for later but she realizes that Hope hasn't been leaving her room for meals either. 

 

She assumes Freya has been taking care of that, but Josie wants to be sure anyways, so she digs into her backpack for a sticky note and a pen as well. 

 

Josie scribbles onto the tiny piece of paper before she sticks it onto the wrapper, sliding the bar through the barely large enough crack beneath Hope's door. 

 

She waits, waits for the sound of echoing footsteps or the crinkling of the granola bar wrapper, but nothing comes. 

 

After about an hour and a half, Josie decides to call it a night and retreat back to her room, her heart feeling a little heavier than it had before. 

 

Unbeknownst to her, the second Hope had heard the soft click of Josie's door, the older girl had scrambled up from her bed to pick up the small treat. 

 

Her eyes darted over the small note over and over, each time her gaze ran over it, the bigger her smile grew, albeit a small smile, a smile nonetheless. 

 

It was a little doodle, an extremely poorly drawn doodle, of a wolf. The legs were drawn so that they looked like rods, and the eyes were so uneven it was almost laughable, but Hope smiles softly as her thumb traces over the fluorescent purple ink, knowing that Josette Saltzman was the only girl insane enough to write her notes in this color. 

 

Hope unwraps the granola bar and shoves more than half of it in her mouth, practically the only thing she had consumed in days. 

 

What a weirdo, Hope briefly thinks with a fond  gleam in her eyes. 

 

Hope & Josie: 15/14

 

Hope couldn't catch a break. 

 

Her dad dies barely months later, and she returns to the school a second time, officially as a Mikaelson. 

 

Everyone has been staring at her like she was a murderer, and she came from a long line of psychopaths, which was admittedly true, but it doesn't make it sting any less. 

 

Hope takes in a deep breath, preparing to emerge from her room and face the sea of judgmental eyes, waiting for her to eventually snap. She doesn't really think that they're wrong for waiting either. 

 

The second Hope steps out of her room, the door opposite to her swings open as well, Josie Saltzman making her untimely appearance. 

 

They both promptly stop when they spot each other, eyes locking for an uncomfortable amount of time. 

 

Josie almost looks like a deer caught in headlights as her eyes widen dramatically and her mouth props open. Besides, Hope had always thought that Josie had a few Bambi qualities about her. 

 

Josie slowly closes the door behind her, not missing the way Hope defensively crosses her arms and tilts her chin up, an attempt to make herself appear taller, and honestly succeeding as Josie has never felt shorter than she has in this very moment. 

 

"Morning, Hope." The younger girl greets quietly, giving Hope a shy smile. 

 

Hope gives her an unimpressed look as she challengingly quirks an eyebrow, silently daring Josie to say more. 

 

Josie knows better, so they both make their way to the breakfast hall in silence, not exactly together, but their strides are unwillingly matching each other's. 

 

Josie awkwardly clears her throat, wanting to say something to fill the tense silence. "I'm glad you're back." She confesses softly, her eyes falling onto Hope's stoney expression. 

 

The admission makes Hope scoff as her eyebrows crinkle down into a scowl. Josie had always thought Hope's eyebrows were her most expressive feature. 

 

"Why?" Hope asks rhetorically. "So you could rub it in my face that my parents are dead?" Her tone is scarily bitter, making Josie visibly flinch. 

 

"No!" Josie immediately retorts. "Of course not." She sounds almost offended that Hope would assume that. 

 

"Well, your sister obviously hasn't held the same sentiment." Hope grits out as they reach the cafeteria doors, swiftly making her way to breakfast bar to grab a croissant, some butter, and then storming back out, avoiding everyone's wary gaze. 

 

Josie breathes out a deep sigh as she settles next to her sister at their table, the waffles she had gotten looking less, and less appetizing. 

 

"What did the Devil Spawn want?" Lizzie asks inquisitively, staring at the door Hope had just stomped out of. 

 

Josie sends her sister a glare, making Lizzie defensively raise her hands in surrender. 

 

"Nothing." Josie emphasizes, silently telling her sister not to ask anymore questions. 

 

The twin telepathy works as Lizzie drops it, but not before giving Josie another suspicious look before she returns to munching on her french toast. 

 

Josie thinks about the encounter for the rest of the day, her mind never resting as she ponders over Hope's tense shoulders and her icy eyes. 

 

She thinks about it so much, that even at one in the morning, her feet carry her out of bed and into the kitchen, being mindful of Lizzie's ignorant slumber. 

 

Hope, across the hall, now unable to blissfully block out the world because of her newly activated werewolf gene, hears the soft padding of Josie's feet. Hope hears the rhythmic steps almost all the way to the end of the hall. 

 

Her mind has been racing too. It has been ever since she activated her gene and her parents died, and now everything feels like too much. She's constantly in an overwhelming state of hurt, or anger, or sadness, and the fact that she's being sabotaged by her own mind scares her. 

 

Hope gets out of bed as well, prepared to go shift in the woods, which was something she had been doing quite often, but the second she opens her door and the poignant smell of cookie dough hits her nose, her feet take her in the opposite direction towards the kitchen. 

 

She's not surprised when she sees Josie, leaning over the oven as she carefully sets the tray inside. 

 

Hope lingers in the doorframe, still debating if she wants to enter or not, but she doesn't have much of a choice when Josie spins around and spots her, the younger girl letting out a quiet shriek as she jumps. Hope can hear the spike in her heartbeat. 

 

"Hope." She states a bit dumbly, staring at the older girl with wide eyes. "Um, w-what are you doing here?" Josie stutters out, her eyes staying fixated on Hope as the tribrid decides to push herself off the doorframe, and walk further into the room. 

 

"I could ask you the same thing." Hope deflects, her arms crossed as she stares back at Josie who's behind the kitchen island. 

 

Josie's gaze falters for a second as she glances to the oven, then back to Hope. "Stress baking." She vaguely explains, making Hope scoff. 

 

"What do you have to be stressed about?" Hope condescendingly asks, quirking an eyebrow. "Stressed about your dumpster fire sister? Now that I can understand." Hope's eyes are almost challenging, waiting for Josie's retaliation, but Josie just shrinks away, deflating so much that she almost appears shorter than Hope. 

 

It takes the Mikaelson off guard. Hope almost wants to apologize but she just stands up straighter, cocking her chin up. 

 

"Lizzie's been having a hard time." Josie weakly defends her as she stares down at the patterns in the marble countertop, again, making Hope scoff. 

 

"Yeah," Hope sarcastically agrees. "boo hoo for Lizzie Saltzman, a walking tragedy." This makes Josie snap her gaze up, a new fire ignited in her eyes. 

 

"Why do you always pick fights?" She questions a bit frustratedly, not waiting for Hope to answer before she continues. "We've known each other almost a decade and anytime you have the chance, you poke."

 

"Yeah," Hope offhandedly agrees. "in retaliation to your pokes."

 

"I'm making you apology cookies!" Josie retorts almost angrily. "Seems less like a poke and more of a nudge." Her arms are crossed now too as both girls stare at each other defiantly, but Hope seems to be crumbling, just a little. 

 

"The cookies are for me?" She asks, trying her best to sound nonchalant but her words have a softer edge to them. 

 

This makes Josie soften too as she uncrosses her arms again. "Well, yeah." She says sheepishly. "Lizzie's been sort of a bitch to you and we also kind of had a part in you father's death?" Her mouth twists in guilt. 

 

"'Sort of' is an understatement." Hope unhelpfully notes, making Josie glare at her. 

 

They stand in silence for a bit, not quite sure what else to say until Hope, a bit obnoxiously, clears her throat. 

 

"You know I don't blame either of you for that, right?" Hope says quietly, avoiding eye contact. "My dad made his choice, that had nothing to do with you." She looks up to meet Josie's eyes again, almost enamored by how pretty and expressive they look, even in the dim lighting. 

 

"Yeah. . ." Josie trails off, not sure what to say. "but still." She doesn't think her guilt will ever truly subside. 

 

Another pregnant silence takes hold, less tense this time, but definitely more awkward as Josie picks at her fingernails, and Hope restlessly shifts her weight between her legs. 

 

The sound of a timer breaks the stillness as both girls viscerally flinch, Josie immediately turning around to get the tray out of the oven. 

 

The fragrant smell wafts throughout every single one of Hope's senses, and on the rare occasion, she's glad she's a werewolf. She hadn't been able to tell before, but they were definitely peanut butter cookies. Her favorite. 

 

Hope silently gets a rack so that Josie can set the tray onto it, both of them staring at the cookies with a barely hidden astonishment. Hope briefly has to make sure that she isn't drooling. 

 

"So. . ." Josie trails off again, momentarily looking at Hope." truce?" She offers, her tone a bit insecure. 

 

Hope looks up at Josie as well, her mouth still in a resting line, but her eyes crinkled in a way that indicates she wants to smile. "If you keep making cookies like this, I might even offer an alliance." 

 

The statement makes Josie break out into a grin as she watches Hope pick up a cookie and literally shove the entire thing in her mouth. Her cheeks puff up to an unreasonable size as she begins to quickly inhale and exhale out of her mouth, like a dragon, as the cookie burns her tongue. 

 

The sight makes Josie let out an airy giggle as she sees Hope try to maneuver the food off her tongue. "It's really good!" The older girl's voice is comedically muffled, her mouth still propped open in an attempt to ventilate the food. 

 

Josie doesn't think she's ever seen Hope this uncomposed, wearing a thin tank top and short shorts, even though it was the middle of winter, flailing around and being defeated by a hot cookie. 

 

Josie likes this Hope, but a tiny part of her unconsciously admits that she likes any Hope. 

 

Hope & Josie: 18/17

 

Josie was drunk. 

 

Like, really, really drunk. 

 

The world felt like an incoherent mash of blinding lights and nauseating colors. 

 

She really hadn't meant to drink so much tonight, but when she accidentally stumbled upon her best friend making out with her ex at a dumb party, Josie had found the closest bottle of alcohol to her and absolutely ravished it. 

 

Josie hadn't even wanted to go to the party in the first place, but Lizzie had insisted when she found out the new guy, Raf, was going to be 'integrated into the pack' at the party. 

 

Josie was beginning to regret going even more now as she stumbles throughout the halls, trying to make it to her room. She was using the wall for leverage, practically dragging against it as she tripped over the rugs, over and over. 

 

She thanks Merlin when she finally lands (quite literally) in front of her room. She sluggishly mutters the incantation to unlock her door and jiggles the doorknob, her drunk mind growing all the more confused when the door doesn't open. 

 

Josie tries several more times, but with no luck until the door abruptly swings open. She thinks that she's finally opened it until she realizes that Hope is on the other side. 

 

"Josie?" Hope questions slowly, craning her head to check if anyone else was behind the younger girl. 

 

Josie has one hand on the doorframe, practically the only reason she was still upright. "How'd you get into my room?" Josie asks, but it sounds a lot more like How'd jugut entuh meeroom?

 

Hope furrows her eyebrows at the question, staring at Josie like she had grown another head. "Josie," She says again slowly, like she was speaking to a child. "this is my room." She explains, but if anything it makes Josie even more confused. 

 

"Nooo." Josie disagrees, drawing out the vowel as her head begins to lull to the side in exhaustion. "It's my room." She insists as she lazily points to herself at the word my. 

 

Hope takes a small step back and points to the bronze 28 stuck onto her door. "This is my room, Jo." 

 

Josie stares quizzically at the number for a moment, looking like she doesn't really know how to read, before her eyes widen comically and she turns around to stare at the 23 on her own door. 

 

"Oh." She says dumbly, but doesn't make a move to cross the hall.  

 

Hope gives Josie a curious look. She knows that the younger girl frequently attended parties at The Mill, a feat that was honestly impressive because Hope didn't know how she maintained a social life while staying on top of her classes. Hope could barely do either. 

 

What really concerned her though, was despite Josie's frequent attendance to these parties, she almost always emerged pristine. Hope assumed it was because she prioritized looking after her sister, so Josie's current state to say the least was. . . worrying. 

 

"Are you okay?" Hope asks when Josie falls forward a bit, her forehead resting on the doorframe. 

 

Josie shakes her head side to side, silently saying that she definitely wasn't okay. 

 

The alcohol basically ensured that she currently doesn't have a filter, so she confesses what she had saw earlier tonight, despite the fact that her and Hope were civil acquaintances at best. 

 

"I don’t think she was never good for you anyways." Hope expresses when Josie tells her the story. She never had a good feeling about Penelope anyways. 

 

Josie hums at the admission, "Me either." a sad smile playing on her lips. 

 

Hope's features contort into confusion again. "Then why'd you date her?" She questions, unsure as to why the younger girl would put herself in that position. 

 

Josie lazily shrugs, her eyes beginning to droop closed. "She wanted me." She plainly states. "Not a lot of people want me." There's no sadness in her tone, she says it like it's a fact. 

 

"That's not true!" Hope immediately retorts, the profession not sitting right with her. 

 

Josie blearily opens her eyes, giving Hope a weak look that silently asks really? 

 

Hope chews on her bottom lip, contemplating her next words. She decides to blurt it out before she can stop herself. "I wanted you." Hope confesses, trying to stop herself from visibly cringing. "I had a crush on you," She says slowly. "when I was fourteen."

 

Josie shows no visceral reaction to Hope's words, the only indication she heard anything at all being the small, adoring smile on her pouty lips. 

 

"You had a crush on me?" Josie asks, her eyes glazed as a pretty blush sits on her cheeks. 

 

Hope mirrors the blush, looking down at the hardwood for a moment before she looks back up, staring into Josie's eyes. "Of course I did," She answers a bit breathlessly. "who wouldn't?"

 

That makes Josie's smile break out into a full grin. "I burned your room down." She says, not realizing the weight of her words until a scandalized look crosses Hope's face. Josie kind of hates being drunk. 

 

Josie's hands rise to cover her face in embarrassment. "Oh god." She murmurs. "That was a bad segue." She says, more to herself. 

 

Josie drops her hands and tries to backtrack a little bit, her drunk little brain working as hard as it possibly can. "I had slipped a love letter under your door." She explains, trying her best to sober up a little. "I had immediately regretted it, but I couldn’t get in by then, so I did a fire spell under your door." She explains. 

 

Josie guiltily stares at Hope. "I was really only aiming for the note." She whispers. 

 

Hope's face is blank, making Josie all the more anxious. 

 

"Josie Saltzman," Hope starts, her eyes beginning to twinkle with their signature Mikaelson mischief. "you're an idiot." She playfully insults, making the tension in Josie's shoulders release. 

 

Josie easily agrees. "The biggest idiot." 

 

The give each other dopey smiles until Hope gently tugs Josie into her room, sitting her down on the bed so she can grab a pair of pajamas and some makeup wipes. 

 

Hope sets the clothes down on a pillow before she begins to slowly swipe a makeup wipe across Josie's cheek, her face hovering much closer than it has to. 

 

As Hope carefully works at a patch of concealer under Josie's eye, she asks, "So, will I ever find out what was in the note?" She asks, her breath fanning Josie's face so that the younger girl can easily smell the remnants of toothpaste and mouthwash. 

 

The corners of Josie's lips quirk up in a small smile. "Nothing that needs to concern you," She teases." though I do think I quoted at least half the lyrics in a random Taylor Swift song." She adds, making both of them giggle. 

 

"You're such a weirdo." Hope whispers, wiping a smudge of lip gloss from the corner of Josie's lips as one of her hands cups Josie’s jaw for leverage. 

 

Josie waits until Hope’s done before she asks, "Your weirdo though, right?" 

 

Her hooded eyes drop to Hope's lips, just for a moment, but they both pretend to not notice. 

 

Hope's thumb swipes affectionately across the apple of Josie's cheek, relishing in the way that the younger girl tilts her head closer to the touch, almost unconsciously. 

 

"My weirdo." Hope confirms, quickly moving her head up to place a chaste peck in between Josie's eyebrows, and then abruptly turning around to hide her second blush of the night. She thinks that if Josie most likely isn’t going to remember this in the morning, she should take advantage of it (but not in a weird way of course.)

 

Any and all thoughts of Penelope's conniving or MG's betrayal immediately slip away from Josie's mind at the small action. 

 

Hope Mikaelson wanted her. 

 

Josie thinks that she wants Hope Mikaelson too.