Penelope’s entire life flashes before her eyes in the second it takes for the pretentious douche’s fist to connect with her face.
She sees her mother.
Lizzie. (Mostly, the sheer frustration and annoyance she feels towards Lizzie right now. She usually feels the same most of the time, but now more than ever.)
Hope. (She still can’t believe she loves Hope enough to take this stupid punch that will probably hurt - a lot - for her.)
Most of all, she sees Josie.
Those stunning brown eyes that Penelope would happily gaze into for the rest of her life. Those legs, oh those legs that rendered her speechless and that God perfect ass.
That smile that she would do anything, anything at all for - like stepping in between a fight that was sure to break out between Hope and Lizzie’s awful dudebro date and getting punched in the face.
She thinks about how Josie means everything and how she hasn’t told her that today and how if she could have anything at all, all she wants is Josie by her side for the rest of forever-
(It’s a bit dramatic, she knows. She isn’t dying . It’s just a punch.)
But when that fist finally collides with her face, she really only has one thought.
Then she’s out cold.
After just one punch like a weak ass ho?
Son of a bitch.
The first thing she sees when she’s conscious again is Josie’s face hovering over her. Though the angle is off (she’s more used to seeing Josie under her) it makes Penelope smile, despite the pounding in her head.
“Hey, you okay?” Josie asks and lets out a sigh of relief when Penelope manages a nod.
Josie chuckles weakly and parrots a “hi” back.
“You’re really beautiful, you know? I could look at your smile for the rest of my life. Have I mentioned that before?”
Josie blushes a cute shade of pink and grins that grin that could light up an entire room. “Once or twice. Can I help you up?”
“You can but before that, just to clarify really quickly and get it out of the way, you and I are going to stay together until one of us kicks it, right?”
Josie narrows her eyes. “It’s cute that you think that death can get you out of this relationship.”
Penelope’s sure she’s never smiled this big before. Maybe she’s still a little loopy from the hit to the head? “Yeah, I wouldn't want it be any different.”
“Please stop,” Hope groans from somewhere behind Josie. “I don’t want to see you two flirt on my kitchen floor. It’s gross.”
Penelope glares at Hope after she sits up with some assistance from Josie. Josie doesn’t let go of her hand and instead cuddles her body closer for Penelope to lean up against.
“Least you can do after I took a punch to the head for you.”
“That was stupid of you to step in, wasn’t it? I can take care of myself and I would have taken care of him too, if your dumbass hadn’t interfered.”
“Hope,” Josie warns.
Hope sighs and scrubs her hand over her face before pulling Penelope in to a long hug. “Thank you for that. Love you,” she murmurs.
“Love you too,” Penelope says, patting her head to alleviate some of the guilt she sees on Hope’s face. “So, how long was I out for?”
“Not long,” Hope answers. “Maybe five minutes or so?”
“Five minutes too long if you ask me,” Josie comments, before moving to the stand up.
Penelope frowns and tightens her hold on Josie’s hand. “Don’t leave me. Please?”
Josie shakes her head, amused, before reaching in to quickly kiss Penelope. “I’m just going to get you an ice pack from the fridge.”
Hope doesn’t react to their interaction - no smirk or innuendos or exasperated shake of her head and that’s how Penelope knows she has to be worried about her.
“Where’d Lizzie go?”
Hope flinches at the mention of Lizzie’s name before scowling. “Outside. Hopefully making sure we never have to see that piece of shit date of hers ever again.”
“She’s asking about your date, Hope,” Josie says, plopping back next to Penelope. She gently places the bag of frozen peas against the bruise that’s slowly appearing, face scrunching up when Penelope winces. She takes Penelope’s hand and kisses the back of it repeatedly.
“That already makes me feel so much better, thank you,” Penelope says, looking at Josie in a way that lets her know she wasn’t talking about the ice. “Your date, Hope? Blonde, blue eyes, resting bitch face? Ring any bells?”
“Oh yeah, Emily,” Hope says unconvincingly, shaking her head. Penelope could swear the girl’s name was Emma. “She went home.”
“ Hope sent her home,” Josie adds, looking at Penelope pointedly.
“That’s because there was nothing for her to do now that our Friday night dinner has descended into chaos,” Hope claims, helping move Penelope to the couch.
“Only because you had to pick a fight with Lizzie’s boyfriend,” Penelope adds, pulling Josie down next to her and moving to sit on her lap.
“First of all, he’s not her boyfriend.” Hope ignores the snickers Penelope and Josie let out at that statement. “Secondly, not my fault that he was a dick and thought he knew better than me about the Salem witch trials! Me! Members of my family were actually around for that event.”
Penelope pinches the bridge of her nose carefully, avoiding the bruise and the ice pack Josie was still holding to her face. “I can’t believe an argument about the Salem witch trials, of all things, ended up in me getting punched.”
“I can,” Josie remarked smugly, “because it was Hope and Lizzie’s date.”
Hope scowls. “What does that mean?”
“I’m going to tell her,” Josie says to Penelope, her tone indicating that her mind couldn’t be changed.
“Jojo, no. We talked about this.”
“We, and by that I mean you, didn’t take into account this level of obliviousness back then. Look at her.” Josie waves a hand at Hope and both of them pause to note the confusion and restlessness exuding off of her. “Do you honestly believe that she knows?”
“She’s right here and one of you better start talking.”
Josie stares harder at Penelope and she gives in under the pressure of Josie and Hope’s glares.
“Fine, let's do it,” Penelope relents with a defeated sigh.
Josie lets out a little victorious laugh and squeezes Penelope tighter before turning to Hope. “What we’re about to say might come as a complete surprise to you, but listen carefully, okay?”
“Hope,” Penelope takes on the tone she usually delivers bad news with, “you’re in love with Lizzie.”
“I - what?” Hope laughs incredulously. “What?”
“I told you! I told you she was this stupid!” Josie says to Penelope before looking at Hope’s bewildered face and taking pity on her. “But don’t worry about it, Lizzie’s totally in love with you too.”
Hope’s even more shocked this time around. “Huh?”
“Seriously?” Penelope groans out. “You’re telling me that you had no idea?”
“No!” Hope admits and it’s truthful enough that Penelope resigns herself to the fate of explaining Hope’s own feelings to her.
“Hope, babe, the last five girls you went out with all had blue eyes and blonde hair and looked like they could all be Lizzie’s twin.”
“Which, as Lizzie’s actual twin, should freak me out,” Josie interjects. “But I knew you were dumb enough to not realize what you were doing so it doesn’t. Well, that and the fact that Lizzie and I don’t actually look alike. So we’re not judging you... As much as we should be.”
“Josie’s nice like that,” Penelope adds, smirking at Josie. “But how did you not notice that you literally hated every single person that Lizzie’s ever dated?”
“Because they’re all so annoying! That loser from earlier wanted to be called ‘doctor’ when all he had was a PhD! They’re not real doctors!” Hope exclaims. Penelope and Josie nod along because they’ve heard Hope rant about this before. Multiple times. “It’s like she picks people that she knows will infuriate me the most.”
“That’s because, well Lizzie does exactly that,” Josie says, like it should be obvious.
“I think she’s hoping to annoy you into admitting your feelings for her, but poor thing doesn’t know its a lost cause when you didn’t even know there were feelings to be confessed in the first place,” Penelope explains.
“You both should have listened to me and not overestimated Hope’s emotional intelligence,” Josie tells Penelope, clearly gloating.
“Ugh, it all makes so much sense now,” Hope whispers, before burying her face in her hands. “The guy who kept saying that his beard was ironic and the girl who said ‘this would sound better on vinyl’ after every song we listened to! Or the guy with perfect eyesight who wore glasses? They were all straight out of my nightmares.”
“Let’s not forget the Instagram model who never let us eat our food before she took photos of them,” Penelope points out with a laugh.
“Oh yeah,” Josie reminisces fondly. “I think that one was my favorite. Where does she keep finding these people?”
“Oh, the vegan coffee place on 45th.”
“Huh, that makes a lot of sense.”
“Ugh, fuck. Lizzie,” Hope groans. “why didn’t you just tell me?”
“Yeah, fuck Lizzie, Hope,” Penelope teases and Josie’s already giggling. “I bet you both would like that.”
“I wish you were still stuck in your ‘will they or won’t they’ stage because you’re a menace to society and you’re both going to jail for your crimes.”
Josie snickers at the glare Hope is giving them. “Bitches be jealous because we’re already so happy with the person we love.”
“Hope is bitches,” Penelope adds unnecessarily, but Hope processing her feelings was sending Josie and Penelope into near hysterics.
“Wow,” Hope murmurs as though Penelope’s words have woken her up from a haze. “I’m in love with Lizzie.”
“Give the girl a fucking prize,” Josie murmurs.
They’re quiet for a bit - Hope dazedly staring off into space, occasionally making a ‘what the fuck’ face or wildly gesturing to herself with her hands; Josie fussing over Penelope’s bruise and Penelope enjoying the attention when the door to Hope’s penthouse slams open and Lizzie comes storming in.
“What the fuck was that, Mikaelson?”
“Lizzie,” Hope says her name like a prayer and stares at Lizzie the same way a dog would after her human got home after a long day.
Penelope and Josie perk up, moving forward to the edge of their seats and wishing for some popcorn that would be perfect for the drama that was about to go down.
Lizzie stares at the reverence on Hope’s face suspiciously before redirecting her attention to Penelope. “You okay there, Satan?” She asks, concerned and uncharacteristically nice. “Not banged up too bad?”
Penelope smiles. “Nothing your sister’s love and attention won’t fix.”
Lizzie turns green. “Nauseating. Best hope that a hit to the head hasn’t killed too many of your brain cells. You already have a dangerously low supply.”
“Penelope could easily coast through life with her looks alone, but thanks for your concern, Lizzie,” Josie says with fake sincerity.
“Aw, babe. You think I’m pretty?”
“The prettiest, babe.”
Lizzie rolls her eyes at them and turns on Hope again. “Well? Explain yourself.”
Hope tries to for a minute, opening and closing her mouth like a goldfish before she sighs. “I’m sorry, Lizzie. I’m so, so sorry.”
Lizzie looks surprised at the apology, like she was expecting a fight instead. “Go on.”
Hope takes a deep breath and looks at Penelope and Josie, who nod encouragingly. “I’m sorry it took me this long for me to realize this. But, I’m in love with you. Are you in love with me too?”
Lizzie looks like the wind’s been knocked out of her. “What?”
Hope laughs, a little shy and fiddles with sleeves of her sweater. “I was just informed that I’m in love with you actually and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. The more we make sense. And I guess, I’m hoping that you feel the same way I do.”
Lizzie’s eyes are shining when she says, “Of course I do, you beautiful idiot. How could I not?”
“Well then why didn’t you tell me?” Hope asks, looking tortured.
Lizzie runs a frustrated hand through her hair. “How was I supposed to? Up until two years ago, it looked so certain that you and Landon were going to live happily ever after with your half muddy bird babies. And then after when it was so obvious that you felt the same about me-”
Hope frowns. “What do you mean it was obvious?”
Lizzie looks at Hope with so much pity in her eyes it’s almost comical. “Oh sweetie,” she coos, sitting down next to Hope, wrapping an arm around her and pulling her close. “You remember when we went out on my birthday and I wore that leather dress?”
Hope’s cheeks take on a slightly pink tinge as she nods.
“You didn’t take your beautiful eyes off of me the entire night.”
“I- I thought you looked-” Hope sputters, trailing off with a shrug, not knowing what to say.
“Stunning? Really, really sexy? Like I was God’s gift to this world?” Lizzie supplies and Penelope and Josie roll their eyes in unison.
They repeat the same action when Hope emphatically says, “all of the above.”
Lizzie grins, obviously pleased. “I know. That was just one incident off the top of my head of you being a dumb bitch who didn’t know she was in love with me. But don’t worry, we can make up for lost time.” She pats Hope’s thigh and moves closer to whisper in her ear. “I can totally wear that dress for you again. In private.”
“Gross,” Josie mutters, “didn’t need to hear that at all.”
“Lizzie, give the girl a minute before you try to sleep with her,” Penelope stage whispers when Hope appears equal parts terrified and aroused. “She may pass out.”
“I would very much like that,” Hope admits shakily to Lizzie, flipping Penelope the bird.
Lizzie looks more smug than she has any right to before she looks at the clock and turns to Hope again. “Are you tired?”
Hope takes a moment to think about it. She shakes her head as if to clear it and looks at Lizzie with her game face as though she just remembered she was Hope freaking Mikaelson . “Why, you offering to tire me out if I’m not, Saltzman?”
Lizzie laughs in obvious delight. “I love this energy, let’s definitely circle back to it later tonight but for right now, do you wanna go out and get a milkshake or something?”
“Is this a date you wanna take me on, Lizzie Saltzman?”
“You bet your ass it is, Hope Mikaelson.”
“Okay, let me get my coat!” She kisses Lizzie’s cheek, shoots off the couch and nearly sprints down the hall to her room.
“That was definitely worth Satan getting punched in the head, I think,” Lizzie says, in a daze and eyes fixated on Hope’s retreating form.
“Even though that was rude and you’re a bitch, I’m going to say I’m happy for you, because I’m clearly a better person than you.” Condescension drips from Penelope’s tone.
“Deny that Jo. Right now! I’m your sister.”
“Agree with me Jojo. I’m the love of your life. And I'm also correct.”
“Little presumptuous,” Lizzie mutters.
“She’s right, Lizzie,” Josie says and when her sister’s face turns mutinous she immediately amends, “I meant about the love of my life part, not that she’s a better person than you.”
“So I’m not better than Lizzie?”
Josie can’t cope under the combined pressure of their glares. “Oh, you hear that?" Nobody heard anything. "What Hope? You need my help picking out a coat? Yeah, be right there!”
She leaps off the sofa and skips down the hall.
“Will that ever not be funny?” Lizzie questions with a laugh when Josie’s disappeared.
“Nope.” Penelope grins at her. “She’s so cute when she’s flustered that I almost don’t feel bad anymore when we do that to her.”
Lizzie thinks about that for a second. “We’re so not nice people.”
“No we are not,” Penelope agrees with a shrug. “But who cares? We both got the girl in the end.”
“Hell yeah, we did.”
“First date with Hope Mikaelson. Finally, huh?”
Lizzie lets out a sigh of relief. “Almost had me worried that it would never happen. If the PhD doctor guy didn’t work, who would right?”
Penelope laughs. “You did a fantastic job finding him, but in Hope’s defense, she really didn’t know, as unbelievable as that sounds. We should’ve listened to Josie.”
Lizzie looks at her gravely. “We can never tell her that.”
“Obviously.” Penelope rolls her eyes. “I’m not stupid.”
Before Penelope can decide which pillow she wants to throw at Lizzie’s head, a very giggly Josie and Hope come back out.
“We were discussing how happy Dad will be finds out about you two,” Josie says.
“I’m pretty sure he’ll cry,” Hope adds.
“Obviously, because I had to compensate once you disappointed him with your choice, Jo.”
“Don’t listen to her babe,” Penelope comforts Josie when her face falls. “Lizzie’s just mad I’m the only one in this room who gets to call your mom Caroline. What do you have to call her, Hope?”
“See?” Penelope smirks triumphantly. “The father in law worships you and the mother in law adores me. It’s equality.”
Josie scoffs when Hope and Lizzie stiffen and stare at each other awkwardly at the presumption that Alaric would be Hope’s father in law. “Relax, children. Everyone’s watched you pine long enough to know where this is going. Now why don’t you go out on your date and call me tomorrow morning to gush about all the details?”
Hope smiles at Lizzie and gestures for her to lead the way.
Lizzie grabs Hope’s hand and they make their way to the door to begin what is hopefully their very happily-ever-after.
“All that stressing about the kind of parents we’d be was for nothing, Pen. Turns out we’ve been raising two children this entire time.”
“Holy shit, you’re right. We already are pretty fantastic parents. Except our kids are in love with each other,” Penelope notes, grinning crookedly.
“Every parent’s dream, isn’t it?” Josie quips loftily.
Hope pauses at the door, knowing Lizzie and her will always be on the same page with the whole ‘revenge now, romance later’ stance. Especially with Penelope and Josie. “We have to do something about that. They’ve been so insufferable and annoying all day.”
“Hm.” Lizzie tilts her head, deep in thought.
Hope is fascinated by the look on Lizzie’s face. “Whatever you’re about to say or do is going to be pure evil and I’m definitely not going to stop you.”
Lizzie grins down at Hope with absolute adoration. “I love you,” she says before talking louder to get Penelope’s attention. “Hey, did I ever tell you about the time Josie took a bullet for me?”
Hope can’t stop the laugh that escapes her when Josie blanches.
“She did WHAT?”
Lizzie opens the door and rapidly leads Hope out into the hall. “Go, go, run, before she kills us!”
“Eight years, I went eight years without her knowing! You better bang Hope out of your system tonight because I’m killing you tomorrow, Lizzie!” Josie yells after them, sticking her head out the door.
“Josie Saltzman, get back here!” They hear Penelope’s muffled scream and laugh harder.
If this was their first act as a couple (or couple adjacent), the rest of their lives were bound to be really, really fun.
“Think that’s worth the beat down we’re gonna get tomorrow?”
Lizzie's grin spells trouble and Hope kinda really loves her. “Well, Mikaelson, that depends on how worthwhile you make my night.”
Yep, just like Hope thought.
Really, really fun.