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I tried to pick my battles 'til the battle picked me

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Yes, Lizzie was avoiding Hope. 


After Josie’s whole black magic-induced drug trip, the brunette decided to spend some much needed reflection time with their mother in Europe, so that left Lizzie with the tribrid. Not that she minded; to be honest, she was still a bit scared of her sister. It’s not every day your sibling tries to kill you. The cherry on top was the realization that if Hope hadn’t linked her life to the flaming bird’s then Lizzie would most certainly be six feet under by now. She tried to tell Hope and MG that she’d lose the merge. 


Why doesn’t anyone ever listen to me?


So yeah, Josie could stay away for a bit. 


However, before that, Lizzie, the absolute genius that she was, had cooked up a way to wake Hope up from her slumber.


It had been relatively easy - knock her sister out before she could protest and dive into her head to rescue the sleeping tribrid, who had appeared as though she had a run in with Medusa. After siphoning the magic that kept her as a stone figure, the two had a wholesome reunion. Well, as wholesome as it could get when it came to Hope and Lizzie.  


“Lizzie - the merge. You’re okay?”  Was the first thing Hope had spluttered in Josie’s subconscious, nearly collapsing as she returned to her normal state. 


Lizzie had caught her by the arms. “Well don’t be so surprised. It was your plan. I just came here to repay the favor. I’ll be damned if someone else decided to enter my sister’s brain and mess everything up.” 


Hope had given her a soft smile, then her face turned serious. “Is everyone else okay?”


Lizzie had bit her lip. There was that whole “Landon is dead” thing that her father had no idea what to do about. Realizing that she had been quiet for a bit too long, she decided to give Hope some more important information than the newest addition to the Popeyes menu.


"Well I’m clearly fine, Josie’s free of dark magic, and the school’s still intact, so…”  If Hope hadn’t been staring at her so intently Lizzie would’ve rolled her eyes at herself for fumbling to get that sentence out. Looking down, she saw that she was still clutching at Hope’s arms, so she quickly detached herself. Taking a good look at the shorter girl, Lizzie couldn’t help but admire the way she looked at that moment. Red was obviously her color, her eyes were practically glowing blue, and her auburn hair was perfectly curled. She looked flawless. 


Maybe that was the beginning of the end for Lizzie.


After successfully returning them both to reality, her dad had broken the news that the rotisserie chicken had decided to enter an indefinite sleep, leading to Hope rushing out of the room to look after her discount Prince Charming. Lizzie couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed. Josie was beginning to rouse, and the blonde didn’t particularly feel like speaking to her sister, so she had bid MG goodnight, thanking him for his help, and made the active decision to sleep at the Old Mill. 


As far away from her sister, Hope, and Landon as possible. 


It hadn’t been terribly uncomfortable. She had found the spare pillow and blanket and plopped herself down on the worn couch, opening up a book that had been left on a shelf. Just as she was nodding off she heard a wolf howl; it was low, and sad, and Lizzie figured that it was probably Hope, who had been unable to wake her boyfriend. 


She felt bad for Hope. The girl was always losing the people that she cared about. Lizzie could offer no comfort, and there wasn’t a single thing that any of them could do, so she tossed the book somewhere behind the couch and fell asleep, but not before seeing white fur and yellow eyes before her eyes closed. Or so she had thought.


She had woken up the following morning with a stiff neck and a melancholic mood as she realized that everyone was going to have to deal with the fallout of Josie’s run as magical Darth Vader. Part of that had probably been what she could feel through the twin bond. She had half a mind to run away and not deal with any of it, until Josie beat her to it. 


“Um,”  Josie began as Lizzie trudged into the room. “Where did you sleep?” 


Lizzie hadn’t made eye contact with her sister, choosing to play with whatever items she saw on her nightstand. “The Mill,” she had simply stated. She pretended not to see the guilty look on her twin’s face. She decided to take the risk and look over at Josie’s side of the room, where a couple of suitcases were open on the bed. 


Josie had followed Lizzie’s gaze and cleared her throat. “Dad said that it’s a good idea for me to go stay with Mom for a bit.” 


Of course he did, thought Lizzie. He always preferred to send his problems away rather than deal with them. Later on, Lizzie would confirm that avoidance ran in the Saltzman family.


"Anyway,” Josie continued. “I leave tomorrow.”


Lizzie had nodded and left the room, no longer being able to stand the awkward atmosphere. She didn’t have a destination but ended up in the library anyway. It had been empty, the students choosing to stay in their rooms in some sort of “lockdown” after what had happened. Lizzie had fallen onto one of the couches, placing a pillow over her face and groaning in frustration. She stayed like that for who-knows-how long, half-hoping she’d suffocate and die, until she sensed someone enter the space; she turned her head and saw two legs standing in front of the couch. The pillow was yanked from her grasp and Hope Mikaelson’s iridescent blue eyes were suddenly staring down at her. 


Lizzie turned so she was laying on her stomach, burying her face in the cushion. “This couch is occupied,” she had mumbled into the fabric, figuring that Hope’s werewolf hearing would pick up on it.


Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Hope kneel down and place a hand on her back. It was a small gesture of comfort that Lizzie hadn’t known she needed. 


Am I really that touch starved?  she wondered. 


“Come on,” the tribrid said softly. “Let’s go back to my room.” 


“Take me on a date first, Mikaelson.” Lizzie cringed at herself. It had been a poor choice of words since the only person Hope wanted to be on a date with was currently lying dead somewhere. 


She had expected Hope to leave, so when Lizzie heard her chuckle, she fully turned her body so she was facing the auburn-haired girl. 


Hope rolled her eyes. “In your dreams, Saltzman.”  She stood up and extended her hand. “Let’s go.” 


Lizzie tentatively took the hand offered to her and let herself get pulled up. The two walked back to Hope’s room, neither of them saying a word and enjoying the comfortable silence. Hope opened her bedroom door; Alyssa wasn’t there, Lizzie had noticed. 


"Alyssa’s been staying with Jed,” commented the tribrid, as if she had read Lizzie’s mind. Lizzie laid on Hope’s bed and nearly passed out right there, her exhaustion due to sleeping outdoors had caught up to her. She felt Hope lay down next to her.


“Beats sleeping at the Old Mill, doesn’t it?” 


Lizzie looked over at Hope, not expecting to see her face filled with concern. It had made Lizzie slightly uncomfortable, as she was not used to people outside of her family looking at her like that. It had warmed a place in Lizzie’s heart that she thought was long dead. 


“So it was you out there last night,”  Lizzie affirmed. 


Hope nodded. “There’s nothing we can really do about Landon,” she said solemnly, looking down. “The Golden Arrow was his one weakness.”


Lizzie sat up. She didn’t want to admit it, but she was going to miss calling the curly-haired boy all of those ridiculous names. More importantly, he had made Hope happy, and Lizzie cursed the universe for treating the tribrid so poorly. 


“Hope, I’m sorry,” Lizzie began, suddenly feeling guilty. “If you hadn’t had to deal with this stupid merge thing then you could’ve been there with him.” 


Hope looked at her incredulously. “You would’ve died, Lizzie! Permanently. We all thought Landon couldn't be killed and we didn’t think Rafael was being controlled by the Necromancer. I had bigger priorities.” 


 Lizzie looked away, not wanting to admit that Hope was right. So that was that. 


The following day Lizzie had watched as her father drove through the school gates, taking Josie with him to drop her off at the airport. Technically she was in charge of the school now, as her dad wanted to give Hope time to “mourn” or whatever; at least he had enough faith that Lizzie would be able to sit at a desk for two hours while he was gone. 


Lizzie walked around the school grounds, redoing all of the barrier spells and stopping every once in a while to siphon magic. Once she was finished, she made her way over to the headmaster’s office - her office, she thought smugly. For now. 


She had plopped herself down into the leather chair and went through her dad’s papers. She yawned. Boring. Paperwork definitely wasn’t her thing.


Lizzie opened her father’s “secret” drawer, where he kept his extensive stash of alcohol, and took out a random bottle. Bourbon, the label said. His favorite. She grabbed a glass and poured some of it in. She wasn’t a day drinker, but after recent events, she felt like deserved it. 


Or needed it. One of the two. 


A few drinks in and she was absolutely feeling the effects. She drank more than she had intended to. She shrugged, her ability to care going right out the window. She heard a knock at the door, and was unable to put the alcohol away, her movements too sluggish, before whoever it was entered. It was too soon for her dad to be back, so who could it be? 


“Dr. Saltzman, I -” came Hope’s voice. She glanced at the desk only to find one Elizabeth Saltzman, looking like a deer caught in headlights. 


Lizzie, over her initial shock, downed the rest of her drink, knowing Hope wouldn’t tell on her. She was going to pour herself another when the bottle flew out of her hand and into Hope’s. She looked up at the tribrid. 


“Hey, I was drinking that,” she muttered, trying not to slur.


Hope wordlessly walked to where Lizzie was seated, putting any evidence that Lizzie had been consuming copious amounts of hard liquor away. She grabbed the blonde’s hand, hauling her out of the office. 


Have Hope’s hands always been this soft? Lizzie wondered, trying not to giggle. She had found herself staring at the tribrid’s side profile as she was being dragged; to where? Lizzie didn’t care. She’d go anywhere with Hope. 


Maybe that was another red flag. 


The girls entered the bathroom, out of sight from any wandering students. Hope turned on the sink, cupped her hands, letting the water fill up, and threw it into Lizzie’s face. 


“What the hell was that for?”  Lizzie all but yelled. 


“To sober you up, stupid,” said Hope, crossing her arms. “What were you doing, getting drunk at ten in the morning?” 


Lizzie shrugged, wiping the water from her eyes. “First of all, I’m still drunk. Second, I don’t know, maybe I was thirsty!” 


“Over half of the bottle was gone.” 


Lizzie frowned. She didn’t remember drinking that much.


Seeing the confusion on the blonde’s face, Hope softened her tone. “Where’s your dad?” 


“At the airport. Josie’s off to the European Union to spend some time with Mom.” 


“And you’re okay with that?”


Lizzie sighed. “I think it’s for the best, as much as I would love for my sister to face the consequences of her actions.” 




Lizzie furrowed her eyebrows. Where was Hope going with this line of questioning? She felt like she was being interrogated; to be fair, she did break the law by engaging in underage drinking. 


Seeing that Lizzie wasn’t going to answer, Hope prodded further. “I think,” she said, stepping forward, “that there’s something you need to talk about.” 


Lizzie raised an eyebrow. “I didn’t know you decided on a career in psychology.”


“You’re scared, Lizzie. You’re scared of Josie, what she almost did to you. You’re scared that there was a chance you could’ve won the merge, too. Josie being away isn’t helping at all, is it?” 


Hope’s words had struck a chord in Lizzie. How did Hope realize it before she had? Lizzie began to tremble. “Seeing my sister like that…” she shook her head, unable to finish that sentence. “I was selfish, it’s my fault. I should’ve seen it sooner. Now everyone else is paying for it.” 


The blonde glanced at herself in the mirror. She looked sick, fragile and skin pale. Her mind seemed to catch up to her body, because she suddenly realized how exhausted she was.  


Hope took Lizzie’s hands in her own. They were cold, she noticed. 


“Josie’s actions are not your responsibility. She’s always had an interest in dark magic.” 


Lizzie’s face fell. “I didn’t know that.”  What else did she not know about her own sister? How come she hadn’t seen it before? Oh that’s right, because she was too self-absorbed and narcissistic to care about anyone else. 


Seeing that the blonde was spiraling, Hope chastised herself for saying the wrong thing. Before she could speak, Lizzie rushed out of the bathroom, nearly running into the doorframe in her inebriated state. She had taken the opportunity to siphon some magic, casting an invisibility spell so the tribrid wouldn’t try to find her.


Fortunately, Hope did the smart thing, in Lizzie’s expert opinion, and left her alone. For added security, she put up a barrier spell on her door. 


That’s how she had spent two days - locked in her room, sleeping and fighting off the hunger pangs. To her displeasure, no one had come to check in on her, not even her dear old dad. He had probably occupied himself with the Necromancer problem instead of seeing his remaining daughter, who was still in the country, in case he had forgotten; he didn’t think Lizzie had snuck herself in Josie’s luggage, did he? She wouldn’t put it past him. 


Regardless, the barrier spell had worn off long ago.


It was mid-afternoon on the second day when she had finally considered swallowing her pride and going to get some food. 


Is this what it feels like to desiccate?  She had found herself wondering. 


However, she didn’t even have to get up, because Hope had burst through the door, a plate stacked with sandwiches in hand. She marched over to the side of the bed and thrust the plate into her lap.


“Eat,” the tribrid had ordered. 


Lizzie, still irritated by the fact that it took two days for someone to acknowledge her existence, had decided to be particularly difficult. 


“I’m not hungry.”  


Hope scoffed. “I can practically hear your stomach acids dissolving your insides.” She sat down at the edge of the bed, waiting for the blonde to start eating. The two engaged in a staring contest, and not surprisingly, Lizzie folded under the tribrid’s hard gaze. 


The blonde began to munch on her food, grumbling incoherently while Hope’s lips curled up into a small, satisfied smile. It took everything in Lizzie not to turn into a human vacuum right then and there. 


Once the siphoner was done eating, Hope took the plate and set it on her bedside table. She took a moment to look at Lizzie, to see if she was physically okay, while the latter nearly blushed at being scrutinized so intensely. 


"What is it?” Lizzie asked, voice nearly cracking.


Hope shrugged. “Nothing.”  She then bit her lip. “Do you want to hang out today?” 


Lizzie’s heart began to beat rapidly at the thought of spending time with Hope. “ this a sympathy thing? I know Josie’s gone and all -” 


“No! No, not at all,” Hope responded. “I just...I thought maybe we could both use a friend, you know, after recent events.” 


Lizzie let out a breath, then nodded. “Alright Mikaelson, when and where?” 


Hope beamed. “My room, in two hours? That’s enough time to give yourself a proper shower.” 


Lizzie launched a pillow at the tribrid as she walked to the door. “Hey!” 


“Bye, Liz!”  Hope laughed as she shut the door. 


Lizzie stood up, looking at herself in the mirror. She didn’t look as bad as she thought she would have after two days in the sheets. 


Guess Hope is also good at being dramatic. The blonde grabbed her shower stuff and left the room. A short time later, she was ready to go. She hadn’t realized it then, but she had taken the extra time to look particularly nice, even though she was just going to Hope’s room. Josie would have definitely called her out on it.


It’s not like it was a date, right? 


So, they started hanging out from there. The school eventually went back to normal; the gym had been repaired, students were coming out of hiding, and classes were resuming as normal. Lizzie hadn’t been naive enough to think that their days weren’t numbered, though; there were two problems: Josie would come back at some point, ruining Lizzie’s perfect bubble that she had found herself in with Hope, and so would the Necromancer. The blonde wasn’t looking forward to meeting face-to-decaying face with him again. 


Lizzie had enjoyed the peace while it lasted, spending time with Hope and MG (who hadn’t brought up their kiss pre-merge, thank god), until one day, there was a final red flag - a third strike, whatever you call it - that caused the siphoner’s world to fall apart. 


Maybe that was a bit dramatic, but it was her specialty, after all. 


She and Hope were hanging out that day in the tribrid’s room, watching an episode of Cutthroat Kitchen (Hope had suggested it so Lizzie could “take notes” and improve on her cooking skills). 


The audacity, Lizzie had mused fondly. 


She hadn’t noticed how physically close the two were - Hope was practically cuddling her - until she turned her head to say something, and nearly locked lips with Hope’s perfect pink ones. Did she want to kiss her? 


She didn’t realize how long she had been staring at them, like a creep, until she heard the shorter girl clear her throat. 


“Uh, Lizzie? Are you okay?”


Lizzie’s eyes shot up, meeting Hope’s concerned ones. She gulped and sat up, everything clicking into place. “I...I should uh, go! Yeah, I should go. I need some sleep.” She made her way to the door. 


“It’s 7:30, Liz.” 


“Going to bed early doesn’t hurt. But uh, I’ll see you later!” 


Lizzie didn’t remember getting back to her room; one minute she was slamming Hope’s door shut and the next she was leaning on her own bedroom door, back against the cold wood. She tumbled into bed, every interaction she’s ever had with Hope Andrea Mikaelson coming back to her like another acid flashback. 


She should really stop having those. They always seemed to revolve around Hope.


When did she develop feelings for the auburn-haired girl? Was it during the simulation? The 80’s game? The stupid dance? 


Oh god, did it happen as early as Miss Mystic Falls? She had no idea. All she did know was that she refused to be another damned soul in love with the beautifully dangerous Hope Mikaelson. 


Seriously, there was already a fucking queue. 


That was the realization that brought her to the present day. 


Instead of facing her feelings head on, like she usually did, Lizzie decided to avoid Hope like she was the plague, because, well, this was Hope, of all people. It wasn’t fair to the shorter girl, who was more than likely confused about why her friend suddenly took off, and Lizzie kept choking down the guilt until she could almost feel her throat becoming raw. 


Truth be told, the blonde couldn’t handle another rejection. Her friendship with Hope was the last thing she had left; her sister tried to kill her, she had an absentee mother, and her father couldn’t care less. Her past romantic endeavors had been unsuccessful, she constantly reminded herself, which had been another kick to the gut. Hearing the tribrid say that she didn’t want Lizzie in that way would be enough to wreck her. 


Now, Lizzie could have done the smart thing by apologizing for her weird behavior and continued being friends while trying to restrain herself from kissing Hope...but she was terrible at keeping secrets. So, she went with the second option, which was to treat the tribrid like an oncoming car crash and swerving out of the way whenever she spotted auburn hair.


Luckily, Hope had been preoccupied, along with Lizzie’s father, with the looming threat of Malivore and the Necromancer. Josie had confirmed that she would be back within a couple of weeks, and to Lizzie, it seemed as though the stars had aligned and were telling her to flee as soon as possible. 


However, before she could come up with a list of destinations and new aliases to use, the damn tribrid and her immaculate timing finally caught her; in this case, Lizzie found herself being pulled into a nearby empty classroom as she was peacefully minding her own business and heading to lunch. 


“Why are you avoiding me?” asked Hope, eyes boring into what was left of Lizzie’s soul. 


She’s so close, Lizzie couldn’t help but notice. 


“I-I’m not,” Lizzie tried weakly, the statement coming out as more of a question. She looked around the room, avoiding Hope’s stunning ocean eyes.


Seriously, we can make out in here and no one would know.


Hope glared at her. “You’ve been acting weird since the last time we hung out.” A thought suddenly occurred to her, and she took a step back. Lizzie couldn’t help but miss the warmth radiating from her. 


“Did I do something wrong?” 


“No!” Lizzie immediately denied. She was absolutely perfect. “I just needed some room to breathe, you know, after everything.” It was a complete lie, but somehow Hope bought it. 


The shorter girl frowned. “Oh. Well if you needed space, why didn’t you just say so?” She took the siphoner’s hand, which caused Lizzie’s brain to short circuit at the contact. 


“I know, I’m sorry. I should’ve said something.” 


Hope gave her a soft smile. “That’s okay. But no more avoiding me, alright?” 


Lizzie had no choice but to agree, and let Hope lead her to the cafeteria. Somehow that conversation led to Hope keeping an even closer eye on her, if that were possible. 


Lizzie knew her infatuation with Hope reached a new level when she found herself feeling actual jealousy whenever Hope spoke to Rafael.


Not that he has a chance with her, anyway. He and Hope are like MG and I. The guy has feelings for the girl, the girl isn’t interested, the guy doesn’t take the hint. Sure, they have some chemistry together, but Hope has chemistry with everyone, so it doesn’t even count. Also, doesn’t he have a brother to mourn? 


Lizzie immediately felt guilty when she walked by the pair; she thought they had been flirting, but they were actually talking about Landon’s funeral arrangements. She sighed and rolled her eyes at herself. Once a bitch, always a bitch, huh? 


She skipped her last class, exhausted from this entire ordeal and needed a break. She unceremoniously tossed her backpack onto the ground, and was about to flop into bed, as she had been doing very frequently as of late, when she heard a knock at the door. Groaning, she opened the door, only to find the girl who had been haunting her dreams. 




“Hi. Can I come in?”


Lizzie nodded and stepped aside to let the girl in. Hope looked nervous, which caused Lizzie to slightly freak out. Had she been that bad at concealing her feelings and now Hope was here to confront her about them? 


The siphoner crossed her arms, trying to look unbothered. “So what’s up?” 


Hope fiddled with her fingers. “When does Josie come back?” 


“In a few days, why?” 


“I just want to talk to her about something.” Hope refused to look at her. 


Lizzie let her shoulders drop. Of course; if it wasn’t Landon, it was Rafael; if it wasn’t Rafael, it was Josie. Literally everyone but her. She started to feel the anger build; she wasn’t mad at Hope, but at herself, and she knew Hope was going to get caught in the crossfire if she didn’t leave now. 


The siphoner trudged over to the door, opening it. “Well she’s not here. Goodbye, Hope.” 


Hope frowned at Lizzie’s short attitude. “Are you mad at me?” 


“Why do you want to talk to Josie?”


Hope looked away and didn’t answer, which only served to fuel Lizzie’s rage. She scoffed. “I thought best friends told each other everything,” she sneered. 


“What’s gotten into you?” 


“Get out.” 


Hope stepped closer, eyes lit with a fire that burned just as bright as Lizzie’s. “Maybe we don’t make good friends.” 


The blonde schooled her reaction, pretending that those words didn’t break her heart. She had tried to become Hope’s friend for over a decade, and it took one conversation and some stupid unrequited feelings to ruin it.


“Maybe we don’t.” 


For a second, she thought she saw a flash of hurt in the tribrid’s eyes. Hope angrily stomped right out the door, along with Lizzie’s happiness. The blonde shut the door, taking a few steps toward her side of the room, when something clicked in her head. She speed-walked back to the door, ready to go out and look for Hope, and yanked it open; to her eternal surprise, Hope was standing right outside of her bedroom, eyes shining.


Hope stepped into the room once again, never breaking eye contact with Lizzie. As the latter opened her mouth to say something, she felt a pair of lips attach to her own. Once she realized what was happening - that Hope was kissing her - she wholeheartedly kissed back, wrapping her arms around the shorter girls’ waist. 


They stood there for what felt like hours, and it was the need for air that separated them. 


“What was that?” Lizzie panted, still in shock. 


Hope grinned. “I think that’s called a kiss.” 


Lizzie pointed back and forth between them. “” 


“I’m in love with you,” Hope blurted out; she didn’t mean to, but it was the truth, and Lizzie looked like she was about to pass out, anyway. “And before you mention Landon, let me say something first. I thought I was in love with him, that he was this epic romance that my mom told me to have, but he wasn’t. I was still mourning the deaths of my parents, and he was the first person to show me affection and attention. A relationship based on that was never going to last. We had been on the outs for a while now, and I just refused to let him go. But you came along, Lizzie, and you ruined it all.”


Lizzie took a slight step back in confusion, which caused Hope to giggle. “Come back here,” she said, pulling Lizzie closer to her. “What I meant was that, well, I’ve been thinking lately, and maybe there have been signs that I had been avoiding for a long time now. How Josie tried so hard to keep us apart, yet we became friends anyway, how the universe made it so you were the first person to remember me after I got out of Malivore. You took the time out of your day to hang out with me just so I wouldn’t be alone.” 


Lizzie tried to say something, but Hope was already midway through her ramble. “And the 80’s game - you were ready to sacrifice your life for me. Not to mention the simulation, I mean how could I miss the whole “fatum” thing hanging right above our heads. You were even the one who saved me in Josie’s subconscious, and at this point I don’t think any of this is a coincidence. I’ve chosen you time and time again, and I was an idiot for not realizing it sooner. I wanted to talk to Josie because I didn’t know how to deal with my feelings for you. And I know that it’s probably too soon with everything that’s happened recently, but...will you go on a date with me?” 


The blonde had absolutely no words in that moment after listening to everything that had spewed from Hope’s mouth. All that registered in her brain was that Hope’s feelings were just as strong as hers, and the only thing Lizzie could think to do was to kiss her, so she did. 


Hope broke the kiss, leaning back. “Is that a yes?”


Lizzie nodded vehemently. “That’s definitely a yes,” she muttered against the tribrid’s lips, before reattaching them. 


They still had a lot to deal with, namely Josie’s return and figuring out how to defeat their ever-increasing list of enemies, but Lizzie knew that they would come out on top in the end; they pretty much always did, no matter what gets thrown at them. 


They were already a hell of a power couple.