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"Kite5203 asked: Can you please do jerza werewolf au please if your not busy also can you make it were erza is the wolf"
I've adopted a similar style of wolf as The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater. When looking at a map of Earth Land I could not believe Mashima named his north country "Iceberg." Upon deeper googling I found a map that called it "Isenberg" and decided that was much less offensive. Sorry, Mashima, but really? "Iceberg?" No.
-3 celsius, March
Lucy warned him the lights wouldn't be visible until April but Jellal needed a break. The city grated on him in winter and even if the timing was too early to see the solar flares he couldn't have left civilization soon enough. The cabin belonged to Lucy, and he was grateful for the opportunity. He needed the data for his research and she'd been happy to hand over the keys.
"I can already tell this baby is just like his father and hates the cold," she'd said with a smile. Jellal was happy for his long-time partner but the way she nested – even in the lab – was starting to drive him up the wall. By the time he returned home in July, the baby would be born and hopefully Lucy's erratic hormones would level out.
Unlike Lucy, Jellal was neither married nor on the path to parenthood. Relationships were elusive things he had a hard time holding onto. Nothing captivated his attention more than the heavens. His last romance had ended in tears, on her part, and he'd been told that one day he'd finally pry his gaze from the stars to find himself grey and alone. The accusation hurt at first but then he'd become distracted, again.
Isenberg was a mostly frigid country. Even in March the snow sparkled in any sunlight that made it's way from behind the clouds that hovered. Next month, though, the skies would clear and solar flares would fill the darkness with color. Lucy made him promise to try and take off his scientist goggles and appreciate the beauty. He'd try.
Despite the cold, Jellal enjoyed the deck. The view of the surrounding forest was prefect for staring into while concentrating on his work. The area was partly covered and positioned in such a way that it remained generally free of snow but Jellal still opted for the thicker boots. It was just before sunset when he saw the wolf.
She was an oddity. Her red fur wasn't typical of the northern regions and the color stood out against the evergreen and pristine blanket of snow. She stared at him from just his side of the tree line. He wondered if she'd lost her pack. Jellal's eyes scanned the visible forest for other wolves, but she seemed to be alone. He didn't know why he'd jumped to the conclusion it was a female but somehow it felt right.
Clouds kept the moon from view but Jellal could tell when she'd gone.
The red wolf left tracks in the snow surrounding the cabin. She never approached while he was present but had taken the liberty of sniffing out the property in his absence. Jellal drove into the nearby town for supplies on a weekly basis. He appreciated the anonymity of the cabin and no one ever asked too many questions of him. In fact the shop keeper never spoke to him about anything other than purchases until Jellal mentioned the wolf.
"A red wolf?" The older man ruffled his thinning hair and shook his head. "You sure you didn't see a fox? They're all over around here. Especially now."
"No, it was too big to be a fox. I've seen tracks, too. Has to be a wolf."
"Well if it's traps you're after, probably –"
"Uh, no. No, that's not what I meant. I was just curious about her colorings. Red wolves generally stick to grasslands or the coast. I didn't think they were common to this elevation."
"Eh, well, I just assumed."
The shop keep laughed and pushed his order across the counter. "You've been alone too long, son." Jellal scowled and gathered his supplies.
4 celsius, April
As promised, the grey cloud cover lifted in early April and the skies were bright blue. The snow cover on the edges of the deck melted but the grassy areas took longer. Jellal suspected beyond the tree line, thicker snow would remain firmly in place for a few more weeks.
Warmer weather allowed for more time outdoors and Jellal took to having his morning coffee outside. He still wore his boots and coat but the cold air felt refreshing. In another week the solar flares would be visible, and he could begin observation and documentation.
His silent companion began to venture closer to the house and still with no pack in sight Jellal assumed the red wolf (definitely not a fox) was on her own. Perhaps she was on the hunt for a mate or maybe she'd been ostracized. Either way Jellal found himself captivated by her presence. She stared at him from increasingly closer locations and he suspected she appreciated his unsurprising nature. He took it as a compliment that she trusted him enough to even consider approaching.
The first night the solar flares stretched across the night sky Jellal was amazed in spite of himself. Bright bands of color filled the heavens and he decided never to trust photographs of celestial phenomena to properly convey beauty ever again. It was as if someone had taken a brush of the most iridescent colors in existence and painted them across the sky. Stars sparkled behind the swaths of color creating extraordinary depth.
When the sun rose the next morning Jellal found the red wolf perched on the edge of the deck. She remained there, statuesque and beautiful as he went about his routine. He figured she'd been watching him long enough to expect his exit from the cabin to join her on the wood planks for coffee. Once he was situated in his favorite chair the wolf's head bobbed almost imperceptibly as she sniffed the air he'd brought out with him from inside. He wasn't sure when she returned to the woods but when he glanced out the window glass nearing lunch time she was gone.
Mornings with the red wolf became common place. He never offered her food and she never showed an interest. Upon closer inspection Jellal realized he'd been right – the wolf was female. She lacked certain dangly parts. He felt somewhat invasive even peeking between her back legs as she trotted across the expanse of newly exposed grass but curiosity won out.
The way her brown eyes gazed at him had a cognizant feel. Jellal supposed maybe he should have been more alarmed but he wasn't. When he spoke to her the first time her ears twitched.
"Am I really so interesting?" he asked. "Or is life out there just that monotonous?"
Of course, she didn't respond but when he glanced over at her she was eyeing him in a way that seemed almost thoughtful.
"Are you lonely?" The wolf turned and loped across the grass and back into the woods.
The following day she spent all afternoon in his company. When the sun sat high in the sky she stretched across the warmed planks of his deck and even though her eyes never closed for a nap Jellal thought maybe she relaxed. The wolf stayed until just before sunset. She rose and stretched gracefully before leaving him alone to watch the solar flares in solitude.
13 celsius, May
The lights dwindled and Jellal missed them straight away. He'd known they wouldn't last more than a month in the spring but their absence left him feeling regretful. He wasn't expected home until mid-summer, though, and Jellal intended to spend the remainder of his time at the cabin sorting his observations. The photographs he'd taken would be part of his presentation.
His wolf companion seemed most happy when he spoke to her. Her coat was often damp from melted snow and rain and sometimes he wondered how she'd feel if he touched it. Jellal would never attempt such a thing, though. As docile as the red wolf appeared to be, he had no doubts about her being a wild creature.
He'd grown content to spend the warmer afternoons outside in the sun and until grass could be seen even beyond the trees most days were exactly like the one before. But then there was the woman.
Jellal had left the wolf on the deck to refill his coffee and when he returned the cup slipped from his fingers and clattered to the floor. Instead of the red wolf a woman stood near the steps that lead down to the grass. She was staring at her hands in a kind of shocked wonder. Her hair – the same alluring red as the wolf's coat – hung wet about her shoulders and her skin glistened in the early afternoon sun. The sound of the crashing mug caught her attention and she suddenly noticed him. She gasped and Jellal gaped.
The woman covered her naked breasts with her arms and then realized two arms weren't quite enough to hide everything. She crouched and hugged her legs close.
"Don't look at me!" she said in a voice Jellal didn't think had been used in a while. He averted his eyes as best he could but... there was a woman! A naked woman in place of the red wolf on his deck! Not staring was a challenge. She inched toward the steps and it looked as if she might bolt.
"No! Don't... you can't! It's still too cold and you're freeze without, well, without clothes," he called to her. The woman turned her head back toward him. She was apparently more comfortable with him having the view of her backside rather than the front. Her eyes blinked rapidly as if in confusion. Jellal thought maybe she was still considering her options. "I, uh, I don't have any... ladies' clothes but I can get you something... if you want," he added quickly.
The woman nodded once and faced out toward the trees again. He was afraid to leave her alone but he couldn't just let her stand naked outside all day.
"Don't go anywhere, okay? I'll be right back." With graceless speed Jellal grabbed the first blanket he could get his hands on and a towel from the pile of folded clothes on his bed. To his relief the woman was waiting for him. He held out the blanket but she was unwilling to remove her arms from her chest so Jellal shook it from the folds and wrapped it around her shoulders – careful not to touch her.
"Thank you," she said softly. "It's warm today." Jellal's eyebrows flew up.
"Eh, yes. Kind of. The sun is out, so that helps." He offered her the towel but she only stared at it suspiciously and tightened the blanket around her body. "Right, uh, I can help you... with your hair."
"Okay," the woman said uncertainly. Jellal pulled her thick, red hair from the blanket and used the towel to soak the bulk of the cold water from the strands. He couldn't help but compare the color of her hair to the coat of the wolf, but that train of thought came to a screeching halt. Did he truly believe this completely random and naked woman was the red wolf? Did he?
His many questions would have to wait because she was smiling at him now and he decided it was a lovely smile he wanted to see much more of.
"Better?" Jellal asked.
"Yes, thank you." Her stomach growled loudly and her cheeks turned pink. "Uh –"
"Hungry? I have plenty of food here." The woman's eyes flit nervously to the interior of the house and back to his face.
"Are you sure? I'm so... dirty."
"It's fine, I promise. You can even borrow the bathtub if you want."
The woman's face brightened again. "A bath? I haven't had a bath in..." she trailed off and her smile went away. "A long time."
"Well, you can have one today," Jellal said lightly. He held open the door for her and she took one last glance at the trees before stepping inside.
"My name was – is Erza. My name is Erza." She clutched the mug of hot tea to her chest.
"Is this your house, Jellal? I can't remember anyone living here since, well, before."
"Actually, no. It belongs to my colleague and friend. I don't think she's visited in a few years, though."
"Years," Erza repeated as she stared into the fire. "I guess maybe it's been that long. I was lost for a while, I think."
"Yes. It stays cold all the time when you go higher up."
"You have questions, right? I would, if I were you." She smiled wanly at him and set her mug aside.
"I don't want to pry."
"I used to have a pack but they're gone now. I felt it when they died and I think that's when I got lost."
"Are there many like you?"
"I don't know. My pack was all I knew." Erza wiped a tear with the edge of the blanket. "I didn't think I'd ever be able to change again."
"How did you do it today?" Jellal asked before he could think better of it.
"The weather. You. Both, I think."
"You're very calm and easy to predict. I felt comfortable with you. I think maybe it helped me remember being in this body."
"What did you mean about the weather?"
"The warmer it is, the less I can hold on to the wolf. That's how I got so lost. My pack was gone and I couldn't find my way back. In the deep cold, I would never have been able to change."
Jellal watched her shift under the blanket and curl further into herself. Her hair was slowly drying but there were still bits of nature in it.
"Erza, this is –"
"Crazy? I know. I can go if you want." She didn't look like she wanted to go at all.
"No, please don't. You can stay. I don't want do drag things out of you that make you sad." He stood and gathered the mugs and dishes from lunch. "I'll run you a bath okay?"
"Thank you, Jellal," Erza whispered. She didn't look at him but kept her eyes on the fire.
When she emerged from the bath clad in his night clothes they sat in familiar silence well into the night.
19 celsius, June
Every morning he found Erza staring out of the kitchen windows at the forest. The bed in the guest room was still perfectly made and he wasn't sure if she'd slept in it or not.
"Do you miss it?" he asked. "Being a wolf, I mean."
"Not really. It's not the same as being me." Erza sighed and turned to him. "I wouldn't go so far as to call it mindless, but things are much more task-specific. It was different when my pack was alive."
"Were they your family?"
"Some, yes." She smiled and appeared to be lost in her memories. "I was the last to change. My brother didn't think I could do it at first. I was nine. A late bloomer, I guess."
"I'm sorry for your loss." Jellal hid his hands in his pockets. Death was something he didn't feel qualified to comfort anyone on.
"Thank you. I have my memories, though. And that's enough."
"Are you sleeping okay?" he asked pulling tea cups from the cabinets. Erza shifted on her feet and didn't answer right away.
"I can't seem to sleep very well. Not for a lack of hospitality on your part, though. I think it's just me."
"Maybe you'd sleep better in the afternoons? I read once that wolves are most active at night and in the mornings." Erza laughed and sat at the table. Jellal didn't think he'd heard her laugh so freely before.
"Maybe. It's also the dreams. I dream of an endless forest where I run alone all day and night. It's unnerving. I don't like it." Jellal couldn't imagine being plagued by such dreams. Loneliness wasn't something he often experienced but Erza's description of her solitary existence saddened him. "If this house doesn't belong to you, does that mean you're leaving soon?" she asked suddenly.
"I have until mid-July before I have to return with my studies," he said slowly watching for her reaction. He hadn't thought to consider what she would do once he left and Jellal suddenly felt selfish. "You could come with me back to the city," he blurted. "Maybe a new start would help?"
"The temperature doesn't suit me. My body requires the change and if the air is too warm, I could become sick. This is the best place for me."
"But you can't change when it's so warm, right?" Jellal still had trouble believing magical things like Erza existed. He didn't think he'd have adapted quite so quickly if she hadn't appeared in the place of her red wolf right outside on the deck. "What will you do? What if... what if you get lost again?"
Erza smiled sadly. "This is my way. I can't predict the future or know what'll happen without an anchor. Even in the summer there are parts of the forest that remain dark and cold."
Dark. And cold. No that wouldn't do at all.
"I used to think about touching your fur," Jellal said quietly. Erza's laugh was soft beside him. She never strayed too far from his side once the sun set. "I thought you might bite me if I tried."
"If it helps, I never once thought of biting you. I was more curious than anything else."
"Curious? I'm pretty boring, to be honest."
"You're not boring at all. My wolf liked you because of your quiet nature. She could tell you were kind and safe. And..." Erza looked away and tried to hide her blush. "She thought you smelled nice."
"That's the first time you've spoken of your wolf form as something separate from you."
"She's a simpler version of me. We are the same but apart. When I'm human she's still inside of me but... quieter." Erza stared into the fire and hugged her knees to her chest. Her hair fell over one shoulder and Jellal could not believe how much he still wanted to touch it.
"What did I smell like?" he asked in an attempt to draw her from herself.
"Something calm. Something my wolf didn't recognize but I did." Erza turned her face to him again and smiled a little. "You smelled like sheets and pillows and coffee and soap. It was like you opened a door in my head. I couldn't stop myself from coming back here every day."
"Me too." Erza surprised him and leaned into his side. She canted her body towards him and loosened her arms around her knees just a little and Jellal couldn't resist curling the tips of her hair around one finger. It was as soft as he'd imagined.
"Do you think you'll ever come back?" she asked. Jellal set the last of the wet dishes to dry on the rack before turning to her.
"Well, this is Lucy's cabin but –"
"Is Lucy your wife?" Jellal couldn't help chuckling.
"No. Lucy is my friend and someone I work with. She has her own husband and a baby on the way."
Erza finally turned to him. "A baby?"
"Yep. A boy. He'll probably be born any day now."
"That's... wonderful. Babies are wonderful."
"Of course." She laughed lightly and Jellal found himself smiling. He loved the sound of her laughter. "I'll never forget you, Jellal. I may lose my way again, but I won't forget you," Erza said suddenly serious.
"Thank you for reminding me of who I am." She stepped closer to him and tidied his messy hair with a smile. "Now I know what your hair feels like." Jellal's face warmed with embarrassment. He hadn't realized Erza noticed him touching her hair. "I didn't mind," she said quietly. "I was wondering how long it would take you, to be honest."
"I should've asked first –"
"I'm glad you did." Erza surprised him again by moving even closer to him and tucking her head under his chin and wrapping her arms around his middle. "I think maybe once you're gone I won't want anyone else to touch it ever again."
When she looked up at him Jellal's senses flew out of his head completely. His fingers traced the line of her jaw and the edge of her bottom lip. Just before he kissed her, she smiled and his heart filled with something he was too terrified to name.
The next day Jellal left Erza at the cabin and drove into town on a mission.
22 celsius, July
Erza wandered through the newly furnished rooms with less enthusiasm than expected. Her face was pensive and she chewed her bottom lip more than he'd noticed before.
"This furniture can go if you don't like it." Jellal offered as she joined him in the hallway after inspecting the last of the three smaller bedrooms. Erza hugged her arms to her chest in an anxious way he recognized. "Tell me what's wrong and I'll fix it."
"So, it's mine?" she asked softly. "Just mine?"
"Well –" he cleared his throat awkwardly. "I mean –"
"It's a lot of room for one person."
"Yes, it is." Jellal sighed. She was distressed and he felt responsible. "Listen, Erza, I have to go back down south in a week but I'm not staying there."
"No. This house is so you don't get lost while I'm gone if you... change. Your anchor." Erza's eyes filled with tears and he reached up to brush them away.
"But your work!"
"I can work from anywhere, Erza. The reason I came all the way up here was to be closest to what I study. My presence in the lab can be kept to a minimum. Lucy doesn't need me that much."
Erza studied his face for a long, silent moment before taking his hand and pulling him into the living room. The tall windows overlooking the woods were part of the reason this property attracted him.
"This house is beautiful, Jellal, but you can't rearrange your life around mine."
"I can and have. I'll be back here before the solar flares return in September. That's less than two months from now. If you keep warm I can see you before the real cold sets in." His fingers found their way into her hair again.
"I don't know how to articulate what you've done for me. You've returned my humanity to me and now I have an anchor. Jellal..." she trailed off before hugging him tightly. "I can feel things again. Happiness, contentment... love. I don't know what to say."
"Promise me you'll try not to get lost. I'm not like you but I'll wait. Every year I'll wait. You can always find me here in our house." He smiled down at her. "I won't change soaps or anything."
Erza hid her face in the soft knit of his sweater and it was dark out before she whispered, "Thank you and I promise."
11 celsius, September
The house stood out against the snowy backdrop of the woods. Every window was lit and the yellow glow spilled out onto the wintry landscape. Inside, Jellal discovered the fire blazing in the stone hearth but Erza wasn't in front of it. He hung his coat and left his bags in the entryway. Boxes were stacked in the living room – he'd been shipping his belongings north and the last of them were still in the trunk of his car.
He thought the temperature in the house to be almost too warm but understood the purpose behind it. Erza smiled at him from beneath a mountain of bath bubbles when he found her.
"You're back!" she said with some surprise.
"Were you afraid I wouldn't make it?" He asked pulling his tie loose. Changing out of his professional clothes before getting on the road had been forgone.
"There's been a cold front this last week. I was worried I wouldn't get to see you this way before your return." Erza slid forward far enough for him to ease himself into the water behind her.
"That explains the near tropical temperatures in the house."
"Sorry," she said sheepishly.
"Don't apologize. I'd rather be too warm than miss you until... how long does the wolf usually stay?"
Erza leaned back against him and sighed. "It depends. The longer I remain in that form and the colder the temperature is, the harder I have to try to change back."
"You seemed surprised by it when I first saw you."
"Yes the change did take me by surprise. I could feel it coming but I didn't think it would be so sudden. When I had a pack we would never stay in wolf form for more than a month at a time in the dead of winter. The anchor was stronger and the urge to wander less compelling."
"I don't think I can know for sure until I change. I became lost because I ran. My wolf is skittish. She was afraid of dying and the pain of death was too great."
"Erza, you don't have to talk about that if you don't want to." He wrapped his arms around her shoulders.
"The loss is different as a human. It's been years and I've come to terms with it. But they were killed as wolves and I... heard it. I think having a place to return to and someone waiting will help. She won't want to go as far."
"What will happen when you change? Will I wake up one day and you'll be gone?"
"I wish I had an answer to that." Erza turned in the water and slid over his lap. "I think I have a week or two if the temperature doesn't plummet again. But by October I won't be able to stop it."
"I'll miss you." Erza smiled and touched his cheek with her hand before kissing him.
-2 celsius, October
Jellal watched the snow pile on the railings of the back deck. This one was different from Lucy's. He'd had a stone fire pit installed before the last snow fall and spent many hours warming his hands in the flames.
Erza had been gone three weeks and he missed her terribly. Every night the sky swirled with painted whirlpools of color and he took comfort in the fact that where ever she was, she could see the lights, too. He didn't lock the back door at night. Just in case.