Jellal thought the vaulted hallways and thickly ivied courtyards of Sacred Heart Academy weren't so bad after the school day had ended. He supposed he had more time to ponder this fact than other students since he spent so much time in detention. The squeak of his shoes on the polished floors and the whisper of occasional robes were soothing after a day of mind numbing lessons and the steady buzz of chatter.
Usually he was alone as he meandered his way through the building and eventually home, but today he was accompanied by the other boys who'd served detention alongside him. Jellal didn't exactly hate Erik or Sawyer but they did grate on his nerves just enough to take the shine off the late afternoon.
"Let's cut through the sanctuary," Erik said. "I need to get out of here as soon as possible."
"I don't like it in there," Sawyer whined.
"Yeah, well, I don't like winding through all these damn hallways. It's creepy." Erik veered toward the line of double doors that led into the sanctuary. Normally, when mass wasn't in service, the mammoth room felt heavy with eerie silence but today the sound that greeted Jellal's ears made him smile.
"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say,
It is well. It is well with my soul."
The angelic voice soaked through his skin and into his core. Jellal didn't think he'd ever reach a point where he'd grow tired of hearing it.
"Oh, great," Erik grunted under his breath. "Now we'll never fucking get out of here."
"You shouldn't swear in the sanctuary, idiot!" Sawyer punched Erik in the arm with a scowl. "And why not?"
"Choir practice," Erik muttered folding his arms across his chest and jerking his chin toward the front of the vast room.
Jellal tuned the other boys out and shoved his hands into his pockets. A slow grin spread over his face and he lost himself to the most beautiful sound in existence.
"My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, oh, my soul!"
The overhead lights of the vestibule shone down on the rows of students that lined the risers. The subject of his fascination stood beside the grand piano. Her red hair glowed brilliantly under the lights.
Erik sighed loudly enough to snag the attention of Sister Porlyusica who turned to glare at the boys sharply. Jellal winced slightly and slid into one of the rows of pews with a mouthed apology. He heard Erik and Sawyer take their seats in the very back row but he couldn't be bothered with whatever they were doing. Jellal leaned forward and watched Erza flip the page of her music. Her fingers tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and heaven help him but he could not stop staring.
"And Lord haste the day when my soul shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul!"
When she finished her solo Jellal was a little sad to see her step back amongst the ranks of the choir. Erik snorted behind him and earned another glare from Sister Porlyusica. He couldn't care about that though because the noise was loud enough for Erza's eyes to find him. She smiled and her cheeks tinted pink. The chorus of the hymn he'd known by heart since he'd first learned to speak echoed off the walls and rafters.
"It is well, it is well with my soul!"
As long as it was Erza singing the words he would take them for truth.