notes: in which this writing is just as mess of a mess as I am right now.

for wordslinger. the other half of your unofficial bday present.

It always goes like this.

He's a tired wreck at her front door and she wastes no time ushering him right into her studio apartment. She asks no questions about where, why, or how he arrived, and he isn't really prepared to answer them anyway.

She already has hot tea already brewing (because she expects him to come knocking on a weekday more often than not) and she already has two clean ceramic mugs out. With a small mutter of thanks, he takes his usual place at her two-chaired table and wordlessly, she pours the fresh brew into an off-white mug with a chipped rim.

(It's the same one he uses every single time.)

Erza always makes her tea strong (like her) and even though he prefers a lighter drink, he takes the tea without milk and sugar anyway. However, after a while the bitter catches in his throat and he disguises a cough by clearing his throat.

Except she can see through his acting (she always has been able to tell with just a look at his eyes) and she laughs, almost mocking his unconditioned taste. He responds with a quip about how she's never made a smooth tea anyway, and after trading a couple more insults, they begin a conversation that goes on for the next minute.

But soon one minute becomes one hour and one hour becomes one night and before either of them realize, their tea has gone cold and blizzard winds have picked up outside and she's insisting he stay the night to avoid the incoming snowstorm and he doesn't see any reason to not, so he agrees.

(This is what always happens regardless.)

She pulls some sheets and a quilt from the closet and throws it onto the sofa. She reaches in again and grabs an old shirt and gray sweatpants (these were originally his anyway, and he hasn't yet asked her why she hasn't thrown them out of her home) before handing it to him and telling him that she's claiming the shower first.

He doesn't really care because he's too fatigued to even think about an extra step before bed. He reaches behind him to take off his sweater, and then once more to take off his shirt before slipping into a clean night shirt. He isn't facing her because he hasn't undressed in front of her since they stopped dating two years ago, but he catches her steal a glance at his back in the black reflection of the TV screen in front of him.

(He's still paying attention, because he still cares about what she thinks of him.)

Erza has excused herself from the living room before he turns around, and he supposes that's better than if she had not, because he was about ready to change out of his jeans in the same room as her as well (since he knows she's very well-acquainted with his body anyway).

By the time he's turned off the lights in the kitchen and the living room and has crawled into his make-shift bed on her couch, she's in the shower. He can tell because of the squeak that the hot water faucet always makes when it's turned and because of the sound of the water.

If he listens carefully (and he always does when it comes to her), he can tell when she steps out of the spray to lather and when she steps back into the spray to rinse off, and he tries his best to not think about trails of water dropping off her wet hair and down her supple skin and the steam of the hot shower making her flush pink at the cheeks.

(He can't help it anyway.)

He closes his eyes, turns his body into the cushions of the couch (they smell like her), and begins to count to one hundred. He does this one, two, three times to distract him and to hopefully quicken his falling asleep, but as tired as he is, he just can't.

He's thinking about her in the other room, curled up warm and smooth and soft (and alone) under her blankets and it's keeping him wide awake, even without the help of the caffeine from her strong tea. He's thinking about her in the other room, breathing quiet and steady while she settles to sleep (by herself) and he's thinking about her in the other room and how he used to be on the other side of the bedroom door and why he no longer is sharing the same space as her and that he wants so bad to be with her.

(He's always thinking about her.)

He wrestles the sheets and he wrestles his mind, but at some point, he sits up and leans back into the sofa, staring up at the moonlit ceiling. He curses himself four, five, six times while he buries his face in his hands. He can't resist her, and he knows he never can – so he can't even convince himself to lie back to sleep (by himself) when he knows that every time he tries, he fails anyway.

(She's not stopping him either.)

She's left the bedroom door open a crack, so he makes no sound as he pushes the door ajar as he steps into her room, walking softly over the hardwood floor (he knows where all the creaky spots are). With every step forward he takes, he knows he can easily just turn back around and pretend that he was never in her room at all, but his feet seem to move on their own and suddenly he's standing at the edge of her bed and he's so close he can see her breath in and out under her covers.

He sighs quietly before he crawls into her bed, slips through the sheets and sides right up against her, because more than ever, he wants – no, needs – to encircle his arms around her and to bury his face in her scarlet tresses. He hears her sigh (he's never been able to differentiate her sighs when she's relieved or when she's disappointed) and she relaxes into his embrace. She tangles her legs between his, and she cover his hands with hers.

She's so warm, so smooth, so soft (as he remembered) and he nears his mouth closer and closer to the back of her neck with every inhale, exhale she takes. He presses his lips onto her skin, and her heart skips a beat (he's holding her tight enough to feel her flutter) and she gasps and just that makes him growl deep in his throat.

He slides one hand down to the hem of her shirt and her hand follows him. When he stops just under the slip of her clothing, she pushes him up, up, up, and then his fingers are traveling over her bare skin up, up, up, until he reaches the swell of the bottom of her breast and then he lets out a shuddered exhale as his hips grind into her bottom and as his thumb runs over her hardening nipples. She exhales, open-mouthed (he can tell because of the rough sound of her breath), and then suddenly flips herself over, throwing one leg over his hip and pulling his face into hers with both hands.

She's kissing him hard and urgent. She's trying to breathe and moan at the same time. She's trying to take his clothes off while taking hers off. She can't do everything at once so she is carnal, and she is as eager as he is, and he's doing the exact same thing – he is rushed and he is impatient, and after what feels like forever, he struggles every thread of fabric off her and then practically tears everything off him, and he pushes her onto her back and climbs atop her.

No foreplay. No tease. She splits her legs and tilts her hips toward him, gripping his waist and coaxing him down and in. No wait. No delay. He enters her straight and hard and full and deep. She mewls and shifts her hands up his back, piercing his skin with her nails, and pulls his chest toward her. He follows her direction and he bites just under her jaw before he trails the tip of his tongue up her neck and then whispers breathily into her ear—

"Wrap your legs around me."

She does. She locks her ankles behind his back and keeps him close. Even as he lifts up and out of her, she pulls him back down and into her with her calves.

(She doesn't let him go.)

He thrusts rough and in tune with her hips. He fists the sheets tight and he settles into a rhythm, not caring for the blankets slowly falling off the bed, not caring for her tangling hair wrapping around his fingers, not caring for her feet rubbing the skin of his back raw – because she is so good and because he is making her quiver and he loves watching her, hearing her, kissing her as she loses control.

(She hasn't changed. She's always liked it this way.)

He can't think of a single thing except of her whines and pants and purrs and her crying out (his name), and for a moment he can't remember why they aren't together anymore when this is all so perfect and he thinks that maybe they could try again because why not and he wonders if she's thinking the same thing (of course she is) and then –

He comes and she comes, and they both come back to their senses.

Heart still beating fast and breath still catching up, she furrows her eyes and stares up at the ceiling, fists clenched and frustrated.

"Why are you doing this, Jellal?" she asks. "Why are we doing this?"

She asks this every time.

(He's never been able to answer.)

And god knows why they can't live forever with each other because they can't live a single moment without each other either.