Important note: In 7/2016 I posted a request of this same name. It can be found as Chapter 1 here and as Chapter 29 in Request Prompts. A couple of months ago I started pondering the idea of expanding it and then last week a reviewer on this site told me I should do a mafia AU with a very similar premise to what I'd already written and what I'd been considering. Obviously it was fate so here we are.
This might read a little abrupt between the chapters but I didn't want to change the original request. They don't flow directly one after another so there has been an undisclosed (and unimportant) brief passage of time.
The house was dark and a familiar sense of mild alarm settled low in his gut. He didn't like leaving her but when Makarov Dreyar called, Jellal answered – with a quickness. His eyes swept the yard and clusters of shadows lurking around the front door and under the windows before tapping the remote attached to the sun visor. Halogen light flooded the driveway as he eased into the garage. After waiting for the garage door to roll back down again he armed the security system and entered the house.
A yellow glow from the kitchen spilled into the hallway but Jellal didn't start his inspection there. He prowled through all three bedrooms, the living room, dining area, and bathrooms before feeling satisfied they were alone. The patrol down the street wouldn't move on until he verified the house was clear via text. Confirmation came immediately and he finally closed in on the kitchen.
Even in the low light Erza was stunning. She stood with one hip braced against the counter, swirling the ice in a lowball glass. When she set it aside he could see whatever she'd been drinking was now mingling with water.
"You're back early," she said quietly. Her gaze didn't stray from the row of windows lining the kitchen wall. Only the submerged lights of the pool illuminated the backyard. Erza didn't press when Jellal didn't respond. "Mirajane brought me dinner." She laughed oddly. "I feel like it should be me helping her, though. Everything considered. There's leftovers if you want."
Instead of taking the offer of food, Jellal went with a bottle of water from the pantry. He never drank alcohol – he couldn't afford to be intoxicated. He crushed the plastic bottle in his hand and tossed it in the garbage.
"That's recyclable you know," Erza said finally turning around. She wore nothing but the same variety of nightgown she always slept in – all silk and lace and straps with a hem brushing the tops of her thighs. Rumpled curls fell about her shoulders and he could tell she'd had just enough bourbon to dull her senses.
Jellal remained silent as he retrieved the water bottle from the trash and tossed it into the blue bin instead. His eyes slid to the locks on the backdoor before shrugging off his jacket. The shoulder holsters were never comfortable but the clothes he wore to cover them aggravated him even more. Erza eyed him closely before finishing off her glass and leaving him in the kitchen.
Low light fanned from beneath her bedroom door and Jellal left her to it. She was a melancholy drunk and when she was ready to fire off all her questions about the meeting, Erza would come to him. Chasing her was never wise.
Ever vigilant, he checked his weapons before leaving them on the dresser top. With much less ceremony, his clothes were tossed in a heap near the closet. The day had been long and all he wanted was a shower. Hot water on tense muscles was his panacea – mostly. Jellal was not surprised to find the source of both his final release of the day, and every ounce of tension, stretched across his bed when he returned from the bathroom. She didn't smile.
"How much longer?" Erza asked.
"Until it's safe," he responded, digging a fresh pair of boxer shorts out of the dresser.
"That's not a descriptive answer." Jellal had been with her long enough to recognize a pointed statement when he heard it.
"It's the only one I have."
"He'll live." He could feel her bristling behind him. "I'm sorry I don't have more to tell you, Erza. You know I would tell you if I could."
"Laxus is safe but not me?"
"I don't make the rules." Jellal tossed the towel aside and pulled on the boxers. He turned around. "The FBI won't leave this alone for a while."
Erza's face fell and she deflated. "I'm just worried about my family," she whispered.
"I'll take you to see Laxus tomorrow," he offered lamely. "That's the best I can do for now. And you know –"
"Guards everywhere, I know. One day maybe..." she trailed off and sat back on her heels. "Never mind."
"You don't have to say it. I understand." Jellal stood at the edge of the bed and watched her worry her bottom lip. The fringe of scarlet hair that framed her face fell in her eye and his fingers twitched. He waited for her to crawl across the mattress and stretch up to wrap her arms around his neck. The silk of her nightgown clung to his still-damp chest as she pressed herself against him.
"I don't want any of it without you," she whispered. "Even if I could have a new name and a new life, I wouldn't leave without you."
Jellal finally brushed her hair from her eyes and traced the letters inked into the skin just below her left shoulder. Erza hadn't asked him before getting the tattoo and he supposed he should be grateful she'd chosen a word like Love instead of his name. As she always did, Erza plowed forward with no warning – and this night was no exception. She kissed him with a desperate force and as his fingers dug into the warm silk clinging to her waist he returned the kisses with equal intensity.
He didn't stop her when her hand slid below the elastic of his boxers nor did he resist when she pulled him down on top of her. They'd only been on his body for a fleeting moment before the underwear ended up on the floor. Jellal wouldn't dispose of her nighty so quickly, though. He preferred to peel it off her slowly.
Starting with the bottom hem, he began to inch the lace trim upwards revealing the top inches of her smooth thighs. Jellal placed a kiss on each one before exposing her stomach. As he'd expected, Erza had forgone panties. She huffed in annoyance when he skipped over the place he knew she wanted his kisses the most. When he had the folds of silk bunched just below her breasts, Jellal settled between her legs. He could feel the heat of her against his stomach and wondered how long she'd tolerate his teasing.
Erza ran her fingers through his wet hair. "I missed you today," she said softly.
"Was my temporary replacement unsatisfactory?" he asked nudging the nightgown halfway over her breast with his nose.
"They weren't you."
"Two is better than one in my absence." The tip of his tongue circled her nipple and he blew gently across the peak. Erza's fingers tightened in his hair.
"You're a tease."
"I've had a very long day," he said finally pulling the nightgown over her head and tossing it behind him. "Forgive me if I don't want to rush the happy ending."
Erza groaned when he finally slid the rest of the way up her body and kissed her. Her wetness lingered on his stomach. She wrapped her legs around his waist and arched her back. The tip of him entered her slowly and Jellal pulled the soft skin of her neck into his mouth. His hand closed around her breast and squeezed.
Jellal knew Erza better than anyone else in her life – he understood every toss of her hair, every jut of her hip, every irritated tap of her fork against a dinner plate at a family meal. And as such he could sense her peak before she was even aware of the climb. When Erza came, she was glorious. Her eyes slid closed, her chin tipped upwards, and her hair tangled against the sheets. He took in every detail.
If he tried Jellal could probably pinpoint the exact moment he'd stopped being just Erza's bodyguard but it seemed irrelevant. Every day he stood between her and any number of carefully trained bullets – being the granddaughter of a well positioned criminal made her a likely target – and he'd take every last one of them if it meant her safety. Erza often hinted at a life far away from all of this but Jellal knew they'd never have it. People like them weren't allowed peace. They were trapped in webs made by those around them. In her heart, Jellal knew she understood. Laxus breathing through a tube in the hospital was a brutal reminder of everything at stake.
They never said, I love you, but the way she would look up at him when he tapped her elbow before entering a room was loud enough for everyone to hear.