Non-romantic EdoJellal/EdoErza for laurelsblue who requested their thoughts on each other. Fits in with the manga continuity.
Disclaimer: Hiro Mashima owns the characters, I'm just elaborating a bit on his creation.
I Will Be Watching You
Every part of her body hurts and every step she takes costs her an energy she doesn't possess anymore. She's running on a pride and a determination alone but she is Erza Knightwalker and she won't allow her weakness to be seen.
People are celebrating in the streets, the panic from before forgotten amidst the cries of "The prince has saved us!" and "His Majesty is back!".
The crowd parts for Erza and a silence descends in her surroundings as she makes her way towards the new hero of Edolas. Here and there, a whispered comment on her battle-worn appearance is heard but she pays it no attention. Her goal is further down the path of honor the people are making for her.
Erza needs to see him for herself - the traitor turned saviour, the runaway prince turned hero. She needs to see and she needs to judge his worthiness by herself. And when she finally spots him, she straightens up even as their eyes meet. She won't bow to him, not yet.
Even as the people keep cheering all around him, Jellal feels the weight of what he has taken upon himself settle on him. Rebuilding Edolas won't be easy. The high spirits of this day, brought upon by his perceived victory over the Demon Lord, will wane under the hardships of everyday life.
Maybe it's because he's so attuned to the crowd right now but he notices immediately the ripples of a silence spreading from one direction. Facing that way, he sees the people part to make a path for a single person.
She is almost unrecognizable. Her clothes are torn to shreds, barely preserving her modesty, her skin is dirty and her hair is tangled and messed up. But she carries herself proudly, her steps do not falter and she is heading in his direction. Jellal hears the people speak among themselves. They are talking about Captain Knightwalker and wonder what kind of an enemy she must have faced to look like that.
He feels a momentary twinge of regret for not being able to witness that fight. It must have been a magnificent sight. But Erza Knightwalker is in a speaking distance now and an expectant hush falls over the crowd as they watch the proceedings.
Jellal meets her eyes and is taken aback by the amount of anger and contempt in them. But then her eyes flicker towards the crowd and when she turns back, a more serene expression appears in them. They are still hard but no longer unforgiving.
Erza can't hide her feelings at first. He is a traitor. He abandoned his country. He allied himself with their enemies. He- she averts her eyes before her self-control snaps and she sees the hopeful faces all around her. The people of Edolas want this to be true. They need this to be true. They need to believe in their hero because that belief will carry them through the hard times ahead. The needs of her people are more important than her own.
She meets his gaze again, forcing back the anger and contempt she feels. She will give him this chance to prove himself. One chance only.
Jellal watches anxiously as Erza takes another step forward, keeping the eye contact between them. She's only three feet from him now. He braces himself - he doesn't know what for - and she suddenly drops to one knee, her head bowing in a clear gesture of supplication, a vassal paying a homage to her king.
"Your Majesty," she says loudly.
"Captain Knightwalker," he acknowledges her and she raises her head to look at him. No words are exchanged, for none are needed.
I will be watching you, Your Majesty. One false step, one hint of a betrayal on your part and I will end your life.
It won't happen, Captain, I promise.
She stands up then and the people around them cheer, now that the past has connected with the future. And as he turns to go to the palace, she falls in step behind him, watching his back closely. That is her new duty and she will excel at it.
A.N.: It's from the fic meme over at my livejournal. The first ten people to comment will get a fic of their choosing. Three spots are filled, seven remains.