I'm really amused to see you guys thinking I would just end things in the previous chapter. Of course I won't just end things without some drama.

Jellal looked peaceful asleep, she thought to herself. Her eyes traced the soft lines on his face, the thick lashes resting flatly on his skin. He looked just like any ordinary man in the world.

Wendy had spent every drop of her magical reserves healing Jellal, refusing to rest until she's sure that Jellal was out of danger zone. Currently, she's slumbering on the armchair at the end of the room, with Carle curled up in her lap. Erza reminded herself to treat Wendy a large strawberry cake when they returned to Magnolia. She couldn't thank the little girl enough.

She glanced back at the sleeping man on the bed and hesitantly reached out to hold his hand. Warm, she thought, entwining their fingers together. She gently brushed his hair away from his face, taking the moment to devour his features. How long have she longed to touch him like this, without any restraints? Her fingers lingered over his hair, before tentatively sliding down his face to graze over the skin. She quietly savoured the warmness.

He was alive. She mouthed it repeatedly, tasting the words on her lips. He was alive.

So close, she thought. She was just this close to forever losing him. If it hadn't been for Laxus...

She was jerked out of her reverie when she felt his hand twitched slightly. She looked down in surprise before excitedly snapping her eyes back to his face. His eyes were moving slightly under his closed lids. She bit her lip to control her agitation as she slowly waited for him to wake.

"Er... Erza." He croaked out a raspy whisper. His pupils were dilated and unfocused as he gazed up at her smiling face. He blinked, his eyes becoming more alert. "Erza..."

She let out a choking laugh and flung herself at him. "Thank god, thank god, thank god..."

The whole Grand Magic Games fiasco was over, the various guilds were slowly returning back to their own homes and Crime Sorcière was parting ways with Fairy Tail. After all, they were still fugitives on the run. Jellal's injuries were healed and it was with the combined efforts of both Wendy and Porlyusica that he was able to stand up and walk about.

Erza, sitting by the edge of the bar counter, watched Jellal solemnly. She knew she was hovering around him for the past few days. She didn't missed the looks Lucy and Ultear were giving her after all, although Ultear's expression leaned more towards exasperation, as if she wanted to take the heads of both the redhead and Jellal and slammed them against each other.

"Well, I guess we'll see each other sometime in the future." Ultear smiled, clasping the collar of her mantle together. "You guys did wonderfully by the way."

Jellal stood a little behind her, his eyes seeking out a certain redhead. When their eyes met, he gave her a tiny smile. She instinctively rose from the chair. Was she going to let him just leave like that? She felt someone else's eyes on her, giving her an uncomfortable feeling around her shoulders. She turned, blinking in surprise when she found Meredy looking at her. Meredy almost jumped when she noticed the redhead staring back at her. Then, slowly, the surprised and guilty expression melted away and she gestured at Jellal beside her, giving Erza a pointed look. For a moment, Erza felt confused because she couldn't understand what the pink-haired mage was trying to tell her. Then Meredy gave her a kind, knowing look and looked back at Jellal. Erza swallowed when she realized she had just gotten the equivalent of a sisterly approval from Meredy.

"Wait!" she didn't realized she had shouted until everyone's eyes were on her. She flushed and cleared her throat, meeting Jellal's puzzled eyes. "S-Stay with me."

Jellal's brows furrowed in confusion. Erza let out a huff of frustration and embarrassment. She stomped towards him, seized his wrist and dragged him out of the Fairy Tail lodging.

"Erza, what –?" Jellal stammered as she let him go, wondering if he had done something to piss her off. She certainly looked ready to hit someone.

"Jellal," her tone silenced him instantly. He wished she would just turn around, because he couldn't tell what she's thinking like this. Erza's eyes always gave her away. "Jellal, stay with me. Don't go."

She slowly turned around, eyes unexpectedly soft and pleading. "Stay by my side, Jellal. I don't care anymore. The Magic Council or Zeref... I won't let anything separate you from me any longer."

"What... what are you saying?" he whispered, looking away. "You know that's..."

Erza stepped forward, holding up a hand. "Listen to me first." Jellal bit his lip and nodded to indicate that he's listening. "Jellal, I'm tired of losing you. How many times had it been? I lost you once to Ultear, another at the Tower of Heaven and once again I lost you to the Magic Council. And this time... you nearly – no, you actually died! Do you think I can just let you go like that?"

Jellal opened his mouth, only to be stopped with her finger over his lips. She was so close he could smell her. A unique blend of metal and strawberry scent.

"I'm not letting you go," she whispered. "Not after I finally got you back."

He stared at her, unable to believe what he's hearing. "Erza, I... I can't. If I stay... I will only give you and Fairy Tail trouble. Please don't give the Magic Council anymore reasons to suspect you."

"Jellal," her voice was gentle and careful when she spoke his name, as if it was her most precious treasure and she had to be cautious in handling it too roughly. He looked up at her face, and her eyes were so tender he felt like crying. She reached up hesitantly and lightly caressed his cheek, a strange look in her eyes. "I love you, Jellal. I love you. So please stay."

His eyes widened, a jolt of shock numbing his mouth and cutting off his ability to speak. He knew he probably looked like an idiot, gaping at her. Unbidden, he felt his eyes watered. Choking in surprise, he reeled back and quickly looked down so she wouldn't see the tears in his eyes.

"Jellal?" Erza frowned in concern. Well, that wasn't what she was expecting.

She timidly touched his arm, blinking in confusion when he flinched. His head jerked up and her eyes widened when she saw the wetness in his eyes.

"Erza..." her heart clenched at the heart-breaking sorrow in his voice. "You... you should never have loved me. I-I don't deserve someone like you to love me. Someone who only know how to cause pain and hurt everyone around him. Someone who has hurt you too many times to count." He swallowed, his lips trembling, and when he spoke again, his voice was full of raw anguish. "Erza, how is it that you can ever love someone like me?"

Her eyes softened, a small, sad smile gracing her lips. She slowly tugged him closer, an arm sliding over his shoulders. She felt his fingers digging into her bicep, pulling at the fabric over the skin.

"...How is it that you don't hate me?" he whispered into her shoulder. "How is it that you can forgive me so easily?"

"How can I not?" she asked gently, drawing away slightly to look into his eyes. "How can I hate you? How can I hate someone who could still cry in front of me and tries so hard to atone for his sins?"

When she experimentally leaned forward and he didn't move away, she bended down and kissed him. Erza has never kissed anyone in her life. She'd always thought kissing quite disgusting. Why would anyone want to share spit with each other? But kissing Jellal felt right. Jellal shyly kissed her back, hesitant and unsure, mostly following her lead.

"Alright," Lucy huffed, pulling at Natsu's ear. "Let's all give them our privacy!"

Ultear rolled her eyes as she ducked away. "Looks like we're staying with Fairy Tail after all."

Erza smiled as Jellal glanced up at her, licking his lips uncertainly. She resisted the urge to kiss him again and leaned against him, closing her eyes.

"The world may hate you, Jellal," she said softly. "But I will never stop loving you."