(Jellal x Erza)
Contains Spoilers to the CURRENT arc (X791) so be prepared!
It was nearing two a.m. when Erza dragged herself through the door of her room. She flicked on the lights and leaned on the doorframe, looking at the work she still had to do in her small apartment. It had only felt like moments for her, but to this room she had been gone 7 long years.
She sighed and closed the door behind her, looking the room over. The furniture had been saved as it was covered over but dust clung to every free space and she was simply too tired to deal with something miniscule like housecleaning, especially on a night like tonight.
She went to the bedroom, the only semi-clean place in the house and began gathering things together for a bath. All the while, she began to unravel a weave of threading in her mind that she held in place, a psychic barrier of sorts. This one in particular kept closed the mental link she had with one person in particular. Jellal Fernandez.
They had recently discovered this during the fight for Tenroujima. She had been able to call to him when he was hundreds of miles away and he had been able to answer her with his voice and emotions. When they had returned Erza had gone to see Porlyusica, their guild medical advisor, but the old woman hadn't been able to offer her anything more then a theory. A long time ago when Jellal had destroyed Erza's eye, the magic he had used to do it had been embedded in her skull and fused with her brain, allowing her to tap into his magic. If this was true she could track him and sense him simply by turning that switch on.
She had tried to connect with him on a whim shortly after that and found that he was at dinner with Ultear and Meredy. The fact that she could literally sit inside his head and see what he saw had been so disturbing that she had pulled back immediately, wondering if he could feel her presence. After that she only let the barrier down between them when she was sure she wouldn't get caught, which usually meant coming to creep on him at the late hours of the night when she was still awake. She felt like a stalker doing such a thing, but it was relieving just to know that he was still alive and out there.
When the least threads of the barrier had fallen she pushed forward at the mental path testing gently to see where he was.
The voice was so clear and loud that she jumped and spun around, suddenly sure he was standing behind her. There was no one there, just the sound of his voice reverberating through her mind.
She blushed, feeling all the more guilty. She wondered how long he had known that she was mentally spying on him. "G-Good evening." She replied. It was like talking over the telephone, just with your thoughts.
He laughed softly, sensing her emotions and she tried instantly to become a blank slate. "Isn't it a little late for you to be awake?" He scolded lightly.
"I could say the same for you!" She snapped back. This had been the first time he had been awake when she had checked on him around this hour. "I just got back from a mission."
"With the usual suspects I presume?" He asked, and she knew he meant.
"Natsu, Lucy and Wendy. Gray partnered with Juvia to help her with her mission." She told him, knowing that he knew most of the core of their guild. "And you? Where are you?" She asked warily, getting a towel out of the closet.
"Crime Sorcerie headquarters." He said and there was a pause. "In bed." He admitted. "I was just about to go to sleep."
"I can go if you like." Erza told him, cursing her dumb timing on checking on him, but a little disappointed on the thought of leaving him already. The moments they got to spend together were few and far between.
There was no response for a few moments and then his reply came soft and sincere. "No. Stay with me a little longer."
She smiled, happy that he wanted her company. Their relationship had never been easy but ever since she had come back he had been holding her at arms length. She believed it was because he was driven to his cause- repenting for his sins of the past took everything he had and he could not focus on that if he was focusing on her. She could understand and admire that because she was the same way. Fairy Tail always came first in her world. It was only natural that Crime Sorcerie would come first in his. "Fair enough." She said, letting her emotions shine through.
"You don't sound like you are going to sleep any time soon." He chided her but his voice was gentle and light. He sounded content. A little sleepy, but at peace. It warmed her heart to hear him like that.
"I'm getting ready for a bath." She told him, passing through the doorway from the bedroom in the bathroom.
He couldn't hide that immediate prickle of interest in his mind. He was a man after all. "…Should I leave you instead?" He asked after a long moment.
"If you can not handle talking to a woman who is in the bath." Erza teased him, starting the water in the tub.
"Talking to you and seeing you are two different things." She could feel the embarrassment in him, little that there was. "I will refrain from prying." He said though she caught the next part of his thought before he could censor himself. "Though I'd much rather be there."
She blushed and smiled. "Don't you think your fiancée would have a problem with you watching naked women?" She pressed again, hitting an obvious button.
She felt his mind reel and scramble for some sort of answer but nothing worth an excuse came to save him. He flushed and she could feel the heat of his embarrassment soar. "Y-You knew huh?"
The last time they had seen each other he had fed her this story about how he was recently engaged. Erza had believed it for a moment in horror and then had assured herself that he was merely lying to keep her away from him. She had told herself that it couldn't be true and she refused to let it linger in her heart a moment longer, knowing that if she believed it would shatter her heart. The brief times she had spent in his head, she had found no such thoughts of a woman worthy of his love and admiration, at least not that he was showing her.
She had just called his bluff, and hit the nail on the head. It instantly caused that uneasy curl of doubt vanish and her heart skipped a beat as she began to shed her clothing. "You are not the type to settle down. At least, not any time soon." She told him. "It was not hard to see that. You wouldn't have time for a relationship."
"You are absolutely right." She could hear the pride in his voice. She knew him well.
She sank in the water, feeling the hot liquid relieve her aching muscles. She sighed and rested her back against the side of the tub, closing her eyes. She did know, and understand him well. But that did not change how she felt.
"I wish you were here." She said wistfully, knowing that she sounded selfish.
Her admission caused him to go soft. "Erza…" He whispered her name, a gentle whisper in her ear. She could feel him straining to keep his thoughts in check and reluctantly he let the one thing slip that she wanted to hear.
"I want to be there too."
She smiled and her hand came up to her chest, resting over her heart. If he could feel how she felt, for just an instant and know…
She dropped her hand again. "Tell me about Crime Sorcerie." She said after a moment, regaining hold over her emotions. "How have you guys been getting by? And who are you after?"
"I'm not at liberty to say who our current target is." He told her, his voice becoming stern. She could tell he sensed telling her would only force her to pursue them. He did however go over some of the guilds they had tracked and how they had gotten by, running from the Magic Council. Crime Sorcerie was a guild founded by dark mages who had found their way back to the light. The entire organization worked on the principal of hunting and destroying other dark guilds, but because all of its members were wanted criminals they were being forced to stay on the move. Even their headquarters shifted between several covert buildings in and out of the country of Fiore. The whole workings of the guild were impressive, but she had expected no less. After all, Jellal sat at the center of it all as the Guild Master.
The water had gotten cold before he had finished talking and she had gotten out of the tub and changed into a fluffy bath robe. Engrossed in his conversation she turned out the lights and slid into bed. Resting there in the darkness with her eyes closed and his voice in her ear, she could pretend he was right there next to her. It brought with it peace and a little sadness. She never realized how lonely she was until he was right there.
"Are you alright?" He asked after a moment. Focused on work he had become awake again but she could still sense he was there in bed. She could almost see him lying on his back, staring blankly up at the ceiling, his mind somewhere else entirely.
She shifted on her side, pulling the blankets higher. "I could listen to you talk all night." She told him, smiling into her pillow. Sleep was calling to her and yet she didn't want to let him go. Not yet. Keeping him in her head and heart but knowing he wasn't here made her bolder. She didn't worry about the repercussions of what she was saying…after all he was already so far away.
"It is after 4am Scarlet." He scolded her, yet his voice was soft and gentle as it slid over her last name. The name that he had given her. "I must leave you soon."
Her heart twisted in her chest. "Stay with me just a little longer." She pleaded. "Just until I fall asleep."
She knew she sounded weak. Like a child. She had always been that way around him. He was the supporting wall that kept her from crashing down and he was the one thing that got inside her suit of armor and manipulated her emotions with the simply tone of his voice.
He was quiet for a long time, so much so that she reached for him again in her mind, needing the comment. His emotions brushed against hers, still very reserved but warm.
"I am still here."
Relief flooded her and she managed a yawn, trying to find the courage to tell him that it was okay, that he could go and that she would be alright without him.
"I will stay until you fall asleep."
His answer warmed her all over. She felt comforted with that and he went back to talking though his voice was lower. It wasn't long after that his words began to fade and she lost part of the story in her sleep haze.
Jellal knew the exact moment she went out. Her mind stopped focusing on anything and became still and quiet as if someone had flicked off a switch. He smiled, his golden-brown eyes closing for a long moment. He pushed his conscious mind out of his body, a thought projection to her room. It was a form of magic he excelled at, making a clone of himself but he kept this one no more then a spectral apparition. He rested weightless in the bed beside her, convinced a sudden movement would startle her. Ghostly fingers pushed back her damp hair, the long ruby strands wet silk in his hands.
He hadn't gone to her, not in weeks. He could tell she had been checking up on him almost daily. Even being asleep he could feel her presence in his mind, like a warm soothing light flooding his senses. She was perfection itself. A woman forged of battle and courage with a spirit that blazed like the sun. He had meant to destroy her years ago when he had been possessed by darkness and eaten alive by hatred. Any other woman would have died from the brutal things he had done to her. Yet she had risen from the ashes like a phoenix and given a rebirth to both her life and his.
He could never ask for her forgiveness because he could never be forgiven enough. He couldn't ask for her love. Yet she had given him both things unconditionally. She was aware of his position and that being with him, a man like him would be difficult, and yet she chose to stand by and wait. Wait for him to be ready and wait for her to get over her silly childish fears and insecurities. The events of the past four months had made things a little worse for them both but he could sense her resolve. When she was eighty she would still feel the same for him as she did now at eighteen.
He had always had a soft spot for her but after the past couple years, her saving him again and again and then losing her and not knowing where she was…it had sharpened his emotions. He adored her. He did not deserve her and if she found another she would rather be with he would never hold that against her, but when she spoke to him with such love in her voice and thought of him sweetly, his defenses caved and he could do nothing else then stay at her side and obey every request she gave. He wanted to be her one and only. He wanted to give everything up just to be with her.
He leaned over her and swept her hair gently aside. He placed a soft kiss over her temple, his thought projection disintegrating as he did so. For a moment he was leaning over her and his thoughts flooded to that day on the beach when he had held her for the briefest of moments. He had kissed her then and the world had stopped. Nothing else had mattered and he had realized in that instant that if he drowned himself in her he would lose all motivation for everything else. Crime Sorcerie needed him. He couldn't back out on them now. His goal had yet to be achieved.
For now, rare meetings like this would have to sustain them both in the hopes that one day they would be together always.
He breathed a sigh as he found himself back in his own bedroom, staring at the blank ceiling above him. He hadn't been in a better mood in months and he was at ease with himself. Her light was good for cleansing his stained soul. Her love warmed his heart. When he was with her, it was as if his horrendous past had never happened.
That was enough.
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