Thank you for making Sanctuary the most favorite'd of my fanfiction for my return! It has been the most requested, so here is more Jerza!

Sanctuary

Jellal x Erza

Daimatou Enbu- Morning 4

It was quarter after 3, and Erza was still awake. She was justifying her insomnia by polishing her swords; all of them. The floor of her hotel room was covered with dozens of the gleaming weapons, from the big claymores, to the small rapiers, to her sturdy broadswords… looking at the pile of weaponry put a smile on her face and doing something as simple as cleaning the impressive metal took her mind off of things, at least a little bit.

She was still mulling over the enigma that was Jellal Fernandes. Just when she thought she had him figured out, he revealed something new about himself that she hadn't been expecting. She hadn't thought that he would place himself in the Magic games; that he would try his hardest to solve this mystery for them; that he would fight for their cause. That they could have an open an honest conversation, that he could talk so easily and smile at her, and look at her with an expression like that.

She had always had feelings for him, those that she had tried to murder and twist into something bitter. She had tried to hate him, and it had failed. Every time she thought of him, looked at him, her heart fluttered and she was captivated by everything that he was. He was no more handsome than some of the guys she knew, but there was just something about him that had ensnared her from the time when she was a child, and it refused to leave.

With a sigh she slid the katana she was holding onto the floor. She had come full circle. She had started doing this thinking she could finally calm down enough to get some sleep, but now he was back taking over her brain until she was forgetting to breathe and she was instantly restless. It would be another sleepless night. Those happened often lately.

It was about that moment that she felt a stirring in her mind that made her jerk her head up, dark eyes going wide. There was a tugging on the back of her conscious, like a soft tapping on the window or a knocking at a door. She knew who it was, because there was only one person who contacted her that way.

Slowly she let down her barriers, reaching out to him. 'Hello?'

Well speak of the devil. He seemed to know when she was obsessing over him.

'Come outside.' His response was soft as if he were whispering it into her ear and she debated about his rather sudden request.

'Why?' She asked, beginning to store her swords back in the components of her armory magic.

She got a pause from him. 'You don't have to…' He replied, before the rest came out in an awkward rush. 'I was just in the area, and I sensed you were still awake, so…'

There was no coincidence that he was just in the area, but Erza let him tell his little white lie. 'Be down in a minute.' She told him.

He was waiting on the bench outside the hotel, and when he saw her come out of the door, he stood, his long dark cloak shifting around him. He was still dressed as his alias, Mystogan, with his hair and mouth covered. About the only thing she got to see of him was a small glimpse of that tattoo and those familiar golden brown eyes.

"Morning." She said cheerfully as she came up to him.

"…Morning." He replied back, before he bowed, nearly doubling over at the waist. "I wanted to apologize about last night. I really, really made a fool of myself…it wasn't my intention."

Erza batted her lashes, an embarrassed look crossing over her face. She knew what he was talking about- there had been a couple 'accidents' at the water park Fairy Tail had taken over earlier in the evening, and consequently his hands had ended up in places they shouldn't have. "D-Don't worry about it." She turned her face away, trying to keep her cheeks from going as red as her hair.

He stood up, his brown hues watching her fidget awkwardly. He was lucky enough the blush was mostly covered. "Thank you." He said softly. Her dark chocolate eyes swept back towards him for a moment and they stood there in silence soaking in the traumatic experience from earlier before he cleared his throat. "I want to make it up to you, if you don't mind."

Her dark eyes flashed over to him. "W-What did you have in mind?" She couldn't help it- her brain was still in the gutter. She wasn't like Lucy or Juvia who went into fangirl mode, but in that moment all she could think about were sparkles and the definition of his chest, the handsome line of his jaw. Was he thinking about what she was thinking about?

Jellal seemed to get at what her tone was suggesting because his eyes widened, the amber tones lightening. "Breakfast!" He exclaimed at her, speaking a little louder than he had really meant.

"Oh!" She gasped out, feeling stupid and she turned completely from him, her curtain of red swishing behind her. "Breakfast sounds good!" She laughed nervously. "Of course…"

The young man sighed, shaking his head. She was going to be the death of him if she kept that up. It was hard enough not acting on his feelings, trying his best to convince himself that she didn't matter, but when she openly presented the situation in front of him, the temptation was almost too much to bear. She had no idea that he was slowly going crazy with the want to be with her and the need for her to feel as desperate about him as he did for her.

He started walking after her, taking a moment to appreciate the look of her in motion. Most of the time it was in the midst of battle when he should have been focusing on other things, but this was casual and easy. It was natural.

She seemed to notice he was following her because she stopped and waited until he caught up. She was smart enough to know he would have turned towards her, but there was also this prickly sensation she felt in the back of her thoughts when she knew he was focusing on her. "So… any plans for breakfast?" She asked, looking up at him.

"I have a plan." He replied simply, his golden brown eyes looking over at her. "If you trust me."

She stared back at him as if he were speaking in a different language and then smiled, shaking her head. "I trust you." She thought they were past this stage….at least she was and had been for a long time. She had put her trust in him in the forest during that horrible Nirvana incident and he never once had betrayed her then. That was all she had needed.

He said nothing after that, looking straight ahead as they walked down the road. Perhaps he sensed what she did; that his question had been a little dumb to ask.

Crocus was a city that never slept; even at that time of night a lot of the bars were still open, accommodating the flood of guests that had come into town for the games. A few souls were out on the street, and a couple people gave them long stares and second glances as they past, perhaps wondering if they were seeing things right. Fairy Tail was the talk of the town right now, so surely every one recognized a couple of their S-class mages on their way to who knows where.

They circled around through the alleyways, getting off the main road and looped back over onto another well-known route. Erza knew immediately what he was doing- he was making sure they weren't being followed. He'd already had his cover blown once, and it was miraculous that he was still out of detainment at all, but they didn't need spies from the council following their every move, or mages from rival guilds knowing what was going on.

They crossed over onto a street that was in the busy part of town, very close to the red-light district. Most of the buildings here ran all night and seemed to hold the highest concentration of mages who were relieving frustrations of the games in one way or the other.

"Erza."

The redhead stopped in mid-stride at the call of her name, her dark eyes jumping to the doorframe of the tavern they had just passed. A group of men had just came outside, a couple of them holding up one of their comrades who could no longer stand. She paid them no mind. Instead it was the one at the front of the group who had called out to her and she stared him down as he did the same to her.

"Morning Bacchus." She said politely, a small smile flicking across her lips.

"Ain't it a little late for you, Titania?" He grinned, the slur in his voice only a minor indication of how much he had been drinking. "While you're out little Miss, why not come with us? We're on our way over to the next bar now."

Erza assessed the group. She had to assume they were all from Quatro Cerberus, where Bacchus himself was from. "I think you've lost one for the evening." She pointed out. "It might be time to call it a night."

The male guild mage looked back over his shoulder and then gave a disgusted roll of his eyes. "Eh, lightweight." He shrugged, as if this happened all the time. "All the more reason you should come join us."

It was apparent he was not going to take no for an answer- he took a step forward and his hand raised, perhaps to grab her hand, or wrap around her shoulder. Erza waited patiently. If his touch fell on a place she didn't like she was going to flip him on his ass and hopefully be done with the whole thing before a full-fledged confrontation broke out.

He never got that far.

She had forgotten Jellal had been standing there, because she hadn't sensed him by her side. He was purposely trying to give off no presence, to soak in the persona of the one he was costumed as, as best he could. Then suddenly there was a whip of his cloak and he had lashed out, his gloved fingers wrapping around Bacchus' wrist like a vise before he even got a hand on her.

In their drunken stupor the other guild mages hadn't even been able to process his movement; to them he had suddenly appeared. Bacchus however was not as dumb. More than likely he had let the attack follow through just to see what was going to happen. He stared up at the Fairy Tail mage with his black eyes narrowed and then slipped out of his grasp, taking a step back. "Mystogan, eh?"

Jellal let him go. He said nothing for a long moment and then gave a slight bow of his head. "I apologize." He said simply before those brown eyes found home on the other S-class mage. "She's with me."

Erza's dark eyes lifted, staring up at him in shock. It was probably too much to ask for, but when he said that, her heart skipped a beat. Sensing the atmosphere between the two men quickly growing tense, she nudged up against Mystogan, and gave the Quatro Cerberus mages a small bow of her head in apology. "Sorry Bacchus, we're busy right now." She explained. "Maybe another time."

She reached out and grabbed Jellal's hand, tugging him onward and the two continued on down the street without so much as hearing a reply.

"Maybe another time?" He questioned, his gold eyes wide between the cloth covering most of his head.

"Shut up." She replied back, letting out a breath. "I've gone drinking with him before." She explained, before quickly feeling the need to add. "Nothing's happened."

"I see." He responded in a tone that she couldn't read.

Which only made her cheeks flair red. Why was she feeling embarrassed and guilty about this? "You didn't have to stick up for me either! I could have handled myself."

"I know." He said simply, still focusing on the road ahead of them. His simple answers were beginning to piss her off, but then after a long pause he continued. "I was being selfish."

That had not been the response she had been expecting. She looked over at him in surprise. "Why?"

She felt pressure in her hand and realized that she was still holding onto him. While they had been walking, he had stealthily threaded his fingers in between hers. It made her heart leap into her throat as she stared at their locked limbs, so taken back that she barely missed what he said.

"I didn't want him touching you."

The response made her insides melt and she found that she couldn't look over at him, which was fine because he wouldn't have been able to meet her gaze either. Not staring that statement face to face gave her the courage to laugh and she shook her head. "Typical man answer." She replied with a roll of her dark brown eyes. She had seen fights break out in bars over women, but never had she been stuck in the middle of one.

She nearly rescinded that thought the second she made it. Yes, there had been a time when two men had fought for her, but it had not been as whimsical as this. She could not even try to compare the horrible night at the Tower of Heaven to this, but in an odd way, she had never felt so wanted either. It was a strange feeling.

Jellal didn't seem to know what to do with her sarcastic comment shot back his way. He was silent again for the rest of the trip, though they never let go of the other's hands.

He took her out to the very edge of the city, where a path cut up through the mountains. It was dark and quiet and Erza pressed back the prickle of uncertainty growing inside her. This was certainly not what she had been expecting, and there was a lot more of a chance that they would be attacked from here, or that he could attack her…but he had asked her to trust him and she would try her best to do that.

She wasn't sure how long they walked, but the sky was beginning to grow lighter around them. The path upward split, curving back around to merge with another path and he took her off-road, bridging towards an alcove in the wall. It was a narrow tunnel cut through the rock and they had to duck to get through the pitch black area shadowed in the craggy landscape, but on the other side was a large plateau that jutted out off the mountainside, giving a breath-taking view of the land below. Crocus glittered like a giant jewel in the night on a sea of black, while the sky was becoming fairer above their heads.

"It's beautiful here." She breathed, the breeze swaying her hair about her shoulders.

"Come on." He tugged on her arm this time, leading her towards the front of the cliff where a large metal storage container was sitting in the middle of the field. It had some sort of magical lock on it, which he disabled with a few skillful movements of his fingers and pulled out a large blanket, along with a basket. Erza stared at the container, wondering just how much he was going to bare from the small container, but when the smell of hot coffee hit her nose, she knew that it was far more than a vault, but a spatial distortion magic in the works to keep the contents within pristine for hours.

"You certainly did have a plan." She told him, sounding impressed. She took the blanket and flared it down across the green grass, plopping down on it before the wind lifted it off.

He looked back at her with what she thought was a smile underneath that mask. "I had help," he replied modestly. "I am not the world's best cook."

She laughed, taking the basket from him, and daring to look inside. The item was also magical, designed to keep the contents warm and she eyed up the various bakery goods while fighting the desire to take them all. Obviously Ultear or Meredy had a hand in this... she doubt he knew what half of these items were. Finally deciding on an icing-encrusted Danish, she set the basket down and found a hot cup of coffee nearly thrust into her hands.

Sitting down beside her, he took little time deciding on a plain cake donut and his hands came up pulling the bandana down so that it hung around his neck while the donut went in his mouth.

Erza watched him, finding that something as simple as seeing his whole face gave her butterflies. She dropped her gaze to the dark coffee feeling her stomach rumble in protest.

"There's cream in the container if you don't like your coffee black." He glanced over at her, caught off guard by her suddenly sullen expression.

She blinked and looked back, taking in his handsome face and the way those cerulean brows were knitted as he watched her with a curious look somewhere between confusion and concern. "Ah, thanks." She replied her gaze pulled back to the steaming cup of liquid. "It's not that really, I just…" Her dark eyes glanced over at him. "Thank you. For everything. This is… almost too much."

He swallowed another bite of donut. He didn't know how to respond to that other then with the obvious. "You're welcome." He smiled and it was a look that lit up his whole face. "I hope it isn't too much… I just thought it was… simple."

"It is." She loved to see him look like that. After everything that he had been through, all the sickness and the darkness, to see him like this was absolutely precious. She found herself smiling back, in awe more than anything else. "It's perfect." Everything was. His answer, this moment, the night, how she felt… to live in the second for a completely different reason was a startling chance of pace.

They continued with breakfast, just drinking in each other's company. The skyline around the jagged mountains grew ever brighter, yellow bleeding into the starch black like bleach on dark fabric.

"It's so funny," She started, when the coffee had gone cold and the stars were starting to fade in the shifting sunrise. "When I'm with you, I feel at peace. The past, the future… none of that matters right now." She smiled, finding that for the first time she was truly happy. "I've felt that way around you for a long time…that when I'm with you, I'm home."

"Erza."

She wasn't sure if he had said her name out loud or felt the stirring of his voice inside her head. She looked over at him, expecting some sort of answer, any but the one she got. She saw his gold eyes fall, saw his lashes come down and felt herself tense with expectation. Her face hued pink and it seemed like a lifetime, but finally his lips fell on hers and anything that would have been consider tension eased out of her as she found she simply wanted to melt into the grass.

They had shared a kiss before, that morning on the beach, and she had felt herself slip away, against the feel of his strong arms and hot mouth. He had pulled away from her then, fed her some sort of excuse as to why, tried to explain that it was some sort of mistake. He had ran that day.

He wasn't running now. He was holding onto her, deepening the kiss, somehow being so gentle and yet so dominant that Erza let him do as he wished. She parted her lips to his, her hands lifting up, latching around his neck. The fingers tugged at the wrap he had over his head, letting it tumble in the grass beside them so that she could entangle her hands in his short blue hair. She felt as if she were falling, that he was going with her, and that from this moment there was no going back.

Perhaps she WAS falling, because when the kiss abruptly broke she found herself leaning back and he was over top of her, panting. She was just as breathless and in that second she found herself listening to the wild intake of air between them, the racing of their hearts.

Jellal leaned in again and she prepared herself for another kiss, but his hand came up, cradling the back of her head in his palm, his fingers stroking through her hair. "That feeling you have…" he started out, as he playfully butted his forehead against hers. "Where you're at peace with me… don't ever stop feeling that way." He swallowed around the lump in his throat. "I can't change our past… but I want to be your future."

Erza's eyes widened to pitch black pools on her face. She felt limp with that confession and she leaned back. He let her go, his fingers combing through her hair as she collapsed backwards on the blanket. Things had had to come to a breaking point at some point. They could continue to play this cat and mouse game forever, but she had to know that he felt the same way.

Her eyes wavered and she took in a breath, closing the flood of tears she felt wanting to build.

He sat down next to her and said nothing, the silence eating away at him. Finally he turned his face away. "I'm sorry… I was being selfish again." He said softly.

Her hand pinned his to the blanket, and she looked up at him her fine brow furrowed. "Don't ever apologize for the way you feel." She told him, before tingeing a smile. "I don't." Her gaze lifted to the lightening sky. "We've been together a long time Jellal. Whether or not we want anything to do with it, I think we're stuck with each other, for better or worse."

He blinked his brown eyes, the sunrise starting to play with the amber hues. "…Sounds like a marriage proposal if you ask me."

She couldn't help herself; she grinned. "You would know all about those, weren't you?" She jabbed at his white-lie.

He turned red, hiding in the high collar of his cloak. "Shut up." He snapped, before he got quiet again. "When all of this is over, maybe we should consider it." He said finally.

Her heart jumped while on the outside she tried to play it cool. "Maybe we should." She responded, all the while trying to fight her inner-fangirl and the scenes of wedding bells in her head.

His fingers lifted, wrapping around hers. She was still completely taken by such a small gesture. They were a couple of kids, fighting against a future they couldn't predict. Maybe fate would take him away from her again, like it had that one horrible morning seven years past, but if she could have more like this, where she could watch the sunrise with him, to know what it was like to wake up beside him, she could be content with the meager amount of peace life had handed her.