Don't Walk Away

by WSJ

This is a happy birthday fic-present for Brood Mayran, who's turning 18 today!! *glomps her* Happy b-day neesama!! ^^ I asked her to choose a couple and a song so I could write a fic for her, and this is the result. It's also very Christmas-y, since it's getting close to that time of year. I wanted to do something fluffy and happy, but the song's a really sad, bitter-sweet one, so I did my best. Enjoy!

Couples: Brood requested Jou/Mai (her favorite) and I couldn't help throwing in Ryou/Shizuka (my favorite). ^_^

Disclaimer: I don't own YGO or the song.

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For Brood Mayran
and the ever-adorable Jeff.
Merry Christmas!

They were all four cuddled together in the livingroom, enjoying a quiet Christmas Eve. Five, really, if you counted the spirit of the Sennen Ring, but he hadn't made himself known very much over the past few months, and it was easy to forget he was there. A fire was crackling cheerfully in the fireplace, and their stockings were hung up on the mantle. Ryou's father was out of town again, and Mai was very much independent of her mother. Jou and Shizuka's mom was also away for the holidays, so the four had decided on a quiet "family" week at Shizuka's, from the day before Christmas all the way through New Years.

Ryou and Shizuka were laying on their backs on the floor, stockinged feet propped up on the hearth in front of the fire, toes just touching. Shizuka had her head pillowed on Ryou's chest, and both of them were staring off into the middle distance lazily, hands intertwined. The silver engagement ring on Shizuka's finger glistened in the dancing firelight. The engagement was nearly three hours old now, and neither one of them had come down from lovey-dovey euphoria yet.

Mai and Jou were on the couch, Jou sprawled out lazily with his back against one of the arms, Mai nestled comfortably on his lap with her head against his shoulder. Both of them were wrapped up in a big quilt, just content in each others' presence.

Jou's thoughts, however, were far from content. To be truthful, he was a little worried. Mai had been in at least two relationships previously that had seemed made in heaven, just like this one, and both had ended spectacularly in disaster. Jou couldn't help but wonder if he was just another notch on the bedpost for Mai. He sighed softly, shaking off his thoughts, and hugged her tightly. She turned slightly in his arms to give him a questioning look, but said nothing.

Why do I say, don't walk away
You'll be the way you were before
When you don't want me anymore

A few hours later Mai and Jou finally managed to chase Ryou and Shizuka off to bed. The two young lovers nearly had to be pried apart with a crowbar to get them to go to their separate rooms, whining all the way.

Jou chuckled, amused at the adorableness of his little sister and her fiancee. Once he made sure they weren't going to try and sneak into the same room, he returned to the livingroom.

Mai was sprawled out on the couch, idly flipping through TV channels with the remote. For a long moment Jou stood in the doorway and stared at her, admiring her thick golden hair, the graceful swan curve of her neck. Then he stepped forward to lean over the back of the couch and hug her from behind, laying his cheek against the top of her head. She clicked the TV off, then raised her arms so they were encircling his neck.

Don't turn around, don't ever leave
A lonely room where empty days
Are gathering to meet me when you're gone-
Gone- how in the world will I go on

Christmas morning came with Ryou and Shizuka acting half their age, bouncing around and waking the other two at seven A.M. Groaning, Mai and Jou pried themselves out of bed and shuffled to the livingroom. Mai promptly flopped down on the couch, while Jou managed to make it into the kitchen to start coffee. Several minutes later he reappeared holding two mugs, one of which he handed to the grateful Mai.

Ryou and Shizuka were rustling through the presents like children, and the older two couldn't help but smile at their antics. No sooner had Jou taken a seat on the couch next to Mai then Shizuka came over with a neatly wrapped package. "Here Mai-chan, this is from Jou." She grinned impishly and backed off as Mai gave Jou a curious look.

The blond looked confused, and Mai grinned and opened his present. Inside was a stuffed dog, complete with floppy ears and big doleful eyes. There was even a big purple bow around its neck.

Mai blinked, eyebrows way up. How had he known...?

(Don't walk away) all you gotta do is stay
(Don't walk away) all you gotta do is stay
(Don't walk away)

"Here Mai, this one's from niisan!"

Mai smiled at his little brother as she took the slightly lumpy package he offered her. She couldn't resist turning slightly to smirk at the man sitting on the couch next to her. "Couldn't find anyone to professionally wrap it for you, moneybags?"

He had the grace to look embarrassed. "Actually, I bought it a couple months ago, and kinda forgot I had it until yesterday. There wasn't really time for a professional wrapping job."

Mai snickered softly, a gentle smile gracing her features as she opened the present. As soon as she saw it her eyes widened in surprise.

Sitting amongst crumpled wrapping paper was a small stuffed dog with its tongue lolling out. Instead of a collar or even a ribbon, a gorgeous diamond bracelet was fastened around the dog's neck.

Mai was still gaping in surprise when Seto Kaiba wrapped his arms around her and she became aware of Mokuba's giggling.

"Merry Christmas, Mai."

Don't walk away, don't say goodbye
Don't turn around, don't let it die
When shadows fall, when day is done
All through the night, all of my life
Don't walk away

"Mai? Mai, are you okay?"

Mai blinked herself out of the memories to see Jou looking at her in concern. "Uh, yeah, I'm all right..."

Jou smirked, apparently unaware of her momentary lapse into the past. "Check the tag on that stuffed mutt, Mai."

She did so and laughed, shaking off the last of the painful memories. The tag on the wrapping paper read 'To Mai, From Shizuka', and the dog tag threaded onto the ribbon proclaimed the dog's name to be Jounochi. "You little sneak," she grinned at Shizuka.

Shizuka only smiled sweetly. "Sorry, couldn't resist."

Jou shook his head in mock disapproval. "Such a sister... Hold on Mai, I'll get your present. It was, eh, too awkward to wrap." Pushing himself off the couch, he disappeared down the hallway to the bedroom he and Ryou were sharing this week.

Mai leaned back on the couch and watched Ryou and Shizuka, idly rubbing one ear of the stuffed Jounochi. She'd never really found out what went wrong between her and Seto, just that they'd been drifting apart and finally decided to break it off. But that was all in the past now, and didn't matter. Jou was what mattered. Mai shook her head sharply as Jou returned with her present. When she saw it, her eyes widened.

"How adorable!"

Jou grinned lopsidedly as he sat down on the couch again, gently setting the kitten on Mai's lap. "You really think so?"

"Of course I do!" Mai cooed as the kitten rolled over, batting at a scrap of paper from Shizuka's present. Careful not to squish her or knock her off her lap, Mai leaned over to hug Jounochi. "Thank you!"

Is it a dream, when will it end
When everything we've ever known
Has ended and I'm all alone

Within a while the presents were all opened, and Shizuka and Mai lay on the floor playing with the kitten. Mai had decided to name her Stockings, both because of the Christmas season and because her markings made it look like she was wearing them. Chuckling quietly at their girlfriends, Ryou and Jou had retreated to the kitchen. Somehow the girls had gotten them to agree to make Christmas lunch, since the girls would be working their butts off on Christmas dinner.

By midmorning delicious smells were wafting in from the kitchen, making Mai and Shizuka giggle about men who could cook. Finally, at around noon, Ryou called that everything was ready. With Stockings trailing along behind, Mai and Shizuka went into the kitchen and stopped dead to stare.

The kitchen table was draped with a white table cloth, and candy cane striped candles stood burning in the middle of a Christmas centerpiece. The good dishes had been brought out, and the food looked fabulous. But perhaps best off all, Ryou and Jou looked fantastic in tuxedos they'd scrounged up from somewhere, although both wore aprons over top and Jou was liberally sprinkled in flour.

Mai found herself fighting back sudden tears. It was so wonderful...

Where will I go, where will I be
The feelings that I've never shown
Maybe I'll find the answer when you're gone-
Gone- how in the world will I go on

"Mai-chan, come on in! I'm ready!"

Mai blinked at the half-closed apartment door. She'd been unaware he was planning anything. Then again, with him, anything was possible, up to and including him laying somewhere naked in a puddle of chocolate sauce. She couldn't help but drool at that thought, and she wouldn't put it past him to do it, either.

She pushed open the door and poked her head in, slightly cautious. Normally she would never go for a guy as playful as him, but there was just something so endearing about him.

Nope, nothing was going to come flying at her, she was safe. Pushing the door open farther, she stepped fully into the apartment, setting her purse down by the door and slipping out of her coat. "Where are you?"

"In the kitchen," came the reply.

Still wary, Mai stepped through the door to the kitchen and nearly gasped out loud.

The lights had been dimmed, and there were Christmas carols playing softly over a radio somewhere. There wasn't a table in this kitchen, but a table cloth had been thrown over the bar. Giant candles sat in the center, giving off the warm scent of vanilla to mingle with whatever delicious food he'd prepared. On the floor beside the bar was a bucket of ice, with a bottle of Mai's favorite wine already chilling. But that was all background.

He was leaning against the bar, dressed in a black tuxedo with a smooth red waist coat. His trademark earring had been exchanged for one that looked for all the world like plastic mistletoe. He saw her expression and grinned, reaching over to flip the stereo from radio to CD. The soft and seductive strains of "Santa Baby" began to play as he waltzed over to Mai.

Otogi Ryuuji slid his arms around her waist, resting his forehead against hers. She put her arms around his neck and he smiled at her, practically purring.

"Merry Christmas, Mai."

(Don't walk away) all you gotta do is stay
(Don't walk away) all you gotta do is stay
(Don't walk away)

They were before the fire again.

This time, Ryou and Shizuka were curled up in an armchair, she on his lap and his arms around her. One of Ryou's feet was dangling over the edge of the chair, and every now and then he would twitch it so Stockings would pounce at his sock. Shizuka was nearly asleep, her head pillowed on Ryou's shoulder.

Dinner had been marvelous, and now they were all quite ready to sleep the rest of the day away before the fire. Jou and Mai were once again on the couch, though this time Mai was sitting up properly, and Jou was laying down with his legs over one arm and his head in Mai's lap. She had her head leaning back against the back of the couch, her eyes half-lidded, and Jou was absently playing with a strand of her hair.

"Jou?" she finally asked, not moving.

"Hm?"

She opened her eyes and looked down to see his brown eyes alert, not half-asleep like she'd expected them to be. "Jou... you won't ever leave me, will you?"

An expression of surprise and puzzlement darted across his face, and he sat up. He slid closer to her and wrapped one arm around her shoulders. "Of course I won't Mai, I love you."

She smiled widely, her eyes watering slightly at hearing those three little words. With a soft sigh she leaned her head against his shoulder. "Good."

Jou chuckled slightly. "To be honest, I was more afraid of you leaving me, Mai."

She lifted her head enough to smile at him. "I would never. I love you too."

Jou grinned and leaned down, tapping his nose against hers. "Good."

Ryou could have sworn that it was Mai that made the first move, although later Shizuka would argue that it was Jou. But it really didn't matter, because in a few seconds they were far too involved to remember or care. After several breathless moments, Jou broke off the kiss and leaned his forehead against hers, both their eyes shining in delight.

Don't walk away, don't say goodbye
Don't turn around, don't let it die
When shadows fall, when day is done
All through the night, all of my life
Don't walk away

"Merry Christmas, Mai."

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^_^ Awww, I like how this one turned out...! *huggles Brood* Happy birthday neesama!

Heh. I always have liked Seto/Mai, and the Otogi/Mai you can blame on Brood herself. *grins and pokes Chicks Dig It* Later minna!

God bless minna-san!