A/N: Even though (or maybe because) the first chapter of this fic lost in the contest, I want to write another chapter. Just so I can make sure I get all my polar in.
First person is Mai, third person is either Jou or omniscient. I can write Mai in the first person decently well, but I'm still working on Jou.
Disclaimer: (points to Takahashi-sensei) All his.
There was a soft tapping at the door. Jounouchi looked up, expecting it to open. All his friends had copies of his key and only knocked as a formality. The door stayed firmly shut.
"Hello?" Jounouchi called, getting up from his seat. He crossed the small room, shadows playing across the far wall. One dim lamp was his only light. He twisted the handle and opened the door.
Upon seeing the person standing in his doorway, he slammed it shut again.
I sat in that car for ages before I got the nerve to walk up. Here I am, but... what if he says no? I can't... I need him. Jou, please, listen, I think as I raise my hand to knock.
The wait is excruciating. He calls, and I open my mouth to repsond, but nothing comes out. I can't say anything, guilt weighing down on me like nothing I've ever felt before. I swear, it's even worse than after Doom. At least then I had the excuse of nightmares about a crazy evil sadistic bastard and the influence of a psycho megalomaniac trying to take over the world. But this one... this falls one hundred percent on my shoulders. I wait some more. The hall's so quiet, I can hear my breathing. I think I can hear his breathing. The lock clicks and the doorknob turns agonizingly slowly.
Jou's head appears in front of me for a fraction of a second. As soon as we make eye contact and I finally open my mouth to say something, the door abruptly closes again.
I resist the urge to stamp my foot or pound on his door. Watashi wa baka! I'm such an idiot! Why didn't I just believe him! He wouldn't have been going out with anyone else, least of all Anzu. I've got no right to be here, I know that. Jou could walk away right now, and I wouldn't be able to say a thing.
"Jounouchi," I plead. The words tumble out of my mouth before I can stop them. I know I shouldn't say anything. I've got no right to be talking to him, but dammit, I'm going to anyway! "Katsuya." If I'm going to do this, might as well do it right. "I'm sorry!" Ah, the phrase of a million excuses. Oops, sorry, I bumped into you. Sorry, I cheated when we were dueling. Sorry, I tried to steal your soul. Sorry, I went out with the biggest playboy in the city to make you jealous.
There's no answer. Why is there no answer? Is he ignoring me? Is he listening on the other side of the door, his hand on the knob, hanging by my every word? Maybe this whole thing is one big misunderstanding, and he's afraid that's it's all his fault and that's why he doesn't want to talk.
Jounouchi slammed the door shut, his eyes wide.
As quietly as he could, Jou ran away from the door and into his tiny bedroom. Mai was back to yell at him. He had made up his mind at the theater; the next time she accused him of cheating, he'd just show her the ring and hope that she would believe him. He really had been at work! But he supposed he didn't have any proof of that. It was natural of her to think that something was up, he guessed. Dangit, why did everything romantic he tried to do end so badly? Jounouchi sighed as he rummaged through his things. In the background, he vaguely heard Mai talking. It was awfully quiet for scolding though; he guessed she was holding back because of the neighbors.
Kso, where WAS that thing? Jou turned on the spot, running his eyes over every inch of his room. He'd turned out all the drawers and anywhere else out of sight the box might have been hiding. He dashed back into the main room to search it. He had to find it! Mai would kill him AGAIN--the first for making her think he had been cheating--if she knew he lost it. Scanning the room, Jounouchi caught sight of his bag. He leapt for it, praying the the precious box was somewhere within.
"...I'm sorry..." a voice drifted from the doorway. Jou stopped frantically searching his bag for a split second. What?
I wait a few more seconds to gauge his reaction. All I hear from the apartment are the occasional muffled footsteps. He's ignoring me. I knew it. No, Katsuya, don't do this... I draw a shaky breath. I can't just let him leave me like this.
"Katsuya," I say again. "Please, don't do this. I didn't mean it. You know I didn't mean it--" The words catch in my throat as I remember...
"You know I love you, Mai; you know I would never--"
I feel something warm prickling the corners of my eyes. I close them and let my head hit the cool wooden door.
"Why do I always do this?" I think out loud. I don't care anymore. He's not coming. My pathetic excuses aren't going to get me anywhere. No harm in rambling a bit before I go. "Everything's too good to be true. After Battle City, why did I leave? I told you your friendship was too strong. You probably wanted to say something, but you just smiled like you always do and accepted it. What the hell was I thinking? Friendship too strong? you know what I was afraid of? I didn't want to be hurt. I always get hurt. Or used to. Then there was a point I just... I stopped trusting. Stopped caring. If I didn't get close to anyone, they wouldn't hurt me, right?
"You changed me, Katsuya. You got me to trust... you got me to love again. But... old habits die hard, I guess, and when I thought that... oh, it sounds so stupid now... that you and Anzu... but that's what I thought. And I was afraid to stay. Because if it was true, and I stayed, then it would hurt more. I love you, Katsuya."
I put my hand on the doorknob, willing it to turn. The tears are coming now, but I don't care. Just let him answer the door.
Jounouchi rustled through the bag more quickly. He heard nothing else from the hallway. Shoot, how long had she been talking? He hadn't expected an apology. But he'd spent so long looking for that ring--ah ha! He thrust his fist into the bag and pulled it out triumphantly. The small box was nestled safely in his palm. Jou quickly got to his feet and opened the door, bracing himself. He wouldn't put it past her to apologize and then yell at him as soon as the door opened.
"Mai?" He said tentatively, peeking his head around the corner. Mai looked up quickly, her face shining with tears. Surprised, Jounouchi pulled the door open, concern spreading across his face.
"What is it?" he said quickly, putting his hand on her shoulder.
"Katsuya, I'm sor--" The apology was coming out of her mouth before the oddity of Jou's question hit her. "What do you mean, 'what is it'?" she asked sharply.
"Erm," Jou started awkwardly. He knew he shouldn't finish the sentence. But he was Jou, and he did it anyway. "Why're you crying...?"
Mai gaped at him. "Jounouchi Katsuya, I've been out here for the past five minutes pouring my damn heart out to you and you didn't even... did you hear ANY of it?"
"I heard the 'I'm sorry' bit," he said sheepishly. Wow, tears could really dry fast, couldn't they?
Mai felt her cheeks burning red, but luckily Jounouchi was avoiding her gaze. "Katsuya..." she said, shaking her head. Jounouchi lifted his head to mutter his own apology, but Mai fell into his arms.
"Baka," she murmured, burying her head in his shoulder.
"I guess you're not mad, then," he joked.
"Are you kidding me?" Mai lifted her head. "I came to apologize to you!"
"Aww, Mai," Jounouchi started. "It was my fault to begin with--" Mai wrapped an arm around his neck and kissed him deeply.
"Shut up," she said lightheartedly. "We're not going through that again."
Jounouchi laughed. "Okay then, how about this?"
And he lowered himself to one knee.
A/N: It sounded stupid when I got any farther than that last sentence, so I just cut it. Maybe I'll write a third chapter someday.
When I read back over this, it was so fluffy that I almost didn't want to post it. I think I'm moving out of my fluffy polar phase. There's some darker fics I've been wanting to write.
Kso - Shit
Chiksho - Damn, Darn
"We're not going through that again": I seem to have this recurring theme of Mai and Jou not communicating and then each thinking the complete opposite of what the other is thinking. (i.e. Mai thought Jou was mad at her, Jou thought Mai was mad at him) I'm working on a three-shot about Mai and Jou meeting two years after Doom and each thinks the other isn't romantically interested and they're both heartbroken. I'll post it someday. Maybe.
UPDATE: Yes, I DID post it! "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been".