A/N: I've had this plot bunny for years, never had the excuse to write it. Thank you, Compy! I"m trying as hard as I can to get through this round, since it's long past the time I can rely on just being better than someone. Everyone in the contest right now can kick my butt. Unless I get something reeeeaaallly good. I'm sticking some polar so I can get the extra motivation.
Rated T because it'll be angsty and violent. The best nurse plot I can think of would be something involving Jou dying.
Disclaimer: If I owned Yuugiou, I could be a guest at my local convention. As I have to pay my way every year, I don't own it.
Mai knelt next to a body on the cold asphalt. Blood covered her hands and far too much of the body. She took his hand and begged him to come back. His hand closed around hers, and he smiled at her before his hand fell limply to the ground and she screamed.
6 months later. Kujaku Mai, her long blond hair chopped off and un-dyed after the Doom incident, was nervously waiting in her car. She was parked on an innocent suburban street in northern Japan. She had managed to track down Shizuka--actually, it had been fairly easy, it just took months to work up the courage to actually do it. Armed with a vauge plan and failing nerves, Mai drove to the out-of-the-way town, preferring her lonesome car to the crowded trains. She always had been independant, but never to this extreme. Her dealings with Doom had left her, if possible, more excluded and alone. The nightmares had stopped, thank ra, but her waking life wasn't much better than her nightly one had been. She lived alone. She didn't see anyone or do pretty much anything except duel to make enough money to live off of. And she was constantly plauged with guilt.
That's what I'm here to take care of, she thought. So get out of the damn car! Mai didn't budge in the slighest, her hands still firmly gripping the wheel, her body tensed, ready to start the car and drive away at a moment's notice. She couldn't do this. How was she supposed to tell Jounouchi's sister about... that? Why was she here in the first place? No, this was stupid. Hearing all the gory details wouldn't make Shizuka's grief any easier. Mai pried her hand from the wheel to reach for the keys hanging in the ignition. She was leaving.
Tell her what happened. Tell her I love her.
Jounouchi's last words haunted Mai, and her hand froze in midair. Dammit. She reluctantly pulled the keys out of the slot and put them in her purse. She sighed and unlocked the car door. What the hell was she getting into?
Well... maybe it was better this way. Shizuka was expecting her, after all. And it'd be good to actually talk to a person, right? Mai scoffed. Yeah, look where that got her in Doom.
Too late for indecisions now. Mai knocked firmly on the door, and held her breath. She heard light footsteps, and the door was thrown open for her.
"Mai-san!" Shizuka declared happily. The family resemblance was so strong, Mai couldn't believe she hadn't made note of it before. She'd noticed, of course, tthey looked alike. As they should. Perhaps it was just her wishing that it was Jou, but besides the hair amd eye color, Mai could almost imagine them being twins. Mai smiled back at Shizuka, though much less broadly.
Shizuka led her into the house. Mai had an overwhelming urge to run away. She couldn't do this. Jounouchi, how could you ask me to do something so painful? She'd be better off not knowing.
Painful for who? She heard his voice in her head. A flash of green light and red eyes, a long, drawn-out scream, his body falling to the ground.
For both of us.
Mai... do you have any right to talk about pain? Claws dripping blood, proudly tearing into him. Mai, motionless, watching him try to stand, watching him die.
"...Mai-san?" Shizuka's voice brought Mai back to reality. "You okay?"
"Your brother," Mai started hesitantly. "Your brother says he loves you." That was the easy one. Mai took a deep breath, and continued before she had doubts again. Shizuka was looking at her oddly, but Mai knew she had to get this out now or never. "And... he wanted me to tell you how he died."
"You know?" Shizuka stared at Mai expectantly, and a little fearfully. Mai didn't blame her. They'd found his body alone, covered in blood, with no sign of weapons or killers.
"I was there," Mai said quietly. "I was... I... killed him."
Shizuka said nothing, but simply stared in horror. Mai flinched under her gaze.
"I'm sorry," she pleaded. "I didn't think it would do that far--"
"No," Shizuka shook her head slowly. "Mai-san, I don't want to hear this."
"I know it hurts," she said. Now that she had started, somehow, she couldn't stop. "But it needs to be said."
"No!" Shizuka protested. "I'm not listening to this. You're... this isn't true!"
"Shizuka-chan, you have to know--"
"Please leave," the younger girl replied, pointing a trembling finger at the door. "Mai-san."
Mai opened her mouth to protest again, but Shizuka wasn't even looking at her any more. Sighing, she moved to leave.
"I promised him I'd tell you," Mai said, her hand on the door. Shizuka looked up angrily, but Mai was already gone, the door quietly shut behind her.
What do I do now, Jounouchi? Mai thought. She was holding an unopened letter, addressed to Shizuka, that had been sent back to her. Despite her earlier reluctance, Mai had tried again to deliver the message to Shizuka. The result was the letter in her hand. It was one thing for her not to know at all, but to know some of it and refuse to hear the rest... Mai had to explain it to her. Then she would understand, and Mai--both of them--would finally have closure.
What was she supposed to do if Shizuka wouldn't let her talk about it, though?
What would you do if it was me? She imagined him asking.
"It's not you."
But if it was?
"I'd go after you," Mai sighed. She picked up her cell phone.
Mai looked up just in time to see Shizuka sit down across from her.
"You came." Mai noticed Shizuka was avoiding her gaze.
"I'm asking the questions," Shizuka said quietly. "You promised."
"I did," Mai replied, taking a sip of her coffee.
"Were you lying?"
Shizuka nodded. She had resigned herself to that. Mai had no reason to lie to her about her brother's death. "You said he wanted you to tell me that... you..."
"'Tell her what happened.'" Mai quoted reluctantly. "Yeah. He wanted me to tell you."
"Why did he want me to know that?" Shizuka asked, clearly upset.
"Why wouldn't he?" Mai said. "Anyone'd want you to know the truth, that's only natural."
"But... you..." Shizuka looked up at Mai for the first time, about ready to cry. "I'm sorry I didn't let you say anything before. I didn't want to believe it. I still don't."
Mai looked down guiltily, and they sat in silence.
"...can I explain?" Mai asked hesitantly. Shizuka didn't respond, her eyes fixed on her own trembling hands. Mai leaned closer.
She glanced up at Mai nervously and nodded. Mai felt her stomach flip. Now that she was actually allowed to talk about it, she didn't know if she wanted to.
Tell her. Jounouchi's voice rang in her head.
"After Battle City..." Mai started, and her tale of the Doom organization began.
"I use Cyber Harpie to attack the Flame Swordsman," Mai called with a toss of her hair. "It's over, Jounouchi!"
"Reverse card open," Jounouchi called weakly. "Skull Dice."
The little man in black tossed the red die into the air. Both duelists watched as it landed on a 3.
"Harpie Lady attack points get... divided by 3..." Jounouchi stammered. Harpie Lady's attack points fell to 1400, while his Flame Swordsman held strong at 1800. Mai had 300 lifepoints. "Shit... no..."
"I activate a facedown card!" Mai called desperately. He almost beat her. She almost lost. Not again, she couldn't lose again, and he would pay for pushing her so close. "Rush Recklessly!"
Harpie Lady's attack was boosted to 2100, and easily destroyed Flame Swordsman.
"That was close, Jounouchi," Mai smirked. "But you're out of cards. Harpie Lady, attck!"
Jounouchi looked up at her as the Harpie Lady flew at him. He was smiling.
Mai froze. What? He was about to lose... what the hell was he doing? Harpie Lady visciously struck him across the chest, and he was thrown to the ground. Harpie Lady flew back to Mai, its claws stained red.
Mai took a step forward as her monster disappeared. She had won, so why did everything feel so wrong? Jounouchi was lying on his back. When she saw him, maimed by her Harpie Lady, she gasped. Memories flashed through her mind; Jounouchi giving her star chips, Jounouchi saving her from Magnum's idiotic stunt double, Jounouchi putting himself between her and Ra, Jounouchi wishing her luck as she left from Battle City...
Jounouchi dying on the ground in front of her. She hurriedly knelt next to him, but there was no helping him now. She couldn't even see the wound for all the blood.
"That was a close one..." Jounouchi murmured.
"Quiet," Mai ordered, with tears in her eyes. She was trying to pull his jacket off, use it as a bandage. It was futile, she knew, but she couldn't just sit there. She never wanted him to die!
"I thought you were going to lose," he continued. "Skull dice..."
"Baka," Mai said with a shaky voice. "Worry about yourself."
"I'm just saying..." his eyes were starting to close. Mai grabbed his hand. "Glad you didn't lose... didn't lose your soul..."
"Don't do this to me," she begged, holding his hand. "You idiot, you aren't supposed to... "
"Sorry," he murmured.
"That's my line."
"I never blamed you," he stammered, "Don't... don't think I did..."
"Tell me later," she said, reaching in her pocket for a phone. "You're getting through this."
"Mai..." he said weakly. "Shizuka... tell her what happened. Tell her... I love her..." His eyes closed.
"Jounouchi!" Mai cried. Eyes still closed, he smiled faintly. Then his hand fell from hers and he exhaled softly.
Mai and Shizuka sat together in grim silence. Mai was holding her head in her hands, trying to hold herself together.
"I'm sorry," Mai said at last, her voice breaking.
"It's not me you need to apologize to," she said. Mai shook her head, still looking down.
"Yes..." she said shakily. "Yes it is. If it weren't for me, Jou'd be here now."
Shizuka hesitated a moment before replying. "You could say that." Mai winced guility. Shizuka continued.
"But... I was there with you when Malik did those awful things. And if that happened again... I wouldn't blame you for trying to get help. And you never meant to... to..."
"But I did!"
"Do you want me to blame you?" Shizuka asked increduously.
"Yes!" Mai cried. "It IS my fault, and I don't know why that idiot wouldn't just say so..."
Shizuka shook her head disbelivingly. "Well I can't."
"But I took your brother from you!"
"What do you want me to do?" Shizuka shot back. "Oni-chan forgave you, Mai! Even if I blamed you, that doesn't bring him back, and then I lose another person I care about!"
"But..." Mai trailied off. She hesitated, realizing that Shizuka was crying.
"Of course I'm upset about oni-chan!" she said. "But I'm not going to hate you for it and lose a friend."
Mai cautiously put her hand on Shizuka's shoulder.
"I need someone to help me get through this," Shizuka cried. "Why are you trying to make me push you away?"
Mai looked away. "He didn't blame me. But it's my fault!" She closed her eyes, trying not to cry. "He never did anything wrong, and he died. I killed him, but nothing happens to me! It's not fair!"
"Mai..." Shizuka started. "Have you been thinking this since it happened?" Mai nodded, not trusting herself to speak. Shizuka continued. "You... you've been blaming yourself?" Another nod.
"Then haven't you punished yourself enough?" Mai looked up sharply at her. "Mai... you need someone to forgive you. I need someone to help me through this." She got up and moved to Mai's side of the booth. "Can't we help each other?" She took Mai's hand. Mai looked into Shizuka's face, so close to the face of the one she had...
...she had loved? She tried to call his face to mind, the one she thought she'd loved. Did Shizuka really look so much like Jounouchi? Or... when she tried to think of someone she loved and who loved her... had she been confusing Shizuka's face with Jounouchi's all along?
"Shizuka," Mai murmured, dropping the honorific.
A/N: I took the oppurtunity to use a couple of random ideas I had. The first was that Mai would try to disguise herself after Doom. Surely someone saw her with Doom, and as such, she wouldn't want to be recognized for such a thing. The other, not nearly as original idea, was that Mai originally had darker blond hair, but she dyes it. So she just stops dying (or dyes it to the original color) for a disguise.
On the whole, that didn't turn out anything like what I expected. It was going to end with both of them outside in the rain, but I went off on some weird, out of character tangent, and it just didn't work. The main flashback scene was supposed to be shorter, too, but I had to explain why she'd attack, and my original idea didn't work because I forgot that if Flame Swordsman killed the first Harpie, then the second Harpie wouldn't actually be able to get at Jou. So I had to rework it all, and make it somewhat make sense. It doesn't really.