A/N: I started this fic almost a year ago, so if it's worse than my current stuff, that's why. I did try really hard to fix it up, but I'm never sure.
Japan Family name, given name. (ex: Jounouchi Katsuya) America Given name, family name. (ex: Katsuya Jounouchi) There's a sort of joke you'll need to know that for.
Beta-read by pyrocrazed gel.
"Stop right there! That's exactly where I lost it! See that line? Well, I never should have crossed it. Stop right there! I never should have said that; it's the very moment that I wish that I could take back. I'm sorry for the person I became. I'm sorry that it took so long for me to change. I'm ready to be sure I never become that way again, 'cause who I am hates who I've been, who I am hates who I've been."
-"Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" by Relient K from the album Mmhmm.
Disclaimer: These are the things I do NOT own: the song, Yuugiou, and during musical time, my life.
Jounouchi Katsuya paced nervously in the hotel lobby. He was drawing stares from the staff and the few people that were there at 6 in the morning, but he didn't care. The plan had been to wait until the tournament started, but Jounouchi couldn't sleep, and finally, he decided to come down to ask for her room number. But now he was too nervous to do anything but walk back and forth like an idiot. His mind was racing. What if she didn't want to see him? What if she really wasn't here? What... what if there was someone else? Maybe he misunderstood their relationship before...
...except there wasn't any relationship to misunderstand. It was three years since the incident with Doom, and Jounouchi hadn't made any contact since then. The last time he saw her... he pushed that thought out of his mind. He had been there. The other man. The main reason Jounouchi was pacing in this lobby right now. Jou watched her cry over his body. She had been angry at that jerk at first... but then again, she had been angry at Jou, too. And she hadn't come to see him in three years.
"Um... can I help you, sir?" Jounouchi's train of thought was interuppted by a brave desk clerk. The blond duelist jumped and looked up. His pacing had led him towards the front desk.
"N-no," Jounouchi stammered in decent English. "I... uh... well, actually, yeah. I'm looking for someone. Could you get me their room number?"
"Certainly, sir," the clerk replied politely. "Their name?"
Jounouchi hesitated a moment more. "Kujaku Mai."
The clerk typed, and looked at her computer screen.
"I'm sorry, sir, there's no one by that name here."
Jounouchi's heart raced nervously. No. She had to be here. They said... she had registered!
"Wha... no, she has to be here. She's in the tournament. They... they told me-" Jounouchi babbled. He stopped suddenly. Wait. He could've smacked himself in the forehead. He was in America. Duh.
5 minutes later Jounouchi still wanted to smack himself in the head, but for a different reason. He was standing nervously outside of Mai's hotel room door-119-with absolutely no idea what to do from here. Well, he had SOME idea. Knocking was one of them. Running away and pretending he never came here was another. He took a deep breath.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Nothing. Silence. Jounouchi sighed. She probably left already to get ready for the tournament. Maybe he'd go check the arena...
"Nn... Hello?" someone called sleepily. Jounouchi whirled back around towards the door. She was there. Mai was really there. He opened his mouth to reply, but the words caught in his throat.
"Hello?" she repeated. He could hear footsteps, getting closer. His heart was pounding. When the footsteps stopped, he wasn't sure if it was her or he just couldn't hear over his heart.
"What the...?" she gasped. Jou guessed she had looked through the peephole. Hobey ho, here we go. The lock was thrown, and...
"Hey, Mai," Jounouchi said lamely.
Kujaku Mai stared at the young duelist standing in her doorway, speechless. Jou grinned sheepishly, attempting to look like he knew what he was doing. Luckily for him, Mai was too stunned to notice what he was doing, blinded by the fact that it was actually HIM.
"H-how...?" she said, dazed.
"I pulled some strings with the tournament folks," he explained quickly. "Got them to tell me if you were coming. Then I just went to the hotel desk... and... yeah," he concluded. Mai was still staring.
"I don't believe it," she said. "All this time... I never thought..." she leaned on the doorway. Jounouchi nervously took a step forward. Crap, he didn't think him showing up would be that... well... he had no idea what was going to happen when he showed up, now that he thought about it. Her fainting wouldn't have been very high on his list though.
"I don't suppose it would cover it to say 'I'm sorry'?" she asked. Jounouchi blinked a couple times, thoroughly confused.
"Uh... I don't..." he stammered. Then something clicked. "OH. That. Wha- are you kidding me?" he said, taken aback. "You don't need to-"
"Jounouchi." It was the first time he'd heard her say his name in three years. She held up a hand to silence him. "I know you don't need to hear it. But I still need to say it." She looked up at him. "I'm sorry."
Jounouchi nodded, not feeling entirely comfortable replying. It was over and done with, and he forgave her. That didn't change the fact that he was a man and didn't like expressing himself. Which was actually the stem of all their problems, but he was to re-learn that lesson soon enough.
Mai suppressed a yawn, and stepped back from the door.
"Well, come on in," Mai offered warmly. She was actually very happy to see him, but not being a morning person, she still had a vauge, why-the-hell-did-you-wake-me-up-at-6-in-the-morning? look.
"S-sorry for waking you," Jounouchi offered hastily, not sure if she was going to yell at him. "I couldn't sleep..."
"What time is it?" she asked, supressing another yawn.
"Erm..." Jounouchi said nervously. "...a little after 6?"
"Damn," she muttered. "I'm getting old if I can't even get up this early." Jounouchi wasn't sure if he was allowed to laugh at this or not. Women could be so sensitive over age jokes. Things were rocky enough as it was; he kept his mouth shut.
"So, you couldn't sleep?" Mai smirked, glancing over her shoulder at Jounouchi as he shut the hotel room door behind him. "That doesn't sound like you."
"Nah," he shook his head, chuckling. "But it's been three years, Mai."
"Mmm," she acknowledged him, but didn't know how to reply. He watched as she started the coffeepot.
"Oh!" Jou said suddenly. "There was another reason I came so early."
"Yeah?" she said, sitting down on the edge of her bed. Jounouchi grinned.
"There's something I want to show you."
Twenty minutes, some coffee, and a quick change of clothes for Mai later, they were standing in the parking lot, Mai firmly clenching her car keys in her fist.
"Jounouchi, I am not letting you drive my car."
"Oh come on," he pleaded. "I'm a good driver!"
"Can't you just tell me where to go?" she said exsasperated.
"But that would ruin the surprise!" he protested. "C'mon," he coaxed, putting his hand on hers, trying to take the keys. She looked down at the keys clenched tightly in her fist, then back up into his eyes. No, don't look in his eyes-! She turned her head.
"Please?" he said meekly. Mai glanced back at him.
"Oh, all right," she sighed, opening her hand. "But this better be good."
Jou grinned. "Don't worry, it will be!" He ran like a giddy schoolboy to the car. Mai rolled her eyes and strolled after him.
"You know how to drive in America, right?" Mai opened the door-the first time anyone had used her passenger door in a long time-and sat down next to Jounouchi.
"Sure I do," he said, looking over his shoulder as he backed out. "Left side of the road, right?"
Mai was halfway out of the car before he laughed and quickly said, "Kidding! I'm kidding!" Mai glowered at him and pulled back into the car.
"I get it, no driving jokes," he said, waiting for her to put her seatbelt back on. "Go!" he added in English.
"...Jou?" Mai was trying not to laugh.
"Stick to Japanese."
"Here we are," Jounouchi announced happily.
"Um... the beach?"
"Yeah!" Jou said enthusiastically. "C'mon!" He climbed out of the car and ran out into the sand.
Mai stifled a yawn. "We couldn't have done this later?" she called. Mai wasn't much of a morning person to begin with, and it was still dark out.
"No, I want you to see this," he replied, waving for her to follow. She sighed and kicked her shoes off. Heels weren't very good in sand.
"I bet you've never seen this before," Jou said when she came over.
"What, the ocean?" she asked increduously. Of course she had, on the same boat as him, even. Maybe not the Atlantic, but they all looked the same, anyway.
"Not exactly... okay, maybe you have seen it before, I don't know, but it's worth seeing again, I think."
"What is?" she asked.
"Sunrise," he said simply, pointing to the horizon as the sun spilled over into the morning sky. Mai-she didn't gasp, exactly, or if she did, she wouldn't admit it. He was right, though, she'd never seen the sunrise over the ocean. The previously dull gray sky was quickly lightening to blue, the horizon framed in soft orange and yellow. The sun edged slowly up into the sky.
"Oh..." Mai said softly, entranced by the simple beauty of it all. Jou glanced at her. The soft morning light lit up her face. Jou felt his heart beat faster.
"You like it?" he asked quietly. Mai smiled, still looking at the sky.
"It's..." she trailed off, at a loss for words. "I love it."
"Mai-" Jou said suddenly, taking her hand. Mai blinked and looked at him.
"I..." Jou stammered, desperately searching for words. He turned to her, trembling slightly. "I..."
"Jounouchi, what-" Mai started, but was abruptly cut off.
He kissed her.
Mai couldn't help but think of her duel with Malik, when he had taken her face in his hands. She thought he might kiss her then-or at least that's what she thought looking back on it. At the time, she hadn't been able to even see him-and maybe she wanted him to. But now? It was Jounouchi who drew back, but Mai was glad when he did. Slowly, they opened their eyes. Jou looked at her expectantly, anxiously. Mai wasn't sure what sort of expression she had, but it must not have been good, because his face fell.
Jounouchi looked at Mai, his mouth still slightly open, waiting for a response. He had hoped she would kiss him back, or at the very least, look somewhat happy, but when he met her eyes, his heart fell. Her mouth was curled into a slight frown, her eyes uncertain and unwilling. Jou's heart started beating quickly again, but for a different reason. His face burned. She didn't...? He felt like a fool. Who was he to think that she... liked him back? He lowered his eyes, unable to look at her any longer. What did she think of him now? He must be crazy, going after Kujaku Mai. He drew a breath to ask her, to explain, to say something...
"S-sorry," he muttered. That's the best he could come up with? 'Sorry'? Stupid, stupid, stupid! Why did he have to do this? It wasn't enough to see her for the first time in three years, he had to go and try to confess his... try to be romantic. He didn't even notice that he was walking away. His feet just carried him away. He heard Mai call to him dimly, but he ignored it.
"Jounouchi!" Mai shouted as he walked away. She chased after him, calling his name. He ignored her and kept walking. Why was she calling after him? She didn't want him to kiss her. ...or... maybe she just didn't know what to do now that he did. After all they had been through, he still felt that way towards her? After she had tried to kill him? After she hadn't contacted him in years? She had wanted to let it go, never see him again... never hurt him again. She promised herself she would have nothing more to do with Jounouchi Katsuya. So then, why exactly, was she still running after him? More importantly, why wasn't he stopping? If he really meant it, then...? Mai stopped. Jounouchi...? I didn't mean it that way! I'm sorry!
Why aren't you turning around...?
A/N: Yes, I am freaking OBSESSED with Jou and Mai at the beach. Episode 119 is my favorite polar clip EVER. But the beach part was inspired by my own trip to the beach last summer, and Michael Buble's "Everything". The Shakespearean misunderstanding of feelings and lack of communication goes with the Relient K song.
Mai not being a morning person is something I came up with for an original character based on Mai for my NaNoWriMo novels the past two years. I thought it'd be funny to carry over to this. (EDIT: it was more extreme in the first draft, but it was OOC, so most of it was cut)
Next chapter: Emo Jou! Well... kinda. Jou leaves. Mai doesn't know what to do. She wants to go after him, but where is he? And what exactly does she say to him?