Authoress's Note: I'd had the idea to write this for a long time and I'm glad I finally managed to do it. 'Tis PolarShipping (Joey/JouXMai) awesomeness. I apologize that it's pretty much written directly from the episode (dubbed episode), however, I think it's better because it's my interpretation of Joey's feelings. I hope you all enjoy it, too! It's kinda short for a oneshot, but I think it came out pretty good, which is saying a lot since I have next to no confidence in my abilities. I hope all PolarShipping lovers enjoy it and anyone else who happens to read it. Anyway, enough ranting, enjoy!
Marik's taunts grated on Joey's nerves and when Roland refused him, he found himself growling. It wasn't supposed to be that way. Everything was supposed to be fine. But now it wasn't.
"That's it," he muttered to himself, taking a running start and vaulting himself up onto the platform. His friends called out to Mai as Marik ordered Ra to attack her directly.
"Hey Mai!" Joey called out, running toward her. Her eyes flew open at the sound of his voice.
"I'll get'cha outta this. Don' worry," he added. "You're gonna be alright."
Mai's violet eyes—now dull, he noticed with a pang—stared at him unseeingly and she looked so tired.
"That voice," she muttered. "Who is it?"
Joey swallowed, unable to answer, and tried to pry Holding Arms and Holding Legs off her. His friends called out to him, but he couldn't hear their words. He focused all his energy on freeing Mai.
Sweat began to form on his forehead as he grunted. "It won't budge! Man!"
He jerked on it as Mai asked, "Who's there?"
Joey stopped and faced her, his eyes staring into hers.
"Mai," he said. "It's me."
"You sound so familiar to me," she said, her voice soft. "Like an old friend."
"Come on. You just gotta remember who I am," Joey said. His voice reflected desperation, the same desperation that tore at his soul. She had to remember. She just had to. She couldn't forget him forever. It would break him if she did.
"I'm not sure," she mumbled, her eyes slipping closed.
"Try harder," Joey said, unclenching a shaking fist and gently lifting Mai's head.
"Look into my eyes," he said as hers met his, still staring unseeingly. "It's me." A flicker of realization flashed through those violet orbs.
"Joey?" she asked.
"That's right," he said, allowing relief to pass through his own voice. "It's Joey. And I'm not gonna let anythin' happen to ya 'cause we're friends."
"We're friends? Us?" Mai asked, her voice reflecting surprise. His heart fell a little at the sound and the guilt consumed him.
"You know it," he replied, pushing past the uneasy feeling in his gut, "and I'm always here for ya, no matter what. And I got somethin' I gotta tell ya, something I shoulda told ya before."
She stared at him with those tired, violet eyes and they seemed to plead, "What?"
"Do you remember when I got knocked unconscious durin' that lightnin' storm? Then I had that freaky dream that we were all back at school only for some reason, I couldn't stand up? Then, all my friends helped me get back up on my feet, including you."
Tears began to form at the corners of his eyes as he continued, "I know I told you that ya weren't in that dream. Sorry, but ya were 'dere. You're my friend."
Her eyes widened and focused and the dullness seemed to disappear as her pupils cleared again.
"Wait a sec," she said. "Joey!" Joy spread through his heart as she said his name and if they weren't in such a dangerous situation, he knew he would have blushed.
"Mai!" he said, inwardly shaking free of those thoughts and releasing her head. "You remember now?" She nodded and glanced behind him.
"Let's go," she said, determination taking over her eyes. "Get me outta these stupid chains."
"Alright," Joey said, relief flooding his system as he moved to her left arm to try and pull off Holding Arms. "Now that's the Mai I remember." He jerked on it a couple times then groaned.
"Man, this thing's on even tighter than I thought," he said, jerking on it again. "I gotta get it off quick." He grunted and jerked, wishing with all his heart it would shake loose. Come on, Joey, he thought to himself. You gotta get her outta here. After all, you love her don't you? He almost stopped in his tracks as a blush crawled onto his cheeks, but he shoved it away quickly, hiding it from Mai.
Mai suddenly groaned as a light brightened behind him.
"Forget about me, just go!" she called, struggling against the chains.
"No way," Joey said. I won't lose you now. "I'm not leavin' without you!"
Marik called the attack behind him, but he ignored it and jerked harder. He had to get her out of there before it was too late.
The light grew brighter and Joey finally stopped, putting both hands on either side of her face and placing himself in the pathway of the attack.
"Listen, Joey, don't be a hero, just go!" Mai said and Joey forced himself to look directly into her eyes.
"Look, I'm stayin' right here. I can't leave without you, Mai. You know why?" he asked, forcing himself to say it.
"Why?" Mai asked, tears forming at the corners of her eyes.
"Because I love you and I would never abandon you," he said as a surprised look crossed her face. He ignored the impending doom behind him and leaned forward to envelope her lips in a kiss. His heart soared as she fell into it and pounded in his chest, threatening to race right out of his body.
It no longer mattered that they were doomed to death with Ra's attack behind them. No, all that mattered now was him and his eternal love, forever bonded through an eternal kiss.