A/N: Companion/Sequel fic to "Greatest Fan of Your Life". Quick recap: Mai tried to kill herself. Jounouchi stopped her. Okay, go ahead now.
"In the United States, individuals who express the intent to harm themselves are automatically determined to lack the present mental capacity to refuse treatment, and can be transported to the emergency department against their will"
Since I can't find information on Japan, we're going to pretend like they do the same thing.
"I'm living for the only thing I know. I'm running and not quite sure where to go. And I don't know what I'm diving into, just hanging by a moment here with you."
--"Hanging By a Moment" by Lifehouse, from the album No Name Face.
Disclaimer: With the number of people who have used this plot already, I highly doubt that it belongs to me.
They were still sitting together when the police came out onto the roof. Mai said nothing while the officers escorted them down the stairs. An ambulance waited outside. The officers looked a bit nervous, like she might struggle. But one of the paramedics came forward, and Mai let him help her into the van without incident. Jounouchi lagged behind, wanting to ride along, but not knowing if he was welcome. The paramedic who helped her in shut the back door in his face, but the other called to Jounouchi to sit in the front.
The quiet was punctuated only by the paramedic asking Mai questions. They arrived soon. Mai was taken into the ER, Jounouchi sent to the waiting room. He waited. It was late when he'd been at the bar with his coworkers, never mind now. He dozed as people filtered in and out, the hours dragging on.
Sometime when it was still dark out, a nurse called his name and he was led through the ER, past the traditional beds to a run-down back section with only a few rooms guarded by heavy doors. The rooms held only large, once comfortable chairs only the stuffing had gone out of them. Mai was sitting on such a chair, a doctor in the room with her. Jounouchi was told to empty his pockets before he was allowed to enter. Mai looked up when he did.
"Mr. Jounouchi," the female doctor addressed him. "You are Ms. Kujaku's... ah... friend?"
He looked at Mai for confirmation, but she was staring at the floor. "Yeah," he shrugged. Friend. Wow. That brought back memories.
"Standard procedure is to keep patients who wish themselves harm. But..." she pulled a file out of nowhere and started flipping through it, addressing Mai. "I don't know what good it would do. You have such a complicated psychiatric history, yet no previous thoughts of suicide. After performing an examination, and taking your past history into account... I don't think the problem here is something I can fix. You've been through the gamut already. If you choose one of the options we discussed, Ms. Kujaku, I will leave it up to you."
Jounouchi had no idea what any of it meant, but that wasn't what he was here for anyway. Mai looked to him again, beckoned him to come closer. He squatted next to the chair so they could speak privately.
"Jounouchi..." she was trying to keep the pleading tone out of her voice, but he knew her too well for that. "They'll let me go if someone stays with me. But... I don't have anyone else. ...will you?"
He swallowed. He'd prepared his answer when he grabbed her on the roof. "I told you, Mai. Anything."
"I'll be going," Mai told the doctor, who nodded. That was it. Not another word to Jounouchi as they gathered their things, as they signed papers, as they left and Jounouchi tried to figure out which train to take. Mai led the way, though, steering them back to her apartment. The door was unlocked--she hadn't intended on coming back, after all.
Jounouchi stared at the clock showing how late--or early--it was. Mai headed for a door. He heard a light swtich click, the door shut, and then water running. Jounouchi wandered around the room while he waited.
He'd expected it to be more... elaborate. It wasn't unfurnished--there was a couch, a recliner, a coffee table, a TV in the living room half; appliances, a table and chairs in the kitchen, the two spaces separated only by where the carpet met tile. It made the place very open, and he liked that. There was a doorway on the far wall, across from his position by the entrance. It wasn't the door she had gone in, so he assumed it was a bedroom. But that was everything notable.
It was more than the bare neccessities--there was a picture in a frame on a table, a couple things stuck to the refrigerator with magnets--and it looked lived-in from the dents in the couch and the path worn in the carpeting, but it didn't really have a charm. It looked like something out of an advertisement for a furniture set; there were decorations, but nothing personal enough to turn anyone off from the room. No pictures on the walls, no plants, nothing distinctive. He half-thought the place might be completely refurbished in various shades of purple.
He was inspecting the television and cabinet when she came out. He stood up, looking at her, not sure what he ought to do.
"So," she started. The first words either of them had said since they'd left the hospital. She looked around the room, nervous to catch his eye. Neither of them had any idea what was supposed to happen now. "Um. Make yourself at home. You don't have anything with you... rrgh, I think I've got an unopened toothbrush around here somewhere--"
"We'll figure it out in the morning," Jounouchi cut in as she began to look overwhelmed. "It's little stuff. Don't worry about it."
She nodded, trying to stay calm and starting to fail. Jounouchi stepped towards her. "Mai. It's okay."
"Right," she mumbled, heading past him and sitting herself on the couch.
"Not tired?" He asked, wondering why she didn't go to her bedroom.
"Yes," she said simply, sadly. Jounouchi could've smacked himself in the forehead. Stupid, of course she wasn't going to sleep much, that was the whole point of him being here.
"Right, sorry, I forgot," he apologized quickly. She didn't move at all. He sighed, feeling out of place.
"If you want to sleep..." she started in a strained voice. "You can take the bed, I won't be using it..." She meant the offer, wanting to be nice to him, but she couldn't hide the longing in her voice. And still she kept up a brave face for him, after all they'd done together, after what just happened only hours ago. She'd fought alone for so long, and he was here now, so she wouldn't have to. If she needed someone to sit with, to cry on, to talk to, that's why he was here. Jounouchi looked at her for one long moment, crossed the room, and sat down next to her.
She looked at him, opening her mouth to protest. He didn't need to be there with her, he could sleep if he wanted--but the look in his eyes kept her quiet.
"Said I'd stay with you," he murmured. Her mouth closed, and she nodded. Leaning her head on his shoulder, her brow uncreased, and some of the worry went away.
They stayed like that for what felt like only a short time. Jounouchi blinked, realizing he'd been sleeping. "Mai?" Jounouchi asked, coming out of his doze. She was resting on his shoulder... asleep. Well. Guess that was a good sign. He stood up--might as well let her sleep in comfort, instead of leaning on the couch.
Gently, Jounouchi lifted her into his arms. He didn't notice on the roof, when she was on top of him, but... had she gotten smaller? Or had he really grown that much? His mind flashed to her suicide attempt, and he felt like the same kid he'd been when they first met. It was hard to think that he'd grown at all. He hadn't been able to do anything to save her tonight. She would have argued otherwise, but he blamed himself for just about everything else that had happened to her--why break the streak? In the end, she had chosen to stay with him. As he carried her into her room, Jounouchi prayed that this time would be different.
He pushed open the door with his back. It opened silently. Jounouchi almost wished it would've creaked; everything was so still and dark, it was a little unsettling. He laid Mai down on the bed and tossed a blanket over her. She was so peaceful like this, Jounouchi thought. He couldn't imagine what might've been going on in her head... the horrible dreams she'd described to him.
Jounouchi looked around the room. Now that the bed was occupied, the obivous choice for staying the night would've been the couch, but he didn't want to leave her side. The room was small, so she didn't have any chairs. Jounouchi shrugged and sat down on the floor against the wall, settling himself in for what was left of the night.
It stayed quiet for the longest time. Jounouchi wasn't sure if he ought to sleep or not. He tried to stay awake for an hour or so, and kept dozing off. So he decided to just sleep, figuring that he'd wake up if anything really bad happened. Of course, he was wide awake by that time. He stared at the digital clock on the nightstand and watched it count off the minutes. The night was so long. It made his mind wander.
How long had she been fighting this on her own? Since Doom? And Jounouchi thought he had it tough for him just waiting for her. He had only been separated from her, the one he cared about so much, but she'd been fighting off Malik's torture every night, and separated from the one she...
...no. Scratch the "and".
Jounouchi hadn't asked, and Mai hadn't said whether or not his--slightly confused--feelings were returned. It didn't matter either way to him--well, it DID, of course, but nothing would change his own feelings, of that he was sure. But he wondered. She stayed with him. That had to count for something. She was ready to kill herself, and she didn't when he showed up.
I can't have been the only reason, Jounouchi thought. She said it herself, he'd been a fool to think she would kill herself over him. It stood to reason that he'd be a fool to think she would NOT kill herself over him as well. He was PART of it, but... Mai decided for herself. Heh, she never did let him get in the way of things because they were friends. Not in Battle City and not while she was with Doom.
The sheets rustled, interuppting Jounouchi's train of thought. It was hardly anything, but Jounouchi sat bolt upright. He held his breath, waiting for more. Things too faint for him to hear before... A car passed by on the street outside. Someone was walking around a floor above them. Mai's slow breathing. His own heartbeat. Jounouchi sighed. Nothing. Well, nothing was better than...
No. Not nothing. The sheets rustled again, and Mai rolled over, facing Jounouchi. Her face was drawn as though she was in pain. He quietly got up and went over to the bed. She groaned, turning away from him again. He went around the foot of the bed. A window was at his back now, moonlight spilling from it and lighting up her face. Jounouchi hesistated at the foot of the bed. She looked calm again. Maybe it wasn't as bad as usual...? No, her expression changed again. It was worse this time, he was sure. He went closer and knelt on the floor.
"N-no," she murmured, lifting an arm to cover her face. Jounouchi started to feel more nervous.
"Mai? Hey, Mai?" He called softly. She moaned and covered her head with the other arm as well. Jounouchi hesitantly reached out a hand.
"What are you... no... help!" She cried, getting progressively louder. Jounouchi, now without hesitation, put his hand on her shoulder and shook her gently.
"Mai, come on, wake up," he said, and louder, "Mai!"
"Come back!" she cried, pushing his hand off of her. Jounouchi pulled back, thinking she was awake. Mai whimpered pitifully and started to tremble, still caught in the dream.
Jounouchi was really getting unnerved now. He stood up, put both hands on her shoulders, and called to her loudly, "Mai! It's just a dream!"
"No!" she cried, sounding for all the world like a terrified child. She struggled against his grip, even hit him, but Jounouchi held on.
She started to shake more violently. Jounouchi slid his hands down, taking her hands in his own. She pulled away, but his grip was too strong. He called her name again, but she flinched and screamed, and would not wake up no matter what Jounouchi did.
"I don't even wake up from it. I just keep sleeping while he tortures me."
"Mai, please," Jounouchi begged. He couldn't stand the thought of her being tortured and not being able to do anything. Again. "Please!"
Her grip on his hands slackened. Then, while Jounouchi's guard was down, her arms shot out again, clawing wildy at the air.
"Mai--!" Jounouchi tried to hold her down again, but every time he managed to grasp her arm, she pulled away.
And then, suddenly, it all stopped. Her arms fell to her sides and her eyes snapped open. She sat up, covered in sweat, shaking.
"Mai!" Jounouchi breathed, relieved she'd woken up but concerned. "You alright?" She nodded, breathless.
"You..." she gasped, catching her breath. "Jounouchi... you..." He was sitting and made to get off the bed, to give her space, but she caught his wrist, pulled him forward, and threw her arms around him.
"M-mai?" He was sitting sideways, looking at her door, and it was awkward, but she didn't care. "Erm... so you're okay?"
"You were... you were there," she laughed in a choked voice. "You were talking, and I heard you, and then... you were there. In the dream."
"And... that was good?" He'd felt so utterly useless--his panicked yelling had helped her?
"I'm afraid of being alone, Jounouchi. I dream about forgetting everyone I ever knew or people leaving me to die--and you were there. Next to me, staying with me. YES, that's good."
This was a tough question for him to ask, but the guilt was driving him crazy, and he needed to know. "So... you're not regretting...?"
She stared at him for a long moment. He was looking down at her, clearly uncomfortable in her hold, but letting her hang on to him all the same. Now he was the one worried. After finding her on the roof, stopping her, following her the whole night, staying with her, not being scared off by the whole experience, and reaching her in the dream--after giving her a... cliched as it was for her to admit, a reason to live again, he was still worried he hadn't done enough.
"No," she said at last, almost laughing from relief. "I never thought I'd say it, but no, I don't regret it. Not one bit."
A/N: "There's nothing else to lose, there's nothing else to find. There's nothing in the world that could change my mind. There is nothing else. There is nothing else."
--"Hanging By a Moment" by Lifehouse, from the album No Name Face.
Thoughts? Suggestions, concrit, and comments are welcomed. Fic is planned out, but not written, so things can still change...