Authors note: A very lovely ending, in my eyes. I all my reviews and readers enjoy.

Chapter Forty

Hope

Mrs. Chi Poi slowly entered Mai's room, a faint smile on her face.

"Mai, don't you want to go see the prince, at least one more time. I heard that no one was going to be there to see him off…a disgrace it has been known as. But don't you-"

"No. It would only make it worse, mother. But you can go."

"That's alright dear, I'd rather not. I actually liked Prince Zuko. He was so nice to you. I'll just stay here."

"Ok then…"

Mrs. Chi Poi exited Mai's room, leaving the girl to herself. Mai rested both of her arms out of the window and gazed into the horizon. She felt like crying but the tears wouldn't come.

"Why? Why has everything I've wished for…all my dreams…come to this? Why isn't there…?"

Mai skidded over to her bed, clutching in one hand her necklace and in the other her dagger and now her Fire Nation insignia, all presents from Zuko.

"What could this all mean?"

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"Wow Mai, another bull's-eyes," Zuko said, smiling, "You are getting too good for me."

"No I'm not…you'll always be the best."

Zuko blushed slightly. He then focused his stance, creating an even larger flaming dagger than before. He studied his move before hitting a clear bull's-eye.

"See," Mai said, "Bull's-eye."

"I guess so. Come, Mai, let's take a break."

Zuko walked over to the bleachers of the arena, followed by Mai.

"It's great out here, isn't Mai?"

"Yes, it really is, especially when you have a friend around."

"Yeah, and especially when that friend is you," he added.

Mai told herself not to blush but it was so plainly there on her pale face. Zuko noticed anyway.

"Hey Zuko?" Mai mumbled.

"Yes Mai?" Zuko answered as he turned to her face.

"Why is there "Hope"…I mean on the things you've given me?"

Zuko beamed to the sky, "I was wondering when you were going to ask me about that. Well, I give you things with "Hope" on them because it is such an important word. If everything else around you is gone, it's the one thing that will stay…hope."

Mai nodded her head in understanding, "I think I know what you mean. When other things desert you and you're all alone, hope will keep you strong."

"Exactly…you're my hope, Mai."

Mai, for the few times she ever did, smiled, "…You're my hope too, Zuko."

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Mai jumped off her bed after gasping quite loudly. She glanced around her room before her eyes went wide.

"Zuko is my hope…my only hope. I have to go and see him…at least one more time for all it's worth."

Mai ran out of her room and quickly walked down the stairs. Mai grabbed her cloak on the coat hook before leaving her home. She ran at full speed down the upper class streets, slowly making her way to the ship docks.

"I have to get there, I just have to."

Mai, after much exhaustion, made it the docks. She desperately looked around for Uncle Iroh's ship but it wasn't to be found. Mai lastly went to someone close to shore.

"Have you seen the retired General Iroh's ship? It's leaving with the Fire Nation prince."

"Oh, you just missed it. It left just five minutes ago, I'm sorry. But if it helps no one was there. It was a disgrace."

"I don't care. This can't be true."

"I'm truly sorry but General Iroh's ship left dock already."

"But I have to see it, you don't understand. If I don't…wait, you said General Iroh's ship left dock, right?"

"Yes."

"He's returning his ship because he is retired. Zuko has his own ship!"

"Excuse me?"

"Is there any other ships leaving dock?"

"One more, we're trying to get them all out this morning. But you won't catch it. It's too-wait!"

Mai was already running from the man in pursuit of Zuko. She paced herself over a few rocks before the ship was in sight. She could see it slowly moving out into the water.

"Stop!" Mai bellowed over the engines, "Wait!"

She ran until she couldn't run any longer. Mai searched the deck of the ship but fog was closing in. No one was to be seen.

"Zuko…" Mai said, her last word sounding so meek.

The word though small was heard as the prince came out from the fog. His scar bringing sadness but his eyes love.

"Mai."

He gave her a smile, the same one he had always given before. Mai returned it quite shortly. Zuko mouthed something that couldn't be understood and disappeared before it could be figured out.

Mai's smile melted as the ship furthered its way from her, a single strand of hair caressing her face while she gazed into the ocean. She had seen him one last time, like she had always wanted.

"Keep hope, Zuko," she said to herself and to her best friend who would always stay in her heart, "Keep hope…"

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Authors note: Hmm…the sequels name is "Now We Are Older". It will hopefully be up in the next few weeks. Thank you all my reviewers, thank you. You're Author, LightPrevails.