Title: journey
Fandom: Avatar
Characters: Mai/Zuko
Rating: PG
Word Count: 454
Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for the end of the finale
Summary: Zuko is leaving again. Mai is unahppy.
Notes: This was to be the beginning scene of my fic-never-to-be that detailed Zuko's search for Ursa. But Bryke are already doing that, so I shall leave it in their capable hands, and just give you the scene.

Zuko packed – all of the practicalities of a long journey, things like extra sandals, and blankets for when the ostrich-horses chafed (one never knew what might come in handy, and his voyage could not be completed on foot alone.) The journey itself should be straightforward, now that he had the time to devote to it. His father had told him everything he wanted to know.

Still, without the luxury of sky-bison travel, he needed to be prepared. He would have liked the have the ease of zipping over the land, instead of spending tedious time going around the Earth Kingdom. But Appa went where Aang went and Zuko could not ask the Avatar to take this journey with him.

This was something he had to do alone.

He was so absorbed in his packing, that he didn't notice that the door was standing open until a moment later when he looked up, perplexed by the draft. The young Fire Lord let out a rather unbecoming yelp, and fell flat on his butt in surprise.

The dark-haired young lady, dressed in somber silks, repressed a smile. Zuko grinned at her appearance.

"Mai," he said, a little bit uneasily. "What are you doing here?"

Mai simply arched an eyebrow at his packing. "Going somewhere?" she asked. Despite her non-committal tone, Zuko knew that she was Not Happy with him.

"I… uhh…" Zuko groped for words. "I was just… uhh… checking some… stuff."

Mai gave him a stern look, and Zuko looked away, ashamed that he had lied to her.

"I need to go somewhere," he said somberly.

"What did I tell you when I took you back?" Mai demanded menacingly, and Zuko gulped at the way she punctuated her words. "Never break up with me again."

"What? I… I didn't mean-"

Mai's stern look softened. "And that means you aren't leaving me behind again, either," she said. "Honestly, Zuko."

Zuko wavered between refusal – he had planned to take this journey alone – and gratitude – that she would want to accompany him.

"It's going to be a long journey," he conceded.

Mai smiled. "I know," she said.

Briskly, Zuko turned back to packing. He would need to double his supplies, if Mai was to come along. The dark-haired girl knelt beside him, and her hand brushed his as she packed a coil of rope. For a moment, their hands lingered – just barely touching.

"We'll find your mother," she said, and the way she said it – in her calm, assured voice, that never spoke of frivolous things – comforted him beyond what he could say.

He smiled.

Although he hadn't told her what it was he was searching for, he didn't need to ask how she knew. She just did.