AHHH, THE FINAL CHAPTER. Sorry this is such a gap! First week of uni this week and I'd just forgotten until then. Thanks Scaler24, Shizuka Ayasato and BannanMilkshake97 for your reviews and thanks to everyone who's reviewed overall for the story. It sure has been a romantic and clichéd ride! Hope everyone's enjoyed this and likes the conclusion! :)

Twenty-two

"Nick-" she starts again, staring up into my eyes, apparently unable to look away as we've not broken eye-contact once. The intensity of this is enough to make me blush, which I do.

Then I swallow back the huge amount of saliva which has amalgamated inside my mouth and repeat myself. And them some.

"Don't go. Look, I know this is complicated, but I don't want you to leave, all right? And I know it's not up to me and I'm being insanely selfish here, but I've kept my mouth shut for too long."

She blinks slightly, and bites her lip a little, finally looking away and stepping back slightly. I'm still catching my breath and somehow, this adds to the urgency of the situation.

"I don't know..." she says. She sounds tired, exhausted actually. I suppose it's been a pretty stressful few days.

"I know you don't, but I know on your behalf that you don't want to, Maya, not deep down. Look me in the eye and tell me you want to go and I'll book you a new ticket right now, but I know you won't be able to so just stay."

She shakes her head, "I have responsibilities and-"

"Oh come on, they can find another Master, surely! What about Pearl?" I say, cutting across her, tired of the old "I have no choice excuse".

"She's ten!" Maya retorts, quickly and fiercely. She thinks I don't understand. Thing is, I probably understand better than she does.

I shrug, "So? She's great at channelling! It's not even like work to her. Come on, Maya, I've sat here and listened to you talk like this and I've been biting my tongue ever since you announced you were leaving and-"

She looks at me as though longing for me to finish.

It's time for me to step up.

"-And that's because I was so sure that anything I said would be stopping you from doing what was right in your eyes- what was right for you. I didn't want to be selfish – to tell you to stay for my sake..." I pause and run my hands through my hair. "But this isn't right for either of us! I don't want you to leave and you know that- it's to be expected. I mean, you're great, you help out, you're funny and you're beautiful." she smiles slightly at this and despite myself I grin, sheepishly. She's looked a little more receptive after I call her funny and beautiful, but she still doesn't look sure. "But I have responsibilities at-"

I hold my hand up in the hair as an indication she should be quiet, "No. No more of that, okay? We'll work through all that responsibilities stuff together, here. Everything. Pearl, the elders, your job. Can we just forget about that and concentrate on what we've found in the past few days; focus on us?"

She looks stressed at this and plays with one of the beads at the end of her hair, "What exactly is this, Nick?"

I shrug, "I have no idea. We're not friends and we're not exactly lovers..."

She winces, "I hate that word."

"Fine, I'm not your boyfriend then, but I do have feelings for you...and I think we both know leaving now would be a huge mistake."

I can tell she's wavering and in my heart I actually dare to hope that maybe, just maybe she's considering it. She's a least smiling a bit, but then again, she's also crying slightly. I take her hand and step a little closer to her.

"So?" I probably shouldn't push her, but the suspense is getting to me.

She half smiles, looking as though she's on the fence, "There wouldn't be any pressure or anything?" she questions me; perhaps this is the deciding vote for her?

I shake my head, "None. Just two friends getting to know one another."

"Well..." she pauses and looks down, obviously trying to suppress a grin, "We wouldn't have to go that slowly..."

I raise my eyebrows, "Oh yeah?"

"Yeah." and she's staring at me in a familiar way, kind of like she did last night, only she looks more certain that last time.

We both head for the kiss at the same time. I'm glad. In fact, I'm over the moon; I think this means she's staying, so obviously there had to be a kiss. All love stories end with a kiss.

I'm not saying this is a love story, because all love stories have an end and frankly...

Well, I hope this lasts forever.

So...much...fluff. Eeugh. Thanks again everyone!