I thank you all for reviewing and for putting up with my many many typos!
Ralli Rah: Thanks for all of your kind reviews x3! I have really enjoyed reading them and your encouragement has meant a great deal to me too : )
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MorpheusDreamer: Thankyou so much for reading my story! I have really appreciated it! I think it would be sad to spit these guys up too after all their struggles, but fate works in strange ways, by the end of this chapter we shall see if fate allows Ma and Zazu to be together!
Took-Baggins: Thanks for all the support! Hope you enjoy the ending , and goodluck with your new story it sounds very interesting!
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Maran Zelde: Thanks for the review, yes Max is very old and 11 does sound about right! Good luck with your stories I love them!
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And Thankyou to anyone I forgot or anyone who reads this in the future!
It had been about a week since Simba's discussion with Maha, and sadly it was nearly time for the jungle dwellers to return home. Pumbaa's wounds had healed over nicely, and with the cubs now being able to walk around a bit by themselves the cave suddenly was seeming a little crowded. Maha, Pumbaa and Timon had recently discussed an appropriate time to leave and that day way today. To Maha the days had flown by very quickly indeed, in fact they had for Zazu as well who had spend almost the whole time by Maha's side.
Timon and Pumbaa had said their farewells to the lions, and were waiting just outside the Rock for Maha to say her farewell to Zazu.
"Are you sure you can't stay longer," sighed Zazu as he gave her a hug, he had had the sling off for two days now as his wing was almost fully healed now.
"I'm afraid so," said Maha trying to stop herself from crying, then her face brightened up a little and she added, "Why don't you come back to the oasis with us? My home is big enough for two and I'm sure all the meerkats would love to have you."
Zazu gave this some thought. "Had circumstances been different I may uptake that offer, however I cannot fail my duty as Major-domo and with three new cubs bouncing around the place I'm sure Simba and Nala will be requiring my assistance."
"Oh…I understand," uttered Maha giving him another hug, as tears rolled down her plump little cheeks.
Zazu couldn't help but shed a tear as well although he tried to wipe this away before anyone could see
"Well, I guess this is goodbye," Maha managed to say.
"I suppose it is," said Zazu quietly.
"Take care honey," sighed Maha giving the bird a kiss on the cheek, and then turning to leave.
"I'll try to visit soon," called out Zazu as he watched the meerkat leave. He felt terrible, he was never very good at goodbyes and hoped she realised how hard the decision to stay was for him.
Down below he saw Maha come to her son and share a long embrace, she was obviously crying. Then Timon helped her onto Pumbaa's back and they rode off into the distance. Zazu sat on the tip of Pride Rock until Pumbaa appeared as a mere dot on the horizon.
The hornbill was just about to turn back into the cave when he suddenly felt someone tap him on the shoulder.
"Gah!" screamed Zazu not knowing who it was, but he shocked face suddenly turned into one of agitation when he saw Rafiki standing behind him with that ever so mischievous grin spread across his face.
"Didn't your mother ever tell you it's rude to sneak up on others?" queried the very annoyed bird.
"Nope!" laughed the mandrill.
" That explains a lot," repled Zazu indignantly, before turning to head into the cave.
"So," said Rafiki quickly jumping in Zazu's way, " Timon and Pumbaa have gone?"
"Yes," replied Zazu shortly.
"And de mother of Timon?"
"Yes, she left with them."
"Ahhh I see!" commented Rafiki lengthening the ee sound in "see".
"See what?" huffed Zazu.
"I see why you are such a grumpy bird now, normally you are happy when Timon and Pumbaa leave now you are sad, me thinks dat you be missing Miss Maha. Yes?"
"Well I am very fond of her.." replied Zazu doing the bird equivalent of twiddling ones thumbs with the tips of his wings.
"You can't fool old Rafiki! I know you are more den fond of her," said Rafiki raising an eyebrow.
"Yes, well maybe that is so but I have a job to do, a very important job to do, one can't just leave all one's responsibilities," Zazu said stuttering a bit.
"One cannot be alive for so long without living, my friend," said Rafiki sitting down next to his friend.
Zazu was a little confused at this at first, but then understood what the old mandrill was getting at.
"You think I should have gone after her?" he asked timidly.
"Yes!" Rafiki proclaimed very loudly and then gave Zazu a whack on the head with his stick.
"No need to get violent," muttered Zazu under his breath while he rubbed his sorer head.
"But what about, Simba, Nala and the cubs?" asked Zazu.
"What about you?" Rafiki answered Zazu's question with a question.
Zazu was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, he really didn't know what to do.
Rafiki finally broke the silence.
"Kiara, Kovu and Vitani can help out with the cubs and I will make it my personal duty to find a new Major Domo."
Zazu looked a bit shocked, but then to Rafiki's surprise his shocked expression turned into a grin, "I suppose it is time for me to retire, but however will I catch up to them?"
Rafiki gave a sneaky grin then lifted Zazu up and said, "You're a bird, fly!" and with that the mandrill threw Zazu off Pride Rock. Zazu's instincts kicked in and he found that his wing healed.
"Don't you ever do that again!" he yelled at Rafiki once over the shock of being thrown off Pride Rock.
Rafiki laughed, "Go on! Find your Upendi, be happy, I'll tell the lions you've gone!"
Zazu nodded gave his old friend a smile, "Thankyou," he called as he flew off towards the oasis. Rafiki nodded and smiled as he watched his dear friend fly away from his old life and into a new one.
"I can't believe he left!" said Nala after Rafiki told her and Simba the news.
"It was his time to retire and start life anew," bowed Rafiki.
"I will miss him, but it's for the best," smiled Simba.
"I thought he would never retire," said Kiara, who was doing a bit of eavesdropping, she was very pleased at what she had heard.
"Looks like we will just have to get Kovu to do the morning report until we find a replacement," teased Nala.
"Ha, I don't think so!" called out Kovu from the other side of the cave.
With that all the lions had a bit of a chuckle, they were sad to see Zazu go but all knew it was for the best, replacing him would be hard but they felt comfort in the fact that Zazu was living his own life now and they could visit him when they came to the oasis.
Zazu had been flying for quite some time. He was scanning the desert in hopes to see them. 'Pumbaa is faster than I thought,' thought Zazu to himself until he finally spotted the warthog trotting along just ahead.
With that Zazu took a bit of a nosedive down to meet them.
"Ahhh not another one!" cried Timon when he saw something from the sky coming towards them, thinking it was another eagle.
Pumbaa then started to run.
"That's a pretty small eagle," commented Maha squinting to see it better then her whole face lit up. "Stop running Pumbaa, It's Zazu!"
Timon then pulled on Pumbaa's ears like reins to make him stop, and in only a few short seconds Zazu made landed on the ground just in front of the warthog.
Maha instantly jumped off, "What are you doing here?" she asked happily.
"I've decided to take you up on that offer," he announced, "I would be more than happy live in the oasis with you," he smiled holding her paws in his wings.
"Oh Zazu!" cried Maha giving him one of her famous bone crunching hugs, then kissing his cheeks.
Soon Zazu and Maha climbed back onto Pumbaa's back together which forced Timon to move onto Pumbaa's snout.
"So are you two going to be mates now?" inquired Pumbaa as they grew very near the oasis.
Timon shot Pumbaa a look thinking that a very inappropriate question to ask
Maha blushed not knowing what to say.
"If Maha does not object," answered Zazu placing one of the meerkats paws in his wing.
"Oh I would love to honey," she exclaimed almost in tear because she was so happy, "You don't mind do you sweetie?" Maha asked directing her question to her son.
Timon turned around to face them, "I don't have to call him Dad do I?"
"Of course not Sweetie!" laughed Maha.
"Certainly not," said Zazu almost to himself, thinking how strange that would be.
"Ok, than I have no objections," shrugged Timon casually, he couldn't help but smile though as soon as he once again turned around from them to face the oasis.
"Oh I just love happy endings," sniffed Pumbaa. As he and the new little family entered the oasis.
"Welcome home honey," announced Maha once they entered the Oasis.
Home Zazu liked the sound of that.
Taaadaa! Hope you enjoyed the final chapter of 'Never too old, Never too different'. Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Maybe I will come up with another idea sometime and write another story, or a sequel who know but until then Cya later everyone!