Author's Note: Established relationship, USxUK. I decided to write something for Hong Kong's birthday, but it turned into a really England-centric piece and USxUK. Still, Happy Birthday Hong Kong! Even if you're not the star of the story, it's still a lot about you. This story focuses on the Hong Kong Handover of 1997.
Fireworks Over the Harbour
By Everything is Magic
There were fireworks over Victoria Harbour, colored lights and shooting stars and exploding blossoms filled the night sky, their brilliant reflections glittering on the deep blue velvet of the ocean surface.
Fireworks always, inevitably reminded him of Hong Kong. When he was a rambunctious child and England would sip tea beneath the orange and russet Asian sunset as Hong Kong went about his own business, playing in the gardens, splashing about the streams, or whatever else he fancied at the moment. And then, when Hong Kong was absolutely sure that England was too engrossed in his tea and the book he was reading or the grumbling about the humidity that he so often did, the young colony would attack.
With fire and flame and spinning wheels and fountains, all placed strategically under his chair and set off simultaneously. His hands may have been small, but they were quick and nimble and the boy was generally able to achieve his task without England having the slightest hint of what was occurring. Of course, when he heard the crackle of the flame fizzing to its destination, he darted up from his chair, almost tripping and collapsing to his knees. The generally quiet Hong Kong would burst into peals of laughter, clutching his stomach as tears of mirth formed in the corners of his wide chocolate brown eyes.
"E-England! You fall for that every time!" He'd point at the nation that held dominion over him and continue laughing. Cheeky boy.
England would frown, snatching his book up and making sure the fireworks hadn't singed any of the pages. He'd long since invested in having a metal chair in the garden, instead of a wooden one that could catch aflame. "Honestly? What do you expect me to do? Sit there and let you burn my arse off?"
"It's just the way that you leap up and you… scream like…" Hong Kong was still laughing, now wiping his eyes with his wide sleeves as he did so, "like a girl!"
England would huff at this, his thick eyebrows furrowing. "I do not!" He'd take Hong Kong inside and a servant would make him a meal, because England had to depart on a ship that night and he didn't have time to cook himself. And then England would leave, to head back home or to visit one of his other colonies, for he had so many; a stop in India, a surveillance of New Zealand, a week in Cape Colony.
The Briton knew that Hong Kong would claim that he'd never stopped screaming like a girl in reaction to those mischievous fireworks. And perhaps he'd know, as Hong Kong had never stopped doing it to him. As he grew, he settled into a more stoic personality, so instead of peals of laughter, there was dry amusement and a smirk and a deadpan accusation that he 'yells just like a woman.'
As such, the fact that the event commemorating the last day he'd ever be able to call Hong Kong 'his' ended with a spectacular fireworks display; well it was only appropriate. And it was terribly ironic.
England sat on a hill overlooking the harbor. It was a gorgeous place, Hong Kong. This particular little colony had grown up well, becoming an epicenter for both East and West. He was proud of him.
"No matter how many times I have to do this, I never get used to it." His words were soft, nostalgia tinged and a slight bit sad. He stretched his arms behind him, hands pressed into the crisp green grass.
Silence, and a moment later, a larger hand was resting on top of his. England glanced up, meeting the wide blue eyes of another once colony, of America. He gave England a small smile. Of all the days that America had insisted upon coming along with him… "Pretty much the last time you'll have to do it though, huh?"
England stifled a sardonic laugh. "I have some small islands but… "
"That's good," America interrupted. His hand was still on top of England's, and the Brit stiffened under his touch.
"…Good?" He scoffed. "Hardly. I've little left but my own island now… "
America bit his lip, sliding his hand off England's. "What the hell's so bad about that?"
England ran his hand down his face, flicking his gaze back toward the fireworks. "You wouldn't understand, with your fifty states and your purple mountains majesty and all that nonsense…"
The younger nation's mouth cocked up in a grin. "Yeah they are pretty awesome, aren't they?"
The Briton pulled his knees up to his chest. "Whatever. It's just… I was… so…"
"Great?" America queried.
"Yes, the grandest of all the world's nations. The British Empire…"
America rolled his eyes, and England wanted to walk away from him right then because he knew exactly what the other nation was thinking. He had been a part of that empire, after all.
"Look," England clarified. And America did; he turned his gaze back to the older nation. "I'm not proud of some of the things I did, some of the things our empire did." He paused. "But by God America." I was so strong. I was invincible. I was everywhere in the world and there was nothing I couldn't do and everything I could and… "I knew every single one of my colonies, and I at least--- tried to forge a bond with each one." He shook his head. "It's like losing a friend."
America shrugged. "You don't have to lose them." And England knew America was talking about himself, and he thought; leave it to America to simplify things so much. How long had it been before he'd regained America as a friend, let alone as something more? And when something wasn't his any more… he had no way to guarantee that it wouldn't leave him. "I mean you're still close to a lot of them. Australia, Canada, tons of others, and…" England knew what was coming, as the younger nation grabbed one of his hands, holding it between both of his. "Me?"
"…Yes." Your glory days are over, England, aren't they? France had once told him that, and damned if the frog wasn't right, for once. Now he was just England, the United Kingdom. And it made him feel… so old. There was America next to him, bright and shining and golden and strong. There was Hong Kong, the small colony who nurtured so many people, who had become a powerful territory in his own right. There were so many others… "You'll mock me for this…"
England rolled his eyes. "It all makes me feel a bit… aged."
"Y'mean like the old man you are?"
"Shut up, okay?" The Brit snapped, exasperated.
America gestured with his free hand. "Okay, okay."
England pulled his palm out of the other nation's grasp. "Like everyone's grown up and left me. Everyone is bloody growing, and I'm left behind. Just the little island I was so long ago…" It's a strange kind of full circle.
His green eyes widened when the other nation abruptly stood up, leaning down over England and blocking a fair section of the fireworks. His lips were a firm line and his eyebrows had narrowed. "Don't ever make me say this kind of crap again! It's… not easy." America paused, grabbing England's shoulders. "Just being England, just being the United Kingdom, doesn't make you any less of a nation than you were before. Doesn't make you any less strong…" He shook his head. "In fact! And damn this isn't easy to say. In fact, I think I like you a lot better like this!" America's face flushed. "I definitely do! You don't need to compensate with land or trying to rule the world or whatever. It's way cooler that you're just this little country that… manages to do so much. That-that means that you're really, really strong on your own." And now America's cheeks were blooming red, and his grip on England's shoulders loosened as he averted his face away. "It makes you pretty…" He nearly whispered the next word. "It's pretty damn awesome."
England's eyes grew large as he registered America's words, and upon doing so, his face broke into a grin, genuine, true. "I am quite awesome, aren't I?"
"Don't make me repeat that," America grumbled, turning back toward England.
England just chuckled, placing a hand on each of America's cheeks and pulling his face down to meet his. "It's all right. I won't forget it." And he wrapped his hands around America's shoulders, ignoring their awkward angle, and pressed his lips to the other nation's. America returned the kiss entirely, running his hands through England's tousled hair as he did so. When they pulled apart, America kept his hold on England but kneeled in front of him. He pressed his forehead against the Briton's and smiled gently. England did the same, his arms still around America's shoulders. "Most of the time, you are so daft, such a bloody idiot. But sometimes, dammit America… sometimes you surprise me."
America grinned. "Gotta keep you on your toes." He lightly pecked the tip of England's nose.
"Yes, he might die of old age otherwise," came a new voice, and England's eyes grew wide when he realized who it was. They grew even wider when he heard a tell-tale sound from behind him; the crackling noise that would inevitably lead to-
"What in the blazes!" He darted up, smacking his forehead against America's rather painfully in the process.
America cursed and stood up as well, registering why England had done so. Behind England's rear was a rather hot assortment of small fireworks- candles and fountains and a wheel that would definitely spin right into him if he didn't move swiftly. And behind the fireworks was Hong Kong, with a small smirk on his face. "I'm a little disappointed. You didn't scream that time."
"How long have you been here?" England queried as the pile of fireworks whizzed and spun and exploded, rather loudly.
Hong Kong shrugged. "A few minutes. I was standing off to the side getting the fireworks ready."
England flushed, humiliated that his conversation had likely been overheard. "O-oh…"
America ran his hand down his face. "Oh shit. Does that mean he heard the awesome thing?" He paused. "Hey listen, I'll send you some awesome free stuff or something if you don't tell anyone. I mean--- "
"Your secret is safe," Hong Kong interrupted, amusement clear in his tone. "And England." He walked around the fireworks and placed his hand on his former ruler's shoulder. "For the record, I happen to agree with America in this situation."
England's shoulders relaxed and he allowed himself to smile again. "You—you don't have to."
"I don't do things I don't mean," Hong Kong countered, and England didn't question it. Hong Kong was blunt, to the point, truthful. The Briton wanted to hug him, but he hadn't done that to the boy since he was a child, and it wasn't like him to just embrace people. It's just not prop--- Hong Kong shifted, wrapping his arms around England entirely. "If you think I can forget one hundred and fifty years of you in my life because of a political transfer, you're wrong."
England wanted so much to cry, so much to let everything spill out. When he felt America's arms wrap around him as well, Hong Kong hugging his front and America his back, and him in the middle, he couldn't hold back. He stifled a sob and smiled. "There's nothing I can really say, is there?" I don't deserve this. Thank you…
"No one could ever…" Hong Kong began.
"Forget you," America finished, and the Asian nodded to verify his statement.
And England placed a kiss on Hong Kong's forehead and then, as he wasn't facing America, reached up and squeezed America's hand. "Thank you," he finally managed, rocking back and forth, still caught in the embrace of his two former colonies. Hong Kong's fireworks fizzled to their ends behind them, but the fireworks in the harbor were still going strong, illuminating not just the harbour, but the hill the three nations stood on.
-Hong Kong Handover: After 150 years of British Occupation, Hong Kong was given back to the People's Republic of China on July 1st, 1997. It was the last major colony of the British Empire. Although Hong Kong is now technically a part of China, it is a largely self governing territory with its own currency, political system, immigration control, legal system, and several other things.
-The Handover ceremony was a major event: It culminated in fireworks over Victoria Harbour on the night of July 1st.
-Victoria Harbour: A natural landform harbour situated between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula in Hong Kong.
-Cape Colony: A British Colony that is now part of modern South Africa
-Some Small Islands: The British Overseas Territories, like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.