A hope that was faded into a dream, a single wish enduring and brightening deep within the soul until that dream shatters to reveal a new world to shining eyes
Under the Light
One year later
The sound of the television blew softly through the pearl white living room. The sound of shuffling feet and flipping pages were the only other sounds in the home. The feet coming from a bustling kitchen and the flipping pages coming from a newspaper. The black and white print was constantly being turned until finally it was folded back up into its neat form and laid out on the Englishman's lap.
He sighed contently, picking up his cup of tea and sipping the steaming liquid. As he set his cup back onto the table next to him, a figure came over and sat down on the arm rest. The Brit looked over and smiled at the other male, pulling him onto his lap. "Hey there."
"Hello to you too ~aru. What are you reading?"
"The usual, checking on the news back at the old home."
"Do you really need to do that? I'm sure no one is looking for us anymore ~aru."
"I know but it's become a habit. But there is one thing that caught my attention."
"What would that be? ~aru"
"The police force finally found a permanent chief. Actually two."
"The brother duo of Alfred Jones and Matthew Williams."
"Oh I think I remember hearing about them before ~aru."
"Yeah. The two work fast. Crime rate has dropped instantly when they were appointed. They worked with a spy in one of the old organizations. I believe his name was Gilbert last time I checked. He gave a lot of useful information. I'm glad some order has been restored to that town"
"It was our old home ~aru."
"True," he answered, leaning back into his chair. "You know Yao… even if it was our old town, I don't think we need it anymore."
"Because a home isn't a home without family, right? ~aru"
"You read my mind," he answered.
"I just know you well, Arthur."
Arthur chuckled slightly and gave a quick kiss to the Chinese man's cheek. "I'm pretty sure it's more than that."
He blushed slightly and smiled. "Right. But I am looking forward to having a new brother ~aru."
"Oh right, I forgot. Has he popped the question yet?"
"No he hasn't. But he hinted to me that it was going to be tonight. That's why he took her out, I presume ~aru."
"It's about time. That boy can be so unpredictable when it comes to her."
"Isn't that something she loves about him?" he chuckled.
"I guess so. Well the night is perfect. Let's just see if the two love birds come back with a shiny little rock on one of their fingers."
The night air was calm. Not even a breeze blew past the blossoming flowers and trees. The sky wasn't the same however. True the clouds were out of sight but the cloudless night was filled to the brim with twinkling stars. Under the light of the stars, a couple sat together, staring up into the heavens. Despite the chilly night, the two didn't feel its effects. Rather, the warmth alone from the other's body kept them relaxed and cozy against the other. Aside from the thin bundle of clothes that kept them warm and close, a single scarf was wrapped around both of their necks, bringing them ever so close.
After a few minutes, the girl pointed toward the sky, a bright smile appearing on her face. "Xiang, look. There's the first one."
"I see it," he answered. Within seconds, dozens of stars and lights came flying across the sky in a brilliant array of streams.
"It's so rare to be able to see a meteor shower."
"I wanted to be able to see this with you, Mei."
"I'm glad I could see this with you," she replied, leaning her head into his shoulder.
"Mei… there's something I need to ask you…" he said, his heartbeat suddenly starting to speed up.
"Hm?" The girl lifted her head from his shoulder and looked at him, brushing her long brown hair from her eyes. "What is it?"
Xiang sat up, lifting the girl to her feet but he didn't let go of her. He shifted his hands to hold hers, smoothing his palms over her warm skin. "I don't know how to say this…"
"Just tell me," she asked softly. "You always know what to say."
"Not this time…" he said honestly. "But like always, I'm going to do what my heart tells me."
He tightened his grip on her hands, not hard enough to hurt her but he held them firmly and stared lovingly right into her eyes. "Xiang…?"
Xiang took a deep breath, closing his eyes and collecting his thoughts. After a moment, he opened them, a glimmer of light staying in his eyes as he stared at her. Mei didn't know if it was from the meteor shower hovering right over their heads or the mirror image of the moon or even the reflection from her own eyes but Xiang's held something different. A promise. A vow that seemed to illuminate his entire being.
"Mei… we've been through so much together. And in that time, I've come to love you like nothing in my entire life. You've become my life."
"I love you too, Xiang… You're my world," she said gently.
"And not only that, we've connected in a way that happens only once in a lifetime. Created an eternal bond that can never be broken, that resonates inside my heart whenever I'm with you. The way you've become my sun that lights the night."
"The way you've become my inspiration that resounds through my world…" Mei continued softly.
"Now at this time, I've decided. And a while back, I was always thinking about it… I can't bear to ever be away from you. I love you with my entire being. And I don't want to wake up and think that this is just some far of dream or an illusion created by the heart."
Mei smiled softly and moved both of their hands to the center of her chest. "The proof of our reality is in our hearts, Xiang. You know that."
"I know. But I want us to be connected in a different way…" Xiang took another deep breath and held her hands firmly as he got onto one of his knees. Mei's eyes instantly became wide as she saw him do this. She knew she wasn't imagining this but it almost seemed like that. "Mei… I want us to continue to live together. But not just as friends or lovers. I want an eternity with you by my side. And me next to yours." Slowly he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small black box and opened it, making Mei gasp.
Inside the little cube was a brilliant white diamond ring that sparkled from the stars and cascaded the light into tiny sparks. It wasn't incredibly flashy, it was perfect, and a small symbol of the love he felt for her. "Mei Mei Wang, will you marry me?"
Mei lifted one of her hands to cover her mouth as gentle tears began to run from her eyes. Without any warning, Mei dropped to her knees and pulled Xiang into a hug and a passionate kiss. In that swift connection, she let him know her feelings but to make sure nothing was misheard, she pulled back and cleared her voice. "Of course I'll marry you."
Xiang didn't say anything as an unbelievable happiness spread throughout his body and beads of that joy emerged from his eyes. He quickly pulled her into a hug and kissed her lovingly, feeling her return the same feelings as she kissed him back.
Nothing in the entire world mattered to them except that moment right then and there as they held each other, and loved each other. Slowly they pulled back but rested their foreheads against the other, their eyes closed as tears of joy overwhelmed them. After a moment, the tears were whipped away but their happiness only grew with each passing second. Slowly, both of them opened their mouths and told the other three words that were truly sincere. And that would never change, even if their life were to come to a stop because even if that happened, they would make sure the other remembered it.
"I love you," they said in unison.
The sun rested high in the sky as the bright rays shined down onto the resort. Anticipation and anxiousness filled the atmosphere of the building but it wasn't without explanation. That holy day had finally arrived and the event drove a symphony of conflicting emotions into two individuals. Happiness and joy were tangled with that aching tension and longing.
Within the resort, Mei sat in her dressing room, clutching her stomach as other girls were helping her get ready. She could feel the anxiousness making her sick as it tied her stomach in a variety of knots. She was hoping everything went exactly as planned but she expected mistakes to be made no matter how small or big they were. And that terrified her. She desperately wanted to see Xiang so he could comfort her but she wouldn't be seeing him until the ceremony started. And by then there would be no turning back.
As torturing as this all was, she wouldn't have it any other way.
She had been dreaming of this day for the longest time and now that it was right in front of her eyes, she was overjoyed to see come closer and closer. Now it was within her grasps and she couldn't be any happier.
"M-Mei… you need to calm down ~aru," Yao said.
"I am calm. What are you talking about?" she asked.
"Y-you're crushing my arm… ~aru"
Mei looked down and saw her gripping onto her brother's arm. Instead of letting go, she only tightened her grasp. "Can you blame me…?" she asked nervously.
"I u-understand but me losing an arm won't make the nervousness go away ~aru," he cried.
She released his arm and he rubbed it gingerly. "Sorry… what if something goes wrong?"
"Nothing will go wrong ~aru" he said gently. "Your future husband is waiting for you and he loves you with his life. Nothing I say will make you doubt that truth and you know it too. Just take a deep breath and calm yourself."
Mei smiled lightly, hugging him. "Xie xie Yao-ge. You tell me to calm down but how come you won't?"
"What are you talking about? ~aru"
"You're crying," she said softly.
Yao looked up to the mirror in the room and he found the small beads rolling down his cheeks. He pulled back slightly, whipping away the tears. "W-well what do you expect! My little sister is getting married. I'm so happy for you ~aru," he smiled. "You've grown up into a fine woman. Xiang is lucky to have you. If there's anyone I can trust you to be with, it's him."
She hugged him tightly, burying her face into his chest. "You have no idea what it means to hear that from you."
"I can't hold onto you forever…" he said sadly. "You have your own life and you blossomed before I knew it. And looking back… I have absolutely no regrets."
"You've grown too, Yao-ge. You have Arthur to keep you company when I'm gone," she grinned.
Yao blushed slightly, pulling back and fixing his tie. "Right," he smiled.
One of the girls poked her head through the door and told them that it was time. Mei took a deep breath and stood up, taking one last moment to check her appearance. She prayed that Xiang would like it. Yao offered his arm and Mei hooked hers with his and they made their way out.
The moment Mei and Yao stepped out into the lush green grass, the music began to play. The gentle melody that traveled through the air was personally played by both her and Xiang. The song brought tears to their eyes when they wrote it and now to hear it on such a special day, Mei could barely control herself. But she stayed strong, taking deep breaths as she walked along the rose petal walkway.
As she looked up, she saw the sparkling blue ocean that rested beyond the cliff. The thousands of lights that reflected off of the water didn't even compare to the white arch that created a gate toward the sea. Standing to the side of that arch was her dearest fiancé. Mei couldn't help but stare in awe at the sight.
Xiang was standing tall in his sleek black tuxedo. The expression on his face was what made him the star in her eyes. It was the look of pride, joy and anxiousness that filled his eyes and smile. She relaxed a bit, knowing that he was feeling the same way she was and that he could share in her flood of emotions. But above all else, love glowed within his presence.
Likewise, Xiang's jaw nearly dropped when he saw Mei. An unbelievable beauty radiated from her as she was clothed in pure white. It seemed as though she took the form of an angel as she made her way down the walkway. Even with his admiration for her, it couldn't compare to the affection that he felt and that she showed.
A hand found a place on his shoulder and he glanced over and saw Arthur reassuring him with a smile. From the look in his eyes, he could see how happy he was for him and that meant a lot to Xiang. As he pulled his hand back, Xiang returned his full attention to Mei who slowly closed the distance with Yao.
Soon enough, Mei stood across from Xiang. That small distance seemed liked an ocean long ago but now it was nothing in comparison to what they've gone through. Yao gave one last hug to his sister before he went over to sit down.
The priest took a moment to clear his voice and in a strong and loud voice he spoke. The beginning ritual of their eternal vow came from him and with each word spoken; it drew them closer and closer to that moment. With the last words before their part, the priest motioned for Xiang to continue where he left off. With his vow.
The words he chose would be imprinted onto his being for the rest of his life. And he wouldn't have it any other way. The vow he created was made from the purest feelings he felt.
"I, Xiang Gang Kirkland, take you to be my dearest wife. I promise to always be forever by your side, to be there for you when hardships may come or when the most joyous moments appear. No matter the reason I will be there to support you and walk forward into this life with you. Mei, I love you."
Mei had to hold back the tears she felt creeping up behind her eyes. She took a deep breath, remembering her vow. The one she made with the experiences that she had and shared with him.
"Today, I, Mei Mei Wang join my life to yours, not merely as your wife but as your friend, your lover, and your confidant. Let me be the shoulder you lean on, the light that illuminates your darkest moments, the companion of your life. With you I will walk my path from this day forward. Xiang, I love you."
In those exchanges of words, a new beginning was written. As the priest gave his final parts, pronouncing them husband and wife, all went quiet as Xiang and Mei slowly leaned in to seal their marriage. In a swift motion, the two pressed their lips together, passionately kissing and embracing the other. The kiss wasn't just the sealing of their vows and marriage; it was the start to a new journey. A journey together.
Panic and chaos ensued as Mei was being rolled off to the delivery room. Xiang rushed to stay by her side, holding her hand gently and giving her a reassuring smile as they entered the room. She gave a weak smile in return before she cried out in pain. Squeezing her hand gently, the doctors quickly prepared themselves and made Xiang slip into scrubs as well.
Mei clutched her eyes, tightening her grasp on Xiang to a death grip. He ignored and bared with the pain either way, it was small in comparison to the pain she was going through right now. He prayed that she would remain healthy and that the children would be in great condition as well.
The agony that she suffered through was combined with her screams for a very horrible experience. But at the end of the distress, a wave of satisfying relief washed over her as her breathing finally calmed. Her cries were replaced with the sounds of two other wailing babies.
A few minutes passed as Mei lay in her bed while Xiang helped clean her sweat from the intensive labor. The task trained her of all her energy but she rested, trying to regain anything she could for the next step. Xiang kissed her forehead gently before moving over to the doctors and nurses to see the kids. She tried to look past them to see them but the group of people were far too concealing.
After a few more minutes, Mei was becoming more impatient with the wait. But Xiang soon reached an agreement with the doctors and they handed him two little bundles for his arms. He handled them with the greatest care she ever saw as if they could break with even the slightest shake and as if his life depended on it. And it did because if anything happened to them before she could see them, she would punish Xiang severely.
He walked over slowly until he sat down next to her and handed the two to her slowly. The most peaceful smile Mei had ever made came to her face as she saw their innocent faces. "They're precious…"
"A boy and a girl," he smiled. "You did well."
"We did well," she corrected.
"You're a mother now."
"You're a father now too," she added.
He smiled gently, hugging them all gently. "What should we name them?"
"That's a good question… but… there are two friends I wished who could be here."
"Then are you thinking of what I'm thinking?" he asked.
"It's a perfect idea," she smiled.
Eight years later
A gentle melody was being played as it echoed throughout the home. The front door slowly opened and Xiang kicked off his shoes before removing his coat. "I'm home," he called out.
As the young man continued his way into the house, the song only became louder until he heard the clear sounds from the piano in the lounge. The music came to a gentle stop and the two sitting at the bench turned around to see him. "Welcome home," Mei greeted.
The girl got up from her seat and went to give him a short kiss. "How was work?"
"Well the students are doing really well so it's easier for me."
"Maybe you're just a good teacher," she smiled.
"Who knows," he chuckled. "What's going on?"
The young brown headed boy from the bench got up and ran over to the two adults, smiling brightly as Mei patted his head. He bared a striking resemblance to a younger Xiang but his face was much fuller because of his youth and his constant cheery expression only added to his chocolate brown eyes. "Just checking Tai's progress on the piano. He's doing extremely well although he has a lot of energy."
The boy looked up to his mother and gave a cheeky grin. Xiang kneeled down, ruffling his hair. "You're doing well aren't you?"
He nodded. "I am!" he exclaimed. The boy stepped up, hugging his father tightly. "Welcome home, Baba."
Xiang smiled softly, hugging him back. "Where's your sister?"
Tai changed the direction of his eyes, pointing down the hallway. Xiang didn't need to hear anything else when he saw a wave of brown hair from behind a door. The girl slowly poked her head from behind the wall and slowly stepped out, hugging a panda plush tightly. When she recognized it was Xiang who entered the home, she quickly broke out of her shy state and ran toward him. When she reached him, she was smiling brightly and hugging him.
"Baba~ you're home."
Xiang smiled softly, lifting her up into his arms. "How was your day with Mama, Yue?"
"Amazing," she answered.
Xiang was always impressed with the likeness of his daughter to Mei. If it wasn't for the eyes, it'd be a perfect match of a younger Mei. "That's good," he smiled.
Mei smiled, lifting Tai up and leading her family to sit down. It was these moments that she always cherished. A peaceful life with the ones she loved and cared for who returned all those feelings and sometimes even more so.
She lifted her gaze to see Xiang, giving him a loving smile and content when he returned it. Mei was happy if she could spend the rest of her life this way because she and Xiang had enough excitement and adventure. The simplicity of this current life didn't bother her one bit because now she and Xiang were going to raise their children to be ready for their own adventure. And that was more than enough to fill her world.
Xiang likewise was content with the new life with Mei. It was what he always wanted. It was true that he did regret some of the things of his past but he never allowed it to bother him. And even in those moments when he would remember, all he had to do was look to the three most precious people to him. And as long as he was with them and their ever shining radiance, that darkness would stay where it should. Under the light.
Disclaimer: for the last time for this story of mine, I don't own Hetalia
A/n: It's finally that moment for the final chapter :) for those of you who didn't figure it out, the beginning letters of the titles spell out "Under the Light, Darkness Falls" Pretty witty right? Or I hope so. Sincerely I hope you enjoyed this because I put everything I could to give you all a satisfying ending. Truthfully I cried a bit writing this because I get a bit emotional with endings. I know time moved a bit quickly through each scene but I didn't want it to be too long and you did see what happens to them afterward.
Okay, from me to you all, thank you so so so much for reading this story to its end. And I'm not forgetting you reviewers, all of your messages and reviews all helped me smile and continue to write and thank you for that. This may only be fanfiction but I've been editing this outside to become a novel so maybe, hopefully I can get this published. Even though this is the end of this story, expect more stories to come because I do enjoy writing. Thank you all again and remember even in your darkest moment, look to find that special light :) Farewell for now and whenever one ending comes along, another beginning starts so see you in another story my dear readers.