Note: Continuation of Chapter 20 and 21. Also, Final Chapter.
Chapter 22 – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
The wedding went about as well as could be expected, considering that the entire world was invited.
Alfred and Arthur had decided to keep the whole thing fairly simple, since the nations could only behave themselves so long. They did stray a bit from the "traditional" wedding, because Alfred hadn't been able to convince Arthur to wear a wedding dress ("I'm not a bloody damsel, you git! Why don't you wear it?" "But I'm the hero and I'm the one who proposed!"), but instead they had chosen their own outfits. Arthur had ended up wearing a white tux, while Alfred, who hated tuxedos, opted to wear his military uniform. They had chosen their shared colors of red, white, and blue as the wedding's colors, so Matthew, who was Alfred's Best Man, wore a black suit with a blue tie and accents, while Francis, Arthur's Best Man, wore a black suit that had a red tie and accents.
In some ways the wedding had reminded Alfred of World Meetings, when the service came to a lull the nations would get restless and start chatting to each other; at one point, Ludwig had even had to shout at everyone to calm down so the service could continue. He also scolded Arthur's siblings, who showed up sober which was a surprise, when they started heckling Arthur in the middle of the it. Alfred just thanked God that Francis had not kept to form and ruined his and Arthur's special day by being himself (in other words, streaking, groping, being a pervert in general), but he supposed that being the Best Man might have been a good incentive to behave, at least until the reception.
Well, it wasn't really a religious service (again stepping away from "traditional" weddings) in deference to Arthur's continual religious crisis of choosing between Catholic and Protestant; they had a judge presiding over it and held it outdoors. Luckily, the weather was nice which was always a toss-up during autumn in New York.
Alfred and Arthur had written their own vows though, and they were wonderfully sweet and even made Ivan look touched.
They were also completely in character for the two.
"Well, Alfred, I've known you basically your whole life. Looking back, I guess I should have made a guess that things would come to this. After all, you chose me over good food and that bloody frog. From the way you complain about my food that should have been a bloody good indicator that you felt something for me. You… you helped me change for the better. When you left, it was horrible, but as you have said, if you hadn't we never would have gotten to this point. In a way, it gave me a chance to fall for you in a different way as I saw you as a man. From your optimism to the way that you never give up no matter what, I love you, Alfred, and I promise that I always will. I'll look after you because someone has to and I won't let anyone else do it. Even if you ridicule my fairies, which are totally real, I will stick by your side whether through war or depression or peace. So I promise that I'll always be yours, git."
By the end of Arthur's vow, the Brit was blushing something awful, but Alfred couldn't help but think that it made him look even cuter. The American smiled and tightened his hand that was holding Arthur's as they stood before the judge. Then it was his turn.
"Arthur, I've loved you since the first time I saw you. It took me a while to figure out that I loved you in a different way than you loved me. So I left, hoping that someday I could make you see me as I am and maybe return my love. Also, since I had first seen you, I wanted to protect you, so I decided to become a hero that could save you from all the things that hurt you. Even though my leaving hurt you, it was necessary for both of those things. Times were tough, but I always loved you and held onto hope. I even got a chance to save you. The day when I realized that you finally loved me the way I loved you was one of the happiest days of my life and the day you said yes was another one. I'll always be your hero, to protect and cherish you, until forever. Because no matter what happens or changes, my love for you never will."
As Alfred concluded his own vow, he felt a blush cross his own face. After all, he and Arthur did not often bear their souls aloud like this often. Then again, this was a special day.
Alfred turned to Matthew and grabbed the ring he had gotten Arthur. Arthur had chosen to use his engagement ring as his wedding ring. Meanwhile, Arthur got the ring Alfred had chosen from Francis. Alfred had chosen a plain silver band without any jewels on it due to his tendency to punch when he got in fights, but it had the same inscription inside as Arthur's: United Always.
They slipped the rings on each other's finger and the world again went crazy as they kissed to seal their wedding vows.
The wedding reception ended up being even more insane than the wedding.
As a wedding gift, the Italian brothers had made the food for the reception, because everyone agreed that Italian pasta was awesome. Francis had made the wedding cake, and luckily it was actually cake-shaped, as Matthew had monitored the baking process.
All too soon, the meal and toasts were over, and the newly-weds decided to do the first dance before they cut the cake.
Alfred grinned as he pulled Arthur onto the dance floor. He had chosen the song for the "bridal" dance as this was usually called, though the rest of the songs were up to Kiku as he was playing the role of DJ.
"So what song did you choose?" Arthur raised an eyebrow at his husband, sensing that Alfred had something up his sleeve.
"I found the perfect Beatles song for a wedding!" Alfred replied, his grin somehow getting wider.
Arthur stared at him, but Alfred ignored it as he placed his hands in the proper dancing positions. "You what?"
The song Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da started up, though it looked like it took a few minutes for Arthur to place the song.
"Oh, any particular reason for this?" Arthur asked as Alfred guided him around the dance floor.
"You mean, besides the reason that it's about two people who meet, get married, and live happily ever after?" Alfred raised an eyebrow at his husband as the Brit blushed at forgetting what actually happened in the song. "Well, Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da also talks about how even with all that happening, life goes on and we gotta live, so I thought it was appropriate. After all, marriage is just a new beginning, right, Artie?" He smiled at his Arthur.
"Yes. I guess." Arthur brow furrowed a bit as Alfred dipped him during the chorus. "Just because we're married doesn't mean you can call me Artie, git. My name is still Arthur."
Alfred laughed. "Yeah, whatever, Artie. You couldn't stop me before we got married, so you can't think that being married will make me stop calling you all of the nicknames you secretly love."
"Idiot." Arthur blushed harder, but he really had nothing to say to that. His tsundere pride prevented him from admitting that Alfred was right.
"Not only that, but this song is talking about the Jones family." Alfred winked at him as he dipped him again. "Since you're a Jones now, I thought it was appropriate."
"I didn't change my name, you bloody moron!" Arthur shouted indignantly. "I'm still a Kirkland!"
"I thought we decided to stick with our names on government stuff, but for everything else we were going with Kirkland-Jones." Alfred twirled Arthur around while giving a small frown, not paying as much attention to the music as before.
"Well, we are." Arthur would probably have shuffled his feet a bit, looking totally cute in Alfred's opinion, but the two of them were still dancing.
"See? Whatever." Alfred was all smiles again. Without either him or his English husband's notice, the song was switching.
Alfred looked up as he realized that a different song was playing although it was still a Beatles song. "Hey, Arthur. Remember when I burst into your office to start the whole Beatles song thing?" He smiled at the memory.
To his surprise, Arthur smiled too. "Of course, git. Now that the song's over, let's go get some cake." Holding Alfred's hand, Arthur proceeded to pull the American over to where the nations were gathered about the cake, ready for it to be cut.
Alfred's mind was somewhere else as he listened once more to the song All You Need Is Love. He still counted that as one of the most true songs in the Beatles' arsenal, and as he looked at his hand entwined with the hand of the person he loved the most and at the nations who had put aside their differences to share in the two's happiness, he felt truly grateful that he lived in a world that was capable of such love.
And as long as there was love, life would go on, even if it was difficult sometimes. There would be times of war or fighting, but there would also be times of peace and loving. And the times of love made life worth living.
Although, Alfred hoped that Arthur wouldn't make things too difficult for him on the honeymoon, because he was still planning on shoving that first piece of cake in his face.
The End and The Beginning.
AN: Thank you to everyone who has read, followed, or reviewed this story. This entire collection is the longest thing I have ever written with an overarching theme. I never could have done it without your support. So thank you once more.