England x Reader
"See that?" Arthur asked, pointing out a quick streak of light in between the stars, and you nodded excitedly. "It's a falling star."
"Falling?" you questioned. "B-but, why is it falling?" you sniffled, suddenly tearful. Where would the star go? Wouldn't it miss all its star-friends?
"That's just what they're called, love," he said gently, tucking hair behind your ear. "There's no reason to cry about it. They say if you see one and make a wish, it will come true!"
You gasped, all pity for the star now gone, and called up a wish to the night sky.
He chuckled and pulled you into his lap, placing a kiss on the top of your head as the carousel continued around and around.
The first time Arthur took you to what had become your favourite amusement park. The carousel was always the best part, with its cheery music and beautifully painted ponies that rode up and down.
There were so many memories from your childhood. You remembered always wanting to catch the dragonflies and being scared of thunder. How the phrase "when you're older" seemed so exciting yet so far away. Dreaming of what the future might hold. And, of course, Arthur.
You loved Arthur. He was kind and caring, and practically raised you. Even though he was usually very busy, he took good care of you. And he loved you, too.
He always seemed a little scared of you growing up, however. While you couldn't wait for your next birthday, you saw apprehension in him. Like how he always pretended to be happy when your clothes stopped fitting. How on your sixteenth birthday he dropped a set of car keys in your hand with a big, fake smile. How he forced himself not to cry on your first day of college, and you did, too.
Even though he would never admit it, he had missed you terribly the past few years while you studied at University. Being so busy, the two of you could only swap occasional letters, and you could never find a way to get together on the holidays, even though before you never before spent over a few weeks apart. You missed him an awful lot, as well.
You were glad graduation had been just a few days ago, even though Arthur had been unable to make it.
Now, back in your hometown, you stood at the entrance to the theme park, a large "Out Of Business" sign posted to the front of the closed gate.
Scowling and sighing, you tucked your car keys and cell phone into your pocket before grabbing onto the fence and heaving yourself over it. You balanced on the top of the fence, looking over the park before dropping to the ground on the other side and dashing off. The cool night air felt good on your skin as you ran through the park, only stopping once you reached your destination.
The large carousel that stood in the centre on the park.
Except, this wasn't one of its finest moments.
The ride wasn't even turned on, since the park had been shut down, but the lights were dirty, some were broken, and the paint that was once bright and so excruciatingly detailed was chipped and fading. The eerie silence that accompanied the distressed amusement made you shiver, the cherry merry-go-round music long gone.
Locating the operator booth, you flicked on a few switches and watched the old machine slowly come back to life. The motor was broken, but the lights still lit up and the music still played as you stared at it in childhood awe.
Collecting yourself, you pulled out your cell phone and speed-dialed Arthur's number. "I'm home. Come find me," you said, not giving him a chance to speak, and making sure he could hear the music in the background before hanging up quickly.
Sighing again, you stowed the cellular device back in your pocket and meandered over to the ride, swinging yourself onto your favouite pony. You needed something to do while you waited for him to arrive. You patted the plastic animal like it were real, remembering all the happy times you had here.
"__________! What do you think you're doing?"
Arthur's sharp voice made you jump and look up after who knows how long of sitting and waiting for him.
"This place was shut down, I'll have you know!" he scolded, huffing towards the carousel.
Your eyes widened and you jumped off the ride, running towards him until you crashed into him at full speed, wrapping your arms around him. You knocked the wind out of him. After a moment or two he hugged you back.
You pulled away after a minute of just taking in seeing him again. "The first time you see me in how long, and you're already yelling at me," you teased, smiling and looking up into his bright green eyes that were overshadowed by his thick eyebrows and messy blond hair that always looked like it needed a cut.
"We've gone over this. I'm not yelling," he said.
Your arms tightened around him and you laughed slightly. "It's good to see you again."
"So it is, love, so it is," he agreed, pulling you closer to him as well.
Letting go, you linked an arm through his and marched over to the carousel, bringing him with you before leaping onto the deck of the ride. "Remember this?" you asked, climbing onto one of the old ponies.
He looked at you before following you and jumping up onto another horse close to yours. "Of course I do. You tortured me with this thing. Every single time, we had to ride the merry-go-round."
You laughed. "Those were fun times," you said to yourself as you started to reminisce again and look down at the horse. "I miss you," you told him suddenly, still not looking at him. "I wish everything could go back to the way it used to be," you almost whispered. It was hard to say something something like that, especially since not too many words were ever traded between the two of you.
He looked at you with his soft green eyes for a moment and you hung your head.
"And they tell her, 'take your time. It won't be long now,
'Til you drag your feet to slow the circles down'.
And the seasons, they go 'round and 'round," he murmured slowly, to the tune of a lullaby from your memories.
Your breath caught for a moment. Closing your eyes, you joined him. "And the painted ponies go up and down,
We're captive on a carousel of time." Your voice caught in your throat as you sang quietly, your hand stroking the mane of the fake horse.
"We can't return, we can only look behind,
From where we came," he sang gently, continuing the song for you.
You found your voice again. "And go 'round and 'round and 'round
In the circle game."
"So the years spin by and now the girl is twenty,
Though her dreams have lost some grandeur coming true.
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through." He reached out, and, tucking a piece of hair behind your ear, smiled softly.
Swallowing, trying to hold back the tears, you caught his hand, pushing it to your cheek. It was warm in the cool night air, and you felt calmed for a moment.
You wished you could be young again, that time could go back. Because it hurt to understand what Arthur meant through the song. The truth in the words was painful.
He got up off the old horse with the chipping paint and walked to the edge of the merry-go-round. Pointing up at the sky, he asked, "Do you see that?"
You leaned over your own horse to look, not letting go of his hand, and a falling star lit up the sky.
"Make a wish."