When Hiccup made it back to his own ship, he could still hear the drunk vikings in the vessel next to them. Hiccup slowly walked up the wooden ramp, trying his best to ignore them. When his metal leg hit the deck he was instantly swarmed by the other dragon riders. Everyone was asking him everything and for a moment he was overwhelmed simply because of how exhausted he was from chiefing all day.
He let everyone get their exclamations out of the way, even willing to watch the twins act out what it would look like if he ever got in a fight. Hiccup just rolled his eyes and stepped between them, pushing them apart. On the other side he found Astrid, wiping her brow after some hard work. He shrugged in response and started to walk her through his day, but hardly a word got out before a bottle crashed into the side of their ship.
Both of them turned to look at the boat next to them. It was much larger than theirs which most vikings would tend to scoff at since they were masters of smaller, light weight, and fast boats. But Hiccup had learned many things over the years and one of them was that a big ship meant a big crew...
Hiccup nodded at Astrid's comment, unable to look away from the larger ship.
"I didn't stop at that one," he confessed. "I'm not sure I trust them... Have you heard at all who their chief is?" As he asked, he looked at what men he could see. Any one of them looked like they could be the leader.
"Hiccup's back!" Tuffnut shouted, running towards the boy genius with the whole crew in tow. All but Astrid. She had stuff to get done, she couldn't just stop where she was at. After all, if you stop mid-grind, you won't get a smooth finish. A certain blacksmith's apprentice taught her that.
"How'd it go?" Fishlegs asked Hiccup, and got pushed by Snotlout out of the way. "Find any good opponents?!" The prideful stump asked, throwing his fists up as if to fight. Ruff and Tuff then took it upon themselves to act out what would happen if Hiccup was challenged to a fight. Wasn't pretty or nice. True, but not nice.
Astrid cleared her throat and finished the last of her crates, and stepped over. "How did it go, Hiccup?" She asked, wiping sweat from her brow. A bottle crashed in to the side of their ship, and the blonde rolled her eyes. "Since they got here they've been so loud and so...[i drunk.]" She groaned.
Hiccup hated meeting new people. He hated exchanging pleasantries and small talk. But he also knew that if he came back to the ship without having spoken to any of the other chiefs Astrid might have his head. So he took a deep breath and started on his way.
Most of the ships had lookouts who called for their Chief upon seeing Hiccup. It wasn't nearly as bad as he thought. Most of them had respected his father and gave their condolences. It gave him a sense of relief to know that that respect was handed down to him. That would make breaking the news about the dragons- if he chose to do so- a lot easier. If they all believed he had good intentions like Stoick the Vast, then what harm would there be in trusting him?
There were a couple ships that Hiccup passed up altogether. Unfortunately, it was the chiefs on these ships that he was sure would give him the most trouble if he brought up the dragons. One ship was eerily silent and all of the crew just watched him walk past. Another ship was bustling and music was playing cheerfully. It must have arrived in the night because he didn't remember it from before.
The vikings aboard were huge and drunk. Hiccup didn't see the boy build very similarly to himself bouncing around among the men. All he saw was a bunch of inebriated vikings. He passed this one up as well.
The rest of the day he met with as many chiefs as he could. Some he met while they were out and about, some were still on their ships. Hiccup was rather proud of himself for how he handled the situation and by the time he was ready to return to his own vessel, he couldn't wait to tell Astrid how well he did. A little praise from her went a long way.
Astrid wasted no time and began asking her friends--well, asking wasn't quite the right word. Ordering? Yeah, that's more like it. A nice ordering. Anyway, she was having them get supplies. Food, mostly. Fish, for the dragons. Maybe a couple of lamb racks?
"But Astrid. Astrid. Look at the wonders of this island! Tuff and I would make-"
"You can go cause mayhem [i after] your chore list is done." She responded to Ruff, interupting a speech he had clearly rehearsed.
"But uh...Astrid?" Fishlegs spoke, opening a scroll that dropped to the floor. "We'll never get all this done."
Astrid sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Okay fine. Fishlegs, collect extra lumber. Ruff, Tuff? Um..." She looked around, "You two stay here and feed them." She gestured under the deck. "Snotlout, you can go and get the crates of food. Pick out whatever, just don't blow the budget."
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/I3F4XzQ.png]] One large ship in particular was making quite a bit of noise. It seemed there was some kind of celebration that was ensuing, mostly large vikings throwing barrels of booze, but one small boy in particular was in the midst. He didn't look troubled; in fact he was having no problem moving in an almost rhythmic manner to avoid being stomped on or crushed by a flying barrel. The men he maneuvered around seemed to respect him, however, laughing and greeting him to be returned with smiles and laughter as well. Their journey here was terrifying. They had every single right to celebrate! And celebrate they shall!
"Oi! When will you get a wife, chief?"
"You already know, Gragas, I don't need a lady to run you mutts!" The smaller teased the large redhead.
He couldn't help but chuckle as he headed for the cabin door after being smacked in the back by his betrothed. He was far too used to being punched around by her and he wouldn't have it any other way.
"Yeah, yeah," he said, catching the coin smoothly, backing out of the doorway as he spoke. "Congratulations! We didn't die in a ship wreck!" he said, faking enthusiasm and waving his arms in front of him. He smiled at her once more before finally leaving.
He felt terrible knowing that toothless was just under his feet. He wanted nothing more than to go on their usual morning flight. At least he knew that he would understand. Hopefully.
Hiccup thought about having Fishlegs tag along, but he knew he might find some way to make things awkward. He'd be better by himself, it seemed. He stepped off the boat and looked both ways up and down the harbor. Surely most of the chiefs would be aboard their ships, right?
He let out a deep breath, heading right and hoping for the best.
She giggled slightly at his offer of her taking his place. Sure, he thinks she'd handle it better, but her nerves were bouncing off the walls almost as much as Hiccup's! When he rose, she followed. "Alright. That sounds fair." She agreed to his round making idea. Plus, it was her turn to feed the dragons anyway. Well technically it was Snotlout, but everyone knew the only one that would get fed enough vefore he got bored would be hookfang. How did that dragon put up with him anyway?
She looked him up and down, "You'll have them quaking in thier boots." She teased, following with some laughter. "Alright, go get 'em!"
She smacked him on the back, dressed herself in her day clothes, and started for the door. "Oh. Pick us up some yak meat whike you're out. We haven't officially celebrated our successful journey!" She said, flicking him a gold piece. She pulled out a small paper and immediately put herself to work.
Her soothing touches almost put Hiccup back to sleep. He didn't even flinch when she found new bruises and scrapes with the tips of her fingers. Her voice pulled him back down to earth from cloud nine and he smiled.
"I have an idea," he said softly. "[i You] go meet the chieftains and [i I'll] polish your axes, and we'll call it even," he joked. He chuckled, then squirmed a moment when Astrid found a particularly ticklish spot.
He sighed deeply feeling her lips on his neck and he could hear the stress in her voice, so he pulled back to look at her for the first time that morning. He moved her stubborn bangs out of her face.
"I'll be fine," he assured her. "You take care of everything here, I'll make the rounds, and we'll meet back here, alright?" He leaned in to kiss her forehead. "Besides, I need someone to give Toothless some attention while I'm gone."
Slowly and unwillingly, he sat up in bed. Another yawn escaped him and he turned his head back to look at her. "If you hear any screaming in the distance, though, it's probably me," he joked. He turned, letting his right foot meet the wooden floor before grabbing his left from the bedside table. After attaching it, he stood groggily, stretched, then looked around for his leather armor.
After securing the many buckles, and pulling on his boot, he tried to flatten his hair out as best as possible. There was an old mirror on the wall next to the door of the cabin and it didn't do much to help him set it straight. He didn't know what he expected.
He turned back to Astrid, arms wide. "Tell me I'm not the most intimidating viking you've ever seen." He couldn't even get through the sentence without laughing.
"Its for the best, you know it'll make your life so much easier." She told him, sniggling even closer. She couldn't help but giggle when he basically ate her hair. She mumbled an agreement to his five more minutes, and traced her finger along any bare skin shr colud find. She stumbled across all sorts of scars from his tests and experiments, and even a few newer scratches and bruises. For being the smallest viking in Berk, he sure could take the most beatings.
"If it scares you so much, I'll go with you. I mean, I'll be up late polishimg axes and I'll probably make you help me." She cooed playfully. After all, an eye for an eye. She helped him. And she honestly hadn't polished her babies in quite a bit. They needed the love and care.
Stormfly also needed some oils. Maybe even needed some extra fish so she could molt a little early. That was on her to do list too. She also needed to take a look at their provisions and--
She dug her face in to his neck unbelievably more, kissing it lightly. "I have so muxh to do."
Despite the events that lay ahead of him that next day, Hiccup slept fairly well. It probably had something to do with the fact that Toothless's tail wasn't constantly whacking him in the face. The lack of seasickness seemed to help as well. And Astrid beside him...
The first thing he was aware of that morning when he woke was how numb his arm was just before feeling of the pressure of Astrid at his side and instantly forgetting about it. He felt her mumble a good morning against his skin and he couldn't help a small smile from finding his lips.
He still refused to open his eyes, so he mumbled something completely incoherent back. His smile widened at her words. He could just imagine her sitting there polishing every single one of her axes. That would certainly do more intimidating than Hiccup could with literally anything.
He mumbled something else and groggily rolled onto his side, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close, their legs getting lost under the covers. Literally. Hiccup usually removed his metal leg to sleep, which he never did before he and Astrid started sharing a bed every once in a while. It wasn't exactly the most comfortable thing to snuggle up next to.
"Just five more minutes," he mumbled into her hair, getting a few strands in his mouth before blowing them away. The struggles of having a girlfriend with long hair...
A yawn escaped him and he remembered where he was. He let out a soft groan before rolling back onto his back in defeat. "You- you're gonna make me go talk to them, aren't you?" he asked, half amused, have devastated that he was going to have to [i talk] to these people he didn't know.
Astrid woke the next morning feeling magnificently refreshed. Today was the day she could push Hiccup out of his shell. He had to at least try to meet some of the other chiefs. It would definitely take a little edge off speaking in front of all of them.
For the first time, since they got here, she woke beside Hiccup. It was nice, he was warm. She snuggled closer to him, her head on his chest. "Good morning." She mumbled, moving her head to his neck, pushing her nose to his collarbone.
"Are you excited?" She asked. "I think Im going to polish my axes today, so that way if somethibg goes wrong the other chiefs know I take care of my stuff." She joked.
She kind of wanted to stay like this. It was comforable and really relaxing.
Though, she was a little worried as to hoe Hiccup was going to do. He was already so inferior to all of the others brawn wise. He also had a bit of a problem talking, unless he knew the people he talked to. But she had faith. This was something he was very passionate about. Her as well.
Hiccup caught the blanket and wrapped it around himself. "What would I d-do without y-you?" he asked her, meaning every word. He looked over at her, not saying anything, just watching her fly with a smile on his face.
After everything they'd been through together, Hiccup was sure that he'd have been a goner a long time ago without Astrid having his back. Sure, when they were kids they had a few bumps in the road. He was sure she didn't even know he existed except for being the chiefs son. And he still felt guilty for giving her all that trouble during dragon training. But she was there now. And he had her back. Like he said a few years before... There would always be a Hiccup and Astrid.
They flew for perhaps another hour before they begrudgingly agreed that they should be getting back before someone realized they were missing. Besides, they needed all the rest they could get for the days to come.
After battling the fog, they found the ship. They landed stealthily and Toothless and Stormfly- now happy with their flight- were tucked away safely underneath. They tiptoed back to the cabin, but not before a groggy voice shouted from the darkness behind them.
"Intruders! Stop where you are!"
Together, Hiccup and Astrid turned around, eyebrows raised at Snotlout and his new dagger pointing at them.
"Oh, it's you guys. Man, I really thought I was gonna get a chance to use this thing. Wait! What are you guys doing out here?" They shared a glance before looking back at Snotlout. Suddenly he made a face. "Why am I even ASKING. GROSS."
"Gross? Did someone say Gross?" Tuffnut's voice shouted from his spot on the other side of the ship. "I [i love] gross!"
Hiccup sighed, exasperated. "Nothing! Everyone, go back to sleep." He retreated inside before there could be any more talk.
The blonde had the lightest of blushes spread to her cheeks when he spoke. He was so honest and kind, she's glad he didn't hate her after how many times she gave him the cold shoulder as children. So very glad.
Stormfly shook her body while Toothless broke the kiss, also showing her playful side. When Toothless dove, Astrid immediately knew what was going on and began laughing. When she saw them again, she laughed harder, pulling a blanket she had neatly folded in a pack on Stormfly's saddle.
"Here you go. Don't want Jack Frost nipping at your nose." She cooed playfully, in between her laughs.
This was so nice. Them being alone, saying cheesy things. Astrid usually wasn't cheesy or romantic, she didn't have time to worry about that stuff with all the other stuff needing to be done. Here, her only concerns were Hiccup and the ship, and she already took care of the ship, even checked it twice.
Maybe being the Chief's wife wasn't a bad job for her after all.
Hiccup felt the heat rise to his face at her words despite the cold wind. She had opened up to him immensely over the years, but it still made his heart skip when she admitted something like that. It was easy for Hiccup... not so much for Astrid.
"As long as I don't have to marry all of them, too," he joked, trying to lighten the mood. He looked over at his betrothed, his back still against Toothless's. After a moment of silence, he sat up, ready to address her next concern. "You just 'standing there'," he pulled his hands away from the handholds on Toothless's saddle to make air quotes, "is all I need from you. Just- just being in the same room as you gives me ten times more confidence than usual. Besides, if I do burn anything down and they try to kill me, we have four crates of your axes they'll have to get through," he said with a wide smile. A joke, but one made with love.
He pulled Toothless up, then upside down so they were flying just over Astrid and Stormfly. He looked up at her- which was technically looking down at the earth- and waited for her to meet him halfway. They kissed for a moment in mid flight, but Toothless didn't let it go on too long. As much as the Dragon loved Astrid now, too, he always had a little fun breaking their moments off like any brother would.
Toothless suddenly did a barrel roll away from then and dove straight towards the water. With all the fog, Hiccup had no idea where the water might be, and before he could see it, it was too late. He was submerged in cold for a split second before brought back up. He let out a shout of shock and Toothless nodded his head in a laugh before making his way back to the other two. "Thank you ver-very much for th-that!" Hiccup said sarcastically, the cold of the water making him stutter. Well... worse than usual.
Hiccup's hair was plastered to his head and dripping, a look of pure annoyance and defeat on his face. But he scratched Toothless behind the ear, anyway.
"You and him both," She hummed, also relaxing in to Stormfly. The two dragons chittered at each other occasionally, having their own conversation of sorts.
"Hiccup, I know everything will go great. You'll do absolutely fine. You'll stumble at first, drop a few things, maybe even accidentally burn a building down or something," She teased, "but once they see that passion in your eyes, the same passion I'm pretty sure I fell for," she rubbed the back of her neck nervously, and cleared her throat. "Among other things. But Once they see that, they'll follow you to the ends of the earth. Like we all do." She finished just as confidently as she had started, as if ignoring her little slipup in between.
"I don't really know what good I'll do standing there though." She admitted.
Once they were up in the air, there was nothing that could bring Hiccup's mood down. And Astrid's new tricks made his spirit's soar even more. He tried to grab his dragon blade back from her, but he was too late and he watched her fly away triumphantly which applauding her.
"Alright, show off," he joked when she tossed the dragon blade back to him. Toothless let out a few noises that sounded something like laughter. "Wha- Oh I see, a taste of my own medicine, right, bud?" He was known for being a bit of a show off with Toothless.
When they evened out and started to fly side-by-side, Hiccup let out a deep sigh and let himself lay down on Toothless's back.
"I needed this," he said, softly.
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