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.
Once they were a good distance away, she wanted to show off all the special training her and Stormfly had been doing. Stormfly shot upwards as fast as she could, and when they were covered from Hiccup's vision, The blonde leaped from her dragon, plummeting passed Hiccup, stealing his fire-sword-thing.
Stormfly came from underneath, catching the blonde flawlessly. Sure, to Hiccup that was nothing. But to her and Storm, that was their first success! She cheered excitedly, loudly. "Oh yes! Oh Thor yes!" She exclaimed. "Oh I'm so glad that went well. Last time she didn't catch me and I went for a swim. Of course that was back in Berk..." She trailed off. Stormfly came to level with Toothless after the little trick, but she was clearly ready to do more. Astrid returned the sword thing with a laugh. "I'm glad we did this." She hummed. She was not lying; though feeling guilty about leaving everyone else, this was something Hiccup needed. Her, not so much. But him...This would help him relax for the meeting. That was how she'd help him this time.
Hiccup woke to the Astrid's voice in his ear. At first he thought it was just a dream, but when his eyes fluttered open, there she was, smirk and all.
He sat up slowly and yawned. "Foggy, huh?" he asked, folding up the leather and laying it aside. "You sure you don't just want me to be groggy so you can win?" he asked with a smirk. He rubbed his eyes before taking a look out of the small window. It was indeed, foggy. "I suppose it would... be difficult to see dragons in this weather." He didn't bother mentioning that it was hard to see a night fury at night, no matter the weather. A deadly nadder on the other hand would need a little bit of cover... "Let's go."
As quietly as they could, they made their way out of the cabin and below deck. They didn't want to wake the others. Hiccup felt a little bad for sneaking around, but he knew two dragons would go unnoticed. But if the others wanted to join... especially the twins... they might be discovered.
They shushed their dragons and took off as fast and as quietly as they could. Hiccup was glad she suggested this. He felt bad for Toothless, and to be honest, he wasn't good at staying on the ground, either.
Astrid was up securing all of the cargo, making sure everything would be good for the ride home. As long as she kept checking anything, that pit in her stomach wouldn't mean a thing, right?
Well, that's how she thought, at least.
When she finished, she slowly opened the captain's cabin door and saw Hiccup sleeping. She smiled softly, glad to see him actually peaceful. Especially with them being in this situation.
She walked over, and started putting his stuff away as quietly as she could. When she got it all cleaned up, she crouched beside the male and poked him. "Hey...pst." She whispered. When he didn't move, she leaned in close to his ear, "It's foggy out...wanna race?" Her lips very lightly brushed against his ear.
She smirked, hoping that was at least enough to get his attention. She wanted to spend some time with him and only him before this whole thing happened; hopefully it'd cure both of their nerves.
The night dragged on and Hiccup spent most of it wrestling with Toothless. He eventually decided to give Hiccup a break from his grumbling. Of course, that turned into Toothless getting a hold of Hiccup's foot and the dragons all started playing catch with it. The group thought it was so hilarious that no one helped him get it back, so he gave up and just decided to watch the dragons play.
Did he regret this when his foot was finally returned to him covered in dragon slobber? Yes, yes he did.
Before they knew it, it was time for sleep. But as much as Hiccup tried, he couldn't get any shut eye. Eventually, he got up to start working on Toothless's new tail fin. He'd save all the loud hammering for later, he didn't want to wake anyone. So he started with the easy stuff, like stitching and cutting the leather. It helped to ease his nerves and before he knew it he had fallen asleep at the desk in the cabin, the cow leather still in his hand.
Astrid hugged Stormfly tightly. She got that pit again, but not nearly as bad as before. Everything went pretty as expected today, even down to the twins, so it's been good so far.
She watched Hiccup struggle with Toothless, laughing a little. It was cute, the two were like brothers. She still could remember how they first met. Hiccup had insisted several times that he had caught the nightfury, then one day he really did. Then, bit by bit he learned more about them, really getting on her nerves at dragon training. Oh it frustrated her beyond all belief that he was going to graduate top of the class. All until she met Toothless.
Those two changed everything.
Hiccup bit his lip and shook his head. "Nnno, I haven't. If they aren't all here by tomorrow, then maybe I will... I thought about it, but..." He toyed with the leather between his hands, wringing it nervously.
He followed her gaze and she spoke and he nodded. He put the cow hide back in the sack and set it next to the bag of metal scraps.
"I know," he admitted, "me too. I'm also worried about the dragons... I know we got them ready for this, but I just... feel bad for keeping them down there like that."
The only other option was to leave them behind, and none of the riders felt safe with that. If anything should happen, they knew they would rather have their best friends by their sides. A cold gust of wind made Hiccup shiver and he tried not to think of it as an omen.
They all sat down to eat once more and when they were done, they all headed below deck to feed their dragons. Toothless was pacing and was giving Hiccup the silent treatment.
"Toothless, we talked about this," Hiccup said, pleading. He threw a fish on the floor in front of the dragon. "And you still wanted to come. I'm sorry, I can't let you out."
Toothless ate the fish with a grumpy expression and Hiccup sighed.
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