Astrid watched as Hiccup finished her toast, wondering how it was that he was even eating whatever [i that] was. She shook her head and found herself glad that she had been brought up with a mom who could cook. Astrid smiled, mostly to herself, when Hiccup moved towards the table and when she realised what he was doing she held out her hands to that she could catch the apple he threw towards her. Astrid started to eat it happily, glad that she didn't have to eat anything of his mother's again.
Astrid glanced over towards their dragons and smiled knowing that they had clearly found comfort for the evening. She laughed towards Hiccup and nodded. "If you could plan for kidnapping surely we would have been able to avoid it in the first place?" She said with a laugh as she finished her apple and raised from where she had been sitting.
Soon enough they were both ready to leave to room and she made her way to the door, close behind Hiccup. She was surprised when Hiccup waited at the door for a minute and turned towards her. Astrid looked towards him expectantly but found herself blushing when he thanked her. At first she was confused about what he was thanking her for but when he started to explain himself everything made sense. She shook her head, "You don't need to thank me Hiccup. No matter what, I am here to support you regardless of my feelings." She leaned in and kissed him gently and offered him a smile. "Come on, let's not keep your mother waiting too long."
Hiccup watched as Astrid took a confident bite of the toast, not believing it could be [i that] bad, and he burst out laughing when she made a face. As she spoke he was finishing up his piece of toast and went to grab the one she abandoned. He'd grown up with food like this, and besides, it wasn't far from his own skills in cooking before Astrid became a permanent part of his life. "I told you so," he said with a smile as he chewed. He stood and headed to the center table in the room to toss Astrid an apple from the basket so that she wouldn't go hungry on account of his mother's cooking.
He finished his breakfast as he paced the room. Toothless and Stormfly watched him with lazy eyes from the places they had found themselves overnight. Hiccup continued to pace even as Astrid spoke and he shrugged.
"Well, I think Mom has a few things up her sleeve. At least that's what she made it sound like... And then... I guess we should head back to the island at some point." He didn't sound fond of the idea. Of course he loved the place. It was his new home. But he had just found his mother... "At least for the things we left. Clothes and..." Hiccup put a hand in front of his mouth and breathed into it, making a face. "I could use my toothbrush. Why didn't we plan on being kidnapped?" he joked with a soft chuckle.
The image of his father came to him and he felt a pang of guilt, but there was no way he was going home yet. Not now...
When they were finished with their food and ready to set out, Hiccup glanced into the small, wavy mirror beside the door and tried to flatten his hair out. As usual, it was hopeless. He turned to grab the doorknob, but paused a moment. He turned back around and found Astrid looking at him.
"Listen, I..." He paused a moment, searching for the right words. "Thank you." His hand found her shoulder. "I know you well enough to know that you're angry at my mother... mostly because I can't be right now. And I know it's difficult for you to... play along. So thank you..."
When she heard his mother’s voice muffled slightly by the door, she couldn’t help but laugh slightly at the way she communicated herself. It was how similar she was to Hiccup that humoured her and she shook her head to herself as she pulled her shirt over her head. Hiccup was practically already at the door by the time she had clothed one half of her body so she climbed back into bed and pulled the covers over her just in case but he was careful not to open the door too wide.
Astrid smiled as he slipped out of the room and she used the time to find the rest of her clothes and pulled them back on. She was still avoiding jeans at the moment, especially since the scar that had formed was still sensitive but she didn’t mind the comfort of looser clothing, especially now that they were no longer in Berk. No that they really knew where they were just yet. All they knew was that they were on some other island with dragons and Hiccup’s mother just happened to be alive and living here.
She knew that at some point she would have to make more of an effort with his mother, especially since she would be such a big part of his life now. Their relationship was permanent so she would have to find a way to get over her feelings about Valka soon because it would be almost impossible to continue a relationship with Hiccup without forming one with his mother, especially since she had already made such an effort with Stoick.
Astrid sat herself back down on the bed and waited for Hiccup to return who did shortly after that. She could see how happy he was and she wasn’t going to let that fade, especially since he had been so angry with Stoick when they had let Berk. At least he wasn’t thinking about that for now.
“I’m sure it’s not [I that] bad.” She said with a laugh as she picked up the slice of toast next to the piece he had just taken and took and bite from it. Instantly, Astrid pulled a face and looked towards Hiccup with confusion. “It’s toast…” was all she said for a minute. “I don’t understand how you can make [I toast] taste like [I that].” She shook her head and placed it back down on the tray and laughed.
“What’s the plan for today?” She asked after a few moments of silence.
Hiccup must have tired himself out enough to provide dreamless sleep for the rest of the night, or rather whatever remained of it. After a few hours, he didn't even stir when he heard the knock at the door. He hardly even noticed Astrid shaking him gently. It wasn't until her movements became fore forceful that his brows furrowed and his lip twitched as he woke. His eyes slowly opened and it took him a long moment to take in what she had told him. It only made sense when there came a soft knock once more.
"If-if it's a bad time," he heard his mother's muffled voice through the door, "then I can come back later. It's just- the sun is up and- and I thought I might show you around. And introduce you to the dragons. And maybe we could- Oh, I don't know..."
As she spoke, Hiccup was climbing out of bed and pulling on his jeans as quickly as he could. It was funny how alike they sounded... he still picked up on all of his mother's nervous inflections... he never grew out of those small habits he had learned from her.
He rushed to the door and opened it just a little, blocking Astrid from view. She was technically still decent with a t-shirt on and the covers pulled up, but Hiccup didn't want his mother barging in to make herself at home not knowing. So instead he slipped through the small gap in the door and out into the hallway, a huge smile finding his face.
It wasn't until that moment that he realized how relieved he was to see her again. It was just further proof that this wasn't all just a dream. He couldn't help himself. He avoided the tray of breakfast in her hand and hugged Valka tighter than he could ever remember hugging her before. She gave a soft chuckle in surprise, her free hand running through his hair.
"We'll, uh- we'll be right out," he told her after pulling away. He threw a thumb over his shoulder. "Astrid is just getting dressed."
Valka smiled gently and pushed the tray into his hands. "Well eat up. I have much to show you. Come fine me when you're ready."
He nodded, the smile still on his face even as she walked away. It took a second to remember there was food in his hands. He finally headed back inside the room, laying the tray on the bed in front of Astrid before picking up a piece of toast for himself.
"I... never thought I would ever taste my mom's terrible cooking ever again," he said with a soft chuckle.
Astrid laughed and dropped his hand as she nodded to agree that they should head back to their room. She was still tired but she was grateful for the distraction that he offered her from the memories she had regained. Even though neither of them wanted to pull away from the other she forced herself to move and helped him clean up the mess that they had made in the last hour. When Hiccup was satisfied that the forge had been left exactly how he had found it the two of them started back towards their room.
He was right. Neither of them knew exactly what to expect in the morning but she knew that she would have to give him some time alone with his mother sooner or later, not knowing that he had seen her that night. They walked back to their room in a comfortable silence, both feeling the effects of fatigue now that it was getting later than either of them had realised.
When they reached the room the dragons woke up simply to give them some space on the bed and she locked the door behind them so that she could feel comfortable removing her clothes, not wanting to feel too gross in the morning after wearing the clothes all night too. She stripped down to her underwear and climbed into the bed next to Hiccup. He pulled her close and she was grateful for the contact and it was partly why she had fallen asleep so quickly after that point.
At least this time her sleep was peaceful. It wasn’t until she heard a knock at the door the next morning that she woke up and she noticed that Hiccup was still asleep next to her. Astrid lightly pushed at his arm and when he reacted she smiled. “I’m sorry babe but there is someone at the door.” She said as she climbed out of bed and pulled on her clothes.
When they pulled apart, Hiccup opened his eyes slowly to look at her once more. She took his hands and he let play with them as she spoke. His cheeks turned a light shade of pink. He'd never thought that forge work was something entertaining to watch, but he knew that's not quite what she meant. He bit the inside of his lips as she brought his hands to her lips. Despite the grime, she kissed them anyway.
"There's plenty of time for that later," he said softly and with a smile. "But we should get you back to bed. Me as well. Who knows what tomorrow has in store for us."
After a moment he managed to pull himself away from Astrid long enough to clean up the mess they'd made at the forge. After leaving it exactly as he'd found it, he twined his fingers through hers once more and led the way back to their room. By the time they reached it, Hiccup was yawning. Working really did help tire him out.
The dragons raised their heads when they entered and gave them enough room on the bed. Toothless gave him a nudge to let him know that he was glad he was back. Hiccup peeled off his jeans and climbed under the blankets with Astrid. With her beside him and the dragons circling them on the bed, for the first time that day he was feeling almost... peaceful. He pulled Astrid close and closed his eyes. Despite being in a new place and in a new bed Hiccup fell asleep quickly.
Hiccup moved towards her with the apron and started to place it over her head and tied it in place. It was on the large side but it didn’t matter. It would offer her clothes some much needed protection since this was the only pair that she had with her. She laced her fingers with Hiccup’s and moved towards the forge with him and began to listen to everything he was saying carefully. Astrid was excited to be sharing something with him that was so important to him and she wanted him to know that she understood just how important it was by being completely serious and taking everything in.
By the time he taught her what everything was called and made she that she knew what she needed to in order to avoid any accidents, she felt ready to take on their first project together. The whole time he remained close to her, mostly keeping his hand wrapped around hers to guide her through the different processes easily. After a while, he didn’t seemed to feel the need to guide her and his hands moved from her own, to her side. She tried not to show her disappointment in the fact that she could no long watch his hands working but decided to focus on hammering the metal appropriately.
By the time she was finished Astrid was beaming with pride. While it was nothing like what Hiccup could make, it wasn’t half bad and he really had guided her through it rather than showed her how to do everything and ended up making it himself. She looked down at the piece in his hand and smiled before looking back up at Hiccup’s faced as he leaned in to place it in her hair. She couldn’t even remember why she had come to find him in the first place in that moment and as he leaned in to kiss her she brought her hand up to his cheek and rested it gently against his face as they shared a kiss.
When she pulled back she smiled and took his hands in her own, playing with them absently. “You know I think I could watch you work for hours.” She pulled his hands up to her lips and kissed then softly, tracing the surface of them with several kisses.
Hiccup smiled wider at her response, glad that she wasn't going to back out of his offer. He moved to fetch the Apron once more, lifting the strap over Astrid's head and pulling her hair through. As he did, he skillfully and smoothly pulled the ring he'd been working on from one of the pockets and slipped it into his own so that she wouldn't find it accidentally.
Hiccup led her towards the forge and starting pointing out the most important things she needed to know. Mostly to do with safety. When that was done, he started to tell her what everything was called. Every tool had a name and a purpose.
Hiccup didn't need to sketch out his idea for a hair clip. It was easy for him to imagine and work from. So he started teaching Astrid right then how to heat the metal, standing behind her with his hand over hers. He showed her how to turn it to make sure the heat had spread evenly. Then they moved to the large anvil. He moved with her every step of the way, demonstrating the best way to hammer, then helping her follow through with it.
He was excited to show her something he loved doing in his free time... but on top of that, he was grateful to just be near her once more. When she finally got the hang of hammering the metal flat, he stayed behind her, his hands slowly dropping to her sides.
When they went to shape the metal into what would be a clip, he walked her through it easily. In only a little over an hour they had successfully made Astrid's first project. He held the clip between calloused fingers and smiled.
"This is actually really good for a first piece." He smiled and reached up to clip it into her hair. It held perfectly. He took in the sight of her for a moment. Every trace of her nightmare was gone from her face. A sigh escaped his lips and he leaned in slowly to kiss her.
Astrid couldn’t help but feel a little silly for allowing a dream to upset her or even unnerve her but her accident wasn’t just something minor. She had almost [i died] and while she had tried to keep a positive mindset about it, remembering just made her feel everything all over again.
She was glad that Hiccup understood and rather than brushing it away as though it was unimportant, he comforted her by taking his hand and tracing a pattern with his thumb against her cheek. He had a way of bringing about a wave of calm over her and she leaned into his hand easily. “I know it is...” She said softly as he leaned in to kiss her forehead. After that he pulled her close and she sighed into him as she allowed the tension from her shoulders to melt away.
Astrid knew that she didn’t need to verbalise her answer to his next question. They both knew what he did when he couldn’t sleep abd before she could react he was pulling her towards the forge. She laughed to herself and looked around at the tools. He hadn’t shown her this before but she had watched him. Making something with him was another new experience for them.
“I could do with a new hair clasp now you mention it.” She said as she rolled up her sleeves as though to indicate that she was ready to work. Astrid was more than grateful for the distraction.
Hiccup's face did not change in demeanor after she told him what was wrong... Brows drawn together. One of his hands moved to her face and his thumb moved back and forth across her cheek.
"That's all over now..." He had to admit that there was some part of him that was glad she remembered now. Of course she had known what had happened since he had told her several times, but... This was different. She wasn't missing that part of her memories anymore.
He stepped even closer to her and kissed her gently on the forehead before wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close.
"You know what I do when I can't sleep?" he asked her, knowing she knew the answer. He put his hand back in hers and pulled her towards the forge. "What do you want to make?"
He was trying his best to get her mind off of the past. And he was trying his best to feel comfortable here. What better way to kill two birds with one stone than to make something together here with Astrid?
"I know how to make a fetching pair of earrings," he joked. "Or a clasp for your hair." He moved the bangs from her face as he spoke, smiling slightly.
Astrid has clearly startled him because whatever he been working on was thrust into th air. She couldn’t hold back her laugh as she got closer and looked over his shoulder to see randomly shaped bits of metal scattered around. She hadn’t noticed him putting whatever had been in the air into his pocket so she had no reason to suspect that he was not being truthful when he said that he was playing around. None of the pieces really mirrored anything recongisable so she simply let it slide and looked at him with asmusement.
Apprarently, that wasn’t enough for her to hide the distress upon her face. She thought that seeing him work in that way had been enough to distract from that and she had almost forgotten the reason she had come to find him in the first place. There was something about his hands that always made her lose her train of thought and even now she found herself fixated upon them. Hiccup could see right through her though. He knew that she hadn’t come to find him simply because she wanted to see him work.
I’m an instant he was removing the apron and taking her hands as he moved towards her and she shook her head. “It’s not really. Seems silly now. It’s just...I dreamt about the accident. It’s the first time since it happened and I guess it just shook me a little.”
His mother trusted him to know what he was doing and left him to it. She seemed hesitant to do so and even he felt a pang of loneliness when she was gone. So he buried himself in his work, hoping that perhaps [i this] time he could do what he had not been able to at his own forge.
He didn't attempt to make the ring at first. He simply played with the tools. Every forge behaved differently. Hiccup saw it similarly to earning the trust of a dragon. Even if the forge wasn't sentient, it could bite back if you didn't know what you were doing. He melted down different metals and shaped them into odd shapes before melting them down again and hammering away to get a feel for how hot the forge was.
Eventually he started working on the ring. It almost seemed silly to work on something so small in such a large forge. He didn't have to guess the size of her finger. He had held it enough times to be able to picture it perfectly. He was in the middle of hammering the metal around a cylinder that he had made. He didn't even hear Astrid enter, though over the noise he was making it wasn't surprising. He was just thankful that it didn't echo throughout the entire place, waking everyone up.
When he heard Astrid's voice, he nearly jumped out of his skin. The ring flew into the air in his shock and it bounced around in his hands a few times before it was cool enough to tuck away in the pocket of the leather apron he had found.
"A-Astrid! Nothing- I- I'm not... making... anything. I was just. Playing around." This wasn't the first time she had almost caught him in the middle of making her ring. But this new environment had him startled more than usual. When he saw the look on her face, beneath her amusement at his behavior, he could see worry. "What... what happened? Are you okay?" He closed the distance between them, taking off the soot covered apron. He probably should have waited to take that bath...
He took her hands in his own and looked into her eyes, trying to find the answer before she said it.
Astrid could not remember a time that she had last dreamt about anything. Ever since her accident she had literally slept completely peacefully. Her body had needed the rest and when she tended to dream they were usually really intense and stopped her from sleeping well. Tonight was different. Almost instantly she was thrust into a dream state but it wasn’t a dream that she wanted to experience. Even though she had been told what had happened the day of her accident, she hadn’t remembered all of it until now. If anyone were around to observe her now they would have been able to see the distress upon her face. Reliving it was not something she expected, especially not tonight.
She experienced everything. The pain from the penetration, the look upon Hiccup’s face and the shock of those who had blamed themselves for startling the dragon. It was no surprise that her body was laced with a cold sweat when she awoke from her dream. The dragons seemed to detect her anguish and awoke from their sleep also when she shot up and looked around the room. Her hand went to her stomach where she was now feeling some pain and she screwed up her face before climbing out of bed.
“I’m okay.” She told the dragons and they settled down again apprehensively. It was hard for her to tell what time it was or how long Hiccup had been gone for but after experiencing that she just needed him. Astrid decided to allow herself to wander the corridors in hope of finding him. She took in her surroundings as she made her way through the unfamiliar corridors. Soon enough she had managed to find Hiccup, mostly guided by the fact that there was a significant amount of noise coming from the place she found him. It was so typical of Hiccup to find somewhere to make something and as she entered the forge she stood in the doorway for a moment and watched him work.
Even Astrid was impressed by the size of the forge and she took a minute to take in her new surroundings before drawing her attention back to Hiccup. There was something about the way that he worked that always seemed to captivate her. She soon found herself looked down at his hands and lost herself for a few minutes. Eventually she pulled herself out of her hypnotised state and started to walk into the depths of the forge.
“Trust you to find this place. What are you making at this hour anyway?” She asked as she approach, trying to adjust her gaze to see what his project was.
Hiccup managed to explore most of the main chamber in peace. It wasn't until he turned towards the other hallways that he realized there were guards stationed at every entrance. He tried not to feel embarrassed that they had been watching him wander about. It helped that they didn't seem too interested in him now that they knew he wasn't their enemy and that he was actually related to their leader.
He avoided their gaze as they performed their duties and looked deeper into the cavern past the place where the land dropped off steeply. There were some dragons still up and moving, but most of them were all huddled together and sleeping. He turned away and bashfully made his way past one of the guards and into the hallways across from the one he had come from. It led through a dining hall and into what he knew was the kitchens even though it looked nothing like the modern day kitchens he was used to. He wondered how easily his mother had adapted to this life...
The next hallway down was another string of rooms. It seemed that most of the Protectors had their own room instead of a barracks and Hiccup felt a little guilty making his friends sleep in a bunk house when all these people had the comfort of their own places. Maybe he would fix that when they got back to the island...
When he made it back into the main chamber he was about to cross back over to the hallway where he would find his room when he heard his mother's voice. "Can't sleep?" He looked over at the large chair he had seen earlier in front of the table. She was sitting there looking tired with her map back in front of her.
Hiccup turned towards her and shrugged. "I guess... there's just so much to take in..."
Valka nodded and smiled, though it seemed strained. It was then that he realized that she was having just as much difficulty with this as he was. "Do you like it?" she asked him, gesturing to the caverns.
"I- I've never seen anything like it. I told Astrid that it feels like some medieval castle carved from the earth."
His mother laughed then and stood to close the distance between them. Hiccup glanced at the guards, wishing they weren't there to listen in on their conversations. Valka seemed to understand this and with a wave of her hand they were all sent away.
Her arm wrapped around his shoulders and she directed him towards the deep cavern where the dragons were located. "Can you believe we share a world with these amazing creatures?" Hiccup shook his head and glanced up as a dragon flew through one of the holes in the ceiling. He could see the stars shining brightly. He felt her gaze on him once more and he turned to look into the familiar green eyes.
"All these years I've wondered who you might have grow up to be..." She paused a moment, squeezing his shoulders. "You outshine any son I ever imagined."
Hiccup smiled and let out a short, relieved sigh. He didn't know how much he needed to hear that. He had no idea that he was so afraid that his mother would be disappointed in who he turned out to be until she eased his mind. He swallowed hard and they closed the distance between them to embrace once more. When they pulled back again, she smiled widely at him. "I am so proud of you." Hiccup looked away shyly, his hand going to his hear, and he shrugged. "And I'm so sorry I've missed out on everything. Watching you grow into a man... Watching you learn and create! And... getting a girlfriend," she added with a little humor laced into her voice.
This was the mother he remembered. The one that poked fun at him with love. The one that loved him for who he was, not what she wanted him to be.
"So, tell me. I'm your mother and I want to know everything."
Hiccup's mouth opened in confusion. "About what?" He was suddenly feeling very at home with his mother.
"About [i Astrid], of course! How long have you been together? Is it serious? Is she your first girlfriend?"
Hiccup looked away and couldn't help but laugh. He shrugged. "I... never really wanted to date before I got to know her," he answered her bashfully.
"You had the biggest crush on her, don't tell me that," Valka replied with a chuckle.
Hiccup laughed once more. "Yeah, but I was never serious about it. And then... that night when we found the island... I realized she didn't think of me the same way everyone else did. And she... she's so different than I always thought she was. We got to really know each other... and... It's been a few months now..." He finally looked back at his mother and her eyebrows were raised. He answered her unasked question. "We're... pretty serious."
Valka let out a soft sigh, her smile growing on her face wider than Hiccup could ever remember her smiling before. "I could tell. The way you look at each other... it reminds me of... well..." She trailed off for a moment. "Have you had any important conversations about the future?"
"I... We- we know we're in this for the long haul. But I don't think she knows... just how- how ready I am. Since the accident... I almost lost her... it brought so much into light and I..." Hiccup couldn't believe he was here... having [i this] conversation with [i his] mother who he thought was [i dead] for half of his life. "I... I've been making rings, but none of them are turning out right. It has to be perfect... But I can't get a ring that strong, yet dainty enough to suit her." Hiccup fell into the easy way he spoke when he talked about his special interests. The forge was one of them. He had a habit of using jargon or not explaining himself to people who might not know what he was talking about and he was surprised when his mother followed his every word. "If the forge is too hot then it won't meld right. If it's too cool then I can't get it thin enough and-"
He felt his mother's hand on his and he was pulling on him suddenly. "Come with me." He had no choice. He was being dragged along the only hallway he hadn't ventured down. It led into a large room full of saddles and shields and other metal workings. The biggest hole in the ceiling he had seen since being there was above the biggest forge he had ever seen. "You should try this one. The size of it makes the heat more consistent. I'm sure you can make whatever it is that head of yours is imagining."
Hiccup couldn't get over the size of it. His mouth fell open at the sight and he turned to his mother after staring at it. "You... You're not going to tell me it's too early to ask her?" That's what he assumed most people would say after all.
Valka laughed. "Your father and I got married after only a few months," she told him. "Sometimes you just [i know]." Hiccup felt another huge weight lift off of his chest. She turned him towards the forge once more. "Go on..." he prodded. "We have plenty of material for you to play around with. Get a feel for it. And then you can make that ring."
She was grateful that he didn’t seem to need her to go with him, especially since she had been overcome with such fatigue. Astrid smiled as he kissed her cheek and she nodded. “Take as much time as you need. It’s not like I am going anywhere.” She said with a laugh and turned towards the bed while he turned towards the door.
Almost instantly, Toothless climbed off the bed as if he must go with him and she couldn’t help but laugh at the exchange between the two of them and she found humour in the way that he stalked back to the bed with a disappointed look on his face.
“I’ll try but I cannot promise anything with these two.” She looked back at their dragons and smiled. When she was alone she took a minute to gather her thoughts. “What a day.” She said towards the dragons and she lowered herself onto the bed, pushing herself back against the pillows and when she got herself comfortable Stormfly moved her head onto her lap. Astrid spent a few moments stroking her head until she had comfortably falling asleep again. She then looked towards Toothless who was watching her carefully. “He’s okay Toothless. He just needs some time.”
After around ten minutes, she had fallen asleep and as some point Toothless and moved his head next to hers and the three of them had settled in for the night.
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