Astrid smirked to herself and a quiet chuckle followed when Hiccup reacted to her, evidently trying to keep his thoughts to himself but she didn’t mind it. They shared most things but they were both entitled to this own thoughts every now and then. Instead she smiled and leaned into his kiss before he stood up and make his way towards their cabin, bidding goodnight to everyone around the fire. Normally Astrid left with him but seeing that he had something on his mind she gave him a head start, squeezing his hand before he disappeared into the cabin.
As soon as he was gone the rest of the group turned to the topic that seemed to be on everyone’s mind that night: their marriage.
“Have you really not got a date yet?” Fishlegs asked. He had been so excited about their engagement since the day it happened and it seemed to kill him waiting for them to finally tie knot more than it seemed to bother them. She laughed to herself and shook her head.
“No Fishlegs but we are talking about it if that makes you feel better.” After about half an hour of Fishlegs questioning her about wedding specifics, none of which she had the answer to, she decided it was time for her to retire to bed herself. She was glad to find that Hiccup had not yet fallen asleep but was simply laying on top of the bed staring at the ceiling.
Astrid neared him and lowered herself next to him, running her hands down his bare chest and followed her hand with kisses. “Well this is a sight I am more than happy to come to bed to for the rest of my life.” She said with a happy sigh before resting her head on his chest and drawing circles where her hand rested. “Just one more time and I promise I won’t ask again. Are you sure about all of this? You’ve been awfully quiet since we talked on the hill.”
Hiccup had been so lost in through that he hadn't even heard the jokes going around the campfire. It wasn't until Astrid gave him a gentle nudge that he was pulled pack to the present. He finally blinked, realizing the fire had started to sting his eyes without his noticing, then he turned to look at her.
"I- I'm fine!" He answered, perhaps too quickly to seem truthful. He let out a soft, chuckle, looking back towards the fire for a moment. "I'm fine. Just... Thinking." He turned back towards her, kissing her cheek softly before making the effort to get to his feet. He rubbed his eyes. "I'm off to bed," he told no one in particular and made his way to the cabin. Toothless wasn't far behind.
Once they were inside Hiccup started to change. He looked over at Toothless who was trying to find a comfortable position in his spot. "One year, Toothless. One year is enough time, right?" Toothless mumbled something tiredly. Hiccup sprawled out on the bed, sighing. "Astrid in a wedding dress. Why have I never thought of that before? I don't know if I've ever seen her [i wear] a dress. Why is it so important?" Hiccup gripped his hair and groaned. "And- what the hell am [i I] gonna wear? A suit? Can you even imagine? [i Me?] In a suit?"
Hiccup rolled over. The heat of the summer was enough to make him refuse cover and sleep shirtless.
Most of that evening was spent around the fire enjoying the company of their friends, particularly Fishlegs who Astrid must have thanked twenty times over already for practically saving her mother’s life but as they sat there things felt a little different. While they had been engaged for the last four years, they had never had a solid plan or a date and while they didn’t have a definite date written down on paper, they now had a timeframe. This time next year they would finally be getting married.
She hadn’t once thought about what either of them might wear, nor had she thought about what it would sound like to have people call her Mrs Haddock, not that they had even discussed the fact that she [i wanted] to take his name. In actual fact, they had no discussed a wedding at all. They all but avoided it until now.
Astrid was glad that she had the company to distract her from her thoughts. As she tucked into her food she glanced over at Hiccup and judged him gently with her elbow. “You’re quiet this evening. Are you okay?” She asked quietly so that no one else could hear. Not that they would because they were too busy laughing and joking about whatever it was that they joked about. It was certainly to good to be back home.
It felt good. To finally have a plan in place. Hiccup had always been mathematical. Scientifical. His life felt better when he had a plan in place. And now that there was one there was nothing that could ruin their wedding. He had a set amount of time to convince his mother to open up her world once more. And he had the same amount of time to prepare himself for either outcome. All that was left to do was ride it out.
Gyda seemed better than ever and it was actually she who was practically shoving them out the door and to the docks. Hiccup and Astrid weren't quite sure how to thanks Fishlegs for his research, but he seemed happy to just have been a help. Upon their arrival, they took to the sky almost immediately. Toothless missed it just as much as Hiccup did since he was unable to fly without him. For that night, they distracted themselves from their chores and from the inevitability of telling his mother that their wedding would be approaching with or without her.
Berk weddings did not take a very long time to plan. There were no invitations to be sent, no catering to order... in fact it was very much like Christmas. The entire town was present, whether you wanted them to be or not. Food was supplied by everyone. It was an all day event. And in some cases, if the party was really great, it could last all weekend. Hiccup knew that neither of them cared much for these aspects, but they were pretty much unavoidable. The only things they would really need to worry about was... well, their outfits... and the cake if they chose to have one. Hiccup's ring, which he could make himself... And anything else they thought up along the way.
Hiccup's face was rather pink that night and he was glad it was disguised by the light from the campfire that night at dinner. He wasn't quite sure why, but in all these years he hadn't really stopped to think about what Astrid might actually [i look] like in a wedding dress. He swallowed hard.
Astrid stared out in the same direction as Hiccup while a comfortable fell between them until he looked back towards her, clearly ready to say something. Astrid turned her head and locked her eyes with his as he spoke and she allowed her lips to turn up into a smile. Now they have a year to convince his mother to let Stoick know that she was alive. Even though Hiccup seemed confident that they would get married regardless, she knew that it was something that had been holding them both back and they both [i wanted] his mother there.
Astrid allowed her eyes to close as he pressed his lips against hers, allowing their kiss to last for quite some time and when they parted she rested her forehead against his. "One more year." She said in agreement. Part of her wondered if they should set and date and start planning it in hopes that his mother would begin to realise that this was happening and she [i needed] to be a part of it but she would leave that conversation for another time.
The days passed by and within the space of two weeks her mother had recovered enough for Hiccup and Astrid to return to the island and even though she felt apprehensive about leaving, Gyda seemed in good spirits once more and she felt confident that she would not fall sick in that way again, and if she did at least now they knew how to cure it. They set off in the early hours of the morning and arrived on their island in good time to find Toothless and Stormfly to go for a fly since it had been so long and most of the day was spent in the sky, trying not to think about how they would convince Valka to finally stop being so stubborn.
Hiccup listened to Astrid, not just to her words, but her voice as well always had a way of calming his nerves and bringing him back down to earth. He sighed as she kissed his cheek and he leaned into it slightly. He was deep in thought as she spoke her next words, looking rather moody at the horizon, brows furrowed.
There was a short silence after she had finished and eventually he finally turned to look at her. "One year." He looked determined. "One more year. If we can't convince her by then... then we get married." His face softened and he leaned in to press his lips to hers. He let them linger there for a short while.
He knew that they would have some explaining to do just to have his mother at their wedding. Explaining it to Stoick wouldn't be difficult because he already knew about the dragons... but to rest of Berk... To Astrid's parents... He was still at a loss for how to make it all work. But he knew he would rather face those troubles when they came rather than miss his mother during one of the most important moments of his life... [i again]. He was done missing her.
When it was agreed that in one year they would be married with or without his mother there, they continued to sit there for a while longer, just enjoying each others presence.
She might have known that he would have reacted in the way he did but she wanted him to know that he had a way out of his predicament if he wanted it but she hoped...she [i knew] that he wanted to marry her. Astrid laughed quietly as he spoke and nodded before allowing her forehead to rest against his comfortably. “I love you Hiccup.” She allowed a silence to fall between them while she thought before she started to speak again, pulling back slightly so she could see him.
“I know that what happened with my mom has been a little scary for all of us and I guess that it has made us both think about what we are waiting for but...we really don’t have to make any decisions right now. All I know is that it wouldn’t be right for your mother not to be there. She has already missed out on so much and to exclude her from this because she’s simply too stubborn to admit that she had waited long enough to tell Stoick she is alive.”
Astrid kissed his cheek before she let go of his hand. “This is your call Hiccup. Whatever you decide I’m right by your side. You asked me to marry you and I want to do that but on [i our] terms. If a condition is that your mother is there too, we wait.”
Hiccup let out a soft, amused sigh. Sure, she could see through him. She knew that he wanted his mother there... but he hadn't exactly voiced it aloud before. He listened to her next words carefully, waiting to see if she might have any kind of advice. When she took his cheek in hand and made him look at her, he knew something was coming.
His brows creased and his eyes widened a bit at her suggestion. "No." He said this with conviction. With no hesitation. He looked down at the ring on her hand. Over the years he had given it a little more personality, adding runes here and there. "I asked you to marry me for a reason, Astrid. I... I want nothing more than to be your husband." He looked up and met her gaze. "I didn't ask to marry you to make our parents happy. It's just..." he sighed softly, unable to put his emotions into words.
Slowly, he leaned forward, resting his forehead to Astrid's. "I love you. And we're going to get married if it's the last thing I do," he joked softly. "I just... have to come to terms with the fact that... my mother might not be a part of it..."
The moment he started to talk she could hear the faltering in his voice like he was trying to hide something from her but he should know by know that he was unable to do that now. He was already beginning to give in to the fact that she would not accept that and he was slowly beginning to explain what was going through his mind. Occasionally he looked at her but he mostly kept his gaze out towards the distance. He was having some of the same thoughts and and feelings as she was but when he said that he hadn’t been honest with her she did start to worry slightly about what he might say.
She sighed when he finished processing what he said and let out a small chuckle. “Hiccup, you don’t think I already knew that was the reason we were putting this marriage off? I want all of our family at our wedding and I know that’s not possible at this moment in time. I...I know how important it is for us to have your mother there and I wouldn’t have it any other way and truth be told, I thought that we might have been able to break down her barriers by now.” Astrid took hold of Hiccup’s cheek and turned his head so that he had to look at her now. “Look, we don’t have to do anything. If you want us to forget about this whole marriage thing and just live our lives then that’s what we will do but I wouldn’t want to have our wedding ruined by the fact that we can’t have both of your parents there.”
She leaned in and kissed him gently. “Do you think...do you [i want] to call this off?”
Hiccup was so lost in thought that he didn't even hear Astrid approach until she was sitting down next to him. He gave her a small smile for a moment as she kissed his hand before turning his eyes back to the horizon.
"No, I-" Hiccup already knew that she would see through his attempt to ease her mind. "It's just..." His green eyes were bright in the sunlight and he turned his attention back to her, finding it hard to keep his gaze on hers for long. "I know this whole... getting married thing is supposed to be for us, but... it feels like it's also for them now. Our parents. And I- I don't mind that. I just..." He gave a soft sigh and looked at his hand twined with hers.
"I haven't been completely honest with you. At first... we delayed because it was the right thing to do. But it's been four years. Everything on the island just keeps getting better and... We know what we're doing now. The real reason we haven't... [i I] haven't..." He took a moment to breathe deeply before stating plainly. "There is nothing I want more than to have my mom there. I know it's impossible... but I keep hoping that... maybe she'll come back."
Hiccup had nothing more to add. He turned his attention back to the calm water on the horizon.
Hiccup’s affection for her mother was so clear from the way they embraced and the way he joked with her. She wondered whether their marriage was something he had been thinking about over the past couple of days since he had brought it up now but they hadn’t really talked about it themselves for quite some time. They had always said that they had all the time in the world to get married but the fact of the matter was they got engaged because they had been made so aware of how precious their time together was, it seemed silly that they kept putting it off now. That was when she knew that soon they would have to talk about it.
For several hours of that morning they spent time talking to her and making her feel just how much they had been worried about her until Gothi was throwing them out to allow her to get some rest. It was like that for he next couple of days although Hiccup didn’t spend as much time with them, claiming that they needed some time as a family but he still seemed to forget that he [i was] a part of their family and he was missed greatly by Gyda and Haldir. It appeared that Gyda was just as keen to get back to normal as Astrid had been all those years ago and she was pottering around the house completing small chores but there were many occasions where they would take it in turns to escort her back to bed. On this occasion it was Astrid’s turn and when she made sure that she got her rest she decided to go and find Hiccup, knowing exactly where he would be.
When she made her way to their spot she found him sat there with a pensive look upon his face. “I thought I might find you here.” She said softly and lowered herself next him, taking his hand and pressing her lips against the back of it. “You look like you are deep in thought. Anything you want to talk about?” Over the last couple of days, the vacant look had disappeared from her eyes and the Astrid that Hiccup had known returned.
"Yeah, you're definitely not allowed to do that again," Hiccup joked with the woman who gave a soft laugh. He shrugged and added, "I don't make the rules. But..." He took Gyda's hand in his own for a second. "You have to stick around for the wedding at least."
Gyda squeezed his hand lightly. "I wouldn't miss it for the world."
They sat for a while and spoke to Gyda about anything that came to mind, just to hear her speak once more. She wanted to know what it was that Gothi had given her, but they both feigned ignorance on the subject, claiming that it must have been one of her last resort concoctions.
When it finally came time for Gothi to start kicking them out to let Gyda get more rest, they fully believed that she would be getting better. But Hiccup wasn't about to run back to the island so soon. He wanted Astrid to spend some time with the mother she almost lost...
About three days later, Gyda was up and slowly moving about the house with some help. Gothi wouldn't let her go unaided or let her labor for too long over food and the like, but the woman was obviously feeling much better. Hiccup gave the family just a little bit of space on these days. He knew they saw him as one of them, but he also knew that they deserved their time with each other. He would often visit with his father or find himself in Astrid's spot on top of the hill. It was really [i their] spot now.
Gyda's illness had given Hiccup much to think about... And they were all things that he would have to talk to Astrid about. If death could really be right around the corner for any of them... if they wanted their families at the wedding, then why were they waiting to get married?
And Hiccup knew the answer. He had known the answer for years now, he'd just been too stubborn to say anything. What was the point of getting married if his own mother couldn't be there? If the mother he thought was dead for half his life, who turned up alive, couldn't see him through the milestones he had left to live?
Hiccup folded his arms on top of his bent knees, watching the sun set. He felt selfish for delaying things for so long.
All the while Astrid couldn’t stop her heart from beating that little bit faster. She knew that her mother was going to be alright now because Haldir had said so but she wouldn’t quite believe it until she saw her with her own eyes. Astrid looked over towards Hiccup and squeezed his hand affectionately before moving into the room where her mother was sat up in bed and reading something. It was the first time she had seen her awake like this and with enough energy to do something other than sleep.
“Mom!” She said happily as she made her way over to the bed and she let out a relieved sigh as she threw her arms around her. “You’re really going to be okay?” She asked near her ear as she held on to her tightly, nor wanting to let go every again.
“Apparently so, it’s going to take a few more days for me to feel like my old self again but I’m going to be alright Astrid.” Gyda tightened her grip of their embrace until Astrid pulled away and looked towards her with a smile.
“You really had us scared Mom.” She said seriously, stepping back so that Hiccup could now embrace the woman he had become so close to over the last few years. She smiled as she watched the two, wanting nothing more than for their affection to last forever. Soon enough, things would return to normal, that much she was satisfied with now.
Hiccup pulled on some jeans and an old shirt, not caring much about his appearance at the moment. After giving his teeth a good brush, he finally managed to join Astrid and her father in the living room, the air seemed to be light. He supposed that the news was good by the look on their faces and the way Astrid took his hand eagerly to lead him down the hallway and to her mother's room.
When they entered the room, Gyda was still laying in the bed. She had bags under her eyes, but compared to how she had looked a day ago she looked like youth had found her again.
Hiccup waited for Astrid to say her hellos first and the exchange was heartwarming. He had a small smile on his face the entire time. When their affections gave pause, Gyda reached her arms out towards Hiccup so that he could lean over and embrace her as well.
"There's the son I never had," she said fondly as he pulled away, making him smile a bit wider.
Astrid smiled and nodded as Hiccup indicated that he wouldn’t be far behind her if she went ahead. She knew he didn’t want to hold her back or stop her from finding out if her mother was okay and sooner. Although she had a better night sleep, that didn’t mean that she hadn’t stopped thinking about Gyda. Ever since she found out about her, whenever she did sleep, she dreamt of her.
Astrid moved out of her bedroom and into the living room where she was sure that she would find Haldir or Gothi at the very least unless they were both with Gyda. When she arrived in the living room she found her father sitting with a newspaper, reading comfortably and happily it seemed. He looked up from where he was reading and smiled towards her.
“Good morning sweetheart.” He said with a tone that suggested that everything seemed okay now. “Your mother has been asking for you and Hiccup.” He said with a smile and watched as her own smile began to form with the news. That was when she waited for Hiccup to join them but the second he did, she took hold of his hand and led him straight upstairs to Gyda’s room.
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