She could hear Hiccup explaining things to the gang and leaving the necessary people on charge. Normally they would all be there together but this situation had called for a change to that routine. They could hardly expect the whole gang to leave the island simply because Astrid and Hiccup needed to. After a while Hiccup came inside to help her back and then they made their way to the boat, still without saying too many words but making sure that she said goodbye to Stormfly and the gang, thanking them for understanding but she would hardly be herself until she knew that her mother was okay and at this moment in time, no one seemed to know if that would be the case.
They climbed onto the boat and Hiccup took control and getting the boat out, knowing that she would barely be able to think about anything else at this point. When they were set of course for Berk Hiccup sat with her, not saying much because the two of them knew that this was not a situation where words could help. She simply stared off into the distance waiting for Berk to come into view and after several hours, it did.
Hiccup pulled the boat into the harbour and get did not hesitate to load off their things and make their way towards her parent’s home. When they got there Haldir was already waiting for them as though he knew they would be there the moment Stoick told them about Gyda. Astrid dropped her bag as she walked towards him and threw her arms around him.
“I’m so sorry Dad. I should have been here.”
Hiccup nodded at her words, knowing what she was going to say before she said them. She turned back towards camp and Hiccup watched her go before turning back to his father.
"Dad... We have to go get some things... You could come, but..."
"No, no. I'll... wait to meet the-uh..."
"Yeah... them... I'll meet them under better circumstances. I'll see you on Berk."
Hiccup nodded before turning and jogging to catch up with Astrid. When he did, she was being bombarded with questions from the gang who were able to tell that something was clearly wrong. He watched her retreat inside to gather some clothes and he informed them all that Astrif's mother was ill.
Hiccup had never left the island in the care of the others before. He or Astrid had always been there to watch over things. But there was no way that he was going to let her go through this alone... especially if something were to happen to her mother.
"I'm leaving, too. Fishlegs... Snotlout. Watch the twins while we're away, will you?"
The two of them stood to attention as if he were some kind of officer issuing orders. The twins usually found humor in those words, but they were too concerned with what was going on to give it much of a laugh.
Hiccup headed inside after Astrid to gather his own things. They packed hastily. Toothless and Stormfly watched with sad eyes the whole time, understanding why they had to leave.
"We'll be back," Hiccup told them, rubbing Toothless's head before heading back to the boats with Astrid. When they got to the docks, Stoick had already left. Hiccup assumed as much. They loaded everything they needed into their own boat and Hiccup drove them out of the cove and out into sea, pointing them towards Berk.
At first Stoick seemed to be unable to find any words that would answer her question and that only worried her further. Her mind was racing with possibilities and she couldn’t help but think the worst. She glanced towards Hiccup who repeated her question before turning her attention back to Stoick who still gripped her hand gently. It was a gesture that she was used to but it didn’t seem to come from the usual affection. It felt more like it came from pity.
Astrid listened carefully to every word, perhaps more carefully than she had ever listened to anything else and she had made her mind up about what to do before Hiccup asked. There was no way that she was going to be able to stay here on the island knowing that her mother was sick...that her mother might not make it through whatever it was that she was battling.
Astrid was still staring blankly towards Stoick, unsure of what to say but when Hiccup took her hand it snapped her out of it slightly. “I can’t stay here...if something were to happen to her...” her voice broke slightly and she cleared her throat so she could continue to talk. “I would never be able to forgive myself.”
As soon as she finished talking she let go of Hiccup’s hand and started making her way back to their home so that she could gather the few things that she would need, mostly in the form of clothes because they barely had any left on Berk. The gang were concerned about the fact that Astrid ignored their questions on her way into their home but she was sure that Hiccup would fill them in while she packed for the two of them. For now she just wanted to get back to her mom.
Hiccup watched his father get off the boat, reaching out for Astrid. It wasn't strange for him to do this. Ever since they had been engaged, Astrid had become the daughter he never had. But in this situation... something felt cold. And it wasn't just because Hiccup was having a hard time believing his father had made it all the way to the island on his own, no less stepped foot on it.
The next words out of his mouth just proved how much he loved Astrid. He came all this way to tell her about her mother. He fought the fears he had about the ocean in this direction and the dragons... just for her. If that didn't say that Stoick loved Astrid... nothing did.
"Dad... what do you mean?" he repeated Astrid's question when his father had trouble coming up with a response.
"Gothi... She doesn't know what it is exactly. Some kind of flu or..." The older man shrugged his massive shoulders. "She told us that... we should let you know because... if things don't look up soon..."
Hiccup's heart hurt. He was almost angry at the situation. They had been home just a couple weeks ago and Gyda had been perfectly fine.
"Astrid...?" Hiccup reached out to take her hand. "We can do whatever you want. You want to grab some things and go, then let's do it..."
Astrid agreed that it was not a good idea to take any dragons with them. It was always a bit much for someone when they we’re seeing dragons for the first time. When Snotlout had seen a dragon he had accidentally shot Hiccup and she was sure that if Stoick [i did] have a gun, he wouldn’t miss like Snotlout had all those years ago. She ran a hand over his chin without really thinking about it and her thumb found the scar that was now covered with a bit of stubble. She smiled before removing her hand and the two began to make their way towards their docks to greet his father.
When they arrived, Stoick positioned the boat next to theirs and climbed off it onto the island and greeted the two of them but Astrid could tell that something was up. Hiccup had been right, he clearly hadn’t decided to come to the island simply because he finally gave in and decided that he wanted to see the island the two had made a home.
Stoick took Astrid’s hands and her heart started to quicken as she read the look on his face. “What is it?” She asked, sure that the urgency in her voice was clear to him.
“I’m sorry...I didn’t want to come here like this.” He spoke towards her and glanced towards Hiccup as if to let him know that Astrid was about to need his support. “Astrid, your mother is very sick.”
“What do you mean sick?”
Hiccup nodded as he listened to Astrid's reply, squeezing her hand when she took his own. "Maybe we shouldn't take any dragons to greet him," he suggested. "I'm afraid he's hiding a shotgun on that boat or something." It was mostly a joke, but there was always a part of him that worried his father feared the animals ever since Astrid's injury and he saw Toothless for the first time.
Together they headed through the trusty old tunnel to the cove where they parked their boats. They had actually built docks for the boats over the years so that it was no longer so difficult to get in and out. A wooden walkway stretched past them and out through the hanging vines that still covered up the entrance. Once outside, they saw Stoick was getting rather close. Hiccup started waving his hand, hoping he might see him and know where to park.
When his father took notice, he turned the boat's direction and headed straight for them. He seemed to be going a bit fast for Hiccup's liking, but he managed to rein it in before hitting the docks.
"Dad! Wh- what are you [i doing] here?" Hiccup was already demanding as his father pulled the boat into place.
The moment Hiccup dropped something on his foot Astrid turned towards him, almost a little helpless because she couldn’t help but also finding humour in the situation. Snotlout has shouting something for the distance and she found herself laughing but did so behind her hand so she wasn’t simply laughing in his face although doing so would hardly anger him. She knew what had caused him to lose his focus for a second and there had been a few times that she had been caught off guard in a similar way when her parents brought up children.
Being engaged to Hiccup meant that the two of them had talked about their future and while they ocsssionally mentioned children, they always seemed to be in the distant future. Astrid had always joked about the fact that they would probably be the oldest parents on Berk because most people didn’t wait as long as they did to get married and when they did they often settled down with children quickly. Most people didn’t have an island full of dragons to contend with.
Astrid smiled towards Valka knowing that she meant well and when her lips parted to speak, Hiccup was already doing so, confirming that they had thebisland to think about. Whatvhe hadn’t told her was that part of the reason they hadn’t yet decided on a date to get married was because they had to keep Valka’a existence a secret and they had both agreed, a long time ago, that they would wait for her to be ready for Stoick to know that she was alive.
Fishlegs came running towards them a few moments later, concerned about the fact that a boat was heading straight for the island and almost instantly Hiccup took to the sky to see what was happening and upon his return to the ground he confirmed that there was a boat heading for them and that boat belonged to his father. Astrid’s eyes widened with surprise, wondering what he could possibly want to make him come out this far. He had always turned them down before now and it didn’t seem to make sense.
Of course, Valka decided to leave at that point even though Hiccup tried to get her to stay. One thing Astrid could never get her head around was her desire to keep herself a secret. If anything had ever seperated her from Hiccup she would [i want] him to know that she was still alive. When they were alone again Astrid turned to Hiccup and took his hand. “I don’t know babe, but we should go and greet him st the shores so he doesn’t get himself lost. We will find out soon enough what has encouraged him to come here.”
Hiccup began to help unload some of the supplies as well, taking a heavy box of gardening tools from a basket on Cloudjumper's side. He patted the dragon affectionately before pulling the box out with both hands.
Valka chuckled at Astrid's reply and Hiccup smirked as well- Until she brought up kids. The box slipped from his hands and landed on the top of his foot. If he had been wearing his armor he might have been fine, but...
Hiccup cursed loudly. "[i Always] the good foot! Why can it never land on the [i metal] one!?" He bounced around a bit, grimacing and muttering under his breath in pain. Snotlout was on the other side of camp laughing.
"Two metal legs are better than one!" he shouted over at Hiccup who just scowled in his direction as he breathed out a deep sigh.
It wasn't that Hiccup and Astrid hadn't talked about kids. It wasn't that Valka wanted grandchildren. It was just that Hiccup never knew what to do when they were brought up so casually. He had never seen himself in his future being a father and he was still working through some of these feelings. He and Astrid communicated well enough, and of course they both wanted a future with children, but... it was the actually [i having] them part that scared Hiccup half to death.
He leaned down to pick up the fallen crate and moved it to the right location, limping just a little on his good food. It would heal before the day was through.
Valka had already dismissed this reaction and was talking once more to Astrid. "It's just been so long since you got engaged. That's all!" She said this with overenthusiastic innocence. "But I also wouldn't mind having a grandchild to love and hold," she added with a laugh.
"Well, right now we're just trying to focus on the island," Hiccup told her for the millionth time, rejoining the small group.
Heavy footfalls sounded from the woods and everyone turned to see who it was. Fishlegs came crashing through the underbrush with Meatlug, a similar looking dragon, and an armful of baby gronckles. Usually he would be happy about this occasion, but he looked scared.
"Hiccup!" He said, breathless. "Hiccup! I- Saw-" He had to breathe in deep between every word and Hiccup jogged close, resting his hand on his back.
"Just breathe, Fishlegs. What is it? What did you see?"
"I saw you mom... fly in... and then... after they hatched..." he held up his arms full of the little bug-eyed dragons, "On the rocky side of the beach... I saw... A BOAT. A [i boat] Hiccup!"
Hiccup eye's widened. "Whose boat?"
"I don't know! I couldn't see! It was too far away but it looks like it's coming right for us!"
Hiccup looked around a moment, thinking, before whistling for Toothless who came skidding in a second later. Together they took to the sky and he pulled out his homemade spyglass. Sure enough, a black boat was headed their way. Hiccup looked through the lens and his suspicions were correct. "It looks like we finally broke Dad down," he shouted down to Astrid before he and Toothless landed. "I don't know what made him do it after all these years, but he's headed straight here." Hiccup looked at his mother. Her face was very different now. "You could stay..." he told her.
She shook her head, climbing back onto Cloudjumper. "He can't know anything. I must head back."
And just like that Hiccup was watching his mom fly away once more. He turned to Astrid. "What do you think he wants? Surely he can't be curious enough now? After all the times we tried to get him to come... Something has to be up, right?"
She would never fully understand how he didn’t see the same person everyone else seemed to see when they looked at him. His features and become more prominent and it only furthered his appeal. To her, Hiccup had always been attractive but she didn’t seem to mind that over the last four years, he had really grown into himself.
Astrid laughed as he flicked water forwards her and when he closed the distance she smiled and rested her hands on his arms affectionately. She smiled and moved closer to him ready to kiss him before answering his question about Fishlegs but she barely had the time before his mother arrived. The shadow was recognisable anywhere now and she looked up with Hiccup and followed the shadow to the ground.
Over the years, Astrid had managed to overcome the initial anger towards Valka and the two had become pretty close. In fact, Astrid would even go as far as to say that she saw Valka as a close friend of hers now and she knew that Valka felt the same way about her. It made everything so much easier with Hiccup rebuilding his relationship with him when she let go of the resentment. She accepted that she could not control the past and that they needed to focus more on building a future together and that is exactly what they did. Even though they now considered each other friends, there were still times where she came across as the pushy mother-in-law wanting them to marry and have children as soon as possible. So it was no surprise that she would bring up the fact the two had not yet married in the four years since his proposal.
Astrid laughed and took a step towards Valka and took some of the supplies she gave to them and put them down on the grass before looking over towards Hiccup who was rolling his eyes in her direction. After a minute, Astrid placed her arms around her and kissed her on the cheek. “We are fine. We have told you before Valka, we are in no rush to tie the knot as you say. We have too much to do here on the island. Besides, what’s your rush? You realise that getting married quicker wouldn’t mean that you get grandchildren any sooner? We are [i not] ready to have a child running around out here.”
Hiccup looked up, startled by Astrid's laugh. His brows knitted in confusion. This wasn't the first time she'd said something like this to him and yet he still didn't understand. When he looked in the mirror, all he still saw was the awkward, gangly kid he'd always been staring back at him.
"Wh-what are you talking about?" he asked with an awkward chuckle before flicking some of the water left on his hands at her, making her laugh, before closing the distance. "Any word from Fishlegs?" he asked her, wiping the water from his face.
Fishlegs had set off early that morning to watch some gronckle eggs hatch.
"I'm afraid he's going to kidnap all the babies and bring them all back here," he added with a laugh.
Before she had time to answer, the sun was blocked out by a large shadow. Hiccup looked up to see the silhouette of Cloudjumper who lowered himself to the ground beside them, his mother standing on his back.
Toothless, who had been laying under the shade of a tree, suddenly bounced up happily, moving in circles around his friend. Cloudjumper's head moved in a complete circle, following him like an owl with large eyes.
"What on earth have you been doing?" Valka asked her son as soon as she saw him. "It's just gardening, how did you get so covered in dirt?"
Hiccup shrugged. "Toothless wanted to wrestle before I started," he informed her with a smile, looking down at his dirty clothes. Valka licked her thumb before reaching out to wipe away a spot of dirt on his cheek. "M-mom!"
Hiccup might have sounded like he was complaining, but the truth is that he treasured every little moment like this. Every tiny thing she did like this... he wanted to remember. He had spent so long thinking he would never feel her touch again. Even now, years later, he still couldn't get over the fact that she was alive and in his life.
When she finally pulled her hand away, she looked at them happily. "And how is the happy couple?" she asked before turning to Cloudjumper to take a few things out of the saddlebags. She used to have to bring them a lot of supplies, but now it was only odds and ends to help with their self-sufficiency. "That knot won't tie itself, you know!"
Hiccup crossed his arms and rolled his eyes in Astrid's direction. Valka had been relentless these past few weeks in particular for whatever reason she may have.
Astrid could hardly believe that four years had passed since the day that Hiccup had asked her to marry him. So much had changed since that day, including their residence. They had practically permanently moved to the island and over the years, Valka had helped them make the island more self-sufficient so that their visits to Berk were fewer. Stoick never seemed to take them up on the offer to come to the island and their parents were more than satisfied with the fact that they had made a home together even if that was somewhere far away from Berk. What mattered is that they were both happier than they ever had been.
It did not matter to Astrid that they had not yet made their engagement more permanent in the form of a marriage. Even though Gyda had tried to encourage their marriage along almost every time they went home, they still remained content with their current arrangement.
That morning, Astrid spent her time making breakfast as she usually did while Hiccup worked in the garden. She was still amazed that all of this was theirs. They had built their home up over the years and it was the only place that ever truly felt like home and building this up with Hiccup was something that she would treasure for the rest of time and she knew that they still had a lot more to experience.
Astrid looked out of the window, taking a sip of her cup of coffee as observed Hiccup working in the garden. A small smile appeared upon her lips as she placed the coffee back on the table. Every single time she looked at him she couldn’t help but think just how lucky she was. He had changed a lot and most of Berk seemed to notice it when they went back. Where people might have continued to walk passed him in the street, girls were now stopping and staring at him and whispering about him. Hiccup did not seem to notice but even if he did he probably wouldn’t draw attention to it, mostly because he didn’t care for the attention of anyone else.
Astrid has changed herself. She had allowed her hair to grow a little longer and she had toned up slightly, mostly because there was quite a physical aspect to living on this island.
She continued to look out of the window and decided that she would join Hiccup and perhaps even help him. As she made her way to the garden she caught sight of him pouring the rest of his water over his head. A laugh escaped her lips and she stood a few meters away from him with her hands on her hips.
“You know, you don’t have to act like a model just because all the girls think you look like one now.” She said with a stern look upon her face until she could no longer hold it and she started to laugh.
Astrid was already the best person to lift his spirits, but on his worst days, the gang was there for him in others ways. He never would have thought that he would consider himself friends with some of them, but in the end, they had his back as much as he had theirs.
Hiccup didn't have much choice in telling them about Valka. They had also known about his strange sightings. And in the future he would be going to see her on a regular basis and he already knew they would follow him if he didn't tell them where he was going.
Their reaction to their engagement was just as he suspected. The twins wanted to throw a party. Fishlegs squealed with happiness that Hiccup had asked her so soon. And even Snotlout had gotten over his crush enough to give him a congratulatory pat on the back.
A little over a week later and they were all heading back to the island together. It felt nice to have them all on the same page again. Hiccup felt like he was always explaining something to someone and he was glad for a rest from that.
When they got to the island, Hiccup stayed a night, but set out to see his mother the next day. In a couple days, he brought her back to meet everyone, though she was accompanied by a couple other Protectors for safety. He showed her around their camp and let her meet all their dragons. The gang couldn't believe she was still alive, even thought Hiccup had been talking about her for a week.
Their trips to the island stretched on and Berk became a necessity. A place to get supplies and research methods of self-sufficiency and to see their parents for a short while before they were back again. Before they knew it, months passed by. They had built themselves a garden. They had a chicken coop. Valka was helping them create their own small world like on her own island and Hiccup was ecstatic. Before long, they were spending solid months away from Berk.
Their houses on Berk had become their vacation homes just to see their parents for a week. Their home was on their island now. They had moved almost all their clothes there over the months. All their necessities. They were completely able to care for themselves. Hiccup had added more inventions in camp, allowing them a more comfortable lifestyle. Bathrooms and another shower for the others.
Months blurred into a year. Two years. Three. Four. Hiccup was beginning to lose track of how long it had been since they had discovered the island and the dragons. All he knew is that he was the happiest he had ever been in his entire life...
Toothless remained beside him throughout the years. Thought Hiccup's gadgets and armor and leg changed, their friendship remained the same. They spent most of their free time in the air. And when they were busy, they were helping the others with the island.
Hiccup couldn't see it himself, but there was talk in the bunk house at night about how much Hiccup had become like his father. Helping out in their tiny village as they called it. He was practically the mayor of their island. Everyone came to him with their problems and he always had a solution. Hiccup didn't even realize how well he fit in those shoes...
Valka had become a major part of Hiccup's life again, but keeping her existence from his father was one of the hardest things he had to do. It was the only thing about his life now that he found troubling...
Everything else? Everything else was perfect...
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/ULb611r.jpg]] Hiccup wiped the sweat from his forehead with his sleeve as he closed the gate to the garden. His hands were covered with dirt and he brushed them off on his new jeans. He'd hit another growth spurt a couple months ago and he was hoping this would be his last. He couldn't keep buying new clothes like this... He'd always been a late bloomer, but this was getting a little crazy.
Not only that, but his jaw had become sharper over the years. His brows thicker. The almost invisible layer of peach fuzz on his chin was starting to actually turn into something and he was far too busy to shave it. Besides... Astrid seemed to like it...
He looked back at his work, never thinking he would be much for gardening. Yet, here he was. He leaned the spade against the fence before making his way back up towards the cabin. It looked much more like a home now. There were lawn chairs outside. He had made the windows bigger, letting in more light and added a sun roof window to the ceiling that they could prop open on nice days to allow the dragons an easier way in and out. A huge glass of water was left for him on the table out front near the dead camp fire. It was no longer a pile of sticks, but an improved and fortified area to cook outdoors as well.
Hiccup drank several large gulps from the glass of water before pouring the rest over his head. The summer sun beat down on him and he sighed softly.
The two of them climbed the hill together and ocassionally Hiccup would check that she was okay. When they reached the top the two of them sat together happily looking out over Berk. She turned to him and took hold of the hand that was picking at the grass.
“It was not in your head Hiccup. Your mother is very much alive and it won’t be long until you see her again.”
Over the next couple of days the two of them told the gang about their engagement. Apparently Fishlegs already knew that Hiccup was planning to ask her to marry him but he didn’t know that it would be happening so soon. They could hardly believe that Valka was still alive but they both made them all promise to keep the secret to themselves. A few months ago they would never have expected that they could have kept a secret such as this but they have already proven themselves time and time again.
Soon enough they were travelling back to their island and Hiccup had all the evidence he needed to prove that Valka was still alive.
By the time dinner was over, they were being shooed out of the house once more as if her parents decided that they needed some alone time now that they were engaged. They were right, of course. Spring was here and the weather was getting warmer every day. Hiccup took Astrid's hand and smiled to himself.
"I told you there was nothing to worry about," he told her softly as they headed up towards their favorite spot on Berk. He leaned in to her lips on his cheek as they made the climb and they sat together once they finally reached the top of the hill.
"I guess we're going to have to tell the gang, too," he thought aloud. "Not just about us, but that they should be free to come back to the island now. And about the Protectors and... my mother." Hiccup looked at the grass thoughtfully, pulling at it with one of his hands. "We can find them tomorrow. Stick around on Berk for a while... And then head back as soon as we think we can... I- I'm afraid that we'll go back and find out that my mother was never even alive. That it was all in my head," he said and laughed sadly.
Dinner was pretty much the same as every other time they ate as a family. They talked about whatever came to mind and they enjoyed everything as they normally did. It started to feel like they had accepted the fact that Astrid was no longer an injured patient they needed to take care of and that made her feel so much better about everything. She was no longer feeling as useless as she had for last few weeks.
By the time they were finished her parents suggested that the two should go enjoy the rest of the day while the sun was shining. Astrid agreed that it was a good idea and took hold of Hiccup’s hand and the two left together. As the two walked down the street, heading for their spot on top of the hill she could barely stop smiling.
“I did not think that it was possible to be this happy.” She said and turned towards Hiccup with a smile and leaned in and kissed his cheek.
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