Hiccup once more rubbed the back of his neck at the compliment and smiled when the embracing started all over again. The affection her father showed for Astrid was heartwarming and when Haldir turned back towards Hiccup he felt a little bit of that love as well.
Hiccup swallowed hard and his eyes moved bashfully away from her father's. He wasn't sure how worthy he was of the words, but that didn't make him any less glad to hear them.
Hiccup glanced towards Astrid and smiled at the water surfacing in her eyes. Hiccup, too, sniffed and nodded when Gyda suggested food. She came close and wrapped her arm around him before leading him to the kitchen, Astrid and Haldir in tow.
As she promised, dinner was almost ready and since Gyda always cooked way too much, there was enough for all four of them. They surrounded the table and took their places before digging in. Hiccup hadn't realized just how hungry he was until that moment.
She was sure that her mother was expecting them to get married almost instantly but she seemed satisfied with the wait if that it what they both wanted. Gyda was so excited to see the ring and Astrid held her hand out to show her parents and Hiccup seemed to interrupt to justify when the ring looked unfinished but to her and her parents it was perfect as it was.
“You made this yourself?” Haldir asked looking at the workmanship of the ring. “It’s a very good ring.” He said with a smile and then moved to pull Astrid into a hug. He almost had a tear in his eye and she kissed his cheek. “I’m so incredibly proud of you.” He whispered and took her cheeks into his hand and pressed a kiss onto her forehead before turning to Hiccup.
“And you...I always wanted a son. I could not have asked for a more worthy son-in-law.”
Astrid looked towards Hiccup and found her own tears beginning to form. “Now, no more of this emotional stuff. We have food in the kitchen and I bet you are both hungry.” Gyda interrupted before throwing her arm around Hiccup’s shoulder and leading him into the kitchen.
Hiccup followed Astrid inside and watched the reunion between her and her mother. When she asked her to go grab her father and they were left alone, Hiccup chuckled. "She's probably thinking that we're running away for good," he joked, knowing that whatever it was she was thinking she was going to enjoy the news much more.
When Gyda returned, she had her husband in tow. He was looking a little worried, but his expression melted the moment he saw Astrid and he brought her in for a hug. When they finally pulled away, Astrid reached out for support from Hiccup and he gave her his hand. Hiccup almost laughed at her parents faces, realizing that this almost sounded like they were going to tell them that Astrid was pregnant or something. But when the truth finally came out, both of their faces split into grins.
Gyda instantly went to hug her daughter once more while Haldir reached out and aggressively shook Hiccup's hand. Hiccup was blushing now and he bit his lip. He managed a chuckle when Astrid told them they would have to wait a few years. They seemed approving and yet almost disappointed that it wasn't happening tomorrow.
"Is there a ring?" Her mother asked eagerly?
When Astrid went to show it, Hiccup launched into his almost memorized speech by now. "It-it's not finished. I want to add some runes and... and a sapphire or something."
As the two walked Hiccup tried to console her, clearly feeling the anxiety coming from her. Of course he was right with what he was saying and deep down she knew that her parents would be supportive of their engagement. She smiled towards him as they approached her home. “I know you’re right. It just doesn’t seem to make things any easier.”
She stopped just outside of her house and took a final deep breath before she push the door open.
“Astrid? Is that you?” She heard her mother’s voice coming from the kitchen before she saw her rushing around the corner. The moment they laid eyes on each other her mother seemed to show relief and came towards her with her arms open. “Oh Astrid what on Earth were you thinking going back to that island so soon? You’re barely healed and you go running off without so much of a word.” Her tone was somewhere between happy and angry.
“I’m sorry Mom but I’m okay. I just...I just needed to get away for a day or two. To prove that I was ready and I am Mom, I’m fine!” She squeezed her back tightly. “Mom is Dad here?” She asked as she pulled back from her.
“He’s outside. I thought you said you were fine...you don’t look fine. What is it?” She asked trying to search her face for something.
“Just go and get Dad.” Astrid laughed with a smile. She seemed to hurry off quickly because she felt like there was something urgent in the way Astrid spoke. When she was alone with Hiccup again she looked back at him. “I think I made this sound a lot more serious that it is didn’t I? I have no idea what she must be thinking.”
Soon enough she returned with her father and he pulled her into his own embrace and expressed his happiness for the fact that she was okay. “Mom, Dad I...” She turned back and reached out for Hiccup and when he took her hand and joined her she looked back to her parents. “[i We] have something we need to tell you.” She closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath and then looked back towards her parents who were looking at them both expectantly. “Hiccup asked me...he asked me to marry him.”
Here was silence for a moment as her parents exchanged and look and when they turned back towards them both they were smiling and her mother took her in her arms and her father moved towards Hiccup to shake his hand. “We are so happy to hear this news. We knew that you two were just perfect for each other. Have you already discussed when you will be wed?”
Astrid laughed and shook her head. “No Mom, we are not rushing. You might have to wait a few years.”
They were out the door in mere seconds and Hiccup laughed at Astrid's observation. "I told you he'd be ecstatic." Hiccup took her hand in his as they walked away from his house. "And it helps that his mood is improved even more now. He's always loved you."
They headed down the kill together and into town, making their way across the old gravel roads. As they walked, Hiccup could practically feel Astrid growing tenser by the step. He squeezed her hand.
"Hey... Everything is going to be fine. I mean..." His hand found the ring on the cord about his neck. "They wouldn't have wanted you to give this to me if they didn't expect this sooner or later. And-and besides. If they didn't want this, they shouldn't have made jokes about it," he added with a small chuckle, just as her house came into view.
Astrid didn’t mind that Stoick’s embrace was a little suffocating, mostly because it meant that he was happy and that relieved some of the fear she was feeling about the whole situation but that didn’t make it any easier for her to pluck up the courage to tell her parents. She would tackle those feelings when they went to tell them.
Stoick pulled away finally but still kept an arm around her shoulder and pulled Hiccup closer with his other arm and she couldn’t help but laugh and exchange a look with Hiccup. It seemed that they were both glad that Stoick seemed to understand why they were waiting and an engagement didn’t really [i have] to be more than that in the first instance. They had the rest of their lives together and there really was no rush to get married. Just knowing that one day they would, was enough for now.
When Stoick turned towards her to ask if her parents knew she shook her head and Hiccup addressed him. She knew that Stoick would have loved to have been a part of the proposal but he didn’t know that Hiccup hadn’t actually planned on proposing at all just yet. It wasn’t exactly something that either of them anticipated.
He started to gesture towards the door and the two moved towards it as he encouraged them to go and tell her parents straight away. Astrid felt the nerves coming over her again now but she hoped that her parents would be just as happy as Stoick was. By the time the two were outside and walking towards her own house she looked over at Hiccup with a smile and took his hand. “Well that couldn’t have gone much better.”
Hiccup finally let out a relieved laugh when his father embraced her and told them he knew this was bound to happen. He was glad Astrid reiterated that it wasn't going to be happening any time soon, but that didn't seem to make Stoick's happiness ebb any.
The man nodded his bushy head of hair though and pulled away from Astrid to clap Hiccup on the back. He kept his other arm around her. "That's smart. Plenty to do in the meantime." His eyebrows rose as if he just thought of something and turned once more to Astrid.
"Have you told your folks, yet? When did this happen?"
Hiccup chuckled. "Don't worry, Dad. We haven't been keeping it from you or anything. It happened just yesterday... And we came straight here so we haven't had a chance..."
Stoick laughed heartily. "Well, let me know what they say when you do. I wish I could be there to see it, but I know you kids don't want me crowding around." Hiccup gave a nervous laugh and nodded before his father started shooing them out the door. "You better go tell them before I decide to call them up and tell them myself!"
Upon seeing Stoick she found that the pit in her stomach was beginning to deepen and she couldn’t recall another time when she felt like this. She just wanted Stoick to approve of the promise they had made to each other but he could so easily disapprove and think that they were far too young or that they hadn’t been together long enough for the two of them to make that sort of commitment to each other.
Astrid looked towards Hiccup as Stoick pointed out how scared her looked and she was sure that she mirrored that fear herself. When Hiccup finally managed to let him know bat they had some news, Stoick’s demeanor changed and they had his complete attention because he could detect that whatever they had to report was serious.
It appeared that it was much harder for Hiccup to tell him than either of them first anticipated and he had to allow the ring to talk for itself as he took hold of her hand and held it out towards him. It took him a minute to figure out exactly what Hiccup was trying to say by there was no denying that Stoick was happy about the news. The look on his face was priceless and he was pulling Astrid in for a hug.
She laughed as he squeezed her tightly and he looked down at her with a huge smile. “I knew that you would become my daughter-in-law one day.” Astrid smiled up towards him and nodded.
“You might have to wait a while for that to happen though. We may be engaged but we don’t plan on getting married any time soon. We done need to rush things.”
Hiccup and Astrid finally headed back downstairs to break the news to Stoick. He looked as content as any father could be in his shoes, perhaps even more so. He had turned the television on while they had been upstairs and Hiccup wasn't quite sure how to broach the subject while he was distracted.
"H-hey, uh... Dad?"
Stoick looked up and Hiccup was thankful that he managed to get the feeling that they wanted to talk about something because he moved to turn off the tv then.
"What? Why do you look so scared? You gonna tell me unicorns exist now, too?" he asked, trying a little too hard to joke. Hiccup laughed at it like any good son should before shaking his head awkwardly.
"No, um... Actually we have some news..." Stoick stood up, feeling that this was getting more and more important by the second. "I- Um... Well, [i we]..." He gestured between himself and Astrid. "Don't... freak out or anything because it's not going to happen any time soon, but..."
Hiccup just couldn't seem to the get the words out so he reached for Astrid's hand and held it out for Stoick to see the ring. At first the news went right over his head. At first, all he saw was a ring. And then his eyes grew wide and a large smile came to his face and he clapped his gigantic hands together.
"Engaged!?" he practically shouted. "To be married!?"
Hiccup scratched the back of his neck, embarrassed, while Stoick brought Astrid in for hug.
Astrid would understand if he decided that he did in fact want to keep their news to themselves for a bit longer but it seemed that Hiccup found that it was a good idea to make sure that they [i did] tell him their news. Astrid knew it was going to be hard for the two of them to follow Valks’s request to keep the fact that she was alive a secret from Stoick.
Astrid nodddd as Hiccup suggested that they tell Stoick their news now and she moved around the bed back to his side before taking hold of his hand. “No matter how they react, we have each other.” She said, more for reassurance for herself than anything and when they worked up the courage to finally leave their room and find Stoick, she kept her hand in his.
They found him sat in the living room and he seemed to be peaceful, almost as though simply having his son back was enough for now. Astrid looked towards Hiccup and waited for him to take the lead, knowing she would have to do the same when they went to go and tell her parents.
Hiccup tossed his dirty clothes into his hamper as he thought about Astrid's next question. He shrugged.
"We can tell him. In fact it might even [i help] his mood," he said with a soft chuckle. "I just don't want you to think that I'm using the circumstances to evade his anger." He sighed softly, wishing they could tell him under better circumstances but also not wanting to hide the news for very long, either. He was hiding enough from his father as it was...
"Let's go tell him," he finally decided. "I mean... he's going to find out eventually anyway. We'll tell him and then we'll go tell your parents. I just hope they're not too upset that we ran off..."
Astrid played over and multitude of scenarios in her head as they walked towards him home but she just couldn’t figure out how exactly Stoick would react. He was likely to be angry and he had every right to be but he also needed to understand that they were no long children, not were they able to stay away from that island, no matter what he said.
As they approached his house she caught sight of Stoick sitting outside on a chair and almost instantly Hiccup lay go of her hand and apprehensively moved towards where he sat. Astrid remained close to him, fully prepared for him to shout and reprimand them both for running off in the way that they did but she was take aback by what [i actually] transpired. He was apologising and seemilngly given his permission for the two to keep going to the island.
While the two conversed, Astrid kept her right hand enclosed over her left to conceal the ring from sight and continued to so when he gestured for them both to enter the house. Astrid smiled warmly towards Stoick and thanked him for holding the door open for her. Once they were inside she glanced towards Hiccup, exchanging a look that would encourage him to invite his father to the island like she had suggested on the boat and before the two disappeared off into Hiccup’s room they managed to get him to at least think about it as an option.
When the two were among Hiccup expressed his surprise at his father’s reaction. “Does that mean...does that mean you want to wait to tell him about us?”
Astrid's hand in his own was all he needed to get him through the walk up to his house. The few people they passed waved at them, though a bit awkwardly, probably having heard that they had departed without the mayor's permission. Hiccup hoped that they wouldn't run into the rest of the gang on the way. He needed to deal with one thing at a time and he couldn't exactly handle four other people bouncing around him asking for answers. Fortunately, they must have all been at home because they didn't see any of them.
When they got to Hiccup's house up on the small hill, Hiccup's breath caught the moment he saw his father sitting in the old chair that had been sitting outside for years. He didn't seem surprised by their appearance.
Hiccup let go of Astrid's hand, but only because he felt the need to ready himself for anything. The last time he saw his father, he had shoved him in anger. His father had never laid a hand on him like that before...
Hiccup's hands balled into fists and he started to slowly step closer to the front porch. His father said nothing as he did so, making Hiccup think for just a moment that perhaps Stoick simply no longer cared what he did. Maybe he just didn't want to talk to him ever again. Maybe Hiccup had gotten his mother back, but lost his father in the process...
But just as he was stepping onto the porch, Stoick cleared his throat in that fatherly way of his that meant he had something to say. Hiccup slowly raised his eyes to meet his father's. He didn't say anything. He wouldn't be the first to break the silence.
Stoick eventually stood and took a step closer to Hiccup. At first he thought that he might push him again, but instead he found large arms wrapped around him tightly. Hiccup's eyes widened in shock.
"I'm sorry." Stoick's voice was rough and hoarse. He wasn't used to saying those words. Before Hiccup could get any words out, he was brought to arms length and his father looked down at him, hands on his shoulders. "I never should have treated you like that. I never should have shoved you. If your mother were alive she would have had my head the moment it happened."
Hiccup lowered his eyes, unable to look into his father's knowing what he knew now. "I-"
"You're my son. And... if that means you want to go make a home on an uncharted, dragon-infested island... then I guess that's what you'll do." Hiccup's eyes widened once more, and he returned his gaze to Stoick's. The man looked between his son and Astrid. "You're smart kids. Probably the smartest on the island. And if you know the risks... then I suppose there's nothing I can do but trust you."
"Dad..." Hiccup swallowed. "We're better off now. I-I've taken more notes. We'll research everything ten times over before we even [i think] about approaching it. I just- I can't- I can't stay away from that place. It's everything to me."
Stoick nodded and gestured for the two of them to head inside before him. Hiccup opened the door and led the way while Stoick held the door for Astrid. Once inside, Stoick spoke up again. "But don't mistake my permission for agreement. I'm still not happy about this."
"Dad..." Hiccup gave Astrid a glance. "If we could just... [i show] you. What we've seen and learned... these animals are friendly and gentle creatures. The only reason they would aim to hurt anyone is if they felt threatened. You should come with us... just once. You've already seen Toothless. I could introduce you."
Stoick looked skeptical. "I... I don't know..."
"Just... think about it?"
Stoick finally nodded, but Hiccup had a feeling it was just to get him to stop asking. Instead, he turned back to his son and sighed. Hiccup could tell he wanted to grill him. To yell at him for taking off. But he could also tell that Stoick feared that might just make matters worse and scare his son off again.
When Hicccup and Astrid took his things up to his room, he spoke softly so that his father couldn't hear below them. "That must have taken every ounce of will my dad had not to yell at me. I better not push it with anything else..."
Astrid smiled towards him as he took her hand and she felt herself relax just a little bit at the contact. They really knew how to ground each other when they were worried about anything and it was no different in this situation. “I don’t think we should wait. I don’t want to keep anything from them Hiccup. I know you don’t either. This island has been hard enough as it is.” She said with a smile. “You’re right, we are in this together and we will get through it together.”
The two parted again so Hiccup could steer the boat and when it came to a stop the two of them started to gather their things in silence. She half expected Stoick to be standing there waiting for them already but as she glanced around the docks were just as empty as they always were.
Astrid reached for his hand and getting two of them stepped back onto land together. “Whatever happens we are in this together. We face your father together no matter what the consequences are.” After that they made their way towards Hiccup’s house. She could feel the tension from him as they walked but she just squeezed his hand tighter to offer some comfort.
They passed the rest of the ride in silence, though it wasn't awkward or uncomfortable. Both just seemed to be with their own thoughts. When Berk finally came into view on the horizon, Astrid broke the silence and Hiccup looked over at her. He understood her concern and he shrugged in that nonchalant way he did even when things were stressful. It wasn't a lie that Hiccup fought stress with humor so it came to no surprise when he said, "At least we didn't come back already married," with a chuckle.
When she admitted how nervous she was he nodded and reached over to take her hand. "Me too. But we're in this together. That's what this means right?" He took her hand with the ring on it. "I'll always have your back, Astrid. Even if you wanted to wait to tell everyone. We could avoid it altogether for now." It was just a suggestion. He knew Astrid didn't often back away from anything, but he wanted her to know the option was there.
Berk was ebbing closer and closer and eventually it was time to steer the boat straight and into the harbor. Hiccup took on this role so that Astrid could try to relax but he was starting to feel the lump in his own throat grow at the thought of facing his father. After he parked he closed his eyes for a moment, gripping the wheel tightly in his hands trying to calm himself enough. He told himself that there was nothing that could happen that he hadn't faced before. They'd find a way back to the island if he still felt content banning them from it... what's the worst that could happen?
Finally he opened his eyes and sighed, standing from the seat and starting to gather his things.
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