She took another long minute looking around his shed, taking in all the unfinished projects that lay around. Astrid wondered if they would ever be finished now that they had discovered the island. Perhaps they both had something far more important to focus on now. Her plans had certainly changed or so it seemed. She allowed her fingers run along some of the tools that lay around on the side while she watched Hiccup move to a cupboard where he pulled out too duffel bags. The way he rubbed his hands together told them they were about to get to work and she smiled, moving to his side do that she could help him with whatever it was that he needed.
He spent some time instructing her on things to find around the shed now and for a while, they worked together pulling everything they needed into the bag. Soon enough he would be turning his prototype into something much more and he may even give Toothless back his ability to fly. As they picked up the last of the items she rubbed her hands on her jeans, wiping away the dust and grease that seemed to gather then and she stepped back to looking at the two full bags. As she did she brushed against Hiccup accidently and apologised before putting some space in between them.
“I guess we are finished here?”
Hiccup lowered his arms and looked around the room, almost bashfully. He grinned at her words. "You'd be surprised how true that is," he said, looking back at her. He loved how she didn't seemed turned off by the mess of the workshop. If his father saw, he'd tell Hiccup that a clear desk meant a clear mind, but that was so far from the truth. Hiccup could work on three different things at once without losing track of anything.
If anyone could understand, he was sure it was Astrid. Instantly, he was glad he had brought her here. Not only did he know it would be easier to grab supplies with her here, but he couldn't help but feel happy at letting her into a part of his life he usually kept people out of.
He moved to one corner of the room where an old locker stood against the wall. He opened it and pulled out two large duffel bags and set them on the floor before rubbing his hands together.
"Alright. So... I need most of my welding gear. And that entire bag of leather," he told her, pointing at the large sack of scraps under one of the desks. For the next several minutes, he gathered up things he would need, instructing Astrid on things she could help him find. If she didn't know what he needed, he'd explain it to her. He couldn't help but think that they made a great team...
At this point she was almost sure that she could care less about what other people said. So what if she held Hiccup’s hand in the presence of others? Let them think what they want. If she was honest with herself, there was a small part of her that wanted nothing more than to see that look upon Snotlout’s face again; the look of utter devastation when the ‘cool girl’ chose Hiccup over him. It was an easy decision to make really. In fact, she was sure that she would always choose Hiccup over another.
Astrid let out her laugh as soon as Hiccup did but made sure that she kept her hand in his so he knew that she hadn’t just acted that way to annoy Snotlout and his friends. They kept going until they arrived at their destination. She felt that same disappointment again when he let go of her hand but she knew that he would have needed to, to open the door to his shed. It was apparent that there was a very specific manoeuvre that need to be performed to open it and she couldn’t help but smile as he opened the door. She was confident that Hiccup very rarely let anyone into his space so she was glad that he was about to let her into a part of his world.
She coughed slightly as she entered, the dust finding its way to her chest but she soon forgot about that when he allowed the light to floor the room. For a moment, her eyes darted from object to object before settling on the sight of his prosthetic legs from the past, each one so obviously tinkered with. It was Hiccup all over.
As he entered he put on some dramatic welcome and she laughed at him and his cute name for the place. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” She said as she allowed her eyes to explore. “One man’s shed in another man’s palace. Hiccup this place is amazing.”
It seemed that Astrid was ready to surprise Hiccup at every turn and did not fail him here. He was busy trying not to chuckle at her response to Snotlout and when he felt her hand in his, he almost didn't notice. He didn't realize it was a feeling he'd become accustomed to.
Snotlout's jaw dropped. Surely, this was the last thing he had expected. When Astrid started to pull Hiccup away, he couldn't help but look back and give Snotlout a shrug.
The group obviously hadn't been prepared for what they had just witnessed, and as much as Hiccup knew that the rumors would spread like wildfire, he was strangely not worried about it. There were worse things that people could say about you. "Hiccup and Astrid might be dating," was far better than, "Hiccup ran away to find dragons again," afterall. He ignored the flush in his cheeks, knowing that's the assumption people would draw from this.
He let out a laugh as soon as they were out of earshot of Snotlout and just as they turned onto his street. He led her around his house to the large shed in the back. He only let go of her hand to open the door. He had to jiggle the handle in just a way to get it to open. It hadn't been on purpose, but it kept out unwanted visitors. The wooden door swung open and Hiccup stepped inside. It was dusty and dark, and Hiccup reached out to pull the string that activated the light on the ceiling.
Instantly the room lit up. There was a long work table on every wall and each table was littered with what others would call junk, but Hiccup would call treasures just waiting to become something bigger. Tools lines the walls and there was an entire corner dedicated to a forge. Several different prosthetic legs lined the back of one table, all of them prototypes or old models that were much too small for him now. Other gadgets were strewn about the tables, some he was still working on, others he hadn't touched in months.
"Welcome," he stretched his arms out, turning to face Astrid as she stepped inside after him. "To Hiccup's Palace. Or- that's what I called it when I was a kid," he told her, laughing. "It's... far from a palace, actually."
Hiccup had helped her find her balance again and she couldn’t help but laugh at the way he took hold of her shoulders and shake her with excitement. He then pulled her into a hug and she so quickly settled into it. It was a familiar feeling now and one that she hoped she would enjoy again. As he pulled back she smiled towards him and nodded.
“I did what I could. For what it’s worth, I’m glad that it worked out.” She laughed and followed him all most instantly, being all too eager to get started too. She assumed that they were going back to Hiccup’s place and she realised that she had never really visited where he lived before now. They hadn’t exactly been close until this point but she guessed this would not be the last time either. That thought alone was enough to keep her content, even when the ever arrogant Snotlout made an appearance.
If there was one thing she hated more than Snotlout it was the fact that he called her ‘babe’. She almost choked on her disgust as he addressed her. Astrid spent a couple of seconds trying to figure out if there would be a way to ignore them but their path was blocked so she simply came to a halt in front of them. She sighed as he spoke, sharing a look with Hiccup without trying to laugh about the fact they had spent the last two days completely using him at the butt of their jokes.
Her lips parted to speak but Hiccup managed to get there first, insulting his insults. Astrid smirked slightly at the way Snotlout tried to recover in the moment and simply shook her head at his poor attempt. When he flexed her nose wrinkled in disapproval and she could hardly take anymore.
“You wouldn’t know what a real Viking descendant looked like if he punched you in the face, or a real man for that matter. As for your offer, thanks but no thanks. I have a better one.” She said, purposely snaking her hand into Hiccup’s. She knew that people would talk but she didn’t care about that. Astrid just loved the look of shock upon his face and the way he finally lost his words.
She looked towards Hiccup and shook her head. “Come on, let’s get away from this poor excuse of a man.” She said, pulling his arm and stormed through Snotlout and his friends, each one of them staring as they did.
The door finally opened and Astrid was practically rushing out of the house. He didn't have time to make his presence known before she came barreling into him. "Whoa!" Hiccup helped straighten her up, his own big grin on his face.
"You did it! Whatever you said, it worked!" His hands were on her shoulders, practically shaking her with excitement before pulling her in for a hug. It was his turn to surprise her with one. When he pulled away, he ran his hands through his hair as if he couldn't believe it. "I was sure my dad was going to chop my other leg off as punishment," he joked.
"And now, with my dad thinking we're making some kind of... 'hang out' island- he won't think twice about us taking what we need," he added, excited, yet keeping his voice down so no one would overhear. "Come on. I-I'm too eager to wait!"
And it was the truth. They had been granted complete freedom and he wasn't about to sit on it. Hiccup directed them down a street or two and back towards his own house. He intended to take her to the shed out back that served as his work shop. He had never taken anyone inside before. Even his father avoided the place.
But halfway there their path was blocked by Snotlout and a few of his goons. "Astrid! Babe! I wondered where you'd gotten off to. And Hiccup! I hear you guys ran off for a day or two." Hiccup couldn't help but give Astrid a look. Not only was this guy an inside joke of theirs, but neither of them cared to hear what he had to say. "How 'bout you ditch the toothpick and I'll take you out on my dad's boat. You know, it's practically a yacht. You'd have a lot more fun than you are with this toothpick."
[right [pic http://78.media.tumblr.com/ba9f596f8dc5fe2307a1903ee6cd9a53/tumblr_nrfiypPuqD1u2b7pzo1_250.gif]]Hiccup rolled his eyes. "You just used the same insult twice in a row, Snotlout. Not very creative."
Snotlout stumbled over his words. "Wh- whatever! It's true! Nothing on your bones." He started to flex. "Not like [i this]! See Astrid? This is what a [i real] viking decedent should look like. C'mon. Let's go get some drinks, just you and me. You can tell me all about how boring that island was with this-"
"Toothpick?" Hiccup finished for him. "Look, you're real cute, Snotlout, but we've got places to be."
Hiccup had never let Snotlout get to him. In fact, his nonchalant responses usually just made him even more angry.
Astrid was more than relieved when her parents agreed to cause Stoic. It seemed that playing the daughter card had worked with them and they would much rather keep her here in Berk and have her going off to some island every now and then rather than going off to college far away.
She wondered if Hiccup would get angry with her for giving up her one chance of getting out of Berk for good but hopefully he would understand that there was no possible way she would be able to give up what they had discovered on that island. If she never saw Stormfly again it might very well break her heart. Her thoughts then went to Hiccup, knowing that not seeing him again might have he same impact. She still couldn’t quite believe how close they had become over the last couple of days but he was a huge part of her life now. They had shared an experience that no one else could be a part of or understand and for that he would always be important to her.
Astrid listened in to parts of their conversation and she knew then that they had managed to swing things their own way and she couldn’t help but smile. Her parents seemed relieved to have convinced Stoic too and the three of them shared a long moment of silence while they tried to figure out if there was anything left to say.
“If you two need this, then you have our blessing. Use the boat whenever you need to but you simply [i have] to tell us next time you decide to take off. We were so worried about you. Hiccup is a nice boy, we trust him but please be careful.” In that moment she couldn’t help but throw her arms around her parents and she told them she needed to find Hiccup straight away. They agreed and let her go.
“I will be home soon.” She shouted as she backed out of the door. She didn’t even notice that Hiccup was there and as she backed out, looking up at her door she almost knocking him over. She stumbled slightly and turned to apologise to whoever it was standing near her house and when she saw him she couldn’t help but smile.
For a long time, Hiccup was planted on the sofa with his father pacing the room, anger spewing from his lips. It was nothing Hiccup couldn't handle, though. Now that he had convinced his father that the other night was the last time he wanted anything to do with dragons, Stoic had an easier time reprimanding him. Hiccup had made it clear to him by asking if he really though Astrid would go with him- of all people- to chase after [i dragons]. Stoic held Astrid in high esteem, thinking her too smart to play into Hiccup's fantasies, so he nodded.
"Hiccup, you're twenty-one now. I can't stop you from doing what you want." They had been at this for almost three hours now and Stoic sounded more exhausted than anything at this point.
He was cut off by the house phone ringing. They both looked over to it. It could have been anyone, of course. Stoic was the mayor after all, and on Berk, that really just meant, "the guy who helps everyone out all the time". But they both knew that it was more than likely Astrid's parents.
Stoic pointed at Hiccup as if to ensure that he wouldn't move before going to pick up the receiver in the kitchen. Hiccup could only hear bits and pieces of the conversation. His father sounding angry, then apologetic, then agreeing to something. After a long while, Stoic hung up and came back into the living room.
"That was the Hoffersons," he explained, even though he didn't have to. "They've... convinced me to let you have this." Hiccup's eyes widened. He had no idea what card Astrid played, but whatever it was, it worked. "You're smart, son. I know that. Berk knows that. I was always afraid that you would want to leave." Hiccup felt a pang of guilt, but he didn't say anything. "So... if this... 'hang out' island is something that will make you happy here and forget about those infernal [i dragons], then fine." Stoic waved a hand through the air like the subject was being dismissed. It took everything for Hiccup not to jump to his feet and actually [i hug] his father.
Instead, he just stood, swallowed, and said, "Thanks, Dad."
Once he was free to go, Hiccup was out the door and jogging through the dirt roads of town. He passed a few curious glances. Rumors spread quickly in Berk, so no doubt they already knew what their parents did. Hiccup skidded to a halt at the start of Astrid's street, so excited that he nearly lost his balance. When he righted himself, he went to take off again. This time he slowed himself properly outside of Astrid's house.
Did he knock? Were they done talking? Did they even want her to speak to him? Swallowing the lump in his throat, Hiccup took a seat on the brick wall outside her house. She would no doubt come looking for him, too, once she was free. He tapped his good foot on the ground. After a minute, he realized he couldn't sit still and he stood to start pacing.
She thought that having his hand in hers would help the situation but they would no doubt make their assumptions and judge them for doing so as they approached. Perhaps they would think their disappearance had a different motivation; one that neither of them had intended.
There was something about parents that always made her feel like a young child again; when in fact she was well in her teens. She took a deep breath and tried to calm the growing nerves as she heard Stoic’s voice break through the silence that they had both found. She almost squeezed Hiccup’s hand even further. Neither one of them would know how their parents were going to react. That was always the worst part.
She took one look towards Hiccup before his father’s voice started to shout out his full name. It was then that she locked eyes with her own parents. They had no words yet, more than happy to let Stoic lead their roasting. Astrid could already see that they were beyond angry and they would more likely save their contribution until they got home. She wanted nothing more than to interject and tell his father that it was her idea to take the boat and that Hiccup had nothing to do with stealing the vessel but she knew that anything she might have to say would only make matters worse.
Astrid watched as Hiccup proclaimed he was over his dragon obsession and honestly, he sounded rather convincing. Perhaps it was because they cared so much about protected the dragons that lying about their existence was easy. She remained silent the entire time, knowing that no one had addressed her directly yet but she nodded along with him as if to confirm that they simply wanted time away and that was that.
When Stoic told Hiccup to let go of her she tightened her grip as if to let him know that she would be okay, before loosening it again. He reluctantly let go and gave her a look that told her that he was sorry before being lead home. All she could do was breathe deeply and hope that Hiccup wouldn’t get into too much trouble.
“Home now.” That was all that her parents said to her initially. They knew that the harbour was not the right place to have this conversation so they all walked home in complete silence, not wanting to make the situation any worse than it already was. It was not until they were home that they resumed their conversation, anger evident in the tone of their voice.
Astrid looked up towards them and nodded. “Look, I am sorry for taking the boat without your permission but I knew that you would never let me go if I didn’t ask.”
“Damn right. You know that you are not supposed to go out to the east.”
“Will you let me finish?” She said, feeling a little braver now and both of her parents shared and look before nodding to let her continue. A sigh escaped her lips before she continued to talk. “Look, I’ve been accepted into college, somewhere off the island.” She could see the shock in their eyes. Neither one of them had expected to hear that from their daughter but she knew that wasn’t enough to explain her disappearance yet. “I was conflicted about my decision to leave Berk and I thought that some time away might help be make a decision about what I really want to do. Hiccup found out that I was about to leave and he didn’t want me to go alone in case something happened and he felt like he needed the time too. You do not have to be happy about me taking the boat or the fact that I left without saying anything. You do need to accept the fact that I am no longer a child though.” She said with a sigh as she looked towards her parents.
“Did…did the trip help you make a decision?” They seemed calmer now. More understanding even. She thought for a moment. Had it?
“I don’t like being trapped here. If I am to stay here rather than leave to go to college, I will be using that boat to go out to the island. I need the escape. I promise I will never go out there alone. Hiccup will be with me all the time, you just need to talk to Stoic, make him understand.”
Hiccup felt her fingers snake through his and he couldn't help but give them a reassuring squeeze.
This was nothing new to Hiccup. He'd been in trouble like this before and he would be again. The only difference was his father's level of anger. But as much as Hiccup disobeyed him in his youth- staying out to tinker with things, not getting good enough grades, believing dragons existed- he didn't know what to expect. All he knew was that he would get through it. [i They] would get through it.
They stood on the dock, straight backed, without moving as his father and Astrid's parents came rushing down the wooden steps from the island to the docks. Hiccup knew what this entire situation must have looked like to them... their kids who had gone missing for a couple days wind up back holding each other's hands. Even Hiccup could connect those dots and social cues weren't exactly his strong suit. But despite what it appeared to be, they stood tall. Perhaps it would even work in their favor.
"HICCUP. HORRENDOUS. HADDOCK. THE THIRD." It took everything for Hiccup to not grimace. His father saved using his terrible full name only for times he was really [i really] angry with him. Astrid's parents pulled up the rear, not looking happy, yet willing to let their mayor do the talking. "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!?" The red beard on his father's face twitched with anger. Hiccup opened his mouth to explain, but his father wasn't finished. "You sneak out! You steal Mr. Hofferson's boat [i AND] daughter! What has gotten into you, boy!? Was this about the other night?" His father didn't sound concerned. Far from it. He was pissed.
"Wh- No! Dad- I'm over all of that," Hiccup said, finally getting a word in. "We-we wanted some time away from the island, so we left. That's it!" For a lie, Hiccup managed to make it sound pretty convincing. It wasn't the first time he'd fibbed to his father.
"Wanted some time away? To do what?" Hiccup flushed, but he kept fighting.
"To- to explore?" Hiccup replied, sounding less stable now. But he picked the lie back up and stood taller. "We found an island. We want to make it a- a hangout place."
"Without leaving any kind of note?" he father asked, almost yelling still. "You could have told us where you were going! Let go of her and come home. [i Now.] We have a lot to talk about. Let Astrid's parents deal with her the way they see fit."
At first, he didn't move. Then, ever so slowly, he let go of her hand, throwing her an apologetic look. He had hoped to help her face the wrath, but there was really nothing he could do in that moment... His father put a huge arm around his shoulders and started to walk away with him. It was less of a gesture of companionship, and more like Stoic was trying to keep his son from running off again.
Hiccup looked to the heavens and hoped to whoever was listening that Astrid's parents would go easy on her. Going missing with their boat, then turning up days later holding the hand of the town crazy wasn't exactly good news...
“Oh I don’t know I reckon there will be some feelings in there somewhere. Perhaps he is not a violent and arrogant as we think. Maybe we misjudged him.” She tried to sound serious as she spokenbut it proved to be an impossible task and she burst into laughter.
Soon enough Berk had come into view and she couldn’t help but feel overcome with dread. She wanted nothing more than to turn back the boat and go back to the island where everything felt comfortable and right. Neither one of them could know what was in store for them but they knew that they were going to be in this together so that made it a little easier to accept.
When they neared the harbour they both moved to steer the boat and he stomach filled with dread and nerves. As they pulled in, Hiccup ran back over the story that they were going to tell so that they were both on the same page. Astrid listened to every work so that she wasn’t the one who might ruin this for them and nodded to confirm she understood their cover before stepping off the boat.
At first they were greeted by Fishlegs who seemed to be in a flap about something and when he started to talk about the fact threat their parents were nearing, the butterflies in her stomach were fluttering around like crazy. Anticipation of what to come was building and she felt as though she might even be sick. Hiccup glanced back at her as Fishlegs seemed to notice they were together and she tried to smile. The two of them were left alone after Fishlegs took his leave, knowing it would be better not to be there.
“As I will ever be.” She said and she took his hand, knowing that would be the only way for her to get through this.
Hiccup stood at the front of the boat, leaning against the railing and watching as Berk grew on the horizon. He couldn't help but laugh as Astrid's desire to poke fun at him, but it felt so completely different to when anyone else did. He knew it came from a good place.
"Eh, well, you know," he replied with a smirk. "If by 'telling him my feelings'," he use air quotes, "You mean giving him a good swift kick, then sure!" He laughed again. "After all, violence is the only language he speaks. How else am I supposed to get it across to him?"
When they were close enough to Berk to see the docks, they both moved back to the cabin to steer them in right. Hiccup stood, one hand on the back of Astrid's chair, as she took them in. He wanted to be ready just in case anyone saw them coming.
"Alright. Remember," he told her, gripping his bag tightly. "We found a small island. We found nothing. But we want to turn it into something. Maybe if I tell my dad I want to build something on that island he'll leave us alone for a while."
They finally got to the docks and Hiccup helped tie the boat up. As he and Astrid were climbing off the boat, he heard Fishleg's voice coming from up the hill.
"Hiccup!" He was so out of breath, but he kept running. "Hiccup! I'm sorry! I mentioned that I saw a boat, and then my gram saw you and then she called your dad and your dad called Astrid's parents and now-" he took a deep breath in and when he spoke next it all came out in a rush, "he'sgoingtobehereinjustafewminutes! I'm sorry! I would have stayed quiet if I knew!"
Hiccup stepped up to Fishlegs and put a friendly hand on his large shoulder. "It's alright. I'd rather get this over with, anyway."
"Where have you even been?" The larger boy leaned forward. "And with [i Astrid?]"
"It's a long story, Fishlegs. I'll tell you... At some point." He gave Astrid a nervous glance over his shoulder. "For now, it might just be in your best interest to get out of here before the explosions."
Fishlegs nodded, eyes wide, and took off running back the way he came. Hiccup took a deep breath to steady himself before looking at Astrid.
"You ready for this?" he asked, already hearing his father's angry voice on the wind.
There was, of course, no need for him to apologise about his disgusting state when she must have been exactly the same and she couldn't help but regret the fact that she had been hugging him moments before. He must have been disgusted by her. When he suggested that the bath in the lake she couldn't help but laughing, knowing that he had not meant what they both seemed to take from the conversation.
She gave him a look that let him know that it was okay and he continued to talk, mentioning the fact that they needed better food. She nodded in agreement instantly, realising that she had barely eat much in the way of nutritious food over the last couple of days.
The rest of the journey, they mostly focused their attentions on the fact that they were heading back to Berk and it was obvious that it was a place that neither of them wanted to go to. Astrid smiled to herself for a moment before moving back into her teasing nature.
"Who knows maybe when we get back we can find Snotlout and you can tell him exactly how you feel about him? It would be ashame for you to leave Berk again without him knowing your true feelings."
Hiccup wrote down everything she was saying, just so that they wouldn't forget anything, no matter how small. He chuckled and nodded.
"Yeah, I-I'm sotry for how disgusting I might be right now. Depending on how long we stay, we might even be able to take baths in the lake." It was only after he said it that he realized what he was saying. Sometimes his resourceful mind skipped over important and embarassing red tape. "I mean! I- you know what I mean." He figured she knew that he didn't mean [i together], but he stumbled over the words anyway. He cleared his throat loudly before moving on with the list. "Better food, for sure," he threw out, hoping to distract from that small bump in the conversation.
After they finished their list, Hiccup tucked his sketchbook awat and sat back. Every once in a while they would think of something else to add to the list. The rest of the time, they spoke about their disdain for Berk and it's inability to look at change in a positive light. Before long, they could see Berk on the horizon....
There was something so familiar about him now. As he closed his arms around her she wanted nothing more than to stay there for as long as she possible could. When Hiccup tightened their embrace she allowed her eyes to close, breathing in the scent of him as she did. A smile danced upon her lips until the moment they finally parted. Astrid couldn't help but feel the heat rise to her cheeks as she realised how forceful she had been with the hug but noticing his smile, relief swam over her and she returned his smile easily.
She nodded when he spoke about making a list, both of them clearly wanting to distract their thoughts from the moment of closeness they had just shared. "Some medical supplies are needed for sure. I think that some real bandages might help Stormfly's wing heal a lot quicker. I know that we brought a first aid kit for minor cuts and whatnot but I don't think that will be enough if either one of us experienced a more serious injury. Especially now we know that there is a dragon on that island that doesn't want us there. Burns might become an issue so it's best to make sure that we find something to treat that."
Until he mentioned toothpaste she hadn't realised that she had missed it. "Oh boy I miss sanitation." She said with a laugh, trying not to think about the fact that she must have been completely unsanitary at this point.
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