[center [pic https://40.media.tumblr.com/968263ce27214a88bf19d1ea8917b787/tumblr_np0scvT5vI1qewgtco1_500.jpg]][center [i "Astrid, you and I have been through everything together. You don't think we can handle this? Astrid, [b you have me], no matter what. Okay? Whatever that means, whatever you want it to mean. I am with you. There will always be a Hiccup and Astrid. Always."]][center [pic https://40.media.tumblr.com/968263ce27214a88bf19d1ea8917b787/tumblr_np0scvT5vI1qewgtco1_500.jpg]][center [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0AWl97sHho]]
We'll be okay]]][center [pic https://40.media.tumblr.com/968263ce27214a88bf19d1ea8917b787/tumblr_np0scvT5vI1qewgtco1_500.jpg]][center [pic https://i.imgur.com/QyQrOHn.jpg]][center [pic https://40.media.tumblr.com/968263ce27214a88bf19d1ea8917b787/tumblr_np0scvT5vI1qewgtco1_500.jpg]]
As usual, Astrid saw right through him. She knew instantly that he wasn't just proposing a vacation, but an adventure of sorts. He shrugged,, making a face before looking away from her a moment to gather his thoughts.
"I, uh... I thought we could finish the map. Together. Go out farther than we've ever been before." He chanced a look in her eyes. He knew she shared his excitement about certain things, but he didn't know where she'd stand on this. He backpedaled. "O-or we could just, pick one of our favorite islands and..." He didn't know how to finish.
Fishlegs- who Hiccup hadn't heard approaching- decided to weigh in as he usually did. As great of a friend he was to Hiccup he needed to learn when a conversation didn't include him.
"Why don't you guys just take the time off to finally get married?" he asked, scratching Meatlug's belly after she rolled over, her tongue lolling about.
Hiccup sighed. "As much as I'd love to, it's impossible to plan a [i viking] wedding in less than a week. There's a reason we haven't been able to do it yet. It takes a lot of planning and preparation."
Fishlegs shrugged. "Well, I tried."
"Thanks for that, Fishlegs." He turned back to Astrid. "Think about it. Just you and me-" Toothless nipped at his hand. "You and me and [i Toothless] and Stormfly, of course. We can go wherever we want, whenever we want." He met her eyes with his own, eyebrows raised in a pleading nature.
Astrid watched as the crowds filled in the seats that surrounded the old dragon training arena. People seemed antsy, ready to get the race on with. Astrid herself was ready, ready than ever. Racing was one of the more enjoyable things she enjoyed doing around Berk. Stormfly, her dragon, seemed ready to start as well. Astrid went over to her bag and pulled out a chicken from it. "You're going to beat everyone, girl," she said and threw the chicken to Stormfly, who happily caught it and swallowed it whole in one gulp. She smiled, petting her dragon's snout gently as the dragon leaned down and nudged Astrid gently. "Oh Stormfly..." she mumbled happily.
Gobber waddled up to her and said "Everyone's ready, better hop on your wee dragon." He hobbled back to where he had been standing, in the middle with Snotloud, the twins and Fishlegs. They were talking about something among themselves, but Astrid didn't really pay any attention to it. She knew there was no harm in friendly competition. She climbed up onto Stormfly's back and sat in her saddle comfortably. Stormfly walked over to the others with Astrid on her back and smiled down at them. "You ready to get your butt's beaten?" Astrid cooed confidently, petting Stormfly's neck.
Snotlout looked up at her and grinned mischievously. "We're so gonna beat you and Stormfly. Me and Hookfang have been practicing all week for this race!" he said just as confidently. Astrid just rolled her eyes and continued to pet Stormfly on her neck. Fishlegs spoke up next. "I don't know who's going to win, but I think I have a fair shot," he said quietly, fumbling with his fingers a little bit. She smiled and got Stormfly into position to start the race. Everyone else soon followed suit and got their dragons into the ready position to start the race.
Stormfly and Astrid were in the second lane, Ruffnut and Tuffnut with Barf and Belch in the first lane, Fishlegs and Meatlug in the third lane and Snotlout and Hookfang in the fourth lane. Gobber raised a small flag into the air in a stand in the air above the old dragon training arena and then flung it downwards. The dragons and their riders were off in a instant. Barf and Belch were in the lead with Hookfang and Snotlout in second, Astrid and Stormfly in third and Fishlugs and Meatlug in last. The flew around the island in what seemed like a short period of time.
Astrid smiled as they came upon the last lap. "Alright Stormfly, let's do this," she grinned and tapped her dragon with her foot and her dragon went full speed, whipping and turning around the pillars of rock like the wind. They came around the last bend and flew over the finish area. Hookfang and Snoutlout came second Fishlegs and Meatlug in last and the twins in third place. They all landed carefully in the middle of the old training arena and the riders slipped down from their dragons. Astrid gracefully jumped off and landed on her feet.
Astrid grabbed another chicken and fed it to Stormfly, praising her for her hard work. They had done well today and Stormfly preformed extraordinarily well. She was proud of her dragon, but also herself. She notice Hiccup enter the arena and smiled lightly. The group was chattering about the race and Ruffnut and Tuffnut were arguing about the race. Bickering back and forth over who out of the two of them slowed them down. They couldn't come to a decision.
She heard Hiccup come up beside her and gently press his lips to her cheek. She tried not to smile or blush, especially in front of everyone. "You were so not that close Snotlout. I was so far ahead of you!" she laughed, putting her hands onto her hips in triumph.
Astrid walked with Hiccup away from the group and listened to what he was saying. She looked at him sympathetically. "Well if I didn't wear you down, you would have down it to yourself at some point," she smirked. "Be happy that your getting a break, Hiccup. Your mother can take care of things," she said, half-jokingly and then saw the look in his eyes. "A vacation? What kind of vacation and where? We've been everywhere!" she said a little bit irritably. "I mean, I'm up for it, but in all seriousness, Hiccup, where do you plan on taking us?" she crossed her arms over her chest, waiting for him to explain himself a little bit more. In truth she was interested, she just didn't know what he was thinking.
Hiccup pored over the scrolls on his desk, rubbing his forehead with his right hand while signing the parchments with his left. It was midday, yet he was holed up inside with these treaties instead of Dragon Racing with the others. Toothless had been grumbling behind him for an hour now, occasionally trying to shove Hiccup from his chair.
He finally gave in and looked at his best friend. "I know, bud. I'm sorry." He reached out to give him a good scratch under the chin.
The front door opened and his mother walked in. When she saw him sitting there, brow furrowed, she let out a deep sigh. "I'm telling you, son. You need to take a week off." Toothless hurried to greet her.
"I would if I could, but-"
"You can and you will."
Hiccup finished signing the last piece of parchment before leaning back in his chair. "Things don't just [i stop] on Berk, Mom."
"That's why," she started, walking up behind her son to rest a hand on his shoulder, "you go stay somewhere that [i isn't] Berk. Think about it. You and Toothless. Astrid and Stormfly could go, too. I could see over the village while you're away."
Hiccup sighed. This wasn't the first time he'd thought about it. But it had been two incredibly stressful years and he admitted... He could use a break. Even with all of Astrid's help.
He stood and turned to face Valka who was looking at him with loving eyes. "Even your father had to take time off," she told him.
"I-I doubt that."
"No, he did. Of course that was before you were born." There was a short silence. Two years felt like a long time, but neither of them were completely over Stoic's death. He doubted they ever would be, either. "Take that map of yours and just go. I know how much you've been wanting to complete it."
Ten minutes later, Hiccup and Toothless had somehow found themselves in the throng of people exiting the stands from watching the race. As they passed, they called to him with hellos and slapped him on the back. Gobber waddled by. "She's done it again, boyo!" he said, raising his wooden hand in triumph. Hiccup didn't even have to guess who "she" was.
He entered the arena where the riders were treating their dragons for their hard work. The same arena that used to be used for dragon training. That seemed like a lifetime ago.
"So, I'm assuming Astrid wins the day. Again," he said to the group, announcing his arrival. He stepped up to Astrid, offering her a peck on the cheek before running a hand over Stormfly's neck.
"Ugh!" Snotloud threw his helmet at the ground in defeat. "I was [i so close] this time!"
The twins weren't even listening. They were too busy arguing over... Hiccup gave up trying to figure out what. And Fishlegs was pampering Meatlug, sparing no expense.
Everyone ignored Snotlout's outburst and Hiccup led Astrid away from the group. "Well," he started, trying to remember how he had agreed to this. "My mom wore me down just like you wanted. Which means, I'm going to take a break from chiefing, just like [i she] wanted. So, really, everyone's happy with this situation except for me," he half-joked, meeting her gaze. "Ho-how would you feel about a small vacation away from Berk?"
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