Let's try this again. Sunrise. A peaceful time of morning, when most villagers were just waking up. For Berk's hero, it was calm and quiet. But nothing could prepare him for the rude awakening he was about to receive.
The blankets were ripped off. Cold water splashed on him, and a hammer clanged loudly on a pot. Hiccup bolted from the bed like it had personally harmed him. "What in Odin's beard—!?" He shouted.
Evil cackling was his reward. "Time's a-wasting lover-boy!"
"Yeah, wouldn't want to miss your wedding! Uh, again!"
"You're already in hot water! Or cold water, as the case may be."
Shaking himself into the present. Hiccup's gaze landed on the smug faces of Ruff, Tuff, and Snotlout.
"What is wrong with you people!? I almost die, and I don't even get to sleep in!?" He snapped his fingers. "Rude!"
"Oh, come on you big baby! It's your big day! Got to have plenty of time to get ready!" Snotlout giggled. With that, the three pranksters hurried from his room.
He figured that since that was his last night sleeping alone, the trio decided it was their last chance to prank him like that. Try dumping a bucket of cold water on Astrid and your family would be planning a funeral pyre.
Hiccup looked over to Toothless, who was awake, but barely. He heard the group come in, but saw no threat. Instead, he watched with dull interest as chaos ensued. Hiccup rolled his eyes at the dragon. "Toothless? I should have called you Useless."
The dragon stood and sauntered over.
"Aw, don't come crying to me, big baby boo."
Toothless, instead, made sure he had a nice slathering of saliva on his face. Congratulations, by the way.
Hiccup wiped it off and shook it onto the floor. "Well, now that I am awake, I might as well get ready." He stood, and instantly he knew it was going to be a long day. "Oh sweet Odin's nipple that hurts!" Every muscle in his body burned. He was so sore!
Toothless nudged him, to help him move, seeing the stiffness that enveloped him. Still, Hiccup stepped around and looked at the soaked bed. He sighed and gathered the sheets. He knew that when Astrid brought her trousseau with her at the end of the reception, her party would be fitting the bed with furs and flowers. The wood would hopefully be dry by then. He draped his sheets partly out the window to dry.
Then he wormed out of his soaked trousers, not really mad that they were wet, since well, they were covered with blood, dirt, and sweat from the previous day's battle. He laid them beside the bed sheets.
Going to his meager wardrobe, he donned his second best pants and the shirt he had discarded yesterday before the fight, a black satin tunic with pearls and silk embroidering the trim. As he sat down to don his boots, he looked at his feet. Specifically his prosthetic.
Everyone knew now, no reason to hide any part of his identity. From his chest in the corner, he removed a dagger and trimmed the bottom of his trousers, fully exposing his amputation. He then pulled out his new and uniquely designed prosthetic. The leg was created much like a swiss army knife. His foot could be exchanged in three different parts, one walking foot with cleats, one for ice, and a hook design for riding. The fixed mount was followed by a rotary cuff with a spring loaded coil on the inside, which released the new foot while accepting the old. The new feet were almost blade like in comparison with his other foot. It would make it lighter and faster to walk, while not having to worry about a gyrating ankle.
He stood and got adjusted to the change of weight.
"Not bad." He evaluated.
Toothless gave a low rumble.
"What?" Asked the boy looking at him.
The dragon had a wild look in his eyes.
The wedding wasn't until high noon. He had done everything needed to prepare yesterday, no it was just a matter of killing time. He gave his friend a sideways glance. "Wanna go for a flight?"
Immediately, Toothless was bounding around the room like a frisky kitten.
"Alright! Let's see, our gear is out back…" As he traveled down the stairs, he stopped as he noticed something sitting on the table.
Somebody had brought it back after the fight. The symbol, as Dagur so eloquently put it, of his cowardice. His security blanket, his protection. There was no need for it now, but even the thought of walking out that door without it made him uneasy. He had altered in age. Scars on his face, exhaustion clear in his cheeks. He wasn't so sure about having everyone suddenly looking at him and seeing his old self, the weak little twerp, beaten and shaped from a rough life. He much rather keep the mysterious air that he had been accustomed to.
But it wasn't what Astrid wanted.
He picked up the helmet and wiped the dirt from the side of it. He felt Toothless next to him and responded, without looking at him, "Just a second, bud."
With a solemn smile, he returned to the loft with his armor and placed it in the chest of his memories. "Goodbye old friend." And with that, he locked the chest.
Astrid loved her mother deeply, but she was so grateful for the reprieve. She had spent, at most, ten minutes picking flowers for her bouquet the day before. Then, in her nerves and later rage, she had all but pulverized the field flowers. So, she had to pick a new bouquet.
And if that got her away from the overwhelming questions from her family, then Odin be praised. The baths had been hard enough. Where as last time, the conversation had been mostly over her head, this time, she was the center of attention. And she should have been, rightfully. It was her wedding day after all. But it was too much.
"What does he look like now? He's seem so much taller! Is he still clumsy? Is he okay in the head? What happened while he was gone? How is he chief?" Etc. They actually wouldn't let her have a word in, edge wise.
So now she was at peace. With Stormfly, she had flown to a more secluded, but wild glen, erupting in wildflowers. This time, she would take her sweet time and make a very elegant collection.
Astrid wasn't one for flowers. Her skirt was decorated with skulls, not petals. She carried an axe, not the laundry. She was the opposite of a flower toting fairy. If anything, she was a goddess of war. But in this moment, on this very special day, she supposed she could make an exception. As she strolled through the pinks and roses, and she savored the columbine, she felt a soft peace drape on her rugged soul.
She would soon be a wife.
While at any other part of her life, the thought would have made her shudder in disgust, it did nothing but make her giggle in delight. She delicately plucked poppies, lilacs, bachelor buttons, and lilies, not knowing what they all were, but liking the soft colors.
She was so focused on the flora, however, that she did not hear the slight whistling of an approaching nightfury. Suddenly, she was snatched up, her flowers fluttering to the ground. In a whirl, she found herself sitting in Hiccup's lap sideways as he flew overhead.
"Oh hey, look what I found."
She rolled her eyes at him. "What on earth are you doing?"
"Toothless needed to get out."
"We aren't supposed to see each other."
"What? Who said? That might be troublesome."
She hit him. "You know what I meant!"
"I do. But I figured it was going to be a long time before I got you to myself, so I decided to kidnap you."
"You'll have me all night, so put me down. I need to finish picking my flowers."
"Come on Astrid. If I remember correctly, you were always pulling me away from forge work to go exploring or whatever."
"Yes, but forge work is not the same as wedding preparation."
"Just one lap around the island."
She grinned at him, slyly. "Alright. Two because you're cute."
He beamed. "Then you better hang on."
When they finally landed, Hiccup was holding in laughter at her wind whipped hair. "Now I see why you keep it in a braid."
While she had been picking, her blonde locks had been tied in a loose bun that dangled, but in the flight, the band had unraveled. And now she looked like a hot mess.
She pushed her hair back. "Be happy that my mom hadn't done my hair yet, or you would be in a world of trouble."
He chuckled. "I'm sure I would be!" Then he smiled tenderly. "I apologize for sneaking up on you, milady."
She scoffed. "I wasn't surprised, if that's what your insinuating."
"I'm sure you weren't." He helped pick up her scattered flowers. "Doing anything later?"
She simpered. "Sorry, I'm busy."
"Darn." He kissed her cheek. "I'll guess I'll see you eventually."
"Oh, sooner or later." She cheeked.
He grinned, hopped on Toothless, and took off.
As she watched the black dragon fly away, a white spot caught her gaze out of the corner of her eye. Looking closer, she found a beautiful, full reinrose. The stem was just the right length as she plucked it and tucked it into her cluster. The perfect center. Maybe Hiccup's interruption hadn't been so wasteful after all.
Hiccup flew a bit longer still after his rendezvous with Astrid. It was while he was swooping over the ocean to the East of the island that he saw a ship coming towards Berk. As far as he knew, all of the guests that would be attending the wedding had already arrived.
And witnessed the embarrassment of yesterday, much to his chagrin.
Surely, this had be a foe. He tucked down low and steered Toothless towards the ship. "Let's see what's up."
As they came into sight from the crew, friendly cheers of greetings came from the ship. Among them was a Stoick-sized man that shouted. "Yo ho, dragon rider!" And raised his hands in salute.
Hiccup relaxed. They were friendly. "Hello!" He called back.
"Are you from Berk?"
"Is there to be a wedding today?"
"There is. It starts in about in only a few hours."
"Then we haven't missed it!"
Hiccup neared the ship, gliding at level with the bow. He recognized the insignia on the sail and couldn't help but laugh. "So, how did the Gauls find out about this wedding?"
"We were sent a message about a week ago that there was to be a wedding of the Outcast chief and Berk's new heir. We are allies with both tribes, so we thought it would be best to attend."
His face was in clear sight to the Gauls and yet, no one seemed to recognize him. He was thankful for that at least.
Not so, for the dreamy looks he was receiving from Darla. Boy, this would be an interesting development.
He chuckled. "Well, it is to be my wedding that you'll be attending, but at the rate your going, you'll be late. Throw me a rope, we'll pull you."
Astrid knew there had been some hesitation on her parent's part to let her marry the Outcast leader. Even when Wart assured them that he could love and care for her, she still felt an inkling of doubt from them. And she was right, because now, before she took her spot on the alter, Mr. Hofferson drew her close to him and kissed both cheeks.
"My baby girl. Marrying the chief! I'm so proud!" He said teary-eyed.
She smirked. "So, now you're proud of me? Just because I'm marrying the chief?" There was the slightest amount of bitterness in her voice.
His smile didn't waiver. "Astrid, ever since you were little, I knew you were destined for greatness. Whether it was as a shield maiden or a Valkyrie. You had a fierce determination and an unparalleled heart for fellow men. Whatever you were going to do, you would do what was best for the tribe. Even if you didn't think so at the time."
He had believed that? Even when she had come home all those months ago and pledged that she most definitely would not marry Hiccup, because she didn't want the obligation. "But…" She started.
"You knew you were going to." He nodded. "Marry Hiccup. You two were inseparable, time and distance only made your bond grow stronger. Astrid, your greatest accomplishment is not marrying Hiccup. It's being there for him. Helping him in his greatest time of need. He has a responsibility that is too much to take on alone. But with you by his side, guiding him, motivating him, I'm sure Berk will prosper beyond anyone's wildest dreams."
He cupped her face. "I love you very much Astrid. But I have to let you go now."
Tears threatened her very existence as she bit her lip and answered. "I'll be in good hands."
It was then that her mother held out a wooden box. "I want you to have this. I wore it on my wedding day."
Astrid took the box and gently lifted the lid. Inside, on black velvet, laid a silver sterling necklace, inscribed with the Berk crest, and encrusted with stones of lapis lazuli. Her father delicately took it and clasped it around her neck. The charm laid against her collarbone and accented her bridal crown of volkerfrieden.
"What a beautiful young bride…" Mr. Hofferson sighed.
"Just wait until he lays his eyes on you!"
Astrid beamed at the pair that raised her. This part of her life was almost over. Soon, she would be waking up every morning to his face, eating meals with him, and even spending quiet evenings by the fire with him. It was a little heartbreaking, since this life was all she had ever known, but she needed to get out.
She needed to bloom.
Biting her lip in anticipation, Astrid took up her bouquet from the table. "I'm ready."
They led her to the great hall, where her mother went in first and waited up front. Her father patted her arm, to calm her nerves and then ushered her forward.
Hiccup's face said it all. His eyebrows were upturned, making wrinkles on his forehead. His eyes, wide with excitement, glassy. His nose crinkled, and his lips pulling into a tight, helpless, lovesick smile. Together, his features conveyed the perfect message.
You are the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
Just seeing his face, seeing him vulnerable, exposing himself in front of everyone, was enough to bring happy tears to her eyes. Just for today, she would let them run free.
Hiccup wasn't prepared for it. He saw her yesterday, in the same state she was supposed to be in now. But, somehow, she looked even more radiant then he could comprehend. The delicate yellow petals meshed with the gold in her hair, the white, with her porcelain skin. Her black lashes swept against her blushing cheeks, and her rose lips parted to reveal a smile of ecstasy.
It didn't matter if it wasn't manly, or tough, or the viking way, Hiccup gushed over his bride. He beamed, like the proudest man in the world that he would be marrying such a lovely creature. She made it up to him, and clasped his hand, still wrapped in bandages.
They stared at each other, silently giggling. He couldn't even tell her how beautiful he was, he was so full of joy.
Stoick started talking. He could hear the yammering going on, but Hiccup didn't hear a word of it. Instead, he marveled at the siren in front of him. And not too discreetly either. Astrid was slowly turning pink.
"Hiccup?" Stoick asked, grinning.
"Huh? Oh!" He snapped out of his trance and stood at attention. The chief held out the furs on which two swords laid. Hiccup took up the one he stole from his grandfather and held it out to his bride.
"Astrid, with this sword, I pledge my life to you. To serve and protect you all of my days. To cherish and love you, in darkness and joy, until the end of our days. I-I…" He swallowed, and then, throwing caution to the wind, ad libbed the rest of the vow. "I've loved you for a long time. As long as I can remember…actually. Back when I was a nobody, when no one put any faith in me, I really had no reason to go on. But, I persisted, because I wanted to impress you. I wanted to be your friend, for you to notice me." Then he beamed and managed to chuckle. "I think it worked." Then he finished, "This is my offering to you, a symbol of my devotion and my strength. Will you accept it?"
She nodded empathically and handed her flowers to her mother, then received the weapon. She placed it back on the furs, and then took up her own family sword. Holding it out with both hands, she began, "Hiccup, with this sword, I pledge my life to you. To serve and protect you all of my days. To cherish and love you, in darkness and in joy, until the end of our days." Nervously, she licked her lips and followed in his footsteps. "I had faith in you. You were never useless. I was glad that you always tried, no matter how badly it backfired. You've easily become my nearest and dearest friend. These last few months have been the scariest and most lonesome I have ever had. I missed you. Your smiles, your laughter, your stupid sarcasm. And…" She sobbed. "I never want to go through that again. I love you too much Hiccup!" With finality, she proclaimed, "This is my offering to you, as a symbol of my family's faith in your pledge. Will you accept it?"
"Yes." He answered breathlessly. He took the weapon and laid it down.
Then it was time for the rings, which Stoick had as well. The swords and fur were laid aside and the rings were exchanged. Each one on the third finger. Hiccup raised her hand and placed a kiss on her knuckle. Then he whispered softly, "Are you okay?"
She tittered, "I'm fine, I just got emotional for a moment."
"I present our almost newly weds!" The chief shouted, cradling both kids by the shoulders. "Let the race begin!"
Cheering erupted from the audience as everyone became rowdy. Astrid's rugged nature came to light as she smirked at her beloved. "May the fastest viking win."
He looked surprised. "Astrid, you know I'm going to win, right?"
"On your marks…"
Astrid tied up the bottom of her skirt, making it easier to run. "What makes you think you can beat me?"
Still astonished, he said, "I beat you before."
"No, I let you win, because I wanted to see Snotlout cry like a little girl."
"Okay, well, whether or not you let me win, I have to win this race."
"And why's that?" She challenged.
As he sped away from her, he shouted, "Because I'm the husband!"
Her nose flared and she easily caught up to him. "What's that supposed to mean!?"
They flew down the steps, each taking five at a time. "Whoever wins the race is the dominant in the marriage! I thought you knew this!?"
"There is no way in Helheim that you're beating me in a race of dominance, Haddock!"
"Astrid, you don't understand!"
"Don't use your mind games on me! It won't work!"
"You sound like Dagur!"
She gave him a look.
"Bad analogy. Sorry. But I promise you, if you don't let me win, you will embarrass yourself!"
"Fat chance! See you back at the great hall, sucker!" And like a speed demon, she booked it. Through the town square, past the forge, and out to the cliff face by the rampart. There, she grabbed the baton that symbolized the halfway point and then turned back. She passed her husband and stuck her tongue out at him.
Hiccup rolled his eyes.
She easily beat him. It wasn't even close. When she reached the great hall entrance, Snotlout and the twins were trying to hold back their laughter, while Fishlegs was openly snickering. Gobber had a sly grin on his face, and Stoick covered his face with his hand in embarrassment.
What was so funny?
Hiccup finally came up the steps, panting and red in the face. "Ugh, stairs."
She looked at him, desperate. He had been right, she did embarrass herself, but she wasn't quite sure why everyone was laughing at her.
He smirked at her, smugly.
Oh no. She had totally forgotten. The race was announced and she totally forgot about what happened afterwards. The winner of the race had tocarry the loser through the threshold of the great hall.
She groaned. "I'm so stupid."
"I tried to warn you! But no!"
Stoick looked pointedly between the duo. "No do-overs."
Astrid sighed as she came to stand by her husband. "Good thing I'm marrying you and not Fishlegs."
Hiccup almost burst into uproarious laughter, but he held back, since Fishlegs was standing right there. "Here." He popped off his prosthetic and tossed it to Gobber to hold onto. Then he looped his arms around her neck.
It was a good thing that Astrid was so strong. She handled an axe and other robust weapons with ease. It was just a matter of Hiccup jumping into her arms, and her catching him in time.
She was solid, despite her face slowly turning red, but not from the strain.
"Be gentle." He whispered.
She almost flat out dropped him. But instead, she completed the last couple of steps into the hall. Hiccup kicked his good leg up, like an excited bride. The attendees clapped for the couple, especially for Astrid's feat of strength.
She let go of his legs and he swung to stand beside her. Giggling, he pulled her into his chest, hugging her tight.
Gobber returned his leg and Hiccup locked it into place.
Next, Stoick came to stand in front of the couple and held out another sword. Hiccup left his wife's embrace and took up the weapon.
This part of the ceremony was crucial. Hiccup was to drive a sword into the one of the main support beams of the hall. If it stuck, their marriage was good. If not, well…Hiccup gripped the weapon close to the guard, and then placed his palm on the pommel. He exhaled with a 'whoosh' and thrust the blade into the wood, sinking it in halfway up the blade.
Finally, Stoick ushered the couple up to the main table. Remember the hammer Hiccup brought with him yesterday? It was still there. And next to it sat two mugs of mead. But not just mead, wedding ale, which was mead with Boar's blood mixed into it. For reasons of fertility and a successful bedding. Hiccup didn't believe drinking blood really help in that aspect, but traditions, what are you going to do?
The couple sat down. Taking up the hammer, Hiccup blessed the ale and then placed the hammer in his bride's lap.
They raised their mugs, then linked their arms and drank. The wooden tankards hit the table with a clang.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife! You may kiss the bride." Stoick announced.
Sounds of shouting and whistling faded away as the newly weds indulged in their first kiss as a married couple. His hands rested on her waist as her own went up to tangle in his hair.
Hiccup pulled away with a relieved sigh, still staying close to her.
"We're married." She whispered.
He simply beamed and kissed her back.
Now came all the awkward greeting of the guests. Technically speaking, the formalities of the ceremony were over, but to the couple, it sort of went on until…well, tomorrow, when he would give her the morning gift, or the thank-you-for-your-virginity gift. Then there would be more alcohol and more heckling. But for the moment, he just needed to focus saying hello and introducing his bride as Astrid Haddock, not Hofferson.
The 'congratulations' were short, but the 'welcome back's and 'we missed you's went on forever. He wasn't sure, but he promised at least 50 people that he would tell the story of how he left home with nothing but the clothes off his back and came home as the chief of their sworn enemies.
When he put it that way, it sounded like such an epic journey, rather then one of pure dumb luck.
"I can't believe it." A voice started from behind him. Hiccup turned to meet Blackmold, the chief of the Gauls. "I was told that you and the young chief were the same person, but I couldn't believe it. Look at you! All grown up, and filling in your shoes."
"Shoe." Hiccup corrected.
Blackmold laughed. "I see your humor hasn't left you. My, this has been such a lovely ceremony. And such a beautiful bride!" He glanced over to Astrid. "I haven't seen one so beautiful since my own bride." He confessed.
Hiccup put an affectionate arm around her.
"And, if I dare say, you two are a perfect match. I am glad that the arrangement with my daughter didn't go through, I would hate to see you separated."
That lifted a tremendous burden from his shoulders. "Thank you sir."
Blackmold clapped him on the shoulder. "Great! I must go and congratulate your father. He must be proud to the moon and back."
The couple were about to move on, when a short 'ahem' cut through the air. Hiccup turned and almost yelped.
Darla was waiting with her arms crossed. "It seems I have misjudged you." She said flippantly. "Turns out you're not such a wimp after all. Too bad it didn't work out."
Hiccup was certain that nothing could get him down from the high he was feeling, but he was wrong. His smile faded away as he peered a the troll. "Excuse me? Didn't work out? You ridiculed me. You didn't even give me a chance! I get that you didn't want to marry me, but guess what, I didn't want to marry you either. You didn't need to be such a bitch about it!"
Astrid grabbed his arm when she noticed his visible anger. "Hiccup…"
"I wasn't being a bitch, I was telling the truth."
"No you weren't! I'm not useless or pathetic! I never was! You just couldn't see that! You know nothing about me!" He raised his voice.
People began to look on.
"Oh, don't even go there."
"No! You listen to me you troll!" He snapped. "It was because of you that I left. And surely, I will put all blame on you for it. I was enslaved, you worthless ogre! Beaten to a pulp, and yet I rised to the occasion. I did everything I needed to do to survive. I became chief of the Outcasts and I single-handedly ended the war between the Berserkers, Outcasts, and Berk. Oh, and here's a fun bit of information. I beat Dagur in a fight, with no weapon. No, I'm not bragging." His voice deepened. "I'm just telling the truth."
Astrid shrank back ever so slightly. He frightened her.
Darla was speechless as he put her in her place.
"And before all this even happened, I trained a dragon, thus ending the battle between vikings and dragons forever. So, for you to claim that I'm worthless is very, very far from the truth. In fact, I would go as far as to say that you're the one who is worthless and pathetic, you hateful creature!"
Darla's lip started to quiver as he stuck a finger in her face and spoke with a vehement tongue. "I would rather go through all that torture again, then have to marry you." He shook his head. "Get out of my face, your hideousness burns my eyes and makes me want to vomit."
Darla burst into tears as she fled the room.
Hiccup was pulled back into reality by a gentle tug on his arm. He looked to his wife, "I'm sorry darling…was it too much?"
She shook her head. The look of exhaustion and the bags under his eyes did not escape her vision. "That was awesome."
His jovial spirits returned.
When it came time to confront his in-laws, Hiccup was understandably nervous. He had spent all the time up until the wedding hiding, so no one had a chance to speak with him. Astrid pulled him along, eager to show him that they weren't angry with him.
Mr. Hofferson looked at him with narrowed eyes. Hiccup shrank back.
"You protect her, you understand?"
Then he smiled. "Good." Hiccup was grabbed up into a hug, his spine popping. He couldn't help but laugh. Then Mrs. Hofferson embraced him, bawling. "You've grown into such a fine young man! I always wanted a son like you! I'm so happy for you two!" She kissed both of his cheeks, much to his dismay.
It was that day that Hiccup learned; the Hoffersons were huggers.
After everyone was greeted, the couple finally got to eat.
Then it was time for dancing.
Most of the guests were drunk by now, as weddings were the perfect occasion to get wasted. As much as Hiccup dreaded it, he knew he was required to have one dance with his bride, and one with his mother-in-law.
Thankfully, Gobber's band had enough tact to play a soft, slow rendition of the reindeer waltz, with Gobber on the pan flute, and Silent Sven on the fiddle. Even if he only had a right foot, that was the best dancing Hiccup had ever done in his life.
Finally, the time came for Astrid to leave. She would be escorted to their home and dressed for…success. She gave him a quick peck on the lips before she was hurried off.
After she left, he rubbed his eyes in an attempt to wane the exhaustion. Stoick appeared and took Astrid's seat. "You alright son?"
"Of course!" He smiled, a bit too fake.
He nodded. "Exhausted."
"Well, the day is almost over. Tomorrow, the morning gift ceremony really doesn't start until late morning. You'll be able to sleep in."
He sighed in relief. "Good."
"That is, if you sleep."
"Ew, Dad, please. I don't want to hear that from you."
"Don't think we don't know what's happening this evening."
"Oh, I'm well aware you know, but I'd rather not discuss it. Especially with you."
"You know, on your mother and I's wedding night—…"
"Nope, nope. Stop right there."
"I was going to say…we just slept." He chuckled. "We were both exhausted from the ceremony, we just cuddled up together and fell asleep. We didn't even talk about before hand, it just was a basic understanding." He smiled at his son. "No one's going to bother you about it. You and yourwife have a nice time tonight, whatever that means."
It was then that Tuffnut and Snotlout came up to heckle, looking a wee bit tipsy. "Hey Hic, wheres yer husband?" Snotlout slurred.
"Haha, very funny."
"This joke is gonna go on forever. I'm so excited!"
"The best part is, you'll probably be the cook in the family, unless you want another Yaknog incident."
"Hey, Astrid is a…decent cook. As long as she sticks to recipes and doesn't try to invent dishes."
"Yeah, but your cooking is awesome. She'll appoint you chef eventually."
Hiccup rolled his eyes. "So what, am I doing laundry, too?"
"You already take care of the baby."
They were right, he was the woman in the relationship. "Odin's skivvies…" He muttered.
"If you've had enough chastisement," Stoick interrupted. "We should go. Can't keep Astrid waiting."
He was lead by torchlight to his cabin, followed by his father, Mr. Hofferson, Gobber, Mwaba, and Spitelout. He opened the door slowly, nervous. No one really told him what all was supposed to happen at this part. He took the stairs to the loft one at a time, his hands shaking noticeably.
Astrid sat delicately on the fur laden bed. Her hair had been released from it's braid and cascaded down her shoulders. Her state of dress was scarce, but not immodest. Nothing to make her feel uncomfortable in front of her father and the chief. Hiccup went and sat next to her on the bed.
"Hiccup," began Stoick, "Do you concede that this young lady is the girl you married today?"
"Yes, this is Astrid." He confirmed.
"And Astrid, do you concede this is the man you married today?"
"Yes, this is Hiccup."
They had to go through this tradition to make sure the couple actually made it to the bedroom together. Couldn't have anything strange happen, like the bridal party picking up a random girl in place of the bride. That would be awkward.
Hiccup gingerly removed the bridal crown, as a symbol of deflowering, and then kissed her.
"Well, goodnight." Said Stoick, ushering the others down the steps. "Toothless is already guarding the door, making sure that you two aren't bothered. See you in the morning."
Hiccup waited until he heard the door close before he let out the breath he had been holding. Astrid placed her flowers on his head and giggled.
"Did you have too much to drink this evening?" He quipped.
"No, just enough." She kissed his cheek.
Hiccup eased her down so she laid against the furs, her hair sprawling out behind her. He put his weight on his hands as he leaned away from her. "Did I tell you how beautiful you are today? Because I must have said it in my mind at least a hundred times."
"You were strangely quiet today. All smiles…" Except for the little exchange with Darla, but she wasn't going to bring it up.
"And why shouldn't I be happy? I married the girl of my dreams."
"Aw, you dream about me?"
"Every night." He leaned forward and pressed feather light kissed across her cheek and down her neck. Her hand moved to the collar of his tunic and her fingers pressed against the muscles of his shoulder. He winced.
"What's wrong?" She put a hand on his chest to evaluate his reaction.
"Nothing, I'm just really sore from yesterday."
"Hiccup," She sat up. "It's been a long few weeks. No…It's been a long year. This whole year has probably aged both of us considerably. And with the whirlwind events that have taken place, I never got the chance to say…" She was breathless, but only for a moment, before she cupped his cheek. "Hiccup, I'm sorry."
His eyes widened ever so slightly. "Sorry for what?"
"Sorry for rejecting you. I can't imagine the pain you felt at my words. I didn't mean any of it. I-I was angry and scared…"
"Astrid, darling, that was months ago! You can't worry about that! I don't hold it against you, so you can't hold it against you." He tucked her hair behind her ear. "Okay?"
She nodded, smiling again. "Thank you."
He returned the smile and leaned in to take her lips. She allowed for a few moments of heated kissing before she stopped him again. "Hiccup?" Her voice was much deeper now.
"You look exhausted."
He didn't answer.
"I am too. Can we just sleep?"
At that, he all but collapsed on top of her, using her chest as a pillow. "You have no idea how relieved I am to hear that."
"We're going to continue this in the morning."
He laughed and scooped her up, rolling so that she could lay against his chest. "Of course."
Hiccup breathed a deep lasting sigh from his chest as he played with her hair.
Finally, no more infernal responsibility.