Infernal Responsiblity

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Two weeks had passed and Astrid could barely contain the excitement fluttering in her chest. Pippin was oblivious to his mother's joy, mostly because he was off with Skewer at the crack of dawn, only to come home for food and sleep.

It was scary how much he was like his adoptive father.

Mwaba figured it out right away, but said nothing, except to the expectant mother. It was a nudge and 'congratulations.' He often asked her if she was feeling alright, and brought her tea every morning.

Stoick was just as oblivious as Pippin. Of course, he didn't spend much time with the blonde, and not much was noticeable yet. Astrid wanted to keep it as secret as possible, waiting for her husband to be the first to know.

But he didn't come home. The day passed that he was supposed to arrive. Traveling by boat was one thing, but by dragon? Toothless would have made it in a day.

The next day was the same. No sign of the boy on the horizon, and the blonde became paranoid. She would definitely punch him when he came home.

A week passed. This was serious. The old gang split up and searched the archipelago, but no hide nor scale was seen of the duo. At the Bogs, the tribe said he had left his intended date and said he was going home. No detours. It was agonizing to the young woman.

Then finally, one foggy morning, a dragon's shadow was spotted coming into Berk. A nightfury landed, and it's rider, frantic and excited jumped off his mount.

"It's Hiccup! He's made it!" A voice called in the center of town.

When she heard that, her excitement tripled as she burst from the house. All thoughts of violence fled from her mind as she raced to him.

Hiccup spotted her and smiled, but his eyes still searched the crowd. She embraced him, kissed him, and even teared up a little. "You idiot! Where have you been!? I've been worried sick."

"Yes, I missed you too, milady." He said, absently. "Where's my dad?"

"He's—Hiccup, we haven't seen each other in three weeks…"

"Oh, I know. Sorry, it's just…" And before he could answer, another dragon landed. An unknown, masked rider stood on the back of the four winged beast. "That." Hiccup finished.

The rider was lowered from the dragons back, by use of a staff, and crept slowly and carefully to Hiccup. Their actions were dragon-like, but timid, as the many gathered vikings startled them. The rider slid up to Hiccup and clutched a strap on his jacket, for reassurance.

"This is Astrid," Hiccup gestured to the woman in front of him. "My beautiful, loving, and understanding wife."

Astrid nodded in awe, her hostility vaporizing.

"DDAAAADDDDD!" A shout was heard before a boy came barreling down the path. He jumped and hugged his father. "I missed you! I've been training! Just like you said! Mom's been helping me, and Uncle Fishlegs and Uncle Snotlout…the twins have mostly been teasing me."

Hiccup laughed. "Good to hear!"

It was then that the boy noticed the feral stranger and became nervous.

"No, it's okay." Hiccup urged. He looked to the stranger. "This is my son, Pippin."

"Son—…" A broken voice of a woman spoke. Tentatively, she reached out with a shaking hand.

"It's okay, go ahead."

"It's-It's nice to meet you." Pippin practiced his good manners.

"Oh, Hiccup." The woman gasped. "He's beautiful…" Her fingers dove into his red hair and ruffled it.

The boy pouted. "I am not!"

The woman giggled.

"Look who finally decided to show up!" A booming voice called. Stoick strutted into the square, followed by Mwaba, also excited to see his friend.

The feral woman ducked behind the young man, terrified.

"Yep! And I come bearing a present!" He side-stepped to reveal the woman.

"Oh, you've brought another friend home? I suppose you're going to ask if you can keep this one?"

"I have a feeling I don't have to ask." And he walked over to Astrid. "Go on!" He encouraged.

The strange dragon rider raised to her full height and took off her mask.

Stoick's helmet hit the ground with a clatter as the whole crowd gasped in horrified revelation. The chief could only stare, his mouth bumbling and fighting for words.

"Well, go on." Said the brunette. "Shout, yell, berate. I've been preparing for this encounter for the last twenty two years. How could I stay away? How could I— not come home? I left you— for dragons. I left you to raise our son, alone. And I missed out, and I was wrong. I was wrong about everything. And I'm sorry! Okay? Is that good enough for you? I was foolish and a coward! And—lords above, won't you say something Stoick!?"

"Daddy? Who is that lady?" Pippin blurted out.

Hiccup grinned at the boy. "That's your grandmother."

Valka turned teary eyes towards her son. "And I've said it a hundred times in the last week, but I'm sorry Hiccup..."

"It's okay, mom." He smiled, tearfully.

While his mother was turned away, she didn't see the hurried steps of her husband. When Stoick was in arms length, he took her hand and kissed her knuckles. His voice was breathless, like all his energy was spent in those last couple of steps. "You're as beautiful as the day I lost you…"

And she crumbled into his arms, basking in the warmth of sweet forgiveness and reunion. She kissed her husband, for the first time in over twenty years.

Pippin tugged on Hiccup's hair. "I want down."

The young man relinquished his hold and immediately the child went to the older couple and hugged the woman around the legs. "You're crying, and I don't like that. I've only just met you, but I love you grandma!"

Stoick barked in jovial laughter as the woman scooped up the boy into her arms. "I'm afraid I love you too, Pippin." She grinned.

Hiccup put his arm around his wife and looked like the proudest man in the world. Valka and Stoick joined them swinging the boy between them. "He's such a handful!" she observed already. "Are you sure you can handle another one?"

Hiccup looked confused, but Astrid covered her mouth to hide the smile.

"What, mom?"

"Does 'e not know?"

Astrid shook her head.

"Know what? What don't I know?" He panicked.

"Well…" Astrid grinned. "It looks like you'll have back an old family member, while gaining a new one."

Maybe it was the shock, but he looked to his wife perplexed. "What—?"

She patted her stomach.

He fainted.


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