A small note to warn everyone that the first one-shot of the third Edda has been uploaded. And under here is a deleted scene from 'Winter in Líf's Holt', which was pillaged for some sentences, but was actually the original way in which the two lovers finally had the BIG conversation … back when Holt was supposed to be 5 chapters long. If you have not read the story after this one, please do not read this scene until you have as it contains spoilers.
"I'm uncomfortable with the fact that you've … cleaned me when I was peeing all over myself like an infant. I'm uncomfortable with the fact that you were taking my clothes on and off me while I was asleep because … no one's done that since my mother was around. I'm horribly uncomfortable that you've seen … all of this." He waved at himself. "We both know there's not much I have to offer. Well, even less now.
"But …" He folded his arms and rose to the balls of his feet - foot - uncomfortably. "I'm even more uncomfortable with the fact that you felt obliged to do all that. That you felt you had to care for me and clean me and offer to lo…" his voice faltered. He swallowed. "I … I'm uncomfortable that after all this time, I don't know how you feel about this arrangement. I don't know … what you want."
"I want to court you"
"You utter bastard, don't you dare turn this on me," she said in a hoarse voice. "I've waited for you for five years!"
"Because of the arrangement, because … Because of the contract," he shot back. His shoulders sagged as he looked at her beseechingly, unashamedly broadcasting his very soft and vulnerable inside. "Please, Astrid. I need to know."
"You need to know what!" she roared, and he was horrified to see a film of tears welling parallel to her bottom eyelash.
"I need to know if you want this." He waved his hand listlessly between them. "I really need to know."
She went red in the face like he'd pinched her, threw her arm backwards and took a swing at his head. The fact that she missed and he could dodge was alarming. The fact that he grabbed her and managed to hold her was even more so. When her head fell forward onto his chest and she gave a sob, it was terrifying.
"You bastard," she said, her voice breaking in the middle of the second word, and she didn't even resist when he finally gave into the temptation to squash her against him. He wasn't sure he would have been able to breathe if someone had hugged him that hard, but of course Astrid managed. "How dare you say stuff like that when you're the one who … you have someone waiting for you out there. Someone you want. 'The most beautiful woman in Midgard'!" There was a sob, and she somehow managed to elbow him in the ribs despite how tight he was holding her.
She may as well have struck him on the head. Her sobs tugged his heart in several different directions while at the same time setting it racing for the clouds. He felt like he was on Toothless.
"I'm holding her." There was a pause, then - "OW!"
"Don't play games with me, Hiccup Haddock!"
"I'm not!" She wiggled violently, but he held on tighter. "I'm not, I swear! I … I've been in love with you since I was twelve. Maybe younger. I don't know, I … All I know is that how I feel really isn't a question here." He was risking his life, possibly even a broken nose and broken teeth, but he didn't care. He bent down and kissed her head. "I, um, thought I was very lucky to come home and find myself engaged to you. It was like … Nana intervened, with Frigga and Freya together, for me." She wasn't saying anything. She wasn't saying anything. Oh Odin's breath, she wasn't … "But I really can't keep this engagement going if I don't know that you're … ok with it. At least ok with it, that you at least like me and aren't doing this just out of duty, and that you'll not be miserable and I'll watch you be miserable beside me while I lo-"
A sound kick to his good leg made him yelp and swear as the pain almost brought him to his knees. He would have gone down, too, but Astrid's arms came up under his armpits, and suddenly she was kissing him ferociously.
"Mmm! Mmm-mmm!" he tried for a moment to call her attention back to the situation and important conversation but then when one of her hands rose to cup his face and she managed to pry his lips open and stick her tongue in, he forgot why it was even important at all when beautiful, beautiful Astrid was kissing him like … like … thoughts …
No, no, he had to talk to her. Had to make it absolutely clear. He pulled away gently, making sure to hold her as close as possible.
"Astrid, look at your axe." He took it off the holster on her back and planted it handle-first into the soft dirt. He began to pass his finger along the hidden runes while watched her face carefully, and as her eyes either followed knowingly or widened, he found out which ones she'd discovered, and which ones she hadn't. When he ran his fingers on the Dróttkvætt she smiled at the first six lines. When he continued along the hidden verse in the design, however, her eyes went impossibly wide, staring at it for a few seconds before she turned to him. He returned the gaze nervously - until she literally devoured his mouth, and his brain clicked off completely the moment she gently bit his lip.
When she pulled back, he smiled at her foolishly. He regretted it a few seconds later. Her hand got free of his slackened grip, she swung back and slapped him a good one.
"That's for making me worry for nothing."
"Ow, ow, what! Are you never going to stop hitting me! Because I could totally-"
Her lips were back on him, and he lost his train of thought again until she pulled back for air.
"...Something," he said, his brain registering that he was about to speak, but not having enough free brain cells to process what. Especially when she was smiling at him like that.
"I can't say I love you. I'm not a liar." Ow. Ow, ouch. Oh right, that's what he was going to say, and why was she still smiling after saying something so horrible - she put a hand on the mouth that had been about to open to say something sarcastic and rather (probably) whiny. He flinched, but her touch was gentle this time, and moved away from his mouth to caress the rest of his face like she couldn't help it. "But I'm ok with this. More than ok with this. I 'at least like you', Hiccup Haddock. A lot. I'm not as far on the road as you are but…" her smile became a grin, and she had the audacity to kiss his nose cheekily, "... but my feet are certainly on the right path to reach you."
"You mean you … I mean, hypothetically…"
"So you wouldn't mind if I, if we, say, start behaving like a real, I mean, couple?"
Astrid's face became predatory.
"Good, so everyone will be clear. You're nothing else. You're a couple. With me."
"That makes no grammatical sense…" She scowled bullishly at him. "Buuut I understand what you mean perfectly. All this," he waved at himself, "belongs to Astrid."
"I like that," she said, smile reaching her ears as she leaned in.
"You would," he chuckled as he let her take his mouth again and do as she please with it. There was nowhere else he'd rather be, anyway.
"I ...I know. Gods, it's messed up. I had no right, no right at all to think of you in that situation, but … I couldn't help it!" He sighed, hand running down his face. "Astrid, you're honestly the only woman I've ever wanted. I know that I … practically shamed you, and it's more than a little creepy, and decadent, but … that's the fact, Astrid. I used to close my eyes… and think of you."
"Hiccup … a man's fantasies are his own."
Not quite the chapter-long thing it eventually ended up becoming, isn't it? And like a complete silly hat, I forgot to put this up on the same day Meeting came out. I swear I'd forget where I put my hand if it wasn't screwed on …