A/N – Oh, look who's back from the dead! It's me! Yeah, I know how long it's been since I've updated anything. I've got a long weekend, and updating both my fanfics are on my list of things to do. With the boost this last seasons has given me, I'm hoping to get those two finished sometime soon, or at least… you know, updated.
Title: The Axe
Setting: Post RTTE, Pre Httyd2
"Breakfast is ready!"
Astrid woke up with a start and instinctively reached for her axe, snuggly and safety kept under her pillow – but her hand met the cool underside. Where was her –
"Astrid, darling, get a move on it," came her mother's voice from the door. "Breakfast won't be on the table for long, not the way your father eats."
"Yeah, yeah, I'm coming."
Her mother retreated downstairs, leaving the bedroom door open. Astrid sighed and pulled her legs from the blanket. Her rolled her neck around her shoulders.
The burned remains of her favorite, most trusted weapon leaned against the opposite wall. She had brought it back with her to Berk. When she'd been packing for the Edge – what felt a lifetime ago – her axe had been the first thing on her list. She should have left it on the Edge, but she couldn't fathom parting with it. Not after all she'd gone through.
Sure, it was just a sooty piece of wood now, but… she couldn't let it go. Not yet. Not for a long while.
Down below, her father let out a loud belch.
Astrid groaned under her breath. She pulled on her boots and headed downstairs to fend for herself something to eat.
"What's on your agenda today, Astrid?" asked her father as she tore a chunk of bread off the loaf.
"Thought I might take a ride around Berk, get readjusted to being back." Truthfully, she didn't know, but her parents didn't argue with her.
She'd had more chores on the Edge. Fish to catch, water to clean, defenses to secure, sectors to patrol, dragons to care for – but on Berk, she didn't have nearly the same amount of things to do. It felt… like she didn't have anything to do. The more she thought about it, the more that flight around the island sounded better.
"Come on, girl," Astrid cooed to Stormfly. She shook out her wings and stepped out of the stable. She let out a short, distressed warble. "I know. I didn't sleep that well last night either."
"Are you okay?"
Astrid turned just in time to see Toothless land, Hiccup sitting on his saddle. Those green eyes of his were pinned on her, and just like always, her heart jumped into her throat.
"I was just about to take a flight around Berk," Astrid said to him, mounting up.
"That's funny," Hiccup said, grinning. His eyes flickered upward. "I was thinking the same thing."
Without another word, the two of them took off into the skies above Berk. Below, the village she knew better than any other was waking up. Another day. Agnes was sweeping out her house; Sven was feeding his sheep; Gobber already had a line of dragons at his shop. As they flew over Goober's shop, she heard him singing.
They flew higher. Berk became a dusting of dots on the green island.
"It's weird being back," Hiccup said. "I mean, it's weird that we're not going back to the Edge."
"I know what you mean," Astrid said. "I got used to having my own place. I love my parents, but… it was nice to wake up without hearing my dad belch."
Hiccup laughed. "Tell me about it. My dad woke me up this morning by yelling up the stairs. I mean, it's not completely unlike getting woken up by the twins blowing something up or by smelling smoke because something is on fire."
It was her turn to laugh. "Still, I'll miss having my own hut the most. I mean, I can't exactly invite boys over at night when my parents are downstairs."
Despite it just being Hiccup, her cheeks burned. She dared a glance at Hiccup. The early morning light brightened his face, and she saw the unmistakable blush on his face, too. He caught her stare, and a wide grin stretched his face.
He let out a nervous chuckle. "Yeah, I don't see your dad being happy about that."
Below, the forest where Tuffnut had nearly been burned in that wildfire passed, when they had met the grown-up Torch. If she looked close enough, she could spot the slight mounds where the Whispering Death had gone after Toothless. The mounds had worn down with time, and grass had grown over them. In a few years, they would be unrecognizable.
Astrid glanced over at Hiccup. His eyes were elsewhere, but not anywhere particular. She knew that face.
"What are you think about?" she asked.
His shoulders rose and fell. "A bit of everything."
She kept her eyes on him – she knew that tone, or she thought she did. He was either troubled by something he couldn't control, or something was bothering him that he could control, and he didn't want to confront it. It was hard to tell the two apart sometimes.
"Want to talk about it?"
Hiccup inhaled, met her gaze with one of determination that warmed her blood, and said, "Yes. Let's head down. The cove isn't that far away."
Astrid landed a second before Hiccup. She slid off the saddle and onto the smooth, rocky ground.
"Gods, it feels like forever since we've been here." Astrid took in the familiar sights, the waterfalls, the towering pines, the chirping birds, the shimmering pool. Stormfly trotted to the water for a drink, and Toothless joined her. That's when she noticed it. A thing wrapped in wool on the back of Toothless's saddle.
"It has, in a way," Hiccup said. He walked to where Toothless knelt for a drink and unstrapped the thing. He held it in front of him, gently, like… something. Whatever it was, it sent little pricks all along Astrid's spine.
Hiccup looked at the thin in his hands, then at Astrid. "Just a little something. A project I've been working on the past few days."
Oh, it could be anything. A flight suit upgrade he wanted to show her? The latest model of his dragon blade? He'd been talking about upgrading his foot to make flying easier. Regardless, Astrid held her attention on him.
"Whatever could it be?"
Hiccup grinned and walked the thing to her. He stood for a moment looking at her, his fingers twitching along the thick wool blanket, and then he held it out to her.
She blinked at him.
"It's for you."
Her heart stopped, then fell into her stomach. "For me? Hiccup, you didn't have to."
"You don't know that yet." He wiggled it closer to her. "Take a look. Then tell me what you think."
That smile of his! Gods, she could stare at him for ages.
She gingerly took the thing out of his hands. It had some weight to it. She undid the leather strings holding on the wool and pushed it off –
The wool fell to the ground, and in her hands was an axe. The blade was new – Gronkle Iron. Supple leather wound the sturdy handle. The pommel had been carved with lines, and in the center was a Deadly Nadder. Two strands of leather, one dyed blue, the other pink, wound up the iron wood handle and secured around the head.
Hiccup came back into focus, watching her expression.
"You made this?"
"For me?" She clutched the axe. "It's… amazing." She grazed her thumb against the blade. "And sharp."
"I wanted to finish it before you got another one," Hiccup said, hand on his neck. "It took a few all-nighters, but for you, Astrid, I'd do anything."
She felt tears gathering behind her eyes. With a single blink, they eased onto her bottom lids. "Hiccup," she started, but bit her lip. She couldn't continue without one of those tears sliding out.
Hiccup closed to space between them and set a sturdy hand on her waist. "That bad, huh? I knew I should have went with the willow bark."
"Hiccup, I love it," she said, closing off that line of his thinking. He gave her a gentle smile – he'd known. She clutched the new axe to her chest, then held it out. She wrapped her arm around Hiccup's neck.
He pulled her closer, and she pulled him closer in response.
Gods, this boy of hers – what power did he hold over her that turned her into such a weak-kneed girl?
"Too bad I can't invite you back to my hut," Astrid whispered, although she doubted anyone was listening – one this she'd discovered about Berk that she hadn't before realized was how nosy everyone was, especially regarding her betrothal to Hiccup. Apparently, being engaged to the future chief was something to gossip about over the washing. Or so said her mother.
Hiccup smiled and pulled her a little closer. "We're far enough out, and we've got dragons trained to alert us if anyone comes close enough."
Astrid bit her lip. "They would let us know if anyone came remotely close. They would smell them before they'd see us."
With a short whistle to gain Toothless's attention and a following hand signal to watch the perimeter, Hiccup pulled Astrid toward the shadowed side of the cove. If anyone came from Berk or on dragon, they wouldn't immediately see the two in the cove.
Astrid set her axe against the mossy stone. Before her hand had left the supple leather hilt, Hiccup's hands unlatched and slid the pauldrons from her shoulders. They hit the ground with a soft metal thud. Hiccup pulled her against him, and her back met his chest – he'd already removed his leathers.
She pushed her backside into his hips with a purposeful sway and earned a deep growl from the back of his throat.
Oh, how she had craved him – since that first night in her hut, she had thought about his hands, his skin, his mouth. With each joining, they had gotten better, quicker, and with a little guidance, Hiccup's nimble fingers knew where and how.
She didn't have to speak – his lips tugged on her ear, and his hands roamed her waist, her ribs, her chest.
Clearly, he wasn't in a hurry.
Gods, she loved those joinings the most. The ones where Hiccup took his time, touched her slowly, reminded her of his love.
She leaned her head back onto his shoulder and gave him full access to her neck, and he took it. His lips, his tongue, and his teeth grazed along her skin, gently tugging, nipping, and kissing. He circled that spot just underneath her ear, teasing her, before he sank his mouth onto it.
Astrid let out a soft moan – involuntarily, but she'd found that Hiccup could pull out all manner of sounds from her.
While occupying her neck, his hands worked her skirt loose, and by extension, the hem of her shirt. When his callused fingers met her bare stomach, a shiver wound up her spine and to her chest. Her breasts peaked; they pushed against the fabric of her bindings.
And Hiccup, the little shit, knew it. He smiled against her neck – she felt it. His hands made no move farther than her waist. His fingers traced slow circled on her skin inching upward agonizingly slow.
Pressure was building between her legs, and she felt Hiccup's own desire against her backside. Still, he made no move to hurry things along. He made love to her neck while his hands tortured her.
"Hiccup," she pleaded, her voice a gasp.
"Hmm?" he hummed against her neck. He nipped her skin then lifted his mouth to her ear. "Need something?"
She grabbed hold of his hand, and his fingers flattened against her stomach. "Touch me."
She pushed her backside into his front, earning herself a gruff laugh from him.
"Where?" he whispered in her ear, and she wanted to scream. She both loved and hated the games he played. She hadn't anticipated this side of Hiccup Haddock, but each time, he'd left her panting and with wobbly legs.
She pulled her shirt farther up, and Hiccup traced his palms along the skin she revealed. Up and up, until Hiccup pulled back to give her room to pull her shirt over her head. He returned his hands to her waist, then slid them up to her bindings. He knew exactly how – a few blinks and rapid heartbeats, and her bindings had joined her shirt on the ground.
Hiccup's arms came around her, and no sooner had the crisp air hugged her breasts than his hands form around them. He pulled her back into him, and he pulled out another round of sounds she hadn't formerly known she could even make, all with his hands on her breasts and his mouth on her neck.
With his arms around her, hers had little place to go, and her hands fists in the fabric of his tunic. It took some carefully finagling, but she managed to reach the ties on his pants. Pulling them loose, Hiccup pinched her nipples in response.
She jumped and spun to face him and grabbed onto the ties. Hiccup pulled his tunic over his head and she loosened his pants further, enough to free his erect self. She ran her fingernail along his length, earning herself a shudder from him.
Hiccup captured her mouth for a tender kiss, and then in a few rapid heartbeats, their boots and pants joined the rest of their discarded clothing.
Astrid pulled Hiccup to her, and he positioned himself on top of her. He kissed her tenderly, and she slid her leg along his, urging him on. They'd gotten better at positioning themselves, too. the first few times had been more experimenting than lovemaking.
A guttural moan escaped Hiccup's throat as he slowly slid inside of her. She clutched at his shoulders, his hair, anything she could reach. In to the hips, then out again, and in – each thrust gaining in speed and power, each thrust pushing her closer toward that illusive white-hot edge of pleasure.
She'd heard that a man could get a woman there with just his manhood, but Hiccup had so far been unsuccessful in that endeavor. He'd done well with his hands (after considerable instruction and guidance from her) and done even better with his mouth. With most of their lovemaking, after he tumbled over the edge, he bought her to it however he could, mouth, teeth, tongue, hands – whatever it took.
With their experience, she knew what that edge felt like – as with his thrust, she felt it. Burning at the edge of her awareness, but there. She reached for that edge, the burning white-hot abyss, and it listened to her command.
Hiccup grunted in time with his thrusts, faster and faster, his taut body working up a sweat. She latched onto his shoulders as that edge came closer, closer, closer.
Astrid cried out, or she might have – she didn't know. The world beyond her and Hiccup faded as she fell over that white-hot edge, pleasure sweeping through her nerves and bones and whatever else. Her nails dug into his skin, and Hiccup grunted as he, too, fell over the edge.
Hiccup collapsed on the ground beside her.
"Gods," Astrid gasped. "Hiccup…"
"We should get married."
She glanced at him. "Right now?"
He met her eyes, pleasure warm and sleepy. "I want to do that more often, and not in the cove."
She smiled. "Where?"
"A bed, the floor, the hearth, my worktable. Everywhere."
She smiled and let out a small laugh.
"I'm glad I'm not the only one who's thought about having wild sex on your worktable."
Hiccup chuckled. "We can save that for a special occasion."
She found his hand and laced her fingers with his. A caw came from nearby – Stormfly's first warning.
Wordlessly, Hiccup and Astrid scrambled for their clothes. They were pulling on their boots when their heard the voices over the side of the cove. The twins, by the sounds, and Snotlout. Fully dresses, Astrid reached for her new axe.
"Well, Hiccup," she said, turning to him. He was fastening his leather around his middle. "What do you say to some good old target practice?"
"Thought you'd never ask."