An: technically this takes place during the book, but because of the obvious spoilers, I couldn't share it until now. Prepare to die from feels.
"Astrid, could…could you give us a moment?" Hiccup asked, keeping his eyes fixed on Stoick.
"Of course," she said, somewhat puzzled. She kissed him lightly on the cheek. "Goodnight, Hiccup."
She turned and reentered her room. To her surprise, the lamp had been blown out, and it was dark. Sighing, she stumbled around, trying to find a match. That's when she saw the dark silhouette against her window.
"Don't scream," the man said, his back to her.
"Who are you?" Astrid demanded through gritted teeth.
She saw where her axe was leaning against the wall. In a quick rush, she thought she should be able to grab it before the man could get it to her. But as the man struck a match and relit the lamp, she saw she wouldn't have to. He turned and Astrid's jaw dropped.
It was Hiccup. He looked older, wiser, but it was still him. He drew in a breath when he saw her.
"But…but…you were just…" she pointed numbly at the hallway she had just left. Hiccup didn't respond. "Wait, you're from the future, right? No need to look so shell shocked…oh. The dress." She looked down in disgust. "I look ridiculous."
"No…I just…I forgot how beautiful you looked. I was too scared to tell you when I was younger. I was afraid you'd slap me."
"Yeah, I will!'
To her surprise, Hiccup grinned. "Go right ahead. I don't mind."
Astrid squinted at him suspiciously. "Ok. What's wrong?"
"I just haven't seen you in awhile, that's all."
"How long, exactly?"
"Five hundred years, give or take."
Astrid shook her head. "That's impossible."
"In a few hours, I'm going to become immortal and…you're not. There were consequences."
Her face softened. "You watched me die."
"Um…actually, no. I was called away a few days before and I didn't make it back in time. Let's not talk about it. I get to see you again!"
Trying to hug her, he stepped forward, but Astrid stepped back, avoiding his touch. She felt bad about it, especially when she saw the disappointed look on Hiccup's face, but it was too weird. She couldn't wrap her head around it, and honestly, she didn't want to.
"I know you're scared," Hiccup said. "I was too, at the beginning. But I came to let you know that everything will work out ok. No matter how bad things seem." He sighed and stared wistfully out the window into the bay. "You need to know this because dark days are coming. For all of Berk, but especially for me. And being a Guardian did absolutely nothing to help."
"But…it is going to work out ok?"
Gently, Hiccup took her hands in his own. "Yes."
Astrid hated how desperate she sounded, but she couldn't help it. She was scared. Hiccup being immortal…that complicated things. A lot.
"I can't tell you how, you have to work that out on your own. But I can show you something. Well, someone, rather."
He let go of her hands and went to the door. Merida entered, and Astrid couldn't help staring this time. Her face was leaner, and not as round. The freckles seemed to have faded, or if not they seemed more natural. Five hundred years and Merida had finally seemed to master the queenly grace she was supposed to have.
And then there was her hair. Astrid guessed Rapunzel had helped out. While no less wild and frizzy, the red mop had been thickly braided for easier management. Gorgeous flowers that could only have been Anna's were delicately arrayed for decoration. A silver ice headband and hair tie, probably Elsa's handiwork, held it all in place.
Astrid was about to ask how Merida explained how everything would work out between her and Hiccup, when she noticed that Merida wasn't alone. She held the hand of a small, sleepy little girl.
"Who's she?" Astrid asked.
"This is Lilith, a resident of the town," Hiccup said, kneeling down and holding out his hand. Lilith instantly ran up and cuddled in his lap. "A few days ago I was spying around town…"
"You were the spy? Rapunzel told me there was someone sneaking around getting information, but it was you?"
"Yes, me from the future. The Hiccup you knew had no idea. I had to be careful not to run into myself. Her parents…But she's in good hands, Elsa made sure of that. In fact, once the town is recovered and settled into a normal routine, she plans to adopt her."
"That's nice. But how does this help?"
"Look at her, Astrid. Really look at her. Who does she remind you of?"
Astrid got down on Lilith's level and really looked. She was so sleepy; her eyes drooped in a very familiar way. Her eyes were grey, and her brown hair was thick and curly. On second glance, Astrid saw her nose turned up a little at the end, just like…
"You. She reminds me of you."
"In what way?" Hiccup asked, amused.
"Her nose is exactly like yours when you were little. And her mannerisms right before she falls asleep. That sheepish little smile."
Hiccup laughed. "I immediately notice the color of her eyes and the shape of her face are very like yours." Astrid's eyes widened "You're getting now, aren't you? Lilith say hello to your seventeen greats grandmother."
Astrid covered her mouth. "Oh…my…"
"Everything works out," Hiccup said.
"But how did she end up here in Arendelle?"
"Bringing dragons to Berk seemed like a good idea...but it didn't work out as well as we planned. In a few years, we'll have to leave. Our new home ended up being very close to Arendelle, although at the time it was barely more than a fisherman's outpost. But when the town started growing, some of the Berkians went to live here, including some of our descendants."
"And you've kept an eye on them?"
"I've always kept an eye on my family."
"Wow. So, if Elsa plans to adopt her, that means…"
"Our families will finally be connected," Hiccup finished, grinning.
"Oi, sit down, lassie!" Merida exclaimed, running over to support her. "You look a little weak."
"Nice to see you, too," Astrid said, dazed, as Merida unceremoniously plopped her down on the bed.
"Are you ok?" Hiccup asked.
"It's a lot to take in," Astrid said slowly.
"Yeah," Hiccup agreed, rising and sitting next to her on the bed. "I know this is weird for you, especially since we're not even married yet in your timeline."
"Just thinking about that makes me sick..." Astrid breathed. "Sorry."
"It's fine. I know you're nowhere near ready yet."
"But you needed to know," Merida added gently. "Like Hiccup said, hard days are comin', and you'll need all the hope yew can git. Both of ya."
Astrid sat in silence for a moment, trying to take it all in. She glanced at the soft curls falling around Lillith's face.
"Do you have any questions?" Hiccup asked softly.
"Um…why aren't there any dragons in Arendelle anymore?"
It was a stupid question, but it was troubling the bad of her mind, and she knew it was her last chance. Besides, the whole family connection was a little dizzying. She needed a moment without it. But almost immediately she regretted asking, for Hiccup's sake. His face fell, and he looked extremely crestfallen.
"Now that I can't tell you. That'll be part of your own story."
The three of them sat together in silence, Astrid gazing thoughtfully at Lilith, who was now asleep.
"Can I hold her?" she asked at last.
Hiccup gently passed her over to Astrid's waiting arms. It was too much. To her consternation, tears slid down Astrid's face as she gently rocked her descendant. Tentatively, Hiccup put his arm around her shoulder, like he was used to doing it, but hadn't done it in a long time. Which, of course, was exactly true.
Apparently, Lilith was a light sleeper, because she woke up almost as soon as Astrid started rocking her. Alarmed that she was being held by a crying stranger, she looked around and met a familiar face in Hiccup.
"It's ok, Lilith," he said softly. "This is Astrid."
"OH," Lilith said, surprised and awed.
"She knows me?"
"I tell her stories," Hiccup explained. "But now it's your turn. Tell the one where Dragon Racing was invented."
"I'm sure you can tell it better."
But Hiccup shook his head sadly. "It's getting harder and harder to remember the details from so long ago. But I do remember I loved the way you tell it."
"But I've never told it to anyone before. Not by myself."
"No, but you will soon."
"Oh. Right." She thought for a moment and cleared her throat. "Well, what do you say, Lilith? You wanna hear the story about the greatest sport in history?"
Hiccup grinned, so Astrid thought she must have done it right.
"Yes!" Lilith said happily.
"It was a few days before the Regatta, which was our annual boat race."
There was a soft knock on the door, which woke Astrid from her light sleep. Sleepily, she lifted her head from Hiccup's shoulder. The three of them had talked for several hours together before the girls had finally drifted off. Hiccup sat next to her, holding Lilith in one arm, the other around Astrid. Since Merida was asleep in a chair by the window, and Hiccup had Lilith, Astrid managed to drag herself from the bed. She wasn't a morning person anyway, so that, coupled with very little sleep, made her quite a sight. Elsa stepped back in alarm.
"Um, sorry to bother you. It's time for you go home."
Astrid mumbled something about a rabbit and an indecent hour for time travel, and closed the door. Hiccup smiled sadly.
"Merida, wake up," he said gently.
"Hmm?" Merida raised her head. "What about it?"
"Merida, I need you to take Lilith," Hiccup said, a little louder.
"Why am Aye always the babysitter?" she grumbled.
But she took the sleeping girl anyway. Astrid had fallen into a half-sleep daze while standing, and Hiccup went over and embraced her. Slowly, she raised her arms and hugged him back, burying her face in his chest. Gently, he leaned down and kissed the top of her head.
"I love you," he whispered.
Astrid didn't reply. Reluctantly, Hiccup took her axe and left her to get ready. She emerged, yawning, a few minutes later, wearing her own clothes again and followed Elsa and Stoick down the hall and through Jack and Rapunzel's bedroom. Just before she stepped out onto the balcony, a movement caught Astrid's eye. Peering into a shadowed corner of the room, she saw Hiccup, hiding from his younger self outside. He put a finger to his lips and motioned her to keep moving. Astrid shrugged and stepped out, just in time to see a girl in the sun.
North opened the portal. Merida and Stoick were the first through, and younger Hiccup and Astrid were about to follow, when Astrid stopped. She remembered Hiccup waiting in the shadows and looked back. He was holding her axe out to her.
"I left my axe in the bedroom," she said hastily. "I'll be right back."
She ran into the bedroom.
"Go ahead, Hiccup," North said, pushing him forward.
"But…" he started to protest.
"Toothless," older Hiccup said quietly. "Take me into the portal."
Toothless' ears perked up and he jumped into the portal. Astrid had her axe now, but she couldn't leave. The pain in Hiccup's face was too much to bear. She stood on tiptoe and kissed him.
"Astrid!" North called. "I can't hold it much longer."
Astrid broke off and ran from the room, tears streaming down her face. At the last second she turned, her back to the portal and her eyes fixed on the corner of the room. Hiccup stepped out into the light, where they could see each other.
"Goodbye," Astrid said, trying to sound brave. "I love you."
She stepped backwards into the portal and landed roughly on the ground outside Hiccup's house.
"Astrid, are you ok?' younger Hiccup asked, helping her to her feet. "What's wrong?"
"I'm fine, really," she lied. She threw her arms around him in a hug. "It'll all work out," she promised.
Author's Note: So, this is the end of the Companions books. Luckily, there's still some more bonus material. Now that you know about Hiccup and Merida being immortal Guardians, you can read Companion Files, which is what they were doing the whole time Jack and Rapunzel were with their mortal kid selves. And then there's Courage in Dark Places, which is the four's adventure when they're all Guardians.
Thanks for reading, and please review!