Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to How To Train Your Dragon
A/N: This chapter was influenced by the songs "Taken" by Young Summer and "The Morning Room" by Helios.
I love you, Astrid...
When Astrid Hofferson woke next it was with a gasp, her mind feeling like it had been vigorously shaken.
Were those tears in her eyes?
She felt a hum of a presence in the back of her head, as though it patiently waited until it was needed.
Right now though, right now Astrid was trying to figure out why she felt like she had been hit across the head with Thor's hammer and why she felt so confused. She had, of course, expected to feel completely sore after what she had just, well, went through, but this was entirely different. The disorientation and confusion she felt almost, almost masked the sense of absolute completion running through her. A satisfaction unlike anything she had ever felt, filled her heart. The pain in her head, piercing into her eyes as she struggled to open them up was enough to make a groan escape her. As she struggled to get up, she began to notice something was... wrong.
Something was... missing.
Desperately trying to focus on the room, ignoring the wave of dizziness that hit her, she panted and focused on her pillow, taking in the strands, patchy mismatched colors and coarse texture. Swallowing to get moisture back to her throat, she wondered if she had been drugged or beaten, but... but she had been... last night she was... wait, she noticed it then. It was cold, colder than it had any right to be around her. Struggling to sit up and was finally able to focus on her surroundings.
The second her focus sharped, her heart leaped to her throat, cold dread gripping her tightly. Where... where was Hiccup? In fact, where was she? This wasn't... this wasn't Dragon's Edge? A flicker of familiarity shot through her. She knew exactly where she was, but part of her screamed for it not to be so, even though the other half was tentatively relieved. Astrid found herself back in her room, in Berk, not in Hiccup's warm bed, and she knew the only way such a drastic change in location could happen was through divine intervention.
Astrid scrambled off her bed, yelping in surprise and tripping over her own feet as painfully familiar disorientation wracked her body. Astrid gasped for a few seconds, her hands shooting to keep herself from collapsing on the floor. A shiver of cold ran through her, a stark difference from the balmy warmth she had been used to for the past three months. She struggled to her feet, relieved that the dizziness had subsided, and made her way to her mirrror. Astrid was torn between relief and disbelief at seeing herself once again at her proper age of sixteen. Glancing out her window, seeing the lack of subtle changes in Berk from the time she had been in was further proof.
Things were 'back to normal'.
Astrid felt herself slump against the seat near her dresser. The familiar little sun dial Hiccup had given her during one of the Snoggletoff celebrations mocked her, reminding her of when she had first searched for it and found it missing, all those months ago. How had something so comforting then, turn into something so heart breaking now? She let out a labored breath, her hands covering her face to help her concentrate. Was it a dream? Had this all been some elaborate fantasy? A vision maybe? From what she could tell from cues around her, it was as though she hadn't ever left. Whatever happened to her, happened only to her, not to any other version of herself. The familiar tingle of Freyja's presence told her it did happen.
The realization of what she had just lost, accompanied by how it had been her own request in a way, hit her like a mace across the head. In her last moments, she had cried out to Freyja to take away her suffering, to keep her from risking losing the man she had grown to love so fiercely. She had begged her goddess to help her, she just hadn't realized at the time that this was the way she would have her prayers answered. She hadn't realized it would mean she would have to return. Astrid had begged her goddess to keep her from losing him... but in the end, in a way, that's exactly what happened, wasn't it?
Astrid pitched over in her seat, gasping for breath, feeling sick deep in her gut. She did this. She did this to herself. She... Astrid tried very hard not to hyperventilate, torn between the same relief that everything was back to normal, back to simpler times, and then again, with crushing, suffocating disappointment, a dash of overwhelming grief for flavor. Her breath almost painful, the raw emotions she had so vehemently exposed to both herself and to Hiccup fresh in her mind. Astrid was undone, her feelings wide open, her heart like an open book.
The sudden lack of the man she loved, his intense presence with her, warming her, soothing her, like he always did unconditionally. The coldness of the room, of the bed, as though he had never been there... and he hadn't, ever. It made it impossible to keep the fresh tears from welling in her eyes. Her shoulders shook with barely contained sobs as she covered her face with her hands, too much grief, too much confusion, too many conflicting emotions. If this had happened at any other time during her experience, maybe it wouldn't have torn her apart so badly.
No! No! How could this be?
Why now? Why did Freyja take her away now? Why couldn't she have had more time with him? Time to grow into her raw emotions, so newly exposed to her? Time to fully explore her love for him? Why did she have to be taken so quickly? Astrid felt a new wave of resentment toward Freyja, the pain in her heart too much to keep her fearful of her goddess' wrath. Why did she make her suffer so? She had forced her emotions out of her, kicking and screaming, ripping them out, tearing her heart wide open, forcing her to acknowledge them.
Astrid had given herself to Hiccup utterly, body, mind, and gods help her, soul as well. And now she was back, right back to zero, with nothing. She had essentially lost him... she lost him! Oh part of her knew well that she didn't actually lose him, he was still there, he was still her friend, but at the moment it didn't cross her thoughts. Subconsciously, she knew well she was being ridiculous. It wasn't like he had died or been shipped off. It wasn't even like he was two different people. Part of her insisted he was there, probably right at his forge that very moment.
But her heart would not listen to reason.
Her body shook, trying very hard not to break down, unable to stop the tears, the pain and confusion almost too much to bear. And then the whispering returned to her, her goddess speaking to her. She felt her mind soothed by her, a wash of warmth spreading over her, wiping away the grief. The voice spoke clearly now, Freyja attempting to soothe her daughter, her powerful presence making Astrid gasp and tremble.
"Oh little Warrior, do not let your heart feel such sorrow. You have not lost him, young one, you know this. You have been given a chance to now freely and truly experience the power of your love for him."
Her words were a lilting song in Astrid's head, calming and warm, soothing the ache away.
"You have been given a chance to witness the strength your love will give you. The power it will give him in return."
Astrid felt fresh tears slip down her cheeks, silently asking her why she had to go through all of that.
"You were chosen, Little Warrior, because of the spirit and fire in your heart, so much like my own. Your potential to love will make you powerful. Woe be it to anyone who tries to take what it yours."
Astrid whimpered, only partially appeased by the answer.
"You have been given this gift of your experiences in the future, so that you may now watch your love for him grow along with him, mature with time. Do not be disheartened, my daughter, he will become the man you love. And you will become the woman he would be willing to suffer for. Patience is a virtue. The future is still waiting for you to get back to it."
Astrid felt her heart speed up at those words, did she mean what she thought she meant? Freyja didn't answer that however.
"This is the last time you will sense my presence. I hope you have learned a lesson in all this, little one, as well as found some peace in you heart of hearts."
And then, she felt all the confusion, all the doubt, all of the the terrible ache in her heart completely soothed away. Astrid let out a ragged sigh of relief, slumping back against her chair, taking a moment to collect herself. She felt the presence that had been so ingrained in her for three months, drift out, leaving her. Somehow, she felt cold without Freyja's fire within her mind, but she was glad she was finally free to her own thoughts again.
Astrid remained seated for a moment, letting her mind be as clear as she could get it, listening to the dull drone of Vikings outside her window doing various tasks, arguing, laughing, sounds of carts moving, various dragons warbling, sounds of labors and general community. She let those sounds wash over her, their familiarity soothing her just a little. While the overwhelming grief was gone, there was still a little tingle of longing and sadness that remained.
Even so, she focused again and tried to really think about what Freyja had told her, actually told her, spoke to her, and Astrid tried very hard not to feel giddy about that fact. A god spoke to her directly! What amazing honor that was! Ah, but she was digressing. Focus. She thought of the 'opportunity' she spoke of, the chance to actually grow up with her friends, grow up with Hiccup, understand what made him tick. In her experience in the future, Astrid had been overcome with confusion over how Hiccup had worked, now she would at least get to see how he had, and what had, changed him so much.
She would also get to see how she changed and how she grew up. She had only gotten hints and clues on how different she was in the future, especially when she puzzled her friends in one way or another. Now she would get a chance to truly grow into the role she had assumed in the future. Which brought her to her next thought... Freyja had said the future was waiting for her? Obviously, tomorrow was always there, always the future, and they always got to it in some shape or form. Did that mean... that she would... experience those things she had experienced again? The thought was certainly enticing. It would at least bring her comfort in these long, lonely nights.
Astrid let out another breath to calm herself. The opportunity would also give her the chance to train hard, grow in strength, and prove she was Viking enough to handle whatever obstacles got in the way. Having seen the potential of what may be meant that she could better train herself for it. And... not to mention, she would be able to be a better support to Hiccup, if he so wished it. She could prove to him that he would always have her as a best friend, as his right hand, as his second in command, and... if it ever got to it, as his love, too. He might not know it yet, but she was his, and she hoped that one day, he would be hers in the same way again.
Now that she was thinking just a little more clearly, and could better deal with the dull ache in her heart, she focused on what she would do now. Hiccup Haddock was still very much here. Gods, how was she supposed to handle him now? After everything she had been through in the future? He wasn't a different person, obviously, but at the same time, she could not think of him in the same way, not yet.
It was so very confusing and so very frustrating. She knew logically that he was the same... just not... him yet. He wasn't the savagely sensually alluring man yet. For now, he was back to being her cute, dorky little friend still. While Astrid could draw some comfort in that, having truly missed this Hiccup, it also hurt her to realize his emotions were not matured yet either. She knew they would be eventually, but for now, it still had her running her hand down her face woefully.
Was this another challenge?
Again she had to wonder why Freyja decided to pull her out just then, right after that between them. Astrid took another breath, trying to keep the blush and the unbelievable memories from rushing to her mind. Fortunately, as it were, her mind was far too clogged with conflicted feelings and confusion over how she would handle her own time to focus on something like that. And of course, as soon as she thought that it may be another challenge for her, it seemed as though the gods were still toying with her...
"Astrid? Are you awake yet?"
Gods, Astrid could never really catch a break, could she? Not even in her own damn time. Not a single shred of peace for one Astrid Hofferson. Still, the shield-maiden felt a thrill of shivers run viciously through her at the sound of his achingly familiar voice. Oh gods, and now all she could think of was what he could do to her with just his voice. And many times in a row. Astrid swallowed hard and leaned over, resting her head on her hands, taking deep breaths once again to calm down. Okay... okay... she could do this. She willed her heart to slow down, this wasn't that Hiccup, she couldn't afford falling to pieces, not now.
"You know we have academy duties early today, right? Even the twins are there already..."
Astrid cleared her throat, trying to keep it as level as she could. "I-I'll be right down!" she called out of her window, wincing when she managed to stutter. Gods, she needed to get a grip! Part of her wanted to ditch academy duties, at least for a week to get readjusted to her own time, which, by the way, was ridiculous, but she knew she couldn't avoid this Hiccup either. Why did everything have to revolve around him now? She had been so content before, so happy to just shove her feelings for him away and concentrate on what was really important, like defending Berk for example. This was so frustrating!
Odin give her strength, this was going to be a pain in the ass.
However, Astrid knew she was strong enough to handle this, even Freyja had told her as much. If a god had faith in her, she could at the very least have faith in herself as well. Besides, they had a lot of work to do at the academy, getting the dragons in order, making sure the outcasts where still in their island. And, well... it was certainly something to look forward to, right? One day he would become that Hiccup and she would have the pleasure of watching it happen. For now, she was going to have to settle for the very pleasant memories to keep her warm at night. It wasn't his arms, but it would have to do until they grew up a bit more.
Astrid felt herself smile weakly, hearing how impatient he was beginning to sound. Taking her brush, she got back up and stood by her mirror, deciding if she would have to face her fate anyway, she might as well look good doing it. After taking the time to groom herself, she finished up and reluctantly headed downstairs, chewing on her lip on the way down. She was glad her parents were out doing their own tasks for the day, not knowing exactly how she would take seeing them again. She was back in her normal time, why did she feel so... out of place? Had spending as much time as she had in the future... changed her?
Pushing away the disturbing thought, she opened her door. The sight that greeted her wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but it still hit her with a rush of nostalgia so great she lost her breath. She had been preparing herself to see him again, she just wasn't exactly there yet. Astrid had known it was inevitable, knew how much she had wanted to see him, how much she had missed him, but it was suddenly too much so soon.
Hiccup stood there, in all his adorable, short, lanky, chubby faced, green tunic and leather vest wearing self. It was almost like a dream. He was giving her a familiar tilt of the head, questioning look, arms at his side, one brow raised. Gods, and now all she could do was very guiltily compare him to the Hiccup she had become accustomed to. He had been so tall, strong, covered in sharp armor, had a confidence that made her have to try very hard not to remember. He had changed so much... and yet, taking a closer note of him, she noticed subtle but obvious similarities, things she had been beginning to notice in his counterpart as well. Now it was reversed. He was in there, somewhere. He wasn't there yet, but the signs were there.
All at once, her earlier feelings of missing him very strongly rush back to her. She had missed him, she really had, even when the other Hiccup had been making her feel amazing, her thoughts drifted to him. Many times over the months she had expected to see him when Hiccup spoke. She had expected to see that silly leather vest, or his goofy smile when he trailed off about dragons. She had been missing him the entire time... just as much as she was now missing his counterpart! Thor! It was beginning to hurt her head, just as much as it was hurting her eyes to keep from blubbering like a fool. Oh but she couldn't keep away from him, how could she? When he was standing right there?
Astrid found herself running to him before she could stop herself, unable to keep herself from doing so. Hiccup's eyes widened almost comically, gasping when she collided with him, hugging him before either of them knew what had happened. Fortunately, they were far along enough in their friendship that he reacted immediately. Astrid held back a whimper of both relief and sadness, feeling his arms go around her slender waist. Astrid's hold on him tightened when she had felt him return it so readily, feeling the prickle of tears sting her eyes. The axe-wielder wasn't able to keep the tremble from her, so very glad he wasn't so weak he'd collapse under her weight.
Hiccup had immediately sensed something was very wrong, even before she collapsed into his arms, glad he had the foresight to open them up. He simply didn't understand why she was suddenly so... broken. He had never seen this in her, she was always so strong and capable, never showing more than amusement or anger... sometimes a little something else that always served to confuse him whenever she kissed him, but this? Hiccup pulled away then, his face full of complete worry. "A-Astrid? What-what's wrong?" he asked in a panic.
Astrid struggled to breathe, remembering those familiar words, right before falling asleep. She couldn't exactly tell him she was tired this time. His familiar scent wafted into her nose, his hands on her arms gripping her just a little tighter as he searched her eyes. Astrid swallowed hard, trying all she could to keep the tears from her eyes. This was too hard! His eyes were so intense the way they searched, so familiar, so soulful, even now. They hadn't changed at all. Gods, how had she not noticed? And now the tears wouldn't stop. Hiccup's face twisted into shock and absolute concern. Astrid never cried! What was going on?
Astrid tugged a little until he released his grip and she buried her face in his narrow shoulder. Unable to get herself to respond at the moment. Hiccup felt utterly helpless and lost, not knowing what was wrong and in pain that he couldn't fix whatever it was! He was good at fixing things! He wanted to take away whatever it was that was making Astrid so... un-Astrid! He wanted to help her, but he needed to know what was going on! She was fine yesterday! And so he pulled her closer, his heart tightening at her woeful whimper, ignoring the odd looks they were getting from people walking by.
After a few minutes of this, of forcing down panic and confusion, feeling like he was dying with her so broken in his arms, she finally seemed to calm down a little, her shoulders relaxing. He pulled her away again, giving her a stern look. Astrid blushed in embarrassment at how conflicted he looked, how confused and hurt. She couldn't do this to him. "I... I-I'm sorry..." she apologized weakly. "I didn't mean to... break down like that..."
Hiccup took a breath. "Astrid," he began firmly. "What is wrong? Was it the outcasts? Did you get injured? Did someone you know get injured? Did something happen? Did you have a nightmare? Please, please tell me what's wrong?" he begged her.
Astrid stared for a second, her eyes focused on those beautiful, soulful, green orbs of his, unsure exactly what she could tell him though. She took his arm and gently tugged him along, trying to get some privacy. Hiccup followed without question, eager to know what was going on. They went behind her house and Astrid ended up pacing in front of him while he stood and waited patiently. Astrid was stressing out. This time there was no limitation, she didn't feel the same restraint she felt before. Freyja wasn't interfering this time, she she was free so tell him whatever she wanted.
But then, how could she possibly explain what she had gone through to him? What could she say without sounding like a complete lunatic? Oh she could see it now! 'Oh hey, Hiccup! So, I was flung into the future to confront my hopeless love for you by the goddess Freyja, you know, to make me stronger from it. Oh yeah, and by the way, did I mention I just woke up after having intensely hot soul-rending sex with you? Oh yeah, you totally fucked my brains out.'
Astrid ran a hand down her face in agitation, ignoring how much more confused and worried that made Hiccup. Yeah, that'd go down real well. He'd probably pass out and then laugh in disbelief for weeks while avoiding her for a lot longer. No, he couldn't know about her experiences, ...at least, not yet... not until he loved her the way she did him.
Gods, how messed up was this?
Instead, Astrid decided she could tell him an abbreviated version. "Okay..." she began with a deep breath. "I uh... I... I guess you could say I had a... vision, a very intense and very long vision," she said, which it might as well have been, though something told her that it certainly wasn't as simple as that. She rubbed her neck stressfully, wondering how she would explain it.
"A vision?" Hiccup's head titlted again. Honestly, sometimes she wondered if he was part dog when he did that.
Astrid nodded slowly, glancing over at him. So far he didn't look like he thought she was crazy. That was good. "It... was a vision from the gods," she went on, though didn't think it was a wise idea to say it was from the future, knowing it would eat at him with the need to know.
Fortunately, Hiccup was open-minded enough to believe her. "What kind of godly vision was it? What did you see? Why did it... affect you, like that..? And I hope you're not offended by me- uh... noticing..." he added nervously.
Astrid let out a weak laugh. "I'm not offended, you're good," she assured him.
Hiccup breathed out a sigh of relief. "Oh good..."
Astrid shifted in her spot before going on. "It was... very personal, the gods made me deal with... inner demons I had, they... forced me to face a part of myself that I didn't want to, and it was... very hard to handle. I felt like I was trapped there for several months! And I guess that I just... I uh... I missed... you- missed being back" she corrected herself quickly, hiding her blush by looking away.
Hiccup blushed as well, but didn't mention he noticed her slip up. "I... I see... I guess I can understand why you'd react that way then."
Astrid blinked in surprise, staring at him for a second. "You believe me? That easily?" she questioned softly.
Hiccup smiled. "Of course," he told her gently. "I know you. I know you would never lie like that, make up some crazy story just for the Hel of it. I trust you enough to know you'd tell me if something happened to you and be as truthful as you could be about it." he told her.
Astrid bit her lip, trying not to feel overwhelmed by his selfless, trusting character. She felt a little guilty about saying it was a vision, and not in fact what it really was, but she knew she couldn't elaborate, not yet. She promised herself she would in the future... but right now, that explanation would have to do. She jumped slightly when she felt his hand on her shoulder then. "I'm your friend," he told her. "I'll always be here for you, if you need me," he finished.
Astrid's head hung a little, trying with everything she had not to crumble under his soothing tone, at his beautiful words, cursing the gods for making her have to rebuild her walls, just so she wouldn't turn into a messy girly puddle. Gods! Stupid emotions were so annoying. "Thank you, Hiccup. You don't know how much that means to me," she told him, her voice barely above a whisper, resisting the urge to kiss him. Taking another calming breath, she instead punched his shoulder lightly and smiled.
The familiar reaction made Hiccup wince slightly but smile very happily right back. "I know you're really tough and can handle pretty much anything, but I have to say it. If you're feeling up to it, after what happened to you... we could really use your input discussing what we'll do about Dagur's schemes. That fake weapon thing he pulled almost got us."
Astrid sighed inwardly, trying to keep her sadness and longing in check and nodded in understanding. "It's no problem, I understand. Lead the way," she told him. She didn't exactly remember what happened before her experience, but she knew Hiccup liked to recap, so she didn't bother asking him about it. Hiccup nodded, casting one last look of concern before walking off.
The shield-maiden forced herself to toughen up and followed him. Every step she took seemed a little easier and by the time they reached the academy, she felt almost like herself again. Just knowing he knew a little bit of what happened to her, and promised to support her, lightened her heart just a little. That didn't mean it wasn't a struggle throughout the day however.
For reasons she wasn't able to grasp just yet, she still struggled to adjust to her first day back to her own time. Many times throughout the briefing Astrid had to force herself to focus. Luckily, she had been right about Hiccup's tendency to recap. She discovered that this was the day after Gustav had successfully rescued Hiccup and Toothless from Dagur's attempt to capture them using a fake weapon. He had been made a rider in training, among other words Hiccup had used to describe just how not a rider he was.
Even so, Astrid had to fight off getting over emotional a few times, making her extremely irritated by this. Now that her emotional handicap had been lifted, it didn't seem to want to obey her, resulting in having such a hard time restraining them now. Curses! To her exasperation and great relief, after having partially told him what happened, Hiccup stuck to her side the whole day, subtly lending her his support. It was both comforting to know he had her back, and painful to know he wasn't... him yet. Not to mention completely unfair to him.
By the blessings of the gods, the day had finally ended. Fortunately nothing major went on that day so after their duties in the academy, after a few drills with the dragons, they all split up to take care of their own chores around Berk. Astrid had found it a little disconcerting being back here for a little while, but her mother's cooking always lifted her spirits no matter what. She had been relieved to see them by the end of the day, and had very thankfully not reacted in the same way she had with Hiccup. Funny how Hiccup could cause her to utterly break, but her parents only had her smiling fondly.
That night, Astrid went back up to her room, emotionally and physically sore. She unstrapped her armor, but decided to keep her braid on, much too tired to unravel it... and honestly, didn't want to remember how Hiccup had done so, just yesterday. And so, she lay on her bed, her blanket wrapped tightly around her, trying to draw warmth from it. As was an achingly irritating habit of hers, whenever Astrid was alone and still, her mind wandered. Like countless times before over the past three months, probably longer if she was being brutally honest with herself, her mind drifted back to him.
Astrid shut her eyes and tried to push him out of her thoughts, but all she could think of was how just yesterday she had been in his warm arms, comforted and soothed, loved and given love. Now she only had the cold nights ahead of her. She... she couldn't do it... she missed him, too much. Blinking tears away, Astrid scolded herself, telling herself she was stronger than that, she could handle it.
It didn't mean she wasn't human however.
Hiccup had been lying on his back, quietly staring up at the ceiling, one arm over his head, the other resting on the notebook over his belly. His thoughts, like they very often were, were full of Astrid. What had she seen? How could a vision tear her up so badly? He knew that eventually, when she felt ready, she would tell him more, so he had to be patient now. It didn't stop him from worrying though. He knew that her vision had something to do with him, he hadn't missed her earlier slip, saying how she had missed him. The thought had both saddened and thrilled him. She had missed him! He knew she cared about him in her own way, especially considering that she wouldn't kiss him if she didn't! Even if they were far too quick and didn't give him a chance to react.
Hiccup tossed to his side, throwing the notebook on his table and blowing out his candle. "Good night, bud," he told Toothless, who warbled softly in reply. Hiccup had just began to dose off, when he heard a creak near his ladder. Opening his eyes again sleepily, he jerked in surprise when he saw Astrid there. "Astrid?" he questioned, astonished and nervous to see her there, rubbing his eyes, wondering if this was another one of his guilty fantasies. How had she managed to sneak by his dad? Not that he really cared how. This most likely had something to do with that vision, so he had to put away his wandering thoughts and focus on her.
Astrid shuffled her feet where she stood, very obviously nervous to be there too. She, blushed deeply, wondering if she was out of her mind, that and masochist! Why was she doing this to herself? "I uh... I'm... I'm sorry for just... showing up like this..." she began hesitantly, biting her lip. Gods, what had gotten into her? Why couldn't she just stay away? With an inward sigh, she knew why she couldn't stay away. "I... I'm still having trouble with... with what I've seen," she mumbled, unable to hold eye contact with him. "Can I... stay?"
At his dropped jaw and disbelief Astrid hurriedly explained. "I-I just! It's only for tonight! I'll sleep in the corner, I promise, you won't even know I'm there I-... I just... I need your strength..." she finished, again trying to keep her tears at bay, both hating how weak she was and how much she ached to be in his presence.
Hiccup was in a state of disbelief, overwhelmed by her need to be with him, confusing and exciting him all at once. He had had a crush on Astrid for such a long time, and she had accepted his friendship, now they were best friends. Hearing her pained words killed him, making him reply instantly. "Of course," he told her, frowning sadly at how relieved she seemed at his acceptance.
Toothless had sensed the hatchling's emotions as well and stood up, crooning worriedly. With his head low, he cautiously approached her, bumping into her side to nuzzle her affectionately. Astrid blinked away fresh tears, trying to get a grip of herself and reached over, scratching his chin to let him know she was okay, managing a weak smile for him. Toothless looked unconvinced but reluctantly wandered back over to his stone slab.
As they settled down, Hiccup couldn't help glancing over at Astrid every now and then, curled up at the corner, and felt a sharp pain in his heart at the sight. Even Toothless had a watchful eye on her. Unable to bear it any longer, he spoke up nervously. "A-Astrid?" he said quietly.
Astrid had been trying to sleep, trying to take comfort in the fact he was there, trying to deal with all the memories of him still so very fresh in her mind and deal with how different it all was now. She hated that her own time felt somehow like it wasn't anymore, how she had somehow managed to associate home and comfort with him. It was difficult, separating her feelings again, separating how she related to things, trying to place them back to how they were. How could she? When all she could think about was those last moments? Hearing his voice in the quiet made her jump slightly and look up. She could barely see him in the darkness, but she could feel his eyes on her.
"Would you... feel more comfortable... with... me..?" Hiccup asked nervously.
Astrid was shocked beyond belief by his brave invitation, by his willingness for such closeness, knowing that normally he would be much too shy to suggest it. How could she possibly turn it down though? When everything in her howled at her to accept it? Astrid was choked up and could only nod in agreement, but she knew he couldn't see it in that dark. "O-Okay..." she strained to say, getting up carefully.
Hiccup made room for her, blushing very deeply as she walked over. Astrid was overwhelmed with appreciation and shyly went over, sitting on the edge of his bed then. They held their breaths as they shifted around on the bed, trembling nervously as she settled next to him. Gods above, why was she so incredibly nervous around him suddenly? They laid there in silence, staring up at the ceiling and wishing the bed would swallow them whole.
Why was this so difficult!?
Astrid swallowed her pride and turned over to her side. Taking a breath to calm down, she moved closer to him, without a doubt shocking him to his roots as she tentatively pulled herself up to his side. Astrid wasn't sure why she was having such a hard time with him, but she needed him to know how much she, well, needed him. "Hiccup...will you... hold me..?" she asked, her trembling voice once again just barely above a whisper.
If things weren't so tense, his sharp nod and fiercely determined expression she could see this close to him would have amused her. Hiccup moved a bit in his spot and very hesitantly slid an arm around her waist. When he felt her relax, just by his touch, he felt a little more confident and instantly wrapped it around her, pulling her a little closer to him.
Feeling his arms go around her, even with how much smaller they now were, how much smaller he was, still managed to fill Astrid with the same intoxicating warmth and security, the very same it had in the future. All at once, she felt a deep sense of relief spread through her. But with it, memory was sure to follow. Astrid tried to hold back the tears again, but as it was becoming clear to her that day, she simply didn't have it in her to stop them. It wasn't so much grief anymore, it was a type of deep longing she knew she would be forced to endure for many years. She missed him, even as he held her tightly, so confused and worried.
Once again, and probably not for quite a while to come, Hiccup was overcome with his concern for her. "Astrid, please relax?" he murmured, feeling her shaking. "I... I'm here," he said, trying everything he could think of to calm her down. It only seemed to make it worse though as she began to shiver harder, her fingers winding tightly over his tunic. "Shh, it'll be okay," he said softly, trying to keep his own tears from welling in his eyes.
Astrid simply couldn't hold it back anymore, couldn't keep herself together when he was whispering such caring and selfless things to her, moved by his attempts to soothe her, but at the same time torn apart by his very words. Astrid hid her face in his shirt, unable to keep the sobs from escaping, clinging hopelessly to him. Hiccup held her tight throughout the whole night, not caring at all that her tears were soaking through his tunic, helpless to anything else, not knowing what else to do. Eventually her cries subsided and she whimpered herself to sleep, drifting off fitfully. Hiccup held her tightly, waiting for her to fall asleep first. "I promise you, milady," he began softly, hoping she could hear him. "I'll always be here for you."
Astrid did hear, even as sleep mercifully took her. The soothing, familiar words spread that comforting warmth she had been aching for. Relief washed over her again and this time it didn't bring her any lingering sadness. Like many times before, she let herself drown in his embrace, lulled to sleep in bliss, knowing he was there and would always be, just as he promised. As was his way, her sadness was chased right away with every squeeze he gave her, every soothing rub over her back, every promise he made, that she knew he would keep.
Astrid could do this. As long as he was with her, she could do anything. She would be patient.
End A/N: I'm sorry this chapter was a little short and a bit angst-ridden too, but it had to be done. I hope everyone liked this fun little smutfest! Yes, this is the end of this story. I'm sorry it had to end this way, but it had to be realistic, yeah? So how'd I do for my first How To Train Your Dragon fic? I have plans for more stories down the line of course. Speaking of which:
Sequel: There is a sequel now out, since enough people liked this and reviewed. It is a continuation, Astrid's point of view in her own time, seeing Hiccup grow and develop into the man she's fallen so in love with, resisting the temptation to pretty much jump his bones haha. Eventually they'll grow up and things get heated, of course. I'm actually pretty fond of that idea. Persuasion will certainly help inspire me to keep updating it.
Someone: Yup! It sure will! Or, um, is, I guess lol.
UnbreakableWarrior: Don't worry, I totally understand lol. Thank you. She didn't have doubts, that's the whole point. She had zero doubts, which was why Freyja decided it was time for her to go back.
harrypanther: I love tension lol. And this is how she reacted... kind of sad, actually brought tears to my own eyes, but after what happened to her, it's only natural.
Apollo 96: Nah, there was only her. In my crazy universe, there's only ever one of someone, so she essentially replaced the other Astrid. She'll eventually catch up and fill in all the gaps later... maybe... if I write that sequel lol.
Resisting-Moonlight: Haha no, no interruptions, just lots and lots of hot sex lol. Yep, she went back to her time! And eventually, if I write the sequel, they will be together again!
damfan: Thank you! Yes, I tried to make up for all the wait lol. Hiccup is such an animal lol.