Hey guys! Last chapter... Wow is that weird to say.
As promised it's Monday, it's afternoon-ish, and I'm back to fill in the last few blanks.
For those of you who have been begging, pleading, and outright demanding for more... well, you've wore me down. All my other projects are making excellent progress, so I decided to throw you a smut-filled carrot for a holiday present. Sometime around Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice I'll post the 'Deep Woods'... aka the smutty tree-and-bondage based one-shot. There's not as much plot as 'On This Your Wedding Day' which talks about the drama that happens just before the Haddock/Hofferson wedding... but something tells me it will keep your interest just the same...
For those of you who have expressed interest in the movie I've been working on, I'd love to shoot you links via FF... but I had a recent incident that's proved I need to keep my Fic and Pro Writing stuff relatively seperate.
So, I'll just have to e-mail them to you.
As you know, my fanfiction e-mail address is through Hotmail - user name 'LioBorte'. It's on my profile as well, if you just want to cut and paste the address.
Put the phrase "Interested In Movie Links" somewhere in the body or title of the e-mail and I'll shoot you a list of links where you can get the latest news.
I highly recommend this for those of you who want a smut boost between now and December. We just shot a smoking-hot makeout scene between two of our principle actors this weekend, and it's already up on the usual channels.
There are way, way, WAY too many people to thank when it comes to thank-yous. The reviewers alone are making my head spin in terms of the overwhelming amount of gratitude. I've been trying to compile a list of everyone who has been so generous with their time and praise, but it's taken me two hours, and I'm not done yet. Two. Hours. Damn. Just... damn.
So, I've decided to be logical and just send out Thank-You notes. If you were logged in when you reviewed, expect a note from me in your messages sometime this week. If you submitted a review while you were logged out, I still want to thank you for your honesty, your enthusiasm, and - hopefully - your return for mindless smut in December. I'll drop you a thank-you note here as soon as I can.
Oh, and the links mentioned in the author's notes will be going up on my profile sometime tonight. So, if you want to do further research about Vikings living with their in-laws or germanic forms of contraception, today's your lucky day.
As I've said, this is not 'goodbye' but a 'catch you later.'
Can't wait to see you all on the other side.
The morning had dawned lead-grey and as serious as a heart attack. Stoick the Vast had just attached his armor and was steeling himself to go downstairs.
Hiccup would be up in a few minutes, and before the boy snuck off to train with the villagers, they needed to have a talk.
It was strange to start thinking of Hiccup as a problem again. After 3 years of relative quiet, the boy had grown so much. He was taking responsibly and showing strength in ways he had never done before. He had crossed seas, tamed wild beasts and shown everyone that he was truly his father's son. And Stoick was proud of him.
But for the first time in 3 years, he was starting to worry once again.
It was one thing not to prefer any girl in the village. It was another thing entirely to only prefer one girl and then stop. Something was going on. He knew it had been. Months had gone by, and the mood he was in had refused to lift.
He had spoken to the people in the village he had trusted most. He had spoken to Astrid's parents. He had even had Gobber keep an eye on the boy. But he still wasn't sure what his son's problem was.
It was a hard thing to go back to having a discussion he didn't want to have with his son.
So he had risen early in the hopes of catching the boy before he left for the stadium.
But as he made his way into the main room of the house, he saw the unexpected.
Astrid. And Hiccup. Sitting at the bench, with the beast underfoot. His son was writing something down on a large piece of parchment, while Astrid sipped a steaming mug of something hot.
"I might as well make the second sword myself, otherwise I won't be able to throw it." Hiccup was saying, "Not that I shouldn't start practicing." 
"And I've got to find the box for my kransen" Astrid was saying, scratching at the headband in question, "But if my mother's bridal crown melted during the final dragon attack, we might have a problem." 
A smell hit him that instantly took him back 15 years. Seeping marjoram, thyme, parsley, and lavender.  It made him remember how difficult Hiccup's birth was. It made him remember early mornings after nights their healer expressly forbid.
It was coming from the mug Astrid was sipping.
He slowly made his way into the room, unwilling to disturb the scene just yet.
"We should have the ceremony down in the canyon near Raven's Point. It's a nice spot, and it has a lot of meaning."
"That's a long way to race back to the hall for the reception,"  Astrid pointed out. She had put down her brew and was scratching the beast on the spot on his neck that sent his tail flailing. Hiccup scooted closer to her, petting the beast himself, and getting closer to the girl.
"Yeah, but it's the perfect spot."
The girl started rubbing the boy's knee, pulling up the cuff of his pants.
"Yeah." Astrid said.
As the two leaned in close, Stoick felt he should clear his throat.
The two immediately jerked apart. "Dad! Uh, hey - hey dad! Didn't expect to... you know, see you up this late. Uh, early."
Hiccup swung his leg over the bench and stood up. Astrid scooted back to where she had sat before, and the night fury nudged its head into the girl's lap. ... had the beast just rolled its eyes at the boy?
"I guessed that. What are you two doing?"
"Just... talking some things out."
"Yep. Just working out a few details here and there, uh, you know. Things we've been too busy to put down on paper."
Stoick didn't say a word.
Despite the shock of seeing him, his son was smiling. Smiling like he hadn't done since his mother passed. A rough texture was imprinted on the hands he held up and on one side of his cheek. His clothes looked like he'd been crawling through the mud then flying through the rain. The laces on his leg had been replaced. His leg was visible. For the first time since the battle with the great dragon queen, he had not become distressed with the leg of his leggings being rolled up above the knee.
And then there was the girl. There were twigs and gravel coming out of her hair. Her armor looked like it had been put on in the dark. Even if he could have put this all down to a friendly bout of sparing, what she was drinking and the bruises on their necks told a different story.
"Yep." the boy said, trying to look anywhere but at his father. "Talking. Just... talking."
Astrid belted back the rest of her brew and got up from the bench. "You know, I'm going to..."
"Oh right, that's a good idea." Hiccup agreed.
"Give you guys an opportunity to -"
"Right, like we discussed."
"Because my mom, she needs to - "
"Right, the earlier the better."
The devil beast snorted, then looked up at the tallest beam in the highest rafter. He gave a slight, irritated growl. Stoick scanned the roof. "What the devil is he snarling at?"
There was a faint scraping sound as he looked away,
But neither Hiccup nor Astrid said anything. In fact, suspicious, he turned around to see his son quickly pushing on the girl's shoulder's to separate them, and utterly failing to look innocent. The beast suddenly didn't look the least bit alarmed as he pulled his tail away from the small of the girl's back.
He would have bet the dark, scaly creature would have been whistling if his lips could accommodate the sound.
"Right! Mom. Talking." Astrid turned back to the boy and playfully tweaked his nose. "Later."
Pulling her pack on her shoulder and petting the beast, Astrid bounded out of the hall, waving behind herself as she did.
The boy's dreaming expression didn't fade as she walked over the crest of the hill. It wasn't until Stoick waved a hand in front of his son's eyes that the boy came back to solid ground.
"Right. Dragon class. I'm teaching the new riders today."
He started to walk off, but Stoick grabbed him by the scruff of his neck like a kitten, pulling him back to sit at the table.
"Not just yet. We needed to talk today, we might as well talk about this instead." He sat himself down at the head of the table, and started reading the notebook still open on it. It was a rough draft of a wedding contract. The wedding contract both families had been putting off writing until they figured out what was happening with those two.
The terms for the three weddings gifts were exactly what he would have chosen. The changes that Hiccup would need for he and Astrid to live comfortably were exactly what he would have chosen to give the young couple privacy.  And the bed they had sketched out was large enough that the beast wouldn't be hanging from any rafters in the main room, which would add years to his life. It was almost as if the two of them had been working on this for years.
"Do you want to tell me what's been going on?"
"You mean with Astrid and - "
"Yes. Tell me. What is going on with you and Astrid?"
"Well, we decided not to put things off. Er, anymore. She's going to talk to her parents to make sure they still approve, and I was hoping to convince you to get the elder so we can get the details hammered out before I have to help Gobber at the forge. Say, noonish? Er... today?"
"Well, I mean... we DO have to be in the ceremony-"
"That's all that has been going on? Why did you wait this long? Did you not know I was speaking with her parents for the past year?"
"I heard about-"
"Did you not see the rest of your peers married and settled? Did you not think it was something that applied to you? What has been going through that blasted head of yours all these months?"
Toothless snarled and snapped at the Chieftain s ankles.
"And you stay out of it you blasted beast!"
"Woah! Dad! Dad... taunting the Night Fury? Not going to help the situation."
He turned to the beast with both hands open, "We're talking buddy. That's it. No need to get concerned."
The beast harrumphed and tromped off.
"Dad, it's not that I didn't see what was going on. I just wasn't sure I could be a part of it."
"And you really thought you had a choice? A father can decide the best path for his children, Hiccup."
"And a son can climb on his dragon and fly away at any time."
Stoick's heart jumped when the fear he had had since Hiccup first took to the skies after the battle was voiced.
"But c'mon Dad. Following the rules never worked for us. Why else would you have given me all this time to figure things out?"
"Would your father have waited this long for you to come around before he approved the marriage between you and mom?"
"What your grandfather did for our marriage is complicated. But I understand what you are trying to say." Stoic took a deep breath, "You said you didn't think you could be a part of it."
"Right. I didn't. But - but... NOT because I didn't want to. It's kind of weird thinking I'm old enough to marry, but if I ever wanted anyone, it's Astrid. I mean, I don't feel what I feel for Astrid for anyone else. And its like, bees in my skull whenever she's around, but in a good way. And if I don't see her all day, I start looking for her, cause I want to tell her everything that's been happening to me. And I think about kissing her every time she smiles. And Toothless likes her. Course, I didn't want to tell her I like her like that, because I might do it wrong and she's got a mean right hook, and would have gotten weird if we got loopy every time we were training a class together, but- "
Hiccup paused, mid-word, as if he finally realized he was blathering.
"Did you object to the idea of marriage, then?"
"What? No. I mean Astrid and I, we... already belong together. Having a ceremony would just be letting people know."
"Then what was it?"
"It was just... one last problem. And it was with me, and you'll probably be like Astrid and think I was making a big deal out of nothing, but I thought it was something I shouldn't bring into a marriage. I l-..." he stopped himself, then squaring his shoulders, "I. Love. Astrid. And I love her too much for anything to come between us."
The look on his boy's face made it clear Hiccup thought he would have to spell out every worry and every concern he'd had since this 'problem' began. But Stoick knew without his son saying another word. He had seen one of his best friends loose and arm and a leg in a month's time. And when Gobber had first recovered, he hadn't made any jokes about how delicious he was.
It had taken the man far longer to get back on his feet than it had taken Hiccup. And Gobber had asked his wife - That Vile Woman - to leave him and go back to her people in Freezing To Death. There had been no love between them at the end, and it had long since become clear That Woman thought he was less of a man because there was less of him. But Gobber had watched her ship sail away until just before it reached the horizon, and he had turned back to the village with despair in his face.
The look on his son's face was frighteningly familiar.
He placed a comforting hand on his son's back.
"A life well lived will not always harm the love between two people." he told Hiccup, "And proof of an act of incredible courage and strength is something to always be proud of."
Hiccup's lip twitched, trying for an ironic smile. It just made him look tired. "Wish I had figured that out a year ago. You might have had a grandchild by now."
"Now that you mentioned it, how many are you planning on having?"
"Just a rough estimate, so I know." Stoick said, looking over the contract, "It takes a while to get baby things together. Blankets, clothes, Bows and Arrows, Battle axes."
"We were getting to that when you walked in."
"You were trying to start a family on the hearth when I walked in?"
"What? No! Dad..."
"Don't try to pull the wool over my eyes, I saw you moving next to the girl. And using the beast as an excuse..."
The Beast in question made an exasperated noise, as if asking to be left out of the discussion.
"Fine, fine! We won't see each other again until the ceremony."
"Now, I didn't say that. But you don't to seem to think your problem is a problem anymore. How did that happen?"
"Nothing happened on the hearth." Hiccup muttered.
"But something did happen, or else your foul mood would still be around. What made you realize that what happened to your leg wasn't important to marrying the girl?"
Hiccup looked at his father with an analytical eye.
"The short version?"
"And sometime this century, son."
"Well, I was going to tell her that I couldn't marry her. But she and Toothless tracked me down. She trapped me in the back of a cave until I told her what was wrong."
"And I told her why I thought we couldn't be together."
"And she thought otherwise, and told me so."
"And I didn't believe her. Or I didn't want to believe her after I had taken so much time convincing myself. So I told her as much. She smacked me around a bit, and..."
"And then she... well she had to.. uh... show me."
Stoick had never seen anything as red as his son's face, outside of the hide of a Monstrous Nightmare.
"And, I, uh, believed her after that."
Clearly Astrid was a far better woman than Gobber's wife had ever been. And a damn good problem solver to boot.
"Right. Well. I'll just go talk to the elder, then?"
Stay tuned for the next story in the series... 'Deep Woods' coming in December 2010
 While Viking Marriages were similar to our own, a few details stand out as relatively unique. There would be two swords present in the ceremony: one ancient one passed down through the groom's family that would be given to the bride for safe keeping until the birth of her sons. The other sword was a new one given in trust to the groom. While both bride and groom used their respective swords during the exchange of rings, the groom's actually had a double purpose. When he and his wife entered their home for the first time he would rush the main wooden pillar of the house, stabbing it with the sword. If the sword made a certain kind of deep mark, their happiness was relatively assured. Hiccup definitely needs to practice.
 A Viking Maiden of means typically wore a headband or 'kransen' symbolizing her chastity. (Ironically enough, in the movie, Astrid is the only girl her age wearing one. All those in favor of not thinking of Ruffnut having an active social life?) On the day of her wedding, the girl's headband was removed and replaced with a wedding crown. Some Scandinavian wedding ceremonies today feature a straw crown, made specifically for the bride and the ceremony. However, there is archeological evidence that in Astrid and Hiccup's day the crown was a metal one, passed down in a matriarchal line, and used by each family's bride on her big day.
 Astrid is protecting Hiccup again. The tea she's drinking is a traditional Germanic medicine to discourage conception. While Viking couples prayed to the Goddess Freya to bring them as many children as possible, having a child out of wedlock would be the worst thing a couple could do. At best, it would be a shame on both families and leave the girl ineligible to collect her family inheritance. At worst, the male relatives of the girl could track down and kill the potential father, even if pregnancy was only suspected. Some source material even points to several Viking myths where an epic hero was killed by this future in-laws for not proposing to his true love in a timely fashion. The village has stretched a lot of its social laws to allow two of it's young heroes the chance to be together. But a pregnancy would be the last straw.
 The Vikings had petty contests even during their marriage ceremonies. After the bride and groom shared the kiss that completed the wedding ceremony, they were given a running start as the entire wedding party raced back to the hall where the reception was being held. The groom had to make sure to run quicker than his bride so he could stop her from entering the hall without him. And the rest of the wedding party couldn't mosey back either. Tradition stated that whichever guest crossed the threshold last, their side of the family would have to serve food and drinks for the rest of the reception. Not a small prize to win, when Viking Wedding celebrations could go on for 3 days. It is unknown if tripping, clothes lining and kicking-the-back-of-the-knee-HALO-style throw downs were permissible during the race.
 Sorry to all those dreaming of Hiccup and Astrid living Happily Ever After in a little lodge on a cliff with a white Stonehenge fence. Viking families lived en mass under the same roof. It was a way for the head of the family to keep track of everyone year-round and keep everyone frostbite free in the winters. Awkward mornings with Stoick are far from a thing of the past.