PART TWO! HUZZAH! Why did I say "huzzah"? Whatever. Enjoy the chapter!
Astrid wasn't avoiding Hiccup. No, not at all. If anybody told you that she was, then, they were crazy. Astrid Hofferson was not avoiding or hiding from Hiccup Haddock. She was just a little too embarrassed to look him in the eye which resulted in her turning in the other direction and running away every time he spotted her, creeping around the village like a spy to try and make sure their paths didn't cross, and spending most of her days indoors or away from the village just so she wouldn't get trapped actually having to talk with him.
Astrid's parents had told her about the engagement the morning after she had slept at Ruffnut's.
"Is it true you made him work on a lot of projects before you would agree to finalize the contract?" Astrid had asked. Her mother snorted.
"Oh, that boy takes everything too seriously," she said, pouring some tea into a mug. "I only said it jokingly. Well, not really, we really did need some of those things, but he could've waited until after the wedding for almost everything."
Astrid scowled at her mother. "Did you ever think of telling him that?" Mrs. Hofferson shrugged and then continued reciting details of the contract.
Now she was sitting in her house with Ruffnut. Astrid's Nadder stood guard at the door to avoid certain red-headed boys from trying to talk with her. Toothless might try and find them soon. Ever since the incident at Ruffnut's house, Toothless thought of her as the supplier of all things yarn and was always whining at her with big eyes.
In preparation for the wedding, most of Astrid's time spent at home was copying down recipes, sewing up patches in her clothes, or working on the linens that were to be a part of the house for her and her husband-to-be.
Ruffnut was scowling at the sheet in her hands for the past hour. "I can't believe I'm touching this! Knowing what's gonna happen to the poor thing..."
Astrid turned red. "Shut up."
"You can't avoid it. The wedding's coming up in a couple of weeks. You can't avoid talking to Hiccup for much longer, either." There it was: another crazy person telling Astrid that she was avoiding Hiccup.
And she was right.
"I know," Astrid sighed. "I should talk to him, I really should, but it's just…"
"Awkward because you punched him in the face for going to Hel and back for you?"
The bride-to-be frowned at her friend. "Thank you for putting it so eloquently and yes that's exactly why I haven't talked to him yet.
Ruffnut finished off her last stitch, looking proud of the work she had done. "Relax, Astrid. So you punched the guy that you're head over heels for. Big deal! I punch Fishlegs all the time and he gets over it like that." Ruffnut snapped her fingers for emphasis.
Astrid blinked. "Since when do you like Fishlegs?" Ruffnut froze.
"You done with your sewing over there, yet?" she sputtered out. Astrid bit her lip and did her best to choke back a laugh. She managed to nod. They folded the sheet in silence; both girls were deep in thought. Astrid was most definitely not thinking about Hiccup and Ruffnut would punch you if you accused her of thinking of Fishlegs.
"So have you thought about the wedding or your life after it at all?" Ruffnut asked, taking the folded sheet away from her friend. Astrid shook her head. Ruffnut rolled her eyes in doubt. "Uh-huh. What do you want the kids to look like?"
"Redheads would be nice," Astrid replied without hesitation. "The odds are they'll be redheads!" she pointed out defensively when Ruffnut snickered.
"Is there anything else we need to sew?" Ruffnut asked, looking unpleased at the prospect. Astrid shook her head.
"I'm kind of sick of sewing right now. Maybe later, we'll get started on some pillows."
Ruffnut nodded happily. "That sounds great. I need to get out, see the village-"
"Hit Fishlegs?" Astrid asked, grinning. Ruffnut glared at her.
"Be careful, or I might just hit you." Astrid giggled, opening the front door for Ruffnut. Outside, Astrid's Nadder was growling at Toothless, making sure he kept his distance. Toothless was looking despondent, but once he spotted Ruffnut, his eyes lit up and he started running in circles excitedly, tongue flopped out.
"Oh, boy," Ruffnut groaned. She took a ball of yarn out of her vest pocket-she had been anticipating this moment. Toothless looked ready to burst. "Hey! Snotlout!" Ruffnut called to the boy who was walking past. "Think fast!" She threw the yarn at him, smirking when he actually caught it.
"Ruffnut? What are-AHHH!" Snotlout was running for his life with a Night Fury hot on his tail. He probably wouldn't get the hint to drop the yarn for a long while. Ruffnut waved goodbye and went on her way. Astrid stood in the doorway of her home, taking in the peaceful scenery-not counting the terrified screams of Snotlout-of the village around her. Astrid was suddenly struck with the thought that her time here was limited. She had been in this house-except for the times it had to be rebuilt-her whole life. Soon she'd be living in her own house, just her and Hiccup. The thought made her happy and sad all at once.
She needed to take a walk.
She left her Nadder behind and ignored everybody telling her congratulations. Ruffnut had told her that she needed to think about all of this and by the Gods she was going to go think about it. She ended up sitting under a lone tree by a wheat field. She closed her eyes and rested her head in the grass. Now she could think.
Should she still feel bad for punching Hiccup? Yes, she should, but Hiccup was Hiccup and had probably already forgiven her.
With that knowledge, should she have already gone to talk to Hiccup? Yes, but the thought is always so much easier than the action.
Marriage: how did she feel about it? She had never wanted to be married when she was a little girl. All the boys were stupid and they would think they could control her if they married her. Her ambition was to be a dragon killer and nothing more.
How did she feel about being married to Hiccup? Well, Hiccup definitely wasn't just another one off the boys in the village. He had a big heart, he was creative, he was funny-sometimes without meaning to be-, and he would be a great chief of the Hairy Hooligan tribe one day.
A gentle hand touched Astrid's shoulder. Her eyes blinked open to, of course, Hiccup sitting down next to her. She had drifted off to sleep without meaning to. Toothless was nearby, trying to look casual, but Astrid knew he had probably found her and then fetched Hiccup. Even the Night Fury couldn't be distracted by a ball of yarn for long.
"Did you have a nice nap?" Hiccup asked, stretching out in the grass beside her. After six days, small traces of a bruise beneath his left eye still remained. Astrid reached out and touched it gently. Guilt welled up in her again, but the smile on Hiccup's lips made her feel like she was already forgiven. Still, she had to make sure.
"I'm sorry about your eye," Astrid apologized. Sure enough, Hiccup shrugged it off.
"Don't worry about it. It doesn't hurt anymore. Plus, I can see only one of you right now, so I'm all better." Hiccup was grinning from ear to ear. Astrid rolled her eyes.
"I'm sorry I yelled at you," Hiccup said. The smile was gone. "I shouldn't have done it," he continued. "Stress and sleep deprivation are a bad combination, apparently, and unfortunately I took it out on you when I really didn't want to and when you didn't deserve it."
Astrid kissed his forehead. "My parents caused all that stress. If I had known anything I would've gotten them to butt out."
Hiccup still wasn't smiling. "You've been avoiding me."
Astrid played with a blade of grass. "Yes," she answered slowly. "I was just feeling a little awkward...maybe a little embarrassed."
Hiccup sighed. "About being married to me?" he asked in an impossibly small voice. "Well, that's okay, then. You don't have to be married to me. You could run away if you want to get out of the contract. Or I'll run away if you really want to stay on Berk. Or we could get married and you could divorce me right after the honeymoon is over and we wouldn't even have to do anything on the honeymoon. We could just lie and say we did. The point is that I would never want to force you into a marriage you didn't want to be in."
There was the last factor about Hiccup that Astrid hadn't thought of earlier. He understood that she couldn't be controlled or told what to do. A couple never really got to have a choice when marriage contracts were drawn up, but Hiccup was defying tradition again and giving her a choice.
Astrid rolled over on top of him and left a trail of kisses all over his face before finally getting to his lips. They stayed like that for a while, kissing each other thoroughly while their hands wandered over each other. They broke apart and Astrid rolled off Hiccup, but stayed tucked into his side while Hiccup kept an arm around her.
"That was because I do want to marry you," Astrid informed him. She socked him in the arm. Hiccup jerked in pain
"And that was for…?" Hiccup asked.
"For thinking that I didn't." Hiccup was feeling stupid. "I felt awkward and embarrassed because I gave you a black eye and I didn't find out until afterwards why you had so little free time."
Hiccup kissed Astrid gently. "Don't worry about hitting me. I already told you that I'm fine. Besides, Ruffnut hits Fishlegs all the time and he gets over pretty fast. I can get over it, too."
Astrid laughed. "Discreet" was not a word in Ruffnut's vocabulary. Hiccup stood up and offered a hand to Astrid.
"Come on," he said. "I need you to try on your ring and see if it fits."