This plot was the brainchild of the incomparable psychicsaphie. Wellspring of ideas, sounding board and beta, thank you so much!
Dislcaimer: Not mine, no money, no sue.
So, here it is, the promised sequel! And yeah, we dive straight into the sexytiems in Part 1. Rating for this and for violence in later chapters.
I hope you all enjoy it, and don't forget to review!
When In Rome
Hiccup shifted the weight from his prosthetic leg as Stoick heaped another sack into his arms.
"No buts, Hiccup, you're coming with us, and that's final."
"This has got to be a joke, or the Gods really do hate me. Dad, I just got married! Can't I just be 'just got married' a bit longer, instead of being dragged over to Phlock?"
"This is part of the duties of the Chief, Hiccup," Stoick said sternly. "You've got to learn this stuff. An' the wedding was three months ago, you must be used to it by now."
"Used to…? Dad, it's Astrid we're talking about here. You know, the crazy dangerous unpredictable blonde girl, the one upstairs?" Hiccup thumped his armful of sacks onto Toothless' back. The Night Fury sniffed at them curiously, and whined irritably at his friend.
"The one you've known your whole life, you mean?" Stoick said, a touch of amusement in his voice.
"Yeah, well, I wasn't living with her then, was I?" Hiccup lifted his arms up resignedly for the next bundle.
Stoick thumped a sack of heavy embroidered pennants into his arms, and then stood down from the ladder, taking off his helmet and wiping at his brow. "Get that beast to take those down to the ship, will you? An' Hiccup, I had to do this too, an' I liked it no better than you do. But this is an important meeting – all the Chiefs from all the surrounding islands are goin' to be there, and you need," he prodded his son in his still-skinny chest, "to represent the dragons of Berk. After all, that's what the convocation's about, eh?"
"Why can't you do it?" sulked Hiccup. "You're Chief, not me."
"They're really goin' to believe that I made peace with the dragons? An' here I thought you were a clever lad." Stoick re-donned his helmet, took Hiccup's shoulders and forcibly span him around. The heavy bundle of pennants almost slipped out of his arms.
"Dad, I'll have spent more of this year away than at home!" Hiccup moaned, putting down the cumbersome bundle on Toothless' already-laden back and beginning to tie them down.
"I know, and I'm sorry, son, but it's your own fault for makin' friends with this blasted lizard," Stoick nudged Toothless' side, and the dragon snorted contemptuously.
"Okay, for my sake, can everyone at least pretend to get along? Too much to ask?" Hiccup said sardonically, looking between them. Stoick looked a little abashed, but cleared his throat to cover it.
"You're going to Phlock, Hiccup, and there's an end to it," he said gruffly.
"Fantastic," Hiccup sighed, tightening the ropes around Toothless' belly.
"No one said you were going alone, son," Stoick added in a gentler tone. Hiccup's head jerked up, and he stared at his father.
"You're going where?"
Hiccup winced. "Apparently this is non-negotiable, and I have to be there to represent the dragon-rider contingent and this is so not my idea, and it would be really great if you didn't kill me or maim me in any way."
Astrid put her hands on her hips and glared. Her glare was very, very good. "Hiccup. I waited six months for you while you were in Brass Monkey. Then I put up with a month of bickering, dithering and duels-to-the-death. Then we got married, and I thought; great, finally, a chance to calm down - and now you tell me you're going away again?"
"You are not being very reassuring regarding the whole horrible death or bloody maiming possibilities," he said nervously, and she ran her hands over her headcloth roughly.
"Arrgh! Hiccup, for Odin's sake, can't you just stay put? Tell your dad you're not going?"
"Tried," he said miserably, and sat down on the fur-covered bench that sat in a cosy corner of their loft room. "It was a no. Underlined. Twice."
Astrid's face softened as she took in his miserable expression. She sat beside him and took his hand, her fingers slipping between his. "So, how long is it supposed to be before you come home?" she asked in a gentler tone. "It better not be six months," she added sharply.
He shrugged one shoulder. "Phlock's two weeks away by sea. I don't know how long this Chief-convocation is supposed to last, maybe a couple of days, maybe a month. All I know is, every time I've been sent away to teach the other villages about the dragons, nothing gets done until after the welcoming feast. Totally useless before then because everyone gets so drunk they can't see. Apparently this is what passes for a tradition."
Astrid snorted. "Charming. So we're talking a month at least, maybe two at most?"
"I guess," Hiccup sighed gustily. "I am so, so sorry, Astrid."
"Hey," she nudged him. "I'm not mad. Well, no wait, I lie, I am mad, but mostly at the stupid timing. And at your dad."
"If you're going to beat him up, can I sell tickets?" he asked hopefully, and she smacked him on the arm. "No really, that would be a way better duel to watch."
She traced the thin line that streaked under his eye and crossed the bridge of his nose. "I don't know, yours was pretty gripping."
He huffed and kissed the back of her hand, before folding it between his own. "I don't want to go, Astrid," he said seriously, "but I don't see how I can get out of it. Dad's adamant, and well, as the Chief of Berk's son and with the whole story behind meeting Toothless, and the Queen Dragon and everything, I guess I really am the best one to put it to a Chief's Council."
"I know," she leaned her head against his shoulder, looking down at her captured hand. "I know. Doesn't mean I like it. When do you leave?"
"Apparently we leave in three days. Nice of Dad to give me so much notice, huh?" Hiccup rolled his eyes. "Honestly, it's like he thinks I'll just bundle us both onto Toothless and take off if he tells me with enough time to, I don't know, blink."
Astrid's mouth quirked. "Hmm."
"That's an… interesting idea."
"Wha… no, Astrid. That way lies shouting and angry mobs."
"It'd just be your Dad," she scoffed.
"Astrid, you know him right? Seen the size of him? Believe me, he qualifies as a mob."
She dug his ribs in retaliation. "Baby."
"So I like breathing. How does this make me a baby, exactly?" He dug her ribs back. She squealed, and laughing, he pressed the attack. They traded pokes in the ribs for a few moments until Astrid's hair was coming out of her headcloth and Hiccup's face was very red. She giggled at his blush – still adorable after three months of marriage – and managed one last sneaky jab to his stomach.
"Help, domestic abuse!" Hiccup gasped, laughing.
"Baby!" she chortled.
He sat up straighter, his smile dropping, and wrapped her in his long, long arms. "Don't want to go," he mumbled against the wisps of escaping blonde.
"I know," she said against his collarbone. "I know."
And then, as it was so handily there and all, she bit it.
His collarbone held a particular fascination for Astrid. Ever since that day over four months ago when he'd come home from the Brass Monkey dragon delegation, she'd had a certain fixation on it. Hiccup had taken to wearing a lot of higher collars, as she often left him with the half-moon indentations of her sharp, white teeth.
This particular trait of hers had an unusual effect on him. Every time she bit his collarbone, he was automatically and immediately on fire. He groaned loudly.
"We… don't have time… right now, Astrid," he managed, and she made a noise of assent.
And bit him again.
With a moan, Hiccup gave up on that particular fight, lifting her head and claiming her lips. His hands pushed at the headcloth until it slipped down over her coiled braids, and he tugged gently at the ties as he kissed her insistently, threading his fingers through her hair until it was loose.
She helped him by pulling away briefly and shaking her head, her heavy tresses falling around her face. Then she hooked her hands underneath his tunic and pulled it off roughly.
"Astrid…!" he hissed as she pulled her own tunic off and pressed him down against the furs. "We… mmm…"
"We'll be quick," she said promisingly.
"We will?" he said weakly.
"Oh yes," she answered roguishly.
After three months, this was comfortable and familiar territory. The body of the other had been well and truly mapped, each sensitive area logged and accounted for. And yet, it was still the most wonderful and astonishing thing, still new and amazing. Hiccup honestly thought he'd never be able to tire of her, of her taste, of the feel of her, of the noises she made.
"Astrid…" he croaked.
She smiled against the skin on his stomach. Though he'd grown up a lot while he'd been in Brass Monkey, there was still absolutely no way he was ever going to fill the massively muscular silhouette of the traditional Viking warrior. He still had trouble understanding that Astrid actually found him –him- attractive. More than attractive, she said. She thought he was gorgeous. And she hadn't been the only one.
And to him, that was just weird.
Obviously the gods had struck the women of Midgard with some sort of selective blindness. Otherwise, Ruffnut and Astrid and Oglaranna (and occasionally Gerda – which was disturbing) would have spotted that he was tall and weedy and skinny and not very strong – and he freckled like a toadstool after a day in the sun. Then there was the foot thing, and brand new scars from his duel – although Astrid liked them. She said they were heroic.
Hiccup liked them because she'd been the one to sew him up. She'd put her mark right into his skin.
She was mouthing along the one high on his chest, the one that could have carried away his life. He hissed as she dipped from the line where it crossed his pectoral and nibbled on his nipple as she always did. Though it was the same thing she'd done ever since he'd been healed enough, it never failed to make him shiver. He grasped her hips tightly as her fingers scrabbled at the ties on his leggings.
"Foot comes off," she puffed inelegantly against his chest. "Now."
And that was another thing. She honestly didn't care about his foot, it made no difference to her one way or the other. He'd spent almost two and a half years hating everything to do with it. He'd hated being reminded of it and he'd worked himself down to wire trying to improve it to the point where he could walk and run and jump like everyone else. Every setback had been crushing.
He lifted his hips as she tugged his leggings down, and then rocked forward against her in order to kiss and nuzzle her breast through the band she always wore to keep then bound against her body. She made that wonderful little whine she always made when her arousal kicked up a notch. Her fingers, now used to the task, scrabbled under his bunched leggings to unclip the buckles holding his leg on. It clattered to the floor, and she pulled the leggings off entirely.
She really didn't care. It was only important to her insofar as it was something to consider occasionally: when fighting or flying or training or loving. She loved him, and to her his missing foot was inconsequential. Hiccup had always felt that it would have been hard for him to love her any more. That day in the cove when she had kissed his stump, she had proven him wrong.
Speaking of hard –
Astrid was pulling her breast-band over her head as she clambered back up his body. He buried his face between her breasts and thumbed her nipple, and she sucked a breath between her teeth.
"Quick," she breathed, as he pushed her leggings down, his hand sliding against her soft leg. She kicked them off, pausing as her breath hitched due to that roving hand sliding between her thighs and his long, nimble fingers toying with her. Normally she loved that and could happily let him explore her for ages, but today she seemed caught up in the urgency.
"Quickquickquick!" she growled, and he rubbed against that little button that drove her totally mental.
"Yes, ma'am," he gasped, and she tugged his shoulders as she lay back, pulling him over her. Her strong little hand grabbed and positioned him, and they let out a groan in chorus as he pushed into that beautiful hot place.
Gods, his life had changed so much.
She was so amazing. Her blue eyes had half-lidded as he began to move, and her lips had cracked from panting, her long fringe sticking to her forehead and eyelashes. She kept getting annoyed with that fringe, but he loved it – loved the way she tossed her head to get it out of her eyes, loved the way it escaped the traditional headcloth she had donned the day after their wedding. He loved her hair so much, the sun-coloured wealth of it, and ran his fingers through the soft, baby-fine strands at her temple. She grabbed his hand and sucked on his finger.
The world contracted to one very important thing.
He started to move faster as her tongue swirled around his digit and teeth scraped softly over his nail. Her heavy-lidded eyes glittered with the knowledge of what she did to him. Well, she could hardly miss it, he'd turned into cast iron when she popped his finger in her mouth. He pressed harder against the softness-over-steel of her knowing she loved a closer angle, and nipped at her neck in revenge. Her lips parted soundlessly as she arched, white teeth flashing, and he fixed his mouth over her small, perfect breast and flicked the nipple rapidly with his tongue-tip.
She was whimpering now, but mixed with the whimpers were noises of insistent haste. "Okay, okay," he choked, and started to drive into her. She liked that, liked hard and fast and messy. Her mouth opened in a silent cry. He wanted to remember the curve of her neck in this moment, wanted to remember it forever. Hooking her leg over his hip, Hiccup balanced against his knees and pushed as hard as he could.
He was going to win this race, he could tell by the tingle in his toes and the melted-steel feeling already taking over his limbs. She could sense it too, he noted, and used the leg over his hip to pull him tighter, her hands clutching reflexively at his shoulders.
Too fast, too fast, too…
He slammed against her as he tried to muffle his strangled yelp, his head full of her, the feel of her, the strong and stubborn sweetness. He poured himself into her, his breath catching and his vision blurring for a second, his mouth open and slack. Apparently she thought he looked hilarious at that moment.
He was simply glad he had that moment, and could have it again. With her.
Panting heavily, he drew out of her, and immediately pushed her legs back against her chest. Trial and error (more error than trial, really) had taught him that although he had it pretty easy in these matters, Astrid needed a warm-up and it was not a good idea to waste work well done.
She was very, very wet this time, and as he swiped his tongue along her he could taste himself mingled with her. The taste wasn't exactly pleasant, but he liked it anyway, liked what it meant. He latched onto what she called 'Frigga's bumpy little gift' and sucked and hummed and laved as hard as he could, not easing up the pressure at all.
It seemed to be exactly what she was after, as not two minutes later she was writhing, her head flopping side to side and her legs clamping around his head. He slowed as her breathing evened. He'd learned the hard way that after her moment of pleasure, she was painfully hypersensitive. The hard way had involved being kicked in the stomach. Finally, he sat up and wiped his mouth.
She looked at him lazily from where she sprawled, and grinned. "Told you it'd be quick."
"Hey guys, you hungry?"
Hiccup dumped the basket of fish in front of the Night Fury and the Nadder. Toothless immediately perked up and started rooting through them, trying to eat his favourites before the finicky Nadder could steal them.
Spike looked at the black dragon with barely-concealed irritation, and went on grooming her tail-darts with a haughty dignity. Hiccup's hands landed on his hips, and he regarded Astrid's birdlike friend with amusement.
"Y'know, you can push him out of the way if you like the cod so much," he pointed out, and Spike paused from her grooming long enough to huff through her nostrils at him. Hiccup laughed softly and placed a fond hand on her head above her deadly spiked collar, before pushing Toothless' blunt head from the middle of the fish pile. "There you go."
Spike squawked and pounced on the fish thus revealed, and Toothless gave a cross purling rumble. Hiccup scratched his ear. "Well, can't have you bullying the new girl, can we?" he said jovially, and Toothless barked at him.
"Manners," Hiccup scolded, before sitting with his back against his best friend's broad side.
It had been a month since the dragons had woken from their winter sleep, and Toothless had not been pleased to find that there was another dragon he was expected to share space with. Hiccup had honestly thought the pair of them might have set the house alight several times during those first two weeks. Spike had been nervous and edgy, settling into a new house with new people, and Toothless had been defensive and possessive. Territorial boundaries had been drawn up with the precision of battle-lines, and it was only through the intervention of Astrid that Spike hadn't let loose with a volley of darts when Toothless kept stealing fish meant for the vain and picky Nadder.
Toothless had sullenly accepted the Nadder's presence in their lives. He made his displeasure felt by shouldering her away from food and hovering over it like a sulky black thundercloud, and refusing to let her enter through a doorway before him. All the doors (and the trap to their loft) now had claw-marks ringing the jambs and frames. Hiccup hoped he gave that up soon, he was tired of planing and sanding them back.
Eventually, however, the two prickly dragons had settled down and the lodge had started to gain a sense of normalcy. Their bickering was now just another part of life in the Haddock household, and the threat of a lightning-firebolt or a tail-dart was a distant memory. Hiccup had built a large perch on the roof of the lodge for Spike as she loved to bask in the sun and to crow at all passing birds and dragons, and that had certainly helped the situation. Spike definitely appreciated having a place that was entirely her own. Since the advent of warmer weather she even slept up there occasionally, roosting and squawking at the dawns like a multicoloured chicken.
Toothless had also not been happy to find new marks on his best friend. The scars from the duel with Oglaranna had been barely healed when the Night Fury awoke, and, dizzy from hunger and disoriented from hibernation, Toothless had grabbed Hiccup close and refused to let anyone near him for almost three hours. It had taken a lot of fast talking for him to let Hiccup go. It was only when Hiccup allowed the dragon to snuffle carefully along the reddened lines that Toothless finally relented.
Telling him the story of the duel hadn't been such fun either. The dragon had obviously felt furious that someone haddared attempt to hurt his human, and was contemptuous of the reasons behind it. Evidently dragons were a lot more straightforward than people when it came to the whole 'picking a partner' thing. Toothless' ears had twitched with worry and his eyes had been huge with anxiety as Hiccup, trapped in his scaled forepaws, tried to explain the situation. He obviously blamed himself for not being there, and it made him clingy and overprotective for weeks afterwards.
One thing Hiccup hadn't considered (and gods was it embarrassing) was that both dragons had a far keener sense of smell than any Viking. So he didn't even need to tell Toothless that he was married now. After releasing his boy, the dragon had sniffed curiously at him again for a few seconds – and then his large blunt head swung directly to Astrid and his eyes widened.
Then Toothless turned back to Hiccup, and showed him what a dragon's smirk was like.
That smirk had become a familiar expression on both dragons. After Hiccup and Astrid had loved each other, it was practically guaranteed to cross the face of one or the other. Matter of fact, it was crossing Toothless' now.
"Shut up, you're as bad as Tuff," Hiccup grumbled, elbowing Toothless' ribs.
Toothless gave his coughing laugh, and turned back to his fish.
"Wear your bearskin cloak," Astrid instructed, pulling his tunic roughly into place. The rough spring wind howled along the decking of the pier blowing her hair from her headcloth, and she had to raise her voice slightly to be heard over the shouts of the longship's crew. "And don't stammer."
"Gotcha, no stammering," he said obediently. "Why the bearskin?"
"It looks impressive," she shrugged, and handed him his travel-roll. "This convocation is a big deal according to your dad, and you'll be meeting some of these Chiefs for the first time. When you take over here-"
"Which is the kind of thought to keep a guy awake at night," Hiccup said dryly, and she prodded his ribs again. He grinned.
"-When you take over here, those Chiefs are going to be important to know. Try to make a good impression?"
"Me? Astrid, how can they fail to be impressed by all this? I'm so impressive their heads will spontaneously explode." He puffed out his narrow chest self-mockingly. She smiled, before it crumpled slightly and she wrapped her arms around him. "Hey… hey now, Astrid, I'll be back before you know it."
She looked up at the longship, before tucking her head into his shoulder. "You be careful," she growled against him.
"Come on, Astrid, I'm going to be surrounded by a wall of Vikingdom. What could possibly happen?" he smoothed her hair back.
"That is not a reassuring question," she grated, her face still hidden.
He kissed the top of her head. "You be careful too," he said, a lump rising in his throat. "Anything, anything at all, you jump on Spike and come get me, okay?"
She nodded, her hands fisting in his fur vest.
Toothless purred and barked, pushing his head underneath Astrid's arm, and she scratched his head absently, pulling back from Hiccup and rubbing roughly at her face with her free hand. "I should be going with you," she muttered.
"I wish you were," Hiccup said softly. "Gods, I wish you were."
She visibly pulled herself together, her chin rising stubbornly. "Eat well, don't get into any more duels, and I'll see you in a few months, okay? And for Thor's sake, take your hammer everywhere."
The lump in his throat had turned into a boulder. "Okay."
She patted Toothless' head again, and glanced down at him. "You look after him."
Toothless gave his rumbling sound of affection, pressing his heavy body against her legs. Then he whirled with a Night Fury's astonishing agility and leapt to the deck of the longship in two bounds. There were the usual muffled cries of 'Night Fury!' and 'Get down!' before Toothless had ensconced himself snugly at the bow.
Hiccup shook his head, smiling at his friend's antics. Turning back to his lovely wife he opened his mouth to say something, but then a heavy hand landed on his shoulder. "Casting off now, son," Stoick said with sympathetic understanding. "Best get on board."
"Right, Dad," Hiccup managed. Stoick's hand patted his shoulder twice, before the bulky Chief moved down the pier and hauled himself aboard.
"I made you something," Astrid said abruptly.
"You made me something?" Hiccup was surprised. That was generally his domain. He made things, she did things. It was a good distribution of talents.
"Don't sound so surprised," she said tartly. "Here."
She took his hand, turning it palm-up, and put a small roll of felt into it. He turned it over, and smiled at the inexpertly-sewn little pouch, shaky and squiggly runes stitched into the front. There was the call for protection to Odin, Frigga and Thor, the plea for mercy to Urd, and in the centre, sewn down into a circle with red thread, a lock of sun-gold hair. Inside was a black scale, and a blue one tied together with that same red thread.
"It's not very good," she said uncomfortably.
"It's perfect," he said, and he pressed it back into her hands. "Put it on? Tie it tight, I don't want to lose it."
She let out a choked laugh. "You sap. Bend down then, you're too tall."
He bent his head, and her fingers trembled against his neck as she lowered it over his head and tied it. "There," she said softly.
As she was so close and all, he kissed her. She slid her arms tighter around his neck, and he pulled her long, lithe body closer. She smelled good.
"You smell good. I love you. Gods, I am going to miss you. I'll be home soon," he breathed, before kissing her again.
"You'd better, or I'll hunt you down," she promised, her hands sliding into his hair.
"I'm counting on it," he said, and kissed her again, before tearing himself away from her warmth, her sweetness, her utter Astridness. Throwing his travel-roll onto the deck, he hauled himself up onto the longship and tried to ignore the stinging in his eyes.
She looked very small and very stubborn when he looked back down at the deck, and he fingered the pouch at his neck. "Hey, Astrid?" he called.
"Cast off!" cried the bo'sun, Spitelout, and Hiccup had to shout louder to be heard over the creaking of sails and the swearing of sailors at their oars.
"Your headcloth!" He waved it triumphantly. She swore and put her hand on her uncovered head.
"You're amazing!" He laughed at her expression as the longship pulled away, a mix of irritation and love, so perfectly Astrid.
"I hate you, Hiccup Haddock!"
"I love you too!"
"Don't do anything crazy!"
"Now, where's the fun in that?"
"I love you!"
"Give it a rest," Stoick muttered.