Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III always has a plan. From planning exactly how long he can delay getting out of bed and still make it to the forge on time, to planning exactly what his new invention needs to be better. He always plans everything out before doing them and loves the satisfaction he gets when, things go according to plan. Except, most of the time, his plans go horrendously wrong.
Before, it was because nobody gave him the chance because they thought he was accident prone. But since his defeat of the Green Death his problem was that he now too busy to put any of his plans into action.
Between training the new dragon riders, taming rogue dragons, helping out at the forge and his domestic chores, it took cutting his night's sleep just to be able to ride toothless. It was amusing to see that the dragon was courting a monstrous nightmare. At first he thought that he just wanted a playmate, but when he started bringing the female dragon fish he knew that his pet was hooked. And if that's not bad enough he barely sees Astrid anymore.
Astrid Hofferson is the girl of Hiccups dreams. Ever since he was young he always had a crush on her. When their adolescence began the feeling had festered into a strong admiration and sometimes, although he would never admit it, he thinks that he is in love with the girl that he thinks the world of.
Things do not always go as planned though, because it had been months since Hiccup had a decent conversation with her. No matter what there was always something that needed to be done and it required their attention. It didn't help that he doesn't know exactly what their relationship is. Sure they were way closer now than before and she had kissed him a few times, but he isn't sure if that meant that they were dating.
It would be a dream come true for the once shunned boy to snag the girl of his dreams but he didn't want to get too optimistic. He wanted to ask her. He wanted to make sure and all these orders for repairs were taking too much of his time.
He slammed the hammer on the heated blade that he was working on harder than he intended. After inspecting it, he decided to cool it off in the water barrel and take a short break to gather his thoughts. Experience taught him that frustration and work did not mesh well together.
He sat on the bench and sighed as he looked out of the window of the forge. It was just about mid day and he could see the villagers walking back to their houses for a well deserved break and time with their families. He wondered if he would return to his house one day and find Astrid waiting for him. He wanted to know so badly what she felt for him but at the same time he was scared. Scared that this dream would not last, that he would wake up tomorrow and find out that he was the same useless person that his dad was ashamed of.
His thoughts were interrupted when he heard Gobbers distinct footsteps enter the door and he wasn't alone. He turned to see that his master was accompanied by none other than his father, The Chief of the Hairy Hooligans, Stoick the vast. His father had a huge smile as he looked at him.
Their relationship has been good the last three quarters of the year; it was almost as good as when his mother, Valhallarama, was alive. Slowly but surely they were both repairing the father and son relationship. There were some awkward and tense moments but for the most part, they were able to talk about things that they never thought they would share with each other.
"Good Morning Son" said the vast chieftain with a smile.
"Morning Dad, Morning Gobber" replied hiccup with a small smile of his own.
"Morning lad, I have a surprise for ya." Said Gobber
The younger Haddock slipped of the stool he was sitting on and approached his mentor before asking.
"Is it another axe that needs to be sharpened? Cause I can't fit it in today if I want to finish the sword I'm making for Astr…" he trailed off and looked at his feet, hoping that they could not see him blushing.
The two older Vikings shared a knowing look but decided not to tease the boy further. Instead Gobber continued as if he hadn't replied at all.
"Here it is Hiccup. Congratulations"
Hiccup looked up and saw the package wrapped in cloth that Gobber was holding a few moments earlier laid out on their makeshift table. On it was something that Hiccup thought he would never see. It was a Völundr's hammer. He couldn't believe it but there was no way he could mistake anything else for it.
He looked at his Mentor for confirmation. The smile on the old Vikings face told him everything. Völundr's hammer represented the coming of age of a blacksmith. Receiving this meant that the mentor had taught the apprentice everything he knows and that he was ready to forge his own path.
Hiccup picked it up and observed it from all angles. Still in awe of the implications it presented.
"Gobber… I…." he tried but worlds failed him.
It vaguely registered in his mind that the two older Vikings were chuckling at his reaction.
"Can I go tell Astrid?" he said as happiness slowly replaced awe in his features. He was almost restless to go and tell her. A fact that was not missed by the two older men.
"Go ahead lad, I'll finish your sword for you."
The boy was gone before the aged blacksmith could finish his statement.
Stoick still held his smile as he watched his son run , most likely towards the Hofferson house. Then turned to his good friend.
"Figures his first reaction was to tell the lass. You should have let me tell him the other news first. Now how can I tell him?" Stoick asked with a chuckle.
"Well, it won't matter if he says no anyway. And judging from his elation and to the girl he's going to. You would need to tie him down to prevent him from joining the dragons in flying around." Replied Gobber
Stoick just chuckled before stepping is out of the forge to let his friend finish his sons' project.
Hiccup ran around to find either his best friend toothless or Astrid. He wanted to tell them the good news before word got around. However after a few minutes his enthusiasm waned a little bit because he could not find them. They were not at his house or at hers. They were not at the dragon pen nor were they in town.
Hiccup wondered where they could have gone before strolling out into the forest. After half a year, his prosthetic leg felt better and better. It could not substitute for the real one but he was thankful enough as it is that he could still ride toothless.
He went deeper and deeper into the woods trying to find the girl he wanted to share the good news with. After a few more minutes he decided to rest. For all his training and work, he still did not have the stamina to match his enthusiasm. He was about to resume his search when he heard a familiar voice.
"Alright, It's been 2 months since the thaw. Have you made up your mind yet?"
Hiccup looked carefully behind the tree that he was leaning against, and sure enough in a clearing just a little further he saw the source of the voice. It was Ruffnut and she was addressing…
"Astrid" he said to no one in particular. He was about to call their attention when he heard the response to the formers question and it made him stop in his tracks.
"I don't know. I just don't know. I mean I like him as a friend but I don't know if I like him enough to take things further." Astrids voice was uncharacteristically shaky but it didn't stop the words from piercing Hiccups insides as if they suddenly turned to lead.
Ruffnut continued with her interrogation. "And avoiding him is the answer? Look, I know you're confused but it's not fair to him or to you." Said the Viking with a twin.
When her contemporary didn't answer she continued her rant that seemed to tear deeper and deeper into Hiccups being.
"Look, I don't know what made you fall for hiccup and I'm not blaming you. But doing so while you were together with the guy that you liked since we were seven?! What did he do?!"
"Look, I know all that and I still like him, but Hiccup." Astrid paused for a while "Hiccup showed me things I have never seen before. Things that I could never see if it wasn't for him."
Hiccup felt a swell of pride in that statement but it came crashing down as soon as he heard ruffnut speak again.
"He flew you on his dragon. Anyone would be impressed but face it Astrid, you could see it every day now. Sure it was because of him but wouldn't you say that you will see it regardless?"
Astrid remained silent.
Ruffnut sighed and continued. "Look, I just don't want you to get hurt. Your dream guy finally asked you out and I don't want your dream to be ruined because you suddenly felt responsible for Hiccup."
"I.." began Astrid but her friend cut her off.
"Because it's the entire villages' fault that he got treated like that, so stop squaring the blame on your shoulders and trying to make amends by yourself."
Hiccup couldn't take it anymore. As quietly as he could, he stood up and walked away. He didn't know where but he knew he just had to get away. So he walked. Farther and Farther until he was sure no one can hear him and still he walked. Finally he reached the cliff on the other side of the island. He looked at the breathtaking view that suddenly lost his its majesty. Then for the first time in years he sat down and let tears run down his face. His hammer lay forgotten at his side.
….you will see it regardless….
….dream guy finally asked you out…..
….trying to make amends by yourself….
He didn't know how long he sat there looking out to see. Tears have long since dried. He just stared at the vast ocean contemplating on the words that his fellow Viking, no, he wasn't a Viking. His friend? No that wasn't it either, his fellow villager had said.
Did it really not matter that the flight brought Astrid and him closer? Did he really just give her something that someone else could have given her?
A voice in his head, which strangely sounded like snotlout, answered:
'Yes, don't you remember? She has a 'dream guy' and it definitely isn't you' the voice faded out with a cold laugh.
Of course her dream guy would like her. What was there not to like about her. She was perfect, and I'm sure that I'm not the only one who notices.
'Of course not, and I'm sure she is her dream guys dream girl'
Hiccup hugged his legs further, not really sure what to make of things. And then two parts suddenly seemed to stand out to the young Haddock
….trying to make amends by yourself….
"She just befriended me out of guilt. She wanted to make up for all the things that the village had done to me"
….avoiding him is the answer…
"She wasn't busy like he suspected, she was actively avoiding her while trying to find the best way to tell him that they were not that close as friends if they were friends at all."
Hiccup wanted to be angry. He wanted darkness to consume him. He wanted to be rid of the pang of loneliness that he was feeling. He wanted to be free. Suddenly the cliff drop looked so friendly, As if it was promising him a release.
He stood up and walked towards the edge but before he could reach it something stopped him. Something big with green eyes and a gummy grin.
It was toothless.
The night fury purred and licked Hiccup, oblivious to his owners' thoughts, and temporarily snapped him out of his stupor.
"Hey buddy, what is it?"
Then he looked around and saw that it was already night time.
"Did dad send you to find me?"
The Dragon replied with a vigorous nod.
Hiccup flashed a small smile. "Alright buddy, let's go home"
Stoick the Vast is usually slow when it comes to realizing that there was something wrong with his son. However as soon as the dragon returned with him he immediately knew that something had gone wrong. Shoulders slumped and eyes cast downward. His son trudged across their living room, not even acknowledging the presence of his father. And that is saying something.
The beefy man watched from his chair at the kitchen table as his son walked wordlessly into the pantry, grabbed a molded bread, sat across from him and began to eat. After a few moments of silence which to the chieftain was quite unnerving. He cautiously began a conversation.
"Is something wrong son?"
Instead of the sputter of surprise, the boy merely raised his head and looked at his father before he replied.
"Nothing is wrong, What could be wrong, I just became a blacksmith" the boy tried to force a smile but it was obvious that it wasn't sincere. The older man thought it prudent not to question it for now but instead asked another question.
"Where is your dragon?"
"He is sleeping with the other dragons" replied Hiccup without any emotion.
After a few moments where no one said anything Stoick decided to attempt to engage his son in conversation once more.
"I am leaving tomorrow. I may be gone for a while" he said but received no signs that the boy heard anything. So he continued.
"If you want you could come along."
The boy raised his head and for a moment seemed as though he wanted to say no but then he stopped. After a while he said.
"When do we leave?"
This answer raised the older Haddocks suspicion but decided to let his son work it out himself.
"We leave at dawn tomorrow."
With a final nod, both men retired to their quarters for the evening.
The morning was uneventful. Stoick and Hiccup left early because the ship was set to leave long before the sun was up. This was so they could use the stars to plot their course before daylight broke.
To Hiccup it just meant skipping the painful goodbyes. Aside from his things, he held two items. One was the sword that Gobber finished yesterday for him the other was a letter. He had planned to give it to one of the people at the port so they could deliver it to its recipient.
As soon as they reached the dock he ran into something unexpected. Ruffnut was there with his father. From the lack of supplies it was obvious that she would not be going but apparently she was here to see her dad off.
Being careful not to get spotted he tried to go onboard the vessel, however….
"Hiccup?" called Ruffnut while stifling a yawn.
"Oh. Um. Hi. Ruffnut" replied Hiccup. He didn't quite know how to feel about his classmate at the moment.
"Are you here to see your father off? What's that in your hand?" she asked while rubbing her eyes. She was obviously still sleepy.
"CAST OFF" Hiccup heard a Viking shout. He looked back and saw that his boat was slowly setting sail.
In a rush he faced Ruffnut and said.
"Ruffnut, please give these to Astrid. She'll understand and tell her I'm sorry"
"What? What for" replied the Viking girl suddenly looking more awake than moments before. Her eyes inquisitive.
He hesitated about the next request but in a split second , decided that he had to for both his and Astrids sake.
"Ruffnut, please promise me one thing." He began
"What?" the girl replied looking more confused than ever.
"Please make sure that Astrid is happy with her dream guy." Then without waiting for her to answer the young male Viking turned around and ran to the end of the dock and jumped towards the boat that his father was on.
He never looked back. He didn't want to. He just hoped that Ruffnut would comply with his last request. If he was lucky, this voyage would last half a year. Plenty of time for everyone to forget him. Snotlout would, The twins would, Fishlegs would.
He couldn't bear to take toothless away from his female companion so he went away alone while his night fury was sleeping in the pens.
His last thought before going down to help with the rowing was that he hoped Toothless and Astrid would lead happier lives without him.