Nothing is mine, please enjoy! It picks up where my other Mericcup, "Fate's Gift", left off. It also adds a bit of explanation. Again, I'm rather sucky at writing accents, so please don't kill me for not doing that. I hope you like it, and I hope you review!
"So it's settled then. In about a month, we'll start encouraging my daughter and your son to join in marriage. If all falls into place, they will, and our tribes will keep peace naturally. If not, you'll get an extra sum of money yearly to stop pillaging. Here's hoping my little nymph won't drive me out of house and home."
"Sounds like a deal."
"It's about time this got settled," Fergus said. "We never thought we'd be fighting you Vikings forever."
Stoick chuckled, rising from his chair in the Meeting Hall. "Ah, yes. We were admittedly growing a bit tired in our crusade, weren't we? I'm glad we've finally managed to reach a conclusion."
"So you'll be coming to the truce gathering in a month?"
"Yes. I'll bring Hiccup, and we'll see how the agreement works out."
Fergus nodded. "I plan not to tell Merida until we decide how they are. She'll… well she would self-combust if she knew."
"Certainly more spirited than mine," Stoick laughed. "We'll see what happens then. Farewell, King Fergus."
"Godspeed, Stoick the Vast."
Fergus caught sight of Merida's flaming hair as she snuck into the party. He smiled at Stoick, remembering the plan that had been instated a month ago today. "Let me introduce you and Hiccup here to my daughter." Stoick caught the small wink Fergus gave through his bushy eyebrow, and chuckled. Now was when the fun would really begin.
Merida walked over, carefully avoiding her mother's gaze as she tried to straighten her tangles with her fingers. She wasn't prepared, as a lady always ought to be. Fergus smiled broadly at his daughter. "Merida, this is Hiccup. Hiccup, Merida." At the mention of his name, Hiccup jerked his head over to meet Merida, and his mouth went dry. All that hair... and those eyes... He already felt tongue swelling up. Hiccup wasn't so good at the discreet part of finding someone beautiful.
Merida nodded. "It's nice to meet you." He fumbled with his hands, trying to decide. Wave? Bow? Shake? Merida smiled and ignored is incapacity for interaction. "And you must be Stoick the Vast, sir. Will you be staying long in DunBroch?" She looked up at Stoick.
"Aye, lass. We'll be in the castle, in fact."
"Well we're glad to have you." Irked that her father hadn't told her about the arrangements, she felt herself start to frown, until she remembered about a princess always being a good hostess, and smiled graciously. "If you'll excuse me..." She smiled demurely and walked away. Hiccup remembered to breathe and blink. The fathers talked, and he looked around the Grand Reception Hall. The dark, polished wood reflected candlelight, and the bear carvings reminded him of the dragon carvings at home. And he certainly didn't accidentally keep an eye on the redhead.
While Hiccup admired more than just the interior design, Merida walked to her mother. Shoulders back, chest out, small steps, equal weight distribution, straight back... nothing wrong in her presentation.
"Merida, chin up dear." Merida collapsed utterly, every ounce of ladylike fleeing her posture. Hiccup saw from across the room, and smiled before turning back to his father.
"So Dad's Viking encounters went well then?"
Queen Elinor looked at her daughter. "Evidently. You met and welcomed Stoick and his son?"
Merida's eyes widened. "That's his son? Certainly doesn't look like any Viking leader's son that I've ever heard of. Bit scrawny for that, if you ask me."
"Merida! Don't act so surprised, and don't stereotype them like that. It's not kind, and we're finally getting past that history."
"I just wouldn't have guessed is all, Mum. So they'll be staying here?"
Nodding, Queen Elinor explained. "They'll be here for a month, tying up a few loose ends of the truce. You're to keep your nose out of it, lass. You might be savvy, but you're not a diplomat."
"No buts. Now go on and be a good hostess. You've said hello to all of four people, and half of them are your own family."
"Maybe I don't want to be a good hostess," Merida mumbled. But she still went on to make sure other tribe leaders were happy, and that the maids weren't running into too many problems. She made her circles around the room, like a good lady does. Finally, the candlelight was dimming and she could sit for a minute. She sat on the stairs, watching the last lazy dance steps of the rather intoxicated grownups and the remains of the snacks being carefully snatched up by her brothers.
The boy from earlier stood awkwardly by the table. He ran his fingers over the curves of a cup, studying the arcs. He swished the liquid around, and ended up getting some on himself. Merida chuckled, and he looked up and blushed.
"My dad gave me a bit of wine to drink. It's about as tempting as an old eel."
"Oh, but I like eel. Maybe not an old eel, but my nurse used to make a wonderful meal with it."
He looked uncomfortable. "Oh, well I mean I guess that's alright."
Merida laughed. "I'm only joking, ye nervous Nellie. I hate eel. And you need to relax a bit; you're among friends after all."
"Oh, I um. I see. Well then... would you like some?" He offered the glass, and managed to slosh just a little bit more out of the cup. He winced.
Her red curls shook. "No. I don't like the way it makes my head feel cloudy."
"Me neither. Most of the time I uh, I have to keep my wits about me." Merida thought that he rarely seemed to have his wits about him in the first place, but kept that to herself. "I suppose I'll like it someday," he continued, "but not right now." He put the goblet back on the table, looking anywhere but at Merida and certainly avoiding opening his mouth.
"What's your name again?"
"Hiccup!" he said nervously, startled after the bit of silence.
Hiccup hung his head. "No, really. My name is Hiccup."
Merida looked at him for a minute, and then tossed her head back laughing. Her hair shook, and Hiccup got caught up looking at it, and nearly as red. Merida stopped suddenly. "Sorry, I shouldn't laugh. Will you sit with me, Hiccup?" She scooted over on the step, and Hiccup walked over, very focused very hard on not falling and on determining what the correct distance between them should be.
"Tell me about yourself, Hiccup. What's Berk like? What do you do there?" The two talked back and forth, and Hiccup watched the candlelight in Merida's bright blue eyes. Stoick saw the two, and nudged Fergus. The two grinned as they saw Merida become animated over the idea of dragons and Hiccup become slowly more comfortable, lighting up over the beasts. Fergus turned to Elinor.
"We'll be working in the Meeting Hall, and I'll be up before midnight. Make sure that blossoming situation doesn't get into too much trouble, eh?"
Elinor chuckled. "I doubt they would on first sight. Although, Stoick, your son seems like he wouldn't mind too terribly."
Stoick let out a deep, rumbling laugh. "I doubt the boy would know what to do with himself. Goodnight, Queen Elinor." The two men walked down the hallway. "Did you tell her about the variable part of the truce?"
Fergus shook his head. "I planned on letting her know only if anything came to fruition. No need to get her worked up over what might be nothing, yeah? Did you tell Hiccup?"
"No. The boy would trip over himself more than he already does." The great iron-wrought door closed behind them, and the two great leaders went on to figure out the remainder of the deal and discuss the events of the night.
Queen Elinor put out the candles and sent her sons scampering up the stairs to bed. They galloped past Merida and Hiccup, still talking on the stairs, without the pair taking notice. Only when Elinor stopped in front of them and cleared her throat did either of them pay any attention.
"It's nearly eleven, Merida. Princesses are early to bed and early to rise."
Merida sighed. "Oh, Mum..." she looked at exasperatedly at Hiccup, who noted the accuracy of Merida's stories about the queen.
Hiccup stretched and ran his hand through his straight brown hair. "She's right, it is late. Where will I be staying?"
"Merida will show you. Merida, it's the room with the map tapestry in the corridor that springs off of your corridor. I trust you'll make him comfortable."
"Yes, mother. Come along, Hiccup." She took his hand, and he gulped his blush down. Elinor smiled serenely. Merida bounded up the stairs effortlessly despite her floor length blue gown, and Hiccup nearly tripped over his boots trying to follow.
She led him down the twisting stone hallways, laughing and joking with him as the great oak doors seemed to fly past. Finally, she stood with him in the doorway to his home for the next month or so. He walked in and looked out the window at the midnight sky, admiring the view. Merida spoke from the doorway behind him. "I'll take you exploring tomorrow. We haven't had anyone new in the castle in ages, and there are so many spots that are much more thrilling if you're with someone who doesn't know that they exist yet. Everyone here either knows about it already or disproves of that sort of shenanigans. And who knows, maybe we'll find something new, just for us, Hiccup!" She smiled broadly, and he grinned shyly back.
"I like exploring," he said. He winced after realizing how stupid he could sound. He definitely liked it better when she talked.
"Good!" Merida grinned. "I'll see you in the mornin. I'm just down that hall if you need me."
She skipped away, and Hiccup called after her. "Goodnight!" But she had already turned the corner. "Goodnight, Merida of DunBroch," he said under his breath.
Merida's head peeked around the corner. "Goodnight, Hiccup. Sleep well." Hiccup smiled and closed the door, slouching against it and looking around. Here he was, one night in, and already making a fool of himself. For once, he didn't really care that much. Exploring waited for the morning tomorrow, and Hiccup curled up in the vast guest bed and fell asleep.
Merida continued on down the hall and went to her own bedroom, full of warm green fabrics with shades of brown.
Just like Hiccup's eyes, she thought to herself. She paused in getting ready for bed, a little bit startled that she had remembered that without meaning to. She shrugged it off along with her gown and climbed into her shift and bed. The green and blue quilt surrounded her as she fell into a dream of dragons and Hiccup and adventures with someone who, unbeknownst to her, would become much more than just a newly found friend.