No worries about the babbling. I'm kinda struggling with the whole Dealing With Astrid thing myself (because I love her almost as much as I love Ruffnut). It's part of why she's not IN the story yet; give me a bit of time to sort things out and come up with a solution that isn't awful and fits with the characters.
you know I've been thinking how absolutely wedded are you to hiccup/Merida? at lest as a paring in this story, frankly I think you could easily do this story with H/M friendship (a sadly lacking tack in fan fic frankly).....after all you alrady have ruf/ding in the way off romance.
I can't really say anything without giving away things I'm plotting (which probably says a lot in and of itself).