Each and every day on a dragon's back felt very amazing for Astrid. There was no way she could describe the intense joy that rushed through her veins and the immense feeling of freedom around her.
A freedom, that she thought she knew, before she had gotten married of for some political reasons, but was now completely new to her. Because, despite everything she thought she had known, she felt more free now then ever before.
And one day – so she hoped – she would experience the same kind of freedom, that Hiccup witnesses, whenever he was flying by her side with is Flight Suit. Until that day, she still hadn't found the right words to describe the amazement she feels, when ever she was watching him.
But still, there was something in the back of her mind, that every now and then tried to emerge from its depths. Some kind of deep rooted doubts and regrets. Because until that day, both of her parents didn't know about her success on her dragon's back.
And maybe – just maybe – especially her mother should know of that. So she should not feel the urge to get her away from Berk anymore, since Hiccup would grant her that, whenever she would like. Well...as long she felt confident enough on the back of a dragon.
“Hiccup...?“ She suddenly asked, while they were cleaning the table and were about to do the dishes.
“Yeah?“ He asked, putting the remains of their foot in Toothless' bucket, who wasn't caring about that right now, since he was already happily full after the delicious fish and now soundly asleep by the fireplace.
“Do you have...you know...Do you mind, if I write a letter to my mother ?“
“Why would I mind?“ He wondered, raising an eyebrow at her, while taking the dirty plates from her hand, to clean them up.
Astrid shrugged a little, before she hugged herself, feeling strangely worried about his thoughts that might catch up with him, regarding her mother's...dislike against him.
“Because she wanted to see you dead?“ She said honestly, seeing no reason on why she would deny that little fact, since he was very aware of it.
“Yeah...I know that. But still – why would I mind, if you write her a letter? I mean – of course you can write her – she is your mother after all and I would want to write my mother as well, especially after all that has happened in these past weeks!“
“And you don't think, that I would want to write my mother a possible escape plan from this island?“
He smirked a little at that, and casually crossed his arms in front of his own chest and leaned against the table, watching her carefully.
“First of all – we agreed, that once you have mastered the Dragon Riding, you are free to leave Berk and to return to Hranafall – as long as the contract won't be broken by that – and secondly: Why would you do that anyway? I don't see a reason right now, why you would want to kill me anymore and I guess – at least for my part – we are getting along pretty well. Don't you think so, too? Also – the people here are getting used to you and they pretty much seem to enjoy the fact, that their chief is married – without them actually noticing, that all of this is only a hoax behind their very backs!“
She looked at him for a few seconds, not quite sure what to say or what to think. And yet – he was oh so right about this! Why should he even suspect something like that to happen after – basically – everything that has happened in the past weeks. And Astrid thought, that it would be nice for her mother to know that, too, so she didn't even need to make up a new plan for her escape in the first place.
This silence made Hiccup smirk even wider, knowing very well, that he had been right about this, before he pushed himself off of the table, to walk over to a shelve next to the fireplace, to get a piece of parchment and a pen, giving it to Astrid with a soft smile.
“I will wash the dishes, if that is okay for you?“ He asked, walking over to a bucket with cold water, to clean it up.
Astrid couldn't say more, but was very thankful to have Hiccup here, who was so kind and understanding. She wondered, if any other man would have done the same for her. Therefore she merely whispered:
“Thank you...“, to which he replied:
“You are very welcome...“
Astrid sat down at the table, laying the parchment right in front of her, before she started to write:
“Dearest Mother“, she wrote, but then stopped for a minute to consider the following words.
“What should I write?“ She wondered out lout, suddenly feeling so strange and unsure of what she could tell her mother, and should for now stay a secret.
“Whatever you want, I guess...“ Hiccup said, from where he was still cleaning the dirty plates.
Yeah, he was very right with that and yet she was a little afraid of how her mother would react to her following words. Especially, since she had seen this strange and...slightly psychopathic...side, that she had never witnessed before. And on the other hand, she wanted to calm Ljóda down, to get her previous peacefulness back.
Astrid bit her lip, before she put the pen back on the parchment, to continue:
“I dearly hope, that you and father arrived well on Hranafall and that you can slowly embrace the conditions of the contract, that father has signed with Hiccup. I know it might be hard, especially regarding our history with every dragon species, but for me it seems very worth it.“
Astrid looked over to Toothless, who cooed a little in his sleep, before he rolled himself more into a little ball, hiding his eyes behind his tail fin.
Yes...befriending dragons was really worth it and she really had started to like the company of Hiccup's winged companion. As much as she was looking forward each and every day to see Stormfly and to fly on her back. And by the way, that Stormfly had started to snuggle her head against Astrid and the exciting sound, that escaped her, Astrid could tell, that the Nadder was always happy to see her as well.
“For you to know, I just recently have started to learn dragon riding. Hiccup and his friends are my teachers and though some of the more maneuvering moves are still a little difficult, I already know the basics well. At least well enough to not fall off of Stormfly's back and to land probably, again.“
“Are you writing, that you nearly lost balance on Stormfly's back and fell into the ocean?“
“Shall I come over and hit you, again?“
“Sorry, I haven't said anything!“
“Hiccup really is a great teacher and he seems to know almost everything about dragons. Things, that we didn't even realize, when we were still hunting them. But I guess, that you guys are getting to know that as well.
Ever since we had been 'married' he had wanted to show me how to fly, but due to my sickness, we couldn't quite get me out of the bed for a few weeks now. As you already know – my fever had been high and the scar on my leg-“
“My parents think my scar had been a training accident?“
“That's what everybody is thinking...“
“Should I write mother, that it had been the knife, that has slashed open my tight, which she had hidden underneath my wedding dress?“
“Will your father read the letter as well?“
Astrid raised her eyebrows at that, before she looked back down at her writing. She knew exactly, what he was saying – that if her father would by any chance read this letter, then he would know the truth – which only would cause even more havoc between them and maybe even more destroy theire marriage, which seemed to be fractured after Ljóda's past attempts of getting Astrid away from this island. And she didn't want that – she neither wanted Hakon see her mother in this strange, dark light, nor wanted she for her father to know, what everything went behind his back – which would have resulted in the murder of a fellow chief.
“So...it had been a training accident with my axe?“
“Yep... when Gothi asked me about it, I couldn't come up with a better explanation. At least she wasn't asking any more after that...“
„Still, if you want to tell your mother the truth-“
“Oh, no, no! You are right! Father could read this and I don't want him to know, what has happened...“
“-had been a terrible accident. I wanted to try a new move, that has gotten to my mind, but sadly it failed. But thankfully Hiccup was there, to help me out.“
Once again she stopped, suddenly noticing a few things, although she wasn't finished yet. And once again a little unsure of what to write, she asked for the young chief's opinion:
“Would you consider me to be a...friend?“
Hiccup twirled around upon hearing that, blinking, when he faced the young woman, with the most innocent look in her eyes, that he had never before seen in them. This startled him a little, but remembering a few things, he suddenly understood, why exactly she was asking him that.
Therefore he wiped his wet hands on a linen towel, before her walked back towards the table, sinking into a chair across from her.
“Am I a friend for you?“ He asked with caution, his heart in his strangely fluttering at that.
“I...I can't answer you that...“ She asked in a slight whisper and with a tiny shrug. “...My mother has always told me, that friends would only be ballast on a battlefield. Like an...unnecessary burden.“
“Am I...a 'burden' for you?“
“No.“ She answered without hesitation, clenching the pen in her hand a little tighter. “If anything, your are quite the opposite of that. I mean – you have shown me how to fly and you are kind and anything from what Mother has always told me, would a husband be like. You let me sleep in your bed and you don't let me cook for your – which is a wise decision! And we clean up the house together. You made me my own saddle and introduced me to Stormfly. And...you have accepted me, the way I am...“
He smiled widely at that, though her words made his cheeks blush a little.
“See? Then I am your friend! And to answer your question – I see you as my friend as well!“
“Yeah...you don't need contracts and pacts to be friends, you know? All you need are two people, who would look our for the other and share some kind of...liking...for the other. And Astrid – I have really started to like you over these past weeks and I am glad, that it has been you, who I had to marry by force!“
And she really meant it, while she now felt a little excited to finish the letter about her life here on Berk.
“I even consider him to be my friend. I know, what you think – friends are ballast on the battlefield! But Hiccup is no burden! And somebody has told me, that friends don't need contracts and pacts. And yet there is this sort of 'liking' between us, that I am really used to, by now. And by now, I am glad, that it has been him, who I have been forced to marry. For any other man could have done unspeakable things to me, only to fulfill their desires. But not Hiccup. He lets me sleep in his bed and he cared for me, when I have been sick. And by now, I don't think, that he would ever try to take advantage of me. He is far too kind for that.
And so, Mother, I tell you, that I would gladly like to stay here on Berk, as part of the contract and because I genuinely feel welcomed by now. Don't worry about me. I will be fine.
After all – I have somebody who is watching my back...“
No, she wouldn't tell her, that Hiccup has saved her. At least not for now... But still, she needed to know, that everything has worked out for her just fine – here on Berk.
“I love you and father dearly and I hope to visit you soon.
She suddenly stopped, wanting to finish the letter in all formality, but soon found herself struggling. After all – how should she finish it? Sure...mostl likely she would consider herself still to be a Hofferson. But if an enemy – or her father – would got this letter in her hand, then it would only evoke questions, on why was using her father's name. Not that of her husband. And yet, the marriage she was in with her new friend was only a farce in front of their tribes.
“Haddock or Hofferson?“
“To finish the letter in a proper manner...Mother likes it that way...“
Hiccup raised one eyebrow (the one underneath his very visible scar) and thought about it for a few moments, before he stretched out his hand towards her, upon which she gave him the pen immediately, before he pulled carefully the piece of parchment in front of him.
And then, with a swift move, he finished, what she couldn't.
She looked at him, then down on the writing and back up again. A little in disbelieve, since all he had done, was to make a small dot behind her last rune.
“Astrid H.“ He said, smiling a little, giving her back the parchment. “Nobody will ask questions then, since so it might be harder for enemies to trace back this letter, when it had gotten into the wrong hands. And I guess, that your mother might understand, if I guess correctly, what you have written in the letter. And for Hakon it will be just fine...“
Sure – she could argument, that her mother wouldn't be satisfied and that it still would be able for the enemy to figure out, where this letter was coming from – but in the end, she felt that he had found the best solution for this problem, and therefore only nodded and smiled.
“I guess, you are right...“
“Of course I am!“
“Are we getting sassy there, again?“
“Ehr...maybe? I mean – no! And you don't need to come over here to hit me! Okay – can I make an attempt for amend? How about we find you a Terrible Terror to get that letter to your mother as soon as possible?“
“That really sounds like a good amend there!“