How long has it been, since she had been here? Here, on that island on which she was born and grew up on. This island, of which she knew every corner and every hiding spot. Every person, that lived here...
Well...roughly about two and a half moons, she guessed and thought, that those must have been the two most intense months of her life, with all these new experiences she had gathered. After all – she got married, found friends and made peace with dragons – things that were impossible for her, when she had still lived on Hranafall, due to her parents expectations and her self-imposed pressure, of always being the greatest warrior of them all. Sure – she still might be the best, regarding the combat training she had in the past, but Astrid now knew, that there was just more in life than fighting, weapons and shields and armor.
And she got to see that, thanks to that disheveled, green-eyed Dragon Rider, who had been able to get a hold on her heart, with her not even trying to fight against it. But by the way he was smiling at her, while flying next to her, she knew that submitting to her feelings had been a right and good decision to make. Because – despite everything that might happen on her home island – she couldn't help herself but smile back.
“Ooooh! Look at that island! I wonder, how many new dragon species we will be able to find there! Don't you think the same way, Hiccup?“ Fishlegs said, as they were getting closer and closer to Hranafall with with big mountains and deep forests and the village that spread from the shore to the foot of it.
“Looks like a good place to blow a few things up, don't you think the same, Ruff?“
“I totally thought the same way, Tuff. And how much do your people like pranks? We have a few new ones we like to try out and-“
All Astrid did was eyeing them angrily and shaking her head to shut them up. After all – this was not the right time to think about something like pranks, or blowing up something.
“I just hope they will see the potential of the Jorgenson clan – after all, it is easy for us to make new friends!“ Snotlout now added from her other side, making her sigh a little in annoyance. “And I certainly think, that the Ladies might be interested in me as well! I mean, I am full of husband potential...“ Sure, she notices the uncertain look in Ruffnut's direction, but this made her still roll her eyes.
“Are you sure, it is okay for us all to come along, Astrid?“ Eret now asked. “Or should I take the guys back to Berk for you, so they won't embarrass you in any way? Or get us killed...“
“„It is too late now!“ She answered, with a little shrug of her shoulders “And I am also quite glad, that you guys are coming along... It is a nice distraction and if somebody of you gets out of control, then I still can send you to prison to think about that you have done!“
Hiccup chuckled about that, while Snotlout and the twins seemed to be slightly offended by that.
“You can't do that!“ Ruffnut and Tuffnut shouted as one, while Snotlout added: “We are your friends!“
“And I am still the daughter of the Hunter Tribe's chief!“
“And Berk's Chieftess! And I definitely see a reason as well to be consequently, if one of you misbehaves!“ Hiccup added with a wink in Astrid's direction, making Ruffnut gag a little in the background.
“Eww! They have the same humor now! Disgusting!“
“Yeah, totally annoying and that in the face with death. Poor Hiccup – must be hard for him to know, that his life is ending soon...“ Tuffnut mumbled, shaking his head in defeat.
But before either Ruffnut or Snotlout could add something to that discussion again, both Astrid and Hiccup eyed them with shared anger, which silenced them immediately. After all – this was definitely not the time to start this one discussion again, for all their believes were wrong anyway.
“So...“ Fishlegs finally said, while they were getting even closer to Hranafall “..., where are we going to stay anyway? And our dragons?“
“Yeah – did they already build stables?“ Eret agreed with a nod.
Astrid gulped heavily, suddenly noticing herself, that she didn't think about that. Sure – her people should be approaching dragons with friendliness now, but having six of them suddenly land in the middle of the market square should be considered carefully beforehand. It might startle and surprise them – with or without dragon riders on their backs and she was a little afraid now, that this sudden intrusion might result in a few of them reaching for their weapons, before they could have explained themselves. And for the questions, if they already have build stables, she didn't even have an answer to that, since neither her father or her mother informed her about that.
“I don't know!“ She shouted back, before she steered Stomfly to fly around the island, instead of flying straight towards the village ahead of them. “And also we should land in the forest and approach my people with caution. They still might be not that used to dragons at all and I don't want them to act at that with any weapon.“
“Good...“ Hiccup agreed to that, letting Toothless follow the young woman and her Nadder. “...and for Fishlegs other question – were will we stay?“
“Close to my parents house is a large hut for guests. Seeing, that all of you have your bedrolls with you, we might need them...“
“Wait-“ Eret suddenly said upon hearing that “-'We'? You are going to stay in the guests hut as well? Your father is the chief!“
“And I am married!“ She said, pointing towards Hiccup with a movement of her head “..., therefore I have no right to stay with my parents anymore. And it only would evoke questions, if I sleep separately from my husband.“
“True...“ Hiccup said with a nod, while the face of the ex-trapper went blank.
“I swear to the gods, if I catch the two of you trying to do just 'something', while we sleep peacefully in the same room, I will-“
“Nothing will happen!“ Hiccup immediately cut in.
“Really?“ Fishlegs asked with a slight hint of fear in his voice, probably having the same thoughts as Eret before him.
“Really...“ Astrid sighed annoyed. “And above everything, that should be the last thing, you guys should worry about!“ For it was her mother's reaction, which she feared the most. Maybe even more than her father's current condition.
“I still hope, that the two of you won't try anything!“
The young woman tried to ignore Eret from now the best she could – though she clearly noticed that worried look towards Hiccup's direction. She did not know, what to read from it, or why he should be worried in the first place. But still she decided not to dwell on it, while she already searched with her eyes for a clearing, that was not too far way from the Hunter Tribe's village. It would be large enough for all their dragons to land there comfortably and small enough for them to hide in case they needed to. Also a small creak ran through it, so their dragons had all the time fresh water and could catch their own fish, when they were not able to bring it to them.
Thankfully enough, Astrid soon found it, letting Stormfly land there first, while the others followed closely behind.
“Nice...“ Snotlout commented the place with some approval. “But lets still hope, that your people have already build stables for them. Is probably more comfortable for them – especially since Hooky is very used to it by now.“
“But for now it needs to be enough...“ Astrid said, patting Stormfly on the head, before she turned around to face her friends. “You guys will behave and only show your best behavior?“
“Booo...No fun at all?“ Tuffnut asked out loud.
“Yeah...totally sounds boring, to me as well!“ his sister added and dismounted Barf.
Astrid merely rolled her eyes at her words.
“My people are just not that used to stuff like your typical nonsense. That is all. And with my father sick, I only can imagine, how much they must be grieving right now...Don't take it personal – that is all...“
Tuffnut sniffed a little about that – just as if he really was taking it personal, but nonetheless gave her a sharp, understanding nod. Astrid sighed a little in relief about that. After all – it was much easier to approach her parents, when she had her friends behind her.
They all took their bedrolls, before they patted their trusty dragons one last time, everyone in their own way assuring them, that they will soon have a better place to sleep. The dragons seemed to be a little sad and irritated by that – most of all Toothless, who sadly cooed at Hiccup with a pleading tone, in hope, he could come along as well.
It broke Astrid's heart a little seeing that, but both – Hiccup and her – knew, that this was for the best, until they knew about the current acceptance of dragons among her tribe.
“No buddy. Stay here and have an eye on the others...“ Hiccup mumbled with hushed voices. “I will bring you some delicious fish before dawn. I promise you that!“
She bid her lip, before she laid her bedroll to the ground and stepped away from Stormfly as well, to lay a caring head on the Night Fury.
“Also Toothless...“ She said with a small smile “...here is far more space to play than in the village. At this time of day it is mostly too crowded. I know you want to meet many new dragon friends, but you need to wait a little while longer...“
A small sound, similar to a sigh escaped Toothless, before he turned around, to trot towards the creak, together with the other dragons.
“And now he is sulky...Well, don't worry – it is not your fault. He sometimes likes to behave like a baby – don't you, you useless reptile?!“ Hiccup shouted after him, making his winged companion grumble and turning completely his back towards them. The young chief rolled his eyes at that, before he stepped closer towards Astrid, with one hand taking one of hers and with the other scratching the back of his hand.
“So...ehrm...and what is your wish for us...I mean – you know – we still don't know, how my dearest mother-in-law reacted to the revelation of us being friends. And now...that we try to...be more, it could be quite shocking for her as well... And I certainly don't want to anger her. I mean...I want her to genuinely like me, for it certainly would help, if you understand, what I am trying to say...“
“I do...“ She whispered back, holding onto her h”and tightly, while she looked up into his eyes. “And I think it is the best, to act the same way like we did back on Berk.“
“Yeah – I mean – my people see us as a married couple as well, for the marriage and the pact had been the reason on why I left Hranafall in the first place. And...it is not so much pretending anymore, right? And in front of mother...I recommend to be careful, until we know more.“
She pulled at his hand to get him a little closer to her, after she made sure, that the gang was busy with their own dragons and wouldn't try to bother them again.
„But it does not mean, that I am not interested in this at all...“
“Oh, I certainly know that! You have been the one, who tried to initiate our first kiss. But I might need a little reminder every now and then – especially if they keep on interrupting us...“
He took her second hand now as well and she really, really, really hoped, that they would not be interrupted now.
“Hey-“ She whispered, as he pressed his forehead against her and a warm feeling creeped through her stomach and into her toes and the tips of her fingers “-what do you mean by 'I tried to'. Remember the kiss during the wedding ceremony. I might have a hidden a knife underneath my dress, but that does not mean, that I hadn't found that kiss quite nice! And I nearly had to force you, to do it!“
“'Quite nice'? Do I need to be offended now?“
“Well, the next one will be different...“
“Hey, what is taking the two of you so long?!“ Snotlout shouted.
“Yeah – you can plan Hiccup's funeral soon enough!“ Tuffnut added.
“Hiccup's funeral?! No – why don't you see it?! It's Astrid's!“ Ruffnut disagreed.
And it was Eret, who hit himself on the forehead with his hand, while Fishlegs could only shake his head – giggling a little.
Astrid stepped away a little, furious, that their friends definitely having the perfect timing in interrupting them, what seemed to be their new hobby. And quite annoying for the two of them. And because of that she clenched her fists together, bared her teeth and wished to have a axe – or anything else – to throw at them.
“Oh I definitely will kill them! Please Hiccup, let me-“
But before she could have finished the sentence, he had grabbed one of her hands again and had pulled her back, to finally – finally – lock their lips together in what might not be the most perfect moment, but definitely the most perfect kiss. And it may be only a short one, but not less meaningless, gentle or pure. More and more emotions and feelings came alive – things of which she had only dreamed of before. Things, which made her world spin, her toes curl and her breath get caught in her throat. And things, which made the three, previously ignorant Viking's gasp in shock behind them, while Fishlegs let out a small squeak of joy.
When they (sadly) tore away from each other, Hiccup let out a small sigh and desperately tried to hide that big grin on his face, which nearly made Astrid giggle as well.
“Okay...“ Snoutlout mumbled, blinking still about what just had happened.
“Yep...that changes-“ Tuffnut said.
“-Everything!“ Ruffnut finished for her brother, before her voice got more gleefully. „That means, that i get five coins from each of you!“
“Wait – you didn't even notice until now!“ Eret complained.
“But I have said, they would kiss before Snoggletog! Like in real!“ The female Thorston twin said in her defense, crossing her arms in front of her chest.
“But I still don't think that counts...“
Fishlegs cleared his throat.
“But I have been the one, who said, that they would be together before the third moon, so-“
“Hey – kissing and being together can be two different things!“ Tuffnut now said, stepping in for his sister. ”Our uncle Argon Thorston liked to participate in frequent meetings with different women and he never said, that he had been together with them and-“
“Too much information...“ Eret mumbled, shaking his head.
“May I still kill them?“ Astrid whispered, her cheeks still warm and flushed and she still couldn't help that dreamy smile on her lips. “Please...I won't make them suffer...“
“Nah – let's keep the killing card for another time.“ Hiccup whispered back, lacing their fingers together. „But I think, that I should have send them back to Berk. I really do hope for you, that they behave in front of your people!“
“Oh, I definitely wish that as well!“
“I really can't believe, that my cousin has a girlfriend before me!“ Snotlout complained in the background, making Hiccup stop once more.
“Well...technically he has a wife...“ Fishlegs corrected.
“That is even worse!“
They both rolled their eyes at that, before Hiccup was able to continue:
“And Astrid...I really wanted you to know, that I am in for everything you have in mind. I mean – this is your island. You know, how your people act, or what they believe in. Whatever you want me to do, I will do it. And I make them do it as well! Also, you should not worry about how long this will take you. You can stay by your father's side as long as you want to and need to. I accept that. And I...I will stand by your side, no matter if I need to get back to Berk because of my own duties or if I am able to stay here as well. Your father is most important now.“
“Are you trying to explain to me, on why you kissed me?“
“Does it help in not trying to kill me as well?“
She chuckled lightly.
“Well, I don't think, it had needed any explanation at all...But I am still thankful for your words...“
“So...I am allowed to kiss you once more?“
“We will see about that...“ She mumbled, finally letting go of his hand with a mysterious but happy gleam in her eyes, since she really wished, that it would happen once more. „But the next time, I hope we won't be interrupted by them, again!“
“Yeah...definitely no audience the next time!“