Whatever it takes
I will wait until my dying day
Just come back to me
- Trading Yesterday
The young chief of Berk breathed with a sigh of relief. Standing on board of his finest drakkar, he fixed his eyes on a crowd, spreading along the coast. Every once in a while, his ears were approached by his men's shouts, as they were unloading their ships after the long journey. The longest journey he'd ever attended in his entire twenty-three year long life.
He saw some children, joyfully running around the harbour, welcoming their parents with a squeal; he observed their faces, full of anticipation. How had it been? What had happened? Had they had any adventures they could tell them about now?
Hiccup smiled. They've been gone for way too long.
He felt a soft nudge on his hip. As he looked back, he noticed his four-legged friend, almost jumping out of excitement, gazing around and peeking at him with delight. Apparently, the Vikings were not the only ones who'd missed their home. He pat his mount on the neck.
"Yes, bud. We're back."
"And you are still here." He raised his head when Snoutlout's voice reached him. "I thought you'd flown away as soon as we passed the Dragon Island. What are you doing here?"
"Making sure you don't break anything." answered he with a joke. "Come on, you know I can't leave it like that."
"And you obviously don't want to go home, huh?" His companion raised his eyebrows in a derisive grimace. Hiccup inhaled, intending to rebuff the argument – and then abandoned the idea. He knew that he couldn't have done that and Snotlout was just as aware of accuracy of his remark. Of course, he wanted to go home. Like never before.
Once again, he cast a glance at the Vikings, bustling about their tasks in the harbour and thought, that they really could do their job a bit faster. He shook his head, amused with his own expectations and then pointed to his friend:
"You'd better leave your comments for another time. Remember, Snotlout – duties first."
Honestly surprised, young Jorgenson raised his eyebrows even higher. And then it clicked.
"You simply know she'll be here!" cried he and then, seeing a smile on his Chief's face, added:
"She is here already, isn't she?"
Hiccup couldn't resist laughing, while observing his friend's thinking process. There was only one answer he could give.
"Of course she is."
Some could say that the confidence he spoke with wasn't fully justified. After all, he still hadn't seen her yet. But he felt, no, he knew she was there. Somewhere on the shore, among other habitants of Berk, she was waiting for him. She had to be.
"Just a moment, Astrid. A few more minutes and I'll finally be free to leave this lousy ship."
The Rider turned around to watch the harbour. He'd lost count on how many times he'd done that, searching for the only face he wished to see. Oh gods, please let it end.
He heard Snotlout clearing his throat to draw his chief's attention. He glanced at him.
"But you know, you kinda screwed it up anyway. You could've surprised her when no one was expecting us. It would be nicer than greeting one another in such a mess, right?"
"To the point, Snotlout."
"What do you mean 'to the point'? I'm just saying that because of sitting here, you actually lost a perfect opportunity to finally impress Astrid. Maybe you could do that at least this once." The short Viking giggled.
Hiccup was still looking at him without a trace of enthusiasm.
"Thank you. Your remarks are priceless."
"Yeah, I could tell. You, on the other hand, are a horrible husband."
Quite on the contrary to Snotlout's intentions, the thought he shared with his friend didn't bother the latter at all – moreover, it caused a wide, dreamy smile on his face. Hiccup still couldn't truly believe in the happiness he reached when Astrid officially promised to spend the rest of her life by his side. He was still trembling every time he had a chance to call her his wife. And even though he'd been doing that for more than six months now, his rapture didn't diminish a bit.
He was roused from his meditations by the cries that came from Eret, presently standing on the coast – the ships had been unloaded. He beckoned to Toothless, pointing to a footbridge that connected the deck with a jetty and in a few steps he made his way to the other side of it. He was surrounded by chests, baskets and crates, evenly placed on a platform. Everything was surprisingly well organised under the command of the former dragon trapper, who somehow managed to reduce a harbour's mess to a minimum. The young Viking was astonished, seeing how well his friend dealt with it.
Seeing all that, Hiccup started to consider ditching the whole operation and leaving his deputies in charge. If only he could find the one, whom he wanted to free himself for...
"Welcome home." He heard a voice coming from his back. He spun on his heel and beheld his mother, standing right in front of him. She was looking at him, filled with pride, with a peaceful expression on her triangular face. "It's been a while."
"Yeah, it has." He came up to her, smiling gently. "We had a few unexpected adventures to face."
"The weather?" asked the Dragon Lady smartly.
"Also... In fact, there was only one real storm. But neither the pirates, nor the giant, lonely dragons make the sail any easier. And besides..."
He noticed Fishlegs, running from the beach, waving his hands in a gesture of welcome. The Viking approached them a moment later, trying to catch his breath.
"On Odin's beard, you're back! Finally! Why did it take so long? Oh my, you have to tell me everything! Have you found any new islands? Or straits? Please, Hiccup, if you've met a new dragon..."
"Easy, Fishlegs, easy!" The young chief raised his arms in defence. "You'll get to know your everything. But later."
"Sorry." the blonde boy settled down a little. "But this is so incredible. Two months! How did you even survived that?"
"We didn't have much choice." answered Hiccup calmly. "How about Berk? And the Academy? Is there anything I should know?"
Fishlegs pondered for a while.
"Not really. I made a report for each week, just as you asked but I don't think there's anything interesting in it. Oh, wait." added he after a moment. "I've got something for Astrid. Where is she?"
Hiccup gritted his teeth.
"I don't know. I haven't seen her yet."
His companion's eyes widened in astonishment, which definitely didn't make his chief feel any better. The latter hoped, that Fishlegs would refrain from further comments – unfortunately, it soon turned out he'd expected too much.
"Wait a second."– with the same stupid look in his eyes, his friend continued. "Are you telling me that despite the fact you've been gone for like nine weeks, your wife didn't come to welcome you?"
"No." answered Hiccup. He had to work really hard not to show an increasing annoyance in him. "We simply haven't met yet."
"So, she's hiding from you?"
"Oh, man." Fishlegs scratch at his head. "I don't think I get it."
Hiccup groaned impatiently.
"You don't need to. Is there anything else I can do for you? No? That's perfect."
Receiving an answer of this sort, Fishlegs understood it was a high time for him to disappear. He clambered on to Meatlug, who'd approached her rider in the meantime and they fled off. The young leader followed them with his eyes – then he sighed again and fixed them on Valka's face.
"Mum?" He asked. "Where is she?"
The Dragon Lady spotted a doubtful expression in his green eyes. She put her hand on his shoulder, trying to rouse him from his current condition.
"Just because you haven't seen her, it doesn't mean she's not here. Besides, maybe she simply decided to wait for you at home."
"Like if the wait wasn't long enough." answered her son in an irritated manner. "For so many days..."
"She does have a reason for that, trust me." Valka interrupted. "It might be even better for the two of you to meet there."
Hiccup was suddenly struck with a completely new idea.
"But she's fine, isn't she? Everything is all right?"
"Absolutely." His mother laughed. "All she needs now is your late presence."
The Viking respired, still far from calming down, though. The whole situation seemed unreal, to some extent, even absurd. Ever since his ship set off, there hadn't been a moment when he wouldn't have recollected his beloved wife. He could fight a squall in the middle of the ocean, repulse the attacks of unfriendly corsairs in the rocky bays or closing a deal with the merchants of the South. Even the mighty and beautiful Queen of Arendelle with whom he had a pleasure of negotiating, couldn't have changed the object of his thoughts. Each night he went to bed with a conviction that there is one day less separating him from the big, blue eyes, which in his opinion were more valuable than all the wealth of the Southern Kingdoms.
Was that so strange that he believed she would think the same?
"Yeah, I guess you're right." He said after a while. He noticed Toothless waving his head and pointing the saddle; he nearly dropped on his back and fled off without a word. But then he saw Eret, peeking at him and clearly waiting for his help.
"Not yet, bud. Let's finish this wretched expedition first. After all, we don't need to hurry that much."
It took him another hour before he could see the walls of his own hut. Standing in front of it, the young chief took Toothless's saddle off and put it next to the entrance, also ordering the dragon to stay outside. His companion obeyed, fully understanding the reasons beyond his rider's commend.
With a gentle movement, he pushed the heavy, wooden door and crossed the threshold. The house was empty. Empty and quiet. The room was perfectly tidy, like no one had ever lived there. The table, usually covered with various whatnots, was now completely bare, with nothing but two burnt up candles on it. Next to the table, there were two lonely chairs.
He didn't raise his voice, intimidated by the silence around him. He glanced at a fireplace (it worked much better than the usual open hearth and it certainly didn't take up half of a floor) and noticed a few logs, hardly burning at all. He approached it in an unconditioned reflex and, throwing an appropriate amount of dry twigs, he kindled the fire once again. He knelt there until he made sure the flame wouldn't die after he left it. Then he straightened up and, taking a few steps back, he froze.
So, that was it. She wasn't here. His hopes, that even though she hadn't greeted him at the harbour, she would at least do that at home, turned out to be in vain. All he could do was to stand, watching as the fire consumed the logs, one after another, whereas the grudge in his soul was only growing – and he didn't even think of searching for Astrid in the back part of the house.
Lost in his own thoughts, he didn't realise her appearance in the room. He didn't hear a joyful sigh coming out of her breast as soon as she saw his silent, round-shouldered silhouette.
At last, he was back.
She stood stable for a while, as if she was afraid of interrupting this magical moment, which still seemed a dream to her. It was hard to believe, that after so many weeks her beloved man was home again, standing next to the fireplace, just like he had been standing before. It seemed to her that the same room that used to scare her away with its emptiness for so long, was now again being filled with life and happiness. She smiled broadly.
With a tentative step she headed in his direction, trying not to make any superfluous noise. She was constantly observing the Viking, expecting him to turn back to her at any time.
She'd managed to stand right next to him and he still didn't make the slightest move. "It doesn't matter", she thought. She moved closer and, putting her arms round him, snuggled her face in her husband's back. The girl didn't intend to say anything. All she desired was to stand, resting on him and feeling an overcoming peace she hadn't feel since the day she lost Hiccup from her sight, nine weeks earlier.
"Good morning, Chief." She whispered eventually. She felt wonderful.
The doubts appeared when, after a few minutes of waiting, she didn't receive any signal that her words got through her audience's ears.
"Hiccup?" asked she, pulling her head back a little. "What's wrong?"
"You didn't come to the dock." said he, straining to stay calm. His efforts to make his voice sound indifferent, came to nothing, making it sound icy-cold instead. Astrid felt him trebling, as he lowered his head even more. She loosened her clasp and, grasping his shoulders, forced him to turn back to her.
"Hey" She started, searching for his gaze. "Did I really let you down so much?"
Their eyes met. Her sight seemed to be a huge question mark, featured by only a slight trace of concern. His was full of pain, fear and an infinite longing.
For the first time in forever, he was finally watching her face again. Her light skin, frail lips, golden fringe, chaotically falling in front of the marvellous blue eyes – everything, that made his present life worth living. She was beautiful, beautiful with her soul and body. He didn't have the words to express, how much happiness was brought to him by her very sight. Hiccup felt his eyes filling with tears; he was shaking more and more.
Astrid saw the turmoil in his mind; she by no means desired to disturb the silence around them with gratuitous explanations. She put her hands around his head and pulled him closer. He answered, entwining his arms on her shoulders, burying his face in her neck.
"It's been so long, Astrid." He whispered indistinctly. "So terribly, terribly long."
"I know, my love. I know." Said his wife with a smile, stroking his luxuriant auburn hair, fragrant with a scent of sea and wind, which he loved so much.
With a scent of his.
It took a while before Hiccup was capable of straightening up again.
"I'm sorry." said he after he'd eventually done that. "I... I shouldn't have greeted you like this. I'd wanted to do this with a smile and joy, just in the way you deserve it. I..."
"I know." She restated. She shifted her palmto his chin, so he could lean his head on it. "You thought we would meet in a harbour, right after your arrival. That I would be waiting for you there. I was going to."
"I had no right to demand that."
"You had every right. But... I thought I didn't want to welcome you with Snotlout's comments in the background. Perhaps it was a mistake" She gasped. "But I still hope it's something you can forgive."
"Are you kidding me?" The young Chief answered with a grin, that finally appeared on his face. "Astrid, I have nothingto forgive you."
"So you're not angry with me anymore?" asked she, teasingly.
He made no immediate answer.
"I've never been angry with you, Astrid. With the circumstances, the people around me, with myself – yes. But never with you. I couldn't be."
He tightened his fingers on her hand, while she was still holding his cheek.
"I've missed you so badly. Every single morning I searched for you and terrified, I found out you were not there. Every wave, every draught was telling me about you. And all I could do was listen."
His smile seemed far less enthusiastic now.
"I... I suppose it was a bit naive of me to think that you craved for my coming back as much as I did."
The blond-haired maiden half-opened her mouth in wonderment. Was that possible that he was serious – that he really believed in what he was saying? No, he couldn't. And she certainly didn't believe it either. She laughed with all her heart and then, shaking her head, she rested it on his chest. She raised it a moment later and pulled him close again, making their foreheads meet. An enormity of love she discovered in his eyes must've moved her – a cheerful expression didn't leave her face for a moment, though.
"Hiccup, you loony" She chuckled again. "How blank your brain must be to come up with something like this?"
Touched by her words, he gave her the most grateful look; there was nothing more he could wish for.
"I love you, Astrid."
"I know, you moron."
Having that said, the blonde warrior stepped back a little, causing her husband's great disappointment; but she had to make sure if his condition was as good as she hoped it to be. Well, it definitely could have been worse.
"It looks like everything is in its place" She pointed with a very minor teasing tone, looking at his metal leg meaningfully. "Go and boil some water for a bath, I'll prepare something for you to eat in the meantime."
"I'm not hungry" Hiccup protested. "I've eaten on board. Besides, I don't think I could swallow anything at the moment."
"As you wish. But it doesn't excuse you from the bath."
She gave him a waggish smirk, satisfied with her own riposte. Surprisingly for her, it didn't put their discussion to an end.
"Oh, come on!" bristled he. "Is that what you say to your husband after nine weeks of separation?"
"Yes, if there is a need for that. Stop whining."
"I feel highly offended" said Hiccup with his dramatic flair. "Implacable woman."
She looked at him, not at all convinced.
"Hiccup, you know what I mean. You're tired, just a moment more and you won't be able to understand anything of what I'm saying to you. Now freshen up – and go to bed."
"Oh, no" The Dragon Master wasn't going to give up easily. "I'm not going anywhere, until I hear about what was going on here during my absence. You won't tell me that nothing important happened, will you?"
He realised the accuracy of his remark, when Astrid bit her lip as an answer. Something had happened.
"You've got to tell me now" He reeled up, coming nearer and scanning her, amused.
She shook her head.
"Hey, that's not fair. You can't just dry up right now."
But she remained silent, tenaciously avoiding any eye contact. He sighed with resignation.
"Fine, you're gonna tell me later. I will have to deal with that... somehow."
He put a kiss on her cheek and turned around, ready to carry out her prior order. He stopped, suddenly hearing her speak.
"It had happened before you left." A sign of uncertainty showed up on her face while she was searching for the right words. "Two weeks, or something about that. But the news hit me much later."
"Wait, what?" Her husband said, surprised. She took a deep breath.
"Well, apparently... There is something we didn't notice when you were still on Berk; but that's exactly when it happened."
"What the... Ok, you win with this one. I am not able to understand what you're saying."
Hiccup was constantly observing her with the highest attention. The newest explanation made him feel even more lost.
"What has happened?"
"Would you like to have a walk?" She suggested unexpectedly.
"A walk?" The young Chief asked with scepticism. His wife was driven by reasons he didn't even try to understand.
"Yes. Just you and me. No dragons. Now."
"Stop mocking me!" revolted the Viking Lady.
"Okay, okay! I'm sorry!" Hiccup laughed. "I was just wondering if you don't mind my condition before the bath."
She rolled her eyes.
"Your bath can wait." She took his hand and hauled him to the door. "Come."
The sun was high above them as they were treading in silence, one next to another. Hiccup had promised himself not to rush his wife with impatient questions, even though his mind was literally burnt with curiosity. Whether it was the matter of his tiredness or it was just him, not being smart enough – either way, he couldn't come up with any probable explanation of Astrid's behaviour.
Nor could he guess what the news was she was talking about.
In the meantime, she was treading easily by his side, leaning on his arm, completely lost in her thoughts. She was thinking about the way she should introduce the matter. Despite the fact she'd been imagining their talk repeatedly during these past few weeks, she still didn't know how exactly she was supposed to start it.
"Ok, that's enough" Hiccup didn't hang on. He stopped; Astrid sighed, relieved. "What happened two months ago?"
His voice was quite peremptory – she, on the other hand, was not going to oppose.
Not this time.
"You see... It is not exactly something that did happen. More like something that is still happening, even now." She raised her hand and put it on his lips, not letting him speak. "Don't interrupt. I know, it's not very clear, but I'm doing my best. It's about something we've started, not fully realising that."
"Is it anything connected to the village?" Hiccup inquired after a while. A Chief's first duty is to his people, right?
"Is Berk in danger?"
"No." Astrid shook her head, scattering her fair locks. "You don't have to worry about that. This time, it's all about us."
He saw her, full of uncertainty, still refraining from his sight. She bit her lips once again, completely unaware of her own reflex.
She looked up.
"I don't know, what you're trying to tell me but I do see how much trouble you've got with doing it." A cool confidence in his voice was so unexpected, that it surprised even him. He took her hand in a serene gesture and hugged it to his chest.
"Whatever it is, you must remember one thing, Astrid – this is exactly what I'm here for; so you can say whatever you like. Now there's only one thing I need to know."
He made sure he got her attention.
"It's good news, isn't it?"
"The best." She cried with sudden emotion. "The most wonderful news I could ever dream of. I just... Oh, Hiccup, if only you could see it this way!"
The girl fixed her eyes on him with a begging expression, afraid of how he would relate to the information she was going to share with him. She saw his lips, forming into a cheerful smile and understood that he truly was ready to support her, no matter what. This view gave her courage that she needed so much.
"When you said about how extremely you missed home, you thought that your situation was much more difficult. It was, but... not quite. I was a little bit luckier, because there was something, that allowed me to wake up alone and smile nevertheless. But the same reason made me look out for you even more eagerly."
Feeling no more fear, Astrid drew back the hands of both of them from his chest and, without taking her eyes off of her beloved one, she put them on her belly.
"I was not waiting alone."
She observed his eyes, widening in an indescribable bewilderment. It seemed that Hiccup finally started to comprehend what happened.
"You're gonna be a father, Hiccup." She answered, before he'd even managed to ask his question. "Just a few more months and there will be the three of us."
The young chief slackened the fingers he'd been tightening on her hand and hid it in his dark hair; he definitely had not expected that.
He glanced at her again.
"Are you sure?" he whispered, his voice quivering. "Absolutely?"
"Completely sure." She said, watching him attentively. Why wasn't he smiling...?
"Please, Hiccup. Tell me you're happy about it."
He looked at her, and once again saw her eyes, filled with invocation. Was that what she'd been afraid of? Hisreaction?
Good gods, there was only one way he could react.
Next moment he was on his knees, pressing her fingers to his lips. There was no way for him to express the happiness, which had hit him with these very few words he'd just heard. It was like a blow of a hammer, and the hammer was held by the mighty Thor himself. He was entirely restrained; and at the same time, he was replete with joy which he never thought existed; and which he definitely could not have imagined before.
"My Lady" He said eventually, looking up on her, with his eyes full of tears. "My Love, My Life, please let it be true. My glorious Queen, pray tell me it's not a dream or I will surely loose my mind."
He witnessed how his wife's face beamed in the most beautiful smile. Her blue eyes brightened and after a moment he heard an amiable, sonorous laugh. She observed him in disbelief until she ordered:
"Get up, you idiot."
He had no intention of listening to her.
"No way." He said firmly, remaining in the same position. "Astrid, I am so not worthy of you."
"I will not. On Thor's name, I was convinced that it was impossible to love you any more; but I think I'm starting to change my mind."
The young woman raised her eyebrows in an ironic gesture and shook her head. Realising she wouldn't force the Viking to stand up – he was constantly kneeling in front of her – she leaned down herself, making their faces meet.
"You're forgetting one thing, Chief" whispered she. "I can't take all the credits, even if I wished to. I wouldn't achieve anything alone."
He chuckled, receiving an explanation of this kind. She, on her side, continued:
"Do you finally understand what I meant saying that the most important thing happened when you were still on Berk? We've started something beautiful, Hiccup. Together. So please, get it into that empty head of yours: it is not my merit – nor anything, you should be grateful for. Just call it teamwork and be proud of yourself, as I am proud of you.
He couldn't take his eyes off of her.
He rose up from his knees and took her face in his hands in a gentle gesture. He gazed at her for a few seconds with his eyes wet; then, all of a sudden he pulled her closer and did something he couldn't have done for the past nine weeks.
After more than sixty days of wait, he lastly put a long, passionate kiss on her lips.
His wife appeared to be a bit surprised at the beginning; she forgot about her own astonishment almost immediately, though. After all, she'd been longing for this moment as much as as he had.
She soon reflected that the only thing that should surprise her, was the fact Hiccup had been putting it off for so long.
"And I'd though I had everything." He said, when they parted. "That I simply couldn't be any happier. What a blunder."
The young man reached his arms out and embraced his most precious creature, as if he wanted to protect her from any possible threat. He wished to laugh and cry at the same time. He wanted to scream, to sing everything he felt in his soul, not capable of believing that so many positive emotions may whirl in only one man.
He was ready to sweep Astrid in his arms and dance with her until the end of the world and still, he couldn't fully express the things that were happening inside of him.
"I'm a father." He whispered.
"You will be, Hiccup." His wife smirked. "Be patient."
"I am." The Chief repeated; he well knew what he was saying.
"There's more than six months left for us, you know?"
"Nonsense." protested he. "It's already here, Astrid. It doesn't matter if we can see it or not. There already is the three of us."
They both remained silent for a while.
"Now there's one more thing I need to do."
He let her go from his tight hug and knelt again, ignoring her outcries. He gave her a teasing glance and explained:
"Wait a minute. I've got a speech to deliver."
His face was now exactly at the level of her midriff, just as he intended. He put his hands around her waist and kissed the girl in the very middle of her belly. She giggled.
"Hello, little guy." The Chief started. "I don't think you know me, but that's fine. I'm Hiccup. And, as it happens, I am also your dad. I have to say, this is all pretty scary." He chuckled shortly, shaking his head and then, sighed. "I don't know if I'll cope with it. There are probably tons of very stupid mistakes I'm going to make – and you're the one who will suffer from it. But don't worry. I'm sure we can figure something out, together." He looked up and fixed his eyes on Astrid, giving her a playful smile. "Besides, fortunately for both of us, I'm not alone here. Remember that: you're being carried by the most amazing mother in the entire world and that means a lot. On my side, I can promise you to do my best to equal her in taking care of you."
The most amazing mother watched the whole scene with great affection. A moment earlier she'd feared the news that made all her dreams come true, would not be so superb from her husband's point of view. After all, it was basically turning their current life upside down – so he had every reason to feel anxious about it.
And there he was, bowing not before her, but before this unarmed human being she was carrying below her heart, speaking to it as he would speak to a grown-up man.
He was just meant for this role.
"I knew you'd do great." She summed up a moment later. "I'd say you're gonna be a wonderful father. But, you know..."
She bent down and kissed him, unexpectedly.
"You really are one."
Author's note: There it is! Something new, something fresh, something not at all connected to the other project.
You have no idea how great it was to write a story, in which my beloved couple can finally be happy. They deserve it.
I hope you don't find the Berkian company out of character – I did my best but, as always, it's you who'll judge it.
I have to thank two people: KTMB17 and Oncie Punzie, for helping me with the final edit of this story (unfortunately, my English is still not good enough to do it myself). They're both amazing writers and you really should check them out – the former can be found on Wattpad, and the latter one here, on . Thank you guys for being here.
Dear readers: thank you for all the support you've been giving me so far. Please, don't forget to comment, it matters a world to me.