Heather linked arms with Merida, clearly nervous about the ball. The redhead patted her sister's arm, "Don't worry about a thing, Heather, everything will be alright. Unless Ruffnut and Tuffnut do something."
"But wouldn't that just add to the fun?"
"Yeah, but, tonight, you're trying to catch someone's eye. I'll try to keep them at bay."
"Thanks Mer," Heather smiled. The two stopped, they had reached the back of the line, right behind their parents, Elinor chatting away with another lady in the line as it slowly progressed forward.
"I just hope the triplets don't give Maudie a heart attack while we're gone," mumbled Merida.
Heather giggled, "Well, maybe we should start telling them if they want to come to a party, they have to behave with Maudie."
"What? Those three in the same room with the twins? That's a disaster waiting to happen!"
"Well thanks for the vote of confidence," quipped Ruffnut, surprising the two.
"What? They know us pretty well . . . ow!" exclaimed Tuffnut as Ruffnut hit his shoulder. Before the two could get into another brawl, a gasp emitted from the crowd. Everyone glanced up, a magnificent airship was parked in the sky and a black being glided to the ground. The person undid the straps attaching him to the machine before taking off his helmet and combing his fingers through his auburn hair. Merida was a bit taken back, not just by the strangeness of his entrance, but also by the intent gaze of his green eyes.
"Haddock! You made it!" exclaimed a robust blond as he burst from the house, passing Heather and Merida on the way out.
"Yes, I made it, sorry I'm late, Ingerman, hit some wild turbulence on the way over here."
"Oh that's alright, we're just getting started." Ingerman led his friend to the end of the line which was finally getting to the door. "Oh, look, and these are the people I was telling you about, Miss Heather Dunbroch and her sister Merida, and the twins Ruffnut and Tuffnut."
"How do you do?" the Dunbrochs gave a little curtsy as they spoke.
"Hiya, handsome, got a dancing partner tonight?" crooned Ruffnut.
"Well, I'm not exactly ready . . ."
"Well, when you are ready, let me know, alright?"
"Bleh," was all Tuffnut said before grabbing his sister's arm and whisking her away to find some mischief.
"Uh . . ."
"Oh, they're off to make things interesting."
Haddock rolled his eyes, "Of course."
"Oh, before I go back to welcoming people . . ."
"Wait, you left Astrid to welcome people by herself?"
"Oh, yeah, I did, she is so going to kill me."
"That she will."
"But I haven't seen you in years! Guess I got a little excited."
"To see me, or my machines?"
Ingerson shot him a sheepish grin before turning back to the girls, "Right, uh, Heather, would you be my dancing partner tonight?"
"Yes! I-I mean, I'd love to, uh," Heather glanced at her snickering sister for help.
"Just hurry it up and finish your hosting duties before anyone starts attempting to sweep her off her feet."
"Oh? And what would happen if someone tried to sweep her off her feet?"
"I'd have to get the twins to help fend them off, and you remember what happened last time, don't you, Mr. Ingerman?"
Ingerman let out some air in an attempt to keep from laughing, "Boy do I." The three of them burst out laughing as each remembered the scene Merida was referring to.
"Did I just land in uncivilization? Never mind, forget it, I'm going to change, Ingerman, I might reemerge for the ball," muttered Haddock as he walked away.
"Does Mr. Haddock act like that all the time, Mr. Ingerman?"
Ingerman shook his head, "No, only when he doesn't understand something. We should have told him about the twins' antics so he would know why it's so funny. Ah well, give him a few minutes, he'll be back." Merida glanced down the path that Haddock had taken before joining everyone in the ballroom, the three of them not realizing that what Haddock didn't understand was how a pair of sky blue eyes had made his heart flutter.
"Mr. Haddock!" Merida gave a quick curtsy as Hiccup gave a quick bow. "Are you looking for Mr. Ingerman? He just left for a walk with my sister."
"Oh, he proposed to her?"
Merida beamed, "Yes, he did, and Heather accepted, of course."
"Did you convince him to come back?"
"I did, after we spoke in the fall, I came to realize that I had been wrong about your sister, and I set about making amends."
"Including what you for Ruffnut and MacIntosh?"
"Well, I couldn't just let her run off with Dagur, now could I? I think I did a good job of matchmaking that time, don't you think?" he grinned.
Merida laughed, "Maybe, but how can we ever thank you for everything you've done for us?"
"Thank me only for yourself, I only thought of you." Merida turned her head away, a flush coming to her cheeks. "Miss Dunbroch, I-I must tell you how I-I . . . feel," he began. Merida turned abruptly to glance at him, her eyes wide with surprise and curiosity. Was he still in love with her? Could she dare hope?
"Well, um, I-I, uh, wanted to know, uh, have your feelings for me changed?"
Merida blushed as she glanced down, "Yes, yes they have, I thought ill of you when you were only doing what you thought best, not just for Dagur, but also for Mr. Ingerman. I must apologize, it was wrong of me to think so ill of you."
"I was wrong to have been so rash and judgemental, especially of your sister when I felt so strongly about you."
"So, your feelings . . ."
"Have not faltered these past months, they seem to have . . . . only, only gotten stronger," whispered Hiccup.
Tears threatened to fall from Merida's eyes as she rushed into his arms, "My feelings for has completely changed, I can't imagine the torment I put you through these past few months."
Hiccup kissed her face, "It was worth it, for now you're in love with me." He grinned at her when her eyes widened. She burst out laughing, it was true, the wait had been worth it, for now she would be completely his.