That day started out like any other, Hiccup got up bright and early, ate breakfast with his parents before his dad dropped him off at school. He quickly found his friends, Fishlegs eager to talk about the newest dragons in Dragon Tamers, as always. School itself dragged on like usual, Hiccup preferring to draw, play Dragon Tamers, and build things out of Legos rather than listening to his professor drone on about history. Of course, Hiccup could just watch Merida and daydream about how he would ask her out and where they would go. He'd plan out their entire future if he had the time, but by the time they were boarding a plane for their honeymoon, the class was over and it was on to the next one. It wasn't until it was time to leave that someone mentioned the clearly obvious.
"Go on, Hiccup, ask her out! Or else Snotlout will think he's actually got a chance!" blurted Fishlegs.
"I thought Snotlout already asked her out, and she turned him down cold?"
"Yeah, but he's going to try again. No one has ever asked her out twice, and he thinks he's got the charm to make her melt!"
Hiccup chuckled, "Think is the key word, Fishlegs. Snotlout doesn't do much of that outside of finding new ways to get girls to notice him." At that moment, Snotlout walked up to them, a smug look on his face.
"Well I think Merida will say yes. Once she realizes just how irresistible I am, she'll be asking me to marry her!" grinned Snotlout. Fishlegs and Hiccup groaned and rolled their eyes. Snotlout thought he was so awesome that he couldn't see that he wasn't! "Ah, oh Merida, darling princess!" Snotlout rushed after the redhead, who was just getting out of archery club.
"OK, this, I've got to see," smirked Fishlegs as he and Hiccup began walking after him.
"Watch the very first, second failed attempt?" grinned Hiccup.
"Oh, I know! When Snotlout gets annoying, you swoop in and rescue her!"
"What? No! She'd never forgive if I did that!"
"Excuse me?" came Merida's sharp Scottish accent.
Snotlout began stammering, "I, uh, um, w-was wondering if you'd go out with me to H-Hiccup's party tomorrow."
"No," came the quick reply. Hiccup let out a soft sigh of relief before he and Fishlegs began snickering as Snotlout's face changed from surprise to crestfallen.
"What? But . . ."
"No, I'm not going with you."
"But, but, who would go out with me?"
"I would," stated Ruffnut as she, Astrid, and Heather joined Merida.
"Well, yeah, if I wasn't already going with MacIntosh," she added, indicating the brunette who joined her side.
"Oh man!" Everyone burst out laughing.
"Better luck next time, Snotlout," snickered Astrid.
"Yeah, but, just out of curiosity, Mer, who would you go out with?" asked Heather.
"Someone who hasn't asked me out yet," quipped Merida as she turned to walk away.
Fishlegs elbowed Hiccup, "Did you hear that, Hiccup, did you hear that? You're the only one who hasn't asked her out yet!"
"What? No I'm not, you haven't asked her out, Eret hasn't, nor has Tuffnut."
"Hey Merida! Are you going to Hiccup's party tomorrow?" shouted Fishlegs.
Merida turned and shouted back a bit harshly, "Who wants to know?"
"What? No! Fishlegs!" hissed Hiccup.
Merida blinked, "Oh, uh, yeah, I'm going!"
Fishlegs nudged Hiccup, whispering, "Well, answer her!"
"Oh, uh, gr-reat, thank you! Uh, see you tomorrow!"
"OK, see you tomorrow!" Merida waved. Hiccup waved back as she walked away with her friends.
"Well, that wasn't so bad," began Fishlegs.
"That was horrible, just kill me now."
"What, right before your eighteenth birthday? And before a possible date with Merida?"
"Oh come on, you want to plan out your whole life with her, but you can't even pluck up enough courage to ask her out?"
Hiccup sighed, "It's complicated."
"No it isn't."
"Yes it . . ." A car honking made Hiccup pause and glance at the parking lot. There was his mom.
"Come on Hiccup, I still have to get a few things for tomorrow!"
"Coming Mom!" He turned to Fishlegs, "See you tomorrow!"
Hiccup paused, "Maybe? What? I need you, man! I can't just face Merida by myself!"
Fishlegs began laughing, "What? And miss what could possibly be your first date with Merida? Nah! I was just kidding! I'll be there, promise."
Hiccup chuckled nervously, "Uh, yeah. Thanks Fishlegs, you're the best!" He waved as he dashed towards the car.
"Alright, well, did you figure out what kind of cake you want?" asked Valka as Hiccup buckled in.
He sighed, "No, not really. Maybe I'll figure it out while we're at the store." He glanced up as his mother braked the car.
"Excuse me, sorry," Merida smiled apologetically as she dashed across the parking lot towards the parked car where her father and brothers were shouting at her to hurry it up, Hiccup's eyes following her the whole way.
"OK," muttered Valka.
Hiccup snapped out of his trance and glanced at his mother, "Uh, what?"
"About choosing the cake at the store, OK, just, make it quick, alright?"
"Oh, uh, right." Hiccup glanced down and didn't notice the knowing smile that spread across his mother's face.
"So, you made sure everyone who was invited is coming?" Valka asked nonchalantly.
"Mm-hmm," mumbled Hiccup as he checked his phone.
"Oh, good, so that means the whole gang is coming?"
"Mm-hmm." He tried to act all cool about it, but his cheeks were starting to turn red and he began to lean forward. Valka bit her lip to keep from laughing, it was going to take a bit of time and a little prodding, but he'd eventually ask her out. She didn't say another word about the party until they got into the store.
"OK, I'm going to have to get some groceries as well as the plasticware. I seriously thought I had enough. Oh well, I'll meet you back here in, say, fifteen minutes. Think that will be enough time to decide?" She indicated the row of cakes laid out in the glass display.
Hiccup gave her a lopsided grin, "It should be."
"I hope so, you've waited long enough. I'll be back soon, so make it quick!"
"Right!" Hiccup waved as his mother walked away. He let out a huff as he turned to the array of cakes. Well, there it was, he had to choose now, no putting it off any longer. What was he going to do? He liked them all! Chocolate, vanilla, the confetti was fun, so was carrot, and all the fruits. Ugh, so many choices! A chuckle from behind the counter caught his attention.
"Sometimes I think I took this job simply to help you choose your cake."
Gobber winked, "How are you doing, Hiccup? I should ask, how are you feeling, so close to your eighteenth birthday?"
Hiccup shrugged, "No different than last year. I mean, sure, technically I'm a man now, but I might not feel like it until I graduate high school and get into college."
"Oh, interesting. I think you will feel different, starting at midnight," Gobber stated somewhat mysteriously.
Hiccup glanced at him questioningly, "What do you mean, Gobber?"
Gobber just shrugged, "It's kind of hard to explain, you'll see what I mean tonight."
Hiccup shrugged, "Oh, OK, well, are you going to do your job and help me choose a cake?"
Gobber thought for a moment, "Eh, maybe. Actually, I was wondering . . ."
"Uh, yes?" asked Hiccup when he didn't continue.
"You haven't had apple spice cake yet, have you?"
"Uh, I don't think so . . ."
"Well, why don't you do that? It's basically the one cake you haven't had yet. And I should know, I've been helping you decide which cake you have for the past sixteen years!"
Hiccup chuckled, "That's true. Alright, apple spice cake it is. What frosting?"
"Oh, cream cheese, of course. You can add caramel on top as well, that'll send you into a sugar high for sure."
Hiccup licked his lips, "Mm, that does sound good."
"Want anything else? Any designs, extra toppings?"
"Mm . . . dragons? Almonds?"
"Huh, almonds with apples, eh? Interesting combo."
"Oh, uh . . ."
"Oh, it isn't bad, trust me, I've tried it. I only mention it because Merida's the only one I know of who likes almond extract in her apple cider. I did try some, it's not bad, I'll give her that."
"Wait, Merida likes almond extract in her apple cider?"
"Yeah, I thought you knew? What with your obvious crush on her, you following her around like a puppy and knowing so much about her."
"No I don't!"
"OK, OK, so you don't follow her around everywhere, that would be creepy, but I'd have thought you knew so much about her."
"I, uh, I give her some privacy."
"Well that's being very gentleman-like of you. She might prefer you over all of those other blokes who ask her out."
Hiccup ran a hand through his hair as he chuckled, "Uh, yeah, so, um, apple spice cake with cream cheese frosting, caramel, almonds, and dragons."
"Right, I'll make a rectangle so I can draw the dragon easier."
"Right, thanks, Gobber."
"No problem. Oh, real quick . . ." Gobber ducked behind the counter and came back up with a wrapped package. "This is for you."
"Why, thanks Gobber!" He glanced at Gobber, "But, why can't you give this to me tomorrow? Aren't you coming to my birthday party?"
"Oh, I am, I'm bringing the cake after all!"
"Oh, right . . ."
"This is to be opened at midnight."
"Oh, when I get that feeling?" Hiccup asked in jest.
"Yes, but if you hear or see anything, you either stay in your room or come to my place. Preferably my place, but it's up to you if you want to. And if you do come, make sure you don't wake your parents and you close all doors and windows you open so nothing can get in. Are we perfectly clear?"
Hiccup swallowed, Gobber wasn't joking, "O-OK. Gobber, what's going on?"
"You'll find out tonight. Sorry Hiccup, but it's the only way you'll believe me."
"B-believe you about what?"
"You'll see. Back already Valka? Did you find what you were looking for?"
Valka smiled as she walked towards the counter, "I did, thank you, Gobber! And did Hiccup make his choice?"
"Ah yes, giving me quite a challenge, this one."
"Oh, I'm sure you'll do just fine. Your cakes always come out wonderfully!"
"Well thank you, Valka! Hey, I won't keep you two much longer, you've got a party to set up, and I've got a cake to make! I'll see you tomorrow!"
"Wonderful! Well, see you tomorrow, Gobber! Uh, Hiccup, are you going to say goodbye?"
"Uh, yeah, yeah, uh, goodbye Gobber, see you . . . tomorrow."
"Right, and remember what I said!"
Hiccup chuckled nervously, "Yeah, I, I will."
"What was that all about?" asked Valka.
"Oh, um . . ."
"Oh! Gobber gave you your present already?" Valka asked incredulously, noticing the package in Hiccup's hand.
"Oh, yeah, that's what it was about, uh, actually. He told me not to open it until midnight."
Valka laughed, "Of course! He wouldn't want you to open it before it's actually your birthday! Well, come on, we need to check out and get going, we're going to be late for dinner!"
Hiccup smiled, "Right." He glanced down at the package, his curiosity having to be put aside to take care of the shopping, but he couldn't help but wonder what lay beneath the paper. His thoughts then turned to Gobber's words and took a quick glance at his mom. Something was going to happen at midnight, and he was going to be awake to see it.