"Can I ask you something?"
The question resonated in the air for a second, before Hiccup decided to answer it. He glanced at his friend, sitting next to him at the platform's edge, her eyes fixed on him. She looked perfectly calm.
If he'd had to choose one word to describe the last week at the Edge, it would've been 'full'. Full of accidents, full of anxiety. Full of emotions of all possible kinds.
Emotions he could hardly control.
The truth was, that when he first learned that Astrid had lost her sight, he had no idea what was about to come. He tried to belittle it – don't worry, Astrid; it will be fine, Astrid. That's what he said. But then he saw how scared she was and… he felt the fear himself, even though he did everything to make sure she wouldn't see it.
If Astrid Fearless Hofferson had been scared, how could he not be?
He called himself back to present and noticed the blonde warrior looking down on her laps. He smiled weakly. At least it was all over now.
Still, she had something to ask him about.
"Um… Back in the forest..." she started, hesitantly. "when we were… Well, you know."
The forest. Yes, of course. Her, lying on the ground. Him, resting on his arms above her. Their faces inches apart.
Calm down, Hiccup. Nothing had happened.
"Were you about to…?"
Or, hadn't it?
Oh Thor. No, no, no.
"Oh, uh… Well, I..."
It couldn't be true. Not this. Anything but this.
"You felt that, huh?"
He looked away the second he heard the words, no matter how kind Astrid seemed at the moment. He tried to smile, but all he could come up with, was shaping his lips in an awkward grimace, while quietly praying to the mighty Thor to be struck with a sudden, inexplicable blast from the sky.
She was not supposed to have felt that.
"I felt like maybe I got away with it."
He'd screwed up. He'd screwed up like no one ever had. After years and years of waiting for a sign that she might… consider feeling about him in a way he'd always felt about her, he'd ruined everything by one stupid attempt. Until now, he could've hope that she'd never noticed what he'd been trying to do back then, and just wait for another opportunity to come.
This moment made him realise she was conscious about everything.
"Well, why didn't you?"
Hold on a second. Was she really asking him that?
He met her gaze.
She really was.
"Oh, uh..." Hiccup stuttered, more than confused. What was he supposed to say? She would be mad no matter how well he'd excused himself. What did she expect?
But then again, she never stopped smiling at him. He bit his lips nervously.
"Well, I…" He continued, carefully choosing his words. "It wasn't perfect. And I always thought that if it ever happened… and, yes, I've thought about it, a lot. Uh..."
Hiccup, what the hell are you doing here?
"...it had to be just perfect."
Why he'd said all that, he didn't know. It wasn't a lie – every word he'd said was one hundred percent true. He had thought about it. He had wanted it to be perfect. And when he recalled the last week situation, he had to admit that it had not been that.
But he also knew it wasn't the real reason.
He clenched his teeth and sighed.
"You turned away."
That was it. He finally put all the pieces together and realised, what it meant for him. What it meant for them. And the more he thought about it, the more hopeless he felt. Because as long as he could believe that his closest, dearest friend wasn't aware of his actions, he could just go on and wait, blaming the Triple Strike for spoiling the moment. But she was aware.
And since she didn't make her move, it clearly meant she didn't appreciate it.
"Look" The young leader picked up, still unable to look at her. "I know what you think. It was stupid and I… I'm sorry for that. But I just want you to know that I'm ready to get over it, if only you let me to. Astrid, your friendship is the most precious thing I have, and I can't lose it because of one cursed moment of weakness. We can go on, like if nothing have happened and I promise that you won't even see the difference."
"You see, when we talked in those woods, I told you one thing. I am with you, Astrid. Whatever it means, whatever you want it to mean. Don't you think I'm taking any of this back."
He finally turned, looking straight into her eyes, but, seeing no smile on her face, he turned away again, fixing his gaze on a horizon. That was probably the most dreadful dawn he'd ever experienced, but gods knew it couldn't be helped now. There was nothing more to say or do, except for shifting to his former place and increasing the distance between Astrid and himself again.
That's what he should do now, right?
He didn't have time to do anything of this kind. The moment this thought crossed his mind, he heard the Warrior giving out a small chuckle; and before he'd realised what was going on, he felt her hands on his shoulder, pulling his body in her direction.
Her lips against his skin.
Her kiss on his cheek.
He must have been dreaming.
"You're the biggest dork that has ever walked the earth, Hiccup." She said, still laughing. "And you have to be the most oblivious one to think that I could ever be upset with you for that try. I turned away because I'd heard the Triple Strike coming at us – not because I was offended by the attempt."
With every word heard, Hiccup's eyes widened. So that was it? She did appreciate it?
"I thought… I was sure..." He stammered, staring at her in amazement. "I was certain you'd be mad at me."
"For making my dreams come true?"
"Hiccup, I've been waiting for it for years."
"Did you really not see that?"
He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Then he opened them slowly, carefully observing her face, lightened with amusement. It couldn't be true. It just couldn't. But if it was...
"Then why didn't you…?" He whispered.
Astrid looked down, smiling and softly shrugged her shoulders.
"I guess you were not the only one who wanted it to be perfect."
She took her hands from his armour and put them on the platform's floor. Hiccup wanted to protest, until he noticed where exactly she'd rested them – and how close her fingers were to his own. He smiled, touching them as gently as he could.
A shiver went through his body when he realised what she'd just said.
Astrid's smile widened when she sensed that. She glanced at the horizon, while covering Hiccup's hand with her palm and squeezing it slightly.
"You know" She pointed out quietly; she felt her heart beating faster and faster, but this one time, there was nothing wrong about that. "This seems pretty perfect to me."
Hiccup followed her gaze and nodded. He turned and leaned towards her, astonished how right it felt. Astrid looked at him shyly, but he knew she wouldn't withdraw now – after all, it was the moment they'd been both waiting for.
Finally, their lips met.
And when they parted, and looked at one another again, Hiccup raised his hand and placed it on her cheek.
"Yeah. I guess it does."