Epilogue! Finale! Whatever we call it. This is the final chapter of Nice! Bit of a time jump from previous chapter.
The house was nice, Hiccup thought; they'd moved in over the last few weeks, and they'd already had the housewarming party, with their friends helping them unpack, installing shelves and tech, organising their combined possessions and getting pretty damn drunk. And yes, there was a big dragon decal on the front window. They both loved it.
But now they had guests for something else.
He'd worked extra hard on two things in particular, and they were finally ready. He'd only started working on them when he knew he was ready himself. Astrid, wonderful as she always was, was patient enough to wait for that without pushing him. Giving the contents one last glance, Hiccup closed the box again and smiled to himself, heard Astrid downstairs just getting home. He tucked the box away in his drawer, then picked up the printed out invites. He'd designed one himself, scanned it and printed out several copies to add names to.
"Because you have shared in our lives by your friendship and love we,
Hiccup and Astrid
invite you to share the beginning of our new life together when a collar is given."
The wording felt especially true - the friends invited had truly gone above and beyond, outing themselves to his parents to help Hiccup repair his relationship with them. And that was after most of them had propped him up through his break up with Cami.
He hesitated for a second or two before writing Cami's name on the invite. They were repairing their friendship, and Astrid and Cami were practically back to before... everything, texting daily and, on the occasions Cami came over for dinner again, they were always laughing and joking and ribbing Hiccup playfully.
But he wasn't sure if inviting Cami to Astrid's collaring ceremony was rubbing it in her face, saying look, this could have been you. After he eventually decided, he supposed it was Cami's choice. He slipped a second card inside her invite, letting her know if it was too much, there were no hard feelings. The others were easy to pick - Mala and her pups Dagur and Throk, Heather and Eret, and Atali. He added that she was welcome to bring a plus one as he'd heard she was dating again, but only if Hiccup was allowed to meet them first, for Astrid's protection. And everyone else of course, but the ceremony was about Astrid.
Fresh out of the shower, Astrid strolled naked as a newborn in to their bedroom, throwing him a smirk over her shoulder as she caught him looking. Arms up over her head to wring her hair with a towel, Hiccup was afforded quite the view. Even after they reconciled, it took a little while for Hiccup to be up to hurting her again. Now, though, there was a lovely pattern of bruises and marks on her skin, each one pleaded for, each one for his pleasure and her needs.
"Enjoying the show?"
"Always. Just finished these, what do you think?"
Astrid didn't touch, hands and hair still damp, but she nodded approvingly.
"They look great. You're amazing!"
She beamed, waiting for him to put them down before leaning over and kissing him. Astrid was ecstatic about the upcoming event, and so he wasn't surprised she was happy to see the invitations were ready. The date was already tentatively set for when he knew everyone was likely to be free, but to them, a collaring ceremony was parallel to a wedding, and taken just as seriously, even if it was more intimate and less public.
"Can I see them yet?"
Astrid gave him her best pout, clearly hoping to get her way. Hiccup chuckled to himself, shaking his head as he stood up and crossed over to where she was stood, pouting.
"No. You're lucky I know I'm picking a brat, or I might change my mind about keeping you."
He gave her a swift smack on the backside, which made her jump and gasp, face shifting before Hiccup moved away.
"Yep. You should get dressed, although I guess it's nothing they haven't seen before."
Heather and Eret were joining them that evening for dinner, just because. It saved Hiccup sending them invitations through the post, though he addressed the others to drop off on his way out the next morning. Picking up the invites, he took them downstairs with him to check on dinner. No matter how far down the path of power exchange their relationship led, Hiccup was never going to make Astrid take over the cooking.
Sauntering around in a t-shirt and shorts so short they were almost obsolete, Astrid came downstairs with her hair dried and tied back just in time to answer the door to their friends. Heather and Astrid came in arm in arm, Eret putting on a great show of pretending to feel third wheeled before spotting Hiccup and bear hugging him.
"Put me down!"
Eret did so, laughing as Hiccup rolled his eyes fondly at the ridiculous man.
"It really does smell good. Need any help?"
"Sure, grab the cutlery out of there."
Eret joked that only Hiccup got to order him around as he did so, both their subs audibly giggling from the other room. Hiccup noticed Eret watching him, soft smile on his face.
"Just... I'm enjoying seeing you so happy and at ease in your life again. Especially now you've decided to go through with the collaring ceremony."
Hiccup nodded at his friend, smiling in return.
"Yeah. I think I'm actually at a point where I can say I'm in a good place again."
He was friends with Cami again, and his parents actually knew him and didn't hate him. He lived with Astrid, was on his way to a good career in a field he loved. And he and Astrid were preparing to commit to each other in a way that suited them, and nobody else.
She'd been naked, bound and fucked in front of a room full of people - more than once! - in the club before, but there was something infinitely more exposing about kneeling in front of Hiccup and their friends now, seeing the box in his hands and knowing how much it meant. Especially to Hiccup, who'd been pretty much petrified of the very idea before.
They'd talked about vows and words, but they already had a list of Astrid's soft and hard limits because that was what Hiccup did, and Astrid insisted they make one for him too. They weren't the type to make a real contract; they preferred to stick with regular, open communication and checking in that their dynamic was suiting them both still, that rules didn't stifle one or both. They'd had all the conversations about what collaring meant for them already.
There were two collars, Astrid discovered. One thin and obviously meant to be worn as a necklace, Hiccup murmured as he clasped it around her neck, so she could keep it with her when she went out in to the world of vanillas. The second was thicker, a deep brown leather, studs alternating in size from large to small and back again. She knew Hiccup had made it himself, that the perfectly spaced studs were the result of his painstaking efforts. It was beautiful, and he asked her again in the softest voice if she was sure she wanted it before he placed that on her.
"I do. I choose to be yours."
She answered, and saw Hiccup's beaming smile before he wrapped the leather around her throat, clasping it there and letting the weight settle. Astrid swallowed, took a deep breath, and nodded up at Hiccup's questioning gaze to say the tightness was fine. There was a small silver ring on the front, though as Hiccup didn't like leash play much, it was more symbolic that she could be than she would, and a space for if Hiccup ever decided to place a tag there.
"You can stand up now."
He said, holding his hand out for her to take. Astrid stood, not lifting her head until he placed his finger under her chin and brought her gaze up to his. There was still all the warmth and love there, and Astrid adored it all the more with the reassuring weight of the collar around her neck. Their handful of friends there as witness made enough noise to feel like there were twice as many people in the room, but Astrid barely noticed it, faded to the background as Hiccup cradled her face tenderly and kissed her sweetly.
After Hiccup told her to put something on, they left the play room - an obvious choice for the locale of their ceremony - to celebrate with their friends. Permanent collars were not a choice Heather and Eret had made yet, though they utilised play collars for scenes fairly regularly. Meanwhile, permanently-collared Dagur perched himself next to Astrid's chair to compare, nuzzling her hand when she petted his hair and giving a playful growl at Eret when he approached. Mala chided him, and Dagur whined but retreated to her side without resistance.
Eret reached down and pulled Astrid to her feet, hugged her to his side.
"Amazing day! And thanks for being a part of it."
"Wouldn't miss it for the world."
Whenever Hiccup was near her, he had his hand either in hers or his arm around her so that he could trace his fingers over her collar. Astrid had caught him looking at the one she wore to the club before, and she loved how happy he looked now. Cami approached the two of them, and though there was obviously some lingering discomfort, she was smiling and hugged them both.
"I'm happy for you both. Truly."
They hugged her back and thanked her for coming. Astrid knew it couldn't have been easy for her, even if they were all friends again. But they were healing. All of them. Hiccup had been to a few therapy sessions already, and it seemed like a weight had come off him ever since he began to rebuild a relationship with his parents, though talking it out was obviously helping too.
Hiccup had let her heal physically for the last few days, so there weren't many aches and bruises left on her body for Astrid to take note of that evening, and Heather laughed at Astrid grousing about it.
"I'm sure he has plans to make it up to you."
"He does. But that's not til tomorrow. Booooo."
"Well" Heather flicked Astrid's collar playfully "you did just sign up to do as you're told."
"Most of the time. Hiccup joked he was gonna get a tag for my collar that just says brat."
Heather, also something of a brat sometimes, laughed.
"Well, pet names are a common choice. How often does he call you that?"
Astrid gave her best innocent face. Ultimately, she wanted to serve and submit to Hiccup, and if he was laying down a serious rule, she wouldn't disobey it. And if she told Hiccup "make me", and he did, she wouldn't argue. But he liked her a little cheeky, mouthy, liked her fire, liked to push her limits because he knew she could take it, and Astrid liked to let him because she knew she could trust him.
They spent an amazing night with their friends, open and free to be themselves, as comfortable in her new collar with them as others would have been with a new wedding ring. Marriage was still as-yet-undecided for them, but the commitment of collaring alone was a huge, real commitment to them, even if it had no 'legal' basis. Actually, given his parents background in law work, Astrid got the feeling it was a bit of a perk to Hiccup that collaring was all choice, no legality.
"Rest up, you've got a long day tomorrow."
Hiccup murmured against her ear that night as he undressed her, removing the necklace she was to wear outside their home and placing it on a hook that hadn't been there the day before next to her side of the bed.
"You're only allowed to take it off if it's for work, or if you're worried it will get caught on something. Your safety always comes first."
Astrid glowed inside, felt his arms circle her, pulled against the warmth of his bare chest. He kissed her goodnight, and Astrid took a couple of tries to get comfortable with her collar, but it was soft and fit well and she soon fell asleep in her Dominant's arms.
When they woke, Hiccup brought her coffee and kissed her forehead, let her wake up while he showered before he sent her to shower too.
"Is this waterproof?"
Astrid asked, brushing her fingers over the studded collar.
"Yeah. Titanium studs, resistant to corrosion. Leather has been waterproofed. It'll need maintenance, of course, but I plan to take good care of both you and it."
Of course he'd thought of that. Astrid went and got herself showered, fresh and clean for Hiccup to play with. He'd made her breakfast by the time she came out - not too heavy, but enough to stop her blood sugar dipping too soon.
Their playroom was relatively new to them still, but Astrid already loved to kneel in her little spot. Hiccup put a little padded cushion there, obviously. Dominant with a sadist spark or not, Hiccup was still Hiccup, and as he pointed out, Astrid liked running so he had to take care of her knees if he wanted her on them regularly.
He picked out various toys, lined them up and Astrid watched, tingling already as she watched his lean form hugged in snug black bottoms and nothing else. She looked over at the wall, again ridiculously happy she had such an inventive, DIY-skilled boyfriend - he'd put one of those pull-down beds in their playroom, but secured it to the wall in such a way that when it was folded up, the base frame also served as a place Astrid could be tied to if he so wished.
"On all fours."
Astrid complied, seeing the plug and lube in Hiccup's hands, felt him open her up with his fingers before a rather thick plug was left there for her to clench around. Once he'd cleaned his hand off, Hiccup pulled her back up onto her knees, shifting the plug and making her moan. Then she was on her feet, led to the base of the bed for Hiccup to begin binding her. Her wrists were placed up over her head, and the ball gag she had to convince him in to getting was placed in her mouth, strap buckled around the back of her head. Hiccup still wasn't always keen on them, but they had been working through non-verbal safeword play a little more lately, and the next thing he placed on her was a sound effect toy - it made a loud noise if she pressed the button, Hiccup looped the string around her wrist before cuffing her hands in their place above her.
Astrid did, the shrill noise definitely audible.
"Good. If you press it, I'll stop and check in."
Astrid nodded, managing to twist her head to look at him and Hiccup kissed her gag with a rather impish smirk. She could feel his clothed erection against her leg, hand rubbing up and down her back for a minute before slipping down to land an open-palm slap on each of her ass cheeks, making her jump and squeeze around the plug again. A spreader bar between her ankles completed the 'look' Hiccup seemed to be going for, her backside already warming.
"I know you've been missing the pain a lot the last few days, I'm going to make it up to you now."
Already wet, Astrid quivered, breathing quickening against her gag as Hiccup stepped away from her. He turned her head back so she couldn't see him, limiting her sight without having to use a blindfold. She shivered pleasantly when he trailed an implement down over her back, Astrid almost immediately recognised her favourite leather paddle.
"You have to be careful not to lean forward and stick that cute little ass out now, or I might hit the plug and that could hurt."
Astrid nodded to show she understood, and Hiccup murmured "are you ready?" to which he got another nod. He took a step back, tapping the leather against his hand to make a recognisable sound before that tell-tale whistle through the air was followed by the crack! of impact against her skin. Astrid jumped, gasping at the 'thuddy' pain, the ache that made her knees weak and her thighs wet. Hiccup made sure to paddle both sides of her ass evenly, until she felt like she was on fire, trembling with arousal and all but sobbing against her gag in that delirious mix of agony and ecstacy.
It was only when he pried it from her hand that Astrid realised she'd been clutching her safeword-substitute so tightly it left an imprint in her palm. He freed her wrists and rubbed her hands, but only pulled the ball out of her mouth rather than remove the gag.
"Are you alright?"
Astrid couldn't speak anyway, could only nod and tremble as Hiccup wiped her mouth with a cloth, gags inevitably meaning drooling. He waited for her to catch her breath, waited for a verbal answer.
"I'm good. We're not done right?"
Her voice was a breathy mess, but Hiccup was more than used to that, and he nodded, stroked her cheek before pushing the gag back in her mouth. Her hands were bound at her sides, chain behind her back linking her cuffs. Ass burning and plug still driving her crazy, Astrid was walked out of the way so Hiccup could bring the bed down, then laid her on her back over the mattress. It was effective, making her lay on her sore backside and her own weight holding the chain in place, with just enough wiggle room to stop her arms and shoulders from being strained. Then he gave her the noise-maker back before getting back to tormenting her so beautifully.
Hiccup retrieved her favourite clamps, pinching her nipples between his fingers to make them swell first before clamping them, each spike of pleasure making her moan into her gag before he turned the clamps on and left them vibrating away. She writhed and squirmed, which only made her rub against the stinging skin on her backside, Hiccup watching her every twitch and tremor.
He left her to suffer that for a little while, occasionally palming himself through his bottoms, Astrid feeling awfully empty watching him even with the plug still in her. When Hiccup decided she'd had enough of just that, he picked up a flogger, snapping the fabric against her thighs and leaving reddened welts over the skin there, pain making her spasm and jerk and scream into her gag. Gods, how she loved the bite of pain on tender nerves, the rush her body flooded with through every hit.
Hiccup gave pleasure as much as pain though, swapping his flogger for a vibrator to match the ones still buzzing against her nipples. The new one ran over her clit, changing whimpers of pain to whines of bliss. Well-learned in her body, Hiccup knew when her heart was pounding, when there was fire burning in her blood and pulled back, left her teetering on the edge of an explosive climax that lingered just out of reach.
She tried to swear at him, but it was rendered little more than incomprehensible babble by her gag, which only served to amuse her Dominant more.
Hiccup reached behind her and undid the gag, leaving her to flex her jaw a bit to ease the ache and stiffness.
"Why'd you take it off?"
"So I can hear you, as much fun as your little face of frustration is when you can't swear at me for stopping."
She wanted to glare, but Hiccup tweaked one of her nipple clamps and any irritation melted into a sharp, gasping moan. He unhooked the chain from one cuff and pulled it under her, freeing Astrid's arms to support her on her elbows when Hiccup rolled her over and pulled her up by her hips, dragging a finger over her wet thighs.
"Awful needy thing you are."
His words sent a thrill through her, rocking back to try and entice Hiccup to... do something other than leave her there. She heard the sound of cotton hitting the floor, felt the mattress sink behind her. A light smack was all it took to stoke the fire, Hiccup playing with the base of her plug before leaning over, hips digging in to her sore ass as he whispered against her ear.
"Ready for me?"
Hiccup chuckled lightly at her desperate tone, whole body thrumming needily. Then he was in her and gods she needed it, felt the empty ache inside her go away at last. There was no slow tease; he needed it as bad as she did by then, groaning with every flex of his hips. Steady thrusts stole her breath and her thoughts, and when Hiccup pressed the vibrator back against her clit Astrid was pretty sure she lost her mind completely.
She lost track of things a little, came to with Hiccup stroking her hair. Slowly taking stock of her body, she could feel the plug was gone and his come was wet on her thigh, clamps gone from her chest.
"Are you alright?"
Subspace still lingered at the edges of her brain, but Hiccup was petting her gently and the lovely floating feeling was a nice mix with the lingering pain in her lower body, the twinging left by clamps and cuffs.
Hiccup gave her water and cleaned her up, and Astrid didn't feel like a bath so early in the day so they skipped to massage, soothing lotion on her tender backside and ointment on the welts on her thighs. Wrapped her in soft clothes and cuddled her on the sofa, Astrid's head on his lap.
"So, how's your first day as a collared sub?"
Hiccup asked gently, stroking her hair. Astrid hummed, nuzzled closer to him.
And, I'm not ashamed to admit, I'm relieved this fic is done with. I've appreciated (most) responses to this fic, the multitudes of people who've let me know they learned from this fic, the positive messages I've had because of it, and I'm very happy people enjoyed it! But it's been over a year since this fic was started, and it's time to move on :)