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Warning: Girlslash and Boyslash upcoming (eventually).
Summary: Three years after the events of the movie, Astrid makes a choice.

Astrid had been out of sorts lately.

She wasn't sure why.  Nothing had really changed.  Hiccup was still Hiccup, kind, intelligent, and awkwardly self-confident.  Ruffnut was still vain, crazy, and wild.  And the guys still teetered the line between being amusing and being annoying.  The only thing that seemed to have changed was Astrid.  It was confusing, and frustrating, and the only thing she knew was that she had to do something about it.

Of course Hiccup could tell.  He bore the brunt of her bad moods, obviously.  And he wanted to talk about it, had been trying to get her to increasingly often over the past few weeks.  She always brushed him off, because how could you have a talk when you had no idea what to say?  Well, he'd get his talk today.

Three years.  Over the past three years Astrid had come to enjoy spending time with Hiccup more than she ever really expected to, even when she had welcomed him home from the battle with the Green Death with a kiss, laying her claim for all the village to see.  He was clever and wickedly funny if you knew to listen for it.  He was better than almost anyone at interpreting and navigating her moods.  He knew when to be cavalier, when to be consoling, and when to cower, because sometimes Astrid just really needed someone to cower before her.  He would never be the epitome of traditional Viking manliness that some girls craved, but for Astrid he was pretty much the perfect boyfriend.

He didn't satisfy her in the bedroom.  He never had, really.  At first he had simply been inexperienced, but he was a fast learner and almost embarrassingly eager to please, and his skills increased quickly.  Astrid's pleasure, however, did not.  It was always a little frustrating, but considering how good everything else was, she had learned to ignore it.  And when she really needed that kind of release, she had Ruff.

She had thought her liaisons with Ruffnut in the forest would end when she got together with Hiccup, but the other girl had quickly proved to her that wasn't the case.  And that was all right.  It was good, even, she thought, because it took some pressure off Hiccup in the bedroom and made the rest of their relationship flow smoothly.  And it's not like Ruffnut was looking to settle down.  She was Astrid's best friend, that's all, even if they were closer than normal.  They had been together since childhood, and shared a million memories and rituals and inside jokes no one else would find amusing.  They could stay up all night talking about anything, or not talking at all.  Ruff was better at making Astrid laugh than anyone, and better at pissing her off too, although unlike Hiccup she could hold her own in a fight if it came to blows.  It worked out.  Hiccup was her boyfriend, and Ruffnut was her best friend, and if the wrong one made her scream in the middle of the night, it was a minor aberration.  She could overlook it.

So when had it started to matter?

Hiccup knew about Ruffnut, which added another layer of oddity to a situation that was already far from normal.  He certainly didn't seem to understand it, and he hadn't even seemed to believe her at first, but he knew, and didn't disapprove as far as Astrid could tell.  It was important for him to know, because while Astrid wasn't without her vices, she didn't want to be a liar.  So even though it was odd, she tried her best to be honest.  And she explained to him that she and Ruff had been going into the forest to spend time together long before she had got to know Hiccup, and didn't want to stop, but they were only friends after all.  Only exploring in the way children do.  It was fun, but it wasn't exactly deep and meaningful, and it didn't pose any threat to her and Hiccup, to their relationship.

Well.  Maybe she wasn't completely honest after all.

She saw Hiccup sitting in front of her, leaning against a rock and watching the sky, his notebook and charcoal hanging loosely in his hands.  Even though she had been looking for him, she had been so lost in her thoughts that the sight of him hit her like a blow, made her doubt the resolutions she had made.  Still, her legs propelled her forward.  When she got close enough, he turned to regard her with a lazy, contented smile.  At the look on her face, however, his smile faded and he wordlessly opened his arms to her.  And despite all her intentions, Astrid sank into them gratefully.

After taking a few much needed seconds to center herself, Astrid turned so that her back was resting against Hiccup's chest.  He wrapped his arms around her, and even with the maelstrom of confusion raging through her mind, the feeling buoyed her.  Was it wrong to crave this kind of touch from him when she had become so reluctant to take him to bed?  Ruffnut certainly wasn't averse to cuddling -- every night Astrid had spent in her bed she had woken up with all of Ruffnut's limbs wrapped around her like some kind of creeping vine -- but the Thorston girl was rarely still enough to make it practical.  Hiccup, however, seemed to love holding Astrid as much as she loved being held.

She found herself wishing suddenly that they had been brother and sister, so she could seek comfort from him without the weight of expectation hanging over them.  She could have protected him from bullies, and he could have kept her from becoming quite so serious and angry.  And she would never have to risk losing him.  Would never even have been in this situation.  She was surprised to find tears prickling her eyes, and blinked them back quickly.

"What's wrong?" Hiccup asked, and Astrid shook her head sharply.  She was holding it together, but trying to speak about it now would undo her.  She put a hand on his knee and squeezed gently, and he seemed to understand, silently allowing her to compose herself.  She realized that if nothing else, it was wrong to take this comfort from him given what she had come here to say, and reluctantly pulled away so she could face him.

She opened her mouth, paused, then sighed and looked down at her lap.  So much for her rehearsals.  Hiccup reached up to gently touch her cheek.  "Do you want to talk about it?" he asked.

"I think I have to."  Although she knew she shouldn't, she caught his fingers with her own, idly twisting their hands together in the space between them.  It might be the last time he let her touch him like this.  She forced herself to meet his eyes and said, "I don't think I've been very fair to you.  For a long time now."

"What do you mean?"

She hesitated, and dropped her gaze to their joined hands, cursing her cowardice.  "I mean, it's not working," she said, and knew Hiccup knew what she meant.

He pulled his hands away, and she felt the loss keenly.  "Not working?" he asked, and she glanced up to see the shock spreading across his face, followed quickly by hurt.  "I-I thought it was good."

"It is good."

"Then what's the problem?"

"You're so much better than 'good,' Hiccup."  Astrid bit her lip and tried to put the things she had been feeling for months into words.  "If it were anyone else, it would be bad.  If it's good, it's because of you --"

"And you," Hiccup said.

Astrid shrugged.  "But it's not because of us.  I mean, does that...?"

Hiccup clenched his hands into fists.  "I don't know.  I guess so.  Does it matter?"

"Does it matter?"

"Does it?  If that's how you feel.  I mean, it's not like I can club you over the head and drag you home."  He suddenly gave an awful, sickening smile.  "Literally.  Everyone knows you can still kick my ass."  He tried to laugh and choked instead, and Astrid quickly looked at her lap again so they could both pretend she hadn't seen the tears fill his eyes.  "Um.  I'm gonna go find Toothless."  He quickly stood, swayed in place, then turned and walked away.  Astrid didn't watch him go.  Didn't want to know whether or not he looked back at her.  Didn't know whether she wanted him to or not.

It was a very long time before she trusted her legs to carry her home.
Hey, guess who's starting her first ever dramatic multi-part fic? We'll see how it goes!

If you're just tuning in, I've been writing Hiccup/Astrid and Astrid/Ruffnut pretty much indiscriminately, because I love both pairing and couldn't pick one. But ~fortheloveofpizza's most recent picture and the part of the fic by ~Daniel-Gleebits it illustrates made me think about the fact that my Ruffnut would never be the one to get all defensive about her relationship. If anything, it would be Astrid who would. And one thing led to another and now we're here.

And yes, girlslash and boyslash. The working title of this story was "The Big Dramatic Epic Where I Turn Everyone Gay (Because Why the Hell Not)."

Links:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Epilogue

Into the Forest - a Ruffstrid prequel
Add a Comment:
 
:iconmiloucet:
miloucet Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
this is where i turn everyone gay
YEAH!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE THESE
so whos gonna be the male ship 
(toothcuptoothcuptoothcup)
better keep reading this is good!!!!!
Reply
:iconlovelydeath97:
LovelyDeath97 Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013   Artist
Love the whole story :D
Reply
:iconkekebel:
Kekebel Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013
.........Nice working title......
Reply
:iconlhiannon-sidhe:
lhiannon-sidhe Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
Fantastic working title there XD
Reply
:iconmrsishida0560:
MrsIshida0560 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Student Filmographer
this made me literally cry im serious im still crying!
Reply
:iconthislifesend:
Thislifesend Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I just dunno what to say. It's so amazing and epic and good so awsome
Reply
:iconstmemmerson121:
stmemmerson121 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2011
(I seem to be saying this to WAAAAAY too many people, but, I digress) I normally don't like the same gender romance, unless they're canon, but I can't help but love your, "I turn everyone gay (because why the hell not)" mentality, and it translates well.
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2011
I can tell I'm going to have a hard time keeping up with you, my friend, but I'll give it a try.

I'm always curious about what draws people who say they don't usually like same gender romance to read things that are marked as such. I certainly appreciate you giving this story a try, and I'm glad you're liking it so far.
Reply
:iconstmemmerson121:
stmemmerson121 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2011
I don't know, I like to be proven wrong, and this does that very well. Yeah, I only joined DeviantArt a few weeks ago, and I'm getting drawn into a lot of things that I wouldn't have before. A connection, maybe?
Reply
:iconlegendsofzeldafreako:
legendsofzeldafreako Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
"The Big Dramatic Epic Where I Turn Everyone Gay (Because Why The Hell Not)" is pretty much what I end up calling most of my fanfictions preemptively. Awesome. A little scared of the boyslash pairings you have planned but I'm reading it for the girlslash. <3
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2011
Just think of the boyslash as an amusing diversion. That's what it was for me.
Reply
:iconlegendsofzeldafreako:
legendsofzeldafreako Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
hahaha ^^
Reply
:iconrenamon-dreamer:
Renamon-dreamer Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2010
You don't need to turn me gay, I already LOVE Toothless.
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2010
Irrelevant! There's always room for improvement. Straight people turn gay. Gay people turn fabulous. And fabulous people turn into RuPaul. Everybody moves up!
Reply
:iconmiloucet:
miloucet Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
omg i dont mean to buttinto this converastion but LOL GAY PEOPLE TURN FABULOUS
TOTALLY AGREE!!!!
Reply
:iconrenamon-dreamer:
Renamon-dreamer Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2010
Your right! Thanks for clearing that up.
Reply
:iconchlove-art:
chlove-art Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Yayz for Astrid n' Ruff fanfics! First one I read too. I hope to see the next chapter soon ;)
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
It would have been done already if I weren't so distracted by delicious arts. Mmmm, arts...
Reply
:iconfallenazarathangel:
FallenAzarathAngel Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I think you're right, I can easily see Astrid becoming more defensive about a relationship than Ruffnut. And Why the Hell not is right, it's too much fun to make everyone gay sometimes! XD Keep it up, I'll be watching.
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
Yeah, we'll get into how Ruffnut feels about relationships next time. And I figured as long as I was going to have Ruff and Astrid occupied with the girl-love, I might as well give the boys something to do with all their free time. :D
Reply
:iconfallenazarathangel:
FallenAzarathAngel Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Exactly! XD I mean a lot of people assume there are other kids their age in the village even though we never really saw any so if the only two girls are hooked up, then what else are the boys supposed to do? Each other of course :)
Reply
:iconaerlias:
Aerlias Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
huzzah for the working title:D your Astrid and Ruff fics make me wanna see HTTYD. But I know I'll be dissapointed for the lack of crack pairing:p So i keep postphoning it (what i shouldn't do, cause i'm getting more accustomed to A and R together, which will make the real thing... Not fun to watch. Like when I got addicted to Kigo, then watched Kim Possible and was like 'noooo, don't kiss Ron you idiot, Shego is there, go chase her!' :))

Your writing takes me to fun places:)
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
Yeah, it's a fantastic movie, but there really is no subtext whatsoever. Most of the secondary characters only have enough screen time to make the viewer think, "Man they're awesome!" but not enough to leave much of an impression beyond that (unless you're like me and total overthink things after the fact). The whole Ruffstrid thing was born entirely in the fans minds, I assume because they're the only two females. That doesn't mean it can't work, as evidenced by the fanart and fics about them, but you definitely won't get it from the movie.

That said, it's a great movie and I recommend it. Hiccup is almost stupefyingly adorkable (and much less annoying than Ron can be, I'd wager) as evidenced by the fact that for the past six years I've almost exclusively read femslash, and the first thing I do when I finally starting posting stuff is write a whole lotta het. If it helps, I'm writing this fic specifically to fit with the movie, so there's no contradiction.
Reply
:iconaerlias:
Aerlias Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2010
Kay, I'll be sure to watch it and let their awsomeness blow my mind:)
Reply
:iconfortheloveofpizza:
fortheloveofpizza Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
I just realized I drew something but then never commented here. Um, yeah, I like where this is going. I like it a lot, and not just because it's headed for slashier pastures, but because there is actual thought put into the transitions the characters have to go through to get there.

I very much enjoy your writing (not just your ideas, which are great as well ;p) You have good flow and your word choice sometimes hits me with a bang (like the sentence that stuck with me for my last deviation. Kudos on your talent and can't wait to read more for this! XD
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
Thanks. :)

This kinda started as a personal challenge to myself. I love writing these characters, but since the vast majority of the stuff I've written was pretty strictly humor based, I haven't given myself much of an opportunity to delve below the surface of the characterizations. I realize I could've made an AU and ignored the movie canon, or decided my Hiccup/Astrid and Astrid/Ruffnut fics belonged to two different universes, but the challenge was to find a way to bring it all together and still make it believable. Here's hoping I pull it off.

Believe it or not, the 'bang' sentences are usually the easiest to write. They usually pop into my head fully formed and demand to be written. It's everything else, the filler that you never notice because it's not meant to be noticed, that tends to trip me up. Although the bang writing apparently produces some killer art, which is a plus. ;)
Reply
:iconilikehats:
ilikehats Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
SUPER GOOD.
I weebled a little.
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
That's...good? Or bad, maybe? Curse unfamiliar Internet slang.
Reply
:iconilikehats:
ilikehats Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
ahaha oh man sorry.
I thought that weeble was a self explanatory word, like fuwa fuwa or ira ira in Japanese.
To weeble (at least as far as I'm concerned) is when you get a little tear in the corner of your eye, your heart stirs, and your bottom lip trembles a bit as you say "awwww" when exposed to some kind of story or stimulus.
So a good thing.
except I was more like
";_____;"
Now I'm going to read Tango instead of studying folktales, good going... curse you and your excellent characterization.
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
That's okay. There's lots of Internet slang I don't know. I usually just don't point out my ignorance. :P

And come on, you're reading stories about Norsemen. When you put it like that, it sounds kind of...folky. Same thing, right?
Reply
:iconilikehats:
ilikehats Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
I am sure my Japanese reading comprehension teacher would disagree but I am too happy to notice.
Reply
:icondeath-sticky-note:
death-sticky-note Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
I enjoy that title. :)
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
Thanks. I like simple titles (although I may want to reconsider that, since Googling a fic named "Choice" won't do you a lick of good), but this one actually has a lot of connotations for me.
Reply
:icondeath-sticky-note:
death-sticky-note Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2010
It definitely seems to match the style of the fanfic. :)
Reply
:iconjenkristo:
JenKristo Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2010
so who is hiccup going to be paired with? please tell!!
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2010
Well if I did that, what reason would you have to keep reading?
Reply
:iconjenkristo:
JenKristo Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2010
to find out 'how' it happens, of course! i won't whine though, just sulk until an update. ^u^
Reply
:iconepyonavenger:
epyonavenger Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010
So, is this a continuation off the Tango-verse, or something new entirely?
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010
It's not a direct continuation of Tango itself, but it does take place in the same universe (or Tango-verse). You wouldn't need to read Tango for this one, but they don't contradict each other or anything.
Reply
:iconepyonavenger:
epyonavenger Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010
:gasp: So no more Hiccup/Astrid?
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010
Not in this story (there's a reason I said at the end of the A/N that I was turning everyone gay). HOWEVER! Do not fear, most of my one-shots and ficlets will still have them together. Think of it as alternate futures. In one world, the events after Tango somehow led them here. In another, Hiccup and Astrid get married and have lots of babies. I'm pretty flexible.
Reply
:iconepyonavenger:
epyonavenger Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010
Huzzah! I'd hate to choose between those ships myself. Glad to hear they'll both be represented. ^_^
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010
I know, me too :P. Why, oh why must I have two contradictory OTPs for this fandom?
Reply
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