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Summary: Three years after the events of the movie, Astrid makes a choice.

Tuffnut was sure he had woken up in a good mood that morning.  He was in a good mood a lot recently, for one very specific reason.  But being around Ruffnut had steadily wiped the smile from his face.  Apparently being pissy was catching.

"Did you take care of the dragons today?" he asked as they wandered through the village.  He didn't think she had any real destination in mind, but in a fit of brotherliness he had decided to go with her anyway.  He was regretting that.

She just grunted at his question.

"You check out the herds at the arena yet?"

She grunted again.

"You wanna go shopping or something?"

Another grunt.

"...you gonna say actual words anytime soon?"

She pushed him, and he shoved her back.  "Charming," he said sarcastically, then sighed heavily.  "Frozen Hel, I wish you would just get over it already.  Or do something.  You're being damn hard to put up with."

"What am I supposed to do?  It's not my fault things got messed up.  I'm not doing shit."

"Howzabout if you won't do shit, you stop complaining about shit?" Tuff said, frowning, 'cause sister or not he was tired of this.  "You don't like things?  Well do something about it!"

"I didn't do anything in the first place!" Ruff insisted.

"No, Astrid did, and maybe that makes it your turn!  You're being all pissy, but I don't really see where you get off.  She's done everything so far, hasn't she?  Maybe you didn't like it, but at least she did something."

"I wish she hadn't," Ruffnut muttered.  "Things were fine the way they were."

"How fine could they be if Astrid wasn't happy?" he asked, and she frowned.  "You need to get your head out of your ass and actually think about things for two seconds."

"What's that supposed to mean?" she demanded.

"Look, this whole mess started because you didn't want to stop having sex with other people, right?"

"There isn't anything wrong with that!"

"Naw, there isn't, and I'm not about to judge who you sleep with.  But is that really what it was about?"

"Oh, don't start that again!" she cried, stomping her foot.  "You and Hiccup can do whatever you want, but that doesn't have anything to do with me."

"No, it doesn't," he said, rubbing his chin.  "But seriously Ruff, when was the last time you actually had sex with anyone else?"

Ruffnut opened her mouth, closed it, then dropped her jaw.  "Yeah?" Tuffnut said.  "It's been a while, huh?  I know you got a reputation, but I think you were buying into your own hype with that one."

She gritted her teeth, and looked at the ground.  "You and Hiccup and Legs can think whatever you want," she said in a low voice, "but it doesn't change anything."

"I guess not," he said, shoving his hands in his pockets.  "Look, I wish I could help you, but if things aren't gonna change...I can't do anything else, Ruff."

"I don't need your help," she spat.

"Sure."  He looked at her, and sighed.  "Listen, I'm gonna have dinner with Hiccup and Astrid."

"Like I care what you and your little boy-toy do," she said, balling her hands into fists.

"Right.  Well, I'll see you at home."  He took one last long look at her, then left.

Ruffnut Thorston did not cry.  But she went home and closed the door to her room very tightly anyway.


**********************


"Astrid!" Tuffnut called a couple days later.

She turned around and smiled.  "Hey Tuff," she said, waiting for him to catch up to her.  "Are you going to see Hiccup?"

"Yep!"

He smiled widely, and she returned it.  "I'll leave you two to it then," she said, stopping.

"Naw, we can share."  He clapped her on the back to get her moving again.  "You're pretty cool, and we haven't been hanging out nearly enough.  Well, besides when we both hang out with Hiccup."

"Isn't that what we're doing now?"

"I guess so.  Well, we'll just have to make the walk count!"

She laughed, then carefully considered her next words.  "I guess we didn't have much in common besides Ruffnut," she said, and it wasn't difficult.  Apparently casual mentions were okay.  She was still testing her tolerance for certain things.

"We have something else in common now," Tuffnut pointed out, and Astrid smiled sweetly.

"Yeah, I guess we --"

"We've both had Hiccup's cock inside us!"

Astrid promptly stumbled to a halt and started choking on air.  Tuffnut stood with his fists planted on his hips, looking exceedingly pleased with himself.  "Oh, gods!  Why did you do that?" she gasped.

"Because I could," he said, rocking on his heels.

"What's wrong with you?"  She closed her eyes and grabbed her head.  "Great Odin, now there's these images in my brain, and they won't go away!  You-you're evil!"

"Glad I could help."  He shot her a shit-eating grin.

"Okay, you're dead.  C'mere," she said.  He waggled his eyebrows, then took off, and she gave chase, laughing.  He had the advantage of longer strides, but Astrid was nothing if not persistent.  She finally lunged forward and managed to collar him.

"No, not my beautiful face!" he cried, ducking.

"Your what?" she asked, laughing so hard she almost lost her grip.  "I don't think there's much more I can do to that mug."

"Hey, that's hurtful," he said, trying to push her away.  "There's no need to..."

He trailed off, and Astrid looked up to see Ruffnut standing in front of them.  The shock hit her as always, and her smile faded as she dropped her arms from Tuff's neck.  But her face was still relaxed and happy, and even the lingering negativity couldn't take that away.  She felt like she should say something, realized she had no idea what that was, and kept quiet.  Ruff stared at her for a few long, silent moments, then brushed past them and walked quickly away.

Astrid let out a long breath, and glanced at Tuff, who looked slightly spooked.  "Well," she said, feeling shaky but determined to work past it.  "She looks..."

"Yeah," he replied.  He stared after Ruff, working his jaw, then seemed to come to some kind of resolution.  "Come on, let's go find Hiccup."


**********************


The door to his workshop swung open, and Hiccup looked up from his desk to see a figure standing in the doorway.  "Hey Tuffnut," he said, and leaned to look at the shape behind the other boy.  "Astrid."

"We have discovered that Astrid does not, in fact, miss your cock," Tuffnut said, and Astrid punched his back.

Hiccup blinked.  "That's...good to know.  Um.  Why were you talking about this?"

"She doesn't even want to talk about your cock," Tuff continued, and Astrid hit him again.  "In fact, she punches me every time I bring it up."  Another hit.  "Penis."  This time Astrid shoved him into the workshop, and Tuffnut laughed as he dropped onto the bench next to Hiccup.

"I think I remember why I don't hang out with you now," Astrid said, sitting on a stool across from the boys.

"I'm beginning to figure it out too," Hiccup said.

"You guys are mean," Tuff said, leaning his head on Hiccup's shoulder.  "You need to loosen up.  Just 'cause me and Hiccup are having mind-blowing sex is no reason to go all prude on me."

"Just stop, please," Astrid said and covered her face with her hands, "I don't need to hear this."

"Aw, what's the matter, Astrid?"

Hiccup laughed.  "Don't tell anyone, Tuff, but I think she might've given up on man-sex."

"No!" Tuff cried in mock surprise.  "Well don't worry Astrid, I'll take care of this," he patted Hiccup's thigh, "so you don't have to."

"If this is what you two are like when you're getting laid regularly, I regret encouraging this at all."  Astrid glared at them, but couldn't completely suppress her smile.  "Could we do something beside talk about sex?"

Tuffnut pursed his lips thoughtfully.  "Hm.  You know, just talking about it isn't as fun as..."

Astrid quickly stood.  "Wait, wait," Hiccup said as he and Tuff laughed.  "We'll behave."

"I'm not sure you can," she pointed out.

"She might be right," Tuff said.

"We can," Hiccup said firmly.  When Tuff pouted, he added, "I'll make it up to you later."

Tuffnut beamed, and Astrid rolled her eyes, but sat back down.  "So what else has been going on?"

"I tried out some new gears this week.   They look promising," Hiccup said.

"My boot was stolen by a pack of marauding Terrors, while I was wearing it," Tuffnut said

The other two looked at him.  "Tuff wins," Astrid told Hiccup.

"Yeah, no kidding," he agreed.  "How did you manage that?"

"It's a skill.  I've got a way with 'em," Tuffnut said proudly.  "They can't get enough of me."

"Fair enough," Hiccup said with a smile.

All three started when the door suddenly swung open, and Tuffnut actually leapt away from Hiccup so that he was sitting on the far end of the bench.  Astrid saw why when Stoick blinked at them.

"H-hi, Dad!" Hiccup said nervously.  "Uh, what're you up to?"

Stoick looked around the room, eyes briefly landing on both Tuffnut and Astrid in turn before apparently deciding it was safer to focus on Hiccup.  "I...I was coming to see if you were having dinner at home tonight, or if you were working."

"Oh.  Well.  I'm not working on anything, so...I'll be home?"

"Good.  Good."  Stoick's eyes roamed restlessly around the room again, then landed on Astrid.  Her stomach dropped.  "Astrid!  Why don't you join us?"

"Oh, um."  She glanced at Hiccup in a panic, but he didn't give her any cues.  "I appreciate it, really, but I was planning on going home myself."

"Ah, you won't be missed for one night.  I insist!" he said heartily, and Astrid didn't know how to decline without making an awkward situation worse.  Dammit.

"Dad, can Tuff come too?" Hiccup suddenly asked, and both Astrid and Tuffnut whipped their heads around to stare at him in shock.  Astrid worked quickly to make her expression as neutral as possible.  Tuffnut didn't seem able to do the same, but since Stoick seemed to be doing his best to pretend he wasn't in the room it didn't much matter.

"I thought he'd be going home to his own family," Stoick said gruffily.

Hiccup looked at Tuff, whose eyes widened.  "Uh, no," he said, and laughed nervously.  "I mean, they won't miss me or anything.  I can come."  He swallowed.

"Well..."  Stoick looked conflicted, and Astrid braced herself for some kind of blowup, or at the very least a refusal.  But then, to her surprise, he said, "Let's get going then."

They filed out after the chief, Astrid and Hiccup walking together and Tuffnut lagging behind.  Astrid looked at Hiccup, who kind of shrugged helplessly, then tilted his head backwards minutely.  She nodded, and took a couple quick steps forward to catch up to Stoick while Hiccup fell back next to Tuff.  Stoick's eyes were fixed resolutely forward, but he met Astrid's gaze briefly as she pulled next to him.  He looked...not happy, not at all, but there was none of the anger Hiccup had described to her.  She thought about what Hiccup had said about Vikings having the ability to adapt, and wondered if it was true.


**********************


Fishlegs shuffled some of his scrolls, then looked up.  "Can I have my bed back?"

"No," Ruffnut said.

"Okay.  Let me know when you're done."  He pulled out another notebook and began marking in it.

Ruffnut was lying on her stomach, her chin propped up on a pillow.  It was probably really pathetic -- she was hanging out with a nerd, basically -- but she didn't know where else to go.  She didn't want to go home and risk seeing Tuff, and she didn't want to go anywhere else and risk seeing Astrid.

So she was lying on Fishlegs's bed, and she was thinking, which was something she generally avoided, but she couldn't put it off any longer.  She was no good at this emotional stuff, and she knew it, but didn't she even know what was going on in her own head?  She had been telling the truth -- nothing had changed between her and Astrid.  Astrid had changed, maybe, but Ruff hadn't.  And it took two to do the horizontal tango or whatever.

Sex, to Ruffnut, had always been fun.  Not much more than that, but the fun had seemed like enough.  With Astrid...of course Ruff cared about her, deeply.  She had never linked it to the sex like Astrid had apparently been doing, but that didn't mean she didn't care.  But caring and sex, that wasn't really the same as love, was it?  That was the whole problem; Astrid wanted more than just that, and Ruffnut didn't know if she could give it.

Maybe she didn't know her own mind after all, because she still felt confused and angry.  So instead of thinking about what she did or didn't feel, she thought about the hundreds of other little details that had been plaguing her more and more frequently over the past few weeks.  Like how her earliest memories were with Tuff, but Astrid came in a close second.  And the hours they used to spend playing games none of the other girls wanted to play.  The day she had gotten her long hair tangled in some branches and Astrid, who was all of eight at the time, had carefully untangled it and then pulled it back in a messy braid so they could keep playing.  Ruffnut's mother had been trying to braid her hair for a long time, but she had never had the patience to sit through it until Astrid did it, then she insisted her hair be like that all the time.

Their first kiss.  Ruffnut had started it (of course), but the simple fact that Astrid had let her when, despite her show of confidence, Ruffnut had no idea whether she would or not.  She had been scared, hadn't she?  She was almost able to forget, after years of seeing Astrid delight in her touch, but once she had been scared, and then so happy.  When had a kiss made her that happy before or since?  When had she forgotten that?

She had felt a lot, now that she thought about it.  Happy when Astrid let her kiss her; ecstatic when she let her touch her.  Scared when Hiccup came onto the scene, and she thought things might end; relieved when they didn't.  And jealous, gods, even though she didn't want to admit it and knew now it wasn't true anyway, when she thought Astrid was still with Hiccup after all.

Even besides all that, just hanging out with Astrid had always been...Tuff was her brother, yeah, and that was special and all, and she put up with him.  The boys were amusing at best, and usually mostly annoying.  And most everyone else in the village was boring to the point of pain.  But Astrid had always been there, and more to the point Ruffnut had always wanted her there.  She had been relying on that, apparently more than she had realized.

Nothing had changed.  She had always liked being with Astrid, always wanted to kiss her, always wanted to touch her, always hated the thought of her being with someone else if she wasn't with Ruff, and had never, never thought it might be any other way.  She had missed the forest for the trees.  She had been waiting for a lightning bolt, and never realized the sun was already shining.

"Shit," she said, "you were right."

Fishlegs looked up at her.  "Hm?"

"I'm in love with Astrid."  She rubbed her face with her hands.  "Also, I may be an idiot."

"'Love makes fools of us all,'" Fishlegs quoted, fiddling with on of his figurines.

"We been doing so good, Legs, don't make me hurt you."

"Sorry."  He put the figurine down.  "What are you going to do now?"

"I don't know.  Go home.  Sleep."  She carefully pushed herself up and climbed off the bed.  "Figure out what comes next."

"Good luck."  He gave her an encouraging smile as she headed for the door.

"Thanks.  Tell anyone about this and I'll kick your ass."

"Got it."  She slipped quickly out the door.  She didn't really feel that much more resolved, nor did she know what was going to happen next, but she knew she had to do something.
I really kind of want to be done with this, guys. And we're so close. Actually, the last chapter is written, I'm just waiting to hear back from my beta.

Not feeling particularly rambley tonight. Oh well. Enjoy.

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:
 
:iconjtownedu:
jtownedu Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
yay!!!!
Reply
:iconlhiannon-sidhe:
lhiannon-sidhe Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
"My boot was stolen by a pack of marauding Terrors, while I was wearing it," Tuffnut said
I love your writing. really. it makes me laugh so hard.
Reply
:iconthislifesend:
Thislifesend Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I loved the last few lines. It seemed so simple but yet so hard to think of. Ingenious
Reply
:iconilikehats:
ilikehats Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010
Leggggggggggs <3
Also there was apparently a secret sex scene and I missed it? cockblocked
Speaking of cocks that banter was hiliarious :D
It is good to see Ruffnut doing some character-ing too.
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010
It wasn't really secret, but you may have missed that chapter. Go back one.

Yeah, I haven't gotten into Ruff's head a lot lately. I don't really know why. I actually usually plan scenes before I know whose point of view they're going to be written from, so even I'm not always sure how they're going to turn out.
Reply
:icondoom--kitteh:
Doom--Kitteh Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010
Omg, I saw this before heading to bed so I HAD to read it... and Tuff's comment to Astrid in the beginning... I'm really glad my roommates are kind of deep sleepers >.>; I think I surprised myself by laughing out loud to it haha xD

Hurray, Ruff stopped to think! lol
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010
I've been waiting a very long time to write that conversation. :D

It certainly took her long enough. I have this idea that Ruff's main problem is she's inherently freaked out by heavy emotional stuff, but she doesn't really realize it.
Reply
:icondivided-chaos:
Divided-Chaos Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010
Awesome chapter! It's great to see a well written Astrid/Ruffnut fic. Please keep going! I'll eagerly be checking everyday for an update so I can be one of the first to tell you how awesome this story is!
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010
Welcome aboard! As for the next chapter, I'll go ahead an let you know it should be posted sometime tonight (night for me, anyway) or tomorrow. Then the epilogue will come a day or two after that, and we'll be done!
Reply
:icondivided-chaos:
Divided-Chaos Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010
OMGF***INGAWESOMENESS!!!

*Ahem*

I mean... That would be great! :D I was worried when I saw on your journal you were having some trouble with the story. But to know you've got it sorted is awesome for me as a reader and awesome for you as a writer. Nothing better than being able to finish a story and finishing it well :)
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010
Yeah, that journal's old. Admittedly, it's only a few weeks old, but that's a lifetime given the rate I tend to crank these things out. I'll probably do a new journal after the story is done.

It is awesome to be more-or-less done. Now, whether or not it's done well will be up to you guys. We'll see soon enough.
Reply
:icontiny-ruffian:
tiny-ruffian Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2010
aww!!
i love fishlegs XD i so relate to him

stoic is scawy!
Reply
:icongeneralzoi:
generalzoi Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010
Fishlegs is fun. I like to think the twins have threatened him so much (and followed through on it fairly rarely) that he's pretty chill about the whole thing.

Stoick could be a lot scarier, though.
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