Summary: At his first dance after becoming a hero, Hiccup finds himself in an awkward situation. Also, Astrid's parents and drunk!Ruffnut.
A few months after defeating the Green Death, Hiccup attended his first dance since becoming a hero. Oh sure, it wasn't the first one he had ever been to, but it was the first one where he felt like a guest instead of an intruder, shunted off the the side and ignored. It was also the first one he wasn't attending alone, and Astrid was by his side proving it. And all of these things, which should have made this event infinitely better than any of the previous ones, instead left Hiccup feeling so nervous he thought he might throw up.
There had been a feast after the battle and Hiccup's eventual recovery, of course (he suspected there had been one before his recovery as well - Vikings didn't let much get in the way of their celebrating). And Hiccup, being the hero of the moment, had been even more swarmed there than he usually was on the street. It had been...overwhelming. It would have been almost funny if it wasn't so frustrating. After years of wanting nothing more than the approval and attention (positive attention, anyway) of the villagers, Hiccup didn't know what to do with it now that he had it. It occurred to him that after all those years of solitude by default, he didn't really know how to deal with people all that well.
But that's where Astrid had stepped in. She had been by his side almost constantly since he woke up, except for when he needed one-on-one bonding with Toothless or was having man talks with his dad (which they actually did now, and it was still a little weird, but good too). She was good at intercepting people, deflecting them, and, when it got to be too much, spiriting him away to Toothless's private glade where he could fish or play or fly and not have to think about anything.
Tonight, however, Hiccup had resolved that Astrid was accompanying him as his girlfriend, not his protector. He was getting better at dealing with the attention, which was waning anyway. So tonight, they were just a young couple, out to have a good time at a dance. Not a feast, a dance. Where people were expected to dance. Well. Dance well.
Why had he thought he could do this?
Hiccup could not dance. Not a bit. Oh, he had tried a few times. Like with every aspect of Viking life, he approached it with a gusto his skill level didn't really deserve. Many people could - and did - say that he wasn't much of a Viking, but no one could say it was for lack of trying. But somehow being laughed at by girls your own age was much worse than being chewed out by adults much older than you, and he had given up on the dancing. At least that was one thing the metal contraption on his leg was good for. He now had an excellent excuse not to embarrass himself. Earlier in the day he had had a vision of himself on the floor of the Great Hall, trying and utterly failing to not look like a total idiot. Astrid had taken one look at him, declared, "You are unworthy of mating!" and then she and the other girls had grabbed him and carried him to the top of Helheim's Gate and thrown him into the volcano as a sacrifice to the Gods of Dance.
Okay, maybe he had been letting his imagination run away with him.
He felt a soft touch on the back of his hand and looked up at Astrid. "All right in there?" she asked, smiling a bit. She as looking at him with affection, not derision, and it was still new and...wonderful. He was smiling back before he knew it.
"I'm fine," he said, taking her hand properly. "Let's go."
It really wasn't so bad. All Viking celebrations had food and mead present to some extent, and early in the evening everyone was busy feeding and talking. The tables would be moved out of the way as the night wore on to make room for a dance floor, but for now everyone was just visiting.
Hiccup and Astrid were popular as ever. They couldn't go more than a few feet without someone stopping them, either to just say hello and wander off, or to have an extended conversation about dragons or farming or the weather. Everyone was friendly and jovial and, in some cases, more than a little drunk. Hiccup was actually enjoying himself.
They eventually ran into Astrid's parents, who, in contrast to Astrid's lithe figure, were as big and solid as any of the other Vikings. More so, in Mrs. Hofferson's case. They were always friendly enough, but Hiccup was still a little awkward around them. Astrid didn't seem to have the same problem with his father, but then Stoick loved her. Mr. Hofferson tried to talk to Hiccup about some warrior thing that he hadn't understood back when he was just the town screw-up and still didn't understand now that he was the town dragon trainer. Luckily, all Hiccup really had to do was nod in certain places and say, "Yes, sir," and, "No, sir," while Astrid discussed something with her mother off to the side.
After a few minutes of that Mr. Hofferson was apparently satisfied, because he turned to his daughter and said, "So, how's it coming with that Nadder?" Meanwhile Mrs. Hofferson sidled up to Hiccup and started prattling on about something or other he couldn't quite hear over the din of the hall. Hiccup noticed some of the noise was coming from a group of men dragging the tables from the center of the room to make space for the dancers. He realized suddenly that he and Astrid would make their way over there eventually, and tried not to panic. Then he remembered his girlfriend's mother was taking to him and maybe he should listen.
"Don't you worry, she'll fill out," Mrs. Hofferson was saying. "She's just a skinny little thing now, but I was like that at her age, believe it or not. Those hips'll come in before too much longer. Among other things," she said with a wink, cupping her own more-than generous bosom.
Oh sweet Thor, why had he started listening? He managed a strangled, "Urk," before strong hands jammed themselves in his back, forcing him away.
"Thank you, Mother. We're going now," Astrid hissed, shoving Hiccup through the crowd.
"All right dears, have fun," Mrs. Hofferson called after then cheerfully -- or perhaps willfully -- ignorant of her daughter's embarrassment. Astrid's face was red from the tips of her ears to her collarbone, and she was resolutely looking everywhere but Hiccup's eyes. He had to bite his tongue for a good thirty seconds before he could be sure he wasn't going to burst out laughing. Astrid didn't look like she would appreciate it.
She navigated them to the opposite end of the hall, as far away from her parents as they could get, where they found a more-than-tipsy Gobber. He immediately launched into a rambling story about dwarfs and elves and sock-stealing trolls that Astrid seemed to listen to attentively just for the sake of the distraction. She still wasn't looking at Hiccup, and he took the opportunity to study her.
What would Astrid be like when she grew up? Despite Mrs. Hofferson's assertions, Hiccup really couldn't see her with her mother's curves. Not yet, anyway. But she did still have some growing up and maturing to do, they all did, and Hiccup found himself wondering what Astrid would be like as a fully-realized and mature woman (please, oh please let her let him stick around long enough to find out).
Astrid finally looked over at him then, and seemed a little taken aback by whatever she saw in his eyes. He probably would have been too, if he could see it, because he couldn't even describe it. Whatever she saw made her smile, her earlier embarrassment forgotten, and take his hand. "Come on," she said, and started leading him away. "Good-bye, Gobber."
"Watch out for the elves!" he called after them.
Astrid led them to the edge of the dance floor. She turned to Hiccup with one eyebrow raised in a bit of a challenge, and nudged his prosthetic leg with her boot. "Feel like giving it a go?"
His mouth went dry. Astrid, he knew from stolen glances back when she would never have been seen with him, was a good dancer. More than that, she seemed to enjoy it. And he wanted to give her that, but...
"I, I really don't think, not tonight. Maybe next time," he said quickly, "but I don't think I'm quite good enough with it, yet, so...yeah."
She seemed to take it in stride. Instead, she led them to a bench near the side with a good view of the floor. On the way Hiccup grabbed two cups of mead, and they sat and watched the others.
After a couple of minutes of chatting and watching the dancers, Hiccup realized that the look on Astrid's face was wistful, and set his mead down on the bench next to him. "Look, you don't have to sit here with me."
She looked at him and said, much too quickly, "Oh no, it's all right. I don't mind."
"No, really. You're not the one with the metal leg. I was just going to sit here and people watch anyway. You go on."
She glanced at the floor, then glanced back at him and smiled. "All right," she said, and stood up.
Hiccup forced himself to smile back, feeling slightly put out that she had agreed so quickly even though it had been his suggestion. But then she kissed him and that made it a little better.
And so they passed the time. Astrid, he was pleased to note, danced mostly with Ruffnut or as part of a group. Snotlout cut in a few times, but that was okay because Hiccup was almost entirely sure he wasn't really after Astrid anymore. Almost. And Hiccup continued getting a more or less steady stream of visitors, so he really didn't have any reason at all to watch Astrid like a hawk and make sure no one was getting a little too friendly. In fact, he had a few romantically inclined visitors of his own, giggling girls that laughed at everything even if it wasn't funny and sat much too close. Those encounters never lasted longer than a few seconds though, before Astrid appeared as if out of thin air and glared until the girls slunk off in defeat.
Even when he wasn't surrounded by her potential rivals, Astrid made it a point to come over and check on him regularly. Once she grabbed his hand, leaned down, and asked, "Are you sure you won't come out?"
He almost said 'yes' just at the look on her face, but discomfort and a healthy does of fear kept him in his seat. Next time. He really was getting better, but these things couldn't be rushed. So he just smiled at her and shook his head. She kissed his cheek and headed back out.
The other members of their little group of friends came over to talk with him too. Or, well, Fishlegs and Snotlout came by to talk. Tuffnut popped up at some point, threw an arm around his shoulder, mumbled a bunch of drunken words that didn't make any sense in his ear, and took off again, spilling a fair bit of mead down the front of Hiccup's shirt in the process. And Ruffnut used him as backrest while she was chatting up some boy behind him, but at least they knew he was there.
As the night wound down, however, Hiccup found himself bored and a little frustrated. By this point everyone was too drunk or too tired to be interested in conversation, even with the town hero. And except for Astrid, who had graciously made sure to stay in his line of sight all night long, he hadn't seen any of his friends since a shirtless Tuffnut had somehow managed to climb and subsequently fall off the center chandelier. So Hiccup spent his time glaring at the latest boy to dance too close to Astrid and hoping they could leave soon.
Something fell on his left shoulder. He looked over and saw a very inebriated Ruffnut blinking hazily at him. "Hey, stubby," she slurred, and then laughed uproariously at what she probably thought was a joke. She wrapped her arm around Hiccup's neck and smooshed their cheeks together so that they were both looking out at the dance floor. "What're you up to, all by yerself?"
"Oh, nothing much. Just the usual," he said, trying subtly and unsuccessfully to separate his face from Ruffnut's.
Ruffnut's head bobbed erratically, which he blamed on the mead until she finally focused on Astrid and her tall, dark, and muscled suitor. "Oh," she said, drawing the word out several beats longer than normal. "Thas' the problem, huh?"
"Yes, thank you for noticing. Could you maybe let go of my face?"
Ruffnut, to his surprise, did let go, and moved so she was standing in front of him. "Ah, quit yer pouting. Astrid's lucky to have you, and she knows it!"
"Thanks, really," he said, more than a little unnerved. Even now the twins were rarely nice so much as not actively violent. "But, ah, I'm pretty sure I'm the lucky -"
And then Ruffnut sat in his lap. Whatever Hiccup had been about to say died in his throat, and for the second time that night the only thing he could choke out was a strangled, "Urk."
Ruffnut, whether by drunkenness or design, didn't seem to notice his discomfort. She was straddling his lap, hands resting on his upper thighs, and leaned in so close he could feel the heat from her skin. "I mean, you're quite a catch these days, you know," she said, her eyes half-lidded and her already raspy voice dropping even lower. "There are lots of girls in town who would love to have you."
There was nothing in the world more important, Hiccup knew, than getting Ruffnut off his lap this very instant. But at some point during this exchange his hands had shot into the air, as far away from Ruffnut's body as they could get, and he was terrified to lower them. He had the feeling that any touch he made now, even if it was intended to be a shove, would be misconstrued as an invitation, and a drunken Ruffnut would probably take rejection even worse than a sober one. So he really had to think of something, now, and -- oh gods, oh gods, she was moving, pressing her body slowly and rhythmically against his. He was going to die, he was really going to die right here, right now, either through his brain exploding or some kind of divine intervention or maybe Astrid would show up...
Just then Ruffnut's head jerked backwards. She cried out, and Hiccup saw Astrid standing behind her with one hand wrapped firmly around a long blond braid, staring at Hiccup. Astrid jerked her hand to the side without even a glance at the other girl, using the momentum to fling Ruffnut off Hiccup and into the crowd. Ruffnut ended up bouncing off the considerable belly of Fishlegs, who grabbed her right before she tumbled to the floor. She jerked her head up, eyes hard, and for a second Hiccup was sure she was about to go for Astrid's throat. But then her gaze became unfocused, and her expression confused, until she tipped her head back to look at Fishlegs. "Well hi thar, hanshome!" she slurred happily, and Hiccup let out a sigh of relief.
Until he looked back at Astrid. Her face was flushed, and she was still staring at him with an almost frightening intensity. "S-sorry," he stammered. "We were just -- I mean, she's -"
"She's Ruffnut. I know," Astrid said, and her gaze shifted to something that looked almost amused. Hiccup let out a deep breath.
"Gods," he said with a chuckle, running his hand through his hair. "This night has been...well, it's just been, you know?"
"Mmm," Astrid said in agreement, taking a slightly unsteady step toward him. She had probably had a little too much mead.
"So, are you ready to...um, ready...to..." Hiccup trailed off, because Astrid was, slowly but deliberately, still moving towards him. Her arms came up to wind around his neck, and then, for only the second time of the night and in his life, Hiccup found his lap full of teenage girl.
"Astrid, um, w-what're you --"
"My spot," she whispered, and giggled. From here he could smell her breath. Oh Hel.
"Astrid, how much mead have you had?" he asked. He had just barely managed to keep his arms from shooting into the air again -- drunk or no, it probably wasn't a good idea to give his girlfriend the impression he didn't want to touch her -- and instead settled them very tentatively on her waist.
"Enough," she said, leaning in close enough that the soft skin of her cheek just barely skimmed his. He thought he would die at the touch. She giggled again. Oh Hel.
"Astrid, you're drunk." He had meant it to come out authoritatively, but it just sounded nervous. Oh well. At least it fit. "I think we should go home now." Her home, his home, the training arena, the glade, Helheim's Gate, anywhere that involved Astrid getting up off his lap, because with her arms around his neck like that she was free to press her entire body against his, from shoulders to hips, each point of contact burning him like fire, and she really needed to get up right now because there was a little something going on down there that he was pretty sure she would notice!
"Mmhm," she said in agreement, and he tried to convince himself he was relieved and not at all just a tiny bit disappointed.
"Okay, so..." His hands were hovering just over her hips, unsure of what to do because she certainly wasn't making any move to get up. "Can you, maybe, stand up for me...?"
"Come on, let's go dance," she whispered in his ear, and he couldn't suppressed the shudder that went through him.
"I thought we were going home," he said, his voice trembling and cracking.
"Mmhm," she said again, smiling at him. But she still made no move to stand.
"Astrid, you know I can't dance," he tried. "My leg..."
This time she leaned in so close her lips brushed his ear. "I wasn't planning on being vertical," she breathed, and all the blood in his body promptly rushed to a single location. Oh dear sweet Fjörgyn mother of almighty Thor. She was, she was suggesting -- no, no, that couldn't be right. But it was kind of impossible to misinterpret her intentions when she was pressed so close against him. They had been moving in that direction anyway, and he had hoped -- had assumed even -- that if everything worked out and they stayed together and kept moving forward they would get to this point eventually. And she had suggested it, she had come to him -- but she was drunk, and that wasn't right, was it? It would be wrong, and he should wait until she was sober, shouldn't he? Despite the heat flooding his body, despite the feel of her skin against his, he should wait. Astrid head was on his shoulder, her nose buried in his neck, and he suddenly wondered if he could turn her down, even if he wanted to.
"Astrid?" he said, but his voice broke in the middle of the word. So he cleared his throat and tried again. "Astrid?"
She snored lightly in his ear. Great Odin's ghost. Asleep. She was asleep. His entire body (well, most of it) sagged in relief. Yeah, way too much mead and dancing for Astrid. She might not even remember this tomorrow. Well, he certainly wasn't going to bring it up.
It took him almost twenty minutes to flag down someone who was still sober enough to realize he wasn't just waving in greeting. In the end, Olaf the tanner carefully took the still unconscious Astrid from his arms and waited as Hiccup tried to stomp some feeling back into his legs. Once having Astrid in his lap had stopped being such a distraction (or, well, became less of one) he had realized exactly how heavy she was -- another thing he absolutely was not going to bring up ever again.
Once Hiccup could hobble more or less successfully next to Olaf, they set out for the Hoffersons. "I know the way, lad," Olaf said as they left the Great Hall. "You can go on home now and get some rest, if you want."
"No, that's all right. I don't mind," Hiccup said. Olaf looked satisfied at this, and they completed the journey in silence.
Mrs. Hofferson tsked when the opened the door and saw them. "Ah, this one," she said, taking Astrid from Olaf. "Handles mead about as well as her father, I see." Hiccup looked past Mrs. Hofferson to the large lump snoring in the middle of the floor. "I suspect I'll be taking care of both of them come the morning."
Olaf waved goodbye and headed off into the night. "Are you sure you got her?" Hiccup felt compelled to ask, perfectly aware that there wasn't much he could do to help even if her answer was no.
"Oh my, yes. This little birdie barely weighs a thing, she's so thin."
Mrs. Hofferson's comment about Astrid's weight made Hiccup think of their earlier humiliating conversation, which made him think of Astrid's hips and breasts and the way they had been pressed against him, and he had to step very quickly back out of the light being cast from the doorway.
"Well, okay. Good night then. Tell her I'll, I'll see her tomorrow."
"All right, dear. Have a good night, Hiccup." And the door closed behind them.
Hiccup sighed and turned to see Toothless perched on a nearby fence, watching him. How long had he been there? "Hey you," Hiccup called.
Seeing he had Hiccup's attention, Toothless hopped off the fence and came to rub his head against Hiccup's outstretched hand. Hiccup sighed again and stopped to think for a moment before saying, "It was a good night, buddy." He paused, nodded decisively, and said, "Yep, good night." He patted Toothless's head, and the dragon trilled at him.
"Come on, let's go home."