Hiccup had been quietly sitting on a barrel near the dock, while Toothless was obviously by his side, like he always was, and the Viking could tell that his black, scaly friend was already getting bored, but he just couldn't leave right now, especially since he knew that Astrid would be arriving on a ship any minute now.
Astrid was away for the past week on a fishing trip with her father, and she would have brought Stormfly along to help her out, or at least, to keep her company, but her father flat out refused, saying that no dragons would be included on the trip, most likely because he wanted it to be just family.
Hiccup had managed to keep himself super busy while his girlfriend was gone, with looking after her Deadly Nadder, which Astrid thought was giving too much work for Hiccup, especially when he already has a Night Fury to take care of, but he insisted that it was no problem, and she didn't have to worry about it.
There was also his job with being the founder and head dragon trainer for Berk Dragon Academy, and it was pretty hard for Hiccup to concentrate at the arena, considering that he noticed Astrid's absence right away before the sessions had even begun.
On the night before she left, the couple spent time alone at the cove, and while they were there, Astrid told Hiccup that she had something very important to tell him, but she somehow changed her mind and decided to wait until she came back from the trip, and that's something which bothered Hiccup a lot lately.
Why couldn't Astrid have just told Hiccup instead of having him wait for an entire week to hear whatever it was, and besides, Hiccup couldn't help but think about whether it was good or bad, because Astrid didn't even mention if it was about their relationship or something else.
All of the many thought that were currently going around in Hiccup's mind suddenly got interrupted when Toothless began nudging him, as he was trying to tell him that something had caught his attention, and when Hiccup looked up from the ground to see what it was, a smile quickly grew on his face.
Not so far in the distance, both Hiccup and Toothless were clearly seeing a ship that was sailing across the sea, and the closer it came to the dock of the island, the more that Hiccup could be able to hear Astrid's voice, calling out his name, and also see her waving to him.
Once the ship had finally come into port, Astrid instantly jumped onto the dock, and ran towards Hiccup, who had just got himself off from the barrel, and started walking over to his girlfriend, when she grabbed him and pulled him in for a long embrace.
"Astrid, it's great to have you back home, so how was your fishing trip? I guess that it couldn't have been a lot of fun while not having Stormfly around with you." Hiccup assumed.
"Well, it was definately not fun for me knowing that I couldn't get to bring you and Toothless along, but my father had made it clear, and he kept saying that the trip would really give us a chance to talk, so anyway, speaking of Stormfly, where is she right now?" Astrid asked.
"There's no need to worry, Stormfly's back at your house waiting for you, and I know that it's probably not my business or anything, but what exactly did you and your father talk about, because I remember that you said back in the cove a week ago that there was something very important for you to tell me." Hiccup mentioned.
"Wait a minute, Hiccup, you still don't know about it, because I was sure that your father was going to talk to you right after we returned to the village on that same night." Astrid replied, which had gotten Hiccup thinking for a while before he gave an answer to Astrid.
"I believe that I asked my dad about it just once, and all he said was that the two should wait until you and your father got back from your fishing trip. Oh, and speaking of your father, here he comes right now, so if you don't mind, I'd like to ask him what exactly is it that's so important." Hiccup informed, while turning to approach Astrid's father, Alrick Hofferson.
"Excuse me, Mr. Hofferson, before your daughter left with you on your fishing trip a week ago, I remember she said to me that there was something very important for me to know, but she changed her mind, and never told me, so I was hoping if you could please tell me." Hiccup requested.
"I'm sorry, Hiccup, but we should probably go over to your father's house first before we talk about anything, and you shouldn't have to worry at all because it's actually a good thing that you'll be happy to hear about." Alrick responded, before giving a grin and patting Hiccup on the shoulder.
Hiccup made a long sigh, since he was obviously disappointed that he wasn't going to find out right away, but he was nonetheless glad that he would finally know very soon.
With his best friend, girlfriend, and her father coming along with him, Hiccup reached his house and opened the door to find his father sitting still in a chair near the dinner table, and right when they entered, Stoick got himself off from the chair and walked towards them.
"Alrick, welcome back! It's great to see that you and your daughter made it back to Berk safely, so tell me, how was the fishing trip? Did you get a nice catch of fish while you were far out at sea?" Stoick asked, as he shook Alrick's hand and heavily patted him on the back.
"We weren't so lucky, because it seemed like the fish preferred to hide at the bottom of the ocean, but on the bright side, the trip did give me a chance to discuss with my daughter about a lot of things, and especially...her future." Alrick answered.
Hiccup instantly felt a shudder course throught his entire body right when he heard Astrid's father say those last three words, and he was really getting nervous now, and he could even feel his head vibrating.
"That's good to hear, Alrick, but if you don't mind, I'd like to talk with my son in private, because we didn't really sit down at any time this past week to talk about his future, so maybe you and Astrid should come back some other time. How does tonight at the Great Hall sound?" Stoick suggested.
"Sounds good, chief, and I'll just give Hiccup a kiss before me and my father go." Astrid said, as she walked over to her boyfriend, quickly kissed him hard on the lips, and put her mouth near to Hiccup's ear.
"l love you, Hiccup, and just so you know, that's what I was going to tell you at the cove on that night, but I just got a little scared, so I'm sorry for not telling you sooner, and making you wait, and I really missed you so much, and trust me, you have absolutely nothing to worry about." Astrid whispered.
She smiled at Hiccup for a few seconds before leaving through the front door, with Alrick following her, while closing the door behind him, and that just left Hiccup, Stoick, and Toothless in the house, with father and son staring at each other for a short moment until Hiccup spoke up.
"So...dad, now that Astrid and her father have left, what is it about my future that you wanted to talk to me about? I mean, did I do something wrong?" Hiccup asked, while trying to recall anything particularly bad he'd done in the past few days, but he came up short.
"No, son, you did nothing wrong at all, and I apologize for not telling you earlier, but before Alrick left on that fishing trip, we discussed your relationship with Astrid, and since the two of you seem to be very happy together, both of us felt that it was time for you to take the next step." Stoick answered.
"Dad, what do you mean by "next step"? Are you suggesting that me and Astrid sleep together, because I'm sure that we're way too young to even consider doing that." Hiccup asked, while assuming that's what his father was going to be talking about with him.
"You're absolutely right about that, son, which is why me and Alrick have worked out a contract for you and Astrid to be married by the end of summer. Congratulations, son!" Stoick proudly exclaimed.
Hiccup felt the sudden sensation that the floor had been jerked out from under him, and he half expected someone to jump out and say, "Haha! Just kidding! You totally fell for it!" But, unfortunately, that didn't get to happen for him.
"What! I'm engaged to Astrid? Dad, how can we be engaged if we didn't even talk about it, and why didn't I find out about this before? Does Astrid even know about this?" Hiccup asked, and he obviously felt like asking a lot more questions.
Stoick made a bark of laughter, as though it was a good time of watching his son freak out. "Calm down, Hiccup! Well, I'm sure that the engagement's exactly what Alrick discussed with Astrid during their fishing trip for the past week.
It's a good thing you're engaged because it's a perfect match with the Hoffersons, which are a good, strong family, just like us Haddocks, and it was actually an unplanned sort of thing, since it was Alrick who made the offer first, and as you already know, I decided to wait until they got back so that we could discuss everything together." Stoick explained.
"What is there else to discuss about? I'm barely sixteen! I've still haven't even begun to understand females! Why should me and Astrid have to get married so soon, I mean, can't we just wait for a couple of years to give us more time to commit to each other?" Hiccup requested.
"Son, once you're married, the two of you will have more than enough time to be committed, and it wouldn't be so different to make this an official union, because a lot of Vikings choose to marry at a young age, especially Viking chiefs, and it's to ensure that the tribes stay strong.
Hiccup, I really am sorry for not telling you about any of this earlier, but now that you know, it shouldn't be a problem anymore, and my decision on this is final. I just hope someday, you'll understand that while a father must do what's best for his son, a chief must do what's best for the village." Stoick explained.
Before Hiccup could even ask his father any more questions, Stoick had already walked out the door, and Hiccup wordlessly climbed up the stairs into his bedroom, with Toothless quietly following him, and he laid down with his back on the bed, staring up at the ceiling for a moment.
His mind instantly got focused on what Astrid told him before she left his house, which caused Hiccup to wonder if he loved her back, and the Viking didn't really know, but he had always liked her, and cared about her as a friend, but he wasn't if he wanted their relationship to become more serious.
He liked their relationship as it already was, a comforting and friendly love, because they were not just friends, but they were also sweethearts, so obviously, he never even had considered marriage, since it was taking a huge step in their relationship, and making an actual commitment.
"What should I do? Astrid said that she loves me, but I'm not sure if I feel the same way about her, and how am I supposed to tell her that? Surely she will get angry or sad, and I don't want that to happen, but I'm afraid that our relationship could be destroyed!" Hiccup thought to himself.
He still kept his green eyes on the ceiling, as if the answer was up there somehow. "I do like Astrid, and I have always liked her. I would never forgive myself if I let down such a strong, tough, and great girl like Astrid."
Hiccup knew that he would never do that to her, and to decide whether he loved Astrid or not, Hiccup thought of everything that they had been through, from dragon training to the battle with the only to have uncertainty written all over his face.
"No, I don't love Astrid," Hiccup concluded, and it was far too early, which is why all he needed was time, and if Astrid would give him that, he would eventually give his love in return, but he didn't want to spend all of that time planning their wedding, and it was much too soon for them to be doing that either.
It seemed impossible at this point for Hiccup to go outside, find his father, and try to convince him to have the wedding, if not the engagement, postponed because he couldn't possibly be married to somebody whom he didn't love yet, even it was Astrid, and he knew that it wouldn't really be fair to her.
Maybe if Hiccup could get away from Berk for a while, it would help him think about going through with the wedding, and come to a realization that him and Astrid were truly meant for each other, but he knew that it would be a bad message by taking off without saying anything.
He could leave a note for his father explaining that he wasn't running away, since it would only be a few days, or maybe even a week until he got back, and while Hiccup still wasn't sure of the destination, he should be able to find some kind of campsite that he could stay at.
"Alright Toothless, I think that it's time to go on a trip of our own, and it will just be the two of us, but this trip isn't going to include Astrid and Stormfly, so are you okay with that?" Hiccup asked, and he already knew what the dragon's answer was when Toothless came over to licking his face.
"I'll take that as a yes, but before we go, I just have to pack up some things I'll need and leave a note for my dad, and we'll be out of here. Could you please wait for me downstairs?" Hiccup requested, and Toothless nodded before going down the wooden stairway.
Hiccup immediately found a basket and got started on filling it with the most important things that he should bring for trip, like a few changes of clothes, fresh food, clean water, and his sketchbook, because he'd like to draw anything out there that might capture his attention.
After he was done packing the basket, Hiccup walked over to his desk, grabbed a spare piece of paper and the charcoal pen his mother had given him when he was young, and started writing.
I know that since you're the chief, it's your duty to make decisions which are best for the village, and because I'm not only your son, but your only child, I'll be the next in line to take that position in the future, but I'm not exactly happy with the decision you've recently made for me.
Ever since I met Astrid back when we were kids, I liked her a lot, and I still do right now, but my feelings for Astrid haven't really changed over the years, and that's why I don't love her, and I'm not even in love with her, but I would like to be, if only I had more time.
It wouldn't be fair to you, Astrid, and her father for me to stay here in Berk and spend that time making plans for me and Astrid to get married, when I'm still not certain about spending the rest of my life with her, and that's why I need to get away for a while.
You don't have to worry about me, because I'll only be gone for a few days, or probably even a week, and I have a basket that's all packed with the most necessary things for the trip, and Toothless will be by my side and look after me the entire time we're away from Berk.
When you see Astrid, can you please tell her not to be upset with me, because I'm pretty sure that will be her instant reaction when she finds out about me having left the village, and also tell her father that I still do like her daughter, and I'm not scared of being with her.
While I'm gone, I'll miss spending time with not only her and Stormfly, but also with you, because ever since the battle with the Green Death, I've felt that our relationship has gotten better and stronger over the past few months, with Alvin, the portrait, and everything else.
I'll be sure to tell you about what happened during the trip when I get back, and until then, goodbye, father.
With love, from your son, Hiccup
After he was finally finished with the note, Hiccup made a quick double check in the basket to see if there was anything that he might have missed to put in, and he remembered that he wouldn't need to wear his fur vest at least until he found land, and so he put the vest in the basket.
Hiccup looked around to find his mother's breast plate, and he let out a sigh while looking at it, since the helmet was the only piece of his mother he had left of her, and he gave an adjustment by fixing one of the horns that was crooked before putting the dull metal helmet on his head.
He quickly put on his leather riding vest and tightened the straps of it before Hiccup slung the large basket over his shoulder and took the handwritten letter to his father with his other available hand, and carefully went down the wooden stairs, being cautious not to trip on any of the steps.
"Alright, Toothless, I've got the basket all packed up for our trip, and now we just have to go over to the cove, and I think that it's better to walk because I don't want anyone from the village to catch us if we're flying to get there. Besides, it's better than having my father on your back, right?" Hiccup asked.
Toothless growled, while making a nod in agreement about that question, and Hiccup laid the note down on the dinner table, being in plain sight for his father to see when the next time he comes inside, and both of them went across the room, going outside the house through the back door.
Since Hiccup was being mostly quiet during their walk to the cove, Toothless believed that Hiccup had been having second thoughts about their trip, and maybe wondering if he was making a huge mistake with leaving Berk, and so he gently nudged his friend to the side, while looking up at him.
"Don't worry, bud, I'm not sad or upset with you about anything, it's just really important for me to take this trip right now, because otherwise, I'll never know whether or not I can live with even the idea of me and Astrid becoming husband and wife at the end of the summer. Do you understand?" Hiccup asked.
He playfully rubbed the dragon's nose, while also giving him a slight grin, which soon caused Toothless' worries to go away, and as they went much deeper into the forest, Hiccup and his Night Fury could hear the sound of birds chirping, and when Hiccup turned around, he barely saw the village anymore.
"You know what, Toothless, I think that we've walked pretty far enough, and I'm sure that nobody will see us if we start flying, but there's only one more thing that I need to do, and that's for me to connect the basket to your saddle. Now you'll just have to hold still and it will be done with, okay?" Hiccup asked.
Toothless calmly purred, and he managed to keep himself in a still position long enough for Hiccup to get the basket situated on his back, and luckily for Toothless, the basket didn't feel so heavy, but he had to admit that it really felt a lot better than having a man who was four hundred pounds on him.
Hiccup jumped onto the saddle and hooked himself in, attaching the metal loops of his leather belt to the metal hooks on Toothless' saddle, and once Hiccup was done with that, the dragon thrust his wings downward and in a matter of only a few seconds, they were off from the ground and into the sky.
When they were a good distance away from the island, Hiccup turned back to the town, getting one last look at it. "Goodbye, Dad. Goodbye, Astrid. Goodbye, Berk." He whispered, and with those few messages said, the unlikely friends took off towards the coast, while facing the wide open ocean.