Astrid fell asleep halfway to Berk. Hiccup could tell without even looking at her that she had been fighting it for a while, but when the sun started to rise it must have hit her hard that they had been flying all night. Not to mention the weight of escape must have still been on her shoulders. So she was slumped against his back, and Hiccup worried, because his armor was definitely not comfortable enough to be a pillow.
Snotlout flew steadily next to him. “You think Gobber ran everything well?”
Hiccup grinned at his second in command. If Gobber ran everything well, then he would personally step down as chief of Berk and give the position to Tuffnut.
“I’m sure we’ll have plenty of messes to clean up.” He sighed, taking off his helmet and looking at Snotlout properly. “What do you think?”
Snotlout furrowed his brows. “About what - Gobber?”
“No. About Berk. Me. Us. Astrid. All of this. It seems like way too much is happening, don’t you think?” Hiccup ran a hand through his hair. “Don’t you wish it would all go back to normal sometimes?”
As he asked it, he wondered what normal even was. Normal had, at one point, been killing dragons. That was a normal that should never be called normal again.
There was silence. Snotlout looked to be deep in thought, and the other riders were out of hearing distance. Astrid slept on, a little bit of her blonde hair tickling his neck.
“I used to wish everything would go back to normal,” Snotlout said finally, “back when you were this great dragon hero and I wasn. But now…” He looked at Hiccup carefully. “A lot has changed, Hiccup, but you being chief doesn’t bother me. I always knew it was gonna happen. Especially after you killed the Red Death. The only change in my life is that suddenly I’m not just another dragon rider. I’m…” He frowned. “I’m the substitute chief.”
“And you were the best one for the job,” Hiccup said firmly, looking at him, “Fishlegs is too afraid of that, he’s fit to be the leader of the A Team and the riders when I’m not around. Ruff didn’t want it, and I think since we came back to Berk, she’s had other problems.” He gave a pointed look to Snotlout. “And Tuff - I don’t need to say it.” He flew Toothless closer to the Monstrous Nightmare. “You’re the natural choice.”
Snotlout smiled appreciatively, and for a moment both of them could pretend that they had never had any animosity and still didn’t towards each other. Berk appeared in view, and Hiccup sighed in relief. Toothless let out a low, happy rumble.
Hiccup smiled good naturedly. “Now all I need is a general.”
Right when he said it, Astrid, as though someone threw a bucket of water on her, woke up. He looked back at her - her eyes were panicked and she nearly fell, save for Toothless’s wing tilting her back up.
“What - what’s - where…”
“Hey,” Hiccup said softly, smiling to hopefully soothe her. He pointed to the island, and her eyes widened.
Her grip on his stomach tightened, and her wary eyes looked around, observing the area. Hiccup felt a proper introduction might be fitting as they landed.
Tried out something different this time: I started working on this like I usually do (without any detailed lineart), but half-way through I decided to change that. It was quite challenging (I really struggled with her left arm… I hope it looks fine) but I really enjoyed it ^-^
Hope you like this look ;) Let me know if you prefer this or my lineless paintings!