She was due any day now and the very thought scared her to death.
She wasn’t ready for a baby.
She wasn’t ready for the birth.
She wasn’t ready for the pain or the labor.
The sleepless nights or the sore chest.
She didn’t want any of it.
So she sat and she cried, for hours and hours, while Hiccup was out attending to village business.
She had no female friends besides Ruffnut who was busy at home taking care of her own bastard children. Astrid was only thankful that she didn’t face the same disgrace as her friend.
Stormfly curled up at her mistress’s side, softly purring in comfort, distressed to see her mistress so.
No one else could see her cry, no one else could see her tears. All she could do was mourn her pain and wipe the tears, putting a smile on her face as the sunset to welcome her husband home.
As the end of the day approached, Astrid lit a fire and made some soup, before sitting to read her latest cooking book while waiting for Hiccup.
“You’ll never believe what me and Fishlegs found today, Astrid! It was amazing!” Hiccup grabbed a bowl, sitting down at the table. “We found a dragon’s nest hidden in one of the caves off the beach, we’ve no idea what kind of dragons they are though.” He dug in, talking through a mouthful of food. “We’re no’ gonna dis’urb ‘he nes’ though, jus’ gonna se’ a wa’ch on it to make sure i’s safe.”
“This is really good Astrid, I guess those cooking books we’ve been getting from Trader Johan(not sure of the spelling)we’re a really good find huh?”
When he received no response from his wife, not even a glare, he dropped the spoon back into the half empty bowl and walked over to her, kneeling down in front of her chair. “What’s going on Astrid?”
“Nothing is, Hiccup. Why do you ask that?”
“You didn’t punch me.” He dead panned.
Astrid looked up from her book, incredulous, and seeing the serious look on her husband’s face, burst out laughing. “Seriously? Just because I didn’t get my pregnant butt up to waddle over there and punch you?” She snorted, laughing harder.
Hiccup’s cheeks turned pink, chewing on his lip, he averted his gaze, gently rubbing Astrid’s pregnant belly.
Not accepting the sign of defeat, Astrid grabbed his chin and pulled him up for a kiss, smiling the whole time. Hiccup’s eyes went wide, before he laughed and relaxed into the kiss. “I love you.” Hiccup whispered as Astrid pulled back from the kiss.
With a smug smirk, Astrid settled back into her seat, picking up her book. Hiccup got up to go and finish his food and just as he sat down he heard his wife, “I know.”
As always, Astrid relaxed while Hiccup did the dishes before they sat before the fire and talked.
“Are you sure everything is alright, Milady?” Was the first question out of Hiccup’s mouth.
Astrid sighed and placed her book down, looking over at her husband.
“Yes, I’m fine. I’m not trying to kill you any longer now am I?” She snarled.
Hiccup laughed. “True, that is a welcome relief. It doesn’t mean you’re acting any less like yourself though.”
“And what is that supposed to mean exactly?”
“You’re far more…calm and collected then I’ve ever really seen you. There’s none of the passion that I know you so well for.”
Astrid just blinked, mouth moving with no sound coming out.
“Cat got your tongue?” He laughed, kissing her cheek and ducking before her fist swung.
She grumbled, pushing herself up. “I’m going to bed.”
Hiccup smiled and watched her go, following her several minutes later when he was sure it was safe.
It was late that night that it happened.
Astrid slept fitfully while Hiccup snored. Stormfly and Toothless out in their barn that was attached to the side of the house. A sharp pain woke Astrid up, sitting up, holding her stomach, she groaned and then felt the furs get wet. Not wasting a single moment, she punched Hiccup in the stomach, a loud groan echoing in the room.
“Whazis it? Whazt’s wrong?” Hiccup mumbled sleepily, jumping out of bed with fists raised.
That was until Astrid’s next scream brought him out of his stupor.
“Oh Thor, no! Not now! You’re not having the baby!”
“YES, I’M HAVING THE BABY YOU IDIOT! GO GET GOTHI AND MY MOOOOOM!” She screamed, wrapping her arms around her stomach and throwing her head back.
Without another word, Hiccup ran for it.
“GOTHI! ASSA! MOM! HEEELP!”
Astrid shook her head, glaring after her husband. “Dolt, I bet the whole village heard that.”
Two contractions later, her mother, Valka, Gothi, Ruffnut and her sisters ran in their room and froze.
Astrid sat on the bed, sharpening her axe, calm as could be.
“So, does the whole village know?”
“Aye child, I am sorry, my son has a large mouth on him like his father.”
Astrid just simply smiled, continuing to sharpen her blade.
“How are you feeling daughter?” Assa sat beside her daughter on the bed while Gothi, Trista, and Eira went about preparing for the birth.
“Are ye sure? When I had Hiccup my birth was agonizing?” Valka inquired.
“I was ready to kill when I had mine,” Ruffnut cackled from the doorway, earning herself nasty looks from all but Astrid in the room.
“Do you need anything child?” Valka offered, moving towards the pitcher of water.
“I’m alright, thank you though.” Astrid still continued to sharpen her axe.
“You’re scaring me child.” Assa finally admitted.
“How so mother?” Astrid looked up, a sweet smile on her face.
Carefully, Assa scooted away from her daughter, slowly standing and moving to the other side of the room.
“Assa?” Valka questioned, however, seeing the terrified look on the other woman’s face, Valka moved towards the door.
“How about I go and check on Stormfly Astrid? Make sure she’s doing well what with your condition?”
“That sounds like a fine idea, thank you Valka.”
With Astrid’s permission, Valka was gone.
“Gothi says it’s time.” Trista came over with runes in her hands, “We just need to place the runes and then it will be time to begin the ritual.”
“Thank you, Eira would you please go and fetch Valka. I don’t think she’ll want to miss this.”
Eira darted out of the room, returning not long later alone.
“She’s feeding Stormfly and will be here in just a few moments.”
Astrid lowered her chin in acknowledgement, going back to her blade until Gothi took it from her hands. Standing, the other women surrounded Astrid and began singing harmoniously.
“Hér liggr Borgný of borin verkjum,
vina þín, Oddrún, vittu, ef þú hjalpir.”
Þær hykk mæltu þvígit fleira,
gekk mild fyr kné meyju at sitja;
ríkt gól Oddrún, rammt gól Oddrún
bitra galdra at Borgnýju.
Knátti mær ok mögr moldveg sporna,
börn þau in blíðu við bana Hagna;
þat nam at mæla mær fjörsjúka,
svá at hon ekki kvað orð it fyrra:
“Svá hjalpi þér hollar véttir,
Frigg ok Freyja ok fleiri goð,
sem þú feldir mér fár af höndum.”(see translation below)
And finally, started screaming once again, moments later their child was born.
Author’s note: Translation
“Here lies Borgný with pains over-borne,
thy friend, Oddrún! See if you can help her.”
…They, I know, spoke not more than this:
kindly she went to sit at the maid’s knee.
Strongly Oddrún sang, powerfully Oddrún sang,
bitter galdr-songs for Borgný.
A boy and maid-child (twins) might then tread the mould-way,
blithe babes, born of Högni’s bane;
then began to speak the death-sick maid,
who before had no word uttered.
“May all the kindly beings help you
Frigg and Freyja and more of the gods
as you warded away
that dangerous illness from me.”