They haven't really made much progress on the economics project for the past few days. Surprisingly, Astrid still diligently visited his house after school again and again even though—no thanks to him—everything was just stilted, awkward, and just lots of dead airs, really. They weren't even arguing... they were just... nothing. Then when it came to school, everything was mostly same. Well, he did still try his best to avoid her. And judging from the rumors he'd been hearing about Astrid—that would be the for the best too. Hiccup didn't really want to get involved in all the rumors and high school politics. Especially, if he was trying to maintain a clean record for his college plans.
Also, it wasn't like Astrid would suddenly acknowledging him again, wouldn't she?
It's only Economics Project. Don't get your hopes up, Hiccup thought, trying to focus on the laptop in front of him. But to no avail, being alone with his soul mate... erm... Astrid Hofferson in his own room and being in close proximity wasn't helping.
Of course, the tension was still very tight and they try to keep it civil. But for reasons he couldn't explain, Hiccup felt terribly agitated that he'd always snap back at Astrid or be sarcastic with her at every opportunity he got.
But, what if this as a chance for him to be friends with her again? After all he just got his soul mark—and maybe this was the inner working of the gods.
As if he could get that lucky.
Besides, it wasn`t like he was going to stay. He already had plans to leave this life behind. In fact, he already sent emails to multiple universities abroad and some had even already responded, offering tours, or pre-college programs. He was just waiting on his other options.
Hiccup wasn't thinking twice? was he? Of course not.
She always knew, Hiccup reminded himself. Don't get your hopes up.
At the same time, he got nothing to lose. So why not? He was leaving anyway. It wasn't like he was planning on showing Astrid his soul mark.
"So... what about Zabrina?" Astrid suggested, bringing him back from his thoughts.
Oh yeah, baby names. They were working on their fake future family profile. Back to working on economics project. Astrid wanted to jump straight to the main part of the project, so they were naming babies already. If it was Hiccup, he'd do the background story first before jumping on the fake family stuff right ahead. But it was Astrid. Always straight to the point.
"Oh come on, really? Why the boring basic names. I mean this is our one and only chance to make up some absurb names without consequences. And you're going with Sabrina?"
"Zabrina. With a Z," Astrid corrected. "Not Sabrina. And they're not boring."
"Blah Blah. if they're not going to be real. Why don't we give them awesome names like Zephyr!"
"We're naming kids here, Hiccup. Not dragons."
Hiccup. He felt that. Why did it feel so good when she just called him by his name. There was something on her tone. Was this because of his soul mark?
"They're flour babies, Astrid. Not human babies." He decided to try calling her in the same tone to see if it had any effect on her too.
This was bad. She had that look on her face again. Similar to the look she had when she saw him tending to his leg. He must stop this. He was playing with fire here. No good will come out of it.
He needed to change the subject fast. "Fine! Zabrina is fine for me! But I get to name the second child's name... and gender!"
Astrid sighed, dropping whatever it was she wanted to say. Then she looked at him right in the eyes. "No, you're right. They're not going to be our real children anyway."
Why did he get the feeling of being struck in the gut when she said that. Our children.
She had that gleam in her eyes as if she just won. So she knew what was happening here. He wasn't the only one. She wanted to play a dangerous game here. Then fine! He wasn't going to lose to her.
"How many children do you think we should have then if we get married. I mean if we are to be 'theoritically' wed. And when do you think we will have Zephyr? Right after our honeymoon? Where are we even going to have our honeymoon?"
Somehow, Astrid only grinned as if she was enjoying this. "What about Maldives, I've always dreamed of going there and we're going to have awesome beach sex-"
Now he was blushing. He definitely didn't nees that image in his head right now. Astrid Hofferson in a bikini and they were...
Hiccup swallowed. "I-I didn't mean... It's for finances purposes only. No need to go in details. We just need to be able to factor it in our household budget," Hiccup sputtered.
"Oh, I see. Is that so?" Astrid looked smug, leaning forward on her left elbow.
He noticed that she had her forearm bandaged heavily. She always knew.
"What happened to your arm?" He commented.
She looked absolutely mortified as she immediately pulled back her left arm, and sat straighter.
Somehow, he didn't feel like winning. So he quickly changed the subject instead.
"Why are jumping to naming the flour baby anyway, shouldn't we focus first on establishing the background story. It makes more sense before we start planning everything else."
"Yeah, yeah... umm. You're right."
"Did the Astrid Hofferson just admit I'm correct?"
Astrid glared at him. "Background story," she said.
Hiccup raised his hand in mocking defeat. "Alright, so how do you suppose we met in the economics projectverse. Sounds pretty cool, huh? We're like a making our own alternate timeline here."
"There you go again with your fantasies," Astrid scoffed, trying to sound annoyed, but he could see her fighting her smile. Without a thought, Hiccup placed his hand on top of hers like their younger selves always did.
Then there was a pause, Hiccup stared at their hands. He could both feel their soul mark resonate before he yelped, taking back his hand. "I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking!"
Hiccup expected Astrid to be livid, and would probably break his arm, instead she just seemed lost in her own melancholy, still staring at her hand. Astrid then sighed. "It's no big deal. So... how do we do this economics project universe thingy?"
"I guess we just make most things up the way we want," Hiccup answered, "For example, our case would be a married couple met in college, married after graduation and had four kids. Then some more details."
"Oh, I get it now... so how about us then?" There was a gleam in her eyes as she asked him.
"I don't know... to be honest. Never really thought about it."
"You never thought about us being together? Really, Hiccup?"
"I didn't mean that, Astrid. I always thought about us as kids-" Hiccup paused- "And you are messing with me again, aren't you?" Hiccup accused. "Fine! How about this. Why don't we pretend to be soul mates in the project."
Astrid froze, then looked way. "I... sure... yeah. Soul mates, huh? Is that what you want?"
"For the project—just to be clear. Then yes. I want us to be soul mates." Hiccup laid back and placed his arms to his head, acting casual even though he felt his forearm burning. "What about you? what is it that you want?"
"I don't know... I guess I'll just stick to being a doctor for the project."
"Really that's it. No more additional details?"
"I'm sure we could work it out more later," Astrid shrugged, still looking away... and she had that melancholic look again.
Hiccup sighed, feeling a bit guilty. She always knew. He tried to remind himself to get rid of the guilt. But what if she didn't?
"Are you sure you're okay with the premise? We can change it if you're not comfortable with it," Hiccup offered.
"Yeah, I'm fine with it." Astrid looked at him in the eyes. "Why would I be uncomfortable with it? Are you?"
Hiccup didn't answer the question. "Okay so far... we have a future doctor and soul mates-"
"Answer the question, Hiccup." Astrid pushed forward.
"I... I don't know. Maybe?" This time, Hiccup was the one averting his gaze.
"Why?" Astrid pressed on.
It's because you're my soul mate, Hiccup wanted to answer, instead he said. "It's personal... you know what? We could just ask Ma'am Ack to reassign us to different partners-"
"NO!" Astrid cut him off.
Hiccup didn't expect her to react so violently.
"I want this with you... I mean... look, you have good grades and I really can't afford to screw up this major project with another partner. I really need this, Hiccup."
Hiccup knew she wasn't telling the truth, but why did the mere thought of her needing him made his forearm tingle, making his heartbeat faster.
"Fine... let's get to work then. So you want to be a doctor and we're soul mates. How do we make this work?"