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It took him all weekend, but Hiccup finally had a plan in mind. A very simple and effective plan; Avoid Astrid Hofferson, in any form or kind (thoughts included), like a plague and eventually move on with the whole Astrid being his soul mate thing, that was it.

In theory, what could possibly go wrong? The less he saw her in his life, the fewer ideas would be getting on his head, that would likely end up with him embarking on another quest for Astrid Hofferson and Highschool Royalty.

With great effort, he managed to do just as he planned. Until Hiccup randomly craved for the cafeteria's infamous 'The Goethi's Soggy Fries' with special yak buttermilk dipping. So Hiccup decided to make a quick stop to the cafeteria before he headed home.

There shouldn't be a problem with that. From what he knew, there was still at least half an hour before Tennis Practice ended.

As soon as he arrived in the cafeteria though, there goes his plan. Astrid Hofferson was there sitting on her boyfriend's lap for all of the cafeteria to see.

That shouldn't be a problem for Hiccup, He simply needed to turn his head around and look the other way. But goddammit! His boyfriend seriously needed some lesson in public display of affection.

Hiccup could clearly see the annoyance showing in her perfect beaut... Astrid's face. He really needed to get a grip. He almost let himself worship her face, and oh my! Look at her freckles they're so– Gah! –and there goes his resolve.

Hiccup reminded himself that She always knew.

Something flared up inside him, the tip of his finger tingling unbearably, his fingers clawing on his palm. He wasn't sure if it was anger or jealousy.

It should have been him.

Astrid must have been feeling so good for herself, having a boyfriend who was a living embodiment of Jon Snow, only with a tattoo on his chin, but a little bit on the brainless side(which he was sure made things easier for her), who, was not a hiccup like him, who was supposedly her soul mate—Soul mate she didn't want. He was Eret son of fucking Eret. Hiccup could tell that Astrid probably... not probably— she definitely wished that the name on her wrist would have been Eret's not him.

Hiccup wondered if Astrid had started dating Eret before or after she got her soul mark. He wished it was the former; not that it mattered.

Hiccup watched as Eret's lips tried to go for Astrid's neck once again, but Astrid just elbowed the muscle-head hard on his ribs. Gods, Eret couldn't get a fucking clue.

Hiccup would have treated Astrid better, but he knew that Astrid was not someone who wanted to be taken care of. She was Astrid Hofferson. She always made clear that she was perfectly capable of herself, and she certainly proved that. In fact, she got hundreds of broken nose, and bones to attest that.

His breathing felt heavier as he felt something burning red in his chest. He didn't realize how hard his eyes were trained on the couple until his eyes met Astrid's for a split second. She diverted her gaze but Hiccup continued to glare as their eyes met again.

This time, Hiccup's resentment wasn't directed to her boyfriend. It was all on the owner of the name written on his left forearm, his 'so-called' soul mate.

Astrid flinched, she tried to hide it but he noticed and for a moment her eyes showed hints of mortification; He was probably imagining things.

Hiccup closed his eyes, breaking the gaze and breathed a long-drawn sigh to calm his drumming heart. He opened his eyes to meet hers again and suddenly felt his left forearm throbbed sharply, causing him to drop the extra large bucket of fries from his trembling hands.

Hiccup ran away with no particular destination in mind. He just needed to leave, anywhere away from Astrid. He just couldn't stand the sight of her ... It was too painful.

Unfortunately, being a one-legged man, he could only run so much and wasn't supposed to run like that in the first place. Pain, soreness, and cramp overcame his left leg—he needed to sit down, and check on it.

Then Astrid was there, standing near him, watching him with her eyes wide, filled with terror. Hiccup almost cowered at her gaze and wished to vanish without a trace from the universe.

No—He wasn't going to be defined by his stupid attraction to his soul mate anymore.

Hiccup took a deep breath and met Astrid's gaze with as much as courage he could muster. Without breaking the gaze, He stood up straight despite his left leg's protest, squared his shoulders, tucked his chin, and walked away with as much as dignity a one-legged man could.

But it was all an act, his refusal to appear weak in front of his soul mate. As soon as he got home, Hiccup didn't even bother changing his clothes as he went straight to his bed, burying himself in layers of pillows and blanket.

Hiccup found himself screaming in his bedroom, self-destructing for all he cared.

After he was done with his self-destruct sequence. Hiccup felt numb and tired in many ways, that he could do no more than stare at the ceiling of his room, while he contemplated his life.

Hiccup had tendencies to tunnel vision, not that he was a narrow-minded minded person. He was just 'too stubborn for his own good' quoting his father and Gobber. And that specific trait probably got him most of his trouble.

Unlike his father, who loved to remind him that 'When I was a boy... I knew what I was, what I had to become –blah blah blah and rest of the story–' and Oh boy... If Hiccup ever had to hear that story again, he might very well bang his head against the rock, probably and get a skull-crushing headache – but it would be totally worth it if he never had to hear that lecture from his father again.

He was rambling, again, even in his own mind. The point was when Hiccup set his mind on something; an objective, a crazy invention, or a very impossible teenage crush turned into first love. He won't stop at anything to achieve it, but... well, only most of it ended up in failure or trouble.

And for once in his life, Hiccup actually got something right. Astrid Hofferson was indeed his soul mate. It was not just his daydreams or fantasy anymore. It was a fact, with physical evidence etched in his own skin.

But this time, he knew when to stop. In most cases, the reason Hiccup could never stop was all because of his curious mind, and the teenage part of him wanting to prove something.

She always knew.

If Astrid always knew that he was her soul mate. And was very clear that she didn't want him to be her soul mate.

What was there to prove for him? So what now?

The wound was still fresh for him, and the 'Pull' was still there, only that he never felt the 'Pull' this powerful, only in a bad way. If before when he would as much as breathe the same air as Astrid – He would feel like oxygen was overrated. But now that he got his soul mark, it was as if his attraction for Astrid was now oxygen itself. And oxygen was no longer overrated. He was like a moth attracted to a beacon of flame even if he knew that it would burn him.

That was why he needed a plan to avoid Astrid, in any form and kind. Even if he could still manage to walk away from his soul mate every time, he could act dignified and strong in the presence of his soul mate his whole life. But–

But in the end...

Hiccup, with all of his heart, still loved Astrid Hofferson.

The whole realization was painful. It was impossible for him to get over all his feelings for his soul mate over a weekend. Not especially when his feeling, had a very strong legitimate root – thirteen years of friendship, followed by a whole high school of worship.

It was impossible. Hiccup would never get over her.

Hiccup needed to do something, anything at all. He needed to be somebody, someone – For himself. This time it was about his life and his alone.

He tried to visualize a much better version of him. Where Hiccup didn't had the need to prove himself, to his father, his soul mate... or even himself. Where he would have Thor's mighty hammer for his arm instead of his noodle arms, both of his legs, and maybe he could play a ball game, and people would accept him.

Wouldn't that be something, Hiccup thought.

Hiccup sighed, getting tired of staring at the ceiling. He let his head drop to his right, his eyes landing on his favorite flying dragon-rider poster.

The one with a one-legged hero flying with his one-tail-finned black dragon.

Flying...

Fly...

Fly. If only he could fly away from berk, leave the archipelago. And in that way, he was sure to avoid Astrid Hofferson that way.

An idea struck to his mind...

Maybe Hiccup could actually do that...

Didn't his father always wanted him to enroll in a 'Real Program Degree' in an 'Actual University'?

He could do just that by studying abroad, where the top universities in the world were. And maybe, for once in his lifetime, his father would be proud of him... His boy enrolling in an Ivy League, Harvard, Yale... or wherever he wanted—with his academic performance it shouldn't even be an issue. Maybe he could get himself a scholarship in one of those universities, though money wasn't a problem for him. It wasn't like Hiccup will be missed either – he highly doubted that. His father barely came home every week.

This new plan of his was perfect—it would definitely work.

Unfortunately, this plan also involved him giving up on his own plans for college. And there goes one of his dreams. The said that dream involved going to the same college as Astrid Hofferson, he figured that his dreams were nothing less a fantasy.

It was a just stupid pinky promise from childhood. It was not like she remembered any of it.

"It was stupid," Hiccup muttered to himself.

"Yes, so stupid," Hiccup repeated as if he was trying to convince himself otherwise.

Besides, it was not like he had a choice – the only way his father would agree on this plan was Hiccup had to take a law degree.

But If it meant getting away from all these, where he could start fresh and try to be a better version of him. It was a compromise he was willing to take.

Million ideas started flowing in his mind on how this plan would just work out for him.

Four to Eight years in law school, give or take – even longer if he decided to take law for post-grad. That was a lot of time for himself – to discover himself.

He could get a dog.

He could travel.

He could meet new people who didn't know him as a Hiccup.

He could start fresh, and there was more to life than just his soul mate.

But none of them would be like being with Astrid Hofferson.

Hiccup shook his head, brushing off the thoughts before it festered his mind.

Hiccup let out a long-drawn sigh, sitting up straight, shrugging layer of blanket off him. At least his mood felt brighter with the notion of the freedom he could have soon.

With nothing more to do, Hiccup plopped back down to the bed, scrambled his pockets for his cellphone and fiddled with it for a while, until he started yawning and eventually dozed off.

The next time Hiccup opened his eyes – he was still dreaming.

After all, There was no way Astrid was in his room, sitting on his bed, watching him sleep. To prove his point, Hiccup reached out a hand to hold the said image of Astrid. And just about Hiccup was about to touch her, Astrid reached out for his hand and held on to it tightly.

The sensation of her hands and the feel of their soul marks resonating... It all felt too real... He didn't want it to end–

–Ding! Dong!

The loud doorbell woke him up, the whole vision in his dreams vanishing into smoke, as he jolted up straight, feeling shivery, goosebumps all over his skin, and cold sweat covering his body. Hiccup shook his head, to clear his foggy head, and calm his breathing.

It was just a dream... Astrid hadn't visited him for over four years, not even when he had an accident – She had no better reason to do so now. And yet, Hiccup couldn't help but feel a sinking feeling in his chest.

Ding! Dong! The doorbell rang again.

Hiccup groaned, he didn't really want to step out of his room for the day. He was sure it wasn't his father as his father just sent a message that he won't be back until a week. He contemplated to ignore the doorbell, and try to get back to his sweet dreams–

Ding! Dong! Ding! Dong! Ding! Dong!

Hiccup grumbled, swearing under his breath. Seriously, even in his dreams, he couldn't spend be allowed to be with his soul mate. Urk. Hiccup needed to get hold of his mind, It wasn't going to happen and was never going to happen.

She always knew, Hiccup reminded himself as if it was his mantra.

Whoever the visitor was seemed determined to continue with the barrage of doorbells – and for some reason, Hiccup had a bad feeling about this.

Begrudgingly, Hiccup stood up from his bed and stretched his limbs exaggeratedly as if he was trying to delay the time. The doorbells continued and Hiccup decided that stretching any longer wasn't going to help. Hiccup didn't bother getting himself appear presentable and just headed straight downstairs to 'excitedly' welcome the unwelcome visitor.

Hiccup sighed as finally, he arrived in the entrance of the house, stopping right in front of the gigantic two-door. He debated to grab a weapon for self-defense, but it was not like people in Berk were bold enough to cause trouble in Stoick Haddock's mansion. And if ever someone was planning something against the law, like, if ever someone was going to kidnap him for a ransom... They probably got the wrong household – they should know better how majestic his relationship with his father was.

So Hiccup finally unlocked the door, wincing when felt his left forearm pulsed when his left hand made a contact with the cold metal of the doorknob. When he was about to twist the knobs, the door was opened from the other side, and he was found himself drowning at a too familiar pair of ocean eyes, and dazzled by the ever so radiant golden-blonde hair.

There was Astrid Hofferson standing on the other side of the door. And before Hiccup could delve on another theory that he was still dreaming.

"Economics Project," Astrid said simply, and walked past him, welcoming herself into his home.