I Don't Want to Talk About It

A/N: My newest story! :D and it's a Big Four fic, too, wow :D I've never written this fandom before, unless you count a misguided attempt back in December ;-; but I think I've grown as a writer and I think I'm finally ready :D updates will be sporadic, I'm finishing off the To Be Loved the Way You Love Me trilogy at the moment, so...

Oh, and the next chapter will be in Hiccup's POV :D the name in bold at the top indicates whose POV it's in :D

- Merida –


My own name hits my ears with more force than a punch. I jump about a foot in the air, looking around for the source before remembering the paper in my hand. That sounded like Punzie's voice, and if she ever found out…I tear the paper in two as quick as I can, swinging one leg over Angus' broad back so I can pretend that he was just tired this whole time.

"We've got to stick together," Punzie comes swinging into view, her strangely long, thick golden hair suspending her between two trees. She's glaring at me, but it's light, and I can tell that she prefers not to scold. "I don't like this forest, and I don't like the idea of you getting lost in it, especially when you're alone."

I drop my eyes to Angus' mane. "He's tired." But that's not the truth. If she was paying attention, she would be able to tell from the way my hands are shaking. But Rapunzel is not paying attention, not at this moment; she's busy being annoyed that I fell behind, as per usual. Really, everybody keeps telling me that I should just ride on Toothless with Hiccup, or let Rapunzel's hair carry me from tree to tree, but I'm scared that Angus will run off without me. And the only place he knows besides by my side is home, and if he went home without me…

The words flash in front of my eyes again: "Her family is desperate for news".

Desperate. Right. Yeah. Like I'll ever believe that.

"You keep holding us up like this, and I'll make Jack walk with you to keep you in line," Punzie continues.

My jaw drops and for a second, the poster is forgotten as I glare up at her. "You wouldn't!"

"No," she confesses, "I wouldn't, but you should have seen your face. Keep up, Merida!"

I urge Angus into a slightly faster trot as she swings away from me, her blonde hair catching the last few rays of the setting sun and gleaming momentarily gold. I study his brown fur with all those little white patches mixed in, this horse I've loved since I was a little girl, and I start wondering what they would say if he turned up without me. Would they actually be scared for my safety? My dad, maybe. Maybe even my brothers. But her…she wouldn't be. Why would she ever be? She's probably glad that I'm gone.

The thought saddens me, but it stiffens my resolve. This is what needs to be done. Still… I throw a slightly guilty glance at the shredded paper in the grass behind me.

"Merida," my name floats back to me in the cool autumn air again as Punzie reappears. "Please keep up, really, you scared Jack half to death when he couldn't see you from the sky."

I glare up at the distant blue speck for a second; I don't have the best vision, but I'm imagining that he looks almost sheepish. I lower my gaze back to Punzie as she continues. "We're looking for a nice place to sleep, and I think we may have found it."

"Already?" I ask, surprised, following her blindly as she leads me to the spot they chose. I normally voice my opinion on where we should set up camp, but today I guess I was just too shaken to even remember it.

"Yeah, it's pretty much shielded from the cold, so—

"Which reminds me," I jump off Angus, pushing the poster out of my mind for good. "Come down here, Frost!"

"Oh, Merida, no," Rapunzel pleads. "Can't we just have a quiet night without you two—

"Yes, Princess?"

The title makes me flinch, but he's been calling me that ever since he met me; I guess a part of me still panics upon hearing it. "Don't call me that," I snap, just like I have every other time, glaring up into those amused blue eyes. "In case you haven't noticed, Snowflake, none of us can really afford to catch frostbite right now."

He runs his fingers through his hair, leaning against the tree trunk. "Lay off, Mer," he calls. "I'm being careful. Nobody's gotten too cold yet, right, Punzie? Right, Hicc?"

"Lsggreacemteouths." At least, I think that's what Hiccup said as Toothless flew down and he tumbled off the dragon, leaning against the scaly black side. "Sleep."

Normally, Jack would be jumping all over him to find out what he said and win the argument, but today, he lets the other boy be. Hiccup took watch all night last night, and he didn't sleep at all today; it's understandable to all of us why he's so tired. Toothless lights a fire for the rest of us, creating a small crater in the ground and then curls up next to his rider, cooing and nuzzling him to keep him warm, but Hiccup is already pretty much asleep, just shivering lightly.

Jack looks the slightest bit guilty at this, and stays as far from the fire and its crackling warmth as he can get. I sink down next to the fire with a sigh, spreading my hands gratefully out towards the flames. "Thank you, Toothless," I whisper to the dragon. The creature's green eyes pop open for a second and he croons deep in his throat. Hiccup snuggles closer to him, and Toothless' attention is instantly recaptured by the boy.

I let my gaze fall back to the flickering fire, where Punzie is covering herself with her hair, flopping down on the ground with a heavy sigh. Toothless gives her a reproachful look when Hiccup stirs, and she blushes slightly. "Sorry, sorry!"

I carefully remove my bow from where it rests in the middle of my chest, examining every inch of the gleaming wood by the light of the fire. A figure flickers in my peripheral vision, but it's just Jack, standing suddenly closer than he was. He kneels down next to me, his back to the glowing warmth. "I'll take watch."

"You took watch the night before the last," I remind him. "I should do it, it's only fair."

"I'm a winter spirit," he responds, like he always does. "I don't need as much sleep as mortals do."

"For a winter spirit, though, you look exhausted," I reply. "I'm not getting much sleep anyway, so you might as well take it. I'm gonna be up all night anyway."

"Particular reason why?" he raises an eyebrow, the firelight illuminating one half of his face as he turns slightly toward me.

My grip on my bow tightens. "That's none of your business."

He raises his hands in surrender. "Right, got it, sorry." He leaps nimbly up from the ground and into a tree branch, holding his staff tightly in one hand.

I gaze around for a second, but Toothless is already all curled up with his rider, both of them asleep, and Rapunzel is nearly there, so there's nothing too interesting to look at. With a sigh, I fall back upon the ground and stare up at the stars. They look dim tonight for some reason, dimmer than I remember. Even the sky is feeling down.

I think of the poster again, nailed to the tree trunk. Promising a reward if they found me and brought me back. Five thousand gold pieces. It's not like my parents don't have that kind of money, but I wish they wouldn't waste it. I'm never getting caught. They thought I would be easy to track, in the beginning, but I turned out not to be. I've stayed gone for a week and counting, and they're no closer to finding me at all. I smile to myself, bitter but triumphant. The pampered little princess of Dunbroch gave them more trouble than they ever expected.

But then again, I'm not the quiet, shy little damsel that most princesses are taught to be. I am so much more than that.

Of course, home is one of my taboo subjects. That subject that, whenever anyone tries to ask about it, I simply say, "I'm not going to talk about it" and the other three leave me alone. It works. I watch the stars grow seemingly dimmer and dimmer, and I push all thoughts of home from my mind. I told the other three that I didn't want to talk about it. So…I'm not going to.