Astrid sighed, sitting alone in the cafeteria with her lunch watching a bunch of other kids laughing and joking and generally fitting in. Astrid didn't fit in. She was tall and skinny and awkwardly smart for a jock. So much so that the other jocks didn't seem to want to hang out with her. It never really bothered her because she didn't generally like to go to parties or drink or make fun of the other students, all the normal things that normal jocks liked to do. It didn't help that she was a girl jock either.
The popular girl's weren't jocks. They were the irrationally pretty girls from up on the hill, wearing skirts that were too short and shirts that showed too much. They were flirty and giggly and secretly hated each other.
Heather was beautiful and smart and witty and…perfect.
She was everything Astrid wasn't. She was feminine and sexy and filled out and it all came so easily to her. She didn't have to try to fit in, she just did. Like a puzzle piece after it's placed. It ate Astrid up inside because even as a high school senior she still hadn't really developed as a woman. She had no boobs to speak of and her hips were pitifully straight and unappealing, to say nothing of her butt…which she did not have.
Flat, tall and skinny.
Not exactly a teenaged heartthrob. Not like the cool kids. Not like him.
He was tall and beautiful and perfect, sitting right there next to Heather, laughing and joking and comfortable with himself and his world. Confident and genuine and kind to a fault, he was the Prince Charming to her Fairy Tale, the Cowboy to her Western.
He was Hiccup.
Her most secret crush. Smart and funny and gorgeous, sarcastic in the most delightfully dry way. He drove her crazy with a look and sent her heart dancing with a smile. He knew exactly where he was going, walking the straight path of a leader that just wasn't her style. She had known him since they were kids but somehow she just sort of…fallen behind the rest of her friends. Unable to catch up with them no matter how hard she tried.
Look at them, they were invincible. He was invincible, nothing could bring him down and she loved that most about him. He had lost his leg only 3 years ago and it only slowed him down, and just for a minute or two. He was strong in a way she would never be.
Could never be.
Astird wanted so badly to be like him. She wished she could be like all of them, a cool kid. Fitting into the world by just being herself, not having to try. She wished she were a cool kid, because they just seemed to get it.
With a final look at the boy she would never get to know, Astrid stood up and took the leavings of her lonely lunch to the back of the cafeteria to be thrown out. Like she did every day, and would do every day that she could.
Ready to resign herself to a life without him, Astrid set her tray down on the conveyor belt that would take it to the back to be cleaned. As she turned to go, thoughts a million miles away with green eyes and auburn hair, Astrid hit something solid, soft and warm.
Hiccup sat with a group of his friends, talking and laughing and smiling wide even though what they said wasn't all that funny. It's not that the jokes were bad, they just weren't really his humor. The jokes he wanted to tell would go sailing right over their heads. Again, his friends weren't stupid, they just weren't that smart either. Most of them were popular kids who generally didn't have a clue. But that was okay, they weren't bad people, just a little too spoiled. They all came from some form of wealth and lived pretty plush lives.
They all had fast cars, good grades and not a care in the world; but not one of them knew where they were going. As seniors they were all kind of stuck, not really ready to move on to college but not able to stay in the high school world they blossomed in. While Hiccup liked his friends he never really bonded with them. Mostly because he could never really talk to them about anything that wasn't related to school. They just wouldn't get it.
Hell, they couldn't get it. They couldn't understand what he was going through, how it felt to be so different from your only parent. To be the light of their life but never able to live up to them. To not being sure if you wanted to live up to them.
Nah, his friends were living life in the fast lane. Moving by too fast to even see that he was breaking down inside. They all lived in their own little world and would probably never know what it felt like to be really heart broken.
He really wished he could be like them, be like the cool kids he hung out with. They all just seemed to fit in, to get it. It was something he just couldn't grasp, some social norm that always seemed to just barely elude him, leaving him just out of place, like a round peg in a slightly oval whole. Fitting, but only just barely, and not really at all.
With a last laugh and a final wave, Hiccup stood up with his lunch tray and left, ready to be alone with his ideas and his scratch pad. He walked away wondering if anyone else felt like he did, if there was another soul out there that just wanted to find their place.
And then he ran into her.
Astrid couldn't believe where she was. It all had to be a dream. The last six months just couldn't be real, because this didn't happen in real life. The shy, awkward girl just didn't end up with a guy like Him. It was, like, against High school law, or something. But here she was, in the back seat of His car, with His arms around her and His lips on hers. She could never have dreamed that He was just as lost and lonely as she was. Never would have guessed that He, of all people, wanted to fit it
"Hiccup. Pinch me."
"Because I have to know this is real. That this isn't all some amazing dream and that I'm not going to wake up tomorrow sad and alone again."
He smiled and pinched her side. She made a soft yipping sound and smiled back, a single privet tear slipping down her cheek.
Like water they fell back into each other, warm and happy and together. They still wished they were like the cool kids; that they fit in. But they were together now, and not so alone. And that made everything easier. It made fitting in seem less important. It didn't matter that they were dating, that was a happy bonus. It mattered that they had each other. That they could say "We wish that we could be like the cool kids," instead of saying "I." They were together, and that meant that they didn't need to fit in anymore, because they fit in with each other.
And that was enough.