Baker AU. Written 9/20/2014.

"Y'know. I'm not saying Hiccup's attractive or anything," Ruffnut inspected her nails as she spoke with moderate interest. "But if he made his deliveries in the buff, I'd definitely invite him in."

Astrid's upper lip twitched with annoyance, caught somewhere between a grimace of disgust and a sneer. "There's flour on his face."

The bakery the chief's son had taken over in the past few years smelled fresh. It was a little too warm to be comfortable, heat radiating in delicious waves past the doorway where Astrid was leaning. Hoark's wife was positively ogling the baker's arms, bared by his rolled-up shirt sleeves and littered with burns from hot pans. The smile she gave him when he passed her a steaming loaf wrapped in parchment was hungry– and not for bread.

The woman lowered her eyes as she ducked past Astrid and Ruffnut. The Hofferson girl hardly noticed, the coin in her fist cutting into her palm as she glared inside.

Her gaze was drawn to the way his forearms twitched and flexed as he returned to kneading a bowl of dough. She could see the tendons in his hands working, make out the way his broadening shoulders rolled through every motion. His expression of concentration was focused as he worked, his brow furrowed and his teeth buried in his lower lip. And there was still flour on his stupid face. Splattered along his jawline and at his temple.

Ruffnut cleared her throat then, making Astrid cut her gaze to her face. Then she realized that the girl had made the noise to get Hiccup's attention. Or at least that was what she'd go with.

The young baker's head snapped up, and his eyes widened. "Oh. Ruffnut, hey, I've got your– Astrid!" The bowl clattered as he accidentally knocked it sideways. "H-hey– hi, Astrid! Hi!"

Ruffnut strode easily into the little bakery. Her companion followed at a less than enthusiastic pace. "I'm here for buns," the Thorston girl announced easily, her grin borderline lascivious.

"Ah– yeah–" Hiccup wiped his hands off on his apron and knelt to retrieve a package from beneath the counter. "They should still be warm," he said as he handed the pan over.

Ruff deposited her money in his hand, and Astrid noticed the way her eyes followed beneath his apron to his pants pocket. For someone who claimed to find Hiccup not attractive or anything she was very observant.

That was when she found Hiccup's eyes on her. If it weren't for years of practiced stoicism, she'd have jumped. Astrid sharpened her glare a little but stepped forward and dropped her coin on his work table. "My mom needs two loaves," she informed him flatly.

His grin was crooked. "I'm about to put some in now. Do you wait on them or come back later?"

Astrid sighed, aggravatingly inconvenienced by her mother's recent raid injury. It meant she was in charge of running all of the usual household errands. And if she had to wait, it would be that much longer until she could finish them.

"We can wait," Ruffnut spoke for her. "Got anything to eat in the meantime?"

He beamed at them, his eyes flicking to Astrid for just a moment. "Yeah, actually." Reaching beneath the counter again, he pulled out a tray of pastries and pushed back the thin cloth covering it. Pretty little pastries shaped like axes lined up in neat little rows like they were hanging in a little armory. "Just made these after forge duty," he explained. Astrid had seen him there too. "I guess you could say I was inspired."

She specifically ignored the easily missed glance he gave her. Her newly sharpened axe gained a few pounds at her side.

"Ooh." Ruffnut chirped, instantly filching one from the tray. She bit into it with relish and made an exaggerated expression of orgasmic delight. Her accompanying moan would have made any passerby blush.

"No thanks," Astried replied smoothly when he offered her one of the pastries. "I don't eat sweets." She had to stay in shape. Fitness was an extremely important aspect of maintaining a battle-ready body.

"C'mon, they're shaped like your favorite dragon-slaughtering weapon," he insisted. There was a strange note to the way he said slaughtering and his smile was suddenly tight with something that didn't look like sincerity.

It was odd. She picked up one of the miniature axes. Not taking her eyes off of Hiccup's face, she nibbled at the side of it.

Dammit. It was delicious. She was already thinking of all the extra drills she'd have to do to work the pastry off as she took a second bite.

"See?" Hiccup set the tray back beneath the counter and went back to kneading dough. "Everybody likes sweets."

Astrid glared. He brushed the back of his hand across his cheek, leaving a new white smear behind.