*ahem* had to get that out of my system. I LOVE finding other shippers! You guys rule!
Next, so I had a draft of this story and most it went into the creation of the multichaptered fic. But I still had a fair amount in this, including a really sweet scene that I wanted to make into a oneshot. So here's the followup!
Her feet braced on the cliff, Astrid's eyes scanned the horizon.
The sky was a bright and cheery shade of blue but she could see storm clouds on the horizon. The ground beneath her was covered in a thick lair of frost. After all, it was their first winter as really honest to Odin Vikings. And Vikings had responsibilities. Like hunting. The young and the old stayed nearer to the village to gather what they could and prepare the food but the able bodied went out to hunt. Their food supplies were not as short as they had been, since the dragons were no longer attacking them, but dragons needed food too and there were only so many fish on the island of Berk. Most of the younger Vikings seemed content to fly by on their dragons, shouting in elation and scaring off the prey. But not her. She had a job to do, a job that would help the village. And that was to get food. Plus it would be excellent practice for their upcoming hunting trip, another initiation rite for the young vikings. Eyes scanning the horizon and surrounding land, Astrid sighed when she realized there wasn't anything worth hunting in the immediate vicinity.
Raising her fingers to her lips, Astrid let out a sharp whistle that echoed along the cliff.
After a month, the rush of wings no longer made her heart jump in her chest with fear. Especially not the familiar rhythm of Bluebell's wings. The strong thump was as easy to recognize as the pounding of footsteps. Shouldering her axe and easing her weight back, Astrid tensed, waiting for the right moment. A shadow fell over her and she took off, running for all she was worth towards the cliff. The plunge below was impossibly steep and far, certain death for any who jumped off without someone to catch them. But Astrid wasn't afraid as she kicked off the ground and launched herself into the air. The world went topsy-turvey as she summersaulted. Bluebell easily followed the movement and as Astrid came out of the flip, her legs went onto either side of the saddle. With a flick of her head, Bluebell sent the reins back towards the young viking and instead of falling towards her death, suddenly Astrid was soaring towards the heavens. Biting back a cry of job, Astrid instead tightened her hands on the reins, pulling up as Bluebell followed the command, soaring up past the clouds.
Wings spread wide, Bluebell banked on an air current, taking them to the side. Astrid tightened her legs on the sides of the saddle, looking up at the clouds as they flew by. As they learned more and more about their onetime enemies, it became clear that dragons had their own peculiarities. Bluebell, for instance, loved to glide. Her wingspan was impressive and when she spread them to their full length, the rest of her body held perfectly still, Astrid felt like there wasn't a dragon and a girl in the sky but one being. As time went on their movements had become more and more seamless. Unlike Toothless who seemed fine on land, Bluebell far preferred to fly and, secretly, Astrid did as well. Unilke Hiccup with his four legs, Bluebell had two. And though those two legs were very good at running and jumping, she was far more at home up in the air. But of all the dragons, Astrid had never seen a dragon who could make the kind of landings that Bluebell and the other Deadly Nadder's could.
As they dipped below the cloud level a blur shot by them. Bluebell let out a screech of displeasure at the race she had not known was going on. Astrid's eyes widened before they narrowed, a grin tugging at her lips. The thoughts of hunting went out of her head as she looked at the viking and dragon zipping ahead of them.
"So that's how we're gonna play, huh?" she said tightening her legs and grip, "come on girl, lets show them how its done!"
Bluebell took off like a rocket. Astrid leaned low on the dragon's neck, making herself as compact as possible as Bluebell shot through the air, her wings pumping with the current. Seamlessly Bluebell found the currents in the air, using her innate ability to augment her raw power. The wind bit through Astrid's fur lined cloak but she barely paid it any thought as the viking and dragon up ahead of them came into sharper and sharper focus. At the last moment, she tugged the reins and Bluebell shot upwards, spreading her wings wide as they overtook the pair, casting them in the shadow of her massive wingspan. Before she could stop herself, Astrid let out a whoop of exuberance that Bluebell echoed loudly. But the dragon didn't loose speed, continuing to zip past. Almost effortlessly the viking and dragon that had been underneath them rolled through the sky until they flew directly parallel to them.
With his hair mussed by the wind and his cheeks stained pink, Hiccup looked every inch a viking aboard his dragon. He and Toothless were seamless together up in the sky. Astrid knew it from riding with them but to see them together, it took her breath away. In the sky Toothless was unmatched for speed and agility, easily performing stunts that were difficult for the other dragons. In the months since the dragons had taken hold, Hiccup and Toothless had still gone out every single day, working to overcome the handicaps they both suffered. But unless you looked closely for the tell tale flash of red and silver, you wouldn't think there was anything missing from the two of them. Even in mid air, the two maneuvered easily so they were flying backwards, nose to nose with her and Bluebell. Like a synchronized pair, the two dragons spread their wings and caught the same current, gliding seamlessly together over the clouds. Like her, Hiccup was dressed in fur for winter, the bow over his back showing that he'd set out with the same mission as her, though Astrid had a feeling anything that the pair caught would be done by Toothless.
"Hey!" he called with a grin, over the wind that blew between them, "come on!" he motioned as Toothless dove to the side.
Bluebell seamlessly followed the other dragon as they began to loop across the sky in a dizzying array of acrobatics. Hiccup and Toothless were seamless together, easily flipping and rotating across the sky. Bluebell was bigger than Toothless but better at attuning herself to the currents in the air. The wind stung at Astrid's eyes as Bluebell shot after Toothless. She could feel her dragon making the smallest of adjustments to each beat of her wings. Soon the two dragons were neck to neck, soaring as fast as they could towards a destination unknown. Astrid turned her head to the side. Hiccup looked over his shoulder at the same time. Astrid grinned devilishly at him.
"Is that all you got?!" she shouted over the challenge.
There had been a time, not too long ago, when Hiccup would have blushed and fumbled, trying to hold onto whatever dignity he had left. But not now. The sky was his home, it was where he was the best. Though, he had to admit, Astrid was pretty good herself. Instead of fumbling and muttering, he grinned right back at her and adjusted his stance. Astrid's eyes narrowed, her gaze scanning them with the same intensity that Bluebell did. Angling his prosthetic foot, Hiccup held her gaze as he made the change in Toothless's tail. Seamlessly responding, the dragon pulled up sharply, charging through the clouds. Hiccup looked down to see if they were following but could see nothing but clouds. Maybe they had--
Suddenly the clouds gave way as Bluebell shot through them, chest to chest with Toothless. He heard Astrid give a whoop of pure elation as her dragon soared upwards. Not one to be easily beat, Toothless rocketed just ahead of her, using his compact form to his advantage. The two young vikings and their dragons broke through the cloud barrier and into the bright, clear sky above. He saw Bluebell bank on the clouds, turning horizontal. Seamlessly Toothless followed the action, bringing them side to side above the clouds below them. Cheeks turned pink by the wind, Astrid looked over at him with a bright smile that Hiccup couldn't help but return.
"Not too bad," Hiccup called over with a smile.
"You got some nice moves yourself," Astrid called over. Toothless made a noise, "you too," she said to the dragon, "and you," she added, patting Bluebell's side.
Abruptly the dragons banked to the side, taking them towards the cliffs. They let their dragons go. Sometimes dragons needed to do things that their vikings did not a dragon pulled insistently then it was best to just let them go. The dragons flew over to a cliff. Toothless landed easily on the ground as Bluebell landed next to them.
"I think they've gotta warm up," Hiccup said, bending down and unhooking his foot from the special stirrup on Toothless's saddle as Astrid hopped off Bluebells back. Immediately both dragons sought out drier ground, breathing fire and curling on the warmed ground, "I hate it when the weather turns."
"Its just the first few weeks," Astrid said as their dragons shifted and got comfy, "and then we get to go on our first hunting trip!"
Hiccup checked one of the sacks tied to his dragon's side, deep in thought. In the months following their fight and defeat of the dragon King he'd managed to successfully avoid any and all axe/bow/weapons related activities. Between designing a suitable foot for himself and riding gear for the entire village, he'd been up to his eyeballs in work. Gobber had lent his expertise as a blacksmith, making helpful changes that Hiccup hadn't even thought of, and while the work had gone faster than he would have thought, there was no shortage of it. He'd spent the days tired and sore and happier than he could remember being. By the time the frost set in, he had a decent foot figured out for himself and the entire village set up with gear for riding their dragons.
Perhaps it was his relationship with Hiccup or the fact that he'd just been around them for so long but Gobber was the first of the older vikings to be 'adopted' by a dragon. The Terrible Terror hadn't exactly been good for flying but Gobber said that he was more than happy to keep his feet on the ground. The Terrible Terror--or T.T., as Gobber christened it--was very good at lighting and maintaing very hot fires. Toothless, who liked to come to the blacksmith shop anyway, seemed to not mind the dragon as long as he got attention and it didn't try to steal his food. While the dragons had proven themselves to be largely not territorial, they had shown that they liked attention. Scratching, feeding--all of it was met very enthusiastically. And, like Toothless, once they had their favorite human, they got very protective. If they thought their human was spending too much time with another dragon they'd immediately try to get their human alone. After one too many almost 'attacks', someone had realized that as long as you made sure your dragon knew it was yours, they would be alright.
It was strange to see the other members of the village undergoing the same process that he and Hiccup had. From the first 'oh please don't kill me' moments to when the dragons slowly began to show affection back. Patience wasn't the strong suite of the villagers but when they saw Hiccup and Toothless, they seemed far more willing to put the effort in. Much to their surprise, the dragons seemed equally impatient with their vikings, which made for some rather comical moments. Like the first time someone had shown up with a weapon. It had been her, and she had brought her axe and Bluebell had bolted. It had taken her an hour to catch the dragon, another to convince her that she was not going to hurt her and a third to get her back to the village. Acclimatizing the dragons to the weapons was the hardest part. It was one thing if you weren't very good with them--like Hiccup--but vikings and their weapons went hand in hand. It had taken a while and a lot of sniffing and mishaps but Bluebell and the other dragons had become accustom to the weapons. T.T. of course had been the exception but, then again, Terrible Terrors had always been the hardest to kill because of their size and speed.
After countless hours and many failed attempts, Hiccup had finally managed to make a sort of all purpose foot that worked well in every day tasks. It wasn't perfect but it was close. As time went on the periods when his stump wasn't swollen became longer and longer as the skin toughened and became accustom to the new demands. There were days when it hurt to get up the hill, days when it hurt to do most things but overall it wasn't anywhere near as bad as it had been in the earlier days--something for which Hiccup was immensely grateful. Especially when it turned out that taking care of him wasn't the only reason Astrid came over to his house.
The first few times she had excuses. Then they began to quiet before they stopped all together. Toothless adored her and since she had been one of the best vikings in the class, his father thought she was a strong girl and therefore welcome to come in. Though Hiccup had a feeling that if it had been any girl who liked him, his father would've liked her. It was kind of weird though to see Astrid treating his father like a clan chief--even though that was what he was. Hiccup had spent so much of his life being laughed at and ridiculed that the issue of his father had never really come up. Fortunately Astrid didn't see the need to treat him differently.
"What are those?" she asked looking at the sack.
"These are stones," Hiccup said pulling one of the smooth rocks out and holding it in his hand, "Toothless picked 'em out. Dragons like to sleep somewhere warm and I think they're going to want to be indoors. I'm going to make Toothless somewhere to sleep."
"Is your dad going to be okay with that?" Astrid asked.
"You mean is he going to admit he's okay with it? Probably not."
Stoick the Vast and Toothless the dragon had the strangest relationship Hiccup had ever seen. He'd woken up to see the dragon standing over him, dry and warm and well fed and realized that his father had allowed it. That night Stoick had gruffly said Toothless was sleeping outside from now on but when he'd opened the door it was raining and Toothless had fixed him with the most pathetic look Hiccup had ever seen. Stoick was anything but a pushover but for some reason that had worked and the great Viking had shut the door and walked off, muttering something under his breath. Hiccup had been so happy that Toothless was there that he had been all for compromising but the next night when he went to put Toothless out for the night Stoick had told him to sit down and rest his foot and Toothless had spent another night there.
The subject never came up again.
Hiccup brought raw fish for Toothless who liked to eat in front of the fire and while his father complained loudly about the smell, bad smells weren't anything new for vikings and the complaints became half hearted at best. As Toothless slowly began to gravitate towards eating closer to the table, Hiccup watched his father and his dragon anxiously but they seemed to have reached some kind of understanding. When Toothless finally settled to eating next to the table with the two of them, he was right in the middle between the boy and his father. Hiccup was beginning to think that it was only a matter of time before Stoick started feeding Toothless fish. His father would still complain and Toothless would still huff but Hiccup knew in the end they'd be just fine.
"So, hunting trip, yeah, you're excited about that?" he asked looking at her.
"Are you kidding? Of course I'm excited about it. Hiccup its one of the last tests we have before we're full vikings! And we get to go out and hunt. No teachers, no parents, just us, our weapons and our prey," she finished with a grin before she realized that Hiccup wasn't grinning back, "you're not excited for it?" she asked finally.
"No, its not that, its just--" he broke off, obviously frustrated, "I am not a good viking. This, this I can do," he said motioning to the dragons and the sky, "but, lets be honest here, I had a dragon tied up and helpless and I couldn't kill it. How the hell am I going to kill something? And in front of everyone too!"
"Hiccup you've gone hunting before, haven't you?"
"Well yeah, but not for a long time," he said, resting his head on his hands, "and now its just--ugh, its just--" he trailed off.
"If you didn't want to go, no-one would blame you," Astrid said softly.
"You mean because of this?" Hiccup said, gesturing to his leg. Astrid could see the anger in his eyes, "I can't--Astrid I can't use this as an excuse!" he said angrily, his fingers tightening on his knee.
"I know, I know," Astrid said quickly, "its just, Hiccup, no-one wants to see you get hurt."
"Yeah," he said, "I know, its just--"
"Just what?" Astrid asked. Hiccup said nothing for a moment, "Hiccup--"
"My dad," he sad finally, like he was admitting a great secret, "my dad's the chief. And I always thought that he'd pick someone else to take over his job. But now everything's different. If I become a full viking, I can do what I was born to do. I won't just be Hiccup the useless or the screw up. I can be Hiccup the--Hiccup the--I don't know, something cool."
"You want your dad to be proud of you," Astrid said, her tone softening. Hiccup looked up at her.
"Its stupid, I know--" Hiccup began.
"Its not stupid," Astrid said, reaching out and covering his hand with her own and squeezing it comfortingly, "so you go on the hunting trip. You caught us all to fly, we can help you hunt--"
"What's wrong with your hands?" he asked abruptly, feeling wetness on the back of his own.
"Its nothing," she mumbled, pulling her hands back.
"Come on," he said gently, "you helped my leg. I can help with whatever you've got there. And if I can't, hey, you can tell me what to do."
Slowly the girl extended her hands. Hiccup looked at the tattered rags she'd wrapped around them. They were red and swollen and raw, deep lines criss crossing her palms. Her hands were tough from weapons but the stress of the reins and the cold of the air had wreaked havoc on her skin. Cradling her hands in his own, Hiccup glanced up at her face. Her features were tight, she'd obviously been pushing the pain to the side like a good viking should. But it looked like it hurt. And he knew that she had continued to train and push herself even though her hands had been chapped and bleeding. Even though she had seen him at his weakest point, she still seemed embarrassed by the fact that she was injured and had to be taken care of.
"Its not that bad," she began, "my skin just needs to get tougher--" she continued, trailing off with a hiss as a breeze blew by.
"Right, okay, come on," Hiccup said, "stay there."
"Hiccup its really nothing," she protested.
"Now its nothing," he said, "but if you let it go--"
Astrid sighed, knowing he had a point.
"Alright, fine," she said finally.
Hiccup walked over to where the dragons were sitting. Unsurprisingly Toothless was laying with his head on his folded front legs, looking out at the ocean while Bluebell had her nose under her wing joint, preening. Neither dragon looked up when they came, both attuned to knowing when their riders were in a lot of trouble. Toothless watched curiously as Hiccup undid a second bag tied to his saddle. Hiccup said something reassuring to the dragon, giving him a firm pat before coming back to where Astrid was sitting.
"Okay you're probably going to have to talk me through this," he said, lowering himself onto the rock and looking up at her.
"Hiccup," she began to protest, looking at the bandages and salve that were packed in the bag, "thats for you and your leg--"
"My legs fine," he said. She raised an eyebrow, "really, look!" he said untucking his pant leg and rolling it up to reveal his leg, "not swollen, already bandaged, doesn't even hurt--that much--and besides," he said looking down before looking up at her, "your hands are hurt."
"Okay fine!" Astrid said rolling her eyes at the look that she knew she'd never be able to say no to before thrusting out her hands, "I'll talk you through it."
Apparently the sight of bandages, salve and her hurt hands were enough to attract the attention of the dragons. Both head shot up and almost instantly both were on their feet, bolting over to where their riders were and encircling them. Problem was that they kept circling, their eyes locked with each other. Toothless was low to the ground but from his raised back and extended teeth, he wasn't happy with what was happening. Bluebell, in an uncharacteristic show of concern, was bent low as well, her tail raising in a threatening motion that Astrid had come to know meant she was about to shoot spikes out of her tail. Injuries forgotten, both vikings were quickly on their feet, back to back, rotating to try and speak to their dragons.
"Hey, buddy, come on, we're just helping Astrid out here," Hiccup said, trying to get Toothless to look at him, "we don't want her to get more hurt, right?"
"Bluebell, Bell, hey, over here," Astrid said motioning with her hands, "Hiccup's just helping me out. See? He's just being nice. There isn't anything to worry about--"
"Toothless---" Astrid grabbed Hiccup's wrist cutting him off, her eyes going over to the shields that lay by the ground where they had discarded them along with their weapons Hiccup looked over at her before giving a nod of response, showing he knew what she was planning to do, "you sure about this?"
"We can't let them hurt each other," she hissed back as both dragons arched, "now, Hiccup!"
It was anything but graceful as the two of them dove for the shields, threw themselves back and got them in place as Bluebell shot spikes and Toothless breathed fire. The impact jarred her hands and his foot, slamming them back to back as Astrid cried out before she could stop herself. Bluebell's spikes slammed hard through the shield as Toothless's fire burst sent heat crashing against the shield. But the shields had been designed to fend off dragon attacks and held strong as the two vikings gripped them for all they were worth, bracing against each other. For a moment no-one moved as the flames cleared. Both dragons and humans looked at each other, horror written all over their faces. Astrid's arms trembled as her hands screamed in pain.
Everyone started moving at once. Hiccup let out a loud bellow and shook his head, jumping up and down frantically. Bluebell set back on her haunches letting out a mournful wail before dropping onto the ground with her nose at Astrid's feet. All that Astrid had in her was going to keeping her grip on the shield's straps. Hiccup looked over at her, throwing his shield to the side and coming over to her front. Astrid was gripping the shield with a white knuckled hand. The cracks in her hand had broke, blood seeping down her hands and staining the straps of the shield. Hiccup quickly grabbed the edges of the shield, taking the weight onto his arms. Astrid's eyes squeezed shut as she bit her lip viciously, her only grace knowing that dropping the shield would hurt worse.
"Are you okay? Right, sorry, stupid question--" he looked at her, "lets get the shield off, okay?"
"I don't know if I can let go," Astrid said, her gaze wide and fearful.
"Yes you can," Hiccup said. Astrid's brows rose, "Astrid, come on, yes you can," he said, "let go of the shield."
"But--" she began.
"Astrid," his voice was softer, "yes you can."
His gaze was unwavering, strong and Astrid realized that he really did believe that she could. And as she looked at him she realized that she believed it too. Looking down she saw the blood that coated her fingers, saw the white knuckles that clenched the shield's straps with an iron grip. She felt the weight of the shield shift as Hiccup held all of it in his grip. Taking a deep breath, Astrid looked at her hands and slowly forced her fingers to open. Each movement hurt, the raw, bloody skin throbbing painfully with each movement. With another slow, shaky breath she released her grip fully and carefully withdrew her hands.
The moment she was free, Hiccup threw the shield aside as Astrid doubled over, cradling her hands to her chest. Putting an arm around her shoulders, he steered her over to where the boulder was, easing her onto the rock. The dragons looked at them intently, flat out refusing to look at each other. Reaching down into the bag he picked up the supplies that he brought with him, he turned to the girl who sat there with her sore and ruined hands cradled in her lap. Reaching down to the ground, Hiccup pulled out the bandages and turned to the girl. Astrid looked down at her raw and bloody hands. They looked so much worse now. They had never been this bad before, but the added stress was just much worse than before. She looked over at Hiccup who sat waiting patiently. Slowly she extended her hand towards him. Easily he slid his hand under hers and guided it to his lap.
Hiccup's hands had become rough as well with the abuse of dragon riding and the frost. But his hands had always been rough. It went with the territory of being a blacksmith's apprentice. When she thought about it though, Astrid realized that Hiccup's hands had been rougher too, right about the time that he must have found Toothless. With a feather light touch, Hiccup brushed his finger along the side of her palm. Astrid hissed softly at the touch as her skin pulled.
"Do your hands always get like this?" he asked looking up at her.
"Sometimes," she said, "okay, first--"
"Its okay, this I can do," he said with an easy smile. She looked at him warily, "blacksmith apprentice, remember?" he said.
"Oh right," she said ducking her head, her cheeks coloring in embarrassment.
"First days with Gobber, my hands bled for days. And that winter," he shook his head, "and all the healer said was 'tough up'."
"She tells me that too!" Astrid said.
"Easy for her to say, it looks like she hasn't been out of the village in years," he said, "okay this might sting just a bit," he said wringing a cloth of water out over her hand. Astrid jerked her hand but Hiccup gently held onto her wrist, "I'm just making sure its clean," he said.
"I know," she said, "it just--it stings," she finished, feeling her cheeks burn at the admission.
Hiccup nodded sympathetically. Astrid watched as he picked up a roll of the bandages and began to deftly wrap it around her hands, leaving it so she still had most of her range of motion. He switched to her other hand as Astrid flexed her fingers experimentally. He held her wrist gently as he performed the same job on the other hand. His movements were steady and sure and she could see the confidence in the gestures. When he was done he lowered his hands but he didn't make any moves to push hers away. Astrid let her hand stay on his lap, her palm neatly bandaged.
"You're really good at that," she said looking down at her hand.
"Well, you know, you pick things up here and there--" he scratched the back of his neck, "besides, I'm not as good as you are."
"Well that's true," Astrid said. Hiccup looked up at her, his glare bright with amusement, "but you're not bad," she looked over at their dragons, "Hiccup what are we going to do?" she asked.
Hiccup looked over his shoulder. Toothless was watching them with sharp eyes, his head still down and his tail lashing back and forth. Bluebell had her head turned so that one eye was on Astrid and one eye was on Toothless. Her tail was raised high in the air and from the texture of it, Astrid could tell she was about to shoot spikes. Astrid looked at them doubtfully. The two looked like they were moments from destroying each other and for the life of her she had no idea who would win. Only that she did not want to see them fight at all. Toothless was the first dragon she had ever known but Bluebell, Bluebell was her dragon and if she didn't like Toothless, then she had no idea what they were going to do.
"I don't think they've ever lived like this before," Hiccup said, his mind formulating an idea, "okay I've got an idea," he said, walking over to where Toothless was.
"Bluebell?" Astrid turned to her dragon that looked ahead angrily at the two boys, "hey, Bluebell," she said stepping forward. The dragon's head snapped to her, "I'm okay, see?" she held out her hands, "it was just the winter. I don't have scales like you--"
She trailed off as the Nadder leaned forward, her nose inches from Astrid's hands. Astrid held her hands very still as the Nadder sniffed the tops and bottoms of her hands before turning her head sharply to the side for a visual inspection. Astrid held her hands out, letting the dragon inspect her. Finally Bluebell drew her head back, turning it to face the other two dragons. Furiously she sat so she was separating Astrid from Hiccup and Toothless. Raising her tail in an attack position, she growled at the two males. When Astrid took a step forward the dragon growled at her before turning back to them.
"Astrid, I don't think they're fighting," Hiccup said, "I think--" he looked at her, "I think Bluebell's protecting you."
"I think you might be right," she said looking down at the blue dragon, her eyes wide with surprise.
"Hey, look at that," Hiccup said with an easy grin, "who'd have thought you'd ever need protection from me?"
"Do you mean in or out of the training ring?" Astrid asked raising an eyebrow as she tried not to cross her arms or put her hands on her hips.
Toothless gave a humorous snort, shaking his head as if amused at what she had said. Bluebell looked at the the dragon before looking back at Astrid who was smiling and Hiccup who was not. Seemingly deciding that one person out of the three not smiling was not a terrible thing, Bluebell gave a snort and shook her head, rising backwards so that she was no longer a dragon blockade. Astrid smiled at her dragon who puffed up, looking extremely pleased with herself as Toothless continued to chuckle in the background. Astrid smiled at Bluebell who shifted her weight, continuing to look very pleased with herself.
"Well," she said with a playful smile, "I guess I don't need that much protection from you," she said with a smile as she walked past her dragon. She walked over to Hiccup, "you on the other hand might need some."
"From what?" he asked, though the rough tone of his voice told otherwise.
"From me," Astrid said confidently, kissing him soundly on the mouth.
Both dragons made sounds of disgust and looked away as Hiccup's hands shyly encircled Astrid's waist, pulling the viking girl closer. With her bandaged hands at her sides, she kissed him back eagerly. Flying--like kissing--both Hiccup and Astrid had learned, was made even better when there was another person up there with you. By the time they pulled apart both Toothless and Bluebell had made new beds of embers on the ground and seemed determined to look anywhere but the kissing vikings. Neither could hold back their laughter at the sight of the two powerful dragons looking so offput by their vikings kissing.
"We should head back, before it gets dark," Hiccup said, looking over his shoulder at the sun that had begun to make its way to the horizon. He looked at her, "you think Bluebell would mind if you rode back with me?"
"Probably not if we let her fly first," Astrid said.
"I think Toothless'll go along with that. What do you think buddy?" Toothless gave him a look that plainly said he was more than capable of following another dragon, "right, point taken. Okay then, lets head back home."
"Okay. Bluebell, girl, you take us home. Okay?" Bluebell shook herself and got to her feet.
Hiccup helped Astrid onto Toothless before getting onto his back himself. Getting on was more awkward than getting off but he managed, locking his prosthetic foot into the special stirrup before sliding his other into the other one. Toothless easily got to his feet, waiting as Bluebell kicked off the ground seamlessly. Moving his weight back, Toothless bolted forward, using the momentum to kick off the edge of the cliff and take to the skies behind the blue dragon. As they flew back towards the village with Astrid's head resting on his shoulder and her chest pressed against his back, Hiccup couldn't help but think that while he loved her riding her dragon with him, he liked her riding on the same dragon even more. Bluebell led them to the village without any sort of acrobatics and Toothless followed without any sort of attempts at racing. Bluebell, surprisingly, flew easily through the village and led them right to Hiccup's house.
"I think this is supposed to work differently," Hiccup began.
"I think its fine," Astrid said, nimbly swinging her leg over the side and sliding down Hiccup's side. Coming to the front she gently scratched Toothless's head as Hiccup unhooked his foot and dismounted the dragon, "I'm really happy we got to fly together today," Astrid said, scuffing her foot on the ground.
"Me too," Hiccup said, "you're getting really good up there," Bluebell snorted, "both of you, you're getting good."
"Well we're learning from the best," Astrid said with a smile, "and, I'll return the favor," she said, "on that hunt you're gonna do great. Promise. And besides, you already saved the world. This is nothing. Don't look so scared."
"Whose scared? Me?" his grin was half hearted at best, "just make sure you keep those hands warm, dry and up to par."
"Thats sweet," Astrid said playfully flicking her braid over her shoulder. Hiccup looked at her curiously, "when you worry about me."
"I could say the same to you," he replied easily.
"I don't worry about you!" she shot back.
"Okay okay," Hiccup said with an offhanded smile, "no worrying. Only ass-kicking."
"Right," Astrid said, "well," she began after a moment, "I should probably get home. And I bet Bluebell wants to go to the lake to sleep."
"She's still sleeping outside?" Hiccup asked.
"Yep," Astrid said with a nod, "you don't think thats not normal, do you?" she asked.
"I'm sure its fine. Besides, what's normal anymore?"
"Good point," Astrid said looking over at her dragon before looking back at Hiccup, "well I should probably--"
"Oh right, absolutely--"
"Night!" Astrid said as she and Bluebell made their way to the path that would take her home and the dragon to the water.
Hiccup watched her and Bluebell go before Toothless nudged him with his nose. Hiccup looked down at his dragon and shook his head.
"We gotta work on our girl skills, buddy," he said.
The dragon gave a snort of disagreement as the two of them made their way up the hill. At the bottom of the hill, Astrid looked over her shoulder as the boy and the dragon made their way up towards the house at the top. He looked sturdy enough and Toothless was there in case he stumbled but Astrid still felt a coil of fear in her stomach. The memory of him tripping was all too clear in her mind. She just didn't want him to get hurt again. And if he didn't know she was looking, all the better--
Toothless turned his head and flashed them a bright grin, clearly saying he knew that they were watching them.
Astrid swore, turning and watching as the two of them walked fully up the hill to his house.
Turning around, Astrid walked back towards her house, expecting Bluebell to head to her spot by the river. But the dragon trailed after her in the same manner she had seen Toothless trail after Hiccup, dragon watching intently to make sure the viking was alright. As they walked, Astrid realized that other dragons and vikings were watching them curiously, studying what they were doing and it occurred to Astrid that all of Hiccup's interactions with Toothless had been by trail and error. There had been no-one to show them how a viking and a dragon were supposed to interact. But by watching them, Bluebell was imitating Toothless, albiet far more cautiously. As if she was still unsure of what she was supposed to be doing. By the time they got to her house, Bluebell was still behind her.
"Goodnight girl," Astrid said to the dragon, nudging the door open gently and stepping into the threshhold, expecting the Nadder to take off.
Astrid's eyes widened as she realized that Bluebell was fully expecting to come inside. Opening and closing her mouth, she looked over her shoulder. If the embers in the hearth were any indication, her mother wasn't home. Bluebell lowered her head, looking at the viking intently and Astrid realized that standing in the doorway debating her mother's reaction was pointless. Stepping to the side, she held the massive door open as best she could while Bluebell happily trotted inside. Of course a dragon trotting meant that the floor shook. In a few steps Bluebell was in front of the fire. Shaking herself, the dragon blew out a puff of flame, easily lighting the fire back up. Without fuel, however, it died quickly. Bluebell raised her head, cocking it to the side as she tried to figure it out.
"Here, these," Astrid motioned as best she could with her hands.
Bending down, Bluebell grabbed two in her jaws and put them on the embers before repeating the process. This time the fire started and took, burning brightly in the hearth. Bluebell settled down, shifting to get comfortable before curling in front of the fire. Astrid shook her head at just how at home her dragon looked curled in front of the fire before sitting down herself, stretching out her legs with a yawn.
"Astrid Hofferson, what happened to your hands--and by Thor's hammer why is there a dragon sitting in front of the fire?!"
And that's the last of the two. One about Hills, one about Bluebell(s). Who is a dragon. But now I get to tell you about the new fic!
Its called "By Land and Sea" and its a multichaptered story, currently in the first chapter. There is going to be HiccupxAstrid but the rest of the young vikings are going to be there too. Its on my author profile and/or you can just go to the HTTYD section. But I kept getting so many requests for more, I just had to do it! So if you want more Astrid/Hiccup, go there!
ALSO after an unfortunate incident allow me to make this clear: IF YOU WANT TO USE THE NAME BLUEBELL YOU MUST ASK ME FIRST. You cannot just take it. Contact me and we will talk but if you just 'take' the name, even with crediting me, your story will be considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. I thought it was common sense but apparently not.
As for this story, well, please review!