Angels of the Silences

AN2010: I just...really don't like Astrid. But I love the story, including Ruffnut, Toothless and Hiccup in that order.

AN2017: I'm kind of embarrassed of that first AN, like, I really opened this story with that? Hopefully all of you would be happy to learn I changed my ways. Astrid is actually pretty cool, and thankfully I started realizing that during the course of this story.

Spoilers: Practically the whole How to Train Your Dragon movie.

Disclaimer: Don't own How to Train Your Dragon or the characters, ownage is to Dreamworks and Cressida Cowell.

Pairing: Ruffnut/Hiccup

Prologue: Into the Woods

"Nice job, Useless!"

Ruffnut snickered at the slumped figure of Hiccup as Gobber dragged him off back home. Her snickers were accompanied by her twin brother Tuffnut (Jr.)'s chuckles and the loud guffaws of Snotlout. The only people not laughing at the other boy's expense were Fishlegs and Astrid. Fishlegs was bound by some loyalty to Hiccup, being his only friendly acquaintance, not to mention the large oaf was too good natured to ever do something mean to another person. Then there was Astrid, little goody two shoes Astrid, who probably deemed a little ribbing for ribbing's sake as below her. There was little Astrid ever got excited about outside of fighting dragons. Otherwise she was as grim as Stoick the Vast, leader of Berk. The girl would probably start wrinkling from her constant frowning way before it was her time to do so. The thought of an ugly wrinkly Astrid brought on another set of snickers.

The gangly girl disliked Astrid, though she always tried to ignore it. She was the only girl on their little island who was her age, so Ruffnut would often she'd find herself in the company of the other girl when she grew tired of the boys' immaturity. Jealousy in part was to blame for her bitter opinion of Astrid. Astrid was the perfect Viking child. If someone told her Odin had come down from the heavens to bless the other girl in her crib when she was a baby, Ruffnut would not doubt it for a second. Pretty with a powerful axe swing, and intelligent to boot, and she managed it all with impeccable grace and poise. That was a hard thing to beat. Especially considering Ruffnut herself lacked in all areas mentioned. She wasn't particularly beautiful, as Tuffnut was always quick to point out, her weapons handling was always second best, and she'd never willingly read a book for the sake of learning stuff.

Facts were facts. Astrid was Miss Popular and Ruffnut was just a nobody.

Actually, that wasn't completely true.

If anyone was a nobody, it was Hiccup. Even if he was the son of Stoick.

Ruffnut was at least part of the crowd. Her family was an honorable one amongst the families of Berk. Being Tuffnut's twin sister and somewhat cool saved her from most of the ridicule Hiccup was always on the receiving end of. Picking on Hiccup was probably the only activity all of the other kids on the island had in common besides the occasional. Astrid was a stick in the mud, Snotlout was a sleaze who spent hours making up pick up lines, Tuffnut secretly played the bone flute (and swore her to secrecy about his less than manly hobby), Fishlegs read the Dragon Index cover to cover every day during his free time, and Ruffnut...well.

Some things were private. Not even her twin was privy her every secret.

As the crowd that had gathered to watch Stoick tell Hiccup off began to abate, Ruffnut wandered off herself into the night. She didn't feel like going home right away. No one would be home, her father would be out at the tavern drinking with his raid buddies, and she didn't doubt for a second that Tuffnut as well as the other idiots were there as well attempting to drink like the men they thought they were. Ruffnut rolled her eyes in annoyance, knowing that every time something like this happened, their father had had to drag the skinny lout home by the scruff of his neck. Not that he put up much of a fight, since the boy was dead drunk on arrival. Tuffnut Sr. would leave his son at the door of their dwelling and depending on what kind of mood she was in, she'd either leave him their till halfway through the next day or lug him up to his own bed.

Even in the dark, she knew where she was going. Her feet had already carried her far past the outskirts of Berk. Something in her was telling her that taking this spur of the moment walk into the woods was a bad idea. Being out late, even though sunrise was just on the horizon, was highly discouraged after a dragon raid. There were sometimes straggler dragons that hung around after the raid picking things off in the woods when they couldn't grab anything in the village. Ruffnut very alone and unarmed and would be easy pickings to whatever might be lurking just beyond the bend. The thought of turning back now was smart, but seemed too much of an Astrid thing to do at the moment, so she forged on with renewed determination. She didn't even really know where she was going anymore, though she was taking special care to remember the path she was taking so she'd be able to find her way home.

It was then that something caught her eye. There was a fallen tree looking so out of place illuminated by the rays of dawn breaking through the trees. Fallen trees happened, but this one didn't look like it had gone down naturally at all. From the torturous way it was broken and bent over, it looked like it had been struck by something coming at it from its side. Only two things were massive enough to take out a tree like that. One was a misfired catapult. The other... Gulping, she felt beads of sweat begin to dot her brow. As she grew closer to the tree, the trail of debris leading away from the tree threw the first guess out. Boulders did not slash and gouge trees they hit. This walk was seriously beginning make her nervous.

The smart thing to do would've been to turn around and leave. Go tell Stoick, or her father. Let them deal with what lay just over the crest of that hill, the earth on it now disturbed by the impact of something very, very large.

It was then though, that a thought occurred to her. She didn't know why it seemed to stand out, but it did. Something Hiccup had been trying to say when no one was really paying attention to him. Hiccup said a lot of things no one listened to or believed. He was just really...weird. Skinny, clumsy, and weak, he wasn't like any other person in Berk. That was what made him such an easy target for teasing. And his outrageous lies! Killing a NightFury? Seeing it land out by this point? Was he for real?

Except right now, that claim didn't seem so ridiculous right now.

With the situation at hand, it didn't seem funny at all.

Because if there was a chance Hiccup was right, then there was a dragon, a NightFury, over there. A NightFury, the most mysterious and dangerous of dragons to ever terrorize Berk.

And it was out in the woods. With her.

And possibly alive. Injured maybe, but alive.

Which would make her quite possibly very dead.

Sucking in a shuddering breath, she thought about what to do. Running seemed like a completely reasonable- wonderful really- thing to be doing all things considered. But no one would ever call Ruffnut a completely reasonable girl. She was a Thorston, and Thorstons didn't run away like cowards. With shaky hands, she picked up what she considered a rather hefty, sturdy branch and started to edge at an achingly slow pace towards the hill.

There, not too far from a boulder, lay the form of a fair sized, jet-black dragon. It's features and coloring were nothing she was familiar with from past raids, letting her know that it was not something like a Nightmare or a Zippleback. That did nothing to calm her nerves. The only conclusion to be drawn from the fact she did not recognize this particular breed of dragon was that it was in fact a NightFury. At this realization, her knees chose that moment to wobble furiously then give out on her.

Green eyes opened and focused on her, pinning her to her spot.

If she made it out of this alive, she was never going to doubt Hiccup's word ever again.

Prologue: Into the Woods - End

Next Installment

Chapter One: Hiccup