The day was cold, one of those regular days in Berk when the there was ice in the wind and it sliced at your face so badly you might have thought an enemy clan had attacked you. It was a regular day of chapped lips, dry skin, and frozen eyelashes—not the most pleasant of feelings. The choices during winter for any Viking were either stay home or stay home and nurse your frostbite.
However, in the blacksmith's stall, sweat dripped from a young Viking's brow as he bent over the forge and hammered at an iron sword—he had the sleeves of his tunic rolled high to his elbows, his fur vest had been discarded long ago, as soon as the fire heated the room. He wore the his smith's apron and leather wrist braces so he wouldn't be burnt by stray embers and so that his hammering would be precise—not a strike wasted. He had no intention of going outside to acquire frostbite—frostbite often took limbs and he had his fill of lost appendages as evident by his absent lower leg.
The master blacksmith, Gobber was out for the evening and so left his apprentice a pile full of swords and axes to shape up for the next battle season. Not even the dragons of Berk stayed for the winter season—the mighty, seemingly invincible creatures had migrated to their volcano island for warmth. Few dragons stayed elsewhere while the world was in a deep frost.
The dragon that the youth was most fond of, known to all of Berk as 'Toothless,' was most likely cuddled up in front of the hearth back at his lodge, a big black ball, content and waiting for his friend to return. The young Viking was grateful for the Night Fury's extended stay, but knew the dragon couldn't make it to the island on his own, even if he wanted to. This would be the third winter they shared together.
He stood straight and wiped at his brow, swishing away some russet locks that had fallen into his eye.
What I wouldn't give for a dragon that had opposable thumbs, he thought, reasoning the time would go by faster, not to mention be more fun if his dragon could help him with his work. Instead of the forge he could have Toothless melt all the iron in seconds with his near-liquid lightening fire breath. But instead, he fanned the bellows so the flames could burn higher. The higher the flames, the hotter the fire, the quicker the melt. The blade of the sword was tinged orange from the heat. He knew he should also sharpen the weapons when he was done reshaping them, but the excitement of reshaping metal had momentarily left him, replaced by tediousness.
Well this is depressing, he thought sarcastically but then realized on a cold evening such like this one, he wouldn't be doing much that was just as equally depressing. Winter was a depressing season all together.
He wished for the thaw of spring when he and his friends could eat fried, salted Icelandic cod over an outside fire, have axe-throwing contests, or fly their dragons through the air without having their face freeze into one expression.
He shook his head at his thoughts, knowing they would only make him yearn more for the warmer seasons among other things. He dragged a hand through his hair and cracked his back of a knot that had formed. He removed the blade and stuck into the well of cooling water, which created an ominous hissing noise.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm displeased too," he addressed the inanimate object with a cool tone. His frown lightened, "Look at me, talking to a sword. Wow, Hiccup your brain will turn to mush before spring." He sighed and pulled the blade out of the water.
"What's more? You're talking to yourself in third person." His forest green eyes studied the edges of the blade and he flipped it to make sure the other side was just as well crafted. He nodded with a satisfied smirk and put it with the finished ones.
He untied his smith's apron and hung it on a knob of protruding wood. The heat from the flames nearly felt as though they were burning his skin off. He grumbled, flustered at the boiling temperature and threw off his tunic as well, it landing across the stall's anvil. He made his way to where he kept all of his construction designs. He did want to go home, to see Toothless; he just wished that he didn't have to go outside to get there. He sat on the stump in front of the desk and laid his head down on the desk, doodling designs on parchment for a new and improved catapult system he had thought of recently.
He heard the stall door open and a rush of chilly air swirled right at him, causing him to crunch up and cross his arms in front of his chest, furiously thinking, who in Valhalla would show up here this late?
He grabbed his fur vest and swung it over his shoulders to investigate but froze in his tracks, as though he were already outside in the cold, at a voice calling "Is anyone here?"
He didn't have time to properly don his tunic for the extremely attractive blonde girl wrapped in a yak fur cloak that appeared before him. Her hair was unbraided, falling over her shoulders—not styled into the usual 'ready-for-battle' fashion. She was just in time to witness the hapless young man struggling to fit his arm into the sleeve of his shirt.
She laughed, which was no surprise. She held her Axe proudly as she removed her cloak, for the temperature change from outside to inside was so extreme. He noticed her pale-ridged gauntlets were also missing. Apparently winter was her off-season.
"Holy Hel, Hiccup—this place feels like it's sitting in the dragonfires."
"Astrid, what are you doing here?" He was surprised most of all at her being there—he hadn't seen her since before the first snowstorm. He finally managed to get his arm secured into his sleeve.
"I need this sharpened."
He was confused to why she just didn't take one of her many granite stones and sharpen it herself. She chuckled at his puzzled stare, "What? Do you think a little ice wind is going to keep be cooped up in my home all winter?" Then she shook her head while raising a brow, "I thought you knew me better than that, Hiccup."
Hiccup frowned, "Yeah, well you haven't been around much since Snotlout started courting you last spring."
He meant for her to hear his embittered tone.
"How's Toothless?" She averted her eyes and ignored his scathing remark.
"Toothless is well. He hates ice, as do we all," he replied. His gaze was locked on her though she was not looking at him. It wasn't that he disliked her, or even Snotlout—he disliked the idea of them being together. He disliked any thought of her with any Viking, that is except with himself. Not only was she unavailable but also their friendship had weakened because 'Lout was always taking her out somewhere—a new cove or sky spot for them to do Odin-knows-what.
He inwardly gagged at that thought and looked to her battleaxe in his hand. He ran his thumb across the blade and shouted in pain as it cut him—very, substantially sharpened already.
"Astrid, this doesn't need sharpened," he held it out to her, a bit annoyed at her wasting his time. Though, he didn't want her to leave yet, he didn't want her ever to leave—again.
"I know," she sighed. So, she had an alternate reason to brave the cold and find him that evening, he just had to wonder what.
Hiccup stuffed his thumb into his mouth to rid it of his blood. It was a salty, bitter taste. He stared at Astrid, trying to understand her. She had often given him kisses, albeit after bruising his arm. He had thought she liked him—but before he garnered enough courage to do anything about it, Snotlout had moved in and taken the prize.
"Nice beard," she said to fill the silence
It had started growing in a few hairs at a time since he was fourteen but now at seventeen, his chin was boasting short but thick whiskers the color of burnt burgundy.
"Thanks, Ruffnut saw it last week and she tried petting it," he explained, bringing the hand that wasn't partially in his mouth up to pet it himself. Instead of amusement, Astrid's pale blue eyes showed a hint of panic.
"Why was she here?"
Hiccup was secretly pleased Astrid showed a little jealousy on his behalf, still though it wasn't enough for him.
"She uh…stopped by to ask me to forge her a breastplate."
Astrid's mouth sort of hung open, fixed between bewilderment and disgust, "Does this place even do that?"
"No, you know Phlegma does that sort of thing since she's the armorist—and—you know can measure—those," he gulped gesturing toward Astrid's chest. She gave him an offended look and he dropped his hands with a clearing of his throat, "Girly-parts."
He didn't mean to sound like he was afraid of such things, they were just nerve-racking to think about though—causing his poor brain to spin into a giggling, excited, adolescent tizzy.
He coughed and examined his thumb, "Yeah, we don't make breastplates."
"Can I stay awhile? It's really cold outside, and it's kind of nice just sitting here and talking to you. We haven't done it in awhile."
That's partially your fault, Hiccup thought but nodded slowly, finally figuring this was her ulterior motive for showing up at the blacksmith stall after dark. She had missed him.
"So, how is your Deadly Nadder?" he asked, sitting across from her.
"She's all right but she left for the winter. You're so lucky to have Toothless year round," she was smiling in a way that touched his heart—which wasn't hard, not for Astrid Hofferson. He had been smitten with her since he realized girls weren't infected with cooties or weren't horrible, strange creatures that pulled your hair and made you cry only to run back to your mother's bosom after playtime. Thank you, Ruffnut, he thought sardonically.
"Yeah, well Toothless is useless during winter. He sleeps most of the time and refuses to go outside. Dad has been complaining that the whole lodge is smelling like dragon."
She chuckled, "I bet he at least helps with keeping the hearth lit."
Hiccup nodded, their home did stay comfortably warm because of the Night Fury. Sometimes, Hiccup would surpass his bed and simply sleep with the dragon most winter nights, engulfed in Toothless's wings.
He looked over his shoulder at the forge, making sure the flames weren't escaping. He hadn't been watching them at all while Astrid had been there. He felt fingers brush his chin, and turned to see that she had leaned forward and held it, "You know, I can still see that little scar through your facial hair."
She studied him while tilting his head up and his heart took to beating faster at her being so close. They hardly ever touched—she was difficult to touch as she was always adorned in spikes or skulls. One of the few times he remembered being so privileged was when she clasped to him as Toothless flung them around in the sky—just after she discovered his secret. Her legs wrapped around him as the Night Fury air-dove, spun, and dunked them into the ocean until she apologized. Now however, he noticed her outfit was just her striped blue-toned tunic and dyed black-leggings.
"Oh?" he let out a breath. He was growing nervous with himself for wanting to reach out and touch her so badly because she was not shielded as she usually was. She wasn't alert at all that he could sense, and he could do it too because she was distracted as her thumb brushed the spot on his chin where there was a small depression of scar tissue. He scooted his hand closer to her knee.
"How did you get that scar anyway?"
He blushed, and gave up on his urge by snatching his hand back to the place it was before, "When I was twelve during the Tiwesdæg of Terror."
"Oh yes—the horde of Terrible Terrors. I had to stay with my mother in the house during that fight. They came in such droves they blacked out the sky!"
"Uh-huh—and of course I was told to stay put but didn't listen and tried to take a few down with my slingshot invention. Then one of the little buggers decided to chomp onto my face—and the rest is history."
Astrid smiled warmly at his explanation, which sent him melting all over again. Her lips were so close, if he could just quickly lower his head and kiss her—but he couldn't bring himself to do it. She was Snotlout's girl now. He had felt such a hurtful emptiness when she left him the first time—and he knew these calm moments wouldn't last forever, however hard enough he wished it would.
"Why did you go with Snotlout? Was I not good enough for you?" he asked quietly and rested his head onto hers and closed his eyes—loving her warmth despite the already warmed room around them.
Her smile faded, and her eyes narrowed before she let go of his chin and removed herself from him. She didn't say anything and that was the most torturous part of the silence.
"Was it my leg? Did you feel that you needed someone who had both of them to fall in love?" he shouted, his heart heavy—he wanted her to explain. He had wasted enough thoughts, sleep, and sanity trying to figure her reasons out.
She whirled around, "Don't you dare! Your leg has nothing to do with it! That battle wound is the most valiant testimony in any generation to this tribe—to this island!"
"Then why Astrid? Why did you even come here tonight? What do you want?" he shouted in bemusement and voice full of strain.
He could see there was a wetness brimming her eyelids and she gave a small but defeated smile as she lifted her hands that held nothing, "This."
"You just gestured to all of me," he rolled his eyes, not understanding.
He shook his head, wishing she would be clearer—he knew that she missed him but she was acting particularly odd all of a sudden—in a way he had never observed her before. He could see she was flushed but also he recognized her look of determination—because whatever Astrid wanted, she usually would go out and get it for herself. The look was practically a burning azure in her eyes.
She suddenly balled her fist and gave him a hard punch into his stomach. He made gasping 'oof' noise, not ready for it and fell backward into a sitting position. Apparently, there really was no true off-season for Astrid.
"Why would you do that!"
"That's for never taking me on a date," she frowned. He wondered what she meant by that statement. Was she implying that she had been open to other men's invitations all this while? If that was the case then she was never solely Snotlout's girl. It just seemed to Hiccup that way because her and 'Lout were always together. Ever since I withdrew myself from her and freed up her time to him, he outwardly groaned realizing he was the biggest Gronkle-head in existence.
He tried sitting up to apologize but was stunned as she quickly hopped over his knees with her natural agility, and placed herself into his lap as he sat there most awkwardly. He gulped and looked down at her long legs that were suddenly, practically straddling him. She took his chin once more to make him look at her.
"And this is because I'm in love with you—and so you know that I didn't choose Snotlout, he chose me."
He tried to comprehend her words but all his thoughts burst into tiny somersaults of explosions because she followed her statement by capturing his mouth with her lips. His eyes fluttered closed noting the slow sensation of the kiss—how it ignited him. He wrapped his arms around her waist instinctively, never feeling so dangerous, on edge, or so absolutely greedy for someone before in his life. This kiss was the Mjöllnir of all kisses—pounding his heart so hard within his body that it could have been Thor himself, hammering at the young Viking.
The kiss was perfect in every way for Hiccup, and when Astrid finally withdrew her lips, her eyes were hopeful, clear, and beautiful as she looked upon him. His astonished face broke into a broad smile as his heart calmed it's wild flying—as unsteady and erratic as newly hatched dragon.
He reached up and held her heart-shaped face—seeing his future—seeing them together always. It was near similar to the relief that engulfed him when the Night Fury set his head in the palm of his hand those three years ago. She was his. She would be Hiccup's Astrid and he couldn't have been filled with any more bliss than he felt at that moment.
He brought her head down to his and pressed his forehead against hers so their eyes were aligned. He whispered, "Well, thank you for summing that up."
She only beamed at him knowingly and he could only pull her closer and embrace her with all his might, deciding he wasn't needed back home anytime soon and that winter wasn't such a depressing season after all.
A/N [11-1-2010]: To everyone who reads this - this chapter started out as a simple HiccupxAstrid oneshot but has since then grow to a completed, four part, 24 chapter series, so if you liked this I invite you to read the whole series which consists of this, 'The Sting of Spring', 'The Summer's Fervor', and the 'The Turning Autumn' :)
Original A/N: I don't own any characters in this story-they rightfully belong to the author of the book-series and/or Dreamworks. This was my first (and probably) only one shot I have ever written since I'm used to writing fanfic 60,000 + words. Even this one shot is a little long-oops :/ Still, This movie was wonderful and I'd thought I'd add a little fan hand into it.
Well hope whoever reads it gets cute shivers and feel free to review if you liked it. Thanks.
Edit: I've changed the story just a smidgen for those who have already read it, just kind a more fulfilling explanation/resolution put into it. It was a suggested idea by a very thorough reviewer:)