The fact of the matter was that Fishlegs had always felt, as depressing as it was, safe.
That wasn't to say that he did not hope to one day get some sort of girlfriend; honestly, he had never had too much doubt in that realm considering he was strong, not horrible-looking, and well-aware of the grimly high death rates among Viking males. A little crude courtship combined with some effort in not dying tragically and he was pretty much guaranteed to get a girl sooner or later.
But he had always figured on the later. And he was perfectly fine with that. Who needed a girlfriend at his age? He could never understand why his friends were so focused on impressing the girls. It wasn't that he was afraid of them, per say. He actually enjoyed the girls' company. The girls were pretty, neater, and gave off the whole awesome girly vibe. No, he had absolutely no complaints whatsoever with the girls. He was happy to hang out with them as long as they would put up with him—a time frame that always seemed to vary.
Platonic friendship? Yes. Maybe a sprinkle of all that hormonal tension? Sure, it couldn't really be helped anyway. But a relationship? That was completely out of the question. He had training to complete, books to read, adolescence to overcome, and a few more battles on social awkwardness to wage.
He thought that was all pretty clear to the others. Especially the last detail. And that was why he had always felt safe.
Apparently there was no logic in the female mind.
The first spark of fear had lit one day when Ruffnut had smiled at him instead of punching or insulting him. Oh, some people say she was just being nice, but when you grow up with someone, you can't help but observe her behavior patterns. Now Astrid saw no difference between bodily injury and more mild forms of affection. Ruffnut, on the other hand, was much more feminine when it came to flirtation. So a one-day skip from ignoring or insulting him to a smile… well, that was drastic.
She was on the hunt.
He had watched with some amusement when she had been after Hiccup. Now the tables were turned and it wasn't nearly so funny.
Fishlegs had no prior knowledge of just how he should react. So he had returned the smile with some degree of terror and went on his way.
The next day she talked to him. Of course they had talked before, chatted about whatever, and that hadn't been anything important.
This talking was different. This was her sidling up close to him, smiling that smile, and asking "So, Fishlegs, how much can you lift?"
Her eyes were right on him. The girl had eyes like a cat.
He had no response to that. "Um… I don't really work out."
"You look like you do."
All right, so he admittedly did have a lot of muscle underneath the chubbiness, but that was pretty much just how he was built. "Um…" He needed a good conversation stopper. What always turned the others off? "So I'm trying to get permission to completely rewrite the dragon book."
Didn't work. Her grin only widened. "You're such a smart guy."
He escaped by making some excuse about forgetting something and ran for dear life.
He laid low for the next few days. Caution was his best friend. Venture outside only when necessary, stay in large crowds…
And Ruffnut would still be there, smiling at him from a distance.
He was going to soon perfect the art of running and hiding.
There had to be logic to this. Somewhere amid this nightmare was some answer to the mystery? Why him? He didn't think he was really Ruffnut's type. She had only gone after Hiccup when he had rose to the head of their class. Fishlegs had not done anything that cool.
But he couldn't hide forever. And there she was , a constant source of terror and flirting.
He had never been a good flirt. But she seemed to be well-versed enough in flirtation for the both of them.
Always the comments. "Hi, Fishlegs." "How has your day been?" "Will you lift this axe for me?"
And it became worse. "You're so smart." "You're kind of cute." And then "You should come study this dragon with me."
He should never fallen for it. But he did. One afternoon he followed her out into the woods. Where there was no dragon.
He made the mistake of pointing it out.
Ruffnut just shrugged. "I can't believe you fell for that."
He was getting rather uncomfortable. "Then… why are we here?"
And all she did was smile and lean up close to him. "Why do you think we're here?"
"Well, you kind of lied to me."
"You're so cute."
This wasn't good. Not at all. This was a very bad thing. He gulped. "I think I hear my mom calling me…"
"Don't you think I'm cute?"
Ruffnut didn't have the Astrid angelic sweetness, but she was kind of hot. But Fishlegs didn't dare answer. "What do you want me to say?"
"Nothing." And with that she threw her arms around him and kissed him.
She was an awfully good kisser. He had to admit that. Not that he had much experience. Not that he could really think about it. All he felt was a very unnerving combination of shock, horror, and a little too much enjoyment of the situation.
He was going to have a panic attack.
So he pushed her away as gently as he could. "I have really got to go." He sped into the trees as fast as he could.
"Don't you dare run from me!" she screamed after him.
He was going to leave the island. Go be a hermit somewhere. That would fix everything. Go somewhere without crazy girls. He stumbled into the village and bent over, panting. He was momentarily free.
He looked up. There stood Tuffnut, arms crossed, expression furious.
Fishlegs gasped for breath.
Tuffnut's took a step closer. "Just what exactly were you doing with my sister?"
This was not a good day at all.