She had always liked him.
Not that she had ever let anybody know, Astrid thought as she sat on Hiccup's bed. He was recovering from the fight with the Monstrous Queen, as she had been named by the rest of the tribe.
For a long time it had been her secret. This boy had been her deepest, darkest secret. Because she, after all, had always acted like a Viking; she did as her parents said, she idolized their leader, she had stubbornness issues, and she wanted to kill dragons. She also had talent.
From the time she could crawl she had shown talent. By the time she was five she had started training privately with her dad. He was a good dragon killer, she would be better than him he had told her. But even as she worked and excelled in her training, even as things came naturally to her in the she kept the dark secret locked up.
From the first time he had been different. Everybody talked about him, he was Stoick's son after all, and she heard how he was different. The attention span of a sparrow, they said, didn't listen, looked puny and showed no talent.
So when she first saw him she didn't understand why he intrigued her. Why she wanted to get close to him, to talk to him. She was the prodigy of the generation. He was the runt, the weak link. So why did she feel this… pull, this draw. She watched him for some time, when he wasn't looking. He was clueless, weird, weak! So why? She had raged to herself.
She tried to bury it, but every time she saw him she felt it. And that made her angry. Who was he to make her feel like this? Who was he to make her want to act so differently than she did? Who was he to make her wonder if she could just take some time of training to get to know him?
Training, honing her skills, becoming better, faster, stronger those where important things. From the time she was a baby she had been thought that she was the next generation. That she would be the next front in the fight against those deadly beasts. That was important, that was what she had to focus on. Not some weak boy who couldn't do anything.
Astrid sighed, from the first she had liked him, and so she had hated him. And that she had made no attempt to hide. She had refused to give him the time of day, she had acted like he was nothing. Everybody treated him like he was nothing. And that had hurt her. Seeing his harebrained ideas get him trouble as he tried time and again to fit in. To be a Viking.
Astrid gently ran her hand over the sheets, idly remembering the years before. What she hadn't realized before, in those years when she had hated Hiccup, was that she had felt that other bit in him. The one that made him face a Night Fury by himself, the one that wouldn't let him kill a dragon, the one that had made him the first Viking Dragon Rider.
He wasn't like the rest of the Vikings, not one bit. But he had something that Vikings needed. She couldn't really put a name to it, but she had felt it, and she had been drawn to the weak, odd little boy who tripped over his own feet, and asked too many questions; the one who messed even the simplest errand up and tried to create weird things.
Astrid turned to Toothless, lying by Hiccups bedside as always. He rarely left the young Viking's bed, and then only for short moments. He was just as worried about Hiccup, as she herself was. And wasn't that a surprise, she thought. Toothless was amazing. Who knew dragon's were so intelligent? So caring, so willing to make peace with us? She thought idly, and then smiled as she thought of the answer. Hiccup had.
He, too, was amazing. The misfit boy who she had hated because of his weakness had become the strongest of them all. Not physically, she could still beat him up if she wished, which she thought smiling, I do enjoy. She had always gotten a trill out of beating somebody. It made her feel strong, powerful, in control. All of which Hiccup had always taken when she was near him.
When near him her focus slipped, she timing was off, everything about her went off kilter. By Thor how she had hated him for it. But now, now….
Astrid sighed, and turned to look at Hiccup as he stirred in his sleep. He had been so badly hurt, the worst of the whole of the village. Few others had received more than a few cuts and bruises. But Hiccup, Hiccup had lost a leg. He had also a wide assortment of bruises, cuts, and few mild burns. He had paid a great price for them, for his tribe and for the dragons.
Hiccup with his Night Fury, Toothless. The strongest, most mysterious and most powerful dragon paired with the weakest, oddest and most exasperating Viking of the tribe. Together, they became an unstoppable force. One that was unequalled, Astrid laughed softly at the irony, though a part of her felt like there was something there. She supposed that if it took the most powerful dragon paired with the weakest Viking to get the perfect dragon rider match, then perhaps it might take the strongest Viking girl with the oddest Viking boy to bring a new set of traditions into this Village. Blushing at the thought, Astrid shook her head.
Hiccup had not been awake for the transition period and it had been a very interesting time. The dragons had taken to the villagers easily enough, as long as the Vikings behaved well. However, none of the dragons had taken as well as Toothless to Hiccup. None showed the sort of trust and friendship that the first rider and his dragon shared. They were making progress, slow but steady.
If Hiccup could do it, after all, then so could the others. That was what they were thinking in the village. She hated it.
Hiccup alone had been the first Dragon Rider, and he alone had the complete trust of a Night Fury. Toothless only did as she asked because of Hiccup, and she knew that it was only because he had tested her during that first flight that he even halfway listened to her.
Hiccup fidgeted in his sleep, and Astrid sighed. She liked him. There was no denying it, and now she could even be proud of it. Not because he was a hero in the eyes of the village, or because he was finally accepted in the village, or that he had proven himself to be a 'Viking.'
She could finally let him, and the rest, know how much she liked him because she finally understood why. He was not a Viking in the traditional sense of the word. He was not strong. He didn't listen and he wouldn't kill a dragon….because he wasn't meant to.
Astrid liked him for all that and more. It wasn't any single thing, it was all that he was. It was…. Hiccup. She had started to understand that the night he took her flying on Toothless, and had accepted it here, sitting in this spot day after day, waiting for him to wake up. Looking around she made sure no one was around before slowly and tentatively running her hand through his hair. Smoothing it out of his face and softly brushing his skin.
It was a singularly un-Astrid gesture but she couldn't help herself. He had been in bed for over a week now, and she was getting worried. What if he didn't wake up? What if he took a turn for the worst? She had never been able to show him, tell him, what she felt. She hadn't yet told him about how she now understood, in a sense, why it had always been him.
A soft sound made her turn, startled, drawing her hand back as if burned. Large, bright, green eyes stared back at her. Toothless gave her a look, a smirking look, one that said "I know what you are doing." She scowled at the black mass of scales and smacked him lightly on the nose. He simply gave her another look, this time one eyebrow raised, it was a knowing look.
Astrid refused to look at the dragon and decided it was time to leave. She had been there long enough already. She moved through the village easily enough and thought that not that much had changed. The dragons had easily found a niche in the village, and the villagers had been too stubborn to let a few setbacks let them loose this new way of life. Dragons made many things faster and easier. Getting from one side of the island to the other wasn't a three days journey. Carrying heavy loads wasn't as back braking when the dragons helped. Starting fires was easy and required only to set the kindling in place.
She didn't really have anything to do. She had taken care of her dragon Sky in the morning. Flying, feeding, seeing to her needs, and just plain spending time with her blue Nander. There was no more dragon killing training, and the village had not had a real set back with accommodating the dragons in a few days.
Astrid wandered around and realized that she was in front of what had been the dragon training grounds. She had always been the most talented when it came to being a Viking, and she was a Viking. Strong, persistent, she solved her problems with force and she had, as Hiccup would put it, stubbornness issues. She was a good Viking. And that in part worried her. Hiccup wasn't, could they really have something if she was such a strong Viking, and he wasn't?
He had a different kind of strength, a different kind of stubbornness, and his brain worked in a very different way than everybody else's…
Astrid sighed, she didn't really know if they could have something together that lasted, but she had the sneaking suspicion that for her it would always be Hiccup. So… she might as well get used to it. And start trying to figure out how to make it work.
Astrid doubled back, heading back into the village. As she did she noticed that people where gathering in front of Hiccup's house again. Had Toothless gotten out and fought with another of the Terrors? As she got closer though, she thought she saw something. Speeding up her pace somewhat she realized that indeed Hiccup had woken up. Relief flooded her, quickly followed by the urge to hug him and not let him go. That just wouldn't do, she still had a reputation to uphold after all.
Nearing him she hit him, relatively lightly, since he had just woken up and he was obviously still somewhat unsteady on his feet but with just enough force for it to sting.
"That's for scaring me." She told him, making sure her tone was just right to get the point across. She was the Viking, so she would act like it. No point in trying to be something she wasn't.
"W- wh-what is- is it always going to be this way cause-" She didn't let him finish. She grabbed a handful of his tunic and dragged him towards her. It was about time she showed him just what she felt. And to let the rest know she was proud of him. That she would stand by him from now on. But Thor almighty wasn't this just giving her a trill. She made it short, can't get carried away now she thought,and let him go, even if she didn't want to.
"I could get used to it."Hiccup said, with a nonchalant shrug. She smiled, she knew that shrug, and inside he was just about dancing. She could get used to that bit of their relationship too, and perhaps join in on the internal dancing. It was inevitable, after all.
It had always been him.
A/N: Ok this is really odd bit of writing for me. It went in to a different place than I had wanted to go. I didn't mean to dwell so much on the time when Hiccup was not there, and I was going to focus more on the times in dragon training and why she got so angry. I wasn't planning on it going as far as to when she kisses him. It was strictly going to end before he woke up, heck it wasn't even supposed to be the same day! But, every time I tried to wrap it up, it wouldn't let me!
Also, it was hard for me to get into Astrid's head, she and I are wired differently so I'm not completely sure I got her the way I originally thought. However I don't usually delete what I've written so I guess I'll just post this, especially since I'm pretty sure some people where waiting for it.
So I guess I'm trying to say that I'm not sure if I got this right soo…. PLEASE tell me what you think. Good? Bad? Passable? Completely off? Weird?