What was one to do with themselves in a time when warriors were not needed, no fighting was to be had? Training was over?
Fishing. It was a simple answer and the best in Snotlout's opinion. For any season he didn't find himself occupied or needed to dole out physical pummeling, fishing was always the alternative.
He used to do it with a stick and line but now that he had a dragon, it was like—well, shooting fish in a barrel. He watched the Monstrous Nightmare dive at the sea's surface, extended her neck into the depths and puling out a half of a school of trout within her large jaw. She landed at the shore of the Island and released her catch into a net that Snotlout held out to her. Of course she was promised half as she did most of the work. The best fish were a good distance out from the shallows, as everyone else fished near the bay so a majority of what was served in the Mead hall or what was sold at the docks was the same over and over. Icelandic Cod and Smoked Eel.
"Atta Girl, Fireworm!" He stood on his toes and slapped her neck in praise. She gave a tame growl for her admirer. He couldn't ever have believed that he was one of the many Vikings who were actually rooting for Hiccup to slay her in the kill ring all those years ago. Nope, never again and if anyone thought to harm her he'd lop off their hands with his sword.
Tuffnut would usually join him at fishing and bring the zippleback. He would have thought a dragon with two heads would do twice as much fishing but not the case of the Thorston Zippleback—that dragon had problems and usually ended up fighting heads over a fish, and when one head won the prize, the other would sabotage the flight and the whole beast would fall into the sea. It was a hella amusing thing to watch, but bad for the activity. The zippleback scared the fish away.
No, Tuff was off sulking or plotting somewhere—both actions involving women. Tuffnut should have learned there was a value in having a wing-man, though he insisted he didn't need help in getting girls. Snotlout had heard that the lad made a fool out himself involving the tavern-keeper's daughter already. Snotlout gave a sudden comedic laugh-snort comparing his best friend to the zippleback that he kept company with—they both scare away what they want.
Fireworm gave a satisfied grunt and then took off back to the water, farther out than before, perhaps to nip a few morsels while they were fresh.
It was an odd summer to say the least. Ruffnut and Fishlegs had seemed to have gotten together as weird and nonsensical as it was—at least he spotted them leaving the celebration the previous evening and could only assume. The scarcity of Astrid and Hiccup could have factored into it. Even apart, those two were partaking in the same lonely misery.
Snotlout had at first, entertained the thought that perhaps he could pick up the pieces of Astrid's heart and start over with her but realized he didn't want to be with someone who couldn't love him, and she had made it clear those many months ago that she would never love him the way he wanted. She was still dear to him, and he wished she wasn't so full of pride and stubbornness to let at least a friend console her through her dark moods.
In all actuality, he probably should have been trying to find a girl to settle down with himself, but the thing was—he didn't feel the sting of loneliness in the way Tuff had or the way Astrid did—not anymore. Again he thought of the previous evening, which only caused him to grin.
She was alone once again since her neglectful groom-to-be had hastily abandoned her on a night meant for them. He couldn't stand to see such melancholy on her face, but knew it was due to more than the lack of her future husband's care. She was trapped.
So he approached her, not noticing the odd stares of the villagers who watched his movements suspiciously.
"Would you like to dance?"
He saw a stone skip past him and that cut through the surface of water, which also cut his memory short from his favorite part. The stone created ripples upon ripples until it sank for good.
"I thought you'd be here."
He really thought he must have had conjuring powers of some sort. Thank you, Odin. He turned from his net with a full toothy smile at that girl.
Of course he knew she had a name, but he preferred to refer to her by the nickname he bestowed upon to her when they first met. He and Rock Girl's initial acquaintance was begotten by violence, hate, and sure enough rocks, but somehow—somehow it had managed to turn to a comfortable friendship over the months. Though he couldn't help but to have that extra sort of feeling for her all along, and he told himself that it was wrong but he couldn't fight the attraction that nature had given.
He never expected Rock Girl to ever glance his way again after the Southern Islands. In fact he assumed she had hated him. After all, he was a Viking, she a Celt—they had personally threatened each others' lives at one point, and it was in general principle they should not like each other.
However, take away the title of Celt and underneath he found a sly, witty girl full of humor who was utterly alone. Just as she, in turn, found a young man whose tough outer exterior held inside someone who was willing to give her a chance when none of the rest of the village would.
Not even Hiccup, her own future husband, who would be horribly neglectful of her at most times. He had postponed their wedding for long enough that everyone could see his true feelings or lack thereof towards her and Snotlout didn't know whether to be relieved or annoyed. Relieved she was not yet wed, and annoyed that Hiccup wasn't being responsible to his promise. The kid would be the leader someday, and as much as 'Lout shuddered at that disaster—didn't want to be embarrassed under the rule of a flaky whelp, one he was related to, no less.
"Its not hard to figure I'd be fishing on a nice day," he finally retorted to the girl standing next to him—tying up the net, paying no mind to the wriggling fish that were desperate for water. He heard the screech of Fireworm offshore—the dragon had spotted them in a close proximity and was quickly approaching by air.
Rock Girl froze, as she was still terrified of dragons and had not seen the Nightmare out on the waters. She grabbed his hand and they ran away as only he laughed in good humor at Fireworm's odd possessiveness over him. They hid themselves into a small labyrinth of rocks that protruded from the shore and heard the Nightmare's wings beating the air above them. Snotlout tucked the lass under his arm and they bent down to avoid being seen. A familiar hacking ignition was sounded and the summer heat grew ten times more. Fireworm had gotten so worked up she had caught herself ablaze. He felt Rock Girl bury her head into his side. He couldn't blame her for being terrified—after all Monstrous Nightmares were one of the most terrifying breeds of dragons. He remembered the time when such dragons caused him a pinprick of fear but now he felt akin to the species.
He stood up and emerged from the rocks to the shore, leading Fireworm away, and threw his net of fish in front of him into the water where the ones left alive wiggled hopefully to return home. He was offering Fireworm a bribe to calm down. She scrawled and dove into the water, distinguishing herself of flame and then her large head surfaced just in front of him with an open jaw—wanting to be fed.
"Hey, Bryn come 'ere!" He called over his shoulder.
Bryn was her even shorter nickname. Bryn, to him was sharper and he pronounced it as 'brine', something that could be taken for distasteful. He explained to her about trolls and whatnot and how they wouldn't be scared a lick at her given name of Brynna. It was much too sweet and delicate sounding. Though, those stories always did garner his suspicions when wondering why his parents gave him a truly nasty name that of nose slime mixed with an oaf. Still, no trolls or gnomes had yet bothered him in his eighteen years of living. So perhaps his name was doing something right.
Her reply was faint, nervous, and suspicious all at once, "Are you absolutely mad? Your dragon will eat me—your dragon hates me."
"She hates everyone."
He saw Rock Girl's freckled face pop out from behind a tower of the rock with a glare. She was adorable when she was scared. She had always tried to put on a brave face when intimidated, which he admired, but he liked to know she could be vulnerable. As a Viking, it was habit to discover weaknesses in others—not that he would ever hurt her. He couldn't bring himself to hurt her, not even when he thought her his enemy, even after she had crashed a rock into his skull and maybe that was why she intrigued him so much.
If he wasn't careful, he could cause serious trouble to Hiccup the way he was so familiar with her. He took a risk in asking her to dance at her own engagement celebration while Hiccup was absent but he wouldn't take it back—remembering her smile, the feel of her in his arms as they swung about. That was his favorite part of the previous night's memory she had initially interrupted. He loved her smile, he loved that he was the one that caused her to smile when she was in a place and a position she rightfully shouldn't smile again.
She was a breath of fresh air.
But that was what she was to him. What he was to her he could only keep at guessing, it's not like he could outright ask her if she felt the way he did. For all he knew he could have been her convenient entertainer in her world of entrapment.
Fireworm let a growl escape from the back of her throat at seeing Rock Girl.
"Chill out," he demanded and lifted one of the trout, throwing it into her open mouth. She tilted her head back and ate it by letting it slide down her throat. She opened her mouth again for more.
"Come here," he said again to Rock Girl.
She sassed too much.
"Bryn," he splashed back to where she stood, "Lets go."
"No!" she cried and made a dart away from him but he grabbed her and easily held her as she wriggled just as one of his fish. He lifted and carried her until they stood in front of Fireworm who was eyeing them suspiciously but had since closed her jaw. Bubbles popped up from where her nostrils were submerged but her entire head surfaced once more at their approach.
"If you're going to live here you got to get used to dragons," he told her and forcibly set her down so the dragon was an arm lengths away. She went rigid, wide-eyed and dared not move. He took her hand in his and reached it out toward the nightmare's snout. This was how Hiccup had introduced him to dragons; a human had to show them they could be trusted.
Her fingers were shaking and her brave façade was all but vanished as she stared into the dragon's eyes. Finally her hand set on the scales of the nose and she scrunched her eyes shut as if something terrible was going to happen as a consequence. Fireworm just growled softly, not in warning but content and let a sharp breath out through her nostrils.
Rock Girl opened her eyes and stared incredulously. He loved the color of her eyes, no one in the village had such vivid green eyes.
Fireworm opened her mouth again and Rock girl yelped, nearly knocking 'Lout over in attempt to escape. He held onto her firmly though.
"Relax, she just wants another fish." He handed one to her from the net and motioned for her to throw it in the open mouth. She tossed it in and that's when Fireworm must have figured she'd had enough of them so spread her leathery wings and took flight.
Rock girl sort of collapsed backwards into him with relief, "Never do that to me again, 'Lout."
Her voice was stern but when he looked down he could see she wore one of her wry smiles. She didn't like admitting she was wrong—something he could understand as it took a lot for him to do the same.
They were quiet for a moment, looking out toward the sea. He felt comfortable and a wash of melancholy filled him realizing if she ever did return his feelings she would have to be in secret—an affair. For she was contracted by the highest order to Hiccup, and there was no way out of it.
"I didn't ever think I would like it here," she finally admitted quietly.
"You're saying you like it here?"
It was a place that was mostly cold, tough, kept company of fearsome fire beasts and she had told him many times she did not like Berk. She was trapped there, so why did she all of a sudden decide that she liked it?
A breeze had picked up and caused a piece of an auburn curl to become loose from behind her ear. He reached out instinctively and brushed it back to place but his hand lingered at her cheek.
They stared at each other. If he stared for too long he might do something he would regret. Though, she wanted to tell him something—he was sure of it by the way she was puffing out her cheeks as if she were keeping something bottled in. A secret.
"What is it?"
"Hiccup wants to see you."
He rolled his eyes. Hiccup really did ruin everything—moments, relationships, battles, and pretty much anything Snotlout ever wanted or liked—Rock Girl included. The thing that irritated him the most was the whelp didn't ever intend to do it. He was convinced it was just all a part of some elaborate and unfortunate scheme Loki had created for Snotlout as chaos to the brawny vikings' life evermore.
He remembered she had indicated she thought she would 'find' him fishing which meant—disappointingly—he didn't have conjuring powers after all. Hiccup had sent her, but it he he hadn't a clue to why.
"So what does he want?"
She shrugged her shoulders but he could see the smile reappear on her and had to wonder why.
She tilted her head and spoke mysteriously—"I think you will like what he has to say."
She had to be jesting. He had told her plenty of times what a pain in the rear Hiccup was to him. He laughed a good one and shook his head in disbelief.
"Where is he?"
"Walk with me?" he asked but she was already next to him. She was suddenly unusually quiet—contemplative. Usually she would chatter on about things that often amused him.
As they walked toward the village from the sea, she caught her hand in his and it startled him. He stopped his path forward to look down at it, study it, wondering what it meant and a hope rose in him that she might be feeling the same way he had been about her all along. As soon as she met his eyes, the unspoken tension had broken between them suddenly as he pulled her closer and leaned into her—meeting her lips. He didn't care if anyone saw him as he kissed her. Kissing her felt like it should have happened long ago, it just felt right though it was so wrong. But isn't this what Hiccup had done to him in the first place involving Astrid? Nothing tasted so sweet as a little coincidental payback. Actually, reconsidering, nothing tasted as good as Brynna.
He felt her arms throw around his neck and barely registered that she had wanted it just as much.
He pulled away, suddenly angry about it all—once again at the unfairness of it. He was so angry he could just, punch something—with his face.
The fact he always tried ignore surfaced to the forefront of what little thoughts he carried: She was Hiccup's. He gazed upon Rock Girl, who looked so good from their kiss, all but the part where she was laughing at him.
"You really are a half-wit."
"What? Why?" He became even angrier. She had kissed him and now she was insulting him, who did that?
She pulled him closer by the strings of his tunic and stared up at him with a raised brow, "You really couldn't tell could you?"
"You're the reason I like this place," and with that she nearly hopped up to kiss him again but this time much more roughly. He felt his fingers tangle their way through her hair as well as her fingernails dig into his skin through the shirt on his back. Rock Girl unleashed a full barrage of fervor into her kiss and he responded just as strong. Their kiss was made from the months of learning about one another, walks through the village when Hiccup was absent to escort her anywhere, making each other giggle-snort at ridiculous stories, him teaching her about his dragon and together ignoring the suspicious looks of those around them—and it damn nearly took his breath away to know that someone he felt for, had felt for him in return for once.
No, Hiccup couldn't have her—Hiccup didn't even want her! That's one reason he found it so easy to be near her, Hiccup didn't notice and if he did—he didn't seem to care.
He pulled away breathlessly and held her by her shoulders. She just smiled in that way of hers and he knew there was nothing in the world he wanted more than Rock Girl.
"I'm going to go talk to Hiccup."
"You damn best be going to talk to Hiccup," She flipped some of her untamed hair back to place with a smirk still on her face and he had to wonder if she was up to something sly but couldn't entertain the thought too long, just because he couldn't prove it. Her behavior seemed very forward. She seemed very much willing to make him her lover, and he—at the moment wanted to be.
"I'm going to go talk to Hiccup," he repeated, just to be clear.
"And I'll be waiting," she gave him an extra sultry look to which just fueled his determination that much more in successfully tricking Hiccup to relinquish his romantic responsibility on her—which should be easy considering the fact he had no interest in Rock Girl. They'd be married but in only in contract, which sucked but even a fraction of her was better than none. Tricking Hiccup wasn't the easiest of tasks since they had grown older. Hiccup used to be very gullible when they were kids and did nearly everything they told him to just because he had been so desperate to fit in. What Hiccup never understood was that he never could because he was so un-viking like in those years before. So maybe he didn't even have to trick Hiccup, unless the young Viking would eventually decide it was was better to try and love what he had.
But for all the trouble Hiccup caused Snotlout, he still thought the dragon part of things was rather spectacular and knew that it wouldn't exist if it weren't for the leaner Viking's efforts.
He made his way up to the forge, resolved that by the end of their conversation he would be able to have Rock Girl.
He threw open the door and Hiccup was at the anvil, striking a piece of metal to it's finalizing state. How could he stand the fires of the forge on top of the heat of summer? He looked up at Snotlout's entrance and had nervous eyes.
"We need to talk," they told each other at the same time.
"You go first," Hiccup offered.
"No, you go first," Snotlout threw back, because he wanted the last word.
"So..." His cousin seemed to grapple for thoughts and it caused 'Lout to become impatient. "I know I haven't been your favorite person lately."
That is for damn sure, 'Lout snorted derisively to his thoughts.
Hiccup frowned slightly ,"But there's something of business I want to discuss."
"So, what is it?"
"Last night my father told me I was to take his position after my marriage."
What about this did Bryn think I would like? Snotlout's thoughts took a moody turn, the day was quickly approaching that he had been dreading—Chief Hiccup the Useful. On top of that, he still felt the sting of Hiccup's words—that he was the one getting married to Rock Girl. Then he noticed how dry Hiccup's tone was when he said his words. Did Hiccup not want to be Chief?
"And I'm not as apt at coordinating battles, or drawing up plans for a defense or eager enough command a whole faction of men."
Snotlout couldn't agree more. He continued to stare at Hiccup, urging him to continue his thoughts.
"So I thought that when I do become chief I would appoint you my top commander. You'd have full say and direction over any kind of military action. " You should be the one in charge of that stuff since your a better fighter and you're part of the elite. "
Snotlout was thrown for a loop. This was a big thing. He would practically be the chief's right hand man in that position—a powerful position.
"Uh, thanks Hiccup but I have to tell you something—"
"One more thing," Hiccup held out his hand and Snotlout generously allowed him to continue.
"I saw you and Brynna smiling at each other last night—you two have been sort of close over the summer—"
Snotlout grew worried that Hiccup was on to them, noticing what they thought he never did. He opened his mouth to protest but knew it was a futile lie.
"Sorry," was all he could mumble but not sincerely.
Hiccup gave him an odd look, "Why?"
"She's your betrothed, I shouldn't be attracted to her—"
"So you are?"
So maybe Hiccup didn't see as well as he thought.
Snoutlout looked up earnestly, "Dude, I adore her."
"Well then—" Hiccup's eyes lit up, and the next words out of his mouth utterly shocked the brunette, "Marry her."
Snotlout suddenly felt like he was the one being tricked, "How will this sit with your negotiation?"
"I promised she'd be wed to a viking of our elite. I thought I was the only one at the time, but I forgot that you could just as well fit the contract."
And then, a great pressure lifted from 'Lout's chest at realizing Hiccup was right. He had even heard the same demands but also thought Hiccup was the one they required to marry the Celt as he would be the leader. However, now Snotlout would be top commander, and that counted for something.
"Would she be willing of this trade?"
"She is technically required to marry into this clan due to the negotiations but though given the choice of any husband she could ever want, she chose you."
"She did?" he felt elated although it was already obvious he was the man for her.
"Yes. I told her my idea for it last night after the celebration. She couldn't have been happier."
"Sweet!" Snotlout pumped his fist in the air triumphantly and turned to leave to find her—his rock girl. Now it was explained why she was suddenly so happy, so forward—she knew she was to be with him at the end of the day.
"So what did you want to talk to me about?" Hiccup remembered and asked.
"Nothing, forget I said anything," he shrugged with a slight sing-song of new cheer in his voice. He heard his cousin let out a sigh and strike the metal once more.
"'Lout, don't tell anyone though—not until I can find Astrid and tell her myself."
"Astrid? Do you think she will even let you near her?"
"I have to try. She avoids me worse than a dragon to a smoked eel but I'm willing to follow her until I can finally get her alone so I can at least explain myself to her."
Snotlout knew his young cousin had his work cut out for him. Astrid's pride would be difficult to break through.
"And what if you can't?"
A wash of sadness filled Hiccup's features but he gave a weak, lopsided smile, "Well at least one of us gets their happy ever after."
And for the first time Snotlout felt a sweeping admiration for Hiccup—looking to please others when he, himself was still miserable and possibly could be forever. 'Lout's ill will melted toward the russet-haired Viking and he found himself replying "You'll get her back, man."
Hiccup nodded with a hopeful appreciation.
Snotlout did hope Hiccup would be successful at reaching through to Astrid. For all that Hiccup had given his cousin in the previous five minutes was enough to be indebted for a lifetime and the best part was that Hiccup didn't expect repayment in any shape or form. He was only making the kinds of decisions he soon would be making more of as Berk's leader. Snotlout had hope for their futures for once.
Though 'Lout's thoughts couldn't stay focused on wondering the future of Hiccup as it was quickly filled with the thoughts of his own future, and a certain girl that he could be closer to if he could only know where to find her. She was waiting for him somewhere within the island though she did not specify where and he grew eager at the prospect of her leading him on a sort of chase. She would be his fully and he couldn't have been any damn happier as he took off down the hill and not intending to tell any onlookers to why.
The heat simmered around them all that season, catching their hearts and hormones afire. They each had paths to a future, though unclear as some may be and a single emerging emotion or action could change their fates forever whether it be a choice, a consideration, forgiveness, or an act of spontaneity. By the end of the season, the summer's fervor had infected all those young Vikings of Berk, and would continue to for many seasons to come.
A/N: Well there's another season down. Autumn has yet to begin and what shall we find there? You will just have to wait and see! I can say there will be a subtle change.
This season had a theme of new emotions and wrapped up with a ribbon of romance, above all they were character sketches as usual and provided focus to their emotions and lives while showing resolve. At this point they've abandoned their oneshot-ness somewhat but I still think they could stand alone as they have enough backstory in each to not be terribly confusing. Heh, whatevs.
Keep in touch and thank you greatly for all the best damn reviews an author could ask for!
Autumn should pop up in a few weeks.
and Character names, place names, dragon things found in this story are intellectual property of Cressida Cowell and if not hers then they are the money making property of Dreamworks' 'How to Train Your Dragon' feature film [that I am obsessed with] any other characters I made up are free range.