Hello! I'm so excited! My first HTTYD fic! Yay!

Summary: Returning from Berk after two years teaching other Viking tribes, Hiccup comes home to a very unhappy Astrid. However, after loosing a tooth and gaining some sort of respect and trust back, they end up having the summer of their lives. HiccupxAstrid. Mature rating later.

Note: I have some music suggestions to listen to, though you may not want to listen because you've already got your awesome tunez playing, I recommend these!: Animal Arithmetic, Sticks and Stone, and Go Do, by Jónsi, and Lucky Today by Cloud Cult (I got the title from this song!) These all are songs that have been my staple go-to while writing this entire story, and I will have more to post in later chapters, but these are for this first 'chapter' of Hands On Sunshine.


Hands on Sunshine



He could draw intricate, complicated, deadly machines, but he couldn't get a human face right for the life of him. His blue prints were measured to the millimeter, straight and exact, and all his calculations just perfect enough to baffle Gobber—but then again, the meathead with the attitude never really had an aptitude for math. Hiccup loved math. It was one of the things he understood and actually got right most of the time. He had books and books of mathematics and science and stuff stacked in the little book space his work room had to offer, and some were even stashed under his bed to read by candlelight at night.

But human faces had almost no math to it. He had to use his eye as back up, and Odin knows how often he overlooks things. Yes, faces are proportional, but they're all different. Wooden planks pretty much were all the same. But, faces… so difficult.

Hiccup had, throughout the years, gone out and sketched much of Berk's beautiful scenery, but by the time he was sixteen he had seen it all, drawn every last tree, every leaf there ever was. He went to drawing dragons, and much of them were of Toothless, some consisting of Nightmares, Terrible Terrors, Gronkles (his least favorite), Nadders, and Zipplebacks. And then once he filled up two thick sketchbooks he had sewn together himself, he decided it was high time to find something else to draw and examine.

Drawing people was not the first thing on his mind. He tried sketching out houses and toying with architecture ideas. Then, for awhile, he decided he was useless at that when he built a small-scale home and it collapsed. Calculations and careful planning included, he sucked at building houses for some stupid, godforsaken reason. He had been fiddling with wood and metal for most of his life, so he had to wonder where he went wrong with building houses. But, Hiccup understood the Gods obviously didn't want him building homes for the people of Berk, especially now when most of the houses were getting older and were not burning down every two nights.

So, Hiccup sat in the work room until dusk most nights with his head on his desk, trying to search his brain for 'artistic inspiration'. Instead, he went back to his calculations to mess around with a new idea concerning his awfully squeaky prosthetic. Gobber admitted that he hadn't really thought out the design, just threw together parts and pounded metal until it seemed right. He said, "Well, on thee bright side, yeh git te' fiddle with somethin' ta keep yer mind occupied." Of course. Like he hadn't been doing that for three months to keep his sparrow's mind from even touching on the miserable fact of his missing lower leg, and not to mention, the winter weather was wearing him down considerably. Hiccup thought the idea of having a stump for the rest of his days was bleak and pitying, but Astrid told him one day it was one helluva battle scar, and he smiled at that—though it still stunk to walk around with a hobble.

And speaking of Astrid.

Hiccup, idle on one of his few days off from the forge, was sitting on a boulder on the edge of a path. He intended to sit down because he had been walking all day with nothing to do and his leg was throbbing something fierce, but he just played it off like he was just sitting down (trying to keep what Viking demeanor he had left). Well, he sat. Looking around his home, the village he would some day lead, and his eyes landed on Astrid standing in the market with her legendary mother, Ingrid, basket on her hip, and he thought that she looked impossibly beautiful.

Ingrid and Astrid were talking to Ruffnut and Tuffnut's mother, Hilda, Astrid looking awfully bored in the conversation going between the two mothers. Hiccup could see her rolling her impeccable ice blue eyes like any type of humanly conversation was far below her; she was named after a Valkyrie, after all. Well, Hiccup didn't know how else to explain what sparked in him all of a sudden, but he whipped out his brand-spanking-new sketchbook, took out his charcoal pencil, and began drawing.

It looked like complete, utter crap at first. It was hideous. Horrendous, actually, like his middle name, and his father's, and his grandfather's. 'Astrid', who was not Astrid on paper, looked like some crazy witch from some far off land had cast a revolting spell on her. However, Hiccup was always one to be hard on himself. Gobber sneaked up on him one day sitting at his desk, sketchbook open, and he immediately guessed Astrid. Hiccup flushed furiously, stumbled on some words, slammed his book closed, and managed to shoo his master out of the room before he had a full-blown heart attack.

But however much it confused and positively taunted him, Hiccup liked drawing people. Though he still felt like he was doodling blindly like a two-year-old, he prided himself on a few good sketches. He had half a notebook dedicated to little things he noticed about Astrid, such as the way her hand formed around her axe handle, how her rounded jaw cast shadows down her long neck, or even the way the light shone on her hair. Hiccup loved her hair. He loved drawing it especially; how it was always messily braided, how it swished between her shoulder blades and grew as the months passed to the middle of her back. Women all around Berk desired a hair color such as hers, or even Ruffnut's, sometimes going as far as to bleaching it. Good thing Hiccup always had a thing for blondes.

Drawing for him was a good way to sort through his raging, skittish thoughts. He could relax and focus for at least a couple of minutes as he hastily finished sketching a couple of children tossing a bladder ball filled with flour. He often smeared his work, the outside of his left hand completely smothered black within ten minutes up to this elbow, but Hiccup wasn't bothered by it.

Everyone soon started noticing Hiccup on the sidelines with his dinky black leather book in hand with more than plenty charcoal pencils, and it wasn't long before people started questioning him about what he was doing. Hiccup would be often lost in thought and not realize someone was coming until he felt them breathing down his neck or hovering over him. Faster than one could blink, Hiccup would slam his book closed or leap backwards or jump in surprise.

When it happened to be Ruffnut one day, a hand on her cocked hip and head tilted downwards and turned at a slight angle, Hiccup instantly knew the outcome would not be to his advantage.

"So, whatcha drawing, there, Hiccup?" She asked in a hard, inquisitive tone, raising a thin brow and furrowing the other.

"Uh, drawing? I-I'm not drawing. I can't draw. I'm not drawing anything. What're you doing?" Hiccup quickly tucked his sketchbook away in his vest. Ruffnut did not look very convinced.

"Don't even bother trying, Haddock. I've seen you. You draw girls!"

Hiccup looked up at her in pure mortification. His mouth hung and went dry as an empty pot before he could speak. "N-no. I-I-I'm not-! Ah!"

Ruffnut lunged at him, knocking him off the rock he was perched on onto his back. He couldn't let her see his sketchbook! He would sooner kill himself than let Ruffnut flag it around, showing off all his sketches of the village people, and some that included her. Hiccup kept his arms locked in close as she sat on top of him, punching his stomach and shoulders and shaking his shirt like a mad woman, screeching at him to 'give me the book!' and laughing all the while.

Tuffnut seemed to have heard his sister's unmistakable laugh that almost matched his own, and came shuffling over with Snotlout to see what Ruff was attacking Hiccup for. "Ooh!" Tuffnut said tauntingly in a mock-suggestive voice. "What's going on here?"

"Hiccup's been drawing girls!" Ruff said over Hiccup's loud protests and fumbling to roll out from under her, but it was clear Ruff had a lot of experience tackling boys.

"Naked?" Snotlout jumped in all too quickly, but Tuffnut, being the only boy around their age just like him, sniggered, and they cheered Ruffnut on.

"No! Not—naked!" Hiccup was fending off Ruffnut's hands pretty well until she gave a swift punch to his stomach. Hiccup, being the wuss he is, loosened up like a noodle with a mighty 'oomph!'

Ruffnut snagged the sketchbook from Hiccup's vest pocket and jumped off him like lightning, racing over to where Snotlout and Tuffnut were to huddle. Hiccup lay on the ground where he was, hoping Ruff had punched him hard enough to bruise his organs so he could just die a miserable death. This was quickly turning into the worst day of his life. Among others.

Snotlout's loud boisterous laughing made Hiccup want to punch himself again in the stomach for good measure. "Hah—look! It's Skuldus!"

"Oh, there's you, Tuff. Look at that flowing hair. Such a lady," Ruff said sarcastically, earning a shove from her twin.

"There's you! You look just like the ugliest butt-elf I have to look at every day!" Tuffnut sniggered before his sister kicked his knee very hard, making him grip it and stumble backward. "Oh, I am hurt! I am very much hurt!"

"Who's that?" Snotlout pointed to a sketch of a girl, one that filled up an awful lot of space. Hiccup groaned and covered his red face, now standing. This was horrible.

"That's Astrid, ya idiot. Can't you tell? She's got that headband thing. Geez, I thought you were supposed to have the hots for her," Ruffnut took the book from Snotlout and flipped through a few more pages, catching him off-guard for once in his life.

"What? Who said I had the 'hots' for Astrid? She's hot, yeah, but that doesn't mean I-," he groaned. "Ruff, you can't just go and say that! Astrid's just—,"

"Astrid's what?" And speak of Odin, there was the girl in question, axe propped upon her shoulder and looking like she ran a million miles.

Hiccup's mouth slackened a bit. He didn't know sweaty Astrid could look so appealing. She wore a loose fitting tunic and her hair tightly plaited, but there was just something. Maybe it was the slight flush of her cheeks? Hiccup blinked and quickly gathered his thoughts, taking the opportunity to swipe his book from Ruffnut, who was laughing at Snotlout and calling him stupid.

"You're in The Sketchbook!" Snotlout blurted, trying to act as manly as possible and to get the topic off his red face, doing his best to ignore Ruff's taunts. He pointed to Hiccup, who was so desperately wishing his tunic was green enough to mesh in with the grass and trees.

Astrid directed her gaze to him, still very much visible, and Hiccup felt his heart pump a bit faster. Gods! She was so distracting in her state presently. She raised her brow and twisted her axe handle in her hand, almost challenging him to not answer.

"Y-yeah. You're in the… the uh… The Sketch… book," Hiccup mumbled, his knuckles white as he gripped the leather.

"Oh? Well, let me see," she walked closer to him and Hiccup unconsciously stepped backward.

"Uhm… how about not?" he inquired rather than demanded.

"Everybody else got to see," Astrid retorted, reaching for the sketchbook.

"Except for Fishlegs!" Tuffnut shouted from somewhere nearby. "What? He's gotta see the hilarity, too," he said when Ruffnut shot him a 'shut up, stupid' glare.

Astrid reached around Hiccup, holding it away and upwards, now to his advantage that he had grown an inch or two in the last seven or eight months. "Hiccup!" Astrid dropped her axe and lunged for it, but Hiccup smirked and switched it to his other hand. He loved it when she said his ridiculous name, especially now when she looked so strangely appealing in the early spring sunlight.

Astrid stepped back and gave him a quick blow to his arm that was holding the book. Hiccup, still a wuss, fell into the same trap Ruffnut had set up, and Astrid swiped the book before he realized it was even gone. "Oh, come on! Can you all just give up? They all are horrible anyway; I don't know why any of you want to look at them so badly. And why does everybody have to keep punching me all the time?"

"Because it's fun," Snotlout interjected, receiving supporting snickers from Tuffnut, who had hobbled over in the mix, and Ruffnut. Hiccup rolled his eyes and slapped his hand over his face, running his hand through his thick hair. Oh, right. He totally forgot. Of course. He was always the punching bag since as long as he could remember. Awesome.

Hiccup kept from looking at Astrid in case he saw any laughing expressions or disapproving looks as she rifled and flipped through the thick pages until she found the section he had in place for her, unintentionally of course. Astrid had her brows slightly furrowed; blinking hard like she was trying to rid something from her eyes or trying to figure something out, and Hiccup prayed it was the former. Ruff, Tuff and Snotlout wandered off to go push around some kids, leaving Hiccup rocking on his impatient and anxious feet—foot—and desperately hoping Astrid would say something positive or anything neutral. Even though he thought she looked like a troll in some of them, it would sting beyond unimaginable doubt if she were to reject them.

"These are supposed to be me, right?" she pointed to a sketch of her grinning foolishly one night in Mead Hall after a mug of mead. Hiccup had been behind her and off to the side when he sketched it, getting a good view of her pauldrons on her shoulders, and her hair was perfectly disarrayed in its braid. That little thumbnail sketch that took up the upper left corner happened to be one his favorites.

Hiccup just simply pursed his lips and shyly nodded, folding his arms behind his back. Why couldn't this be over? He looked to the sky to avoid looking at her again, watching the bellies of a few dragons pass overhead. He squeezed his eyes shut when he heard an intake of breath like she was about to speak, but no words came.

Hiccup slowly squeaked open an eye and saw her still gazing down at his drawings, looking positively in awe like they were the most immaculate things she had ever seen. Hiccup flushed furiously, then his mind started racing. Does she actually like them? Oh, Gods, what if she hates them? She'll totally kill me. I'm dead. I'm totally dead.

"Hiccup," she said after a long pause, voice a bit scolding. Oh, she hates them. Great. I'll go die in a hole now, thanks.

"They're horrible, I know. Anyway, I'm going to-," Hiccup tried taking his sketchbook back but she held it away and in one swift motion, took the neck of his tunic and pulled him down to kiss his cheek.

Hiccup blinked incredulously when she pulled away after her surprisingly soft lips lingered around his freckled cheek longer than he expected. His mouth was slightly agape and he knitted his brows, trying to form 'what?' on his tongue, but any form of speech left him. He wished she kissed him on the mouth like she had many months before, but he couldn't complain.

Dumbfounded, Hiccup noticed the new pinkish tone to her cheeks, a slight smile gracing her small and perfect mouth. Then she punched his arm hard with enough force to make him stagger and yelp. "Ow! Why? Explanations really help, you know!" Hiccups hand flew to the offended bony bicep she just whacked.

"That was for drawing me so well," Astrid pointed to her cheek as she handed back Hiccup's sketchbook. He took it with much confusion, his cheeks vaguely flushed as well. "And that," she pointed to the spot where Hiccup was rubbing his arm, "was for saying they all sucked."

He sighed and closed his eyes, shaking his head. Sometimes he thought he could predict Astrid's next step but most of the time she did the opposite. She was just as surprising as Tuffnut reading a book. He would never truly understand any woman.

Astrid bent to pick up her axe, and when she stood she was smiling wide and happily; a funny combination with her known-to-be-deadly axe slung on her shoulder. "You don't have to draw secretly anymore," she turned and started walking away from him, and he couldn't help but glance at her hips. "Let me know if you wanna sketch or something," she grinned over her shoulder. "I don't bite."

Hiccup swallowed his heart soaring like a bird. "I think you very much do," he replied with a stupid grin.

Astrid tossed him a teasing look over her shoulder, and continued walking away laughing. Once she was far enough, he let out a victory "Yess!" balling up his fists as it to punch the air. Okay, maybe it wasn't such a bad day. Astrid didn't hate his drawings and she didn't hate him for doodling the crap out of her, and, in fact, Hiccup thought she didn't seem to mind. This was victory indeed.


Hiccup very rarely dominated his life by impulses. Sure, on occasion, way back when, he would jump out into the fray to try and take down a dragon or two when they were still attacking. Sometimes, when he was younger, he would look up at a tree and decide it was a good idea to climb and he would fall and break his arm. Every kid did that. At sixteen, though, Hiccup found the wonders of thinking things through. Often times, things turned out unexpectedly well, such as when he first met Toothless: he thought for a day on the pros and cons (overlooking much of the cons) and he now had the best friend of his life.

But Hiccup did not think through throwing rocks at Astrid's window a few nights after she 'approved' of his drawing endeavors.

Astrid was lying in bed still wide awake when she heard a loud thump against the wooden shutter that closed her window. She waited to see if she was just imagining things, looking around her dark room. A minute later another came and she flew out of bed, the covers flying, and she slammed her back against the wall under her window with a dagger in hand that she pulled out from under her pillow. She bit her tongue and counted the seconds until another thud came, and after that, she waited.

Two… one!

Astrid leaped up and shoved her window open, caught the rock, and flung her dagger down at the intruder trying to steal her from her room.

Hiccup yelped and jumped away from her dagger just in time to graze the end of his vest. Astrid let out a long breath she was holding, groaned, and slapped a hand over her chest. Her heart was pounding so fast she thought she was going to puke and faint.

Hiccup, breathing irrationally fast, sighed in complete relief. The second he saw the gleam of her dagger in the moonlight he felt a not-yet-existing injury sting, but thankfully he dived in time. He rolled over onto his back and sat up, walking over to where he previously stood, her dagger now marking the spot like an 'X' on a treasure map.

"Hiccup! Odin's Beard, I could've killed you!" Astrid yelled in a harsh whisper, her hands gripping the window sill.

He hardly heard a word she said, just inklings. He was craning his neck up to look at her, clad in her billowing and loose nightgown, braid undone and her hair thick and loose, wavy like the ocean, sticking out in all directions. Hiccup blinked a few times, looking to her house to gather his thoughts, and prayed to the Gods in Valhalla that they hadn't woken her parents, or any neighbors for that matter. It was kinda late…. He was walking home from the forge and thought stopping by Astrid's was a good idea. Guess not.

"I know… b-but-!"

"But what, Hiccup? What could you possibly want at this time? It's nighttime!" She threw her arm out to gesture to the moon shining incredibly bright on her and the millions of stars.

Hiccup groaned and slapped a hand to his face. "Gods, why am I so—can I draw you?" he blurted a bit too loud, but quickly lowered his voice. "Please? I-I really would—would like to, and, I thought, you said it was okay? I mean, I know you're in bed—er, were in bed—but I can't get this image right! Not that I had any images of anything bad—you know, just… normal stuff. Astrid stuff! Agh! No—not in that way! Just-,"

He abruptly ended his ranting and sputtering when he got a stone thrown to his head and Astrid slamming her window shut. Hiccup stared at where she was not two seconds ago, ignoring the throbbing pain on his head. He screwed his face up and hit his head some more with the heels of his hands, groaning at himself. "Ugh! Why am I so stupid! Of course she would be sleeping! And you just had to wake her up, didn't you, Hiccup?" he yelled at himself mostly in third person, kicking some of the stones he brought with him. He kicked one just right so it hit the corner of her house.

He stopped wailing his arms around and went slack. "See? I can't even kick a rock right. Maybe it'll be better if I just woke everybody up. Yeah, sounds like a good plan," Hiccup started trudging away dramatically, dragging his foot and peg-leg, mumbling some more depreciating insults.

"Hold on, Drama Queen," Astrid whispered loudly from her window, swinging her legs over the window sill she sat on, and jumped onto the roof above her front porch. She carefully leaned over the edge to hop onto some water barrels next to the porch and landed on the ground, hardly making a sound.

Hiccup's eyes were wide with disbelief and his face lit up. No way! "You're… you're actually… coming?" he stuttered, totally surprised. He was preparing himself for a night of embarrassing rejection, planning on huddling on his bed and never leaving his house.

"Yeah, only because you seemed so destroyed about it," Astrid spoke a bit more coldly than she intended. She swallowed, realizing this, and let her voice become a bit lighter and more Astrid-like. Taking his arm, she pulled him behind her. "C'mon, Artist Boy. Where are we going?"

Hiccup grinned widely and led her to the most open spot on Berk: the sheep fields. It was the only place he knew close by that was open enough and nobody could hear them talking. They situated themselves near the cliff, far enough away from the fluffy huddle of sheep. Astrid was finding herself becoming a bit nervous. Why am I nervous? Should I be? He's only going to draw me. Not a big deal. She thought, twisting her hands.

Hiccup noticed her body language but didn't say anything by it. He was a bit flattered, though. Astrid Hofferson did not get nervous, yet she was fiddling with her hands. He sat down cross-legged and Astrid sat in front of him, keeping her gaze away from Hiccup's impossibly bright green eyes. He chuckled as he watched her, flipping to a blank page.

"What?" Astrid snapped, pulling up her hard, stone mask she kept to hide her feelings. She was a typical Hofferson girl; just like her two older sisters and her mother, the toughest women in the village. The whole island knew it, and Hiccup was no stranger to it.

He shook his head. "Nothing." Go safe. Play it safe.

"There's something! What'd you laugh at?" she balled up her fists quickly, always ready to jump at anything, before trying to smooth out her frazzled hair she hastily pulled into a haphazard ponytail while stumbling into her leggings she wore earlier that day. It's my hair! He's so laughing at my hair….

"Just sit still," Hiccup chuckled, making Astrid's stomach twist uncomfortably. Who knew she could still continue to harbor such an intense crush for this fumbling idiot after almost seven months? Astrid would have punched somebody sooner than admit to it straight-faced, but it was the truth. And besides, almost everyone in Berk knew her infatuation with him—despite her knowledge. Just the way she looked at him was enough, even though they hardly made contact ever since that day she abruptly kissed him in the happiness of the moment upon his revival. She was glad she did it, but she was still embarrassed; she did it front of Stoick! And Spitelout! Ohh, the embarrassment. But she was glad Snotlout finally stopped flirting with her so outwardly, though she knew he looked at her backside every time she walked away from him. Boys.

But, Hiccup? Gods, no. She would never have thought he could give her the topsy-turvies the fairytales would talk about that her sister would read almost every night.

Here she was, Astrid Hofferson, worrying about her unmanageable hair like any fifteen-year-old girl would do in front of her crush, feeling strangely disembodied. She never felt this way! When she did whenever Hiccup was around she would punch or kick him at any stupid thing he said to hide it. She was supposed to be the tough Viking woman the Hofferson's were known for, for Odin's sakes!

"So… uhm. What do you want me to… do?" Astrid never had anyone ask her for a sketch. At least now he was asking. But she didn't even think he would actually do it; she had felt embarrassed after she said it the other day, giving reason why she walked away so fast. Oh, man.

Hiccup smiled, his eyes intent and focused on the sheet and every few seconds he would glance up at her for the briefest of moments and flick his eyes back to his sketchbook. There was an outline of silver around him, making the rims of his hair a silvery white. It reminded her of the night she first kissed his cheek at the cove after he took her for the best dragon ride of her life. That night changed everything.

"Just stay as still as possible," he said slowly to his book, and then looked up at Astrid with the same crooked grin. Astrid flushed. "Ooh, Astrid Hofferson blushing?" Hiccup teased, studying the outline of her wonderfully messy hair.

"Am not," Astrid flinched as if to punch him, but remembered his strict instructions. She watched his mouth settle into a straight, thoughtful line, concentrating so hard on his sketch. "So focused," Astrid commented.

He smiled in acknowledgment, then his mouth flattened slowly again. He couldn't mess this up! He had to draw it perfectly. His hand was deft, shading around her nostrils and the inner corner of her eyes lightly at first, and then darkened it when he got the general shape. Hiccup was quiet as much as Astrid, the only noise between them being the slight ruffle of Hiccup's hand on the parchment, his sleeve rolled up to his elbow to reveal a pale and freckly arm.

While drawing, Hiccup's mind usually wandered on many subjects, and he often spoke to himself or to Toothless when he was around to sort out the thoughts from the random ones to the logical. This was no different. "Have you ever thought that… the other villages are still killing dragons?"

Astrid let herself push her brows together for a second, and then went back to the calm, relaxed and slightly anxious face Hiccup needed to draw her. "Well… I haven't thought about it… but I'm sure they still are. It's really only us and the Meatheads that are at peace with them." Astrid instantly regretted opening her mouth when Hiccup's expression darkened, looking forlorn and disheartened. For once, she felt a sting of apology. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that."

"It's okay. You're probably right," Hiccup said in a somewhat quiet voice, letting his hand rest on his knee to look up at her, sighing. "Somebody's got to tell them."

Astrid felt frustrated. She wanted to apologize, but that was a very un-Viking thing to do. She hated seeing him so torn, amazingly, but yet at the same time she wanted to scold him and tell him to buck-up. He was a man. He wasn't supposed to be all mopey. But then again, Hiccup was very good at defying tradition and Astrid thought he was really rubbing off on her.

"Quit worrying about it. The word will pass around," Astrid formed her words carefully, making sure she didn't sound too soft.

The corners of Hiccups mouth twitched, and he bent his head to continue drawing. Astrid watched him, almost seeing the thoughts swirling in his head as she fiddled with the hem of her tunic. She was amazed at how quickly he drew but kept so much detail. She was quite astounded. Naturally, there weren't a whole lot of artists on Berk, so it was interesting to find out Hiccup had honed his own skills and was completely self-taught. In a way, Astrid was a bit jealous because her drawings of people were stick figures, sometimes not even. And, of course, she hadn't taught herself the basics of axe-play, but Hiccup had learned the very, very basics of portrait drawing on his own, going even beyond that. Astrid thought she wasn't nearly as good at fighting like her older sisters, much less any woman around Berk. She was still fifteen, Hiccup sixteen, and yet Hiccup was a Grand Artist already. Thor almighty!

Hiccup disrupted her train of thoughts with a light, airy laugh as a gust of salty sea breeze blew past them. "I didn't think you would actually follow my directions."

Astrid guffawed. "I follow directions very well, thank you very much. Mother tells me to sew, I sew. Tell me to put out fire, I'll put out fire. Tell me to sit still, and I'll sit still for as long as you'd like," she smiled confidently.

"Then I'm glad, because your hair is proving difficult to draw," Hiccup said with a smile, looking up and squinting at her bangs.

"It's always difficult. The only time I can let it down is in the summer otherwise I'll be eaten alive," Astrid watched his maroon-colored hair gently flow with the faint breeze coming from the ocean, noting every light brown clump of hair highlighted from the sun.

"I think it's pretty," Hiccup said without really thinking about it, and a few seconds later his words registered in his wishy-washy brain and he instantly retracted into himself like a turtle. "U-uhm… I mean-,"

"No, it's okay," Astrid interrupted with a light, very un-Astrid-like giggle. "You don't have to be embarrassed. I think your hair is pretty too," there wasn't much lie there, in all honesty.

Hiccup scrunched his brows tight, narrowing his eyes. "What? My hair isn't supposed to be 'pretty'."

"I know. I was just teasing. I like your freckles," Astrid made herself say it because it was nagging her and nagging her. She really did like his cute, adorable freckly face. She would think up ridiculous scenarios in her head while in bed trying to sleep where she told him. Astrid would mentally kick herself, but she found it thrilling nonetheless.

"Uh, thanks," Hiccup offered a lopsided smile, and then things went quiet. Hiccup went back to sketching and Astrid watched his hand move on the parchment.

Hiccup was dying to ask the question that has been fermenting in his mind for seven awfully long months. Every two seconds he would almost make himself ask it, but found himself doubting the outcome. What if she doesn't like me? I'll die for sure, then—of total embarrassment. She probably hasn't tried to kiss me at all, other than a few days ago, or hardly talked to me because I'm still the wimp I've always been. Ugh, my life.

While carefully shading her eyes and getting the twinkle just right, Hiccup noticed Astrid flicked her bangs to the side. "Oh, here," he reached up, out of impulse, and fixed them because she did something funky. "You messed them up…," and when his finger tips grazed the soft skin of her forehead, he almost leapt back in surprise. But, somehow, he was held there like an anchor when Astrid locked eyes with him, and he could almost feel her temperature rise under his fingers as she blushed.

Something passed between then that neither Hiccup nor Astrid could place. Then—Oh, Gods—Hiccup found himself leaning forward against his very eager will. Wow, was the only thing racing in his head next to nothingness.

Holy crap! Is this happening? What timing…, Astrid screamed to herself, almost feeling sick with how hot she had become, and her rapidly beating heart, at the pace of a war drum, wasn't helping matters.

Then, ooh, just at the moment when the graze of each others lips were imminent—


Hiccup and Astrid jumped away form each other like they were both poked with red hot pikes. Their chests heaved at the unwanted interruption of the sheep, Hiccup's sketchbook splayed out upside down in the grass next to him. The sheep chose such an opportune moment to wander over to their patch of grass, looking tired and expectantly at them as if urging them to carry on, chewing on a lump of grass.

It was Astrid who started laughing first. She laughed loudly, clutching her sides and tossing her head back, shoulders shaking with delight. Hiccup watched her shuddering, and he found himself crescendo from a light chuckle into a full-on rumbling laugh. Astrid had tears in her eyes that the furiously wiped away as Hiccup fell onto his back, his face hurting and his stomach aching.

Something, in this ridiculous nonsense moment, clicked. Something. When Hiccup walked Astrid back home and watched her climb the same route she took down to her bed room window, he couldn't place it, couldn't quite put a finger on whatever it was. It bit and gnawed at him until barely morning of the next day, the sun just hardly over the horizon. Hiccup was keeping himself awake, but at the sight he couldn't resist any more.

The next day his mind was totally occupied on that scene the night before and he played it over and over again, from start to finish, up and down, inside and out. His mind wandered over the brief second he thought he was going to kiss Astrid for the first time, actually, in seven months, but he went back to what he couldn't find or understand.

Hiccup had gone off with Toothless most of the day, flying around Berk, stopping to sketch something every now and then. He didn't return to the village until almost dusk, most of the villagers turning in for dinner. Hiccup stopped by the forge to pick up a charcoal pencil because he broke the one he was using before earlier that day. He decided to take a walk back to give Toothless a break, and to take a little detour to stroll by Astrid's house. He wasn't going to do it, but Toothless nudged him in the direction because he had talked about it all day to his best friend, and Toothless wasn't going to take 'no' as an answer.

Hiccup had been nervous and jumpy the second he took a left onto her street, and seeing her up ahead made his palms sweaty. He grew more embarrassed as he approached, fearing Astrid would know his motives an make fun of him or avoid him again.

Before walking by, he shook himself loose and ruffled hair back into formation. Astrid was outside with her mother, taking down the laundry they had set up that afternoon, folding the linens and placing them in the wicker baskets Valka Ingerman made. Astrid looked up when she saw the unmistakable black Night Fury and his russet-haired rider shuffling next to him. She raised a hand in a wave, and Hiccup timidly waved back, trying out a suave smile for size. He felt stupid and weird, so he reduced it to a simple lopsided smile she liked best on him.

Toothless smiled as well, prancing over to Astrid to give her a sloppy lick to the face. "Aww, Toothless!" Astrid said at first in disgust, wiping the slime off while Ingrid laughed at her daughter's misfortune. But when she looked up at Toothless looking at her with wide, wide green eyes, she had to smile and scratch his chin.

Toothless bounded away back to Hiccup, who smiled at her in apology. "Come on, buddy. You know better than to give away nasty dragon saliva," Hiccup teased, and Toothless nudged his arm, grumbling in happy disagreement.

Hiccup looked over his shoulder one last time, seeing Astrid jump and hurriedly rip down linen from the line, making the clips fly, turning to hide her beet red face. Hiccup chuckled briefly, and then it hit him.

He knew.

He ran the rest of the way home; Toothless racing after him like it was a game, beating him to the door. Hiccup leaped and bounded up the sloping stone pathway that broke into stairs now and then, and threw open the door. Stoick wasn't home yet, so inside it was still quiet dark despite the open smoke hatch near the ceiling letting the fading light in. Hiccup hobbled over to his bed and underneath his pillow he produced his sketch book. ON the small table next to his bed he took the charcoal pencil and flipped to the last page of his sketchbook that was drawn on last, k finding the sketch of Astrid form the night before.

Hastily, he scribbled at the very bottom right corner, the title of the slightly unfinished piece.


He felt it fit right.


"And we welcome today, me brothers and sisters, Thoron! From thee Meatheads!"

The whole hall shook with the battle cries of the Vikings of Berk, and, being Vikings, they were very loud. Whistles joined in as well when Stoick the Vast shook hands with the messenger from the Meathead Island just across the isle, and one of Stoick's greatest friends. They clapped their big meaty hands on each others backs, loud thumps just audible over the constant orchestra of Viking cries. Stoick went to say some other things Hiccup wasn't paying any attention to, focused more on Astrid's fingers swirling in his palm and tracing patterns on the rough creases, hidden under the darkness of the table. He laughed at Tuffnut as he shoved lefse (1) up a snoozing drunks' nose.

Stoick ends his amusing and artfully effortless speech with Thoron from the Meatheads and his crewmen dispersing along with the villagers to find some grub and a place to sit. Snotlout and Ruffnut are rolling around laughing at Tuffnut and the drunk he's harassing while Fishlegs warns the male twin about the dangers of shoving foreign objects up into the nostril cavities. All the while, Astrid and Hiccup are semi-watching, just feigning they were actually paying attention with their minds in their own little bubble.

"Here, Tuff, shove some sugar up his nose to go with that lefse," Ruffnut says, pushing over a bowl of sugar in Tuffnut's direction.

"Nah, dude, you need to swab on some butter. Make him all pretty and shiny," Snotlout snorted, using a butter knife to dab some butter onto the drunk's mouth like pale rouge.

"Oh, come on, you guys. Snotlout—," Fishlegs swiped the knife from his hand and gave him a scolding glare. "Leave him alone. You can't just do that! He'll wake up and see you guys and he'll punch you first."

"'Legs, he's knocked out. He's not waking up any time soon," Snotlout retorted.

"Yeah! We've been doing this for how long and he hasn't woken up yet? There's no way in Hel he's waking up after only passing out for, like, an hour?" Tuffnut replied snappily, flapping around the sheet of lefse like a flag. "Get real, 'Legs."

Ruffnut punched Fishlegs in the shoulder and he yelped and rubbed the offended area of skin, and when she looked away, Fishlegs smiled. Hiccup only got to notice it for a second before his giant of a father sat down at the head of the long table he sat at, Thoron sitting at the corner next to him. Hiccup looked past Astrid to him, watching Thoron's brownish-blond beard jump as he laughed. Astrid tilted her head forward, blocking the view of the blacksmith, and she smiled at him. Hiccup's eyes focused on her and then he smiled at her lovely face.

Not many words passed between them as they just looked at each other, just simple. Astrid looked to the table first, then laid her full hand on Hiccup's knee, then looked to Stoick like nothing happened. Hiccup's heart jumped a bit from the smallest and simplest of touches, and he enjoyed her warm skin pressing through the thick linen of his pants.

After he had taken Astrid out to the sheep fields a week ago to sketch her, she had become a lot friendlier toward him, and he had no complaints. Well, friendlier can be more defined as "flirty". She was tossing him wide grins when he spoke, sometimes at the dumbest of things, confusing Hiccup beyond belief. Why can't girls have manuals?, he wondered to himself one day while drawing an extremely detailed door frame. So sketching definitely broke the ice, he decided, and he was glad it was his doing that initiated it. From it, this whole week his confidence was swelling, so naturally he was a bit flirty back, loyal to his trademark grin. But he was really enjoying this secret thing going on right now underneath the table. Astrid's fingers were gently kneading his knee and his liked it, actually. He could keep secrets. Secrets were fun.

Giant platters of food were set out on the tables in between the wooden plates and pewter goblets brought out by beautiful barmaids and the cook's assistants. There were heaping piles of potatoes and peppers and squash, big golden turkey's, piles of juicy mutton sprinkled with dashes of spice and seasoning, whole pigs set out on blankets of lettuce. It was the beginning of the harvest season, so naturally there was an abundance of food for this feast, the third this week due to weddings and such. It would be a surprise if Hiccup didn't gain at least twenty pounds and the rest of Berk at least a ton all together by the end of the harvest season.

Tuffnut and Snotlout piled their plates until nothing else could fit, and looking over at Fishlegs, he had about three the exact same, except masterfully piled like parts to a puzzle and double the size. Fishlegs just smiled at their incredulous faces and dug in. Hiccup, on the other hand, was much more modest, with a big turkey leg, a mound of potatoes and a few pieces of bread. Astrid laughed at him for her plate was much the same, and so she speared a small flank of mutton and dropped it on his plate and scooped some vegetables onto it as well.

"I prefer to take it slow," Hiccup said with an unamused face as Astrid stacked on a piece of pork.

"Well, eat up!" she sat down on the bench after standing up to reach some other food spread out on the table and acted like she didn't hear him speak. "You're the skinniest one here. Thoron's about the size of you and I combined," Astrid said with a mouthful of bread and Hiccup looked over at the excessively burly Viking to match Stoick, flexing his bicep that could've passed as a tree trunk.

"Including Fishlegs. And maybe Snotlout," Hiccup played along, and Astrid smiled at him with a tight mouth, cheeks ballooning like a chipmunk's. Hiccup had to laugh; she looked too adorable, even if it was a stupid thing to laugh at. Astrid punched him while he laughed, finished chewing and swallowed, and joined in.

Mead Hall was particularly loud this night because the Meatheads were known party-goers and rambunctious drunks, and Thoron caused quite a stir later on. He was hopping on tables and singing ridiculous songs suggesting very naughty subjects, inducing many laughs, describing very interesting stories with intense drunken fervor, and just causing an all-around ruckus. Within the few hours of the welcoming feast, there were drunken women sitting on men's laps, lifting up skirts, loud music enough to rattle the candle and bone chandeliers and wooden rafters. The weddings of the days previously weren't all about drinking, mostly dancing and eating, so some of the well-seasoned Vikings were taking the plunge into next-morning-hangover partying.

Once or twice, an intoxicated young man, older than either Hiccup or Astrid, had come up to the beautiful blonde warrior and asked for her hand in a dance. Hiccup quickly found out Astrid hated dancing, and punched them in the face. Hiccup was glad he didn't have to stand up so boldly and punch a pathetic drunk for his lady-friend because he knew full-well she could pummel any one to the ground. And that he might break his hand.

When the night started to quiet down and people left for the comfort of their beds, Thoron sat down just barely across from Hiccup, accompanied by Stoick, who was playing the role of bored, unamused, ungrateful, annoyed babysitter to prevent him from completely flattening Berk. Hiccup didn't fail to notice this, and it was painfully evident when Stoick looked to his son across the table with his hand rubbing his eyebrow in quiet annoyance. Hiccup had to smile apologetically but Thorn caught Hiccup's attention before anything else could pass between father and son.

"Is this Hiccup? Yer son? The one ye've bin tolkin' a'bout?" Thoron pointed a meaty sausage finger at Hiccup, who blushed slightly, and punched Stoick lightly in the arm to get his attention.

Stoick about snapped at him, but gathered up his emotions well like a chief should, and he responded. "Yes. He is."

"Well, Thor almighty! 'Ee's a small lad, ain't he not?" Thoron rumbled a laugh like a bolt of lightning from Thor himself, slapping the table and making Ruffnut's goblet topple over. Hiccup rolled his eyes and sighed.

"Jus' two weeks agoo, I ha' seen a dragon ten times 'is size. Big, muscle-y, ol' thing. And guess wha' I did wit it?" Thoron let his arms fly as he spoke, eyes pretty glazed over and his words slurring together through his thick accent so it was almost unintelligible. He knocked Ruffnut in the head with his elbow more than a few times, pushing her into her brother, who pushed her back, and they ended up wrestling on the floor together.

Fishlegs, always fully absorbed into any type of dragon story with his eyes wide, he answered Thoron. "Did you get a chance to ride it?"

"Noo! O' course not, lad! I did somefin bett'a!" Thoron bellowed. Hiccup was mirroring Stoick's deadpan stare, impervious to drunken rambling. However, Astrid was showing some signs of interest, Fishlegs was still bouncing in his seat from excitement, Snotlout was intent on finding out some cool facts about dragons from an older Viking, and some other villagers who were still awake were drifting over to listen. Alongside being a crazy drunk, Thoron the Wild was known for his stories; from Berk to the mainland down to the Viking settlements in Ireland.

"Uh'pon seeing tha' ghastly beest, I cawled all me men togetha, and wit won swing, I speared thae beast! Damned thing! Still, he bit and went afta me, gooshing all ova' tha place! Smelly, i' was. I swar, I steel smell me beard full o' his guts because he goot on top o' me! Threw me to tha' ground! Heavy! At least tree Vikings togetha. But I shoved him off! An' thar he lay, dead as a rat wit a brooken neck. But, he musta ben rootting on tha inside't…," Thoron went to continue his horrifying story, completely oblivious to the fallen faces of pure disgust, wide-eyed in sickened awe. Killing dragons? That was the past, utterly the past in Berk, so far behind it seemed primal.

But not anywhere else.

The only thing running through Hiccup's mind (other than keeping himself from throwing up) was the conversation he held with Astrid just a few days ago at the sheep fields about the same exact thing.

Well… I still think they are… it's really only us and the Meatheads that are at peace with them. Obviously that bit wasn't entirely true. He heard from Thuggory that they were all trying to domesticate the dragons with some difficulties, but obviously there was still killings going on unsupervised. Thoron was still ruthlessly spilling guts of dragons and laughing about it. Hiccup realized this with a sick, uncomfortable turn of his stomach. I should have known, he thought, feeling dizzy, clutching his stomach. Dragons are still being killed.

"…an' then, tha bas'tard musta cawled others because a 'ole flock o' them came swoooping down—an' one o' them flew off wit won'a me men! An'—,"

"Thoron, that's quite enough," Stoick interjected at last from letting his friend go too far with this story.

"Wha'? Don' ye still… ya know… spill Nadder's guts? Don' ye rememba, Stoick, as lads we would do tha' all thee time?" Thorn lowered his voice an octave, and almost seemed to be genuinely hurt, but he started chuckling again as if remembering the good old times.

"Those days are done, Thoron. We doon't kill dragons anymore. Din't ya see all those dragons outside't? Alive?" Stoick said, but Thoron only seemed to hear the first and second sentences.

His face got all screwed up and Hiccup was afraid for a second he would punch his father across the face, but instead he spat, "Ye don' kill dragons no more? What! Tha's all blasphemy! Yer betrayin' traditions, Stoick! Traditions! How could—," he swiped off all the plates and goblets off the table with one sweep of his arm. Hiccup and Astrid jumped back in surprise when Thoron leaped out of his seat and overturned a table behind him.

"TRADITIONS!" Thoron shouted every two seconds, stumbling over his big feet. Spitelout and a Stoick and a few other husky men attempted to calm him down, grabbing his arms and pinning him down, but he wailed around like a child forbidden to play with their favorite toy.

In the sudden brawl, Hiccup managed to slip out of the Hall without being noticed, even by Astrid. He ran as fast as could with what legs he had to his house across the village, stopping to heave his stomach's contents behind a few fish barrels. Running up the slow sloping steps, he tripped over a loose stone and fell on his face, the bridge of his nose coming into harsh contact with the edge of the stairs to his front door. Hiccup rolled over and his hands flew to his instantly bleeding nose and he let out a long pained yell.

"Aww, cum awn!" Hiccup's nose spurted blood like a fountain on his lap, staining his tunic. He groaned and used the railing to leverage himself up to a standing position, instantly greeted with a throbbing headache like Thor was using his head as an anvil to mold his bolts of lightning.

Hiccup pushed the door open and fell inside, clumsily closing the door behind him. Toothless, previously curled up on Hiccup's bed, had heard his rider yell out in pain and had run to the door, greeting him with an intensely concerned look on his face. As Hiccup walked forward, Toothless backed up, trying to figure out why his boy's face was bleeding. With his tail, Toothless knocked over a couple of chairs while Hiccup tried getting around him with his blurred vision.

"Toofless! Move it!" Hiccup shoved the black dragon's massive head aside, but he wouldn't relent. Now licking his face and hand covering his nose, Hiccup groaned in frustration. "Bawddy! We're goi'ing fo' a ride!" he said with thick, gurgly enthusiasm. Toothless immediately sat down and started wagging his tail, excitement clearly written across his reptilian features. "Finally…," Hiccup whispered to himself, walking over to where a rag hung on the wall in the kitchen, stuffing most of it up his trickling nose.

Hiccup really didn't have a whole lot to pack, maybe only one mid-sized duffel bag. He was a guy. He honestly didn't need much, and what he did need he could buy anyhow. Being the chief's son and being a narrowly-paid apprentice and saving it all did add up. Toothless surprisingly sat patiently for Hiccup to finish, but that went slightly down the drain when Hiccup wrestled his saddle and tack on, stringing it all together so he could ride decently. He put on his own riding gear when he was finished and sighed in relief.

But he forgot one thing.

"My sketchbook!" Hiccup slapped his forehead. "It's at the forge! Crap!"

Hiccup really, really wanted to leave now and book it before anyone noticed he was gone. He didn't want anyone in his way, much less trying to persuade him not to leave Berk because he was going. Nobody could tell him otherwise; he was stubborn much like his father, and one of the scarce, true Viking traits he possessed.

Hiccup quickly debated the pros and cons on rushing to the forge to retrieve his beloved sketchbook, but finally said 'the Hel with it', and leads Toothless out the door with his duffel bag attached to the saddle. In many instances before this, Hiccup needed to get to the forge without being noticed, and this was the perfect time to thank his usually unlucky stars that he knew many routes around the village. He took the shortest route and crept through the shadows, keeping his footfalls light with Toothless shuffling behind him. And Hiccup also thanked the Gods Toothless was relatively small compared to the other dragons and also for his black appearance instead of being bright blue like a Nadder.

Turning the corner with his back to the wall, Hiccup looked left and right to see if ht road was all clear. Deciding it was, he ran across the road pulling Toothless behind him. He ducked into the stall and tilted his head back, glad that he made it over safely.

Now, just to quickly run in and get it…, Hiccup thought as he wiped his swollen nose and the dried blood down his chin, groaning at the droplets down his chest and the small patch of blood on his lap. Walking inside, he threw the rag into a waste bin and headed toward his back room, oblivious to the figure sitting on the counter waiting for him.

"Where do you think you're going?"

Hiccup yelped and jumped about five feet into the air, knocking over a couple of broken shields and dull swords with a loud din of clashing metal. He spun around to see who had spoken and who nearly made his poor heart fail.

It was none other than Astrid, and Hiccup had to whisper "of course". He blinked at her, corralling his breath into a reasonable pace, and scratched his head. "I'm not going any where."

"You're full of shit," Astrid hopped off the counter and walked over to him. "Why are you so full of blood? What happened? Is it your nose?" she said as she approached but the last thing she looked was concerned. Hiccup was now becoming a bit afraid.

"I-I fell and hit my nose," he replied lamely, his arms now glued to his sides as Astrid stood in front of him, looking him up and down. "A-and… my nose started bleeding. Yep. Bleeding nose. So I'm all bloody. Stupid, right? Heh, heh—,"

Astrid squinted her eyes, effectively cutting him off. She could be doe-eyed one second and terrifying the next. Just barely ten minutes ago, she was all… not this angry. Now she looked like she was about to rip his head off, hands on her skull-adorned hips and tight mouth.

"I know what you're planning on doing. Don't try and fool me," she said sternly, taking a step back.

Hiccup visibly deflated and sighed. There was no use in arguing against her, he knew. He tried once when they were kids and he promptly got a kick to the groin and a mouthful of dirt. "Okay, I'm going. I'm leaving. But not for long!" he jumped and held his arms up in defense as he saw Astrid's shoulders square and her hands fist up. "I swear! I'm only going to the Meatheads and—and some other clans around here, I swear. Please don't hurt me."

Hiccup inched away with every word he spoke, backing up into his work room and looking over his shoulder, glancing around as if looking for an exit. Astrid continued advancing on him, a thin light brown brow raised in challenge.

"Oh, really. You know, for some weird reason, I don't believe you," Hiccup squeaked when his lower back hit his work table, now completely cornered.

"Y-you don't? It's always good to have some, some…," Hiccup scrambled for a word to say. "faith! It's always good to have some faith, As-Astrid."

Astrid rolled her eyes and backed off from the poor blathering idiot, crossing her arms. So he was gong to actually go through with it, she supposed. I didn't think he actually would, Astrid thought as an uncomfortable lump unfurled itself in her stomach. She really didn't think he would have the guts, but lately he's been proving himself a bit gutsy. Last week she didn't expect him to be drawing pictures of her, much less throwing rocks at her window. Well, she supposed, it was inbred in him. He was the first to train and tame a dragon and ride it, but actually leaving Berk for an extended period of time? No. Not a change in Midgard.

Astrid sighed and slightly turned away from him, displeased that she was feeling tingly and weak and that he slacked in response. "I have faith, you idiot!" she snapped at him, but it was less potent than before. "I have plenty of faith," she muttered lamely and mentally kicked herself.

Hiccup smiled a bit, but just enough so she wouldn't see. "Then show me some and look at me," he replied, tilting his head, having his bangs sweep across his forehead in very soft way as Astrid noticed from the corner of her eye.

She did look at him, but through her bangs and didn't move much to face him. She was puckering her mouth in such a way that Hiccup wanted to kiss her again, but he put a tentative hand on her shoulder instead. "I'll be back. I promise you. And I keep promises until I die so you can trust me," Hiccup shrugged and huffed out an airy laugh.

Astrid furrowed her brows and Hiccup removed his hand like she was on fire, but then to his amazement, Astrid flung her arms around his neck, clumsily kissing him with their teeth clashing. Hiccup truly almost fainted, but he let his eyes flutter closed and he kissed her back until Astrid eased off him. She abruptly ended it, and then buried her chin in her arms as she hugged him. Hiccup squeezed back, amused at this odd moment, still flustered as ever but feeling in a good place.

"You better come back, stupid, or I swear to Freyja that I'll make sure you never have children," Astrid mumbled into her arms, deciding she liked shy and smart Hiccup rather than brash and gutsy Hiccup.

"And somehow I believe you," Hiccup replied, laughing into her perfect yellow hair that smelled like leaves, ale and strawberries. He let his arms unwind from her back and she did the same. They had an awkward moment where they just stared at each other, blushing, two inches apart. "Uhm… sketchbook," Hiccup stated, sticking a thumb over his shoulder to his desk while rubbing the back of his neck.

"Sure…," Astrid muttered and stepped back, her stomach doing weird flip-flops she usually took for indigestion, but it only seemed to happen when this idiot was around… hm.

He found his black leather sketchbook and waved it, smiling. Astrid raised her brows and bit her lip, smiling too. She looked very… un-Astrid-like when she bit her lip, almost timid. Had Hiccup ever seen her do that?

"Gotta go," he said with a certain twinge in his voice, walking out of the backroom with a bounce in his squeaky gait.

Astrid was so blank-minded she hardly noticed he left until he tripped over a fallen shield outside. "You better come back, you hear me?" Astrid shouted, and walked out of the room, almost laughing at Hiccup holding onto the edge of a counter holding his shin. He grinned and hobbled out as she almost seemed to shoo him. "Remember your promise!" she tried keeping her voice stern, but it faltered in laughter when Hiccup was escaping her like it was a game, looking over his shoulder and finding his way to the door leading outside to the stall where Toothless was sniffing around.

"I won't!" he called with a smile, mounting Toothless and leading him out from under the stall's roof.

"Remember! Children!" Astrid rushed out from underneath the overhang and watched Hiccup and Toothless take off. A gust of wind from Toothless' powerful wings blew her bangs back, tilting her head to watch the speck of black fly into the full-mooned sky.

Astrid watched the sky for a few seconds longer after the dot had disappeared seconds ago. She had a brief, fleeting thought that she would one day marry the freckled face genius.

"What!" Astrid yelled at herself and kicked a rock, grumbling on her way home how girly she was becoming. But it was concluded that she was already going to be hopelessly entangled in him. Whenever it was.


(1) Lefse is a Norwegian bread thing that's made from potatoes. It's made into a sheet and you spread butter and sugar on it and cinnamon if you want. It's so good.

I know it's a lot to swallow for one 'brief' prologue, but just bear with me! It'll get shorter because this one was unexpectedly long. My fingers hurt ):

But this chapter is meant to be less serious, a little bit more on the middle-school lovey-dovey type of crush stuff. It'll get more mature.

Holy moley, 13 pages on Word. No more of that. Heh. And about 10,000 words? Yeah. No more.