A/N: OH. MY. GOD. THIS. TOOK. FREAKING. FOREVER. I've been stuck with idea for ages and decided to write it down. I swear that I DID NOT intend it to be this long! I thought that I'd cover it over about 3-5 pages maximum! O.o Please be patient with me in this fic. I KNOW there are probably a load of mistakes in this-so can you not review or PM me too harshly about it? I sort-of don't like it -.-
ANYWAY, I put some references in here. Some might be recognized if you are the right fan of something. XP Lol. I don't really like how it ended but Meh. You're the ones reading anway XP The title, on the other hand it important-it gets weirdly fluffy at the end.
Oh, and BTW: I am OBSSESSED with awkward moments. I have so many in my life that I somehow end up putting them in my stories. So if you ARE annoyed by this, please tell me so that I'll TRY and make sure it doesn't look that awkward. But in my opinion-without awkward moments, you aren't really human aren't you?
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. I swear-if I did, I'd be bloody partying EVERY SINGLE day at the sheer awesomeness at the thought of owning something as beautifully amazing and awesome as this.
(God that was an awkward disclaimer...)
Weren't or Wasn't, Who Gives a Damn?
It's been a year since the Green Death incident. That's what we called the Dragon Queen. The Green Death. Menacing and horrifying, right? I remember it like it was yesterday. Screaming Vikings, roaring dragons, the wind whistling painfully in my ears, the fear creeping up my heart to my throat – the crude silence…
I'd rather like to say that things have been looking up since Hiccup woke up.
Dragons became our friends, living in our own houses and becoming overly protective of their rider. Even against other family members. It was great; it felt like a massive weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. No longer did I have to train day after day for hours to an end, making sure I was the best Dragon-killer ever.
But I did feel some remorse. I've spent my entire life training to fight the very creatures that we were friends with now. I've done all that work for nothing? It felt like I wasted half my life working so hard for something that was later considered useless...but I guess it was okay. Hiccup did tell me when I was feeling down that I never wasted my life, that I still had a great future ahead of me. He's a really good friend once you get past his insane babbling about mechanics.
Sadly, I wasn't able to throw my pride for a moment and really congratulate him for living.
I just sort-of hit him, and then hugged him so tight I could feel his ribcage. At least I kissed him...on the cheek. It makes me visibly deflate every time I think about it; I keep daydreaming about the possibilities of what would have happened if I actually did kiss him properly. Would we have been together? Would things have been a whole lot easier than it is now? Would I be sitting with him right now, instead of staring from afar?
Yeah—that's exactly what I was doing.
It was a clear day that day; I managed to convince myself that spending the day outside wouldn't be that bad. (Oh how wrong I was.) So I thought that going to the former Kill Ring, (which was now called the Training Ring) to practice some of my axe handling would help pass some time. Ever since the dragon raids stopped, the people of Berk had way too much free time on their hands. Maybe I'll ask Ruffnut to come along too. She is however the only other person I could relate to about boys.
No, I didn't tell her about my problem. But I think she knows anyway, I'm apparently in Ruff's words, as 'open as a cracked rock' to her. And there I was, walking calmly without a care in the world to the Training Ring when I heard—it.
Oh gods, it was the worst sound that I've ever heard in my entire life.
Every time I hear it, my stomach curls up and I visibly cringe. It's just so terrifying. It made me horrified to think that they were actually related to me somehow and that we shared the same gender!It was that sound—oh that dreaded godforsaken sound of...girly giggling. And, being a girl (unfortunately), I could understand what kind of giggling it was. It was the: drooling-over-a-hot-guy-and-stalking-him-like-a-lunatic-until-he-notices-and-looks-at-us-all-creeped-out giggling.
Urgh. Insert vomit caption here.
And guess where it was coming from? Go on, guess. I dare you.
Yeah—you're right. The forge.
I felt like rolling my eyes. It was disgusting. I could already imagine the scene right now in front of me. I've been to that forge so many times to get my saddle repaired that I had the image basically glued onto my forehead.
There would about five to ten girls, maximum, hiding behind a bunch of houses/trees/rocks/baskets...etc, giggling and pointing at the forge. All dressed in either way too much make-up or way too much jewellery stolen from their Mothers.
Because the forge, was the second home to one of the greatest and very special heroes of Berk: Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III.
Right, I should probably explain why these girls are suddenly all interested in him.
The kid is bloody clueless. He spends hours working in that stupid forge, in the heat, sweating productively and banging metal all day. And the boy was stupid enough to take his shirt off every time he felt a little too hot. Doesn't he realize how girls squeal shrilly behind his back every time he pulls that clingy wet material over his head? Or whenever they get the guts to talk to him, they just ogle his chest shamelessly? It was so gross. So you could imagine why those brainless preteens huddled around the forge and giggled like maniacs.
Hiccup, had over the past year—grown more into a Viking, than I would like to admit. As in: tall-getting, fat-losing, muscle-thickening, prosthetic leg looking sexy, voice-deepening or chilling, expressive-eyes burning (well, his eyes were always like that anyway...wait...how do I know that?) and smile-melting gorgeous piece of a male specimen. Don't ask how I remember that—I just do. And the small teensy, tiny fact that Ruffnut (when feeling ridiculously girly, yeah, I'm surprised too. Ruffnut—girly? The world has ended) talks about him all the time.
I'm getting sick of the guy. It pisses me off every time a girl comes up to me when they want to talk about him.
I mean what's so special about me? Do I have some kind of invisible stamp on my forehead that I can't see but only whores of the village can, that read: WHEN WANTING PUSLING HOT DESIRE FOR HICCUP, COME HERE FOR BRAINLESS INFO.?
Seriously! Just the other day, this girl that I've hated for my entire existence with a burning passion (and vice-versa)—Dragnet Lagoon sauntered (yeah, she saunters) towards me and rapidly started firing questions as about what time Hiccup eats, what time he goes to sleep, what time he rides his dragon, when does he throws away old shirts? What he eats, what are his habits, does he have loads of money? Is he amazing in bed? (I choked at this one...)...the list was freaking endless.
And I just sat there, staring at her with his dumbstruck expression on my face. Who did she think I was? His Mother? His—dare I say it?—Girlfriend? (I said it...).
So you can see that I this sort of resented any feeling towards him. I hated him for making all those girls go gaga every second he passes. I'm sick of the never-forever ending questions about his hair or whatever, by his mini unofficial fan club.
See why I cringe whenever I hear that giggly laughter?
It usually means that another girl is going to spot me soon and ask me about Hiccup—again.
I walked past the forge as quickly as I could. Keeping my head down, making sure that someone else was always blocking me from the view of the forge. I really didn't want to piss off another Hiccy-girl (I choked myself to death when I heard this 'name'). Last time I did that, they accused me of being jealous or something and proceeded to throw my clothes into the lake. Unnecessary to say I got my own back a day later by burning all of their clothes with my trusty Nadder, SunGard.
It's too bad I can't get SunGard to take me to the Training Ring. She had a horrible accident the other day, spraining her ankle. She won't be able to fly for a while—I felt horribly guilty since it was my idea for her to try that new aerial trick. I could tell that she doesn't blame me for it, or ever did, but it doesn't make me feel any better.
Maybe I should just walk back home and make sure that she's alright. She might need the company with not being able to fly for a month. Just as I was about to turn around, I heard someone call my name.
Oh Gods, it's him.
My heart started to beat a little faster, threatening to explode out of my chest if I didn't get away quick enough. Ducking my head lower, and pretending to not hear him, and started to power-walk my way to the Training Ring. No luck in trying to get back home with him following me, I won't ever get rid of him that way. Sorry SunGard. But keeping away from that guy is a little bit more important on my list.
My axe started to feel strangely heavier with every step I took, I felt the adrenaline rush through my veins; my legs were pounced and ready to break into a full-out run. But I had to hold myself down. I couldn't let him know I was trying to get away from him—I know what you're thinking.
What the hell has Astrid Hofferson become? Running away from boys? Running away from Hiccup?
But you have to understand. I might not like him personally, but my hormones could definitely fool you. I felt attracted to him no matter how hard I try not to. I've spent nights daydreaming about his gorgeous eyes without even realizing it. So yes—I've accepted that I have a sort-of attraction to him. But then again, I'm not following him around everywhere like a lost puppy or anything. That would be the last thing I would ever, ever do.
And I hated him for it. No one made Astrid Hofferson fall for a boy, especially a boy like Hiccup!
Oh god his voice made my insides melt...
Okay fine then. He was the only guy that ever made me feel that way. So what? Who cares, in fact—who knows? Yeah, no one! So I'm safe!
Stay down. Head down. Head down. Head down. No! Wait! WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING? WHY THE EFF DID I JUST TURN AROUND? The adrenaline was still coursing through me, making me superbly aware that all the giggling girls were now glaring daggers at me and promptly wishing that I would die at that moment.
He was running towards me, his prosthetic leg clanking against the ground rather loudly. He had this goofy half-smile on his face, and his eyes were lit up as if he'd just seen the solution into making his favourite candy last forever. His cheeks were flushed a light dusty pink.
"Hey Astrid! Hi...how—how are you?"
And from then on, things suddenly became seriously awkward. We haven't talked to each other properly alone for months except for when I wanted to get something fixed. This was the first time I've talked to him since last year when he woke up...unpleasant memories are rushing back...better get back to making this conversation less awkward.
"Uh hey. I'm fine. You?" I said unevenly, wishing that I was anywhere but here.
"Good. Good." He ducked his head a little, immediately reminding me of a little toddler, "So uh—your Mom talked to me yesterday." He said looking at me again.
My interest spiked, "My Mom? What did she want to talk to you about?" confusion laced my tone.
It wasn't intended to sound harsh; it just came out that way. But thank the gods that Hiccup understood enough to realize that I wasn't sounding like a bitch on purpose. Just merely stating something indifferent.
"She uh, told me that you needed another axe. And then said something about 'trees' and 'anger management issues'." He shrugged.
Oh great. Wonderful...
Now my Mom was going around talking to random people about my anger problems? Yeah, yeah Mom looks who's not going to get that dagger for her birthday now! Argh, I really cannot believe she went to Hiccup of all people to blab about my problems. Why does she have this need to talk to others about my flaws? What's the gain for her through that? I mean—sure, I'm spending more time in the woods, hacking off trees but that's my problem isn't it?
At least I get a new axe out of this...
"Oh right..." I couldn't think of anything else to say.
We stood in a tense silence for a moment. When Hiccup finally had this stern look in his eye, he opened to mouth to say something when...
"OH HICCUP!" a sickly sweet voice called.
Oh gods...can this day get any worse? Actually, don't answer that—I really don't want to know.
Here's a word about Dragnet before you meet her.
She's the worst Viking in the history of all that is, Berk.
Including Hiccup before.
She's tall, taller than me anyway and super slim. She's got that extra rare red hair and grey cold, eyes. She's called by most of the immature boys: supermegafoxyawesome hot.* She's pretty, I can admit. But she's cruel, daft, and lazy. A pure tainted selfish daughter of a half-troll. In fact, she's more of the Mother. But anyways, she's stupid—I hate her. End of story. Goodbye. The end.** Did I mention that she was one of the people in the entire village that people looked up to besides Hiccup and me? And that the other girls constantly compare her to me?
Argh—she drives me mad, I can't stand her.
She bounced herself over to the two of us, her red curls dancing around like little bobbles of bouncy balls. Her grey eyes were cold, a striking look in her eye suggested hunger and frustration. I'd love to be the one to tell you that Dragnet had been rejected by Hiccup way more times than any guy ever had in all of Berk. He just wasn't interested; which of course made her want him even more.
Hiccup closed his mouth and gave Dragnet a small tight-lipped smile, forcing him to look polite. Not me – I scowled. I couldn't bear the thought of being nice to her for a single second alone. Dragnet sneered at my direction for a second – and then stood right in front of me, blocking me from Hiccup's view.
"Hey Hiccup! How are you today? Was your day at the forge good?" I could just imagine her battering her eyes rapidly like a ditz.
"Um, yeah. It was good..."
Behind Dragnet I started glaring at her slickly straight shiny hair. And making a split second decision (which I was notoriously famous for), I grabbed the braid of her hair, and wrenched it to the side, twisting it around my hand to cause more pain. I ignored her painful shrieks and glared at her, wishing heartily that I could just rip all that greasy feeling hair out and leave her half-bald.
"Excuse me, you might have noticed, but I was standing here first." I sarcastically growled at her, narrowing my eyes angrily.
I turned to Hiccup, who was staring at my hand grasping tightly onto Dragnet's complicated braid, which was shrieking and yelling as if I was torturing her to death. He had this half-afraid, half-amused look on his face. As if he was trying to decide which emotion he should feel.
I let go of her hair. Because her screaming was making my ears bleed.
She looked outraged, screaming into my ear about how much precious time she spent on her hair in the morning. I ignored her, deciding to stare behind Hiccup at some random villager putting more sheep into his cart. One was reluctant to get in, and started running around madly causing the villager to start a wild cat-and-mouse game. It was funny to look at—but only when there isn't some stupid bitch screaming about hair into your ears.
Deciding that I'd have enough of her stupid screeching, I turned towards her glaring as hard as I could with my eyes. "Would you just shut up? It's just hair. You're not going to die." I spat.
She turned purple with rage; I actually had to bite back a laugh. "Just hair? JUST hair? WHAT DO YOU MEAN JUST HAIR?" she screamed.
I frowned with annoyance, wishing that I could sock her in the mouth; knocking her into unconsciousness. I glanced at Hiccup who looked troubled, like he really wanted to leave but knowing that it would be rude to leave a fight going on like this. He reluctantly stepped a little forward.
"Um hey...don't fight..." he trailed off, not knowing what else to add.
Dragnet, once realizing that Hiccup was still her in range of her screaming fit—straightened herself up into a pretty smile, which honestly freaked me a little out. "Oh I'm so sorry Hiccup, why don't we just leave Hofferson here—she was the one after all causing this distress."
I snapped at her, "Now wait just a darn minute—" I was fully prepared to go on a full-on rant about how she was the actual one that started the fight when a small timid voice interrupted me from speaking any further...
"Actually, you did start the fight Astrid...by pulling her hair..."
My head quickly went to the boy that had just spoken. Did he just say what I think he said? His guilty-looking face gave it all away—how dare he? How dare he take her side? What, wasn't I good enough for anything anymore? Dark feelings scuttled around my stomach, making me feel sick. For a moment, all I wanted to do was to punch something. Punch anything until my knuckles bleed raw. How could he? How could he take her side? He always takes her side! I glanced at my right side to Dragnet, who looked as if Hiccup had just thrown himself onto the floor for her. More stomach churning feelings bubbled in my throat.
"Fine then..." my voice was a little thick, as if I was about to cry. Why the hell did I sound like I was about to freaking cry? He just picked her side!
Feeling confused, hurt and angry—I marched off. Not looking at back, not thinking about anything but the grating feelings in stomach and how the hell was I going to make them stop. Why do I feel so strongly about some stupid moment? Why do I feel so mad at the thought of Hiccup ever agreeing to something Dragnet said? Why did I feel so stupid at the thought of that smug look of victory in Dragnet's eyes?
I need something to hit.
Later, I was at the evening feast. All the Vikings were settled peacefully in the Great Hall; laughing, talking and agreeing heartily with each other. Clangs of wooden glasses met together, all in while it was a good day for them. I sat by myself on one of the wooden tables, picking on my food with a hunting knife (don't worry, it was clean). My elbow was resting on the bench and holding my head up lazily. I tried not to think.
It was hard.
A settlement of two other people brought my attention back to the real world. I looked up from my elbow, dully noting that it was Ruffnut and Snotlout looking at me expectantly. As if I was going to say something important. After a brief glance, I went back at my food; picking it again with my knife and ignoring their side glances; which of course I could tell they were doing. A tense silence shrouded the three of us, for none of us have ever been alone with each other before; and neither of us had anything to talk about.
So it was sort-of awkward. That was until Snotlout cleared his throat loudly, bringing Ruffnut's and my attention to his face. He put on his charmer smile, indicating to the both of us to about what was about to happen next.
He was going to try flirting with me again. I sighed greatly inside and Ruffnut rolled her eyes—there were only so many one-liners a girl can take. But before he could start off in his suave voice; Fishlegs, Hiccup and Tuffnut joined our table. All three of them were talking enthusiastically about something that I couldn't care less about. I made sure to look away from Hiccup from the other side of the table.
"So Astrid...wanna come over to my basement sometime? Like tomorrow? To work out?" Snotlout said eagerly, as if he actually had a shot.
Suddenly, the animated chatting grew quieter. As if someone snuffed the sound out with a thick wet blanket. This always happened when Snotlout asked me out—everyone around me just stopped talking. It drove me mad, they all know that the answer was going to be 'no'; they all knew that I didn't like Snotlout at all that way. So why, for some stupid reason did they expect something crazy to happen?
And then, I noticed something odd.
Hiccup had this solemn look on his face, as if something sour was stuck in his mouth. And then, before I could actually think about this carefully—I made another bull-headed split-second decision. Remembering earlier that morning; I looked a few tables over, where the she-devil herself was laughing flakily with her so-called friends. She saw me looking at her, and smirked. She gestured to Hiccup and winked, puckering her lips suggestively.
Rage gnawed the edges of my heart.
I remembered the betrayed feeling I felt after I left them together. Was he was going out with her now? I didn't manage to think about it properly. I was too blinded by my sudden rage to think. Not realizing the terrible consequences that followed after that, I blurted out the first thing that came into my mind.
"Well its okay if you don't want to – wait a minute. Did you just say 'yes'?" Snotlout looked shocked.
"I said fine."
I swivelled my eyes around, looking at the shock and disbelief in everyone's eyes.
Everyone, except Hiccup.
He just ate quietly. Acting as if nothing had happened; acting as if I hadn't accepted Snotlout's offer to 'work out' in his basement when everyone clearly knew that's not what he meant. I looked at Ruffnut again—who wasn't looking in disbelief anymore, she almost looked disappointed. But before I could think about it any further, Snotlout started chattering on excitedly about what we should do tomorrow.
"I'll see you tomorrow. At three." I said shortly to Snotlout, interrupting his long and fast-said speech; and looked as if Christmas had just come early. I left the awkward silence of my friends and the Great Hall. I didn't feel like being around people at the moment. I felt sick.
It wasn't until I reached my house I realized what I had just did.
"What have I done?" I moaned to myself.
Kill. Me. Now.
I really can't believe that I actually spent the entire day with Snotlout and his stupid one-liners, BY CHOICE. Is it even WORTH going through all this anymore? But then again, that stupid image of Dragnet yesterday evening crossed my mind, making me angrier and more determined to hang with Snotlout. Oh Gods, why is my stupid pride always getting in the way of my logical thinking? So by the time I dragged myself to afternoon Dragon Training. I was thoroughly exhausted. And sick of 'if you were a booger, I'd pick you'.***
I really couldn't put up with that kid any longer.
I decided to swing my axe through the forest again.
It was so far the easiest way to get rid of my anger without actually mortally wounding someone. For some reason—this time, a strange sense of déjà vu came running back to me. The last time I was throwing my axe at trees, it was because of this horrible, burning anger and jealously. And now, while I'm killing the wildlife, I get reminded of that moment. Funny how both times are because of Hiccup, but for all the different reasons.
I'm almost expecting him to be behind me carrying another bundle, and looking as if he was a kid caught doing something naughty.
Although I wonder why my thoughts sound like some diary. I mean, who does mind-diaries? But that's not what I'm destroying trees for. It's been an hour after Dragon Training, in which beforehand I spent the entire day with Snotlout. I needed frustration and anger to be poured out. After Training ended—I was first person rushing out madly into the forest to murder some trees. Yeah, just another ordinary day for Astrid Hofferson. I slammed the axe into another tree, rushing up immediately to pull it out and start the useless and pointless exercise all over again.
I carried on for hours, dirt and sweat piling up in my clothes—but I didn't even stop there. I kept on going, wishing that the permanent anger in my chest would just fade away. But it was still there, lurking like a sinister wolf waiting for the right moment to attack. Except it was still getting ready to pounce, torturing the prey into insanity by the anxious waiting. I felt pure agony rip through me, I wanted to cry. I wanted to let it all out and break down without the fear of feeling inferior or weak.
But I was a Viking warrior, and Vikings never cry.
I spun into an air somersault, and yelled, throwing the axe with so much force, I felt a popping sensation of pain on the top of my shoulder. I grabbed it with my other hand, and scrunched my face with pain. I took deep breaths, trying to keep myself from passing out. It wasn't all that bad, but it still hurt. But that wasn't the only thing that yelped—I looked up in surprise.
It was Hiccup. And my axe was impaled on the tree, only a millimetre away from his face. Forgetting my throbbing shoulder, I ran up to him and apologized like a maniac.
"Oh my gods, I'm so sorry! I didn't know that you were there! I was too busy throwing stuff and I didn't hear you coming; Hiccup you should have told me that you were coming how could you be so careless? You know that I can't hear people when I'm throwing my axe around and why are you here anyways...?" I blabbered on like a madwomen, speaking too fast and changing my moods too quickly for him to catch up with.
To sum it up, I was terrified that I almost killed him.
He just stared me with this awed and terrified look on his face. He didn't move, or say anything. He just sat there on the forest floor with me hovering other him, apologizing and scolding him greatly. I was still blabbing. Why wasn't I stopping? Why was I even talking? Were the hell am I even getting all these crazy subjects to talk about anyway?
Finally snapping out of it, he decided that I was wracked up with guilt enough already, "Astrid. Astrid! It's okay! I'm fine!" he reassured me, trying to grab hold of my shoulders to stop me from moving.
I still felt unsure, "Are you sure? Are you absolutely, positively, one-hundred thousand billion trillion percent, completely, utterly sure that you're okay?"
He laughed a little, "Course I'm fine. I wouldn't be talking to you if I weren't." He said jokingly.
"Wasn't. It's wasn't." I corrected him robotically.
I looked away, and felt awkward.
He just looked at me with that annoying (adorable) amused lopsided smile on his face. I felt even more awkward than I had in my entire life at that moment. He almost looked smug—and I felt like scowling at him. But then again, I was feeling too weird that I didn't actually ever recall thinking of gaining the upper hand.
"Well, if you're okay then—I uh, guess I'll be going?"
That came out more like a question.
And before he (or I) could do anything, I hugged him with all my strength. I didn't know what came over me to do so, but I just had to; because my conscious was still feeling guilty at the thought that I'd almost murdered him. I needed the relief.
He smelled good. Like oil and fresh pine trees and something else mixed in. He was (oddly) warm, funny, since it was bitterly cold in the afternoons; especially in the forest. I burrowed my face into his shoulder, taking him all in and being grateful once again that he was alive. That he was still breathing. That he was still there with mean—uh I mean us. But as quick as I embraced him—I pulled away. I almost decided to hug him again, but I was too afraid to.
I just picked my axe up and left. Not looking back at all. These past few months have just been this ultimate mess of emotional rollercoaster rides. I think that I'll keep to myself for a while; I'm getting sick of this meaningless drama. Besides, life doesn't encircle all around boys...
At that thought, I turned my face to the side a little—and got a brief glance at him still lying there on the ground, hair slightly rustled and cheeks a bright red. Thousands of really obscene images burst into my mind at the thought of him helpless...on the ground...completely flush against me...
I shook my head and blushed at my thoughts. At least—I'll try not to.
The rest of the month I spent running away from Hiccup.
If he came walking up to a group of people that I was a part of, I'd make up some random excuse about feeling sick and rush off. If I'd happen to be accidently caught by his eyes, I'd pretend to look at something behind him and walk away. It was difficult at times, but I managed to not break my resolve for six complete days.
It was never easy, with the occasional scowl of Ruffnut in my direction; it was harder to carry on running away from him. She immediately knew that something was off with me the day after the incident in the forest, and tried to confront me about it. I managed to wave her off for the first few days. But as I kept running away from him, she gradually got the nerve to pester me about why I was flat out ignoring him. She keeps on trying to beat it out of me—but I wasn't called 'Best of the Class' for nothing.
It's getting harder by the minute to keep this charade up.
I did something incredibly stupid today.
I did something so incredibly not-Astrid, I surprised nobody thought that I was imposter. But then again, I've been acting like a complete weirdo these past few months that I can't really blame them. I mean—I absolutely cannot believe that I spent a whole three minutes just staring at him with my mouth open like a gaping fish. Oh, gods, it was unbelievably stupid of me to completely forget that I've resolved to AVOIDING him for weeks in that short amount of time.
But it was totally, completely, utterly his fault! Who the hell told him to work outside because it was too hot inside? He works in that godforsaken forge every freaking day and he decides suddenly, hey, it's hot in here. I'll just go outside, half-naked and sweaty with dozens of pre-teens goggling at me and not care.
Does that boy know nothing?
And what did I do? WHAT DID I DO? I just stood there, in plain sight, staring shamelessly at him with my mouth open. And did I even notice that Hiccup noticed me, looked confused and a little awkward? Did I snap out of it? Of course not—it just had to be when Ruffnut slapped me on the back and commented dryly, "You're drooling."
Promptly shutting my mouth, I turned towards the twin with my eyes wide. "How long?"
"Three minutes exactly."
Let's just say that Ruffnut was satisfied for the rest of the day.
Yes, I was in the forest again. And no, I was not throwing my axe around willy-nilly. I was careful this time; I didn't want the risk of someone else walking in on my kill time; and not get lucky. It felt nice walking through the forest and drinking in the serene quiet, or look upon the thick cluster of trees and how they twisted branch by branch to each other. The sound of hissing water nearby calmed me—but only slightly.
My brain was still flurry with countless thoughts about him.
I felt empty. Like a tree without its heart, just hollow on the inside. Every day I woke up, did the chores, go outside and train, feed SunGard and go home. The same, tasteless dry routine every morning. What was the point of living, if living had one mind-set? If living was only the same page, the same words with nothing in-between? Then living was nothing.
I felt like nothing.
I lightly kicked a rock and watched it skitter across the bumpy forest floor. I felt really annoyed, why was I the one that everyone picked on? There were plenty of Viking teenage girls (or soon to be anyway) in the village, so why didn't fate just pick on them? I'm pretty sure they deserve it more than I do. Considering the fact that they spy and bash on people; more than half of the time in their pathetic little lives.
Just as I was about to turn around and head back for dinner, I heard something. It was a soft mummer, and my curiosity took over my desire for food. My Mother always did tell me that I was going to get killed one day because of it—but I can't help it. I just wanted to know every small detail, every juicy secret. I just needed to know. A rather embarrassing trait passed down to me by my Father.
I bent down by the slightest and carefully navigated my way towards the sound. The path I took was on the more shadowy part of the forest, thickly obscene by the fog. It was difficult to see, but the voice—or voices—grew louder, so I was faring well. It took ages to reach to the voices, they were intangible, and I couldn't understand what they were saying. It was all gibberish to me, which was slightly annoying because of the rising tension somehow falling all around me.
I hated tension.
Suddenly, I noticed dark shapes forming in the thick, misty cold atmosphere. They were distinctly male – young, was all that I could make out. As I drew nearer, I kept my head low and ducked behind a tree with my head sticking out, like a bright neon yellow sticker. Thank the Gods for this fog, I would've been noticed forever ago because of my bright (annoying) hair.
I could hear them clearer now. There were two of them—talking to one another. I noticed that one was lean, muscled but not enough to be called buff. The other, though, was the complete opposite; he was towering the other, and completely covered in bulging testosterone, like a regular Viking man.
The lean one was talking rapidly, his arms gesturing everywhere, almost aggressively. The thick-headed one was just standing, not reacting to anything the other boy was saying. They weren't doing anything horribly against Berk as from what I could see, so that was safe. They just looked as if they were arguing with each other (well, the lean one more, the thick-headed guy just looked like he was putting up with an over-grown five-year-old). I decided to leave them to their own business, but I felt confused—hey looked so familiar...
It was Snotlout and Hiccup.
Suddenly, my mind shut off. I forget completely that I was about to leave these two men alone. For some reason, something was tugging me to move forward. To figure out what the hell they were talking about. It's not like I had much of a choice anyways, so I carefully snaked my way across to another tree closer towards the two.
And by the time my fingers were literally stuck to one another from the cold, I was in clear hearing range of the two cousins.
"...don't...like me...and that's all...I care about."
Snotlout responded with something inaudible.
I edged closer, as daring as I could to not alert the two boys that I was near and eavesdropping on their private conversation. For why else would they be talking to one another, in the middle of the forest with a thick fog covering their vision?
"Just don't hurt her." Hiccup pleaded.
My eyes snapped up. Who? What?
"Sure." Snotlout responded easily.
"Snotlout, I'm serious about this."
"Right. Know that."
Hiccup sighed exasperatedly. As if he couldn't believe that he was even in the same conversation as Snotlout and his easily distracted mind. "Look, I really care about her, okay? It's been that way for a long time—and I just can't stand her getting hurt."
"Look, man. You're worrying about this way too much. I'll take care of her, okay? The next time I ask her out, I'll make sure she's treated like, a Queen. So chill. I'll be good to Astrid."
"You sure? Promise me, Snotlout. Promise me that you'll make sure Astrid never gets hurt." Hiccup demanded.
I'm choking...it hurts...
"Promise, man. Now let's go eat. I'm starving!" Snotlout clapped Hiccup's back. And reluctantly, the two boys set off together with the repetitive chatter of Snotlout ringing in my ears.
Long after the two were gone, I slumped down to the forest floor. My eyes wide open with shock. I really...can't believe it. He still...cares? After all this time? Oh gods and I've been such a bitch towards him! I groaned, letting my head fall into my hands. This was crap. Total, utter crap. The guy that I've been mad about for months, who I was avoiding, still cares about me after all that mess I put him through?
I must be the worst person ever.
I put my head back up against the tree; it's time I changed that.
"Hey Astrid! I wanted to ask—"
"No. Sorry, it was a one-time thing." I cut Snotlout off and hurried away. He looked a little hurt, but at that moment, I really didn't care for anyone's feelings. I needed to make things right.
I rushed through everyone as soon as I got out of that forest, pushing past my Mom when she demanded to know why I was out for so long, waving Dragnet off when she felt like picking an argument with me, shoving Ruffnut away when she wanted to talk to me about why avoiding Hiccup is a bad thing...etc, blah blah blah. Who cares? At that moment, I was running back from the forest like a Night Fury! Nothing's getting in my way!
Skidding to a hasty stop in front of the Great Hall, I straightened myself up, feeling so ridiculous at that moment because I never cared for personal appearance before; I patted my mussed hair down and smoothed my skirt, while taking deep breaths to calm my racing heart. Okay, I could do this. It's couldn't to be that hard, right? The door was slightly open, leaving a small slit of yellow light fall upon my right eye. I could see him sitting there quietly, eating his food with his gaze to the floor; Tuffnut and Fishlegs sitting on the bench opposite him.
He looked so lonely...well, for the moment he was.
Feeling like a jumble of messed up nerves; I walked into the Hall, and pretended to not notice the staring eyes of everybody else. Everyone's been trying to squeeze it out of me why I was acting so not-Astrid-like for the past few months. So unfortunately, a great deal of gossip was spread around Berk.
Figures that Vikings' alternative to killing Dragons, turns out to be gossiping the hell out of everybody else.
Here's comes the difficult part: walking to their table without it getting awkward.
An issue that no one could really avoid. Unfortunately.
I got my food and held my head up high. I sat down next to Hiccup wearily, and the atmosphere suddenly grew seriously tense (and awkward). I felt like screaming, I've had way too many awkward moments in my short-fourteen-year-old life. WHEN WOULD THEY STOP? I didn't look at anyone, I just ate quietly. I didn't even have the courage to speak—my personal strength somehow just faded away.
Although I was acutely aware of the thinning distance between our shoulders. Hiccup's and mine.
I was sad, wasn't I?
"Uh—I guess I'll go because I've got other Dragon stuff to write in the Manuel and uh—Tuffnut's helping so, uh, see you guys later." Fishlegs spoke nervously and grabbed Tuffnut by the shoulder, steering them quickly away from our table.
The last thing I heard was Tuffnut yelling, "Hey! I wasn't finished!" before the Great Hall's doors slammed loudly behind them.
I was surprised to notice that the Hall was completely empty, except for the both of us. I looked at Hiccup; who was still staring at the floor and eating his food. Which he hadn't finished because he was too distracted to eat it properly. I didn't know what to say. My mind was blank. All that time that I rehearsed what I was going to say to him when I was running like a maniac, just, flew out the window. And left me here, like a total idiot. Why did my mind do this to me at the most stupidest of times?
I was jolted out of my reverie at the sound of his voice. Feeling confused, I answered his question with a sort of hesitation in my voice, "She's...good."
Things were silent again. A pregnant pause passed over us before Hiccup spoke again.
"You know that trick you were trying out?"
I nodded, finding no words to say.
"Toothless and I only got it right a few days before you tried."
I had no idea where he was going with this.
"Our first time was the worst, I almost died. And Toothless." He spoke clearly, as if he was trying as much as his could before the rush of the moment ended. His eyes stubbornly refusing to meet mine.
"You remember that strange black shape you saw when you guys were falling?" he asked.
My mind instantly flashed back: SunGard was spinning out of control and I was clinging to her back—trying to not fall off. I was screaming, she was roaring. We were falling fast, there wasn't enough time to catch a strong wind to help us to the sky again; and there was no near ground that was soft enough for us to fall in.
We thought that it was going to be the end of us.
There were thousands of wickedly sharp rocks at the crumbly cliff-side a few feet below us. I shut my eyes closed tight; waiting for that sickening splat, waiting for that awful moment that everything was gone. But then the wind shifted. I opened my eyes, which were squinted because of the force of the knifing wind; whipping my hair back enthusiastically. I saw a blurry black shape under SunGard's wing—I thought for a moment it was just my imagination. And had no time to ponder the thought as we crashed onto the ground, the dirt falling into my face.
We were safe. We landed on the ground, and SunGard only got a sprained ankle out of it.
But how did he know about that?
Sensing my confusion, he opened his mouth to answer, "Toothless and I were flying around when we noticed something funny. It was you guys—falling. And you were falling fast; we couldn't pull you from it. The current was too strong. So we pushed under SunGard's wing, hoping that the other would soon follow. And it did, we managed to get you out of there. But something hit us and we spiralled out of control. I got a scar out of it" he shrugged nonchalantly, "—but it didn't really matter to me. I need to know if you were okay. You are okay, right?"
"Uh – yeah. I'm fine..." I said, feeling a little strange.
"You sure?" he pressed with scared eyes, "because you were wobbly for weeks after that. And you've been acting really strange these past few months that I—"
Everything suddenly clicked together.
My eyes widened with the revelation. He was scared...for me. Because he thought that he'd hurt me! Oh Gods...I've never felt so touched in my entire life...it's disgusting.
"What? No way! I've fine! I swear! If it wasn't for you and Toothless, we would have been vulture chow!" I said feeling incredulous.
How could he think that it was his fault, that I was acting weird these past few months?
"Weren't. It's weren't." He corrected me.
I felt like laughing at the irony. He is utterly the awesomest person ever, which I've met.
"I'm serious, Hiccup. I'm fine." I said shushing his worried cries. And before I lost my nerve, I grabbed his tunic and kissed him. Properly.
It was amazing, mind-blowing, the awesomest feeling ever—why the hell haven't I done this before? My brain melted as soon as his lips landed on mine. It seemed like eternity before I pulled away. He looked flushed, happy and completely utterly Hiccup. I loved that I still had that affect on him.
"And that's for caring so much." I said with an idiotic smile etched on my face.
A/N: How was it? I'm freaking nervous about this story...
* LOL, STARKID'S A Very Potter Musical ANYBODY? XD
** Hehee, another line from the VERY famous Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie XP
*** Real line. I didn't make that up, saw it in a magazine once. Makes you want to throw up your dinner, doesn't it?
So anyways, please I would LOVE your thoughts on how this story was! I've been working really hard on it and I'd really like it if people said something nice about it. I'm not going to say "It's okay it's one word or a smiley, as long as you give me one!" because honestly, I DO hate it when people do that. So please, a sentence or something won't take THAT long to write...Please review!