It was a beautiful day, Astrid thought to herself. Nothing beat a long day spent working in the quarry digging out boulders than enjoying a perfect spring afternoon chowing down on awesome food and spending quality time with her closest friends, but she could not shake the feeling that something was not quite right.
Hiccup was distracted and not really listening to her as he was too busy half stuffing his face and half focusing on Toothless. It was also lunchtime for their dragons but Toothless was not eating, Astrid noticed as she watched from her seat under a tree and wondered if he was feeling okay. Stormfly was there as well, swooping in and out of the river, emerging with a yummy fat salmon clutched between her teeth every time, but her buddy Toothless wasn't interested in any of that. The Night Fury just sat there crouched in the long grasses growing along the banks of the river completely disinterested in joining the Nadder in her hunt.
"Is Toothless feeling okay?" She asked her date, who was in the middle of a yummy meal himself. He was sitting across from her devouring a slice of the quiche she had prepared for them.
Hiccup looked up at her. "Couldn't be better." He said, his words muffled by his full mouth. "What's this again?" He asked.
Astrid smiled. "Grandma's Cheesequichecake." She said, beaming with pride. "A delicate dance of the sweet and the savory. A quiche with a cheesecake swirled in – it's a complete meal in a compact little package!"
"Mmmm's good." Hiccup said, and took another bite of the cake with much gusto. "Did your grandma teach you how to make it?"
"Oh, no. I came up with the recipe myself. I call it that so I have something to pass down to my grand kids." She explained and watched as Hiccup opened his jaw as wiiiiide as possible and even then, his mouth was barely big enough to contain the rest of the cake into which he was currently stuffing. Astrid raised an eyebrow. Though she was flattered that her recipe had gotten such a positive reception, nobody could stuff half a slice of a cake as dense as that into one bite! It was physically impossible! She watched nervously as he worked the food jam packed in his mouth and swallowed it down. She had her Kiss of Life with her so he would be okay even if he did choke. A well placed jab with the butt of her ax would dislodge any obstruction. But still...
Hiccup stood up and wiped his hands on his thighs. "That was delicious. Thanks, Astrid."
Her worry dissipated with the compliment. She beamed brightly. "Anytime. Hey, we should do this next week too! I have something else I'm working on..." She trailed off when it became evident that she was no longer speaking to anyone. Hiccup was half-running, half-tripping down the hill heading towards the riverbank where their dragons were working on their lunch. "...something else." She mumbled to nobody in particular. How Rude!
Under any other circumstance, she would have totally reamed him out for doing that, but it was so out of character for Hiccup blow her off like that, so she was more stunned than angry over what had just happened. But still...
Oh, she would have a talk with him, all right. Astrid cursed under her breath, pulled out the whetstone from the purse and began to sharpen her blade. Her mood ruined, she watched Stormfly. At least Astrid could count on her to not be rude and disappoint her. The dragon was downstream some 15 yards away and acting totally cute. She had finished with her meal by then, and was splashing around in the icy waters, terrorizing the fish that had survived to be fed upon another day.
Toothless still had not yet moved from his spot in the tall grass. He remained completely still and wanted nothing to do with Stormfly or Hiccup or any of them. Astrid's anger turned to worry. Something was seriously wrong with the dragon. She understood then. Hiccup had to have sensed it as well, she thought. Despite reassuring her that Toothless was fine, he had to have known that his buddy wasn't feeling well. He was probably hiding it so that she wouldn't worry. That's why he's been acting so weird and distracted today, she thought.
Stormfly squawked at Hiccup, and Astrid watched as her dragon snatched a fish out of the river and tossed it over to Hiccup. The boy and the Nadder were trying to help Toothless eat since he was not feeding himself, she realized. Toothless nibbled hesitantly at the fish that was placed before him and then roasted it with a fire bolt before eating it. That was odd, she thought. Since when did Toothless cook his food before he ate it? Astrid wondered. She had never seen any of the dragons back in the village do that.
Hiccup did not seem to be concerned, or if he was, he didn't show it. If he thought Toothless cooking his meal was no big deal then maybe it wasn't... Stormfly had plucked another fish out of the river and again had lobbed it over to Hiccup. Astrid watched, incredulous, as her boyfriend lifted the still wiggly fresh catch to his mouth and tore off a chunk with his teeth before offering the rest to his ailing dragon.
"Hiccup!" She called out. He did not seem to hear her, as he continued to see to Toothless.
"HEY~~~ HICUUUP!" She called out again, louder. Again, Hiccup made no sign to suggest that he heard her. But Toothless did. She noticed the dragon prick up his ears and poked Hiccup in the side with his snout. He looked up at her and waved, signaling that she had his attention.
"Come here, I need to ask you something!" She beckoned him over. He didn't move at first, he just stood there and looked at her like he was wondering if she was even worth his time, but then Toothless jabbed him in the back more forcefully that time so he acquiesced. Good boy. She thought to herself. She would have to make him a snack for later. Toothless was not the only one not right today, she thought. If only she could get Hiccup to tell her what was going on.
"Hey Astrid." He said. "What's up?"
She studied his face for a moment. "Hiccup, are you feeling okay?" She asked.
He shrugged. "Hive never felt better. Why do you ask?"
Hive? She shook her head. "No reason."
The Downed Dragons
The boy waited at the front door of his house and watched as the girl and Stormfly headed off. "That was close." He said to the dragon sitting at his side. "You need to be more careful, Buddy. You almost blew our cover back there."
The dragon responded by snorting and snapping his jaw.
"Oh come on, you know there was a perfectly good explanation for that. You weren't eating right so I had to show you how it was done." The dragon said nothing. He knew that the boy was right about that, even if he was not happy about it.
"I'm sorry, Buddy, but we really do need to be careful. This is only temporary and nobody can do anything about it, so it's best not to impose and cause a giant freak out over nothing."
The dragon padded off to his roost. "Hmm, not feeling very sociable tonight, are you? Well, I can't say I blame you." The boy turned to enter his house.
"Two more days of this, Kiddo. Only two more."