Soli Deo gloria

DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own How To Train Your Dragon.

Berk had a weird sort of weather pattern. One day it could be ten billion degrees below zero and the wind against one's face could freeze your boogies and create little shields of ice around your eyes and the next it could be a sweltering desert with a big baking sun set on destroying the hopes and dreams of the locals that day.

Today it was one of the those days when it was bitterly cold, and Hiccup did not appreciate it. He was far smaller than many of the Vikings of Berk and so the extra cold weather did not do him any good.

It was a very dark evening, and snow was all about the island of Berk. All except by the watchtowers. There on the watchtowers were large billowing fires set in stony fireplaces. At the fireplace in the watchtower Hiccup was in was Gobber the Belch, sitting in a very peculiar position and pulling out a very large chicken bone out of a barracuda he had caught out of the freezing waters just hours before.

To his side Tuffnut and Ruffnut were having a particularly good time thumping each other on their heads with their roasting sticks, which were both black as black could be. Snotlout was busy stifling a scream as he held out his bare hand, wrapped up in a chicken that still had patches of feathers on it, over the fire.

Astrid leaned casually against the side of the watchtower digging out the bone marrow of a deer and eating the cooked blood. Fishlegs, wrapped up in his huge vest, was asking Gobber something which set off the old teacher/blacksmith to a story.

"That is a very good question, Fishlegs, and here's the answer," Gobber said, sitting drunkenly up. His hook had been replaced with a large flagon. He wiped at his mustache and started off, "The way that Berk got its name was very peculiar indeed. . ."

"It isn't that peculiar once you've heard about it forty-four times," growled Hiccup. He sat on the very edge near the exit to the watchtower. He was also sitting next to Fishlegs, who was taking up a great portion of the bench, and he was trying not to fall to the ground.

He miserably pulled his little vest closer and stared at the fire, a look of annoyance on his face. He'd been dragged into this little outing by Gobber after work. He would've been content to sit in the Great Hall and give Fishlegs his mead that Snotlout wanted them all to drink but NOOOOOOO, Gobber insisted that they go to the watchtower just like they used to during training.

Brilliant idea. Hiccup had long ago lost his appetite after he saw Tuffnut and Ruffnut having an upchucking contest over the side of the watchtower (they were just trying to see if they could hit a flying dragon) and had long since given his roasting fish to Fishlegs. He now sat in his perfectly miserable position, zoning out Gobber's story of how Berk got its name. Hiccup knew, of course. Hadn't Gobber told him so many times at the blacksmith's shop when there was no once else to talk to? Hiccup could've easily just told Fishlegs that it had gotten its name after the Viking who conquered it, Blitherbug the Berserk. Berserk had been shortened to Berk; it was that simple. But Hiccup, still a bit used to being in the background, had taken too much time to summon the courage to talk and Gobber was off on one of his crazy stories. Oi.

So he sat there for a bit, grumbling to himself and wishing that he was home in bed instead of sitting with these perfectly cheerful people in the bitter cold eating large and copious amounts of greasy food.

Fortunately for him, his grumbling was loud. From her spot next to Snotlout, Astrid threw her last deer bone into the fire and looked at Hiccup, who had a snarky look on his face. He was obviously not enjoying himself. Frowning, Astrid hissed in his direction, "Hiccup?"

He continued with his moping, wishing that he could just read a book and do something un-Viking like.

"Hiccup!" Astrid whispered louder.

He looked at her finally and said quietly, almost inaudible, "What?"

Astrid was about to speak when Snotlout looked at the two of them. Huffing, Astrid shoved his head around and then mouthed to Hiccup, "What's wrong with you?"

"I don't like the cold," he mouthed bitterly back.

They then began to have a weird sort of conversation made out of whispered words, mouthed words, and large and tiny gestures used their lips, fingers, hands, legs, and toes; a sort of fierce atmosphere came about of who would last longer. They finally finished with Hiccup looking particularly annoyed, his lip hooked up, and Astrid smirking, arms folded.

Smirking still, Astrid looked around their group; when she saw everyone looking at Gobber, she leapt up and dashed to Hiccup. Before he could say or do anything, she had his arm in her clutches and he was being pulled down the stairs that led up to the watchtower.

"Astrid!" Hiccup was able to make out. The wind was blowing something awful and being the fishbone he was, he and the wind did not mix.

Astrid brought them to an abrupt stop on a landing and turning to Hiccup, said a little irritably, "You didn't want to stay up there, did you?"

"No," he said grudgingly.

"Then come on," and Astrid grabbed his wrist and dragged him down the rest of the stairs.

"Astrid! WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING?" Hiccup yelled over the wind.

Astrid brought the two of them to a stop again. "Hiccup," she said firmly, "you have three choices, okay? One, you can go back up there and be miserable. Two, you can go home and be alone in your bed; or three, you follow me."

"Does it involve being cold?" Hiccup asked uncertainly.

"Hiccup, you're going to be cold in Berk all the time unless you're in your bed," Astrid told him. She wore a small smile as she said, "I would've thought that with you living here your entire life you'd know that."

"I try to ignore that fact," Hiccup said, folding his arms, trying to keep warm.

"Well? What are you going to do?" Astrid asked him.

Hiccup thought a moment, then said gruffly, "I'll go with you."

"Good, c'mon," Astrid said, and her hand still holding his wrist, she took him down the hill.

They raced down the snowy hills and got their boots all snowy as they ran. Astrid, for some weird twisted reason, was smiling to herself. Hiccup was not amused. The wind was only making him colder. It wasn't snowing, thank goodness, but it sure as hell felt as cold as if it was.

Down, down, down and around and about until Hiccup was panting. Sweat was keeping him warm and he was no longer cold under his clothes. "Astrid, where are we going?"

"Here," Astrid said simply and they stopped. Hiccup looked around. It was a very basic pasture that sheep pastured in during the times that it was not night nor covered in deep snow.

"Why are we here, Astrid?" Hiccup wanted to know.

Either she didn't hear him or her lying down on the snow was her answer.

"Don't tell me I have to lie on the cold snow," Hiccup sighed.

"C'mon, Hiccup, it'll feel nice after running," Astrid told him.

"Why do I listen to you, again?" Hiccup sighed as he plopped down in a sitting position on the ground.

"Because you have good reason to?" Astrid suggested as she slipped her arms under her head as a pillow. Hiccup groaned and lay down fully, his arms folded in a weird pretzely sort of way across his torso.

They lay there for a couple of minutes, Astrid smiling to herself, Hiccup wondering what the point of doing this was.

"What are we doing?" Hiccup wanted to know.

"Waiting for the clouds to leave, which should be . . . right about . . . now," Astrid said, pointing up toward the sky.

Hiccup watched her finger up to the sky to see the clouds moving past to reveal a lovely sky full of stars. They were everywhere, covering nearly the entire expanse of sky. They dotted the dark sky, twinkling. In the background, Hiccup could see the moon shining.

He let out a low whistle and said, "Wow."

"Wow," Astrid repeated. "Now, Hiccup," she said, still looking at the sky. "We're going to enjoy ourselves."

"How?" Hiccup wanted to know.

"Dunno, I just like stars," Astrid shrugged in the snow.

"Well, how about we find constellations?" Hiccup asked.

Astrid sighed. "Why do you know that word?"

"You forget that I sorta read books," Hiccup told her.

"That's true," Astrid said. "What's a constellation?"

"Well," Hiccup said slowly, "it's like a picture made out of stars."

"Show me one," Astrid said.

Hiccup shrugged and said, "Well, there's . . . um . . . the Centaurus constellation." He pointed into the sky to a group of stars all squiggly but still formed together to make a noticeable shape. "See, it looks like a horse with the head and torso of a man."

Astrid leaned her head forward and pointed to it. "That's it?"

"Yeah," Hiccup said, settling his hands back into formation. "That one."

Astrid nodded after a moment and said, "Well, there's one that looks kinda like a wolf. See his snout?"

"Its snout kinda looks like Snotlout's," Hiccup said calmly. "Yeah, that one is called Lupus. You know, Latin for wolf."

"Since when do you read Latin?" Astrid said, turning to face Hiccup.

"Since . . . I don't know. Ten, eleven-years-old, I guess," Hiccup shrugged.

"You're too smart for your own good," Astrid smirked, giving him a little punch to the arm before turning back to the sky.

Hiccup turned to look at her and said, "What, no kiss?"

"You haven't particularly aggravated me yet," Astrid said calmly. She pointed into the sky and said, "Look, that one looks like a snake!"

"The Serpens," Hiccup couldn't help but say. "And—and there's the Triangulum."

"Hiccup, that's a triangle."

"So? It's a constellation!"

"Fine. Wait, look at that one!" and at the same time, they both pointed to the same constellation.

They both said, "It's a dragon!"

Astrid smirked and said, "Well, what's your Latin name for that one?"

"You didn't want to hear their Latin names," Hiccup started.

"Now I do."

"Fine, it's called the Draco constellation."

"Nice," Astrid said. They lay there in the snow for a little while, gazing at the stars. Hiccup was not feeling too cold now. He was always cold, it was true. If it wasn't his hands that were cold it was his feet. If it wasn't his cheeks, it was his legs. It was always like that in Berk. Now, he didn't feel particularly cold at all, even though he was laying down in the snow on a cold night in Berk. He felt perfectly content and warm.

"Is this better than listening to Gobber's story?" Astrid asked him after a while.

Hiccup nodded to himself as he shifted his arms to use them as a pillow like Astrid did. "Yep; this is much, much better."

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