I wrote this a while back for Mericcup week. I've been meaning to post all of the things I wrote that week, but this was the only one worth posting. Hope you enjoy it.
Reviews are better than chocolate.
"Ah don' get 'et." Merida frowned at the Viking boy as he pumped the bellows, throwing all of his weight onto the wooden lever and fueling the already roaring fire in the furnace. The heat of the forge was stifling despite the frigid air out side. Merida had traded her dress for a pair of Hiccup's old tunic and trousers in an attempt to keep cool but the thick wool still clung to her damp skin.
"What's there to get, Mer?" Hiccup threw her a funny look as he crossed the smithy. His brown hair was dark with sweat, hanging limply in his eyes. He was searching for something, weaving his way through discarded weapons and dragon tack, "I'm making a new leg."
"Wha's wrong wit yer ol' leg?" Merida sat in the corner of the shop, perched on the edge of his work table surrounded by dozens of pencil sketches and diagrams. Designs and concepts for a new prosthetic foot were everywhere. Some hung from the walls, and some lay discarded and crumpled in heaps on the floor. She fingered the edge of a loose paper, a puzzled expression on her face.
An incredibly detailed sketch was scribbled in the center of the yellowing parchment, each piece and mechanism labeled in Hiccup's illegible handwriting. Merida had long since given up trying to translate the ridiculous chicken scratch he tried to pass as letters and words. She simply admired his drawings, in awe of the apt attention he paid to every detail. He certainly had a gift.
"Winter's coming," he said, his muted voice wafting from beneath the grinding wheel. "Last year I spent all of Snoggletogg slipping on the ice with my old leg, so I'm making a new one. Ah, found it." He made to stand up but his head collided with the edge of the grinding wheel with a loud thwack!
"Oh, Gods." He gasped through clenched teeth. Merida jumped, discarding the paper and leaping from her perch on Hiccup's table in concern, "Hiccup! Are ye alrigh'?"
"Short son of a troll mother that hurt," he hissed, clutching the back of his head. Merida blinked, allowing his strange curse to register before trying and failing to bite back a rather unladylike snort.
"Shart son ov' a wha'?" She choked over her laugher, clutching her stomach as Hiccup glared at her. His face only amused her more and soon her peals of laughter filled the workshop.
"Glad my pain amuses you princess," He muttered under her chortling, dragging a large wooden crate out from under the grinding wheel. It was filled with pieces of twisted metals, scraps of torn leather and other trashed material. Hiccup grunted, pushing the crate towards the furnace.
Merida's laughter subsided and she watched as Hiccup crouched in front of the crate, sifting through the scraps. He examined each metal shard carefully and picked out the pieces he wanted. When he pulled out a rather tarnished scrap of leather she tilted her head to the side in confusion.
"Yer usen' all dat?"
He looked up, "Yeah."
"But 'et's trash."
He smiled shaking his head, "To most people, yeah, but you'd be surprised what a little trash can become." He held up the torn sheet of leather. It was embedded with rivets and buckles. The leather was cracked and dirty and completely worn through, but he tapped a long finger on the buckles, "The metal can be melted down and casted into something new, and," He dug deeper into the crate and produced a splintered handle that might have belonged to an axe or a hammer at one point, "a little sanding and cutting and this'll be good as new."
Merida nodded, considering him for a moment before she shrugged and hoisted herself back onto his work table, "Well, Ah'll take yer ward fer 'et. 'Ef anyone can do anythin' wit a box a junk, 'et's ye."
Hiccup blushed turning his attention back to the crate and cleared his throat, "Yeah, well, ah. I better get to work."
Merida watched Hiccup work in silence. She watched as he cut up lengths of spare rope, melted down scraps of metal and scavenge rivets and springs for his new foot. Sweat dripped down his face and collected on his forehead and upper lip as he poured the molten metal into a cast and shaped it into what he had drawn in his diagrams. The long, wiry muscles of his forearms rippled with each downward stroke of his hammer as he pounded the metal into shape.
It was a process that never failed to amaze her, just like the Viking teen that carried it out. Hiccup had the uncanny ability to see the beauty and potential in everything. He had seen it in her when she had stumbled upon him and his beloved dragon in the forests of her home. He had seen it in that box of trash that stood in the middle of the dirt floor. He had taken the beauty he saw and made a friend, a brave and loyal companion if Merida did say so herself (and she did). He had taken the potential he saw in Gobber's crate of trash and created something new and useful for himself.
Merida had never considered herself very deep or prophetic. She saw things as they were. A bush was a bush was a bush in her eyes, but Merida prided herself in seeing the beauty in one thing Hiccup didn't: himself.