Hiccup coughed at the smoke in the air, but it was nothing compared to what could have happened to them if they had been caught. His breathing began to slow and as the shock of the situation seemed to wear off, he looked down at Astrid. "Are- are you alright?" he asked, worry in his eyes.
When it was proven that she was, indeed okay, he heaved a sigh of relief before turning back to face Toothless who stood there looking at them eagerly. It seemed that their venture wasn't over yet. Hiccup finally stepped away from Astrid to pull out his flashlight. If he had more time to think about how close they were, he might have blushed again. He aimed the flashlight into the darkness, squinting to help him see better. Toothless let out a short roar before starting the descent into the cave. The ground tipped downward, but other than that, it was fairly smooth.
"Hang on," Hiccup whispered into the darkness. "We're under the mountain. This tunnel might even connect to the cave next to the boat," he told Astrid as they walked, careful of where they put their feet. Even if that were so, they were still some distance away. They walked in silence for a moment before Hiccup decided that he would have enough time to update Astrid.
"He came to drink right after you fell asleep," he explained, knowing he didn't need to preface the conversation in any way. "I can't believe it but... he remembers me." Hiccup kept Toothless in his sight at all times, making sure they wouldn't get separated. "He can't fly because of his tail," he said, pointing at the tail moving back and forth in front of them. "He's nothing like I thought, either." The excitement leaked back into his voice and he was smiling again. "He's curious and sweet and- and his teeth are retractable! And I was wrong when I assumed he had scales. It's more like a thick hide. like a lizard's. Astrid, he's amazing!"
If they were in a different situation she might have found the fact that Hiccup had named the dragon rather sweet but they had no time to stop and appreciated their bond at this moment in time. She barely even noticed the fact that his grip tightened around her hand but when she did she took that as an indication to start running. She had barely caught her breath but the time for rest would come the moment they found shelter and it seemed that Toothless knew exactly where they might find safety.
Their feet carried them as fast as they could and soon enough they found themselves in another clearing. As they ran, she kept checking the sky to make sure that they dragon hadn’t found them but they were not permitted such luck. The shadow gave it away at first but when she looked above them she could see the angry beast began to descend towards them. She could only hope that where ever this shelter was, it would be within their reach soon.
She barely even noticed the cave. She had been too busy focusing on making sure that she kept up that before she knew it they had already made it through the threshold of the cave. A few deep breaths escaped her lips before she noticed the burst of fire heading towards them. Her eyes widened in fear before Hiccup took hold of her, pulling him towards him and out of the range of the fire. Astrid tightened her grip around him and placed her head on Hiccup’s shoulder, allowing herself a moment to gather herself.
Hiccup nodded, his grip tightening on her hand before turning back to Toothless. "Alright, Toothless. Show us the way."
And just like that they were off again. They could hear the dragon behind them, growing angry, and they kept their pace up. For a dragon who couldn't fly, Toothless was quick on the ground, too. He bounced off the ground and trees. He seemed used to being unable to fly, but his wings would sometimes still flap aimlessly. They could barely keep up with him and every once in a while, the dragon would look back at them to make sure they were still there.
After a few long moments of running, they broke into another clearing just under the one mountain peak the island had to offer. Toothless broke through the line of trees and darted across the open grass. Hiccup followed, his hand still in Astrid's, looking up when a shadow suddenly covered the ground. The red dragon managed to find them from the sky and it dove again.
"Where are we going!?" he yelled at Toothless's back, but just as the words escaped him, he saw their destination. There, in the foot of the mountain, was a cave. Toothless disappeared inside the mouth, instantly disappearing in darkness. Not long after, Hiccup and Astrid made it to the opening. The larger dragon was hot on their heels, and they dove last second, skidding and rolling into the cave. The opening was too small for the dragon to get through, so it tried to claw at them. When that didn't work, it spat fire at them just as they got to their feet. Hiccup instinctively grabbed Astrid and pulled her away from the fire and they were once again in an embrace, their chests heaving with the exertion. Hiccup stared at the opening of the cave. The dragon was angry, but knew it had been outsmarted. It blew smoke at them before walking away.
She was sure that she would stumble and fall ad she continued to run as fast as her legs would carry her. She had no real idea where she was running to but she knew that she wasn’t going to allow herself to be a meal to some beast that seemed to pop up when they least expected it. Even though she should have been worried about getting herself to safety, she couldn’t help but concern herself with Hiccup and whether he had managed to find safety.
As if to answer that question, Astrid heard her name being called out and in an instant, she changed her direction to that she was now heading directly for Hiccup. She ran towards him and took the hand he had offered to her and watched as Hiccup’s new acquaintance put himself in harm’s way to give them more time to find cover. They both continued to run before they got to a point where Hiccup stopped to look back at the dragons who were beginning to fight with each other. There was nothing that Astrid could have done to stop Hiccup from launching back into the clearing.
“No, Hiccup.” She shouted, worried about him getting hurt. She might have done the same if she had grown such an attachment to the dragon. She watched closely as her chest rose and fell quickly with the heavy breathing that had taken over her lungs and she felt nothing but relief when she saw the two of them running back towards her. She watched as Toothless dropped Hiccup on the floor and how he then rushed to check him over, clearly concerned that he had been injured by the other dragon.
Astrid nodded when he told her that they needed to move. Neither one of them noticed that their hands had found their way to each other again. “Then let’s follow him.”
"Toothless! Wait!" Hiccup fought in the grip of his jaws. Toothless obviously remembered which leg was fake and went to drag him by that one instead of harming his other leg. "W-wait! We have to go back!" Hiccup clawed at the ground until they were under the cover of the trees and the dragon let go of his boot. He was standing and starting to run back into the clearing when he was suddenly knocked backward by Toothless's tail, landing him on the ground once more.
Hiccup looked up at him, green eyes meeting green eyes. Hiccup sat up, taking Toothless's face in his hands. "I know you want to protect me, but my friend is out there. We have to get her to safety, too." And with that, Hiccup started to run back towards the water.
His eyes instantly went to the boulder, but Astrid was nowhere to be found there. He looked around the clearing and finally saw her making a break for the trees. The dragon dove from the sky right at her.
"Astrid! This way!" She had heard him and he held out his hand for her to grab just as Toothless put himself between them and the red beast. They hissed and screeched at each other and Toothless let out another screaming shot of blue fire. It knocked the other dragon back just enough to give them time to get to the trees.
Hiccup looked back at the scene once they made it into the woods once more. Even if it wanted to attack them, it wouldn't be able to, far too large to fit between the trees. Toothless was still blocking the dragons path to them, nonetheless. It had recovered enough to blow fire back and suddenly its razor sharp teeth were trying to find purchase on Toothless's hide.
"No!" Hiccup practically screamed the word before darting back out into the clearing. The sun was now up, sending long, morning shadows across the water. He made it to Toothless and started pulling on him. "Leave it!" he told the dragon. "Let it go! Come on!"
As if on cue, Toothless turned suddenly, pushing into Hiccup. It sent one last shot over its shoulder to slow their enemy before biting onto the back of Hiccup's shirt and carrying him the rest of the way to the forest, faster than Hiccup could have made on foot.
When they broke through the line of trees, Toothless dropped him, then tripped over his flailing limbs while trying to stand. The dragon went rolling into a tree before standing, shaking his head, and blinking a few times. Hiccup stood quickly, closing the distance between himself and the dragon. He took his face in his hands once more, making sure he was alright before turning back to Astrid. He held out his hand to her. "We need to get out of here before it decides to burn the forest," he told her.
He had no idea that Astrid had seen his friendship with Toothless in the making. And he felt the need to explain why a [i dragon] was a part of their team. But it was not the time.
Toothless looked at them, letting out an eager roar before bouncing away and looking back. "I think he wants us to follow him," he told her, unaware that he was still holding her hand. The adrenaline pumping through him didn't allow him a lot of time to think about those things.
It wasn’t likely that Astrid would find sleep again after that moment. There was something about her dream that kept her from wanting to return to her state of sleep. Even though it must have been the very early hours of the morning, she was awake now and she would find something that would pass the time until Hiccup eventually decided to return to the camp that they had set up together. She smiled again as the memories of what she had observed visited her mind once more. The way that the dragon had responded to Hiccup made her think that their bond had been created long ago. It was clear that he remembered Hiccup and that fact alone brought a smile to her face. She was glad that he was finally experiencing what he really wanted rather than focusing his efforts on a revenge that he didn’t really want.
Now, she decided to occupy her mind the same way she usually did when she found it difficult to sleep back home. She had packed a book when the left the boat, thinking there might be an opportunity to get some reading in but Hiccup had kept her more that entertained for most of the day. Astrid reached into her bag and pulled the book out, setting up the flashlight in between a couple of rocks so that it acted as a lamp and within minutes she had lost herself in the book that she had been using to help her study before she started college.
It wasn’t until she heard a loud shriek from the sky above her that she realised that the morning sun was beginning to rise. The book dropped out of her hand and she rose to her feet, knocking to flashlight over. Within moment she heard Hiccup’s voice shouting through the short silence. She wanted nothing more than to find Hiccup and make sure that he was alright but she knew that his dragon would have offered him whatever protection he could. He had done it before after all. Her heart beat started to quicken as she caught sight of the beast who had already threatened them. She cursed under her breath realising that the fire she had kept burning drew attention to herself and the dragon locked eyes on her, making a dive directly for her. She didn’t even have time to think before she started to run in whatever direction her feet would take her. Any pain that she might have felt in her ankle had been shielded by the rush of adrenaline that ran through her body as she ran, panting as her breaths started to quicken.
The dragon shifted then, its tongue darting out to lick at Hiccups hand that was still extended. Hiccup couldn't help but laugh.
"You like that, huh? Toothless?" Apparently so, because the licks made their way to his face, forcing Hiccup onto his back in the dirt, trying hard not to laugh so loud he woke Astrid. He had been too enraptured by the moment to notice that she was already up.
Hiccup reattached his leg, watched by those big green eyes, and he stood once more. "Toothless," he said with a smile, running a hand over his head and ears. "You're amazing." His hand traveled down his neck and back, feeling every ridge. He reached Toothless's tail.
"S-so if it wasn't you I was seeing flying at night... then who was it?" Toothless circled around him, rubbing against him like a loving cat and Hiccup couldn't help but laugh again. His tail passed in front of Hiccup and he let his hands run over it. "I-I could try to fix this," he offered, digging around in his bag for his tape measure. "It's the least I could do." He knew that it was most likely lost the night Hiccup lost his mother and leg. The scuffle between the dragons seemed violent enough and he knew that Toothless had been wounded in the attempt to save his live. He spent the next half hour trying to get measurements on the tail fin Toothless still had. It was difficult because he didn't seem to want to stop moving.
He jotted the numbers down in his journal along with a to-scale drawing. He didn't know what he'd use to make a prosthetic tail fin, but if anyone was resourceful enough to figure it out, it was Hiccup.
Hiccup had forgotten that it was the middle of the night. And even if he didn't he wouldn't have cared. He spent that entire night bonding with this dragon that no more than a day ago he had been sure he wanted to kill.
Toothless imitated his drawings in the dirt with a large branch. They played fetch with the tin can. The whole while, Hiccup was drawing up plans to make a tail fin. It wasn't until the early hours of the morning that Hiccup was overcome with exhaustion. He wanted nothing more than to stay with Toothless, yet it was as if the dragon could tell that he needed to sleep. He pushed Hiccup backwards toward the boulder with his head, grumbling in that funny way that Hiccup was slowly growing used to.
"No, I- I'm not wasting a moment with you," he told his new friend. "I've been searching for you for half my life." By now the sun was just starting to turn the black sky dark orange. He pushed back again Toothless's head stubbornly. But the dragon was just as determined as he was. And stronger. Their play was halted when a familiar roar rang through the air. Both boy and dragon looked to the sky, eyes wide.
Toothless let out a angry noise and leaned back. Opening his mouth, he let out a blue flash of light from his throat that exploded once it met the sky. It lit it up enough for them to see that the angry red dragon was back, but Hiccup could hardly wrap his head around what he had just seen Toothless do that it took him a moment to even register what was happening. After the warning shot, Toothless bent low, grabbing a hold of Hiccup's fake leg with his mouth and pulling. Hiccup fell to the ground and realized that he was being pulled into the cover of the trees.
"Astrid!" He yelled, hoping she could hear him through her sleep. "Astrid RUN!"
[I It was cold. There was no other way to describe the feeling other than cold. Arms crossed tightly across her chest to alleviate the chill that threatened to overtake her body. Step by step she made her way through the darkness, wondering what she might find if she were to continue travelling through it. The place felt familiar yet she recognised nothing. That might have been because most of the recognisable features were encased in darkness. As she let out a breath, she saw a cloud form as it hit the cold air and her body started to shiver as the cold air made its way into her lungs.]
[I One foot in front of the other. The silence her environment offered her was deafening. Not even the sound of earth’s natural creatures filled the air. If this were anything other than a dream she might have been terrified. As she placed her foot on the ground a loud crunch could be heard.]
Astrid’s eyes shot open and she sat up instantly. Every now and then she would dream about that same place, never quite being able to figure out where it was or why she was there in the first place. It wasn’t a memory, she knew that much. It didn’t matter now that she was awake. The flicker of the flame was slowly starting to burn out and she allowed a sigh to escape her lips when she realised that it must have been the spit of the fire that pulled her out of her sleep in the first place. Astrid then allowed her eyes to travel to where Hiccup had been sleeping and as soon as her eyes adjusted properly she realised the he was not there.
“Hiccup?” Her voice was a low whisper as she turned her head to look around, knowing that it was highly unlikely that she would see him nearby. She placed her hands on the ground and pushed herself up so that she could look down towards the lake but she could see nothing but the reflection of the calm water in the moonlight. It was too dark to make out anything down there now, especially since the fire near their camp was drowning out all the shadows that she might have been able to see if she properly allowed her eyes to adjust to the darkness.
She reached for her bag and pulled out a flashlight and checked that it worked before pouring the light onto the boulder below, knowing that she would need as much visibility as possible for her to make it down there without hurting herself. She was worried about where Hiccup might be, especially if he had gone looking for his dragon and came across the violent beast that stalked them before. Carefully, Astrid climbed down from the boulders, only slightly grazing her knee when she misjudged the distance between the rock and her body.
The light from the flashlight didn’t offer much but at least she could see the path before her. If anything, she would be able to see where she was going. Astrid looked towards the ground, noticing some disturbed soil by someone who seemed to be in a rush and she felt her heart quicken. She could only hope that Hiccup was rushing because he found something he was excited about rather than something far more sinister.
It was then that she could have sworn that she heard Hiccup’s voice in the distance and she held up the flashlight towards where it was coming from and moved quietly so that she didn’t disturb anything. Slowly his voice was getting louder and she could have sworn she heard Hiccup talking about tuna. The idea in itself almost made her laugh and she shook her head as she continued on until eventually her flashlight managed to highlight Hiccup’s figure standing with the dragon that he had sought. She stopped dead, not wanting to ruin the moment for him or disturb their exchange and she simply watched them, now being able to hear Hiccup fully.
Her heart seemed to melt as the scene unfolded before her, watching him befriend that dragon that had once saved his life and she could not help but allow a smile to spread across her lips. Her hand moved to rest above her heart on her chest and she continued to watch as the dragon pressed his face against Hiccup’s palm. There was something so kind about the dragon’s mentality that she felt no need to interfere but she was so stricken by it that she couldn’t bring herself to leave them in privacy either.
Hiccup shifted now, allowing his body to sit on the floor in front of the dragon and performed actions that he thought might have helped the dragon recognise him and she smiled as the dragon acquainted himself with the leg that had to be sacrificed in order to save his life. She looked away, wondering whether she should announce herself but she decided that Hiccup was safe with him. The last thing she wanted was to intrude on something so personal; she had already felt like she had encroached on their private exchange.
Astrid turned on her heel and decided to make her way back to their camp.
Hiccup was thankful for the water. They had been so caught up in the day that he'd completely forgot. He took a long drink from his canteen. They looked up at the stars for a long while and eventually he heard Astrid whisper a goodnight.
"Goodnight, Astrid," he whispered back. But he had no intention of sleeping if he could help it. After a long moment he sat up. The scene looked very different to how it did in the daylight. Other than Astrid's breaths beside him, he heard nothing. Most of the dragons were gone now, off to sleep through the night.
For an hour or two, Hiccup kept the fire fueled. He was starting to feel that his mission was hopeless. Perhaps this dragon didn't need fresh water. Perhaps there was another source somewhere else on the island. Whatever it was, he was starting to feel foolish for hoping to even catch a glimpse.
It was only when he was about ready to catch some sleep himself that he heard it. He squinted towards the rustling of bushes to the side of the clearing. At first he didn't see it. But the eyes shone through the darkness, bright and green, and Hiccup knew he had found his dragon at last.
It made its way to the water, looking all around him for danger, maybe. Then he lapped at the water for a long while. When he was done with his drink, he started to bat at the water playfully, intrigued by the fish within.
Hiccup's eyes were wide, a huge smile on his face. Without so much of a thought, he stepped over Astrid and started his decline down the boulder. He wasn't even thinking about what he was doing. If he had given himself the time, surely he would have talked himself out of it.
Once he hit the ground, he made his way as quietly as possible into the clearing, getting as close as he dared. About halfway to the dragon, it looked up, eyes locked onto his, pupils becoming no more than slits. Hiccup stopped in his tracks and held his hands out, as if to say he meant no harm.
"H-hey there," he said, his heart hammering. This was the closest he had been to the creature while it was still and he was starting to see the details he had missed as a kid. His eyes took in everything they could, and when they landed on his tail, Hiccup knew then why he was unable to fly. Half of his tail fin was missing. Slowly, he sunk down to sit on the ground and they stared at each other.
The dragon didn't seem hostile. Instead it looked curious. Without taking his eyes off it, Hiccup rummaged around in his bag until he felt a tin can. He pulled the tab on the top, exposing what was inside before leaning forward and placing it on the ground a safe distance away from himself. The dragon lifted its head, its pupils growing curiously. It looked from the can to Hiccup and back again.
"It's tuna," Hiccup told him. "You... you like tuna? It's canned, so it's probably not as good as fresh fish, but..." Hiccup leaned out, pushing the can a little farther away from him.
The dragon took a step forward. Then another. Until finally, it was able to smell the can, its nose moving with the effort. Hiccup slowly retrieved his sketchbook, not wanting to frighten the animal, yet needing to draw all the details he saw. The dragon licked at the can, its forked tongue lapping up a bit of tuna. It stuck out a claw- no- more like a paw?- to tip the can over and spill the contents on the ground to eat more of it. In the middle of sketching, Hiccup furrowed his brows.
"You're toothless?" he asked. "Then how did you..." He glanced to his prosthetic leg and back up at the dragon. As if answering his question, it opened its mouth to bite at the can. Teeth suddenly appeared from pink gums to chew at the tin and Hiccup sat up straighter. "Retractable... H-hey, wait. That- that's not food- don't-" He was interrupted when the beast knocked the can aside and closed the distance between them. Hiccup's hear hammered as it sniffed his bag and hair and clothes. "I-I'm sorry. I don't have any more." The dragon blew out a grumpy puff of air from his nose.
Hiccup, overcome with emotion at how close he was once again to this magnificent animal, reached out to touch it, but it was gone in a split second. It leaped backwards, teeth suddenly barred.
"Wait! I'm not gonna hurt you. I promise," he told it, not knowing why he thought it could understand him. But it seemed to. Hiccup stood once more as it cautiously stepped closer. They looked into each others eyes and Hiccup felt a strange pull on his heart. He saw himself in there somewhere...
Slowly, he held up a hand. The dragon didn't move to meet him. Hiccup swallowed hard and turned his head, closing his eyes tightly. He didn't know how he knew, but something inside him told him he needed to show this creature that he was trustworthy. That he was willing to put his life in its care one more time... He waited. And just when he thought nothing would happen, he felt a gentle pressure against his palm.
He swallowed the shock and turned to face the dragon. Hiccup's hand was between its large eyes. For a moment they just stood like that.
"Thank you," Hiccup whispered. "Thank you for saving my life." He wondered if the dragon remembered who he was. And as if to answer, it lowered its head to sniff at Hiccup's legs. It opened its mouth to let out a small, friendly noise and Hiccup sunk back down to the ground to pull up his pant leg. He removed his prosthetic leg, something he didn't normally do.
"See? It's me... And we're not so different, you and I..." The dragon sniffed at the leg in Hiccup's hand, then at the stump where it used to be. "I'm sorry," Hiccup added. "For ever thinking you hurt me on purpose." He held up his hand again, touching the same spot on the dragons face as before.
Astrid nodded before reaching into her bag to get some water. She hadn’t realised that she had let it run dry again so she figured a trip to the water supply would be a good idea before they slept and before vision had become completely impaired by the lack of light in the sky.
“I’m going to fill up our water bottles before it gets too dark.” She said, placing them in her bag so that she could easily climb back down the boulders. She was careful as she lowered herself because she was still finding it painful to put her full weight on the ankle that she had hurt the previous day but as soon as she lowered herself to the bottom where her feet found level ground, she sighed and straightened herself out before moving quietly towards to lake. If there were any dragons around, the last thing she wanted was the startle them. In the short time that they had been on the island she had grown rather fond of the creatures and that last thing she wanted was to upset their routines.
As she neared the lake she found a welcoming breeze wash over her. She retrieved the bag from her shoulder and placed it on the floor, lowering herself next to it so that she was at an appropriate level to retrieve the water. As she filled one bottle she allowed herself to take a long drink before filling it up again. The water itself tasted so pure and it made her wonder just how much humans influenced the environment around them. She was sure that if you tried to drink directly out of any natural water supply in Berk, that you would likely get sick.
It wasn’t long before she was heading back up the boulder to their make-shift camp with the water and when she arrived she noticed that Hiccup had settled nicely, watching the sky change from day to night and she smiled upon seeing him. She placed her bag down and took out the two flasks, placing one next to Hiccup before settling down onto the floor herself. Back in Berk you could see the night sky perfectly fine but here it looked different. It was as though she could see every single star and planet in the universe. A smile took over her face as her eyes started to grow heavy.
“Goodnight Hiccup.” She said with a whisper before falling into a slumber.
Hiccup helped Astrid collect some wood for a fire and watched her light it with a fond look in his eye that he was unaware of. He gave her one of his shrugs.
"It won't bother me. I can sleep anywhere. When I was a kid, I used to sleep on the rock wall behind my house just so I could watch the skies for dragons," he said, smiling at the memory. Had he known when he was that young that he would be here right now...
Before the accident, Hiccup had been obsessed with the dragons in a very different way than he was now. He had loved the stories of them. Like most boys loved stories about dinosaurs, Hiccup loved his dragons. And his mother loved to feed his imagination. For years, Hiccup felt responsible for what had happened. If he hadn't been so in love with the creatures- even the thought of them- then it might never have happened. It's not as if he had begged her to go looking for them, but his enthusiasm didn't help. Of all of the things the therapy was trying to help him with, that was the one thing he overcame. He no longer blamed himself. What wasn't so healthy was that he had shifted that blame to the dragon he thought was responsible for her death. And now... Now he understood that it was a different dragon altogether. The strangest part about all of this was that Hiccup didn't hate that dragon. He had spent years hating. And now that he had seen the world the dragons came from... he had no more hate to give. Even remembering that he had been so keen on killing one...
He leaned back, much like he did on those nights as a kid, folding his hands behind his head and looked up at the sky. By now the sun left barely a glow on the sky and the stars were starting to come out. The fire crackled beside him and he was content.
If there was something that Astrid had learned about herself today, it was that she had absolutely no talent what-so-ever when it came to drawing but she was having so much fun with Hiccup that she didn't seem to mind humiliating herself in front of him.
When night fell, she could hardly figure out where their day had gone. They had such fun that she had barely taken notice of the time passing by but when he suggested that they camp there for the night she nodded. "I don't think it would be a good idea to walk back now that it's getting dark anyway. As you say, perhaps your dragon will turn up at some point." She said with a smile before turning around to set up a space for them to sleep.
"I'm afraid it's going to be a little cosy back here, there isn't much flat ground and I can guarantee you that the last thing you want is a hill in your back. I speak from experience." She said with a laugh before starting to pile wood on top of each other. Soon she had a fire burning to keep their vision without impairment and to offer them some heat should the night decided to be cold.
"Yeah, me too," he told her honestly. Never had he felt so comfortable with someone. Usually that might scare him, but they were having such a great time that hardly thought on it.
They spent the rest of the day watching the dragons and Hiccup even gave Astrid a small drawing lesson. Her version of the dragon he had drawn as an example looked more like a child had drawn it, but he was proud of her nonetheless.
The sun started to make its descent and Hiccup proposed they sleep there for the night. And they had everything they needed.
"Besides, that dragon has to get thirsty at some point. I want to stay up and watch for it."
Hiccup had a feeling that it avoided the other dragons, anyway. If it truly didn't belong on that island, then it would probably not feel welcome at the watering hole. It probably felt much safer in the dark where it blended in.
Hiccup was right about the people back in Berk and when she thought about them, she couldn't name one person who she would happily spend time with because she actually enjoyed their company.
They eventually started to pass the playing games that involved Hiccup trying to catch certain food types that Astrid threw towards him. For some time they were failing but that didn't affect the laughter that was coming from the two. She felt completely happy in his company and she was sure there had not been a single person who she could act this way with. She loved his company and she hoped that nothing would change when they eventually travelled back to Berk.
When Hiccup was finally victorious with catch the food he cheered and only a split second later her fists were in the air also, celebrating with him for his eventual success. Neither of them stopped laughing for the entire day.
"Hiccup..." She hesitated a moment before turning to him and smiled. "I am so glad that we are here."
He couldn't help but laugh at how right she was. And about how hilarious it was that he had even suspected the two of ever being something together. Astrid and Snothlout were complete opposites. Even more, he had discovered that he and Astrid had a lot more in common than he thought.
"I will never understand him," Hiccup added with a chuckle. "Or half the people on berk, to be honest."
It was so peaceful here that he almost forgot what his objective was. But either way, he was enjoying the scenery and the company.
Time passed slowly, which he was glad of. He pulled out some mixed nuts he had packed and somehow they began a game where Astrid would toss them at Hiccup and he would try to catch them in his mouth. After a few failures, they managed to get it and Hiccup's fists went to the air with victory. The day was full of laughter and he couldn't remember the last time he spent the day like this.
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