Be warned: This is me poking fun at a fandom-wide assumption. It's short, and there's some quick and dirty characterization, but I still want to show Hiccup and Astrid as their canon characters with some improvements (and realistically-paced ones) to their relationship.
Disclaimer: Hiccup and Astrid belong to Dreamworks. Womp womp.
A shadow fell over his pencil work—his only warning—before his notebook was snatched from his hands.
Hiccup cried his protest the moment his notebook left his hands, but his reaction in grabbing it back was too slow. Astrid danced beyond his reach, his book in hand.
"You know, you spend more time with this thing than me," she said to him. "I'm starting to get jealous."
She wasn't, really. Hiccup could tell by the sly look she gave him as she ruffled the pages with her nail—a threatening gesture he knew she'd follow through on no matter what he chose to do.
"Maybe I should see what you're always drawing," she continued to tease. She glanced down at the page's contents and back at him. She was challenging him, goading him into action. This was how she played.
Hiccup braced his hands against the earth with the intent of going after her, but the impulse quickly passed. There was no point in attempting to strong-arm his journal back from her—he'd lose even if he could catch her.
At least she was sort ofasking for permission before rooting through his journal, which he considered an improvement from her take-by-force-and-ask-no-questions policy she used to hold with him. Their relationship might be moving slow, but at least it was moving toward something he could feel comfortable with.
"Fine," he conceded, settling back into his seat on the hillock overlooking Hooligan Harbor. Gobber only gave him an hour's break before he was to be back in the forge. He didn't want to spend it grappling.
Though spoiled by such a quick yield, a victory was still a victory for Astrid, and she turned to the book with barely concealed glee. Her eyes first passed over his current project—a single-rider saddle design for Zipplebacks—before she flipped backward to another project design. She turned back again with unrelenting eagerness. And again, and again.
Hiccup watched, quiet, as her grin slowly melted into a frown with every page turn. She began flipping three pages at a time. Disappointment settled heavy into her features until she reached the very first leaf—a shoddily drawn first-draft of his bola-canon, if Hiccup recalled correctly.
Astrid stared at the diagram, dumbfounded, but Hiccup suspected her shock had nothing to do with being impressed.
Sure enough, Astrid's first words were a disbelieving, "Is that it?"
Hiccup shrugged, somewhat amused by her antics. He rarely got to see her get so worked up over something unrelated to violence.
"What you see is what you get. But you already know that when you got into all...this," he gestured to his outstretched body.
Astrid ignored the quip, far too used to the line by now, and jiggled the book in her hand.
"Do you have a different one?" she asked.
Hiccup shrugged. "A different book? Sure. But the inside's not so different."
Astrid didn't accept the answer; Hiccup could tell by how her mouth twisted in determination. Instead of returning the notebook to him, she flipped to the blank pages he hadn't touched yet and began scouring them for some sort of trickery.
"You've seen it," Hiccup said, mildly annoyed at having his free time monopolized as such. He held out his hand. "Can I have it back?"
Astrid gave a noncommittal grunt, but otherwise ignored the prompt. She was combing the pages she'd already seen now, determined to find somethingof interest.
Hiccup sighed. There was no reasoning with her when she got like this; there were answers she wanted and he gave her permission to get them with his ambiguous 'fine'. He would have to forcibly take his book back at this rate.
He began to pick himself up from the ground with deliberate slowness.
"I thought for sure you'd have me in here."
Her words were so soft that Hiccup almost missed them. He paused in adjusting his prosthetic to bear his weight.
"What?" he asked, because for the life of him he couldn't understand where she would get such a notion. "Why?"
"Well... you're always drawing," Astrid said thoughtfully.
Hiccup heard something unsaid in her tone: an unbidden hope or assumption that he had been drawing herin particular.
"Designing," Hiccup corrected. "I'm always designing."
Astrid acted as though she hadn't heard him. She continued to frown at his journal, now turning it every which way as if to reveal the secrets she wanted him to be hiding.
"I thought... I thought for sure this would be chock full of... of differentstuff. You're always staring out at people and scenery when you have this with you."
"When?" Hiccup asked exasperated, finally pulling himself to his feet. "When have you ever seen me draw-draw something?"
Yes, he watched people and dragons and the world, but he didn't memorize finite details and render them on paper. He saw what wasn't there—what couldbe there. Everything that made it into his notebook were what his eyes couldn't see, what his mind could, and what his hands could make.
Astrid face now matched Hiccup's in annoyance.
"You have Toothless," she said as she rifled back a few pages. "I saw him—ah!"
She held the book face-open to him. Hiccup stepped forward and squinted at the image. He recognized the drawing as his sketch of Toothless when he first stumbled upon the Night Fury in the cove, and the smudge over the left tailfin where he realized his error. He was so busy with recording—the mechanics, the symmetry—that he missed what an artist's eye should have caught.
"And is that a stunning depiction of a dragon?" he asked, wry. He wished he had more of an eye for these sorts of things, to put a pen to paper and just bring images to life, but he couldn't. His imagination didn't dofantastical. It did possibilities. Unusual possibilities, to be sure. Unconventional, even frowned-upon—absolutely. But all things that he could bring into reality.
Astrid looked at the drawing of Toothless—actually lookedat it—and huffed.
"Better than anything I've seen anyone else do," she muttered under her breath. She stared at the boxy image of Toothless with great disappointment. "Gods...I-I thought you likeddrawing."
"I like creating. I like solving problems," he said, glancing down at the mess of equations and measurements visible from her hands.
"But...you still draw," she said. Maybe if she kept repeating the word it would prove to be true. She began to flip through the notebook again. Diagram after diagram of structure and contraption flew past her, all things she had just seen. This was unacceptable to her.
Hiccup didn't know if he should keep sighing at her or start laughing. Astrid just couldn't let this go. She hated being wrong.
"Not people. I draw technical stuff." He took a step towards her. Then another. "Those are mostly drafts and...and... Look, I'm not an artist!"
Hiccup was close enough to snatch back his notebook, which he did with no lack of complacency. He didn't bother holding it close to his chest now that she had seen it.
Astrid looked very much like she was about to take it right back, perhaps get in a hit or two for disappointing her so much, but she was merciful that afternoon and settled for crossing her arms.
"You always hid it away from us. I thought you were embarrassed for being...artsy," she said. Among other things, she didn't want to add this to the list of things she'd been so wrongabout regarding him.
"I was embarrassed because a lot of these were the same things no one in the village wanted to see. Ever." Hiccup waved the first page at her to remind her of the bola canon that ensnared many a Viking.
Silence fell between them—Astrid sullen and put-out, Hiccup ruffled yet amused, because this was the closest he had ever come to seeing Astrid pouting.
A breeze kissed their cheeks and raised the flesh of their exposed skin. A dragon cried overhead.
Astrid spoke first, her words oddly careful. "Have you ever...trieddrawing someone before? Besides Toothless, I mean..."
Hiccup could have chalked the redness in Astrid's cheeks to too much sun exposure, but he'd like to think her poorly-concealed hint left her feeling uncomfortable.
"Do you want me to draw you?"
Hiccup waited as Astrid pretended to take her time answering, as though the thought had never occurred to her. She was a terrible liar, possibly from being a terribly honest person. He loved that about her.
"Couldyou do it?" she answered his question with another question. Her hand went up to push at her bangs like a nervous reflex.
Hiccup's smile widened. He twirled the worn charcoal stick between his fingers.
"I can try," he said, deciding to reward her venture with forgiveness. It wasn't every day he'd get such a request from her. "For you, I'll try."
The smile that bloomed across Astrid's face was almost worth the inevitable disappointment he'd be seeing soon enough.
"...but it's going to come out terrible."
"Just shut up and pose me."
Yes, it's another one-shot from me. It's really just a fun little inception tool to get my opinion of Hiccup out there. The 'Astrid discovers Hiccup drawing her' thing is a bit...overdone. And quite the assumption!
It's something I've always wondered at in the fandom: how we all jumped on the 'Hiccup is an artist!' train with so little to base it on. We see his wall: it's full of blue prints, not art. We only see him draw Toothless, and that was more linear than accurate. I know people like to think of him as the romantic artist but I still think of him as more of a practical technician. He's a dreamer, but he's also a doer.
Let's just say, if he were a college student, Hiccup's more likely to go to MIT or RPI than RISDI.
Thanks to Gumdropboo for her advice/edits!
So? what do you think? Agree or think I'm off-my rocker? Astrid/Hiccup good? Astrid/Hiccup bad?
Now I'm just using horrible language.