CAPTAIN FURY: PIRATE OF BERK
DISCLAIMER: How To Train Your Dragon remains the property of Cressida Cowell and Dreamworks.
A/N: I'm back. I was truly surprised by the amazing positive feedback I got for HHH: Prince of Thieves because it was an interesting idea and it was really fun to write. I really like Hiccup as a swashbuckling kind of hero-his reaction when they first meet Eret and the Dragon Trappers in HTTYD2 gives a clue to his potential in that area. And after Robin Hood, I was thinking where next to look for inspiration. So where else would anyone go but the master of swashbuckling himself, Errol Flynn? Now, I know seafaring/pirate AUs have been done before but honestly, the chance to have another go at swashbuckling Hiccup and his crazy gang was too tempting. Of course, the bad guys aren't quite the same this time (that would be dull) but I reckoned the wronged hero is always a great starting point for any adventure. This story is partly inspired by The Sea Hawk (my favourite EF film) along with Captain Blood and probably with a sprinkling of inspiration from any other pirate film I may have seen over the years (and thinking about it, I may have seen a lot)…
Characters are the age in HTTYD2 (about twenty) and Hiccup has two legs.
One: Captain Fury
The sails billowed as the wind picked up and the Night Fury leaned into the breeze. Idly, the lanky helmsman adjusted the wheel as the breeze ruffled his messy auburn hair and matched the course to the smaller vessel that was trying to escape-but with little hope of success. The Night Fury was the fastest ship in the Archipelago, her sleek lines the envy of other Captains and the nightmare of naval vessels and traders alike.
The helmsman yawned. It was relatively easy to track down the trading vessel and he knew they wouldn't offer much resistance-because everyone knew it was futile to fight the crew of the Night Fury. And he knew this particular trading ship anyway: she was an easy target. He focused his forest green eyes on the sail as it swiftly grew larger. It was rumoured the Night Fury could suck the very wind out if a ship's sails and attack out of nowhere but the vessel they were tracking was slow and in fact was lowering its sails and effectively surrendering. His lips curled in a smile.
"Johann," he murmured and spun the wheel to take the ship alongside. "Look alive!" he shouted. "Trim those sails! Action stations! Prepare for boarding!"
A head poked up through the hatch. "Dude! Is all that shouting necessary? It's too hot!" The helmsman face-palmed and rolled his eyes. Just for once, it would be nice to get on with an attack without an argument about something completely irrelevant.
"Oh, sorry, Tuff. I'll ask this trader to come back to get boarded and robbed in a few weeks when it's cooler, shall I?" he replied sarcastically. Tuffnut adopted a hurt expression.
"No need to be snarky, dude!" he protested. The helmsman rolled his eyes again.
"There probably is," he growled. "Now get ready to board her!"
"Is Captain Fury throwing another tantrum?" A female voice shouted. Another blonde head-the female version of Tuff, his twin sister Ruffnut-poked from the hatch alongside him.
"Duh! He always gets so stressed whenever we raid a ship!" Tuff complained.
"I do not!" the helmsman- actually the Captain-growled.
"Do too!" Ruff replied. "Remember that time when you shouted at the entire crew to pay attention?"
"Ruff," the Captain said with forced patience, "we were under cannon fire from two Berk Navy vessels and you are all arguing over whose turn it was to take the wheel!"
"And it was mine anyway!" Tuff protested.
"Er...excuse me, gentle pirates, but are you going to rob me? I'm running behind and would be very grateful if you could get on with it so I can get on my way..." The Captain sighed at the servile voice floating up from the trader ship they had pulled alongside during the argument.
"Be with you in a minute, Johann!" he apologised.
"Oh-it's you, Master Hiccup...sorry, I mean Captain Fury," Trader Johann said humbly. He had traded all his life and knew that being polite and friendly worked well with almost everyone-though having known the young Captain all his life meant he felt rather protective to the young man, even when he was robbing Johann. The Captain ran his fingers through his shaggy hair and groaned.
"Fine!" he snapped. "Fish? D'you want to join me or shall I board and rob this ship on my own while the rest of the crew continues to argue?" His sarcasm could have melted metal and Fishlegs, his husky blonde first mate gave a little cringe. Though he was big, he was by nature a kindly and slightly timid man and hated conflict. He eeped and grabbed a grappling rope, hastily tossing the grapple to bite into Johann's ship.
"Oops. Missed," Johann said sympathetically. "Shall I just catch this on the mast for you, sir? There we are-no trouble at all!" Captain Hiccup tossed his grapple over with rather more success, secured the line and leapt across, automatically tying the black scarf across the lower half of his face as he soared and landed agilely.
"Okay, Johann-you know the drill!" the Captain sighed. The trader-a man in his middle years with greying dark hair, a full beard and bright dark eyes-rolled his eyes.
"Of course I do, Captain Fury," he sighed. "Food and water are at the front. I trust you'll leave me two days' worth to get to harbour?"
"I'm not in the business of killing people unless they try to kill me first," the Captain assured him calmly.
"You are ever the gentleman," Johann complimented him. "My hold has all the goods…" Captain Fury leaned forward and his piercing green glare impaled Johann's.
"And the more important and sensitive cargo?" he asked. Johann whimpered.
"Captain Fury…you know I am not supposed to help you in any way," he protested as Fishlegs rappelled across and fell onto the deck. Ruff and Tuff swung over and began arguing before scrambling down into he hold in response to a curt jerk of the Captain's head. Johann sighed as three more men swung more efficiently across. They steamed down into the hold with much more determination. Johann groaned. "They're going to take everything, aren't they?"
"Your safe box," the Captain insisted and the trader reluctantly led the tall, lean pirate down the ladder to the hold, ducking as they entered the gloomy space and led the man along to a small cabin and a heavily armoured and bolted strongbox. Johann pulled the key from around his neck and unlocked the box, then stood back as the Captain dropped to a knee and inspected the contents: a pouch of jewels, a pouch of gold coins and a bundle of letters and documents. The Captain swiftly grabbed all the contents and paused, then shook out ten small gold coins and handed them to Johann. The trader gave an uncharacteristic scowl.
"Captain Fury…that almost insults me more than being left to die on a wrecked ship!" the man said tightly.
"And yet you'll take them because this money will enable you to buy at least some goods to restock the Yakmina so you can continue trading," the private told him with a smirk in his voice. "You know I would never leave you penniless, Johann. You gave me some bread and water when I turned up at the docks after I had been thrown out: I can never truly repay you…"
"And yet you still rob me," the trader sighed.
"I rob everyone," the pirate reminded him. "I know why you wouldn't take me with you when I was desperate to get away: you chose trade over compassion. That would have been the only way I would never have robbed you." Johann sighed.
"I think it would almost have been cheaper now to have taken you and been barred from Berk by your vengeful father," he sighed. The Captain nodded, then straightened up and gestured for Johann to precede him out of the cabin. He was a gentleman pirate but he wasn't trusting enough to let an enemy stand behind him: he had been betrayed once. He stalked up the ladder, his keen gaze sweeping the now empty hold. He heard Johann whimper slightly as he saw his wares completely heisted. The Captain checked that the trader had been left enough food and water to survive then untangled the grapples and leapt back to the Night Fury as they began to pull away.
"Always a pleasure!" Captain Fury called, waving to the downcast trader. Johann, though, did his best to put a brave face on his losses.
"Always to pleasure to see you, Captain Fury," he called. "You are always my favourite of all the pirates in the Archipelago!" The Captain pulled his scarf down and tipped the man a wave as they tacked away and headed back towards their base. Then he turned back to his crew and scowled. Fishlegs looked embarrassed while the older men, Bucket and Mulch, were already searching through the spoils. Sven One and Sven Two (One was tall and Two was short) were investigating a couple of barrels of high quality mead and the twins were arguing over whose turn it was to take the wheel.
"Stow the goods. I will determine who gets what once I investigate these papers!" he announced and headed to his cabin, slamming the door hard behind him. And then he sagged, leaning back against the door and allowing his head to drop. He really hadn't asked for any of this and while he had built up a fearsome reputation, he knew that one day he would meet some men far more ruthless than he was and without a bit of discipline, his crew would be annihilated.
Hiccup Haddock, the man known as the feared pirate Captain Fury, shook his head again, straightened up and walked slowly to the little desk fixed to the wall of the room. The Captain's cabin was small with the bed fixed against the far wall, a small table and two chairs, one of which he was sitting in at his desk. He lit the small lantern, pulled the shutters back from the window hatch, and inspected the documents. He had barely started on the first one when there was a timid knock on the door. He counted to ten, sighed and shouted "Come in!"
Fishlegs nervously entered and closed the door quietly behind him. He stood worriedly by the door and gulped but Hiccup gestured to the other chair and sat back. The first mate sighed.
"Sorry," he apologised. Hiccup shrugged.
"S'okay," he said quietly. "I shouldn't have called on you like that, Fish. I know you get nervous. I was just a little…irked that-as usual-no one was actually paying attention to the pirating!"
"Irked? That's a seriously educated term for a pirate," Fishlegs commented.
"Not actually brought up as a pirate," Hiccup sighed. "I am more grateful to you than I know. I wouldn't have survived five minutes on the Thor's Hammer without you!" Fishlegs smiled, recalling the skinny, battered auburn-haired boy who had begged a passage on the pirate vessel, his wide green eyes pleading and fearful. He recalled how inexperienced the young lad had been, how cruel the crew had been to him as he struggled to learn, how desperately isolated he had been-and how grateful he had been for the larger boy's help in learning to do basic seaman things. Hiccup had been desperate for a friend and Fishlegs had been that friend, meaning that when he had made his move and left, he had offered Fishlegs a chance to come with him. They had been together ever since.
"Well, you were at least educated, Hiccup," Fishlegs said. "And though you haven't told me exactly what happened to you. I know you came from Berk and I know you were from a wealthy home because hey, only the rich can give their sons the kind of education you have. But the rich also don't tend to chase their sons away, beaten half to death to starve in the port." Hiccup shrugged.
"Didn't exactly come from a traditional home," he sighed. Then he visibly shook himself. "Anyway-I'm sorry I made you nervous, Fish. You know I always have your back, right?" The larger pirate stared at the faintly pleading tone: Hiccup, for all his bravado and skills, still displayed surprising flashes of vulnerability to his friends, though he had proved many times he would do anything to protect them as well. Fishlegs nodded.
"And I've got yours, my friend," he assured the Captain. Then he peered at the documents. "Anything interesting?" Hiccup stared at the carefully scribed words.
"Proposed naval deployments…" He handed the paper to Fishlegs. "I'll let you work out where we need not to be." Fish was almost as smart as Hiccup himself and the young Captain trusted his friend with the calculations. Then he frowned. "Hello…it says the Freya's Ghost will be escorting Lady Astrid Hofferson back from the mainland with…" He paused and his eyes grew cold. "…with her new husband, General Eret Eretson." He took a sighing breath.
"Hofferson?" Fishlegs said, peering at the naval schedules. "As in the richest man on Berk?"
"And sworn enemy of the Governor," Hiccup confirmed distantly. "They're coming via Loki's needles to try to avoid piracy…" Fishlegs looked up.
"We don't go anywhere near there," he protested.
"Not the only pirates, Fish," the Captain sighed and then he frowned. "But that route will take them directly through the Outcast seaways. And they really hate anything to do with Berk." Fish looked up.
"I heard Captain Alvin the Treacherous hates Governor Stoick's guts," he noted, his finger sliding along a row of co-ordinates.
"Hardly a crime," Hiccup muttered. "More like a passing grade for Personality Assessment 101. But the Outcasts are not people you would trust with a young woman. I wonder what mutton-head imagined that would be a safe route to get them to Berk?"
"Maybe that General Eretson person?" Fishlegs suggested. "Not that we need any more Generals, what with General Hofferson and the Governor on our tails." Hiccup stared at the letter again then sighed. With a shrug, he grabbed the pouch of jewels and poured the booty onto his desk. The chink of gold made Fish look up like a shot and gape at the riches. "Um…wow! Did Johann really have that?" The young Captain nodded with a sigh.
"Not that I'm sure I wanna ask him how he got this fortune in jewels," Hiccup admitted. "I mean, I could set aside half a day for a long and pointless tale…" Fishlegs chuckled. Johann was the definition of garrulous but he was also harmless. The young pirate Captain lifted a heavy gold chain…with a glorious pendant fashioned from a luminous sapphire the size of a man's eye. Fishlegs gaped.
"Mine," Hiccup said flatly. He pushed the rest of the jewels back into the pouch and shoved the pouch of jewels and the bulging pouch of gold over to the first mate. "Split the rest between the crew. Mead is to be split equally, Fish-you have to watch Mulch and Bucket and the Svens. Ensure all food, water and grog is kept communal. If there are any arguments, call me. Okay?" The First Mate nodded and rose.
"Course?" he asked. Hiccup sighed and ran his hands tiredly through his hair.
"Back to Dragon Island," he said.
"Not after that suicidal ship?" the First Mate clarified. Hiccup flicked his green gaze up.
"Dragon Island," he repeated. Fish smiled.
"I'll plot the other course just in case," Fish said as he departed.
He was back on Berk, back before that horrible day five years ago, back when he had imagined anything was possible.
Back when she was his.
He recalled walking with her through the spruce forest, laughing and joking. She had always been active and aggressive, an expert with the axe and in unarmed combat: he was a walking, talking fishbone with a sarcastic sense of humour and a propensity for falling over his own feet. Yet somehow, she was his friend…his best friend…and he would do anything for her. Even though they both knew it was forbidden.
Of course, it wasn't their fault. They were both only children of powerful men-who were implacable enemies-and they found friendship in each other's experiences. He couldn't believe that she would even look at him, for she was beautiful, with sun-gold hair in its tight braid and piercing azure-blue eyes while he was scrawny with messy auburn hair, green eyes and a face scattered with a handful of freckles. But she stuck to him like glue and they made a point to make it over to each other's estates, spending stolen hours talking and laughing and messing around…and finally kissing.
Yes, she had kissed him and he had guessed if his heart had burst that moment, he would have died happy. But she hugged him and called him her one true love and he had sworn his love and devotion to her. And he had scavenged from his savings, taking the silver coins and melting them down in the little forge his mentor kept to create her a small, elegant ring inscribed with a line promising his eternal devotion. She had put it on her hand and promised never to take it off.
But then they were betrayed and he had been dragged in front of his father, beaten so terribly and forced-eventually-to talk. Almost unable to speak through the pain, he had admitted his love…and then she and her father had been summoned.
He could still recall that hour, that horrific hour, worse than the long minutes where he was battered to a pulp, because she had looked at him with scornful, cold eyes and denied she had any feelings for him. She had rejected him, scorned him…laughed at him. And she had turned away, her hand bare and he had felt his heart break…along with a handful of ribs as his father's boot had crashed into his body. Sobbing, pleading for her to have pity, he had been cast from the house, driven to the gates of the estate like an unwanted beast and left lying on the road. Their coach had almost run him down as they departed. And she never looked back…
He sat up with a gasp, his eyes snapping open and wild from the horrific nightmare. His pale skin was soaked with sweat, his heart hammering so hard he thought it would crash through his chest. Breathing hard, he stared into the darkness and bit down against her name. He would not call it now. It was not his any more. Slowly, he calmed and ran his shaking hand over his face. Oh Gods. Even after all this time, he still couldn't recall that without almost breaking.
Slowly, he swung his legs over the edge of the bed and shakily got to his feet. He had shed his leather vest and armour, his swords and knives and spyglass. Clad only in a loose rust red tunic, brown leggings and his boots, he stumbled out onto the deck, feeling the cool night air soothe his shattered calm. He stumbled towards the mast and leaned against it, closing his eyes and leaning his head back against the wood. Then he sighed and headed for the hatch, descending to the main hold and findings his first mate's hammock. He uncovered the lamp and ignored the stream of abuse the sudden light provoked. He shook Fishlegs gently until the big man opened his eyes.
"Captain Fury, sir…" he murmured muzzily. "Can-can I help you?" He blinked. "Erm, what time is it anyway?"
"Late," Hiccup admitted. "Fish-I need that other course…" The First Mate gave a smile.
"I knew you would…" he began but the Captain shook his head, his eyes hardening.
"Fish, I need to get to them because on that ship is someone who betrayed me in the worst possible way," he said in a cold voice. "And I cannot have my vengeance if they are dead. Set course for the Freya's Ghost. She's mine!"