The sun was setting on Dragon's Edge, the big blinding disc slowly vanishing past the thin horizon line. Shadows stretched over the island, drowning the base into darkness. With the sun gone, the air was twice as chilly.
Astrid sighed a puff of cloud, blinking as the bright rays finally disappeared and left them to the cold bluish shade of dusk. She rose on her feet, brushing the dirt off her skirt before approaching the edge of the sea stack once again. She pulled out her spyglass and pressed it against her eye, searching for Hiccup's whereabouts. He was still positioned at her ballista. He'd really been waiting all day for them to get close enough. At least he had no allies and no dragon to fly. They had the advantage in numbers as well.
The familiar sharp and metallic wing flap of a Razorwhip and the rapid clicks of a Triple Stryke alerted Astrid and the other Dragon Riders of Heather and Dagur's arrival. The Berserkers landed on the large sea stack, smiling in greetings.
"Boy, I'm sure glad you're here," said Astrid, walking up to her best friend for an embrace. They hugged tightly before addressing the issue.
"We got your Terror Mail," said Dagur, dismounting his dragon and patting its snout gently.
"We got here as fast as we could," said Heather, turning to the others that had gathered around them.
"You have no idea how relieved I am that you could make it," said Astrid, gesturing to follow. They approached the edge and faced their base, spyglasses out. "We have quite an unusual situation on our hands."
"What is it?" asked Dagur, sounding very excited to take on whoever they had to take on. He slammed his fist in his palm, a mile-wide smile stretching on his face. "Krogan? Viggo?"
"Worse," replied Astrid, bringing her hand on her hip and shifting her weight, a dark look settling on her face.
"What could possibly be worse than that?" asked Heather, cocking her eyebrow at Astrid.
"Take a look," said Astrid, gesturing at her to see for herself.
Heather didn't wait another moment or the suspense would kill her. She pressed the spyglass against her eye; the island, now submerged in darkness, reflected against the glass of the object. Heather removed the spyglass and met Astrid's eyes, shock clear in her green irises.
"What happened? Is he..?" she asked, hesitant to say it.
"We're not sure, but I don't think so," replied Astrid, shaking her head sideways. She didn't want to accept it and she didn't believe she ever could if that was the case. Hiccup? A Dragon Hunter? She would never believe it. "Fishlegs suspects there's something more, but we need to get in closer if we're to draw conclusions."
"So he just... turned on you?" asked Heather, clearly not taking the news easily. "How did that happen?"
"Tell me about it," said Snotlout, scoffing.
"We've been trying to figure out how to get in close, but we can't get past him without hurting him or hurting ourselves or our dragons," said Astrid, walking closer to the others and away from the edge to figure out a plan to take a course in action.
"And, he also made the wise choice to go with the deadliest weapon we have on the island," added Fishlegs, obviously discouraged by their situation.
"The only advantage we have is in our numbers," continued Astrid, meeting her teammates and allies' attentive gazes. "If we all hit him at once, he'll be overwhelmed."
"Won't Hiccup see that coming?" asked Heather.
"We've put into practice a lot of battle techniques in the past," said Astrid. "It would be hard to find something out of the box. Hiccup is all of us in one person. He has the skills, the brains, the crazy and bold. There's no way we can surprise him with a new tactic. What we need to do is box him in and attack with everything we got before he can react."
"Isn't that kind of suicide?" asked Tuffnut, crossing his arms over his chest. "I mean, I'm not ready to die yet. There's so much destruction I haven't done."
"We can't afford to lose him, Tuff," said Astrid, a determined look painting her features. "We're going in, dragons blazing. With the cover of darkness, we'll be harder to see and therefore harder to hit."
"I do like how you think, milady," said Ruffnut, winking at her second-in-command.
"Alright," said Astrid, nodding. "Now saddle up. Snotlout, you and Hookfang draw his fire. The rest of us will close on him while you keep him distracted."
"Why am I always the distraction?" mumbled Snotlout, mounting up on his Nightmare.
They took to the air, flying back to their base where Hiccup awaited, ballista at the ready. They quickly closed the distance between them and the island.
"Now, Snotlout!" shouted Astrid over her shoulder.
Hookfang roared and lit up like a torch burning bright inside a pitch-black cavern. It was almost like a drop of the sun had fallen from the sky to light up the night. They slowed to a hover and Hookfang roared loudly, dragging the attention of every living thing on them.
Hiccup's violet eyes glowed brightly as he narrowed his gaze on the lit-up dragon. He grabbed the handles of the massive weapon, redirecting its aim on the Nightmare taunting him. Bolt at the ready, he aimed and fired. The spear whistled loudly through the air.
"Dive, Hookfang!" shrieked Snotlout, flying out of the spear's trajectory in the nick of time. He pushed his helmet back up frustratingly, glaring down at Hiccup. "Are you crazy?! Are you trying to kill me?!"
"Now!" called Astrid. Hiccup's attention quickly darted to every dragon diving down at him from above. He gritted his teeth and took hold of the ballista's handle, rotating it back around to aim up, only for the weapon to block at the limitation of its movement.
"Oh, no you don't!" shouted Ruffnut and Tuffnut both in unison, cutting straight across the incoming Riders and Berserkers with gas trailing behind them.
Hiccup eyed the gas and backed off. He didn't wait another moment and climbed off the tower, quickly making his way down to the platforms. He looked up as the dragons soared over the base before sprinting across the bridges.
"There he is!" shouted Astrid, soaring behind him on her Deadly Nadder. "Hiccup! Stop!"
Hiccup glared at her with a sideways look while she flew close to him next to the bridges, her hand reached out to him. His only reply was a swift swing of his dragon blade, striking her hand. Astrid drew back instantly with a pained yelp, grasping her burnt hand.
Hiccup grinned, Inferno in hand. The repetitive click of the Triple Stryke had Hiccup's attention dragged to the sky to watch Dagur land right in front of him, cutting his path off clean.
"Mind telling me what you're doing, brother?" asked Dagur, lifting his chin expectingly while Hiccup backed off, holding his glare with his toxic eyes.
He showed no fear, no rage, or pleasure. He brought his sword before him, holding his position.
"Come on," said Dagur, laughing mockingly. "You couldn't take me on when we were kids. What makes you think you can take me on now?"
Heather dropped on Windshear behind him and Hiccup spun around, hostile.
"Easy, Hiccup," said Heather, holding her hands before her to show she held no weapon and was no threat to him. "We're just trying to help. Now stand still. We don't want to hurt you."
"You wouldn't dream of it," said Hiccup, straightening up with a smile in his eyes. He knew them and he knew all of their weaknesses. "You wouldn't hurt a one-legged Viking, would you Heather?"
Heather slid down the saddle and narrowed her eyes on him, his mockery and cocky attitude quickly getting on her nerves within their first exchange.
"Don't make me do this, Hiccup," warned Heather, grabbing her ax for precaution.
Hiccup held her stare, the glow of his eyes shining bright against the darkness. Heather blinked at the sight, quick to notice the unusual feature.
"What's wrong with you, Hiccup?" she said, her voice barely coming out a whisper. Hiccup smiled wickedly and charged. She met his sword with her ax, rapidly throwing him off to twist and kick him in the gut. Hiccup backed off a few paces, quickly recovering from the blow. Dagur and Heather circled around him like two hungry dragons playing with their next meal when really, they were the meals and Hiccup was the dangerous predator. The other Riders hovered above, watching the scene unfold, ready to join should things go wrong.
"I don't know what's gotten into you, brother, but you're gonna have to take it down a notch," said Dagur, ready to grab him. Hiccup turned and twisted, Inferno at the ready.
"Brother…" warned Dagur when Hiccup stood still, his back turned on him. Hiccup gritted his teeth before twisting around and throwing his sword Dagur's way with all his might like he was target practice.
"Dagur!" shouted Heather, a hand reached out to him with fear painting her face. She was caught off guard when Hiccup body-slammed her to the ground, knocking her ax out of her grip. Dagur, luckily having ducked the flaming sword, quickly jumped in to help his sister; he grabbed Hiccup, locking him tightly against his chest with his arms acting as chains. Hiccup groaned and kicked furiously.
"Wow, you are way stronger than you look, brother," commented Dagur, chuckling lightly.
Heather rose to her knees. "Quick! Restrain him!" she shouted, reaching a hand out to her brother. Hiccup growled in displeasure and slammed the back of his head against Dagur's face, forcing the Berserker to release him while he held his bleeding nose.
Hiccup scowled, returning his attention on Heather while Dagur dealt with his disorientation. He approached her while she rose to her feet, backing off slowly. Hiccup locked gaze with her and reached for his hunting knife strapped to his belt, waving the blade dangerously in front of him.
"Hiccup, don't do this," pleaded Heather, holding her hands before her, wishing she had her own weapon in hand. She searched for her ax, watching it laying on the edge of the bridge, way out of her reach. She returned her attention on Hiccup, uneasy when she hit the wall of the building behind her. "Hiccup, we're your friends."
Hiccup violently closed his hand on her throat, pressing her against the wall.
"Hiccup! Let her go!" shouted Astrid, lowering Stormfly closer to the platform, still holding her injured hand. There was fear in her voice. Astrid watched wide-eyed but quickly narrowed her eyes, refusing to let one of her allies be further harmed. She jumped off her dragon and rolled on the bridge, gasping. Hiccup eyed her from the side, knife held tightly in one hand while the other squeezed. No matter what Heather did, she couldn't throw him off.
"Hiccup, stop!" shouted Astrid, almost begging him. She couldn't risk throwing him off because of the blade in his free hand. "Let her go!"
"I don't wanna do this, brother," said Dagur from his other side and Hiccup only had enough time to meet his gaze. "But you leave me no choice!"
Dagur's fist met his jaw and Hiccup finally released his grip on Heather. The knife dropped on the wooden platform with a sharp clink, slipping out of his hand commanded with bad intentions. Hiccup met the ground too, hitting the hard surface with a sickening thud.
Dagur drew back, massaging his hand.
"Ooh, that felt good," he said before chasing away his violent ways and crouching next to Hiccup who looked far from the person he'd been looking at seconds ago. His unconscious expression only made him think of Hiccup himself, not whoever seemed to be under his skin. He rose back to his feet while the others landed now with the danger had passed.
"You okay, sis?" said Dagur coming to Heather's side while Astrid helped her stand.
"'Okay'?" echoed Heather, furious. She massaged her throat; the red marks on her skin standing out vividly even with the dim lighting. "He almost killed me!"
"That is weird…" said Fishlegs, dismounting and approaching Hiccup lying on his side on the ground, dead to the world thanks to Dagur's knocking punch. He narrowed his eyes, studying his features carefully.
"Just weird?" said Heather, lashing out in anger and fear.
"I've read about the different effects of certain poisons, parasites and other substances that can generate a change of behavior in a person," said Fishlegs, kneeling in front of Hiccup who remained unmoving, completely passed out like a dragon that'd been knocked out of the sky with Dragon Root. "Or at least, the ones in Bork's papers. I can't think of anything that would induce this kind of behavior…"
"Unless… Hiccup really has changed his allegiance!" shouted Tuffnut, throwing a fist in the air.
Ruffnut gasped, standing next to him.
"We have proof now! Quick," said Tuffnut, looking around rapidly. "Let's chain him to a pole and burn him!"
"I thought that was for witches," said Ruffnut, eyeing him in confusion.
"Oh, you're right," said Tuffnut, quickly running out of ideas. "Then we'll have to think of some other very painful method to punish this traitor."
"No one is killing anybody," said Astrid, pointing down at the ground authoritatively.
"Very funny, Astrid," said Snotlout, bringing his hand up to his sides, poked-faced. "Why don't you try telling that to killer-Hiccup over here? He's clearly lost his mind!"
"I don't think it's that simple, Snotlout," said Fishlegs, pushing himself back up on his feet.
"Hey, we all saw it happen," said Tuffnut, standing by Snotlout's side. "I think it's fair to say we have a mold among us."
"And if Hiccup, of all people, could change then…" said Ruffnut, exchanging a look with her twin.
"Who else could possibly be plotting along his side?" finished Tuffnut, nodding at his sister in agreement while reaching a fist to his chin to mimic a thinking-pose.
"Why don't you two get some ropes?" suggested Astrid, the look on her face recommending they get on with it. "We'll sort this whole thing out later." She turned around to face Hiccup still lying untouched on the ground, his immobile form and soft unconscious expression making it hard for her to believe he'd been attacking them just minutes ago. She sighed. "Right now, we need to make sure he doesn't hurt anybody else. Whatever's going on, there has to be a reasonable explanation…"
Astrid looked down at her injured hand, the burn standing out against her pale skin. She held her wrist tight, the pain starting to kick in. Burns were always more painful afterward. She shut her eyes tight, looking away from her injury. As painful as it was, its cause was even more so. She looked over her shoulder to see Dagur and Fishlegs carry Hiccup away.
She knew a wounded body could heal; she didn't know how to deal with a wounded heart.
I should retitle this story "Among Us" (〜￣▽￣)〜
My eyes are playing tricks on me lately and I notice myself missing a lot of mistakes so sorry if there are any. Those that ever happen to you? Like, you're reading something and you don't understand and then re-read it and realize your brain replaced a word with another word and you're like huhhh? My brain sometimes goes brrr *glitch*